The knitting has, in chemgrrl’s words, been of the ovary-exploding type. One of my bestestest friends in the whole wide world gifted us with a new variety of baby: the kind I like.

To celebrate, Baby K, Ma L and Pa G got these:

Baby Booties

Look, ma, NO PINK!

Of course, these tiny little booties (and an accompanying pair which I did not photograph) do not 3 months of knitting make…. No, indeed. There has also been knitting of other kinds. Which I can’t share. Yet. Instead, I offer up the second-best home-brew dye job in the world!

Dye Job

Urban camouflage. Invisible or not? You decide.

Really, “second best” is something worth saying with pride. Maybe third- or fourth- best, even, given the company at the TBKGE’s Second Annual Dyeing Party. Allbuttonedup has the best. Srsly. Haven’t seen photos yet, but I can guarantee that it was spectacular in person, and there were several other very pretty fibery things including a cotton-candy spectactular that Sara did (though the fleece on which the cotton-candy was unleashed unfortunately felted in the process).

Dyeing day has come and gone, and the fact that I am sitting here typing means the extra ‘e’ in the main verb is a key part of the excitement.

This…

became this….

which looks like this now:

These walnuts…

became this natural dye…

and, with nothing but walnuty goodness and boiling water, brought these into the knitting world:

The company, both human…

and furry…

was (and still is) extremely pleasant as well as eminently talented.

The only thing that went wrong? Mmmmmm. Pepto-Bismol. I will have to rectify this. It was supposed to be an icy pink, but even limiting the dye called for in a “pale” color to less than 1/8 of a teaspoon, coupled with a mere 5 minutes in tepid water, turned off-white wool/silk into, well, a color that is very nearly unwearable unless you’re 3 and wearing a tiara and a tutu. While I won’t have the cherry-blossom pink yarn I wanted for a modified cardigan version of the Hanami Stole, I have learned a lesson about icy just-barely-not-white-anymore colors that I will not soon forget, and I likewise had a weekend I won’t soon forget.

The weather was perfect; the company was fantastic; the slowly darkening walnuts smelled of cookies, leaving trails of steam wherever the dye pot went. There were picturesque falling leaves cascading in waves of yellow and orange around our heads (along with slightly harder walnuts falling from trees overhead), and dappled sunlight wafting in rays across the newly dyed yarny goodness as it dried outdoors in the warm afternoon air. In such surroundings, the Pepto-Bismol yarn–and the walnuts falling perilously, percussively, and concussively, close to the deck–were absolute necessities. I’m convinced that it’s these tiny little imperfections which elevate a day from simply great to unsurpassingly, beautifully, uncompromisingly real, and real is oh-so-much better than perfect….

There are good reasons for everything. This week, the lesson is in why I have a knitting machine.

Two ordinary skeins of sock yarn turned into art. Or at least potential art.

Chemgrrl is throwing a Fall To Dye For dyeing party for my fantastic knitting group (Blogless Norma and Huan-Hua are sadly not attending due to previously arranged absences). Thankfully, it’s not a dying party, or I’d be bringing a coffin instead of pre-knit stockinette swatches designed to become beautifully hand-dyed socks.

This will be my first real foray into hand-dyed yarn in a serious kind of way. I’ve done some experimentation with Kool-Aid and even less with acid dyes (just one skein of self-striping yarn for a work project), and I’m really looking forward to seeing natural dyes like indigo and walnut in action. Still more exciting is the chance to try some patterning on these KnitPicks-inspired sock blanks made out of ShibuiKnits’ 100% superwash merino Sock. I’m not a big fan of anything with nylon, so while the KnitPicks Sock Blanks concept makes the geek in me squeal, the fiber content doesn’t so much appeal to the yarn snob in me.

Here’s hoping the resultant hand-dyed yarn will be fodder for another design that uses the spiffy new forked heel I designed over the summer. At the very least, I will learn more about the worm content of walnuts, though perhaps I might come to regret such an education….