Sunday, February 28, 2010

Time flies

I can't believe it's been a whole week since I posted. This week (and weekend) went by really fast.

Craft stuff:
I have been spinning on my Turkish some more and last I posted I had 2 completed hanks. As of this morning I have 3 complete hanks and another cop of singles almost done. Before I go to bed tonight I hope to have finished plying and setting this yarn (hopefully it will be the last hank - I am enjoying the spinning but I am really ready to start knitting with it).
I also finished the body of one of my teddy bears and now I have to stuff it and call my friend to come and pick it up.

Food stuff: We tried a new recipe this week (on Wednesday) - Brian made butter chicken wich is an indian dish made with onions, tomato sauce, diced tomato, a bit of cream, roast chicken and some spices (those are just the basics) all together in a sauce and served over basmati rice.
On Thurday Andrew and Eldon came over and Andrew cooked - he had some left over smoked Turkey and made us enchilada's it was quite good.
On Friday Brian made hollandaise sauce and we had eggs benedict with crab instead of ham - it was fabulous. Totally worth the time to make the sauce from scratch and shell the crab. The kids did not have any crab (shellfish, young kids, yada yada) but they seemed to enjoy it also.

Family stuff:
On Friday Jacob went with Julie and Ron for his weekly Grandpa Day. Normally it's on Thursdays but Julie had Friday off and wanted to spend some time with him too. They also had Eve (Jake's cousin) so the kids got to play together. Fridays are the start of Brian's weekend as well (damn economy...4 day weeks for quite a while, but he still has a job thank god and he gets to spend more time with the kids). So we puttered around the house until after Abby woke up from her nap and headed to Red Robin for lunch (gift certificate from Christmas - it only cost us like 10 bucks out of pocket). Then we thought it would be fun to take Abby to the 'baby animal playground' at the mall. So we wandered in there and let her run around. This place is really great for the smaller toddlers out there. All soft and cushy but still firm enough to climb on. Then we wandered into Victoria Secret and I ended up buying a new bra. I am so happy I did - I forgot how comfortable VS bras are (they damn well better be for 40+ bucks a pop). Then Brian went and picked up the tabs for his truck and we met at the grocery store to pick up stuff for dinner.
On Saturday we woke up and were hanging around the bedroom with the kids and Brian asked what I wanted to do for the day. I said, "I don't know, it looks like a really nice day, let's do something with the kids, like NW Trek or something." After a few minutes in his office (at the computer I assume) he came in and said "ok, let's go. They open at 9:30, lets try to leave the house by 9" I am thinking 'awesome!!!' So I got the kids ready to go and then I made a quick breakfast of scrambled eggs and cheese with some english muffins. 20 minutes later we were there. Now I had never been to NW Trek so I didn't really know what it was going to be like and I had a ton of fun. First we saw a golden eagle, and through the trees we saw the bald eagle on our way to the tram station. While waiting for the tram Jake kinda freaked out and decided he didn't want to go because "the moose has big eyes" (which I thought was weird because he has never seen a moose before). We told him that he would get to see a squirrel if he went on the 'bus-train' After we started seeing animals he started to get less afraid and more excited when he realized they couldn't hurt him. Let's see we saw: Moose, Bison, Elk, Mountain Goats, Big Horned Sheep, Deer, Swans, Geese and Duck. I may be missing some but I think that is most of it. We got really lucky - because these animals are basically free-roaming in a natural habitat they are not always close enough to the road to see...Brian said he has been on the tram and only seen 1 or 2 things. The tour lasts a full hour and by the time we were done Abby was asleep and Jake was starting to get a little cranky. We plopped them in the stroller and went to see the animals in 'exibits.' The first one we saw was the black bear - at wich point I dropped the camera, breaking it - so that is why no pics (the brand new one we got for Christmas).*
I was surprised that the animals were not behind glass, or even a fence. You stood in the covered viewing area and looked into the fenced habitats. I have only been that close to a bear once in my life, and last time it was NOT FUN - we were just getting out of the car at my Grandpa's house in Glacier National Park. Needless to stay we all got back in the car and waited until Grandpa fired the gun a few times (not at the bear - we were in a park) and it went away. Also a black bear now that I think about it. Anyway the ony thing between you and the bears is a ditch and a single line of electric fence on their side of the ditch. After the black bear was the grizzly bears. Large and impressive - reminds me of an old joke: "how do you know if you are being chased by a black bear or a grizzly bear? - The black bear will climb the tree - the grizzly bear will knock it over" (ba-dum-cha!)
After the bears we say gray wolf, red fox, and coyotes - they were RIGHT there only yards away. it was really neat. Then there were the bobcat, cougar and lynx. Holy crap those cougar were HUGE! there were two of them and for obvious reasons the viewing area was elevated much higher and the 'ditch' was actually a rather wide, deep moat (cougars can jumb 20 feet vertical). I am fairly certain there was no way they could jump that high from floating in the water.
From there we saw the smaller wetland animals - raccoon, rover otter, beaver, wolverine, porcupine, skunk, badger, and fisher (I had never heard of nor seen a fisher before - really cute little things). Then we saw the barn owls, horned owls and snowy owl and headed to lunch. The cafe had a lodge type setting - the booths were wood and it had high open rafters and a nice large fire place with a fire blazing. It was great - we picked the booth closest to the fire and had a darned good lunch before heading back to the van. Jake fell asleep before we were out of the park driveway. We got home and put the kids down for naps (I had one too - all that walkng made me tired).
So that was our weekend so far. It was a ton of I have to go do laundry and pack some bags because the kids and I are headed up to Orcas for the week tomorrow.

*camera fixed worries

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Some Productivity

I have been rather addicted to my little turkish drop spindle. Ron (Brian's step-dad) noticed and made me a couple more! I am impressed and I am ready to start spinning on them...For now I don't have pics but I'll take some soon.
Also I finished the singles on my second skein of the alpaca on Friday and yesterday I plyed and set the twist so this morning I have more yarn! I have also decided what I am going to do with it...I will be making a lacy scarf by Nancy Bush. The pattern is called A Stork's Nest Scarf and it can be found in the Knititing Traditions special that was recently put out by Interweave Press.

I have been really inspired by Nacy Bush's Knitted Lace of Estonia that I got for Christmas and will be knitting several of the patterns from there as soon as I finish the Fountain Pen Shawl that I am working on for Julie. I had set is aside for a while and getting this book has really inspired me to work on it again.

I also decided to make some socks for Abby with the yarn leftover from my Soxual Persuasion socks...I am using the same pattern with one less pattern repeat so they are 40 stitches around instead of 60. They should fit her just right.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Lots of stuff because I'm catching up.

Things I've recently learned:
1. WinCo has fabulous quality meats.
2. I can use my drop spindle while simultaneously making tea and pouring cereal.
3. When a toddler is having a tantrum and slamming her hand on her highchair tray - she can cause it to 'rain' macaroni and cheese in brief spurts.
4. Macaroni and cheese sticks like napalm and dries like concrete.
5. The beans that you and your toddler are making sprout (to see things grow) that 'don't take' ferment.
6. No matter how hard you wish for it dishes don't do themselves (wait, I think I've said that before...ok well, maybe this time I'll learn it for real).

My children have learned:
Abby: How to remove one's diaper but also how to give kisses and to wave/say bye bye
Jacob: Selfishness but also kindness and very early math skills

My husband has learned:
It really is possible to pick up a 7-10 split (go ahead, ask him how he knows) :)

Ok and now for the crafty shit that you are either 1: waiting for or 2: skipping over...
Last Thursday Abby and I attended Madrona Fiber Arts Festival. I wish I could say it was to take one of the incredible classes that were offered, but alas, I was just there to shop (gee darn).Next year I do hope to get into a couple of classes though.
I purchased some fun stuff but did not go totally insane like I did last year.
I bought:
- a set of dpn protectors so I can stop gouging myself everytime I reach into my purse.
- a diz and pull hook for pulling my combed wool into roving (yay!)
- a handy little project bag that I can't believe I payed 22 bucks for when I could have made it myself for 87 cents.(but now I can make myself a couple since I have something to refrence).
- a packet of 'exotic' fibers that include 1/4 each of cashmere/silk, baby alpaca, yak/merino, silk/rayon, baby camel/merino and cashmere. all of these I would consider to be luxury fibers and it's a great way to 'try out' a bunch of fibers without committing to a larger purchase. I can spin these and know if I would like to make the commitment to buy more yak or camel...
- 4.5 oz of alpaca in a sorta white's the natural fiber (no dyes, etc.) and I am really loving how soft it is and how fine it is spinning up on my new...
- Turkish spindle. this was my most expensive purchase but well worth the 45 bucks. It is a Turkish Delight from Jenkins Woodworking and my oh my am I in love! It is lightweight (.9 oz) so I can spin nice and fine. It is made of beautiful Purple heart wood with a maple shaft. Here she is...don't have a name for her yet, but she truly is a delight.
Some in progress singlesand the 2ply center pull ball that you get when you take the spindle apart from inside the ball (neatest trick ever I tell ya!)After I finished plying the singles back on themselves to get that center pull ball I then skeined it onto my swift so I could a: get approximate yardage and b: set the twist in the yarn. However I love this little ball so much I am thinking I might just wind it back onto the spindle rather than using my ballwinder before using it.
Here is the hank drying in the window...hopefully you can see the halo the yarn has:It also has a lovely luster that is not showing up in this photo.
That is the fun I have been having with my new spindle. Just before Sock Wars started I finished plying and setting this yarn:I am currently vacillating between loving it and hating it. Here's why:
1. It was supposed to be a sock yarn and when all was said and done it came out bigger. On the wheel it was fine, but it bloomed so much during the setting process that it is too big to use for socks (or the socks I had envisioned anyway). This bums me out because it is the first bit of spinning I had a complete vision from roving to final product in my head for.
2. The colors gradate from red to orange to yellowish green to blue and back again. I like this but am not sure I love the colors overall. They are kindof cartoony. I think half of you were lying when you said you loved it. Now keep in mind when it's knit up the red won't fall next to the blue or green so will progress from one color to the next.
3. It turned out super soft and squishy. would make a lovely sweater but there is certainly not enough yarn here for that (and then there is the color issue)...
Anyway so that is that.
Beyond the spinning has been the knitting. More socks. Shocker I am sure. I am halfway through the 2nd pair for Iron Knitter. I am officially 'out' of the competition because I did not finish the whole pair on time, but I will continue to particpate in subsequent rounds for fun. So here is the first finished sock - first from the front/top with the vine/leaf pattern:
And from the side with the diamond pattern:This is the first time I worked a picot edge (the top of the sock) and I really like the way it works...I need to figure out how to turn the hem as I go though because I am really not in love with finishing the sock and then having more finishing up to do. I kinda like that once you are done grafting and weaving in the end you can wear 'em out the door.
This pattern is called Wishing for Spring and can be purchased via Ravelry. I will say though that I did find numerous mistakes in the pattern and hopefully some of them are fixed by the time the pattern is published.

Monday, February 01, 2010

What? I've been busy.

Knitting that is.
I have been in Sock Wars...knitting like mad I tell you. I have knit 3 socks (plus 2inches) in the last 15 days. For me that is quit a lot at once. Not to mention the first of those socks was a size 10 (so a big sock). It was for my 'target' in sock wars. Basically the game is like 'assassins' - You are assigned a target and try to 'kill' (in this case knit and mail a pair of socks) before your assassin kills you. I did not finish my socks before receiving my 'death socks' in the mail. So I wrapped them off and sent them to my assassin who is now knitting them for my target. Lots of fun but I picked a difficult pattern and it went much slower than I anticipated. A lot of it comes down to luck (how fast your assassin's assassin knits, how slow is the postal service, etc.) but either way I am dead.
The second part of the competition is called Iron Knitter. The game basically goes like this: at a certain time a clue sheet is released. once you solve all of the clues and email your answers back to the "Supreme Commander" she sends you the sock pattern. Then you knit that pattern as fast as you can. The first 90 % of players to finish move on to round two. Round 2 will begin tomorrow with another clue sheet to be released around 1pm EST (10am my time) and then an unknown at this point percent of players will move to round 3.
What I have learned thus far from this competition is that I am much slower knitter than I originally thought. I am going to have to knit faster if I want to stay in th e competition for much longer.
Once I finished my Iron Knitter socks (my new favorite socks ever!) I finished up some spinning.
I'll try and get some more pics up soon. No garuntee's when that will be since the competition rev's back up again soon!