kitty companiona

kitty companiona

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Wool Preparation

There was a question in the 'comments' from my last post about preparing wool for rughooking.

Patsy from 'Soap by Patsy' said she hadn't rughooked for many years but recently bought some wool skirts and wanted to know how to prepare them.  Do you use hot water or cold?  Dryer or hang them on the line?

I'm going to tell what I have done when I used recycled wool and also what I now do since I only use yard goods.  Disclaimer:  I am by no means an expert on this!  To tell the truth, Zip is the washing machine operator.  He usually does the wool. 

When I used recycled wool, the first thing is to NOT bring them in the house until you are ready to wash them.  If you already have a stash of wool, any moths or eggs that may (or may not) be in the clothing could contaminate your good wool.  Take them directly to the washing machine! 

From here on the directions are for either recycled or yard goods:
I use regular detergent and warm water.  If you have a 'soak' setting on your machine you can use it.  Or just turn off the machine after it's full and let the clothing soak manually.  Then turn on the agitation cycle to 'gentle' and wash for the shortest time possible.  You don't want to totally felt your wool!  Then rinse in warm also.

Then Zip uses the dryer on it's regular cycle with a dryer sheet.  It takes from 45 minutes to an hour to dry wool in ours.  Sometimes when I'm overdying and have only a small amount to dry, I hang it outside.  But the big benefit of putting the wool in the dryer is that it comes out so nice and fluffy!

Once again I will talk about the fiber content of recycled 'wool'.  If you have a cutter and do not want to dull the blades, you should be using fabric that is at least 85% wool.  How do you know?  You can check the tags, but they are not always accurate and sometimes missing altogether.   
Do a 'burn test'.  Take some threads from an edge and light them with a match.  If the burnt residue is ash that you can rub between your fingers, it's a natural fiber.  If there are little hard balls of black plastic, you have a synthetic.

If you don't mind using synthetics or other alternative hooking materials (this has been a big discussion lately!), they can be cut with scissors or a rotary cutter and pad to save the blades of your wool cuter.

A note on taking apart jackets and coats.  There is much more easily usable fabric in skirst and pants, but sometimes it's hard to resist a lovely wool jacket.  Interfacing can be hard to remove.  Picking it off in small pieces is labor intensive to say the least!  Most of the interfacings were applied with heat.  It is easier to unstick them if you iron over them and try to pull them off while still hot.

I know there are MANY ways to prepare wool for hooking.  Please feel free to add your thoughts or methods you use in the 'comments'.

The tiny picture is another little peek at my Forest Secrets challenge rug.  The shading is some of my dip dyed wool.  The picture part of the rug is finished.  I have half of the background to do yet.  Can't wait till the end of July when we can show them!
Happy hooking, everyone!
What!  No cat pictures???
Next time....

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Some Painted Ladies and a Busy Week

Tuesday evening we had to go to Newville to the pharmacy.  It was a beautiful summer evening so we took a drive along the Big Spring.  One thing that I always think defines southern PA in the early summer is the blooming of the Tiger Lillies.

They grow wild along the side of the road....

They are found in nicely landscaped gardens....

In front of the old mill along the spring....

As we drove into Newville, I asked Zip to slow down so I could get some pictures of the houses.  Newville is a small town with a high percentage of lovely Victorian houses.

The fountain is the focal point in the center of town.  Every summer there is a festival to honor this lovely landmark.

This large house is on the circle near the fountain.

This is my favorite house in Newville.  I think it's called Heron Cottage.  I forgot to re-read the sign that tells the history.
The rest are just a sampling of the many interesting houses.

Some have the nicest decorations on their porches.

And that's the mini house tour of Newville.

On Sunday Willa, Chuck, Zip and I went to Hagerstown to eat at an Afghani restaurant.  We ended up going in the middle of the afternoon so we were the only people dining at that time.  The restaurant is called Laila's Kitchen.  It had a nice serene atmosphere.  I loved the black and white furniture with the lime green walls.

The menu board.

Our appetizer was hummus with pita wedges.

Zip and I had kabobs, both ground spicy beef and chicken.  They were served with rice with safron and naan.

Chick had lamb stew and Willa had the spiced ground beef patties.

And for dessert...baklava.

The food was delicious and very reasonably priced.  One thing that really impressed me was the water.  Yes, WATER!  It was a very hot day and they made the most refeshing water I've ever had.  It was in one of those large plastic drink dispensers with the ice in the bottom.  They had added lime slices and sprigs of mint to the container.  It not only tasted wonderful, it was also visually delightful.

The end of a lovely day.

I have to post at least one kitty picture!  Penny has been back to the vet and had the FeLuke test.  It was NEGATIVE!  Horay!!!  So now she is out and about with the big cats.  Everyone seems to be tolerating each other fairly well.  There have been a few hisses, but what good is it to have a hisser if you don't get to use it once in a while!

Pestering Deiter....

Zip is trying to hold her still so I can get a good picture.

Meanwhile Tipper needs reassurance that she is still Mommy's Number One Girl!  She's been a little 'clingy' since the baby is here.

I have been doing some hooking but nothing I can show right now.
I can't think of anything I'd rather do while sitting in front of the fan trying to keep cool!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The New Baby!

My plan for Monday was to go to the monthly Blue and Gray hook-in. 

On Sunday I realized that most of the more intricate part of my Forest Secrets rug was already finished.  I needed something easy to do so I could talk and not have to concentrate on hooking.

I needed to dye background.  When I plan a background, I like to get out my least favorite leftover wools and overdye them to get them used up.  I had lots of dark green that I had used in other rugs that I wanted to overdye with some dark blue to get a very deep blue-green.

I started with one teaspoon of dry royal blue, simmered the wool for a half an hour and then let it sit until the water was clear, about an hour.  The royal blue hardly showed at all over the dark green.  Darn!!!  So I dump in another teaspoon of dry dye and did the whole thing again.  Still not dark enough!!!
The next time two teaspoons of dry dye went into the pot.   Well, that took all morning and into the afternoon!    Finally some better looking results. That's what so frustrates me about dying.

The picture looks a lot lighter than the wool really is.

At least I now have a good mixture of bluish greens.  They hooked up nice.  When you look at the rug the background really looks almost black.

The Blue and Gray meeting was well attended.  Doris did a great job of reporting the highlights on her blog Moments in Time.  She also has many more pictures.  My intentions were good, I just talk too much!  Here's the only picture I took, Marions breathtaking rug with peacocks.

And now for the baby pictures.

On Tuesday evening we went to Jill's (Jill's Life in Stitches) to pick up our new kitten.  Jill had kindly found a little calico for me.  Oh is she adorable!!!  I held her in my arms all the way home. 

We have a very large bathroom so that is to be her space until we can introduce her to Deiter and Tipper.  We usually quarantine a new kitten until the vet clears her healthwise and she gets her FeLuke test.  She made it through the night without a fuss.  I think she was tired out from the ride and being in a new place.  Today when I got up she was ready to go.  I wanted to get a first picture and asked Zip to hold her.  She was very wiggly!  He looks like he's putting the strangle hold on her!!!  (she survived!)

Oh,  we named her Penelope.  AKA Penny or Little Peanut.

She loves playing with Mommy's shoes.  You can see how tiny she is!

Today we took her to the vet for her first checkup, kitten shots, flea treatment, and worm medicine to give later.  She came home feeling really lousy!  The shots always seem to slow them down, but her little shoulder where they gave the injection was hurting her.  She cried a few times.  I got a soft pillow and laid her on it and sat in my easy chair and held her.  For hours. 

This is like having an infant!  But she is sooo cute!!! 

This evening she is feeling better.  She finally got off her pillow and walked around a bit.  I'm hoping by tomorrow morning she'll be back to her energetic little self.  I will save the worm medicine trauma for a few days.

Have a good week!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I'm Warped!

And my loom is too, finally!

About a month ago when I had the flu, I had no energy for anything.  I did force myself to sit at the kitchen table and wind the spools that I use to put the warp threads on my loom.

Yesterday I got up feeling good and energetic.  I mixed up batch of dough for whole wheat bread and set it to rise.

Then I decided it was an excellent day to set up my loom.  I put my spools on the spool racks and was ready to crank it on.
There are several different ways to put a warp on the loom.  Since I am a semi-production weaver, I use the spool racks for ease of handling the 360 threads that I will be putting on for dish towels, placemats and napkins.

I will be setting my threads at 20 to the inch, since my sections on the back of the loom are two inches each, my spool racks have 40 spools on them.  I position them about eight feet from the loom so they unwind properly.

Next I thread the threads through my tension box.  This device helps keep all the threads at approximately the same tension so that there aren't threads that are too loose or too tight and cause problems in the weaving.

After I have the tension box threaded, I attach it to the back beam of the loom.

The threads are now coming off the spools and are ready to be cranked on to the sections of the warp beam on the back of the loom.

Then I start cranking and counting.  I looked all through my weaving notebooks for my calculations on how many turns of the crank equal how many yards, but couldn't find the information.  It's SOMEWHERE!
I wanted to put on at least 20 yards, so did 75 turns of the crank for each section.  Now I will only know how much I put on when the cloth comes off the loom.
The tension box is in place and I am working on the second section. 

Deiter was warned beforehand that there was to be No Touching of the threads.  He was a VERY GOOD boy!!!  He just sat quietly on a stool and watched the whole process.  I know he wanted to get involved!  He can be an amazingly sensible cat when he wants to.

All nine sections are finished and ready to be threaded through the heddles on the loom.  They are the little wires that you see in the background.  That will be a project for another day.

Today I have the dyepot on the stove again.  I'm dying the background for the Forest Secrets rug.  I am hoping for a nice dark blue green.  I pulled out some dark green from a previous project and am overdying it with dark blue. 
Tomorrow is the Blue and Gray hooking meeting.  I need something easy to work on so if I do more talking than thinking I won't mess up too bad!  LOL!!!

Hope you are having a great weekend.
Happy Hooking, etc!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Dyed Rainbows

This is not something I usually do!
My Forest Secrets challenge rug is taking me places I never meant to go.

Yesterday morning I talked to my dear friend Doris (Moments in Time).  Most of you know she is an expert hooker in the traditional methods of fine hooking and dying.  I was bemoaning the fact that I was going to have to dye some wools for my project and dying is just not my favorite thing.  She as much as told me, BUCK UP!  Well, she was more diplomatic than that, but it meant the same thing.  She really said, 'take yourself by the hand and get out that dyepot!'

I have taken dip dying classes from her but have never done it on my own.  First time for everything!  I didn't take pictures while I was doing it, probably because I had no idea if it would turn out OK or not.

I started easy with some graduated shades of gray.

Then got braver and went to purple with a little silver gray to calm it down.

Then on to the more challenging stuff.  I wanted a few different combinations of yellow, green, rust and a little bit of purple shading on the end of one.

But there you have it!  On the picture above you can see a brighter, more yellow green strip through the middle.  I had used hunter green from Cushings for my green.  When I got all the dipping done, the green looked too close to the blue end of the spectrum so I mixed up some chartreuse and just redipped the middle.  That's more the color I was looking for.

So thank you, Doris for giving me the kick in the butt that I needed to do this!
WOW!  I'm happy with the effect!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Homestead Tour

Jacque!!!  Please email me with your mailing address and the item you want from my Give-away!
I can't send out your package without an address!

Summer is here!!!  I just love it!
This is my favorite time of year around the house and garden.  We are not great planters of flowers, there is just too much lawn to take care of without the added work of flower beds.  It's also very shady from all the huge trees around the house.

I love these trees because with an old uninsulated house they are the saving grace from the heat.  Our trees were large when we moved in 40 years ago, so I have no idea how old they may be but I would estimate from 100 to 150 years.

This huge catalpa is probably older because they are not fast growing trees.  The trunk is so big around that I don't think Zip and I could both encircle it with our arms.

About twenty years ago it was struck by lightning during a particularly wild thunderstorm.  What a horrendous crack that made!  Totally scary!!!  We thought the tree was a goner.  It lost about a quarter of the bark on the trunk, but over the years the tree recovered and the scar healed over.

Right now the blossoms are out and when they fall it looks like snow under the tree.  They have a delightful fragrance.

This is our one rose bush with one rose on it.  Just too much shade!

Our vegetable garden is doing well.   Because of the cool wet spring we have in this area, we are not early planters.  The plants do so much better if we wait till it warms up.  And now they are growing so fast you can almost see the daily changes.

We will soon be eating beans.  We've already had a few small tomatoes from the 'patio' tomato plant that we purchased from the greenhouse.  And these larger plants have blossoms on them.

And here is the old farmer in his Amish hat sitting on the antique 8N Ford tractor.  He's the guy who makes all this garden stuff happen.  Zip and his tractor were both born about the same year back in the 1940's!

And here is the beautiful rainbow that appeared after a sudden storm last evening.

As for me, I am rughooking.  Unfortunately it's for the Forest Secrets challenge on Rug Hooking Daily so I can't show it.  I'm finally having fun with it, after struggling with my confidence wondering if I could do this without messing it up.  It is being done in a #4 cut with more detail than I usually put into a design.  Darn, I hate not being able to show what I'm doing and get input from others! 

Maybe one little peek!

I am keeping photos of the work in progress and the areas I reverse hooked to put in something I thought looked better.

Hope all of you are enjoying sunny skies and warm breezes.
Happy and relaxing hooking!!!