Saturday, June 23, 2012

Dish cloths for Jen

Bought some cotton yarns to knit dish cloths for my daughter, jen.
She lives in NY and mentioned on the phone that she was "browned off" buying paper towels etc so I suggested make some dish cloths for her and send them over.
I don't think wool would work here so I went to a yarn store (K1P1 in Mullingar) and bought 2 yarns - Tivoli Cruise Aran - 13 wii, 100 gm, 100% cotton in off-white color and 50 mms of Sirdar Simply Recycled cotton rich aran in green.
Ballband dish cloth pattern (Ravelry)

Grandmothers favorite pattern (Ravelry)
Kitchen Cotton dish cloth from the internet - Rows 1 and 2: Knit across all stitches.
Rows 3 and 4: K 2, *K 1, P 1, repeat from * across to last 2 stitches, K 2. This is my favorite.

I'v put these in the post today.


Dying more fleece with Karen's dyes

Karen left me some pre-mixed acid dyes before she left Ireland for the US.
They sit atop the kitchen shelves, alternately promising and nagging - "Go on, use us", "you don't know how much dye is in us so you can't figure out how to use us", "For the love of... you have a load of fleece so what does it matter if it doesn't work out out too well". So the last argument won and I used the Plum, Spruce and Gold to dye three lots of the previously washed fleece. I'm drum carding and spinning it now and thinking what I might do with the yarn when it's all spun. Possibly a rug...
Some photos of the work in progress:

Seems to match these French Beans in the raise bed:

Drum carded batt divided into sections:

Long draw, 12:1 on Ashford Traveler wheel 16-18 WPI:
Changing to precessing the green stuff now for a change.

The courgette plants in the porch are flowering away and I've already taken a dozen fruits off them.
The flowers open and close all the time.

So now I have to make courgette fritters, like the Hairy Bikers:


Friday, June 15, 2012

Grass Staggers/Twin Lamb

My little flock has had to put up with some nasty weather conditions over the past 2 - 3 years since they are totally outdoor girls (and rams), no sheds and supplemental feed just to cover them from late pregnancy to post lambing. Largely got away with it but one poor girl got Grass Staggers aka hypomagnesaemia along with twin lamb disease. It was a sort of "perfect storm" for her - she's young and was perhaps under condition when tupped ('though not greatly), then she had a pair of bouncing lambs mid April which grew at a hefty rate, using her calcium galore, the weather got nasty with poor grass growth then suddenly warm and bright with rapid, flimsy new grass growth only to turn cold and wet again - add it all together and I find an ewe in the field stargazing (standing there with her neck bent back and apparently staring at the sky).
I take her to the garden shed for shelter and all her muscles are twitching, neck is extended and teeth grinding. Fifty mls s.q. 40% ca mag plus 3  - 45 mls revival tonic (molasses with magnesium, calcium etc) down a tube - fortunately she can swallow.  Back some hours later, repeat all - little response. Day two, she's a downer. Give all the above again plus additional tube feeds for energy and ions - little response.
Mostly if they don't respond by then it's curtains.
Next day:
Hello! Up and about and making a right mess out of the shed!
Thing now was to get her rumen going - no rumen, no sheep.
She won't eat by herself so still giving glucose rich by tube (tube into her gullet and she swallows the liquid - not a stomach tube). Added some probiotic yogurt (Glenisk no less). Offered greens and concentrate - just stares at it but... a bolus of lettuce popped into her cheek causes her to chew automatically and so eating begins ! Slipped in a little concentrate and that got chewed up too - then it seemed to dawn on her how to eat and she sets into a dish of concentrate. Improvement continued over the next 2 days - I'd have let her rejoin the flock but her twins might have returned to the milk bar so kept her away for a total of 5 days and when she returned they just acknowledged her but didn't bother her.  They are feeding themselves quite well and don't need her anymore.
I placed a bucket of lick with calcium and magnesium in it in the field and she's the only one to show interest in it so far.
Anyway, just an episode of sheerly emergency that arrises with the ovines from time to time.
That's sheep for ya.

Huddie Hat

Hudson Rua, aka Huddie "blew" his coat about 3 weeks ago. Tufts of undercoat were left dangling from his hair especially along his back and sides. These have to lifted out - to clean him up and prevent hairs around the house but also, as they are very soft, to spin into yarn.  A lot could be simply picked off but a brush was employed to get lots more out. Note: this is soft undercoat which I call "doggie down", other call "cangora" - not coarse hair.
Here's some photos of Huddie yarn in progress:

 Yarn was spun and plied on my little drop spindle making about 53 yards. A swatch using 4 mm needles showed a gauge of 5 1/2 stitched /inch .
I matched this with some wool yarn I spun and dyed a while ago.
It became this hat:

Knit on circular needles, the rib is wool, turned under for a snug hem and the rest is stocking stitch, 2 rows Huddie, 2 rows wool - some of the wool is dyed in blues and a little red here and there.
It's very soft , warm and not irritating at all.
Thanks Huddie. Catch you again next year if not before.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Goodalls Red Yellow and Black

Dye samples using Goodalls food colors. This time used about 60:40 water : vinegar and using 1 ml of dye to 1 gm of wool yarn.
They are quite bright - a bit harsh so maybe  a lower concentration of dye - say 0.5 ml per gram - would give a softer, more subtle effect.

These three 2 gram mini-hanks were cooked in the microwave and despite the small amount (6 grams in about 300 mls liquid), in individual bowls with cling film on top,  it took full 5 minutes at full power (850 watts) to get the dye in. The liquid left for the yellow was almost clear, the red left a fair bit of red tint in the water and the black left quite a lot of dye in the water. There was no bleeding from any of the three while they were rinsed .