Knitting the Light Fantastic

Knitting, spinning, dyeing and other crafty goodness

Experimental Crafting

Posted by notthatkat on November 16, 2007

It’s hard to believe a whole week’s gone by, and I haven’t posted since Monday. The older I get, the faster the time just seems to whip right by. I have been busy in the interim, both working and playing. I’ve made significant progress on a couple of my knitting projects:

Thermal

I finished the body of my Thermal just this evening. It’s off to sleeve island for this project.

Pirate Hat

I also finished the main part of my pirate hat and have only a little bit of the lining left to go. I look for this one to be an FO before the weekend is done.

I’ve also been doing a bit of experimentation in a couple crafting arenas:

Fractal Handspun Project

I pre-drafted this roving and have begun spinning it. It was inspired by the article in the summer 2007 issue of Spin-Off on fractal stripe spinning. The article described splitting a single length of space dyed roving to create singles with color repeats of different lengths the were then plied together. The roving I wanted to use was skinny enough I didn’t think I could split it enough to get the effect described. Instead I divided the roving in equal halves. The ball at the top was dyed with long repeats, while the other half was dyed in much shorter lengths and split once.

Fractal Handspun Project

I have almost finished spinning the roving with the shorter repeats. I’m hoping once it is plied the very bright yellow will be toned down somewhat by the other colors. The colors are divided about evenly, but that one really dominates on the bobbin. This whole project is an out-on-a-limb experiment, and even if I wind up with clownish yarn, well, I figure it’ll look okay peeping out between blue jeans and tennies.

Soap Balls

Last night and again tonight, I made soap in Christmas scents (Christmas Pine last night, Hollyberry tonight) When I mentioned making soap for Christmas, a friend suggested I made soap balls. I’ve made soap balls before, but only when a batch of soap came out soft and refused to unmold easily into nice neat bars. I’ve never planned to make my soap into balls in advance.

So I thought, what do I need to do to make soap that can be turned into balls once the initial incubation is done? The soap needs to be soft enough that it can be shaped and manipulated without cracking or flaking, but solid enough to hold its shape when I’m done with it. The answer I came up with was to increase the water content. This worked like a charm. The soap was nice and pliable and bent to my wishes.

If you want to try this at home, I used my basic recipe (scroll down to the bottom), but increased the water to 16 oz. The next day, I cut the soap into bars and kneaded it and shaped it like play dough. Make sure you wear gloves for this, as the soap is still quite harsh at this stage. I don’t bother with gloves when I am just cutting bars, but this much contact with raw soap is rather bad for the skin. Then lay out the bars to cure as normal.

After just a few hours, they feel much drier and are firming up. They should be just about perfect in 3-4 weeks, just in time for gifts for co-workers and acquaintances. Tomorrow, the soap I made tonight will get the same treatment. And I might make another batch, not specifically holiday, but because the soaping bug seems to have bit hard lately.

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One Response to “Experimental Crafting”

  1. Donna said

    I thought for a minute you’d made rolls and it is soap balls instead of dough balls in the photo!

    Thermal is looking nice as is your spinning. Can’t wait to see the yarn.

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