Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Two Steps Forward and One Back

 The pantry is all stocked and organized!  It only took 2 hours to restock!  (And there is room for more supplies as we enter Hurricane season!)
 The purge pile grew!  Bill is going to take it all out and find homes for it in the trash or the resale shed!  Have at it!

The soap is all dried so I made labels for it and put some raffia for the pretty factor!  One of the best factors is that it leaves your skin so moisturized you don't need lotions after your shower.  I am very happy with the sample batch!
 My step back is the pretty Field of Flowers no longer exists.  For now.  I have to redraw that pattern as the two color knitting drew in more then I had expected and it won't fit.  I could look for someone with super small feet but I would prefer to make this idea work so it is back to the drawing board.   The good news is I have a handle on the gauge now so I can do the math and get it right this time!
 I cast on a basic sock so I have a consolation knitting project.   I am teaching a friend to knit the toe-up sock and this is what I cast on as I showed her how to start.  She already knew how to knit so she caught on quickly.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Pantry Perk

 Last year I had wanted to empty the pantry, reorganize and paint it.  My foot kind of rearranged my schedule but this year......well, it was time!
 It took me four hours to empty this little gold mine of storage space!
 I piled everything in the dining room-very little (the pile by the sliding glass doors) is going to the garage, the rest goes back in the pantry!
 All my appliances and food supplies and dying supplies and soap making cat food, well you get the idea!
 Once I emptied the room, I scrubbed it top to bottom and then taped up the floor and the hot water heater which is just inside the door to the left.
 At this point, Bill came in to see my progress and offered to spray paint so I didn't have to stand in there with a paint brush for the next four hours!  We set the sprayer up outside the kitchen window and then slipped the hose through the window  and...
into the kitchen and to the pantry!  I sealed Bill in there and in 25 minutes, he had the job done!
I have a sparkling white pantry!  Stay tuned for the after picture late tomorrow.

I Photos

This is my very own indigo growing.........and waiting for me to learn how to use it in the dyepot!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Saponification Saturday!

I have been reading how to make my own soap for months now.  Today was the day!
I gathered all my ingredients and weighed and measured everything according to instructions.
I melted my fats and oils on a low heat so I could then go and mix my Lye and Goat's milk outside so I didn't stink up the house with fumes from the lye.  The lye mixture heats the milk up to 150* pretty quickly-it is fascinating.
When I had both of the pots cooled to the same temperature, I could then combine them and then stirred my heart out but it was so worth it when the saponification occurs......the lye and fats combine to form soap!
Once it thickens enough you have to get it into the molds....this was difficult alone but I got it done without a mishap.
Everything had to sit, covered for 24 hours before popping it out of the molds.
Isn't it beautiful?  This is Goat's milk/coconut oil soap; my first batch and it now has to dry for a week or two-I think in the air conditioning it will only need to cure for a week but I will sample to see.  If you use it too soon, it is too soft in the shower and won't last long enough.  It is a learning curve but I have been bitten by this bug!  My inner scientist is smiling!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Second Half as Grand as the First

 On Wednesday, I had a play date with a friend's children!  We toured our neighbors farm, took a swim and when the rain chased us indoors, we made the melted beads suncatchers!  We made some small ones to hang from the bottom of the large disc so this is a great wind chime now, too!  If you look closely, the kids ARRANGED each bead instead of dumping them in the cake pan.  This took forever but they were happy and I took the cues for patience from them!
 I am seeing the sock morph from paper to foot!  It is a harder knit than the usual Fair Isle charts which are regular in their repeats but I am catching on to the randomness of the design!
 I finished the first of many of these cotton wash cloths to go with my soaps!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Good Week so Far!

 I began the rainy Monday by attempting to hand sew the binding on the quilt.  I immediately attracted a rainy day napper instead!  So of course I picked up my knitting instead...
I did manage to finish the binding and washed and dried it!  It is all packed and ready to deliver!
I knit my little skein of milk fiber into its swatch for the binder!
I made some goat's milk soap with lavender.  I used my first bar this morning in the shower-wow!  It is such a luxury.
The socks are officially finished.
I made a summer dress for a friend who had given me the fabric and asked for a dress in exchange!
Last night, I began the Field of Flowers socks but immediately ran into a problem.  The socks were way too large for a woman and since Bill doesn't appreciate flowers on his feet I had to re-size the chart.  This is my third drawing but I am ready to start it again in the morning!

Monday, July 22, 2013

H for Hurry!

                                            Hanks of hand spun yarn!

I am terribly behind on this week's is almost time for I!!!!!!!!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Crossing the Finish Line!

 I had spun 2120 yards of my goal of 2125 yards so this morning after getting ready for church, I spun up the milk by-product fiber for my final 37 yards.........but when I finished taking it off the wheel, I was still short 5 yards!  A quick dive in the stash uncovered this bit of a batt!
 So, after church, I spun up the little Corriedale  batt and achieved an additional 60 yards and so attained my goal of 2125 yards (miles)......the distance of the Tour de France!
This is what the 2,180 yards looks like!  I am smiling like the winner, Christopher Froome of Britain!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Approaching the Finish Line

 I hit the floor spinning this morning to catch up on the race........I needed 2,042 yards by this evening!  This skein added 112 yards of Peruvian Wool spun fingering weight.
 By noon I had two skeins adding another 110 yards of the same kind of wool.
 After dinner, I finished the third skein of another 110 yards so I surpassed my goal tonight by ending with 2,088 yards!!!  Tomorrow I only need another 37 yards and I will accomplish that after church by spinning the July fiber from the Fiber Binder Club!
 On the knitting front, I am making another feather and fan pattern-the stitches are the same but I left out the garter row between patterns.....I am pleased with the results.  I also reduced the needle size to a 1 which makes a nice firm fabric with the Stroll handpainted yarn from KnitPicks.
 I have the second sock already clipping along on the needles!
I did sew the binding onto the T shirt quilt but didn't manage to get the hand sewing done.  It will wait for me!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Being Home and Getting it in Gear Again

 Proof I finished the feather and fan socks in NY-sitting in the SYR airport before boarding!
A welcome home sunset.
I got the socks washed and blocked and in the ta-da pile!
I don't have anyone in mind for these at this time.
 I thought it was about time I caught up on the Tour de Fleece since I did NO spinning while in NY.  I had brought this sliver and a drop spindle to spin at my parents but the event just never materialized.  Now that I am home,  I oiled up the Ashford Traveler and got my miles in for today.
And then I turned the quilt since I had stalled on that before the trip.  Sometimes the quilt gets too big to be able to stitch the full design and when that happens, you have to unpin the quilt and turn it to stitch from the other end.  I got it all turned and realigned with the pantograph and finished it....I worked off and on all day switching between spinning and stitching!
 I managed to finish the other bobbin of single and then plied them into the finished yarn.
 It is a very springy yarn since I spun it woolen-I wish you could give it a squeeze to see what I mean!
204 yards of sport weight yarn added to the TDF pile!  Since my goal was to spin the equivalent of race miles in yards...I am still a bit behind.
But the quilt is also finished against all odds (like running out of thread just a few feet from the edge...!  grrr)  Tomorrow, another skein of yarn and binding!!!!


I will be working on my sock knitting today since I will be in the waiting room for quite a while;   Bill is having surgery to remove his ga...