Saturday, September 30, 2006


Chris' comission before it's painted. I got to pose!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

My Internet is Back!

John fixed my computer today with help from my brother, and I'm back online. Yay! It's so much nicer using my own computer instead of someone else's. I really miss having my own stuff.
I am posting a picture of the stained glass rug. It's actually a little farther along because I worked on it today. I took the picture in the hall at the head of the stairs, and I realized that if it were just about an inch bigger all the way around it would be the perfect size for that spot. I think I'll make the next one for there.
The overalls I had on E-bay sold, so I am making another pair. I got them at Salvation Army today and I think I'll applique a butterfly and maybe some grass and a nother mushroom. The mushrooms seem to sell pretty well.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Huge haul!

As we all know, sunday was my birthday! I had an excellent day with my boyfriend, and he suprised me with a yarn shopping spree. We went to hobby lobby (their yarn bee line is really very nice yarn for very cheap) to get more bang for the buck, and it was a good thing too! The woman at the registar thought that all the yarn was half off. So instead of thirty six it was only eighteen :D My aunt carla gave me some money on the condition that I did something nice with it for myself. So, of course, more yarn! We got these beautiful shell and wood shawl pins in at hancock in four colors, so I got some. I acutally put all of them except four on hold ;) They're only two dollars a piece! I also had to get a little yarn to go with it. I started a beautiful shawl with a mohair/wool/acrylic boucle that was on sale for three dollars a ball. I may post pictures later of my huge haul! if i can find chris' camera. I'll also be throwing and rewriting my resume today.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Computer Problems

We had a big storm come through on Friday night and knock out our internet and cable tv. My computer is still not online so I am using John's today. It's pretty astounding how much I miss it when I think that less than 10 years ago we didn't have a computer, let alone one for each family member, and I never really thought we would have one. Now it's one of the things I miss the most when it's gone. I actually think I would do without some major appliance, like maybe the fridge, than be without the computer. I could buy cold things on a daily basis and just put them in a cooler. I know it's crazy, but there it is. I love my computer and the internet, and I will be so happy when mine is back online so I can just scoot from sewing machine to computer without having to leave the room.
Anyway, I worked all day Saturday, and Sunday was Siobhan's birthday, but I did get some fleece scarves made for the craft show, and I already have 4 sold. I will post pics later when I am online again. The overalls are sold on e-bay, too, and they still have almost 3 days to go, so I hope they go higher. They are at $28, but 3 people have them on thier watch list. I also did a couple of dye runs with reds and oranges using my new dye book. I ordered some dyeing spoons that have a 1/32 tsp. measure, which I really need. I also need a 1/128. And I got a bit more of the broken glass rug done. I'm sewing scarves today, and hooking a bit in odd moments. The odd moments really add up, before I know it I have another section done. I have the next rug kind of in the planning stages, too. I'm thinking something classic, like maybe some center floral with scrolls in the corners. I'm looking forward to dip dyeing for scrolls, it will be a fun experience. My new mesauring spoons will be here by then and I can keep more acurate dye records too.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Stained Glass Rug

I've been busy the last couple of days. with work and other things. I did, however, get a nice bit done on the stained glass rug I started. I'm a little bit further along than the picture, I did a bit more last night. I also ordered Maryanne Lincoln's Comprehensive Dyeing Guide, which came yesterday. I looked it over last night, and I am very excited to start trying some of the formulas. One nice thing about the stained glass rug is that I can play around with a lot of different dye formulas and the resulting pieces of wool can be used. Siobhan and I also gathered a nice bunch of rose hips that I am going to do a natural dye run with, so I have a fun day ahead of me. I have some sewing to do this morning, but then I can play with colors all afternoon. Pat at work said she wouldn't have time for that, but as I pointed out to her, dyeing is a pretty long process, and you don't just stand over the dye pot. I wash dishes and do laundry while I am dyeing, and I can clean the kitchen, or even be on the patio. Actually the only things I can't do while I'm dyeing is sew, since the sewing room is upstairs and I don't want to leave the stove on when I'm not near it; and cook, since I don't want to accidentally poison my family. And they are all used to the fact that generally speaking, a pot on the stove doesn't mean food, anyway.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Crikey, we'll miss you

I watched the memorial for Steve Irwin last night. I've been a Croc Hunter fan for a long time, I never got tired of watching him wrestle big crocs or picking up poisonous snakes. The kids had bought me a video, and one year I got a Crocodile Hunter t-shirt for Christmas. I've spent some of the morning reading through articles, and I have to say that while he may have at times appeared to be a lunatic, or that he was taking chances that maybe most people would consider crazy; it was exactly that crazy, larger than life personality that really reached out to people and made them understand that conservation and protection of animals is so very important. I've read the criticism as well as the praise, and I believe that it will be a long time (if ever) that we see someone as willing to show the enthusiasm and genuineness and dedication to the cause of conservation that he had. They say that touching others is the way to really change and educate and make a difference; and that's what Steve did; in his crazy, larger than life way he touched millions. I guess, along with those millions, all I can say is goodbye, Steve. You may be gone but some part of you will always be here, exciting and encouraging people to be involved and care about wildlife.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

aaaaaaah math!

I have been working on an afghan with no pattern, and I must confess, math is getting the better of me. I'm using chunky weight yarn and I believe size thirteen needles, and 150 sts is 69 inches. However I am having some problems, and after just asking eric, I fear even more that this will never be done. Please refer to my picture (i made it in paint!)

*Note! The border originally started as a scarf, but I decided it would be better as an afghan. I started with chunky weight, but I used one that was discontinued! I can't find another chunky, white acrylic that's cheap anywhere! I even called Kmart!!! So I have to use a super chunky, which totally throws a wrench in the works.

Let me explain figure 1(a)
The A represents the long side, which was one hundred and fifty sitches long and six inches wide. B represents the short side. C represents the short side as well, however D is the short side that I will be using the super chunky weight on. What I had originally done was 150/69 = x/56 (six inches wide two times, subtracted from 69 is 53), and I got 115. This is for the chunky. The super will just be a big white square in the middle. 20 sts = 8.5 inches. So again, I used proportions and I would need to cast on 125 sts. Well this obviously isn't right, since not only is it bigger than side C in sts, since it's super bulky it's got that going on too! Please help me!!!!!

I will post pictures of my baby hats soon.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Finally Finished!

Well the chair pads are finally finished! I have to say I'm not so sure of the last one, I was going to take all the beach out and just do a light brown sandy one, but I just wanted them to be done. I think they are ok, I'm sure I'll get much better the more rugs I hook. I ordered Maryanne Lincoln's Comprehensive Dyeing Book and I can't wait til it gets here, her book shows how to make a ton of colors with just 5 of the Cushings dyes.
I did another dye run using crab apple leaves with alum as the mordant and got almost a golden tan. I am going to try it again using vinegar and see what happens.
I think I am going to make a hit or miss rug with all of the bits of wool I have left over, but I am going to make the overalls for E-bay and get some more craft show stuff done. I'm off tomorrow and I am going to make myself get the overalls done before I can do anything else. They shouldn't take that long anyway. But since I have a couple of hours before work I am going to draw out the hit or miss one. Sio saw one she likes and I am going to do it, I will post a picture of the pattern once it's drawn.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Not so rocky beach

I thought the rocks would give me problems, and they have. But it seems I can see things better when I take a picture and look at it that way, and they really aren't as bad as I thought. It looks more like a beach with maybe small rocks and mounds of sand. It's ok, I kind of like the mounds in the foreground. I ended up dyeing some of the gold colors, I just didn't have enough different shades.
I am also taking all my dyeing info, formulas and notes and typing them up in an organized fashion so I can find info easily when I need it. I am also going to start trying to write down what I am doing to get different colors; maybe I can repeat things if I do that.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

4th chairpad

Well I got a nice start on the 4th and last chairpad yesterday. The water is looking pretty good; dipping the dyed strips in a navy bath after the blue green really toned them down and made them just right . I decided to just give up trying to make anything else til I get this one finished, then I'll go back to sewing for the craft shows and E-bay.
Today is Thursday and that means going to Salvation Army to look for more wool. Yay!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Well I think I may use this picture for the 4th chair pad. I've always liked this funny old house, plus I wanted some ocean on one of the pads and there's a fair amount of ocean in this picture. I dyed some swatches last night to use for the water and they came out pretty good. I also decided to go through and organize my stash to see if I needed to dye anything else, but I think I will be ok. The rocks might be a problem, I haven't worked out the colors I need to use, but I have plenty of sky colors. My stash is bigger than I realized, but it will be easier to find what I'm looking for, plus there were some things I had forgotten about.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Finished, With A Change

Well, I finished the 3rd one and got it on the chair. I realized that I really didn't have enough room for foilage, so I took out most of the fence and a bit of the yard. I don't think there is enough contrast between the tree and the hill. The tree looked a lot more tree-like before I hooked in the background hill. I decided to leave the other hill alone, the side yard and hill may look the same but it's just going to have to stay that way. I think the sky turned out excellently, I used a dip dyed strip and a solid one. The colors are just perfect. Siobhan's Chris said I should take them out to Kane Co. next time I go and see what I can get for them, but I don't think I could do that. I want to keep them, at least for awhile.
Now I have to think of what I want for the 3rd one.

Still Working on the Chair Pads

It's a good thing I don't depend on my E-bay income to eat, because in spite of all my good intentions I haven't been able to tear myself away from working on the chair pad. I've got a lot done, and I'm pretty satisfied with it except I may make a more well defined line where the back yard stops and the rest of the hill begins. I've changed wool colors, but it's so similar to what I was using that it looks a lot the same. On the other hand, the house is built going up that hill. When I stand on the porch of the real house and look straight out I am looking down hill, and that hill doesn't stop even at the road. It goes down quite a bit further to the main road. Anyway I sent the pictures to Melissa and am waiting for her advice.
I have had a stiff neck for almost a week now. I think it's my pillow, and that I've been spending most of the night on my back because my hip hurts if I don't. I bought a Memory Foam pillow yesterday, but I think they have them at Costco, so I am going to look. If they do I'll bring the other one back. I burned a disc of Capercaillie and brought it with over to mom's yesterday. Carla really liked it, I thought she might, so I gave it to her. They have lately taken over as my current favorite Celtic band. I still like Great Big Sea, but Capercaillie are really good. They are excellent at blending the traditional with more modern sounds, and they are also great at straight traditional music. I don't know if they've played here in the US, although they tour all over Europe.
It is very rainy here today and so cool that it feels like fall. If the rain stops I am going to take a walk before work. Fall is my favorite season; I think it's the most beautiful, and full of inspiration. Plus it also gets me thinking of being snug in the house with baking bread and beef stew and quilting. And Christmas with every one here. I used to like spring the best, but not anymore.I think every season has something to offer, as far as being inspirational in it's own way; it's just that fall conjures up really nice things for me.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Rug hooking marathon

I spent most of yesterday morning hooking the 3rd chair pad, and got quite a bit done. The fence isn't coming out all that well, but it will probably be ok once I get the surrounding area hooked. I also came up with an idea for a mat after the chairpads are finished. The last verse of Capercaillie's song Beautiful Wasteland conjures up some imagery for me that I think would translate very well into a mat; I see hills and the ocean under a night sky with lots of stars. I'd like to hook a simple figure sitting on the hill, but I'm not sure if I can. Carla is coming over tomorrow and I'll see if I can get her to just roughly sketch the figure for me.
I did some crockpot dyeing and the wool came out very nice. It's pretty blotchy, which I like. I generally find that blotchiness adds depth and texture which makes the mat more interesting.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The 3rd chair pad

I got a bit done yesterday before work, and I am going to do a bit more today before I make the overall I am listing on e-bay. I like the way the greens are looking for the yard, the bits of blue that show up now and then are from the piece of wool Sio and I dyed with shaving cream. I had some browns I had dyed from before and I found 2 that were perfect for the tree trunk. I think the challenge will be hooking the foilage for the tree. I'm not sure about the colors I have for that, I might try and dye something else. I found a crock pot at Salvation Army last night so I'll try dyeing in there in the next couple of days.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Conventional dye runs

I spent the late afternoon and early evening dyeing greens for the next chair pad. I already have some greys I can use, and a dark hunter green, but I needed some more earthy colors. I realized that the bathroom looks much better when there are 15 or so 22 inch by 3 inch wool swatches hanging all over to dry! I did a 3 jar graduated color dye run, a 5 piece coat hanger dip dye set, 5 random pieces were just thrown in the pot for an immersion dye bath, and the last 2 were casserole dyed by sprinkling a mix of salt and dyes onto the wet wool in the pan and then covered and baked at 150 degrees for about an hour. I now have plenty of wool for grass, hills and the tree foilage. I've never hooked a tree before so I hope this one turns out ok. Now that I have the design all drawn out I am anxious to start. I guess I am going to do the house in white after all, it will stand out better. I can use the reddish brown I got from the sumac for the tree trunk.
I have to work open to close tomorrow, so there won't be much done. I'll get up a bit early and hook for awhile. I made and listed a pillow on E-bay this morning, and I planned out the applique for the corduroy overalls. I can make those Friday and list them while I'm off. I work all day Saturday and Carla is coming over on Sunday to visit.

No artistic talent but....

Ok, I really can't draw, and the ability to draw and consequently hook, Aunt Alison's house exactly as it is completely eludes me. Especially the stairs, there is no way I am able to draw the stairs. So instead, there is this house, which will be green with white trim and a black roof. The fence is also wrong, the real fence is barbed wire and is down in places, the one I put in is a rail fence that I will attempt to hook as weathered. There is a picnic table on the side of her house, but I didn't want that anyway. But I still hope it gives the feeling of an outport home. That's the main thing.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Chair Pad #3

Well, once again I'm thinking of my aunt's house to some how figure into this next chair pad. I don't know if I will hook it big so it takes up most of the seat, or if I will make it smaller with the hill in the background. I certainly do like hooking hills, and the one behind the house is much rockier than the hills in the last chair pad, so grey will predominate. Her house used to be green, and I think I'll hook it green, I like it that way. I really like the second picture, too. It's probably my favorite picture that I took in Nfld., Siobhan looks like she is walking out to the end of the world. I don't know if I'm brave enough to try and turn that into a seat cover though, although it certainly would make a wonderful one. I don't know I'll have to think about it.

2nd Chair Pad Finished

I finished the 2nd chair pad last night before I went to bed, there was so little left to do that I just went ahead and did it. The houses are a bit crooked, I think they'll even out a bit after I put it on the chair. It looks more like a boat now than it did before, but what I really like is the colors and textures in the hills. I had a piece of a wool blend that was a bit ravelly; I had overdyed it green sometime ( I can't rememeber when) and it was perfect for texture. The green to grey strips look nice too. All in all, I think this is a nice piece, although it's greener than I had imagined it would be. Maybe that's from only working a section at a time in a hoop, I couldn't see the overall piece and didn't realize how similar in color the sections were. Anyway, on to #3!

Monday, September 04, 2006

The Fruit of Siobhan's Labors

Another chair pad update

I just figured I would post these pics so that every one knows I haven't totally neglected the chair pads for the dyeing. I did get a bit done here and there, and there really isn't that much left to do. I worked all day today or else I might have gotten this one finished. I am going to work on it a bit now before bed, and then maybe finish it up when I come home tomorrow. I only work til 1, so it should give me lots of time.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Behind the House

I took pictures yesterday of the field and woods behind the house where we have been gathering our plants. We really are lucky to have a place like this so close to us; it's hard to believe it's right smack dab in the middle of suburbia. Siobhan took some nice pictures of a paper wasp nest we saw the other day when we were back there. This time we were coming out from between some trees to the road and I saw what I swear was a coyote. I don't think it was a dog, Sio saw it too, but it took off into the trees so fast we never got a picture. Some of the area is protected wetlands, but some of it is not, I think as long as the wetlands are there it makes it hard to develop any of the other land back there. I guess they could come in off of 22nd, although there isn't really that much room, there are already 2 complexes and some businesses. Anyway, I'm just glad it's back there.
I also have pictures of some of the dyeing results which are mostly shades of brown so far. I used the sumac with an alum mordant and got a brown that had more of a rust overtone. The purple/black berries gave me a brown with green streaks in it which you really can't see in the pictures.I am going to try the goldenrod with alum today, and also the Queen Anne's Lace.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

....And Yet More Dyeing

I am having so much fun with the natural dyeing process that I am finding it hard to do any thing else these days. I got a nice pale yellow last night with the goldenrod and vinegar. Goldenrod does not smell nice when simmered for an hour on top of the stove. John came down to make a pot of coffee and he commented on the smell. It wasn't a heavy strong smell that went all through the house, but if you were standing within 5 or 6 feet of the pot then it was definitly noticeable. I simmered the piece of wool in vinegar and water first, and then simmered it in the dye bath til it took on a light yellow hue. I think leaving it longer or letting it cool down and soak overnight would probably give a deeper hue. I have been throwing the dye bath out, but I've read on a couple of sites that it can be stored and used again and again til the water is almost clear. I don't have any real big jars, but I am going up to the store to get alum and cream of tarter, and I'll stop at Salvation Army and pick up some big jars. I also want to stop in at work and get a skein of Lion's Fisherman wool.
Joan at work asked me if I could teach a class on dyeing, and I said I might. The problem is that most dyes require some sort of heat, even the cold water dyes work a bit better with warm to hot (not boiling) water. Plus we have Dylon dyes at work which are not my favorite, although I got some satisfactory results with them last year when I was playing around with mixing powdered dyes and salt in a salt shaker , sprinkling them on wool that had been soaked in a saltwater bath, and then baking them on low heat in the oven. I used them in the hit and miss rug I made for Carla. I'm wondering if they could be set in a low wattage microwave. There's also Kool-Aid dyeing in the microwave, which I've never done, but Melissa has. Apparently there is no mordanting done with Kool-Aid, it's colorfast all by itself. Actually, that's a little bit scary; it makes me wonder what we're giving our kids to drink!
Anyway, I have a fun day ahead of me turning things different colors. I'll post pictures later on.