15 May 2011

FINALS WEEK AHHH

So here at KU its finals week. Yay......um not. I have been a graduate student for three years and am finally graduating with my master's degree. Now, that is an accomplishment and I'm thrilled, BUT as a graduate student, finals week usually consists of turning in papers and projects that you've been working on the whole semester. Not one big exam that determines your whole semester's performance.

This semester, however, I started taking classes in Speech-Language and Hearing so I can pursue a second master's and a career in that field. All the courses are undergraduate courses and EVERY class has a final. I have FOUR finals. I haven't taken four finals in probably...ohhh....hmmm maybe 5 years when I was a sophomore in undergrad!

So with that said, wish me luck and then get ready for some super awesome new projects! I may even post some cooking stuff and some yarn reviews and stuff. I have lots of plans for the summer :) But first! Tackling exams.

09 May 2011

Adventures in Dyeing

I decided to try my hand at dyeing wool roving for spinning. You can really come up with endless color combinations when you're dyeing and spinning your own yarn. My husband chose the colors for this go round. Half the roving is purple and orange and it will be plied with yellow. I used Kool-aid to dye the yarn because it works, the color is bright and it is safe to have in the house around my son and I can use the same pots that I use for cooking.

Here we go, lots of pics!

So this was the final product, the splotches are unexpected, but appreciated. I call it In the Koi Pond


The first thing I had to set up was my music. I chose Ben Folds for this particular project


This is the 1 lb ball of roving I bought. It is mysterious wool top according to the shop lady. They didn't know what kind of lamb it was from! I was intrigued. Its very soft.


I set a big roaster on the stove to heat to about 200 degrees and in the meantime poured 5 or so packs of Kool-Aid into recycled Kimchi jars and a couple inches of water (If you're as fond of kimchi as I am you probably have many of these)


We've achieved the heat! You want it to be hot enough to make the dye stick to the fiber, but not boiling as the boil may agitate the wool enough to felt it.  Throughout the dyeing process I kept turning the burner on a bit to warm it up.


I added half a pound of yarn and turned the burner off.


Then I poured the dye in specific spots of the yarn--purple on the sides, orange in the middle.


TA-DA! I let it set for 45 minutes turning on the burner intermittently to keep the water above 150 degrees. You'll know its done when the water is clear after 45 minutes. If you have the time, let it chill overnight until it gets to room temperature. It can sit just fine.


For my second round, I decided to tie the yarn off. so it wasn't as hard to remove from the pot. It turned out much better.

The end result!


Things I would do differently:
  • Dye smaller amounts at a time
  • I want to try dyeing premade yarn, because I'm not sure how well the purple and yellow will hold once they are spun
  • Different colors!
  • Buy more kool-aid. I thought I was being generous, but apparently not!  Use lots and lots and turn the yarn lots.
  • I want to try this in the crockpot as well. 
  • Basically, I want to do more and more and more! :)
Even if you don't knit or crochet, I recommend giving this a shot! There are great tutorials out there and its just fun to mess with! You could even dye your own yarn and I will knit something out of it for you :)

04 May 2011

Wool Lover's anonymous







This was the kind I always had as a kid :


I loved the blues as well


Alpaca is WARMER than wool







And angora is beautiful







These are just some of the types of animal fibers available to make yarn from. Maybe I'll do a plant based post as well--but lets face it, plants are not nearly as cute.

02 May 2011

Going Green Part Deux

You all had such great ideas on my last post, that I wanted to compile those in their very own post.

Two things happened while I was reading the comments:
1. "Oh! I do that too, but totally forgot that I do it!"
2. "Oh! that's a really great idea, I should do that!"

So here is a compiled list of all of your green doings:

  • Recycling
  • Using cold water in the laundry
  • Using halogen or curly light bulbs
  • Reducing car usage--taking public transportation
  • Shopping the local farmer's market (I LOVE doing this one--have you ever had an emu burger? They're delightful)
  • Energy efficient appliances
  • Composting
  • Reusable shopping bags
  • Cloth Diapering
  • Using cloth wipes
  • Repurposing old items (another one of my faves--we got a great rocking chair for my first son this way)
  • Gardening (another thing I love--growing up on a farm, you learn a lot :)) 
  • Green cleaning products (I use vinegar and baking soda when I can)
  • Turning down the heater and water heater (I do this when I can stand it!)
I love it all! As I said in the last post, I have been making t-shirt yarn for quite a while and hope to crochet a rug from it very soon. I'm really excited for that project to be under way.   There are many many wonderful projects that anyone can do to repurpose old materials. Have you done a repurposing project lately? I'd love to hear about it!