Sunday, April 26, 2009

You Spin Me Right Round...

...Baby, Right Round, Like a Record Baby...

Or in this case, less a record and more a drop spindle. I took a class with some knitterly friends on Saturday. We had lots of fun, and I'm happy to report that my skills and my confidence were greatly increased.

I took this:
and this:
and made it into this:
It's ugly, I know, but I purposely picked contrasting colors so I could use it for reference later. The twist is a little uneven in places, but this was my very first attempt at plying. I could actually knit with this!

We used some processed roving (like the lavender stuff at the top) in several colors. It was provided by the LYS, and it was okay. But our instructor also brought a whole fleece for us to see. She spins "in the grease," which means that the wool is straight from the sheep. It has only been carded, but has not been washed, so it has all the lanolin still in it. It smells a little funny, but, holy crap, it's nice to spin with. The fibers slip really well when you draft.

Here's a picture of the lovely Karen attempting to master the spinning wheel. It was her first time on a wheel, and she struggled a little, but really kept at it!
Look at all the lovely fiber!
When I got home on Saturday, it was time to do a little gardening. Well, actually, can you call it "gardening" if the garden doesn't exist quite yet? For the last several years, we've had two boxes in this area; they were each 4'x6'. As you can see, it has grown quite a bit!
We succeeded in framing out the area and spreading out the soil more evenly. I'm concerned that we actually have too much soil in there, as it is still slightly mounded up over the edge. Matt keeps telling me that it will all settle in, but I'm not so sure it will settle before I need to put plants in there. Its supposed to rain a lot today, so I guess we'll see if that helps.

While Matt & I were digging, Ty was helping out by keeping Riley occupied. More than occupied, the boys had quite a lot of fun! This photo is going on my wall.
After several hours of working, it almost looks like a garden. Matt did a really great job.
On a side note, I sometimes wonder how I will ever survive raising two boys. This was the book Tyson brought home from the library last week. Ick!
Happy knitting!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wow. An acutal Knitting post on my KNITTING blog.

Sorry I didn't post over the weekend. It was busy & rough. We spent a good portion of Sunday cleaning the house & working on inside projects (since it was raining outside).

Saturday was really the doozy. My day started with a dentist appointment. This was my first appointment since getting the braces removed, so I knew it would be a little rough. I suspected I had a cavity, since I could see a shadow on one of my teeth, right where the band had been. Little did I know that I actually had two cavities, and that the one I thought was a wee little cavity actually turned out to be a crater (like, remember the place where Han Solo parked the Millenium Falcon when they were hiding from Imperial Fighters in the meteor field?). It was a rough appointment with lots of drilling, novacaine, and OHMYGOSHNOTNEARLYENOUGHNITROUS. Seriously. I was like, "Did you turn the gas down? Because I can't feel it. at. all. You've got to turn it up." And he was like, "I'm sorry, freakishly anxious girl, I've got the gas turned up as high as it will go without turning your brain to mush." And I was like, "At this point, that doesn't sound so bad. In fact, that sounds kind of nice because then my brain would not be causing all the shaking and crying and gagging and hyperventalating if we just turned it to mush.. so let's just do that. Turn it UP!!!!"

Needless to say, I survived. Barely. And when I came home, I found a ginormous box on my front porch. Initially I thought this box contained Matt's new set of weights, but when I nudged it with my foot, it moved quite easily. Then I noticed it was addressed to ME!!! I had forgotten that my big sis had told me she was sending me a box.

I took it inside, sawed through the copious amounts of packing tape (seriously, honey, did you think it needed to be hermetically sealed?) and found the MOTHERLOAD. I felt like pirates after a good pillage. I felt like an only child at Christmas. I felt like the IRS on April 16th. I found this:
Hmmm. what do we have here? Well, I'll tell ya:
  • 1 skein Mystery chunky, black
  • 8 balls Phildar Plaisance, Camelia (pink)
  • 2 balls Beddie Bliss Cathay, black
  • 1 ball Mystery fingering or DK weight, red
  • 1 hank Silky Wool Designer's Choice, bright pink
  • 1 skein Bergere de France Sport, powder pink
  • 2 skeins Lion Brand Cotton Ease, blue
  • 2 hanks Salsa Mohair/Wool blend by Dancing Leaf Farm, multi
  • 1 ball Rowan Summer Tweed, dark green
  • 1 ball Baby Alpaca lace weight, lavender
  • 1 ball Baby Alpaca lace weight, dark lavender
  • 5 balls Baby Alpaca lace weight, off white
  • 1 ball Mystery lace weight, multi
It was so sweet of H to think of me when thinning her stash. It's all so beautiful, and I haven't put it with the other stash yet. It's in the bag, on my dining room table. I like to reach in the bag, take out something yummy, pet it and dream of what I could knit it into... several times a day.

And of course, H, how could you possibly have known to send it when you did? How could you have known that I would find it on my porch after such a terrible, awful, no good very bad morning, and that it would completely turn my whole day around? You're fabulous!

Speaking of knitting, I have been doing quite a bit of that lately. I'm still plugging away at T2. The rows are painfully long by now, and I'm such a slow knitter that it feels like I'm never going to finish it. I'm not tired of it, or sick of it or anything. I'm just hoping that I will have time to knit some little baby socks to go with it. Here's where we are:
I've actually finished this round by adding two additional bars. I don't want to end with white on the outside, so I've got to do one more round (3 more bars) and then I can add a crocheted edge and be done. After I weave in the eleventy million ends that I stupidly refused to weave in as I knitted along. I'm not sure what I was thinking... maybe that all those ends would weave themselves in when I wasn't looking? Or maybe that the knitting fairy would come & weave in the ends while I was sleeping? You can tell from the spaghetti that is peaking out from behind the blanket that this did not happen. Stupid knitting fairy. Now I'll have to spend three hours weaving in the ends.
Just a couple of kid pics this week. I let Riley try his hand at using the spoon to feed himself this weekend. These photos were taken early in the process. By the time it was over, he had cereal in his hair, ears and nose... and had to be completely hosed down. I also had to scrub the stuff from every nook & cranny of the higchair and the floor. It was totally worth it. Look at that concentration:
Success! We've scooped some up & managed to get it directly into the mouth!
And while Riley was busy snacking, Tyson was hanging around out in the garage. Waiting for the rain to stop so he could go outside & play hockey with his friends. (I believe he was sitting in the wagon, pretending to be fishing in a boat when I snapped this picture.)
Have a great day!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Hoppy Easter!

Well, it was a busy day today. It was Riley's first Easter, and it was just about as perfect as perfect could be.

It began on Good Friday with dying eggs:
Tyson had a lot of fun. (Given Riley's tendency to bang things around, chew on everything, and generally create a disaster every chance he gets, we decided to color the eggs while he was sleeping. He'll participate in this messy fun next year.)

Tyson did some of the eggs by himself...
...and I helped with a few.
When all was said & done, we had a dozen beautiful eggs.
Fast forward to Easter morning. The Easter Bunny came! He hid the eggs...
...brought a few new sleepy friends...
...and a few snacks. (Tyson got some candy, Riley got some Gerber cheesey-poofs.)
After breakfast it was time to get dressed in our Easter best (Riley's outfit was a birthday gift from Stephanie. Thanks, Steph!!!)
We headed off to Aunt Tina's house, where we ate some great food...
and had another Easter Egg hunt! (Riley had to sit this one out since it was outdoors and he is not fond of walking in the grass.)
Look at that concentration. He is a LilMan on a mission.
After a nice time visiting with family, we came home & the boys crashed. Riley had a bottle (one of his last) and Tyson snuggled up with Matt to watch the Blues beat up on the Ave's.
Now I'm going to put in some laundry & settle down for some quality knitting time. Check back later this week; I've got a bunch more to share from this week!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Welacome Spring!

Spring is definitely here. The days are longer, the seeds I planted are sprouting and I feel as though I have sloughed off the gray of winter. Of course, it's going to rain tomorrow and snow on Monday, but hopefully this shot of arctic weather will be short-lived.

There have been a few other signs of springtime around here this week.

I found this while doing some yard work this morning:
A dove put this on top of the shed we have under our deck. There's a small space there, and she just about scared the daylights out of me when I walked too close. She flew out, just near my head, and perched on top of a nearby house to watch me. I was a little worried that she wouldn't come back, but about an hour later, I found her there, dutifully sitting on her eggs.
After I had done some yard work and Matt & Ty had played tennis, we got to go to my niece's birthday party. Happy Birthday Morgie! I think she was a little embarrassed when we sang to her...
Fun was had by all. It was a small, low key party, and we got to see my sister's new apartment. It's very nice and has great light. Wild Thing was exhausted after having so much new space to explore. He rarely sleeps in the car, but today he made an exception.
When we came home, Matt decided to tackle finishing the yardwork I had begun this morning.
See all that dirt? It has been sitting in my driveway since Wednesday. With the impending precipitation, we really had to get it moved. I put a good dent in the pile this morning, and Matt enlisted a little help in moving it to our backyard this afternoon. (I told you, the garden is growing this year!!!)
Tyson was very excited to use his new shovel. After a few minutes, though, our work force had grown. (Who says the government is the only entity that can provide jobs???)
Let me state for the record that we honored all child labor laws. All the children were provided with safe working conditions in a harassment-free environment, cool water to drink, multiple breaks, lemon aid. And we paid them a couple bucks each.

Unfortunately, Wild Thing is still too little to help out. He's also too little to play with the big kids. That doesn't stop him from banging on the screen door and yelling his version of Ty's name. (...which sounds like a cross between "wawawa" & "yayayaya!!!")

The dirt is in the backyard, where the garden will eventually be. It has been covered with tarps to prevent erosion (imagine our neighbor's reaction if he ended up with our truckload of soil in his backyard!). Next weekend we'll haul out the tiller and really mix everything up. Hopefully we will also be able to get all the plants moved out there as well.

Now I'm exhausted. I went to a scrapbooking crop last night until midnight, and then hit the ground running this morning. It's only 10:00, but I think I'll go to bed. Have a great week!