January 28, 2009
Somewhere in the middle of December I was seized with the notion I had to knit Wesley a hat for Christmas. The perfect yarn has been languishing since late 2004 when I purchased a huge hank of luxious charcoal grey wool of unknown type, the label has long since disappeared. This is the softest yarn I have ever worked with. Knitting the grey hat I kept fondling the yarn almost regretting that I hadn’t bought two hanks to make a sweater.
A couple summers ago I knit up some socks that had an intuitive pattern which I loved and it seemed like it’d be a perfect foundation pattern adapted into a hat. The hat knit together quickly and the parents loved it on Wesley. Six month old Wesley wasn’t quite as sure since he’s not a huge fan of things on his head.
Little Buddy Hat
I was pressed to knit it and get it finished in a hurry so I didn’t write the pattern down as I shaped the crown, something I came to regret after the parents’ enthusiastic response to the hat. (Neither of them gets excited about handknits). A couple weeks ago they went out to eat and when they returned home they realized the hat wasn’t on Wesley’s head. They searched the car and called the restaurant to no avail. It was the opportunity to make another one and write the pattern row by row as I shaped the top. The second hat was met was equal happiness and now I’m on to a third, this one with smaller needles but more stitches. My goal is to develope a pattern that will fit several sized heads that I can print up and offer for sale.
I just put up for sale at Ravelry my first pattern: Felted Spindle Pouch for Walking Spinners. I designed the pouch in 2006 when I was doing a lot of spinning while out walking and needed a good place to stash the spindle and roving. As soon as I get all the kinks worked out and sizings figured I’ll be adding Little Buddy’s hat. I’d be tickled to have a few people test drive the pattern before it gets published.
January 14, 2009
Posted by Wanda J under Dyeing
, Spinning  Comments
Lately I’ve been testing new waters and, while not getting quite the outcomes in mind, having fun. A tendency to avoid a great deal of pre-study and reading on a new interest, instead plunging in almost directly means I get to explore without a lot of rules. True there’s lots of trial and error which can energize my brain.
I love wrapping a Turkish spindle in a silk hankie to send to the person purchasing the spindle. Every spinner should spin silk at least once in their spinning life. It didn’t take long to go through several packages of hankies paying full retail price, and while I did swap with a person who sent some beautiful silk, she’s in nursing school and has a busy life. It was time to try dyeing silk hankies to cut down on the cost.
Koolaid was my choice: convenient and non-toxic. The first go around I split the 8 ounce pack in two. I’d read of people laying roving on plastic wrap, squirting it with the dyes, rolling it up and microwaving it. That’s what I did. Mixing a packet of Grape Koolaid with about 1/2 c of water and a glog of vinegar in one jar, a packet of Black Cherry in another, Lemon-Lime, Strawberry… there was soon a regiment of Koolaid filled jars parading across the counter. Syringes were employed to anoint the silk with dye which promptly ran off the silk, off the plastic wrap, spilled over the counter and made a mess.
Plan Two: Put the 4 ounces, laying on the plastic wrap, into a glass baking dish to contain the dyes. Syringes worked for getting the dye on the top layer but soon my fingers were stained from trying to gently coax the Koolaid through the layers. At last the hankies are rolled and put into the microwave for a minute of cooking followed by a minute of cooling. And more minutes of cooking and cooling until the dye was exhausted (no color left floating in the dish). So was the wrap. Fried. Sort of melted onto the silk. A rinsing in warm water didn’t get the plastic off the silk and the first couple of ruined silk hankies were unavoidedly removed with the plastic.
Plan Three: While the first 4 ounces were going through cycles of cooking and cooling it seemed wise to try soaking the other 4 ounces in water with a splash of vinegar so the fibers would more readily absord the Koolaid. A 20 minute soak seemed reasonable. Carefully squeezing out the water I then laid the batch flat in another glass dish. The soaked silk took the Koolaid much better. Blotting up the excess dye with paper towels the hankies were loosely rolled up in the dish and set in the oven was set at 180 degrees. No plastic wrap or microwave. The silk absorbed heat and dye for around 30 minutes followed by rinsing then laying the stack on a towel to dry.
I was tickled red by how the second batch turned out. I have tons to learn yet but that’s part of the fun. Experimenting with colors and concentrations. This is the year for learning about colors.
January 7, 2009
The wind is howling around the house, shaking it with great gusts. Drenching rain is supposed to move in later tonight. Already the creeks and rivers are swollen with runoff from melting snow and recent rain. Rather than look at our dreary rain sodden place in the world I’d like to take you on a walk through the snow that we had two weeks ago.
Walk one block east and a block south and we’re standing in the main part of this small village which is at the bottom of Grandview Ave hill, a most excellent sledding run, until the sander comes along but for several days the sander had too many roads that were more important.
Turn east and head up Crooked Finger Road towards the county park. Crooked Finger is the only road leading up into the Cascade foothills from town. It is a major road with many people living along the ten mile stretch.
The beautiful flowering plum trees lining Crooked Finger up to the park were savaged by the snow and ice.
People attempting to come down Crooked Finger had to go around many barriers. Several carried chainsaws and removed trees and branches as they came. We are at a far end of the county, not exactly a priority for county or state departments.
Turning off Crooked Finger at the pole we walk through unbroken snow down to the creek.
An ice encased world.
Faith was enchanted with the snow.
I have been doing a bit of dyeing, started and finished one knitting project and some spinning here and there.