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Lighting up my life!

Lighting up my life!

My eighth grade math teacher, Sr. Liliette, used to say this when we got something wrong in her class that should have been obvious, and clearly it made an impression, as I still remember it – and her – all these years later. I won’t say how many years later it is; suffice it to say that it’s a few years!

I’m now saying it to myself, because I did something I shouldn’t have done just at this time. You might remember that I have a thing for fiber arts tools. I love them. I can’t help myself. And, well, I found this great deal on a full set of the Crochet Lite hooks I mentioned in an earlier post, from size C all the way up to K. How could I pass up a good deal? Especially one that was unlikely to be repeated? Yes, I bought the set. And despite the fact that I shouldn’t have, I can’t say I regret that I did. When I looked for full sets, I was finding them at $140 or more, not including shipping or taxes. I found the full set for a bit under half that price.

They’re really cute!!! The LED lights are very bright, the handles fit my palm nicely; they’re very nice. There are some downsides, though. The actual hook being plastic, I can see them breaking off if used too hard. Gentle is the order of the day with these. The yarn doesn’t slip along the hook as nicely as it does with my aluminum hooks, either. It’s actually noticeably squeaky. The last two problems were noted in the reviews: the sizes aren’t true. Starting from size E, the hooks are actually larger by one than the stated size. So an E with these is an F everywhere else. And there was a battery issue as well, as in the batteries weren’t quite making connection. I took a small piece of index card, folded it in half, laid it over the batteries (three batteries per hook), and put the lid back on. Connection made.

Overall,  the cons are pretty minor in my opinion, as long as you’re aware of them. The only other complaint I have is that there is no case for them. When you buy a full set, each hook is packaged individually, and the ergonomic handles means that traditional cases, like the Clover striped case, are out of the question. I haven’t yet been able to find a case for them, so they may not exist anywhere, and I may have to make one. Given my sewing abilities – or lack thereof – that could be a fairly interesting project, and I don’t mean interesting in a good way! So for now, I will continue to look for a case.

In other crochet news, I have all of the small spikes and wings done for both of the Night Furies presently made, and am working on the horns and ears now. There will soon be two complete Night Furies.

As I’d mentioned before, I made most of the pieces before starting assembly this time, and still have not achieved perfection. The first problem I had was that I didn’t stuff the legs and wing arms as I went along, because work still needed to be done on the exteriors of those parts before they were stuffed. The wings had to be crocheted into place along the wing arms, and toes had to be added to the legs. I had hoped that following the pattern to  the letter this time would lessen the obvious mistakes. It did not. Stuffing the wing arms was a nightmare. I had to use the hook and insert it at the closed end of the arm to slide up and hook the polyfill to bring it all the way down. In the process, the wing arms stretched once the fill was in, opening up, once again, space between stitches and making the fill visible. Grrrr. Not really sure what to do about that or even what I’m doing wrong. I’m sure Bryony won’t care one bit, but I do!

I’m also considering dyeing my hair again, and I have two choices: dyeing it back to its natural color, or dyeing it silver, since it’s headed in that direction anyway. I jokingly mentioned that last to a younger friend the other day, and she stopped me in my tracks by informing me that that’s a thing now. Lots of young women out there whose hair is as silver-white as any older woman who’s earned her grey. Who knew???  I’m tempted to do it myself, simply because I won’t have to worry about touching up the roots every other week, because my hair is now more salt than pepper anyway, which annoys me because I think the grey arrived way too early. But if it’s a thing now, well, I might as well take advantage of it. I know they have apps for buying glasses that enable you to see what you’d look like in various frames by uploading your picture; I’m wondering if they have anything similar for dyeing your hair. Anyone know?

Well, I’d better get to cooking dinner and doing homework…and refereeing the latest fight between two girls. Sigh.

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The finished Kool-Aid dyed Sibe fur!

Wow! It’s been awhile since I last wrote an entry! I apologize! I haven’t done too much in the way of fiber arts in the last two weeks, other than start another bobbin of Sibe fur on Anansi. The skein I dyed came out merely okay. I had too many areas the Kool-Aid color couldn’t get to, so I will have to buy some more and redo it, but I did find out that the fur will accept dyeing! So I posted a picture of it anyway.

The two items in the title are totally unrelated to each other. One refers to a video game, and the other is fiber-related.

Diablo 3 is what has kept me busy in recent days. Yes, it’s a computer game. I know, I know, but this game has been eagerly awaited for ten long years!!! I have played both of the previous entries, and never once gotten to finish either. Something always interfered, whether it was a computer crash or loss of the game disc itself, or the fact that the computer was upgraded and the game was not. It has always been one of my favorite games, a good, old-fashioned, button-mashing, hack-and-slash dungeon crawler. No complicated combos to remember, just plain old mouse clicking. I love this game.

As I said, it’s my favorite, and apparently a favorite of many other people as well, enough so that there was a midnight launch of the game a few days ago, which I attended to pick up the two collector’s editions my husband and I ordered so that we could play together. The first night was an unmitigated disaster, as the game servers were completely unprepared for the sheer number of players all trying to log on at the same time globally. We were all supposed to be able to play at midnight, Pacific time, but my hubby and I, at least, were unable to play until 2:30 in the morning, and then the servers crashed, further infuriating the hordes of players who were already infuriated at being unable to play at the promised time. When finally we were able to play, it was for hours. What can I say? I’m a huge kid. I put the game on both of my computers, so I can play on my Mac while supervising dinner, or downstairs on my PC after the kids are in bed.

The cockiness refers to Talyn. If you recall, I finally put him under warp a couple of weeks ago. Normally, with a loom I’ve never used, I warp with a yarn I don’t care about, generally one of the dozens of skeins of acrylic cluttering up my studio. It’s cheap, readily available, and I never use it for anything important. That’s my normal modus operandi. This time, however, I was too confident in my own abilities. This time, I warped with the considerably more expensive 5/2 mercerized cotton I’d been hanging onto.

Part of the reason for this massive glitch is the fact that I downloaded a drafting application for my iPad called iWeaveit. All I had to do was input the colors I was using for warp and weft, how many shafts I was using, set up the shafts and the treadling, and essentially hit enter. The program does the rest and shows you what the piece will look like according to the setup you give it.

It should have worked. It isn’t the program’s fault. I screwed the pooch on this one. I couldn’t understand why the shafts weren’t following the drawdown properly. I’d move a shaft and have threads in the shed, other threads dropping or rising when they should be doing the opposite…I couldn’t figure it out, and was blaming poor Talyn when I should have blamed my very own self.

I got sick of it today and decided to cut off the warp. Then I rethought the situation and decided I would try to save it. I hadn’t gotten very far, as the problems had begun pretty much immediately, so I untied the warp from the cloth beam, and proceeded to pull out the weft, which took me about an hour to do. It is now a very pretty butterfly, waiting to be used again, no harm, no foul.

Once the weft was out, I took a good hard look at the heddles and the reed. Lo and behold, there are errors in both. Am I surprised? No, not really. They are fortunately easy-to-fix errors, but they were major errors in terms of the design I was trying to weave. So I will need to pull  a few strings out and re-thread them, but that is a job for tomorrow. For today, Bryony is in a “whine and scream about everything and nothing” kind of mood, and Aneira is trying to “help”, which, inevitably, makes the situation worse and Bryony’s screaming louder. As I am out of patience with both my children, aided by the throbbing headache I now have, this carries over into everything else, so I think it would be wise not to tackle Talyn tonight! Tonight, after I cook dinner, I will be planting both my children in their beds early, or at least in their rooms, and I will spend some gloriously mindless time playing more Diablo 3!

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Mixed Berry Kool Aid dye bath

I’m impatient. I know this. I have to do everything now, now, now! I try to be patient, honestly I do, but if I don’t have anything else immediately in mind to do, well, it doesn’t work out so well.

Case in point: last night, I finally finished spinning a bobbin-worth of Thor fur. What I should have done is let the yarn rest for a few days on the bobbin, then ply and dye it. What I actually did was Dine ply it, leave it on the bobbin overnight, then skeined it this afternoon, and it is now in the process of being dyed. See what I mean? Impatient.

This is not perfect yarn, although it’s closer than anything I’ve done before. I think that’s my justification for my impatience. There are several breaks in the yarn that occurred during plying, and I just tied the yarn back together and kept going. At that point, it became an experiment rather than something I would actually use, which, I guess, explains my impatience. If it had been near-perfect in my eyes, I might have had an easier time doing everything in its proper time frame.

I’ve been wanting to try Kool Aid dyeing since I heard of the process a few weeks ago. There is always Kool Aid in my house, and no, it is not the children who drink it most of the time. A horrible admission to make, I agree, but my kids mostly drink milk, water, or real juice. Junk is reserved for the adults. However, I am attempting a lifestyle change, so I haven’t bought any Kool Aid recently, and I’ve been drinking more water and making real iced-tea with actual teabags. It’s a work-in-progress. Admitting that I am no longer seventeen and can’t eat what I want when I want it anymore is difficult.

Actually, let me be honest here: I hate it. Naturally, every single thing I like to eat is on the “avoid” list, even quite a few things that I thought were healthy!

But I digress. At one of the guild meetings this month, the program was about natural dyeing, which begged the question: will dog hair accept dye? No one had an answer. No one had tried. The general assumption was that the answer was “probably”, as it is an animal fiber, but no one knew for sure.

Adding dyeing to my repertoire was never my intention. I love the process of spinning, and I really hadn’t thought much beyond that, other than certain knowledge that I did not want to use chemical dyes in my cooking utensils or, really, anywhere in my kitchen. The kitchen is the heart of my house, and there are always kids and/or animals in it. Chemicals are not an option. Enter Kool Aid dyeing. Not over-involved, which is wonderful, and safe, since we drink it anyway, and a staple in my house. There were a few packets left of new flavors we had tried and hated, so those became my dye. I’m also considering trying other things as dye, such as curry, turmeric, saffron…well, maybe not the saffron, as it costs a fortune, but you get the point.

The thing about Sibe fur is that while on the dog, the fur is either distinctly white or distinctly black. Once off the dog, however, not so much. Once carded, what you have is storm-grey, which is beautiful in its own right, but you only want to see so much of that color. So

Would you believe this was grey two hours ago?

it was time to try dyeing.

Aneira is ecstatic, as I recruited her to help me with this. Not that I needed help for such a small amount of yarn, but it was a way to spend some time together, and something she could do. With chemical dyes, I wouldn’t have had her anywhere near the project!

So far, the dye is taking well, but the yarn smells like wet dog again. so there is definitely another wash in the offing! Not good!! Hubby is not thrilled with that, and I have to admit, neither am I, and I hope it goes away, or spinning from Thor’s fur is useless!

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