Monday, January 24, 2005

Where's the beef...er...IndigoMuse?

Remember the commercial a bazillion years ago with this famous line? I feel like just like that tiny little piece of beef that was featured on that huge bun. I've allowed myself to be swallowed whole by life again. Work and life are sucking me dry which leaves little time for blog reads, blogging and *gasp* knitting and spinning :( Fear not dear friends. I'm alive and well (though very, very cold - only 56 days until Spring) just don't have much spare time lately.

A couple of quick updates. I'm working on designing a couple of patterns (I'll show you pictures real soon). One is a felted knit monkey. I must say that she came out cuter than I expected. I used several knitting techniques and love the results. I decided that I didn't want to wait to buy the knit toy book and since I love to felt the hell out of everything, I went solo. Not only did I do some stash busting but I expanded my horizons. Hurray for me.

I also made the cutest felted strawberry sachets that I'll stuff with lavendar. They are too cute. I'm also working on a pattern idea that I pitched to Knitty for their upcoming Man issue. They liked the idea so I have to get cracking on writing it up. I'll keep you posted on my progress as I might need a couple of test knitters in the near future.

On the spinning front, I haven't had much time to play with Arwen - boo hoo. We're working on some Merino/Alpaca and then I have to spin the corgi hair for a charity project. I also signed up for a Valentines Day "Love Ewe" exchange through the Yahoo Spindler's group and already receive my gift from my wonderful pal. It was a box stuffed full of red merino and white Shetland, a cute spinning buddy beaded ant made by her 10 yr. old son and a cute heart box that will be great for holding my random knitting supplies. It was quite a surprise to receive it on Friday considering V-day isnt for another couple of weeks. This is the first giftie I've received since JessKR secret pals from the summer. Thanks Megen!

Sorry this is on the fly. I'll be in North Carolina for a conference the rest of the week so I hope to catch up on lots of things while away ALL BY MYSELF! I've missed reading up on everyone's fiber adventures for the past week. Knit a row and spin some fiber for me. (((((((Kisses))))))

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Hot Now

This...


Plus this...



Equals

BLISS!!!

Yup, I couldn't resist last night. I HAD to have one. It didn't help that my sweet little Thing 2 was in the car egging me on. "They're even better when they're hot, Mom. Puleeeeeezeeee, can we stop by on the way home? Puleeeeeezzeee?" *Sigh* The car squeeled into Krispy Kreme and Thing 2 busted into the store. The aroma nearly knocked me off my feet. Before I could open my mouth, Thing 2 placed his order - "one dozen hot glazed please and two hot ones to go." That's my boy. Before I knew it, that hot doughnut lept into my mouth and melted into sweet carbolicious oblivion. I've been good. I lost my holiday weight. The most I've treated myself to is a WW watchers carrot cake within the past week. I won't eat the entire box, that's what I have kids for. And the reality is that unless I magically lose 20 lbs before I go to the OBGYN next week for my lovely annual tuneup, I'm still going to get a lecture. A couple of doughnuts and a moment of bliss - yeah, I'm easy to please.

Not much happening here as of late. Corgi girl Mavis is shrinking in size as everything in our house becomes enveloped in her hair. The joy of having carpet is that you can't really see how badly covered everything is. Our old house had hard wood floors. When she would shed, tumbleweeds of fur would roll across the room like a scene out of the wild, wild west. Needless to say, it was a constant source of embarassment.

I have a "spin in" date this evening with a local lady. We were told NOT to come to the library with our wheels (the nerve of them, I'm not done with the city on this one) so we're going to visit the local coffee shop. I'm excited since this is my first fiber hook up :) I'll hopefully finish spinning and plying the bag of romney tonight and move on up to the corgi hair or some rainbow colored merino.

I started a pair of Koigu socks that come with me to basketball practices and games. I can't tell you how much I DON'T like b'ball. However, I love Thing 1 and want to show my support so the knitting helps me endure it. I'm making up these socks as I go along so it will be interesting to see how they turn out. I'm knitting them on the Clover minis and they are flying off the needles.

My friends came over for their second knitting lesson yesterday. They both did such a great job learning the knit stitch that I taught them how to purl. They were fascinated by the way stockinette unfolds by alternating the two stitches. I think I may have started something - mwah ha ha ha ha!

I've decided to chill on my yarn and fiber purchases for a while. I went way over budget this month when I purchased Arwen and don't really NEED anything, I just WANT everything. I WANT Latvian mitten patterns, I WANT more yummy fibers to spin, I WANT, I WANT, I WANT! With so much real need in the world, I need to find ways to be content with the abundance of what I already have. Anyhoo, I'm going to take some advice that I saw on KR and tie my fiber purchases to my weight loss plan. I'm thinking $10 toward fiber for every pound I lose and a RAOK to someone for every pound I gain. I'll post my results on Fridays starting tomorrow. I call it the Fiber Addict's Incentive to Lose (FAIL) plan except I end up winning in the end! Wanna FAIL with me?

Monday, January 10, 2005

I'm a loser baby...

That song was in my head all morning, at least until I saw this over at JenLa first thing - Cows with guns. It was a wonderful diversion and fun way to start the day. Thanks, La.

Anyhoo, yes I'm a big loser of the weight loss variety. I climbed back on program Jan. 1st, after a small set back, succeeded in losing all five pounds that I gained over the holidays and working on developing a healthier nutrition path as part of my mindful living plan. This WW article has some simple tips for those of us who are having a hard time getting back on track. I combine measuring with using the scales to gauge weight loss success. What I've learned is that I'm losing more from my upper body (except my forearms) than my lower body. I've gotta shake these hips and thighs so I'm changing the plan this week.

I also spent a great deal of time last week meditating on the things that I'm grateful for. The tragedy in Asia not only helped me appreciate life but also reminded me to pray for the well being of my fellow man daily. The process of focusing positive healing energy on the world truly does help me focus on life.

I've also found that spinning is wonderfully meditative. As I concentrate on the rhythmn of tredling, I'm also the facilitator of each tiny fiber's effort to bind into one twisted strand. What strength we have when we work together for a common cause, common goal. What could we accomplish if we applied these same values more often in our lives? Sorry for so much Zen this today but I'm feeling contemplative as of late.

There's been much more spinning than knitting in my life as I really get to know my new wheel. I decided to name her Arwen after watching Lord of the Rings Return of the King for the umteenth time on Friday. BTW, I have yet to tire of this trilogy and still cry each time the movie ends. The various interwoven stories of friendship, kinship and love get me every time. Sorry, I trailed off again.

Here's a side by side shot of my first two skeins of plied yarn.

The first born skeins Posted by Hello

The orangy pink is the Bartlett pencil roving spun on Arwen and the maroon is the merino silk spun on Brighid. I love my baby girls. Can't wait to figure out what to knit them into.

I've also finally finished knitting, plying, washing and drying my first skein of Romney. Here it is still on the bobbins...

Fresh spun Romney Posted by Hello

It's over 100 yds of worsted weight yarn. I still have about 5 oz. to finish spinning which I hope to conquer by week's end. I hope to order more so that I have enough for DH's sweater vest. Meanwhile, I came in contact with a lady who spins through our LYS. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we successfully hold our own little "spin in" at the library on Thursday.

The corgi hair stash is staggering. This was how much came off the last time I brushed Mavis...


Mountain o'Corgi fur Posted by Hello

How this dog still has any hair left is amazing. I think that I'll use the yarn that I spin from her fur in a feather and fan throw that I already have the yarn for (gotta bust that stash).

On the knitting front, I'm almost finished with a mini version of the Kittyville Hat from SNB. I happily bequeathed the Adult sized hat to my friend, E who came to visit me over the weekend. She saw it, squealed and begged to have it. How could I say no especially when people rarely react to my knitting that way? I decided that a matching hat for her daughter would be too cute and in no time I was able to whip one up. In the process, I decided that I had to learn how to do the "continental" and forced myself to practice. I'm getting better and this style is definitely faster. But the creature of habit that I am, its hard for me to convert. I figure that once I'm more comfy, I'll be ready for stranded knitting and the Latvian Mittens that still taunt me daily. I WILL conquer them SOON - mwah ha ha ha ha ha!

I leave you one of my new faves, Monkey.

You can find his adventures over at Buster N Me. Monkey was posted on KR last week and I'm still cracking up over the creative mind behind his antics. I LOVE monkeys! There's a cute free monkey pattern at Sullivans. I've also added the Knitted Toys pattern book to my Amazon wish list and can't wait to knit knit my own monkey. Have a fibery good week everyone!

Thursday, January 06, 2005

I heart my new baby

Announcing the adoption of my new baby girl (who is still waiting on a name)

Weight: 10 lbs
Height: 29 inches
Eyes: uh, she doesn't have any but she has really big feet



Yes, sir that's my baby, a Majacraft Little Gem. She's so petite and cute and just perfect that I want to cuddle her. And then of course, put her little hinny to work. Which is what I did Tuesday and Wednesday night. I posted more details over at Knitters Review (in the entry dated 1-06-05) if you want to read about my trip to Stony Mountain Fibers. Barbara herself is a gem and I strongly encourage anyone who is close to her shop and in the market for a wheel to give her a call. I know that she has a loyal customer for life :)

I've already spun and plied a sample skein of Bartlett pencil roving in very bright colors and am working on my second bobbin of Romney. Plus, I amassed close to two ounces of amount of Corgi hair (Princess Mavis is blowing her coat like you would not believe)in just one sitting. I figure I have enough to spin into something so this is next on my list.

Oh I also forgot that I gave knitting lessons to two of the lovely ladies from my Suppa club. In just 45 minutes, I had them both knitting away. They have a homework assignment and will be back next week to report on their progress. I'm so proud of them! Mark down two more that I've converted to the dark side - mwah haha haha!

I promise to post more soon with hopefully some pictures but I wanted to fire this off quickly while Blogger was cooperating (I've had nothing but trouble for the last two days both posting and commenting).

Monday, January 03, 2005

Dreams about mittens

Latvian mitten dreams to be exact. Yes, I actually dreamed about Latvian Mittens last night. Okay, I admit it - I've been dreaming about them for the past several nights. Do I need mental help or what? That braid intrigues me and so do the patterns. Thanks to Sandy, I'm dying to try my hand at knitting these beauties. Can I handle two stranded knitting? Barely. After Da Hound, I was ready to scream. But then again, I hadn't read about the different techniques of throwing, dominant hand, etc. which might have helped me. Can I find a pattern to whet my appetite online? No of course not. My LYS is regularly not helpful (really nice people but seem to specialize in scarfs) and the book stores have none of the titles in stock. I'm stuck special ording a book and waiting for it to arrive. Keep in mind, I'm not patient and this prospect is a frustrating one :( Damn you Latvian Mittens. Damn youse to hell (you've gotta say it like Jay from "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back").

Prior to the Latvian Mittens, I'd been dreaming about spinning wheels. Yup, I really DO need help. No wheel in particular in my dreams, just their contours, their spinning magic - I am so in LUST with spinning. I finally finished spinning and plying my first skein of yarn (the merino silk). $4 worth of fiber net 70 yards of the most beautiful plyed yarn (about 24 wraps per inch).
Here's a peek at the yarn (still on the niddy noddy after I steamed it to set the twist).


Freshly steamed handspun merino silk Posted by Hello

I'm still amazed. The unfortunate news is that somehow dear sweet Brighid was damaged after one of just a few falls (I only spin over the carpet and have been careful NOT to let her fall). The brass ring popped off the Ebony and won't stay seated on the spindle anymore. Boo hoo! I've emailed Mr. Golding to see if he can fix her. Poor baby :(

The good news is that I'm going to test spinning wheels tomorrow afternoon after a business meeting in Richmond. I promise to be open and wait for that one wheel to "sing" to me. Budget be damned! I should have an announcement of a new arrival on Wednesday - keep your fingers crossed for me!

Do you hear that? Shhhhh, be very quiet and listen with me.

*Is it the blaring of the TV from the two week football/Cartoon Network marathon? Nooooo. Is it the sound of noisy video games? Nooooo.
*Is it the click clack of the air hockey table that GMIL thought that the boys HAD to have for Christmas? Noooooo.
*Is it the constant whir of the neighbors' leaf blower - BTW, how many damn leaves can one yard have? No, no, no.

That, my friends, is the sound of silence. Just the sound of the birds chirping, a slight breeze, warm sunshine and 65 degreee temperatures on this glorious first week of January. This picture embodies my gratitude for the day...


Sunrise on a new day Posted by Hello

Its so good to be home alone again. Don't get me wrong, I loved having my Testoterone Trio home for the holidays but I need my space and certainly haven't had any for the last two weeks. And at the end of my "vacation" DH decided to make me help him clean out the garage - yuck! However, we purged nearly 20 tubs of "stuff" to charity and could play indoor soccer in the garage if we wanted to. Still I wanted to be a happy couch dwelling slug and he wouldn't let me - harumpf.

I'll post my 2004 favorites tonight to get you through Tuesday without me. I'll be out of town but hope to have a new baby with me on Wednesday. To usher in 2005, I present my first WIP that has promptly been frogged.


Wave goodbye to Noro Wavy Posted by Hello

I tried to love you Noro (Kureyon) Wavy but it was not meant to be. DH - being the fiber snob that he is - even commented on your roughness. Piecing the scraps of leftovers together was not fun and you're really not that pretty. Don't worry Noro. There's a time and a place for us. Somehow, someday, somewhere... (whilst bellowing Somewhere from West Side Story).