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Angelarae Knits: June 2011

Angelarae Knits

...and Crochets

My Photo
Location: Raleigh, NC, United States

Hello! Welcome to my Blog! I live and enjoy the fibery crafts here, in Raleigh, NC with my husband and 5 children! I love to share patterns, tips, and recipes along with my spinning from time to time. I hope you'll enjoy your time here and stick around a bit!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Making Soap

My husband has been asking me to make Peppermint soap for a while now. So, Sunday, I had a little extra time, and all the ingredients I needed, so I set to work. I wish I had snapped pics of the entire process, but that didn't occur to me. To make up for it, though, I will share my recipe for a small batch of soap. It makes about 15-20 bars and has worked for me every time. So, here it is:

Peppermint Soap
2 C vegetable shortening
1 C coconut oil
1 C olive oil
2 C cold water
20 teaspoons lye
1/2 ounce peppermint essential oil.

If you haven't made cold process soap before, please do not attempt to make this soap without reading up on the process and taking the necessary precautions. Lye is a dangerous chemical and can cause serious burns. Never, never, under any circumstances, mix lye with hot or even warm water. Use cold water *only*!
Also, vinegar counteracts the effects of lye, so you must have some of this, as well. Keep it handy in case of spills, etc...I always give everything a vinegar bath after making soap, just as an extra precaution.
I used the above creamer carton for the mold...any 1 quart carton will be the perfect size.
The first step is to mix the lye with the cold water and let that sit. It will be very hot at the mixing and will require 45 min to one hour to cool down to around 110 degrees. Meanwhile, I melt down my shortening and coconut oil over low heat. When the lye water is close to 110 degrees, with the shortening mix still warm, I add the cold olive oil. Having the oils and lye close in temps, I pour the lye water into the oils and stir until the mixture thickens, or traces, and add the peppermint oil last. Stir that in well and pour mixture into the carton. You don't have to grease this as it is lined in wax already and will be torn away anyway. I wrap the mold in a blanket and cover the top with several folded washcloths and let it sit undisturbed for 24 hours. The heat of the chemical reaction is what hardens the soap. So keeping it warm in blankets and undisturbed for as long as possible helps guarantee success.
After all is set, I cut into bars like so. Then the soap needs to cure for at least 2 weeks, maybe 3. To test, touch your tongue to the soap, and if there is no tingle, it's ready. Sometimes soap will get a powdery layer. This is soda ash and is nothing to worry about. Just brush or cut it off and use it. It will be fabulous, I promise. Nothing beats a shower with cooling peppermint soap after a long, sweaty day out in the heat!


My fiber is here! It comes from McMullin Fibers' Knit It Up Shop on Etsy.

And I am just tickled pink! It is so soft and so beautiful, that I started spinning as soon as I opened the package. The one to the far left is ' Antique Rose' SW Wool. The middle one is a Wool/Bamboo blend called 'Anthropologie 321' and the one on the right is called 'Spring Green' and is SW Merino/Cashmere. I started with the 'Antique Rose' fiber and it spins like butter....effortless! I will be making something for myself with this fiber. Stay tuned to see what I come up with. Comment with suggestions:) You know I love to hear from you!

Sunday, June 26, 2011


It's Here!

Doesn't look like much, does it? It gets much better, though!

This is the best spindle I've used so far. I can't wait to finish my singles so that I can try plying...shouldn't be long, now:)

Thursday, June 23, 2011


This is the first full spindle of yarn that I have spun and I am just thrilled. There might be 25 yards here, but it might as well be 250. I love it! I spun it with my Turkish spindle. I wound it onto the back of one of my ladderback chairs today and washed it and hung it to dry to set the twist. I think it looks just gorgeous! The plan is to spin the rest of the roving that I have and ply it with this, or maybe, I'll need to leave it as singles so that I have enough to knit or crochet myself a nice little accessory. I wish I could tell you something about this fiber. I bought it from a local yarn shop by the ounce. The shop owner told me it would be a good fiber for me to start with and I know that it is wool, but beyond that, I am not sure of the breed or whether it is top or something else. Maybe some of you who are more experienced can tell me what it is?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Spinning Fetish

Fetish: noun: an excessive or irrational devotion to some activity.

I got a Knit Picks Turkish spindle for Christmas this year. I didn't want it at first. I wanted one of those fancy, handmade spindles that could spin lace weight yarn. I had used a heavier one before, but I could only spin a thicker yarn and eventually, the shaft split where the hook was, so, if I wanted to continue spinning, I had to get another spindle. A wheel was out of the question as they were expensive and would take up space in our modest little house. I did get the Knit Picks spindle. I used it as a bottom whorl (Turkish) spindle. Let me tell you, I love it. It spins beautifully and, because it is so light, I can spin very thin yarn. I had so much fun spinning just a simple merino combed top, that I cannot wait to spin up the grab bag I just ordered from McMullin Fiber Co on Etsy! Doesn't this fiber look yummy? I hope it gets here soon. I am determined to spin enough yarn to actually knit or crochet something. Unfortunately, someone sat on my spindle and broke it so I had to order another and it is on it's way. Sigh....huge itching to spin yet no fiber or spindle:(

Monday, June 20, 2011

Fiber Crawl

I have been so busy and working so hard for the last several months that I was delighted when my sister, Becky, invited me to ride up to Asheville with her for a few days. She knows I lived in the area for many years and have friends I would love to see. She worked some of the time, but each of us got to do some things we wanted to. Becky got to see her waterfall and tour the Grand Bohemian Hotel in the Biltmore area of Asheville.

The Grand Bohemian is designed in a hunting lodge theme and it is a stunning place. The level of detail in the planning and decorating is astounding. I highly recommend it as the staff could not have been friendlier. They gave us a tour with no notice. So nice....

As for me, I got to go to a couple of great yarn shops in Asheville. The first one is Paradise Yarns
on All Souls Crescent in Biltmore. The owner and employees were all super helpful and were happy to let me sit and knit for a while.

Next, I went to the FriendsAndFiber Shop at the Biltmore Square Mall. This place has over 4,000 square feet of fibery goodness. The best thing about this shop is that they cover knitting, crochet, weaving, and spinning. I found crochet projects, spinning wheels, a loom and they also sold several items on consignment. Tracey, co-owner on duty, said that they make every effort to support local crafts.

The FriendsAndFiber folks will be having a Summer Retreat in July. They are taking over the Biltmore Square Mall with many Vendors, Spinners, Fiber, Yarn, classes and, Oh, just everything to do with yarn. I can't wait!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday, Emma!!

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Monday, June 06, 2011

Busy Week

Just spent a few minutes cleaning up the appearance of the Dublin pattern. So sorry that it was a bit disorganized. I changed my posting options on Blogger and did not realize it had completely rearranged the pattern as I had written it. It is fixed now, and I hope, much more readable. I had a long weekend of painting and shopping for Em's birthday. (Tomorrow..Happy Birthday, Emma!) I also started writing out the hat pattern for a certain mag's call for submissions. Pretty easy, just need to finish knitting the pattern so I can send it off. It will be a challenge this week, as I have three 4am resets, a doctor appt for DH, and Emma's Birthday party. I also have my regular job. Yikes! Oh Yeah, and a house appraisal for which we are trying to make little repairs. Please say a prayer for me, as I am also praying God will give me energy and uncommon organizational skills to pull all of this off. Only He could get me through this:)

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

God At Work

I think, when an event happens that is directly in our favor as artists, we have two choices. We can either dismiss it as coincidence or we can look at it as God working in our favor. I believe it is often easier to dismiss as coincidence. Why? Maybe because, if we accept it as God giving us what we really want, and here it is, now we have it, the ball is suddenly in our court. Now, we have to do something, put ourselves out there, create something....in my case, write a pattern. All be it, one that has been in my head for many months now, but still. I am now responsible for the outcome. I now have to do whatever is in my power to realize my dream, to the best of my ability, and watch it all unfold.
I saw a call for submissions yesterday almost written for an object that has been brewing in my head for sometime now, two actually. And these aren't things that you can write the pattern and be done. There are complications. It is almost as if God said, "Ok, here you go Angie. Now make your designs." And the deadline is sooner than I'd like, but I am doing it. I spent most of the day yesterday working on it and guess what? It's flowing nicely, almost like it is meant to be.
Do you think I am full of myself? Or, that I think I am so special that God is doing something for me? No. I don't think that what God does for me is any more than He will do or has done for anyone else. I think our desire to create, whatever that might be, music, paintings, sculptures, et al, comes from God. It is the part of him that we were given. He is the Great Creator, and we are his children. We love to create, as he does. I think He loves for us to create and opens doors to allow us to do so, and I know He is glorified when we do it well.
So, I am writing my pattern. It is going to be as perfect as I can make it and I am going to submit it with hopes it will be published. If it isn't, no matter. The process will be complete. My piece will be out there. My vision will be realized and, hopefully, God will be pleased.