Sunday, June 24, 2007

Purple Binge

Before I started the dye adventure for my friend's horn cozy, I had purchased some neat hand dyed wool from the knitting/spinning shop down in Powattan.

Unfortunately, I can't remember how much I started with, but I know I had enough for socks. So I've been spinning it out.

Here are the singles so far:

Here is what I have left to spin so far:

It doesn't look very purple in the box but it's because the lighting was pretty bad.

And here is a blurry picture of the plyed yarn so far. And it is pretty consistent and the right weight for socks.

Won't this make really cool socks?

I'm also knitting toe up socks. Thanks T for showing me how to do the toe-up thing. Now these are purple!

I've had this yarn for over a year. It was time to use it.

And as soon as I get the merino off the wheel, the purple stuff for the horn is going on.

And if you look back one post, you will see that the lace weight yarn is a deep, dark purple.

I blame it on the elderberry mead.

Birthday Haul

My mom, who apparently loves me, gave me money for my birthday (coming up Tuesday) and I went to the yarn shop in Fredericksburg.

Here's my haul:
I really like the looks of this book. The hank of yarn next to it is 1300 yards of merino lace weight which is enough for almost every project in the book. I just need to find my size 9 40 inch circulars.

The color isn't quite right... but close on these. Dark blue with light blue flecks. I'm going to make Ken a pair of socks. The large double-pointed needles are for sweater sleeves and such... but I am also going to make small knitted baskets for gifts and in some cases the yarn is heavy enough I need larger needles.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Summer School

Summer School started yesterday for Matthew.

I feel as if it also started for me.

He's redoing Freshman English. I'm wondering if I shouldn't also go back to school. One of his homework worksheets required him to take nouns like "movie" and "soup" and turn them into adjectives!

First, why would anyone do that? Second, what the %#&*@? I tossed out suggestions just trying to get him started so he understood the exercise but in the end we both struggled with it.

He also had to write a 250-word essay on why people can or cannot stop polluting. Writing down 250 words for him was like pulling teeth from a badger's mouth, but the topic was interesting and arguable in both directions. Being the pessimist, he took the low road and said folks just aren't prepared to stop polluting yet. Most of it is blamed on a consumer driven economy, of course.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Horn Cozies

I can't remember if I've every mentioned my earlier work with crochet? I suspect I haven't.

In any case, I do a bit of crocheting from time to time. I did a lot of it before I learned to knit.

I made a lot of dishclothes. I much prefer my own over store-bought. They just scrub better, I think. I'm due to make a new batch as it's been a couple of years and the ones I have (despite being washed regularly and bleached) are looking a bit shabby.

What has that to do with horns?

Well, any good mead maker knows that there are Vikings out there who love a good batch of mead. And they drink this good stuff from a drinking horn. Most will drink the bad stuff from the horn as well, but they don't talk about it much. The only problem with a horn (and some would claim this is not really a problem -- you just finish what you start), is that you can't put the horn down until it is empty or you spill your mead.

Some folks have invented little stands that will hold your horn in a semi-upright position. But sometimes, if you've had a bit too much mead, you might put down the horn and forget where you put it (and the stand). So I made a horn accessory that is made to order (I crochet it to fit the horn) that allows you to hang your horn from your shoulder or across your chest (or in a tree if that meets your needs).

This is one I made for Ken's horn. It is made of cotton weaving yarn and is beaded a bit. The strap is long enough to hang over his shoulder and the horn then settles in at hip level. There is enough length to the strap that he can raise the horn to his lips and leave the strap over his shoulder.

I made this one for me. It is just a plain jane green. Yes, it's dusty. I haven't used it yet this season.

I have made horn cozies in wild party colors, grey icelandic wool and even made one in white.

Right now I have an order for a purple one from a very dear friend who just got her first horn. Here it is all naked and sad looking.

I decided that since she is such a special friend, it needs to have a special touch, so I'm now in the process of dying wool and a wool blend, which I am going to spin to make the yarn from which I am going to crochet the horn cozy for her.

I spun up some yarn. And decided to dye it. The first batch of purple dye turned out to be too blue. So I over dyed it with red. It's really nice but closer to blue than purple.

This shows the completed too blue yarn next to the color I'm aiming for which is a commercially dyed and spun product (which I secretly love and am traumatized at the thought of knitting because I just like to fondle the yarn and don't want to give it away... selfish wench that I am...Karabella Aurora 8).

Here is a picture of fiber dumped into the dye bath AFTER I did the too blue yarn. Closer to purple but not quite.

Here are three quart jars with varying amounts of red to blue. The yellow is there just because I wanted to try it. I'm thinking that while I won't be where the Karabella is, I'm going to like the three fibers spun together and it will make a really cool varigated purplely yarn that will be perfect for my project.

Next I have to spin and ply the fiber. That's the longest part of this project (that and waiting to clear the wheel of another project currently in m0tion).

The crocheting will take one to three hours.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

It's Raining

Where I live in Virginia things were getting bone dry. I was beginning to think seriously about doing some rain dance type magick to call up the storms. But this morning, the remenants of the tropic storm that came in over Florida on Friday reached us.

And it's a wonderfully gentle rain (at least for now). They are calling for 2 to 4 inches. The frogs are croaking. The birds are singing and there is this wonderful smell of freshly moistened soil.

We have avoided turning on the air conditioners (although I thought my hubby and I would get divorced over it at first) so far this year. Even though the temps have reached nearly 90 degrees, dry heat is very bearable to me. With a fan, I'm comfortable way up near 100 degrees. We may break down after this storm passes and the humidity rises and close down the windows and turn on the switch... but I'm thinking this house is 100 years old and pre-dates air conditioning. People lived here happily and survived just fine without airconditioning.

The house was designed to catch all the cross breezes. With all the windows open, there is nearly always a cross breeze of some sort. We have giant trees over hanging the house (a bad thing in high winds) which provide shade in the hot afternoons. It's actually very comfortable and I find airconditioning at work to be uncomfortably cold. Our electric bill was delightfully low this month -- can I tell you how much THAT influenced my hubby's willingness to continue the experiment?

The only thing we are missing is a screened in porch. I want to build a deck out the back or pour a concrete patio and stick a roof over it and screen it in. Then, when the mosquito count is up, we can move off the front porch and sit in the back. (It might help me reclaim the front porch from all the junk, too).