Friday, February 26, 2010

FINALLY - my adventures with reclaimed wool!

So I had heard of people taking apart sweaters and reusing the yarn to make new things, and I also learned how to dye yarn at a workshop at the knit-a-thon a while back... I thought I'd combine the two projects into one superproject, and share it with you..
I started by buying an off white 100% wool sweater at Value Village (called Savers in some places) for  $4.00 at a 1/2 price sale in January.  Read a few articles on how to take the sweater apart, and then gave it a go.....  Here's the sweater:

Next, I hunted down all the stitched seams, and discombobulated the sweater - that is, took my stitch ripper to all the stitched seams until the sweater was in several parts - the front body, the back body, each sleeve opened and flattened, and the bottom cuffs (it took me a bit to figure out they were seperate pieces from the body.

Next, I took FOREVER to figure out which end the sweater knitting had finished at, and picked apart the bottom row with the stitch ripper, making a HUGE mess, but I couldn't figure out how else to get things loose.... I ripped the edge loops a stitch at a time until I got a loose end of yarn that would pull apart from the sweater and keep going.  Failing to have a fancy nick-nack to wrap the yarn on as I went, I just wrapped it around my knee - which gave me a good 15 minutes at a time where I had a perfectly good excuse to make my partner chase after the kids instead of me:  "I'm sorry, dear, I can't move right now, I'm tied up!"

luckily the little coloured yarns added to this sweater were just tied one end to the other and sewed into place - very easy to pull out... the cats quite liked them, but they were too short to be useful for anything else except the kids' craft bin....  

In the end I had 4 HUGE ball-type thingies of yarn that looked like this:
all from $4 worth of sweater, remember.
This yarn is all kinky at this point from having lived in knitted formation for so long.  I'm keeping one ball exactly this way to do some curly blonde hair on a doll or two, but each other ball is getting a different treatment.

To dye the wool, first I needed to rewrap my yarn into a hank (or a skein - different people call it different things) - basically a big loop of yarn.  Again, failing to have a fancy tool for this, I opted to wrap the yarn around my swivel office-chair back - after a few loops I could sit on the adjacent couch and just spin the chair round and round until the yarn was gone - this took a LONG time - each of those balls is over 200 YARDS of plied wool yarn!  Luckily B loved the ride  :)
Then I tied the hank in 4 or so places with some acrylic yarn - I wanted to be able to see the tied on pieces after I dyed the yarn, so I didn't want the ties to be able to be dyed - the acrylic wasn't dyeable...This gave me a neat, yet still kinky hank of yarn that looked much like this:
  Then, I wasted a HUGE lot of time trying different types of dyeing styles.  Here's one way I tried:  soaking the yarn in tubs of vinegar and food colouring.  I soaked them for 30 hours and very little dye took..... what ended up working goes as follows:
I used wilton concentrated food colouring paste.  That's them in the three little tubs in the foreground.  I mixed the dyes in the big tubs with vinegar and water ( I think about 1 Litre of vinegar to about 8 Litres of water, but I don't think I necessarily needed that much) until a scoop of the mixture in a clear glass looked something like what I wanted (in this case, purple and green):

Then I poured the mixtures into big pots, and cooked each side of my hank of yarn in a pot over low-medium heat until the dye absorbed into the yarn - it was cool, cuz the water/vinegar mixture ended up almost colourless in the end, with coloured dye in it...  I dyed purple at one end, green at the other, and after those had cooled, I did red in the middle: 
You can still see how the yarn is a bit kinky, and definitely unevenly stretched out.  To fix this, I hung the yarn to dry around a coat hanger in my laundry room and actually hung a 2 lb hand weight in the loop to stretch out the yarn as it dried!  In the end, I had a beautiful hank of hand-dyed 100% wool yarn.
However, it is impossible to actually create anything with a hank of yarn, so I rolled it into a centre pull ball (didn't know I could do that either) - Basically you grab one end in your fingers, and wrap an entire ball around the thumb of that hand - wrap around your thumb 20 or so times, give the yarn on your thumb a 20 or so degree turn, repeat, until all yarn is balled.  In the end, pull your thumb out of the ball, and the yarn end that you have in that hand is the centre pull yarn
This one huge ball of yarn has created a crocheted pair of sheepskin-soled booties and a matching ear flap hat for a small baby - and there's still TONS of it left.  And don't forget, there are still 3 other balls the same size that I haven't done anything with yet!   All for 4 bucks!  And another piece of preexisting material is saved from landfill and turned into more beautiful useable things with non-toxic materials that I already had in my home!  How much does THAT rock?!!
The booties and hat are available HERE for sale at my shop!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

ye ol' draw on facebook $25 gift certificate!

a while back (ok the beginning of january), I tried to get some tips and feedback from the all important public on how i was doing/what i was doing/etc etc...

So I started a draw, with the sad misnomer "contest",  to win a $25 gift certificate to spend at babazoobee .  
This draw is coming to a close Feb 28

5 days left to enter!

Leave some feedback AT THE BABAZOOBEE FACEBOOK FANPAGE somewhat related to something you've seen at my shop, or here on the blog, or on the babazoobee facebook fanpage.   doesn't matter if someone else has said it before, doesn't matter if you don't think it's relevent or what have you.  All info is good info as far as I'm concerned.

I'll draw a name at the end of the 28th of Feb and announce the winner here, on facebook, on twitter (oh yeah, you can find me there too), and at etsy  on the 1st of March!!

good luck!


Monday, February 22, 2010

new stuffs!!!

my fantastic partner C gave me saturday almost in its entirety free of children and responsibility - the result:  several finally completed projects, several new begun projects, several more postings on the shop AND some work on the reclaimed yarn project!

here's a peek at some of the new stuffs you'll find at babazoobee!

stripes and flower skirt size 9 - 18 months

lime and swirl footies size 0 to 6 months

more fun stuff coming soon!!!!! 

NEXT POST - reclaimed re-dyed sweater wool  - my adventure.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Artists of Kitchener Waterloo

Artists of Kitchener Waterloo

I had no idea this group existed!!! how exciting.. hopefully you'll see my products on there soon!!!
update on the reclaimed wool from a sweater coming soon....

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Home - EtsyKids A to Z Shopping Guide - Winter 2009 - All the best handmade stuff for babies, toddlers, & children!

Home - EtsyKids A to Z Shopping Guide - Spring 2010- All the best handmade stuff for babies, toddlers, & children!

Find me in the guide!!!!!

amazing play clay recipe!!! this one really feels like the store bought stuff...

great play clay recipe (from the everything book of toddler games)
1 cup cornstarch
2 cups baking soda
1 1/4 cup water
(I also added wilton food colouring concentrated paste)
mix together over medium heat stirring constantly until dough becomes consistency of mashed potatoes. Place on clean plate and cover with damp cloth until cool.
This stuff is awesome!!! hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

that there discount

i promised a discount code for the first 25 followers of this blog - if you haven't received your code and want one...message me or email and I'll make sure you get it!!!


Thursday, February 11, 2010

wishes and thanx

In my head....
today i was composing a list of wishes...  Things that's be nice.. Things many of us wish for.  Then I decided to counter that.  and composed a list of things I'm greatful for...

wanna hear?  (disclaimer - these thoughts are in no particular order...)

I wish I didn't have to clean the the laundry...clean the cat litter...I wish I were a few pounds lighter...I excercised more...played outside more...I wish my etsy shop sold a few more products in a a a year.... I wish we had more money...were better with our money...went on more vacations...went out to dinner more....I wish I had more self-confidence...I wish I was more patient with my kids... with my work... with my partner....I wish we didn't need to buy a new car....make that next mortgage payment...I wish my kids slept through the night...took themselves to the bathroom....I wish we spent more time with the grandparents...the aunts and uncles....the cousins...I wish I was a better listener...communicator....friend....I wish I enjoyed cooking more....housework more...spending less....I wish I didn't need glasses....I wish it weren't winter...that my daughter didn't have her umpteenth cold this year....I wish the house didn't need repairs....upgrades.....redecorating....I wish I played more board games...spent less time on the computer (!!)..less time on the phone....I wish I spent more time playing with my kids...petting the cats...looking at the stars...

I'm thankful that C is my partner in life...that D and B are such wonderful children...I'm thankful for the health of my partner and my children...and myself...I'm thankful that I have a nice house, with space for all...I'm thankful that I have a car....that I have the skills and interest to do my own household repairs and redecorations...I'm thankful for this time at home with my children...for a partner supportive of my interests and my craft....I'm thankful for amazing friends that are wonderful listeners...and communicators....thankful for a wonderful community...thankful that I live in a country and city that accepts my love for my partner and allows us to raise a family without question or prejudice...I'm thankful that my children are happy...have opportunities for growth and learning...I'm thankful for sledding and snow and winter sports....I'm thankful for my singing dreaming sleep...I'm thankful for new technology that allows me to find old friends....and old wisdom that allows me to care for new family...I'm thankful for the grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and the time we do have together...thankful for the money and belongings we do have....good food on the table...I'm thankful for time to pursue my own interests....i'm thankful for a life that allows me to wish for more in an off-hand sort of way, rather than a life-depends-on-it sort of way.

you know those simple meals....

I ate a good meal. 
Roast Beef, Ratatouille, and home made light wheat and cornmeal bread.....
You know, one of those "wow, so simple, so everyday, but I'm happy to be eating this" meals..
Sat down with my family, and enjoyed food that we cooked as a family.   happy moments.
Thank goodness for the crockpot and the breadmaker.   Cooking without thinking.  or work. really, the good part was the no work - especially with 2 young kidlets.  gotta love it! 

Here're a couple of extremely simple recipes that made our evening.  Maybe they'll make yours!

From Better Homes and Gardens Biggest Book of Slow Cooker Recipes volume 2  (a gift from a neighbour)

1 1/2 cups chopped onions
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 tbsp olive oil or cooking oil
1 tbsp sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp dried basil, crushed, or 1 tbsp snipped fresh basil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried thyme, crushed
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 medium tomatoes, peelied and coarsely chopped
2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 small eggplant, peeled and cubed (about 3 cups)

In a 3 1/2 or 4-quart slow cooker combine onions, tomato paste, olive oil, sugar, garlic, dried basil (if using), salt, thyme, and pepper.  Add tomatoes, zucchini, and eggplant.

Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 7 to 8 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.  Stir in fresh basil (if using).  Stir before serving.  Serve hot, cold, or at room temperature with bread slices.

light wheat and cornmeal bread
From Easy Bread Machine Baking by Shirley Ann Holmes

1.5 lb loaf (2 lb loaf in parentheses)

1 1/4 (1 1/2) cups water
1 (2) tbsp vegetable oil, margarine or butter
3/4 (1) tsp salt
3 tbsp (1/4 cup) brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 (2) cups white flour (in canada use all purpose or bread flour; in the US use bread flour)
1(1 1/3) cups whole-wheat flour
1/2(3/4) cup cornmeal
1 1/4(1 1/2) cup bread-machine or instant yeast

add all ingredients to machine according to manufacturer's directions.  select whole-wheat cycle or basic white cycle.

see - i told u it was no work.  yay technology.  (sometimes)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

wool and bamboo patchwork baby quilt by babazoobee on Etsy

okay - i've been working on this quilt for a long time. it has been a long time goal of mine to complete a quilt. Sadly, there's no way to even come close to recuping the cost of the "mom-hours" gone into making it. I think, at the price i'm selling it at, I may make about 75 cents per hour? It's all about the learning. And the enjoyment. I hope you all enjoy too.

wool and bamboo patchwork baby quilt by babazoobee on Etsy

GIVE A GIFT OF LOVEADOPT a NAVAJO CHURRO Sheep for by wildwoolfarm

how cool is this?!?!! i'm loving etsy for so many reasons... if i get a few people to see this post, i've done my duty to endangered species.. okay, not quite, but it's still a beautiful idea!

GIVE A GIFT OF LOVEADOPT a NAVAJO CHURRO Sheep for by wildwoolfarm

Friday, February 5, 2010

some new listings,some reluctant twittering, and trouble with contacts.

We'll start off by saying CRAP.  I think I'm starting to feel old.  I finally decided, after 6 years without, to go back to  wearing contact lenses.  Got my free trial pair from my optometrist, and figured, no sweat!  Not even interesting enough to consider posting here....EXCEPT - me ol' fuddy duddy self HATED them!  I didn't like what I looked like, didn't like what I felt like, and didn't like all the trouble to put them in.  Oh, and apparently I never blink anymore.   ACK!
So the fun of the day was going BACK to the local ivision store at the mall (I say back because we spent a very trying hour their this past sunday choosing out C's new glasses and chasing small children around), and I got me some new glasses.  YAY!  But when I think about them, though I love them and am excited to have them finished and on my face, I think - These are GRANNY GLASSES!!!  QO  !!!!  Okay, maybe not quite.  They're squareish and orangeish and have funky designs on their wide arms....   and they're a heck of a lot nicer than the huge red Sally Jessie Raphael glasses I wore back in elementary school (am I ageing myself just saying THAT?!)  Oh well... pic to follow - you can tell me what you think....

Okay, small midlife crisis over.

Now to the fun stuff.

I had my photographer friend H (also not interested in posting her name online at this point) take some pics of my newest items and posted them on etsy today.... gonna show off her pics, AND my products....I have a thing for stripes right now....the rainbow wool longies on the right are probably from my fave sweater, but I love the chain stitch on the racing stripe longies on the left, too.
The deep rich colours on these other stripey longies below are also UBER beautiful... Kinda reminds me of Fall.  I hope you enjoy!

Ooh ooh ooh - also, I almost forgot... I gots me a Twitter account.  Another way to make me feel old, out of touch, and ignorant to todays ways... and I'm only in my 30s!!!!!  I haven't a CLUE what to do with it.  But, here it is, if you wanna listen to me chirp, or tweet, or whatever you young 'uns call it... lol...
someone save me and find me there and teach me a thing or two.....

Oh - I've got a new product idea - glass baby bottle wraps - made of felted wool.  Keeps the bottles somewhat insulated, soft to touch, keepsem from clinking together, and pads them to protect them from breaking when they hit the floor!  Also, they'll easily absorb leaks, and will be antibacterial - not so stinky from the milk!.. What do u think?  Prototype pic coming soon.

have a good night all!  thanx for following!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

aah the slippers....

so today i discovered that i CAN crochet.  and that I DO like it.  Despite all my protests to the contrary...  At the OOTS knit a thon i decided, of course, to be different, and crocheted myself a pair of slippers, off of a sheepskin base.  I felted them and wore them wet all day today (YUCK)  but both D and I liked them so much that she made me make HER a pair too!  guess I'm hooked now (har har har.. bad pun)...

Here's what they look like.  They're SOOO comfy, and D wanted to wear hers to bed.   She also asked little B if she wanted a pair.. and in good B style, the baba answered "DAAAH!"  (she thinks she's russian - it means YES PLEASE!!!)  so now i'm making a pair for her...  guess i should probably make a few pairs for the store, but i'm having more fun making the upcycled wool ones.  Here's a sample of what one of my newest pairs will look like (this is just the toe, obviously)...  I also have an owl pair on the go.

Today's big adventure, aside from choir practice where my new slippers got their grand debut, and my soprano mate's new baby mattea showed off a pair of my longies and my pacifier clip, was Baba's 4th major attempt at learning to fly!  She took a grand header off of the window ledge that she can access by climbing up the back of the couch, and landed temple first on the coffee table.   Man do I feel like a horrible mommy.  She's fine, don't worry, and we're all stocked up on arnica, so the bruise should be minimal...but I'm sure I'll get some stares at her swimming tomorrow.....crazy child of mine.

Hey, do you want to see my oh-so-lovely work studio?  I promise I didn't design it.  It more just "happened".  Definitely won't make any design studio photo shoots for ETSY.  He he.  Note the very very necessary busy board on the back of my upscale work-chair  (purchased WITH sewing table for $10 at a garage sale this past summer, thank you very much...)  As well as the oh-so-artistically placed garbage can - and as an added bonus, the Baba hasn't figured out how to get in it to eat stuff out of it yet!
  Don't forget to notice the upscale security devices on the scissors drawer - babyproofing at it's finest!!!
I've started doing a bit more window shopping on etsy myself. and MAN should I stop. I want to buy so many things. Maybe my next post will just be all about the listings I love.  We'll see.  

Anyhow, over half an hour ago I promised C i'd come to bed, and I have to take B swimming tomorrow morning, SOOOOO - gnite all!