Wednesday, September 26, 2012

adventures in wool part two

 A fitting alternative title would be the trouble with bees.  I would have taken a picture of the goldenrod I used to dye this but I was busy.  I went out and gathered all the goldenrod from the yard I could find.  I saw the bees but thought I was being careful about knocking them off before I collected the flowers.  My husband is allergic, which prompted me to actually fit up the front porch as a dyeing studio, pictures of that later. So I only intended to bring the flowers into the house long enough to weight them I needed a 10:1 ratio for the dye vat. After accounting for the weight of the container I had just shy of 11 oz and called it good enough.  I dumped the flowers into the pot and started filling it with water when I noticed the pot was crawling with bees!
 I raced it outside and turned the hot water hose on. After filling up the pot and soaking the bees I decided to leave it for them to dry off and fly away while I got Butterfly home from school.  Yeah, not so much.  They dried off, but where still collecting from the flowers that stuck above the waterline. So I poked them with a stick and flung them away.  I then set the pot to boil.  The pictures above are the wool I got for my adventure, I think the color is prettier in person.
 Spinning project I am working on. I have four skeins like this so far.
 1+ lb of Bluefaced Leister/Romney cross, professionally milled and dyed pale indigo. I bought this at Wisconsin Sheep and Wool, which was awesome! Next year Mom and I are leaving Dad at home, as he did not have as nice a time as we did.  Mom decided to take up wool rug hooking while we were there.
I also got this 4+lbs of East Freisan/poly cross.  It is dirty but lovely. I spent about the same for these fleeces highlighting the need for a drum carder.  I also got an oz of silk hankies in pinks and browns.

I hope you project adventures are going well & without bees!~ Julia

Yarn along - red fall dreams

Joining in with the yarn along at Small Things.

I just finished reading Heather Graham's The Uninvited. It was a murder mystery with a bit of ghosts and romance.  Set in a revolutionary war house turned museum, of course I enjoyed the descriptions and history thrown in, but I think that the underlying message, that our heroes were people, with good intentions and human failings, is a very important thing to remember.  It is part of the Krewe of Hunters series but it is not very necessary to read the series in order. Not sure what I will be reading next, but looking for something to take up north with me this Friday.

I received the red skein on the right as a door prize at the Crafter's Retreat I went on.  It is Kraemer brand, part cotton part acrylic, a bit split-y but feels nice and looks good.  I am whipping through a scarf for my cousin's husband for Christmas.  I am beginning to doubt the skein will be enough... fingers crossed.  It is knit lengthwise alternating garter and stockinette about every 4 rows. The other project started as something to keep my hands busy at my mom's one day.  I raided her stash for a not-designated-to-a-project-yet yarn and started a shawl, it is two stranded done in yarn over knit two together eyelet.  I -of course- ran out of the yarn I snagged from mom.  My grandpa boxed a bunch of my Nonnie's yarn up and sent it to me - some whole skeins, some bits and balls. One was four tiny balls of a matching red with silver bits in it.  I am using that currently (you can sort of see on the very edge of the photo) Then we'll see what I add next. This is all acrylic and I plan to match too that at least for washablity.

I finished the green/blue baby blanket and mailed it off to my cousin.  Hopefully, they get lots of use out of it.  It really was so soft!

I look forward to seeing what everyone is working on and reading! ~ Julia

Thursday, September 13, 2012

adventures in wool part one

aka how I spent my week.

Dyeing wool with acorns.  A long review of the internets revealed that everyone does this differently including which part of the acorn they use about the only thing that they agreed on was alum for a mordant and equal parts acorn to wool. 

Armed with this knowledge I began shelling acorns. and shelling. and shelling. and.... you get the idea.  I ended up with a pound of shells.  I soaked them for several hours, boiled them for an hour and let them sit over night.  I boiled them for another hour in the morning and then strained out the shells (mostly...grrr)

I weighted out a pound of wool, it looked like this:

and simmered it in alum for an hour, and rinsed it. Then I simmered the wool in the acorn water.  Oh yeah, by this point my entire house smells like nutty toast and wool, I liked it, my husband not so much.

I then decided to leave the wool in the water over night in the hope that it would darken a bit.  Three days of work took me from cream to light caramel.

not sure if this was worth it.  I plan on trying goldenrod next, no shelling and it makes a pretty yellow.  I did pick up a hot pad so I will be able to do the cooking out on the porch instead of in the kitchen.  Hopefully this will lead to less grumpy husbands.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

yarn along more baby blankets

Joining Ginny at Small Things for her yarn along, again this week, I look forward to seeing what everyone has in their workbaskets as I am in need of knitting inspiration.  I will be attending a crafting retreat this weekend, Mom is joining me.  I hope to get a few projects done and a lot of spinning, but also to learn some new skills and get more inspired!

So here is the baby blanket I am working on.  I think it is getting close I have a ball and a half to add and that is that.  It is soft and pretty but I do not like the way the rows join, it gives the appearance that the square has five sides. If you lay it out you know it doesn't but it appears that way and is irritating me.  I am reading Alden Amos' book on handspinning and The Kingdom by Clive Cussler. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Fair days

 Doll blanket I made from scraps, entered into the fair, got forth place.

Dress I beaded for the Hand stitchery challenge, I did not place, the other ladies work was lovely and mostly embroidery.  I am thinking I went in the wrong direction for the challenge, Butterfly, however loves it! 

 Above is my husband's old beat up ripped t-shirt.  I turned it into this dress for Butterfly and took forth place in the recycling category.
 Close up of the flower.  I followed instructions I found online, I will link if I remember which one I used.
 My family has camped for the whole fair since well before I was born.  Here is Badger & me having breakfast.  I actually was at the fair when I went into labor for her!
My friend with the steampunk wedding entered her dress and won her category.  I really feel like I learned a lot during the judging and look forward to sewing more.

Wool washing

 After much frustration I have figured out why my wool was not getting clean, it had nothing to do with how hot I had the water, and everything to do with the hardness of my water.  After more research I have found that tide works great at counteracting the minerals in my water and allowing me to end up with clean wool. Here is my set up, I meant that second tub to be a rinsing tub, but it was cracked so I will be adding more holes and making it a draining tub and adding a rinsing tub.  Other lessons include, do not let Beaver take a shower while you are doing this or you will have no hot water and...
This is the best way the girls can help.  They ended up playing in the water that spilled and had been playing in the dirt. I hosed Butterfly off and sent her in for a bath, Badger very cutely asked me to dump the bucket on her toy to wash them... it was a trick and soon she was rolling in my muddy wet driveway. Super cute.
This used to be a green house but works nicely as a drying station.  After it was done dripping, I brought it into the porch and ran a fan at it.  It was nearly dry the next morning. The wool is East Fresian/Poly cross.

Old world walk.

 It has been a while since I wrote, no real reason just very busy and with the kids back in school I am hoping to get more time to write.  I thought I would post some pictures of what we have been doing.  In the above photo, are my kids walking with a friend's kids or in the cases of those specs in the distance, running ahead.  We spent a lovely day at Old World Wisconsin. 
 This is a kettle pond and very low due to the drought.
 One of the farmstead on the site.  We had perfect weather for being outside all day.
 At the German heritage are they had activities for the kids. Wearing wooden shoes...
 Sweeping the porch... um playing Harry Potter and mowing the lawn.

I love old barns.