Tuesday, April 30, 2013

It reminded me of you, dear...

I am still in San Antonio for a couple more days,and getting excited about watching my baby boy graduate Corpsman school. It has been a long road for him so far, but I am very proud of his accomplishments! We were able to spend the weekend together and did some fun things. He is looking forward to being able to go to his dad's for leave, considering he has not been back since he left for Boot Camp last November, he is more than ready for time off.

For some bizarre reason, strange things always seem to happen to me. After the last couple of days of feeling like crap and developing a suspicious bullseye rash I broke down and made a pop in visit to a local urgent care center which confirmed what I suspected, Lyme disease. Great. Just what I needed, but better to get started on treatment now rather than waiting until I get home later in the week.

Detour with me, if you will. San Antonio is a walking visitor friendly city. So, since I chose to walk the mile to the urgent care center, it made perfect sense to walk the additional mile up the next street over to pay a visit to a local yarn store. The Yarn Barn of San Antonio is a great store with many wonderful choices. It seemed to me that selecting something locally made would provide another souvenir of this trip that ultimately will be made into an item that will provide many years of enjoyment.

Sock yarn has turned into a bit of an addiction for me. When I spied the wall of sock yarns that were hand dyed by Texas crafters, my choice was obvious. The hard part would have been picking the perfect colorway if it were not for the name of this one skein..."Area 51." Bingo! That's the one. The acid green combined with cream and chocolate brown will lend themselves well to a couple of patterns I have in mind. Why is this colorway so special? My husband was born in Roswell when his father was stationed there while in the Air Force. So, see? I really did not buy it for myself, but rather for my husband!!! That's my story and I'm sticking to it.



Saturday, April 27, 2013

Personal Parade

I am in San Antonio for the next few days to enjoy the city, spend time with one of my sons and attend his Corpsman School graduation.

How great is it that the city has been throwing a Fiesta all week, complete with parades, to help celebrate this accomplishment??? Now that is some hospitality! Also must be some kind of special family tendency/trait since my hometown also has a parade and rodeo every year on my sister's birthday. Just another one of those family stories that are plain funny and silly.

Plenty of knitting time today with my adventures in planes and automobiles. Socks are on the needles now.





Saturday, April 20, 2013

Saturday Sunshine

What started out as a collllld morning slowly transformed into a glorious sunshine filled day spent with good friends. Road trip/fiber frenzy details to follow in upcoming post.

What better way to end the day than with ice cream from a favorite local shop.



Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Queen of Everything

Bella is such a sweet little kitty.  She came into my life at a time when I desperately needed her.  Initially, her intended name was "Grizabella" from Cats, the musical, but it seemed to hard to say.  More often than not she is referred to as:  Miss B, Bella Boop, or Baby Bell.  Sophie is her best buddy and ally in the house.  Amos, Norman and Ashley do not seem to amuse her.  She sits back, observing all, and if you are deemed worthy she will answer your questions.  Until the last 3 furbabies joined the brood, we thought she was a chunk...at times she looked as if she had a low rider belly.  In comparison to the rest, she, in fact, is quite petite.  Tiny little head, squatty legs and comparatively teensy proportions lend themselves to confirmation that she is the special one of the  group.

Her evening routine centers around dipping her feet in the water bowl to take drinks, sitting back and watching the rest make fools of themselves chasing that red dot (then when she is sure they are not watching swatting at it herself) and guarding my knitting.  Unfortunately, her preferred method of guarding is sitting.  But that's okay, exceptions are always made for the Queen of Everything!


What is she guarding this week?  Ridgely...the KAL on Knit Purl Hunter

Yarn:  Cobasi in Colorways 013 and 007

Needles:  US 6

Now, if she will get off my stuff, I might be able to finish Part 2 in time for tomorrow's release of Part 3.  


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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Let me eat cake

Growing up there were always boxes and boxes of strawberries in my Granny's freezer. I hated strawberries, but every other person in the family loved them. My dislike was rooted in texture...those seeds were a deal breaker. For some odd reason no one was willing to peel them for me.

True to the idea of tastes changing, I now LOVE fresh, ripe, juicy, and sweet strawberries. Chop 'em up, sprinkle some sugar over them and you have near perfect cake or ice cream topping. More often than not, I will serve over angel food cake, pound cake or (when someone requests them) those little foam-like cake rounds from the grocery store.

Monday night while Wes was out in the woods for a hike, an uncontrollable urge to make a sponge cake took over my very being. After comparing recipes in my trusty cookbooks with some online recipes, I found "the" one.

Very easy to do and after 30 minutes baking, sponge cake nirvana had been achieved.
Any time that I can make something from scratch, it is going to happen in this kitchen. Good food choices center around getting the best foods for your family. I feel strongly that if you rely on convenience products as cooking, you are missing the whole point of good food choices. I understand the whole idea of not enough time, but frankly the truth is every single day we find the time to do the things that we really want to do. Anyway, back to cake...

Seriously, how can you not want to gobble this up???

Monday, April 15, 2013

Never say never,

but probably, most likely not.

Tattoos.

The very topic tends to find people firmly entrenched in one of a few camps.  There are those that intensely dislike them and make assumptions about a person's character based on ink.  Some folks don't really care one way or another. Others love them and have their skin inked for fun or for very specific and meaningful to them reasons.  Then there is the subsection that love them and may even obtain them for the shock value.  OR, let's make this even more convoluted by saying that one could be a combination of all of the above given the right circumstances.

Me?  I tend to fall into the no opinion either way/love them combo category.  Personally, I do not have any ink, but my oldest son does.  The pieces he has had done are beautiful.  Each one was deliberately chosen, planned, drawn, and completed for highly personal reasons.  The art is exquisite.

Would I ever ink?  Probably not because I am a big chicken.  However, if I were to reconsider, Pinterest sure does have a bunch of starting point ideas.  Here are a few of the ones I have pinned.  My kids would literally roll their eyes and declare me certifiably a little nuts if I were to do anything similar, but what scares me more is that they know what happens when they dare me...







Of course, I could apply my usual logic...now that I have seen them and pictured myself with one,  I can pretend that I've already done it and now don't have to...ever...maybe...

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Spin Cycle

Spinning is probably the closest to a meditative/zen-like state that I can achieve.  The soft whir of the wheel.  The methodical treadling.  The tactile sensation of luxurious fibers flowing through your fingertips to create a yarn that will eventually tell you what it wishes to become.

Not afraid/ashamed to admit, that it has such a hypnotic effect on me that I have actually fallen asleep while spinning.  My head bobbed forward and my eyes popped open only to discover that my feet and hands had never stopped...just the rest of me!

Last weekend, Minerva was a busy girl.  We were able to spin and ply a couple of lovelies.

Black Diamond Carbonized Bamboo:  final product is just shy of 500 yards of sport/DK weight Navajo plied yarn


Handpainted Bombyx Silk:  started with a gorgeous silk hanky purchased at Knitters Nook.  Final product is 110 yards of lace/light fingering weight Navajo plied yarn.  


Today is an extra special day.  It is the Spring Open House Fiber Event AND 2nd Saturday Spin In at Hoosier Heartland Alpacas.  If you've got some time for a lovely drive, come out and see them.  I'll be there spinning my life away...and oohing and ahhhing at the alpaca beauties!


Friday, April 12, 2013

Don't Box Me In...

At last!

A Friday with a significant FO!

There have been several things fly off my needles over the last few months, but this project has been a thorn in my side.  It is NOT difficult, but it does get boring...which resulted in it being put in time out for a bit.

What:  Boxy

With:  Cascade Heritage Silk Paints Yarn

Using:  holy cow, I don't remember now what size needles I used, but feel pretty sure it was whatever the pattern called for because gauge kept giving me migraines...US 4

Size:  Normally I would knit a size small/medium, however, this is a VERY generously sized sweater.  On the first try at it, I went for the knit in the round option and completed a decent 5 or 6 inches (keep in mind this is 390 stitches on 4's!!) only to discover that not only did I want to stab my eyes out from the monotony but the monstrosity I had created would easily wrap around me twice.  RIP  Due to my concern that without the weight of a side seam there could be floaty issues, the lonnnnnnggg drawn out process of separate pieces began in the smallest size.

I set a deadline of the end of February to have it ready in time for one son's USMC graduation.  It got done, but not FINISHED.  And that is where it sat.  For a month.  After being blocked.  It left my brain, so imagine my surprise when, last week, I remembered it and pulled it from the laundry room thinking everything was good to go only to put it on and wonder why it had fringe!  Ends.  Weaving in.  Arrrgghh.

Today, when I slipped it over my head, all went right in the world.  Totally worth the wait.  Soft yarn, forgiving drape, and oh so sinfully comfortable.  This may be my latest favorite sweater.  (Ignore the wrinkle down the front...we had just arrived at the shop and I had been scrunched up in the passenger seat cursing two other WIPs)





 


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Honey to the Bee...

Around here, we go through A LOT of honey.  Even at a fairly rapid rate of use, sometimes it will crystallize.  It is next to impossible to squeeze it out of the bottle in that state.  (We use local honey and tend to have numerous quart jars of it in the pantry... I just refill the squeezy bottle for ease of use.)

Of course, I could heat the crystallized honey in a double boiler  to liquify it.  Or, better still...make creamed honey.  Super easy to make and even easier to spread on toast, hot biscuits or lick straight off a spoon!

Using my stand mixer, put equal parts of crystallized and liquid honey in the bowl (I used 1 cup each).


Throw on the whisk attachment, lock and turn on to low/medium to mix.  Then turn speed up to medium, set a kitchen timer for 20 minutes and go about your business.


The crystals begin to dissolve into the liquid honey and the mixture takes on a creamy color.  The longer it is mixed, the creamier and more stable it becomes.  


I did three mixing sessions, allowing it to rest for about ten to twenty minutes between sessions.  Again, the longer it is whipped, the smoother it becomes as more and more crystals dissolve.  When done, spoon into the container of your choice and enjoy!


Seriously easy and wonderful.  Spreads easily and is another way to use every last drop of that fabulous local honey.


Monday, April 8, 2013

Fiber Your Nest

It is rumored that SPRING is approaching.  Birds are coming back.  Frogs are singing at the pond.  Life is renewing.

For the last couple of years, a cardinal pair has taken up residence in the sand cherry shrubs outside the wide picture window across from our bedroom doors.  The Mama and Papa birds have been the source of hours of close watching and chattering by the cats.  More times than should be reasonable, one of the two tired birdie parents have smacked into the window.  I don't know if they are looking through the bedroom and think they can fly out through the far window or if they really are bird-brains!

What better thing can a fiber freak offer back to nature than bits of fiber to line the nests of these birds.  The fibers are all natural and because of the fun colors, hold the possibility of seeing brightly adorned birdie homes in your neighborhood.

Throughout the year, all little bits of fiber leftover from spinning and any little odd nips of yarn get shoved into this vase in my craft area.  Take a few handfuls and fluff it up a bit before stuffing into a suet cage.



Close it up and hang it outside for the birdies to come to the Nest Depot for building supplies.



On last check, sales are going well at the Nest Depot.  I am looking forward to doing some bird/nest watching to see the well insulated homes.

Glad to see you Spring...you have been missed!

Homemade Mondays


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Sadness...

is when you grab a sweater from the laundry room that took forever to knit because of the 4000 miles of stockinette, and you know it has been blocked, but when you start to put it on it is apparent you forgot that you have not woven in all the ends.

Why would I block without weaving ends? Experience with my "smedium" size pattern reading goof ups has taught me that sometimes I want to tweak a few things after blocking. That is much easier to do if you don't have to surgically search and pull out woven ends.

Maybe it will be worn tomorrow...



Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Makes Sense to Me

Three skeins of CoBaSi yarn, mystery knit a long guidelines, a pattern and six 1/2 ounce hankies of hand painted bombyx silk to spin.

Why? Why not.

Monday, April 1, 2013

It finally happened...

after an unusually quiet weekend which allowed for uninterrupted knitting/spinning time I was able to get caught up.

As of today, every WIP is now an FO.  Along with those milestones, additional projects were started and finished.  It is now with great sadness that I report every single yard of stash yarn and handspun yarn has been knitted up and every ounce of fiber has been spun up.  My craft room is devoid of anything yarny.  Time to restock with some new stuff.  Just in time for the grand opening of Knitters Nook.


You DO know what today is, right???  Happy April Fool's Day!!!!...all except those last two lines.  (How could anyone believe the idea of no more stash?  I mean really,  it has overflowed to storage places outside the craft room but do not tell my hubby remained lovingly cataloged/stored in the craft room.)  

With regard to Knitters Nook,  no joke there!  Today is the day, new yarny yumminess that is begging to come live with me.

P.S.  Beard hats as requested by the kiddos were, by all appearances, a hit.

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