Monthly Archives: October 2011
Happy Friday! I am always happy to see Friday come, but today I am especially happy because I have some finished stuff to show you.
I’ll start with the newest sashiko block that is finished.
This was really finished over a week ago, but I’ve only just got around to taking a picture. These little motifs are fun and they don’t take too long. I am still working on the evenness of my stitches, but I am sure that will come along. I only have about 100 more to do for the duvet cover. Am I crazy? Ummmm, don’t answer that!
Next up are the interminable Pumpkin Conwy socks.
I cannot even express how glad I am that these are done! I should rename them the Best Worst Socks I have Ever Knit. They look amazing and I love how they fit. I just Really disliked knitting them. Those twisted stitches were fiddly and there were such a lot of them! Somehow, I never really got into the groove of this pattern, and only managed to finish by sheer determination or stubborn will. I am like that sometimes.
Anyway, next up is a sweater project I started Two years ago.
This project kept getting picked up and put down for a variety of reasons. I really liked the look and idea of the sweater when I started, but there were a few technique details that made it a little challenging. First, I modified the pattern to knit the body all in one piece, but kinda ran into a little trouble when I went to do the hem and pockets. As a result, the back hem is turned to the back, but the front pockets and hem are turned up into the front. Then, there was the super long collar which seemed to take forever! But, Now that I am done, I love it! It is really cosy and I actually like that the sleeves are a little long on me. I also love that it is a long line sweater that keeps my backside nice and warm too! The yarn is a great merino that I got from Sliver Moon Farm at Rhinebeck a couple of years ago.
Also, I finished just in time. It’s supposed to dip down into the thirties this weekend, but with this sweater, I know I will be warm. With the advent of the cooler weather, I am definitely taking a closer look at all my woollies.
How about you? Are you prepared for colder weather?
Lately, I have been feeling a little frayed at the edges. The past month has been a whirlwind of activity. We’ve had two out of town trips, 3 field trips (not included in the out of town trips), and the husband was gone on a business trip for a whole week. On top of this, I have been teaching school, dealing with a huge load of apples ( I still have some–can you believe it?) , and try to keep the house in a state that is livable.
One thing I have Not been doing much of is cooking. Honestly, by the time we get to the time of day when I am supposed to be getting dinner ready, I am ready for the day to be over. This was especially true the week that the husband was gone. I did not cook a single meal that whole week! This is when I am really grateful for our freezer. We got it last year when we decided to start buying meat in bulk. The husband knows someone who raises hogs and steer and we’ve been getting most of our meat from him for the past year. It is really nice to have all this at hand and not have buy meat at the store–I just have to remember to thaw the meat in time! Also, I’m not subject to whatever is on sale at the store or have to pay up if I’ve planned to make something.
Another benefit to having a freezer is being able to cook in bulk when I have time and store meals in the freezer that can be reheated or prepared with minimum prep. At the moment, the freezer is chock full because we just got out half hog for the year.
In addition to meat and meals, I also store extra baked goods: loaves of bread, extra biscuits, cake layers, etc. There are also containers of applesauce, apple pie filling, peach pie filling, and buttercream frosting. Pretty much anytime I bake bread or cake or anything, I will double the recipe and freeze the extra. It just makes my weekdays much easier and saves us a lot of money that we would spend on going out to eat because I did not have time to cook.
Also, the freezer allows us to do our annual cookie dough fund-raiser–more about that later. If you have the space and two or more children, I would highly recommend getting a freezer. Even if you just use it to store the 10 gallons of ice cream that your growing children will eat, it is worth it. Just be prepared that, just like time, closet space, counter space, and money, you will likely run out of freezer space quickly. It is really easy to just “stick it in the freezer.” And who knows? It just might help keep you from going over the edge.
Blue is sort of our family color. I’m not sure if it is because there are three boys and only girl, but we have a plethora of blue clothes. That’s great because my favorite color is blue. I like all shades of blue, from light blue to cobalt blue to navy. But lately, I have been dreaming about indigo blue-you know, the color that all blue jeans are dyed.
Did you know it comes from a plant? Every since I read about indigo dyeing a few years ago, I have been thinking about it. A few weeks ago, the kids learned about indigo dyeing in history. It really is a very old process and the natural process is not much different these days. Actually, it is a really fascinating project. However, I was not really prepared to grow my own indigo plants and then let them ferment for months to produce the dye. Instead, we bought a kit.
Yes, it says tie dye! Haha! I have Never been interested in tie-dyeing, nor have I ever really liked things tie dyed, but this was the easiest kit for dyeing with indigo that I could find. And who knows? Maybe I will find my inner 60s love child.
ANYway, I had to wait until the husband was home to do the dyeing because as soon as he saw the kit, he exclaimed that he wanted to to do it too (I think it was his chemist nature). Actually, I was glad that I had his help. He has more hand strength than I do and did most of the transferring of fabric and yarn from one bucket to another.
First, I mixed up all the stuff in the bucket.
It was all very Macbeth-like. I had to stir all in one direction while adding the eye of newt and frog brains–just kidding! Actually, I did have to stir only in one direction while adding all the dye stuffs. I think it was to minimize splashing. Indigo dyeing is all about minimizing oxidation (fancy chemical term basically meaning a reaction with oxygen).
After we let it sit for a bit, we had to take off the “flower” from the top. I never saw anything that looked like a flower, but we did scoop off the foam that had risen to the top. You have to save that, by the way, so you can return it to the bucket when you are done. It forms a barrier between the dye and the air to prevent more oxidation.
Then, we got to dyeing. Here’s where the magic of indigo dyeing comes out. The dye liquid is green. When you take your stuff out of the bucket, it is green. See?
But then, as the oxidation occurs, it turns blue.
We dyed lots of fabric and yarn.
We even did a little tie-dyeing for the boys.
It was really fun. After that first day of dyeing, we covered the bucket and I did some more fabric the next day. They turned out a much lighter blue.
My only regret is that I dyed all my linen fabric first and they all turned out to be more or less the same shade. I had underestimated the power of the dye. When the kit said it would dye up to 5 pounds, I didn’t realize it meant that all five pounds would be dark blue. I hoped to have varying shades of blue. Oh well, that just gives me an excuse to get another kit and try again. Would anybody like to join me next time? I promise not to make you tie dye a t-shirt, unless you want to, of course.