Friday, November 14, 2014

Soap Challenge!

Hi!  I'm back, after a long break from blogging.  Guess what?  I have a new hobby!  You're shocked, I can hear the collective gasp from here.



I have made quite a few batches of soap so far, and was inspired to join in on the Soap Challenge Club fun over at Great Cakes Soapworks.  This month's challenge was combed soap.  As I said, I'm new to soaping, and I'm especially new to colorants in my soap.  I've had a few, *ahem* learning experiments, shall we say.  My first try at coloring soap ended with a soap with three variations on the same tan.  My second attempt was OK. But the third, oh, the third was supposed to be a nice Christmasy Red and Green. It ended up orange and purple!! Lessons learned, research completed, new colorants ordered for the challenge!

J (and S) so nicely documented the process for me.  Excuse the ridiculously messy counters in the background.  I decided soaping was more important than cleaning (which I did do after the soaping fun was completed!)  Plus, I ended up using the end of a couple of bottles of oils, so those somehow ended up in the pics too. Also, excuse the messy hair.  (That's a story for a different blog, that has nothing to do with crafting and everything to do with the fact that I was not allowed to get my head wet for 12 days!) J seems to think every pic of something I'm doing needs to include the actual person doing said thing.


I started with a basic, slow moving soap batter.  I used the recipe provided by the Amy Warden, the club hostess.  It was my first soap with lard, but I'm glad I finally tried one!  Then I divided out a few small portions for colorants (but no fragrance.) In her example, Amy used five colors.  But I hate pink, so I just went with a little more red and called it good.





I scented and colored the majority of the batter, then poured it into my makeshift mold (I chopped up a box that some supplies came in! Feeling pretty thrifty about that one) as a base for the pretty swirls. 







Then the fun began!  I just layered the colors on, in squiggly lines, until I was out of colored soap batter.








Next comes the combing.  With my "fancy" comb.




More lessons learned:  Moving the soap to a safe place where it could sit for the chemical reaction to complete, some of the prettily swirled lines got less pretty. Next time (and there will be a next time, this soap is seriously fun, and just "wow"!) I'll plan to leave it in place for a few hours before moving it.


Then the soap had to sit for a day.  Once the soap had set up a bit, I could pull it out of the mold and cut it.  Here's the result:

The top of the soap has a different texture than I expected.  I'm not entirely sure whether this is due to the recipe, or if it's due to the measures I took to avoid soda ash (a white coating on the top of the soap, which I thought would take away from the effect of the combing) I guess more experimentation is in order!  I am quickly going to be overrun with soap at this rate!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Whee!

Geez, it has been a while since I posted (again)!

I just booked our trip for this year. We are going to Maui, just the two of us! My sister is going to stay with S and the dogs!! (Can you tell I am excited?) And what am I doing to plan for this trip? Searching out yarn stores on Maui, of course (big grin). Hey, we have two months to figure out the rest of it . . .

In other news, I've been busily knitting, testing and writing patterns! It is an interesting balancing act to get them all done. I have a pattern for sale, and another that will be available soon (April 15 - after all the yarn club members have received their packages) . . . And one of these days, I will figure out how to link to them here!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

oooooh, designer

I'm in the process of getting set-up as a designer on Ravelry, where I can upload the pretty PDF files of my patterns. Here's the sad version of my first one for now! The pattern has not been tested, so use at your own risk!!

Clown-y Mittens

When my daughter needed a new pair of mittens, I let her into my stash to choose her yarn. She chose a brightly colored handspun, named“Taking Out the Clowns” because it is murderously bright. When she chose this yarn, she also stipulated that blue must be at the tips of the fingers. But the only way I could ensure that was by knitting them “backwards” from all the patterns I could find.

So I made it up as I went along.

Size: about 4 year old size. (wrist ~5 inches)

Yarn: My hand spun BFL, approximately fingering weight.

Gauge: 30 stitches = 10 cm

Needles: US 1 (2.25 mm), US0 (2mm)


Here is a link to the pattern page on Ravelry
where you may download the PDF for free


Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Baby!

Happy Fourth Birthday S!

She got to open one gift this morning, and is wearing her Tinkerbell dress already. We're planning out our day based on the birthday activities we need to complete - where to get her cake (ice cream cupcakes from Coldstone) and what she wants for dinner (Mac & cheese at Red Robin - at least this morning that's what she wants!), not to mention what she wants to bring to school tomorrow to celebrate!

Birthdays sure are fun when you're 4!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Yowza! It's been a while since I posted. I've done lots of knitting, a little spinning, and all sorts of other "stuff." No pictures, because most of it is stealth (gifts) and the rest, I'm too lazy!

It seems late to post the Sock Summit summary. It was awesome. I bought some stuff. I won more stuff. That's probably enough anyway.

I've been knitting like crazy. For the holidays, for Barb and Kollage, for me - not so much I guess. That's wishful thinking. But there are grand plans for "me" knitting, once the holiday stuff gets finished. I have some lovely silk lace yarn for a Featherweight Cardigan, and a whole bag of Malabrigo in Forest (holy cow what a great gift!) just aching to be a nifty cardigan for me too. Anyone with any ideas is welcome to weigh in. I have a couple options from my Ravelry queue, but I'm open. . . This much lusciousness is so tempting for so many things!

I have been spinning, and planning my spinning . . . I've spun a few natural colors (CVM, some merino/baby alpaca I got in a swap), and a few chain plied fun tops. I'm learning long draw (what you can do with top, sliver, and batts), and feeling more confident with my modified long draw. Posted pictures of most of it on Ravelry. And what I haven't gotten up there, will get up eventually. Lambtown yielded a little new fiber (8 oz of Cormo), but the Yolo Wool Mill trip on Halloween yielded my project for next year. . . I found 26 oz of chocolate merino (at a steal of a price)! I'm planning to spin it up into DK weight yarn, see how much I get, and figure out a lovely sweater to knit for myself from there! I need to decide if I want to do 2ply or 3ply, probably 3ply, because I usually like the look of that better (but after I knit up S's mittens for the holidays, I'll know better). OK, I know I said (somewhere) that I had no desire to ever spin for a sweater. And we'll see if I ever get there. But that's my project for the next year. People change, right? This sliver is just so gorgeous, and such a great price, I could not pass it up! (and I even had to fight off a couple spinners, as I was waiting for my change hehe).

Monday, August 10, 2009

wow

I'm back from Sock Summit. Overwhelmed, exhausted, and satisfied beyond words. It was a fun weekend of knitting, new friends and sisters. I enhanced my stash more than intended (but the bonus of that is that I followed my budget, and only purchased one skein that was not on my list of intended purchases! Winning door prizes is fun.) I got to be a little starstruck and even got to make a fool out of myself gushing at my "spinning idol"

On the non-knitting end of things, I had the best hot chocolate of my life, some great microbrews, good food, and got to explore some of Portland.

Now I am back. I am getting back to the reality of groceries, the chatter of a 3.5 year old, and housekeeping duties.

I'll write more later. And maybe even have some pictures for you.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I'm busily preparing for my trip. I leave tomorrow for Sock Summit. For those who don't know what it is, I'm sure you won't understand ;) It's a sock knitting convention. With classes taught by famous (mostly sock) knitters, and a marketplace full of fun sock knitting goodies. I am taking one class, and plan to spend money at the marketplace. I am having dinner with some of my online friends (and hopefully my favorite Yarnista will be there too!) - How nice to put faces and voices with all those posts we've shared online! I am beyond excited. Like a kid at Christmas - you know: up at 4 am watching the window for a glimmer of the sun so that I can go in and tell my parents the sun is up so can we go see what Santa brought now please but what do you mean I have to wait until the clock says 6 but I can see the sun no it is not just a reflection of the moon on the snow I've been watching and it is definitely brighter than it was an hour ago come on why not - My flight leaves tomorrow around 6. PM. I hope I make it without annying the whole family!

I am meeting my (non-knitting) sister there. We are making a girls' weekend out of it. No kids, no J, just me and my sis.

This is a photo of the yarn that I made just to take with me to SS. It is the "Labor of Love" that I mentioned in my last post. It is now all caked up and ready to go in my carry-on (no way I'm entrusting it to the baggage handlers!) For those that are interested in the specifics, after finishing it was about 430 yards of 17 wpi, Targhee from Time to Knit (Etsy seller)


Hopefully I'll have lots to gush about after my return!