A Little Dyeing Experiment

This Easter I was in Belgium (see full post on our blog, and all the pics on our gallery). Since we have a big garden and room to work, it was the perfect time and place to dye the fabrics I had bought for making our medieval costumes.

We bought our dye and chemicals from Zijdelings, a workshop on textile design and mailorder service from the Netherlands (part of the site is English, but if you want to order, get ready to browse in Dutch). We got pre-reduced indigo, soda ash and thioureum dioxide. Fast service, and average prices – indigo is expensive, no matter what.

We did a pre-bath mixing 4 tablespoons of indigo, 4 tablespoons of soda ash, and 8 teaspoons of thioureum dioxide in 700 ml of tap water. Mix well and carefully(!), you don’t want to stain anything blue, like your fingers (I did *ahem* skin washed off in two days tho). Remember you are using chemicals, so be careful, work in a ventilated area, don’t touch the chemicals with your barehands etc etc etc . We let it rest a whole day in an airtight closed jar until it turned greenish.

The next day we filled our big bucket from Ikea with about 30 l. of (cold) tap water, and poured the pre-bath in. Mix carefully and let rest a bit. If you are careful and do not introduce much air in the bath, you’ll be able to dye right away. Else you have to wait until it turns greenish away. Now, put your fabric in and let it under the water (the fabric will have air bubbles and you have to push it down constantly) to catch the dye for some 5 to 10 minutes (I really didn’t time this process – the colours are totally non repeatable). Fish the fabric out, wring out well without splashing much using gloves, your hands will thank you ;p and extend your fabric so it gets aired and it turns blue. Keep dipping the fabric in the same fashion until the colour is slightly darker than desired (it will wash off a bit). With this bath and white linen fabric we got a pretty dark blue shade after three dips, that will be Jan’s tunic.

We did let the dyebath rest overnight, and used the nearly exhausted bath to dye the tan linen fabric as well. Two dips later we got a blue-greenish shade that I love and that will become my dress. Want pics? See here a couple:

Dark blue indigo dyed fabric on the drying line Light blue-greenish indigo dyed folded fabric

For the whole set, please visit the photo album in our gallery.


What Makes Me Happy!

When I first took up knitting, it was in my pre-internet era, so there were only magazines and help from my mother, who actually taught me to knit. I only made very easy things, since I didn’t have the resources to knit elaborated patterns.

Then the internet came into my life – that is, I got my own laptop, and I found that I could find more help and patterns and resources online. Happiness and bliss, there was a knitting life out there!

I started stalking personal blogs and specialized sites about knitting, and followed links around and about. I discovered new patterns, new techniques, and very helpful sites this way. I also found fiber related sites about fulling, diy tools, dyeing and spinning, and whatnot.

And so, I got the itches! I wanted to dye and I wanted to spin and I wanted to full… I wanted to try anything and everything fiber related. And thus we get to the present time: hereby I introduce you to my futute spinning wheel:

spinning wheel

This beauty is a Louët S15, made back in September 1982. It will come home (or more accurate, it will get to Jan’s place) in about ten days, together with Louët hand carders, an upright skein winder, and a spinning hook. We won this wheel off ebay this morning, around 4:45 am. But no, I didn’t stay up that late to bid on it, there is this little nice trick that … well you know ;) The fun thing is I had a dream where my non-existant wristwatch’s alarm went off and I was so excited about this exactly auction being finished then that I had to check. And then it’s when I woke up and went check that we actually won the auction.

I will have to wait until Easter break (for me, the week between the 8th and the 15th of April) when I will be going to visit over to Belgium and then I’ll be able to check this wheel out and get the groove spinning my first yarn! That will be fun :)

*Very Happy Sade*

A Week In Belgium

I flew over to Belgium last Saturday the 3rd and on landing there and after picking up my suitcase, Jan and I went to do some shopping at Ikea. We bought a small dining table, two chairs, a low table for in front of the couches, and some nice boxes for our ‘little’ living room. Then we had fun putting all the stuff together and decorating the room. For dinner we had mum2’s chilli sin carne and rice with the family.

On Sunday we woke up late and had brunch at home, and then idled before meeting up with Chris, Joke, their Benjamin, and Joke’s sister at the irish pub in Ghent. We had some drinks and ate something while chatting over different things and hiding Ben’s playing car. After that, we went home and rested a bit, and called our favourite chinese for a take-away dinner, and passed by Jan’s sis’ to pick up chopsticks for eating our meal. We enjoyed duck with veggies, thing noodles with chicken, and fried rice, with some white wine and while watching some Red Dwarf (season VII).

Monday was time for more Ikea shopping (we had to exchange a book-case, wrong colour!) and bought some more boxes and the book cases, and dishes (only for two) and munchies (chocolate, vanilla cookies and marzipan). We put together all the stuff and had pizza dinner (with extra cheese). And more Red Dwarf *giggle*

Tuesday we went to Brugge for seeing the Ice Palace, a show of ice sculptures that was very cold and nice. There was even a bar to have drinks while seating on cold skins, and a barista with a frozen ass (his hands were kept warm thanks to the thermo filled with hot cocoa). We saw the Christmas (food and drink) Market and bought some chocolate from our favourite shop. And ate a real Brussels Waffle too (suikerwafel) warm, big and mjummy! After getting back home, we called the vegetarian restaurant Panda for booking a table, and had to rush down to Ghent again cause they close earlier that we thought. They had a fix menu (at a very affordable price) with orange lentil soup, a dish of seitan with various veggies and rice, and dessert (choco cake for the chocoholic, yogurt with fresh fruit for Jan).

On Wednesday, Chris was supposed to be at ‘our’ place around 10 for driving to Maasmechelen Village and meeting Dave there. He only got here one hour later though (bad Chris!). Once at Maasmechelen, we took a quick walk around the shops (nothing interesting *pout*) and drove off to Maastricht to eat there, take a walk around the (again food & drinks) Christmas Market and do some shopping at Media Markt. After that we dropped Dave at his place, and drove back home – don’t ask me how was the drive, cause I fell asleep pretty soon after leaving David and only woke up when we got to Brussels, and then fell asleep again! We showed Chris our living room before he left and prepared some veggie lasagna for dinner.

Thursday shopping after brunch! We went to a family run clothes shop (SKM) that was hideously expensive, and after 15 minutes or so we drove off scared to death. We stopped by Ghent and bought a pair of jeans at H&M and a laptop backpack at Fnacs. SKM was so depressing I really needed retail therapy! We went to have dinner at K.Roes.L, a nice restaurant that serves giant pancakes and oversized salads at a nice price, and then we headed off to the cinema to watch Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Since we got there too early, we played some free videogames (Soulkalibur III I think it was, on the PS II). I kick ass! (literally) The movie was great, go see it if you haven’t yet :-)

On Friday we went to Brussels to see an exhibition about Asterix. And then drove to Grote Markt to see the huge Christmas Market there. It is spread over several streets and squares in Brussels, with a couple of hundreds of chalets that sell different things, including food and drinks, and with nice carrousels with old looking mechanical parts. I bought some glass figurines (christmas decoration) and before heading home we had pankaces and hot cocoa at a pub. Mum2 had prepared a vegetarian rice for dinner that we had with lots of soy sauce. Afterwards, we prepared some salty microwave popcorn, chilled white wine (and cookies and chocolate) and watched more Red Dwarf season VI before heading to bed.

Saturday the 10th was the come back day. We had quiet breakfast and packed, talked a while with mum2 and relaxed a bit before going to the airport and taking the plane back home. It was a quiet flight, except for my headache – caused by me hitting my nose the previous night. And then I am back home and missing Jan so much…

And I’m Back

So I went to Belgium :-) And it was really fun. The flight to Brussels was a little pain in the ass. Since 2nd and 3rd of may were holidays in Madrid, seems all the people here wanted to fly outta here. So the airport was full and we had some delays first thanks to some people that didn’t pay attention to the arriving two hours prior to departure time, and they got stuck in the police check and then didn’t get on time to the gate. And then the control changed our take off lane, so we had to wait more, since they put us at the end of the queue. After the flight (I wanna kill kids, honest… well and parents that don’t teach them how to behave). That night we went to have dinner to a chinese restaurant. Very good food. But we came across some people we weren’t expecting to find there (or anywhere). But it was okay :-)

Saturday we woke up early-ish cause we were going to The Efteling! We spent the whole day there :-) taking a ride in (almost) every attraction: rollercoasters and bobsleight and even the boats. Really really fun :-) Then we headed to our hotel in Den Bosch (I’ll skip thewhole name of the town, too complicated for this little girl), Moevenpick Den Bosch. We had dinner in a very good vegetarian restaurant, called Samtosa. We had a mjummy crep with courgette and mushroom and cinammon oil! And then a thai fondue (cheese fondue with spices and veggies and bread to dip in), and tiramisu and tea. All verry good. And a looooong sleep night.

We actually didn’t hear the room service knocking on the door with our breakfast ready! So after a very hearty breakfast, we headed back home. It was too early, so we stopped by a kind of zoo, called Plankendael where we spend the whole afternoon. Luckily i had taken along my sunscreen, cause it was HOT and SUNNY! The poor animals were all taking a nap and ignoring most of the people. Very peaceful. The evening at home was nice. Played some with the computer and had icecream! They still have a guy that sells icecream cones door-to-door *sob* I wanna… We had dinner at home: left over cauliflour with cheese sauce, boiled potatoes, and quorn burguers (that omg I cooked). And watched Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, a very good movie :-) very fun.

Monday morning we spent the time looking for colours to paint a room. Djeezs, we’re doing normal couple things again :p *panic*. We decided for bourdeaux and a very light yellowish for the walls… And we chose another colour for the ceiling that didn’t turn out that well, so we have to change. I cooked lunch: quick pasta dish with orange, apple, tomato and carrot ;p sounds weird, but it’s tasty. We spent the evening playing a bit with the computer again, and deciding where we’d have dinner. Another chinese, called China Garden. We had china garden soup, mini chinese loumpias (*ahem* “mini”… they’re the size normal loumpias are in Spain). And duck in prunes sauce, icecream (we want traditional chinese desserts!) and Jasmine tea. We had rented Shark Tale to watch after dinner, but I fell asleep half through it (again…).

Tuesday was leaving day again… Waking up, packing, eating something, heading to the airport… It’s so hard to leave once more… The plane had technical problems… the light for the landing gear didn’t work, so we had to change planes, and that was another hour delay… and getting home…


Belgium Is Not Rid Of Me!

I will be going again to Belgium from the 29th of April till the 3rd of May. We’re planning to behave as kids (again) and go to The Efteling, a theme park in The Netherlands. So far is an option, we have nothing sure yet. I guess we will be making more use of the Belgium guide we bought during easter :-) it was a good buy :D

So, hide everybody! I’m going there again! :-)


27th.. Quiet day…

Today we’ve had a quiet day, with lunch with the family (too soonish tho, around 12.30) – french fries with quorn-burgers and provencal-sauce, then went off with my sister-in-law and mum to Arboral (green-stuff-shop) to look for some plants and pots my sister-in-law wanted

Afterwards drove off to put those things at her new place, and we got a show of the house too. It still needs plenty of work tho, before it’s finished.

We spent some time at home, checking mail, burning CD’s, went for a little walk in the garden to feed the neighbour horsies (Willem and his friend)

In the eve we went to pickup The Stephord Wives from the local videostore and watched that together with some sweet popcorn… (Weird people these belgians, they have sweet popcorn as a rule, and no salty one…)

Belgium, here I go!

Next time I’ll be doing Belgium (yay!) is for easter season (Hide your easter eggs! if they’re chocolate, that is). So I’ll be in that little cute country from the 19th of March (around 14.30 – 15) and till the 29th of March (leaving at 14.45 *sob*).