Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Hot Process Soap!

 Well, my artistic focus has once again changed. I'm over my knitting obsession. So much so that I have unfinished projects sitting in the bag in the corner of the room. Maybe I'll go back to them someday. On to my newest obsession: Hot Process Soap Making! I have always loved J.R.LIGGETT'S Natural Bar Shampoo and I've been wanting to make my own for quite a while now.  After studying videos on You Tube and reading forums and groups I finally took the plunge.It took me a while of saving up and purchasing supplies little by little in order to make my first batch.
Days before I was ready to work, I boiled some distilled water and added several green tea with jasmine tea bags and let it steep for about 10 minutes.  Then, after removing the bags, I boiled it down a little to concentrate the tea. (to about three-quarters of what it was) Then I stored it in the refrigerator until I was ready to use it.

I was a little nervous working with the sodium hydroxide with the tea at first.  When I went to mix it, wouldn't you know I chose a container with a crack in the bottom! Luckily, I had another close at hand and I only had a small puddle to clean up. Phew! First hurdle overcome!

After weighing out my oils and setting the crock-pot to high to melt the solids, my next harrowing moment was adding the lye to the oils.  Piece of cake! I'm very proud of myself for not splashing and making more of a mess.  I stirred and blended with a stick blender.  The soap came to a trace really fast within two or three minutes.  I was surprised at that since most sites I've read say that trace can take 15 minutes to reach.

Now, I turned the crock-pot onto low and set the timer for 30 minutes. I stirred the mix every 30 minutes for 2 hours and it did it's thing perfectly and turned to a vaseline consistency. Next, I weighed out and added my Moroccan Argan Oil and Tea Tree Oil, stirred well and molded. The smell was overpowering! I do believe I used way too much tea tree oil.  When doing hot process, I read that you use a lot less essential oils than in cold process.  Next time, I'm going to cut the scent down to about a quarter of what I put in this batch.  Our room was permeated with the scent for days!

The mold I used was a drawer organizer I found at Dollar Tree for 2 for $1.  It's the perfect size for guest soaps. After waiting 24 hours, I unmolded and cut the bars into 1 1/4 inch thickness.  Beautiful. I set them up on the shelf to cure for 2 weeks before I start gifting this batch.  The next soap I make, I'll consider putting up on Etsy.

Here's my recipe adapted from The Soap Queen's recipe:

TEA TREE AND ARGAN OIL SHAMPOO BARS
  • 10 oz. Coconut Oil
  • 10 oz. Palm Oil
  • 8 oz. Caster Oil
  • 8 oz. Olive Oil
  • 13.68 oz. Distilled Water infused with Green Tea and Jasmine
  • 5.36 oz. Sodium Hydroxide
  • .5 oz. Tea Tree Oil
  • 1 oz. Moroccan Argan Oil
  • 15 drops of Euphoria essential oil.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Love This Yarn!

This is Sensations - It's A Wrap yarn.  I am loving this stuff.  It's color-wrapped plies with a touch of wool.  It's a #5 bulky yarn that is so very soft and luxurious.  I am making a Christmas gift with it right now and I'm totally addicted to the way this yarn is just so cuddly in my hands!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

FREE PATTERN! Basketweave Baby Blanket

_BASKET WEAVE BABY BLANKET_

Finished size -
8 Skeins of Caron Simply Soft WW yarn (I'm half-way done and I've used 4 skeins so I'm estimating a total of 8)
Size 6 knitting needles 30" if using circular
Gauge - 32 rows/32 sts = 4" in garter stitch.
Yarn needle

Cast on 144 stitches using cable cast on.
IMPORTANT! Slip all first stitches as if to knit on every row.
Rows 1-16 K.  You should have 8 ridges of garter stitch.
Begin pattern as follows:
Row 17 - K across.
Row 18 - K7 (*K6, P4 ) repeat from * across to last 7 stitches. K7.
Row 19 - K7 (*K4, P6) repeat from * across to last 7 stitches. K7.
Row 20 - K7 (*K6, P4) repeat from * across to last 7 stitches. K7.
Row 21 - K7 (*K4, P6) repeat from * across to last 7 stitches. K7.
Row 22 - K7 (*K6, P4) repeat from * across to last 7 stitches. K7.
Row 23 - K across.
Row 24 - K7 (*P4, K6) repeat from * across to last 7 stitches. K7.
Row 25 - K7 (*P6, K4) repeat from * across to last 7 stitches. K7.
Row 26 - K7 (*P4, K6) repeat from * across to last 7 stitches. K7.
Row 27 - K7 (*P6, K4) repeat from * across to last 7 stitches. K7.
Row 28 - K7 (*P4, K6) repeat from * across to last 7 stitches. K7.
Repeat pattern rows for a total of 18 repeats. (216 rows total)
K last 16 rows in garter stitch to create 8 ridges.
Bind off. Weave in ends.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

FREE PATTERN: Mickey's Market Bag!

ERRATA: Rnd 1: pm, k1, m2, k to last 2 sts of 1st side, m2, k1, pm. Repeat on second half. Rnd 2: k around Rnd 3: k2, m2, k to last 3 sts of 1st side, m2, k2. Repeat on second half. Rnd 4: k around Rnd 5: k3, m2, k to last 4 sts of 1st side, m2, k2. Repeat on second half. Rnd 6: k around Rnd 7: k4, m2, k to last 5 sts of 1st side, m2, k4. Repeat on second half. Rnd 8: k around Continue stepping over 1 st on all odd numbered rounds so that you are doing the m2 on the middle stitch of the last group of m2 in the previous increase round until you have 128 sts. (Should be a total of 10 increase rows)
Measure 12.5 inches from start of mesh (not from cast-on)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Free Pattern - Knitting an Oval Shape





KNITTING AN OVAL SHAPE

Using a 32" - 40" (preferred) circular needle, using a figure-8 cast-on half the number of desired stitches.  For example, if your pattern calls for 40 stitches, cast-on 20. Knit through back loops to establish the base.
If you leave 3x as much yarn as cast on stitches. Then you can use that long tail (after knitting a few rows) to weave through the center stitches for extra support.

pm = place marker
m2 = k front, back, front in same stitch

Rnd 1: pm, k1, m2, k to last 2 sts, m2, k1
Rnd 2: k around
Rnd 3: k2, m2, k to last 3 sts, m2, k2
Rnd 4: k around
Rnd 5: k3, m2, k to last 4 sts, m2, k2
Rnd 6: k around
Rnd 7: k4, m2, k to last 5 sts, m2, k4
Rnd 8: k around

Continue stepping over 1 st on all odd numbered rounds so that you are doing the m2 on the middle stitch of the last group of m2 in the previous increase round until you have the desired length for your oval.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Free Pattern - Sleep Sox!

I adapted this pattern from a WW1 pattern from the Red Cross.  I added a cuff section and a toe section to the original tube sock pattern.

Caron worsted
Gauge 8sts = 1in in 1x1 rib
2-24" size 6 circular needles

For women's socks:
Cast on 48 sts using long tail method.
For men's socks cast on 56 for each sock. 
Children's socks, cast on 40 for each sock.
(To adjust size, cast on any number of stitches in multiples of 4)

Begin by casting on ALL the stitches for BOTH socks.
Divide onto 2 circular needles as per [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4iD77aJCAw&feature=related]

Knit 2" k1, p1 ribbing
(children's size 1" k1, p1 ribbing)
(men's size 3" k1, p1 ribbing)
1 row k across
10" k2, p2 ribbing
(children's size 8" k1, p1 ribbing)
(men's size 12" k2, p2 ribbing)
Dec. for toe as follows: (same method for all size socks)
Toe will be knit in stockinette stitch.
Knit one row across to begin.
Row 1: k1, ssk, knit to the last three stitches on first half, k2tog, kl. Repeat on second half
Row 2: k across
Continue until you have 8 sts remaining on each half, finishing on row 2. (16 total)
You should have eight stitches remaining on each section of both socks. Work 2 more decrease rounds, with no even rows between. You should now have 4 stitches remaining in each section of both socks, a total of 8 stitches on each sock.
(For Men's - Continue until you have 16 sts remaining on each half - 32 total. After working last 4 decrease rounds you should have 8 sts left on each half. Cut yarn, close toe with kitchener's stitch)
Work Kitchener Stitch on each toe separately. To begin, cut the yarn, leaving a tail 10" (25.5 cm) long, and thread this tail onto a darning needle to begin the graft.
Weave in all ends