Thursday, February 29, 2024

Hearts and Flowers


On this bonus day of February I've got the Hearts and Flowers rug project to show off. I can't believe I managed to get this much finished. It's not like me. I'm really slow at this. As cool as that is it's still getting packed up today so I can get out..... old friend Spiral Chicken. She gets to stay out until October so I hope to make some serious headway on her this year.

My other February project is not getting packed away.

I've got all but one of the big rings and two whole blocks finished and I want to see this one through. will have to share some attention with Charming Stars. I'm pretty close to finishing this top too. It'll be a race to the finish. 

And....the crazy clay soap was worth all the effort. I got a few tiny air bubbles but the clay plopping did a unexpected pretty thing when I ran a hanger tool through it.

Here's a glamour shot of all six bars. They all look so different. And the best part is they smell like..........nothing. I do love an unscented bar. 

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Clay Day


Making the clay soap is always a big mess. I have to prepare all the different colors separately and that creates a lot of clean up. 

You can't pour clay. You have to plop it. The clay makes it thicken quickly so there's no time for anything fancy. It doesn't stay in it's own lane like mica colors do so there's no sense in planning anything pretty. You just plop it in and bang, bang, bang on the mold to get it all down into it in a somewhat level way.  All that black is activated charcoal. I made a pitcher of it in hopes to help fill in the gaps. Air bubbles are bad. 

All that plopping goes for the top also. If you try to do anything fancy it will just turn to mud so I just gave it one squiggle with an old bamboo needle, stuck it in the incubator and called it a day. I had a lot of clean up to do before.....

....The Mister got up and noticed that I  HAD SET THE MICROWAVE ON FIRE. Flames and everything. I usually heat up my hard oils and butters slowly in a jar in a water filled crockpot but I forgot to plug the darn thing in. I was in a hurry because the lye solution was ready to go and I neglected to notice a tiny bit of foil on the edges of my coconut and palm oil containers. The sparks caught both oils on FIRE. What a mess-and the smell and the smoke. Terrible. Luckily, I had two more containers of the oils in the soap stash. They did NOT go in the microwave in their original containers. Lesson learned. 

The excitement's over so now I wait. I've got plenty to keep me busy during that long 24 hours. That loom is not going to thread itself. 

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Tiny Needle Tuesday


As February comes to a close my interest in my red project is waning. I would have liked to have finished that ring of flowers around the people before it's packed away but I've got other projects that are calling my name right now.

Whenever I get spring fever I want to work on The Village Quaker. It's the one on the bottom. All those flowers in pinks and blues are where I always want to spend my time during the miserable month of March when it will be wet and windy. March always feels colder to me than any of the winter months.

Green Tea will get a reprieve. I'm still want to work on it even though it's going to be slow going once I get into all those color changes on the inside of the block. 

Speaking of green, look what The Mister brought home from the grocery store. We're both a big fan of fried green tomatoes and these are the first of what I hopes to be a very long season for them.

And......I've got another green thing to share. I don't have any soap to show off today because when I went into my clay stash I realized I didn't have any. Since this will be the last soap making adventure until fall I really wanted to make a batch of unscented clay soap. It's a favorite of mine for those hot, humid summer months when I am usually covered in bug bites or poison ivy. I am very happy to say that my shipment of fresh new clay additives-including a big container of my very favorite French Green Clay are finally here. By the time you read this I hope to have a loaf in the mold. 

Monday, February 26, 2024

Knit News


Even though I knit every day, morning and night, I rarely post about it because nothing of interest has been happening-until this weekend. Riddari is finally joined together. Woo hoo....that's a milestone. 

I reached another big milestone on the worsted weight gray blob. I've got a pocket. My first. It's not quite finished. I'm working up the nerve to do the three needle bind off at the bottom. For some reason it's freaking me out. 

No milestones with the fingering weight gray blob but it's progressing very nicely towards the ribbing. 

I gave my new heat deflector a try on Saturday and it worked nicely. After toasting a few marshmallows....

I got to work on that handspun sock. I've turned the heel and am heading down the foot so I guess that's a milestone for it. 

And look who's been out of time out. I told myself every time I reach a milestone on the blobs I can put a row or two on Bon Amie. I have to keep it out of sight because it's potato chip knitting. When I pick it up I never want to put it down or work on anything else. 

Not knitting but still a yarny pursuit, it's Audun on its third row. I don't get to work on it very often because....knitting but when I do pick it up I really enjoy working on it. 

As for soap, I re-did the chocolate soap and this time used deodorized shea butter instead of the natural smelling one. The mix of the two natural scented butters was not pleasant. No sirree.

I'm happy to report that using just the natural scented cocoa butter made a world of difference. I know chocolate soap isn't for everybody but I really like it. I have to take a break from soap making for the next few days because I'm out of a few things I need. Up next are my unscented batches and I certainly don't want to skimp on any of the good things for them. 

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Apologies Are In Order


Welp....what a difference a wash made. That M's and O's towel that I've been hating on looks pretty much like the photograph in the magazine now. Who knew? I'm sure it will get even better after more washings and shrinkings. 

I'm going to try it again with the cotton that I have leftover from this project. I'm just getting it on the loom. I bought this 8/2 cotton for that M's and O's towel but didn't warp another one because I hated how it looked on the loom. Newbie that I am to this whole weaving thing, I learned a big lesson about not rushing to judgement. 

Down in the soap room I re-made Honeysuckle. I just couldn't with those spots. I tried it again keeping the batter nice and cool so the honey wouldn't burn. 

No spots. Not yet anyway. I'll keep a close eye on this one. Floral scents are always a challenge so none of this drama was unexpected-just aggravating. Thanks to the wild weather in Europe the price of oils has doubled in the past year so getting things wrong is also expensive. 

And....this is for MojoJuicy, my fellow Barbie enthusiast. The rest of you can tune out if you'd Stevie and Repo Barbie got new wraps this week. Stevie's is fringy lace and Repo has a new black boa to go with her slinky repo outfit. Taylor has a new glittery gown that came with white boa. I got up at 4 am on Friday night and watched a live stream of the Eras Tour and now I want ALL the outfits. 

Can you believe I've been trying to figure out how to bedazzle a tiny bodysuit? To the tune of Bejeweled, of


Saturday, February 24, 2024

M's and O's


The warp is wound so you know what that means.

It's time to cut that towel off the loom. This always gives me the heebie jeebies. 

So far, so good. Now I've got to hem it and throw it in the wash and see what I get. I'm hoping it does some serious shrinking. It's not only loosey-goosey, it's long. This is it folded in half.

The name of this draft is Towels in M's and O's by Kathleen Farling published in Handwoven magazine in case you are wondering. It's supposed to look like this but mine certainly doesn't. I must have done something wrong somewhere.

Down in the soap room I poured some Cucumber Melon in the mold. 

It's not too terrible looking and it smells really good. I'll take this one as a win. 

Friday, February 23, 2024

Angry Water


When we walked out the door to take Pup for her walk the weather seem rather mild. We had a big surprise once we got down to the water. The waves were pounding, the wind was howling and it was COLD. Considering we are only about five blocks from the water it was a drastic change. That bay was riled up.

We left the civilized part of the beach and headed down to the wilds to see what all the coastal flooding had done to the beach there. There was hardly any beach. The cliffs were surrounded and being beaten up pretty good.

Water was also pouring out of the wetland areas in steady streams. I've never seen the water this lively and deep before. All that rain and snow up north has been coming our way and has to go somewhere I suppose. 

Back at home I also had a storm brewing. I had finished quilting the inside of the Dresden and the brown sashing so I was very happy to start the last phase of the thing and get that ditch stitching done on all those little houses in that last section of the border. I was going along nicely until I turned the corner. 

Can you see what I did? The section I just finished on the left had the lighter houses on the INSIDE of the border. The other three sides have the lighter houses on the OUTSIDE. It's one of those things that only I would notice but it makes quilting it harder because I was going to change thread color on the darker houses. Do I re-thread the machine, which I hate doing, or take the chance that working from the outside in won't pucker?

Down in the soap room it was Star Showers turn in the pot. It's a new-to-me fragrance. It's pleasant but a bit generic. I was hoping it was a dupe of a fragrance I loved years ago called Beneath the Stars but it's not. 

The bars came out looking more like cloudy skies than stars but I'll take what I can get. These identical pours just keep getting crazier and crazier. I can't wait to get up in the morning and cut into a loaf to see what it did. I'm sad to say I've only got two more batches to make after this one. Soap week(s) is finally coming to an end. 

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Hemming and Hawing


All I have left to do on this towel is to weave the hem. I've been dragging my feet about it because.....

....I still haven't finished winding the warp that needs to go on the loom next. I'm close. I hope by this weekend to have it done. 

Down in the soap room I made more Avalon yesterday. It was a new-to-me fragrance that was part of last spring's giveaway. It smells like ripe strawberries to me. 

It came out rather odd looking. It never ceases to amaze me how I can do the same thing over and over with each batch and always get such different results. You'd think that every bar would look the same because I pour the same way each time. It never does. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

The Second Wave


I thought I was doing okay with the whole losing Mommy cat thing until I got a call from the grief counselor at the emergency clinic I took her to on Monday. She wanted to know how I was and to tell me Mommy's "memory box" was ready for pickup. The Mister, Pup and I made the long trip out to get it and bring her home. Not a fun day in spite of some good car knitting on the Big Gray Blob. Not even stopping to get lunch at Panera helped lift my spirits. Even though I've been through this part of the process many, many times the wave of sadness always surprises me. Oh, well...she's home now and life goes on.

Keeping busy always helps and there was soap to be made and soap to be unmolded and cut. On Monday I made Coconut. It looks like a hot fudge sundae. I could eat a hot fudge sundae. Stress makes me skinny but sad makes me eat. I've murdered a bag of potato chips and a bag of jelly beans this week. I am happy to report I have NOT yet torn into the Thin Mints. 

The Coconut looks promising. It smells a bit like coconut and more like an Almond Joy.Darn it.  Now I want one of those too.