Saturday, March 27, 2010

Dyeing Naturally

Trtgrl and family took me along for a ride to Pico-Accuardi Dyeworks headquarters in North Portland. Debby and Stevanie along with Michelle were doing a day of mini-classes. You could learn how to spin on a drop spindle, do some natural dyeing and how to do entrelac in the round. We were interested in the natural dyeing so that's what we headed over for in the afternoon.

Arriving early, we of course pulled out our knitting and chatted with Debby and Michelle. We couldn't help adding in our spinning tidbits and we all learned. A few rows on our shawls were knitted and then it was our turn with Stevanie.

Stevanie had some pots with black walnut, cochineal, logwood, pomegranate (forgot to try), logwood-grey (forgot to try), madder, onion skins - yellow and red in separate pots and indigo. We also ended up mixing up a batch of madder-walnut and baking soda for a nice dark red. We were given mini-skeins of cream colored sock yarn and a light grey columbia wool. Both had been pre-mordanted, and dry so we were ready to go.

Our work area:

Sock yarn: logwood-baking soda| cochineal-logwood-baking soda| walnut-cochineal| walnut-madder-baking soda| cochineal-indigo|indigo:

Columbia wool: yellow onion| cochineal-logwood-indigo| indigo| madder-red onion-indigo| indigo

I have need to do some natural dyeing of some cotton fabric for SCA garb for Brandon and I. I have a source that I can try out woad and a kit that has madder, cochineal, walnut and a couple of others. 

Nessa came home on Friday. We are definitely going to replace the tin her ashes are in. They clipped a nice amount and a variety of her hair for me and did a nice casting of her paws. Brandon is going to build a nice box with a picture frame front for her and has some wood in mind. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bleeding Hearts

I vaguely noticed that there was pink in the garden when we came home Sunday afternoon. It was when Nessa had gone outside and sat down out in her backyard. I think she would have also have gone to check on her fish, but didn't have the energy for it. If I had known it would be the last time in one of her favorite places, I would have taken over to the pond to also see her fish.

I think its supposed to cloud up tomorrow, so this morning was the best time to go out into the backyard and take pictures of the Bleeding Hearts putting on their show. For me appropriate because I still feel as if my heart is bleeding.

Thank you to all who have written condolences here. Many of you have also lost a beloved pet and know the heartache. Some have even met Nessa and remember her. Norbert is grieving too. We were able to get him to play ball a bit last night, he goes with me every night to pick up Brandon from work. Norbert is sleeping a lot, me not so much. Neither one of us is really eating like we should. We'll work on that. Next week after Spring Break is over and kids are back in school, I'm going to make sure that we both get out every day for walks in parks, Nessa's favorites of course.

Tuesday I went through all my photos of her and picked out a lot to be printed into photos at Walgreens, they after all had sent me a coupon. I'll pick one for a special frame to go on my desk so that I'll be able to see her little smiling face everyday. The place we took her to be cremated offered to clip some of her hair for me and to also do a casting of her paw prints. I'd trimmed her nails, but one paw, of course one of the front paws. Hopefully they trim it before doing the casting.

I'm going to take the time to write her life story down. I think it might help my grieving process and I'll have it later. I know she won't be forgotten by her family, but memories do dim with time.

I have also put out the call for a good breeder of Miniature Schnauzers, preferably one that is local so that friend Greta can come with me and be my voice of reason. I love those Schnauzer faces and while it won't be Nessa's, I think it will help. I've promised that I won't bring home a puppy for two weeks. It wouldn't be fair to either of us to bring a puppy immediately in the house.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Nessa April 26, 2002 to March 22, 2010

Nessa died tonight at 1:34am. That's so stark, but I've been crying for over an hour since she's gone. She had thrown up her breakfast Wednesday and Thursday but ate her dinners. Friday she was willing to eat beef broth, nibbling some corned beef and drinking and still active. So we thought she was up to the trip to the beach to the beach house. While there she refused to eat but was still drinking. She was keeping down the pedialyte and baby food that we got her on Saturday. It wasn't until we got home this afternoon and I realized that I hadn't seen her drink today. So we were using the syringe (minus needle) to try to keep her hydrated with the pedialyte. I had her on the bed with me so I could keep an eye on her through the night and Brandon volunteered to sleep on the couch. At 1:30am she sat up, threw up what was in her stomach and then leaned over. I moved her to a different position and realized that was her last breath. My baby was gone.

I've been out of the bedroom for an hour and a half and she hasn't come out to check on me and go flop down on the couch to wait for me to tell we were going back to bed. Brandon's come out though. No more happy wiggly butt happy to see that I'm back home. No more snoring warm body leaning against me butt to butt in bed. Yes, I know Brandon will still be there, but it won't be her. He won't have to complain because she's laying in the bed between us. No little girl excited that its sunny and going outside to check her fish, or sun bathing on the patio.

Nessa would have turned eight next month. She picked me out when I went to visit her litter. She was advertised as a scottie-cocker. She was born in Molalla to a backyard breeder of Cocker Spaniels who mis-identified her neighbor's dog as a Scottie instead of a Schnauzer. I was still new to the world of dogs, so it wasn't until at a Rally-Obedience trial at APDT and all the ladies were cooing over the cute little Schnauzer puppy that I realized that there may have been a mistake made.
There were all these little puppies crawling all over but she was the one that came and sat on my shoe and tried to climb up. It was my birthday and she was one of the best presents I've ever received on a birthday. She just wanted to be with me whenever she could, Brandon has said that she would sit and look for me out the window when I was gone for very long. I was the only resource she guarded and she did it benevolently. 

Nessa also knew how to 'kiss'. Kiss meant bump mouths, not lick. Kisses though meant tongue licks and only a few, no need to get sloppy about it. Unfortunately, she really didn't like the car so that kind of hindered things. She loved the activities at the end of the ride once she was there. The many trips: beaches, camping, parks, hikes, fields, friends. She was a people dog, not a dog dog. Meaning, if she had a choice of who she was going to interact with, she was going to pick the people not the other dogs. People after all were good for scritches, other dogs couldn't give her that.
Training with Nessa was pretty easy. After all she was getting to spend time one-on-one with me and getting food at the same time. Bonus-Bonus for her. I knew she wasn't an agility dog, but she did have fun learning the stuff for Rally Obedience. Competition wasn't something important to do with her though, so no fancy titles from it. She and Norbert also had lots of fun with Tracking, but with Nessa I think it was all about the hot dogs and 'find it' became a good way for her to find dropped food.

I wasn't ready to lose her at such a young age. I thought I had at least another eight years with her. I'm really going to miss her and I don't know what its going to be like with just Norbert. He's had Nessa since he was nine months old, they were truly companions. Things will not be the same, they'll go forward without her, she'll always be remembered and loved. There may be another dog in my future, they won't be a replacement because she really can't be replaced, like you can't replace a human that has been lost. Her loss is just something that is so hard for me to believe right now. I'm just devastated. I love you babycakes and you'll always have a big spot in my heart.
Still no puppy check of where I am. Nessa where are you?

ETA: 5:00am Correction, Norbert was up in the corner of the couch watching over me this whole time. Letting me do the laundry and wash dishes and cry. I'm going to take him to bed and try for a little sleep before taking Nessa away. I want to have her cremated rather than buried here. I also apparently can't read a calendar.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cupcakes, trades, dyeing

Last Saturday I spent the afternoon/evening making mini-cupcakes and frosting them. I made the Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with a slight modification to the frosting recipe - I added in a 1/4 cup of Irish Cream.
There were over 80 mini's made. Luke came home for Spring Break so between him and William their numbers were whittled down. I took some to spinning on Sunday at The Knitting Bee and Gail took the leftovers home. Some have been frozen for future eating.

I had offered my Velvet Grape Malabrigo Lace for trade/sale and they were popular a few Thursdays ago. I opted to trade with Beth in Ontario for her Indigo. She sent them off to me with a candy bag a Cadbury Crispy Crunch. By the description it seems similar to a Butterfinger. I'm saving it, so will have to let you know if they are or not.

Last Wednesday at spinning Trish of Rogue Adventures came and hung out with us. I handed over my undyed Shetland, Finn and Falkland for her to dye. Last night she handed back the Shetland all dyed in the Oregon Berry Crumble colorway. Apparently Shetland and Falkland are a bit dye resistant so mine didn't come out as vibrant but pretty nonetheless:
Friday plans are to visit the Gem Faire with Sara and find some crimp beads and wire for making stitch markers. I'll load up the car before picking up Brandon and we are heading to the beach house. We have heard rumors that the beach house is going on the market, so this may be our last visit.

I've had a cold this last week with lots of coughing taking out my voice, so of course this last week involved lots of visiting with people (party on Monday, knitting at Moonstruck on Tuesday, Wednesday spinning & knitting). Tonight I had planned to go to another spinning meeting, but instead stayed home to scan library book patterns. In between all that socializing I managed to get my craft area cleaned up a bit. All spun yarn now have labels with them. Traded out a small bin of machine washable yarns for a bigger bin and the smaller bin for the extra fiber that has crept into the stash. Loose patterns have been placed into page protectors. Now I just need to find a big binder to put them in, possibly with section tabs. Cleaned off my cutting board and had Brandon bring in the loaned drum carder from Sara. I've cleaned off a section of the drums and oiled the drive chain. I might be able to get a little bit carded before meeting up with Sara. Otherwise the plan is to get everything done on Monday - Icelandic, Llama, and what was listed as Finn but Shelia thinks of as Shetland. I have some black silk and the Valkyrie Angelina to blend in with the Llama and maybe the Icelandic. Heck I might get wild and throw the Angelina in with the Shetland too.  

Friday, March 12, 2010

More Fiber Fun - Cormo fleece

Wednesday at spinning Dana came with a bunch of fleeces and yarns that had been given to her by an acquaintance that was no longer spinning and she didn't want them to go to waste. She was instructed to sell them 'cheap'. I was tempted by a bag of Blue Faced Leicester that Shelia pointed out to me as well as a medium sized bag of Cormo. Someone else was already looking at the Cormo and I was trying to resist buying anything. After all whatever I bought was going to have to be washed heavily, if not because of the natural sheepy stuff but because they had had mothballs thrown into their bags. Dana had transferred the fleeces out of their original bags and removed the mothballs, but the smell was awful.

I found a smaller gallon sized bag that Dana was willing to sell for a mere $1 of what I figured was more Cormo. The bigger bag had been quoted as $10 and again was a bit more than I wanted to work with. There was another little bag of what Shelia figured was probably a moorit Shetland lamb fleece that I was very tempted by because of its pretty color, but I have 8 ounces of Shetland roving being dyed. There's also a possible lamb shearing to go to that are Shetlands so why not wait for something that I could skirt and have more of?

This is what my bag looked like when I brought it home. It weighted in at 9.5 ounces:

I wasn't going to stress about keeping the lock structure, I just wanted it cleaned and the smell gone. It took two good soaks and manually cleaning the ends to get the dirt out. No felting occurred during this process thankfully. The little cleaner bits were the samples that Dana had cleaned to show off what the bags could look like after cleaning. I ended up with 6.5 ounces of washed locks:

Other than the yellow-ish ends they came out pretty clean and very soft. Because they aren't all one color I think I'm going to try a natural dye on them. I'm going to pick up another couple of bags of black beans and follow the directions in the Plants to Dye For groups discussion on Black Beans (Ravelry link). The saturated blue that comes with putting it under the soaked beans, gorgeous. I expect that I'll get a variegated color and possibly a blue-green because of the color variance it currently has.

The question is, do I do it after spinning or before?  

Couple pics of the finished Crown Mountain Farms Yak-Merino yarn #2:

I have some Ashland Bay natural Yak-Merino I'm currently spinning. My thought is to possibly combine the two in an Icelandic Shawl.

This weekend is the Aurora Colony Handspinner's Guild Antique Spinning Wheel Showcase. (Try saying that all together) I bought three raffle tickets at the Newport Spin-In and have my fingers crossed that I win the pretty wheel that is being raffled off on Sunday. Shelia says that if I don't win this one that I definitely want to get tickets for next years because its even prettier. ;-) Cross your fingers for me please!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Portland Yarn Crawl - Sunday

Migraine was back this morning but I was optimistic I could get a few shops in this afternoon. Called Sara to see if she was feeling better and wanted to join me. She is feeling a little better, but not up to crawling. Dropped Brandon off at his D&D game after 1pm (late according to him.) Then headed towards downtown Portland. Dublin Bay was very quiet, just a few people in. I found one of the little sheep photos I plan to combine with my previous purchase there (Seattle to Portland Yarn Crawl) in a frame (yet to be made/purchased), along with a couple of wooden buttons - sheep and lady bug:

The last free fibre rinse/wash sample of the day too. ;-) I was able to park right outside the door, so it felt like it was a stop meant to be. I was also able to use up some Christmas money left on a gift card, so bonus.

From there it was a quick trip over to Knit-Purl, again parking within steps of the doorway, and for some reason my migraine felt like it was wanting to peak. So a quick look in their sale bins and I was going to leave, but then was looking at some solid red Koigu KPPPM and thought I could try out the pretty purples that were in the sale bin. Two seemed like a good number if they become socks, or possibly enough if there's a shawlette in its future:
With a gas tank that had flashed the little 'empty' light on my dash, I left Knit-Purl and headed south towards Northwest Wools. I spied a parking space across the street from them so again thought that this was a stop that was meant to be. Ran into Kathy already in the store and we had Noriko arrive while we were there. We had run into both of them yesterday. ;-) I even knew that they had rovings available and so with a quick look inside and signing on the raffle sheet, I was pointed right to them. A pretty red, magenta and purple roving seemed to leap off the shelf at me and after trying to resist, decided it should come home with me. The reds were just too gorgeous:

Still looking for a gas station that wasn't selling gas for over $3 I continued further south to try to find Molehill Farm. I was sure that I was lost, but kept going and found it a little further past than I thought it would be. It's in a tiny little house, with a tiny little parking area for people. Apparently, there were a number of comments about the parking by people on Saturday. I saw the bathtub where there's 40% off yarns, but nothing tempted me there. I might have come away with more than the skein of Misti Alpaca Lace, if price tags were on the yarns, especially since she was offering 25% off. Not sure if that was on your entire purchase or just the skein, but think it was entire purchase. I don't need yarn right now, but I would have tried a skein of Noro Seku out.  Oh well!

Purple and red seem to be the colors of the day! I was going to try to get out to Forest Grove and Kathy's Knit Korner before 5pm, but the cramps kicked in over the acetaminophen I'd been taking for the migraines, so back at home. (It would have taken a half an hour from my house to get there.)

So stores missed in the crawl: Kathy's Knit Korner, All About Yarn (yes, I could have gotten there after Molehill, but cramps and personal reasons), Yarnia and Stitchcraft over in Vancouver. So 12 out of 16 stores were visited. Odds in winning one of the baskets in the 12? Who knows? ;-)

I need to wind off the yak-merino that has been neglected this weekend off its bobbin and find out how much of it I have. There should also be a soak to set the twist too. There's also a couple of mounds of laundry that need to get done and no house elves have shown up to help me out.

Portland Yarn Crawl - Saturday

I went to bed Friday night with a migraine and a neck ache. I tried one of the Percocet tabs that mom had brought for me to try. Wasn't noticing a difference after several hours and tried a second tablet. Not sure if this is why a few hours later when I got up I threw up a few times. Plus the migraine was fully raging by that point. Called Rachel and Shelia and let them know I was going to be late to the Grange clean-up.

Then as I was about to walk out the door an hour later, they called me back to say that what I could help with at the Grange was done, so where did I want to meet? We decided to meet at For Yarn's Sake. Ran into Stitchjones as she was coming in with her yarny goodness. Food was needed by that point so a trip around the corner for some Trader Joe's was in order.

Rachel showing off her Si Capitan, and her new bag in the sunshine of the courtyard at Beaverton Town Center. Checked in with Cindy but she was still over at The Knitting Bee, so we headed off to our next adventure. Shelia driving since I was still a little distracted, but with my handy map notes for where we were heading.

We started with Yarn Garden and scored parking in front of the store. There were boxes of older knitting and crochet magazines for free. I couldn't think but Shelia and Rachel brought back some for themselves and a friend. While we were getting ready to go, I spotted a 'hat twin' and took a photo:

Yarn Garden was giving out samples for yarn wash or rinse as well as a little yarn sample with directions to make a mini-sock. (See below)

Since Happy Knits is only a couple blocks up from Yarn Garden it only made sense to walk there. My first time there and its a lovely shop with plenty of room to move around and see all the lovely yarns. A nice big table/room for classes and meet-ups. I picked up a skein of sock yarn:

On our way to Gossamer, Rachel spotted a lady crossing in front of us with a Saint Cupcake box. I yelled out the window asking 'where?' and found out that it was just a bit up the road we were about to cross. So a sidetrip was in order for cupcakes. We all brought back ones for our honeys. 

Carrot Cake, Coconut, White Hot Fudge, Chocolate Hot Fudge

We did make it to Gossamer and Rachel now wants to do some felt art after seeing the cool stuff on their walls. I'm tempted too!

Twisted was next on the list. Rachel immediately fell in lust with a pink beaded wrap in the window and snatched up the pattern then went on a hunt for yarn. I thought their expanded space came out lovely and spotted Sivia Harding trying to teach a sock class in one corner of it. Shelia had run into a friend and got sidetracked at the door. After a trip to the local coffee shop so we could make the last few stops we were on towards our next one.

Further into North Portland is Close Knits. Small shop with lots of yarn and people. Shelia was able to find a couple more skeins of a yarn she'd found in one of the other shops. (Yes, it was all starting to blur by that point in time!) There's also a cool little fabric shop next door, aptly named Bolt that we went through. Tiggywinkleknits needs to take a shop there - we spotted two bolts of fabric with hedgehogs on them! ;-) They also have some other nice vintage type fabric, so if you're on the lookout, here's your shop.

Heading west but still in NoPo is Naked Sheep. I had hoped to find one of their bags in purple, but only pink and light blue were available. It was late in the afternoon so I'm sure other shoppers snapped those up quickly. I settled for a couple of stickers and stitchmarker in purple and a Lo-Lo Bar in Blackberry Sage.

(Forgot the Lo-Lo bar)

Shelia was willing to throw in a stop at The Knitting Bee before taking us back to my car over at For Yarn's Sake, so off we went! We got there about 4:45pm and were able to spend a few minutes in there before they closed up shop. Felt sorry for the two ladies that were turned away....

Then back to my car, offered to take Rachel home since it was more on my way home than Shelia's. Long day!

Friday, March 5, 2010

The third is complete

No pictures of it yet, its still resting on the bobbin. I finished plying up the yak-merino yarn. It's full on the bobbin so I imagine I achieved a decent amount of yardage for a nice project in my future. I wanted to do a mini-post though since tomorrow will be action packed. This weekend is the city wide Portland Yarn Crawl.

First though in the morning a few of the spinners that meet at the Aloha Grange will be going in and helping with the Spring Grange Clean-up. As a member, I felt I should be there and the others are going to help show their appreciation for the use of the place.

Rachel and I will meet up with Cindy and a friend of hers, possibly have Shelia along too. Then we'll check out some stores I haven't had an opportunity to visit yet. I had hoped to get out today to see a few, but that wasn't to be. Might be able to cover a couple of extras on Sunday though. I don't really 'plan' to see all 16 but wouldn't mind trying to see as many as possible. We've heard that the door prize baskets are pretty awesome, plus many of the stores are having their own great deals.

I had two skeins of Malabrigo Lace in Velvet Grapes that had been sitting in my stash for over a year and not really calling to me to do anything with them. I decided to put them in the trade/sell area of my stash. Thursday all of a sudden they were very popular. Three separate people contacted me about them. One offered up some Malabrigo Lace Indigo, so I'm shipping them off to Canada in trade. Much nicer than getting cash I think. ;-)

Have a great fibery weekend!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Ravelympics Results - Two out of Three Finished!

Well I was kind of waiting to get my official 'finished' icons, but I'm getting impatient. ;-)

This weekend consisted of lots of late night knitting - 11:30 and midnight for example. May not have been the best idea with lace knitting as there was also tinking involved. LOL There wasn't a lot of eating going on and a burned knitting finger due to trying to think ahead and make a pot of chili and cornbread for the weekend. I burned my finger from pulling out a 20 second warmed plastic bottle of honey from the microwave. I missed the dripped honey on the backside of the bottle and my left middle finger found it and after pulling it out of the micro, dropped it on the kitchen floor. There was also some hot honey splashing on the calves, but minor compared to the finger. It did get me out of washing dishes that night. Made it difficult to knit the rest of the evening with the band-aid on that finger.

Saturday I was up bright and early (for me) and knitting away again. By 5pm I was feeling over-optimistic that it would be after 9pm that night I would be ready to be casting off. Then came the hook check. I needed a size F and found my D and G (and several other sizes) but no F. I thought for sure I had one of these! Oh well, shower and clothes and with Brandon along went over to JoAnn's for a size F. Took along my current flier for 40% off and after checking out the aisle, the only size F - really there was only 1! Turned out to be a white plastic one. Not my first choice, but beggars and choosers are left with what they get. It was only .77 so not a lot of complaining.

Sunday again up bright and early and knitting. My late night reality adjustment said that I should be able to get done in time. By 5pm again I was getting down to the last row or two and realizing that I was close to binding off! Yippee! I was gong to get done way before midnight. I was starting the crocheted bind off around 6pm and was done by 8:30pm. Off to the bedroom to put it on the bed to do a pre-blocking photo:

From there it was off to the kitchen sink to do a nice soak in hot water and some grapefruit scented SOAK. Huge sigh of relief!  One down, one more to go.
While blocking:

 Doing the butterfly wings imitation:

ETA: I was just about to click on 'publish post' did a last check of the Podium and found this waiting for me!
I had one sock left to do. Wait! You didn't know about the sock incident because I've been tied up with sticks and strings and not at the computer. I had gotten past the short row heel, tested that the socks did indeed fit and was working the leg. I was almost done with the legs when I realized that somehow on one of the socks I had gotten one of the lattice charts off:

Just a little too obvious that things aren't going well here. So I popped the sock off of the two circulars and on to a holder (that was a trick in itself!) and finished up the one sock. So now with the shawl complete it was time to deal with my problem sock.

Turns out that one of the advantages of cotton sock yarn is that its a little stiff and the stitches don't want to just fall down on themselves. So it was a pretty simple feat to get the circulars back on the live stitches, redo that bad row and go on. I was only going to do three pattern repeats and then the ribbing - easypeasy. I was done with the second sock and all ends woven in by 10:30pm. More celebrations!
I've been advised to check the color fastness of the yarn, so I'll wash them and see how they come out. I'm sure Jennifer will be happy with them as a Christmas gift. You may have also noticed I have leftovers. I have enough that I can knit her another pair of socks for her birthday. She did express delight at getting them at Christmas so definitely on the list of sock-worthy people. ;-)

(Waiting for the one for the shawl still, Bobicus is on overload I'm sure, so still trying for that patience thing - have any to share?)
I also added both of these into the Yarn Harlot's Olympics competition. Last I saw alphabetically I was there.

Still here? The third entry? Well that was the spinning. I only got an hour of spinning the first Wednesday, a good part of the day last Saturday and four hours this last Wednesday. What does that all mean? I was able to get two ounces of the yak-merino spun up on one bobbin:
Since I was done with the sock at 10:30, I had a bit of time to do some more spinning. Pulled up the wheel and while watching the Closing Ceremonies (thankfully recorded, so fast forward could happen) I was able to add to a started bobbin to finish up with this:
I have 1.4 ounces left to spin up. I have sore shoulders and wrists, I might have been a bit tense trying to get things finished. ;-) So I'm spending the next few days relaxing and spinning the rest of the yak-merino.
How did you do?