Little Black Rain Cloud

OK, I totally blame Teej for putting this little Winnie the Pooh song in my head. It’s been an earworm ever since I read her post about the flooding in our corner of the world.

“I’m just a little black rain cloud, hovering over the honey tree; Only a little black rain cloud, Pay no attention to little me.”

It’s raining AGAIN. Houses have slid onto highways, gazebos out of back yards, the bluffs are trying to fall down, rivers are at record levels — and it keeps raining. The soil is so saturated that water is seeping in basements that it never gets into usually. My own family is fortunate at the moment, but not so for many friends, family and co-workers.

Here are a few snapshots of what’s been going on in Southwest Wisconsin and Southeast Minnesota.

Can’t Stop The Rain: All I can do is knit and pray for all the people affected, and those who have lost loved ones.

So here’s some rainbow knitting, for the rainbow we hope to see after the storm:

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This is a ‘beauty’ dishrag for Dj, who sent me the lovely lacey circular dishrag I showed you a few days ago. Our DishRag Tag team wanted to ‘pay it back’ as well as forward to our wonderful Cotton Commando team members, so decided on our own to knit (non-competitively!) a second dishrag for the team member who knit one for us. So this is mine for Dj, which I will mail tomorrow along with a treat or two. Made with the famous ballband pattern and leftover yarn from assorted other dishrags. I do like it. I didn’t like weaving in all those cotton ends, but I do like the ‘end’ result! (Pun not originally intended, but hey, there it is!)

And some more color for you and me on this dreary day:

My fellow Cotton Commando, Marcia who has no blog, saw some of my experiments with Kool-Aid dyeing on these very pages and was inspired to try her hand at it. She sent me pictures. Oh, my! Her results are astounding! And she’s actually knit with her dyed yarn, which puts her ahead of me, other than maybe a skein or two. She gave me permission to share her photos and comments when I asked. Look at this!

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Here’s details:

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And here’s Marcia:

Here are all of the different samples of dyed yarn I have tried so far. A few are samples that were wound in a loose skein and laid in a 9×13 pan, then dye dribbled over the yarn. The small blue/red sock was done this way. The starting yarn was a heather tan. I got brave and decided to see if over dying would work on a darker yarn. I used a bright clear blue and used the lemon-lime and grape on the two ends. I also tried it on a burnt orange yarn by using strawberry and mango for a subtle change. I have yet to be disappointed.

The other pic is the small sunflower sock for Emily. The yarn for the flower was another experiment. I crocheted the yellow, then painted the dye on with a paint brush and set the piece in the microwave as usual. That worked too. I then took the yarn and frogged it for use on the flower. I knew that I was going to use it in very small I-cord and needed it to be colored close together in tiny spots. Dying a quantity of yarn for a sweater would be a different matter.

The scientist in me wants to explore all the possibilities, and I look at solid colored yarn in a whole new way. I feel freed from the constraints of what I have on hand to create with, thanks to you. I think I was afraid of the process. That it was going to be too involved, and maybe a bit hazardous. The best part for me is the surprise that happens when it is knit, and how it changes like your pair of socks. It is always a mystery and a motivation to keep moving on with the project.

That first pair of socks I knit in the pink and mango are on display at the quilt store I do samples for in a town not far from here. They carry some yarn and we have a knitting group that meets there on Wednesday. I had the privilege of teaching the entire staff how to knit when they decided to carry yarn in the store. My biggest thrill was sitting down with yarn reps and actually picking out the yarn.

We have been amazed at what Kool-aid can produce, and if it isn’t quite what you like it can be over-dyed. By the way, the bright red yarn was dyed on a Wednesday knit group day on an antique table at the quilt store. All the ladies and staff held their breath while I went through the process of changing cream yarn into bright red/pink strands (cherry-2pkgs on the bottom, pink lemonade – 2 pkgs over the top, and strawberry over the pink lemonade). It was like a magic show. Very effective for keeping everyone on the edge of their seat…daring too.

Paton Classic Merino Wool and Lion Brand Wool were used for all the samples. Lion Brand needs very little soaking in water and dyes very well. Paton Merino has to soak a bit for it to accept the dye. Colors used for base starters: Cream, Maize – a cool yellow, and light tan – heathered. All muted looks were made with the tan or the yellow. One more note…check out the way other dyed yarn that you like looks and try to re-create the look or the color combination.

Can you believe that’s all Kool-Aid dyeing?! It is just awesome. I just recently dabbled in ‘acid dyes’ (which sound awful, but are actually non-toxic, and are only called acid dyes because they require vinegar to set the color) to be able to have a wider color palette; and had an awful lot of fun. But I had blue stains various places for quite some time. Kool-Aid is definitely easier, stains not as long, and look at what someone like Marcia can do!

One more bit of yarn enjoyment:

Here’s the Yarn Pirate Booty I received Saturday, which I nobly refrained from tearing into immediately, until the dishrag was knit:

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BFL! BFL! This month’s Booty Club Booty was Blue-Faced Leicester yarn, about the softest wool I know of, which reputedly does not pill like merino does, due to longer fiber length. Oh, I love the softness and the colors! Pet, pet, pet.

And precious little mints, too cute to eat, and a sticker which I am thinking long and hard about the optimum place for. Too cool.

OK, one last bit of color as it’s now dark out (boy, these days are getting shorter fast!):

Yesterday’s garden as the rain ceased for a bit.

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This really is this purple, and a little beaten up from what it’s been through in the last week.

2 responses to “Little Black Rain Cloud

  1. O-mg, all that water! I guess I haven’t been watching the news this week! I’ve been thinking about some dyeing, and overdyeing… Love love love the BFL! My pal and LYS owner (I used to work there) gave me a store sweater sample, google ‘Berroco blue faced leicester fiona’-it’s a marvelous sweater and yes soft (though not so soft as malabrigo, but it doesn’t pill like malabrigo either)

  2. BFL is the best, no? I’ve got some to dye and I can’t wait. (I just took some dyeing classes at Michigan Sheep and Wool.) Good stuff…

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