Friday, November 30, 2007

The last day of November

Well, here it is the last day of November. Christmas and the holidays are right around the corner. One of the things that I really enjoy around this time of the year is wreath making and being off from work. I live in Central Pennsylvania where hunting is BIG. I know that folks who aren't accustomed to this cultural quirk are sometimes a bit put off by it all. The Monday after Thanksgiving is the first day of deer season. Schools take the day off because no one would be there. Some schools take off Monday and Tuesday. And if you'd live here, you'd realize what a necessary thing it is. The deer herd in Central PA is huge. There's lots of corn, grain, and other crops grown all over the place and it's food for the deer. The amount of hunting licenses sold by the Game Commission is calculated by how much the herd needs to be culled.

The other hunting story that amazes me always is bear hunting. That occurs before Thanksgiving. Now, you think bears live in Alaska and the wilds of northern Canada. Nosiree, Bob -- the bear season here in PA in 2007 yield over 2000 black bear. Again, I realize that most of this bear habitat is located in the center section of the state, but I find it amazing that bears have adapted so well.

Anyhow, none of this has to do with knitting, but what it does have to do with is that I get to take time off from work this time of the year to use up my comp time. The boss is an avid hunter. And I make Christmas wreaths.

I have a clamping machine and I have a nice work area set up in my basement. I used to make LOTS of wreaths for a local club who sold them as a fundraiser. The club has disbanded and now I just have a few private customers and make them for gifts. It's a very enjoyable thing to do. But it does take away from some knitting time. Plus it really sets off my carpel tunnel in my wrists.
The other thing I do is watch the various craft and food shows that feature the holidays. And I must say, DIY, HGTV, and the Food Network need to get their act together. I've seen the same shows year after year. The other thing I've learned is that Martha is EVERYWHERE! Martha has long blocks of time on at least three different networks. I enjoy learning about the projects that are on her shows, but Martha's tone of voice is SOOOOO condescending. It really takes away from her presentation and it makes me wonder why someone who talks down to her guests/helpers the way she does, why is she making something herself?
Oh, well, that's my view on the world for today. I'm off to the basement to make a few more wreaths. More knitting tomorrow.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Kool Aid and the Hedge Hog

You see I saw this pattern on Ravelry for a really cute knit fellow that's a hedge hog. And I just have to make one. So, I ordered the pattern (Fiber Trends) from the Mannings. And then it was decided that the hedge hog needed to be green with bright yellow fun fur. Then I went about trying to find how I could come into the possession of some really bright green wool that would felt. Off to the stash I went and found two 8 oz. skeins of Lion's Brand Fishermans Wool. I wound off into a hank about 180 yards. (using the non-scientific guessing method). Then after doing my internet research homework, I decided that Kool Aid brand lemon-lime was the flavor we needed in order to dye the wool green. Off the store I went and came home with 10 packages of lemon-lime for a mere $2.10.

Then I soaked my hank of yarn in water with just a bit of soap.

Next, I put six packets of lemon-lime in the large pot on the stove and put the yarn in the pot.
Stirring gently and then I did put in a glug of vinegar. (I didn't have white vinegar so I just used some good ole apple cider vinegar.)
Stirred gently and before the water even came to a boil, the yarn had soaked up all the color and the water was clear. Just did bring it to a boil just for luck and pulled the pot off the heat.
After cooling, the yarn got dunked in the sink full of lukewarm water and rinsed. I didn't detect one speck of color rinsing out.
And voila, just like magic, we have a skein of hedge hog green yarn. VERY simple process and it was fun, too!
I'll be considering other colors for the rest of the Fishermans Wool. I think it would make some fine mittens.

Green is the color

Kool Aid dying is happening as we speak. Details later.

Monday, November 12, 2007

It's been Pondemonium here on the Fake Isle

Clever title!! It's been a month since I blogged, but that doesn't mean that knitting hasn't happened. There was a slight detour with a week long trip to Las Vegas. Woo-hoo! DH won a seat in a tournament sponsored by World Tavern Poker. It was a great time. We flew on Southwest, which was a pretty good experience, even if the plane was absolutely, clear full on the ride home. It was a straight-through flight both ways, however. (good thing) We stayed at Binion's in downtown Las Vegas. (not a good thing, but it was clean and it was cheap) DH did well in his tournament. He won some $$ at poker and I won some $$ at slots. And we had a good time.

However, I didn't do much knitting. I worked on socks on the plane on the way. But nary a stitch while we were there because the lighting and sitting arrangements in the hotel room were very poor. And then on the flight home we were packed in like sardines.

But I do have some knitting to report on. First the Pondemonium sweater. I have the front and back done to the neck. And the duplicate stitch on the worms is done. Next step is to do the duplicate stitch on the bugs, frogs and ducks. Then on to the sleeves. This is a really cute pattern.

And since it's unhealthy to have only one (or two or three or four) projects OTN at one time, I'm also working a Fake Isle hat. I purchased two skeins of Noro Kureyon at the Mannings in October and this pattern spoke to me. It only uses one skein of Noro and the black is Wool of the Andes. It's really turning out nice. It's a birthday gift for a November birthday that I need to get sent off pronto! But now, I have a lonely skein. Might have to order two more to make another hat and matching mittens... hmmmm, stash enhancement!