crewel lye: a caustic yarn...

i purchased a bottle of lye during a trip to the local hardware store. my favorite animator was (understandably) concerned.

him: isn't that the stuff serial killers use to dissolve bodies in bathtubs?
me: why, yes... yes it is.

let me state for the record that no one was hurt during the making of this post, and that the body count is still holding at zero. i did, however, put some of that lye to use, along with a few supplies borrowed from the kitchen pantry. behold... i have made soap!!! 

okay, so it may not have been the most life-altering experience (although my favorite animator seems to think this means that we will never ever ever ever have to buy soap again), but it was a great deal of fun. i made melt-and-pour soap in the past, but that is a far cry from playing around with caustic, dangerous chemicals in the comfort of my own kitchen. 

i added some dried lavender and oatmeal to the mix, which imparted a rather rustic look to the end product. rustic is, of course, the polite way of saying "it looks like you made them with both eyes closed and all your limbs tied behind your back". 

i had some difficulty removing the uncut block from the mold (aka, the bottom section i had sliced away from a large plastic jug in which we purchased cat litter). i had to employ brute force... and a box cutter.  it was not pretty, but it got the job done. i gathered up all the bits that had broken off around the edges during the struggle and pressed them together into a disc-shaped bar.  [is it still a "bar" if it is not bar-shaped???]  

this batch yielded sixteen bars, plus the scrap disc. not bad for an amateur effort. this was a cold-process soap (i.e., no heat was applied to the mixture), which means that it will take about a month for the bars to cure before use. i did not want to sacrifice my metal cooling rack for this part of the process, so i rigged up a couple drying racks from bamboo skewers and hot glue. i am like 'MacGyver meets Martha Stewart'... minus the explosions... and the prison record. 

in fibery news, i am making slow-but-steady progress on the orange sherbet lace cardi, though it is mighty hard to be enthusiastic about playing with yarn when it has jumped from warmish to purgatory-hot in a matter of days. i have also decided to forego my (three-year-long) custom of purchasing a raw fleece (or two). as much as i love playing with dirty wool (and i do realize how bonkers that sounds, but it is completely true), i am already up to my eyeballs in yarn, most of which feels like torture against my oh-so-delicate skin. so, no fleece... but i am scheming on obtaining a sweater's worth of Sublime Evie, because it would be nice to make a squishy sweater for self for a change. however, i am waiting for them to release a more respectable selection of colors, because the last thing i need is more shades of sherbet in my life. 


  1. I am so impressed with this. All that lovely soap, just waiting to cure. It looks wonderful, I must say. And frankly the round squished one seems more soap-like than the others, which look edible, like nougatty candy. If you happen to think nougat is edible, which I do not.

    You have such wonderrful creative adventures, lol.

    My adventures right now are of the 'hold the light over there" and "get me the screwdriver" while my husband puts up wallboard in the kitchen. And I don't mind at all =)

    1. why, thank you so very much. i am literally counting down the days till that soap is ready to go.