Thursday, November 29, 2007

If I Only Had a Brain

These last few days since my last post have just flown by in a blur. Luckily for me, the blur included lots of woolen colors!

I dyed up some more sock yarn. This time, I stuck to (mainly) 2 colors so I could experiment with pattern. One lot was designed to "self-stripe" in contrasting colors and the second was an experiment on "heathering" the usually bright colors that result from KA. Here's a pic of the yarns all dried and hanked up...

...and all balled up, ready to play...

...and here's a couple pics of the patterns that revealed themselves.

Some of the other items that have kept mind and hands busy must remain a mystery since they are gifts destined for family and friends. With the gifts due in a little over three weeks... (is that possible? Only three weeks left?!?!) I have WAY more on the to-do list than I could complete if I were to forego sleeping, eating, and showering - not to mention working at that other job, the one that insists I show up regularly.

So why am I not focussing all my available energies on the gifts? Why have I picked up an earlier project that was not completed - an experimental project - a project with no real deadline? Afterall, I put the project down because is was tediously slow in its progress and now is not the time to be working on items that don't do their part by growing quickly! I need items with maximum result for each stitch!

You'll recognize this as the item that inspired "Crimson Breeze." After all the self-imposed pressure and lace-weight nightmares I experienced on that one, you would think I would run screaming from its earlier version. But not me. No siree! I have faith that the fiber gods and goddesses will somehow smile down on my perserverance and reward me by stopping the forward progress of time. Or maybe I'm just a littled touched, you know... "up there."



Sunday, November 25, 2007

Crimson Breeze

As you may recall, yesterday was the day that the seemingly endless project was to have been completed and given to the recipient.
I'm happy to say that both deadlines were met!

I named the project "Crimson Breeze" and here's a couple of pictures of the lace weight shawl pinned out for blocking:
...and after blocking, it held its shape beautifully! As the name suggests, it is as light as air!

All in all, I couldn't have been happier with the final product. So, gift in hand, I proceeded to the event where it would be given over to the hands of the one for whom it was made. The recipient was no other than Tori Amos!! (Insert fawning and gushing here.) Tori's auditory images have always washed over me like the wind -sometimes lilting and soft, sometimes with all the force in mother nature.

In my journey to express my evolving spiritual truths through artistic expression, I am drawn to others who are also on similar journeys. I truly admire Tori not only for her continuing journey, but also for her fearless honesty and her unapologetic claiming of the truth.

To have spent an evening in the midst of one so inspirational was great, but to also have been able to share this interpretaion with her was pure bliss...



PS - Tomorrow, a new sock!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sock Siren's Song

Ok. Here's the problem.

I have all of this sock yarn in great colors (most of it self-dyed) that should work up into some striking and unusual socks. I finally have a 'stand-by' pattern to crochet a sock that is functional. "So what's the problem, Jer?" you ask. What's the problem?

The problem is that I don't seem to have the time! Lately there has just not been enough minutes in the day. Curse the clock!

I mean, I guess I would have alot more time if I didn't need at least a little sleep, but unfortunately, I have not yet discovered how to skip the sleeping part and still be somewhat coherent and reasonably pleasant the next day. Stupid sleep!

But the worst part, worse than knowing the sock yarn is there waiting, is when I accidently see it. And it's always when I least expect it... There it is, peeking out of the bag, catching the light just so! Dang! Stupid light! You ruin everything!!

I always avert my eyes, lest the temptation grow, but it is usually too late. The seed is planted. "I want to be a sock." it sings to me. "Why are you avoiding me?"

Why, indeed. Why am I?

Simple. I have a conflicting deadline.

I am making a gift for a someone that absolutely must be completed and ready to give on November 24th. No exceptions. No extensions. There will only be one moment in time and I must be ready! The thing is, though, I'm still crocheting it. I am devoting all of my crafting time to this one project. (That alone is enough to strain my grip on sanity.) Sometimes I fear I will inadvertently blurt out the name of the project in some sock-withdrawal-induced, tourette-syndrome-like fit, caving in to the stress at the most inopportune time. Perhaps standing in line at the DMV or sitting in a meeting at work I'll catch the phrase in my head and shout it out - "Sock! I want to be a sock!"

My only hope is to finish this thing. I know the stitches are small. I know each row seems endless and only adds a fraction of an inch to the overall length. I know!

So you can also have an idea of the project receiving center-stage attention, here's a peek:::sigh::



Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The TOES have it

"When last we left our fiber hero, he was obsessed with creating new and exciting color combinations by dying wool sock yarn using flavored drink mix powders. It appears not much has changed in the obsession department. Let's peek in on him and see what new treats he has in store..."

True. I have not accomplished anything particularly blog-worthy in the past few days. I'm still, repeat - still - crocheting the shawl that will (hopefully) be completed in time to give as a gift at a special occasion. AND I've been continuing my experiments with sock yarn.

The yarn identified in a previous post simply as "Meg" has been renamed after initial shaping into sock form. Now, all would do well to remember the full name of the colorway, "Meg's Fan-Toe-Sy."
Last night, I dyed up a couple of new colorways that are nearly dry as I type. They should be dry enough by tomorrow for me to ball up the yarn and hopefully I will get the chance to see how they look as socks. This first one should stripe out in two complimenting pink tones with a green accent ripple. The name for this one jumped out at me. This is "Wa-Toe-Melon."

This next one has not been as easy to name. It has pink and orange with blue as the "wave" color. Maybe a name will become apparent when I see it worked up... (Of course, suggestions are always welcome!)Before I close for the night, I would like to take this opportunity to encourage everyone to do something for their fellow mankind. Take organ donation, for instance. Several weeks ago, a coworker had her gall bladder removed. Since I only have the one and it didn't seem prudent to offer it up for her, I decided on the next best thing. I made her one that she could use. That's right - a felted gall bladder handbag.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Atomic Surf

I attacked the latest Kool-Aid dyed yarn last night with all of my usual, energy. After a few practice rows, (and several frogged rows) the pattern of the yarn finally let itself be known to me. I won't bore you with the math - almost all of my own patterns involve math and the relationship/play of numbers - but the result was this:

I love the rippling shock waves created by the green against the tiny alternating blue and purple stripes! A lady at my crochet group meeting (Hi Christine!) commented that the ripples reminded her of water and within a few minutes, a name for the yarn style was born.

World, meet the first in the "Atomic Surf" line of yarns. (I'm still playing around with names for this particular color combination and all suggestions are welcome!)

I was so excited that I dyed up a new color combination. This time, I chose green and purple for the alternating stripes and a bright orange for the contrasting waves. In honor of my favorite freeform doll, Megretange, I am calling this next incarnation "Meg."

Here's "Meg" of the Atomic Surf line after the dye baths:

And since I am so impatient, er... I mean... so energetic!, here's it is balled up:

On another note, one that has absolutely nothing to do with socks or sock yarn, ::gasp:: I reclaimed my pieces from the Creative Arts showing at the State Fair of Texas last weekend. After sewing my tag into the back of it, I took the pink and black jacket to Vicki this past week. Although we gave her and her new husband Tim a wedding present, this was my personal gift of congratulations to her. (I am still quietly relieved that it actually fits her correctly!) See for yourself:

What better way to end this post (and give me an excuse to start working the "Meg" yarn) than with a smiling face?



Thursday, November 1, 2007

Dye Another Day

My latest shipment of white wool yarn arrived yesterday. In keeping with my current addiction, err... I mean, passion for making socks, this time, it was white fingering/sock weight wool from JoJoLand. (Nice folks over there and they are a repeat vendor at the DFW FiberFest. We love them!) I had the colors all picked out for my next venture into dying wool. This time I was going to try a variegated yarn using three different colors, but first, the yarn had to be loosened to better take the dye evenly. In between answering the door for the "trick-or-treaters" and dinner, I somehow managed to get the wool wound onto my swift early enough to still leave time in the evening for the fun part. Over the next two hours, I brewed, submerged, rinsed, brewed, submerged... well, you get the idea.

Then came the hardest part. I had hang the hanks and let them dry - overnight! Ahh! The anguish! I wanted to ball it up and use it right away!

When the time finally arrived tonight, I had this:

That, my friends, is what happens when wool meets "Lemon Lime" "Berry Blue" and "Grape" flavored Kool-Aid and a little heat.

I like all the resulting colors, but the blue is amazing! So vibrant, almost electric!

Below is a picture of what the hanks look like balled up. But, look quickly - I'm ending this post early so I can start a sock and discover the play of the colors in a pattern.