Saturday, July 26, 2014

It's Always Something

 Considering I have only one thing on the needles at this time, I haven't had much luck in the knitting department. These two balls of sock yarn I recently spun already have an issue that I discovered when I used it to cast on. This ball is lime greenish.....

 ....and this one is more olive. I used the same fiber out of the same bag to spin it so I'm not sure I know what's going on here.

 I'm just glad I noticed it before I started knitting with it or I would have had socks of two different colors and that would have made me crazy. What I am doing to remedy this is to knit one row with one ball and one row with the other. It's a real pain in the patootie and gives you that jog thing up the back. Yes, I know there is a remedy for that but I'm too lazy to do anything about it but complain. Grrr....

I do like the little stripes I added from the leftover singles but I can tell you that all in all, I am disappointed at how the colors are turning out. Who knew that when you mix lime green singles with rainbow colored singles that you would get a harvest gold, avocado and burnt orange effect right out of a vintage 70's kitchen? Bummer.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Running Out of Road

 The announcers on the Tour de France said that the riders are "running out of road". So am I. I've been frantic all week because it looks like I won't have much to show off on Sunday when it's all said and done.

 I did get some plying done yesterday. I took that bobbin of neon green and wound it on the winder and them plied from both ends to use it up. It's always risky with a ball that big but this time it worked like a charm.

 Now I have a lime skein to go with the turquoise. Nice.

 I also washed the last of the Gulf Coast and dyed it navy. I used a new method. I plopped it into a big baggy and sat it up in some Rubbermaid then gave it a few spins in the microwave.

 Perfect. Not a speck of dye left in the water.

 In this humidity it's not drying fast enough. I don't have time to wait, I need that dry now.

 Back inside I've been tearing up the batts into strips.

 I'm going to randomly spin them into one bobbin of singles for some crazy stripes.

I'm going across the five hooks and then switching colors. This should give me some big color repeats but more importantly it's going to give me something fun to do for the remainder of the Tour. Everything else has become a big yawn.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Good Times

 Last Sunday we had the rare opportunity to gather as a family to celebrate a big accomplishment.

 Middle Sister's son graduated from college.

 Little Sister hosted the event and along with her dear Daughter in Law came up with all the creative touches that made the day so special. We had diploma napkins....

 ...and graduation caps with stars hanging everywhere along with plenty of pennants, balloons and streamers.

 Even dessert was in his school colors. The day was perfect. Except for the part where I emailed a gift certificate to the new graduate the morning of the party-the surprise party. Surprise!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Still Adrift in the Gulf

 All that Gulf Coast fiber dried nice and fluffy. My new washing technique worked like a charm. It's still pretty awful fiber as I was down to the really yucky part of the fleece but it's still fun to play with.

 I spent a happy hour or so picking it while watching the Tour. I've learned less is more when prepping fleece for the carder. I spent lots of bucks on all kinds of tools but my hands work best.

It's hard to tell but this is a grocery bag of picked through fluff ready to card.

 It's a quick and easy carding job once it's in the fluff stage.

 I had three more batts in no time....

...but it didn't solve my dilemma as the new batts don't come close to matching the old batts colors. I'm thinking I'm going to just tear into them all and just spin them as random stripes. I think. That's what I get for not ever thinking too far ahead.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Gulf Coast Blues, Continued

 The next Gulf Coast batts to be spun created a big dilemma. When I was done the first batt, this is all I had. The second batt plied with this one wouldn't give me very much finished yarn so back to the drawing board.

 I decided to spend a day washing the rest the Gulf Coast fiber in the stash shed. It was going to be a big job because it was really dirty.

 I had an unusual audience while I was working. This is Mommy. She is the elusive mother of the four kittens I rescued from the woods. It's weird that Mommy would hang out with me as she is very skittish. I rewarded her with some treats so maybe, after four years, she is ready to forgive me for having trapped her to have her spayed. After all, I did take all of her kids off her hands. She really has no patience with her grownup babies anymore and gives them a good swat whenever she can. I can totally relate.

 That fleece was so dirty I had to soak it for two days, changing the water often.

 See? Yucky poo. Literally.

 I still have my fleece draining hook in the front yard. The Mister was just asking me about it the other day. I think he wants it gone. It's staying.

 On washing day I decided to try and wash the piles of fleece the way I wash the locks.

 The theory is that if you use lots of soap you can scrub without any danger of felting. It works on the delicate Merino so why wouldn't it work on the more sturdy Gulf Coast?

 I had a regular assembly line going. Wash, rinse, wash, rinse.

 I only had four bags full so I was done in no time.

 I used hot sink water mixed with simmering water from the stove to get the water really hot.

 It looks pretty clean.

 Next up was adding color. I wanted to try and come close to the colors of the batts I already had but I knew that was going to be hard. I didn't write anything down as usual. Shame on me.

 I stuffed the clean fiber into the jars...

 ...and put them on the stove to simmer for a while.

The fiber seems clean enough and didn't felt so washing was a success but the colors are only so-so. I think I may have to come up with a new plan for this fiber because lots of little skeins are going to be pretty useless. I think it may be time to just get wild and crazy with it-after all, it's probably just going to end up as a stripe in a scrap blanket someday.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Gulf Coast Blues

 Remember these bobbins?

 Now they are a skein of yarn. That grungy stuff behind it is what I started with. That's some stinky old Gulf Coast fleece.

 I thought things were going along pretty well. As nasty as the fleece was, and as lumpy as the batts were, I was pleased with the skein.

 Then I soaked it and noticed all the dye that was bleeding out. Arghh....wasn't I just admiring my dye job? Too soon, my friends, too soon.

After another wash, a good twack and some sunshine it dried a bit lighter in color and I do believe the bleeding stopped. Now I have to wonder what's going to happen with the other batts I dyed at the same time that I am currently spinning. This should be fun.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Coming Clean

 I got a special delivery the other day.

 I bought the fixings for making soap.

 Not the hard way. Not the lye and cross your fingers way.....

 ....the melt it and pour it way.

 Here are the directions. Seriously. Even I can do this.

I was prompted into my soap making adventure after admiring all the soap I saw here. I'm too chicken to do it the old fashioned way just yet but if this is a success I'm pretty sure it's not too far down the road.