Thrifty Thursday


001It’s that time of year. Grocery stores have flour and sugar at a significant discount to get you in the store to buy all your other holiday items. So I bought 45 pounds of flour and 20 pounds of white sugar. I saved $24 off the usual price for these items due to the sale. And lest you think who the heck can use that much flour, let me assure you that this will last maybe 6 months before I run out. I keep it in a 30 gallon bin in my cellar.

I also stocked up on nuts, brown sugar, and oil at Costco. I have never seen the chopped walnuts at Costco before, I usually buy the regular and chop them myself, I decided to try these. They taste fresh, don’t cost more than the regular walnuts and are labor saving, so I’m glad I bought them. I should probably go back and buy more in case they are only a holiday item. I use lots of nuts in my quick breads.

Although i don’t cook Thanksgiving dinner, I do always take advantage of the turkey sales. I already bought one 22 lb turkey to keep in the freezer for a future family meal. At 59 cents a pound who can resist? You only have to spend $25 to get that price, and that only takes about two seconds in any grocery store right?

Happy Thanksgiving!

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New England Fiber Fest

Thought you might like to see my  purchases from the New England Fiber Fest.


My first purchase was a bag to carry my loot in.  I of course had bags in my car. I am big on reusing bags, plus I really prefer to lug around something easier to carry than a crappy plastic bag.  Problem is I had forgotten to take a bag out of my car before I went in.  It was damn cold and rainy, so I chose not to go back for the bag.   Angie says I needed to support the cause anyways…so I purchased my hundredth reuseable shopping bag.

I of course visited Pollywogs for some discount Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Bulky for Wool-Aid knitting.  I bought 7 hanks in French Lilac and Jaded Dreams and 2 in Blue Flannel.  I thought this was exceedingly restrained of me!  The blue I plan to use to stretch out some of the many LPB colored scraps I have into striped hats.  The other two colors are sweaters, some assembly  required.  Thanks to Carolyn for helping me select the colors, and finding enough hanks for a sweater.

The little Dr Who project bag is from   Stitched by Jessalu

Every year I greatly admire her bags.  She has some awesome fabric and her bags are so well sewn.  Sadly the bag is not for me.  I am not a Dr Who fan yet.  It is a gift.

We stopped at Lynette’s favorite booth, Hundred Ravens.  Such beautiful colors!  I am not one to be hoarding the mini, but I absolutely couldn’t resist the fingering weight Rainbow set.  The colors are incredible!  003

Next up, the DBNY booth purchases.  I bought 2 hanks of Cherry Tree Hill Supersock solid in a really pretty red.  My plan for this is Wavebird, a really pretty shawl designed by Christiane Burkhard of Lismi Knits.  I bought the pattern last year at the fiber fest from her.  So pattern 2013, yarn 2014, guess that means I have to knit it in 2015 right?  Christiane is a lovely lady, hope you get to meet her some day!  This is her site

Also at DBNY I bought Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in Green Mountain Madness.  004

The picture doesn’t do the colors justice. So pretty!  This is also not for me…

That’s it for yarn purchases but I also bought some goat soap and lip balm from Flat Brook Farm, and some Honey Almond hand cream from The Rose Field.

I can’t wait for next year, it’s such a fun day!

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How to dye yarn with Kool-Aid Lesson Two A tutorial

Your yarn is ready right?  All soaked through, shouldn’t be any dry spots.


The next step is to heat some water.  For this skein ( which was only 50 gms of wool) I just filled my tea kettle and heated it to just below a boil.  If it boils that’s OK, you can just let it cool off a bit before you use it.  I then poured the water into a large bowl, very carefully!  Then I sprinkled 2 packets of Kool-Aid Watermelon Cherry into the bowl.


Super secret insider  Kool-Aid tip, the color of the liquid in the glass on the packet is the color of the drink, not the color of the Kool-Aid guy.


Stand back a little bit as it fizzles just a little and you don’t want to get splashed.  You also don’t want to inhale a bunch of Kool-Aid.   Stir gently.  It is very helpful to have a white plastic spoon.  You can then see the true color of the solution.



Now take your yarn out of the sink and squeeze out some water.  I just get it so it is not dripping.  It is amazing how much water wool will hold!  Then dunk the wool into the dye bath.  I try to get it all in quickly as it takes  up the dye rapidly.   Then I GENTLY swirl it a bit with the spoon.  Remember, temperate change plus agitation equals felting.   Now just let it sit.


While the yarn is absorbing the dye, admire my lovely vintage linen tea towel  from Barbados.  It has several rum cocktail recipes on it.  And…it’s made in Ireland!  LOL.  This was another thrift store find.  Consider this my thrifty Thursday post for the week since I missed it.  I think I bought it at Savers for around $1.50.

After a few minutes…yes that quickly, you can actually watch it happen, the dye will be absorbed into the wool and it will leave behind a cloudy fluid.  It should look like this.


Again, the white plastic spoon is helpful because  you can see that there is no dye left in the liquid.

The color of the wool is darker when it is wet.  If you think it is too light now, it will surely be too light  when it is dry.  The color you get is determined by the amount of dye, not the amount of water.  Again, I use about 3-4 packets for 100 grams of wool.

Now you can either let the yarn sit in the water until it cools off, which is what I usually do, or you can use the spoon to carefully lift the yarn out and set it to drain and cool in the sink.  You do not want to rinse it or handle it too much at this stage.    Once the yarn is cool I rinse it and set it out to dry.  Hopefully if you did a good job in tying the skein your yarn is not too tangled.

After it’s dry, twist into a pretty skein and admire!  The yarn has not become a project yet.  I was thinking it would make a pretty baby hat.

003 - Copy

Seriously, pretty simple right?  The work is all in getting the yarn ready.



You can reuse the water to soak your next skein if you are the thrifty sort.

More on Kool-Aid dying in further posts.

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Saying goodbye to Percy Jackson

PercyThe Blood Of Olympus  comes out October 7th.  This is the last Percy Jackson book.   I’m both eager to read it and very sad at the same time.  Just like when Deathly Hallows was released.  Still, Rick Riordan is starting another series, so I have that to look forward to.

And I still haven’t read all of Joseph Delaney’s Last Apprentice series, maybe that will be my next read after Olympus.

And in another genre all together, Golden Angel just released her last book in the Domestic Disciple quartet.  That was a fun and smoking hot read.  And after four books Edwin finally professed his love to Eleanor.  Finally!  I was getting really annoyed it took so long for that to happen!   Lynda Chance also released her second House of Rule book, Rule’s Property.  I enjoy her books, but I didn’t feel this book was as good as the first in the series.  My favorite book of her’s is Pursuit.  Very alpha male! That Logan, Swoon!  LOL.

Next post will be lesson two in yarn dyeing.


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And the winner is…..

Without further ado………the winner of the yarn chicken tote bag is klcknits of Ravelry,  a Karen too!  I’ll be shipping this bag off to California early next week.  I’m sure it will be happy in it’s home.  Maybe if it’s lucky it will get to hold some of Karen’s beautiful Mother Bear projects, along with her Wool-Aid knitting.

How did I choose the winner?  I used a random number generator I found on Google.



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Thrifty Thursday, The Big E

So this week I’ll tell you how the Big E, also known as the Eastern States Exposition was a thrifty event for me.  It’s a large fair, this year 1,498,605 people attended!  Holy traffic nightmare right?  My sister and I went on a Tuesday afternoon, so it wasn’t too bad.  I haven’t been on a weekend in many years.

I entered my knitting.  It cost $5 to enter one item.  So entry fee for me was $15.00.  I received free parking for one day ( $10.00 value) and two free entry tickets ($30 value).  I spent around $40.00 for lobster rolls and drinks.  Then I received $57.00 prize money for my knitting.  So I spent $55  and received back $57 and a free visit for two ($40.00 worth) to the fair!  Pretty thrifty right?

I’m already thinking about what I could enter next year.  I’ve been toying with the idea of a guernsey type sweater knit in a bulky weight  yarn designed for Wool-Aid.  Plain bottom, lots of textured stitches on top….


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Prize Winning Knitting

I entered some of my knitting at the Eastern States Exposition this year.

Imagine my delight when I received two first prizes and one second prize!  One of the first prizes was for my Fisherlad Guernsey.  You’ve seen it before.  This was the sweater I knit through my dad’s heart surgery hospitalization.  Here it is modeled by my niece .



And here it is at the Big E.


My critique says it needs blocking.  I did block it, but I guess I didn’t do it well enough?  Some one else entered the exact same sweater in green.  They got a second place.  A fact my father called to tell me the first day of the Big E…LOL.

Next first prize was for my Hogsmeade Hat!  That really made me smile.  Honestly I have no idea why it won first prize because it is so simple.  But I did enter it in the category of self designed knits so maybe there wasn’t much competition?  My critique said that it needed washing to soften it.  Well, it’s not merino or cashmere, it’s Lamb’s Pride people!  It’s as soft as it’s going to get.  What would they say if I entered a hat knit in Bartletts?  Speaking of Bartlett’s, they had a booth in the Maine building.   This is the Hogsmeade I entered.  I had twelve that I knit to choose from.


I don’t have a picture of it at the fair.  They had put the hats in a glass case all scrunched up.  It looked terrible in there.

Lastly, my Guernsey wrap won a second place.  It took me three years to knit this!  Pathetic.  I just kept putting it aside.  It is designed by Jared Flood and is knit in Shelter.  That was the called for yarn, which I rarely use.  I added about a foot in length as it is for me and I am “traditionally built” as Mma Rmaotswe says.  Love those books!   I love the color of the yarn.  There’s no picture of this at the Big E either.  Why?  I couldn’t find it.  I knew it was there because my parents told me they saw it there, but honestly once we had gone through the whole building and didn’t see it,  I didn’t care enough to go look through it all again to find it.  It was time for Lobster rolls!  Do I have a picture of the Lobster rolls?  No, bad blogger!  But Carolyn is an good blogger and has not one but two different posts with Big E food.  Go check it out.  You can also see her prize winning knitting!

Here it is in progress.  This picture shows the texture well.

guernsey wrap

And here it is during the blocking process.  Thanks for the loan of the blocking wires Angie!  065


What did my critique say?  Exactly what I knew it would say,  that the “edging” needed better blocking.  But there was no way I was blocking it again before I entered it.  Would I have won first pace if I had?  Guess I’ll never know.




And last picture, this pumpkin lifeguard was at the Big E.  This picture is for Ashley, my favorite lifeguard!


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How to dye yarn with Kool-Aid, lesson one. A tutorial

Let me just first say I am an amateur dyer.  This is what I do.

First you have to buy your Kool-Aid.   You need the kind that comes in packets without any sugar or artificial sweetener.  Store brand is fine.  Around here a packet costs around 20 cents, 10 cents or so for the store brand.  For this yarn I chose 2 packets of Watermelon Cherry.


How much do you need?  It depends on what color you choose, the color depth you want and how much yarn you are planning to dye.  I generally use 3 to 4 packets per 100 grams wool.   Certain colors don’t give as much color per packet as others.  I find the orange, lime, grape and berry blue to be the strongest colors.

Now, your yarn.  You need wool or another natural fiber like alpaca.  What percentage wool?  I’ve dyed as low as about 60% wool with 40% man made fiber ( don’t remember if it was acrylic , nylon or whatever) and it still took the color.  This will NOT work with cotton.

For this project I chose a lonely single 50 gram skein of Regia 4-Fach Haltbar, 8 Fadig.  I googled fadig, supposedly it means threadlike.  Ravelry lists this yarn as a worsted weight.  I bought it at a thrift store long ago, I think I paid a dollar.    It’s color was sort of a cross between a pale oatmeal and gray.


You need to get your yarn ready to dye.  There are people who dye yarn as is in skeins like this, I have never tried it.

Not Yet…..

I transfer the yarn from the skein to my swift.  This is my least favorite part of the process.  I often wish I had a motorized swift for this part.

002 (2)

Then tie the two yarn ends together in a knot.


Next you need to tie your yarn so that it does not end up in one huge knot after the dye process.  I use a figure eight tie.  You need to tie it loosely so that the dye can get under the tied area.  If you tie it too tightly there will be areas that have no dye, or less dye.  For the ties I use scrap yarn.  this is acrylic, but you can use wool.  I actually  find it helpful to use acrylic, it will not dye and I can easily see where my ties are later if they don’t blend in with the rest of the yarn.



Because this is only 50 grams of yarn I only used 4 ties.  More yarn =more tangles in my experience.  If it were 100 grams I would use 6 or 8 ties.

My swift is from Oregon Woodworkers.  I love it. It has served me well for several years now.  It does disassemble but I basically leave it set up all the time in my  office/craft room.  The rug gripper strips keeps it from dancing around on the table ( sometimes I get it going pretty fast).  I keep saying I’m going to buy some of those rubber dots for the bottom but never remember to.

Now you’d think your yarn is ready for dying, but it’s not.  You need to soak it in water for about an hour.  If you don’t the dye will not penetrate fully into your fiber.  How much water?  Doesn’t matter as long as your yarn gets fully wet.  You can add Synthrapol if you have some, but even though I have some, I rarely use it  for Kool-Aid.  I had bought it when I was dyeing wool fabric for rug hooking.   Some day I’ll do an experiment with two batches to see if it makes a difference with Kool-Aid dye.

What’s Synthrapol?


Your yarn is ready to dye.  The next part is more fun.

Stay tuned for the next lesson.

And don’t forget, you have a couple more days to knit a Hogsmeade hat and enter in the drawing for the awesome yarn chicken bag!

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Thrifty Thursday Late again

I like to dye yarn.  It’s fun, if a little messy.  I use food safe dyes so I can use all my regular kitchen equipment and not have to have separate dyeing equipment.  I prefer to use Wilton’s Icing Color’s but also like to use Kool-Aid.  My first yarn  dyeing attempt was with Kool-Aid years ago.  So what does this have to do with Thrifty Thursday?  Guess what was on sale at my local grocery store?  Generic Kool-Aid for 8/50 cents!  Way cheap.  I couldn’t resist.



Watch for an upcoming series  posts on how to dye yarn  with Kool-Aid.

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Which way to Hogwarts?

I am so lucky, I have a new garden sign to direct me!  This was a birthday present from my very talented niece.  I love it!

006As you can see the black eyed susan’s are going crazy!



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