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!