Thursday, January 22, 2015

Friday, January 9, 2015

Fun Facts for Friday

Ready for some Friday Fun?

I googled "interesting this week" and found a site with 193 funny and interesting facts...so not specific to this week but interesting nonetheless.  And I didn't "fact check" so if one isn't quite right...don't blame me. I won't post them all...but here are a few to entertain you.

About animals...
Rats and horses can't vomit.
Sloths take two weeks to digest their food.
Guinea pigs and rabbits can't sweat.
The life span of a squirrel is about nine years.
A group of twelve or more cows is called a flink.

Humans...
If you yelled for 8 years, 7 months and 6 days you would have produced enough sound energy to heat one cup of coffee.
Like fingerprints, everyone's tongue print is different!
Human birth control pills work on gorillas.
More than 50% of the people in the world have never made or received a telephone call.

Just plain weird...
Wearing headphones for just an hour will increase the bacteria in your ear by 700 times.
Leonardo da Vinci could write with one hand and draw with the other at the same time.
Because metal was scarce, the Oscars given out during World War II were made of wood.
A cockroach will live nine days without its head before it starves to death.
In 1386, a pig in France was executed by public hanging for the murder of a child.

What?
You can tell the sex of a horse by its teeth.  Most males have 40, females have 36. (Couldn't you just look underneath?)
A raisin dropped in a glass of fresh champagne will bounce up and down continuously from the bottom of the glass to the top.
(Gotta try this, next time I pop open a bottle of champagne.)
Beetles taste like apples, wasps like pine nuts, and worms like friend bacon.
(No way am I fact checking THIS one.)
In every episode of Seinfeld there is a Superman somewhere.
(I think there's one on Jerry's shelf in the apartment. I'll have to start looking...)
Humans and dolphins are the only species that have sex for pleasure.
(Well, nice to know we're not alone.)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Hand Dyed

No "flashing back" today folks.  Well, except to maybe tell you that I dyed yarn once, a long time ago.  It was, probably 10 years ago?  I used KoolAid and made self striping yarn.  It was fun, the socks came out cute...and stripey.  

Fast forward to Tuesday this week.  It snowed.  I had a snow day!  Justine didn't...they didn't even call for a delayed start.  When she walked to the bus it was a very light, soft snow BUT as the morning went on, it really snowed...I bet we got 4-5 inches.  It had stopped by the time school let out and I had shoveled the drive way, cleaned off the car (very easy, the snow was super soft and light) and the snow plows had done their duty.  So I did pick her up from the bus stop, at least.  Oh...and Joey doesn't start classes at AACC til later in the month, so he slept through it all. 

Anyway....back to MY snow day.  I cancelled my doctor's appointment (drive in the snow...what? are you kidding!) and thought about what to do.  Why not dye some yarn?  Pam, in an effort to thin out her stash, gave me some "naked" yarn, oops...I mean bare yarn for dyeing.  I had mentioned I'd like to try some tonal dyeing someday.  She's really wonderful and not just because she gives away yarn either.

So I did what anyone who wants to try something new and doesn't have any idea how to do it...I went to YouTube!   I watched a few videos about tonal dyeing.  These are so fun...most are regular gals, in their kitchens, shaky camera and everything.  I considered myself armed with info and ready to jump in.  Hey, it's just yarn and dye...no problem.  (You're waiting for the punch line here...but really, it was no problem!)

I used Knitpicks Bare fingering yarn and their acid dyes I bought many moons ago.

Remember my original idea about tonal dyeing?  Ok...I just couldn't do one color.  I couldn't!!!  I really wanted to but I couldn't.  Especially that pink!!!!  I CAN NOT resist that pink!

So here is what I did:
8 cups of water in a pot
a splash of white vinegar (measure out a couple tablespoons if you can just wing it and splash)

Then I brought it to a healthy simmer (not quite a boil).  I then put in the DRY yarn...important that you don't pre-soak the yarn. I pushed it down into the water with a slotted spoon.  Once submerged, I added the dye.  I had a plastic spoon, but the bowl of the spoon was too wide to dip into the jars of dye, so I used the handle of the spoon and dipped that in.  Worked like a charm!  I used a tiny bit and sprinkled some here and there, over the yarn.  I started with the yellow, then the pink, then the blue (lightest to darkest). Then I turned off the stove, put the lid on the pot and (here's the hardest part) LEFT IT ALONE.  Don't stir, don't poke (I did poke a little to get some of the dye powder on top of the water, down into the yarn), don't mess with it at all!


I didn't mess with it...but I did check it A LOT!  (It was hard to get a photo without the steam clouding up the picture.) I was so excited!!  After about 30-45 minutes, I took off the lid and let it cool a bit.  The water is supposed to be clear in the pot, that way you know all the dye has been absorbed, but I think I had too much dye in there because the water wasn't clear but it was much lighter.  That was good enough for me.  The dye says you should use one teaspoon for one pound of yarn...so, um, yeah, I used probably way too much dye.  Did I mention I was excited?! 
One great tip I learned from watching the videos...use something white to check the color of the water.  I used the plastic spoon, which was white.

I took it out of the pot (it was still pretty hot) put it into a big bowl and added cooler water, a little wool wash and rinsed till the water ran clear.  Squeezed out as much water as I could, organized my skein (thank GOD for those ties that keep the yarn organized), hung it on a hanger in the bathroom to dry.  And viola! hand dyed yarn...by me!!

Both sides of the hank. 
This yarn is wild. I mean WILD!!  It's got the original dye colors...yellow, pink and blue...but there's also green, orange, white, purple and everything in between.  Really fun to look at...and hopefully fun to knit!  I'll make a pair of vanilla socks with it, probably.  That pink...it's just as bright in person as the photo...in your face pink! A friend suggested I name the yarn.  Maybe I should.  Any suggestions? I have a few...Pink and Friends, Wild Pirie, 1st Time Color, Excited...
Which one do you like? Do you have a better one?

Let me just say that I have to try this again...and actually do a tonal dye.  One color. Just one! That will be tough.

And one last thing...I woke up to 9 degrees outside with -9 real feel temperature.
If you're day is warm and sunny, if you're wearing shorts and a t-shirt instead of layers and layers of clothing, if you're AC is running, not your heater, I'm sorry.  You can't look out your window and see a beautiful blanket of white on the world, you can't get a giggle watching your dog hop on three feet because she's got snow between her toes (oh, relax, I carried her home) and you can't (comfortably anyway) wear lots of woolens, you lovingly knit over the years while sitting on the couch...knitting...while looking at Winter's beauty.  

I hope you can find your silver lining today, too.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Happy Monday

Well, Happy Monday.
Yeah, it's Monday.  The first Monday of the New Year.  First Monday after the holidays.  First Monday after company has left and gone back to their normal lives.  First Monday back to school of the New Year. Back to reality Monday. Monday.

I'm ready to take down all this Christmas stuff around me.  Last year I put if off and off...it was past January 8th before I finally got around to packing everything away.  I think I'm ready this year because I enjoyed Christmas more than I did last year.  Last year I really struggled with my "Christmas spirit".  This year, not so much.  I enjoyed shopping, didn't enjoy not getting something I ordered online and had to replace with other gifts...but mostly it was ok.   I didn't worry so much about the cost of things, just got what I thought people would like and bought it.  I knit gifts this year...more gifts than I EVER have.  Three were for Mike and the girls.  That's never happened.  It was exciting to knit so many gifts.  I hope the two other family members who I knit for enjoyed their hats. I also crocheted the cutest snow flakes for my knitting friends.  There were so fun to make.  Justine suggested I make huge ones and hang them all over the house...um, no thanks.  Well, maybe someday.

One of the things I got for Christmas has me super excited...and it's not yarn/knitting related!  (stop it!)  It's a book called 712 (more)Things to Write About. The first one published was 642 Things to Write About, this is the sequel.  Well, kinda.  Anyway, it's full, 712 full, of writing prompts and space to write.  The idea is to do it quick, like blender pulses, and complete the work in 5-10 minutes.  Here's a sampling:
I met him on the stairs.
What is the hardest thing you've ever had to forgive?
When did you last receive an unexpected gift?
Describe to a retailer why you're returning a pair of shoes designed for walking on the Arctic Circle.
A magazine is writing an article about something that happened to you yesterday...What does the headline say?

Fun, huh?  No, maybe not to all of you.  The challenge is going to be to dig deep in a short amount of time.  Find the feelings, articulate them, write (not type on the computer with a convenient back space feature) them in a way that makes sense...in 5-10 minutes?!  A challenge for sure. Good brain work. 

I did one.  What to see?  OK
Write a 12-line poem whose lines begin with words that start with the letters R, V, H, O, K, E.  Use each letter twice.

Winter's Dance
Remember last Winter's
Venues of white with
Hands warm in mittens?
Over the ground a sprinkling of sugar
Keeps reminding me Spring is
Ever at bay.
Rivers frozen in time,
Volumes of fluff at the roadside,
Houses take on a gingerbread persona.
Old Man Winter does a happy dance,
Kicks up his heels at the
End of the day.
                             
I won't share them all with you, but some I will.  This was my first, so a good one to share.  And I like it.  Hope you do too.                   

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy 2015!


Well, the New Year is here! Hope you had a fun time last night.  We did...we stayed up till mid-night watching Ryan Seacrest and playing dominoes.  It was fun!

My year is starting off great!  Mike offered to walk Gracie for me (I have the morning walk shift) so I'm still in my pjs, drinking coffee and about to tuck into my knitting!

I couldn't be happier.  I hope you're feeling the same!