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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Mountains or the Burrow?

I was breezing through some web pages including another blogger's pages (Tossing the Stash) and saw a wonderful little quote.

"You moved the pot before the coffee stopped brewing. Do you smell the mountains or the burro?
I drink tea."

It's one of those things that made me stop and think. I know, you're sitting there and thinking, "Really? That made you have a moment of deep thought? Why do I waste my time reading this guy's blog?" Well dear reader, that I can't answer except to say that you love to indulge in others quirks as much as your own perhaps? But it was just one of those things that at first made me smile, then made me think, which do I smell?

And the answer to that I'm afraid is very complicated. On a moody (I won't say bad, I rarely have those, but have ones that make me moody as rhino with a thorn stuck in it's thick hided bum) day I would say the burro, and not in a nice way. On a good day, I'd say the mountains, because the smell of burnt coffee often makes me think of the tannin rich smell of fall in the alaska woods as the rain/snow fallen leaves start to decay and the lowbush cranberries come into season. Then there's those days that I'd say the burro, but in a good way. I'm one of those strange people who find the smell of horses and cows and their fertilizer rich droppings to be a good clean smell. And as a fellow knitter today found out in horror as I sniffed my Jacob yarn I self spun because it is still lanolin rich, I even like the smell of sheep. So, even though I drink tea, it depends on the sense of the day, but good lanolin rich yarn pressed to my nose will always make even the moodiest days a little brighter, as will a walk in the fall woods of home with my dogs (I love them but wet dirty old dog, still smells like wet dirty old dog... sorry kids).

Have a great week guys,

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Bit of Twist

Relax, it won't be one of THOSE posts. Just a bit of spinning
I got the blue and green stuff done as well as the purple and blue and got them plied this afternoon. Heehee... That's right, I just giggle a bit.
The second picture is of it hanging downstairs after a good socking to set the spin. No idea what the plan is for this yarn yet, but I was excited to get it done.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Snake Training!

This morning after a bit of spinning I decided to take the kids on a bike ride, which sounds fun, right? Well, i was mostly fun except that part about pedaling into the wind and figuring out how to carry a bag of dog poop while riding. Thank goodness for bungee cords... for the dog poop, not for the wind.

But, back on track. As we rounded a curve we ran into this fella on his way between ponds hinting the singing frogs.
He's a gorgeous three foot Bull Snake. And since where we ride there's normally rattlers, I was happy to see this guy. Bull snakes tend to push rattles snakes out since they share the same habitats, many of the same preys and not only compete for foods, bull snakes have been known to eat a rattlesnake occasionally. And since they're non-venomous, it was a perfect time to do some dog training with a snake. They all did wonderfully. In fact, despite his wiggling along to new hunting grounds they stayed back and left him alone enough that he didn't once coil up and get defensive. Now, I had to convince an older gentleman with his grandson that it was in fact a good non-venomous snake and stayed to make sure they didn't kill it, but my kids, did wonderfully. I'm so proud of them.

But, lets back track a bit. I spun a bit this morning.

In fact, I started working on the Kool-Aid dyed roving. So Far, I like it and it's about what I was going for. Now the purple and blue dyed isn't quite what I was hoping for but I'm still hopeful that my "under-the-sea" yarn will look nice. What I'm going to do with nobody truly knows, but it's all about the journey, no? I was thinking about plying the blue and green stuff with the purple and blue stuff, but this morning as my mind wondered as the fiber slipped through the fingers, I thought about taking one of my friends that have offered their loom up for the learning process up on the offer. We'll see when we get there I guess.

And speaking of spinning, I turned this:
Well, more specifically, this:
Photo from:

Into this, as you may recall:

And this, it has started to become this:
This is going to be the Kimono Shawl form Cheryl Oberle's Folk Shawls Copyright 2000
I'm Excited! So much so I have to pee... Well, that has more to do with my water intake this morning; regardless,I have to go, see you all later and have a great holiday,


PS: I forgot to tell you, I finished the market bags!

Friday, May 25, 2012

So Much for Catching Up

On a high note, Bob is home! He's been gone for the last two weeks solid, but for practically the last three weeks due to my own schedule and his bouncing between Casper, Chicago, Casper, and D.C. So this morning I took way too much pleasure in sending his butt out with the dogs as I stayed at home and knit on my second market bag.
Crappy IPod Quickpic photo, sorry.

This project was my little escape from cowls. After doing several of them I just needed a break and last weekend at the shop someone else brought this pattern (Ilene Bag) in and  decided it would be my reward for being on top of Christmas knitting. So, I whipped out a couple and now we're talking about offering this as a class for summer projects.

The green and tan one was made from the Classic Elite Yarn Firefly. I then decided I had to have two so I made the blue one from Classic Elite's Cricket yarn. It's blue because I just can't seem to get excited about the green that's available in Cricket. Overall, I really like the pattern despite the fact that I felt the need to change it. That's just me, nothing personal Hannah Ingalls, I have a problem, not your pattern.

I'm super excited for the farmers market or just going to the Natural Grocers to use my bags. Is that sad? Okay, I really didn't need to ask that question, I knew the answer.

I did get a little better picture of the cantaloup colored fiber. I have a batch pre-drafted and ready for spinning. Pulled out the big nice camera to try and snag a nicer shot of it.

I like! I'm going to be hard pressed to not dig into this before the Grand Canyon trip. And as for fiber, I have most of the Jacob fleece spun and washed.
I decided to leave this a single ply lace weight yarn to make a shawl out of it for my mom. Well, possibly my mom. I was considering plying it with some green blended merino I bought in Boulder but decided I loved the subtle grays and browns of it all on it's own. And it has so much lanolin still in it that it smells divine! Well, to those of us who like the scent of sheep.

It's so far my most consistent width spun yarn and was a joy to spin. There is some over twist despite washing but I still love it and am excited to jump into it. I have about the last quarter to still finish up but as it stands now I have about 960 yds of yarn. So, fingers crossed I have plenty for a decent sized project.

So sorry about the lack of update here. When Bob is gone and I work 2 of the 3 weeks he's gone I have very little time for anything other than working my 12hr shifts, walking my monsters to get some energy off them while I'm at work, and sleeping for what little bits of time I can manage. But, life is good now.

On the note of life in general, I have decided to start the Ideal Protein plan. Now, before anyone feels the need to scream and shout, this is my choice. I hit 190 pounds this year and I figured it would be cheaper and easier to get things under control now, than lets say at 250 pounds. I realize I carry my weight well and don't appear to almost weigh 200, but as it stands, I'm the smallest person in the family and would like to keep it that way. Well, I would love for all of us to lose weight, but I can only choose for myself.

I have to say, I was impressed with lunch yesterday. It was delicious, even if a bit much.

Hope you all have a great holiday weekend,

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Catching Up

Though I've titled this post catching up, I've yet to do any such thing. Today, I woke up at 4, fed and walked my crew, then went back to bed. I got up at 9 though and promptly jumped into the day.

The first thing I did since it was supposed to be a glorious (by glorious read sweltering. I know, some people are never happy) 80 degrees, was get some dying work done.

I mixed up the Kool-aid and got to it. While we're on this subject, I have never been a Kool-Aid kid myself, but the new Peach Mango stuff smelled amazing as I got it added to the roving. After I got the bowl mixed, and the pans all looped up and soaking I put them on the top of Bob's black Toyota 4-Runner to soak up the sun's rays.
Of course as I'm taking pictures the cute mail man shows up. Keep in mind, I haven't showered yet, my hair is all akimbo and I'm wearing my slippers. Oh well... He still thinks our dogs are cute, and I'm not doing anything other than admiring so I guess no harm no foul.

As for "Sun Dying", it's been a different dying experience. The Peach Mango seems to have acted as a kettle dye, and the "painted" ones seem to have sucked up all available dye and needed minimal rinsing. Literally, this evening I only had to do two runs through cold water and there wasn't a bit of dye leakage. I even plugged the white plastic utility sink to confirm a lack of color leaching. And hey, I hate the worry of accidentally felting roving in the rinsing so I'll work with it.  But the Peach Mango, I had to do several rinses though it wasn't color I was getting, but a cloudiness. It was like the fake sweeteners added to Kool-Aid were running off. The resulting fiber though, is a lovely cantaloup. I can't wait to spin it up.

The plan for the cantaloup is to to spin two separate bobbins and ply. The blue/purple and green/purple will also be spun up as a separate bobbin apiece and plied. This is hopefully going to be my "travel" spinning project for quiet campsite evenings for Junes trip to Zion, Grand Canyon, and Bryce Canyon/Escalante Grand Staircase National Parks. I'm so excited! We have all the campgrounds, rafting trips and other reservations made and we plan on picking up Stefani in Salt Lake City. I even got a dog sitter!

But, enough on that... That's for another day.

After I got the dye a baking, I had to take pictures of the garden that has decided that spring is here for sure.
One of Bob's Iris's is blooming! And the remaining Salvia in the foreground.
Lamb's Ear. I actually lost one of these and a Salvia this winter, of all hardy plants, but I'm sure the boys peeing on them constantly didn't help.
Clematis, the one in the backyard is already over my head.
Then it was out for a bike ride with the boys, to the yarn store just because, before heading out into the county for a dog training session with a bored Australian Shepherd.

Now I stand here thinking I should be knitting.  I have more neck gators for Bob's family for Christmas to get done. Last night before bed I did get the first three blocked.
Blogger has decided the rest of today,s pictures will be sideways... Lovely. You get the idea though.

And this evening with the freshly dyed and drying fiber, the last one I finished is blocking.
This one, despite taking the longest to come with an idea and execute, is my favorite. There has been so many projects out tehre recently in linen stitch I decided to try it out. And I have to say, once you get it in your head to stop just short of actually purling, it's nice. I did this one in the round and despite it looking like color work, it's not.
Truly. I just did three different colors and how the linen stitch laid them out it made it look like it was fancy color work weaving. LOVING IT! And it's a nice thick piece and used up the left over blue and purple from the above mentioned cowls. Can't ask for more.

AS for Mother's Day, the call home went well and I'm hopeful my mom may come to visit in October. As it stands now we're looking at picking her up on our way home from the Tao;s wool and fiber festival as we swing through Carlsbad Caverns and the rest of New Mexico.

For Bob's mom I made a couple pies that Bob promised I'd do.
A Lemon Meringue for her and a Chocolate cream for Bob. The chocolate cream didn't like being disturbed so by the time we got to his sister's house over rough gravel roads and many a cattle guard it was more of chocolate soup in a crust, but was still tasty. Bob pointed out that jello pudding in a crust with whip cream is how he makes it and it's serviceable, but as you can probably tell, I'd be horrified to serve anything from a Jello box. It's just me. I know how to cook so if I'm told I'm to make pies, I make pies. Though I did buy store bought frozen gluten free crusts. Next time I'll suck it up and stay up until two making my own crusts if need be. Damn Celiacs. As it was I was up until one. I've never made Lemon Meringue before but I have to say, I did good. My two lemons were about an 8th of a cup shy on juice so I added a little extra rind zest and mmmmhm. I've forgotten how much I like lemon meringue.

What's a cattle guard I here you say? Well...
Photo from vintage whimsy blog found at

This is a nice one. As you can imagine, hell on a chocolate cream pie in a hot car. It was Bob's car... Kidding, it was in the cooler with the other one so the mess was contained.

Anyway, I should get to it and move the sprinklers again before settling in with more knitting and a good audiobook.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

At Last...

I finally got the I-cord bind off of this dang thing done last night (Thank you sweet baby Jesus in the manger), and was able to move on to another project before putting out my own eyes with the needles.
I played with the second pictures color a bit to try and get it to show the color differences in the skeins. It's not a glaring difference and with the center out pattern, I think it actually breaks up the color well. It almost looks purposeful. It's always amazing to me how the things that get you worried while working on the project you end up liking at the end of the piece.
With that said though, I don't know if the transitions would work on something like an end to end blanket or a sweater. Probably just fine but my anal retentive knitting personality (I have different ones for different things, we all should no?) would have been bothered by it. I would have had to rip it out or smother that little nagging perfectionist part of me with a skein of the softest merino or cashmere. All violence carried out in love should be done with class and luxury.

And I want to point out how close a call this all was... That's right, of the 8 skeins I used, and fretted as to when to start my edging, this was all I had left. I giggled nervously as I grafted the I-Cord's end and realized how little I had left. I think my work partner was worried about my sanity there for a moment.

With that all said, I can start the Christmas knitting in earnest now and get another dinosaur hat done since once again, I have a toddler on my hands that doesn't fit the toddler hat. A word to anyone who does the Roar! Dinosaur Hat from Ravelry; it's a lovely and cute as heck hat pattern, but make the next size up should you decide to make it. I re-measured my gauge after the first one and found that I was still on despite my sizing issues. Other than that, this little hat is staying in my pattern collection for future kiddos, of any age. We can all use a dino hat right? I'm making myself one for Halloween.

Oh, and the Muttley Crew say "Hi" too.

Friday, May 4, 2012

To Be Quoted, or Not To Be Quoted, That Is A Dilemma

Do you ever fear being quoted? I hope not, because it's one of those nagging fears that you just can't seem to leave behind; and if outrageous things come out of your mouth at times, there's not a a darn thing you can do about it. I suffer from this fear, and I've found the best way to combat it is to just march right into it. You know, instead of worrying about what I might say, just put anything I might say out there on the internet as a blog to make it even easier for people I don't know to quote me.

But this week I feel as though I may have more than the usual quotes to worry about. Especially since I was told today by someone that she was going to quote me. I had stated that someone was kind of like a well used car. She had a few dings and scratches, a hole or two in her muffler making her harder to shut up and perhaps a cracked axle which just means it was a hard and fun ride at times. Where this even came from, I don't know, but the person (whom I'm growing to love) sitting next to me said "I'm going to use that" and I quaked in fear. How exactly would she use such a quote? Then she stated she was going to use it because another professor had stated she needed to have an analogy for quantitative reasoning. I know, I had the same thought... How in the world is being like a well used car like quantitative reasoning? Well, I have faith in her and her North Carolina roots and accent to make it work, in fact, I kind of want to hear how she makes it work.

But now the cat and I sit downstairs drinking moonshine and knitting and I worry about other things I said this week in front of this person while under the influence of said moonshine.
Okay, so she's sleeping, but I'm knitting on the blanket that will never be done.
You see, Monday my spinning partner and I after finishing are Starbucks drinks, went on a search for food and found this.
Which made knitting a lot of fun, and it's been whispering to me since so I bought some more on my way home today. It's lovely smooth grain alcohol with strawberries floating in it. I thought they were red potato's at first glance...
See, they kind of look like it. Well, of course we had to buy it and it came back to the yarn store for spinning and knitting and sharing. And this is where my fear of other quotes comes from.

You see, we've had an amazing influx of new knitters. Not only are they new knitters, but they're fun knitters who can laugh at the accidents that occur in knitting and the solutions we sometimes come up with (albeit, sometimes the funny solutions happen with moonshine consumption. Okay, the mistakes too). When this new knitter asked kind of surreptitiously, "You're going to knit and drink at the same time? Is that a good idea?"

Where my response was, "Oh please, I drink and knit all the time." Which I would like to point out is not true. Sometimes yes, but not all the time, and I do realize there are limits to the mixing of these two pastime activities and try to respect them as such.

But after the first round, I was called to the cozy little couch area for some assistance and when trying to step over a bag on the floor, I had one of those balance off kilter moments. You know the ones, you just stand there with you're foot raised off the floor, telling your mind to step forward, but for whatever reason unable to. Well, I put the foot back down, took a breath and proceeded to then go where I was needed. Well, at the wary look I got from a couple people I remarked rather wittily I thought, "I said I drink and knit all the time, not drink and walk."

You see where I'm going with this? That's right, I'm afraid she'll use that quote. And not in some funny quip  in a bar when she next has that balance issue when she slips from her bar-stool with her knitted socks in hand, but when telling someone about this guy she once knew that knitted while throwing back shots.

So of course, I had to come here and set the record straight, didn't I? Of course I did. Now, back to my ever-loving blanket and napping Smudge cat. Don't worry, I already finished tonight's allotment of moonshine and put it away. Just like drunk dialing, I try not to drunk blog. It's just embarrassing for all involved, and creates more quotable quotes and let's face it, I don't need the help.

Have a great weekend everybody,

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A What?

I'm amazed by the line you always see at coffee places. Mostly due to my lack of liking that bitter brew I'm sure. I know, I can hear some of my few readers closing the browser window in disgust. Sorry, I've just never developed a taste for the stuff. And it's not that I'm amazed that people like it, I love red wine and chocolate and beer are better the darker they are in my book, and have friends who gag at the thought of my preferences in beer and chocolate. It's more that I'm amazed at people dropping the money they do for a cup of coffee. Especially when I know many of them can't afford a lot of things in their life but yet are willing to go to a little coffee hut and drop $5 for a single cup of coffee plus tip. It just astounds me.

But more than that, it's the status and marketing that blows me away. You watch these kids and adults trying to strut their stuff with their Starbucks cups and fancy drinks, and falling for the marketing trick of looking cooler by association. Sadly I look and many of these people and realize that they were never cool, and their kids still don't think they are. Don't worry, I'm not cool either, and wasn't a cool kid in high school. The main difference is, I never was and never wanted to be the cool kid. But sadly, yesterday I dropped $4 on a cup of iced tea.

I did it when I'm more than happy getting the $1.04 64oz cup of gas station iced tea, because I had a request placed for a hot Earl Grey with cream from my spinning buddy that I was heading to meet. So I swung a hard left and pulled into the Safeway that has a Starbucks kiosk in it. I ran in, waited behind the cool kids and stepped up to the counter when it was my turn and asked for a large Earl Grey Hot tea and a Black Iced Tea.

Simple, right?

Then I get asked by the too perky I had 4 americano's with three shots each before 9 and I can feel my hear in my ears barista if I'd like the Venta or Trenta (forgive me if these aren't the right terms) size.

My response was, "The what?". Where she then repeated herself. "L-A-R-G-E" I repeated.

Again, she tried to clarify wherein I looked to the ordering board to try and decipher what she said. Way at the top in tiny little (I have good vision by the way) are some weird made up BS words with ounces next to them. So I asked, "Which is the largest?"

"Oh, the Trenta" She giggled at a pitch that I'm sure if she had done it at night, bats would have mysteriously flown into windows and got tangled in womens hair due to their echo location being thrown off and neighborhood dogs would have woke up their families barking.

"Then I'll take a Trenta."

"Well you should have just said that" She again giggled.

And I just smiled. Yes, I behaved myself, when I really wanted to say to her, "What language is that you're speaking? Oh, Starbucks, a Seattle based company that I'm standing in their Casper Wyoming store is making up BS words to sound sophisticated when in America large means give me the frigg'n large drink is to full of itself to use standard sizing terms?"

And it was then I realized that once again I failed learning how to be one of the cool kids. And I wasn't even upset, and do you know why? Because to fail at being one of the cool kids, what I really failed at was not falling in line with the other popular zombies in using bull shit terms to sound like something other than what it is. Large is frigg'n large and I'll be damned if I pay you five bucks to be told that the piss specimen sized cup of coffee is really a "tall" and I have to learn a whole other version of pig latin to order a large drink. Screw you, don't mess with me without my caffeine in the morning and while you're worried about looking sophisticated I'm happy I don't look as stupid as you when you speak in those corporate yuppy made up terms.

I'm not cool, but I'm sitting here with my large iced tea still not getting the attraction to Starbucks and quite happy with my uncool life with my dogs, guy and knitting.