Archive for April, 2006


Secret Pal Reveal / School Update

April 22, 2006

This is the yarn I kettle dyed. It looks wonderful wound
in a ball. I can’t wait to see what it looks like worked up.


Here is the beautiful purse she made for me.  I am going to
run it through the wash again, her washer stopped

got a huge reveal box of stuff, on Thursday!  Thank you
Deneen for being a great secret pal.  I actually didn't know,
so it was a big surprise.  You were pretty darn secretive.
I received a gorgeous felted purse, a pattern book 101 Easy
Tunison stitches with several different sized tunison hook.
I have never tried Tunison crochet, so that should be
pretty interesting.

I also received, Adagio teas, 4 different varieties and they
all smell good.  I have never tried this type of tea, and can't wait.

She sent some of her Jasmine Shea Butter and several skeins of sock
yarn.  Deneen, you really did spoil me!

Oh, and that wasn't enough, she also sent my girls teddy bears with
these cute little bags attached to them and flower lei's, which they
wear as headbands.

I am lucky to have had Deneen as a secret pal and also as a friend.

I will try to post pictures in a bit.  I just logged on to post this
and now back to studying.

I think I did okay on my Micro test last week and got a 92% in my
Anatomy test. I will be done with finals after Tuesday!  Yay!!  I
cannot wait. 

***Test/School Update***  I got a 75 out of 76 on last week's test, that is a 98%. 
I got a 95% on my Anatomy final, which gives me a solid A in that class. 
I find out my Microbiology final and class grade on Saturday.  I think I did
okay, but the first 30 questions were iffy (you know...those go back 3 months)

I registered for school for the summer, which starts May 8.  I am
taking Anatomy and then Physiology and also Political Science, 1 more credit
and it would be an official full time load. much crafting can I do in 12 days?


April 17, 2006

If it is quiet here the next week and a half, that is because I am drowning….in homework/studies/finals…

Easter was fun. Maybe I will post more another day, some of it is private so am not sure how much I feel like sharing. 🙂


Easter Dye-ing and Recycling

April 15, 2006

You wouldn’t want me to waste that good Easter egg dye and just dump it down the drain….NO…we can’t have that. So, I will now present you with my Kettle Dye-ing tutorial thanks to recycled Easter Egg dyes.

Do you remember the song, “Peanut, peanut butter, jelly!” “Peanut, peanut butter, jelly! First you take the peanuts and you crush them…”

Good, so now that I have that in your head, sing with me…

“Easter egg dyeing, dyeing!” “Easter egg dyeing, dyeing!” “First you take the egg and you dunk it, dunk it, dunk it, dunk it….Easter egg dyeing, dyeing!”

“Then you take the yarn and you soak it, soak it, soak it….” Then you take the dyes and you dump ’em, dump ’em, dump em….” “Easter yarn dyeing, dyeing!”

Yah, yah, yah…so, I kind of have lost my mind…you see I already know this. No big news here…so now onto the yarn dyeing (ps…you know I should be studying, but now can’t let good dye go to waste…)

(By the way, insert a Big Thanks to my secret pal for enabling my yarn dyeing addiction. That big roll of yarn, keeps going, and going, and going…for this little tutorial I wound off about 6 or 7 ozs…and I swear I still have half the roll there.)

1. Put yarn into a hank. (Wind it around 2 chairs and then tie it loosely in 3 or 4 places around the yarn. Remember, loose as you want the yarn to move around, if you tie it tight you will get a white line where the dye won’t settle…that is known as tie dyeing and will not be shown here in this tutorial…)

2. Soak the yarn in warm soapy water for about 30 minutes. I believe this removes some of the oils and lanolin so the dye take more. Don’t quote me, as I am not an expert.

3. Fill your pot with hot water. Only put enough in it to barely cover the yarn. I have realized too much water allows for the dye to wander to the other side of the pot.

4. Lay your yarn in the pot, how you want it. Pour 1/4 cup of vinegar in the pot and mush it around with your fingers. I had the stove on Med/Low. However, I have learned that I have a “faulty low,” which means that I can put my hand on the burner when it is on Low and it is warm, doesn’t burn me. (told you I am a risk taker.)

My suggestion for heat would be, if the water is too hot and burns you, well then you will felt your yarn. My heat guesstimate would be that you would want it about hot tub hot. When you lay the yarn in the pot you can have it all going around one way, you can have it doubled on itself, or you can just randomly throw it in there. I am sure you will get different effects with different ways of laying the yarn in the pot.

You can tell from my picture I don’t have a whole lot of water in there. (ps…this is my method’s and other people’s methods may vary.)

5. Dye – now let us go back a second….I am using already made Easter egg dyes. So, with that said you can follow the exact directions on the back of the food coloring box to make your cup of dyes. I also made up some Kool-Aid dye, last minute because I wanted more red. I used 2 packets of Kool-Aid and an unknown amount of vinegar I added in and some warm water. I have learned with dyeing that there is nothing wrong with being a little bit liberal with the vinegar.

Before I talk about the colors, I am going to tell you about exhausting the dye. Exhausting the dye means that when you put the dye in it will be bright colored. It is exhausted when it turns clear or watery like. Dump the dye in, let it exhaust, dump the next colored dye in, let it exhaust…don’t mix, unless you are experimenting with some type of blending. Some colors exhaust really fast, like yellow, orange, and red. Some colors exhaust really, really slow, like green and blue. And…some colors like purple take a few steps in the exhaust process. The purple seems to exhaust the red out of it first, and then the blue. So, there is some patience involved with the cooler colors. In fact, there is patience involved in dyeing.

For that reason, in my head I decided that I will always start with the colors that exhaust fast. My reasoning is that they will go where I want them and stay there and it is a quick process. The cooler colors tend to wander around the post. So my theory is that if yarn is already occupied by a color, like red it will be less likely to take up green or blue. Now, red yarn does take up green and blue but it will always have kind of a red center to it. I am not a dye expert, this is just what I have observed.

I am sure there are lots of great dye tutorials around. I find that I learn by experience, and I am sure you will too.

This color is actually Yellow. It goes in looking orangish and you can see the dye sitting on the top of the yarn. I will stick my hand in there and push a crevice in the center of where I want the dye. I don’t have to do this, but for some reason I do. I guess I want to make sure the yellow goes straight through. Yellow exhausts fast.

It is hard to see that the yellow has exhausted, but it has. There might be some dye left, but since I was planning on doing a sunset red, next it didn’t matter to me.

The sunset red has exhausted and is now kind of a pinkish. I will fix this later…I dumped in a turquoise color next.

Then purple…

Purple exhausted…

Then green….

Then blue…

Then red again…

6. Rinse in warm soapy water, do not rub or wring. You aren’t trying to felt the yarn, you are just trying to get the excess dye out. I let the yarn fill with water and then ball it together and pull it agains the side of the sink. When I think the dye is rinsed out, I fill the sink up with warm water and add conditioner (per my secret pal’s fantastic advice and also add some lanolin and some lavender oil.) I just want my yarn to feel and smell good. Plus, maybe that lavender will help repel some bugs, I don’t know….

7. I spin my yarn dry in the washer and then hang dry.
If it olor nex

You might notice that dyes spread in the pot and can cause areas that look “muddy.” It is my opinion that you either like this or hate it. I am an odd duck, and like it. If you take a close up of the yarn, it isn’t actually a “mud” color, yet instead is a layered mixture of color…the core is one color and the outside shaft of the yarn is another color.

If you don’t like this mixing of color, then there are a few things you can do. The first is only kettle dye with colors that look good mixing together, like Red, Orange, Yellow… Or, you can just dye the yarn one color and get variations of that color in the yarn.

If you really hate the mixing of colors, well you might just want to do the microwave method, where you lay the yarn out on saran wrap and hand paint the yarn, and the “nuke it.”

Finally my best advice is to just experiment and enjoy what you are doing. Take notes (mentally or physically.)


Its something

April 14, 2006

I finished Sierra’s socks and she loves them.

One sock looks a little baggy by the heel, but it isn’t. She wore them all day at school and I think they got a little stretched being squished into the shoes she wore. I am sure after I wash them they will go back. Either way, she is happy and I am happy to finally finished them. She will leave me alone now for a few more weeks and then will beg me to make her something purple. It is cyclic. Madeleine hasn’t figured out how to ask for handcrafted garments yet, so I have a few more years with her. However, I can already tell she is a hat and handbag type of gal. Oh, and see the shirt with the 3 racoons? That is Madeleine’s favorite shirt. She always points at their eyes and then laughs.

Angelica Tunic update. I have 18 rows left of sleeve one and ran out of yarn for that sleeve. I am at the 3/4 sleeve point and I don’t like 3/4 sleeves. I want long sleeves.

I am now kicking myself because this is a discontinued color of yarn, so now I must search on ebay and yonder to see if I can find one more skein. sigh.

It is my goal to finish up some WIP’s this weekend, so I can start my mass studying for my 2 tests next week and then finals the week after.


More Microbiology stuff

April 11, 2006

Today in class we learned about the potential dangers of the Avian Flu and why researchers are looking for a vaccine for a disease that hasn’t yet mutated to infect the human population. There is history there and so I shall share it with you. In 1918, the Spanish Flu started as a Bird Flu. There was a mutation that allowed it to go from birds to humans and the flu killed over 40 million people world wide. That number is HUGE!

Every 20 years there has been this type of bird flu that has mutated to infect humans, causing pandemic problems. However, the last one that we had was back in the 60’s and so scientists and researchers are worried that we are long overdue. This is the reason when you hear about the Avian Flu in the news and why researchers are tracking the outbreaks in birds and why they are already trying to get a vaccine for it ready. Hopefully this pandemic will never happen.

Just thought I would share that tidbit of info and also tell you I got an A on my last test! Remember I thought I did bad? Well, I didn’t. It was just a really hard test. My grade is now an A- and I cannot be more thrilled. I have one more test and then the Final! I have 3 more classes left. I have to admit, I am going to miss my Microbiology class. The knowledge that I received in that class is priceless.

I am too tired to do the dye tutorial. I will try tomorrow, otherwise I might get to it this weekend. I am almost done with Sierra’s other sock. I have been incredibly slow lately in the fiber department…so sorry.


Foot in Mouth – Disease…and Yarn

April 10, 2006

I tend to be having a bit of “Insert Foot in Mouth Disease.” I am sorry to all of those involved. I suppose it is better than having the dreaded “Head up the Ass Disease.” Luckily, I am not that flexible.

One example of my disease is when my Secret Pal sent me this lovely yarn.

Yep, it is a huge roll of yarn. I showed my husband, who immediatly told me he thought it was carpet. NO! I exclaimed. However, it really was a lot like carpet,rough texture, same color…and that is where my disease took over and I mentioned to my secret pal that I thought she had sent me a roll of carpet yarn. There was no piece of paper or anything telling me what kind of yarn it was, so I even did a bit of a burn test on it, finding out it was wool.

I later found out from my very gracious and generous secret pal, that it is 100% New Zealand
wool, 2 ply, 1000 yards per pound in Antique White. Wool that I can dye with, suitable for purses, bags and hats, but probably not so much for garments. Thankfully my secret pal has a sense of humor and has probably noticed that I am inflicted with this disease, so has overlooked my jerky-ness.

So, tonight I made a hank of 6 ozs and because I ran out of saran wrap, I decided to try kettle dyeing again. Each time I do it, I am thinking of a better technique of kettle dyeing.

The first time I dyed, I learned, “Do Not Stir the Pot.” This is very important.

This time, I learned that different colors exhaust at different times. It appears green is kind of last. When I dyed it, I put all the yarn in the pot and all the colors I wanted on the yarn. Then, waited for the dyes to exhaust. I am thinking this “all at the same time” method is interesting, but not what I want.

Adding to my list of what to do next time is that I will pour 1 color in and wait for it to exhaust, then pour the next color in and let it exhaust….down the colors. I also think I need less water in the pot. This time I had it at the right temperature and so I didn’t felt the yarn.

The yarn did turn out interesting. It was not bright, which I am kind of liking and the yarn strands are 2 tone in many areas. In fact, many green strands also are purple, so they seem a bit irridescent.

Here are some pics of it drying.

As suggested by my secret pal, I soaked it in Conditioner and I also added some lavendar oil to the soak and some lanolin, to soften up the yarn. I think the yarn ended up much softer and my hands are super soft! It smells really good, too. Maybe the lavender oil will help deter bugs?

Thanks secret pal for the yarn. 🙂



April 3, 2006

I didn’t sleep last night. I tried to. I tossed and turned for 2 hours. My brain kept thinking of crochet stuff….I thought of a cool felted belt and some other stuff. Will see if anything comes of that. I finally got *tired* of trying to sleep and got up. Now I am online just zoning. Tony is going to work early today and I am going to try to volunteer at Sierra’s school. Why I would do this on no sleep? I don’t know. If I was smart (I never claimed that…I hope) I would jump in bed and sleep for 3 hours and then get back up. I don’t forsee that happening.

Odd and yet annoying thing I have noticed recently. I live in California (no, that isn’t odd…) and apparantly stores assume that if you live in California you must own a California King sized bed. For the life of me, I cannot find just regular King sized bed sheets. Everything is California King. If you have ever tried to put California King sized sheets on a King sized bed you will realize it is like wrestling a giant buffalo (okay, so I don’t really know what that is like.) It is annoying though. Target, why do you only sell California King? Hmph….

Tony and I have been on the search of finding the best French chocolate truffles. We bought some Harry and David’s truffles and they were good! Not the best, but good. Tony got caught by Sierra eating them. Instead of sharing a bit of heaven, he told her that the wrapper was “batteries” (my man cannot think on his toes.) It didn’t fool Sierra. She looked right at the bag and said, “but Papa, there is candy on the bag. Are you sure that isn’t candy?”

Finally, I have gotten some use of the treadmill, but only very short intervals at a time. After about 15 minutes my back kills me. I suppose it is better than nothing. Yesterday was a terrible back day. So far, today it feels much better. I think I am going to write my surgeon a letter to let him know my outcome. I feel I failed him. I am hoping this is just a slight glitch in the healing process. I also thought about calling my health insurance to find out if they cover massage therapy. I really need a good deep tissue massage. Tony massages my back a little bit, but he only gives about 10% and for about 5 minutes, plus his hands are really rough.

Oh, so back to the treadmill…atleast someone is getting use out of it. 😉

She climbed up there with a pillow and blanket and decided to make it her little bed. My Madeleine definately dances to the beat of her own drum, just like her mom.