Saturday, September 30, 2006

Trying to catch up

Last week we were so busy with doctor visits, boy/girl scouts, school dances, soccer and canning that by the time Saturday got here I needed a break. So Saturday morning I took some Chai tea and the wheel and sat outside and spun. I spun up the metalic looking mohair that I dyed, then plied it and wound it off. It was heaven on earth!

By the time I finished it was time for the kids to go to their soccer game...they won! That's not something they do on a regular basis so they were wired. Not long after finishing the rain came again.

The weather is up and down but no frost yet. But this just seems to have spurred on the "so much to do and so little time to do it" feeling. Last week we canned salsa and tomato soup. Today we made three batches of green tomato relish and tomorrow we are going to make blackberry jam. If there is time we will also make salsa with the last of the tomatoes. The man is going to go pick the highbush cranberries tomorrow and we are going to try making sauce and jelly with them the next day.

We also got the sheep and the goat sheared today. Everytime we wanted to shear them it rained and you can't shear when they are wet. The weatherman was calling for rain today but lucky for us it held off and it is suppose to be warm for the next couple of days so they won't freeze their butts off. I went and cut some of this years blackberry canes down and gave it to the sheep and goats to appease them for the torture I put them thru today!

One good thing about driving around is that you get to take pictures of the season coming in.
Here in the river valley the leaves have lightened up but haven't really changed color.

Even at the top of the mountains looking out you don't see much change in our area.

But 20 miles away you can see more and more trees showing their colors.

My sister is coming home for a week. Fall was always her favorite season but living in Puerto Rico she hasn't seen falls display in years so she will enjoy this. If we get frost it will speed the color change along a little and also get rid of the gnats which are awful right now!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Monday Blues

Maxine says it best!I saw that and just knew what she meant. We are feeling kinda blue today because my computer's DVD writer/CD writer is not working. So I called Compaq, as it is only 8 months old, and ask them if they could get this working for me. So I did this and that like they said and nothing worked. Then they offered me an extended warranty for two more years, "special price just for you" for only $129.00 "that's one-two-nine". I say no thanks lets just fix what is broken now and so they tell me I have to do a complete system recovery and bring my computer back to "just like day you bought it". I said that means I lose all my pictures (LOTS), documents (lots), favorties, and address, right. "Yup, just like day you bought it". I said I don't want to lose all that. She says to "take to company and have them make back up for you". I said "I have to drive a 60 mile round trip and pay someone to backup my files and then what" She said "then we do system recovery and bring it back to just like day you bought it" To which I ask "Then it will be fixed"? To which she replied that if that didn't fix it they would give me a new DVD writer. I said why can't they just give it to me so I am not inconvenienced because they have a shitty product. She puts me on hold and then says "my senior technician told me you have to do system recovery to get new DVD writer"
By this point I am now seeing red. Now I am sorry, this product was $1500 of my money, it is only eight months old and I barely ever use the drive. It is still under warranty, but unless I spend my time and money or unless I am willing to lose all my informtion I can't get it fixed under the warranty!!! So you ask how did this end....Well at this very moment they are putting gi-normous red lettering ...Psyco Bitch, talk to with caution!!! all over my file.
So I call the closest computer place and ask how much for a backup....$66.99. So I have to pay $66.99 or lose my info to get this fixed under warranty. And what are they going to repair it with ...someone else's repaired piece of sh*t. Oh and here is the catcher, I look up Lite-On DVD writer/CD writer combo (which is what is in my computer now) at and I can get one *new* for $35.00.....Hmmmmm what is wrong here? I think I will just buy an external one and write a nice long letter in English and hope they understand they are all a**holes! No wonder they offer you the extended warranty mid-stream. If you wait to the end and find out the one you have is worthless who would extend it.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

More dye jobs to document

So I know what I did next year I will write this out. I will of course not add measurements as I never measure, but at least I have the general idea of how I got what I got.

I redid the pokeberry dye. I clipped the berry branches into a steamer about 3/4 full. I added about 3 inches of water and put them on the side burner of the grill. I let them cook for about 20 minutes on low. I let them sit overnight. This AM I strained it, added some salt and a glug of vinegar. Then I added some white cormo wool, the fleshy color from yesterday, and some gray mohair roving. I put that on the burner on low and left the lid off for about 30 minutes. I let it cool down and then put on some gloves and rinsed it. And this is what I got...
The white is on the left, fleshy in the middle and the gray on the right. I love the way the gray came out. I took more gray roving, wrapped it from my hand to my elbow and put the one end in the pot to soak and left the other end out. Tomorrow I will see what it looks like and maybe simmer it for a bit to add more color if needed.
Then I was still in dye mode so I took some of the gray mohair and used food coloring...
I love the results. This picture makes it look real bright and it isn't. It came out teal, green, bronze metallic-y looking. The man says it looks like chrome illusion paint for cars. I said it looks like oil on the road when it has just rained. Whatever you want to call it I will try to make more of this.

Now I guess I should get spinning some of this. I finally realized I had more than one bobbin even though they sit right in front of me so now I have no excuse. In knitting news I finished one of the sideways gloves. Hopefully I can finish the other tonight.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Dyeing to find out if it worked!

Okay instead of spinning yesterday, I reorganized the knit stuff and looked thru patterns to find what I want to do in the coming weeks. I also messed with some more dye.

First was the kool-aid dye. I took lemon-lime and added water and a glog of vinegar in the bottom of a jar. I added some gray mohair roving and then mixed the grape kool-aid with water and vinegar and added that to the top. Here is what it looked like in the jar...

And after it had sucked all the dye out of the water and was rinsed it looked like this..

And here is the goldenrod...
Boiled, strained, alum added to dye pot, dry cormo added while still hot and left to sit all day and night. After rinsing this AM this is what I had

When I was done hanging out the goldenrod cormo, I took some of the gray mohair and added that to the left over goldenrod dye pot. This picture doesn't do it justice as the red plastic Folgers can is changing the color in the pic. It actually came out a nice green color and I like it.I would show you a pic of it when it was done but the green doesn't show up in the picture I took.

Then I did the pokeberry. I clipped the berry branches off into a pan, then boiled them. I strained it and added salt to the brew and added dry cormo roving and this is what it looked like. I let that sit all day and night and this AM I checked it and when I squeezed a little bit the roving was just slightly pink. I dyed lincoln last year and it came out gorgeous but I remember that I simmered it so I simmered this and still only got this...

Then I went and got some Hopi Red Dye Amaranth. I didn't use this last year but I replanted this year just in case. So I saw it when I walked into the garden and thought okay we are going to do something with this instead of it just taking up room in the garden. I tried calling Cyndi because she has used this before but she wasn't home so being impatient me I fudged it... I cut the flowers and stems into pieces and put them on to boil. I poured off a gallon and added alittle more water and let that boil. Then I started thinking about the alum they recommended for the goldenrod and the vinegar they recommend for the plants. So I put vinegar in the first jar and alum in the second and added the dry cormo. The left jar is the second cooking with alum and the right jar is the first cooking with vinegar. This AM they didn't look like they were accepting the color so I decided to simmer them and this is what I got with the vinegar - it ended up looking like butternut (which I liked) and with alum it ended up looking like a pale flesh color. I don't like it so we will overdye that one. I went and clipped more pokeberry and boiled that up. Tomorrow I will try to get the same color that I got last year. I think I will add the salt and vinegar this time. I guess I should have documented it but that ranks right up there with swatching!!! I guess I like banging my head into the wall!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Time passing

Yesterday at the kids soccer game my mother told me that 9/16 would have been her 50th wedding anniversary had my father still been alive. Later that afternoon as we were driving to my daughters house I was looking out and seeing the leaves that have already changed color and I started thinking of that and time passing. Just yesterday my father was alive, I had no kids, I was just starting to plant the garden...or at least it seems like yesterday. I think of the past 42 years and how fast they seem to have gone but seem like they haven't moved quickly at all. Then I remembered reading this....

In a race against time…
Quickly! Must leave
As much of myself behind

so then my mind went in that we spin, crochet, knit, weave, create so that something of us will be left behind? I think we do. I keep telling my mother to make a baby outfit and afghan for each of her grandkids to have for their first child so in case she is not here, there will be a piece of her for the next generation. Then they will know about her.

My youngest daughter keeps taking all the gloves I make. She looses them all the time and I said why do you take them if you are only going to loose them, I will go buy you some at Walmart and won't care if you loose them. To which she replies because you made them and I want to be close to you. I can't argue with that....we could of course ask why she keeps loosing them but we won't go there.

So in my effort to leave a piece of myself behind, I made this for my oldest daughters friends child. My daughter looked at the last sweater and said it wouldn't fit so I made a different one. Their family hunts and so I knit him a camo

sweater and then crocheted him a vest and hat to go over it. Hopefully it will fit him. I dropped it off yesterday.

The kids lost their soccer game but we did have some of this

which we haven't had in a week. That there is blue sky, not much but I will take what I can get!!! Today is suppose to be nice so I decided to dye some roving. I did a one gallon jar of kool aid dye in green and purple on the gray mohair roving. Then I boiled up some golden rod, strained it, added some alum (yes I know I should have mordanted the wool in the alum) and put in some cormo roving while it was still hot. Then I boiled up some pokeberry. I held the pot under the bush and clipped the branch of berries into the pot. Then I added some water and boiled it. I strained it, added some salt and then the cormo roving while it was still hot. Will this work...I don't know but I will take pics.

Now I am off to finish spinning the silk I got from Cyndi. Later hopefully the sheep and goat will be dry enough to shear before it rains more. Oh one more thing....Today is my elder sisters birthday...HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Now if she would just update her blog!

Friday, September 08, 2006

My Alone Time

The kids were in school, the man is in VA for the NASCAR race and I was so blissfully alone for 8 hours. It is not often that I have this much alone time. Sadly I had a ton of things to do and couldn't just sit and knit.
The little man went and had both tubes in his ears replaced yesterday. Hopefully this will be the last time we have to have this done. Him and I both still sound awful when we cough. I finally went to the Dr. and yes we both had brochitis. When I was talking to the hair dresser while they were getting their hair cut for school, she said she is on her third prescription for brochitis and that it won't go away. I hope this is not like hers because I hate to take medicine.

So what has been going on....
We made elderberry jelly with all those elderberries I had picked. Then I got some more (what the birds hadn't gotten) from my usual spot and I made 6 pints of syrup for pancakes/french toast this afternoon.
I made some spaghetti sauce the other day and froze it. Today I made salsa as we go thru alot of salsa. It came out sweet before the heat hits. I didn't add sugar so it has to be the tomatoes because the spaghetti sauce was a little sweet. I am using Amish Paste, Early Girl, Better Boy and Beefsteak. There are alot of tomatoes out there so tomorrow I am going to have to just put some thru the squeezo and freeze it to catch up. That way I can deal with it when I have the time.
I made some blackberry wine to which I had to add more sugar today. There are still more blackberries and I was going to leave them all for the birds but then this morning I went and saw them all there and so because there was a bucket sitting there so handy like I picked enough to make blackberry cordial. If my sister ever gets around to updating her blog I might send her some because she really liked it last time I made it.

We got rid of all the male ducks that we hatched and the two little roosters and traded them for six hens which should start laying soon. The resident chickens are moulting and the eggs are few and far between.

We bought two steer which have been grass fed and now will get fattened up until mid October when we will take them to the butcher. The man is keeping them on his farm for us and we are buying the grain that they will be eating for the next 6 weeks. He said why move them when he has the space, how can I argue with that. I know we can sell 1/2 if not a whole one to the same people we sold half the angus to, but we still might have to buy another freezer as we have the pigs to do in November.
I have found time to knit. I knit a cardigan for the son of my daughters friend. He is two. I hope it fits as I am not a big swatch person. I know you are suppose to but I usually just go ahead with the pattern and hope for the best. I also started a seamless raglan done from the top down. I am about at the point where you would take the sleeve stitches and put them on holders. I should be able to get to that point tonight. It would be nice to finish it this weekend so I can spin. I am really itching to spin as I haven't in over a month.