Sunday, September 19, 2010

High Fiber--Quilting and Spinning at Elevation

Vintage Stitchers met last week. Here you see Rebecca (left) and Barbara working away on their quilts.

Barbara picked up her diamond quilt from Julie, who had done the machine quilting on it. (I love how she used a plaid in the borders!)

I was sewing the binding on the Turning Twenty wedding quilt. Here's what it looked like:

And a close-up view:

This quilt is made out of 20 fat quarters. Julie did the quilting on mine, too! Here's how the label looked:

I used Bubble Jet 2000 on the fabric, ironed it to freezer paper after it was dry, then cut it to 8 1/2 X 11" so it would go through the printer. It can be washed and should be permanent. The wedding was Saturday at Sundance. It was moving, and the brunch and party afterward were wonderful!

Ellen finished piecing the borders for her pineapple quilt and brought it to Common Threads, our quilting/stitching group. (Please excuse the dog toy on the floor!)

Janet had a charity "comfort" quilt finished. It was made out of leftovers. Another friend donated the quilting as her contribution.

In knitting/spinning news, I'm working on the last armhole ribbing of the Fair Isle sleeveless cardi I'm making for DH. I found a wooly board (also called jumper board) at Walmart online. It's made out of pieces of wood, just like the more expensive ones, but it's more reasonable. It's used to block this kind of sweater. I still have to sew down the trimmed steek sts before I block it, so the board should be here in time for the blocking process. This should give you an idea of where I am with it:

The Spin Along at Knit Picks Knitting Community has been taking up some of my time, but I'm learning a tremendous amount about spinning from all the experienced and talented people who participate, as well as from the people new to spinning, who often ask questions that get me thinking, or offer insights I hadn't thought about before.
I'm still spinning the dark chocolate Corriedale and am almost ready to ply another skein. I'm still playing around with my Knit Picks Turkish Drop Spindle, too. I decided to add a couple of nuts to the shaft to add weight until the cop gets built up enough.

I can remove the shaft, take off the nuts and put the shaft back with no trouble. (I'm taking notes from the local squirrels about storage when not in use.) This spindle always goes with me on hikes, such as the one on Spiro Trail (Park City, UT) on Wednesday, which was our anniversary. Forty-five years! But who's counting? Here's my DH with the pups on the trail.

I've been dyeing spinning fiber using Koolaid and food coloring. If you saw my blog here telling how I did it, you may not have seen the finished braid of fiber. The undyed fiber was Knit Picks' Superwash Merino and Nylon.

You can probably tell from my hike photo how I got the inspiration for the colorway, minus the green, of course. Usually we have our first snow by now, but so far it has only been on the mountaintops, not where we live.
My plans for the fiber? To spin worsted-weight and make a Baby Surprise Jacket (BSJ) in a 9- 12 mos. size for Daphne. Here she is with Daddy at work. She's wearing the first BSJ I made her using the pattern found in Elizabeth Zimmermann's The Opinionated Knitter.

She helps with grading papers or sometimes acting as a paper weight if she's sleepy, while Daddy does the grading.

My iPad App of the Week is FirePlace.

I'm really enjoying it now that the nights are getting cooler. As an app, rather than a video, it takes almost no power, you don't have to carry wood or use gas. Of course, the warming capability is purely psychological, but I find it very nice to knit, quilt or spin to.

Here's wishing you all colorful fall days and warm evenings by the fire!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Roving, a Roving...

Well, I'm dyeing again!

I'm using Koolaid and black food coloring again. Wish the wasps would leave me alone, I must smell yummy!
Back to the job at hand. I had two sleeves of Knit Picks Superwash Merino and nylon roving. I filled each of four condiment bottles with a mixture of warm water with a teaspoon of vinegar. Each bottle was numbered. Here's which Koolaid flavor and food coloring I put into each one.

1 - 3 orange and 2 drops black food coloring
2 - 2 orange, 1 cherry, 2 drops black food coloring
3 - 2 cherry, 1 black cherry, 2 drops black food coloring
4 - 2 orange, 1 lemonade, 1 drop black food coloring

I soaked the first batch of roving in nice warm water with a glug-glug of white vinegar for about 15 minutes or so. When I took it out...eek! It tried to come apart! It's so easy to spin because it's all fluffed out, but that makes it difficult to keep together when it's wet. I did the best I could, and laid it out on plastic on the deck.

Then I squirted the contents of each condiment bottle onto one section. When all four were used up, I rolled up the plastic, squishing the dye into the fibers. Squishy-squishy.

The bottom part shows how it looked after rolling up and squishing it. I ended up with a squishy sausage. (I know what's in this sausage, and it's high in fiber, but I still wouldn't eat it!) I folded up the sausage and placed it into the sun tea jar. Then I filled it up with hot water. It stayed in the sun a couple of hours.

While the first batch was sunning itself, I decided I wasn't going to make the same mistake with the second batch. Ha! I made different mistakes! Instead of soaking the roving in warm water with vinegar, I laid it out on a black plastic trash bag on a big cookie sheet. I folded the big loop of roving into four separate sections and encased each in plastic wrap. Then I poured hot water mixed with vinegar onto each section, followed by most of my dyes, which I had mixed up this way, because I was getting low on orange:

1 - 2 orange, 1 lemonade, 1 drop black food coloring. I divided it in half and added half of a mixture of 1 drop of black food coloring mixed with 1/4 C water. Dilute both with hot water and vinegar.
2 - rest of above mixture, but without the rest extra food coloring
3 - one orange, one cherry, one drop black food coloring
4 - one cherry, one black cherry, one drop black food coloring.

Here's what it looked like when I rolled up each section of plastic wrap:

Then I folded over the black trash bag into a nice package and put it in the sun, just like a camping shower:

It looks like a foil package, but foil would reflect the sun and not heat up enough. When it was done, I wasn't happy with it because there was still too much white, so I soaked it in hot water and vinegar, put it back on the black plastic on the cookie sheet and used the leftover dye on as much of the white parts as I could. I was happier with the result. Both batches got a nice bath when all the dye was gone from the liquid. This time, I tied each batch of roving loosely in several places, and it stayed together better. The wasps have lost interest, so I guess the smell is mostly gone.

Here's what I learned from this experiment:
Don't do this without gloves! I ended up like Homer's Rosy-fingered Dawn:

Don't soak roving in washpan without tying it loosely in several places. It does need to soak, though, to absorb the dye.
Don't spread wet roving out to dye. It comes apart!
Wrapping the roving in black plastic works great, even in fairly cool weather!

That's all for this week. It's a long blog, so I'll skip all the usual what's on my needles, etc. This blog is dedicated to our sweet but ornery feline friend of 17 years, Kasih, who died--not dyed--this week after being in poor health for a couple of years. May I have the courage to face life and death the way she did!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

In Memoriam

Kasih Stuart
August 1993 - September 2010

Mouser extraordinaire Kasih Stuart departed this life on September 8, 2010, in West Jordan, Utah, following several years of I'll health. At her bedside were her adoptive parents, Charles and Peggy Stuart, and her physician, um, veterinarian, Rick Sickelsmith.
Kasih was born sometime about the middle of August, 1993, in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, Indonesia, to a single mother (father unknown, even by her mother). Because of her beautiful tail (something unusual in Southeast Asian cats) she was brought to the people who would later become her family, as her mother had discovered a new litter on the way.
Because of the size of Indonesian rats, Kasih ignored them in favor of catching chitchats, small gecko-like lizards common to that part of the world. She was fond of playing with them and then disposing of the dead creature by dropping it into an open toilet. She never learned to flush. This was a time of study, learning and practicing the craft that would later be her profession. She also enjoyed playing with Misty, the standard poodle who was her adoptive sister.
In 1997, the family returned to their native United States, bringing Kasih with them. Her first distemper immunization caused an illness requiring emergency care, although she recovered quickly, in spite of the disgusting banana flavor of the medication. She swore she would never again eat anything that tasted of bananas.
Toward the end of 1997, Kasih became lost when she escaped from the house. As a newcomer to the Northern Hemisphere, she found the stars confusing. An encounter with a neighborhood outdoor cat resulted in a small scratch and a coating of blood from the other cat. Her adoptive parents rushed her to the vet in fear for her life, but the only treatment needed was a bath. The other cat was not seen for weeks. It was fortunate that Kasih had stayed away from the alligator-occupied lake.
In 2000, the family moved to Park City, Utah, where she remained for the rest of her long life.
Kasih was known for her temper and her suspicion of strangers, earning her the title "Cat from Hell." She did enjoy entertaining guests who were allergic to cats, however, by climbing on their laps.
Kasih enjoyed travel, visiting 18 states in her new country, mostly in the luxurious quarters afforded her by the family's fifth wheel. She especially appreciated trips to remote wooded areas, where the view from the window provided continuous diversion. During the summer, she often spent long hours on the back deck of her home, admiring (and occasionally tasting) the creatures attracted by the feeders. In the winter, she stayed in her fleece igloo or lounged in front of the fire, resting up for the next activity.
Mice were plentiful in her new home, and she spent the first few years there perfecting her technique, sometimes practicing on an occasional bird. Her favorite trick was to exact revenge on the cat sitter by leaving a dead mouse in the middle of the guest room floor, always feet up.
Kasih retired from mousing in 2008. The Summit Park Rodent Society held a retirement party, to which she was not invited, and mouse condos started popping up in the area.
This wonderful, sometimes-aggravating feline will be missed by her family. She is survived by her adoptive parents and her adoptive mini-poo siblings Rocky and Sunny. Her adoptive sister, companion and playmate Misty preceded her in death and will no doubt be welcoming her on the other side.
In lieu of flowers, donations to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary,, are requested.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, September 6, 2010

High Fiber--Fun With Family and Fiber

All three of our kids came over the weekend to visit my DSIL Eileen, who has been battling cancer and has stopped treatment. DD brought her daughter, Daphne, which gave Grandma a little more baby time, something delightful, although I wish it were under happier circumstances. Here's Eileen and Daphne:

Daphne made the rounds, of course. Here she is with DS1, her Uncle Timo:

Tim's wife Patty was here, too, and when they left, we picked up DS2 and his DGF at the airport for a visit. Yesterday DD and darling Daphne left to return home.

The others left today, but not until after a nice hike.

We'll see DS2 and his DGF for Thanksgiving, but they're going to Thailand over Christmas this year. Daphne will be back here with her parents for Christmas, though, her first.

In fiber news, I've been working on some knitting and spinning projects. I did the first armhole steek on the Fair Isle sleeveless cardi:

On Monday, I went to my friend Linda's with my friend Lynda to purchase a drum carder, which Lynda and I will be sharing.

Linda has some new babies at her house! Fiber factories on the paw! (Alpacas don't have hooves.)

Tuesday I pieced a Turning Twenty quilt for a wedding present. I just got it back. When I trim the edges, I'll post another photo after I do the binding, but this will give you a taste.

My friend Julie did the quilting. Some friends are getting married this month. We wanted to give them something nice. This pattern is really quick, not like the Double Wedding Ring I'm making for DD. (That may take years, LOL!)

What's on my needles? My lime-green food-coloring-dyed socks and the DH's sleeveless cardi.
What's on my wheel? Dark chocolate Corriedale.
What's on my drop spindles? More aqua Corriedale on the Turkish spindle and the Ashford merino and silk on my Golding.
What's on my iPad? From Audible, The Passage by Justin Cronin.
What's on my iPod? A new podcast "Yarnspinner's Tales."
My app of the week: Virtuoso, because Daphne can play the piano and have fun with it!