Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dyeing...or trying!

Once upon a time, many years ago, a new-ish knitter was visiting a yarn shop in her capital city and found this:


In a rather patriotic moment she bought not two, but FOUR skeins of the yarn...two were given as a gift and two were added to her STASH!

Years and years passed and the new-ish knitter became a more experienced knitter - far from an expert mind you - but experienced enough to get by. She hoped and hoped that one day the right pattern would appear before her eyes and begged to be knitted in the red, white, and blue yarn...but it did not happen.

Then one day, Ravelry appeared in the new-ish-now-more-expereinced-knitter's life. The knitter discovered that she could sell or trade her yarn there. She posted the red, white, and blue yarn, in hopes of giving someone else some joy. A couple of people responded, but before the knitter could make a deal, a kool-aid dyer suggest that the yarn be over-dyed. So - the knitter went online for instructions and asked for advice from her plurk-buds and this was the result!

Choosing the Kool-aid (I chose to use Black Cherry)

*First I soaked the yarn-

soaking yarn

ugh - as you can see, I did not polish the fixtures before taking the photo!

While the yarn soaked, I chose my Kool-aid and assembled all the "parts" -

-including six packs of Black Cherry Kool-aid.

Then I mixed the packs with some very hot water from the tea kettle and poked it around a little with a spatula to cover all the yarn with water. Next, I put the bowl in the microwave for 6-7 minutes...maybe a little too long, judging from all the Kool-aid spatters inside the oven!

Afterwards, I rinsed the yarn in hot water until the water was totally clear and cooling and gradually switched to cooler water so I could handle the yarn more easily. I hung it up to dry-

first dyeing

...and dyed the other skein - repeat from *.

...and here are the results - TA DA!

the results

I'm very pleased! What do you think? I think they all lived happily ever after!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

WIP Dissatisfaction ....the Uglies

Between going back to school for teacher work week and getting ready for my overnight trip up to Winchester, I somehow missed posting a mid-week blog update - not that there's much to post.

Actually, I have a little good news and a little bad news: the good news is that I've managed to finish two of my three WIP Wrestling projects! The bad news is that one of them is butt-ugly! I hate it...and as soon as WIP Wrestling is over, I'm gonna rip out the sleeves and try something else. Here - you be the judge...

finished ravelympic ugly sweater

Or on second thought, don't be the judge...It's not the yarn...or the color....it's the sleeves. Ick-Ack-Yep - I'm ripping those suckers right out.

The doggie sweater is finished also. Here's a photo of Mr. First Cat, White Socks, being embarrassed as he models it:

cat in dog sweater

Now I'm battling the De Colores jacket. I have to TINK a few rows that I messed up after dinner the other night....not sayin' why...

On my way back from Winchester, I stopped at the Augusta County SPCA and happened upon this:

Little Kitty

Sure would like to bring her home. She's part Siamese: blue eyes, ear coloring - but has a tabby cat stripy tail & legs... I haven't heard her voice yet...I wonder if she has that Siamese-like yowl?
DH will not be thrilled about this addition to out family and I'm not sure White Socks and Halloween will be either - but I'm tired of being the only girl here and I want a little back-up...at least that's my story....and I'm sticking to it!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The WIPs are Winning

This morning I woke up pretty early for a Saturday. You see, I love being awake in my house and knowing that all my boys, dh included, are sleeping peacefully around me. This morning was especially nice, because during the night cool air moved in, so when I woke up, I turned off the A.C. and opened the windows to enjoy the fresh air. While the coffee was brewing, I tip-toed through the house, collected one of my WIP projects, and headed into my knitting room. I could hear all the early morning sounds through the open window -aaaaah - heavenly! I put my WIP Wrestling project on the floor and reached up to turn on the light while turning to flop down in my green knitting chair.

wip wrestling -sleeve edition
But wait, did something just move below me? Fortunately, I stopped in mid-sit 'cause look who was sitting in my chair:

seat cushion

So after some major kitty cuddling and a cup of coffee, I started sewing in the sleeve of the Tahki cotton sweater and did it -exactly wrong. Poop.....and poop again.

Then these woke up....here's Very Tall Boy (being him is a full time job)
being me is a fulltime job

...and here's Lifeguard Boy (he's a morning person, can't you tell?)
sleepy lifeguard boy
...and then I had to leave to do errands in medium size town.....school supplies, new AC adapter for the very old laptop, and new school clothes for me!
school clothes
Then I had to eat lunch, and try on some shoes....and buy new undergarments....and have a little ice cream...and play with kitties at the S.P.C.A.....and finally - head home.

So - POOP - the WIPs are still winning. I'm heading in right now to rip out the stupid sleeve and try again, paying closer attention this time....oh, and I'll definitely look before I sit!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Thus Begins Another School Year

This year marks my tenth year as a teacher. My career tracks looks like this: 3/4 of a year as a part-time 1st grade reading & math teacher (which did not count toward my official "years of service"); six years as a fifth grade teacher-mostly of Language Arts and Social Studies; and three years as an Elementary General Music teacher. Now as I begin my tenth year, I'm moving out of the music class and back down the hall to fifth grade. While I loved teaching music and sharing that particular joy with my students, I felt very isolated from my colleagues and from knowing any group of students really well. The impression that most general education teachers have of specialists is that they have easy jobs. What I've learned in switching from general education to a specialist role is that you don't really know what someone's job is until you have to do it. As I finish my Masters and move toward educational administration, I hope I can remember what I've learned from being in both roles....of course, I don't really know what's it like to be an administrator and won't know until I'm in that role.
waiting for school
(here's a new plant for my room)
So- I've been plurk-whining a lot in recent weeks about not wanting to go back to school. For those of you who know me only in print, I want to explain just a bit. First of all - I love my school and my community. I actually had a hand in the campaign to build the school, so I have a huge emotional investment in it and in its success. Secondly, I have very high standards for myself and my students and their all-round success. Moving back to fifth grade is kind of like going home for me, except home has changed a little. Some of the neighbors are a little crankier than they need to be, some of my furnishings have have been pillaged, and some of my materials do not exist yet. Therefore, I'm naturally a little apprehensive about the beginning of the year - not really dreading it as my plurk-whines suggest. And the final curve ball - I'm starting the year with a substitute instead of my teaching partner. Teaching Partner just had a brain tumor removed and at the very best, will be out until mid-September....leading to further apprehension for him and our teaching team! Experience tells me, however, that once the students get there, I'll be fine - doing what I love to do - getting to know my students and helping them to learn & grow!
boxed for school
(here are some of the old plants waiting for a ride back)
In the mean time, I'll work on some of my Ravalympics projects. Here's a sleeve of a sweater that's been zzz for years. This won't take long to finish. I'm pretty excited about getting some of my old, lingering projects done! Here's hoping that every little thing goes well!
for WIP Wrestling event

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Test drives and socks

Stacey & I went on a field trip recently to test drive spinning wheels. We visited Stony Mountain Fibers just outside of Charlottesville. The owner, Barb Gentry, has a wonderful shop full of fiber, yarn, looms, and spinning wheels right next to her barn and pen full of sheep!
Stony Mountain Fibers 1
Barb invited us in and started pulling out wheels, left and right! She got us two seats, told us to take our shoes off, and start treadling. It was amazing how quickly we formed opinions about the different wheels. While we were there we oohed and ahhed over and play with these: A Majacraft Susie Pro, a Schacht Ladybug, an Ashford Joy, a Kromski Sonata, a Louet, and one more...can't remember because I did not bond with it. Here's Stacey testing one amidst all the yarny goodness.
Stacey -Stony Mountain Fibers
We ended up liking we the same wheels, in the same order:
  • Kromski Sonata
  • Schacht Ladybug
  • Ashford Joy
Stony Mountain also sells yarns, and rovings, and dyes, and all kinds of yummy things.
Sonty Mountain Fibers 2
Before leaving we each bought a spindle and a pigtail. (My spindle is the Kundert zigzag one right in the middle )
Tomorrow we're going over to Janice's to test her Ashford and the other one-can't remember what it is. Thanks to our outings, I'm feeling a little more knowledgeable about what I want in a wheel.
I've also been knitting a little. The Slave to the Plurk socks are underway. I changed yarns, though. Originally I was going to knit them in JoJoland Melody, but thought it felt too soft - if that's possible - so I'm saving the JoJo for a scarf and have switched to some yummy Cherry Tree Hill I scored from TLE.
Slave to the Plurk
Once I get to the calf, I'll add beads.....oh - and I signed up for Dish Rag Tag. Sound like fun? Hit the link & sign up! (Once you've linked, you have to scroll down the page a bit to read the description)
This is my last "free" week before having to officially go back to school and I'm determined to have as much fun as possible - I wonder how much of it will be fiber-related?

Friday, August 1, 2008

I Was Tagged

...tagged by Judy, aka TorchSinger on plurk. Being tagged was good because it helped me go out & read some blogs, although I usually read them right away when people post their updates on plurk. Anyway, here I go with my tag list:

The Rules: Rules are posted at the beginning. At the end of the post, the player tags 5 people and posts their names. Then the player goes to each of the “named” people’s blogs and leaves a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. If you’ve been tagged, you do the same, letting the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer. They, in turn, answer the following questions. Here we go!

1. What was I doing 10 years ago?
Ten years ago I had just started teaching, both of my parents were in major health decline, I played golf and weighed about 20 lbs. less!

2. What are 5 things on my to-do list today? (Well, I have more than five, but I’ll stop there.)

  • go to the reading workshop
  • finish the section of my paper that didn't get finished last night
  • fold clothes
  • verify patron incomes before the Food Bank distribution tomorrow
  • find the rest of the yarn for one of my WIP Wrestling projects

3. Snacks I enjoy:
chips of any kind w/ fresh salsa, carrots w/peanut butter & honey, hummus & pita

4. Places I’ve lived:
Virginia: Afton, Alexandria, Harrisonburg (don't ask), & Winchester (undergrad)

5. Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
Billionaire? with a B? Well....there would be an endowment for youth ministry/outreach at our church; a bigger/better facility built for Food Bank distribution; a literacy outreach foundation of some type - leaning toward parental involvement with literacy/language development; landscaper & interior designer to FIX my house; housekeeper of some type - maybe 2x per week; and a home somewhere in England

So there you have it. Now I’m tagging Stacey, Judy, Cristina, Daniele, & Mo. Tag - you guys are it! Have fun!