Rhymes With Fuchsia

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu

After days and days and days of murk, the sky is blue. Lambent, cerulean blue. You have no idea what this has done to my mood. My blues have scattered, I have picked up the house (not enough, but it never is — deal with it), blogging is happening, laundry is drying.

See that sky, in between the trees? Blue. A fitting end to PS blue June, I'm sure you'll agree. My blue project was the yarn I dyed for my Dye-o-rama swap buddy Angelia (glad you liked it, Angelia! thanks for being so patient) and for one of Claudia's prizes (Meera? are you out there? your yarn awaits you). There was some overlap from green May and purple July. I can hardly wait for July, as you can well imagine.

And I got yarn too, from the lovely knittyref. Two skeins of it, yet. Old Roses, on the left, is what the folks at Lorna's Laces would call a nearly solid, a beautiful dusty pink with just enough variation to be interesting. Flashback, on the right, puts me in mind of Yes posters (am I dating myself at all here?) and my one and only acid trip, so it is aptly named. I couldn't get a picture that really did the colors justice, but they are gorgeous.

The yarn arrived last week and was followed a few days later (serial gifts! does it get any better?) by the second part of my swap gift, a sock bag by trek.

You will be relieved to know that the cat was not part of the package; he was here already. He went off about his feline business, and I took everything inside before it started raining again. Thank you so much, knittyref! Thank you, trek!

Now, if you will excuse me, I think I will go lie in my back yard and look up and see blue.

Friday, June 16, 2006

May I Have a Word?

Very early in my blogging career I was tagged with a meme, and I have to admit that it felt a bit like homework — especially the part where I had to pass it on to four more people. It was like being the last kid in the entire fourth grade to get the chain letter. So I totally sympathize with Norma and Claudia, and I made a rule: I will do no memes. Except in very special circumstances, namely, when I feel like it.

So, from Cara and (secondarily) Margene, the following meme: describe me as best you can in only one word. Then do the meme on your blog so I can describe you. But — this is very important — only if you feel like it.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Being sponsored by the Maine Llama Association, the Fiber Frolic centers on llamas and alpacas rather than on sheep as at other fiber festivals. Everywhere we went we saw llamas...


humming (that's my dad joining in),

and being groomed.

Eventually I dragged my dad and Miss B away from the llamas to do some shopping. I fondled a lot of yarn and fiber but didn't buy any. I kept looking at gorgeous purple/blue/green batts and saying to myself, "Very nice! I want to dye some that looks just like that." You know how creativity is, right? You get an idea, complete and perfect and yours alone, in the privacy of your own head. You tilt it to one side and then the other, watching it catch the light and sparkle like a humongoid diamond you couldn't begin to afford. And then... well, and then you have to actually do it. What a tushy-pain. Right now, however, with dyeing I am still in the sparkly stage, confident of my ability to bring these purple visions to life, if it ever stops raining. (It stopped for two days while I was working. Now it's at it again.)

I did buy some dye for me and a drop spindle for Miss B. I think I am getting the hang of it, being able now to produce, oh, almost a foot of yarn before the spindle falls on the floor again.

After the shopping, it was time for the highlight of the day, the llama drill team. Llamas are not really team players, but they can be persuaded to humor their people.

The drill team is always followed by a meet-the-llamas party (cocktails are not served), during which everyone gets a chance to walk,

walk the llama

hug the llama
and possibly even kiss a llama.

One final purchase (they had purple Fiber Frolic sweatshirts! how could I resist?) and we headed south. We opted to go home early on Sunday to surprise Grant and the Tasmanian Boy, regretfully missing the Leapin' Lamas and Lama Limbo contests, the Costumed Lama Parade, and a workshop on getting your lama to consent to wear a costume. (Lama with a single l denotes any member of the genus Lama, including alpacas as well as llamas.) We still haven't decided: does close association with camelids do strange things to people, or does one have to be somewhat odd to begin with to choose to live with camelids?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Rain in Maine

It is said that there are four seasons of the year in Maine: almost wintuh, wintuh, still wintuh, and...


It was raining as we drove up to the Fiber Frolic (getting a free massage along the way, courtesy of the washboard road), and still raining lightly as we grabbed lunch (outdoors) and watched the sheepdog demo.

The sheep don't mind the rain, but they are nervous.

Can you blame them?

After the demo, Miss B talked with some more sheep.

Baby lambs! So cute! (Yes, I know "baby lambs" is redundant. So sue me. So cute!)

Baby bunnies! So cute! (Miss B, are you reading this? No, you still cannot have one.)

I am ending this post right here, having apparently degenerated into total baby-critter-induced mush. (However, you still still cannot have one.) Tune in tomorrow when the chronicle of our Exciting Maine Adventure continues. Next up: llamas, followed by more llamas, followed by Llama Drill Team! You won't want to miss it.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Jungle Cats


At the rate the grass is growing, they won't be visible for long.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Random Acts of Handpainting

Heaven bless my ever-patient boss. I normally work Tuesdays, but today was the only day this week with a halfway decent weather forecast, and I'm not allowed to dye in the house. Grant's mother dyed wool for hooked rugs when he was a kid, and although the rugs are stunning, his olfactory nerves are scarred for life. So I bought a hot plate, arranged to work tomorrow instead of today, and set up on the back deck.

Here we have my lab-oooo-ratory. (I bought the ugliest vinyl tablecloth I could find to use as my dye drop cloth, on the theory that I'd be happy when it got covered with polychrome splotches.) I decided to handpaint with a narrow range of colors. Using One Shot dye from Pro Chemical, I mixed roughly even amounts of blue and red to get a deep purple, then blue with less red to get more of a midnight blue. I mixed blue with just a smidge of yellow, hoping for turquoise, but got more of a dark teal. First lesson learned: a little yellow goes a long, long way.

Here's the dyed yarn ready to get rolled into its plastic-wrap sausage and steamed in the pot. This was almost exactly what I had in mind, not at all bad for a first try. I ran a little short of dye at the end, but managed to make it all come out even. Second lesson learned: mix up a little more dye than I think I'll need.

A few minutes ago I unwrapped the yarn, rinsed it out and hung it to dry. It's looking good! More pictures will be forthcoming.

Next time I want to try a few more colors, and maybe try using a warping board. First I'll see how the random method looks when it's all dry and skeined up pretty, though. This was fun! Anyone want to have a dyeing party?

Saturday, June 03, 2006


I haven't started my Trekking socks yet, but at least I've chosen the yarn: and here she is, color 76.

When I started to swatch this I was disappointed, as I got a fairly long stretch of what appeared under indoor light to be a dull brown. But then it shaded very subtly into blue, then purple, then magenta. Even in the brown there are color shadings I didn't see before. (Sorry, I don't have a picture. Even if I did I probably wouldn't be able to do the swatch justice, as I've been unable to get my camera to do subtle.)

Now I just have to pick a sock pattern and take some woodland pictures. I think this yarn may need st st to show to its best advantage. Have I told you how much I hate miles and miles of st st? I need something to keep me entertained, even if it's just a tiny bit of rib. Any suggestions?

You won't get any woodland pictures out of me for a while, though: if I ventured into the woods right now I would be either instantly covered in green mold or carried off by giant mosquitoes. Yes, I am bitching about the weather again, and there's a reason for this: the weather sucks. I have to admit last weekend was gorgeous, but we are now back to the monsoon thing. Glug.

On a completely unrelated topic (at least it gets me off the weather), I finally donated to Claudia's worthy cause. If you haven't already, head on over there and make her a pledge.