Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Yesterday was a Gracie day. We baked some cookies, a recipe that's on the bag of Old Country Muesli by Bob's Red Mill, Wanda wrote and told me about this recipe. We omitted the chocolate chips, I used whole spelt flour instead of whole wheat, and Gracie tossed in some cinnamon to the mix, we stirred, baked, and just had to eat one...tough letting them cool enough....we both love them.

We also walked up to the library to get her signed up for the Summer Reading Program and of course checked out a dozen books for her. We both pick a few out, she picks some, I pick some, we get back home and I read the ones I chose to her and she 'reads' the ones she chose....what an imagination!

On the way back home we saw this little bird. Do you know about these little cow-birds? I saw my first one (that I was aware of) just a few years ago (maybe 3) and it was in the back yard and I was completely charmed by this little fella....and then he let loose with his 'song', although not much of a 'song' it was a lovely whistle-y type sound, high I watch for them every Spring now.

Ten years ago I would've called Dad and said "Oh say, the cow-birds are back"...and we would've visited for a few minutes, perhaps he would have told me about some bird he had seen that had returned for the Summer. But nowadays I just usually say it in my head, 'hey Dad....', yesterday I spoke the words out loud..."Hey, Dad! Look! The cow-birds are back!", heh, little Gracie starts looking around for whoever it is I'm talking yes, we have a very brief chat about 'Old Grampa', she only knows of him through our stories and photographs...but she KNOWS he would have loved her and taken her fishing, and berry picking, and hiking, and.....

A drawing, and another photo of the little cow bird.

In the knitting news here..well, I've been playing around with that knitting the sock on 2 circs thing. The jury is still out and pondering. I made several goofs...imagine that....then Gretchen emails me and writes of knitting the Monkey socks saying they're 'smokin' fast'....I'd also heard the same thing from Emma, and I've been seeing them all over hey, I jumped on the Monkey wagon, here we gooooo, and yes, sticking to the 2 circs thing, will see this through.

I also tried my hand at Koolaid dyeing some cotton, Sugar and Cream cotton, I'm wanting a medium to deep didn't take at all last night, then I thought...maybe it has 'stuff' in it, needs to be washed with soap first so I did that and this morning I've been working on the dyeing bit again...the dye water isn't quite clear yet but I'm hoping it does eventually get there....any comments..recommendations about this?

Knitnight was last night and it was a good one. Not very many folks showed up but it was a great group. Eva was working away on her Horcrux socks, and they're beautiful. Kathleen was working on some Jaywalkers using some Sockotta yarn, and no kidding, these socks are real stunners, makes me want to find that yarn, that particular yarn and knit some up. Cyndi is still working on a cotton ribbon type summer top, black and white, very stylish. Kathy is knitting away on her summer top, a coral colour, very pretty. Joyce is working on a sweater and wondering if it will ever get knit up...her daughter, Amy is back knitting up some red cotton shorts, those two are quite the pair, very funny. Eric was knitting a little cabled 'sweater' dishcloth and Tony was making some coasters for his Mom. Eric also finished his Swallowtail, she's a beauty, Amy and I were trying to figure out who could be the quickest on snatching it away......alas, Eric took her home with him. Emma started a cat bed but was having a bit of trouble joining her ends, she'd tried but....and several times, she asked me if I'd give it a go, sure...oh my. I can't remember the exact number of cast on but I'm thinking either 230 or 270....and she had used a single loop cast on. Mercy. I have to admit I've never used this cast on for anything before and holy moly, it's very tricky getting those loops to all lay down in the same direction all the way around that circ...but I think I did it, then because...I'd never done that I went ahead and knit the first round...whew...of course it was a great experience for me but I also had some fun with Emma about it, and Emma, please, you DO know I was just teasing and having a bit of fun, right? For all you out there, Emma is an exceptional young woman, beautiful and talented and great company (very funny also).

I've been tagged by several people, that random thing, and I'm thinking about it....

Happy Knitting to all and continue to make good time.


Blogger Glenna C said...

I keep hearing about more and more people knitting the Monkey socks - I'm going to have to try them soon, too!

23 May, 2007 13:58  
Blogger Kelly said...

The monkey socks are on my to-do list as well. They look like fun.

I think that Kool-Aid is supposed to work best on protein fibres, like wool or alpaca (I've even found that it works fine for nylon blends), but you may find that the colour won't hold on cotton because the fibre is cellulose-based. I have managed to dye cotton fabric in the past with tea (pale brown), and with cooked up blueberries. Otherwise, commercial dyes (like RIT) may work better.

23 May, 2007 14:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The cookies sound delicious!

Monkey socks are on my "TBK" list too. Maybe right after the Dublin Bay socks get finished.

Happy knitting!

23 May, 2007 14:25  
Blogger Knit and fall back in it said...

I dyed some cotton with the Wilton icing dye and it looked absolutely beautiful...until I washed it. About 90% of the color washed out. I had wondered if the RIT dyes would work better, but haven't tried it yet. If blueberries and tea work, then it seems that coffee and other berries might work too.
Or it could just be a huge gigantic mess that would make you consider just burning your kitchen down rather than trying to clean it up, it could go either way.

23 May, 2007 15:24  
Blogger Knit and fall back in it said...

One thing I forgot to say...those socks that you are doing on the 2 circs...JEEZ LOUISE those are gonna be something else. That yarn is beyond words, unbelievably pretty. The colors are out of this world.

23 May, 2007 15:34  
Blogger Dianne said...

I have carried the ' sock-monkey on my back' for a long while, waiting until I gain the expertise to do was love at first sight with them.
Congrats on your circs..I have to be envious because I was a 'Circular Dropout'..but I'm very happy with dpns for now.Those that them!!
The cookies sounds divine..makes me hungry..reaches for a hershey kiss..again..
I know nothing of dying..except not very helpful..
Are you trying to change the color of "llamamama"?...giggles
Happy Knitting My Friend~~

23 May, 2007 16:32  
Blogger Nikki said...

those cookies sound good! It's been too long since I had home made fresh out of the oven cookies.

good luck on the 2 circs for your socks. I'm a happy DPN girl myself Can't wait to see your Monkeys! I'm thinking of joining that bandwagon myself :)

OH, and thanks for stopping by the other day :)

23 May, 2007 17:09  
Blogger Peg-woolinmysoup said...

Cow Birds - not the nicest of birds, as they do not usually build a nest of their own, but lay their eggs in other birds' nests. Sometimes the host mother is much smaller than this alien chick and the alien eats her out of house and home and the other chicks expire! Some birds immediately recognize the 'alien' egg and toss the egg out of the nest, or build a new 'floor' over the eggs already there and start again. They are pretty, but not my favourite!!
I have been admiring those Monkey socks too!

23 May, 2007 17:14  
Anonymous MonicaPDX said...

Pretty cowbirds!

And Kelly's right. Brace yourself, you know me. [g] This is something I know about, which means I turn encyclopedic. ;)

Protein and cellulose fibers need different kinds of mordants (Latin 'to bite') - the chemicals that make a dye attach to the fiber, or strike - and dyeing methods to effectively dye them.

Acid dyes - which is what food dyes are, so that includes the ones in Kool-Aid and icing dyes - are fast only on protein fibers. Those are anything from animals, or silk, or funnily enough, nylon. (Nylon reacts to dyes like a protein fiber, don't ask me why.) Leather is a protein 'fiber', too; it needs acid dyes. Acid dyes are set by heat and acid.

What you need for cellulose fibers - cotton, rayon (man-made, but from cellulose pulp), hemp, linen, ramie, etc. - are fiber-reactive dyes. Those use an alkali (nowadays usually soda ash, the same kind of stuff they use in swimming pools) to set the dye - usually they don't need heat, just some time, unless you're vat dyeing.

Things like coffee, tea, fermented walnut skins, or the spices turmeric and saffron contain mordants in their chemical makeup - frequently tannic acid. That's why they were so popular in the old days. Dyers didn't have to treat fibers with a mordant before dyeing with those. Plus they frequently work on both protein and cellulose fibers, to a lesser/greater degree.

On cotton, acid dyes are fugitive, as you've found; i.e., they don't 'stick'. On cotton, they will never strike properly and clear out of the water as they would on wool, no matter how long you simmer, or how much acid you add beyond the citric acid crystals that are already in the Kool-Aid. They'll fade fast, and eventually wash out to mostly a dingy gray. (Kool-Aid and food dyes are mostly good for experimenting, and fun with kids, btw. Even on protein fibers, they're not all that light or wash-fast.)

RIT Dyes will work fine on most fibers except acrylics and polyesters because they're what are called union dyes: i.e., they contain mordants for both protein and cellulose fibers. However, this is also why you notice a ton of dye washing out when you're rinsing. Half of your dye is going down the drain and being wasted, because most of the time you were dyeing one or the other kind of fiber. Thus except for infrequent dyers who only dye small amounts, RIT is expensive in the long run, even though better dyes do cost more. But if you dye more than occasionally, it's better to spend the money on a type of dye formulated for the kind of fiber you're dying; otherwise, you're simply throwing away half the RIT. With acid or fiber-reactive dyes, you'll use every bit of the dye the fiber can absorb, and much less dye in the first place. (Like 1 tspn. as opposed to a whole package of RIT.)

So for your Kool-Aid dyeing, stick to wool or any other animal fiber if you want a color that stays. If you don't mind pastels that will fade some, a blend would be ok, but make sure it's at least about 50% animal fiber, otherwise it's still not really worth it. As for the cotton yarn you tried - coffee or tea (about all you'll get is various tans with those, use lots, and brew 'em dark) would work, or RIT, if you wanted to overdye it. At least you can salvage it that way.

23 May, 2007 17:23  
Blogger Charity said...

You sound like you've been pretty busy! I love hearing about your Gracie days. Your thoughts on "Hey, Dad", really touched my heart. I bet if you listen, you'll hear him answer...

23 May, 2007 21:39  
Blogger Fiberjoy said...

Spending Gracie time at the library! Very good. What books did you choose?

Ha,ha, I didn't think you'd add the choc chips to the recipe. I didn't either. Not at all necessary. Adding cinnamon instead is good.

Though our dads are no longer visible we don't ever loss touch of them do we. What a special time to share him with Gracie.

I've been seeing those Monkeys hanging from many blogs these days. I think there's one swinging into my sight. Now to pick the right yarn.

24 May, 2007 00:17  
Blogger Dana said...

Sweet blog! It sounds like you and Gracie had a wonderful day together...the cookies, the library, and the birdwatching. Good luck with your monkey socks (I have to look them up as I hadn't heard of them before now) and with your circulars. You'll that/them down in no time, I'm sure! Have a wonderful weekend!

24 May, 2007 07:46  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your day with Gracie sounds wonderful. Each time I read about her, it makes me that much more excited about my new grandbaby :)

Sounds like a fun group of people at knit night (I always type that knit knight). It's so nice that you keep your Dad alive by sharing his stories with her. You do know that he was right there with you when you mentioned the bird to him.

I tried the 2 circs one time and didn't really like it; I never thought I'd say it, but I love my double points.

24 May, 2007 07:59  
Anonymous marti said...

Monkey socks are a great knit, they are definitely on my list of socks patterns to knit more than once. I love the little story about your dad, so sweet and touching. FYI, try koolaide with wool fibers instead. The results will be stunning.

24 May, 2007 08:55  
Blogger picperfic said...

do you know the UK equivalent of spelt flour? I see this quite often and I just wondered....
I used to do that with Maisie, the library thing. She loves her books, well she did, the internet is holding her attention a bit too much for my liking these days. I have never heard of cow-birds. A relation to the blackbird, now I do know those. you seem to have somany lovely birds over there. Dad's eh? Maisie is the only one of mine that didn't know my Dad, but i tell her about him and the Robin that keeps coming into the garden that I call George. He always seems to appear when i need a little boost, no matter where I am living, George appears. Now when Maisie sees a Robin, she says, 'hello Grandad'!

24 May, 2007 17:12  
Anonymous angie Cox said...

Talk to your Dad , I talk to mine even though we weren't on the greatest terms. He did share my weird sense of humour. When I saw an off-the-wall film I always ask him if he enjoyed it .
Does Gracie like Rosemary Wells ? I adore her books especially the "Bunny Planet" . I have a set of my own in case Holly takes hers away when she leaves home !
The knitalong sounds great !

25 May, 2007 03:14  
Blogger Jo said...

Neo's favourite book is called The Tickle Book, he's a very ticklish boy and he loves talking about the tickle monster! I think I should add monkey socks to the list, there must be a knitalong somewhere, look at all these commenters talking about them! Love hearing about you and Gracie, I used to love books, well I still do, could read when I was 2.5, hey I might aswell start random thins I'm on a roll xxx

25 May, 2007 03:25  
Blogger Sarah said...

Great post, so much great stuff going on with you, your lovely words about your Dad brought a tear to my eye and made me want to phone mine up right now - it's v early so I'm going to wait a couple of hours - he might think I've lost it otherwise!!

26 May, 2007 00:47  
Blogger nonizamboni said...

The remembrance of your father was so touching. As well as your day with Gracie. . .what a nice circle.

Thanks for the info about cowbirds--talk about adaptability! I like them too and now I'm wondering if that's why I see them hanging around the pond, depositing their eggs?
Happy weekend!

27 May, 2007 07:02  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Marianne! Thanks for the comments on the Yarn Harlot post. It was a fun night for sure. I'm sorry she doesn't get to do more stuff like that up north because we'd show up in droves. But I think maybe we'd freak her out too. *g*

27 May, 2007 11:04  

Post a Comment

<< Home