Wednesday, April 09, 2008

House Cleaning and YARN!!!

I scheduled last Saturday off, giving me a rare two day weekend. I had hoped to go have some fun, but instead spent part of the weekend getting some chores caught up. I'm in the "lets get rid of the clutter" phase of the spring cleaning. I'm finding all the stuff we've gathered over the years is starting to get on my nerves. OK, honestly, it got on my nerves awhile ago but I've been in denial for awhile. ;) I have no desire to move to a bigger house but I'm trying to adopt a new attitude to the items I've got. I'm calling it the "If We Were Moving Would We Pack This Crap Up and Take It With Us" philosophy. If I can't say yes, it's going. Now I just need to get the hubby on board. ;) I'm chipping away at the common areas little by little and have taken a few loads to the second hand store. I have a few items that I think I can sell and I've put them aside for that purpose. I'm not a "let's-have-a-garage-sale" type of person. I love going to them, but not having them.:) The hard part is sorting through things that we both use. Sorting kitchen gadgets is one thing, he'll never notice something gone that he doesn't use. Movies, games, toys and tools are another altogether. Those will take a meeting of the minds and somehow I never think to bring up the subject when the hubster is around. I'd love to have a dumpster delivered and just chuck it all, but I feel that I should make an effort to re purpose as much of it as possible.
Gobble-de-gook and housework aside, I spent an enormous amount of time this last weekend working with fiber and yarn. A week or two ago I started un-plying my one and only cable plied yarn. I had read the latest article in Spin Off and decided I could fix the mess that was a skein of beautiful but unusable yarn. Um, yeah, un-plying is a pain in the butt, and I'll think twice before doing it again. It felt like it was going to take forever to complete it. DH helped me finish it on Saturday and I now have two two plied yarns to deal with. I'm unsure at this point if I'm going to take it back to singles to fix it and cable ply it again, or if I'm going to do something different with it. I'm rather liking the yarns un-cabled. I'll think on it.
After finishing up the un-plying, I put a skein of Knit Picks Bare (100%Merino-440 yards) on the swift and balled it up. Then I spent some quality time with the sock dyeing board, warping it in prep for dyeing. I really thought it was going to take longer than it did to wind it out and was surprised that I was ready to dye it in no time. No, I didn't think to take pictures of this process, but I promise I will next time. Once it was done I couldn't wait to dye it, so off I went. I used Rit Dye in Scarlet and Black and I'll confess right now that I did not figure the dye ratios out at all, but just glugged and glugged into two separate containers and off I went. (I did soak the skein in vinegar laced water for over an hour before dyeing.) I did remember to wear gloves while mixing and applying the dye. :) I wrapped the skein in plastic wrap and steamed it in the microwave. When it was all done, I unwrapped it and started rinsing it. Because the dye was way too concentrated, it didn't exhaust in the steam setting, and really never would. It was that over concentrated. And no, I didn't think to wear gloves for the rinsing process, so therefore ended up with pink hands! DUH! But wow! The skein came out great! So great that I've promised hubby that I'll make another for him. I'm keeping this one all for me! It is his colors though, and does match his riding gear, so I'll try to replicate it for him. Here it is on the sock dyeing the snow. (UGH!)

And here it is skeined.

Another thing I was able to do was clean off 4 bobbins for the wheel. One had the left over Navajo plied silk on it. It's a tiny amount and I'm not pleased with it. I was even less pleased with it when I washed it to set the twist and the yellow washed out leaving it red, blue and white again. I guess I didn't use the wrong soap last time. ;) The other three bobbins had gray fiber on it. I'm pretty pleased with how it came out and I'm stashing it for something special.

Yeah, I know, it's not the best picture. But I'll deal with it. It's really hard to photograph gray yarn in gray weather. ;) The specs for this skein are as follows: 3 ply, 4 oz, 70% Superwash Merino/30% Alpaca, approx 236.5 yards.
The only problem with all this productiveness is that now the wheel is bare, the spinning basket is empty and I'm at a loss. I pulled out a ball of brown llama that was gifted to me, but I'm not feeling the pull for it yet. Maybe I need to dig deeper. I've got PLENTY of fiber stash, just not all of it is carded and I'm not sure I'm up to carding some right now. (I may have to though!) I do have some colors dyed up for a color blending experiment. I just need to pick through them and prep them for carding. I could dig down and see if there's any washed alpaca that's carded. hmmm....I'll see.
The other thing I finished off was the hubsters new slippers. He's been wearing them this last week while I waited for the leather to show up at work. I had planned on stitching a leather sole onto the bottoms of them but when I got out the awl to practice I realised that it was completely impractical for the application. So I whipped out some glue and glued them on. It's an experiment and if it works out, I do it again on my next pair. It's only been a couple of days, but he does have more traction now. Hopefully they last longer than the last pair.
I've got one more cute picture post to do and then it's back to knitting. I've started two different sock patterns with two different yarn types and neither are turning out the way I planned and neither seem to fit so far. So....I'm trying the thicker yarn on smaller needles and the thinner yarn on larger needles all in a hope of obtaining gauge. HA! Obtaining gauge! AS IF!

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