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Today is World AIDS Day.  To quote from, “World AIDS Day is held on 1 December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988.”

My knitting pal,  Steven Ambrose,  has organized a fundraiser today to benefit the Lansing Area Aids Network, which provides a full range of services to HIV-positive people, and also works on AIDS prevention issues.   I’m donating $50 worth of yarn and/or fiber as a prize for his amazing drawing, and all you have to do is make a donation –today!– to be eligible to win a piece of this great stuff.

We all know someone who has been affected by HIV/AIDS.  My dear friend Jerry Jacks died from AIDS in 1986, and I still miss him. With prevention, testing, and treatment, it’s not the death sentence it was then, but no one can be complacent.  I hope you are able to help.


Edit:  To clarify, Jerry died because of AIDS, but perhaps not from it.  He had been very ill, but feared getting a diagnosis of AIDS, so his illness went untreated.  Thank you to my friend Andi Schecter for confirming that.

Here at last is the knitted up sample of the Watermelon Man colorway.


I’m really pleased with how this turned out! It  was a challenging dye project, but worthwhile.

In other news, I’m very happy to be part of  Steven Ambrose’s World Aids Day fundraiser, which is tomorrow, December 1.  Here are the details.  Basically, make a donation to the Lansing, Michigan Aids Network tomorrow, send Steven an email with  the details, and you’ll get entered into the drawing for some amazing prizes, including #9, a $50 gift certificate for my yarns and/or spinning fiber.  I’m honored to be in the company of the other great donors.  Last year, Steven raised $4,765 for the Pittsburgh Aids Taskforce, not bad for a first-time, last-minute effort!  This year, he started earlier, got a whole boatload of amazing  prizes, and has momentum built up from last year.  Can we double that this year?

When we left our yarn last post, it was getting a nice cherry red overdye on the portion previously painted with  small black sections. Here are a pair of skeins after all the dyeing has been done.

But who wants to deal with a skein of yarn that’s over six yards long? No one, clearly, so it’s off to be reskeined to a more workable skein diameter.

The skein is looped around a chair, then through a C-clamp attached to the counter. The end of the skein is going to the electric skeiner on the left, where’s it’s being wound into a standard 2-yard diameter skein size. When I’m not taking a picture of the process, I’m up near the skeiner pulling the yarn forward and untangling it as necessary. There’s too much friction in the system to be able to sit back and watch the yarn wind off, I have to actively move it along.  It’s a good upper body exercise, rather like hauling up an anchor!


Finished skeins look like this. The small green skeinlette is a matching one for knitting heels and toes that are a solid color, rather than getting clumpy striping due to the change in diameter of the knitting in those areas. This has turned into a pretty popular option, with more than half of the customers choosing to get the solid skeinlettes.

We’ll finish off with a shot of a sample length of the yarn, wound into a small ball.  The final step is knitting this onto my Tube of Eternal Sampling so see how the self-striping pattern actually works. And that’ll be the next post!

I’ve been dyeing some yarn in a watermelon-inspired colorway, and thought I’d take the opportunity to share someof the dyeing process with you. First, let’s look at some watermelon.  I want a self-striping yarn, so naturally it’s  going  to be green, white, and pink stripes. But I also want the seeds, and I want them to be black.

Here are some test samples.  They’ve all been steamed, so the colors are set.  The green gradation is nice, so I’ll use that green formula. For the watermelon seeds, there are two techniques  in process here.  The red and black skeinlette was painted black, then red was added.  The white and black skeinlette will get an overdye in a red dyebath to see which technique gives me the effect I’m hoping for.

 Now we’re looking at the  same red/black skeinlette from above on the left, and the newly overdyed red/black skein on the right.  On left skeinlette, some of  the black dye mixed with the red, shifting the color.  The overdyed skein to the right keeps the red true to itself, so that’s the way to go.

Now to dye a full skein.  Actually, I dye the self-striping yarns two at a time, so here are two skeins laid out in the floor. I’ve wound them off on a warping board, soaked them in water, and laid them out to mark off the lengths that get dyed each color. I use twist ties to indicate where to do the color changes.

This colorway will have three shades of green.  Here’s the darkest green, which is the end of the skein. The skein is on plastic wrap, which gets wrapped around the yarn as I go, to keep the colors from rubbing off on other sections of yarn.

I’ve painted all the green sections, moved past the section that will stay white in the middle, and now am working on painting the black seeds.  The first pair of skeins had way too much black — it spread a lot more than I anticipated — so I’m just painting on very short sections.

Now all the painted parts are done, and it’s ready to steam.

Don’t confuse the yarn steamer with the char sui bao steamer!

After the painted sections are steam set, the end of the skein that will be red and black gets its red overdye.

You can see the black sections — since the black has been already been steam set, it won’t spread out or effect the red dye at all.

Stay tuned for the rest of the process!

I’ve just delivered a commission to Syne Mitchell — 15 sets of warp and weft yarns, dyed in vivid colors for her rigid-heddle weaving class at John C. Campbell Folk School.   Here are the weft yarns

and here are the warp yarns.

Yes, they are vivid!  Especially the two at the lower left.  I think of them as parrots.  Syne cleverly has her students warp the looms so that the colors flow in a pleasing way.  The coordinating weft yarns will tone down the wildness, and the students will end up with a lovely scarf.

I delivered  the skeins to Syne at her new high-tech job, and we went out to lunch to discuss future projects for each of us.

One is Sock Summit:  Syne will be teaching, I’ll be a vendor, and we’ll be rooming together. Plus we talked about dyeing, weaving, knitting.  As Syne said, definitely a high-fiber lunch!

I’ll be putting together more of these sets of skeins for warp and weft.  It’s 300 yards for the warp, 250 for the weft, dyed on Louet’s Gems fingering weight yarn.  Drop me a note if you’re interested.  They will be for sale at Sock Summit, but I may not post them on the Etsy site unless requested.