Saturday, April 07, 2007

Let the holidays begin (Raro safer on the yarn than drinking the stuff.

Today, my Fish count is up to 85 (accurate stock take undertaken by my in house engineer), the swatch (and frog) report, and the whole family dyes (Toby demonstrates just those six little wooden posts were really for), plus Bear has a birthday.

I've updated my blog, moved to the new version of Blogger, new template, and had to rebuid the side bar. Which gave me a space to think about what my blog should be or could be, so let me know if you like the new lists, links, tutorials, and new new section - new zealand knitters who blog. I've left comments on all the owners blogs asking permission (all except Kiwiknitter on the 'men who knit' blog, which seems to be a closed ring - and I feel really funny joining that one - not being male and all, but you have to join to see, or thats how it seems).

Swatch and frog report : Swatching, still continues even though I have not heard back from LYS reguarding the availability of enough yarn to complete a sweater for moi. I began a practice for the v-neck steek. This is the 3rd version, practices one and two were frogged. I have found on line info on steeking here and here, but not much detail about exactly how to actually do the v-neck. I think I need to cast on a 6-8 stitch steek, and have placed 3 stitches on a holder to become the anchor of the neck ribbing. My most recent trial, has me casting on the 3 stitches to replace the 3 on the hgolder, and then increasing to 8 stitches, I wonder if that should have been cast on to 8 stitches immediately.

I have also run a purl row of stitches either side of the k2 and ssk decreases. I'm looking at a using shallow wide v, so have decreased every 2nd row, and on the 'real one' would compete to the shoulder by decreasing avery 4 or 5th row after it was nearly wide enough.

School holidays for primary school children started with Easter. Two weeks off, and the kids need that, they are ready for a rest, do nothing, stay at home, some
'not have to cope with 14 plus other kids in the class room and 160 kids in the school' days.

I've got the first week at home with them, and I've got plans for these guys, the TMNT movie, that would be Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to any one who has not had a boy in the family for around - oh around years. I have memories of my now 30+ brother loveing those turtles. And here at home to counter the animated story with semi violence (no one dies but lots of bodies slamming against walls), a little fibre craft.

Here we have Toby, aged 7.75yo skeining up his wool yarn, over my new custom and home made warping posts, in preparation for Food colour dying. For each kid we used two 50 gram balls of 100 % wool yarn, JohnQ designer Creative 4 ply (because it was white and the cheapest yarn we could find in pure wool).
Over night we soaked the yarn in warm water, with 175 mls of vinegar. The it was squeezed dryish, We laid the two skeins out on top of each other and on a circle of glad wrap on top of 2 old towels, and Toby painted it with Black, blue, green and red food dye in squeezy bottles. Each dye solution was made up 2 Tbsps liquid food colour to 100 mls. IN hindsight this was to much dye the bath did not exhaust, next time only 1 Tbsp per 100 mls. We used the painting technque here, the cold pour method, but then wrapped the yarn up in its plastic wrap, and zapped it in the microwave for 3 lots of 3 minutes on med-high. I pulled open some vent holes. Being impatient types we didn't wait for it to cool, but ran hot tap water over it to cool and rinse the yarn. Toby thought the colours were a little bright for him, so we overdyed one skein with black. We put water in the casserole, and then added about a 'tspn' of black food dye, added the still wet skein, and microwaved for another 5 mins on med-high. The reds went brown, the blues and greens darker and its a all in all darker more adult version.

This is the wet result, of the first skein. The outdoor drying shot shows the colours pretty true, and the difference in the overdyed and original skeins.

And hanging with them, Poppy's Pink which came from sour grape Raro. Raro is the name given to our New Zealand version of Kool-Aid. I made a huge assumption that Raro and Kool-aid are pretty much the same thing. It seems they are. I also selected 'super sour' flavours knowing the acid would aid the dye uptake. This was for Poppy, who at 4.75yo probably would not have handled the paint'n'squirt method as 'tidily' as I would have wanted.

We soaked the yarn, this time for 20 mins in warm water with about quarter of a cup of vinegar (I'm running out, and we were impatient), then sprinkled over two packed of Raro Sourz Grape flavour, stired gently and zapped for 5 mins. Sprinkling rather than mixing the powder in before the yarn was added resulted in a faint variation, but its very pretty. The liquid changed from deep artificial grape to clear and yet slighlty white cloudy. All the skeins were rinsed, wrung out gently, then wrapped in a cleanish towel and stamped on to semi dry, then hung outside on a the line.

We also have a new toy, well Bear does, he had a birthday yesterday, which is pretty cool. He had an angioplasty in 2000, Toby was just one, and so 7 years of no heart problems is very very good news. I clearly remember Toby who had promised to be very still and calm, actively bouncing on the hospital bed in his exitement to hug his dad, as we and the nurses rushed to grab him, all worried he would knock a tube or that valve they put into the artery in the thigh .

The new toy is a wireless weather guage, which gives outdoors temperature, humidiy, and other details such as cloud cover, rain, snow, freezing or such. So instead of walking a whole 7 meters from dining room to outside (or looking out the window) he gets a full meterlogical picture at a glance. That 61 is % humidity, it alternates display with Celcius and humidity. This was perfect present for Bear, he stops every trip down our front hall to tap the barometer, inherited from his mum and dad, and loves to announce 'its falling' or 'its rising'. He has spent much of today finding the perfect pozzie for the outside transmitter, and working out which channel it needs to be set on. I'm so pleased with it and his response, and it was even priced well under 3 digits!


Sharon in Ireland/NZ said...

Hi Stell, Thanks for dropping by my blog, it's great to "meet" a kiwi knit blogger and I'd be delighted for you to add me to your list. I'll keep reading, I think the fish blanket you are making is going to be amazing. Do you need any leftover sock yarn? I don't have much but would be happy to send some to you. Interesting that you mentioned angioplasty - I used to work for a company that made angioplasty balloons and stents - do you know that they now have drug eluting stents? Sounds like Bear doesn't need any more treatment though which is great.

Sharon in Ireland/NZ said...

Hi Stell,
Can you post your email address on a comment on my blog or yours? That way I can email you for your address - good incentive to get me finishing my Lombard Street socks!

Sharon in Ireland/NZ said...

Mmm, just tried your email address and it has been bounced back to me - I think I've typed it as you gave me - can you check it?

Mary said...

Thanks for the comment on my blog, Stell. I think I may keep the mitered squares "as is" since I have several afghans made my mother already. She was a very crafty woman and so I also have ceramic work and all kinds of Christmasy things. As I get older, I appreciate them more.

What a good fiber helper you have!