Smooching yamas and other goodies

I just got back from a delightful vay-cay in the Albany area with the talented and gracious Aaron, a.k.a. AMBush. While he was chronicling our adventures I was scrambling to finish the program notes for my first public harp recital, which is scheduled for this Friday. It's been years since I was a part of the music world (though as an humble student), and it feels a bit like coming out of the musical closet. I was more than happy to practice at Aaron's LYS, not to mention in his home. It always helps to have a gracious audience!

I also scrambled to finish my first Cookie A socks...and from what I've seen of her stuff, I'm bedazzled with the thought of architectural designs and solid or semisolid yarns. This pair is far from semisolid, and while I love how they came out, I also think that next time I do one of Cookie's patterns I will not use such a busy colorway; I also will get more of this dyer's yarn and knit very simple socks. I just love the colors!

Some of you doing the KAL may be wondering about the progress on my boxers. My answer: I've finally resumed working on them! I used some of Aaron's energy to help me overcome a mental block. I didn't want them to be too long, so instead of fussing my way to 15 inches, I bound off where I was...about 13.5 inches. I'm very happy to be into the Aussi Sock yarn now, which I'm interspersing with random stripes of the first color. After the socks, this stockinette knitting is a blast!

Other highlights from my weekend included my first foray into dyeing yarn using Kool Aid and kitchen spices. I tend to feel like the Kool Aid alone yields a flat, candy-ish color, so I was happy to tweak it with food coloring and spices. We had the kitchen looking like a science lab, and I must say it was really fun. I knit a swatch of a blue-green skein, and I gotta say, it came out beautifully. Unfortunately, my phone is a poor excuse for a camera and seems to reject blues and greens (go figure).

I also got kissed by a slutty llama, who also was making out with Aaron when I had my back turned, but I think I won when I took away three llama fleeces. By the way, O Knowing Knitterly Ones, what’s the appropriate way to identify llama fiber? I’ve heard “fleece” or “wool” used, but I’m unsure as to what’s right.

Of course, I got hypnotized by the yarn do they do it?? Okay, I was more than willing. For some reason, I’m a bit excited about a soft laceweight wool I got at “A Touch of Twist.” I was very excited to see (and feel) Aaron's handspun up close. I'm jealous. I really need to take spinning lessons.

Oh, and that last picture is Wolfgang. He and Caveman kinda stole my heart. My last day in Albany was marked by a birthday party in a house owned by dogs who were keeping a woman as a pet. I can be a bit stiff around animals at first, but it's not because I hate them; I'm just shy. Wolfie and Caveman soon had me on the floor, contemplating adding them to my crazy stash in the back of the car. Those dogs know what they're doing, wily things that they are. Don't let the cuteness fool you.

For more exciting news on the trip, see Aaron's recent posts. He does a much better job describing the fibery fun we had:

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The socks look great! And I like the geode-esqe colorway. Nice dye work also. Did your wool felt somewhat? I used Lanaset acid dyes to dye some batches of unspun wool. I tried the sample pack from Paradise Fibers. The colors look great and I'm planning on buying more from the ProChem website. I still have to practice raising the temperature slowly to boiling...some batches felted and were difficult to pull apart.

You said you used spices to dye your yarn, you might want to try the natural dyes/pigments from Kremer Pigments in NYC or order from their website ( They are probably more suited for plant-fiber yarns. I'd like to make an indigo vat to dye some skeins of cotton.

WillyG's picture

Thanks! I think the dyed wool was a little rough to begin was a handspun that had been destashed several times. We also were not very delicate with the wool, as we went about our experiment with the ferocity of delighted children. I'm considering making felted projects with the wool, haha.

Thanks for the dye suggestions! Are the natural dyes you mentioned safe to use in cookware? Just curious.

Kerry's picture

If you have access to eucalytpus trees in your part of the world, their leaves give a lovely soft yellow/gold when dyed over white yarn, and the bark gives a dark brown almost burnt umber. By using different mordants you achieve different shades.

I can't say that natural dyes plus certain types of mordants are any more or less safer...but I doubt Kool-Aid can kill a person, lol. I love the subtle look of natural dyes, but mainly for weaving work rather than knitting.

Aaronknits's picture

I'm so glad you had fun, got fiber, got yarn, got molested by llamas and dogs, and got some harp practice in too. But you forgot to mention my infamous soup! It was indeed a crazy weekend, but that's a GOOD thing! We enjoyed every bit of it. When you've recovered sufficiently from this one, we'll plan another!