30 Day Shred 2014: Day 2 & 100 Days of Happiness: Days 6-10

Well, day 2, level 1 is under my belt.  I can tell you that my muscles made sure I knew that they’d been used!  Woke up this morning with practically every muscle in my body sore, but, it’s a good kind of sore, not a painful one….though I often rethink that when I need to sit down, stand up or go up and down stairs…lol

Day 2 was definitely easier than day 1.  I was able to do all of the last cardio set (jumping jacks, butt kicks, punches and jump ropes).  I still have a bit of trouble with stamina and I can’t always do all of the bicycle crunches, but it will all come back to me and get easier.  I ate a serving of oatmeal with a little salt and sugar and a cup of Earl Grey tea a couple hours before working out and took a package to the Post Office for Sarandipity Handmade before I did day 2. I found that the oatmeal keeps me fuller longer and I don’t want to snack in between breakfast and lunch.  I’ve gotten into the habit of having something for breakfast, unlike 5 years ago when I’d often skip meals, so I’m thinking that had an impact on the amount of energy I’ve got and the fact that I’m not dizzy or nauseous this time around.  Not sure what I’m going to have for lunch, yet.  Maybe some leftover baked ziti or a turkey sandwich.  Plan to have pork chops with bacon grits for dinner.

Oh, and I did weigh myself again before showering.  I’m back up to 150lbs, but then again I don’t have one of those fancy scales that tells me lbs and oz, so I could have been on the very edge yesterday.  I also took some body measurements today so I can see if I lose or gain any inches.

Arms: 12″
Waist: 33″
Hips: 40″
Thighs: 24″

3/29 – Happiness is shopping with Darling Hubby to find the perfect dress to wear to a party.

3/30 – Happiness is finding yarn that matches my new dress perfectly so I can knit a shawl.

3/31 – Happiness is Craft Night and finding the perfect shawl pattern.

4/1 – Happiness is pranking Darling Hubby with the kitchen sink water sprayer and getting away with it.

4/2 – Happiness is delivering a package to the Post Office from Sarandipity Handmade.  I hope the Ultra Cuddle baby girl blanket brings happiness to the recipient in Colorado.  🙂

100 Days of Happiness – Days 1-5

I’ve recently seen my facebook feed explode with people jumping on the 100 Days of Happiness bandwagon.  I’ve often been accused of being grumpy or just plain miserable by my Darling Hubby and I think that I might just need a little daily reminder that there are happy moments for me everyday.  It’s all about perspective.  I find that the little things that bring me joy often get lost amongst the daily jumble of everyday chores and tasks.

My plan isn’t to join the 100 days website, instagram feed or even take a photograph every day, but to simply write down something each day that made me happy.  It could be something big or something small, but I want to start seeing the joy in everyday.  I may even occasionally share photos, but for now I’m just going to keep a list and post when I can (it won’t be everyday.)

I know I’m a couple days late, but I sort of unofficially started on Monday.

3/24 – Happiness is a new mattress with the hope of a good night’s sleep.

3/25 – Happiness is a skype session with a couple far away friends.

3/26 – Happiness is watching your usually shy 9 year old take the lead at his mini Lego Expo presentation at Math Night at school.   (I have pictures, but haven’t uploaded or had time to edit them.)

3/27 – Happiness is watching a stupid movie with Darling Hubby after the kids go to bed.

3/28 – Happiness is commenting on a blog and winning a free knitting pattern and having a day free of tantrums and naughty behaviour from Fidget.

I actually noticed more than just one happy moment for each of those days and it was actually hard to pick just one.  Hopefully I’ll continue this HAPPY trend!

More Going for the Gold

The Olympics are still going and so am I.  I’ve been dancing with my Works In Progress and going for gold in the Flying Camel Spin event.

Here are my recent Finished Objects.

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I’ve mentioned before that I joined the Downton Abbey Mystery Knit Along hosted by Jimmy Beans Wool in January.  This was my first ever mystery knit along AND my first ever shawl.  I’m not typically a shawl person, never having seen a use for one since my style is not usually something that would go well with a shawl (I’m a t-shirt and jeans girl and I just don’t see that working with shawls.)  Anyway, I thought it would be fun to go out of my comfort zone and try something new.  I figured, worse case, that if I didn’t like the finished shawl I could either gift it or sell it.  I still have to try it out myself, so I haven’t decided what will become of it, yet.  I will admit that I have found myself searching the ravelry pattern database for more shawls…I may have created a monster!  lol

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All blocked out.

I worked on this shawl every week, following the clues posted every Sunday (aka Downton Day).  There was some drama with a 2nd week clue having a flaw, and while mine didn’t come out as it should have (because of that error) I actually like how it ended up.  This shawl is definitely one of a kind!  I did add an extra repeat of the shell lace pattern at the bottom cause I really liked it and I wanted the shawl to be a bit wider.  I ended up using 833 yrds (approx) of DK weight Patons Superwash wool in Claret.  That is nearly 300 yrds more than called for, but, I learned about how row gauge can really affect yardage.  Next time I make a big project I’ll be sure to I check my row gauge, too.  Click on either of the shawl pictures to see it’s ravelry project page.

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As for the Flying Camel Spin, I worked up this gorgeous yarn.  It is made from a mix of Corriedale, Finn and Ramboulette wool, dyed in gorgeous shades of pink, purple, brown and silver.   The roving this was spun from was dyed by Spinner’s Hill in Bainbridge, NY and purchased at Trumpet Hill Fine Yarns in Albany.   As I was plying it, it kept reminding me of berries dipped in chocolate.  Yum!  It is approximately 133 yards, 3.4oz/97g and worsted weight (10wpi).  I started this Wednesday night at the once a month Open Spinning at Trumpet Hill and finished plying it last night around 11 (and washed, spun out and hung to dry) while we were having our game night group over.

I still have one more WIP that I’ve been struggling with…my sock hop sweater.  I was good and picked it back up, sewing the the shoulders and starting the neckline…The only thing is now that I’ve knit several inches I’ve decided I don’t like how the front looks (one side flows well from the ribbed pattern, and the other looks awful.)  I think I might have to frog that portion and start again…I’m not sure I’ll find time to rip it back, knit it again and sew the arms by Sunday…)  Guess we’ll see…At least I’m happy having finished my socks, shawl and spun a yarn.

Ravellenics 2014!

I’m going for the gold!

Every year Ravelry, the knit and crochet community website, holds Ravellenics, an Olympic-like game that corresponds to the Winter (or Summer) Olympics.  This year we’re starting today, February 7th, and going til the 23rd.   There are different events you can be a part of, much like the various sports.  I’m thinking of doing Sock Hockey, WIP Dancing (Work in Progress) and possibly doing something with dyeing or spinning.

I’ve already got a project in progress, my Sock Hop Sweater, that I’ve been working on since December.  It really is in the final stages of being done.  I just have to sew the seams and pick up stitches to knit the neck.  The sewing part is what I dread, so I’ve set it on the back burner for a while.  Plus, I got a little discouraged when I didn’t finish it by my deadline of Christmas…then New Years…maybe this will be the final push I need to get it done.

As for Sock Hockey, I’m going to make a pair of Vanilla Latte Socks for myself using the Wendy Roam Fusion sock yarn that Darling Hubby brought back from England when he was there in December for 2 weeks on a business trip.  I’ve looked at some pictures of what other people have done with this particular colorway of yarn (it’s called Moor) and I think it’s going to knit up beautifully.  I’m also going to attempt a new cast on…one that I found via a spinner’s guild facebook page this morning.  It’s called Long Tail Tubular Cast On.  Click the link for a video tutorial.

I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to spin or dye or both, but that can happen later if I have time.  Most likely I will dye something for the shop.  I’ve got roving and sock yarn that are calling my name and I just bought some hand dyed roving last night from the LYS.  I don’t have to decide everything right now.  I’ve got a couple weeks and most, if not all, of my projects are small and quick ones.

We are to cast on no earlier than the opening ceremonies in Sochi, which I believe is today at 20:00 MSK and 11am EST…So, I think casting on around lunchtime is a safe bet.  Maybe after I do my laundry and clean up the living room I can wind my yarn and swatch…I think that is safe!

I hope everyone enjoys their crafting time and don’t forget to do your best and go for the gold!

2012 Ups and Downs

2012 is over and done.  It wasn’t a bad year.  Lots of good things happened with the bad and I’m thankful for all of it.

Probably the biggest thing that happened was figuring out my soy allergy/sensitivity.  Call it what you will, but I’ve been doing fantastically since cutting out every last little bit of the nasty substance.  Only once in a blue moon (I’m talking really only once every 2-3 months) will I have an episode and only after eating things that I know I shouldn’t eat!   I’m really glad that Darling Hubby was able to figure it out and that it wasn’t milk.  Despite the friendships I lost during the whole brouhaha, I feel I’m better for having the whole thing happen.  I’m feeling better overall.  I don’t wake up feeling like crap every morning and don’t go to sleep in pain every night.  And, it was all because I simply changed my diet.  Who’d have thunk it?

Another good thing that happened was that I learned how to knit socks.  I’ve made 14 pairs of socks since the start of March.  They are all pretty simple socks, but I love them simple. I’m not a real fancy lace and pattern girl.  I even challenged myself to do some unusually constructed socks like the carousel socks and the sideways socks.  Unfortunately, I didn’t finish the Owlie socks my friend Barbara and I started as a knit along.  I just had a bunch of other projects come up that took precedence.   I wear a knitted pair of socks practically every day and most members of my family have received a pair of socks at some point.  The only one who hasn’t is Fidget…

Another good (and bad) thing was that I opened my own shop on Etsy.  It’s been open since April and I’ve only had one online sale and that was a custom order for a friend…but, the recipient of that custom order Cthulhu hat is delighted with it, so that’s what really matters.  I will admit that most of my sales have been off etsy to friends or at the craft fair I did in September with some of the girls from the library knitting group.  I made 3 blankets for a friend from back home for her to give for Christmas gifts.  I also made another blanket for someone at the knitting group at the public library after she fell in love with one of the 3 that I made.  I haven’t had much time to do my own knitting lately because I’ve been doing projects for the shop.  I’m still excited to have the shop open…I’m just a little disappointed that it hasn’t done as well as I’d hoped.

Another good thing is that I went to Rhinebeck for the first time for the Sheep and Wool Festival.  It’s where I got bitten by the spinning bug.  I came home with a drop spindle and taught myself to spin yarn on it.  Of course I couldn’t just stop with that.  I’ve fallen in love with wheel spinning.  I’ve been getting better by leaps and bounds and just learned how to Navajo ply and I might even list this most recent yarn in my etsy shop (if I can talk myself out of keeping it!)  I’m hoping to save up enough money to buy my own wheel at some point.  I’ve tried a Kromski Sonota and an Ashford Kiwi and so far I really like the Kiwi, despite the nasty creak that it has in one of the treadles.  But, I’ve heard that Ashfords have a tendency to creak…lol

The bad was, thankfully, few and far between.  Things didn’t really start to get bad until November, which seems to be a pretty crappy month for many people.  Darling Hubby was off for the week of Thanksgiving and we woke up that Monday to a very cold house.  Despite the fact that the furnace was running all the radiators were stone cold.  Turns out the circulator pump blew and a day of waiting for the technician to come to fix it and $700 later we had a warm house.  Thankfully we have the wood fireplace for back-up warmth…then, Darling Hubby had to have his car inspected and that needed $400 worth of work…so in 2 days we’d spent over $1100…and we hadn’t even started to buy Christmas presents.

Probably the worst and absolute last thing that happened in 2012 was that on New Years Eve around 9:30 pm, our little dog Spiral passed away peacefully in her box.  It’s something that we’ve been expecting could happen at any time due to her age and health, but it was pretty sudden how it happened.  Literally it was she was alive one minute and gone the next.

We came home early from a New Years party, Darling Hubby walked the dogs and I started ushering the kids upstairs.  I filled the dogs water bowl (both dogs were happy and dancing around) and headed upstairs to do the bedtime routine while Darling Hubby went out to plow out the bottom of the driveway, thanks to not 1, but 2 plows coming through right after we got home.  Anyway, Fidget left his new Buzz Lightyear downstairs and wanted to sleep with it, so I went down to get it.  I noticed Spiral was laying with her nose down in the blanket and not on her paws like normal and I got no response when I called her name.  I’d seriously only been upstairs 10 minutes.

It came as a complete shock to both me and Darling Hubby as to how sudden it was, but like I said it was expected.  We’d had her for over 9 years and she was estimated to be around 2 when we adopted her.  She had bad teeth and a severe heart murmur that had progressed into congestive heart failure where she was constantly coughing, but she was still active, ate well and seemed happy.  I’m thankful that she seemed to go peacefully and that she’s in a better place and has hopefully been reunited with her best friend, Grace, who passed away nearly 2 years ago.

So, the bulk of 2012 was good (oh, and I should add that we didn’t die in the apocalypse that didn’t happen!)  I can only hope that 2013 is even better!

My First Homespun Yarn

In my Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival post I wrote about buying a Turkish Drop Spindle and some fiber with plans to learn to spin.  Since then I have been working a little here and there when I find a few minutes to give it a try.

I’ll admit that it’s not as easy as it looks…sometimes I feel like I need a 3rd hand, but it’s given me an appreciation for the art and a desire to branch out.

Now, I’m proud to present my first ever handspun yarn made with the batt from Loop Fiber Studio which is a mix of merino, bamboo, tussah silk and angelina that I purchased at Rhinebeck.  This skein weighs about 19gram (.6oz) (yes, it’s tiny, but it was just for practice) and is thick and thin in places.  I’ve been told that if it wasn’t my very first attempt at spinning it might be worthy of selling in my Etsy Shop as an art yarn.

 

I love the colors.  Different shades of blue and green with some blue sparkly tinsel randomly throughout.

 

It’s kinda of an arty type yarn with lots of sections of thick and thin spots.

 

Since I’m not a properly outfitted spinner, I didn’t have what’s called a Niddy Noddy for winding up the newly spun yarn into a skein…Since I’m crafty, I made my own temporary one out of  some string, 2 rulers and a tube from a roll of paper towels.  lol  Well, it was just a quickly thrown together things and I put the towel roll on as an end…I should have put the tube in the middle as it didn’t survive, but it worked and served a brief purpose before being put out for recycling.  In hindsight I probably could have just used one of my dining room chairs.  lol

 

 

I’m excited to try my hand at a different type of wool, some unidentified pinkish wool that my awesome spinning friend Barbara of Kitty Mine Crafts (yes, go check out all her awesome spun yarn and wool fibers!) sent to me to practice with.

My next adventure will be learning how to spin on a spinning wheel.  I’ve been doing some research lately and I’m going to check out a Kromski Minstrel and Kromski Prelude at The Spinning Room in nearby Altamont this weekend.  I’m kinda excited, but I’m not getting my hopes up on getting one soon since they are super super expensive, nearly $600 for the Minstrel which just based on the specifications is the one I’d most like to have.  Maybe Santa will be super kind to me.  🙂

Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival 2012

Yesterday was an adventure into all things fibery!  A couple members from the Frequent Fibers Club at my local library went for a drive to Rhinebeck, NY for the annual Sheep and Wool Festival.

Let me tell you there was so much to see, touch and even smell!  There were over 260 vendors, not counting the food.  That’s barns and barns full of yarn, wool, animals,  needles & hooks, spindles, hats, scarves, shawls, patterns, books and of course people…OMG I could go on and on…It was serious sensory overload.

This is just a sample of  the yarn.,  Every where you turned there were walls, baskets, bins, and tables full of yarns in all colors of the rainbow and every size you could think of.

Lots and Lots of Pretty Yarn!

We arrived at opening and immediately started shopping.   I decided before going that I wanted to try my hand at spinning my own yarn.  My friend Barbara who spins yarn for her online shop Kitty Mine Crafts makes awesome things and because of that I was bitten by the bug!   Rather than shell out a ton of money on a spinning wheel, I decided to try a drop spindle…I’d been advised to look for a top whirl one, but I’d viewed a video on Knit Picks with someone using a funky looking crossed one, so I’d already had that in mind.  In the first building, I ran across this kilted guy using that same funky looking drop spindle I’d seen in the video.

Kilted Spinner

He told me it was a Jenkins brand drop spindle and that I might find one a couple barns over.  Another pro to this particular spindle, which I later learned is called a Turkish drop spindle, is that if you wrap the newly spun yarn around the tines a certain way you can create a center pull ball!  Sweet!  My search was on.

In the second barn we found it filled with llamas, alpacas, sheep, their owners, and respective shops.  Here are some pictures of the more interesting specimens.

This guy was not happy about being the center of attention…no siree bob!  He gave everyone who got near his stall the stink eye.  I was just waiting for the spit to fly.

Unhappy Camper

This guy was pretty unusual.  He has a wicked under bite.  It just goes to show that you don’t have to have a pretty face to have pretty fleece!

Under bite!

These little sheep were playing shy.  They wouldn’t let me get a good shot of them.  I think the little brown one was too embarrassed to his his picture taken.

In one of the later rows of vendors we stumbled across a shop called Still River Mill.  They sold interesting yarns like yakaboo (combination of yak and bamboo yarn) and dog hair yarn.  I contemplated the yakaboo yarn, but decided it was too thin to make a hat (I was thinking something for Darling Hubby since it was a nice gray color) and ended up picking up a dark blue skein of the Seven Sammy’s dog hair yarn.  It’s made from the hair from a Samoyed sled dog team from Cambridge, VT.  It has a beautiful halo effect after handling and I’m partial to Samoyeds having had a big white one named Sheba growing up.  Her long hair would have been perfect for spinning.

Also around that area we came across this cute little knitted monster.  I couldn’t resist taking a picture of him.

Eventually I did find the spindle I was looking for.  It was indeed a Jenkins brand (hand made by Ed Jenkins) Turkish drop spindle, made from purpleheart at 2.22 oz.  I’m excited to give it a try.  I know I’m not going to be perfect right out of the gate, but a girl can hope!  Maybe I’ll take to it like I did to knitting.  The best thing about that purchase was the other customers there that I spoke with.  One was adamant about using a bottom or turkish spindle while her friend was all about the top.  They both were really helpful in giving me pros and cons about the different spindles and I think I made the right choice.  The one woman, Elizabeth, even gave me her card and told me to shoot her an email if I got stuck.

Now, before I could even think about trying out my new purchase, I had to get some fiber to practice with.  Having not purchased fiber before it was a bit overwhelming, to be honest.  There were so many different colors, feels, and blends…I really didn’t know where to start.  Barbara told me to look for something with a long fiber and I did my best…I ended up getting a 2oz bag of a mix of merino from Loop Fiber Studio in a gorgeous sea treasure colorway.  It’s got lots of greens and blues and a bit of sparkle.  I also found a merino and silk mix, from another shop that sadly I missed the name of, that is so soft!  I do remember they also had adorable 8 week old bunnies for sale.  They were so sweet!…Not that I need a rabbit!  lol  I fell in love with the black, blues and silver of this 2oz of dyed wool.  I know this will be rather difficult to work with out of the gate, but I’m holding on to it for when I get better.  It was just too beautiful to resist.  I think it will make a gorgeous yarn!

Aside from knitted monsters we came across a knitted critter that looked like Eeyore and a knitted moose. Both were too cute to resist taking a picture of.

 

Other things we saw were a demonstration of needle felting and of someone using a circular sock knitting machine.  Personally, I think hand knitting is more fun!  lol

Circular Sock Knitting Machine

There was even this funky contraption below.  It was a spinning wheel created by this woman’s husband.  It was called a pendulum spinning wheel…it was a crazy looking thing.  Basically it had this super long arm that had a spindle at the very end that was spun around by the wheel.  It seemed to me to be a version of a drop spindle laid on its side.  Personally it seemed like there were many easier methods of spinning…and the amount of room that was needed was enormous…I don’t even think it would have fit in my living room!

Spinning Contraption

Later in the afternoon was the drop spindle contest.  There were approximately a dozen people signed up to see how much yarn they could spin in 10 minutes.

Drop Spindle Contest

It was interesting to see each person’s method of spinning.  Some preferred to sit, while other preferred to stand.

Drop Spindle Contest

Some preferred to drape their roving over their hands and others over their shoulders.  A few, along the back wall, were able to continue a full conversation while spinning…they didn’t even seem under pressure.  lol

Drop Spindle Contest

Some gave their spindle a quick flick with their hand to get momentum while other preferred to spin it down their leg.  I was a bit disappointed to only see top whirl spindles as I was hoping to see all the different kinds in action, but it did give me an appreciation for both types of spindles.  The winner of the contest was able to spin 16 yards of yarn in 10 minutes and there was a tie for 2nd place with I think about 13 yards.  I hope that I can one day be that good.  I also got to see this thing called the niddy noddy in action.  Apparently that is how you can wind your spun yarn into a skein and know how many yards you made.  I may have to get one in the future…lol

And the day wouldn’t be complete without a picture of me wearing a big fluffy, fuzzy wool hat.  I think it suits me!  lol

Here are a couple pictures of some of the other random animals that really had nothing to do with fiber arts…they were just there to keep the kids entertained in the kids zone  🙂  The red kangaroo seemed to be posing…He was sexy and he knew it…lol

This was a ginormous bunny.  I think it was a Flemmish Giant.  He was also in with a big tortoise.

Overall we had a fun day with beautiful fall weather.  We couldn’t have asked for a better day, especially at the end of October.  The sun was shining, the weather was warm and not too humid.  There was a ton to see and by the end of the day we were all a little overwhelmed and a lot tired from all the walking.  I’m looking forward to maybe going again next year.  Maybe by then I’ll be an accomplished spinner and can broaden my horizons even further!  One can hope, right!