Monday, July 30, 2007

The Furnace That Was Swift Current

Presenting New Champion Savvidax Silver Spur MLD!
Bentley finished his championship from the Junior Puppy class on Friday in Swift Current winning two Best of Breeds and a Puppy Group! His sister Chloe also had a good weekend winning the rest of the Best of Breeds and a Puppy Group herself! The judges were very complimentary about both puppies.

My sister Darcie's sheltie puppy Kai also had a great weekend getting four more points toward his championship bringing him to seven! You can see Kai lounging in the cool air of the hotel in this photo.

We were incredibly glad to have the cool air in the hotel on the weekend as the weather was hot, hot, hot!! The temps in Swift were in the high 30s C (around 100 F) so the show building was a furnace.

We made sure that the dogs had plenty of cold water and we had fans on them in the building. Chloe is in a separate x-pen because she became a woman on the weekend, having her first season.

Bentley and his 'grandma' Daphne enjoying a little cuddle in the cool air at the hotel.

And another one bites the dust....
Darcie requested that I bring along some spare knitting needles and yarn to teach her to knit so that she can help Katie. The knitting sang their song to her muse and she is now a knitter! At first she commented about how relaxing the repetitive nature of the knitting is and then she started picking up the needles every spare minute. Hee hee.

We had several people ask us about our knitting and one woman said that she was glad to see us as she would like to bring her knitting to shows too but was worried about being teased. Slowly, we will convert the world....
(Daphne took the picture of me and Darcie knitting at the show on Sunday.)

And I'll end with some more beautiful Saskatchewan sky pics.
An amazing sunset over the dry hills of Swift Current.

The full moon from my backyard after getting home Sunday evening. I think that there is a slight haze in the air from the forest fires in Montana (which is pretty darn far away!) turning the moon this lovely color.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Welcome to the Prairie Tropics!!

Here in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada it is currently 35 degrees C with a humidex of 47 degrees C. The handy online conversion site tells me that 47 degrees Celsius = 116.6 degrees Fahrenheit. This is insane. When I stepped outside at lunchtime from the cool house my glasses actually fogged up!

Thank goodness for AC! Otherwise I'd be crawling in the fridge about now because I am at that age of being too warm even in the winter. I wonder how the pioneer farm women survived. They had no trees for shelter around here in those days and the women worked all day with a wood stove blazing. I'm thinking that maybe that's how the Arctic was settled. The middle-aged grandmas insisted on moving somewhere cooler. I've heard that the Inuit tribes, for the sake of survival of the fittest, would put old women who had outgrown their usefulness onto ice floes and set them adrift. I bet the perimenopausal ones were quite happy about this plan. At least they had a few hours of being cool before they perished.

(Okay, disclaimer: this is obviously a joke. Please do not send me accurate accounts of Arctic settlement or passionate viewpoints about agism.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

more colors

This dyeing business is seriously addictive. I was monkeying around blending and diluting dyes and came up with these which I am calling my plum line. The top skein is KnitPicks Bare Merino Sportweight and the bottom is another of the Mule Spinner wool. I pourdyed bright colors of fucshia and turquoise on the Bare skein and then overdyed with diluted teal which muted all of the colors. The Mule Spinner was pourdyed with diluted colors.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Katie's 7th Birthday

Katie had her 7th birthday last week.

One of my gifts to her was brightly colored yarn with knitting needles. I got her started and she caught on right away and was knitting up a storm! The girl's a natural!
Here are her socks that I finished in time to include in her gift package. I like how they co-ordinate with the pretty band-aid.

Monday, July 16, 2007

the results

Here are the results of my weekend dyeing spree.

The worsted weight wool that was pour-dyed and wrapped like a sausage before steaming in the microwave - a little on the bright side but I'll use it.

This is the other skein of worsted wool that is pictured in the last post but I overdyed it (immersion method) with yellow to fill in the white gaps. Yikes! Can you imagine a grassy field with dandelions? Now imagine it on steroids...

This is a skein of sport weight Knit Picks Bare Superwash Merino that was pour-dyed. I thought that I had diluted the colors a lot but they're still pretty vibrant. It'll be okay for socks. I really saturated the wool with dye but it is still dyed unevenly. I like the effect but I guess you have to immerse the wool to get complete coverage.
I obviously have a lot to learn about color theory and dye intensity so will be heading back to the books to do a little research before trying the next round of dyeing. I have new respect for the wonderful fiber artists out there that are producing such beautiful yarns. If you haven't already done so, check out Etsy for some great examples.

I resisted trying to dye my own wool for a long time because I thought it would be messy and complicated. Using the microwave, this is not a difficult process at all.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Mwah, hah, ha!

I feel like a mad scientist. I have been setting up my laundry/grooming room for dyeing. Behold the microwave oven that I scored for $10. The display doesn't always light up but it heats stuff just fine.
The cute little dryer thing that was a dollar store find is hanging over the laundry tubs where the wool is soaking in Orvus Paste.
This is the label from the wool. It's Mule Spinner yarn and I got it at my local yarn store, Golden Willow. It's really nice and soft and comparably priced to Briggs and Little.
My grooming table is covered with a vinyl tablecloth which protects it from the Jacquard Acid dyes (squirt bottles and tablecloth from the dollar store - it's amazing what you can find there!)
I mixed the dyes with the help of these reference books...and I started dyeing.
I sausage-wrapped one and used a silicone muffin cup pan (Superstore clearance item) for the other.
I am leaving the silicone pan skein overnight as the books promise me more vibrant colors if I do but I decided that the pink and blue one is already vibrant enough so rinsed it and hung it to dry.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Fiber Update

I managed to find time last week to spin some of this wonderfully soft superwash merino from Blue Ridge Silk Works. It is easy to spin because it is incapable of felting so drafts like a dream.
Then in today's mail came another box that I ordered from them. Two more beautiful colorways of the same fiber. Luscious!

I made a couple of little swatches to see how my first attempts at dyeing look when knit. The top picture was dyed with Wilton's Food Coloring and the bottom pic with Kool-Aid (both yarns Briggs and Little). I bought a few colors of Jacquard Acid dyes and am in the process of finding a used microwave oven to purchase just for the purpose of dyeing yarn; then I can start playing with the new dyes.

I found some knitting time during my trip to Manitoba on the weekend and made good progress on these two plain vanilla socks.
First the Regia Cotton Surf for myself.
And the ankle sock for Geoff with the Socks That Rock yarn in the Monsoon colorway. I still don't care for this color but I'm enjoying working on it more now that I've given up on all of the ribbing in the Inside Out pattern. The yarn itself is so beautiful that it's lovely even though it's not my favorite color.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Happy Canada Day, eh!

Today is Canada's 140th birthday! I am so happy and proud to be one of her citizens! As usual, Yarn Harlot has a wonderful birthday tribute to Canada on her blog today.

This is the Briggs and Little Heritage yarn that I dyed with Wilton food coloring yesterday. I used Fruit Fresh (citric acid) as the mordant to set the color. I quite like the heathered, faded blue jeans look although I wasn't trying for it. I don't know if it resulted from using food coloring or Fruit Fresh but it's pretty.

While I was taking the yarn pictures in the sun room this afternoon (and sweating - it is really hot today!), Bentley was jumping on and off of the chairs and couch out there. He thinks the world is his playground. In his wild romp he jumped on the coffee table and, I think, surprised himself by his slippery landing. Picture is blurry due to speed of puppy.