Friday, April 01, 2011

shot of color

It is downright dreary outside right now...overcast and damp. Roofing has been put off until next week. The painting is almost complete--aside from the carpentry/painting that needs to happen next week. I knew all this would take a while. Some of it has gone very quickly, but some has not. Even though I'm not getting out much these days anyhow, I am beginning to miss leaving the house. (It's hard to leave home when you know someone is coming over at "mid-day"--and by the time that work is done, well, the day is mostly gone!)

I am really appreciating your messages on the blog. Sometimes I write you back via email, sometimes I visit your blogs (Adriene's post on citizenship was really something!) and sometimes, I just read your notes, smile, and read them again. I read them all. Thank you for keeping me company!

I am still doing some writing and editing for work, but am trying to wind this down. I can still type but my hands are very sore most of the time. This, like most of the pregnancy symptoms, will go away--sometime AFTER the babies are born. Between now and then, well, I have to take it one day at a time. From everything I've been told, nothing is likely to disappear in the symptoms department during this last trimester. It's all likely to get worse or stay the same.

One thing I can still do is dye things. A couple of days ago, I handwashed a wool blanket and while I was at it, went on a brief spurt of handdyeing. I started with an old short white cotton blend bathrobe. This was part of a nightgown set I got so many years ago that the rest of the set is long gone. I hardly ever wear robes and in any case, a white robe wasn't so useful in our household of muddy dog paws and spills. I decided that dyeing this might make it useful. I started with some garnet colored dye. (Before you ask where I got it and what I use...the professor used to buy me lots of this dye from here as presents. I have a life time supply of random colors!)

I like these packets of dye because they are self-contained, don't sprinkle powder everywhere, and allow me to dye in a one step, afternoon process rather than a multi-step one requiring mordants, etc.

I started with the bathrobe, but since the dye is an all-purpose one for both protein and cellulose, cotton/poly blends will not absorb all the dye bath. I decided to throw in some wool for fun. I soaked too small bunches of roving (wrapped up gently with rubber bands) in some vinegar. The weird color is because I used red wine vinegar. It was close by and didn't weigh too much for me to lift. (We buy white vinegar in enormous jugs and I now find a full one of these too heavy to lift!)

Then I threw these in the dye pot along with the robe. The white wool is a Romney roving and the natural gray color is a Romney-cross wool blended with a small amount of mohair. It turns out I could have dyed more wool, but I ran out of energy after this so ended up dumping a bit of colored dye water down the drain. That's reasonably safe with this dye, as compared to dumping something scary like copper sulfate-a mordant that fixes dye to fiber- down the drain as someone recently did in rural Manitoba. That harmed their water local water treatment plant and waterways.

In these photos, I included a ball of handspun laceweight natural gray wool/mohair so you can see how the darker color takes up a richer color of dye. I happen to like the rich cranberry color to the right better than the pinkish red...but in either case, this is enough for a spindle full of yarn, or perhaps a contrast color if I am filling up a bobbin on a spinning wheel sometime in the future. The robe came out a deep rose/red color. Ideal for hospital stays and perhaps more forgiving of stains than a white robe.

While all this dried, I had a remarkable turn-around in the mail service karma situation..I think it was all the professor's good luck. Yesterday, the professor was home from work as we dealt with two different things at once. (a painter and a locksmith/carpenter) First, my package of baggy maternity dresses arrived. Hurray!!

Everything I bought still fit (double Hurray!) although it turns out that one of the dresses I ordered, in brown, looks remarkably like a monk's brown cassock. I am wearing it today and trying to liven it up with some accessories. I am also having to put my feet up all the time because my ankles and feet are swelling these days as well as my hands. I usually try to remember to take my shoes off before putting my feet on the coffee table. Please don't think I'm a big slob! This is merely so you can see my oxblood colored shoes...good for livening up dreary weather.

Second, I finally received some black discontinued Jo Sharp yarn that I'd ordered to finish a sweater...back at the end of February. Both the seller and I had just about given it up for lost. It appeared yesterday. This photo shows the yarn (in a plastic bag) along with the black sweater, the red sweater, and some green t-shirts of the professor's -- fabric I am recycling by handsewing into something new and more useful, I hope.

This is the side table in my living room--it seems disporportionately messy. I am stuck on sleeves (second sleeve for the black sweater and first sleeve for the red sweater) and can only knit a few rows a day because of my swollen hands, but it LOOKS like I'm being really busy as a knitter! Either that, or really slovenly...!

If you live in a place where spring hasn't "sprung" yet (like me), I hope this shot of color brightened your day. If you're currently enjoying the end of daffodil season? Well, maybe you should keep that to yourself for a bit....don't rub it in!

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Blogger Mary G said...

Good to hear you're still up and around ... well, pretty much anyway! And I have those exact same shoes -- LOVE my Doc Martens!

Hugs all round ... especially for those little "hatchlins" ... when are you due. A good friend is due with her first baby -- twins also! -- in July.

Happy knittin'

April 1, 2011 at 12:58 PM  
Blogger Sharon Jones said...

I admit I usually just lurk, but wanted to send my best wishes-karma your way. At this time, you have to focus on what is really most important -- delivering 2 beautiful, healthy, delightful babies.

All of the difficulties you are experiencing are completely normal, but, of course, multiplied by 2. :)

April 1, 2011 at 10:08 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

I apologize for being a bit behind on my blog reading. My real job is keeping me extremely busy. This dose of bright color is exactly what is needed. We are still on the chilly side, wondering where spring is. The bright colors give me hope! Glad to hear you are surviving the construction and the twins.

I chuckled at your package woes. We recently had a package returned that had been sent almost 4 years ago to Europe! My husband separated the items, re-sent them and they arrived at their destination within days. Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

Prayers going your way again!

April 7, 2011 at 4:30 PM  

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