Have Ewe Any Wool?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Oh, Deer and my Adventures in Dyeing

This morning, I came down and found the elusive "young buck" that's been wandering around the neighborhood in my front yard - right in front of my door! Of course, by the time I grabbed my camera, he'd started to wander off. (Double click the photo for a closer look...)

Then, when I went out on my deck to water my tomatoes, I looked up to find him staring back at me from the grove of trees behind my house. I've watched him grow from a young spotted fawn to an antlered young buck.

Last night, I had some fun adventures in dyeing - again, with Kool-Aid. I still haven't "grown up" enough to use the real stuff...LOL!

This time, I tried dyeing some sport weight Merino/Silk. I used two colors of blue - "Berry Blue" and "Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade". I love the summery color of blue that these two produced. I tried to alternate between the two colors and varied the saturation to add subtle color variations to the skein.

After I finished dyeing the skein, I wrapped it and put it in a pie plate to "nuke" it in the microwave. "Nuke" for 2 minutes, rest for 2 minutes and repeat. The remaining water appeared to be clear.

I then washed the skein. And washed it again. And again. STILL I ended up with blue water! I added more vinegar, soaked it again, and STILL blue water!

I re-wrapped the skein and performed the "nuking" process again. Once again, I washed it...and washed again...and again...and again. There's still a faint bit of blue in the water! UGH!!!! I just can't seem to get ALL of the excess dye out of the yarn....and it's not like it's saturated! I've never had this problem before. I wonder if it's because of the silk? Previously, I'd dyed 100% wool and an 80/20 mix of wool and nylon. Oh, well...I'll just have to be careful with this one so I don't accidentally leave "blue" on something!

Since I was in a dyeing mood, I decided to try dyeing some roving. This time, I used "Grape". The roving is a very soft Rambouillet, but it has TONS of VM in it. I'll definitely have to clean it up a bit before spinning. (Luckily, I just got a nice set of Indigo Hound combs!)

The purple "fractured" a bit in places when I applied it to the roving, but I really like the effect - it has a nice mottled look rather than a solid purple. I like it!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bobbin Lace!

Wow! Who said you can't teach "an old dog new tricks"? I just took my first Bobbin Lace class and I absolutely love it! It's just amazing to me! And I had no problem learning how - many thanks to the fabulous instructor, Elaine!

She's is a fabulous teacher...full of all kinds of "lacy knowledge" and very patient. She's gifted at undoing the "messes" that new students seem to get into I'd gotten so excited at one point that I continued without setting my pins! Suddenly, all of my work was bunched up. Elaine "rescued" me by un-doing my lace - she's FAST - so I could get back to the process at a good continuation point without wasting a lot of time...or making the "mess" worse!

I'm thoroughly enjoying learning the techniques as well as various bits of history and comparisons of the different bobbins and the variations imposed on the craft by the various cultures around the world. I can't wait for next week's class!

The bobbins have been wound and are ready to go. The pattern is setup and "pricked".

My first row! Wahoo! I'm on a roll now!

And the finished piece - before cutting it loose from the threads. Awesome! I just love this!

Adding a new skill means that I'll need to get a whole new set of tools and gadgets! Elaine did make a fabulous starter kit available, but there are so many more things to purchase as I slide down the slope into bobbin lace - more bobbins, more thread, bobbin winders....and the list goes on!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Skuld Views


Now that I have "Skuld" off of the blocking board, I thought I'd provide the more finished views. I can't wait for the cooler weather so I can put this shawl to good use!

I absolutely LOVE this pattern - Anna Dalvi is a wonderful designer! I can't wait to start on the next pattern in the Norns series!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Beaches, Breweries, and Yarn

Traveling to Rehoboth we went through some dicey weather. The storms we could have done without, but at least it wasn't raining while we were on the bridge! The Rehoboth area has it all! It's somewhat of a Utopia for both me and DH!

On the way to Rehoboth, we passed through a little town that had a bulk foods store, "Yoder's Country Store" - I visit a similar shop when I go to Ohio. Yoder's is a great place to stock up on all your spices as well as a good source of tasty home made noodles. Mmmmm! Bonus - they make old fashioned milk shakes too! I couldn't resist getting a "Moose Tracks Milk Shake" for DH - it was a definite hit!

We spent the weekend at the Hotel Rehoboth. It had lovely rooms and fabulous amenities. They had a little shuttle that would drop you at the beach - complete with any towels, umbrellas, and chairs that you might need. They even had a wine and cheese reception every evening! How cool is that?

The room was lovely and spacious - complete with a fabulous sitting area and desk. I had intended to get a bit of spinning in during my visit...but we were too busy! They had a private pool - I took an evening dip after dinner - and had the entire pool to myself. Don't tell my mom, but I didn't wait 1 hr. before going in! It was a very relaxing way to wind down from the day.

I LOVE the beach. DH isn't thrilled by the ocean, but somehow managed to survive the evening walk on the beach. Or, should I say the "walk on the boardwalk" - he preferred the boardwalk....I preferred the sand and water. He indulged me as I strolled along the beach wading in the water. Ah.....utopia!

There's just something calming and soothing about the sound of the waves crashing and the swirling of the water around your feet. I just love the look, the smell, and the sound of the ocean. Especially...the foam...and the sea spray. I love it all!

The seagulls seem to love it too. I managed to catch one perched high above the boardwalk - looking for the perfect place to swoop down and fish. The pair of seagulls in the photo on the right seemed mesmerized by the surf...just as I was!

The most interesting site I saw on the beach was a group of Amish visitors wading and swimming. The man was fully clothed and waded in...eventually totally submerging himself. The group of women, from young girls on up were all dressed in the traditional Amish skirt and blouse...wading as high as their waists in the water. I found it fascinating - quite a contrast to the usual beach attire.

Saturday, it rained all day, but that was no problem! We still had places to go and things to do.

Our first stop was at Kitschy Stitch" - a fabulous yarn shop right next to the hotel! How perfect! The owner, Allison, is very sweet and quite an accomplished knitter. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to her shop.

Note that outside the shop, there's a porch with comfy chairs for the feint of heart that have no desire to set foot in a yarn shop. DH took full advantage of the chance to sit comfortably outside while I flitted from shelf to shelf examining all the fabulous goodies!

I had a wonderful time perusing all the yummy yarns in her shop, chatting with her about yarny stuff, and relaxing in a comfy chair while I perused the patterns.

The shop is chock full of yarns and patterns. She even has a few supplies for other needlework - some Amy Butler sewing patterns, some fabric, and some needlepoint materials. A very warm and friendly shop - a definite "must see" when you go to Rehoboth!

Our next stop was at "The Irish Eyes Pub and Restaurant" in Milton, Delaware for lunch. It had a very interesting menu. I had the crab imperial and grilled chicken special on an English Muffin. DH had beef tips with home made potato chips. However, my favorite part of the pub was the outdoor "refreshment station" for their canine friends that provided both water and "snacks".

Finally, we arrived at the Dogfish Head Brewery for the brewery tour. It was quite interesting. I loved seeing where the beers were made and learning a bit about the brewing process. I'm not a big beer lover, however, I truly like the craft beers...they're much more interesting and have a much better flavor.

Be sure to double-click on the photo on the left - just in case you're wondering what it says!

The rain definitely didn't dampen DH's spirits, though he didn't linger by the fascinating sculpture and headed straight to the tasting room/tour area.

Our tour guide showed examples of what goes into beer. The setup in the background is the original brewing setup...a long time ago! "Sir Hops Alot" was made and named by the owner (Sam Calagione) of the brewery and was used for adding hops. Evidently, he's quite fond of hops - imagine that!

There were vast tanks where hops are added and various other functions are done.

In the next room are the large hand crafted wooden casks. The bindings don't really hold the barrels together - they're held together by the way they're designed and the moisture. They're fascinating to look at. Judging by the happy look on his face, I think DH is thinking about the contents of these barrels!

This cask is made from a very dense wood - it's so heavy that it sinks! It's the one where they age the Palo Santo Marron. The wood is exotic Paraguayan Palo Santo wood - thus the name of the brew. It's delicious! (One of my favorites!)

We also tried the original "Dogfish Head Brew Pub"...similar to the one in Fairfax - interesting beers and eclectic food. We were even able to try some brews that are not exported from Delaware - "GrainToGlass" and "Tomatarillo". We also tried "Life and Limb" which was a collaboration with Sierra Nevada. (Love the names they come up with!) We even picked up some of their distilled spirits (Pomegranate Vodka and Vanilla Vodka) as well as some delicious Maple syrup from the Sam's family farm up in New England - it's infused with coriander and orange peel - yum!

My big seafood feast was at "Fins Fish House and Raw Bar". While we waited for our table, I wrote on their graffiti board - what a fabulous idea! It's great for keeping both grownups and kids occupied while you wait! We were seated on the upper floor after a very short wait. I started with an oyster shooter, called "The Russian", as an appetizer. It's basically a shot of vodka with cocktail sauce and a raw oyster. Mmmmmm! This was followed by a fabulous seafood platter with scallops, shrimp, and crab in a garlic wine sauce - one of their specials. DH has the swordfish - it was extremely tender and very flavorful.

On the way home, we stopped at a Adams Fruit Market in Greenwood, Delaware. It was a fabulous fruit market - and I came away with tons of fresh produce and jams. Their corn was FABULOUS! Extremely fresh and very tasty! Their hot peppers, green beans, and tomatoes were equally as fabulous.

It was a wonderful weekend! I'm just sorry that it had to end!