Wednesday, June 20, 2007

and the sweet gymnast

By good luck, Audrey had her year-end gymnastics show on the same weekend.

Unfortunately, my camera ran out of batteries, so I have just this to show:(Audrey in the center)

Well, at least you can tell this: she looks cute in her leotard and is thrilled to pieces to be there!


May I mention why my mom came to town?

A lovely ballet by the children of Laurel's Valley Studio: Charlotte's Web. Marian's class were the goslings.

"kool-aid, kool-aid, can't wait!"

After a year or so of wanting to try it, I took advantage of my mom's encouraging presence (a crafty friend!) to dye some wool with my girls. Sad to say, it doesn't come out smelling sweet and fruity, but 'twas good fun. The koolaid is good for kids and for kitchens because it is all non-toxic. And I had full chiquita participation!

My kool-aid selection:For each mini dyeing batch, I filled a glass bowl or casserole half full of water, then added a "good glug" (as advised by my fiber muse, Miss Dotty we know from the pharmacy who runs the knitting club at the library and is a force behind the cohesion and continuance of the local fiber guild) of white vinegar. See, lovely fake fruitiness rather ruined from the beginning...sigh...

We used two packets of drink mix per batch. Dotty uses 4 in a big pickle jar, placed in the sun for heat. I used the microwave, lacking pickle jars and hours of sunlight. The girls chose to mix pink lemonade and cherry and pink lemonade and grape for their batches. The green is 2 green apples and the orange/yellow 2 mangos.I chose to dye the uncarded, washed wool. Lots of my wool had tons of vegetable matter still in it after washing (primary washing interest is to remove the lanolin; since you can't agitate the wool or it will felt, the "dirt" comes out, but the plentiful bits of plants don't, though tons settles out wherever the wool sits for long. I shook my dry wool to get out lots of it), and I chose relatively clean chunks for this dyeing.

I first soaked the wool in tap water and more vinegar. I did this because Dotty told me to, but I think that getting it good and wet makes the dyeing more even. She recommended soaking an hour, which probably would have been more even. I just dunked it because I am exceedingly patient and because I like a bit of uneven dyeing. It's interesting. This wool is in the blue bucket.

The girls loaded the wet wool into their casseroles with the prepared kool-aid mix.

We gently pressed the wool into the dye to help it saturate, being careful not to agitate and felt it.I covered and microwaved the casseroles in rotation, sort of a heat-then-soak-then-heat-again sort of thing. I zapped them for two minutes each, then moved them to the back of the line. Each got 3 or 4 microwave turns. The heat helps the dye transfer to the wool; it can be provided with sunlight or on the stove, too. You know your wool is "done" when the liquid portion is colorless.I rinsed the wool in my kitchen sink dishdrainer, then worried I was agitating it too much with my spray and finished the rinsing by moving to my washer, doing the same washing and spinning dry method I used to wash the wool originally, minus the high (140') heat and detergent (Dawn original blue!): Fill the washer with water, add mesh bags of wool and allow to sink into the water. Allow to soak, stringently avoid agitation, and spin dry.
I spread it on a towel to finish drying, and:

Fruity wool!Next: carding.
look at the pretty, fluffy wool! You've come a long way, baby...

Audrey is using dog brushes to card our washed wool: they're a nicer size for sweet little hands. Plus rather more economical and available!

Saturday, June 2, 2007



The winner of my wee blue teacup, to celebrate my 100th etsy sale was liz r., who wrote:

Oh my gosh, I am the 100th customer! Congratulations! I had not realized you signed up on Etsy so recently, but with such wonderful work I am not surprised you reached 100 sales so quickly. I can't wait to see the pieces I bought!

A fun little twist that the random winner (my daughter drew it out of a jar) was the cause of the moment.

Liz, if you're reading, you don't need to send me your address...I already have it ;).

Mailing on Monday!

Thanks to all who entered. I'll have to do it again!