Category Archives: Dish Rag Tag

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:


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!


Here’s details:


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:


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.


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

Dish Rag Tag!

Here’s yesterday:

11:30 am — call home from work to make sure the Dish Rag Tag box has not yet arrived, even though the mail usually comes around 3 – 4 pm. Leave instructions to call me at work if it does.

1 pm: Arrive home from work

1 pm – 5:30 pm: Check the mail every 10-15 minutes. It’s raining. Prepare all the box contents and knitting needs for immediate use as soon as the box arrives.


5:40 — Two boxes on my wet front porch! It is a measure of the love and commitment I have for you, my fellow Cotton Commandoes, that I did not immediately rip open the OTHER box, which was my Yarn Pirate Booty box for August!


5:55 — After opening the box, reading the instructions and revelling in the lovely dishrag and goodies from Dj,


go to computer and log into “Dishrag Tag”. Click, “I have the box!” Cast on for dishrag.

6:10 — Frog dishrag after realizing it will be too small. Find another set of needles in a larger size.

6:15 — Cast on again. Make a couple changes to the pattern, which is a new one to me (yes, yes, I should probably have test knit it first; but Dj’s dishrag was so lovely that I wanted to keep the specialness going, so I changed my mind about my pattern at the last minute!).

6:30 — Decide one of my pattern changes is not going to work and frog again. Size is better, though. Husband is calling me for dinner. Tell him I’ll be there shortly and cast on again.

6:35 — Under duress, eat dinner. Prepare to go to a movie, “Hairspray”; plans made before the mail was so late. Pattern slightly too complicated to knit in the dark, so will have to finish after the movie.

7:00 — arrive at the movie theater. “Hairspray” is sold out. No consensus on the other movies. Decide to rent a movie instead and go back out in the rain. Hooray, I can knit during the movie at home!

7:15 — complicated rental movie selection process follows. No consensus here either.

7:35 — each of four family members picks out a movie and we’ll duke it out when we get home.

7:50 — pick up and start to knit cast-on dishrag at home. It’s starting to rain really hard, and there’s lightning.

8 — “Happy Feet” is put in the DVD player. The computer is turned off as the lightning is striking almost continuously.

9, 9:10, 9:30 — lightning/thunder cracks VERY close and the power flickers. Every time this happens, the TV turns off. Someone doesn’t want us to watch TV, I guess.

9:45 — The Preteen gets a phone call from a friend who is stranded at the roller skating rink due to flash flooding in the streets. The friend just wants to tell her all about it and gab, because what else can the friend do while waiting for conditions to improve? The Preteen is not allowed to talk on the phone after 9 pm. The Preteen gets off the phone after several increasingly pointed reminders of this fact. The Preteen sulks for the rest of the movie.

10:05 — movie ends. Only a few rows left of the dishrag. Take dishrag upstairs as my husband is now cruising all the TV channels.

10:20 — finish dishrag after experimenting with the last couple rows and frogging the last bit a couple times. Open Yarn Pirate Booty box and pet the yarn. Collapse in bed.

Today: get up at 7, pack and seal box, ‘tag’ the next team member — then read my email and realize she won’t be home when the box gets there, thanks to the vagaries of the USPS. And the post office lobby is closed today (I thought it was open shorter hours to use the Automated Postage Center, but not on Sundays). Sigh. Ah well, it will be what it will be!

Here’s the dishrag, shortly to be on its way!


I like how the variegated yarn worked with this pattern.

It’s still raining and chilly. [Edited to add: this was actually the weekend of our big flood in SW Wisconsin/SE Minnesota.  The post was written before I saw the news, and before I went outside and saw all the cars stalled on the boulevards and lawns where the water landed them, and all the trees down.  Thank goodness we didn’t go to the movie; the road that the theatre is on, was under two feet of water by bedtime.]

Here, for your cat/knitting viewing pleasure, is a shawl-lolcat from this morning: