Saturday, May 31, 2008

Fleece washing

Friday evening was our pizza and movie night. We watched Serendipity. A terrific romantic comedy! Guess we're on a bit of John Cusack bender lately.

We make our own pizza. I start the dough on Thursday evening. I come home from work, add more ingredients, knead the dough and let it raise for an hour while we get the remainder of pizza fixings ready.

Rani asked about processing the finn fleece.

I washed a pound of it last weekend. It was time to do another pound today.

I take it out on the deck - it's best to do this outdoors.

Spread it out, and remove the hay, vegetable matter (VM) and the little bits of sheepy poop.
Be sure to toss them downwind. You don't really need to ask how I discovered this, do you?

I pull off large pieces of the fleece and put them into a mesh bag.

Actually, I have two mesh bags...

I filled my sink with very hot water. I even added some boiling water to each side. I added a good sized squirt of dish soap.

I added the bags of fleece and let them soak for roughly a half an hour. No agitation or stirring!

I let the water out of the sink, roll the bags up and gently squeeze out the excess water.

I put them into my washer and spin them out. Be sure to turn off the water to the washer!

I returned them to more very hot water in the sink for a rinse. My first rinse was still quite muddy, so I gave the fleece two rinses. I added a shot of vinegar (yeah, I almost wrote "I added a shot of vodka") to the final rinse water to help clear off any remaining soap residue.

After a final spin in the washer, I took the fleece back out to the deck to dry. I have an old window screen that I set the fleece on to dry.

Then it was time to sit on the deck, crack open a beer, and listen to Prairie Home Companion.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Pirate cat again

Gah, I love it when the newspaper echoes our real life!

Yup, I'm awake at 2:55 a.m.

Don't ask...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Return of the shoulder cat

Everyone wants to be a pirate...

I went to Shepherd's Harvest. I spun finn fleece with Carol Rhoades.

I went looking for a finn fleece at the show.

Too many choices overwhelmed me and I came away without any fleece.

But look what I found on Ebay!

A black finn fleece.

Look at that curl/crimp!

Let the washing begin!

May mileage: 8.2 miles today/55.1 this month. Best song today - Clem Snide's "I Love the Unknown" .

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

When I'm a Pirate

When I'm a pirate, I'm not going to have a parrot on my shoulder, I'm going to have a cat...

Ben is home from college for a short two weeks.

He'll be returning to Camp Pepin for the summer, where he will be the waterfront director. (In charge of the swimming and boating areas)

In the meantime, he's relaxing and enjoying some pet snuggling.

Sunday, we did one of the most fun caches we've seen.

It was named "Prehistoric Playground". You're quick, I bet you can see why...

The dirty alpaca plied up nicely, and washed clean. It actually turned out better than I hoped.

104 yards, 72 grams.

And it goes into the basket with no project in mind...

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Todays Agenda

Lawn mowing!

It's May 17, and we haven't mowed YET!

Paul's been working long hours - to work in the dawn, home after dark. He takes Sundays off and I hate to see him do chores on his one day off.

My new full time hours are still taking some adaptation on our part.

In the past, I worked four days a week. My off day, I could do the shopping and errands, and do more work around the house (like mow the lawn).

We'll figure it out yet!

When I'm not at work, I've been chasing Girl of the House around from activity to activity.

Traveling soccer began a month ago, but they had their first game this week.

Go Raiders!

I finished navajo plying the BFL. It turned out very pretty.

GotH would like a hat, and perhaps some fingerless mitts. She claimed this fiber as soon as she got a look at it.

Last evening I spun up the brown alpaca I bought last weekend.

I only had three ounces of it, and that's plenty. It's not perfectly clean - my hands actually got dirty spinning it. Lots of chaff. Quite a bit came out, and I'll get the rest out when I ply.

Truth be told, I purchased it because the vendor was such a friendly outgoing fellow, and after a nice conversation, I felt too guilty to not purchase something.

It'll turn out nice after plying and washing, though, I think...

I still LOVE this Majacraft Alpaca wheel! I've been spinning in various chairs, and on the sofa, and haven't found an uncomfortable position yet. My Lendrum is a bit more particular - it's definitely easier to spin in certain chairs/positions. And it's so quiet!

Took a (three hour drive, one way) with co-workers to Aitkin, MN this week. We were evaluating a software product we're planning to roll out in July. It was a very useful trip, we got lots of helpful ideas.

I didn't have to drive, so it was lots of knitting time! Second Happy Feet sock will be done soon!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Girl of the House and I drove down to Decorah, IA last evening to get some of Ben's stuff. He's done with college for this year.

He needed us to bring the Tahoe to get his loft home. (He'll use it again next year.)

"And can you take some more stuff?"

You see the back is pretty full, and he's still getting more, to the right of the photo.

Yeah, pretty full. And it's still pretty full - I'm only bringing in one armload each time I come in the house. If there is still stuff in the truck on Friday when he gets home, he'll unload the rest...

I'm getting to know my new wheel, spinning the Blue Faced Leicester from Shepherd's Harvest.

Three ounces spun, just one ounce left. Gorgeously prepared and dyed fiber.

I plan to Navajo ply.

Oooh, I'm happy with this wheel!

Monday, May 12, 2008

I did get some knitting done on the plane to/from Boston.

My own handspun lace weight alpaca, dyed with with logwood for another Seaman's Scarf.

Carolyn's Hearts and Rosebuds from Myrna Stahman's Shawls & Scarves.

I did 4 repeats of the lace after a provisional cast on. Then I picked up the provisional cast on and started the neck.

Of course, we all know, lace looks less than impressive til it's blocked!

Here's the second sock, knit during training.

Just beginning the gusset.

Yesterday, Mother's Day, we had a very nice family dinner with Paul's family.

Then we headed out for some hiking.

Can anyone tell me what this is? It's located in a wildlife management area.

The eaves are open, so we were thinking it might be a bat-house. But the door, roughly 8"x12", with the little perch area? No clue!

There was a mama goose, sitting on a nest, ducking her head so we wouldn't see the secret she was hiding.

The remainder of a deer carcass, feet black and shiny, looking freshly polished.

And my best fella, looking happy and relaxed in the cachemobile.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Isn't life amazing?

While I was gone to Boston, my new baby came.

A Majacraft Suzie Pro Alpaca wheel.


She's hand painted with sunflowers.

She's such a beauty.

I didn't get to spin on her til today, but I'm in LOVE!

On Saturday, I went to Shepherd's Harvest, Minnesota's big fiber festival.

I took "Spinning for Scandinavian Knitting" with Carol H. Rhoades (SpinOff's technical editor, and a heck of a teacher!), an all day class.

She had tons of fleece samples for us to spin, more tons of knowledge about scandinavian knitting, and the time flew by.

After spending a week in training in Boston, I must say - now this is education!

The class was from 9-4 with an hour for lunch. The festival was from 9-5. Not much time for shopping!

However, I did manage to buy my annual Mother's day gift to myself, an Ellie Lida Basket, and fill it with fiber.

A "bag of candy", 41 colors of Corriedale from Mielke's Farm to play with on my carder; two colors of alpaca from (oh rats, I have to find that card they gave me); and a beautiful Blue Face Leicester dyed roving from River's Edge Weaving Studio.

And alpaca buttons from Inca Crafts.

Cute, eh?

And, best of all, I met up with a someone who was a virtual friend - Lori. I've been reading her blog for a long time, and now we have met. It was amazingly comfortable - we spoke of things as if we had known each other for a long time.

What a treat! Isn't this an surprising and delightful world?!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

I'm not very good at sitting in darkened rooms and listening to trainers. It's interesting, it's useful, but my eyes start to cross, and I get very sleepy.

I fought it Monday, but Tuesday I finally broke out the sock in the afternoon.

Here's where it stood Wednesday after class. I finished it today, and began its mate.

In more fun news, on the advice of the seminar coordinator, we went to Newport, RI last evening!

It's less than an hour from here. My fellow trainee has a really cool GPS, and it directed us right there!

We walked to Goat Island, passing the Newport Shipyards on the way.

It was full of sailboats - Ben would love it.

I think someday you'll see it for yourself, college boy.

We walked into town. It's still winter season, so they roll the sidewalks up at 5:00. We walked along the ocean with runners and local folk pushing baby
strollers and those walking their dogs.

We walked away from the main drag and up into the residential areas. We strolled by this cool church. The six o'clock chimes went off as we looked through the graveyard at the ancient headstones. Way cool...

We went to Fort Adams, built in the 1800s, and looked around.

We drove Bellevue avenue and Ocean Drive. Mansions! Lots and lots of mansions!

Stopped along Ocean Drive. The ocean smells different here than it does in Texas, Florida, or Washington/Oregon. It's difficult to describe - much more 'tangy'.

We left Newport, going across the Newport bridge to Providence.

It was well worth the $2 toll.

Now, tonight, we're braindead after training.

It's time to start thinking about supper.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Made it to Boston last night after an hour and a half delay in the departure time of the flight , then a half hour of circling Logan.

One of my co-workers decided to rent a car rather than take a taxi to the hotel. It was quite the adventure driving to our hotel. She had a handy GPS though, so it went pretty slick.

We got to our rooms around 9:45. A quick check in, fire up the computers to check things out, then we met at the bar for a nightcap. (Yes, I brought my cute little MacBook, and my work computer. Perhaps, in retrospect, this wasn't really necessary...)

Our class is not far from our hotel. There is a golf course at our hotel. And this is the golf course on the grounds of the training facility at Meditech.

Nice perk, having a golf course on your grounds, eh?

My co-workers golf, so they were drooling!

Luckily, they shut the blinds in the training room. "To facilitate the projector image" they said, but I
think it was to keep our attention on the training!

We had dinner at Legal Seafood. Delicious!!
(And fancy pomegranate margaritas, too)

Then we headed deeper into Boston.


I tried to be inconspicuous, taking pics outside, but I guess we just became Tourists with a Capital T.