Sunday, November 30, 2008

"Drive careful, sonshine"

Ben headed back to school this morning.

He needed to be out before noon. He has to be at the "Christmas at Luther" rehearsal at 3:00, or he won't be able to perform. They have a six hour rehearsal today.

Hugs, "love you , drive careful, it's slippery", and he was out the door by 11:30.

11:32, we received a phone call.

"Can you come and give me a tow?"

He made it down the hill to the iron bridge. Slid right over the edge.

Luckily, he didn't roll, or end up in the river.

Due to the proximity to the bridge and the slipperiness of the road, Paul wasn't able to extract him with his truck.

A tow truck was called. Rather than wait, Ben took my truck to Iowa.

With the friendly warning, "do anything to my truck and I'll kill you!"

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Six Things Meme

Ordinary Girl tagged me with the Six Things Meme.

These are the rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random, arbitrary things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

After thinking about for a few days, I've finally found enough odd things that are unique to me.

1. I'm very low maintenance with my hair. I haven't used shampoo for 17 months. I use baking soda and vinegar. I haven't had a professional haircut in two? years. When my hair gets long enough, I make a ponytail and cut the tail off. Paul helps me fix the worst parts. The only thing I fuss with is blow drying my bangs.

2. When I'm on a long drive, I count oncoming cars, keeping a running total in my head. I average cars per mile for ten miles, then I average them for 100 miles. Compulsive, yes, but it keeps me awake.

3. I can live without TV, but I can't live without music. There are radios or stereos in all rooms in the house and outside, in the shed. First thing in the morning, I start by turning on the radio in the bathroom.

4. I could happily live, permanently, in our pickup camper.

5. When the children were much younger, we were shopping at Target. I looked down and discovered I was wearing two different Birkies. Not even similar Berkies! One was the heavy two strap and the other was a more delicate three strap. At least they were the same color. Hey, the kids hadn't noticed, either.

6. I hate to sweep, vacuum, mop, or do anything to our floors. Our floors are always bad.

And now, I tag: Coleen




Nutty Knitter


Tag, you're it!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving - now don't be paranoid!

A number of bloggers have posted things of beauty for the holiday.

I just can't compete with beauty. Silliness, however, I'm there for you!

So here's a silly thing - don't be paranoid - it's OK!

Sign by Dealighted - Black Friday Coupons

Happy Thanksgiving from 20 Acres and No Sheep!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Obsession revealed

I took today off. I'll work Friday, while the rest of my office is out shopping with the hordes. I'll get lots of work done in the quiet office.

Ben and his GF Bekky are here for Thanksgiving, so we're hanging out. (OK, actually, they're still sleeping!) Girl of the House, who hasn't reached the age of sleeping in, is hanging out with me.

It's a treat being home, during the week, when the sun is shining! I can take pictures in the sunshine!

As I look around, I realize to what extent I have taken over the house with this fiber obsession. I see that my family is extraordinarily tolerant.

Family room:

Lendrum saxony wheel, basket of handspun, and baby sweater still in need of buttons.

Bookcase with fiber tools, magazines, a fleece. Surrounded by more baskets of yarn.


Crockpot dyepot and salad spinner left out from last dyeing.

Dreaded swatches left out after the Retrofit gauge fiasco.

Dining room:

Stuff stacked that should actually be returned to my workroom in the basement. (Where the official stash/equipment lives)

Spindles displayed with the bowls.

Spinning fibers and yarns in yet another corner.

Living room:

Rogue waiting to be sewn together.
Baby surprise sweater waiting for buttons.

The Suzie wheel and more fiber.

More knitting, and yarns awaiting a project.

Bobbin of BFL awaiting navajo plying.

Next to my big comfy chair, dishcloth knitting in a brown paper bag - how elegant.

When Paul comes home from work, we grab a drink and head into the bedroom. He changes out of his work clothes, we catch up on our day and I mindlessly knit.

Then we're ready to begin our evening.

On my dresser, a stack of handknit socks that need repairs. The stack continues to grow.

Why can't I just throw them away?


Handknit socks drying on the rack in the bathtub.

Two skeins of handspun that hung to dry in the bathroom after finishing.

Sometimes they live there for weeks...

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Performance

A cool link I came across tonight while surfing:


It analyzes your writing style. It's fun - I'm not convinced of accuracy yet.

Try it on your own blog!

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Little dog has been trying to redeem himself.

He's been overly snuggly and cute. He insisted on sitting on my lap while I was spinning.

It's a bit awkward.

I finished the new etsy roving.

I want to navajo ply it, but I want someone to take pictures for me while I ply.

So I can demonstrate navajo plying, you know?

We hit REI's big fall sale yesterday, along with about 8,000 similarly minded shoppers. (Only a slight exaggeration, mind you.)

Honestly, the line to pay was way back into the merchandise area.

Recession? What recession?

Girl of the House got her new winter jacket. She insists on growing. Not fair! I've been wearing my winter jacket since 2000.

Maybe I need to grow, too?

Maybe not.

Anyway, let's move on to the real point of the jacket picture.

Notice it matches the blue in the roving? The inside trim of the jacket is chocolately brown.

It seems she is doomed to receive handspun accessories.

Details are in place for the delivery of more roving in the near future. Four ounces only goes so far, you know.

Paul and I took the dogs out for a hike in the Carleton Arboretum this afternoon.

The sun broke through from time to time, and there was no wind. It was a good day for a hike. We went 4.75 miles. (We're GPS junkies. I could tell you our average speed, too, if you like?)

Beavers are at work. These stumps appeared to be freshly beaver chewed.

They're working on bigger trees across the river.

Even beavers have big dreams.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Election 2014?

Is it too early to start the senate campaign for 2014?

This is the wrapper for our newspaper this morning.

You may or may not be aware that there is a embittered recount going on in Minnesota for the US Senate seat. The candidates - Norm Coleman and Al Franken. Today's paper states that of the 2.9 million votes cast, Coleman has a lead of 120 votes. The ongoing recount continues to change those margins, up and down.

So, is this wrapper an attempt to influence the next election?

Or, is it merely a frugal newspaper delivery guy using up old wrappers?

Little dog became excited with the picture taking.

"Take my picture, take my picture!

He's dug himself into big trouble.

He's taken a liking to Girl of the House's Snowball kitty. Snowball has been a close personal friend for more than nine years.

He fishes it out from under her pillow, under her covers, or wherever she hides it, and it's on the floor in another room when everyone gets home.

Before yesterday, it was rather cute. Snowball was never harmed.

But last evening when we came home, Snowball was blind and noseless. Poor tortured little thing.

Tears ensued.

Yes, the little dog is in big trouble...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Resistance is Futile

After years of avoiding it, I've succumbed to

A bout of insomnia last weekend led to extended internet surfing. I saw beautiful fibers being spun by many. I saw that many of these fibers came from Etsy.

So I jumped on the bandwagon. And now I'm the proud possessor of this fluffy BFL roving in the 'coffee and blueberry bagel' colorway from Inspiration Fibers.

Can't wait to give it a spin!

I spent more sleepless time on Ravelry.

This Kauni cardigan grabbed my eye. There are multiple pictures/posts about this sweater on Ravelry. If you are a member, you can see them here.

There is a free pattern available on Ravelry, or here at Ruth Sorenson's site.

It's knitted with two balls of the self striping Kauni Effekts yarn. The color changes do all the work. No weaving in ends from multiple colors of yarn!

After pondering colorways during the daylight hours I ended up with these two: Rainbow, and blue/purple. Thanks to good service from Webs, the yarn is now in hand.

I don't think I'll get to the knitting til after the holidays, however.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Carding fun

I took the finn fleece from the recent dyepot, found some angora that had been dyed during the summer, and mixed 'em up.

The finn (only 45 grams) became darker in the dyepot. The sun bleached tips dyed blue, but beyond that, it was had to tell there was any added color.

I measured out 15 grams of angora. By the time I was done carding, I'd only used 10 grams. That seemed to be plenty.

I've got two pretty little batts. Roughly 50 grams total, after the neppy waste has been discarded.

Now, how to spin it?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Got the blues

I let the roving and fleece cool in the crockpot overnight, and pulled it out Monday evening. It's hanging to dry on the rack in the (rarely used) bathtub.

Because I dyed the roving in a ball, you can see that the dye penetrated unevenly. I'm happy with that effect, it'll make for interesting spinning.

I reswatched the yarn for Paul's Retrofit sweater. I went down two sizes - to a 6.

So, from 70% complete to about 5%. Yikes. I'll have to update my sidebar...

For my friend, Nutty Knitter, I'll have to do posts on crockpot dyeing and navajo plying. Give me a little time...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Paul worked all day Saturday, so Sunday was a mix of chores and relaxing.

Before starting the major work, we managed a scrumptious brunch.

Eggs Benedict, smashed potatoes and bloody Marys.

Well fueled, he went out and put new speakers in my truck, changed my oil, and chopped wood for our Sunday evening fire.

As I tell him regularly, "I love being married to a greasy guy!"

Whereas, I stayed in and did a bit of cooking. I prepared some casseroles that went right into the freezer for later, when we're more rushed.

I blocked out the body of Rogue. The failure of Retrofit had a positive benefit. I finally accomplished the finishing details on this sweater.

Pays to have a soccer player in the house.

How else would you block the hood?

While cooking, I started some crockpot dyeing.

This is the last of any white fiber I have in the house. A posh mix of alpaca, merino and silk.

(In desperation, I threw in some of the dark brown finn fleece around the edges. Don't know if that'll show any color at all?)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Check Out the Book!

My friend, Jenni, from Patchwork Butterfly, has written a book! It'll be released in 2009, but it's listed on Amazon right now, available for pre-order.

Go have a look. Spin - Dye - Stitch

Best yet, she's picturing hand-spun yarns from her friends in the book.

And I'm a friend! Yes, I'll have some yarn in her book!

YAY Jenni!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Knitting along on the sleeve of Paul's Retrofit sweater, I thought it felt a bit "sleezy".

Measured the gauge - OH NO!

I've got 18 stitches/4 inches. It should be 20 stitches/4 inches. I'm off 1/2 stitch per inch.

When I started the sweater, I thought that 5 stitches/inch on size 8 needles seemed a bit strange. After I knitted a few inches, I measured. Yup, 5 stitches an inch. Great!

Now, bear in mind that I started this sweater the day my dad was in the hospital having surgery. Think the situation might lead to tighter knitting? Apparently so! Part way up the body, my knitting became relaxed, and the gauge loosened.

Really, 1/2 stitch per inch shouldn't make much of a difference, should it?

Well, let's do the math: I want a 42" chest. At my gauge as knitted, I'll get almost 47". WAY too loose.

Rather than immediately ravel and re-knit, I did what I should have done in the beginning. I SWATCHED on the size 8 needles. Then I abused the heck out of the swatch - hot water bath, cold water rinse. No change in size. Hot water bath, cold water rinse, then into the dryer. No change in gauge. AAAARGH! j

I could try again, with even more abuse. But I know that while that would result in greater stitches per inch, it would also increase the rows per inch. I'd have a narrower sweater, but it would also be a shorter sweater. Not good.

Now I need to convince myself that I'm a process knitter. That product is nice, but it's the knitting I most enjoy. While this is primarily true, I have all kinds of projects lined up and was really looking forward to being done with this easy little sweater.

So, it sits in the basket, patiently awaiting a decision...

In spinning progress, I navajo plied the wool on the wheel.

I couldn't fit all the yarn from the one bobbin, back onto one bobbin when I plied it. I had this last bit of fiber to make a small skein with.

It had been on the bobbin for awhile, so when I plied it, it kinked up and looked hopeless. However, I was pretty confident it was a balanced yarn - it just needed a warm bath to relax.

(Sometimes, I need a warm bath to relax!)

It came out quite nice.

Six ounces, 190 yards. I like the way the color changes are maintained with the navajo plying.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Return

Thanks to everyone for your comments. After a hectic week, my folks are both at on the mend at home. They're getting better everyday!

We've resumed our regular weekend routine.

After chores were done, we did some geocaching. We did some quick geocaching. It was cold, in the twenties, with lots of snow flurries.

But we came across some fun caches. This one was guarded by a gigantic spider!

Paul's Retrofit sweater is growing.

The body is done, and a sleeve begun.

I even got some spinning time in!

And a super cozy fire on Sunday night to put an end to the weekend.

Friday, November 7, 2008

It's snowing!

Last night on the news, the meteorologist said the snow in South Dakota was not coming this far east.

"If that was going to happen, I'd lead at the top of the news."

Well, oops to her.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Beauty where you find it

Dad made it home from the hospital on Friday. He's doing very well.

Mom, however, is another story...

Saturday morning Mom went into the hosital with what appeared to be a bad GI flu.
They needed to call the ambulance to bring her in, as Dad being postop recovery,
can't drive yet. I drove to Wisconsin to check on the two of them.

Once it seemed that Mom was stable, and would need to be treated for a day or two, we headed back to their house. We sat on the deck, enjoying the amazing November weather. It's always lovely overlooking the lake.

This morning, Mom called before we got to the hospital to visit. She had chest pain during the night and apparently had an MI. They were shipping her to St. Paul by ambulance for more treatment.

Currently, she's comfortable in CCU, awaiting an angiogram in the morning. Treatment will be planned based on the results. Dad's staying with me, and my brother will bring him to the hospital in the morning.

Waiting is always the worst...

It helps to have something for the hands to do though, doesn't it?