more broken black, and a bit of xmas

I haven’t been able to capture the color of this yarn! It’s darker than it shows here. I should swatch some up, try some beads on it… see if the 6/0 or 8/0 beads work better.

wiltons 009

wiltons 010 wiltons 011

Stuff just keeps getting in the way of knitting, busy season and all, and I think I’m coming down with a cold. I manage to get home from work, get dinner together, and then I’m pretty much done. I’m horrified at the piles of things all over the table (the table that still has the tablecloth from Thanksgiving on it, but with an addition of glittery sparkles from writing the xmas cards).

Clutter. Nemesis.

We finally got the tree decorated. Mostly I just took ornaments out of boxes and got boyo and his friend to do much of it. And my girlfriend. Who I plied with martinis.

They did a fabulous job! Even boyo’s friend, who tells me his mom won’t let him decorate their tree, because he breaks too many ornaments.

tree (40)

It’s a shitty picture, I know. But I think I took maybe 25 pictures, and this was about the best. I have lots of favorite ornaments. These, in particular, amuse me. I’m pretty sure I paid 10 cents for them. They even came in their original box!

tree (4)

We did a bit of shopping this past weekend. Nice thing about having a 17 year old who is interested in getting more clothes? You can go shopping with him and tell him “this will go under the tree, yaknow” and he’s all fine with that. (and yes, he did drag me into Wal-Mart, first time in several years… I had to take a deep breath when we walked out, and blather about surviving the ordeal).

shopping (1) shopping (2)
(he poses with the villain, I pose with the tacky xmas decoration… and then I went out and immediately bought a bunch of silver tinsel garland to make one of these… maybe I’ll do it for Friday’s work party).

We have a new thing at work! The conference room on our floor is gorgeous (as is the rest of the floor), but it is terribly echoey. All that glass, hard floor, 3 windows, hard walls… it was fairly painful to sit through a meeting in here sometimes. We started to think about getting some acoustical ceiling tiles, and then I said “wait a second, historical rehab here, maybe we should ask somebody“, and sure ’nuff, we shouldn’t just paste the things to the ceilings.

So, several months after starting this process, and working with an architect with the state, we have this drop ceiling thingamajig. It lets most of the light through (it is darker) and also doesn’t interfere with the sprinkler system. We had a smallish meeting in there today, and the echo is better. Not gone, but better. We probably need a rug, but we are resisting that notion.

acoustic solution (1)
(there is usually a huge central table composed of 6 small rectangular tables and 2 end pieces, and chairs).

Time for bed!

twisted and breaking black


A small gift for our ahijada in Guatemala (sponsor child, mostly we wired her money).

Pretty Twisted from Knitty. A great way to use up odd bits of yarn, though I think I probably made these longer than they need to be…
twisted (3) twisted (1)

twisted (7) twisted (5) twisted (2)

As the yarn was colorful and textured, I just made the simple versions. Check the link above for other versions on the pattern!

breaking black

Apparently this is the holy grail of dyeing yarn with food color. I sort of followed the instructions at the link, but I wasn’t going to be testing the technique on some 0.2 ounces of wool… I just went for it on ~8 oz of alpaca lace.

breaking black (3) breaking black (5) breaking black (6) breaking black (6)

Starting with plain yarn, then dropping some Wilton’s black on the yarn. I started by using the q-tip as recommended in the link, but then moved on to a butter knife to get more into the yarn. I put some vinegar on it, which didn’t seem like enough, so I added more.

Wilton’s black has fd&c red #3, fd&c blue#1, and yellow 5&6. They “break” out at different rates and adding vinegar assists the colors in “breaking”. Or it was supposed to… I don’t know if I added to much food color, not enough vinegar, or what. Fun things were supposed to happen after half an hour or so. Not much happened after a couple of hours, so I put a bit more vinegar on it and smooshed it around. And then went to bed. In the morning, it looked much the same.

So I got all the dry yarn wet with some water with a drop of soap in it. It seemed to work well for the originally pink yarn, but nothing was going on with the white.
breaking black (16) breaking black (22) breaking black (24) breaking black (25)
That last shot is the pink, after microwaving it a bit… there’s still color in the fluid, so it wasn’t done yet. I thought I might have too much color in it, so I rinsed it a bit, and all the color started coming out. Stop! Stop!

I decided to go into full out experimental mode. I tossed all the yarn into a big pot, rinsed the cookie sheets and put that water (it was greenish) into the pot. Heated it up (boiled it a bit by mistake), and after half an hour added a glop of vinegar, and then after another hour or so added another glop. It sat for a few hours cooling while we went to cut an xmas tree.

It sucked up nearly all the color! The water was very faintly rosy. Here’s the yarn, still wet from the rinse. The true color is on the darker side. It’s hard to tell which was which to begin with, but I think the darker yarn was the pink (on the left in the photos below).
breaking black (31) breaking black (26)

Why this madness?

Because I want to knit the Celestarium shawl! It’s the night sky of the northern hemisphere, with accurate star charts. Here’s the Ravelry page about the pattern, which notes the shawl is an accurate view of the night sky from the North Pole in the form of a pi shawl. Eyelets and beads are used to represent the stars. The center bead represents Polaris.

HOW COOL IS THAT?!?!?!?!?! (and talk about madness…)

still thankful

So, it’s been 2 weekends since Thanksgiving, but I’m still thankful!

Friends visited from upstate NY, and we had a grand time together. Visiting, cooking, playing, walking around, etc etc etc. Sharing the love we have for each other.

Brian 135_sm Brian 112_sm

We ate that potato that could feed an entire family,
Brian 161_sm
V was a great help in the kitchen, and she got the chore joy of peeling that bad boy! It came from our garden.

The girls loved her and she loved them.
Brian 156_sm

Friday was off to Popham Beach. I told DH we’d probably see horses there. He said no way. Um…
popham (6) popham (7)
It was interesting watching that first group of horses (with that handsome draft mix). They’d never been to the beach before, so they balked at one of the waterways through the sand… but they went over it, and then they were fine.

popham (10) popham (14)

It’s always beautiful there!
popham (16) popham (21)

And, you know me… It’s a need of some sort…
popham (27) popham (30)
It was rather cold…

Fireworks that night downtown… they were pretty good! We walked down to the river to watch. A couple went off “badly” and ended up on the water, and that was interesting too.
fireworks (2)

Small Business Saturday meant a trip to Robbi’s open house (Maple Lane Farm in Windsor). Some pottery may have been purchased… And we visited the sheep and chickens for a bit.
robbis sheep (6) Brian 213_sm

V brought the coin kitty I made her a few years back… (the original post is so old, it came over from the old livejournal blog and half the photos are missing…)
coin kitty (2) coin kitty (1)
she still loves it!

A wore some old mittens she found, I think she said her grandmother or a cousin made them. Latvian mittens made by a Latvian woman!
old latvian mittens (3) old latvian mittens (2)
These are a simple, but lovely design. Latvian mittens can be crazy complicated… they’re all really beautiful!

We were poking about in Ravelry, and V commented on how much she liked the Shroom Hat. I had some super bulky, non-wool yarn around, and so…
shroom hat (2) shroom hat (3)
The yarn rather hides the design, but she loves the hat!

Today is all about getting that breaking black (Wilton’s food dye) experiment to work. Phase 1 failed somewhat, so I’m into truly experimental territory.

Oh, and getting the tree.