Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Holiday Happenings

Ok, so I haven't blogged in a while again, but it's not like there wasn't other places to play while I wasn't entertaining you.
Since my last post, I very prayerfully considered some options, talked to friends to get their feedback, and then talked to Devildog. I decided to become an independent Thirty-One Gifts consultant. I approached it with a completely different manner than I did my last venture that ended badly. I made choices along the way that contributed to that end, and it was my fault for not cutting my losses sooner. I simply hooked up with bad leadership. I knew the other side of the problem, but hadn't owned up to my share of it. I know this now, after having read Dave Ramsey's book, EntreLeadership. I checked it out from the library, but one of my purchases will be a copy to keep around the house. At the time of this post, it's on his website for $10 as part of a Christmas sale. WELL WORTH that price and then some. I'm moving down my list of books faster than I can knit anything. And I can't read & knit or watch tv & knit, so knitting is hosed at the moment.

Thanksgiving was its usual, but smaller scale. Then Black Friday, I did no shopping, except to drive to the Publix a mile from the house, and buy a 10 pack of Ivory soap and a 3 pack of store brand soap. The latter for the Devildog, the former was for a project to keep the kids busy if they wanted to do the project. Prior to Thanksgiving, I'd stopped at my local yarn shop and bought some roving (too much roving to be honest). Roving is unspun-into-yarn wool.

So, what can one possibly do with soap and roving?

One would make felted soap.

Why would anyone do that?

It occupies kids inexpensively, and makes neat little gifts. And the felted soap is kind of like a washcloth/soap combo. This was a take-home project we did one night at the yarn shop a couple years ago, and I've always thought it was kinda cool.

Assembled are the roving, knee-high stockings, bar soap (your choice of brand), and random animal fiber yarns.

 I cut the bars of soap in half to accommodate the little hands that would be doing this project. It's not required to do this.

 Dunk the soap in warm water so the roving fibers stick to it.

Pull small bits of the roving off the pile and lay it over and around the soap till you get it covered.

Then, cut varying lengths of the other yarns to add to it. 

I untwisted the plies of yarn and laid the segments around the roving. You can leave the yarn strands intact if you decide to do that.

This is what you'll have at this point. It looks like you dropped a half-eaten piece of candy on the floor of a shearing station.

Here's a tricky spot. Bunch up the knee-high stocking like you're going to stick your toes into the closed end of it. You'll need to make sure any seams are on he outside, and that you gather the roving-covered soap into the finished end of the sock, otherwise the roving will felt to the seam.
 Ask me how I know this last fact.

Then you dunk it into the very warm water (as warm as you can tolerate) and start scrubbing, just like you would when you're washing your hands.
 This takes a few minutes, and I don't mean 2. It could be as fast as 3-5 or as long as 10. A lot depends on the fiber, some depends on the amount of agitation you put into it, some of it depends on the temperature of the water. A shift in temperature from hot to cold, or cold to hot can aid your felting, and of course any amount of agitation will too. I used a combination of all three. I alternated between one bowl of hot water, one bowl of cold water, and lots of agitation.

After your several minutes of scrubbing and dunking in hot/cold water, it'll start looking like this:

When you take it out of the stocking, set it somewhere to dry unless you really just want to throw the kids in the tub with it to get them out of your unsunny place. You can put it in front of a fan, in the sun, or even in front of the fridge exhaust (I do that with wet shoes) to dry the felt. Drying time depends on the environment it's in, and how thick the felted fiber is.
The day I did this with the 2 youngest, my kitchen floor was soaked at the sink so I kept a floor-worthy towel there to catch the drips my 3 year old caused. I then used that wet towel to quick mop my floor. By two days later, you couldn't tell it was "cleaned", but I also lack photographic evidence to prove that it ever was something less than grungy.

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