Life's Little Details: Knitting, Sewing, Green Living, Frugal Living and Cooking In A Little Corner of Southern French Countryside.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Do You Hear the Snickering?

No? I sure do. It's the baking gods. They read my recent blog entry where I stated that I can pretty much make any bread without much difficulty. They must have seen that as a bit cocky of me and decided to punish.

(Read on down for knitting/dyeing content)

For those of you who have never made bread before, you are probably at least aware that the bread needs to rise before being baked. What you may not know is that it's possible for bread to over-rise. This is not desirable, in case you couldn't tell (the word "over" being your first really big clue).

So, I slipped today's bread into the oven to rise a bit while I took a little nap with the lambchops (such is the leisurely pace of my life in the French countryside). Then, I woke and had a little snack of freshly-baked banana bread and some yummy, organic apple juice. After that, I decided to take a little stroll through knitblogland. Tralala... then it hits me. The bread! I hop up and trip over a few scattered objects on my way to the oven. Fling open the door and what do I see? Well, let's just say the scene was gruesome...

There were bits of bread dough all over the floor of the oven. The whole thing resembled some sort of splatter pattern from the scene of a bombing (luckily for me, I wouldn't know first-hand, but I've seen plenty of action films, so I KNOW.). So, what do I do? I mean, I can hear the baking gods giggling while they point their doughy fingers at me. I can't let them get the best of me like this, so I scoop up the bread pan and pack it back down slightly. Then, I grab the bits of dough-splatter from the oven floor.

This is when I notice that they have done a nice job of cleaning some of the char that has recently taken up residence there. So, with a swipe or two with the dough gobs, the oven was cleaned. Ha! That'll show the baking gods to mess with the likes of me!

Okay, now on to the knitting content that so many of you at least three of you come here for. Remember I mentioned my plan to dye some yarn last night? Well, luckily, the knitting/dyeing gods were smiling on me (and not the evil, snickering kind, either). The experiment went really well, and I pretty much got the exact colors I was hoping for. This being an exact science and all, I can tell you exactly how I did it. You ready to take notes? Got your pen and paper? Good. Here we go.

1. After presoaking yarn in vinegar-water, mix food-coloring dyes in water until you acheive a deep muddy brown color (for brown, I threw in lots of red and green, plus some yellow and a drop of blue). Just toss the colors in however you "feel" it.

2. Throw your yarn in, and heat the mixture to almost boiling.

3. From time to time, lift yarn out of water with spoon to see if you like the color yet.

4. When desired color is acheived, drain water off and add clean hot water to rinse (don't let the running water actually hit the yarn - and don't shock the stuff with cold).

5. Keep rinsing in this fashion from time to time till water comes out clean.

I did this with all three of these yarns and got pretty much exactly what I was hoping for with all of them (except the brown has two different color variegations in it, but I can live with that).

A little info on the yarns and the dye:

Brown and Dark Pink: Knit Picks knit your own sock yarn.

Light Pink: that cheapo Anny Blatt angora that had the slight yellowy tint I wanted to try dyeing (Yay! It worked and didn't even felt like I was told it might).

The dye: I've tried Kool Aid twice now, and though I like the colors, they're a bit day-glo to me. They can be fun, but I wanted something more traditional and non-florescent for these colors. So, I used the good quality paste cake-decoratoring food coloring you can get at craft stores. I'm so happy with the result. They really come out with quality colors. So, if you're looking for something a little more traditional but still safe for kitchen/kid use, try these. I got mine at Michael's.

Oh, and a little hint: a little goes a long way with these.

And, does anyone else agree with me that the darker pink goes really well with the brown. I'm wanting to make some fair isle gloves with that stuff. We'll see if that works out, but I really like those colors together (I saw someone making some socks in those colors a while back). My husband thinks I'm nuts to like them together, though - but what does he know???

And, the light pink will be a charity scarf, I think.