dear sunday

i’m willing to share a good deal of my dyeing and spinning secrets once and for all!  ha!  most of them are dirty ones so if you’re a dyer or spinner by trade you may want to brace yourself.


sunday morning dye pot.  hot pot.

i turn on the heat and in go the first bits of merino to become the dark wool.  then a few minutes after the pot begins to steam, in go the second bits of merino to become the light wool.  laziness brings forth many of my happy accidents so i’m learning to fine tune the art of corner cutting.  

sink dump and i thorough hot rinse.  now to cool.  i squeeze the wool gently, then jelly roll it in a towel and stomp out the excess water and straight to the wheel we go.

singles.  dark and light.  lovely on their own actually. and yes, you read correctly.  i spun the wool while still damp.  it’s one of my greatest dirty little secrets.  i was impatient once last year and began spinning before the wool was completely dry.  it didn’t bother me in the least and i felt like i had more control over the fiber.  when i plyed the singles and let it dry it became a smooth, bouncy, soft yarn.

i thought i’d give it another go to see if i could get the same result.

here the yarn is still wet.  it seems stiff and has almost no spring to it, but late last night i checked on it and it was dry, smooth, bouncy, and soft as can be!  i actually knit a swatch, too which i forgot to take a picture of - and we’re looking at size US4-5 needles making this a sport weight.

i hope that wasn’t too terribly jarring.  hee

it was good to get that wheel out, tighten it up and watch the flyer whirl.  i needed that break in routine.  i needed to remember what it was like to sit quietly and draw.  inching and pulling and working those legs.

mae and i did the hard work of weeding in the afternoon.  with the warmth and the rain and the fresh soil i laid down, our seeds weren’t the only things springing to life.  it seemed over night our entire garden was overrun with weeds.  the dandelions.  so bittersweet pulling them, yanking and breaking them.  i hear my liz in my head telling me how much good they can do and in my untainted soil they’d be perfectly medicinal.  maybe some day i’ll grow a dandelion patch.  wouldn’t that be something?  beans and corn are making their way out of the soil now.  we found so many of them.  i think all but a few of the corn have come up now.  march.  woah.  

sunday dinner.  my mother has been making artichokes this way for as long as i can remember and i’m sure i was the only kid in second grade who not only knew what one was but had it at the top of her list of favorite foods.  i remember going around the room on the first day and having to telling the class your name and something about yourself… what your favorite foods and colors were, etc.  i said artichokes and my teacher gasped.  she asked if anyone knew what an artichoke was and no hands raised.  then she asked my to share with the class about that “unique vegetable”  how horrifying.  ha!

my alizah loves her artichokes, too.  she was squealing with delight when she got home from her dad’s and the house was filled with the thick odor of garlic and greens.

and now for the SURPRISE!

saroyan is DONE.  perfect.  it’s cooling a bit outside and now is the time for it.  

 

revelations.

 

i’ve had a few revelations recently.  i’ll share.  this way i won’t soon forget.  right?

1. tv is the root of all that is evil in this country.

seriously, i realized this last night when my mother-in-law was asking what the girls want for christmas. mae wants a sewing machine.  alizah wants tech deck ramps.  “what else?” she asks.  “nothing.  mommy says we only get one present this year.”  then i got “the look.” but sort of a hybrid of “is this a joke?” and “are you evil?” so i explained that each girl would be getting one SANTA present, one present from mom and dad, and what ever the aunts, uncles, cousins, and army of grandparents got for them.  i know… they’re totally neglected.  i was mentally patting the girls on the back for being so modest with their requests and thought that perhaps our really fantastic parenting had finally taught them some important life lesson.

after some prodding and additional explanation on the part of dear old mom, the girls added lalaloopsy with style hair and hex bugs.  hmm.  suddenly it hit me!  we don’t have tv any more!  the girls are no longer watching “kid” shows that are about 15 minutes of commercials for shit we don’t need in our house.  they’re asking for pretty much the same stuff that they were into last year.  crazy!

then today on my way to pick alizah up from school i was still thinking about it a little and i realized it’s not just the selling to kids that was nagging at me about the whole thing, it was the emptiness it creates in the kids (and us, too)  if we don’t have tv to tell us about all the really awesome crap we’re missing out on, we don’t feel like we have a void to fill.

 

2. the best thing a mom can teach her girls is that no task is too big to at least try conquering.

hubs let me sleep until 9:30 today.  he made coffee, he took alizah to school, he played with mae, and he let me be.  it was sweet.  after i was up and about he got himself ready and out the door.  not long after i realized there was a bunch of gray water standing in the sink so i felt around with a knife to see if there was a kid cup stuck in the disposal or something (it’s happened before so…) ok.  no cup.  i flip on the disposal and all the water runs down - into the other side of the sink where the clean dishes are drying.  woah.  crap.  ok.  i call hubs.  first i try making him feel bad for leaving me there with this disaster by asking if he noticed the clogged drain before he left, like it was his fault.  no?  oh.  ok.  so, what the heck am i to do??? he suggests plunging it.  he ran into this once before and a good plunging took care of it.  “plug one side and plunge the other”  ok.  i get the plunger and plug one side of the sink and get to work.  the pressure from the water shoots the plug into the air sending a spray of water out of the sink.  hmmm.  at this point there is gray sink water with bits of lentils and fat stuck on the front of my shirt.  mae and i called a time-out and went to get alizah.  now, all the while, hubs was supposed to be getting a hold of our plumber friend so i thought there was still some hope.

we got home and i just couldn’t stand to look at it.  i had dishes that need to be washed, floors that need mopping, and if mae asked me if i’m gonna have to do dishes in the little (bathroom) sink now one more time… so, i do what any normal woman would do.  i pulled everything out from under the sink, grabbed a pot and began removing pipes.  the first part came off with little spillage and for some reason - oh ya, ‘cause i’m not a plumber - i didn’t realize the other pipe was the one with all the fun waiting to be unleashed.  of course, the girls were standing behind me waiting in anticipation as i unscrewed the connection.  suddenly there was water spraying my arms, my rug, the entire underside of the sink!!! so i yanked as quickly as possible and realized the water was under so much pressure it was pouring out like a fire hose.  then i realized the pot wasn’t big enough.  i scrambled for a bowl and suffered minimal overspill.  both girls went runing in opposite directions with their hands over their mouths because it was the stench that hit them first.  they sat at a safe distance to watch the rest… just mom sitting in wet stinking dish water scooping goo out of the pipe.  no cause for alarm… 

but, it’s done.  i got it done.  the girls were proud of me, too.

notice the floating goo in the silver bowl?  ya.  i touched all over that.

alright.  i think those were enough revelations for one day.  

OH, by the way! i finished the 5 hour baby sweater for those fantastic hoffars, too.  it’s some of my hand-spun, hand-dyed merino.  super snuggly soft!  oh, i hope they love it.

back on the wheel!

remember this yarn?? gorgeous.  i knit (one) sock with is and it was absolutely delicious!  i had fully intended on knitting another to complete the pair, but i plyed the rest with this instead: (it’s my artistic a.d.d. kicking in…)

the result?

it’s all that beautiful gray bfl i’m so very fond of but about half way through plying - most likely when the coffee kicked in - i realized the brown (olive) was spun in a z twist.  what the smack??? i remembered that i had actually spun that bit on my drop spindle back um… last winter?  oh well.  what’s done is done.  i will say this though, it made for some highly energetic yarn.

after that mess, i decided to spin some singles of pure merino and kettle dye each separately, then ply them.  spin, dye, ply.  salmon & olive (i know.  i can’t get over it.  i’ve tried different amounts of dye, different dip methods, dry wool, soaked wool.  WHAT’S THE SECRET???)

keep in mind, both hanks were still damp in the above pic.  hubs took one look at the pair and nearly lost his breakfast.  horrid combo!  well, i did my magic twist-the-two-hanks-together and voila!  cupcake! he agreed much to his surprise.

so… that was my morning.  spinning dyeing and plying.  all done before i had to pick alizah up from school.  i also knit the most darling “tip-toe” anklets you’ve ever seen for mae but we never got pics.  she’s passed out in my bed next to the dog and as far as i’m concerned, she can stay there.  i’m beat!

xo