Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sock Monkey Set Give-Away!

To promote my Etsy store I am giving away my first sock monkey prototype longies and a sock monkey hat. The longies are a size newborn/small size (15"Rise, 16"Hips), and the hat is a infant/toddler size. In the picture the hat is pretty much stretched to it's full size on a 22-month-old with a fairly large head. The hat has wooden button eyes, and the pants have crocheted wool eyes that are firmly attached.

No, I don't think these are as cute as my new sock monkey design, but still cute enough for someone's little backside!

If you would like to win this set, you can enter several ways. Then post a comment for each entry. The winner will be drawn randomly using random.org.

4 Ways to Enter:

Like ClothDiaperClub on Facebook (required): http://www.facebook.com/pages/ClothDiaperClub/192046247478241.

Visit my Etsy store and comment about one item you like.

Follow this blog.

Post about this giveaway on your own blog.

Giveaway closes at 11:59pm EST on March 30th.

Winner will be announced on this blog on Saturday, March 31st.

A random blog comment number will be selected using random.org. You MUST comment on this blog post to be entered, and have contact info in your profile. Each entry entry must be its own comment. If you combine entries into one comment, it will only count as one entry. Winning entries will be validated, and you MUST do the required entry to have any additional entries be valid. Thank you for entering!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Dyeing Yarn with "Real" Dyes

Wilton Immersion Dyed and Hand Painted Yarns
I have been enthusiastically experimenting with dyeing yarn with Kool-aids and Wilton gel colors. These experiments were both unscientific and rebellious because I rarely followed even the most basic "rules" for successful dyeing. How sad I was to discover that the beautiful pinks I was getting with these food-safe dyes are NOT colorfast in sunlight! So, I guess I will have to try real dyes, because the world needs pink, right?

Two days ago a package arrived on our doorstep containing my first set of Greener Shades dye powders. It was a lovely gift from my dear mother, who still wants me to have everything I want! I eagerly purchased or scrounged the few other materials I thought I would need to use these dyes and carved out a 90 minute slot from my ridiculously busy Sunday afternoon to scientifically produce the perfect shade of sock monkey red to use in my sock monkey longies.

Another Wilton Dyed Yarn

I was almost immediately disappointed to find that my kitchen scale does not measure below a 1 gram increment, and is not that accurate at slightly above 1 gram. So what now? How in the world will I get the correct ratio of colors for that perfectly blended sock monkey red? I have already said that I am no scientist, nor a mathematician. I decided to blend a solution of the colors by volume ratios (3 tsp-1 tsp). I immediately realized this would not be accurate because the texture and weight of the dye powders appeared to be different. Also, after dumping this solution into my dye bath, I realized that a 6-2 ratio only equals 80%. Oops! I read the dye "recipe" wrong (as I was reading over my son's shoulder at the computer) and left out a whole color. There was no going back now. So I stirred the pot to see what I would get! Towards the end, while the yarn was wet in the pot, I thought the color might be okay. But as soon as I pulled it out of the exhausted dye bath, I realized that the color was exactly what I didn't want--a sort of bright slightly orangey red, which makes sense since I mixed red and yellow. The family all agreed that it was a lovely color, but most definitely NOT what I wanted.

It was suggested I use the yarn for something else. Inconceivable! Waste $4.20 worth of yarn on maybe finding a use for it? No, I must fix this yarn (or ruin it). So today, after doing the dreaded meal plan and grocery list I commanded myself to do before anything fun, I set out to see what could be done.

I hypothesized that if the dye powders could be mixed at a certain ratio to produce a certain color, maybe the same thing could be done by mixing dye stock solutions at that same ratio. Well, my first roadblock is that I am not willing to mix enough dyestock to dye a pound of wool because I do not want to use that much of my precious dye powders nor do I want to have to store all that dye stock. SO, I calculate, which I am really bad at even WITH a calculator! I calculate 1/4 of all the measurements (given by volume for those without an accurate scale), which by the ml markings on my measuring cups involved a little bit of estimating--so still not very scientific!

I put the same wool back into the pot and follow ALL the instructions this time about temperature.
The question now is...Will the already dyed wool accept any more dye or will it even look any better? My dye bath looks very dark red. We will see...

Even if this red is acceptable to me, I still will not know if this second formula is the perfect sock monkey red I am looking for and will have to do this all over again. In all likelihood, by the time I find my perfect red, I will be sick to death of sock monkeys!

Well, the yarn has absorbed all of the dye stock, and I believe it is significantly darker, although I cannot prove this with a photograph because my limited photography skills and the inconsistent lighting prevent me. I will be content to use this yarn and not torture it with any more experiments.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sock Monkey Mania

A few months ago I noticed an interesting item in the cloth diapering community called sock monkey longies. If you don't know, Longies are just wool pants worn over a cloth diaper as a waterproof cover. I won't go into the how's and why's of that, and I'm sure you know what a sock monkey is. I could remember having one as a kid, and I was nostalgic about it. Even so, I wasn't sure how cute I thought these sock monkey pants were-- but here I am on the bandwagon. I guess I couldn't help myself because in the cloth diapering world or diapers, covers, soakers, and longies almost anything looks cute on a baby's backside. If sock monkeys are all the rage on t-shirts, pajamas, room decor, and school supplies, why not babies' babcksides?

My first protoype...cute or scary?
First, I had to figure out how to create the sock monkey mouth shape using short rows, which was surprising simple (after the first hilarious prototype, that is). Now I am happy with the shape I have created and am busy thinking of how many possible sock monkey variations there could be. I love my latest girly version done in shorties. I thought about adding a flower next to her ear, but that seemed over the top. Happily, as I finish one up, I have another order to get started on my needles.

Hopefully in the next few days or so I will be doing a giveaway here on my blog for a sock monkey hat in infant/toddler size. Maybe later on I will do one for some shorties.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Talking to Myself

I am always talking to myself, thinking that if someone were standing next to me, this is what I would say to them. These are not things my children would be interested in, maybe not anyone, but we have to tell someone--right?

Today I was thinking that I really wish I'd forked over the extra dollar for my favorite King Arthur flour because it really does make a difference. I own and have read several the-science-of type books. I don't have a scientific bone in my body and rarely want to know the why's or how's of something working; I just want it to work!

I remembered today that in one of my books it explains the difference between flours (I think I zoned out half-way into the chapter). I have been making these delicious sandwich braids quite often recently because they are a handy on-the-go meal for these crazy basketball nights. Two weeks ago I made the mistake of buying some kind of super flour that turned my braid dough and finished braid into a dense, overly bready concoction that I would not have served to anyone outside my family. Today I made braids with White Lily flour, which I have used many times in the past but not for bread dough, and discovered that it makes a completely different sandwich braid as well. This braid has almost a cake-like flavor. While not as unappetizing as the last, still not my favorite.

Lesson: Only use King Arthur flour for the sandwich braids.

I still don't want to know why!