Tuesday, January 29, 2008

this 'n that

This was dinner tonight...Stonyfield farms fat free vanilla yoghurt with frozen and thawed berries(raspberries, blackberries and strawberries) on top. Eaten with a graham cracker. *sigh* diet food. Yep.

Anyways, I spun a whole 'nother bobbin of singles(I'm filling my four bobbins and then making them all into two-ply, as opposed to spinning two and plying them) Once I get all this roving spun up I'll have a lot of yarn, assuming everything I make from now on is usable. Still have no idea what to make of it though. I'll figure it out.

Oh! Very happy news! One of my favourite directors, Baz Luhrmann, is *finally* coming out with a new movie, Australia. His previous movies were Strictly Ballroom, Romeo & Juliet and Moulin Rouge. All Brilliant and very original movies. Not everyone's cup of tea, though. I'm very excited.

Oh yeah. Nutritionist appt tomorrow...back to Rochester :-P Then baking for church (cookies+diet=bad, but i'm going to try very, very hard to be good)

Monday, January 28, 2008

turn, turn, turn

Spinning, spinning, spinning.

I'm not good enough at spinning to spin without looking yet, so I listen to music while I spin. No surprise there. I'm a music addict and I have music on most of the time. usually it's my mp3 player on shuffle(A Dell Digital DJ at 5GB , a few over a thousand songs, which is unfortunately just a fraction of my CD collection) which produces some fairly interesting combinations. Ben Harper to Les Mis to Chris Thile to Nellie McKay. Kids' songs, to traditional, to experimental, to opera metal. I love music.

It's a good thing music and yarn don't have calories, or i'd be in trouble(day three of diet ing to lose the twenty pound for surgery. Doing good so far.) Spinning keeps my busy, and it's really, really addictive. Soon i'll be good enough to order some pretty and nice rovings(instead of the coarse stuff I got to practice on) And then I'll have yarn to make things with....ooooh boy!! That'll be really exciting!!

(BTW, I watched the last season of Black's Books today. It's a British comedy TV show. And it's brilliant. And hysterically funny. The only bad thing is that they've stopped making it!)

Thursday, January 24, 2008


I'm so proud of myself right now! I have actually produced real, usable, two-ply yarn on my wheel. Ohmigosh. Seriously. This is the coolest thing. I set the twist and took a picture, and the yarn is now comfortably drying over the heating vent. It's nice and soft yarn, too. Not overplied like I thought it would be. No idea what i'll do with it. We'll see!

My doctor's appointment went well. Very well. Actually, I suppose I should mention what I was going in for. I've been considering/researching/praying about the option of weight loss surgery for quite a while, so I took the plunge and went to see a bariatric surgeon. Well, it went well. Very well. I'm on the path to get gastric bypass surgery in several months, unless God closes the door(which I really hope he doesn't, but I'll accept it if He does)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I'm totally cheating today.

Instead of actually baking for church this evening , I made rice krispie treats yesterday.

I have to go to the Doctor today and I shan't have time to bake.

not my regular Doctor. A different one.

Don't worry. nothing alarming is going on, but I am rather nervous, so your prayers and/or good thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

(I'm bringing the Noro feather&Fan scarf with me...simple enough to be mindless, but complex enough to stay interesting)

Monday, January 21, 2008

life is pandemonium....

Yesterday, dad took Amelia and me to see "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee".


is teh awesome!!

I love it. With song titles like "The Prayer of the Comfort Counselor" and "Magic Foot"(after listening to it, the word "foot" makes no sense for a while) and lyrics like "We are fearless spellers/who love scary words/we're the nerds/with the dictionary on our knees" and "we are/the slightest bit/bizarre" or a song-length rant performed by the spellers about how unfair it is that some spellers get words like "antediluvian" and others get words like "hospital"

It is at once hysterically funny, touching, heartbreaking, thought provoking and utterly reckless. Being only the second musical I've seen , I can't comment from a point of experience, but I adored it, and would pay unreasonable ticket costs to see it again. The actor who played Logainne in the show I saw was absolutely spectacular! (They were all good, but she was super-good)

That was after church, and, by the time we made some stops and got home the cold that was lurking somewhere under the surface exploded, and today was devoted to knitting(Noah's mittens, Miki's scarf, and my scarf. Progress made on all, no FO's, though), drinking lots and watching movies(The Princess Bride, the Richard Pryor Show, Idiocracy, Moulin Rouge and Mr Bean)

Thankfully, I'm feeling somewhat better now. How are you guys?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The good, the bad, and the knotted

Sometimes, you just gotta go back to basics. . Like the batch of chocolate chip and walnut cookies I baked for church this week. Simple, comforting and oh, so delicious!. I watched "Stranger than Fiction" again yesterday and, well, it makes me want chocolate chip cookies. Especially ones that are just a little undercooked. Mmmmmm.

On a completely unrelated topic(I couldn't figure out a segue any less abrupt) This is my first attempt at plying my now passable singles. It's supposed to be one strand, but, erm, well, i plied a strand that was spun to the left with a strand that was spun to the right, so instead of twisting together and making yarn, they twisted against each other and back onto themselves, forming, in effect, a giant knot. Which is okay. I'll chalk it all up to the learning process :-)

Now, if you'll excuse me, I believe there are some cookies calling my name.....

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Same thing again

So. Yeah.

Today was, like most other days recently, a knitting and spinning day. I spun two bobbins of singles, and i'll ply them tomorrow. I started a pair of wristwarmers from the chunky alpaca, and deemed the alpaca too delicate, unfortunately. Really, I'm slightly sensitive to alpaca(when it's up against my neck it makes me itch) but this stuff felt so wonderful to knit with. It doesn't have the "give" required of wristwarmers, though, so this weekend it's back to the yarn store to find something more suitable.

I got this far on the Noro Silver Thaw scarf. It's a feather & fan lace pattern, and I am loving it. It's interesting enough so that it's not boring to knit, but simple enough to knit mindlessly. It's also impressive looking, but not so visually complicated that it takes away from the Noro.

In lieu of the wristwarmers as a(nother) current project, I started Noah's Mittens. Here they are.

What are Noah's Mittens, you ask? Well, he asked me a while ago to make him "really tough" mittens. Mittens that could withstand a day of snowballs and fort building and being pulled on and off with teeth, mittens that would keep his hands very warm. Mittens that would be able to keep up with the kind of things a 9yo boy does outside, but still be thin and flexible enough to allow for a full range of hand movement. Can such a pair of mittens be hand-knit? We shall see :-) I'm using Paton's Classic Merino, in a colour that is supposed to look like camouflage when knit up(to go with his Camo hat, of course!)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Simple treasures....

Sorry for the lack-of-updates...I've been playing with my spinning wheel(still haven't gotten any usable yarn, but I'm getting there)and starting and ripping out several dozen possible patterns for the Noro Silver Thaw I have(50%wool, 25%angora, 25%nylon) the colours are stunning....greens and purple, with occasional bits of pink. Oh, be still my heart!! If I get too frustrated trying to find the perfect pattern, I have also three skeins of a heathery rose pink 100% llama, and some bulky forest green alpaca(which is intended for some wristwarmers for my doctor, who is more like an uncle, really. Hence the random handknits.)

*cough* lack of visible fibery progress aside, I had my first knitting class on Friday, and it went beautifully. eight girls and one boy. After the first fifteen minutes everyone had pretty much caught on and there was nothing else for me to do! But the fun part will come when the knitting is done and we dye and felt!! I'm very excited!

I also had my first real Sunday School class this week.(I feel like a real Sunday School teacher now. Know why? Dude, i've got flannelgraphs!!) My class is adorable. Two boys, both 5, and a 3yo girl. All are exceptionally well-behaved and really freakin' CUTE! I love everything about this!

Lastly, look! Want to know why this roughly cut, crayoned block is the picture of the day? Well, the little girl in my Sunday School class made it for me. She coloured it in my favourite colour(purple) and hers(pink) and wrapped it up to give to me yesterday. Oh gosh, I feel so special now!!

Well, maybe that wasn't quite lastly....Phase two of the surpise is starting *squeeee* This is all very exciting!!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

It's spinning wheel day!!

It came!! *squeeeee*

There it is! (Amelia is in the background playing Guitar Hero. Excuse the mess. I was so excited I started taking pictures while all the packing material was still strewn about the living room)

And look!! Stuff resembling yarn! (sort of) But I haven't shown you the cool surprise my wheel had for me!

How awesome is that!!! I love it so much...I want it next to me all the time! It's "portable" but not portable enough to carry back and forth several times a week. *sigh*

Oh. I think she needs a name....any ideas?

(Now i'm going back to playing with my wheel!! Yay!!)

Oh yeah. She came with a lazy kate, 4 standard bobbins, a plying bobbin, head and flyer and a fast flyer. So many new toys!!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Cables & Cheese rolls....

Because Wednesdays are for baking....

Cheese rolls are one of my own creations, something I thought of when we were going to have fruit and cheese and crackers for dinner, only we didn't have crackers! They've been very popular at home and church since. There's no exact recipe, but i'll share as close as I have to a recipe....

Follow your preferred bread recipe, adding a couple shakes of onion powder and garlic powder, and a quarter cup or so of Parmesan cheese(if the recipe is for one loaf. If it's for two or more, increase as appropriate) Also, double or triple the amount of oil used(more if you're brave! the more you use the better the texture of the rolls) . Don't use butter or shortening...it won't impart the same texture. (if the recipe calls for butter or shortening, the same amounts of oil can, of course, be substituted) preheat oven to 350-ish(depending on how well done you like the outsides of your rolls)

Once the dough is done rising, cut it into sections and roll or flatten the first on the counter. spread it with a little butter, and sprinkle some garlic powder, onion powder, and whatever sorts of cheese you like. I usually use parmesan and sharp cheddar, and swiss and jack cheese, if they're around, You can also add whatever else appeals to you. At different times I've added diced onions, pressed garlic, bits of tomato. Whatever you like with cheese. It has occurred to me to add bits of ham, but I haven't yet(I'm vegetarian, so I'd need someone else to eat that batch!). Roll up the topped dough slab into a spiraly-tube thing. Grease some muffin tins(or a pan or cookie sheet, if you haven't any muffin tins) and cut the roll into sections of about an inch. Let them rest and rise a bit, and throw 'em in the oven till they're done(15-20 minutes-ish. I usually go by smell and sight more than the clock)

I've got a whole pike of them for church this evening, and wow, they smell great! They're awesome as a snack, or a light meal with salad or fruit...yummm!!

(as for the cables part....I've got the cast-on(crochet cast on, which takes forever, ick) and the set up row done on jeanie...now the fun begins!!)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Getting it done...

Today was a day of accomplishments and semi accomplishments. I did the finishing work on my calorimetry, and got everything ready for my knitting class(10 pairs of needles, 10 skeins of yarn, 10 sets of instructions, 10 class guides, and one class list. I only have 9 kids, but I like having an extra set of things). I started (and ended up frogging) seven different stitch patterns for the Noro Blossom scarf. I can't seem to find one that lives up to the awesomeness of the yarn. I think i'll try to dredge up a couple more balls online so I can make the Bloom shawl, which is gorgeous.

Admitting defeat on the Noro scarf, I decided to move on to the gorgeous Jeanie. I bought some heathered fingering weight wool from Knitpicks before Christmas, intending to use it for Jeanie. It's blue with a kind of jungle green and a bit of red, too. Very pretty. I intended to begin it this evening, but Amelia came over and wanted to play Guitar Hero, so that's what we did. I'm not much of a video game player. I can't stand violence for violence's sake, but I have nothing against the myriad of nonviolent video games that exist. I play them socially, but I don't find them fun at all as a solitary activity. I am also legendarily bad at them. But even I managed to get to international fame on Guitar Hero 3 (Though I must say i prefer the songs on 1 & 2)

Now, how about musician themed guitar Heros? I want a Cab Calloway version!!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Good news and a crappy picture

The good news being that the Hufflepuff scarf is *finally* finished! I finished it Saturday, swatched for my current project that evening(I only swatch when the gauge is crucial....heresy, I know!) I cast on Sunday morning, and I'll probably bind off this evening(while watching the second season of SNL-Hurrah!)I needed a quick knit to recoup from the scarf, and Calorimetry is perfect.

The picture is crap, but as there is no decent light to be found anywhere 'round here at 6PM, it'll have to do. I'm using Green Mountain Spinnery yarn, 45% wool, 55% mohair, in a lovely heathery, tweedy purple. I'm knitting it on 8's, incidentally, a pair of Knit-lite knitting needles, that light up at the tips so you can knit in the dark without bothering anyone(like in the car at night) and they work very well for this purpose. I cast on 108 stitches instead of 120 as well, to remedy gauge issues. I can't wait till i'm done!

Oh yeah. I ordered a spinning wheel!! A lendrum folding double treadle. And it comes with 2 1/2 pounds of wool....It should be here Thursday-Yipppeee!!

Friday, January 04, 2008

My kind of world!(sorta)

Further proof that knitters are taking over the world!

(Who else would want free wool? Srsly)

BTW....10" left on the Hufflepuff scarf....freedom is so close!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Pass it on...

So, At our homeschool co-op each family is supposed to teach two classes a year. (Previously I've taught Pet Care for K and pre K, and two Narnia classes for 3-6. I love teaching. It's the greatest thing!) Well, the winter session(which starts on the 11th) I'll be teaching a class on knitting for the 6th-12th graders...I'm so excited! Seriously, the opportunity to pass along my most beloved craft. Even if none of the kids ever picks up a knitting needle outside the class, i'll still have great time doing it :-) I've got nine kids in my class, and I couldn't be happier! We'll be making bags, including dying and hand-felting them.

In other news, I've got a secret. Nope, can't tell, cause it's a secret! But I will say that it is coming along quite nicely;-)

And, an unrelated question, but one I am quite interested in, What are some of your favourite colour combinations?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Wednesdays are for baking...

So, on Wednesdays there's the mid week services at church. Bible studies for the grown-ups, and clubs for all the kids. One of the many, many things that is so very awesome about this church is how on Wednesday evenings, people from our church go to various places and pick kids up, kids who otherwise wouldn't have any chance to go to church at all. Most of them are kids from Mexican immigrant communities. The amount of kids coming in pretty much doubles the child population of the church, for the evening.
Wednesday evening I teach the middle-ish kids, 1st through 3rd grade. When I started three years ago, I was helping, and ended up baking snack for the kids. This expanded to become me baking for the church. Yep. after church I hang out in the church lobby providing calorie-laden snacks to everyone. Conveniently for me, they serve as my guinea pigs when I want to try a new recipe, or invent one.
Today it's brownies. Fudgy brownies with chocolate chunks in them. Mmmm. My preference is to eat them with warm with vanilla ice cream, but, as there's no ice cream in the house, I suppose i'll have to do without. Oh well :-)

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Noro is teh awesome

So, today, to distract you from my pitiful lack of progress on the scarf(4'10 *sigh*. I'm a slow knitter *and* I spent most of the day out. That isn't conducive to getting lots of knitting done) I'm going to talk about pretty yarn!

This is three skeins of Noro Blossom. It's about a worsted weight, 40% wool, 30% kid mohair, 20% silk and 10% nylon. It's also been discontinued for, I believe, about a year.

I went to my LYS Friday, to spend Christmas money on, what else, yarn! I took the opportunity to dig to the back of their highest shelves, and lo and behold, I found three skeins of Noro Blossom in this gorgeous colourway. I just want to look at it all the time, it's *that* pretty. It has an amazing texture, too. According to the LYSO, she never really carried this, so it must be leftovers from a special order for someone. With the three 70-yd skeins, I think I'll make a scarf(I love scarves, and wear them often as accessories) ...a simple stitch pattern that shows off the texture...perhaps the Yarn Harlot's One-Row Scarf on 9's? Something to muse on while working on that Hufflepuff Scarf(I'm way too instant-gratification for things this big and simple)

A question for anyone who comes around...Which do you think is better as a lace weight yarn...silk, Alpaca, or Merino? Is any fiber functionally better for lace than any other fiber?