Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Anticipating a New Year

In my old age, I look forward more and more to New Year's weekend.  It is such a nice calm time in my family.  No pressure, gifts are done, girls entertained with new gifts, visiting with family and friends is over.  The weekend stretches out as a restful peaceful time.  I'm hoping to go to movies with the girls and then again just with my mom.  Because I'm off Monday, January 3 but the girls have school!  Whoo Hoo!  So I will take my mom out for lunch and a movie that we will like without having to appease my girls.  In between I plan on some naps snuggled under a throw and knitting and spinning as much as I can fit in. 

 Last night I plied some fine singles of merino and cashmere together.  It took over 2 hours of solid fast plying and I quickly transferred it to my niddy noddy to sit on over night.  It is some of the finest spinning I've done to date, I had a few spots where I hadn't spun the single tightly enough so it drifted apart in the plying, but I was able to spit splice in place or felt it grab the other single immediately and wound tightly together.  I think I will set the twist a bit more aggressively than I normally do, I'll go back and forth between hot and cold soaks to make sure it will hold nicely.

I also started a new project just for me, I'm working on a new pair of mittens, they are from the Vogue Knitting: Mittens and Gloves book, they are the Hugs and Kisses pair.  I can see the circle hugs easily, the "X" for kisses is there, but seems to sit in the background more for me.  You can't tell from this shot, but the body of the mittens are blue and white, only the cuff has the rusty color.  I'm using up some odds and ends in the white and the rust, but the blue is from Three Irish Girls and it is beautiful.  Just maybe after the New Years weekend, I will have a new pair of mittens?  With how snowy this winter has already proven to be, they will come in handy!  (bad pun)

Here is to a new year full of adventures, joys, sorrows that lead to new paths, and much laughter.  My eyes are looking ahead, the past is behind and new beginnings are waiting to be explored!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A world away, are hearts wondering?

My Anna is fourteen today.  So many things fly through my mind on the birthdays of my two China girls.  Do their birth parents wonder what happened to their tiny babies?  How I wish I could let them know their China girls are safe and loved and cherished.  That these girls have changed so many peoples lives through their love.  Do their China mom's know they changed my life?  That I'm beyond grateful to them for giving me the greatest gifts I will ever receive.  My girls are the two best decisions I've ever made in my life.  They came in and shook my world like a snow globe gone mad.  I always felt that adopting my girls was the most selfish thing I've ever done.  I'm incredibly blessed to have them in my life.  To Anna, who's ready smile and laughing eyes melted my heart the very moment she was placed in my arms in that tiny crowded room in China.  Who gleefully waved a cracker around as a toy because she didn't understand she could eat it.  Whose eyes widened in shock and surprise when she ate that cracker and discovered how good it tasted.  Whose tiny little fingers wrapped around my finger and whose heart squeezed mine tight with love.  Have a wonderful new year as you charge into your teen age years.  Be fearless and try all sorts of new things.  Explore and always keep reaching for new adventures.  I love you.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

somewhere else please...well the great snowstorm over the weekend was a stiff one even for home grown Minnesotans.  I went out and shoveled our door out enough Saturday so that our dog could get outside.  Otherwise inside we stayed.  After our road was plowed Sunday, we are left with towering snow piles all along our street.  Over five feet tall piles.  It is like driving in a canyon!  Now it is bitterly cold.  And it is still December.  This is shaping up to be a winter like those of my child hood. 

Check these pictures out.  Better than any words I can come up with. 

Anna is standing on the huge pile across the street fro us, you can just see her through the branches of the tree, note where her head is relative to the street lamp next to her...yup, she is only a foot or so below the lamp.  Crazy...and guess what...they are forecasting more snow for tomorrow...should be interesting, don't you think? 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Waiting out the storm

So we wait.  It is late, and the snow is beginning to fall.  The projected amount?  16-20 inches.  In one storm.  In one day.  sigh.  I love my knitted mittens, hats, and scarves.  However, even I whimper at getting 20 inches of snow in one dump.  Oh did I mention the wind?  Ya, winds of 25 miles an hour.  With powdery snow.  Means you can't see your hand in front of your face.  And the temps?  Lets just add that into the mix as well.  Temps will drop with windchill to -25.  I guess that is the trifecta in winter weather.  Lots of snow, lots of wind, lots of cold.  It means we will stay home for the next 48 hours.  On the bright side, because I really do try to look at the bright side, I can spin and knit while looking outside at the snow globe I'm currently in.  So really not THAT bad.

And to add to my delight, my picture of my Lettuce Slide Scarf is now listed on Ravelry on the main pattern page.  smile...funny how something that simple can make me so happy.

So my friends, tonight I'm snuggled in my bed, listening to the wind start to blow, knowing when I get up in the morning, we will be in for a winter wonderland on steroids!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Winter Wonderland

I've lived in Minnesota for a large portion of my life.  I had a long detour the 14 years I lived in Texas, but other than that, it's been Minnesota.  It is a wonderful place to live, but can really test you.  Today is the 3rd day of December.  We are on our second major snow dump of the season, it is going to get cold immediately after this latest round.  Cold that makes cars groan and dogs moan.  Now as a knitter and spinner, this makes my heart sing.  I can actually make things out of sticks and string that will combat the cold temps outside.  So while others are wailing and gnashing their teeth over the indignities of winter, I will be sliding my hands into my sturdy wool mittens, wrapping a new fabulous wool/silk scarf around my neck and tugging a simple double thick headband over my ears.  Yup, living in Minnesota can be such a trial.  smile...

This is the new scarf I made.  It is made out of my handspun, a combo of BFL and silk and I just love it.  It isn't a long scarf, but perfect to tuck into my jacket to keep the wicked wind out.  I've never kept anything made of my handspun, so this is wonderful.  And it is so ME.

Christmas is fast approaching, I'm working on one gift so can't talk about it, other than to say it is out of my own handspun as well.  But that means I still have a few gifts to get.  And Anna's birthday is fast approaching.  So I see some shopping hitting me in the next couple weekends.  I'll take each girl individually and they can pick out gifts for the other.  I'll go myself either after work on on a weekend as well and do a major push to get the remaining presents selected.  I'm happily listening to Christmas music most of the time and remembering the true meaning of Christmas.  My life is blessed.  No matter what, my life is blessed.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Knitting is fun again

After what seemed like a long time, knitting is fun again.  May be because I've finished all my commitments for other people and I could cast on for myself...more on that later.

I finished the fingerless mitts on commission.  I had to knit 3 black/gray mitts to get 2 that were acceptable together, then ripped out the odd mitt and used it to knit the thumbs for the 2 fraternal twin mitts.  I was going to deliver them to the buyer but the Twin Cities got a huge ice storm Saturday night which turned the streets, sidewalks and freeways into ice rinks.  So the van stayed home all day Sunday and I was able to indulge myself.

I spent the day spinning and knitting.  I cast on a scarf from a new book I recently got, Sock Yarn One Skein Wonders.  I LOVE this book.  Now it may be because I have um just a few skeins of sock yarn in my stash.  But the patterns in the book are very diverse and fun.  I'm making a scarf called the Lettuce Slide Scarf.  It is a simple pattern but fun all at the same time.  And to add to my delight, I'm using my handspun.  I realized I had not made anything from my own handspun for me.  I've made things from my handspun, just not for me.  So I took a recent spin that is comprised of BFL and 25% silk and created this.
It doesn't look like much, but it feels wonderful and I know I will use and enjoy the scarf during our long winter months.  I also decided that I'm not knitting many Christmas gifts this year.  What I am knitting cracks me up.  I've given my mom Christmas socks for probably 3 years now.  She loves her handknit socks.  But this year I decided to mix it up a bit, I sent to the UK and got a kit for this.  Stop laughing.  It is cute.  But then I think pugs are cute.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Struggling with knitting

Well that is a title I never thought I'd type.  I think the massive amount of time I spent knitting leading up to the October craft fair did me in.  I'm spinning quite a bit, but the knitting is definitely taking a back seat.  I have finished the first of two reading mitts that a person ordered.  She wanted a brownish pair, I showed her several skeins via pictures and she picked this pair, it was brown, black and red.  Clearly the red has taken over the color palette.  I'm hoping it will still work for her.  You can see in the upper right corner the yarn I'm using for the black pair she also ordered.  It is a Zauberball of black, grey, and a bit of cream.  I'm up to the thumb gusset for the first mitt and while it is a bit thicker in weight, I think it will work out fine.  Just a bit chunkier.  I'm finding knitting on commission is more nerve wracking than I thought.  It is easier to have a finished product that the person can touch and feel and take.  This is harder for me.  I hope she will be happy.  Then my friend Ellen has ordered a pair of mittens and glittens for her granddaughter and husband.  So I have more knitting to whip out in the coming weeks.  I'm hoping to finish the fingerless mitts by next week.  So I can start on the mittens right away.

I have been spinning quite a bit.  I'm finding that is relaxing me more than the knitting at the moment.  We have had a lot of doctor appointments in the last month between my mom, youngest daughter, and yes our pug Gadget.  spinning has helped take the edge out of monitoring every ones meds and appointments. 

I realize the knitting content has been low lately, I will try to kick it into gear, after all the holiday's are fast approaching...soon I'll have my countdown and projects listed...why not know?  Pshaw...there is SOOO much time between now and then that there is no challenge....ya that is my story and I'm sticking to it.

OH I did do something exciting!  I took a knitting class.  This is only my third knitting class period.  I was able to get into a Lucy Neatby Ambidextrous Knitting class.  She is an amazing teacher.  I had a wonderful afternoon and feel like I can now neatly do stranded knitting with a different yarn in each hand.  She was encouraging and empowering.  If you can take a class from her, don't hesitate, you will enjoy it and learn.  And above all?  It was FUN!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Trunk or Treat

This year we participated in our church's Trunk or Treat festival.  It was the first time church did anything like this and I must admit, it was more fun than I anticipated.  While it was chilly it wasn't as bad as it could have been, no snow!  smile...In Minnesota one has to think about if you can get warm clothes under a costume in order to trick or treat.  Or you suffer for the sake of costume beauty and are cold.  This year Anna was an 80's all her crazy glory...and Emily invited a friend along for the fun.  Emily was a 60's girl ready to step out onto a dance floor while her friend Joelle was a princess, sweet and regal.

I'm working on 2 pairs of commissioned fingerless mitts, one will be finished in the next couple of days and hopefully the second pair will fly off my needles as my friend has also commissioned a pair of mittens and glittens for members of her family.  My Yggdrasil afghan still sits in the corner, waiting for me to tackle the final 2 1/2 sides of the final border.  Soon.  Once I get these fun projects complete I will focus on my own holiday knitting.  Do you realize there are 52 days until Christmas?  Yup...let the countdown begin.  I'm only planning on 2 knitted gifts this year, my mom loves knit socks, so I'll make her a pair to add to her collection.  And then just because?  I ordered a kit to knit a pug.  Yup, I've officially gone around the bend, because while I swore I would not knit a sweater for Gadget, apparently I don't think it odd to actually knit HIM.  Lord help me....I'm sure pictures will follow.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Lunch with a rabbit named Elliana

It is howling outside my window, gray, wet, gloomy, yup, perfect knitting weather!  While I don't look forward to slogging my way to and from work each day, I do love curling up at the end of the day with my knitting.  Now if I could only knit/spin as fast as my mind keeps planning on "just one more project."

Emily had her ortho appointment yesterday.  No more cranking of the device to widen her upper jaw, it is where they want it to be.  In order to keep the device locked into place, they thread a wire through it, wrap it around, twist the multi wire strands that point the dentist stopped, and asked her, how she felt.  She had long wires sticking out of her mouth.  Her reply?  Like a fish on a pole!  Laughter erupted in the dentist office.  My girl, she has a way with words.

I visited the Wild Wool Market Saturday, it was nice to meet Susan and get a sense for the space so when I show up next month I have a better idea of what to expect.

And as promised, we went to Rainforest Cafe where Anna was tortured by having her picture taken in the wild.  Her response was not surprising but still made me laugh.

We managed to enjoy our lunch before the great hoards of people also decided to have their lunch and after enjoying our nachos and appetizers (best kinda lunch around) we headed to Build a Bear.  Where with only a nominal wait time, my girls each piced out a new friend.  (shhhhh don't tell any of Anna's friends she picked out a new bear).

And here to show her delight is Emily who is hugging the lovable and softly squishable, Elliana.  A perfect ending to our day.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday Fun

I can't tell you how happy I am that it is Friday.  This week has been a long one.  Emily had another procedure done at Children's on Tuesday.  She did great, it was fast and I can't say enough kind things about all the staff at Children's in Minneapolis.  They are caring and warm and compassionate.  Anyway, Emily did great and one more thing is done. 

Between work and doctor stuff, I'm tired.  Like bone weary tired.  I don't have a break in sight until Thanksgiving, so I'll just keep moving on.  Sometimes that is the best you can do, just keep moving.

I did get some happy news, I got a special knitting order from a person who bought something from my last craft fair.  So I'm happily knitting away on two pair of fingerless mitts.  smile

I've spun up a bobbin full of citrusy yellow singles.  I have another 4 ounces to go before I can ply them together.  Not sure how fast that will happen, since tomorrow we will head off to MOA to shop at Build A Bear as Emily's reward for being such a good patient and getting past this procedure.  Lunch at Rainforest Cafe and then on the way home, we will stop at the Wild Wool Festival, I'm participating next month, so I thought it would be helpful to introduce myself and get a feel for the space etc.  If I can remember, I'll try to take pictures of our adventures.

Anna is a bit miffed as I will need to pick her up from a sleep over at the very EARLY hour of 10 am tomorrow so she can go with us.  Boy the eye rolls I got with that one.  smile....

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Aftermath from craft fair

Well I survived the craft fair last Saturday.  The day was beautiful, sunny and warm.  Which I think was a bit of a hamper for me.  Who wants to try on wool hats or scarves wearing flip flops and shorts in 84 degrees?  Not too many it turns out.  I can't say enough good things about the fair itself.  Very well organized, over a 100 vendors, booths ready for you when you walked in, check-in lasted all of 3 mintues.  So the fair itself was well done.  There was a steady stream of people, but very few of those people were buying from me or others in my vicinity.  Oh well, that is a craft fair, you truly never now how it is going to go.  The good things that happened were many.  I had so many lovelycomments on my items, they loved the colors and the quality of my work.  Take a look at our booth....
the laundry rack really worked out well I thought, my yarns looked very nice and it was an eye catching start of the booth.  My wheel tucked in nicely in the corner when I wasn't using it.  The brown and white star hat in the bottom left sold.  The lady wanted it for skiing and I think it will be wonderful for that.

Here is Ellen, sipping her coffee as we wait for the start of the event.  You can see her embroidered linens next to her.  She did well and was happy after the fair. 

Now for the funnies.  I did sit and spin, that was a huge draw, many people stopped, some grinning in deilght, others staring trying to figure out what the heck I was doing.  One young kid, just kept muttering "weird, weird"  One gentleman was so fascinated, I showed him the roving, explained the process basically from shearing to dying the fleece to creating the roving to my spinning it.  The best though was a woman, looking intently at what I'm doing and saying "did you make it?"  now I'm thinking, well yes, I am making "it" but I said, yes, I'm making yarn.  She got a very puzzled look on her face and said "no, you made that right?" and she pointed to my wheel!  I said, no, I bought the wheel from a company and she just was shocked and said she didn't know any companies made such things anymore.  I guess she thought I whittled my wheel out of fallen timber from my backyard?  I explained there are many companies that make wheels.  She just couldn't imagine that. 

The other funny thing is that even though I 'm sitting there spinning away, right next to a rack filled with yarn with labels saying "handspun" on them, most people did not realize that I made that yarn.  smile...

It was a long day but all in all a good day.  I gave out many cards with my info on it, I believe several have checked out the blog so far, maybe they will stick around.

Next up is the Wild Wool Market on November 27 at the Susan Hensel Art Gallery in Minneapolis.  Who knows what will happen then!

But the other nice thing of having the craft fair behind me?  I can now knit things for the sole reason I want to.  Not because I think they may sell.  So Yggdrasil is back in the basket next to my bed.  The weather has cooled off plenty so I can happily knit again with a huge pile of magnificent wool in my lap.  And just because I cast on something new a couple nights ago, in the Norwegian-Handknits-Heirloom-Designs-Vesterheim book there is a lovely work day shawl, it is knit as a large garter stitch center section, then you knit a lace border to it.  I think it would be a great shawl, but also a nice baby blanket.  I had a 1200 yard skein of Briar Rose yarn, in a deep red/black mix of superwash wool.  So I am just mindlessly knitting garter stitch rows and it is next time.

If you are someone I met at the craft fair, I'd love to hear from you...

Friday, October 8, 2010

MN in the fall

Fall is my favorite season, it is crispy blue skies, winds rustling leaves, dry leaves crunching under foot and cool mornings with mild afternoons.  You pretend that you don't know what is soon coming (sshhh snow I'm talking about you).  Instead you marvel that leaves morph from varying shades of green to reds, oranges, yellows and browns.  That grass starts to feel crunchy under your feet in the morning.  Playing and laughing as you can see your breath in the morning waiting for the bus.  Fall is the best.

Knitting has come to a screeching halt as the preparations for the first craft fair is totally consuming me.  I did finish the very last item to go into the fair basket last night.  This scarf was what I worked on at the bus stop for several months.  While it took a looooong time to finish, when you think that all the time would have been lost time, it is a nice thing.  I used 4 different sock yarns, all but one are left overs from other projects.  I made up a very simple pattern and I'm ultimately very happy with it.  I made some fingerless mitts out of one of the yarns, so it can either become a set or be sold separately.  I introduce you to my fall scarf.  (not a very unique name) 

Tomorrow is the big day, I will be at the Maple Grove Community Center from 9-4 selling my hand spun and knitted items.  At this point, I just want to get there, get everything set up and see what happens.  I'm bringing my wheel, if it is slow, I can happily spin away.  I also think it will get people to stop and look at things to.  Kinda like a living historical exhibit?  Anyway, it will be a potentially very fun day.  I'll keep you posted on what the end results are.  If you are in the area, please come and see me, I'd love to meet you.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

One week and counting

The Maple Grove Community craft fair is one week away.  I'm ready, on several fronts.  I'm tired of knitting things that I "hope" will sell.  I want to work on my Yggdrasil again, but can't until after the craft fair.  I keep thinking, one more thing, one more skein spun up.  I love what I'm making but I'd like to settle down and finish the great gray beast. 

I have about 30 skeins of hand spun to bring.  There is a variety of sizes and amounts and type of fiber.  But when I look at the picture I see a lack of reds, yellows and oranges.  I just finished a perfect fall orange so that is covered, but I really need to branch out from my love of moody blues and greens.  I love them, but I think I need to change up the color scheme.  That being said, I'm very happy with my yarn.  And if you look to the left of the picture, that is all my odd bits and bobs of left over singles spun with the last left over singles.  I started doing just white with another left over single, but then I just went to town and I didn't worry about what they looked like, I just mashed them together and have been pleasantly surprised with the results.  The yardage varies on those, some only 30 yards, but others up in the 60-80 yards.  I'm thinking of different ways of marketing those odds and ends.  Ideas?

Then I move on to the knitted up stuff.  Emily laid everything out.  I'm happy with the variety of things, would have liked to have more, but it is what it is.  I work full time, take care of my mom and my girls, and knitting and spinning are on the edges right now.  I will share a booth with my friend, so between my knitted things and my yarn along with her beautiful linens, I think our booth will be filled.  Oh you can see the orange yarn I just finished, still on the bobbin, waiting to be wound off on my niddy noddy.  And the plethora of clickers next to my spinning chair and on the edge of my bed.  One for the fan/light, and the other two for the tv.  I couldn't get the tv to agree to work on just one clicker.  I caved and it is just as easy for me to use them as is.  At least I got the tv hooked up and ready!

This weekend will be spent labeling all my yarn, making sure the ends of my stuff is woven in and price tags put on.  Then a week from Sat. let the fun begin.  If any readers are in the metro area, I'd love to have you stop by my booth, there just might be a wee surprise for my readers! 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Charlie Brown

Noah could be pulling up to my house anytime, ready to load us out of our second story windows.  Minnesota is having some flooding issues...yesterday it rained hard, stead, virtually all day.  The ground is completely saturated already so the water is just running off, major freeways are closed, small towns are virtual islands with the roads shut coming into or out of them.  We are fine, just a bit soggy.

And to totally throw a wrench into the system, I'm listening to "A Charlie Brown Christmas' music.  I explained to my mom over the phone I was listening to it, long pause, she said "do other people have to hear that?"  See I live in a cube world at work, I laughed and said I have my headphones on.  She just sighed....I love Christmas music, listen to it all year round...and sometimes there is just nothing better than to hear Schroder pounding away on the piano....

Monday, September 20, 2010

Crazy hard curveball of a week

Before I get started, let me put in this soothes me...hopefully it will soothe you.
I'm working on this throw, it shows 2 completed strips and the start of the final row. (I'm now on the last block of that last strip)  Life has thrown us a curve ball.  My mom had to go to the hospital late Tuesday night, calling 911 is such a scary but wonderful thing.  You call 3 simple numbers and they are at your door within minutes.  Bringing help.  She has a history of heart problems and seemed so very sick.  With 2 sleeping children upstairs, I didn't go with her to the emergency room.  We've been through this several times, I know the wait is long and uncomfortable in the emergency room.  There is nothing I can do.  So I waited at home.  In the dark.  I cleaned upstairs.  My girls sleeping soundly.  Me, crying silent fearful tears as I picked up the clutter in the family room.  Our dog Gadget sitting and following me around as I worked.  He usually sleeps with my mom and didn't understand where she went.  After running tests and tests, mom came home Friday with a heart monitor she has to wear for the next two weeks to give them more data.  In between running to the hospital each day, getting the girls to school, getting Emily to her first round of ortho appointments, I showed up at work.  I'm grateful I have an understanding workplace, because the amount of work I got accomplished during the 3 days I was here last week was not on the grand scale.  I knit and spun yarn late into the night at home.  It helped keep my fears at bay.  I'm grateful.

And on a brighter note, I'm now signed up for two craft fairs.  The first one is at the Maple Grove Community Center, on October 9 from 9-4.  My friend Ellen is doing this with me.  She does hand embroidered table linens.  I will have my handspun yarn and various knitting I've done.  Shawls, hats, scarves, the above lap blanket, another cream ruched afghan, some socks and other delights.  I think it will be great fun, if nothing else a day with a good friend surrounded by crafts.  Then this morning I signed up for the "Wild Wool Market", it is held at the Susan Hensel gallery in South Minneapolis.  I've never been to one before, but how wrong can I be at something called the Wild Wool Market!  I'm participating in the November 27 market, from 10-4.  And this time it is all about me.  I'll have a small space and I'll have my handspun there, possibly some knitted items, but primarily my handspun.  After the last week, I'm looking forward to having some wooly goodness surrounding me.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A fresh start

Yesterday was the first day of school.  My girls are growing so fast it seems.  Both had great days and Emily was just so happy and excited.  Can you see her smile?
She was listening to the Zac Brown Band singing Sic em on a Chicken.  grin...something about seeing such pure unadulterated joy makes my heart sing. 
I finished a scarf on Monday night.  I started working Cinnamon Grace, but I altered the pattern as I went.  The original had the straight section only worked for 17 inches, that would have given me a pretty short scarf, so instead, I knit the straight section for 30 inches, then decreased per the pattern.  The next change I made was to the border.  I just didn't like the original border, I thought it was pretty, but not what I wanted to end up with, so instead, I added a ruffled border.  I love how it looks but holy cow was it tedious to knit that many stitches.  I had them crammed way tight on my needle and I'd inch worm my way around.  I kept weighing my ball of yarn to be sure I had enough yarn left.  I probably could have knit one more row on the ruffle before starting the bind off but just between you and me?  I was TIRED of struggling with the knitting and wanted to get it off the needles.  So I popped in a Stargate SG-1 movie, The Ark of Truth and two hours later the galaxy is saved from the Ori and I had a scarf off the needles that I'm really pleased with.

And finally here is the next skein of yarn I finished, let me introduce you to Caramel Apples.  A perfectly squishy yarn for fall....a hat?  mittens?  cowl?  who knows... for now I'll just enjoy it on the shelf.

Friday, August 27, 2010

What a weird week

I'm writing this with very little sleep.  Not a good combination, but such is life.  Emily was so sick this week, started with a toothache on Sunday, Tuesday morning had her in the dentist, they pulled a tooth.  Thursday morning I had her in the emergency room because of the pain and swelling which resulted from an infection.  She was in such pain it was awful.  But one day of antibiotics and she is back to her regular self.  I'm a wreck!  But I'm at work.  Another not good combination, but one that is necessary with the time I had to take this week.

I did complete some spinning.  Late nights and all, plus Emily likes to fall asleep watching me spin.  So here is 40 below.  I should have taken a picture of the I'm shamelessly borrowing the picture from Caryn Lantz's Etsy site, Fuzzy Noodle Knits.  It still amazes me the change from the roving to the finished yarn, the blue really took over the color and the white was muted.  But the result is sparkly and pretty and soft.  Not bad.

I also finished this - I'm calling it Spring Time Garden.  This is one squooshy yarn.  Very nice and I'm very happy with it.

I'm participating in a craft fair this October in Maple Grove.  I'll sell my yarn and few handknits as well.  So I need to keep my head down and spin...and what choices I have... stay tuned.

Friday, August 20, 2010

End of Summer panic

I suddenly realized that school starts for the girls in a matter of weeks.  Short weeks.  And even shorter weekends.  Which means we are now scheduling the long promised massive sleepover at our house, four neighborhood girls and my two girls add up to way too many girls in my house!  And who named these things sleepovers!  Very little sleeping will be involved, however, I'm anticipating much laughter and giggles and thumping and eating and movie watching and computer playing will ensue.  The only thing I said was it had to be on either a Friday or Saturday night so I wouldn't be heading to work on a short nights sleep. 

We are also heading up north on Lake Superior for a long weekend next week.  I love Lake Superior.  The temps are always cool and pleasant (ok, maybe not so much in the dead of winter, but now?  heaven!).  Then there is Labor Day Weekend and school starts.  So the girls are packing in as much fun as possible in these last few weeks.

Emily had her first real orthodontist appointment preparing her for the jaw expanders.  It is so hard to watch her in distress, knowing that everything we are doing will help her in the long run.  But it is truly a long hard road we have to navigate first.  And she is so little.  But so strong.  I just hope I can be as strong as I need to for her. 

Much knitting has occured, I've completed several hats and headbands for the looming craft fair.  Now I'm thinking of how to display things to their best advantage, suggestions for displaying my handspun yarn?  I've got a couple different hat stands so that is covered.  I've got a wooden quilt rack that I can use for my scarves and shawls.  So I'm getting there.  I'm spinning nearly everyday.  I think it is truly a way for me to calm myself.  And that is a very good thing.  And getting yarn out of the bonus.

Monday, August 9, 2010

It's a a a headband?

Well I was hoping the knitting fairy would smile favorably on me and I do believe she has.  I was working on the Mini Mochi hat, loved the colors, but started worrying I would run out of yarn before I could finish the hat.  I weighed the remaining yarn and did math.  Did I mention I hate doing math?  I was pretty sure I could finish and kept on knitting.  I finally decided it was going to be too close for comfort so I turned this into that.  And I'm quite happy with it.  I so love the colors and how they turned out and shine through.  The cowl is a sorta stiff cowl, not a droopy one, but the yarn is soft enough for wearing next to my skin so I don't mine.  It can also be used as a headband too, really wide so it is literally so close to being a hat.  It would be perfect to wear with a high ponytail.  I'll see if I can get Anna to model that for me.

Tonight I'll ply my northern lights yarn together.  I'm really hoping I was as consistent in size as I strived to be.  I'm hoping for yardage in the 300 to even 400 yards.  I've never been able to achieve that, so here's hoping.

And just in case you didn't know, even here in the suburbs of Minnesota we have gang the summer mafia of the neighborhood.
This was taken Saturday night at dusk, temps were high 80's, humidity as high as it could go without actually having to swim through the air.  And my girls and their gang friends were walking around with fur trimmed hoods and long black pants.  Yup, that is my life.  I love my life. 

Friday, August 6, 2010

A spinning weekend looms

I'm trying to spin everyday.  I'd really like to get my consistency well more consitent.  And the best way to do that is practice.  So this week I've been spinning around an hour a night.  I do think it is helping.  I'm also working on the thinnest spin I've done yet.  I don't know if I'm achieving a true lace weight yet, but I'm hoping for a light fingering.  This is all gearing up to do a big spin to make a baby blanket out of the Girasole pattern with roving I have.  But in order to get the yardage I need out of the amount of roving I have, I need to be consistently able to spin a fine fingering weight.  A good challenge.  I love these colors, I'm debating if it is a springtime flower riot or northern lights.  I'll wait to see what it looks like after plying.  If I put my head down maybe I can finish the second bobbin tomorrow so I can ply on Sunday.

The other project I'm currently deep into is a Mini Moochi hat.  I started this once before but just didn't like how it was looking so I ripped it out.  This time I paired one mini moochi ball of yarn with some left over Julia yarn and this is what has happened.  I can't tell you how much I love this hat.  The green is a lighter spring green, not so olivey looking and the mini moochi variations just glow like jewels.  I'm also trying to finish this over the weekend and if I'm lucky, I'll persuade one of the girls to model it for me.  It does look a bit big, but if so I'm going to try felting it just enough to shrink it down.  But again, I'll wait to see how it looks when I'm finished.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Yippee!!!! One is Sold

I was messaged on Ravelry this weekend that one of my skeins of yarn at Darn Knit Anyway is sold!  I'm thrilled and she even said it was hard to choose just one.  That is an awesome compliment.  So I know at least one of my skeins has found a new home.  And guess what?  She initially was looking for local yarn to participate in a yarn swap with someone in New Zealand.  So just maybe my humble skein of Red Sherbet is going to wing its way to New Zealand!  I'm giddy...

Emily had her orthodontist appointment Friday to start the work needed before she has her bone grafting surgery this winter.  Her upper jaw needs to be expanded before the bone grafting takes place.  Lets just say that the dollar amount for the next 12-14 months means I better sell a whole lotta yarn!  I do have insurance, but I'm sure there will be issues before it finally gets paid.  But it will all work out.

And so you know I've been spinning like mad, here is part of the newest finished product.  And look, I actually have PICTURES...we finally had some sun and I was able to get a good picture of the heathery purpley blue with odd random bits and bobs of red chenile thread thrown in.  I still have probably 3-4 ounces left to spin, but this is finished.  I'm going to try for a bit of a chunkier weight with the rest of the roving.  Just to see the contrast between the two.

And on the knitting front, I'm working on Cinnamon Grace, another cross between a scarf and a shawl.  I'm using Dream in Color Starry and think it will turn out lovely.  I'm going to definetly increase the straight section from 17 inches to probably at least 30 inches, but currently it looks like this.  I love the color and the hints of shimmer.  I also think the border will add a lot to it.  I only have one skein of the yarn, since I'm doubling the length of the straight section, I may have to look for either another skein just for the border or a contrasting yarn to finish it.  I'll wait to see how much yarn I have left when I complete the knitting of the body of the scarf.

Now I need to get back to work, darn how that cramps my knittig/spinning style.  But I'm doing cartwheels inside because I actually sold some of my very own yarn.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Am I bad?

I desperately want to have a friend saunter into Darn Knit Anyway and scope out if anyone bought any of my yarn yet.  smile.  And I'm too chicken to call and inquire.  I of course am waiting to get the call saying the yarn flew off the shelves and they would like me to bring more!  grin...someday.

In anticipation of such a call I've been spinning this week.  I have two bobbins filled and ready to ply tonight.  I promise I'll take pictures.  And I ordered and received 3 more rovings to add to the que of unspun fiber.  Again, I'll take pictures.  I've been really bad about not taking pictures lately.

I'm leaving work early today to take Emily to her first orthodontist appointment to start the widening of her jaw to prepare her for bone grafting surgery the first of the year.  Today should just be a quick look and decision to actually start the process.  So no hurtful procedures today.

And yesterday, I had to really force myself to acknowledge Anna is growing up.  For the first time, I let her bike alone to a friend who lives reasonable close, but still farther than I've ever let her go alone before.  I think she was thrilled.  I was a wreck!  I think this growing up is harder on the parent than the kid.  But she is trustworthy and has earned this stretching of the boundaries.  But I'm still a wreck.

When I went out to check the pumpkin mass I actually found the first sign that amongst all the leaves and flowers and vines, there is at least one pumpkin trying to grow.  Hang on, there will be more farm reports later.  Along with pictures.  Are you noticing a theme here?

And just in case you don't read the Yarn Harlot her description of her adventures in throwing out the first pitch to the Toronto baseball game during its Stitch N Pitch festivities is one of the best things I've read in a long time.  And she even has pictures!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

New Adventure!

Last night I brought this lovely basket of my handspun yarns to a local yarn shop darn. knit. (anyway) to sell!  I'm very excited!  I worked most of Sunday getting all the wrappers on the skeins and naming the yarn.  Now that was interesting.  I always said I wanted to be the person naming the paint colors, but I realized as I was labeling my yarn that it wasn't as easy as it looked.  But I ended up with everything labeled and ready to go.  Aimee looked it over and seemed very excited to have my yarn in her shop.  So if any of you readers are near Stillwater, MN, and are looking for some handspun yarn please head over to Aimee's shop and ask to look at my yarn, I labeled it Knitting My Way Home too. 

I made yarn with wool, alpaca, wool/silk, and wool/mohair blends. The yardage ranges from 50 - 350 yards in a skein.  I also made 2 Fair Isle sampler sets out of 3 different skein colors in small yardages that would make a nice stranded baby hat etc.  Or just some swatches to practice your stranded knitting. 

My handspun cubby is now half empty.  Yee Haw!  This means I can spin more!  Can't beat that.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Ice Cream in Texas and swimming with the Dinasaurs

One of the things that you forget when you move from Texas to Minnesota, is that no matter how fast you try and eat a Dairy Queen ice cream cone in the heat of a Texan summer, you will get dripped on.  You can't lick fast enough without some drips cascading down your hands.  smile

We had such a good time in Texas.  The temps were moderate (at least for Texas), only in the mid 90's.  Several days it rained which rearranged some of our plans but we still saw fireworks on a mosquito infested night.  Anna found a unique way of trying to fend off the blood thirsty critters, she put her legs into the arms of her sweater, pulled the hood up and tucked her arms in and lasted oh mere moments before gasping for air.  But it made us laugh while we waited for the festivities to begin.

The drive to and from went well, 16 hours can be a chore, but the girls are great for the most part and it is freeway driving for me so easy enough.  I loathe to take 2 days as I don't want to lose any time that I could otherwise be spending with our friends. 

We drove to Glen Rose and crept through the animal preserve, Anna was brave and had the giraffes feeding off her hands, Emily decided to wait until next year to try that.  Emily however, fed the ostrich and that is not an easy feat to do without getting pecked.  After trolling through the animal presevere, we went to Dinasaur Valley and the kids played in the river and saw dinasaur tracks.  It was fun for all of us.

I promised to knit and while I did, I don't have a picture yet of what I worked on.  I worked on the tiger from the Cyd designed balloon animals.  I need to knit the ears to sew on and then embroider on the eyes before I will show him on the blog.  But it is an amazing feat of engineering I think how you twist and fold the critters together.  So watch for that in the next installments.

I have finished an UFO though.  Thank heavens. Here is the Inga hat, I like how it turned out, although Anna didn't like that it had a "poufy" top.  I think it is fine.  I still need to give it a good soak and block it but I'm happy with the end result.  I used left overs of yarn used to make Kyle's Anna's mittens last year. Anna's mittens were very cute and since I bought the yarn at the Yarn Harbor in Duluth I wanted to make sure I had enough yarn, so I overbought the amount I'd need.  But as you see it did not go to waste!

I also completed a new cowl and have 1 1/2 fingerless mitts done that match it.  It is a very simple ruched pattern for the cowl and the mitts are the Fetching pattern in Ravelry.

And finally, we can not have a garden at our house.  We live in a twin home with a home association.  They are very strict on rules on the outside of the homes.  And one of those rules is no gardens (except for the people who have the pond in their backyard, somehow they are exempted and can have gardens?  don't get me started).  So we have containers of flowers every summer on our patio, but no garden.  For Emily's birthday, my sister gave her a round fiber type basket that is made for vegetables to grow on patios.  Who knew?  So we planted carrots in the middle and ringed it with pumpkin seeds.  I was hoping we would get tasty carrots as that is Emily's favorite vegetable and at least 2 pumpkins for fall for the girls.  Well look at this. 

I fear that we will have slightly more than two pumpkins! In the center of the basket I counted 24 blossoms. TWENTY FOUR. and that does not count the at least equal amount of blossoms coming out on all the various tendrils hanging off the edge of the basket. I see the girls hauling their wagon full of pumpkins up and down the neighborhood streets selling them for a dollar! But it has been fun, say if anyone has any good pumpkin recipes, let me know!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I interrupt our regularly scheduled program

I broke.  The mountain of wool that is Yggdrasil sitting in my lap addled my brain.  It was hot people.  Too hot to have a ginormous pile of wool in your lap.  No amount of fans blowing on me could change the simple fact that it was too hot and sticky to be working on a large wool blanket.  So I broke.  I randomly pulled some handspun yarn off my shelf (at least I shopped in my stash) and I cast on for a hat.  A few hours later, I had this little simple charmer sitting in my lap.  The only problem is no matter how many pictures I took, the color is all wrong.  Umm what?  How with all the blazing sun beaming in on me could I not take a picture that had any resemblence to the true colors of deep dark chocolate (not the namby pamby orange brown showing) mixed with deep blues and even purples of the yarn?  Isn't natural light the thing we look forward to in the summer months?  Well, you see, I took the pictures late last night, when it was dark outside, and I used indoor lighting.  Yup, that is my story.   

And one hat was not enough.  I had more of the same handspun left over, so I simply cast on again and this time ended up with a smaller baby hat....with ear flaps...that needs something added to it....maybe some embroidery?  A tassel on the top?  Definitely braids need to be added to the ear flaps, but I'm not sure that will give it some needed umph.  And this picture is rotten as well.  Maybe instead of a knitting class I should take a camera class!

But the biggest excitement is that I'm heading to Texas EARLY tomorrow morning, like we better be in the van on the road heading south on 35 by 4:30 a.m.  And that means that by 8:30 p.m. my van will be pulling up in front of my friends house and I can crawl my way out of the driver's seat and collapse in joy knowing for 9 more days I can eat Tex Mex, drink my share of wicked good margaritas, and laugh and talk until I'm filled to the brim.  So while I've been silent on the blog before, this time I will have a good excuse.  I'll be in Texas.  I promise to take pictures.  And I promise to knit and spin for HOURS...well maybe not after the margaritas...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Heading home soon

Soon, the girls and I will pile into the van and head south to Texas for a vacation.  The three of us surrounded by friends we love and in the place I love.  It will be the girls first Texan summer.  Feeling the asphalt squish under your feet as it radiates heat.  Feeling like you have to push your way through the thick hot air.  Feeling the hot steering wheel sear your hands because you don't have a windshield sun screen anymore.  Anna was too little when we moved back to MN to remember what July in Texas feels like.  Emily has never been there in the summer.  We usually go there during the girls' spring break in March.  I anticipate some stunned looks on their faces when they first step out of a cool air conditioned house into the brick oven like heat of Texas in July.  Not even in the night does it cool off.  But I can't wait to go. 

I know I'm nearly there when I'm climbing up the hills on the border between Oklahoma and Texas and see the Red River below.  I know it sounds odd, but I can feel the joy hidden deep down inside that I'm back.  As we drop back down into Texas I can't stop the grin.  On the flip side, when we leave Texas and this time I'm dropping over the hills into Oklahoma I can't stop the tears.  But for now?  I'll wait in anticipation of the indescribable joy I feel, even after driving for 12+ hours that I'm finally back in Texas.  At least for a while.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Spinning and knitting

The Yggdrasil is moving along slowly.  I finished the first side of the final border and rounded the corner!  Ya me!  I've basically got the pattern memorized and can fly along.  In fact the row that I thought was the hardest the first go around has become the easiest for me.  I'm trying to do a side a week, but with all the evening festivities it is more of a challenge than I'd like.  I also took a picture of how all the borders look together.  I'm hoping when I block it will open up the cable and vine border just a bit.  I think that will add to the look of the border.
Yes, I'm standing on my bed taking this shot. With my ceiling fan whizzing mere inches above my head. Who said there isn't danger in knitting!
To take the edge of knitting only on the Yggsdrasil, I'm spinning again.  One reason is I'm planning on spinning enough yarn to reknit Girasole as a baby blanket.  I bought 20 ounces of roving from JulieSpins on Etsy (also saw she is now selling her stuff through The Loopy Ewe ) but in order to get the 1500 yards of yarn I will need, I need to spin it quite thin.  Thinner than I've ever consistently done before.  So I need to practice before I break out the beautiful roving I plan to use for the blanket (and what is it with me and knitting blankets all the sudden?)  So over the weekend I pulled out some roving Emily gave me for Mother's Day.  And after a couple days of spinning I had this
It is pretty, but it isn't nearly as fine as I need.  I haven't spun for several months so I clearly need to practice.  I love the yarn though, it will be a lovely hat or cowl, very soft and squishy.  So I dug through my stash and found some Ashford roving I totally forgot I had.  (bad bad when you don't even remember all the roving you have!)
And this most beautiful deep teal roving slowly turned into the thinnest single I've ever spun yet.  So I'm cautiously optimistic this will help me get the perfect yarn for the baby blanket.  The Ashford roving is the softest smoothest spin I've done in months.  The roving slides through my fingers into the neatest tight single but it doesn't break.  Hopefully it will hold when I start plying.  But one thing with spinning this fine, it takes longer to do.  Both a good and a bad thing.  Smile...but hopefully spinning an hour a night will help me churn through the final borders of Yggdrasil.