Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Berry Blue + Grape = Teal?

Here is my yarn, happily boiling in Kool-Aid:

Looks tasty, doesn't it?

Here is is, rinsed, washed, and hung up to dry:

What you can't really see here is that I've actually produced a variegated yarn--the amount of yarn I had was really jammed into my 6-quart pot, so some parts of the yarn did not dye as thoroughly as others. I actually like this; I was a little worried the Kool-Aid would make for a rather flat color. My only concern is how it's going to knit up, since the variegation certainly does not follow any planned pattern. I hope I don't end up with large patches of light blue and large blotches of dark blue.

What you can tell from this photo is that the yarn has come out a blue that is almost teal. Not quite, but it definitely edges a little into green. Since I had blue and purple Kool-Aid, this puzzles me.

The answer, I think lies here:

The photo is blurry, but you can hopefully see in the center of that circle, the yarn I used to tie these skeins. That yarn was white 100% wool, and it's now purple. So that 34% silk in my main yarn is having a pretty significant effect. Happily, not only did it make the color turn teal, it also made it a strong and glossy color. It's not what expected, but I really, really, like it.

I hope it stays this nice as it dries!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Potato chip

So, I've reached the point of sewing up the baby dress, and my mom was visiting, so no work could be done on Dad's socks, so the only answer this weekend was a throwaway project, the potato chip scarf:

This is a free pattern from Knitpicks, and it's pretty simple: cast on 150 stitches, knit one row, Knit front and back of every stitch on the next row, knit two rows, knit front and back, etc. It's super easy, but what they don't tell you is that, since the stitch count increases exponentially, in no time at all your 150 stitches have become 1,200 stitches, and you're taking over an hour per row. Binding off took me well over two hours. I had to stop halfway because I had to go to bed. So, even though overall the scarf took me only about a day and a half, I feel like it took forever.

For you non-knitters out there, 1,200 stitches is a lot--the sweaters I make are usually between 200-300 stitches around. Now, of course there are many more stitches total in a sweater, but there's something about that psychological milepost of the finished row that makes for easy knitting.

I used two balls of Berroco Furz in plum and one ball of Le Fibre Nobili Geisha in cherry (I think). Both are fun furs I had in my stash, so at least this interminable scarf was a true stash-buster. I can tell you the Furz is a much nicer yarn to work with than the Geisha, but since they're both discontinued, I don't know how much use this info is :-)

This is a lousy picture of it on (boy, do I need to clean that mirror!), but hopefully you can see the scarf's charming tendency to corkscrew. I'm actually extremely fond of it. I can see how making scarfs for gifts can be addicting, my grad school experience aside. I am considering giving away this scarf, though the more I prance about in it, the less likely that becomes.

Yes, it is called the potato chip scarf because no one can make just one. Maybe next time I will make liberal use of stitch markers for milestones.

Saturday, November 11, 2006



What you see here are 15 packets of Berry Blue, and six packets of Grape. I'm supposed to have one packet for every ounce of yarn, so this is about right. I am hoping to produce a nice blue with hints of purple.

Where did I find it? A giant Gristedes, almost as big as a suburban supermarket (or so I like to think; whenever I go into one of those suburban places I am astonished a building can cover so much acreage without the roof falling in), about ten blocks from my house. They didn't have a lot of flavors, but they had the ones I needed.

My mom is visting me right now, and I think she will think I have gone completely over the deep end if she were to witness me boiling yarn in Kool-Aid, so I think I will wait 'til next week to begin the experiment :-).

Monday, November 06, 2006

Cute pics

Here is my sweetie, humoring my strange penchant for taking pictures of knitting:

It is, alas, a bit big for him, though at least I got the circumference right!

He confirms it is very warm. And just in time, too, as it is just about winter-coat-and-hat weather here.

I am still ridiculously proud of this hat--and the guy who wears it :-).

Savor the irony

I am obsessed. I have now been to 7 stores (6 grocery stores [two Gristedes, one D'Agostino's, one C-Town, one Associated, one Food Emporium], and one Rite-Aid), and remain unable to find Kool-Aid. I have even gone out to Astoria, Queens, where my boyfriend lives in a somewhat more kid-friendly neighborhood, and, even though his grocery store has an aisle labeled "powdered drink mixes", there was no unsweetened Kool-Aid to be found. I guess moms today prefer to allow the Kool-Aid man or the Capri Sun lady to decide how much sugar goes in their kids' drinks.

So, this morning, I have gone online to find unsweetened Kool-Aid, and the first link turned up by Google is that old reliable, Amazon.

Go ahead, click on the link. Savor the irony:

"Ships from and sold by Gristedes Supermarkets of New York."

Friday, November 03, 2006

Hey, Kool-Aid!

I was recently explaining to my friend Christina that there are not a lot of kids in my neighborhood. Small apartments + sky-high real estate costs makes for not a lot of families with small children.

This was brought home to me in the last day or two by my inability to find Kool-Aid.

The grocery store nearest my apartment had some Kool-Aid, but they were unusual "ethnic" flavors like "Jamaica" (browny-red), "Mango" (orangey-yellow) and "Tamarindo" (dirty brown). Tasty, I am sure, but unfrotunately not the colors I am looking for. I really just want some Blue Moon Berry, maybe mixed with some Lemon Lime or Grape Berry Squash.

So, I went to the next nearest grocery store, and get this--they don't carry Kool-Aid at all. I know! Even the checkout girl I asked was surprised when the manager told her. I mean, I know grocery stores in Manhattan are pressed for space and have to make some hard choices, but I feel there is something wrong with the world when there is no room for Kool-Aid.

I've lived in Manhattan ten years, and in that time I have been on more than few food quests. I once visited six grocery stores in search of guava paste. Glaceed cherries was quite a challenge. Dried porcini mushrooms, chipotle en adobo, Chimay Belgian ale....I am used to the hunt. I even get a thrill out of it.

But...Kool-Aid? Kool-Aid, the ubiquitous bug juice of my childhood, an exotic ingredient?

Where is the Kool-Aid man when you need him?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A Project

Here is the sweater I bought in the thrift store on Saturday, two weekends ago:

It's a Casual Corner sweater, size XL, 66% wool, 34% silk. It's got a lovely sheen to it, and when measured in rib, it's about 7 stitches per inch. I bought it for $4.49 at the Goodwill store on 181st Street, waaaaayyyy uptown, in a Dominican neighborhood.

Here is the same sweater, unraveled into fluffy kinky balls. I love this stage, and the bounciness of these hanks of yarn.

Those same hanks, after washing, hanging in my shower to drip dry and unkink:

The finished product, 22 oz. of yummy (almost edible!) wool/silk yarn, waiting to be turned into lace:

But wait, wait, there's one more step. You see, I've decided that I simply cannot wear white lace. It's too girly. Quite honestly, I do not know what line white lace crosses to become "too girly", since, after all, I just finished knitting a pair of pink fuzzy angora socks, but I know it has crossed that line. So the only thing for it is to change the color of this lovely yarn.

How, you ask?