Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"My name is No-No-Bad-Dog, what's yours?"

Two ski meets in two days makes for some car knitting time.

The Lopi Sweater has sleeves attached, and I've begun the colorwork in the yoke.

Not very much left! For pure speed satisfaction, bulky Lopi yarn is the best!

Little dog Chip had been in his kennel so much lately. All day while we were at work, and then all evening when we were at ski meets.

We felt badly for him, so we dog-proofed the house (or so we thought) and let him have the run of the house with the big dog today.

Bad choice.

Little bugger went in my knitting basket, pulled out the roll of double points. He chewed up the 0s, 1s and 4s. How he unrolled it is a mystery. It was deep in my knitting basket, too! He had to dig to get it out.

He pulled out a spindle and chewed on the end. Lucky for him, it was not one of my favorites!

There were pens, my measuring tape, a pencil sharpener, and my little baggy of yarn scraps in his "chewed on" pile. GotH got it cleaned up before I arrived home. Luckily for the little dog, there was no skiing today. I'd have had to kill him!

Guess he'll live in his kennel forever.

I don't know what the big dog was doing. Egging him on, perhaps?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Finishing weekend

It's been another frigid weekend. That makes for good weather to stay in and finish long postponed projects!

The most recent Baby Surprise Jacket was sewn together, buttons and all.

Two baby sweaters that waited patiently for a very long time, had their buttons attached

Paul's Retrofit sweater became a finished, zippered sweater.

He modeled it, then promptly sat down to read. I guess he likes it!

(It is much better, now that it's the proper gauge, isn't it?)

My Rogue sweater got the sleeves sewn in, and the zipper inserted.

Girl of the House models it. She might borrow it, but it's too big for her, really.

Well, that took close to a year to complete. Whew...

And the "Easter Egg" roving was plyed, and is hanging to dry.

280 yards, 167 grams.

By the way, if you think using a tear away stabilizer would make zipper insertion easier, be really sure it tears away easily!

Also, a good tweezers is also a useful knitting accessory!

Just saying...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Before you race

You need to have your skis sharpened and waxed.

Paul recently took a class at Pierce Skate and Ski, obtained the required supplies, and now we have a ski tuning shop in our basement!

Prior to every race, the skis should be sharpened and waxed.

As a racer, you also need to learn these skills.

The apprenticeship begins.

We're coming to the end of the ski racing season, and meets are coming fast and furious, with three meets next week. I sure hope it warms up! We're back in the deep freeze this morning at 14 below zero.

Thursday evening, there was a large meet at Welch Village. There were at least five schools, and 104 skiers! Each skier races down the hill twice, so it gets to be an extended time standing in the cold when you are a spectator! (I need new snow boots! Cold toes!)

Girl of the House took one heck of a fall, got up, hiked back up to the spot she left the course, and finished her run. She demonstrated great perseverance, and her coaches were very proud of her.

Of course, we're always proud of her!

Even Olympians take falls.

It's roughly 25 miles to Welch, so it's good to have a simple stockinette round and round to work on. The Lopi sweater has resumed its growth.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Organizing (and my new prize)

New Year, we should organize!

How 'bout you? Are you organizing or decluttering?

Paul and I headed downstairs, into the basement, to get something done.

On my side, my messy cutting table.

Over the holidays, it just became a gathering spot for things I didn't want to take the time to properly put away.

Projects in progress, new acquisitions, you know the drill...

Tons of 'keeper' magazines and pattern books that were piling up in the living areas.

Ah, you can't help but notice my most recent acquisition?

Alice Starmore's "Pacific Coast Highway". I got very lucky and found someone willing to sell a copy for a reasonable price.

Amazon has it for $150, used. For a paperback knitting book. That's almost obscene, isn't it?

Gorgeous fair isle knitting in my future!

With all the books put away, there is fresh hope.

Clear space. Wow!

Paul did some organizing on his shop side of the basement.

Ski tuning/waxing table is at the ready!

Fresh mushrooms are started.

Paul got a kit to grow more portabella mushrooms for Christmas. The basement is a perfect place - cool and dark.

Give it a month. We'll be feasting!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Wink, wink, nudge, nudge, if you know what I mean...

Fun new stitch markers that I received in my Christmas stocking.

Bonus points if you know what they refer to!

The Baby Surprise Jacket is almost complete.

Just a few more rows, then I can sew it together. (My least favorite part.)

I messed around with the new camera at sunset.

I've a sort-of mentor, Ordinary Girl. She's upgraded her camera fairly recently, and takes extraordinary photos. She sets the bar high!

But I watch, I learn, I grow.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

It must be spring!

Saturday morning when we woke up, it was 54 degrees warmer than the morning before. It's amazing how warm 22 degrees above zero can feel.

Today Paul and I went snowshoeing in the arboretum. It was snowing lightly, and it was a treat to be outside.

Down by the river we saw an eagle, hanging above the water, just waiting to see his dinner.

He flew a short distance up the river and met his mate.

We are very lucky to have eagles in our immediate area.

The open water of the river keeps them here year round.

(Unfortunately, the open water is from the Northfield city sewer treatment plant.)
Well, whatever works, I guess?

We saw the first robins of 2009.

Usually you don't see them in Minnesota til spring. Guess this means spring is here!

From -32 to spring. YAY!

Girl of the House traded in all her saved allowance money and her birthday money to purchase a Wii.

We picked it up today, and she's been very active.

You gotta love a video game you don't sit down for, don't you?

We don't buy video games for our kids. However, they are allowed to buy them with their own money. (But we still put pretty restrictive rules on video game time.)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

It WAS this cold 15 years ago

Today, almost every school in Minnesota was closed due to subzero weather. Our weather station clocked -25 this morning. We've had a high of -8.

Darn cold, but it seems to be a tradition.

Today is our 15th wedding anniversary. January of 1994 was a record setting cold month. On January 15, the high temp was -9 degrees. The low was -34 degrees. (Paul's friends had always said it would be a cold day in hell when he finally married.)

How are we celebrating?

It's too cold to grill a really great steak outside. It's too cold to go out to dinner. We've tentatively planned a get-away weekend celebration in the near future.

So, we're having lentil soup!

Yeah, let's party!

While supper cooked, we exchanged cards and gifts of chocolate.

Then Paul got a gleam in his eye and said I needed to open my real present.

So what is he doing here?

Attaching the strap to my real present, a Canon Rebel XSi camera!

With an 18-55mm lens, a 55-150mm lens, a macro lens, and all the bells and whistles.

Wow. I'm almost speechless.

I got him chocolates.


What an amazing, surprising man. I am a very spoiled girl.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Not much here, beyond staying warm.

The high today was three below zero. Looks like tomorrow will be colder. We're not going to discuss the windchills.

Question: How much do we perceive the difference between three below and the 20 below we had yesterday? It's all way too cold.

You would notice the difference between 90 and 107, wouldn't you? I know you would notice the difference between 80 and 97.

But -3 and -20? No difference. It's just cold.

Love this photo, courtesy of I Can Has Cheezburger.

Laughter keeps us warm..

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

ADD continues

I feel as if I shouldn't really say ADD, but can't come up with more appropriate wording.

Forgive me...

But I'm still skipping 'round, project to project.

I spent Friday evening spinning, while we watched "A Fish Called Wanda". (One of our favorites.)

This is the last bit of crockpot dyeing - the easter egg colored bits of BFL. Only plying left!

I started a Baby Surprise Jacket with the recently dyed turquoise/chestnut superwash merino.

The colors are not photographing very true. The pictures of the skein were more accurate.
(Why is that? Same camera, same photographer, same technique.)

There was a nice surprise in the mail.

This is the December fiber from Chameleon Colorworks.

A lovely superfine merino/tencel blend.

More to spin. YAY!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Ski Team

Girl of the House is on the High School Alpine Ski Team.

Last evening they had a meet at Hyland Ski Area in Bloomington, against Wayzata and Benilde-St Margaret.

Their team came in second. Not bad for a young team.

Fun skiing for the girl, cold toes for her parents.

I need much more experience in night action shot photography.

This was my best shot of GotH. (If this is the best shot, just imagine the rest?)

Trust me, this really is her!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

More Crockpot

Ok, so I did a bit more crockpot dyeing over the weekend.

I'm suffering from lack of commitment to any one project. It's much easier to skip from the start of one project to the start of another - the dreaded "startitis".

This was the last two skeins of superwash merino.

Turquoise in the crockpot. Emerald green and Fuschia squirted, each over one half of the top of the ball.

This is five ounces of BFL, tucked into the crockpot around the edges, after the yarn had been hot-tubbing for a few hours.

It soaked up the last bits of dye.

I like the pale pastels. It looks rather 'easter eggy', doesn't it?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Crockpot Dyeing

I did some crockpot dyeing on New Years Day. A nice colorful way to begin the year!

I even remembered to take some pictures.

I took two skeins of KnitPicks Bare yarn, worsted weight, from the stash. Each skein weighed 100 gm with 220 yds.

I balled 'em up.

(sounds kinda kinky, doesn't it?)

I filled a 5 qt ice cream bucket with warm water and put a big glug of vinegar in it.

You eat this much ice cream too, don't you? We've got tons of these buckets.

I placed the two balls into the water and pushed down on them with my hands to force the air out of their little lungs. I drowned 'em good. When they were finally airless, they just sat on the bottom of the bucket. I let them sit for half an hour.

In the meantime, I had placed hot tap water into my ancient crockpot at a volume that would give me a water height approximately half the height of a ball of yarn, and set the temp on high.

I mixed chestnut and turquoise Jacquard acid dye into these handy little containers. They are emptied/cleaned containers of a surgical scrub solution I used to apply to my patients when I was an OR nurse. Save everything - there will be a use! Anyway, beats paying for handy little containers.

Each bottle holds
four ounces. I used warm water and 1 tsp of the dye powder. Each tsp of dye should dye 100 grams of yarn.

Hey! Public Service Announcement: Wear gloves and be sure to protect your countertops with newspaper. NEVER use any equipment you would cook with. Dye items need to be devoted strictly to dyeing.

I added all the premixed turquoise dye to the crockpot. Guess I didn't really need to mix it in the container, seeing as I used it all, but, well, whatever...

I drained the yarn balls. I squeezed 'em gently. Then I actually put them into my washer on spin, with the water to the washer turned off.

Once all the excess water was removed, I set them into the crockpot.

I carefully squirted the chestnut dye onto the topside of the balls, being careful not to get any into the turquoise water/dye.

(kinda looks like poop?)

Because the yarn is damp, the colors will spread a bit, so I left some white space.

I covered the crockpot and left it alone for a few hours.

Why, yes, my crockpot is ancient. It was a wedding gift. Back in 1981.

Why, no, I'm not ancient. Ahem, I was a child bride. Thank you for asking.

It was very eye opening when we went to replace this old workhorse. Holy cow, the new crockpots do everything but peel the vegetables for you. And there is most likely one of those, too, but we only shopped Target.


After a few hours, I shut the crockpot off and let it sit til the next day.

I drained the dye water. Luckily, it had exhausted (all dye absorbed into the fiber, with none left in the water). I quite often use too much dye, and have some color left in the pot to dye more fiber. That is, if I like the color enough to use it again.

I squeezed the water from the balls of yarn and rinsed them carefully in water of the same temperature. I spun them out in the washer again.

I skeined the yarn, and left it to dry. Here, I wish I'd taken a picture. It was quite pretty.

Here's the yarn for my next baby sweater.

We spent last evening snuggled in, reading and listening to Radio Heartland. Just before we tucked the Girl of the House into bed, they were playing Doris Day 'Que Sera, Sera'. Possibly my favorite moment of the evening. We're really enjoying this new radio station. The variety is amazing.

Yes, we bought an HD tuner for the living room stereo.

Even Ben said he would have to try the streaming online version when he was back at school.

Hey, try it! You'll like it!