Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Callum
Well, the most exciting, huge event in my recent life has occurred and of course, has derailed any normal activity...my grandson was born!  Callum Michael Wagner was born on January 29, 2013.  He is the most precious adorable, amazing creature I have ever seen!
Of course, I could add THOUSANDS of adorable pictures of this child, he is cooed over, and coddled and kissed and is my first experiment in baby digital photography,  His every move and grunt is memorialized when I am with him.  So, you will conclude that I have been busily knitting sweaters and blankets for this little guy.

Here is the most recent picture of him in the sweater that I made for him, ready to go out for a walk!

And on Easter Sunday, sitting on the baby blanket I made for him before he was even born:

So, we had to miss much of our February break at school due to Hurricane Sandy in October which devastated the North East coast.  I actually was evacuated out of my house, spent some time with Michael and Nathalie (thank you) and with Michelle (thank you).   When Spring Break time came you can imagine we were all in sore need of a good vacation, and we had 11 days off from school  That is the way the calendar fell out.  I did not plan to go anywhere, I just wanted to stay near Callum and work in my house and on knitting.  I have made a vow to become a master knitter of sorts, I want to go to the next level, I feel like I have been goofing around too much and too long.  I want to learn how to finish off better and really make wonderful more professional items.  This takes time.  And effort, and organization!  I spent much of my break organizing my yarn and projects. 

Also, resurrecting projects that have been laid aside.  I was amazed at how many things I have finished 75% and then just abandoned. Here are some projects I have finished: 
Sort of cool, little shawl thing, I liked the way it draped around.
And this looks much better on a beautiful young lady, like Lindsay, who picked it out when I visited her in Boston. We were roaming around a yarn store on Newbury Street, called Newbury Yarns and they had this luscious shawl on display in brown.  The yarn is called Gossamer and it has tiny shots of silver running through it and tiny bits of thicker yarn so it is just enough to give it some body but it is still very silky.  I asked Lindsay if she would like it and she asked for it in black.  Voila!  I can't wait to give it to her!  It really turned out gorgeous, and I would think about making another one right away, it is easy knitting, but since I am on a yarn freeze right now, it will have to wait.

I spent a weekend at Steff's house, when she asked me what I wanted to do I told her "knit", but when she asked if I wanted to dye yarn that changed my mind.  I had never dyed yarn and she is the expert so we got right to it.  Quite a procedure, and extremely interesting, we set up in her special dying kitchen

Steff had a bunch of prepared, undyed yarn which had been scrubbed and mordant (?) if that is the term taking the animal oils out and preparing the yarn to accept the dye.
 We used only natural dye, I chose onion skins and Steff suggested cochineal, which is a red dye made from bugs that are harvested in Mexico.  The dye bath was cooking, we slowly heated up the yarn which had been soaking overnight and then dipped it into the dye baths.
Watch very carefully!  The yarn takes on the dye quickly and you have to know what shade you want! I was so thrilled with the red, I could have dyed tons of yarn, every batch was more beautiful than the last.  The yarn then gets hung out to dry.  Steff has a special little balcony for drying.  It was a gorgeous early spring day.
And here is the yarn drying.  I also absolutely love the onion skin dye.  It makes the richest golden color, yellow-golden.
We brought the yarn indoors for the night, it was still a bit damp.  and, the next day when, sadly, I had to leave, we packed it all up for the trip home, here is the final result
Now I have to choose projects to knit with this beautiful yarn!