Saturday, April 11, 2009

More on the homemade laundry detergent

When I first made the homemade laundry detergent I didn't have a functioning camera. Now 7 weeks later I have to make another batch so I took the opportunity and took pictures.

The first batch lasted 7 weeks! I can't believe it and it was only 1 1/4 cup Naptha soap, 2 1/2 cups Washing soda and 2 1/2 cups Borax! I had to add some washing soda and Borax because the mixture was too strong and I only used half a tablespoon instead of a whole tablespoon per load of laundry (more for bigger or very dirty loads). So this stuff goes a long way. In the meantime I've also discovered that our local Kroger does have the Naptha soap. It was just hard to find :)

What I do now it that I use 1/2 part Naptha against 1 part washing soda and 1 part Borax. And this is what you get:

I grate the bar of Naptha soap (like I would grate a carrot) and then I put it in the mixer to break it up even more. The smaller the soap particles the better. It's all about getting the biggest surface area for the mixture to clean more efficiently. This soap is very strong and you should wear gloves (latex) and wash the grater and mixer very well afterwards. It would be best to have separate equipment to use for the soap that would not be used for food.

Of stripes, miracles and big balls of yarn

The Sugar and Cream cotton comes in a stripe varigation. These long repeats are a lot of fun to work with. Behold


Both made out of the same colorway (natural stripes) and both patterns are free on Ravelry.

A miracle has happened here in the country side. A new yarn store has opened up! It's called Fiber FUN studio. Now there is no longer 30 min. to travel to the nearest yarn store. The new one is in my township (yes we have townships, that's how rural we are) and only about 10 min away max. It opened on Friday and I stopped there on the way home from work. It is very surreal. You go on a country road follow signs deeper and deeper into middle of nowhere and all of a sudden you are at a yarn store! It is very quiet and cosy and the lady has the yarn store in the basement of her house. The basement is at the ground level (the house is build into a hill) and the entrance is very nice. She has a big space and she weaves too and has many looms set up for teaching. I had a look of her inventory and ended up getting lion brand cotton in my kitchen and bathroom colors. I also had a look at her knittery works of art. She made a wall hanging that's just stunning. If you are travelling through Ohio (or live around here) drop me a note and I can give you the directions to this place.

In other news, I just started using my birthday stash. Last year my Icelandic online knitting group had a birthday game where we sent each other birthday gifts. I, as well as the other participants, got a lot of knitting goodies and some great yarn. I'm finally starting to use it. First I had to figure out what I wanted to do with it, then came Christmas knitting (and traveling to Iceland), then a very busy time at work. So now I'm ready.

I started with yarn that came from Rebecca and it's handdyed and local (for her). The yardage is very generous and I started a shawl called 'Simple yet effective shawl' by Cosmicpluto. It is very simple and I love how it alternates between stockinette and garter stitch. It really adds depth to the shawl but keeps it simple and easy to knit but interesting at the same time. Originally it calls for Noro sock yarn and it would be stunning in that yarn.

I wound the yarn up in the biggest ball of yarn I've ever work with. Here is my daughter as a comparison.

It was very hard to wind it up in the end because my hands were starting to hurt from holding it :o

Happy Easter and Passover everyone :)

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Knitting again

March was tough. There were just too many things going on. But now I hope to get back in the knitting groove. I started the sunrise circle jacket again, this time with the left sleeve/front. I´m still debating whether I should buy the updated pattern or try to wing it. Right now I'm on the side of buying it but I'm going to knit the fronts and sleeves first (the back is the part that has the mistake in it).

I've also been finishing up smaller projects and now I have 9 WIPs in my Ravelry notebook. I know I want to have multiple projects going on but if I have too many I feel stressful. I like having my projects in Ravelry because otherwise I'd be worried that I was forgetting a project.

How about some photos.

This is the Blaka I'm knitting. It is a small shawl with lace pattern of bats on it (bat in Icelandic is leðurblaka, hence the name). I'm using the lace weight Icelandic yarn I dyed with koolaid last year. The purple goes well with the bat pattern but since the color is varied, the bat doesn't exactly stand out. I do still believe it is the right pattern for this yarn though so I just keep on going with it.

After I came back from Iceland with a suitcase full of wool, I made couple of vests. One for me out of léttlopi (Lopi-Lite):

And one for K. out of plötulopi (unspun Icelandic wool):

The pattern is a dress originally, but I turned it into a vest. At the time it was freezing (20F for weeks, -6C) and it was just too cold to be wearing tights. Now it's getting warmer but it quickly gets too warm to wear anything made out of wool. I'm still planing to do the dress for Á.S. and last time I asked she wanted it only pink (I have the pink yarn) no white :o So that should be quick.

I have so many projects that I want to do and have the yarn for that I'm getting restless to start them. When I couldn't knit I still was thinking about knitting and planing future projects in my head, figuring out what I could do with the yarn gifted to me or that I've found at Goodwill. So now when I have it figured out, I want to do them right now! I do have couple of days off, but they are pretty much planned for other things. I don't want to wish for more knitting time because god knows what will happen! I don't want to be stuck in bed with a broken foot or something like that. The universe sometimes has a funny way of getting you what you want so the old saying 'be careful what you wish for, because it might come true' certainly applies in this case.