Woad Dyeing

Since I’ve been generally uninspired about a lot of knitting/crafting lately, I’ve been trying to fill my time with other creative pursuits when possible. Meaning that even though I know many of those creative pursuits won’t stick the way knitting and spinning did, doing them makes me feel more creative and probably works my brain in a way that is healthy.

This weekend I had a woad dyeing class at our local botanical gardens. Woad is like a lighter version of indigo, grown in Europe, and while it doesn’t get as rich and deep a blue, it does get a nice denim blue.

We learned to make a vat of woad dye and we were given a hemp apron to dye. We were then shown a few shibori dyeing techniques and allowed to go to town on our apron.

Here’s what my apron looked like before the first dip in the dye bath:

I used clothes pins, tongue depressors, chopsticks, and rubber bands to create my negative space. I went in quite aggressively with my negative space as our instructor told us that more is better.

And here’s what I ended up with!

This is currently in it’s unwashed state, and the white may get brighter once I wash it.

We were also given the opportunity to bring something we’d like to add to the dye vat, and so I brought some white handspun I’d created years ago. It’s a 2 ply laceweight yarn out of a corriedale fleece I processed.

This also turned out so beautifully! The skein is also in a prewashed state so it may fade down a bit, but honestly, I will probably knit it up like this and then wash it before blocking.

There were only 3 attendees in this class due to the pandemic. I have to say, being willing to take some classes during this time frame has been nice, each class I’ve taken gets more individual attention than any of these classes might get otherwise.

But, the other thing I am noticing is that I haven’t got the passion I used to have for fiber arts in general, and that’s a bit odd for me. The other attendees were quite passionate about dyeing and natural dyeing and fiber arts in general and wanted to talk about what wheel I have and what kind of fleece I used and so on but I just wanted to create this new thing I’d never done before, without getting into the weeds about my other hobbies. But I recognized myself in them, I was them, wanting to hear all the details and discuss different wheels and so on. I just have lost my passion for it right now, and that’s strange, disappointing, and leaving me a bit bereft, what am I if not someone who works with yarn in some way?

Maybe I still am, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it right now. While I have had, previously, times in which I feel like I lose mojo for a bit, this one is so much more pronounced. I know I keep complaining about it, but it’s just so odd!

The class was fun. I’ll not be taking up natural dyeing. This was not my new passion. Maybe I’ll take the basket weaving class next.

Updates from the busy side

Work has gone just about as expected, and maybe a little worse. Long days, far past my normal work hours with seriously high stress. Thankfully, today I get to leave a few minutes early. Because after that? Well, then I’ve got 2 work days back to back next week that’ll be 15-16 hours long sandwiched between a late night work day and an early morning work day after a shortened weekend. It’ll be brutal, but honestly? Less brutal than what we went through yesterday, my coworkers and I.

That being said, I did grab pictures of a few things while it wasn’t raining. It’s going to rain again today, so that was lucky!


This is my current spinning project. It’s BFL/Silk that I dyed, and it’s spinning beautifully and I ADORE the color. I’ve got about 1/3 of the second bobbin done, and I am wishing I’d dyed more than 4 oz.


I started a knitting project, something easy that I can work on during the conference. The variegated yarn is Koigu KPPPM, and the solid is a rather old hank of Sanguine Griffon Bugga. I am quite fond of how this one looks, and it’s kind of a boring type of knit which should be about perfect for the conference. I will also take my circles of lace scarf for when I want something that has to be thought about a bit more. I did pack 4 spindles and 4 mini batts too, in case I feel an urge to do some spinning. Hopefully there will be conference updates if I can manage them!

In the garden, my peace rose put on an amazing show for me. It was just what I needed when I got home from work yesterday.

Just stunning blooms, looking so perfect and delicate.

And in gardening news, while I’ve been stressing out and overworked, Mr. Ink has been plugging away at building more garden space. He took this photo last evening of a new area he’s been working on. He says “good riddance to a few more square feet of lawn.”


He’ll keep working his way up the edge of that lawn, but he has mentioned it is quite hard work, and so the going is slow. That new hanging basket? In it is a spurge that Mr. Ink planted on the front wall, and that we both fell in LOVE with. It was doing so well there, and was such an interesting plant! Except upon further research, we found out that the sap is caustic and can cause quite a rash. Well, in interest of not having to try to yank it out of the ground when it spreads, as it was clearly trying to do, Mr. Ink decided on a hanging basket. This way we can keep it contained. And we know where it is, and we can take appropriate precautions when we deal with it. And, it’s so full and lush that it does look amazing in it’s hanging basket, it’s a great look! Mr. Ink has planted all his various evergreens in this section. Miss Butterfly and I had gone out shopping for clothing and shoes for us both, so we didn’t even get to see this in person yet. I can’t wait!

That’s all from here for now, have a great remainder of your week everyone!

Continuing the Trend

This is the last of the undyed BFL wool, so I don’t know when you’ll see more dyeing from me. I do have another pound of merino/silk, but I’ve also got a sick kid, and I use her to help separate and then chain the 4 oz. bits for dyeing.

My idea with this one was to do tones of brown. I’ve purchased fiber with tones of brown before, and always loved the result. So, I pulled out all my brown tone dyes and gave it a whirl. It was commented that the result looks like a calico cat, and I’d have to agree.


I think it is quite amazing that I’ve consistently liked the result of my dyeing lately. I’ll certainly have no business purchasing fiber in the near future!

In other news, Mr. Ink (my favorite name for the man in my life) and I headed out for an overnight trip to Des Moines this weekend. He attended the Volbeat concert while I hung out with the dog at the hotel. Sunday morning we got up early, and headed out to do some biking. I took a few pictures of what is possibly some of the nicest signage I’ve ever seen at a trail. One I took because it is my dad’s name, which I thought really fun.

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In the end, we weren’t on these trails, there’s some mountain biking trails in there as well and we had fun exploring them. We hope to get back out there at some point, since I tend to be very cautious on my first run through. I’ve also been doing so much biking, that my muscles are just all exhausted, which didn’t help matters since this trail was a step up in difficulty from what I am accustomed to riding. Even so, it was a very successful little trip, and a nice way to get away and out of a routine for a bit.




Dye Day turns into Dye Week

Having realized I had more fiber than I thought, dye day continued. On Monday evening, I dyed two braids of BFL wool. One does not please me yet, it needs an additional color. So back in the dye pot it goes tonight. However, the other turned out fabulous. It is truly something I would  purchase for myself given the opportunity.


I am not sure what else to say about this, except that I’ve finally found a wool dyeing method that seems to work for me. I think I can continue to tweak it, but I am overall happy with it and appreciate the results. I’ll keep going now, and see what else I can come up with.


Dye Day

Yesterday was our annual easter egg, yarn, and fiber dyeing event. I had a few friends over and Miss Bug had a friend over. The weather was spring like, in the sense that there was torrential downpour most of the day. Eventually, even that took a turn for the worse and we ended up with snow.

But, inside the house, it was all spring all the time. Our overall count was 7 skeins of yarn, 2 braids of wool, and 41 eggs dyed. I’d say that’s pretty good for a small group. Oh, and a bunch of silk hankies.

I stuck with solid colors, kettle dyed yarn. It’s my favorite method for producing results I actually want to use. The yarn is a wool/silk blend and I’ve got a lot of it in my stash that I have already dyed. I think this will be great  weaving yarn, if I ever get around to it again.


I also dyed a bunch of silk hankies in similar colors. I wasn’t going for precision, but just wanted to make sure I had the same 4 colors used throughout. These were a lot of fun.


I left my dye supplies out because I’ve got an overwhelming desire to continue, getting some more done. I’ve got quite a bit of undyed fiber hanging around. I think I may just keep at it, it has been a pleasant distraction to the tunic, but doesn’t overwhelm my time.




Color Affection

Oh, did you think I was done with a shawl? Gotcha! No, no I am not.

I believe that one of the reasons I love fiber arts is that I love color. Bright colors, muted colors, natural colors, colors which blend well together, jewel tones, colors that don’t work together…I just love color. I think it is so interesting, the combining of colors, and the way spinning often looks so different from the way the wool looks before it is spun. To say I am a bit obsessed with color would be an understatement. It is one of the reasons I started dyeing some of my own wool, it is what draws me the most to different yarns and finished objects, and it is one of the reasons I want to weave. The way colors play in weaving is so different than how they do so in knitting.

I came across a really good deal on some border leicester lambs wool. I knew going into this project that it would be quite dirty, quite full of VM, and there might be bits I didn’t want to save at all, and that has been the case. But, the cheapness of it gave me courage to start playing with colors. Because, in my mind, I can’t wreck cheap wool. So, after a 2 day soak and then a good hot water wash, I had a bunch of white border leicester to dye. Rather than experimenting with cram pot dyeing, I decided to dye handfulls of fiber in different solid colors to use with blending on my drum carder. At the moment I technically have 10 different colors to play with and more wool to dye. The richness of the colors just makes me so very happy, and I am enjoying this experiment immensely.







Cram Pot Dyeing

I’ve been itching to try some cram pot dyeing for months now. When I saw the locks from my fiber club, I decided that those would be awesome to cram pot dye with, but I assumed I’d need more and waited until the second shipment. After finishing the icord on the vest during my snow day yesterday, I had no desire to knit anymore. So, I soaked the locks for my cram pot dyeing experiment. I needn’t have worried about the amount of wool, as my first pot was completely full with just the rambouillet. I wasn’t in love with the rambouillet in the first place, so I really just went nuts with the colors, and indeed did end up with some crazy stuff. However, I do believe that when flicking and then spinning each lock the colors will come together and look pretty interesting.


Then, once that was done, I decided to dye the border leicester. This time I decided to just do beiges and pastel like colors, with a hint of yellow for pop. And these turned out far better than I expected! I really like this combination, and am very eager to spin it up. And better yet? I’ve got my leicester longwool soaking in anticipation of doing another cram pot experiment.

It has been nice to have my dyes out for a bit. It happens so rarely!



Dye Day 2012

The day before easter seems like an appropriate day to have a yarn dyeing day. I’d planned it well enough ahead though that I didn’t even realize that it would be on easter weekend. I had just a bit of yarn to dye for myself, some yarn to dye for a friend, and two other friends who wanted to dye their own. In the end I had 4 other gals in my house either dyeing yarn or helping with the process. Bug chose that time to dye her easter eggs too, so it was a dye day all around.

I personally dyed 11 skeins of yarn, all in shades of purple. I am not even sure how many skeins the rest of the gals managed to dye. My porch looked like it usually does on a dye day:

I tried a new technique for my skeins, and ended up with a little bit of an accident. I burned a few strands of yarn. In the end I doubt I will have lost too much yardage, but it certainly was a learning experience. With mine, I used a large dye pot and loaded up on dye. I then added about 1/3 of each skein, and every half hour added another 1/3, so that the dye soaked in much darker initially and the final 1/3 of each skein was more of a light lavender to white.

I enjoyed this technique and I loved the results, certainly one to try again.

As good as it gets…

So, it wasn’t so long ago that I featured these socks. Well, Mom said that if the dye pot was still out, I was to throw them back in. The majority of issue was on the inside of the sock, as well as in the ribbed areas. So I turned the socks inside out, and threw them back in the dye pot.

The result is more even, and certainly darker. However, the rib area still lacks dye. I really don’t think there is much I can do about that, unless I had a set of plastic sock blockers. Which I don’t, and see little reason for investing in them. So, this is the final product. They still look cool though, I am not displeased with them. It does make me think twice before dyeing an entire sweater though, at least with the equipment I currently own.

Complete or No?

So, I ran the white socks through the dye pot to turn them brown. I had no idea what effect I’d get, and I think it is really interesting how the dye didn’t strike in the ribbed portion of the sock. I think I can counter this effect by turning them inside out. However, I will let my mom decide if she likes the effect or if she wants them darker.

Epic Project 2012

The dyeing portion of the epic project 2012 is complete. To review, I had decided that the blue and the green needed to be more saturated, and the burgundy/red was unacceptable as a color for the project. I changed out the skein to a purple skein. Now, quite frankly, I think I could go darker with the purple too, but I am not going to. It is good as is.

These are the three colors I changed. So the final yarns look like this:

I am far happier with this combination than I was with this one:

Now, when I have time, between Month O’Socks (which I haven’t even bothered talking about) and the 11 pay it forward projects, and a potential sweater commission, I will be able to swatch for the Epic Project. Thank goodness I have an entire year!

Epic Project 2012

I’ve spent 2 weekends in a row hard at work dyeing the yarn for my epic project 2012. I am currently done, but waiting for a few skeins to finish drying. The picture I have today is last weekend’s progress.

These are wool/silk blend yarns, and kettle dyed using landscape dyes.

How do I feel about the results? Let’s work from left to right.

The yellow, it is a lighter skein, less yarn, so it took less dye. One trip through the kettle and it sucked up the yellow beautifully. Very pleased with that one.

The beige took two trips to get the color I was looking for. I am substituting beige for the ivory called for in the pattern. I just wanted a richer look.

Next up, dark green. I am not done with this skein, I am hoping for a darker color. It gets a second trip through the dye pot.

The blue is the same as the green, it is just not finished yet.

The gray, well, this one was quite a challenge. 3 trips through the dye pot and all the gray I owned to get that light color. However, I think it is ok as it is. Which is good, I have no interest in ordering more gray.

The pattern calls for light turquoise. I tried a minty green to begin with. It just didn’t strike as I’d like, very uneven and far too light. I debated if I’d find a light turquoise dye to purchase, but in the end I just didn’t care to buy more so I went with a turquoise I had. It is a good color, but quite saturated. I don’t really know if I’d call it “light” but it is pretty.

The burgundy. Well,  I don’t like it one bit. I was hoping for a more purple color, and made this mistake. So, this one is going to get some sort of over dye and then it will be set aside for something else. I’ll dye another skein in purple.

Hopefully this week I’ll have the final dyeing pictures up. No clue when I’ll get started on this project, but I am looking forward to it!

Dye day

My friend Orangekathy recently did me a huge favor by watching Bug while Nick was out here on his visit. In return, she wanted me to host a dye day at my house. We were able to get that done this weekend. O’Kathy had 11 skeins of yarn to dye, and I had some fiber. We started early, and really O’Kathy did most of the dyeing. We took everything out to the porch once we were done so we could take pictures even though it was terribly cold.

OrangeKathy lived up to her name. I lived up to her name too. In the end, I fell in love with one of her yarns, and offered to spin some merino that I dyed in return for a skein.

My wool:

The yarn I took:

I just loved the way this moved from blue to purple to pink!

All in all, a sucessful dye day. I have a total of 2 pounds of undyed fiber, so I am going to need my own dye day, but what I really wanted to work on yesterday was my fleece. I’ve got pictures of that for tomorrow!

Fall is in the air

Or at least it was yesterday morning.  While it did heat up quite a bit in the afternoon, the morning was gloriously cool, so much so that I thought having my own personal dye day would be a great way to heat the house up a bit.

I dyed 3 fibers and 2 yarns.  I was just messing around with colors. I am always quite amazed at how what I think looks terrible in the dye pot turns out looking pretty nice over all.  Dying is as much a surprise as spinning is.

From left to right, superwash merino, BFL, and then 80’s merino. I plan to do another of the teal right away in merino/tencel to give to a friend.  It was certainly my favorite of the bunch.

I then did some kettle dying.  This first is BFL fingering weight yarn. It took 3 tries to get it to look as I wanted it to.

And then my favorite, some superwash sock, merino and nylon. I’ve done this colorway in fiber, but had not done it in yarn yet. This is the color that is currently speaking to me the loudest.

In fact, I do believe I will need to cast on and make a scarf out of it. Like…now.

You do notice though, my kettle dying involves again, burgundy and turquoise. I have a real problem moving away from these colors.

A dye day of our own

O’Kathy, Mary, and I decided awhile back that we needed to have a dye day where we experiment with different dyes and fibers and yarns and just have fun.  We’ve been trying to plan this for so long now, but getting 3 very busy women together for one day is almost impossible.  We finally came up with a day that O’kathy and I could do it, and Mary told us to go ahead and get started without her.

So Saturday was our day!  We ran errands in the morning, going to goodwill to pick up some equipment, and then over to a restaurant supply store for a few supplies.  My big score at goodwill was a huge dark roasting pan with lid, and a crock pot with a slightly broken lid.  The crock pot was one of these large ones with a removable insert, and for kettle dyeing, I didn’t figure I needed a lid all that much.

We then grabbed lunch, got back to my house, and began our day of dyeing.  We also had a friend, Becky, around as an extra set of hands and a bit of a distraction for the Bug.  Who really wanted to be in the middle of everything, when we really wanted her to be out of the kitchen.  LOL.

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Blank yarn, O’kathy chose bamboo/wool blend for her sock weights

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You can just see it, she wrote “Pedal” across this sock yarn in orange dye.

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Then she finished dyeing it.

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My blank merino fiber.  I have a lot of fiber left, but worked predominately with merino and merino/tencel on saturday.

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Yarns soaking. I dyed laceweight.

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Kettle dyeing in my new (to me) crock pot.

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Which made this…2 gray tones linen/silk laceweight colorway Seattle Sky. Can’t wait to see how this knits up!

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“Pedal” yarn soaking after its trip in the oven.

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My 2 goodwill finds…I’ve discovered that the large dark roasting pan works well for solar dyeing in the heat of the sun, no need to turn on the oven!

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Kettle dye in process, you can see some merino draining in the corner.

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This picture shows us the insanity that is our dear O’Kathy.  She knit this sock blank holding 2 strands of yarn together, so she could dye it, and then reknit it into socks.  Nuts!

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Yarn hanging on the porch, this is early on in the day.

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Candid shot of Bug and Becky, Becky brought her dog, which amused the Bug greatly.

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Candid of Bug and me, as I look terribly hot and gross.

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Yarn hanging on the porch later in the day

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Yarn everywhere!

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Bug everywhere!

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Some finished objects, this is merino/tencel colorway Georgia Arbor

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Merino/tencel colorway The Monica

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Linen/silk laceweight, kettle dyed. Colorway…heath?


O’Kathy’s yarns!  Even the mistakes came out beautifully.

I actually have more to post, but they need to be reskeined before I take pictures.  Some of these will go up in the etsy shop as soon as we get ourselves organized, but if you see a colorway you just have to have, let me know!  We will be doing this again, we had a ton of fun even if we were exhausted, and we learned so much!

Blue fingers

I needed to dye some fiber over the weekend for a swap partner.  I’d seen that she likes blues and browns (some of my personal favorites as well!) Now, back in September I dyed up some merino.  I was rather fond of the December Skies colorway I had done, but I wanted to try to get it a bit more saturated.  I might have gone overboard, had to rinse this one over and over, and my fingers turned blue during the rinse cycles.  But….I do like the way it turned out!

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An Alpaca Experiment

So much of the alpaca roving I see looks pastel like, with no saturated colors.  Because of this, I wanted to try a little experiment.  I thought I would dye some merino and some alpaca at the same time using the same colorway.

In the end, I didn’t notice a huge difference in colors, though I believe that the merino “wants” more dye than the alpaca did.


The alpaca, 4 oz.


The merino, 3.5 oz.

In the end, I think the new dyes are fantastic and look forward to a dye day in May!

Both of these are now up in my etsy shop if you are interested.

Yet Another Endeavor

I’ve been talking about doing it, thinking about doing it, preparing to do it, anticipating it, and yet I just don’t.  Until this weekend.

Dyeing fiber that is.  I just….felt like everything I make is going to turn out ugly as sin.  But I also know I have to buckle down and experiment a bit before I decide to do this officially.  So this weekend was the weekend!

I had picked up some jaquard dyes from knitpicks to begin the experimentation process.  Primary colors mostly, so I can mix my own.  It went somewhat successfully though I am just not getting the deep rich colors I desire.  I like what I got, don’t get me wrong, but they aren’t what I wanted.  I’d be proud to spin any of them though.

In fact, I did a little test skein, as I wanted to make sure my lovely prepared merino did not felt at all.  And it didn’t.  The test skein also gave me some idea of how one might look all spun up.  And I like it!  Much more subtle than I thought.

Yep, I liked it, I’d like to do it again!

Taste the rainbow

I finished another skein of the color for the lite lopi.  It began here, where I dyed the merino with first koolaid then easter egg dye.

It is of course absolutely necessary to see the 3 finished colors together.

I started spinning the final color last evening, so by this weekend I should be done with the colorwork spinning.  It has certainly been a long term project, and there will be more coopworth to spin before this is over.  Hopefully there will be enough!

A bit of excitement

I finished the first of J’s duet socks yesterday.  Toe up, afterthought heel, in my favorite no thinking pattern.  I think I can finish the second sock by next weekend when he is supposed to come home.  Looks a little odd on my foot as my feet are way too small to fit the socks.

Yesterday I acquired these:

(These two are merino bamboo blend and below is BFL)

But it is the story of the acquisition that is a fair bit more interesting than the beautiful roving itself.

You see, Miss Violet, who dyes sock yarn for Lime N Violet and for The Loopy Ewe, posted on our ravelry message board that she needed some help dyeing a batch for The Loopy Ewe.  She would pay in Roving if someone could give her a hand.  She posted this in the middle of the night sometime, and I actually read it in the middle of the night, as Bug had woken up and had an accident in her bed and I had to change sheets and all, so sleep was eluding me after that.  But I thought I couldn’t do it as I had to work the next day, and I went to sleep.

But it kept working its way into the front of my mind, and by the time I was thinking it through in the shower, I thought perhaps favorite coworker would be willing to cover for me and I could go do it anyhow.  Of course by that time others had posted that they might be willing to help.  Not wanting to step on any toes, I let her know that I might be able to do it if she needed help earlier than people were proposing.  You see, it worked out so nicely as it was the ex’s night to pick up the Bug so I was basically free until 8 PM providing I could get the time off work.

Well she let us know that indeed she needed someone early and how soon could I get there?  I checked with coworkers and favorite coworker (bless her heart!) said she would cover my shift.  (Thank you thank you!) I made it to Miss V’s a bit before 10 AM and for the next 9.5 hours we dyed yarn!

The bin of yarn we had to dye looked overwhelming!  You just don’t see that much yarn in one place unless you are at a store, and even then it is already dyed, skeined and has a label.  What was in the bin and out on the tables awaiting dye was the entire Loopy order, and we were going to try to get as much done as possible.  So she set me to work mixing dyes and I quickly caught on to the flow of things.  I had been warned that there would be downtime, but to be honest, once we got in the groove, there just wasn’t.  It seems that there was always something to be doing for the next batch and the trick was figuring out what really should be done first to keep the work flowing smoothly.  After 6.5 hrs or so Adminnie came to help and that is when it felt like things were really flying, with her rinsing and me mixing dye/cycling pans in and out of the stove, and Miss V dying the yarn.  I just about couldn’t believe it when I put the last of the undyed skeins up in pans, was it really possible we had gotten through all of that yarn?  Well one look at the yarn drying outside confirmed that, and what a pretty site that was!

I had to leave to get home for Bug about 7:30, but I wasn’t leaving without mixing up the last set of colors for the last pans on the last colorway for the order.  I was sad to not have seen them finished, but I am sure that they are just as lovely as the colorways we worked on all day.

I am telling you, that was some serious hard work.  Physically hard work.  I am quite sore today, legs, feet, back, neck, and hands.  I couldn’t even knit this morning and last night I could barely move.  Bug got home and we read a book and it was straight to bed for her.  I crashed soon after, and as she generally comes down 2 or 3 times after going to bed, I am sure she was quite surprised to find all the lights out and mommy asleep.  Yes, indeed I was exhausted, but it was that great, elated, satisfying type of exhaustion that tells me that I have had fun, been creative, and productive.

Miss V never imagined that we would get the entire order done in one day, so Sheri at Loopy is going to be very surprised!  I do hope that we can do it again sometime, and stay tuned as I’ll link you to the order once it goes up at Loopy.