Monday, November 26, 2012

Dye Job

I have wanted to dye yarn myself more or less ever since I started knitting.  I've seen some beautiful hand-dyed yarns.  But it seems like such an arduous process between buying acidic yarns, having to cut up plastic bags to put the dyed yarn on, needing to soak it in vinegar to make the yarn take.  Plus, I don't know where I would do all that.  I could use the sink in the basement, but it's not exactly the cleanest...

Then, I came across this on Pinterest about dyeing yarn with Kool-aid  I know it talks about dyeing to reach a gradient, but it broke the whole process down into such simple steps with such basic elements that I got so excited about trying it.  So today, while Elijah and I were out and about in DeKalb, I we stopped at Target and I picked up these
I was hoping for blue or green, but it's not a Super Target and their Kool-aid selection was actually pretty small.

When we got home, I pulled out some yarn I had in my stash and made a few small "testing hanks."

The first hank is Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool, which is sold in huge skeins.  I got mine at Michael's for a project that fell through.  It's 100% wool and everything I've read about dyeing yarn says wool and natural fibers are the best, but for some reason not cotton.

The second hank is Paton's Grace Sock Yarn.  It is 100% mercerized cotton which I bought also at Michael's to be the snout, feet, and ears of the pig in Elijah's mobile.  I didn't know it was cotton until after I finished trying to dye it.

The last hank is Caron Simply Soft, 100% synthetic.  Synthetics are supposed to be almost un-dyeable.  I bought it to use to make a border collie for Elijah's room and I ended up needing a different style yarn.  I figured since it was sitting right there, I might as well try it. 

I just followed the steps in the tutorial:

Here the hanks are, absorbing the dye on the stove top.  I had them in for the full 40 minutes just to see how well the dye would take.  While the yarn is in this stage, the house smells like Kool-aid, it's awesome!  The only thing I apparently glanced over was the instruction to wash them with a mild soap or wool soap when they are done.  So, I grabbed some hand soap.  That's mild, right?

Here's the finished project, after the dyeing and washing.

This is the Fisherman's Wool.  It come out just about perfect.  The only problem was I bound the hank too tightly so there is a spot of white on each strand.  Lesson learned.

This is the Paton's Grace Sock yarn.  I actually love this color.  I washed it for a little while just to see if it would get any lighter, which it didn't seem to.

Finally, the Caron's Simply Soft.  I guess all those blogs and posts were right, it is very difficult, if not impossible to dye synthetic yarn.  Oh, well, thought I'd give it a go anyway.

The Kool-aid is apparently colorfast, so it won't bleed and it smells great.  I think I'll probably try this again some time.  Hopefully I can find more interesting Kool-aid colors. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

7 Quick Takes

 I have been waiting for this since I heard it was coming out months ago.  We had a false start on the 9th when it was released selectively, but now it's out even in our little backwater and one of the goals of my vacation is to go see it.

We hope everyone enjoyed Thanksgiving.  We were blessed enough to host our parents and Nathan's sister and her family.  We had turkey, ham, stuffing, cheesy potatoes, green bean casserole, fruit yogurt salad, 7 layer salad, rolls, and cherry, pumpkin, and chocolate peanut butter pies.  It was all delicious and we had some much fun visiting with everyone.
Sophie and Elijah matched!
Mom and I didn't wake up nearly as early for Black Friday shopping this year as we have in the past.  But we still spent a ton of money and got some really good deals.  I finished up shopping for Elijah, Nate (brother), Brian, and Nathan (except for some stocking stuffers).  I feel like that was a good morning's work.

Lines at Kohl's were ridiculous especially for 1 pm, but moved reasonably quickly.  Hats off to Walmart, who had a price on something that had to have been accidentally changed by someone (because it was way cheaper than it should have been) but they honored it for us before fixing it.

And there were still a few stores unopened when we got up there and the only one that had a line outside was Barnes & Noble.  I so wanted to get in line, just so I could say I door-busted at the bookstore.
I've given a lot of thought lately to how we are going to do Christmas with Elijah.  I really want to focus on Advent and help him (and myself) understand that this time is for preparing for the approaching birth of Christ.  So, I considered not putting up the tree and most of the decorations until the second or third week of December.  I thought about how we can make the lighting of the Advent wreath more special in the house.

Then I realized that I actually have time off this week.  There will be time during the day when I'm not pushing little hands away from the  tree or the angels or the candles, in which I can get this accomplished.  

So, in the end, as far as decorating goes, convenience is going to win out.  But we can still highlight the Advent wreath and make a big deal of St. Nicholas Day.

And, like my mom said, one year doesn't make a tradition.  But I don't think we'll go to any malls or stores to see Santa this year.  Elijah's just a little too young.
Allie, if you're reading this, it was great to Skype with you this week.  And again, I'm sorry I accidentally unplugged the monitor when I was trying to unplug the keyboard and killed our video feed.  Your little guy is adorable!
I absolutely meant to have a post in between last Quick Takes and this one, but I've discovered the joy of napping while the baby naps, so, I didn't get around to it.  Sorry.
After three days of on my feet: first cleaning, then cooking, last shopping, I am very looking forward tomorrow to spending time relaxing and visiting with Nathan's mother's family, who actually haven't met the baby yet.

For more Quick Takes, head over to Conversion Diary!

Friday, November 16, 2012

7 Quick Takes

I have less than a week left before vacation!!  Wa-hoo!
Since I will be off for Thanksgiving this year, Nathan and I are hosting our families.  I'm starting to think this was a lot of work to take on while I'm supposed to be relaxing, but I'm excited.  Menu: turkey, ham (because I hate turkey), pie haven't decided what kinds yet, cheesy potatoes, supplied by my mom, and other sides I haven't come up with yet.

Elijah has really changed a lot this month.  He is crawling properly now and can say 'Mama.'  He is trying very hard to pull himself up on things and the other day I heard him say 'baba' while looking at his bottle.  He's getting to be such a big boy!

We had his 9-month follow up appointment with the pediatrician on Monday and were given the green light to feed him basically anything but honey.  So we started with real food on Tuesday by putting some plain white rice on his tray.  He didn't take to it at first, but was all about it on Wednesday.

Now that he's trying to pull himself up, I've been trying to give him more play time by himself.  I usually sit with him on the floor all day, but he just comes to me to be helped up.  

Does anyone have ideas for baby stocking-stuffers?  I have a beautiful little book about Christmas for St. Nicholas Day and I also bought non-slip socks since he is trying to stand and we have hard wood floors.  Other than that I'm kind of stumped.

Please pray for Nathan and his coworkers today.  They are getting a tiny visitor for a few hours.  My father-in-law is busy this afternoon and my parents are setting off for Iowa.  I know the ladies in Nathan's office will be perfectly happy to play with Elijah, I just think it might stress Nathan out.  

Apparently this is what happens when you have four kids and they all live in different states.  My poor dad spent this week in Pittsburgh watching my nephew while my Nate's family moved into a new house.  He got back yesterday, I think, and today they are heading out to Iowa City to visit Elizabeth and her husband.  

There aren't too many pictures of Elijah and me, but I think this one is my favorite.

For more quick takes, check out Jen's blog.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mama needs a drink

Disclaimer: Very much not bragging with these first couple sentences.

 Today has been rough.  Elijah doesn't usually have bad days.  (Again, not bragging.)  But usually he is very happy and calm.  Which is why days like today are even more difficult.

He was cranky and fussy all morning.  I think he's getting another tooth because all he wants is for Mama to carry him around.  Which, I am perfectly happy to do, but the kid weighs 19 pounds and after a while my arms get tired.  So, I've taken to pulling up VeggieTales on Netflix and laying down on the couch with him when he gets really cranky.

He has graduated to the next level in swim class, which means we have it on Wednesday mornings now, so we got all ready and left (late) for swim class.  He had a complete MELTDOWN in the car.  Seriously from my in-laws' house all the way to the class he screamed and cried.  It was awful, made worse because we were behind a very slow moving vehicle.  When we finally got to the gym and I went to get him out of the car seat, I saw a brand new very big, red scratch down the middle of his nose.  Poor little guy!

He tried to drown me a couple times in swim class.  No joke.  We blow bubbles while the babies watch us so they can see how to blow bubbles.  Elijah likes grabbing hair, and he noticed when my face was down by the water blowing bubbles, he could grab my hair.  So, he held my face in the water a couple times.

He was very vocal today in swim class and did not want to sit still. And now he's been asleep for about 45 minutes.

I hate how much we've been watching Netflix lately, even if I do find VeggieTales less objectionable than most little kid programs.

The problem is every new stage he goes through is also a new stage for us.  I don't know how to play with a little guy his age and that makes the day difficult for both of us.  He no longer seems as enamored of peek-a-boo as he used to and while I've found a winner with hiding his plastic cow and asking him to find it, I don't know what other games to play with him.  He is still very happy and giggly, but it's hard to entertain him as one person. 

He is trying very hard to pull himself up on things and not having a lot of success and getting cranky about that.  I blame the hardwood floors.  When he pulls up, his feet just slide under whatever it is he's pulling on.  Any advice?

My favorite thing now is that he will actually sit on my lap and let me read him a book without trying too hard to pull it out of my hands to chew on it.  And when he's really tired and we sit in the rocker for reading before nap or bed, he leans against me and listens to me read.  Yeah, I love that!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

We are NOT the Partridge Family!

I know this is a little late, but Anne hasn't had power in a while and this is for her.

Aunt Anne, can I be your personal penguin?