Not just a hobby, it's a way of Life

Archive for March, 2009

Let me ‘splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

And no, Buttercup is not about to marry Prince Humperdink in little less than half an hour.

I wasn’t planning on getting into all of this on the blog, so let me give you the summary

February 13 – My mom’s position, along with several other workers in the warehouse, is done away with, necessitating her to go to a different, more physical job

March 12 (oh so very close to the next Friday the 13th) – Mom has another TIA, her third or possibly fourth, but doesn’t suffer any lasting effects

March 20 – In a joint decision between my mom, her boss, the HR director, and my mom’s eye doctor – she is no longer employed and will have to seek disability.

Sigh.  She’s pretty okay with not working, but I know the disability process will be a nightmare.  Night.  Mare.  And then there’s that issue of health insurance.  Did you know you have to wait two years to qualify for Medicare after you go on disability?  Anyone priced personal health insurance lately?  You don’t want to.

Okay, moving on to the good.

We’re going on vacation!!!!!  Ragged and Cynical have ever so graciously invited us to join them in their travels.  We’ve already booked the accommodations for our first leg and Oh My.  It is fantastic.

I promised more pictures of the dyed yarn, and as you can tell from above, I got a bit distracted.  On to the yarn!

A brighter picture of the whole group

A brighter picture of the whole group

The Blue Range

The cool range

The warm range

The warm range

And here is the one that I wasn’t thrilled with.  Sure enough, it’s growing on me.

Throwing good dye after bad - but it works.

Throwing good dye after bad - but it works.

The dye I first put on it split colors like crazy.  I was waffling as to whether I should try adding any more to it, or just call it a loss.  In the end, I dumped it on, wrapped it up and left it to The Universe.  The Universe does good work.

I also redyed some yarns that just weren’t working for me.

Before:

Classic Elite Miracle in pale aqua

Classic Elite Miracle in pale aqua

After:

Classic Elite Miracle no longer pale aqua

Classic Elite Miracle no longer pale aqua

Before:

Skein on the right was just not quite right

Skein on the right was just not quite right

After: (and yes, the other one got redyed at an earlier time, along with this one, so this is actually an over-overdye)

Thats better

That's better

Before:

The top two skeins had just a tiny bit too bright of pink

The top two skeins had just a tiny bit too bright of pink

After:

Not anymore

Not anymore

And this week I received some colorful goodies from the Juliespins Un-club.

Juliespins targhee in Posies

Juliespins targhee in Posies

Okay, I think you’re up to speed.  March has been a whirlwind, to say the least.

Colorful endeavors

Ragged pondered what everyone has been up to.  Well, last week I received the last of my undyed sock club yarns, a merino/tencel blend.

Wool2Dye4 Merino Tencel

Wool2Dye4 Merino Tencel

Closeup of W2D4 Merino Tencel

Closeup of W2D4 Merino Tencel

This is a yummy blend.  Here’s the whole gang.

Clockwise from top left: Merino Bamboo Twostep, BFL Ultra, Socks2Dye4 Merino, and Merino/Tencel

Clockwise from top left: Merino Bamboo Twostep, BFL Ultra, Socks2Dye4 Merino, and Merino/Tencel

So, what do you think this might have inspired me to do?

Ive been playing Vampire Wars too much

I've been playing Vampire Wars too much

Oooh, I like this

Oooh, I like this

Yup, I’ve definitely been dyeing.

Dye cakes

Dye cakes

In addition to this, I had some yarns that just weren’t quite the right color, and they got a new life as well.  I also used the old crockpot for the first time in a dyeing capacity.

My overall plan, since each type of yarn had enough for two pair of socks, was to dye a pair’s worth a semi-solid, and the other a coordinating variegated.  So, if all went well, I should have four semi-solids and four variegateds.  (Tune in tomorrow to see how that went.)

The thing about dyeing is it teaches you patience.  Once I steamed my yarns for an hour, I shut off the head, and let them gradually cool down overnight.  As important as getting the yarn up to the temp needed for the dye to fix, the cooldown process is equally important.  It’s a bit like x-mas morning when I’ve dyed yarns, because I cannot wait to see the results.

They are drying as I type, but I’ll give you a couple of previews.  First of all, you don’t want a lot of dye washing out when you rinse, because that either means you used too much dye, or it didn’t fix to the yarn.  Everyone knows red is the most prone to ‘bleeding’.

No-bleed reds

No-bleed reds

Not my reds, baby.  This is the first dip into the rinse water, having been swished around.  There’s just no washout.  I used to have problems with this, so I upped my citric acid a whole bunch, and voila.  I also put the citric acid in the dye itself, as opposed to putting it in the soak water for the yarn.  It practically strikes the moment it hits the yarn.

And here’s the group shot.

Drip-dry beauties

Drip-dry beauties

One thing I always forget is how labor-intensive dyeing is.  At the risk of bringing the Wrath of  Mothers down upon me, could I say I think it’s a bit like the childbirth process (yes, I know it’s nothing in comparison, but I did nearly rip my fingernail off, and that hurt quite a bit) in that once you see the beauty you have created, all the effort it took pales in comparison.   I think that can be said for any creative process.

Photos tomorrow of the dried, possibly reskeined yarn.  I think I’m very pleased with all of them, with one possible exception.  And no, you can’t identify it in the picture above.  Which means I’m very pleased with the yellow and orange.  Surprise!

Vampirin’ and visits.

Sweater that was driving me nuts – done!

Socks that were lovely, but far too fiddlely of a pattern – done!

Overcoming my hermitous tendencies – well, good progress was made.

Yes, despite the snorting and hacking, it was a rather full weekend.  Saturday, Ramblin and I tore ourselves away from Vampirin’ (Facebook is the root of all evil, in case you were curious) to stimulate the economy with our once-in-a-blue-moon grocery stock up.  Then, amidst the resumed Vampirin’, Farmwife called to report she and her friends were about 1 1/2 hours away from the local coffee house, and did I want to meet up with them?  So, off I went, meeting Art and Did, finally getting to put faces to names.  During our visit, I decided that should I ever decide to write a detective novel, it shall be named “Night of the Mango”.  I was very glad to share such good company.

Then, I toodled on over to Jenny from the Blog’s house, to meet her new kitty, Buffy aka Roxie Gladys SassyCat Bombdiggity (that’s my bizarre contribution to the naming process).  We had a great visit, and learned about the impending weather, that ended up being right on target.  Finally, after my big night out, I headed home.

This morning, we slept in, only to find out we really slept in, as we had not turned the clocks up last night.  We headed to my mom’s, where we had delectable roast and potatoes, steamed and buttered carrots and cabbage, and green beans.  Yum.   Yum.  Yum.  It was during our visit that the weather took a turn for the worse.  Wind, rain, and a very close lightning strike made for an exciting time.

We headed home after the skies cleared, to another visit (wow, that really was a whole lot of visiting, wasn’t it?) with Rudy, Brando and the kiddlins.  Their friends were visiting as well, looking over the livestock.  We stayed for a while, then had to head home since Rudy spun a fortunate Glyph for vampirin’ (see the pattern developing?).

And that’s where we’ve been since.  This week is Spring Break, which means no kiddlins on campus and we get to wear blue jeans.  Hoo.  Ray.

Have a good week everybody!

Cough and snort

Well shoot, I’m sick.  I can’t say it’s entirely a surprise, since almost everyone I’ve shared company with in the last week has been sick.  Zicam is good, but it does have its limits.

It feels like it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted anything about my knitting, so here goes.

I finished off this baby blanket.  The recipient was quite thrilled.

Easy Peasy Soft and Squeezy Baby Blanket

Easy Peasy Soft and Squeezy Baby Blanket

And here is my current project.  Note that the care in taking this picture reflects my joy with said project.  I just want it done.

February Lady Sweater

February Lady Sweater

Like I said, the picture is hideous, but I found myself not caring enough to get out of the recliner and take a better one.  I will model it properly once the blasted thing is finished.

However, I did get something nice in the mail today –

Allspunup BFL fiber

Allspunup BFL fiber

That’s the March spin-along fiber from Allspunup.  Would you like to take a closer look?  Of course you would.

That is wooly goodness.  I missed her January spin-along fiber, and I’m still sad about that.  It was divine.  These aren’t my typical colors, as any of the regular blog readers will know, but I think it will be gorgeous regardless.

Time to go knit some more so I can move on to better projects.

Stay well!  Don’t let the crud bugs bite!

Oh yes, it’s March, isn’t it?

Oops, hi Chris!  Her comment reminded me I haven’t posted in a while.

Things have been okay here, just non-exciting.  Which is good for life in general, but not for blog fodder.

Still liking the html course.  I could go on and on about how cool it is to know #330066 is a lovely shade of purple, or that I can now code external CSS for webpages.  But mostly, that would probably make you go, “huh?”

The knitting?  Well, I did get a baby blanket knitted for Ramblin’s cousin.  She’ll be having an Aries child.  Poor girl. (says the former Aries child)

I started a February Lady Sweater, in a yarn that was kind of eh, just because I wanted to see if the sweater would be flattering or not.  Theoretically, if I liked it, I could make another in something nicer.  But who can say if I’ll want to do another.

I’m still working on the Loopy Loves Ewe socks.  Charted knitting isn’t getting a lot of play right now.

This week could be a good mail week, as I will be getting the mystery spin-along fiber from Allspunup.  Remember this fiber?  I’m expecting amazing things.

Also, I believe I should shortly receive the final installment of the undyed fiber club.  Then you know the only thing left to do?  Dye it.  I have a Friday off soon, and if the weather straightens up, I know exactly what I’ll be doing.

I think that’s all the news that’s fit to print.