Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Milk and Cookies

Pull up a chair and have a snack.

How about some milk and cookies?

While milk fiber may not be very palatable as a beverage, it is a feast for spinning fingers.  Yarn made from milk???  Yep, the concept has been around for a long time.  Milk fiber has been used as a wool alternative.  There are many schools of thought about the "bacteriostatic" and "nourishing" qualities of the fiber.  The bottom line, it is super silky and has a lovely sheen.  Research indicates that it takes roughly 100 pounds of skim milk to create 3 pounds of milk fiber.

Does it make a pretty yarn?

Why, yes, it does...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Spinning Spaghetti

While whipping up a batch of homemade spaghetti last night, it occurred to me that pasta making is a lot like spinning.

You take flour, eggs, salt, and water (the raw fiber) and process it to form the dough (the roving, sliver, rolag..) and then you "spin" it into different weights and thicknesses by way of pressing it and cutting it. 

Then, you have to allow it to hang while waiting for your water to boil...much akin to the soaking and hanging to dry freshly spun yarn while you search for a pattern.

It's true...I can turn just about any topic to a fiber reference!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Whimper, Snarfle, Stink

Today was one of those special days when Jack got to go to the shop with us.  As we were getting ready to leave this morning, he started in with his whimpery, snarfling sounds.  These are not to be confused with the whimpery, snarfly sounds he makes EVERY.SINGLE.MORNING at 5-ish, when he decides he needs to be let out.  You can try to ignore him all you want, but it doesn't work.  Snarf, snarf, whimper, whimper, click...click...click as he trots back and forth up and down the hallway, in and out of our room, in and out of the shower in our bathroom and back and forth from one side of the bed to the other until someone gets up to let him out.  Is it his "owner"?  ha ha ha, no, HE would be fast asleep and oblivious upstairs.

On those mornings when I think I have outsmarted him and get up for the last time of the night (thanks a lot hot flashes!), and I stumble into the bathroom only to be greeted by whimper, snarfle, click, click, click coming from the shower.  Busted.

Once in a while, he likes to go with us and when asked if he wants to "go", he will run to the car and usually hop right in.  (unless the gender confused  and overly rambunctious neighbor dog is in our yard)  It  is clear that Jack is getting older, his jumping skills are scaling back and he sometimes needs a little help.

At the shop, Jack has some major responsibilities that he manages to complete with great ease:

1.  Stink up the joint.

2.  Sleep.  Rotating locations between under my desk, under Wes' desk and on the rug in front of the sofa.

3.  Stink some more.

4.  Greet everyone that comes in the office.

5  Stink just a little bit more.

Tonight, the big baby boy was ever so helpful with the dinner clean up.

 Hmmm, there may be a relationship between the "stink" and the kitchen clean up.  I'll know for sure in a little while...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A little hanky panky and mowing in February...

I know what your first thought was.

Don't deny it...it is Valentine's week after all.

However, I am sorry to disappoint you, but this post has less to do with panky and more to do with hanky.

Silk hankies to be precise.


At first, fear kept me from trying one.  But in the end, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

First, for the non-fibery folk, a silk hanky (or a Muwata) is a square piece of fabric-y looking stuff that is simply silk cocoons that have been stretched over a square frame and layered and layered and layered with more and more.  If a silk hanky was a pastry, it would be the ultimate in tender, flaky deliciousness. 

They can be purchased in blank undyed form, or you can save yourself the hassle and get them all ready to go in purty colors.  If you have the time and desire, you can also purchase cocoons and do your own stretching, and I am quite sure that if you wanted to be the ever-loving overachiever, you could raise your own silk worms.  Quite frankly, that idea scares me and makes me mutter "It puts the lotion on its skin"  (yes, I know they are not the same buggy thing, but you get the idea).

Once you have one of these lovelies in your hands and you resist the urge to blow your nose, you get to verrrrrrry carefully start pulling layers (or single cocoons) apart  to spin with.  At this point, it is important to note that some cats like to try to eat the drafted fiber and some cats like to sit on it.

Once kitties have been shooed away...

...the spinning.  Oooooooh, the spinning...

Meanwhile, helpful kitties decided that the cilantro seedlings needed to be mowed down...

Monday, February 13, 2012

Mad Skills...

Sunday was my mother-in-law's birthday so we planned a day full of activities with her.

Starting off the adventure was a little bit of bowling.  My FIL bowls in a league every Tuesday night and does some fun playing every Sunday morning.  MIL doesn't actually bowl, but she goes along to hang out.  The competition is friendly and fun is had by all, but frankly, I think that my mad skills have everyone scared and that is the ONLY reason they haven't asked me to join them more often!

For the record, this was the first game of the day, my score on the second game was over 100, but the third sorta tanked around 50.  Not one single person could be persuaded to change the rules to low score wins.  Personally, I think it takes more skill to avoid hitting the pins than knocking them all down!

Lucky for me, the knitting bag came along for the ride...

I think I will stick to carrying that bag around instead of a bowling ball!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Everything old is new again...

My father-in-law recently gave me a treasure.  A book.  Not just any book, but an OLLLLLDDDDD book.

Digging around in one of his rent houses he found this little beauty:

"Home Remedies for Man and Beast"

The title page states it is "The Household Guide; or Practical Helps for Every Home"  (eighth edition, 1893)

Old books are a wealth of lost information.  In today's society, we think we have all the answers, but oftentimes, if we just look back in time a better solution can be found...specifically, ones that do not involve caustic and unnecessary chemicals or other "man-made" alternatives to simple versions.  
The topics in this little gem range from a medical dictionary, identifying animals in impure water, how to keep well, all sorts of treatments for diseases I have never heard of, beauty tips, homekeeping tips, caring for animals and so many others.  It is a bound version of the internet of that time.  Anything and everything you could ever want or need to know.  

Did you know:  if you suffer from a scrawny neck, one must take off your tight collar, feather boa or other such heating things.  

Here's a lost art:  How to write invitations.  The sampled penmanship is a lost art form, especially in light of today's  educational decisions to no longer instruct our children in cursive.  Not only will today's children have difficulty with the actual act of writing, but the art of phrasing is lost.

But the recipes...I could read these for hours.  It amazes me how we feel that details have to be spelled out precisely, when in days gone by it seems that cooks truly relied upon their instincts when cooking.  It was not possible for them to heat up the fireplace oven to exactly 350 degrees or such...instead instructions were given to "bake in a slow oven" or "watch carefully as they burn very easily" and ingredient quantities were listed as "flour enough to mould rather soft".  I daresay Food Networkians would be challenged!

The condition of this little pearl is quite fragile.  It goes without saying that it will be well taken care of and nuggets of knowledge will gleaned and preserved by use.  I wonder what future generations will make of my collection of recipes?


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

You Tarzan, Me Jane...

this is what I feel like saying every time I look at the skirt in progress.  Right about now, it resembles more of a loin cloth than anything.  On the bright side, progress is progress and at this rate, I will get to wear it before this winter season is over.  The last couple of weeks had me wondering if we were even going to have a winter.  Surprise, winter came back.

In other news, the camera was taken to my second choice repair shop as I simply could not wait until "the game" was over and done with to allow for a less hectic trip to Indy.  It appears that some little something near the aperture thing-a-ma-bob on the lens has broken off.  That one little piece of missing plastic has made it next to impossible for the lens to communicate with the camera (anyway that is what Tech-dude said).  The lens has been sent off to the camera hospital and will be quarantined for 4 to 6 weeks!  Repair is estimated to be less expensive (not by much) than buying a new lens.  Number one reason to avoid going to the camera shop...LENS ENVY!  I am drooling over the idea of a lovely zoom lens, but have a feeling I might as well just put a bib on and get over it.  :(

Hexipuffs are puffing along.  It has been one week since I caved in to the knitterly peer pressure decided to partake in this addictive pattern.  There will be no picture updates, because, well frankly, they all look the same only done up in different yarn.  I do not plan on doing anything extra to cute-ify them.  The real picture that I wish to share will be the final completed project, which at this rate should be just about a YEAR from now.  On the days that my darling hubby and I ride to work together, I am able to complete 2 puffs during the commute (assuming something else did not jump into my hands first).  At present, 8 puffs are finished and securely hidden away from curious paws. 

For a peek at WIPS and other crafty/knitterly goodies pop over to these folks, you'll be glad you did!:

Monday, February 6, 2012

Red Hot Pillow Talk

It is just over a week until Valentine's Day and there is a definite lack of decorating around my house.  Normally, there isn't much for this holiday anyway, but I was feeling the need for SOMETHING.  Up until now, the only "decoration" was the tablecloth shown here (under all the sewy stuff).  It was made from some leftover fabric that was sitting around doing nothing. 

Cupid has yet to start thinking about what all the kiddos should receive as a surprise this year.  He better get hopping!...wait, that's the Bunny Dude, what would Cupid do???

Enter a pillow for Cupid's Helper to rest her weary head upon while she attempts to brainstorm treats...(Cupid graphic courtesy of The Graphics Fairy)

Remember when you were growing up, red hots were easy to find.  They were in the baking aisle, in the candy aisle, and all over creation at Valentine's Day.  My dearest is in the process of giving up a habit that he has had for right around 30 years.  Red hots are his replacement of choice in this adventure.  The first bag was Brach's Red Hots, but they did not "feel" the same as when we were young...you know, put the red hot in your mouth between your molars and bite down ever so gently so that it would do a kind of gooey/chewy collapse.  During my shopping trip yesterday, I SEARCHED everywhere I went with no luck.  Finally, in a moment of desperation, I went into that big blue store I dislike with a deep passion.  The only choice was:

Not exactly the same, but they will do in a "pinch".  I am so proud of him!!!


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Snakes and Skirts

Once upon a time, a skirt was cast on with some lovely tweedy worsted weight yarn.  Care was taken to check gauge, and knitting began. 

The knitter was all snuggled into the corner of the couch with dear hubby on one side and kitties on the other.  A movie was playing through the DVD player...a sweetly romantic tearjerker of a movie that said knitter had been wanting to see for a long time.  She knit and counted, knit some more, counted some more rows, sniffled a bit when it looked as if the two soulmates were going to be torn apart, never to find each other through the mailbox and lake house that allowed them to communicate. 

The movie ended in just the right manner.  Too bad the waistband of the tweedy skirt did not.  Imagine the poor knitter's surprise when she completed the three needle bind off and was ready to start the front section of the skirt, but...oh no...oh dear...her worst fears were realized.  The dreaded twisted join!  What should have been a perfect circle to cinch her waist, was actually a mobius. 

Do over!

This time, no twist, but it looks a lot like a snake with a compound fracture of itself in this high quality photo.  (Camera is still kaput (as evidenced by the phone photos) and while it has had issues since the end of December, I have not had time to take it in until now.  The catch at this point being that the camera shop of my choice just happens to be exceptionally close to a stadium/downtown in a place that is currently overrun with sports fanatics until after some big thing on Sunday.  I'll just wait another week, thank you very much!)

What is it supposed to eventually be?  The Simple Straight Skirt by Churchmouse Yarns and Teas

What does the yarn reeeeeaalllly look like?  Plymouth's Encore Tweed in Colorway T217

I'm sort of a lot afraid of snakes...and twisted skirt waistbands. 



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