Absolute Jeanius

YARN … FIBER … ART

4H April 5, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — jeanius80 @ 12:34 pm

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Through my husbands carpool friend, I’ve been offered the opportunity to get some fleece from a local 4-H. My husband brougt this up by saying i’d be getting some lambs fleece and could possibly get enough to also sell. Now, I’m not one to turn down free gifts, specially wool. What he failed to find out was that because these are 4-H sheep, the sheering can be sloppy (lots of 2nd cuts), the sheep are definintly muddy, and what breed they are.
The 4-H teacher (coach?) has offered me 2 bags full, so far, and my Mr. is going to be bringing them home any day now. I did get to meet the sheep and lambs and they were adorable. Definintly raised for meat and not fleece. The were pretty dirty, and afew had some pretty creative hair cuts! One lamb was particularly friendly, butting us for head rubs and trying to teeth on coat buttons and finger. I also learned that they are Hampshire breed (a down sheep, fleece being on average 54-58 counts and 30-26 microns) and got to handle a little bit of fleece.
If I am able to get a bunch, I’m planning on washing it well and then offering it for sale with 50% of the proceeds to be donated back to the 4-H.

Here is that friendly lamb:

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Shop Update! March 10, 2011

Filed under: absolute jeanius,dyeing,fiber,handdyed,indie — jeanius80 @ 2:17 pm
Tags: , ,

I’ve been busy!

I really love all the colors that I’ve done recently, and I’ll be adding 4 new listings of fiber, hopefully by Tuesday! I’m waiting patiently for them to be fully dry, then I’ll get nice photos up and have them listed here on the Shop page. These are all punta* combed top, and definitely felt-able! Here is a quickie photo of the fibers, hanging to dry:

top-bottom: Citrine, Mojito, Ocean, Amethyst

 

I had fun trying different method on each piece, and it was interesting to see how they each turned out! Hope you enjoy spinning these as much as I did dyeing them!

 

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*‘Punta’ is a name given to a blend of medium fine wools from South America, with counts in the 60’s, and similar to average merino.

 

Happy Halloween!

Filed under: design,family,friends,fun,holiday — jeanius80 @ 2:10 pm

Getting ready for this Halloween seemed never ending! Miss M decided to be a cupcake this year and with some searching through google, I found instructions for making a costume. I had to substitute some materials, since we are likely to get rain here on Halloween, and paper costume would fall apart after 5 minutes. First, she chose to be a chocolate cupcake, so off to Joanns we went to get chocolatey brown fleece.

I read the directions, felt good, and proceeded to cut, sew and stuff the ‘frosting’. Unfortunately, I failed to read about adding 6 inches to each piece, and had to start over. Back to Joanns, and this time she chose bright pink, to be a strawberry cupcake. Carefully measuring and cutting this time, I sewed and stuffed just the two larger pieces, as she is too small to have a stuffed piece around her neck, it would have just been too high for her to be comfortable!

With her help, we glued on 18mm flat backed gems to be the sprinkles, and she’ll be wearing a cute cherry hat I knit for her.

Since I had almost a full yard+ left over, I decided to make her a matching sweater to wear under the costume, to keep her arms warm. I used a well fitting sweater as a guide, and traced it and took some measurements from it. After sewing the pieces together, I then added a blanket stitch around the edges, and added a knitted cuff, hem, zipper band and collar. I used the only zipper I had on hand, a adjustable length (but not separating) one. Good thing she can pull it on with out undoing the zipper! I plan on changing it out later, and maybe adding some cutesy black embroidery to jazz it up a bit.

doesn’t she look thrilled?

 

She was invited to a Halloween party on Saturday as well, and decided she wanted to be a Fairy Princess Ballerina. It’s never really simple with her lol. So we cleaned up last years costume and she added a crown, a wand, and I dolled her up with some rosy pink cheeks and sparkly eyeshadow. She went with her cousins, E (a monkey) and K (a witch), and their friend M (Iron Man):

 

The Saturday Party Gang

 

The Trick or Treat Gang

The Mr. and I also dressed up. I was a chef (I did make a huge cupcake! ) and the Mr. was a back-ally Dr (I know…)-

 

After trick or treating with friends and cousins, me and the Mr. went to see Saw 7 in 3D with friends. Seeing these movies has become a yearly event with us, so now, since the series is over (?) we’ll have to see what comes out next year!  It was just as gory as the other ones, and the 3D effect was used well. Definitely some jumping and screaming! We did luck out by going to a late showing on Sunday, in that there was practically no one there.

 

Hope you all had a great weekend!

 

 

Picking Pumpkins

Filed under: fall,family,holiday — jeanius80 @ 1:47 pm

We love to visit actual pumpkin patches and this year decided to find one closer to home (we usually travel to ones farther out but were a bit crushed for time, as well as just wanting to be a it more fuel conscious). Mr found the patch info online, and off we went! It was lightly raining on the way, but we held out hope it would stop long enough for us to get some pumpkins and get home. We were lucky..

They had a field on one side of the road, and then a nice and neat area where you could browse pumpkins, try out the mini pumpkin sling shooter, and a corn field maze as well. The big box of tiny pumpkins were very popular with the little kids. M had 3 in her hands before I could even get the camera ready to take her picture!

 

I leave the carving up to the Mr. and Miss M. I do help (when asked) to draw faces or come up with ideas. While Mr. carved, M decided to draw pirate vampires on her mini pumpkins and add a big pirate on the back of Mr.s pumpkin.

 

Hope you have a Spooky (and safe!) Halloween!

 

Whiskey River Beach

Filed under: fall,family,life — jeanius80 @ 1:44 pm

We recently went to Whiskey River Beach for the weekend with some friends and family. It was so much fun! We had rented 3 cabins, two on the beach and one, Look Out cabin, up on the hill. It was very cool having the waves break so close to the cabins, and the next time we go, I plan on staying in one of those, I imagine the sound of the waves would be nice at night!

 

The kids all had a great time looking for special rocks, shells and going on ‘adventures’.  After the first day, M had a pile of rocks and shells she had found on the beach. She also liked seeing the bald eagles flying, as well as the sea gulls. We even saw  family of otters!

 

 

The kids all loved the cabin with an upper loft space, where they could play and dangle a jump rope-tied monkey over the side, trying to tease the grown ups.

 

One night we went out when the tide was very low, and it was very dark, to walk ‘under water’ and see what we could see. We did find a little star fish and lots of sea grass. Not a whole lot more. It might have been better if we had taken more than one lantern! The flashlights just were not bright enough to really offer more than immediate light for walking.

 

 

The cabins were all pretty well stocked with dishes and cooking utensils as well as pots and pans. There were small fridges and an oven/stove in each cabin. Most also had wood stoves, as well as outdoor fire pits (bring your own wood for out side). The kids loved making s’mores and M loved to pay inside where it was always nice and cozy.

 

 

We loved the trail from the beach to the Look Out cabin, where you can see it perched atop the hill. That particular cabin does have electricity, so no soft glow from oil lamps and fire light, though you could if you brought your own, and chose not to use the electric lights…

 

 

All in all, we had a lovely time, and it was very quiet and peaceful, even with the seagulls !

 

I hope we can go back again, maybe in the summer next time. There are a lot of relaxing places to walk too, a nice small town near by and of course, the cabins are sweet and cozy and perfect for a quiet weekend of snuggling and staying indoors.

 

Dyeing with Lichen

Filed under: dyeing — jeanius80 @ 1:39 pm

This Summer, the husband and dad decided to cut down a tree that had seen it’s last Spring.

 

The tree was a fantastic shade tree with three central trunks that gave the appearance of a nice seat. Unfortunatly, it didn’t return healthy this Spring, so it needed to go. The tree was very tall, probably 30 feet at least. I collect as much of the lichen as I could find as then cut it down and sawed the limbs up.

 

I weighed it prior to soaking it. I had collected just 20 grams.

I did some research online, and was dismayed to find very little information. I decided to do an ammonia and water soak. I poured 2 cups of ammonia and 1 cup of cool water into a bottle. I then added the lichen. After closing it up again, I gave it a good shake. I continued to give a shake everyday for a few weeks. TYhis served to airate the liquid, and make sure the lichen was well soaked.

 

I figured the dye was ready when I no longer noticed much change in the color of the liquid. I soaked 15 grams of sock yarn in water that had alum (a mordant) mixed in. I let it soak over night:

 

yarn, alum soak

 

The next step was th pour the dye into a non-reactive container ( I used a plastic bowl) and to strain out the lichen:

 

lichen, strained out from dye bath

 

I added the yarn and a generous ‘glug’ of vinegar to acidify the dye bath:

 

lichen dye bath

 

I let the skein soak for about an hour, and it had pretty much reached it’s final color, though I decided to make sure, by putting the dye bath and ayrn into the crock pot to add heat. I fiured it couldn’t hurt, and may well help set the dye better:

 

first soak in lichen dye bath heat setting the lichen dye

 

I let the pot heat completly, then turned it off and let it cool over night. It did appear to have gotten darker, but after the first cool rinse, it lightened back up:

 

lichen yarn, prerinsing rinsing lichen yarn

 

The final color is a very soft mauve. It would be great to learn a bit more and purhaps be able to get a much more intense color from thelichen. I wonder if cooking down the liquid and then using it would be beneficial? Anyhow, here is a shot of the final yarn, destiny unknown:

 

lichen dyed yarn

 

Summer catch up!

Filed under: family,fun,life,local — jeanius80 @ 1:37 pm

I can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve posted! It’s just so easy to post daily bits on Facebook and share photos there too. I think I need to make this a weekly posting. Saturdays should be good. Lots of late night time to do so.

Summer has been great, lots of family time and hanging out. We even went to Idaho for a nice break. Rafting lazily down the river has to be one of the best ways to spend a warm summer day!

I have been pretty productive lately too! After picking a bunch of blackberries with the kids, I decided to make a batch of jam. I modified the recipe to use limes instead of lemons (it was what I had on hand), and just before pouring into the jars, I added the zest of both limes. It was genius! The zest became a bit crunchy and adds a great zing when you get a bit in your bite. I will definitely be doing that again!

I also made a batch of blueberry jam, using the immersion blender to get it all nicely smooth with out having to strain any bits out. It’s fantastic on sandwiches as well as a little bit stirred into yogurt. I may be able to make a batch of huckleberry jam next year, as my dads co-worker has a couple of bushes on his property! We got to eat a few today while we visited and cut up some wood for the winter.

The last batch of jelly was pepper! I used 4 ounces each of jalapeno, red bell, and yellow bell to make the jelly. I didn’t get the peppers chopped as finely as I had planned, so next time I think I will try using the blender (or small food processor if I can find it!). It has a mild heat and sweetness, tastes great with cheese and crackers, ans I suspect would be delicious as a sauce on chicken or pork.

 

Pepper Jelly

 

Up next! Dyeing with Lichen!