Sunday, March 01, 2015

And then-

Nothing really happened. I've got a nerve block Tuesday and the cold's been brutal, so I've been hunkered down reading and doing fiber stuff. How about pictures? That's all I've got.
Honu's getting into this spinning thing. She keeps investigating the wheel, poking at it mostly. She tried to bite the drive band WHILE IT WAS SPINNING the other night, I'm waiting for it to pull out a whisker.

She also likes yarn, which is news to no one.

A couple weeks back, I had the dye stuff out and decided to do a gradient. They're getting more popular, but are hard to find in really bright colors, or unusual combinations. This one probably counts as both.
I'm trying to get some decent yardage, so I can knit a lace shawl with it. Something really traditional. So far, so good:

That's a comparison shot, with my hand. On the left is the spinning, on the right is #10 crochet cotton. I'm hoping for 800 yards but would settle for 600.

I also am trying to knock out a really quick gift, a shawl, "Damask".
I feel rather 'eh' about it. It's not a bad pattern, just not one of my favorites. Part of the problem is that the lace charts use a blank square for purl and I'm used to blank meaning no stitch or knit, so it's really screwing me up. And apparently I can't count to seven, either.

So, not much going on. Typical end of winter behavior for me, I've hunkered down with some fiber and I'm not moving again 'til it gets warmer out.

Friday, February 20, 2015

I married a crazy man, part -- what was it, again?

I'm a slob. I mean, I know I'm a slob, I'm not arguing that, but. Having lived with that for a while, wouldn't someone begin to realize that, hey, stuff on the floor doesn't mean, well, much of anything?

Last autumn, a fleece blanket (NOT HAND KNIT) I was rather fond of was thrown on the floor. It disappeared, and I figured the husbeast had taken it downstairs to the man cave, where it usually lives on the back of the couch. Eventually I asked where it was, and he said, oh, he'd put it in his truck.

That made sense. We're sitting here now under a severe cold advisory, and it's -2 F outside. So even though his commute is six minutes long, I could see keeping a blanket in the truck for the winter. I keep a towel in my Jeep. (All love to Douglas Adams aside, I got in the habit when I was in school the last time, when I never knew when a "study group" would wind up on a beach somewhere.)

Tonight, with the cancellation of school tomorrow, the Goober started the construction of an epic blanket cave. Over dinner, I asked if the blanket was still in the husbeast's truck. He said it was. I said, if we brought it inside now, it might be thawed for the kiddo to build with tomorrow.

Well, no, he'd used the blanket to pack the rusting-out wheel well. It would need washed.

Washed. It's been picking up road muck for three months of winter and it "needs washed".

If I'm out tomorrow I'll just swing through Target and buy another blanket.

I... just... what?

ETA: He brought the blanket in and was very nice and didn't act like I'd flipped out at all. It's a bit dirty, but nothing like I had expected.

Now I'm left with his stories yesterday of how he and his buddies would clean out mops while underway by tying a rope around them and throwing them overboard to splash through the ship's wake. I'm told it worked great.

Maybe I should just declare being boggled my natural state.

Thursday, February 12, 2015


"Cast on 300 and join without twisting" can kiss my ass.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

So yeah. Spinning. Finally.

Spent the last week trying to upload photos and I still don't know WTF. It was supposed to be pictures of spinning.

Oh, fine, NOW it works.

Well, right there above us is a sample I made for my students (!). Chain/navajo ply on the right, true three ply on the left. Everyone always wants to know the difference and it's usually pretty obvious when you put them both together; these were spun from two halves of a single braid, so the colors themselves were exactly the same.

Yep, that's right, students! The big news (in fiber, at my house, anyway) for the last year is, I'm now a spinning instructor at Natural Stitches in Pittsburgh. It's been fun, and my students are learning, so we're all happy with each other.

However, being a teacher? I feel like something of a fraud, because for instance, that true three ply up there in that picture? Only one I've ever done. I know how a lot of this stuff works, mechanically, but have never done it. So lately, I've been trying to fix that.

Here's a cable ply.
Looks all complicated, but really it's just a four ply that you create by making a two ply, then plying it back on itself.
I finally spun some shorter fibers. This is camel, I think. Maybe yak. With silk, and enough wool to make you not scream when working with it.
I'm enjoying my new magnifier thingie on my new iThing, I'm getting some great close up pictures of all kinds of stuff, including yarn and fiber.

This is some swap yarn I need to get off my ass and mail. Not my preferred colors, but it turned out okay.

This was another sample for my students: It's dual drafting, in this case using regular wool and some glittery angelina what the hell held together and spun at the same time.

I don't know if I blogged last winter's insane-athon. I'd wanted as much yardage as possible, so I'd spun it as fine as possible, which apparently is pretty damn fine. It was half silk, which also makes the frog's hair stuff easier to do. It took three damn months.
I got 750 yards of three ply yarn out of four ounces of fiber. I'm pretty sure that's a new record.
I'm never doing it again, at least not without a tensioned lazy kate. That was ridiculous.

I even know what I want to do with this yarn. It's just a matter of finishing sixty other things first. As usual.

Right, finally got the spinning photos to show up. Maybe tomorrow I can mess around with something new.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Secret Recipe

This was supposed to be pictures of my spinning for the last year-ish, but, yeah.That would involve stash-diving in the Fiber Closet (of DOOM), and I'm trying to get more organized, not less. Maybe tomorrow if the kid goes to school. (It's snowing right now, we're due for freezing rain [OF DOOM] later tonight.)

Instead, one of those family (and by family, I mean just me and the husbeast, the way it started) jokes that get really out of hand and before you know it, you're hearing it from a friend of a friend and going "wait, what?"

Okay. This is a food joke, and there has to be background on this one. I'm one of the freakazoids the geneticists (or whoever names this stuff) have been calling "super tasters", which I personally think is a shit name that makes an annoying genetic glitch sound like a super power. Long story short, any complex flavor, and my brain goes "Derp, dunno how to sort that out, BITTER!" (More info on this, HERE.) As a kid, I had a reputation as a picky eater, for obvious reasons. Of course instead of taking this as a legit issue, or even POSSIBLY a legit issue, the whole extended family thought it was some kind of prima-donna attitude case behavior. (I don't like dark chocolate. CHOCOLATE. What kid turns their nose up at good chocolate? That's not attitude, that's weird.)

So, me, picky eater and attitude case as thought of by the family.

I spent summers with my cousins in Indiana until I was about fifteen. And, of course, my mother and my aunt somehow made a huge deal about my diet, as usual. (I was more than happy to not eat, and didn't whine much, if at all, but somehow no one noticed this while having hour-long discussions about what to feed me.) This was the status quo. You know how you get this fixed image of someone in your head, however they were, the last time you saw a lot of them? This is the image that got stuck in everyone's head.

Oh, and also? I couldn't cook.

Right. Well, as we all (hopefully) do, I grew up, moved away, got a life, and decided to learn too cook so I didn't starve or go broke on takeout. Cooking for myself made it possible to tailor the food to my tastes, so, shocker, I started eating more diverse things. And if I couldn't eat EXACTLY what I made everyone else, I could do a mini version for myself. (I still do this. Big pot of spaghetti sauce, then I pull out some for me before I throw herbs in the rest that make it taste funky to me. I can be as picky as I want, when I'm the cook.)

My aunt and uncle, of the Early Years, visited Hawaii on vacation while I was living out there. So I invited them over for dinner. AS ONE DOES WHEN ONE IS AN ADULT. I was about thirty at the time. Late twenties, for sure. You know, just possibly changed from the skinny thirteen year old they remembered. Just a tiny bit.

I made, oh, I don't remember, but a decent meal. Chicken, veggies, rolls, the usual. From scratch, though I bought the bread. My aunt and uncle, who apparently were expecting me to call out for (plain) pizza or something, were flabbergasted. They went on and on and on about how good it all was. My aunt had wanted to know what I did to the corn to make it so good. Was it a secret recipe?


General rule? The fewer ingredients you have in a dish, the better the quality needs to be, of all the ingredients because you'll notice them more. I'd gotten the best quality corn I could find, warmed it up, and put butter, salt, and pepper on it.

Obviously, "Secret Recipe" in this house means "Warm it up and put butter on it." We have secret recipe bread, and secret recipe veggies of all kinds, and occasionally secret recipe steak without the butter. Long, long LONG running joke. "How'd you cook this?" "Secret recipe." "Oh, cool."

Fast-forward ANOTHER fifteen-odd years, to Thanksgiving at my in-laws' this year. Some friends of the family had gotten stuck in town due to weather, and so my MIL had invited them over. Her friend had brought asparagus, and we're chatting in the kitchen, and the friend says "Oh, I thought I'd just use the secret recipe." I stared, and she immediately added "You know, warm it up and put butter on it."

Right. Secret Recipe. Sounds good. Pass it over.

Monday, January 26, 2015

And so, the Goober.

I'll eventually get around to where I've been for the last year (if for no other reason than to document it and hopefully get a few laughs). But it veered mostly between lots of pain and lots of annoyance. I'm trying to decide if I should name names, with the doctors. At the least, I'll get into where you can find the one who called me "sweetie".

But first, some year in review stuff, and of course, the best thing of the year was the kiddo. Because she's awesome.
This is the best thing, I think. That's her, face down and asleep with a book. She's started reading voraciously, mostly YA novels. I started the European tradition of letting her open a book gift on Christmas Eve, and allowing her to stay up as late as she liked, reading. Most weekends she'll fall asleep reading in the evenings. It's awesome.

There was a thing I'm having trouble adjusting to, though.
She's got all these OPINIONS all of a sudden. (No, really, it's a hoot.)

She turned nine. After a week of not being able to make up her mind, at the last minute, she asked for the same cake I always make.


Granted, the shirt is from the Skinny Years, and the boots were tight, but. THOSE ARE MY CLOTHES. How did this happen? (I totally earned Mom Points though, she told me half an hour before the bus that she needed a "Hawaiian shirt" to wear. OH LOOK WHO HAS A COLLECTION.)

She finally learned to swim, thank the gods. And she started piano lessons a couple weeks ago. (Husbeast and I have been debating... is it wrong to push your kid - into band, in our case - when we're pushing them toward something FUN?)

Lately, she's been yelling "MOM, I'M HOME." every afternoon on the front walk before coming inside. I guess so the neighbors know too? Whatever, it's adorable.

Another landmark this year, though not a positive one like the others.
Emergency room trip. That there's an infected salivary gland. (Honestly. When does anyone do anything normal in this house? Forget strep throat or tonsillitis, no, let's puff up like a lopsided hamster instead.) Usually that doesn't warrant an ER trip, but that puff up there appeared in a single hour. That thing where you're freaked out, but you can't freak out or your kid will freak out? Definitely a suckier side of parenting. We went to the children's hospital. They prescribed antibiotics and Sour Patch Kids candy. I wish I were kidding. The sour makes the salivary glands work over time, which is good. But. How many kids in the world go to the ER and come home with a prescription for candy? SERIOUSLY?

But yeah, the year in Goobie. She's chugging along, nothing gets her down for long. Of course, when you lead a charmed life with prescriptions for candy, life is pretty good.

Oh, and she went as Bubbles at Halloween
We spent the two weeks ahead of the holiday, while I was making the costume, singing the theme song. Doot doot do do dee doo do!