Thursday, October 25, 2012

Friendship is...

Funky tea cozies and scones eaten together late at night.  It is get togethers started much later than expected and paused as they start because of violin practice (Butterfly started taking lessons two weeks ago) and parent teacher conferences. It is it does not matter how odd our days were now we are together planing of the days of our lives and catching up. Hope you had a nice drive home - I am holding your phone ransom for another girl's night.

Yarn along - habits and panic

Late again! Thanks for hosting the yarn along, Ginny.

 I found this yarn at St. Vincent's for 79cents a skein, I bought all ten! Mouse wants a hoodie sweater and I was going to use the pattern I posted last week, but I started (and finished) reading the Knitting Sutra and found myself slapping my head in a huge duh! moment when she started talking about gauge. The light over my head (mocking me) was oh course the stitches per inch thing could be used to build the garment not just to verify the yarn selection. DUH! And when I got over (mostly) feeling rather dumb and was filled with a sense of freedom. So I kept the 3 rows knit followed by a row of purl stitch pattern from the sweater pattern I spent hours looking for and then ditched the rest. I am building the sweater from the bottom and having a great time. Oh and I get a huge smile and a huge from my Mouse every time he sees me working on it.
I have been wanting to make myself some socks for a while now, so I grabbed this book at the library - like The Knitting Sutra I may need to buy it - and am knitting up a pair of sample socks to get the technique.  I even when along with the knit each one a different color to practice thing.  I am enjoying the socks and looking forward to making them in much small yarn! The kids are all hoping the socks end up sized right for them - and I will have to make a second practice set to have matchers. So one of the kids is getting two pairs of wool socks.

I finished the second book in Nora Roberts Brides series this morning. It is a charming read. I like how she can make the characters seem as real as a close friend, but they are a bit cookie cutter. group of female friends + group of male friends (sometimes plus conflict) = number of heartwarming book equal to the number of men and women we started with. That sounds harsh and she does do other work which I also like but it is not really meant to be, I like them, tied up with a bow.

Habits - I am sorry it is getting to be a habit to think about posting more than to post - I hope to improve.

Panic - 60 crafting days until Christmas!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Thoughts on a Thursday

Last week Tuesday Butterfly turned 6, this is her dancing before school that morning.
 It is 7:24, Beaver is at school. Mouse - woke up early to crawl in my bed for extra cuddles - is ready for school and unloading the dishwasher to help me. Butterfly is whining that her socks are too big, her pants are to short, she has to sneak back in her bedroom again, basically that she is awake. Until a moment ago Badger was asleep - the last sneak in woke her up. Jim is asleep. Time to take Butterfly to school.

It is 8:04 I drove a much cheered (amazing what breakfast will do!) Butterfly across town to school, it started to rain.  My wipers were replaced last month and it had not rain until Saturday, when I found out they do not work anymore. I really need to go bug the place that put them on.  Badger helped me load the dishwasher, mostly so she could get toast. She did not like the cinnamon bread I made for breakfast and just wanted plain buttered toast and don't stack it mommy. (side note: she has invented a new swear word - Oh Crazelle Stacks! - terribly cute.) Soon I will be walking Mouse to school, time to find the umbrellas.

It is 8:45 Mouse is at school, the rain stopped for the whole walk. Normally, there are a few other kids maybe a mom walking them but no one else is walking. Today there were 4 people walking for exercise out on this wet dismal day. I am going to read awhile with my coffee and book, and finally have my cinnamon bread for breakfast, then I need to print this pattern for Mouse's sweater. I bought a bunch of German wool from St. Vincent's two months ago and I think it will be enough to make him a nice sweater, I'll do the sleeves last just in case, but you can't say no to 100% wool skeins for 79 cents. I bought all they had. His sweater will be a heathery green. Today is Badger and Mommy do errands and crafting time at out Local Yarn (beading and spinning) shop.

It is 2:12 I got the coffee and mattress cover we needed and some cookies to bring to crafting, Badger picked them out. We got to the shop and De was chatting with M, who I think is pretentious and while she is an instructor there is pushing her own agenda often at the store's expense. I wanted to get two yarns to use for sample socks (reading Toe up 2 at a time socks and she recommends practicing in worsted weight in two different colors once to get the hang of it) knitting needles for the girls, size 7 needles for myself and a 40" cable for the knitpicks system. I also got a new gauge, locking stitch holders and pearl cotton for a Barbie Wedding dress (i picked up a pattern book at the library, thinking I would knit some simple cloths for a Butterfly Christmas present, of course she caught me looking at it while I was on the wedding dress page!)  Normally there are a lot of other ladies but today not so much, so it was a lot of shopping then waiting for them to be done talking about a class they want to offer (I won't be taking it) but I ended up getting involved in the conversation which, along with reading The Knitting Sutra, has changed my plan for Mouse's sweater.  I will be using the stitch pattern - k 3rows, p 1 row - for the sweater but making the body in the round in one piece stitches based on gauge and his measurements rather than slavishly following the pattern. Later, M left and another lady joined us, she was working on a complicated (to my eyes) beaded bracelet. I would like to learn the technique,eventually.

It is 6:59, Homework is mostly done, violin lesson for Butterfly went well, but oh the homework.  Too much to have practice and lesson both before dinner. getting her to finish tonight was difficult. Have to work on getting dinner earlier, Jim seems to be working later and later into the evening... it is nice that he can work from home but he seems to be working 24/7 lately and always seems to be running late on the days that are busiest for the kids and me. I know he likes to do the cooking but I think I need to pick up a few days a week and make something that I can start cooking early in the day and is just ready to go.

It is 8:10, Dinner was yummy, pork roast with a spice rub that was so tasty, baked potatoes and corn &peas. The kids are all in bed, I expect the Badger to keep leaking out of her bed for hours yet. I shall sit and watch some whatever is on while starting Mouse's sweater.
Beaver's last cross country meet of middle school. He is the boy that is further away, I meant to get a better shot but as he got near me he yelled out - "I'm Freezing!" they made him take off his hoodie right before the race. He lives in that thing.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Yarn Along - a late entry

Joining Ginny, very late, for the Yarn Along.

I was busy finishing this shawl for (oh wait she reads this), it still needs it's ends woven and I am going to block it in hopes of fixing it's wingspan issue. It is hugely long. Like touching the floor while hanging from my shoulders, but I think it will be nice when she is sitting with most of the shawl on her shoulders and lap and not so much under her. It is made from leftover balls of my grandma's yarn that my grandpa mailed to me after her death.

The Badger and I went to the library today. We hit the knitting section and I grabbed a huge armful of books then we went upstairs to the children's section. After selecting her books she played in the play area, while I whittled down my selections. I got it down to half. I am reading The Knitting Sutra by Susan Gordon Lydon and thoroughly enjoying it. The plan is socks for myself and a hooded sweater for Mouse.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Woolly Wednesdays - welcome to my dyeing studio

Yay for the return of Woolly Wednesdays!

Due to general busyness I have not spun in about 2 weeks. Gasp! I have however cleaned out the from porch and set it up to be a dyeing studio and gone about collecting wild bits to dye with or spin. Welcome to my studio. It is a not quite dry enclosed front porch. The front yard is graded wrong so it sends water toward the house, the porch is in need of real help but for now, it is clean and a pleasant work space.  It will be cold soon, but hopefully a space heater will help.

Milk weed pods from my front yard. I enjoyed the butterflies all summer now I am gathering the fibers inside. I read that mix with wool to be at least 20% wool they spin beautifully, are very insulating and a bit water proof.  We shall see.

The seeds from one pod.

The fiber from one pod. Very silky and beautiful.

Also one pod's worth, fluffed a bit, this makes a good down alternative too.

Bottles of Alum solution, trying to reuse and refresh rather than just dump it, and jars of tannin solution leftover from the acorn dyeing.  The window there leads to our den, so if I opened the curtains, I could keep an eye on the kids while they are on the computer.

I imagine this was once the front entrance to our house, now only me and an occasional wayward cat use it.

Ugly but comfy chair - there are two so pull up a seat - the bags have staghorn sumac, that I will be using as a dye soon. The Birch bark I collected (from a fallen tree) to try to make a basket from.

Drying rack, from front: first dye bath goldenrod, second dye bath goldenrod, and first dye bath trembling aspen.

I am planning on re-purposing this old kid's easel to dry hanging skeins from.

Re-purposed kid's desk covered in tile from goodwill, dye pot and burner.

Trembling Aspen leaves simmer to become second dye bath.

Two ounces of wool in alum mordant bath. bottle of water to rinse fibers, bucket to reclaim the rinse water and my toes, I should re-paint them.

Looking out the studio windows to my front yard.

Superwash yarn a most recently spun just inside the house

A closeup.
 Hope you enjoyed the tour, happy spinning! ~ Julia