My current work in progress:

Sundew,by Martin Storey, knit from Rowan Softyak DK, using 3.25mm and 4mm needles.

Archives for June 2006

Could It Be . . . A Sleeve?


Why, yes, it is. Alert the media.

And I even managed to start the second sleeve.


I plan to take said second sleeve on my quick trip to Philly this weekend. If tomorrow night’s train is late (as it appears to have been every day for the past week) I ought to get a lot of sleeve knitting done.

I will also bring the black violet sock yarn and my sock needles that are already conveniently stained purple from the first sock. In case of major train delays and I finish the sleeve (Get me. I said “finish the sleeve” — laugh along with me. I’m so amusing.), or in case of severe sleeve ennui, I can start the second sock.

I dunno if the stain on the needles will rub off on other yarn. I don’t think so — the dye on my fingers would not rub off on anything. It was only with copious scrubbing with water and some detergent that it came off. But still — I think I’ll keep these needles for darker yarn and use pristine needles for lighter colors.


As I mentioned above, I’ll be in Philadelphia on Saturday, visiting two yarn shops to sign books and chat with knitters:

From noon til 2:00 pm I’ll be at The Tangled Web, and from 3:00 til 5:00 pm I’ll be at Loop.

I hope I’ll see some of you Philly area knitters!

Lucy says she’d love to come too, but she’s a homebody at heart.


To Dye For

Thank you for all your comments about the excess dye in my sock yarn. Here are some useful tips for ridding oneself of the excess:

Sara said:
I know that toothpaste is a *great* aid to getting Kool-Aid stains off of hands (and mouths, for those who actually *drink* it!) and countertops. It might be worth a try if you’re still having issues getting this dye off your fingers.

Marina said:
When that happens, I usually just soak the yarn in a citric acid solution or vinegar. The one time I didn’t do that, it kept bleeding with every wash which tells me it wasn’t “fixed” properly.

Miranda suggested:
Have you ever tried using an exfoliating scrub to get the dye stains out? I have had excellent results getting Sharpie and other supposedly “permanent” inks out of my skin by using a little bit.

KayinNewMexico commented:
Dye that is not exhausted is a common problem, especially with handpainted yarn. If your LYS also has spinnng and dyeing supplies, ask them for “Jacquard Synthrapol” — Google it for more information and sources if you need to. This stuff is made especially for dye problems like yours. In your case, wash your finished socks in Synthrapol. It’s not just for dyes either — is wash about all my woolies in it! Read their label when you get some, but DO get some! Good luck!

I did manage to get all the purple dye off my fingers within a day of completing the sock, but there are still faint traces of purple on my fingernails (I do not and cannot use nail polish, so my nails are always bare). And my order for Synthrapol is on its way to me, thank you. 🙂

Now the question is what to do about the second sock. The choices:

1. Reskein the yarn for the second sock (already wound into a ball), wash the skein in Synthrapol, let it dry, rewind it, then knit it.

2. Suck it up and knit the sock, get purple hands, then wash the completed sock.

3. Abandon the damned socks entirely.

I will probably go with Option Number 2, as I do like the completed sock and the dye has pretty much worn off my hands at this point. Option Number 1 sounds like way too much work.


Has anyone else knit with the Great Adirondacks Yarn sock yarn? Any experience with dye staining your hands? I’m hoping this was an anomaly, because I gave a skein of this yarn (in a different colorway) to L-B, and I have another skein myself — in a much lighter colorway.

This brings us to another question, asked by Laura:
I want ask about the sock yarn you’re using that rubbed color onto your fingers. Is that something that makes you decide not to buy from that yarn company (or dyer) again? Have you noticed this being an indicator that the dye will fade much after washing? I’m only curious because when I dye yarn I’ve noticed that some colors can rub off while knitting but I thought maybe it was the type of dye I’m using. I haven’t found that it affects the fade factor in the yarns I have dyed, however. Your opinions as a consumer will be greatly appreciated.

I am reminded of an incident years ago — I had some dark green worsted or aran weight wool that stained my hands horribly. I’ve been trying to think of the brand of the yarn, but alas, the name is lost in the mists of time. If I recall correctly, it was a commercial yarn, but from a small company (and this was maybe 15 years ago). I abandoned it because of the staining.

I think the answer depends on the degree of staining, and also how much I like the yarn. If it stains badly and I’m lukewarm about the yarn anyway, well, out it goes. If I love the yarn, I’ll put up with a little dye rubbing off.

What do you all think? Do you have any insight as to the fade factor?

Deirdre Update

Look at this!


That would be the start of the decrease for the armhole on the first sleeve.

Progress! We are excited.


What’s On the Needles? Anything?

So . . . what is on the needles at the present time chez WendyKnits? Well, we know Deirdre is still on the needles.

Other than that . . . not much.

Technically not on the needles because I finished it over the weekend:


One sock. Surprise, surprise, surprise!

This sock is knitted from Great Adirondacks Yarn Co. sock yarn in the “black violet” colorway.

I did the leg in feather and fan to entertain myself. I am easily entertained.

Very nice sock yarn — my only complaint is that the dye came off on my fingers while I knit. I’ve not yet started the second sock, and I’m not sure I want to right now. I hate having stained fingers, and this dye is persistent — very, very hard to scrub off. If I do knit the other sock, you can bet your sweet bippy they will be washed before I wear ’em. Purple feet I do not need.

As I mentioned last week, I cast on some lace, using some handpainted wool laceweight. I put together a design for a rectangular lace stole, and knitted on it over the weekend, but did not like how it was looking. The handpaint, while lovely, is too variegated for what I was trying to do with it. So it has been ripped. R.I.P.

Maybe I should just suck it up and finish poor Deirdre?

So there you have it. Pretty much negative progress since the last time I showed you any knitting. But sometimes you have weekends like that, you know?

In an effort to distract you, here are some pretty flowers.


Ooh, flowers!


I took these photos at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, Virginia. L-B and I took a quick trip over there on Sunday morning.


My Lexie Bag

I transferred my stuff to my new Lexie bag this afternoon. A peek inside:


There’s plenty of space for everything. In fact, I put a small purse with my purse stuff inside as well.


Lucy has pointed out that if she curls up nice and small, she would fit too!


The Southern Tour

Whew! I arrived home this afternoon from my “southern tour” — exhausting but so fun. Here is a recap of the highlights, with a few photos. Most photos are courtesy of L-B, who took charge of my camera, otherwise there would have been nothing.

Saturday morning I arrived in Richmond and L-B and I immediately hit the road, heading out to Carodan Farm, in Stanardsville, VA. We arrived shortly before noon, and their SoXperience 2006 event was in full swing.


I am pictured with Dan and Caroline, who run the farm and were wonderful hosts to us. Thank you so much for the warm welcome.

I spent a couple of hours signing books and chatting with knitters, and then L-B and I did a little (cough, cough) shopping in their shop. I had to drag L-B away from the farm, because Dan told us one of their ewes was due to give birth that day. L-B wanted to wait and see the new baby’s arrival, but we had a schedule!

Mary (who I was happy to see again — hi Mary!) has a photo of the wee baby lambkin, named Sox in honor of the weekend event, on her blog here. He was born Saturday night.

So I dragged L-B away from the farm, but on our way out, we stopped to say good-bye to the sheep. This little fellow was standing in the middle of the field, bellowing.


“Maaaaaaaaa! Where’s my Maaaaaaaaa?”

Then he spotted us, and galloped towards us:




“Are you my Maaaaaaaaaaaa?”

We briefly considered kidnapping (lamb-napping?) the little guy, but reason prevailed.

So, off to Holly Spring Homespun in Powhatan, VA. We arrived late afternoon.


Kathy had a great spread of food and wine set out and we fell on it with glad cries. (But it didn’t occur to me to actually photograph the banquet before stuffing my face.) Trying to pull off a lamb-napping is difficult work, you know? I met some wonderful knitters and spinners, and was delighted to see a couple of people I’d met previously (Hi Rusty! Hi Suzanne!) I also met Sally in person — it was her little daschund, Zeppelin, who sent Lucy her stylin’ cowboy hat a while back!

It was a lo-o-o-o-on g evening because we were having so much fun — here’s a shot L-B took at the height of the festivities.


Left to right, that’s my buddy Alice, who works at Holly Spring, Kathy, me, Ginni (did I spell your name right?), and Suzanne.

After closing, Kathy taped a segment with me for a podcast and there was much hilarity. I don’t know if she actually got anything usable out of me — I think my voice was getting to ready to give out, so I may sound a bit odd. Well, odder than usual!

Sunday afternoon: The Yarn Lounge in Richmond, VA. Stewart, the owner, welcomed me warmly. How warmly? Look at this:


And after being savaged with a knife:


There was a huge surprise waiting for me there:


A Lexie Barnes Lady B knitting bag, which Lexie sent to Stewart to give to me. I was gobsmacked. Last Thursday afternoon I was gazing lustfully at that very bag in that color, online. Thank you Lexie! Thank you, thank you, thank you. This is a perfect bag for the knitting commuter.

So I finally calmed down and went to the table set up for me.


It was nice to see some knitters I’d met on previous trips (Hi Jane! Hi Beth!) and to make some new friends, like Judy:


Judy, I hope your drive home was less frantic. 😉

Stewart and I paused for a photo op:


Last night L-B and I hung out at Cafe Gutenberg in Richmond with a very fun group of knitters. By that point, my camera was in my purse.

And today, back home to my little Lucy, who was waiting for me, chilling.


Sucking Up the Row Gauge Blues

Now I got them steadily depressin’, low down mind messin’ sucking up the row gauge blues.

Would you like a little cheese with that whine?

Well, yeah. Not a whole lot of progress on my poor sleeve. Due in part to the Cable That Sucks Up Row Gauge and due in part to the fact that of you wanna make progress on your sleeve, you sorta have to knit on it for more than an hour.

This too shall pass.

The sleeve was going to accompany me on my book jaunt this weekend. Here’s where I’m gonna be:

June 3, 2006, 12-2pm: Carodan Farm, Stanardsville, VA. I’ve long been a customer of Carodan Farm’s online shop, so I am very much looking forward to visiting them in person!

June 3, 2006, 5-8pm: Holly Spring Homespun, Powhatan, VA. I understand that there will be wine and cheese involved here! I visited Holly Spring Homespun for the first time in December of last year and am very much looking forward to seeing Kathy again. As an added bonus, I’ll get to see my buddy “Alice in Richmond!”

June 4, 2006, 2-4pm: The Yarn Lounge, Richmond, VA. Another great shop I visited in December. Can’t wait to see what is there to tempt me now!

June 4, 2006, 6-8pm: Upstairs at Cafe Gutenberg, Richmond, VA. This is gonna be an informal knitting meet-up. L-B tells me she’s reserved the “big table” upstairs for us.

I hope if you are in the area, you’ll stop by one (or more!) of these events. Yep, L-B will be with me for the whole trip — yay!

More cause for celebration — I finished my Claudia’s Handpainted socks. Double-yay!


Now tonight I need to pick out a new sock project. Decisions, decisions.

Didja notice above where I said the sleeve was going to accompany on my trip this weekend? I fully intended to take it along (honest, I did), but that loudmouth handpainted laceweight cashmere from School Products simply would not shut up. In an attempt to placate it, I thought I would wind some of it into a ball. No dice. It was still screaming. And it was so incredibly tangled that it refused to be wound. Not in the mood for such shenanigans, I set it aside and wound the lovely handpainted laceweight wool I bought from Dave Daniels when he first launched his mercantile (hey — go check out his new store!)

Really — what else could I do?


So this yarn is going with me and I plan to knit it up into something pretty and lacey. So there.

I’ll not be blogging again til Monday evening, so y’all have a great weekend.

Lucy sez:


I get to have my daddy to myself again this weekend!