Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Knit Girl Knit

 Biscuit looks like this now. The lace is done but I have to do lots of ribbing.

 I am on the toe of my first Little Prince sock.

 Aubade is stuck in stockinette infinity with a 400 plus stitch count and 11 rows to go before the next lace section.

 Crepidula is getting her bottom edging of rainbow stripes put on. I'm pretty sure I am going to run out of the base yarn. I better start carding more Jacob now.

My White Pine sleeves are at the elbows. I keep thinking I'm getting close to being finished but there is a giant yoke in my future. Sigh.
I didn't even take a picture of Tracery because it doesn't look like anything has changed from the last time I posted about it. I swear I'm putting rows on but the knitting gremlins must be undoing them when I'm not looking. Damn gremlins.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Mountain Mama Part 2

I had no sooner walked into the first exhibition hall at the SVFF when my attention was caught by two beefy dudes in lab coats hawking fiber. Look at that tag. They are fiber scientists. Look at that price. They practically give it away.

 They tried to explain that their prices on some items reflect the fact that they couldn't duplicate what they made because they were just goofing around to see what they could do. That's a page right out of my own playbook there.

Look at this. It looks to me like they know what they are doing. Sold and sold.

 Next I bought some very unusual fiber from a dude in a kilt with a baby strapped to his back. This is a blend of Shetland, Manx Loaghtan, Tussah Silk and flax in the House Finch colorway. That's a seriously bizarre fiber mix. It should be fun for next year's TdF.

 They also had lots of spinning cottons. I had to have some. Now I need something to spin it with. I'm pricing Tahkli's.

 I love Polwarth and silk and I loved this dark and dreamy colorway. This was a new to me shop so it too was sold. That is the Cat Wings colorway. I didn't ask why but I thought a lot about it on the drive home.

Last but not least is the sock yarn. I wanted something Halloweeny and this Rusty Nails colorway from Wild Hare was perfect.

But...the story is not done. There was another stop on the way home.

 I needed one of these.

 And some of these.

 I couldn't leave without a giant cauliflower. Mmmm....I'll be thinking about it until it's time to go back and get another one next year. It's being roasted tonight.

It was all too easy to blow through the fiber fund this weekend. I love this little festival!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Mountain Mama Part 1

On Saturday I hit the road for an ear popping adventure in the Shenandoah Mountains.

They had been calling for rain but it was a perfect day for buying wool.

 It was the weekend of the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival.

 I had a envelope full of cash leftover from this year's MDSW and I intended to shop until I dropped.

There were lots of new to me vendors to visit this year. My goal was to bring home new stuff from new people and I certainly did.

The fleece sale was a no go though. I kicked myself all the way home for not picking up that pretty California Red fleece I was thinking about. If The Mister had been with me this year it would have been a done deal but I didn't want to carry it all the way back to the car myself.

Look at this. A knitting shop on wheels. They come where you need them to be. Brilliant.

 There aren't many animals at this festival but the ones that are there are always quite the characters.

 Excuse me ma'am. Can I taste your basket? No. Awww shucks.....

 Nom, nom. Hay tastes even better off the back of your buddy.

 Me? I woke up like this.

That's a baby camel. You don't see that everyday now do you?

 My feet may hurt from all the walking but they look fabulous in my new Undines.

I brought my handspun Holden to wear but I worked up such a sweat shopping that it stayed in the basket all day.

There are fuzzy goodies galore but you'll have to stop by tomorrow to see them.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sunday Soap: More to Wrap

 This week I tried something I've been wanting to do for a long time. I used a piping bag to top off a loaf of soap. It was easier than I thought it would be.

It was for a pumpkin pie fragranced loaf and it smells as yummy as it looks. It should be cured and ready for use by Thanksgiving.

Fresh off the piping success, I bought some cupcake molds. I know someone who's getting a soap cupcake for Christmas. It's the same someone who took a bite out of the coffee soap I made last year thinking it was a brownie.

This week I also made a four milk soap that turned out to be very traumatic for me and it. For days after I poured it, it was like toothpaste in the mold. Whenever I tried to squeeze it out it turned to mush in my hands. I ended up putting it in the freezer just so I could cut it. Of course I hate the sloppy pink swirls and the white blobs where the titanium dioxide (a chalky white colorant) didn't mix-but I do love the rose petals and glitter on the top. I'll be redoing this one come Valentine's Day.

 I also had more newly cured soaps to test. This was a disaster of a loaf that I had to throw in the crockpot to save when the oils separated on me. I tried to get all fancy with the swirling thing and all that extra oil was too much. It's lavender and lemon and it turned out just fine after it's second cook.

 The Bergamot and White Tea bar that I made from an easy to swirl recipe from Brambleberry is very nice. I don't think I am crazy about the fragrance but I like the feel of it. I'll have to use this recipe with another scent in the near future.

My lettuce soap was a big surprise. The gloppy swirls look very pretty and the lettuce smell is perfect for kitchen handsoap. I love the feel of the bar. It's got a nice weight and hardness to it. It has a low percentage of superfats (3%) which means that I didn't add much extra oil after I calculated how much I needed for the lye. I'm not sure where I got the original recipe but I was smart enough to write it down-for a change.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Pokeberry Adventure Part 2

The first step in making dye is to make a very acidic solution. Into the dyeing crockpot went a lot of vinegar-equal parts white vinegar and distilled water to be exact.

 Then it was time to mash, mash, mash. All these tools are dedicated to dyeing. I don't use them to mash potatoes. Ever.

 I was surprised at just how much thick juice I ended up with. It didn't seem like I picked that much. I added more vinegar water to get the last bit off the broken stems.

 Here is where I made a mistake. I should have strained the stuff through a fine sieve. Lots of little seeds went right through the holes but I didn't know it at the time.

See what I mean? There's quite a bit still stuck in the fiber.

 I know I should have soaked those batts before I tried to shove them in the dye but I didn't.  I planned to and forgot. Mistake number two. I heated them on low all day and then left them to cool all night.

The next morning they got rinsed and spun in the salad spinner. They have to dry in the shade. Sunlight is apparently a big no no for natural dyes. Luckily it was a very cloudy day. I still put them in a shady spot that never gets direct sun.

In real life they look better than they look here. My camera doesn't do reds. Three are a rich red/violet and one is a pinkish/salmon color-most likely from being on the top of the heap in crockpot. As soon as they are dry I'm putting them away until the dead of winter when this whole early autumn adventure will be a welcome memory.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Pokeberry Adventure Part 1

 Every morning, all summer, Pup and I have been walking past lots and lots of pokeberry plants.

Every morning I think about dyeing something with them.

 I was waiting for most of them to get ripe but I noticed they were starting to shrivel so I started picking. In spite of wearing gloves, I somehow still ended up pink. The plant is poisonous according to internet sources so I washed that off right away.

 Back at home I went on a search to find something to dye. I discovered these orphaned batts stuffed away. I have no idea what they are or why I carded them in the first place so they seemed like a good candidate for possibly ruining.

Now I'm off to turn those berries into dye. Good times!