Archive for August, 2006

A great sock yarn…

Every once in awhile, I find a yarn that I LOVE. I stock up on it so that I can make many projects with it. This post is about one such yarn.

I love Nature Wool from Araucania. It’s listed as worsted weight, but I don’t make sweaters from it. I don’t make hats from it.

I love, love making socks from it. On size 3 needles (it really is more of a thin worsted).

Now, they don’t make soft socks (this yarn isn’t Merino afterall), they make hiking socks. Rugged socks. Socks that with the sweat and friction of moving will felt to the shape of your foot (but aren’t itchy).

It started by me buying a few skeins in an amazingly warm brown to knit my boyfriend a pair that he could wear when he goes hunting (that pair has since been stalled for suspected “curse” activity) and I had been completely struck by how perfect it was for a manly pair of socks. The thickness is perfect and the kettle-dyed effect is awesome. It doesn’t pool at all! I love it!

So, of course I had to buy enough for a pair for my dad (in an olive green – I didn’t photo that because it’s still quarantined because of the summer of mold).

But then, when I heard that it was on closeout at Webs, I feared that it was being discontinued (anyone know the answer to this?) and so I had to buy enough to knit myself 2 pairs. You can see the colors I chose above. It was kind of difficult to pick colors from a computer square less than an inch big, but I think it turned out just fine. I’m happy with the colors.  There’s a great denim color and a warm autumn orange (not a color I usually do).

I do hope it hasn’t been discontinued.  The enviromentalist – wannabe in me wants the opportunity to knit many socks in this yarn.

I love jaquard dyes.

Knitpicks now carries Jaquard dyes. I bought some. This is what I did. I love it. Probably my best dye job yet. I feel the strong urge to dye LOTS of yarn. But then I’d have to sell it in order to keep my stash even a smidge manageable.

Time is Knitting. A poem.

This is my first Poetry Thursday post (on Wednesday, what can you do?). I hope you like it!

Time.

Time passes. It’s ever constant.
Birthdays pass, couples wed, buildings fall and careers end.
“My life is slipping through my fingers,” they say.

My wool passes through my fingers.
I knit for birthdays, housewarmings and those who are ill.
My fingers remind me of the value of my time as I spend it knitting for others and knitting for myself.

The most constant reminder of time is when it’s stolen.
When someone dies.
In the case of my grandmother’s recent death, knitting has been my solace.
I knit to remember.
I knit to mourn.
I knit to commemorate.
I knit in a connection to time.

To it’s presence on me.
To reclaim the ownership of “me” time.
To pass it.
To relish in it.
To know it.

Time is knitting for me. Both slip through my fingers. And both are the fabric of my life.

Note: My grandmother died on Mother’s Day of 2006. I knit these socks (yarn dyed by me) to commemorate her and the hours I spent at her cottage during the summers of my youth running, swimming, boating and being loved. What a great woman she was.

And just like that, I’m a follower!

My mommy always told me to be a leader – to step up and do what needs to be done.

But I love joining in on all these KALs and such.

I’ve started knitting me some jaywalkers (finally, I know, I’m behind on this one). It’s the yarn I dyed myself in Kool-aid, and then overdyed with Gaywool dyes. If you don’t already, know and you havne’t yet knitted one yet, the pattern is here and the oh-so-great designer is Grumperina.

Oh, and I’ve joined into the great Sock Wars (perhaps you’ve noticed the button on my sidebar). It’ll be interesting competing while I’m in classes and working but I thought it would be fun and worth a try. Enter before the 8th if you’re brave enough.

And also, I was really sad that I missed the sign ups for SP 8. As a lonely college student, getting packages in the mail is really like one of the BEST things ever. But, come high water, I’m entering SP 9. You can see the SP 9 blog here (the blog design is creative and different, but could it BE more girly?). Plus, because of the swaps I did on the Knittyboard and my absolute spoiling of Amanda, I love sending packages in the mail and brightening other people’s day.

And, I just joined the Swallow Tail Shawl KAL. How am I ever going to finish my Christmas knitting. This is setting me up for disaster, I know.

I’ve already knit 6 repeats of the 2nd chart so I”m moving right along at a pretty good pace.  The only problem is that I’m not using lifelines and so I had to tink four rows earlier this week.  I’m cocky what can I say?

Yay! Fun times ahead! Are you joining anything?

knIts Simple

I love a challenge as much as the next person. Look at the evidence:

  1. I taught myself to knit purely from written words and illustrations. No hands on help or internet videos for me (I didn’t know the videos existed- believe me, I would have used them).
  2. I taught myself to knit socks from a one page pattern from an issue of IK (retro rib socks if you’re curious). It was a textured pattern and since then, I’ve only knit one pair of plain stockinette socks- the others have been textured and/or complicated in some way or other.
  3. For the longest time, I had to learn something new from each new project.
  4. The first sweater pattern I ever bought was Rogue.
  5. The second sweater I ever knit was cabled with set in sleeves, designed by me and knit in 16 days for the Knitting Olympics.
  6. I’m knitting a log cabin blanket. Really. A blanket.

Knitting challenges me in lots of ways. From it I’ve learned the following:

  1. Patience: I’m knitting a blanket.
  2. Creativity: Who’d have thought I’d dye yarn?
  3. Generosity: It’s so fun to give hand-knit gifts.
  4. Determination: I’ve “fixed” my share of patterns.
  5. Friendship: At Stitch and Bitches and through the blogs.
  6. Love: Merino. Sock yarn. Barbara Walker.
  7. Forgiveness: Wool isn’t scratchy.

It’s really been quite good for me.

But, that being said, I love quick knits. I love simple patterns. The hat you see above: I knit that in 2 days and basically made up the pattern myself. It was great because I haven’t finished anything in soooo long – and it feels so great to have a finished objects. And this hat is going to look perfect with my pinkish scarf (I don’t like things too matchy-matchy).

The Specifics:
Yarn: Malabrigo 100% Merino Wool (1 skein)
Pattern: My own, based on 96 stitches, knit top down
Needles: Clover Bamboo 8 16″ circs

The problem? I bought two skeins of this yarn – that means that someone else in my family is getting a hat. But it has to be a female (purple yarn) who is both worthy but also not someone I see much during the winter (don’t want to look like twins, lol). Oh well. With a family of 18 grandkids and 22 aunts (and that’s just one side of my family), I’m sure I’ll find someone.

Moving on….

I’m in my new room and it is mold free. I can feel my health improving in this new environment. I thought I’d post an update incase some poor soul found themselves in my situation. (You can find the previous post about the mold hell here if you’re searching posts individually or scroll down if you’re in the archives.)

I got a lot of advice about how to deal with the possibility of there being mold in my yarn. Overwhelmingly, the suggestion was to lay the yarn in the sun for a few days and let the UVA UVB rays do their work. Unfortunately, since I live in a residence hall, I can’t do that without having to baby-sit the yarn – and since I’ll be working 12 hour days for the next week and a half, that’s not really going to work. And my boyfriend (bless his soul for letting me vent on multiple occasions) would understandably be upset if the first weekend day we can spend together in a month was spent babysitting yarn (summer jobs= long distance relationship).

So this is what I did: First, I quarrantined the yarn. The yarns that weren’t already in rubbermaid totes (and had been exposed to the mold-filled air most of the summer) got put in some giant ziplock bags (these things are AMAZING! They hold up to 10 gallons of stuff!). As I did this, I did the ol’ sniff test and things look bad.

You see, since I’ve been working on my Mason-Dixon Log Cabin blanket all summer, the project and the yarn I have set aside for it had been stored in open air in a cardboard decorative box that sat near the chair I usually sat in when I was knitting. That just happened to be very near to where the AC blew. After I put the yarn in a bag to move it, I noticed mold on the outside of the box and on the inside along the cracks (I burned this decorative box ceremoniously – it was liberating).

Anyway, the yarn for the blanket does not smell good. It smells remarkably different than the yarn that had been in the closet in the totes. Tomorrow I’m going to (sitting in the lounge) finish the strip I’m on (only like 2 more rows), bind off completely and then give the blanket as it is a good soaking. I’m going to skein the balls I have left and then do the same with those.

Today, I soaked and washed my sweaters, scarves and winter hats. In the corner of my room, I have the tower of sweater racks. Later next week, I’m going to do the sock yarns. After that, things should be under control. To be safe, all new yarns are going to be separated and in new containers so that I know which yarns were or may have been “exposed to the mold” and which were aquired before the summer of mold hell (or that which I will try best to forget).

I just want to stop and interject with an enthusiastic endorsement. I’m using Kookaburrah Wool Wash (You can get it at Knitpicks) and I’ve always loved it, but my love for it only grows. I’m not crazy about the scent, but I don’t hate it either. Anyway, you don’t have to rinse it and it has tea-tree oil in it. I emailed the contact folks at Kookaburrah when I discovered the mold and they responded very quickly.

“There’s enough Tea Tree Oil in Kookaburra to kill mould spores in your yarn and washing it with our woolwash will certainly remove any spores and the will be enough residual TTO locked into the fiber to prevent mould from reoccurring, especially when your AC’s putting out dry air!…If you do decide to wash your skeins, I would think a good soak in 2 oz to 5 gallons water and no rinse. We had a series of trials run at WRONZ(Wool Research Org. of New Zealand) and found that one of the conditioners in the woolwash locks the TTO into the wool fiber, we don;t know exactly how yet! So that should give you protection in storage… in a dry place!” – Sincerely, Tony Maggi

And so now, tea-tree oil is my new favorite thing in the whole world. It’s going to save my yarn, I know it!  Thanks Tony!

There was also the issue of my books. They were exposed to the air (ie, not in a cabinet like they usually are) all summer and I’d really hate for them to start to mold. I can’t wash them and so my only real option is to keep them in as dry an environment as possible. My mom recommended these things you can get in the laundry aisle that suck moisture out of the air. I put one in the cabinet with my books. Hopefully that will control any growth.

Hopefully, this is the last I ever have to think about one of the most awful things that could ever happen to a knitter. A serious attack on a stash.

Thanks to everyone who offered suggestions and advice – it was really helpful.

This is bad. Do not read if you are squeemish.

First, I must explain that I am not the cleanest person in the world (busy college student) – I may have piles of clothes everywhere and my room may be littered with empty diet coke cans. However, I do not leave flood laying around and when I spill something on the floor, I clean it up. There is a difference between messy and dirty. One is stuff where it doesn’t belong, the other is just disgusting.

Now, this room I’ve been staying in for the summer has a unique air conditioner. It’s attached to the wall and it can also be a heater. Now, perhaps it’s the fact that I’m on the ground floor, perhaps it’s the fact that it’s so ridiculously humid. I think that the unit is flawed and I’m really upset- it’s festering mold everywhere in my room!

Let me explain. In the beginning of the summer, I helped with room checks in this new building and as I was going through, I noticed that my supervisors had noted that many rooms needed the AC units to be cleaned because of mold issues. A few weeks later, I realized that my allergies were bad (when I was younger, an allergy test showed that I was allergic to mold) and perhaps my AC needed to be cleaned. I put in a work order. The next day, Look what they took out of my AC. Gross, I know.

Now, as I prepare to move out, I am relieved because I know the mold is growing back. The problem – I didn’t realize that mold was being cultivated all over my room. Look, it’s growing on my refridgerator (ignore the plastic fork – I have tons of them that I steal from the food courts). And I will swear on my life that I wiped that fridge down two weeks ago – because there had been mold on it!

There’s even some mold on the carpet ( short, acrylic burber – it’s not supposed to have fuzz). My copy of Mason Dixon Knitting was laying right near that carpet patch – nothing like a soggy moldy book!

And just now, growing on the fabric part of a covered basket where I was storing yarn.

It was inches from my yarn. INCHES!
And then, I realized that it was probably everywhere. the moisture, excess humidy and growing mold from my AC had probably distributed pores of mold everywhere.

I don’t know what this means. I suspect that I have to wash every skein and ball of yarn that has been exposed to the air in my room for longer than a few hours.

Now, my boyfriend think’s I’m over-reacting. But if you think about it, little spores of mold MUST be everywhere in my room. This does not look good.

I’m thinking that I’ll soak it in a vinegar solution, rinse, soak it in a baby shampoo solution, rinse, soak it in a kookaburra wool wash solution, rinse and then let it bake dry in the hot summer sun.

What do you think? Should I wash the yarn? Should I ignore that I ever found the mold? How should I wash the yarn (if that’s what you think I should do)? Please, please, help me.

The photo to the left shows about 80% of my stash. I have a lot. And washing it all would be a taxing process indeed.

I don’t know what to do. Help me. Impart your wisdom upon me. Have mercy on me yarn gods.

ETA – for any poor souls who find themselves in a similar situation – an update on how the situation was handled (should you have stumbled on this post from a google search, etc.) is in the post from my blog here.


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Stuff on the needles – to complete, sometime.

Christmas Gifts to Finish
Mom's Sweater (the body is done)

Socks in progress...
Grandma's Socks
Koigu Scruncher
Monkey
Raindrop Lace

Other
Lace Leaves Scarf from Scarf Style
The Behemoth Log Cabin
The Swallowtail Shawl
Stupid Ugly Mitten
Felted Clogs

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