Thursday, November 30, 2017

Yarn Dying Experiments

I have always wanted to play with yarn dying, and in the last few months, with the help of my friends, Melissa and Kate, I've had two opportunities to do just that.

The first dye day was with Melissa in July. I brought three yarns I wanted to experiment with.

The first one was a free skein of lace weight that I got with a Knit Picks order, and it looks better in the photograph than it did in real life. The color reminded me of dirty dishwater—probably why they were giving it away for free—so any other color would be an improvement.

Here's what the yarn looked like after a dip in the dye bath. Much better, right? I call this colorway Radish.

The second yarn, a skein of Beaverslide Dry Goods 2-ply sport weight that was a KAL prize, was a much prettier shade of cream.

But I don't wear that color much, so we dyed the skein blue.

The last skein of yarn, a wool-silk blend that I got in a swap, was a nice light green.

While this colorway was certainly pretty, I wanted a deeper green. This was my first try at over-dyeing it:

It was better, but not quite what I had in mind. Melissa thought the silk content probably took the dye differently and muted the color. So we tried again a couple months later, using much more dye to make a deep green.

As you can see, that good long soak in green dye turned out a spectacular deep green skein.

Kate joined us at our second dye day in September, and the three of us each dyed a sock blank. We had such a fun time, and I love the final result!

Here is what the sock blank looks like knit up:

While two times don't make me an expert or an indie dyer, I may have to try some more yarn dying experiments sometime soon, and I'll share the results when I do.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

October Photo of the Month: Doughnuts or Socks?

Nope, I couldn't just pick one photo of the month for October.

The first photo of the month happened on October 1st, when I was with my friends, sisters Melissa and Kate, in the village of Deep Cove, which is near Kate's home in North Vancouver, BC. They kept talking all weekend about Honey's and their fantastic doughnuts, and on Sunday morning we braved the crowd—a line out the door—and got Honey's signature maple frosted doughnuts and coffee. YUM! Absolutely the best doughnut I have ever eaten! I managed to snap a photo with my phone before I ate every last crumb.

I took the second photo of the month at home, right after I finished knitting my latest pair of socks. I cast on the socks back in July, when I needed a pair for car knitting and it only dawned on me in mid-October that the Intrepid Otter colorway, Acid Dreams, would make great Halloween socks. Fortunately, I finished knitting them on October 28th, just in time for the pumpkin carving party that we go to every year.

There has been quite a bit of knitting and other fiber adventures happening in my life lately, and I have been remiss in not sharing them with you. But that is about to change; I promise to be back with a new post in the next few days.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

September Photo of the Month: The View from the Top

Isn't this view spectacular? I hiked to the  top of Hurricane Hill in Olympic National Park. I was looking north, at 5,700 feet. You can see Unicorn Peak, the city of Port Angeles, Washington, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and on the far shore, Vancouver Island and the city of Victoria, British Columbia. I took this photo with my iPhone.

Monday, September 25, 2017

August Photos of the Month: Spiced Plum Butter!

I couldn't just post one photo for August. There were many exciting events during the month, especially the eclipse—which was at 92 per cent of totality here in Seattle—but the most exciting event for me was learning to make Pflaumenmus, otherwise known as spiced plum butter. I came across the recipe last year, when I read Luisa Weis' delightful book, My Berlin Kitchen. The recipe is also included in her wonderful cookbook, Classic German Baking. I discovered the recipe too late last summer to make it, but this year, when the Italian plums on our tree were ripe, I was ready! You can see some of those delicious plums in the photo above. It is wonderful having a tree that produces fruit so prolifically, but there are always too many to eat ourselves and give away, so this gives us another way to use and enjoy them throughout the year.

I documented the Pflaumenmus process in photos:

Step one: pit and quarter the plums and put them in a large cast iron pan (we used our Dutch oven).

Step two: add sugar, a cinnamon stick and two whole cloves and let sit, covered, overnight.

Step three: bake uncovered for two hours, stirring occasionally.

Step four:  once you take the pan out of the oven, remove the cinnamon stick and the cloves (if you can find them) and use an immersion blender to puree the plum mixture. This was probably the first time that we have used our immersion blender, which was a wedding present 14 years ago!

Step five: fill the jars to the top.

Step six: screw the lids onto the jars tightly, turn upside down and let cool.

Step seven: when the mood strikes, open a jar and spread some plum butter on toast, add to yogurt, put on ice cream, or come up with your own tasty use for it. Here is what I did:

Sunday, August 27, 2017

July Photo of the Month: Infinity Mirrors

My favorite photo of the month didn't happen until the very last day of July, when I went with my friend, Stephanie, to the Yayoi Kusama exhibit, Infinity Mirrors at the Seattle Art Museum. The whole exhibit was mind-blowingly amazing, and I took several photos of the wonders I saw. This photo is my favorite.

The exhibit is in Seattle until September 10. It will be in Los Angeles this fall, and then in Toronto, Cleveland and Atlanta in 2018. If you live near any of these cities, don't miss it!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

June Photo of the Month: Shining Sea

Looking west toward the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Deception Pass State Park. I took this photo with my point-and-shoot camera, a Canon SX620 HS. I got this camera for my birthday in March and it takes fantastic photos, as you can see. This is one of my best so far.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Second Sock Conundrum

Why does it take me two months and twenty-one days to get to this point,

and only seven days to get here?

I guess I don't have second sock syndrome...