You never think it will happen to you.

2009-08-05 14.50.00Dammit. Daaammmmmiiiiit. Fifteen stitches left to weave, two inches of yarn, and no intention of ripping back a row. Dammit.

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The lyrics are tricky.

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Starting work on my dad’s 60th birthday present. Which of these do you like best? Let’s pretend they’re numbered, top to bottom from 1 to 4. Will eventually be a framed piece of embroidery or cross stitch or possibly stranded knitting.

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I need to take a nap.

So there I was, scrolling merrily through my feed reader, when I came upon this post. Which is perfectly understandable and unsurprising. It’s nothing outside of Lee Meredith’s usual genius on her blog, Do Stuff. However, I’ve kind of lost my mind the last few days. If it doesn’t have to do with labor or childbirth, I can’t really grasp any concept. Can’t even make tea. It’s annoying.

I thought I was looking at a post by Heather Armstrong of Dooce. Dooce and Do Stuff are very close together when listed alphabetically, so it’s an easy enough mistake to make. It got into my head that this extremely popular Utahan writer was now a knitter. I love Dooce to begin with, but oh-my-god-if-heather-armstrong-became-a-knitter-i-might-just-die. Especially a yarn-recycling knitter. There’s just no way that I could love a stranger that much. A Utahan writer who makes fun of Mormon society and just went through a natural childbirth and has dogs and fancy camera skills and knits? And did I mention that she earns a living writing? I’d have to give up on every dream and aspiration I’ve ever had, because it would have already been accomplished.

Oh man. Could you imagine Harry Truman knitting socks? Or Anderson Cooper talking about the magnificent qualities of merino? Or Kristen Wiig recycling sweaters? Mind blown. Can’t continue.

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Finally, some out-of-state yarning.

When I went to Colorado, it was too hot and I was too pregnant to walk to the nearest yarn store.

When I went to Cedar City, there was no good yarn at the local thrift shops.

Finally, on a recent trip to Yellowstone, I got to buy some fiber and fiber-related things. Let’s start off with the thrift stores in Idaho Springs:

There I got  two huge cakes of fingering-weight wool, in creme and a sort of 70’s green-yellow. A light pea soup. But the real find here was this wee little swift for $5. I’m fairly positive that it is a swift. It has all of the necessary parts and pieces. But it’s so kid-size! And also, it comes with four extending arms, and they all move independently. This should be just fine, but I can’t figure out how to make the arms stay in place – they will automatically fold themselves back towards the spine of the swift if I try to wind any yarn around them. I’m thinking of recruiting a tool-yeilding man to create some sort of blocking device for each of the arms, to be inserted in the diamond-shaped holes they create when you stretch them out. If that makes sense. Or, if you have any better ideas, please tell me.

Who am I kidding? This swift is so small, I’ll probably never use it. But it’s just so interesting, I had to have it.

Plymouth Trabajos Del Peru

Lamb's Pride Worsted

Then, when driving through West Yellowstone, Montana, I saw a sign that said “Yarn.” I wasn’t expecting that at all. Turns out there’s a lovely gift shop with a bunch of yarn in the back, owned by someone who really loves fiber. She had some local buffalo and alpaca yarn, as well as some really nice brand-name standards. Small selection, but very vey well thought out. Anyway, I don’t remember the name of the store, but here it is on Google Maps:

west yellowstone yarn

As you can see, if you turn off of Canyon onto Madison, you’ll be there. It’s right next to a supermarket. I highly reccomend that you go here if you find yourself in West Yellowstone.

Anyway, here are the stats on the yarn I got there (unfortunately nothing local or terribly interesting): 1 skein of Plymouth Yarn’s Trabajos Del Peru 100% extra fine merino wool in color 008, and two skeins of Lamb’s Pride Worsted, one in color M-191 Kiwi and one in M-151 Chocolate Souffle. They’re all lovely, soft, and infinitely use-able.

ETA: Sorry if you’re having trouble viewing the photos. They work, I promise. And if they don’t, they’re not that great anyway.

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Sneak peek.

Handpainted yarn

  • Can you believe my phone took this photo? It’s like living in the future.
  • Turns out if you’re pregnant and decide after noon to dye 13 skeins of yarn outside that day (in July), you’ll probably die. Well, you’ll probably bring back your sciatic pain, kill your feet, almost forget to eat dinner, and have your first painful Braxton-Hicks contraction. Just so you know.
  • I’ve documented what colors I used on every skein, if any of you want to be copycats.
  • I dove into this after peeking at this tutorial, and with the knowledge I gained from this tutorial about sleeve dying last year. I won’t make a full-on tutorial here, because there are just too many out there. But I may list a few of the things I did differently.
  • I’m kind of completely in love with every yard of this fiber.
  • I’m too cool to wear gloves while I dye, so I have total Baba Yaga fingernails. It’s extremely sexy:

Baba Yaga fingernails

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Indecision

Batch of neutrals

Remember all of that talking I did about recycling sweaters? Well, I ripped a whole bunch of them. Thousands and thousands and thousands of yards worth. You can see the full pile in the background of this picture. I’ve washed, dryed, stretched, and skeined all of the cotton blends, acrylic blends, and dark wools, and currently the light neutral wools are in the tub.

Batch of neutrals

Aren’t they pretty? But here’s the thing: I’m really tempted to pour half a gallon of vinegar in there and just dye all of it. Dye every single skein. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? I want to make some really deep greens, and crazy yellows mixed with a wee bit of pink, and wind up with armfuls of bright colored, happy, wonderful beautiful yarn.

When was the last time I knitted with a light neutral wool anyway? Quite a while ago, I think. But then again, when was the last time I wore a knitted object in the colors I’m dreaming of? Probably when I was six. Maybe I’ll go through the skeins and take a sweater or two’s worth out. But I really want to dye all of it.

Batch of neutrals

Screw it, I’m doing it. Besides, fantastical yarns are expensive, and I can buy neutrals any time, anywhere. So say goodbye to these yarns – they’re about to metamorphose into some magnificent jewel-toned beauties. I’m really excited!

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I’m awesome.

I recieved Vintage Baby Knits for my birthday, and immediately cast on the adorable Pearl Shrug (ravelry link). The pattern is great. I might be using a yarn with a bit too much color variation, but that’s okay. I’ll most likely want to knit this one more than once.

Anyway, on to the part where I’m amazing. This pattern requires a 72-stitch cable cast on for each arm. I have never done cable CO before, and as it turns out it’s pretty awkward for me to work. So, I figured the least aggravating route would be to not count stitches as I go, stop when I think I’m close, and then add or rip stitches accordingly. I went merrily along, and after a spell decided to count. The total came to exactly 72! This was before I had eaten any breakfast, so I figured it was probably just a low-blood-sugar induced hallucination. I had some breakfast (with the most delicious Braeburn apple butter, from here), and even with steady fingers the total was still 72. I’M AMAZING.

For all of you non-knitters, casting on exactly the right amount of stitches without counting, especially when the number of stitches is large, is like … driving a car while wearing a blind-fold, and not only not hitting anyone/thing, but reaching your destination. Just, you know, slightly less life-endangering.

P.S. The specific apple butter I’m talking about isn’t available online, but it’s worth the drive to Colorado.

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