Friday, January 2, 2015

New Year Knitting and Body Care

The new year has begun! Today I took down all the Christmas decor with Anna's help, and it's back in the garage for a good year's rest. The living room has reverted to its normal, calm state. Phew! I adore Christmas, but I feel great relief when all is back in its right place, and our lovely ho-hum life can resume.
Update: I did take the jamberries off after they had lasted two weeks. They were still intact and looking good. But I was knitting with fluffy yarn, and some of the edges would just catch the yarn strands. I did as a friend instructed and soaked my nails in olive oil a bit before peeling the jamberries off with dental floss. I used the floss that's mounted on a plastic holder; it was much easier. I'll admit: I disliked removing them. The oil is messy, and I simply had an aversion to the feeling of peeling them off. It made my nails feel weird in a bad way. But I'm generally a plain-nails kind of gal, you know? Short nails for piano playing. Weak nails since I've hit my 50s. I don't do polish because it hardly lasts a couple of days. I'm not a good choice for jamberries, but if you're a nail-snazzy girl, I would recommend them. After Anna applied them, for several days if I had even a little corner that felt loose or lifted up, I'd hold that nail corner above a candle flame until I felt the heat, and then would press it down firmly on a hard surface. I'd also press my nails against hot teacups. I think this is why my jamberries were very firmly attached (and uncomfortable to remove), unlike my daughters'. They removed theirs easily, with hardly a tug. I really had to work that floss to get mine off. I wouldn't be surprised if they'd lasted another week.
4.5 oz. for $2.00 -- good deal!
On a fresh note, I'm making another product to sell along with my soaps and lotions and salves: it's natural deodorant! Thanks to online friends who hinted this would be a good fit for my body-care line, I experimented, and I'm delighted to say this deodorant works beautifully, is easy to make and use, and is so very natural. I'm thrilled. It works so well, I'm never going back to Suave or Secret. I want to avoid aluminum; it's cancer-causing, and rubbing it every day, that close to your lymph nodes, can't be good. Aluminum is included in products so they will be antiperspirants. Commercial deodorants do have lots of chemicals though, so I'm hoping this new product will be popular among my natural-loving customers.
a natural pale yellow from the beeswax I add
I've been knitting these massive, fluffy double infinity scarves this year for the market. They sell well. I use Homespun yarn, the "Thick and Quick" variety, on size 19 wooden knitting needles. I've always knitted them from end to end, casting on only 20 stitches. I can finish one in a day if I'm diligent. But I always have a chunk of yarn left at the end; one skein is too much yarn. I kept all these nubbin ends of leftover yarn in a bag together. I wanted to put them together in a scarf of the same type, with all those various colors, but how to do it? I didn't want the stripes to be in blocks along the the length of the scarf. I wanted the stripes the other way -- going around the scarf in loops of color, you know?
I needed to knit the scarf the other way, casting on over 200 stitches (I'm guessing), and working it the long way. But my wooden needles are way too short for that. I needed circular needles.
You can squash a surprising number of stitches on these things.
(Oh -- btw, see that pumpkin in the photo above? That's my big pumpkin from October. It's still very nice and firm, because I've kept it inside so it never froze. That's the key to pumpkin survival.)
I bought some circulars at last, size 19, at Michael's the other day with a 50% off coupon. And I used them to make this:
 A rather unflattering photo, but you get the idea of the scarf. It looks much better than this photo indicates :)
I like how the looping brings out the shape, the colors swooping around. Next, I'll use these colors below together to make a similar one:
This is my first foray into using circular needles, which I've always assumed were kind of scary. And I noticed this: it is a much, much faster knit with circulars. It's a much faster knit doing the scarf long-ways instead of from end to end. Here's why -- we knitters know what takes up so much time when we knit; it's the breaks between rows, right? We turn the needles, pull the stitches, even things out, rearrange our needles and re-hold the yarn. Then we knit another row, and do it all again. With my old scarf method, I was doing all this every twenty stitches! No wonder it took so long! But with the circulars I don't fiddle like that between rows, and there are very few breaks between rows because there are very few rows. Just a thought.
I'm also knitting Anna an infinity scarf with some teal yarn from Simply Soft -- rich jewel tone. Have a great weekend, all!


  1. Thanks for the update on the nails. They almost deserve a blog of their own! As for circular needles.....everyone should try them. My best knitting investment was a short 4mm circular needle. I have used it for many hats.

  2. Look at you go! I'd like to order two bars of the natural deodorant. xo

  3. I'm telling my daughters about those nails!

  4. Your new natural deodorant bars sound great. I make a natural deodorant that I store in a jar, but the bars would be nice too. My daughter and I use it and she claims it really keeps her armpits nice and moisturized. She always has trouble with dry, discolored pits and the natural deodorant doesn't do that. Just a little info in case you have a customer with issues like that. DD also found that the baking soda that was an ingredient in my homemade deodorant irritated her skin, so for her I only use coconut oil and arrowroot powder. So far, so good.

    Love the varicolored scarf. It's pretty.

  5. I used to get itchy armpits from regular deodorants and maybe even from Tom's of Maine's. I don't have that problem with my natural deodorant. I didn't add any essential oils. I think it's fragrances that bother my skin. Love my natural deodorant! May you have great success with this new product!
    How do you attach one piece of yarn to the next when you use short pieces? If this is a simple explanation maybe you could email me? I'm a rank beginner! Your circular needles look intriguing! :)

  6. I've been using a natural deo but I like your price! That is a deal. Pretty scarf. Happy New Year to you and your starched hubby. I don't iron clothes unless I absolutely have to, I just throw it in the dryer which makes me wonder if tissue paper in the dryer would work. Ha!


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