Not gone…

My my, how time flies! I haven’t gone anywhere… more than that, I’ve actually been around, but o so busy! There is no longer time (or privacy) to be able to write anything on this here blog at work, so my only bloggable time is after work and on the weekends… and guess what I’m doing then… cleaning and knitting… and dyeing. That’s my new favorite hobby… I’ve dyed around 2000 yards of yarn so far… and I’ve made exactly 3/4 of a something out of it… actually, it’s a great something… this picture is a close up (turned 90deg the wrong way) of the scarf I’ve been knitting up with it….
I’ve been learning a lot about knitting, and in doing so, learned a little something about myself. I’ve learned that I think I’m smarter than just about every other knitter out there… and every time I use that sentiment, I get into trouble in the form of ripping out miles and miles of stitches. I think this time I’ve got the lesson learned… my mom always said that a lesson is repeated until it’s learned. Well I learned the lesson yesterday on my lace shawl… in no way do I ever want to repeat the fear and angst I felt when I realized that I did a biggo mistako and thought I’d have to rip the entire thing apart. Lucky for me I DIDN’T have to rip it apart, but I think from now on, once I’ve read the pattern, checked the interwebby for known pattern mistakes and seen that 300,000 people have successfully made their item USING THE EXACT SAME PATTERN, I shall not assume to know better than every single one of these people and just KNIT THE THING THE WAY IT SAYS TO! (I’ll let you know if my lesson sticks)

Other items of noteworthiness on the knitting subject. Four separate people (FOUR) have checked out my various items posted to our little knitting community and decided that they LIKE them… in fact the DESIGNER of the scarfee I made for my bestee liked mine enough to add it to her favorites list! What the heck do you know about that! I felt so flattered. It’s really quite nice to have fellow knitters, and good good good ones at that, recognize my projects as noteworthy! Especially since I’ve been knitting exactly 4 months.

Actually, as a related item on that, I learned something else during my knitting experience thus far… and it is this: People who are new to a craft (some, not all) are much more daring when it comes to starting things…. what do I mean? Well there are ‘old’ knitters, who have been knitting for years and years, and they’re terrified to make a lace scarf or a cabled bag… not because they’re not amazing knitters, because most of them are, but because I guess they’ve been brought up to think it’s hard. New knitters on the other hand, like myself, don’t know that something is supposed to be hard, so we dive right in with both needles and learn the stinkin’ technique. I’ve made three cabled (one fairly complicated) handbags (LINED!), three lace scarves and I’m now working on a lace shawl that’s knit in the round… one piece… around and around and around… so cool! But I thought the analogy was neat, because one wonders if there are things in our lives that are the same… where we ‘think’ it’s hard, or uncomfortable, or not doable… but if we just dove right in with both feet and learned it, or perservered, we’d probably do an amazing job of whatever it was and then look back and wonder what all the fuss was about.

I’m off to my Dad’s place this coming weekend for a much needed holiday! I’ll have the good old cabin to myself for two and a half days and then he’ll get home and we get to hang out together for 2.5 days and then take the drive back to town (2 hrs) to dump me at the airport. I have big plans for my time and they involve knitting on the beach… knitting in the paddleboat… knitting in the hammock… dyeing yarn together (lol, I can’t wait!) and having campfires and roasting marshmallows… doesn’t that sound like the most awesome time ever??

Anyway, it’s late and I have to go stalk the Ravelry forums for a while before bed!

Things I’ve learned about Koolaid

Koolaid is incredibly hard to find if you want more than the regular grape, orange and cherry! I remember a long time ago they used to have points on koolaid and my sister and mom and I would get loads of different flavors for the points things… i don’t think we ever sent in for anything, but I do remember having a whole envelope of fruity smelling upc codes… Anyway, different flavors (colors) are ridiculously hard to find… so readers of my little blog… if you find any unusual flavors in your travels, please pick them up.
Okay, so what I’ve learned, besides that they’re really hard to find?

1. Koolaid is cheapest at Safeway (.34/each)
2. Koolaid is second most cheapest at Superstore (.43/ea)
3. Koolaid is most expensive at Extra Foods (.49/ea) — how can it be 6 cents more expensive at the SAME STORE??

But I remember when Koolaid was 16 cents each… SIXTEEN CENTS! Now it’s 49 cents! That’s quite an indication of the declining economy… or perhaps it’s just an indication that it’s been about 15 years since I purchased koolaid…

Now… what do I need various colors of koolaid for? Let me explain:

I’m off work this week… Thank God, because I don’t know if I would have been able to make it to my August holiday without this time. Since I didn’t want to sit around and do nothing, I thought I’d do something creative and interested. So I decided to handpaint yarn. Not knowing a single thing about dying yarn, I researched online for a few evenings and finally decided on two methods. One was an acid exhaust dye, which requires you to wear a respirator for the preparation and is incredibly toxic. And one was Koolaid dyeing. I decided that I wanted to try both, because I doubt this will be the last time I dye my own yarn.
It’s not a difficult process, using either method. For the A
cid Dye, you mix the powder (wearing your mask, and not using utensils you ever want to eat on again) and vinegar and hot water. After soaking the skein of yarn you want to dye in warm water and vinegar (I’ve heard anywhere from 30 min to over night… I soaked mine for between 30 and 90 min), you lay it out in a circle on saran wrap and paint on your colors. I learned a few things about yarn painting after I had finished… research is easier to understand and it’s easier to find answers to specific questions after you’ve tried the technique. Anyway, once you paint your dye on (no details here… this isn’t an instruction blog… I may write that later), you wrap the yarn in the saran and nuke it in the microwave for a while ( 2min, then a break, repeat three times). Once it’s cooled, rinse and hang to dry. If you’re too anxious (impatient) to wait for it to cool, dump out into the sink and rinse with water as hot as the yarn is (and it’s HOT), and then gradually cool down the water and the yarn, otherwise it may felt.
The Koolaid method is a little different. The koolaid is mixed with 1/2 cup of water to each packet of koolaid (for stronger colors, 2 pkt to 1/2cup water). The yarn is
soaked in plain water and a drop of dishsoap for around 30min to all night. Then the yarn can either be handpainted again, or I tried the method where you throw the yarn into a casserole dish, cover with water and then pour the color mixture over it, careful not to stir… the yarn then bakes covered in the microwave for 5 min intervals until the water turns clear (about 15 min or so).
The next method I’m going to try is using food dye paste. I think I’ve learned a bit about what I need to do to not get muddy colors where they meet, and how to get longer stretches of color, so I’m going to foray into the world tomorrow for more yarn and try my hand again. It’s rather fun actually… coming up with the color schemes, seeing your yarn come to life and then naming the colors. I ended up doing the purple/blue/red one twice because once it dried, I wasn’t happy with the results… that’s the other nice thing… it’s pretty hard to ruin yarn… you can always overdye it, or add dye, or in the worst case scenario, you could mix up a dark blue, green or purple and just cover the entire ske
in… but the knitting style I like is not going to be too concerned with if the color variation is perfect…