Tuesday, March 27, 2012

An Injury and Some Planning

I have somehow managed to hurt my right arm.  I think it's related to bad keyboard positioning at work.  Seeing as how that is not going to change any time soon, I'm going to have to find ways to compensate for it.  For right now, that includes no knitting or crocheting for a week.  That makes me sad, and I may cheat.  I'm also going to start doing the ice dipping of my arms again.  That helped tremendously to relieve the pain I was having prior to my carpal tunnel surgery, so it can't hurt to do it again now.

What I can do, though, is plan for more crafty stuff.  The HPKCHC Winter Term will be over on March 31st.  April is an off month, and Summer Term will start in May.  I intend to do an OWL during Summer Term, plus of course my required classwork, and I want to do Quidditch next Term.  I can't plan for Quidditch, and I can't plan too much for classes (one never knows what the prompts will be), but I can do some preliminary OWL planning.  Right now it's a debate between a crocheted blanket depicting the signs of the zodiac or a set of un-coordinated accessories (that, according to the Wizarding World, would be coordinated).  The accessories would be a bag, a pair of socks, and a pair of mittens.  If I accomplish all of those with time to spare, I will also add a hat and/or a scarf.  What I need to figure out is which pair of socks and which pair of mittens I wish to include in my proposal.  The bag I already have figured out - it's a market bag that I've been thinking of making for quite a while and just never got around to it.  Now I'll have a reason to make it.  The socks will probably be a short-leg or maybe even a footie style - I'm going to use the yarn I just dyed and it's not quite enough to make "standard" socks.  I'm going to look for a toe-up pattern for them so I can just knit until I run out of yarn.  Ah, I love to plan projects.  And seeing as it's going to be summer, I need small projects that will not be so large that they rest in my lap a lot.  This also makes them easily portable, which I love at any time of the year.

I also need to get back into making beaded socks and hair bows.  I want to get my etsy shop running again, and make more sales.  Hopefully I can have a productive Spring, and by the time Summer officially begins, I will be ready for craft shows and garage sales! :)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Adventures in Dyeing

I decided to dye some more yarn last night.  Learned a few things in the process.  This was completely different from the last time I dyed yarn, but just as fun.

Step One: Soak the yarn.  I used a vinegar and water mixture.

Step Two: While the yarn is soaking, gather your dying supplies.  For me, for this dye job, my supplies were two glass measuring cups and food coloring, plus vinegar and water.

Step Three: Mix the coloring, the vinegar, and the water in the measuring cups and add yarn.

Be careful with the food coloring.  It will stain your fingers.  Ask me how I know....

Step Four: Let the yarn soak for a while.  If you wish, use a spoon to move the yarn around to make sure all of the yarn gets colored.  Or, move the yarn around with your fingers (hey, if you've already stained your fingers, what's a little more?)

Watch out for splashes that could end up leaving rings of color on your cream-colored countertop.  No need to ask me how I know....

Step Five: When the dye is sufficiently soaked in to the yarn (saturation point is up to you) get ready to heat it up.  To make transport easier, I poured the red section back into this glass baking dish and just made room for the measuring cup with the blue section.  Then I put the whole shebang into the microwave.  I microwaved it on high for 90 seconds at a time, about four times.  Until the water around the red section was clear.

Testing for clear water with a measuring spoon.  Not sure when exactly but obviously during this microwave section I also decided to dump the blue section in with the rest of the yarn.

Step Six: Once the yarn was "done" getting dyed, it was time to rinse.  A teeny squirt of dishsoap into a bowl and a few squishes later and I was pretty much done with the washing/rinsing part.
I carefully squeezed the excess water out and....

Wait, what?  Where did all that extra red in the water come from?
More rinsing and more careful water squeezing ensued, until the water ran clear again.

Step Seven: Hang it up to dry.  I chose to put the drying rack in the kitchen in case of drips.  This time luck WAS on my side - no drips!!
I left it like this to dry overnight.  There were a few damp spots left this morning, but it seemed dry enough overall so I moved on to the next step.

Step Eight: Re-skein the yarn.  Sure, I could have left it as it was and simply twisted it back up, but I wanted the blue to look a little more random, which meant changing the length of the loop before re-twisting.  This particular step also led me to discover that there was a break in this skein, and instead of one, I have two!
Thankfully, they seem to be very close in size.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

February's Loss

I'm sticking with my weight-loss plans for this year, and while I didn't have the roaring success during February that I had in January, I'm happy to say that I still managed a two-pound weight loss.  This despite severely lowering my activity level due to a respiratory illness and not paying nearly as much attention to what I was eating as I did during January.

Weight lost in February: 2 pounds
My total weight lost in 2012 so far: 11 pounds.