Archive for June, 2007
I think I have discovered the secret to happy summer days with the junior agents: Start them off with some M&M pancakes!
Today we had a day of swimming, swimming, and more swimming. First we went to the lake to swim and then across the street to the neighbor’s pool. It is totally possible that this could be the highlight day of our summer in regard to the limited amount of bickering vibes in the air today. Not only did they not really bicker, they got along really well. I am completely attributing this to the dark chocolate M&M pancakes. Do you think I could be onto something?
I was up before 5:30 a.m. today. OK, if you know me, you have probably fainted so I will give you a couple seconds to recover. All right, are you better now? Anyway, I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep, you know the drill; worry, worry, worry. I was worrying about school and about my job, and about, well, how the heck we were just going to get through the day, so I decided to get up and ply my Spunky Nuclear Fluff:
Fiber: Spunky Eclectic 100% hand painted superwash merino, 4 ozs.
Spun for: ????? I’ll probably knit it into hats or something for the agents
Spinning specs: 2 ply, 9 – 11 wpi, and approx 199 yards
This fiber was so fun to spin! Soft and colorful and I think I even kept some air in it (ie, I didn’t strangle the poor yarn to death) when I was spinning because the yarn is soft and lofty too! I love the way all the colors just swirl together. Actually, as I think about it — it is not so dissimilar from the M&M colors swirling around in the pancake batter this morning.
I was able to find some time yesterday to start brewing some more plant material in my solar dyeing jars. I’m trying some ferns. This is just extremely experimental, but I have one jar with hayscented ferns and one with bracken ferns. I can see a little bit of green color in the hayscented jar (but really nothing to write home about):
I know some of you are probably thinking that I could get a lot more heat in my jars if I painted them black. I know there are other things I can do, believe me, but mostly, I am doing this just for fun, and I really enjoy being able to see what is going on in the jars. It is very aesthetically pleasing to me and helps me get through my long summer days. Someday, I am going to go out and buy some black tubs and plexiglass tops, but right now, I’m just playing…
I had the idea that I would like to try to get as many colors as I can by just using things in my yard, but I don’t know if I will be able to stick to that because then I will end up with a basically multi-shaded orange project. I guess I’ll wait and see what kinds of good materials pop out as we proceed through summer. I have marigold flowers and tons and tons of goldenrod. Does anyone know if I can get some green if I harvest the goldenrod early?
Changing to a totally different topic, IHA found a really cool new podcast for us to listen to. It is called Jumping Monkeys and it is about parenting in the digital age. I have only listened to episode 4 thus far, but they talked about things like balancing TV/computer time with active time, Webkinz, and other geeky parenting issues — right up our alley!
Well, it is getting late and I have some Jaywalker sock surgery to do before bed (sometimes mistakes happen when you are knitting on the beach…). Thanks for reading!
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I have all kinds of yummy fiber projects to talk about today!
Let’s start with a completed spinning project:
Fiber: Sliver Moon Farm’s 100% Tussah Silk, 2oz.
Spun for: Dara
Spinning specs: 2 ply, approx. 20 wpi, and approx 214 yards
I’ve also started spinning my Spunky Nuclear Fluff. This is indeed addictive fiber!
This is 4 ozs. of superwash Merino from Spunky Eclectic in the nuclear colorway. I’m in love! I am going to be done with this soon and I already can’t wait to knit with it!
I also have my first 2 colors done for my solar dying project.
Due to being so busy, they were out in the sun for a very long time, but I’m happy to say that the yarn is still soft. I placed the skeins in the dye jars on June 11 and took them out to rinse today (June 24). Both colors are very pure. The Jewel Weed is a soft melon color and the Queen Anne’s Lace is a creamy yellow. It is time to find some new plants to brew!
For the Jewel Weed — I used the entire plant except for the roots. They are pretty tender at this time of year and I chopped them up finely with my outdoors scissors. For the Queen Anne’s Lace — I used the entire plant including the roots (they smelled like carrots!), also chopped up fine. For the first day, the water was completely clear and when I looked on the second day — all sorts of color had extracted. Just like magic.
I think I’m going to knit Fifi for the Sexy Knitters’ Club KAL. I have to decide if I’m going to use Calmer and if so what color and where I will order it. I also purchased the pattern for Annie’s Red Carpet Convertible. If you have time to click on that link please do so because the proceeds from that pattern go to help Annie and her family get through a tough time in their lives. She wrote in her blog that she may be offering the silk yarn at a discount so I will be watching for that…
Next weekend I have another special fiber event that I’m looking forward to attending — it is the annual meeting of Brighid’s Dyers. Anyone who likes to dye in the sun is welcome. Hope to see you there!
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So, I bet you can tell since I’m sitting here blogging that I made it through the first 4 days of summer vacation alive! Tired and completely worn-out, but alive! And all my children are alive! Also a good sign. Next week should be a little easier — not as many big events, but we do have to pack 3 trunks for camp.
I just went out and took some photos so you can see what is going on in my yard today. (I saw the coolest moth (I think), but I could not get a photo. It was black and white spotted with some yellow. I hope I can see it again so I can ID it. )
Starting from the top right photo we have: a.) deer munched tomato plants, b.) Catmint and Johnny Jump-ups, c.) lettuce (the best I have ever grown!), and d.) front yard flowers (the most colorful I have ever planted!). The weather here has been very odd. It is cool and windy in the days and in the evening and nights it is showery. It is hard to know how to dress although I found that today is a great day for Cece!
In fiber news this week, I made 2 baby hats out of Blue Sky Alpaca cotton:
I’m getting ready to ply Dara’s silk yarn. I’ve prepared by reading Spinning Spider’s newest blog entry on plying plain vanilla yarn. I did the part where she says to place your *flaccid* knotted-together-singles in a cup of hot water and watch them come back to life and it really was entertaining (so much so, that I did it twice!). Now I have a sample of what my plied yarn should look like and I just have to sit down to ply. Jenny recommends using a tensioned lazy kate which purchase I have yet to make. I guess I will have to start the research to see which one I want.
I also tried out the Ashford Knitters’ Loom today. It is pretty cool. I can see it being a fine way to use up all the random balls from my stash. It isn’t inexpensive though, so I will have to go on my wishlist.
Yesterday, I spent much of the day working on a slide show for Crops-a-lot Jenny. She left last night for Michigan and not just for a vacation but for a permanent move. No longer will she be a mere 5 minutes away, but 16 hours! That is going to make it really hard to have playdates or just bump into each other when we are out running errands. The most difficult part of the slideshow was not finding photos because those I have galore, but choosing the music. Agent K and I were sitting here rejecting song after song for just being too freaking sad!
One of the most difficult things about being a SAHM is that you don’t always get out to see people and then I think sometimes when I am unleashed in public, I should really just be locked up. Really. Lately I feel like I am having to continuously apologize to everyone for the odd things that I say! So, if you have seen me lately and you have heard me speak, I am truly sorry! Really! Maybe a vow of silence would be in order!
On that note, I am off to my spinning wheel. Hope you all have a great weekend!
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Good morning! Guess what? It is time for a new KAL at The Sexy Knitters Club. The nominations are great and it is hard to choose! I voted for the Nicole Vest by Chicknits, but it is very clear that Fifi is the front runner and she is equally as nice! I think the voting closes tonight (Wednesday) so if you want to knit a long there is time to join and vote!
We had a very nice first day of summer vacation!
It is going to be hard to beat actually. I guess the bar has been set and this will be a most excellent summer. (I think I can, I think I can…) This morning, it is rainy, so the girls are having a lazy morning and watching TV. We have a Sunny Day Rule that if they wake up and it is sunny they are not supposed to turn on the electronics, but when it rains, it is fair game!
Oh this is so cool. John Cusak is going to be on Regis and Kelly this morning. Here is an “interesting” fact about me that I don’t think I have mentioned before. I have a life-goal of watching every single John Cusak movie whether I like them or not! 1408, it appears, is a Stephen King story! I hope someone will come with me and hold my hand! I haven’t read any Stephen King since Pet Cemetary, no wait – it was the one that started with a “T.” What was that one… I can’t remember, I have to go look it up…be right back… Oh that’s it, The Tommyknockers and that was in 1987! So here is a good question for my comment section. I’d really like to know what your favorite John Cusak movie is! (I’m going to have a hard time choosing though I’m partial to Better off Dead and The Sure Thing, etc…)
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OK, it is 10:13 and all three girls are still alive! That is good! So far there has been playing, singing, bickering, consequences, laughing, and a bit more bickering, but not too bad. It is such a gorgeous day and we are off to spend it swimming with friends. These are the best kind of summer days!
I have a Caught Being Good story. I haven’t had one of these in a while, I should really be keeping up! Agents B and J ride home from school on the bus together. They don’ t sit together during the ride, but everyday when they get off the bus, Agent B gets off first and waits for Agent J and they proceed to walk up the driveway and chat about their day. I watch them get off the bus from the door and I can usually tell how their days went from the tones of their conversation. Next year Agent J will get home before Agent B and I asked her what she will do without her and she said that she is going to go out everyday and wait for B to get off the bus so they can still walk up the driveway together.
In knitting news, today, I started to add some of my stash to Ravelry (my user name is Spincerely, btw…). The Ravelry blog says that they are adding 1000 new users per week and in couple of weeks they will be working on the site full time! I can’t wait until it is open for real! I want to share with everyone! There are so many cool features. I think this site is really going to have a huge influence on the yarn industry. The data. It is all about the data! “The data is never wrong.” (a quote by one of my college professors…)
Ok, well, there are now hoses, sprinkers, and water balloons going outside so we better get to the lake before they are complete predrenched!
Have a great day!
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Posted by: Tamara in life
Oh man! Let’s call this turbo blogging between loads of laundry! Can you believe it is the last day of school and I”m still in the process of taking out the summer clothes and putting away the winter clothes????
T Minus 3 Hours before the buses return!! How can that be already!
Maybe once all the laundry is done and the spring cleaning and the garden planting there will be a time once again for crafts! There has to be right?
We have one milestone “graduation” this year, btw. Agent J is moving from Elementary School to Middle School!
Have a great day everyone!
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Posted by: Tamara in knitting
This is sort of like when I first heard about Library Thing! I just had to keep adding and adding things until I could stand it no longer! I added 22 projects to Ravelry today. I did get off to a slow start with them, however, because when I first tried to enter in my profile I kept kept getting this message:
“Crappers. Okay – we’re not perfect.
Looks like you’ve run into a problem. Sorry about that! We’ve emailed an error report to our top code monkeys.”
Then for some reason I tried to add just one piece at a time and it worked! It turns out that Ravelry really doesn’t like my birthday. I guess I threw them a glitch they never expected! I rec’d this in an e-mail from Casey:
“haha. I totally forgot about leap year.
Thanks! I’ll fix it when I work on the profile page next, it might be a few days.”
So, basically Ravelry sucked up my whole day today, but as I read on a blog elsewhere — in the long run it is going to be a big time saver! For example, I typically spend hours searching for other people who are making what I want to make to see if they like how the pattern is, what problems they are encountering, what kind of yarn they are using. With Ravelry, you just type in the name of the pattern and a whole bunch of them pop up at once! Here is something that just really blows my mind, there are currently 464 people who list Jaywalker Socks as a project! Just for kicks here are a couple more: 35 people list SKB, 223 people are into Fetchings, and 14 people are making the Montego Bay Scarf. I hope they do more with the statistics, I love stats!
I also really need to start a new project soon! I don’t know what happened, but I don’t really have anything to add to the Queue yet. I’m sort of waiting to see what is going to happen for the next Sexy Knitters KAL… I’ll have to start going through my magazines and stuff to see if anything inspires me.
Tomorrow is Agent J’s graduation from 5th grade! I took her tonight to get her present which was her first manicure and pedicure. I didn’t take photos yet, but the girl painted these really pretty little white flowers onto her nails! It was fun, she enjoyed it and she is probably now spoiled for life.
2 more days of school and we are free! Whoo hooo!!!! (I think….?????)
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Good morning! I made a little mosaic at Flickr Toys this morning comprised of photos of some of my current projects. When you use Flickr Toys sometimes you get words of encouragement or praise, or quotes with your creations. This mosaic apparently was not good enough for praise because this was my quote: “Live life like you are gonna die. Because you’re gonna.” – William Shatner. Hummmm…
So, back to the mosaic: starting at 1:00, I have my Montego Bay Scarf. It seems with this scarf for every 3 inches I knit, I have to rip back 1 inch so progress is very very slow! Next is Queen Anne’s Lace brewing in the solar dyeing jar. Then I have a photo of the silk that I am spinning for Dara. This one I hope to finish up soon! Back at the top is the finished neckband of Cece. Oh, I know it is not perfect, but it is better than my previous 5 attempts at closing that thing up! I’m not a fan of this neckband design! I have to eventually post all the project specs for Cece. I have so many photos and so much to say that it is a bit daunting at the moment.
Also in knitting news, there is soon to be a new KAL at the Sexy Knitters Club. The nominations look great and I may join in this round. I also received my invite to Ravelry, but I haven’t had much time to look around there yet.
In home life news, there are only 5 (yes, that is five as in F-I-V-E) days of school left! Yikes! Calgon take me away!!!!
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I seem to be accumulating many different colors of Prochem One Shot dyes. So many that I didn’t have enough jars to make them all on dyeing day without a loan from Stitchidara. We came up with some fabulous colorways on Sunday and I want to show them off a bit today. I think the most fun part of dyeing is that you really can’t tell exactly how your yarn/roving is going to look until it is completely done. The thrill of the rinse is so addictive!
This is one of Stitchy’s yarns. The colors are Key Lime, Cherry, Gold, and Toffee.
- Here is another of Stitchy’s. I think these colors are China Jade, Toffee, Charcoal, And Blue Bonnet
- Here is one of Knitty’s colorways. She used (let’s see if I can get close at least) Blue Bonnet, Cherry, Key Lime, and Buttercup.
Aren’t their colors so gorgeous!
While “the girls” were dyeing their yarn, I played with some different colors on wool roving:
So, I’ve been taking this Ed2Go class on CSS and XHTML and I’m really having a hard time focusing on it so I thought if I could incorporate into my blog it would keep me more interested so that is why the yarn photos above are in that nice neat ordered list! Whoo hoo! (Edited to add: Apparently the numbers next to the photos don’t show up in Internet Explorer like they do in Firefox, I really wonder why that is????) I promised IHA that I would redo his website so I also have to get started on that. The only problem is that this class is just starting out by teaching bits and pieces and you don’t learn how to put it all together until the very last lesson! Just as an aside, the whole discussion area of the Ed2Go classes is anonymous so you can’t contact any other students directly and it is driving me nuts as I really want to know what they really think about the class and I just can’t find out! I can’t really figure out why we are not allowed to use our real e-mails or post any practice sites with real information. They say it is to protect us, but don’t we put it all out there all the time in other things like Yahoo groups and blogs and tons of other things?
It has been a strange few weeks for me — the hours at the lys were cut; both in the amount of hours that the store is open and then number of FTEs that she is using. This means that I have been home A LOT. I am not good at this — which is why I got a job in the first place. I need to have something to do so that I can do more, otherwise I’m very unfocused and not overly productive (you know the saying, if you want something done, give it someone busy to do?). Of course, since it is almost summer, it is not a good time for me to look for a new job yet either. IHA is very supportive and encouraging and I hope that something pops up for me soon! You may remember that I was thinking of taking some classes, but I have learned with this Ed2Go stuff that I don’t really want to be taking classes online all the time. The Ed2Go is a very inexpensive. relatively low time commitment, but online grad classes cost upwards of $1400 and is that really how I can/want to spend my summer with the 3 agents in my house? I don’t know!
Oh yes, and if this isn’t long enough, I just remembered that I have some knitting content! I am almost done with Cece, but she had some unexpected finishing in the neckband area:
I’m having problems seaming it in. I’m having problems joining it in the back. I tried grafting twice and it was yucky and I tried doing a 3 needle bind off and that was yucky too, but overall I think I have too much neckband and I have to take it out and shorten it. I so thought that when I was done, there would be very little finishing and now this whole neckband thing… I read lots of blogs where knitters have made Cece and I didn’t come across any with neckband discussion. Could I possibly be the only one incapable of a neat neckband seam?
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It is really hard to do both things you know. If you do stuff to write about on your blog, then you don’t have time to blog. If you spend your time writing on your blog, then you don’t have time to do stuff to have something to write about! Hummm… Well, we have been doing stuff here all right and that is why I’ve been a sort of absent blogger. The weather, until today, has been exceptional and the agents have been busy with the end of year activities, and there has been knitting, yard work, spinning, yardword, dyeing, and more yard work here. Also, there has been gardening and hiking and nature walks and lunches with friends and some more knitting and yard work. Also there has been parades, and band concerts, and field trips, and more yard work.
I thought I would post about a couple of projects today called Cece and Montego Bay Scarf.
I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel with Cece. I think she might possibly be done by the end of the week. The rows are starting to get shorter and quicker. Here she is in her current glory:
Cece, a lacy cardigan, is constructed from the bottom up in one piece. The sleeves are knit separately, then joined to the body. The top of the sweater is shaped by raglan increases til it is done. I am knitting her in cotton fleece and she is light and airy and comfortably stretchy. I started her last spring and took a pretty long hiatus from knitting her. I have found though, that she is much easier than I remember her being. Perhaps I am now a better lace knitter than I was last year? I still need to concentrate but I can handle a slight bit of chaos around me.
Here is the premiere photo of my Montego Bay Scarf:
Montego Bay is on page 110 of the Summer 07 issue of Interweave Knits and it is by Amy Singer of Knitty.com. I’m making this scarf out of some of my handspun silk. This particular yarn was from a naturally dyed roving purchased at Rhinebeck a few years ago from Spinning Spider Jenny (I noticed that she has a pattern coming out in the next Spin Off magazine that should be here any day now; I can’t wait!). I have been waiting a long time to know what this yarn wanted to be and I think this is a great fit for both me and the yarn. The pattern is simple and the yarn really likes it. Also, seen in the photo, is one of the project bags that I made by following the instructions on the Yarnmonster blog. I really like these bags — they are so perfect for little projects that need to stay safe!
Here are a couple of random photos from the weekend:
This is Agent B at Junior Audubon doing one of her favorite things (as IHA wrote), scooping things out of the muck and looking for things that move. She found a lot of stuff at Junior Audubon on Saturday morning including frogs, tadpoles, dragonfly and damselfly nymphs and other various benthic invertebrates.
Here is IHA and Junior Agent J at Bigelow State Park for our No Child Left Inside weekend adventure. They are actually reading the jokes inside a fruit roll-up. I’m always amazed by how much they look alike.
Here is Agent K having discovered the power of the curling iron. We were over at Jenny Crops a lot’s house and her daughter did up K’s hair. We are wondering if she will come back from MI next year to do her hair for K’s 8th grade dance?
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