Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Checking In

Has it really been six years since I updated this blog!?!  I can hardly believe how quickly time has gone by and the changes in my life since I last posted here.  Mike is gone, the kids are grown, and I have three wonderful grandchildren.  Some things are the same. I am working at the same company, I love thrift shopping, and I am still knitting.  I need to think about what I want to say and share here.  Today I am just signing in to make sure that I still can.  I will leave you with a photo I took several years ago, I call it Work at Sunrise.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Coming to a Close

The past couple of weeks have felt a little like autumn - things are changing, the weather has been cool, kids are back in school. The exception is my job - it feels like late spring or early summer! Construction seemed to get off to a very slow start this year and we are now in the heat of the building season.

My life has been a chaotic mess as of late. Kind of like when you are deep cleaning the house and you have the "storm before the calm" messes everywhere - that's where I've been for the past month. My knitting has helped me stay focused. It's a great way to meditate on issues and has brought me some peace. I pray that God will watch over me and my family and I pray that I am making the right choices. Faith is sometimes challenging for me - I seem to always want things my way, right now and I don't "Let go and Let God" when I really should.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Time for Washcloths

July has been a time for washcloths - literally and figuratively. I had set a goal to knit nine washcloths this month so I would have a dozen cloths (I had three stashed from last year) to add to Lana's donations to a local charity and tonight I finished my last one. It has been a month full of life's ups and downs. When life hands me lemons - I knit washcloths. It's prayer knitting - and I've been doing a lot of praying this month. Maybe August will bring a little sugar and water - because a nice glass of lemonade sure sounds great!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

A Fine Finish

Well, the weekend is coming to a close. I have been home for four and a half lovely days and I am trying hard not to think about going back to work tomorrow! It has really been nice to kick back and enjoy being at home. Though the long weekend started out on Wednesday afternoon with a mammogram (gosh - I had no idea turning 40 was going to be so much fun) it is ending quite nicely with freshly "painted" yarn drying on the fence. And my neighbor just sent over the best homemade cashew chicken I've ever tasted - yum!

The Baby Blanket squares/rectangles are finally complete! I have passed them on to Fern who is going to crochet or sew them together and crochet a nice edge. I truly feel like a weight has been lifted! That blanket was "in progress" for over two years! I had mentally promised it to two other babies before this one (no, not my baby - puhleeez) and I thought it would never get it finished. But once I dug it out of the closet and got rolling on it - it wasn't that bad.

Today I finished dyeing the recycled mohair sweater yarn. It was a hot and mostly sunny day - so I thought I would try solar dyeing with Kool-Aid. I think I got pretty nifty results. It was super easy - the easiest method I've tried so far actually. For the solar dyeing I used three smaller skeins - I estimated them to be 1/4 - 1/2 ounces each. Here's the steps I took:

  1. Soaked yarn in warm water for 20 minutes.
  2. Placed about 12 ounces of water, a few drops of food coloring, and two packets of Kool-Aid/drink mix (see color concoctions listed below) in a one gallon zip top baggie. I did not use vinegar on this batch - I had read that the citric acid in the drink mix is enough to set the dye.
  3. Mixed the water and the drink mix.
  4. After soaking yarn I squeezed out the excess water.
  5. Placed the yarn in the plastic baggie and squished it around really good.
  6. Put the yarn baggies out on the sunny deck.
  7. Every so often, went outside to squish the baggies.
  8. After the dye had been exhausted, poured out the excess water.
  9. Let the yarn baggies set out in the sun to get nice and steamy.
  10. After getting a good steam - I brought the yarn in let it set until it was room temperature.
  11. Rinsed the yarn.
  12. Squeezed out excess water and hung to dry.

The three skeins on the right were solar dyed. What I've noticed about the solar dyeing is that it is not quite as consistent as the stove top method. I think this is because the the shallow depth of the dye bath in the baggie leaves some yarn "uncovered" - but I like the effect. The skein on the left I dyed on the stove because I had about 2 ounces to dye. Color/flavors are as follows (from left to right) -

  • Black Cherry (Kool-Aid brand) - five packs and about half a gallon of water (stove top method.)
  • One packet Cherry Watermelon (KA brand), one packet Tropical Punch (Kroger brand), and about 5 drops neon pink McCormicks food coloring.
  • Two packets Grape (Kroger brand.)
  • One packet Lemon-Lime, one packet Berry Blue, one packet Blue Raspberry Lemonade, and about 6 drops neon blue food coloring - I was going for turquoise and should have used a little less Lemon-Lime, so I tried to compensate by adding more blue!

So that's about it. I spent time with family, ate some really good food, talked to an old work buddy, picked up a few goodies at the thrift stores, started knitting a washcloth, finished knitting The Baby Blanket, and played with color. Though not what some would call truly productive, I sort of feel like I accomplished a bit this weekend!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

As Time Flies

Have you ever had one of those weekends where you go, go, go all weekend long but on Sunday night you realize you haven’t really accomplished anything? I guess I had one of those weekends. Of course Saturday it rained like mad all morning and into the afternoon, but that didn’t stop Fern (my ex-mother-in-law) and I from hitting the thrift stores. We headed out to Ebenezer to hit the Saturday $2 per bag sale. It has been over 15 years since I’ve been there and well, it hasn’t changed much. In fact, they may still have some of the same things they had then! We dug and dug and managed to find some deals. I found a ball of cotton and some sort of other fiber slubby yarn, a couple of CD’s, a movie, a bra (yes, a bra), a shirt, some shorts for Mike, and the cutest little Baby Gap pajamas. Not bad for $2. Fern picked up a stereo, a little rocking chair, and a bag of $2 goodies. Aly was with us but she stayed in the van – she’s way too cool to thrift and used her van time to text message and listen to her i-Pod. Typical teen past-times that can be done most anywhere – as all you parents and grandparents know. We ate lunch then hit the Blind Thrift Store to add to our bargain hauls – Aly sat in the van and ate a banana split while she text messaged and listened to her i-Pod, what a multi-tasker.

I did frog a sweater and got bunches of lovely green yarn. I am calling the yarn Green Eagle – the sweater was an American Eagle Outfitters. The yarn is a wool, angora, and nylon blend – soft and chucky. I picked up one of those coffee mug racks at the DAV Thrift Store and Mike attached it to the fence with hooks so I can move the rack indoors in inclement weather. Here’s a photo of the Green Eagle after it was washed and hung to dry.

Another yarn related note – The Baby Blanket I started in 2006 is out of hibernation. Fern told me one of her granddaughters is having another baby and has requested I knit the baby a blanket. The Baby Blanket (yes it has been around in its unfinished form long enough that it has earned a title) is one I started for a friend of ours who had their baby during the ice storm of 2007 – I didn’t complete it. I then intended to finish it and give it to another one of Fern’s granddaughters whose baby was born about seven months ago – I didn’t finish it. This time I will finish! So I made a pact with Fern – I will finish the squares if she will crochet them together. Deal – we’re cookin’ now!

Saturday evening I watched The Bucket List. I would like to make my own bucket list one of these days. I don’t think so much about kicking the bucket too soon, but I do realize my life is turning a curve. You see, as of July 1st all my kids will be teenagers. Aly will be a junior in high school, Tab a sophomore, and Levi in 8th grade. I think I am feeling pre-empty nestish. Instead of a bucket list I should make a before-they-fly-away list. You know - the things I want to do as a family before they begin their own adult lives. One thing on the top of the list is take my trip with Tab. Levi and I went to Florida, Aly and I went to California, now it’s time for me and Tab. I only have a few more years and she will be off to college – so we need to make our plan Tab! Another thing on my list would be a family trip to Washington D.C. to see all the monuments and museums. Of course there are little things to do too – like playing in the fountain at Jordan Valley Park, going to a ball game, going fishing for a day, and having the kids photo taken at a portrait studio. Those are just a couple things I would like to do, I wonder what Mike and the kids would add to the list?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Colors of June

June has been a busy month - at work and at home. We celebrated Tabitha's 15th birthday, Aly got her drivers license (yikes!), and Levi - well he's just been hanging out 'being bored' so far this summer. My husband Mike has been piddling around the yawd (that's his east coast pronunciation of yard) - it looks great by the way. The construction world is moving slowly into the busy season this year - a lot of rain and a slow economy. But things have picked up quite a bit and it looks like July, August, and September will be slammin'.

My knitting projects have pretty much been on hold. I do break out the shawl every now and then and complete a few rows. It is quite large and I have so many different yarns it requires it's own plastic tub for containment - it's not exactly a portable project! What has me distracted is this Kool-Aid dyeing and sweater ripping stuff! It's crazy, cool and I am currently obsessing! Below is my version of Sunburst - Kool-Aid style.

The basic recipe I have been following is the one at the link over on the right side of your screen. I have been using the stovetop method but have had a little felting issue that needs to be addressed. I am thinking that the simmering process is the culprit and that I need to just bring the water/Kool-Aid mix to a simmer or slow boil then add the yarn and turn the heat off. I'm pretty sure it will still absorb the color and possible eliminate the felting.

Here I've dyed Lion Brand's Fisherman's Wool - this is a continuous skein of about 240-yards - so each color is about 40 yards. I used the following for each color:

  • Two packets of Kool-Aid (Colors left to right are Berry Blue, Grape, Cherry, Orange, Lemonade, and Lemon-Lime)

  • About 10 drops of McCormick's food coloring (Blue, purple.......)

  • 12 oz. water

  • 4 oz. vinegar

  • A dash of salt

After soaking the yarn in hot water for about 20 minutes and bringing my Kool-Aid concoction to just below a boil - I placed the yarn in the Kool-Aid pot and simmered until the color had all (or most all) had been absorbed by the yarn. Then cooled until I could handle it and rinsed with the same water temperature as the Kool-Aid bath. That was it! I still want to play around with more colors and food coloring - I want to try Wilton's as I've read it is a good food coloring with more color choices.

For any readers of my blog - I wish you a wonderful and colorful summer. Happy knitting (if you knit- if not you should try it) - peace, love, hope and joy!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Sweater to Dye For

The photo above is the sweater (well, yarn that was previously a sweater) I had written about previously. The sweater I was hoping really was mohair because I wanted to try overdyeing it with Kool-Aid. Yep - mohair and maybe a little bit of something else. I ended up with about 5 ounces - well, that's what my $1.00 kitchen scale said - of periwinkle bliss.

After frogging the sweater Friday night I started experimenting with Kool-Aid using the microwave method. I wanted to see what colors would work as an overdye. I started with grape, Berry Blue, black cherry, and strawberry. I laid my skeins out on Saran Wrap and set forth to explore the world of dyeing. First I hand-painted a small skein using a turkey baster and a little of each color - this was a little tedious and the dyes pretty much ran together. I ended up ditching the strawberry and dyed three test skeins solid with remaining colors. The picture to the left shows the test runs. The skein on the bottom is the yarn before dyeing, left is Berry Blue, then black cherry, grape, and the varigated on the right. I loved the berry blue - it really surprised me! I really liked the black cherry too.

Saturday I had decided to split the batch of undyed skeins and dye them Berry Blue and black cherry. I started with berry blue - some of the skeins took more of the blue dye than the others so I did not get an even color on the whole batch. I ended up playing with more colors and going for the varigated look. I'll post pictures later - as they are outside drying as I write.

If you haven't tryed the Kool-Aid dye - you should. It is fun, cheap, and easy. I will put a link to the guide I used to get started. I can't wait to experiment with more colors. I picked up a few more sweater to frog - one is a cream colored cashmere I paid a whopping $2.98 for! It may become my next Kool-Aid victim! I found Kool-Aid on sale for 10 cents a pack. I totally stocked up - at that price I figure what I don't use for dye - we can drink!