Sunday, August 24, 2008

Disappointing Fay

I think we were all a little disappointed this weekend in the poor show that Hurricane Fay put on in the North Georgia area.  She seemed to pummel Florida with the first hurricane they've seen in a few years, and made landfall more than enough times, but we ended up with an overcast weekend with slight sprinkles.  Mostly it was super-humid.  A bad hair weekend.

School began this last week, and it was mostly satisfying.  I've realized how little I care to be at the law school.  I enjoy my classes, but much like undergrad, I like to get home, do my work in my own space and use my free time to knit and do fiber-things (and see DH, and play with the dog, and all sorts of other-non school related things).  Also, one of my best friends has relocated to the same town I live in, and I'm super-excited to have her around.  Its like undergrad again!  (Except much harder, more expensive and more time consuming)

Today I embarked on my second natural dying experiment.  The first was the eucalyptus wool, a later batch now for sale at my etsy shop BlueMuttDesigns.  The second is marigolds.  I mentioned to my mother a few months ago that I read that marigolds made good dyestuffs (and were readily identifiable in the list I read on Ravelry), so she bought a six pack or two and planted them.  Well, yesterday I saw them and realized they had gotten gigantic.  So I filled up a grocery bag with the heads and here is what happened next:

I pulled the petals off.  It might have actually been easier later on if I had left them on the green parts, since removing all of the marigold petals from the dye bath without a proper colander turned out to be impossible.

Next, simmered on the stove until the water turned yellowish-red.  Next to it the wool was mordanting with approximately 1-2 tsp of alum, 1/2-ish tsp of cream of tartar.  I wasn't really careful with the amounts but used an approximate, since the amounts I had listed were for 1 lb of wool.  This was probably around 4 oz of wool, but were two different types and I have no real idea the weight.

This is the result while still wet.  Initially the color was ridiculously garish.  But the yellow wouldn't rinse out.  Several minutes under a cold tap and two Brown Sheep Wash baths still dripped a urine-like color.  I think the problem was actually the remaining marigold petals.  Once I managed to get most out, the dripping water was almost totally clear.

DH says the color is pretty.  I think its still a bit garish for my tastes.  We'll see.  What is actually there is two skeins of probably 150 yds worsted weight (2 ply) from some undyed I bought at Earth Guild.  The third skein is smaller and is a single.  I think its the undyed that DH got me from Main Street Yarns and Fibers.  Apparently for our anniversary he bought "all they had."  They were low, so it was only about 4 oz.  But it turned out nice anyway!  I think that the eucalyptus wool I have on etsy is from the same batch.  If that's right then its from a local sheep farm.  I can't remember the name of that farm for the life of me right now.

Oh, that reminds me.  Yesterday DH and I went to the local farmers market and I was so excited when we turned the corner and there was dyed handspun hanging from the tent!!!  DH says I "visibly perked up" when we saw it.  It was two lovely shades of purple, both from Cushings dye, she said, from her own sheep!  Next weekend she's going to bring some of her roving and I'm so excited!  I just love getting local stuff, from food to crafts and a source of inexpensive undyed roving would be awesome!

Speaking of Main Street, I picked this lovely Lorna's Laces roving up this week.  The route that this roving took to get to me was a bit circuitous but I love it!  Its about 10 oz total that I bought, and this was only one bobbin full.  I don't think it will go up on etsy since I had some issues with not putting enough twist in some of it so that it pulled apart when I Navajo plied it. 
I love it anyway!  (pottery is from a flea market benefiting the State Botanical Garden that I bought for $.10 because its handles broke off)

Research on a few websites leads me to believe that this color is called Envy, but I think I'll call it Grasshopper.  Its not the vibrant green I would think of as "envy."

And ahhh, I love Mmmmalabrigo....   These are the mittens that I am making for my grandmother.  (The pattern is awesomely amazing and is by Katherine E. Fagan).  I can't say enough how much I love Malabrigo!  Its so soft and so great to knit with.  Even the Max couldn't keep his paws off of it!  (Shhh...Don't tell DH I just ordered another skein from a fellow Raveler-he doesn't understand the yarn obsession)

Last but not least... I found this at my mother's LYS, Cast-On Cottage.  I used to hate this shop, but they changed owners and its really been reborn into a great little shop with really helpful employees and owner and an amazing selection. (They sell Malabrigo). 

I like to try new sock yarns.  I currently have a skein of Trekking XXL (color 147) from a shop in Michigan ready to go, but I felt that one skein of sock yarn wasn't quite enough (since Lime and Violet are my heroes!)  So I found Happy Feet by Plymouth Yarn.   The price was great-$6 a skein (2 needed)-and while I am very appreciative of hand-dyed, indie dyers, my law school budget does not appreciate it.  (And they say you shouldn't use loan money for anything you don't want to be paying for for 10 years-or so-but whether yarn is worth it is certainly debatable).    This yarn is 90% superwash and 10% nylon and unfortunately is called No. 11.  I agree with Lime and Violet that yarns are more exciting when they have cool names... but apparently Plymouth Yarns doesn't agree.  Oh well.  No idea what I'll do with it though... time will tell.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Getting Ready and Winding Down

Well, its official.  The school year is about to begin.  Tomorrow morning I must once again begin the cycle of classes, reading, and briefing.  This year, however, I've chosen my courses.  I am very excited about them.  I am also doing an externship, which should cut into my free time considerably but will be (I hope) very beneficial to my legal education and growth.

I also have news: I opened my ETSY store this week!

BlueMutt Designs is where I am selling stitch markers, some hand spun and hand dyed yarn, and project bags that I've made.

I've opened it not so much to make a lot of money, but to spread the proceeds of my inherent craftiness.  I love to make, but myself and those that I love can only use so much of my made items.  So hopefully this will be a way for me to fund my *makingness and also donate to charity.

I've decided that 10% of the purchase price of everything will go to the Madison Oglethorpe Animal Shelter where the BlueMutt (Max) came from.  They're a great bunch of big-hearted people, but they need financ
ial support to keep saving the lives of the poor dogs and cats that are neglected in our area.  I give time, when I can, and money, when I can, but with this Etsy store, I'm hoping to give more!

In spinning and knitting news...


Monday we visited Main Street Yarns & Fibers and I picked up five skeins of Riverstone, one in cream (can't find the ball band) and four in French Blue.  I'm making the Hexacomb Cardigan from Interweave Knits.  Its a really easy repeat and I love the colors!

On Friday, while driving through Lawrenceville, I saw the sign for Yarn Garden Knit Shop.  I was literally driving by and spotted it.  Needless to say my passenger thought I was a little crazy.  But I was driving so we stopped and I picked up my first and possibly the most beautiful yarn in the world skein of Malabrigo in Dusty Olive.  I've heard of this... but until I saw it, I didn't understand:

It is destined to be a pair of mittens for my grandmother. I've chosen the Plait Cable Mittens.  I think a little cable won't detract from the colors.

Spinning-wise... DH and I watched In the Shadow of the Moon on Saturday night and while we did, I spun some undyed roving I bought back in May at Earth Guild.  It is really soft, and was really inexpensive.  The movie, by the way, was fascinating. Its a documentary about the NASA moon missions and the background behind them.  I wanted to be an astronaut when I was little, so it was really interesting to me.

While the summer (at least activities-wise) is winding down, I have a lot to look forward to in the coming months!

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Race begins

The Olympics began tonight...but we decided instead to watch the Tin Man episode 3.  I am half-heartedly boycotting the games, and DH doesn't want to watch what they put on the television.  Instead he is currently watching women's sharp-shooting live.  

Why am I (half-heartedly) boycotting the games?  Because, like many people, I am concerned with the laundry list of human rights violations that China has racked up (esp. Tibet).  I was also disturbed by the comments made by the PRC in response to Pres. Bush's comments on how freedom of religion and speech are ultimately good for the county.  Its (half-hearted) because I'm not usually that interested in the Olympics anyway.  I can't claim to be giving up much.

The race I am referring to is the proverbial rat-race.

Next week begins on-campus interviews and I am so proud to have a few! I remember just last year... hoping against hope that I would be one of the ones dressed up with a place to go in one of the many small interview rooms on campus. While not everything has worked out as I'd hoped, it appears I will be quite busy this year.

This week brought heavy winds to our fair city, but unfortunately, our corner received no rain. 
The lack of rain (big surprise there) has led to the garden being very wilted... more so than earlier in the summer, since DH has decided he is tired of watering it early in the morning,  during our allotted times (and no rain in our puny rain barrel!)  We are also really running out of places to put all of the tomatoes.  We planted six plants: one Lemon Boy, one Golden Jubilee, two Mountain Fresh, one Roma and one Mr. Stripey.  The only one that didn't get huge was the Mr. Stripey, planted last in the shade of the other plants.  We learned our lesson:  don't plant six tomato plants!  Also, don't plant them so close-they're like a forest of tomato leaves-I can hardly see the plants.  (For those interested we also planted bush beans-mine, yellow crooked-neck squash, Hungarian peppers-mine, Japanese white eggplant, red, yellow, green and purple bell peppers, corn, okra and asparagus came up on its own-oh and lettuce back in the early spring)

This is from some time in July-today we had at least four times that amount of tomatoes.

On to fiber!  I have been knitting and spinning quite a bit lately.  I finished the BFL from the Spinning Loft.

I also completed my Frontier Blues Jacket by Wendy Bernard, but I left the whole thing at my parent's house!  I've decided to add some toggle buttons held on by i-cords, since I am a cardigan-buttoned-up type person.  I have to go to the city next friday for an interview, so I'll stop by and pick that up.  (And the dog's harness, and the assorted other things I left scattered around the house).

Somehow I forgot to take pictures of the French Lilac roving spun up, but will next time.  

However, I purchased approximately 4 oz. of Louet roving called Grape Jelly, and spun that it into about 300 yards of worsted weight yarn.  I'm so proud of myself for spinning it so finely!  That I did while watching the first two episodes of the Tin Man.  And some episodes of The Riches.

I am also working on a vest for Warm Woolies

The pattern is called Good Day Cables, is very easy, and is listed on their website.

Last but not least-tonight I picked up the Easy-Peasy Eye Pillow, from Shut Up, I'm Counting.  Her blog is hilarious and the pattern is super easy.  Lots of great Christmas presents coming right along!

Tomorrow I'm off to try and get some dogs adopted in the morning.  There's one in particular I want to go to a good home.  I wish I could adopt them all... but our house is a zoo as it is!

Friday, August 1, 2008

The first post

I want to clarify that title. Being that I am in Georgia, and so many odd things are illegal here, I thought this would be a good title for a law student. I've checked the O.C.G.A. however, and knitting, in fact, does appear to be legal.

This blog is going to be my attempt to share my knitting and spinning experiences with others. I've learned a lot, and been quite entertained, by other knitting and spinning bloggers. Maybe someone may learn the wrong way to do something from my experiences... or be inspired on their own.

We'll see what happens. I'm looking forward to a fun ride.

What's on my needles:

the Frontier Blues Jacket by Wendy Bernard using Cascade 220 in a greenish-blueish color

the Menehune Cobblestone Socks by Adrienne Fong using Crystal Palace Yarns Panda Silk Print in a greenish-blueish color

Surprisingly, that's all I'm knitting right now. The socks I modified to knit from the toe up, two at a time, and I've developed TFK, or Tired-of-Fiddly-Knitting Syndrome. Similar to SSS, or Second-Sock-Syndrome, TFK is characterized by annoyedness at fiddly, two-at-a-time socks and leads me to believe that I really only want socks that are anklets so I can be done. (Which is a lie-I hate those types of socks).

Spinning-wise, I just completed 4oz of beautiful roving from the Spinning Loft called French Lilacs. It spun up nicely on my Ashford Traditional into a barber-pole type effect.

Also I'm hard at work at 4oz of Blue-Faced Leicester that I'm doing on an Ann Grout drop spindle.  Approximately 120 yards down, a bunch to go!