Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Birthday Party

Yesterday we - at long last - had the Princess's official birthday party. Four little girls came over to help her celebrate with a Fancy Nancy inspired tea party. We decorated little handbags with glitter pens, felt flower stickers, stick-on gems and flowers, decorated cupcakes together, and then ate off of Mom's fancy plates - all of this in a house very liberally festooned with pink and white balloons, curly ribbon and streamers!
And she said it was the best day of her life!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Deliberation

I lost another afternoon to the headache from you know where (I haven't dealt with a week long headache in more than a year!) and so I'm using a bit of time this evening to take stock of my current knitting. This is when it's a good thing my husband isn't home as I've completely covered our kitchen in knitting stuff.

Ahem.

So what's up? Well, right now I will fully admit that I'm in a bit of a knitting downswing. It happens. Sometimes a girl just needs a break to recharge a bit.

So in the meantime, here are a few things I'm thinking about. Feel free to weigh in and let me know what you think about any of it!

  1. Akimbo. Do I start over, or repurpose the yarn? On the pro: the colors look great together and it's an easy pattern that I love. On the con: I fell even more in love with the green, and kind of want to use it on its own for something. Also, I hate reknitting things! I'm waffling big time. At the very least, the whole thing will have to be restarted with at least one size needle larger...maybe two. (The pattern calls for a 4, and I used a 6 in the failed attempt. Clearly, Stephen West is an extremely loose knitter!) Yes, I did consider ripping back to the purple and just adding on. However, in the end I don't think that's going to make me happy, AND the greatly increased stitch count might make me nuts in the chevron section. My ambivalence right now is speaking volumes.
  2. Socks. I noticed this week that some of my socks are starting to show quite a bit of wear and tear. (They are ages old and have had heavy use, so I'm not sad.) The question is...do I just knit up some plain socks real fast or do I finally settle in with patterned socks?
  3. If I do patterned socks, I'm thinking about doing something crazy....like working all of the socks in Cookie A's book....good idea or bad?
  4. I find that I'm really wanting to start seriously working on garments for myself...which I had sworn off of until I hit my goal weight. Should I start now...or just wait... It's just so hard to predict what one is going to look like down the road....and my current self-awareness is way out of whack, as if I have no idea of what size I really am...which I don't.
  5. I might need something entirely new and different to knit. Any ideas? You know the kinds of things I do....
  6. I - ahem - did some fake shopping at The Loopy Ewe this evening, filling my shopping cart with about $300 in things I loved and then deleting it all. It was fun...but a strong reminder that I have other yarns that I HAD to have which I've never touched. I really want to use up my lovely stash yarns....but oddly I find I need some ideas and suggestions.
  7. My lace mojo is way down. No...that's not true. Rather, I have two intense, long-term projects on the needles that seem to have eclipsed all other lace desires. This stinks since I have a gazillion shawls I want to make.
  8. The crochet thing keeps coming up. Any suggestions for resources?
  9. After swearing off of baby knits after last summer's gazillion baby gifts.....you guessed it, I wish I now had a bunch of babies to knit for. Thank goodness my trainer is pregnant.
  10. I really need to knit for the girls this year. They haven't had sweaters in a while...and now even the Pixie is old enough to request items.

As always, my reaction to your responses will totally be what drives my decisions...not the responses themselves! (Do you do that? Ask an opinion and then do what your gut tells you in response to the answer?)

I guess what I'm doing is looking for that spark that I need...the one that fires me up again and sets my imagination and my needles free.

Hmmm....

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Frogging We Will Go

Alas, poor little Akimbo...you are no more.

Why?
Check out this picture for scale.
You know that little voice in your head that whispers...this might not be right? Turns out it's usually right. It would have been a great shawl for the Pixie...but that's not what I wanted. Interstingly enough, I waited until I had less than 15 rows to go before I decided I just might want to check this out.....
I absolutely adore the color combo, and I love Stephen West's patterns. Oddly, I have yet to finish one, though, and I doubt I'll start this one over any time soon.
Hmmmm........

We Miss Our Daddy





This is what my kids look like when my husband goes on business trips.

Yep, it's a lot of fun around here right now....

Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday Meanderings

  • Look what came off of the needles this weekend.....
  • You would think that with a 4-row repeat, the outer band wouldn't have been a big deal....but I had to repeat those 4 rows 120 times
  • And it's cotton.
  • In theory, I adore cotton!
  • In reality, I really don't enjoy knitting with it that often. Nine times out of 10, it's just too hard on my hands.
  • I wish it wasn't that way...
  • Anyhoo. I have to hide the ends, seam the inside edge of the outer band, sew the outer band to the medallion and then do a crochet edging around the armholes. I imagine that will take another six months.
  • Speaking of crochet...I'm oddly thinking about it. I've seen several posts recently with really attractive projects.....Hmmmm....
  • I only have 5 WIP's right now - with three of them being acknowledged long-term projects and none of them being socks. That's kind of odd.
  • I'll probably finish Akimbo this week.
  • Then I should take a break and do some finish work...like the cardi....and the monkeys. Sigh. The pile is building.
  • However, I'm sure that what I will be doing instead (in the very few moments of free time this week) is SPINNING!
  • As I suddenly find myself with a wealth of fiber in wonderful colors. SOooo much fun!
  • I ran 8 miles yesterday. Yay me! I'm still way ahead on the training schedule, and feeling VERY good about it. I have 7 more weeks to work up to 13.1 miles, and now I know I can finish in the 2 hours and 30 minutes I had planned for.
  • Nope, never said I was fast!
  • However, I am building speed throughout my long runs - starting slow and finishing strong - just the way I like it.
  • I'm starting to get antsy about the scales. Good thing one of the other ladies at the gym and I have made a no-scale pact. It does make it easier to know someone else is doing it too!
  • Bought new exercise pants yesterday in another size smaller. They are a smidge too tight right now...but as they are from Eddie Bauer I'm expecting them to last at least six months. My last pair of EB sports pants lasted 4+, and only failed when they got so big on me that they started to fall off when I ran. I've been through two pair of Target pants since, and have now sworn off the cheap.
  • This week is going to stink. I've always hated it when I have to play single-parent. Ugh.
  • The church audit is just going to have to wait. Also, the PEO stuff is going to have to wait as well. The birthday party, and getting the house in order, has to be my first priority this week.
  • Also, not going nuts as a single parent. That's important, too. And also the most difficult.

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Kindness of Friends

I had something rather wonderful happen to me this week....twice in fact! I was blessed enough to receive in the mail gifts from two of my blog friends...and what they neither one of them realized was that their timing was particularly good. While it was a good week in many ways, I did have a sick headache for much of the week, and so those two gifts just so happened to come when I really needed a bit of sunshine in my life. First, my friend Paula sent me four skeins of Knit Picks Shadow, in Sunset. While Paula knits many lovely shawls, she had decided that laceweight just wasn't her thing, and would I like to have some yarn? Paula and I met through the PEO forum on Ravelry, shortly after we had each begun our first term as president of our chapters. Since then, I've discovered what a truly caring and generous person Paula is, and I'm VERY glad to have had the opportunity to get to know her!
The second gift was the gift of fiber and chocolate - a decadent combination - from my friend Anne. The fiber is from Funky Carolina, and the chocolate is from one of my favorite companies...both sent 'just because.' To be honest, I don't remember exactly how I met Anne...just that it seems we've now been commenting on each other's blogs forever! In addition to being another warm and generous soul, Anne has become one of my knitting and spinning inspirations, and I always come away from her blog posts with a whole bunch of ideas rattling around in my head!
Paula and Anne, thank you both VERY much for your gifts. I just know that each will provide me with hours and hours of possibility and pleasure. I hope you both know how much I value your friendship!

The Most Beautiful Apple In The World!

Ok, so I take it back. I have some things to share, and I don't want to wait!

First up...I found this apple - an organic Braeburn - at the store last week, and fell ridiculously in love with it. I was oddly captivated by it's beauty as I'd never, ever seen an apple like this before! I HAD to have it, and so home with me it came...where it was then hidden away from the girls until I could take some pictures. (I think I took 30 pictures...but it was just so pretty! ) I hope you enjoy my silliness!














Saturday, February 20, 2010

Ack!

Hello All!

Remember that crazy schedule through the end of the month? Well, because of that - and a really large to-do list - I'm going to take a break from blogging through the end of the month. In the meanwhile, send happy thoughts my way as I try to:

  1. Complete all of my year-end Presidential duties for my PEO chapter.
  2. While simultaneously preparing to hand said duties over to the next president.
  3. Do the church audit. (When I agreed, I thought I was to audit the current year - meaning I would get the paperwork NEXT February.)
  4. Prepare for the Princess's birthday party on Saturday.
  5. And also her parent-teacher conference on Wednesday.
  6. Deal with the Pixie's 4th fever in two-months.
  7. Continue with my necessary training.
  8. And try to get the house cleaned up!

All while my husband is out of town on business.

I'm tired just looking at that list!

See you in March!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Monday Meanderings.....On Wednesday?


I had a brilliant post in mind....with lots of brilliant things to show you....
But then I lost most of the day to a migraine.
Sigh.
So instead, let's do the weekly meanderings!
  • Ok, so really I don't have anything that brilliant to share with you this week. It's been an odd, odd week.
  • And things are going to be strange until the end of the month!
  • Yep, it's all because of scheduling.
  • Moving on....my legs are so sore today that I can barely move. It's been a long, long while since my workouts bothered me this much!
  • What caused it? Um....ran 7 miles on Sunday (Yay me!), cross trained on an elliptical on Monday, and then - after confessing a chocolate cake slip up to my trainer - got the workout of my life on Tuesday.
  • And the funny part...I've loved every minute of it, and am relishing the achy muscles!
  • As of late last week, I'm now living scale-free, and am only supposed to weigh myself once/month. After roughly 1/4 century of an at-least-twice-daily weighing habit (and you think I'm kidding...but I'm not) it's more than just a little bit scary. BUT, I have to admit that after a week or so I'm starting to find it liberating as well. AND, unlike past attempts, I'm not getting nutty about it. (Ask my husband....)
  • Why am I kicking my scale habit? Well, first of all my trainer has never been happy about my scale habit, and she's been encouraging me to quit for months now. Second, my anxiety levels were shooting up because of the slow weight-loss/discovery that I needed to eat more food, and I was becoming more and more fixated on the numbers....to the point where the stress was starting to negatively affect my actions and dredge up crazy emotional issues. Finally, I just don't want to be that person anymore...and I certainly don't want my girls to grow up to be her either. Enough is enough.
  • I'll be honest...I've been struggling since my trainer increased my daily calorie requirements. It's been what...three weeks? and I've only just managed to get my eating under control. The increased calories triggered a lot of overeating and dredged up a lot of my demons. I'm now back to taking everything one single day at a time....remembering that I need to be patient as well as persistent.
  • My husband and I are total Olympics addicts. We've been watching every night...and some during the day as well.
  • I finally figured out how curling works this afternoon! During the last Winter Olympics I was extremely pregnant and found myself zoning out day after day in front of the curling matches on tv....but at the time I didn't have the mental energy to figure out what exactly they were doing.
  • I may have figured out the what, but I still don't get the why.
  • I ditched the Knitting Olympics. I can't watch the Olympics and knit at the same time - especially not on a difficult lace project!
  • Having said that, there could be a crazy sprint to the finish. I've been known to do things like that before. Look for a move over the weekend if it's to happen at all....
  • My Butterfly Golding came back to me on Monday - with a new brass ring fitted right underneath the whorl to help hold it in place. She's just beautiful!
  • I'm still waiting for that last batch of fiber to arrive before I match spindle to fiber. It should be here any moment! Honestly...I'm waiting for the fiber that I was the most excited about...although I must say that the others all exceeded expectations.
  • In the meantime, work continues on the blue merino. I'm at about the half-way point on the second bobbin - and I anticipate filling four altogether.
  • Which reminds me, I MUST ply the bobbin of suri alpaca because I need to free up the bobbin as I only have six of them. (Fiber being MUCH more fun to purchase than more bobbins...and honestly, there are ways around it.)
  • I'm VERY likely to finish my Botanica Medalion Cardi tomorrow. That's very exciting!
  • I fell asleep at 8:20 last night...and slept until 7 this morning. Is that weird for an adult? OR Is it just proof that I am my father's child?

Enough for now...I hope that the rest of the week proves to be happy for you all!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fibery Goodness

As promised, my Etsy purchases! Before I get started, let me just say that I would heartily endorse any of these sellers. The products I received came in a very timely manner, and all matched perfectly the pictures and descriptions on Etsy. On a personal note, it delights me no end to be working with artists this way instead of having to rely only on retail stores. 6 oz. 50% merino/50% tencel blend in the Neapolitan colorway from Zarzuela's Fibers. I'm very pleased with this one because it's a much more sophisticated pairing of pinks and browns than you normally see. In fact, it has a vintage feel that delights me to no end. I've done a fair amount of spinning with merino/tencel blends, so I'm really looking forward to this.
Those of you who know me well will perhaps be surprised by this 4 0z. batch of 60% Merino/40% Bamboo in the color "Wineberry" from Cloudlover. True, I'm not normally a purple person (and it seems you either are or you aren't) but when I saw this particular fiber I fell head over heels in love. I think this is going to be the first I spin, and I am planning on spinning it all on a drop spindle.
Unfortunately, the color of this batt doesn't show so well. (I'm a bit surprised that this is the one my camera didn't like. I would have expected more problems with the purple based on past experience.) This is an experimental sock batt from Butterfly Girl Designs - from whom I've ordered before. It's 70% superwash merino, 20% nylon and 10% bamboo in a colorway called "Dirty Martini." Several of my guild friends have discussed spinning sock yarns with nylon before, and I have to admit I was curious.
I have one last batch of fiber still on it's way to me from Ireland, and of course I will share it when it arrives. Of all, it's perhaps the one I'm most excited about...and if I'd had more money I would have ordered two!
Normally at this time of year I hit the greenhouses for a bit of late-winter cheer. This year, I think my new fibers are going to do the trick instead.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Valentine's Day is always a simple affair in our household. One of these days perhaps I'll give in to my secret desire to cover the house in hearts and flowers for a few days...but until then I'll take great joy in the easy traditions of our family. There is always a gift made by the Princess. This year we were delighted with her letter puzzle that she created. Perhaps the Pixie will join her next year in her artistic endeavors.
My husband always does two things for me. The first is a small, half pound box of chocolate dipped strawberries from The Candy Factory - a local institution and a large part of why our city is #17 on a recently published list of romantic cities. Used to be that you could only get them three days of the year. They now are available perhaps for 12 days - having added Secretary's Day and Easter to the tradition. The strawberries are completely enrobed in a double layer of chocolate - and if you give them a day or two they will ferment just a tad, making them even better with a delicious fizziness.
Some years ago, I told my husband that the only thing I wanted for Valentine's Day was this wee box of 4-5 strawberries, and it has become our tradition. The gift - more so than the actual berries - is that he always remembers and always makes the trip to a store that is very much out of our normal way. All of the diamonds in the world would never mean as much to me as this gift.
The second present is always a simple bouquet from the grocery store. The daisies this year were the perfect foil for the grey weather, and I absolutely love their cheeriness! I adore flowers - used to work for the best florist in town and had the past pres. of the MO. State Floral Ass. for our wedding - but I'm a realist, and we don't have money for the kind of flowers in my dreams. I do love, though, seeing what my husband will choose for me. My daisies this year are among some of the best - largely because they are just so happy!
Not one to slight his girls, my husband also gave a batch of daisies to his little Valentines. You can't tell in this picture, but the daisies are dusted with glitter...which caused much rejoicing when the girls first received their gift.
Whatever you are doing today, I hope you have much to celebrate and loved ones to celebrate with.
Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Should I? Or Should I Not?



In the knitting world, the Knit Olympics have become a really big deal. Started by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee and taken over by the Ravelympics and knitting community at large, the idea is to cast on a project during the opening ceremonies with the intent to finish by the closing ceremonies. The only catch is that it should be a project which personally challenges the knitter in some way.

I've never participated, for no real reason that I can think of other than that it just didn't appeal.

Then my local yarn shop - Hillcreek Yarn Shoppe - issued a challenge. For any knitter who registered her (or his) Olympic Projects with the yarn shop there were 'medals' to be earned. At stake - a $25 gift certificate for a completed project, on down to $5 gift certificates as projects were completed to various levels. My friends and I agreed that it was just too good of an opportunity to pass up....and all of us had projects with Hillcreek-purchased yarn that we wanted to do.

I registered a project that I had been planning for a long, long while - Knitty's Aoliean Shawl. I've had the beads for well over a year, and I had purchased the perfect yarn at Hillcreek's reopening event this last summer. I love that shawl. I love the yarn and beads. Perfect, right?

Well, no.

I find - as the Opening Ceremonies have come and gone - that this feels a bit too much like obligation knitting, something which I've learned to avoid at all cost. SO, here are the pros and cons, and you are all welcome to weigh in and help me decide.

PRO:

  1. I would be knitting a project which I've wanted for a long time, and had been planning on doing it this year anyway.
  2. And it is a really lovely shawl - for which I have the perfect supplies.
  3. I know I could do this during the available time frame.
  4. I could easily earn a nice gift certificate.
  5. It would help me complete another of my planned 12 shawls for the year.

CONS:

  1. I'd rather be spinning right now.
  2. Or working on the Princess. (This is a big one for me!)
  3. Or finishing several of my other projects which are very close to being completed.
  4. I don't like knitting because I 'have' to unless it's a reason that comes from my heart.
  5. I don't really want or need anything from the yarn shop right now...and don't foresee needing/wanting anything in the near future.
  6. To be honest, I've never been much of a joiner when it comes to online knitting movements. It's just not something that matters to me.

I think these are all of the main points. What do you think?

Progress Report

You already know that I've done a fair amount of sewing (for me!) this week, and so I thought I would show you what else I've been up to. One of the things I did this week was to cast on a new pair of socks with my new, square knitting needles. The jury is still out. On the plus side - they don't roll in your hands and that stability is really nice. Also, they are very smooth and have points that are perfect for me. On the negative side - they are either an inch too long or too short for my taste, and the hard line of the square edges bothers my hands a bit. I've promised to do a full pair of socks before I render my final verdict. However, I don't know if that pair of socks will be with this yarn or not. The yarn is so pretty that I just don't know if I want it to be on my feet!
Perhaps the most exciting thing that's happened this week is that I've completed 10/85 repeats on the shawl edging. I'm shooting for 1-3 repeats/day, but at the same time I've promised not to hold myself to any sort of schedule lest I turn this labor of love into a chore. All that really matters, after all, is that I'm now officially working on it!
I've taken to calling my Akimbo shawl my 'conversation knitting.' Normally, this position in my WIP line up is taken up by a pair of socks, but this super-basic shawl works just as well. Why call in 'conversation knitting?' Because it's so simple that there's no way I can muck it up when distracted - as in having a conversation or when watching something intense on tv. At any rate, I'm ready to start the stripes and should soon have a finished piece.
Last, but not least, I started a new bobbin of the blue merino this morning because....

I finished filling the first last night! Soooo pretty! I know from experience that this will be absolutely lovely when finished - soft and sweet. I'm already debating what I shall knit of it!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Is It Just Me?



Or is anyone else out there obsessed with the US Team's Opening Ceremony Reindeer Hat? (And are they shooting themselves in the foot by already having discontinued it?)

Can you believe someone's already created a free pattern for Ravelry?
I.
Must.
Have.
One.
* I went back to Ralph Lauren's US Team store today and saw that the hat is once again available. My guess is that the site was overwhellmed last night!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I Get It!

Sorry I don't have any brilliant pictures to share....but I doubt my camera could handle what I would need for this post!

Tonight was my weekly Mommy's Night Off, and as usual I packed a ridiculous amount of knitting and spinning for a very long sojourn to Starbucks. One of the things I wanted to do while there was to sample some fiber with my wee Tsunami drop spindle. It's the teeniest of my spindles - intended for fine laceweights - and I'd been itching to try it.

First I pulled out some suri alpaca. As suspected, the preparation isn't such to lend itself to laceweight...but I did discover it wasn't as bad as I'd feared, coming from the farm that's provided me with both my best and worst experiences with alpaca.

Moving on, I pulled out some bamboo. As a new-to-me fiber, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect.

It took all of two minutes for me to discover what most laceweight spinners already know.

It is easier - a lot easier - to spin fine threads on drop spindles than with a wheel.

I was absolutely entranced by the fine, even thread I was able to produce, and was even further delighted to discover how quickly I could produce each length of the gossamer stuff. It was like magic! I spun long enough to discover that the only trick I really needed was a background that gave me a high contrast to the thread so that I could see what I was doing.

Finally, I understand why it is that so many of the lace knitters whom I admire so much spin their yarns exclusively on drop spindles. I get it. I REALLY get it.

And I am in love.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Craft Camp

Two Snow Days! Every kid's dream come true...and most Moms' nightmare.

However, here at Chez Green Woman, we beat the second day crazies with an at-home craft camp of our own.
The girls started the day by getting into their Valentine's Day supplies again.
This time the Princess made them each laptops.
As they then settled in for some happy sister time - we're blessed with two girls who love each other and have always played well together - I went back to my spinning wheel. I began spinning up this merino top yesterday, under the clean a little/spin a little philosophy. Originally I had intended to spin all of this on my drop spindle....but it's 16 oz, and the perfect spindle turned out to be the one that needed repairs. (This is my official picture for the record books in case I get distracted and need a ratio reminder!)
It's a lovely blue....reminds me of the sea....which is odd because I'm not exactly known for my fondness for the ocean. This picture shows what I accomplished yesterday....and I probably did about that much today as well. I should easily finish off the first bobbin tomorrow.
Craft camp for me included baking a huge frittata so that I have breakfast ready for the next few days. I've been avoiding cooking lately, so this is actually pretty important.
The Valentine's Day supplies came back out while I was cooking! Pipe cleaners are awesome!
The Princess and I then began working on our frosted donut kit. I can't say enough good things about Lilly Bean Market! We didn't finish the donuts today...preferring to save some for another rainy/snowy day. The girls have already decided, though, that the Pixie gets the chocolate one and the Princess gets the strawberry. (big surprise....not) We're already talking about ordering a few of the other kits!
I then decided to get out an old sewing project...and when the girls saw the ironing board come out they promptly went after their little melty plastic circle kit thing. (I hate them...they love them)
While they were making a mess, I ironed pieces that I had cut out probably a year ago.
And began to sew up project bags. This one is a long-ago promised bag for the Princess.
I made four more for myself, too.
They turned out really well, and as soon as I find ribbon I'll be set! Believe it or not, they've already been filled....
During all of this I continued with my early spring-cleaning in bits and spurts. We're planning a few little home improvements, and so I started to make a list while I was at it.
Now that the girls are in bed, I'm finishing my own craft camp with some knitting.
All in all...it's been a perfect day!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Monday Meanderings

I took this picture Friday night, after both girls crawled in bed with me to read for a while. It was very sweet...and reminded me of the Pixie's first night here on earth, when the three of us had some tender, loving time together all in my bed after the doctor and midwife left. These are good things for a mother's heart.

I thought I would do my meanderings a bit early. We *might* get a lot of snow over the next day or so, and you never know what that's going to do to the schedule!
  • My weekend list turned out to be a joke. I didn't want to do the monkeys, realized after doing a bit of math that I had a lot more of the cardi to do than I had expected, and then had a horrendous run this AM - only making 5 miles.
  • I'm not too worried about the run today. When I trained for the half back in 2007 (as a walker) I discovered that when I had a really bad - painful - exhausting - think you are going to die - sort of run, it was always followed by a huge breakthrough of some sort. I can live with that. Besides, I'm still ahead on my training schedule.
  • I let myself bake cookies and have hot wings today because of the Super Bowl. None of it tasted all that great, and I'm disappointed. Ditto some chocolate dipped pretzels I tried the other day. I used to love all of that!
  • The thing about eating healthy is that when you get used to it the things you used to love taste like garbage...which is a good thing 99% of the time. When you want a treat, though...well it did kind of stink. (And I'm pretty sure I'm going to pay for it tonight...)
  • I do get to eat treats on my healthy living plan...lest you think I'm all about deprivation. I couldn't live without my near-daily dose of dark chocolate (Currently Green & Black's Dark Chocolate With Cherries or Dagoba's Dark Chocolate With Lavender and Blueberries) I also can't live without my occasional Starbucks. All of these things are about quality, though.
  • The good news - I'm starting to feel a lot better now that I'm eating more. I can't believe how exhausted I'd become - or how much denial I was in about how I felt. I had a little bump in my weight for a couple of days, but I'm starting to drop lbs. again, and that's a good thing.
  • I'm also fierce in the gym again...and I LOVE that! When you spend (literally) 20 years believing yourself to be fragile because of your depression issues, it's a very, very good thing to discover how strong and tough you can actually be. Honestly, that's more important than any of the other results I'm getting.
  • The winter finally got to me...and I spent the last wee bit in my paypal account to buy some new, vibrantly colored roving. I'll share when it gets here! I have a small stash already...but oddly most of it is blue....which is not a favorite color, and definitely doesn't help me get out of the doldrums of late winter.
  • Funny how the idea of buying yarn right now makes me feel itchy and wasteful...but I could easily buy fiber with total abandon if I had the funds for it.
  • Speaking of spinning, I finally mustered up the gumption to mail my butterfly back to Mr. Golding. Silly to miss it so much when I know it's coming back....
  • My daily spinning habit has suffered a wee bit over the last week. Time to get back to it!
  • Incidentally, I have two spinning projects that I managed to walk away from for no good reason. That's a very, very bad idea. Why? It's been a very long time, and I have NO idea what ratio I used for either one. I'm not sure what happened. Normally I'm very good at sticking with one spinning project until it's done. No explanation. I'll have to go back through my blog archives to see if I can find pictures to help out. (Edited to Add...I did check my archives and found several pictures of each on the spinning wheel. Unfortunately, the photos were taken at such an angle that you can't see beyond the bobbin. Note to self...perhaps it would be wise to get pictures that include the entire wheel so that I have a record of the specifics.)
  • My BKB and I had an interesting conversation about one of our local yarn shops this week. It's been under new ownership for about six months now, and in that time it's moved away from smaller/independent yarn companies towards the big suppliers. While this isn't necessarily a bad thing, it's dulled the store down in my opinion. It's been months since I walked in and felt inspired/excited about anything they carry. The sock and lace yarns - always a treat before - are downright dull. As a result, I don't feel any great desire to go and browse anymore, which is kind of sad. That trip to the yarn shop always used to get my creative juices flowing!
  • At the same time, it's a bit of a relief to be freed from temptation.
  • It's also nice to not feel any special allegiance to either yarn shop in town. I can shop online to my heart's content and not feel guilty now. In fact, that's my preference these days because I'm finding more and more that the things I want can't be had locally anyway!
  • Speaking of my BKB (sort of), she's thinking about doing an Etsy store and has become something of a Jill Of All Trades. She's super-cool, and I love hearing about how much fun she has trying new things. I used to be that way...but now I'm way too obsessive about the knitting and spinning to allow myself the time for that.
  • I led my last full meeting as my PEO chapter president this week. (We'll elect, install and pass the reigns along at the next meeting, so I'll start but not finish it.) At the very end as I closed the meeting I got a bit choked up and almost started to cry. As glad as I am to be finishing up my term, it's also been a very good thing for me in terms of personal growth.
  • My Mother's Day gift arrived this weekend! I'll share later this week. I also bought myself a little training gift, too, and am very happy with both.
  • In a completely random note...I found an Etsy seller who makes custom fit shoes for any size. My strange feet and I are seriously considering it.
  • Have I told you how much I love Masterpiece Classic? The last part of Emma is on tonight, and it's become my favorite version of that beloved book.
  • Well...I do have an inordinate fondness for Clueless, too.....
  • By the way, I watched Nanny McPhee today with the girls. That movie is so beautifully filmed that it makes me drool. I love, Love, LOVE the colors and costuming, and now I feel a need to crochet a granny square afghan like the one in the nursery.

I think that's about enough for now.

Have a great week everyone!

Surprise!

I decided this weekend that my poor spinning wheel had been neglected for long enough. The most logical thing to do was, therefor, to finish all of the plying that had been languishing on my lazy Kate for way too long. Plying is not my favorite...but then I wanted to be able to start another large project with a clear conscience.

And so, I changed out the drive band, put on the plying head and grabbed the two bobbins of the long-suffering alpaca-silk. I was greatly perplexed, though, with how odd it felt as I began to ply. (We'll discuss at another time why I hadn't noticed before that....) I looked down, and found...

THAT I HAD ALREADY PLIED IT AND HAD A FINISHED YARN!

All I had to do was wind it off and wash it!

If you'll remember, this is one of the alpaca fibers that was something of a disaster to spin...and no, it wasn't a user error issue. The fiber was matted and cut to different levels, and it just wasn't pleasant to work with.
Sadly, the yarn isn't all that great, either. You'd think with a silk/alpaca content it would be deliciously soft. I have Romney singles, though, that feel better than this. Even worse, it's shedding like the dickens. When I gave it a good whack in the tub, lots of little, tiny, half-inch long black fibers came loose.

I was rather pleasantly shocked, though, when I discovered that it's a very well-balanced, even yarn. Back when I spun the singles and then plied it, I was so annoyed with the fiber that I really didn't give it any sort of attention, preferring just to GET IT DONE so that I could move on to something more pleasant. I would like to think that I'm just That Good....but that would be a bit much....
SO, does anyone have any ideas of what to do with this stuff? I think I'll take it to my next guild meeting and see if they have any ideas....but I'm open to anything you all might suggest!

*Out of respect for the farmer, because I'm really hoping this fiber was a fluke, I'm not going to share the origins of this particular batch of fiber.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Weekend Goals

Lest you think I'm doing nothing but swatching for the Princess, let me share with you my plans for the weekend.

1. Run 6-7 miles Saturday AM.
2. Sew up all of the monkey parts and work the embroidery for their little faces.
3. FINISH MY BOTANICA MEDALLION CARDI!!!!! I'm sooooo close. This afternoon I'm going to finish off the center medallion and measure it so that I have an exact length for the edging. I would love to be able to show it off at my guild meeting on Tuesday!

Swatching Progress

Just for a bit of perspective, I thought I would show you the difference between the unblocked swatches from a size 2.0mm needle (on the left) and a 1.5 mm needle. Each swatch represents two pattern repeats of the outer edging.
After swatching with the 2.0mm needle, I'm very sure that's the needle I'm going to end up using. The 1.75mm hasn't arrived yet, and as I couldn't wait any longer I decided to go ahead and block my swatch today.
It's so pretty.
I just want to sit and look at it...and think about how pretty it is!
Anyway....The repeats measure to exactly where they are supposed to be - 2 inches wide (from point to point) and 3 1/2 inches tall from base to tip of point. There is a little bit of give still in the yarn, which is good as that means it's not pulled so tight that it's going to bounce back when released from the pins. I'll wait until the swatch is dry and released for a final measurement...but I am 99% sure this is the needle I want.
And I want to officially cast on soon!
PS. Interestingly enough, I've already discovered that my eyes are going to be a problem with this shawl. I absolutely MUST wear my glasses when I work on it....lest I wind up with another eyestrain headache. Also, I really need to go get new glasses. Mine are in sad, sad shape...and I haven't had my eyes tested since before the Princess was born.