Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Oranges and other hot things


 When I was a kid, my mom always packed oranges in our lunches in the winter, both school and "ski" lunches.  She would score the peel into quarters so that they were easy to peel.  Navel oranges always remind me of those lunches, especially ski lunches.  I grew up skiing so ski lunches were not anything special.  Usually they consisted of salami, cheese, bread or crackers, oranges and sometimes a bar of chocolate.  It may not seem like much.  Eaten outdoors on a sunny Sierra winter day those lunches were wonderful.  Today my favorite way to eat salami is with good bread followed by an orange.

So what are the other hot things in the title?  Two things.

Thing one.  I made soap yesterday.  Cold process soap.  Cold process soap generates a lot of heat.  You see you start by mixing lye with water.  That produces heat, quite a bit actually, up to 200F.  Then you heat the solid fats.  Yup, heat again.  You let the lye solution and the fats cool to the same temperature, mix them together until they do that magic of turning into soap.  Then you pour the soap into a mold.  Wrap the mold in a towel or blanket and wait.  While you are busy doing other things, the soap is producing heat.  A lot of heat.  So much heat that if you peek you will see that your soap looks a bit like gel and is kind of translucent.  After about 24 hours, it looks like soap again.

Thing two.  I have a wise friend who dyes yarn and fiber for a living.  After telling her about overdyeing some yarn which continued to bleed color despite being rinsed to death, she suggested that I put it back in the pot with more citric acid to set the dye.  She hinted ever so kindly that I may not have used enough citric acid in the first place.  Today I tossed the yarn back in the dye pot with water and citric acid.  It has been gently heating for the last little while.  The water is clear so I am hoping that the color has set this time.

Oh, there is a thing three.  I really am using magic loop.  This is the sleeve of the Neckdown V Neck Shaped Cardigan by Knitting Pure & Simple.  This is the second time I've knit this pattern.  The first time was a gift for my mom using handspun merino.  This time I'm using Brown Sheep Cotton Cloud.  The color is cavern.   This is the second sweater I've knit from this yarn.  I mean that literally.  I ripped out another sweater that needed buttons.  It sat on my dresser for six months waiting for buttons.  I realized that I hadn't bothered with the buttons because I was never going to wear it.  I hope I haven't made the same mistake again.

1 comment:

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