Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dyeing Wool Black....take 1

My brother came up for Thanksgiving and discovered that I have taught myself how to spin. He has requested one of those beanies with an attached beard. So tonight I am dying black wool just for my brother, George. 

So first we gather supplies:

  • The stirring stick (a random but useful stick from nature)
  • Dye (I am using Rit black)
  • A Big Pot
  • Water
  • Wool
  • A Stove
  • Plain White Vinegar
  • Gloves

The stick is literally a random stick i found outside just so i didn't ruin any of my cooking utensils. A lot of dyes are toxic and you don't want to use anything you plan on cooking or preparing food in ever again.  

So in the pot you want to fill it about 3/4 of the way full of water and start it heating on the stove. I like to add about a cup of vinegar to the water while it's just getting hot. Once your pot of water almost simmering, i then add a good fist full of fiber. I am currently working with 100% sheep wool. I really wish i had asked the farmer who gave it to me what kind of sheep it is. 

So using your stick make sure all of the fiber is submerged. Gently turning the fiber in the pot taking care not to agitate it. 

And now for the magic! Add the dye a little at a time. You can follow the manufacturers' instructions if you want... I don't...I'm too lazy and this works for me. So I drizzle it in a little at a time, letting is slowly spread through-out the pot. I will use my stick to help the dye get into all the fibers. If it doesn't look like the dye is sticking to the fibers I'll add another up of vinegar. If you add too much, don't worry about it, it isn't going to ruin anything.

Next I let it sit in the pot with the heat on very low to maintain the heat of the water for about a half hour, gently stirring it now and then. I don't mind if some of the fibers are lighter than others I think it adds character to the finished product.

It turned out to look more burgundy in some light and black in others. I think he will like it. I cant wait to mix it with other colors when I card them together.

I love how this blue turned out! It really bright and vibrant. I dyed this about a week ago and hope to have some of it spun  and in my etsy store Craftywitchcorner

Monday, December 10, 2012

Kyle just introduced me to this song. And so I went to the magical place were you can learn about  The song makes me think of something about the ocean. The  video makes me think of a crime drama. Neither of what I thought was true........

Monday, December 3, 2012

Knitting patterns!

I have been wanting software that will help me design knitting patterns. But in this day and age with two kids, who can afford something extra like this? So I did a Google search for free knitting software and found Knit Pro for the perfect price...FREE!!! So many ideas ran thru my mind. Blankets, bags, pillows.... It also very easy to use, all you really need to do is know how to locate an image from your computer. It is limited to basic designs like the spirals above. But I have a few other knitted projects to complete.

I started Kyle's finger-less gloves I had been promising him. And then I have the socks my brother would like along with 3 beard-beanies. I love to knit and I am so glad people appreciate it. I just wish there were more than 24 hours in a day so I would have more time to knit :)!  

Friday, November 9, 2012

My weekend

Well, its that time of my weekend again...the night before I start my 4 day work week. I had hoped to get a bit more done. But because it is better to focus on the positive than the negative,  I'll talk about everything I managed to get done. I played A LOT of Farmville 2 to my horror. But now I can grow sunflowers....

I finished my audio book. Robert Jordan's The fire's of heaven. It's the 5th book in the The Wheel of Time series. This is one of those stories that you can get lost in. I really love finding a good series, but I'm always sad when they end. Fortunately The Wheel of Time series has a total of 14 books and I am only just finishing book 5 for the first time.

I figured out how to join yarn together after watching a video I found on youtube. The video is of this Navajo woman spinning and carding. Tward the end of the video she shows how she joins two skeins. That's what gave me the idea and after several tries I managed to get a skein of 74 yards. Its the first of many I want to put in a store on Esty.

I ran out of Yarn for my niece's stocking, but I know Ill have it done before Thanksgiving. I want to send it to her by way of my brother. I wouldn't mind having a strawberry hat to send her too. I had planned to start Kyle's finger-less gloves tonight, but the yarn I planned on using is fingerling and the pattern calls for a sport weight...I know I know, I could just re-size it, but I'm way too lazy for that. Ill make socks out of what I bought. I may start making some hats or something for charity out of my left over yarn. And there is always the Christmas decorations I want to work on. I want to make the mini stockings for the tree this year. I found a couple of garlands on Pintrest that I would love to make up. So much I want to do and never enough time.

Parent teacher conferences this week. Luckily I had both kids on the same day. So I was up at the ungodly hour of 7 am to make it to Issac's first ever conference  Then a few hours later Eli's started, then I had a Dr's appointment  So I got a lot done that day. Wednesday we shopped and ran errands. And today was cleaning and prepping for the work week.

So I suppose I did get a lot done...just wish I could have gotten more knitting completed.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

So I know I haven't blogged for a while, so I'm going to probably do a couple of entries over the next couple of days. So Halloween went really well for the kids. My My friend and neighbor Erika and I were the only two parents in the neighborhood that were not sick on Halloween. so she and I took everyone trick or treating down the street. For spending absolutely no money on costumes, they turned out really well. I had found about 4 yards of deep purple flannel in the shed that i had used to make Eli's dress and Issac's ninja costume. I used the yarn I had spun to make the hat, felted the ears, and embroidered the yellow strips. It turned out really well. You can tell my kids are the ones who have the same color costumes.

I finished the gloves for Kyle's mother. I think they ended up a little long. But in my defense I do not know her hand size. I also started my niece, Izzy's, Christmas stocking. We had a very unproductive work day this last week, and so I started it then. I am using a free pattern I found for this stocking. I used J.erin's knits free stocking pattern. Absolutely love it! I used the yarn that the pattern suggested, Hooks and Loops

And I still have a ton of the plum colored wool that I am slowly spinning for my possible esty store.

Well that's it for now. I'll try and blog more later this week.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Halloween Costume Time

It's that time of year again. Time to pin the kids down to what they want to be for Halloween. Both Issac and Elizabeth want to be champions from the game League of Legends. I wasn't able to get into the game, but you will find both children on either side of Kyle asking questions about each of the 105 champions in the game.

Issac has chosen Kennen. I found some purplish flannel in the shed for his suit and I can knit a beanie with ears for his head.

Elizabeth chose Annie.  I wonder if she will be excited when her hair is pink. I have a few ideas for Annie's stockings....painted adult white hose, knitted leg warmers, or just strips of fabric sewn together.

Also I am in the process of making my first ever video. I have hit a few learning bumps, but it's nothing you tube can't fix. Now that I have Sony Vegas and a Corel trial, video is warring with my fiber arts.

Speaking of fiber arts, I managed to spin some of the purple-wine color. And with the longer spindle I had made, I can make much bigger skeins than before.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Drop Spindle

I know I usually post once a week, but i have had a few people ask me how to make a drop spindle. I tried finding a good video on how to make a drop spindle and I thought I would do a post on how to make a drop spindle. I found a basic video on how to make a drop spindle out of things from around the house.

The girl in the video uses card board and a pencil  but you can also use a wooden dowel and some old CD's you may have around the house. I have been toying with the idea of making my own "how-to" vids. Maybe Ill make one for the drop spindle.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Every one loves free stuff...

I love the free section of Criagslist. I have managed to find some great throw-away furniture, planters, plants, and even more wool than I know what to do with. So it's there I went when my friend Jackie posted a picture of her crafting area in her house. When I went for a visit, I was so impressed that I when I got home I announced I was taking over half the living room. Kyle and I do most of our T.V. watching in the bed room and the T.V. in the front room doesn't work. So I hit craigslist for a free desk. I ended up picking up two so Kyle didn't have to use my sewing table any more for his computer. The fold down seats in the back of my Focus makes having a monthly car payment worth it. Its not as impressive as my friend's area, but its a start.

So I managed to get some canning done this week. My first time doing it with out my mother or grandmother.I was 9 the last time I canned with my grandmother, but even after so long it felt like something I have always known how to do. I started to pumpkin butter from fresh pumpkins and then read that it should be refrigerated even if canned. So I added apple cider vinegar instead of apple juice hoping that it will help. I still keep all the jars in the fridge though. I don't think I will make pumpkin butter again.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Trying something new

We have an apple tree that has gone wild here in my neighborhood. It produces a ton of very small tart apples. So Thursday the four of us picked a ton of these really small apples. The kids took turns climbing into the tree to shake down more. then last night I pealed and cut them up  covered

them with the apple cider vinegar and let them boil till soft. Then I started to add the sugars and spices. Well I think I added too much vinegar because when you first taste it, you taste a wonderful apple butter taste. After a few seconds go by BAM the vinegar hits the back of your throat making your eyes water. Well at least the apples were free. I do have to say it was fun to make, but I think when I give pumpkin butter a try I'll make sure I have a full day to focus on it.

I also worked a little on my Heaven And Earth Designs (HAED). The little gnome holding the first letter of my son's name has come out of the drawer again. At the rate I am working on him, I wont have it done any time soon, but that's ok. You can see the little bit of progression I have made between the two pics. It's been a really long time since I have put this much effort into this piece. 

Now I am going to leave you with the evidence of  the true blanket hog in the house. She has figured out how to slowly pull the covers off of our bed for herself. I had to take this picture early one morning upon my return from the restroom. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

First of Three

It's the first day of my 3 day week end. I'm really enjoying the time I can spend with my family. I Have a few finishes I want to show off and I am giving photography a try.  Kyle and I went to Tolmie State Park for about an hour. It is something I have been wanting to do for the last two weeks. But because everyone in the house was sick last week we stayed home.

Old gnarled drift wood root looks so complex

Under water treasure...

I can imagine fairy homes 

I also finished my hobo bag and I love it! I had started out with the pattern of the bag in my last post and incorporated it with a design of a bag I had made years ago. I loved that bag so much, but I can not for the life of me find the original pattern I used or even one close to it online. I remember finding the pattern in a Michaels during the time I was a carny. The bag was stolen along with the original pattern (I kept my whole life in that bag).  I think the strap is a little long and the bag itself is a little shallow, but I can fix that.

I had died some wool green at one point in time and left it in the pot a little too long. It came out a very very very dark green. So I tried combining it with white wool to maybe help lighten the darkness....well....its turning out more grey than green, but the variations in the finished product looks really nice. I think I am out growing my little spindle. I would love to get a spinning wheel in the future, but they are pricey and not a necessity. Tax time maybe? 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I have been anything but idle this last week or so. I have started my new work schedule that will allow me to have 3 days off instead of 2. This awesome job also allows me to work on small projects. You have seen the hemp jewelry in previous posts and the bag that I had planed on making. Well, as you can see I am over half way done with it. I am thinking of changing the handle to be more of a strap; turning it into more of  a purse. I haven't decided yet. 

About 5 years ago when I was really into the idea of quilting, I picked up a bottle of homemade linen spray.  All of the ladies from the local guild, Valley of Plenty Quilters of Emmett, ID were using it when they ironed their quilt blocks. It made them smell so nice. I had been using the one bottle sparingly over the years and had finally run out. Little did I know it costs less than 5 bucks to make around 2 gallons of the stuff. Most of the commercial stuff with all the chemicals cost around the same and you get less. When I did my research I found several ways to make the stuff. People used essence oil or fabric softener for scents. I like the oils because there are so many to choose from without the harsh chemicals. Besides the smells of most fabric softeners make me sneeze and they can be expensive. So here is what you will need:

essence oil of your choice
distilled water
plastic spray bottle
rubbing alcohol, witch hazel, or vodka (optional)

You can make as much as you want, with the scent as strong or weak as you want. I used 5 drops of oil per cup of water. The rubbing alcohol is added (2 tsp per cup of water) and works as an emulsifier making it so the oil and water blend evenly. If you don't have any around or don't want to use it, you will just have to shake your spray bottle every time you use it so the oil and water remix.

I would like to give credit to the website that had the recipe I liked the most during my research.
I haven't had a chance to check out the whole site, but it seems like something that would interest me.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

I got the car!!!

So last Tuesday the car lot called me telling me that I was approved for my car loan and I can come down and pick up the car. So my Dad payed for the first month of insurance and I drove to work the next day. I didn't really realize how much i took it for granted till I started driving again.

So this week I have started working on a bag for my projects for work. I found this free pattern HERE. I am using Lily sugar and cream 14oz cone. The pattern looks to be very strait forward so it should be really quick to make. My old upholstery bag is falling apart and this should be a nice replacement.

Monday, September 3, 2012

A new week

Well, this is the last week before I will be on my new schedule for the call center I work for. And it's looking to become a very busy week. The kids start school on Wednesday. It will be Issac's first day in Kindergarten and I still have to get him registered. Been having a hard time getting his shots up to date, school supplies, and clothes. And not having a car makes it all very time consuming. So it looks like I will have to miss a day of work to get that done tomorrow.

Today I went down to Titus-wills car lot and looked at a little Ford Focus i found on their web site. Right now I am waiting to hear back from the finance people. I hope they give me a loan. Then I can start pulling doubles at work if they will let me. If all goes well, I'll be in a car by Friday. It's been hard not getting my hopes up.

I think I am coming to the end of making hemp jewelry for a while. I am so hemped out it isn't funny. There are still a few pieces I want to make for friends this week.

I promised Kyle's mom a pair of finger-less gloves. The pattern is very easy and versatile and free. Free making it the perfect pattern. Knucks its what the pattern is called. I had made one pair for myself in the spring and haven't been able to try them yet. But I had a pair my mom had given me when I worked as a lift operator for Kirkwood Ski Resort and I haven't found another pair I like since. So I went on the mission of learning how to knit. I had only made socks and scarves before i found this pattern. It looked very hard, but after working through it, its actually easier than socks, in my opinion.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

I need a car

So it's getting cooler and the days are getting shorter. Fall is coming and that means it's going to start raining again. I ride my bicycle to work and I am not looking forward to getting rained on...I need a car. I have a couple of options...go down to the used car lot and see what they have to offer me or work over time. I would rather not have to work the over time if I can help it till I get a vehicle, but I have a feeling that either way I'm going to need to work a whole lot of over time.

Just got done watching the opening cinematic for the new World of Warcraft expansion. Blizz always does a really good job with their cinematic movies.

Tell me what you think. I don't know if I am going to start playing WoW again. I am finding other things I want to spend my 15 bucks a month a car.

And finally, here are a few pieces i have been working on at work. Sorry if the picture is a bit fuzzy. I am glad I found something to do while I wait between calls at night. If I wasn't allowed to do this, I would not be able to work at this job happily.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What to do next...

I am starting to get that feeling I get when I am ready to work with another medium. I think I may go back to knitting. My close friends have just found out that they are expecting and I want to make a few things for the new baby.

Went to Shipwreck today and picked up enough glass beads to make brackets for Kayla's wedding party. I also make another bracelet today. I need to take some pictures. I have been using my phone. I think I need to get a new camera.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Wool dying

Even though I posted this morning, I had done enough today to be able to make another post. Elizabeth and I dyed some wool and worked on some hemp jewelry. Tonight Issac is on his first sleep over. My next door neighbor set up his tent to air it out and decided to let his son invite the neighborhood boys over to spend the night in it. The tent is literally 10 feet from my bedroom window allowing me to hear everything. So far lots of giggling and talking, but no snoring. 2:30 in the morning and they haven't passed out yet. Tomorrow's Dr. appointment will be a cranky one, lol.

Issac being out, gave Elizabeth and I the chance to have a mother-daughter night. We dyed wool and i taught her how to do the half square knot.

The green didn't turn out the shade I had hoped. It is a sickly color that i am not wanting to share at the moment. But I will show you the purple that was my very first wool dying project. The shade is so pretty and looks even better when I card it with white wool.

Spending time with my daughter made me realize how much she is like me and it makes me smile.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


I had picked up two tomato plants in the spring. One was a Roma (on Kyle's right) and the other Better Boy (on Kyle's left). I didn't even know if the spot next to porch stairs would have enough sun for them, but its the only place that gets the most sun. Kyle has taken the most care for them and they are doing great.  One vine, if stretched out, is taller than me. None of them have started turning color yet, I hope they ripen before the rainy seasons.

Tomorrow I have to register Issac in Kindergarten and get the kids to their Dr. appointments. But today I want to finish going through the beads my Dad brought up. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Bead Fix

Work went by fast today and it's getting colder at night. My nights of dry bike rides are numbered, I think. My goal is to get a car before the rainy season. I love riding my bike. its enabled me to be able to get around where the buses don't run.

I had spent a lot of my weekend going through the box of beads my dad brought up for me. I have managed to condensed the banana box to a few containers. But I did allow myself to spend a little bit of money on some beads. I was running out of beads for my hemp jewelry. Unfortunately, my camera isn't charged so I found the pictures of the beads I bought today.

The purple ones have a more metallic finish to it and the pink ones have some green and blue. And black is black. I think the hardest part of the shopping trip was making sure I wasn't late for work. Shipwreck Beads' showroom is huge. They aren't kidding when they say they are the largest bead store in the world. I always find something new that gives me new inspiration. But after I finish working with hemp, I want to do some crochet. So much to do and I don't know what I truly want to work with next.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

It's the beginning....

I have so many things I want to share with the world. Projects, pictures, recipes, and my own experiences. I love fairies, dragons, and art nouveau. I enjoy a day outside riding my bike, gardening, or just watching my children play. Just as everyone else's, my life is full of joy and hardship. 

When I was in my early 20's I found solace in journaling.  I would write down every emotion, every thought. It helped me work through personal issues and gave me a sense accomplishment. That's what I want to do here only less personal....this is the Internet after all. LOL

The call center I work for  allows me to work on small projects at my desk. Lately, I have been making hemp jewelry. The last time my father came for a visit, he brought my collection of beads room my grandmother's basement. I'll have to post pictures of what I have made after I charge my camera. 

Well that's all for now... Goodnight