Wednesday, March 28, 2007


First off, since everyone had to listen to the bitching, here is the new swift in all it's glorious, uh, glory:

I draped a skein of yarn over it so you could see how it works. Obviously it can accomodate a bunch of different sizes of skeins without any monkeying around making adjustments. It also doesn't have to be bolted to the table. You just plop that baby wherever you want it and pull, and the lovely bearings in the base of the swift let it spin so smoothly that it unwinds with no drama. Eee! (I am a firm believer that technology should make things easier to use, not more complicated. I can rant for hours about it.) This was called a Becka Swift, for anyone wanting one for their very own. I'm not sure if it's the name of the style (as opposed to, say, an umbrella swift) or the name of the manufacturer. But a web search for them will turn up several people selling them, including Paradise Fibers, where I got mine.

Anyway, giggling gleefully, the first thing I did was wound up Happy Spider's laceweight that Helen had sent me:
It's very blurry, but the colors are accurate.

The husbeast stood by, watching the swift/ball winder rig and admitted that it was pretty damn cool. (The seal of perfection - approval from Son of Gadget.) The Baby also wanted to take the whole thing apart and see how it worked. Because she's the Grandchild of Gadget.

Anyway. Having wound the laceweight up, I am triple-impressed at the skill that went into spinning it. It's smooth and even and perfect and I desperately want to knit it up into something, Right. This. Instant.

Unfortunately I've got other stuff going on. Most importantly, the sleeve of the Steeked Jacket. (Please, I beg of you, ignore the background in the photo.)

It's going slowly, because I keep getting distracted by other stuff. What other stuff, you ask? Well, for starters, a double batch of Purple Trainwreck! I also did a double batch of the egg dye rainbow:

The Purple Trainwreck is still drying, but everything else, including experiments, have been posted over on the shop. (I also ordered a whole lotta new yarn, for those who were concerned, including a silk/merino blend to experiment with.)

So, hardware. There seems to be some confusion over terminology. Yes, in the US, a Crock Pot is a hot pot or a slow cooker: an electric pot that holds about two or three liters. A heavy pot that you would use in the oven, we would call a Dutch Oven (referring to a cast-iron deal used in fireplace ashes). In fact, I have dyed yarn in my Dutch Oven on the stove top, but it's tricky. I used a thermometer to keep track of the heat, and dyed the skein all one color. If you tried to do a dip dye, you'd probably catch the house on fire.

What I'm referring to when I talk about my new roaster is one of these:

You plug it in, like a Crock Pot, but it holds more (two gallons, or about eight liters, in this case), and it has a temperature setting instead of the usual low/high setting on a Crock Pot.

Yes, the roaster works better than the Crock Pot did. Mostly because of the temperature control. I can tell much more easily if the yarn is hot enough to fix the color, and can be sure it's been at that temperature. If you're going to buy something specifically to dye yarn, I suggest something with a temp control AND a removeable liner (for easy cleanup), but if you also want to use it for cooking, buy whatever would be most useful to you; the temp control isn't THAT big a deal unless you're dyeing yarn every other day, all the time. If you're doing two or three batches of yarn a year, the temp control may not be worth paying for. (But the removable liner? Always worth the money, whether you're cleaning up a dye job or a pot roast. Don't bother buying one without, no matter how cheap it is.)

And one last photo. My sister-in-law made everyone in the family blankets for Christmas last year, and we TRY to keep it nice, but this morning I laid under it on the couch and then the Baby threw it on the floor, and before you know it...

Sekhmet, you fucker.


Bells said...

oh it is so cool to see the happy spider yarn all wound up. Aren't swifts just the best!!!! It's my favourite toy.

I veer between calling my crock pot a crock pot or a slow cooker. On the box, it said slow cooker, but I grew up with an English mum who called it a crock pot. I always thought the terms were interchangeable.

And I have a dutch oven which is an entirely different thing to a crock pot/slow cooker.

Re sleeves - have you done your hem already, as in sewed it up etc? Looks great!

Julie said...

No.. I just stuffed the hem up inside for the photo. I intend to do a tutorial to show you guys how to 'half graft' the hems instead of sewing them down. We'll get there.

Amy Lane said...

Oh gods, that's gorgeous...the swift, the yarn, even the frickin' cat on the chenille blanket... (but mostly, I think, the swift and the yarn...)

Catie said...

I love your cat - she seems so pleased with herself

April said...

Don't talk to my cat like that.

Nina said...

Swifts are so fun--Love the photo of the laceweight, cos it makes it look like the yarn is in motion. Say, the roaster looks like an ideal solution. How perfect, with the temp control. Now, if we only had counter space!

Alwen said...

Darn it! Now I am CRAVING Easter egg yarn! Like I need more knitting to do! Like I have any money to $pend.

I use crock pot and slow cooker interchangeably, but a friend of mine claims, "In a crock pot, the crock comes out for washing or storing in the refrigerator."

Robin said...

You mentioned "...if you also want to use it for cooking..." --- do you only use edible dyes?????

Julie said...

Yes, I only use food coloring for dyes because I've got a child in the house. It's been discussed here in the blog and also in my dyeing article at great length so I didn't mention that.

But of course if you're using either one for acid dyes, you can't use it for food.

Sarah said...

so I looked at paradise fibers for that swift and couldnt find it, i also googled becka swift and couldn't buy *pout* please help

Arianne said...

Did you put the yarn in that shape on purpose?

Looks suspiciously like this to me!