Friday, June 27, 2008
Anyway, so I went to the store and got provisions for camping - marshmallows, eggs, sausage, candy...you know, important food. (I already have plenty of beer in the trunk of the car).
And now for something completely different
The WIP list:
Chenille blanket: *zzz* Haven't touched this in a while...
Branching Out scarf: I just started this last week, and am using my new ball of Handmaiden SeaSilk for it. It is...gorgeous! Although I may rip it out and start over in smaller needles, but I haven't decided yet if I like the open stitches or not.
Brunhilde hat: I am at least halfway up the body of the hat. I switched from Magic Loop (using KP nickel-plated Options) to bamboo dp's because I was hating getting the KP yarn (Wool of the Andes) stuck every time it passed over the join (maybe I got a crappy set of needles, but I would think more people would be complaining about this. Also, WOTA is, like many KP yarns, loosely plied). Anyway, now I am also hating the bamboo dp's. They are Clovers, and unpolished, and blunt-tipped. *flail*. I am pondering whether it would be beneficial to buy a bunch of KP nickel-plated needles all at once and get free shipping.... Anyway, the other disadvantage to using dp's is that I can't really try the hat on to make sure it's the correct depth before decreasing. Ah well... onward!
Serendipity socks: I finished sock 1 a couple of weeks ago, and am into the second repeat of the 28 round lace pattern on the leg of the sock. At this rate, I may finish the leg tonight, and perhaps turn the heel while camping (I did bring my headlamp this time!)
Ms. Marigold vest: *zzz*. I actually do want to finish this, but the splitty nature of the KP yarn I am using has put me off before. At least I've got it on an Addi Turbo so I know the needle isn't the problem. :)
...Wow, is that it? Is that all I have on the needles? (*all*....) I was thinking I had more going on... Ah, well, I ripped out the Tulip booties for Leslie. I still have time to make her a BSJ if I hustle, but, damn, that baby is going to be in Florida, where it's cold two days a year... I'll think of something. Maybe a lacy dress in an organic yarn? I am definitely getting her a Teavana gift set of some sort. I know she's got a bunch of baby crap, so I thought I'd get her something nice for her.
I shall sit here for the rest of the evening. I washed my car at Daniel's, and also pulled some weeds, and now my allergies are starting to kick in, even though I did the prophylactic decon step of taking a shower immediately after coming in from the outdoors...*sigh*.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
I forgot it when we went whale-watching.
I took it out to take some photos of the ocean Sunday morning, and it said "batteries too low to take pictures".
Anyway...we had a really awesome weekend!
Saturday morning, I received an urgent email / text message from Daniel asking if I'd seen his phone. I hadn't, he missed the 9 AM ferry, and so I was wondering where the heck it was. He asked me if I remembered putting it anywhere, and I said I hadn't, that I had pulled some other stuff out of a pair of shorts before throwing them in the washer Thursday night, and that I had moved said stuff to the living room.
Long story short...he found his phone in the dryer. And it still works! Needless to say, I felt really dumb, even though my intentions to keep him clean were in the right place.
Anyway, so he finally got over to Seattle, and we drove on up to Anacortes. We stopped off for lunch at Applebees on the way (woo.) and arrived at the ferry terminal just in time to walk on for the express sailing to Friday Harbor.
I called Tori to ask for a pick-up at the ferry terminal, and she said Igor wanted us to wait there for an hour. Well, if we had less stuff, it might have been fine, but we had a cooler and assorted camping gear. So she picked us up in the truck, and we barely had time to quickly set up our tent before it was time to clamber into the available cars and get back to the ferry terminal for the whale-watching tour. Our entire party consisted of Chris & Melinda, Igor & Tori, Dave & Chiako, Ryan, and Daniel and myself.
The whale-watching tour was absolutely amazing. There are three resident orca pods around the San Juan islands - J, K, and L pods. That day, they had all apparently congregated together and formed what is called a superpod, so there were roughly 85 individuals in the area. We saw several orcas breaching, tail-slapping, and doing what is called "spy-hopping", where their head pops vertically out of the water a few feet before going back under. There were even baby orcas! (At least one. We possibly saw two). The two naturalist guides working the boat were pretty knowledgable (our tip was that we bought them a pitcher of beer when we saw them at the bar later on). We even saw a whale pee-pee! (The guide girls called it a "sea snake"- har har!)... Good Lord! I asked Daniel if he felt inadequate after seeing that.
Let's not even mention that the afternoon slipping into evening was beautiful out on the water, even if it was pretty dang cold out there! We saw a lot of the different San Juan islands, as well as various local wildlife - a bald eagle was the first animal we saw on our way out there. He was just hanging out, perched on the top of a dead tree. Huge and beautiful bird! I was very glad the whale-watching boat had binoculars to hand out to everyone. We also saw plenty of harbor seals, nesting double-crested cormorants (I believe they dive 100 ft into the water to catch fish?), seagulls fussing over a bait ball, and one of the guide girls pointed out a murre to me (a water bird).
After the wonderful boat ride out and back, we got back on land and immediately headed for the local Front Street Ale House, which also was a microbrewery. They had a couple of beers that piqued my interest - a pepper ale, made with several different types of chiles, and a sour cherry kriege beer. I sampled them both, and ended up going with the house hefeweisen. The pepper ale was relatively hot and tasted too "green" for me, and the sour cherry ale, while I think I would enjoy it on another day, was not hitting the spot for me that night.
By the time we got back to the campsite, it was after 11. I was sad to see that crows and/or squirrels had invaded the bag of marshmallows I had thoughtlessly left out on the table before leaving for the tour. Half the bag was destroyed! Anyway, it was late and half of us (Daniel, myself, Igor and Tori) went to bed.
I woke up at around 6-something Sunday morning. The sunlight filtering in usually tends to wake me up effectively (a reason I don't like blackout curtains - I like waking up early, so I don't feel like I wasted the day). Anyway, I went back to sleep till around 7. I got up, dressed, went to the bathroom, and came back to find Tori up. We boiled some water for tea, and I tried to knit but was too cold, so I grabbed a blanket Tori had thoughtfully brought with her.
After that, people slowly started appearing from their various tents, and breakfast began to be served. I tried to push my cookies off on everyone (dark chocolate, white chocolate, pecan, and coconut oatmeal cookies), because I do NOT want those in my house :), and then we basically ate breakfast while tearing down the campsite. I think we were all packed and out of there by 9:45 AM. Chris had fun burning all the burnable trash - we gave him all the food scraps + paper towels, things that are safely burnable. Ryan took off on his bike towards the ferry terminal, and the rest of us got into cars and drove.
After passing Ryan on the road, our cars arrived at the ferry terminal, and we just expected to be lining our cars up to get on the 1 PM ferry, but as luck would have it, we actually were able to board the 10:30 AM ferry back to Anacortes. Daniel and I were parked at Anacortes, so we took our backpacks out of Tori's truck and got in my car and drove back to Seattle. I tried to stop at an alpaca farm just south of La Conner (near the Tulip Festival), but their store was closed on Sundays :(. (I was looking forward to a fleece purchase!) We got back to Seattle, and had a little time together before he boarded the 4:20 PM ferry for Bremerton. After I dropped him off, I headed over to Tori's and grabbed the rest of my gear that I had left in her truck. I was glad to see Ryan safely home as well - I imagined they either had to wait for him to get off at Anacortes, or else Ryan drove his truck to the ferry and parked as well.
My only complaint about this weekend was that I wish we had spent more time out there! I can't wait to go back.
Next weekend, Tori has rented a yurt in Dosewallips, which is on Daniel's side of the Sound. He has duty on Saturday, but I'm going over to his place Friday afternoon, and then I'll just get up with him on Saturday morning and drive over to the campsite and spend Sat night there. He said he'd try to stop by the camp after work Sunday morning. :)
Friday, June 20, 2008
I should elaborate:
- Today, Igor, Tori, Ryan, Chris, and Melinda are already camping.
- Tomorrow, Daniel and I will join them.
We were going to go tonight after Daniel got off work, but they changed his duty schedule at the last minute (read: Wednesday night), so he is working tonight, and we'll hit the road after he gets here on the ferry tomorrow.
The gang is already over on San Juan Island. To get there, we have to drive two hours north of Seattle to Anacortes, then take the 1.5 - 2 hr ferry over to the Island (it's an inter-island ferry, so unless you hit an Express ferry, you get to wait through a few other stops...it's like a water-bound milk run). We're supposed to go on a whale-watching tour tomorrow night, so I'm pretty excited. There are three orca pods (J,K, and L) that make their home in the waters near the San Juan Islands (and I believe Cat Bordhi also makes her home up there, somewhere...though she's probably on land ;-) ).
So, in recognition of going camping, and also that some of Tori's supplies got mauled by her cats, I made an REI run today.
Want to see what I bought?
- 2 x REI sleeping mats
- 1 x North Face zip-off convertible pants (the pant legs zip off to make a pair of shorts. It's pretty handy in an area like this where it can go from hot and sunny to cold and rainy very quickly. These pants happened to fit me well, without being super baggy. An added benefit, I suppose, is that the fabric purports to have a UPF of 50, which, I think, is a good thing).
- 1 x sun hat (this isn't it. Sorta like this, but it has a cute embroidered ribbon around it, and a removable chin strap, so it doesn't blow off my head. Also made of organic cotton).
- 2 x little carabeeners (those clips mountain climbers use on their ropes), except these are just to clip my keys or water bottle to things.
- 1 x hiking socks.
I also got a nice-sized Igloo cooler at the thrift store on Wednesday for $6, which was awesome. And I get to use the luggage cart I bought for my kayak to pull it onto the ferry tomorrow (at least that's the plan). I thought about buying one of the cool new coolers that has the built-in handle and wheels, but... I am cheap sometimes. :)
I need to finish packing my backpack, load up the iPod for the car ride up and back, and get everything that doesn't need cooling in the cooler tonight.
...I think I'm ready! :)
Now all I have to do is pick out a couple of knitting projects to take with me. I might just take the "Serendipity" sock, since I'm probably close to starting the lace pattern on the leg any time now, but I've also made good progress on Kris' Brunhilde hat. And tonight, I'm going to try and finish the LuvGun. I only have one half-heart left to knit, then sew them together and stuff 'em!
I spent last night at Daniel's, and since he had duty today, it meant waking up at 5:30 AM and hopping on the 6:20 AM ferry to Seattle. Which was all well and good. I had to take care of some stuff that I'll go into in my next post.
Earlier this afternoon, I had a chance to catch up with my friend, Mark. I had made a batch of oatmeal cookies (I usually follow his base recipe, and then add whatever I happen to fancy at the moment. Today's batch was dark chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, pecans, and unsweetened coconut shavings), so I invited him to drop by for one, and we ended up walking down for a cup of coffee (mm 12 oz iced latte). Afterwards, we came back to my place, and while we discussed movie stars who had become attractive once they had reached adulthood (no idea how we got on that topic), I decided to proceed with my Dog's Paw Shawl work by dehairing some dog fur. The fun part is that Pia's down is the same color as my laminate floor...blonde.
This is my first major undertaking, I have to admit. I made a couple of blankets in college, but they were both crochet. I've never made a sweater, and the most complicated things I make now are socks. So, to spin for a large project is something both new and somewhat intimidating. I am just taking it slowly, though, and am not carding more fiber than I plan to spin relatively quickly.
Mark left soon after I started the dehairing, because he suspected the dander flying around was upsetting his allergies. To tell the truth, it was triggering mine as well. So I moved on to carding, and made four fair-sized batts. The picture below was taken after I'd spun 1.5 batts. (Yes, my coffee table looks like it has paint stains on it. In fact, it is a paint job I performed while still in Maryland, at 2 AM one morning. I was bored with this hand-me-down $15 IKEA coffee table my brother and SIL had given to me, and so I threw down some acrylic paint on it. It's starting to look ratty, but honestly since the table is still sturdy enough, I'm going to ride it out for a while. Soon I may take the paintbrush to it again, though...in the meanwhile, don't pay attention to the Kleenex and mug in the picture. :) )
After carding for a while, I came back to my spinning wheel. After seeing how neat Kim's laceweight looks when she is using her Woolee Winder, I am really tempted to buy one for myself... soon, soon. I am doing just fine with the flyer and bobbins I have now. I am guessing this single is around 36 wpi. How am I guessing that? Well, I haphazardly wound some singles around my ruler, and about 9 wraps fit within 1/4 inch... yes, I know that is a horrible estimation, but I didn't really want to stop spinning, and I was semi-curious as to how my grist was doing. There might be 2 oz of fiber on the bobbin? I haven't been weighing my batts, though. I am estimating each batt is about 1/2 oz, because that is usually the weight at which I see batts for sale advertised, but if I really want to answer this question, I should be more scientific about it. Enjoy the picture.
Monday, June 16, 2008
The original design calls for a blend of dog fur and wool. I noticed that my dog's downy undercoat resembled the unbleached color of tussah silk (also soy silk, sometimes), so I decided to go for a blend of 40% white merino roving, 30% tussah silk roving, and 30% dehaired dog down. I figured the colors would look great together, and the silk would lend some lovely shine to the finished yarn. I briefly considered using some Bluefaced Leicester that I had in the closet, but then I remembered that the staple length for BFL is quite long, and while it would probably be okay blended with the silk, the dog down staple is just too short, so I chose merino, which has a crimp similar to the wavy structure in my dog's downy undercoat (while she is not "woolly", per se, she has been known to chew a spot on herself and felt the hair in that spot, resulting in a spot-shave from my mom!)
I carded it on my new Strauch Petite drum carder. One thing to note: I followed the directions' suggestion to card a batt of waste fiber, in order to clean out any residual manufacturing dust. Boy, am I glad I did that! I used a bit of white Lincoln lamb locks, and when I finally picked the batt out of the drum, they had gone from white to silvery gray!
I then cleaned the drum thoroughly with the batt picker, the doffer brush, and I cleaned the licker-in drum with the other brush Strauch provided. I was ready to card! I decided to go in layers. First went the merino, then went the dog down, and the silk was on top. I made four very small batts, pulled them all off, and mixed them up (tore them in half lengthwise and width-wise), and ran those batts through a second time to make up two full-size batts. I am storing them in a shoebox so they don't get squished. I am particularly glad to see how shiny the silk is making the batt...let me tell you, it is So lovely and soft! :)
I then took the batt to the spinning wheel. I am using my Majacraft Susie wheel, and spinning probably at a 12:1 or 15:1 ratio (?)... my drive band is on the second outermost ring connected to the driveshaft. I have never spun laceweight before, but I kept in mind everyone's advice and increased the wheel ratio, and decreased the brake band tension - you can see the spring in the picture is almost fully relaxed.
I am guessing that the singles might come out in the 30+ wpi range? It's pretty dang fine. The fiber is a dream to spin, though - not too slippery, but it drafts OH so nicely! I would like to say that I am spinning semi-woolen, since the fiber has been prepared on a drum carder, and the fibers are not as parallel as they would be coming out of a combed top preparation. The singles are nice and shiny and soft, though.
As of now, I have spun up one batt. I plan to keep going until I run out of fiber. I would like to make a two-ply laceweight yarn. Ultimately, the dog down will be my limiting factor, but honestly, I have many sandwich baggies full of down that my mom has been faithfully sending me over the last few years. I have 8 oz of tussah silk top that was my "bonus gift" for buying the Petite carder, and even though I "only" have 4 oz of the merino roving from Weaving Works, I know they will have more should I need it.
I want to end up with a 2 ply, balanced yarn in the 20+ wpi category, which would firmly place it in the "laceweight" category. I would not mind at all ending up with some extra yarn to use for mitts or a lacy hat or scarf for myself :) Or maybe I could cable two 2-ply yarns and make a Koolhaas for my dad. I'm guessing two laceweight plied yarns, cabled together, would maybe make a worsted?
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Case in point: He worked last night. I had several options: Call up some friends from different areas of Seattle (or the eastside), or go to a Happy Hour that I had already been invited to by Kris & Randy on Mercer Island (an interesting prospect), or stay home and get some good crafting time in.
Guess what I chose? Actually, I would have gone to the Happy Hour if I had not had this nagging throat issue. I think it's mostly post-nasal drip (how does it get any sexier than that?), but as a precaution against actually getting sick again, I started on the herbal regimen of Fire and Brimstone: oregano oil that tastes like the River Styx, liquid echinacea extract that tastes like Hellfire, and liquid astragalus extract that tastes...ok, that one is not so bad - more like a bitter herbal brandy. But all three require me to consider whatever wrong I have done, and repent whilst I swallow them.
Anyway, so last night I had the entire afternoon and night to myself. After work, which I came home and telecommuted the last couple of hours (I thought my new building assignment was not helping the throat), I walked down to Archie McPhee's to look for a gift someone had requested. After coming up empty-handed, I talked myself out of going to Cupcake Royale, and came home.
I really wanted to get some projects out of the "in progress basket", and off of my wheel's bobbins. Spinning was first up to bat. I had ordered some pretty fiber batts from Loop's Etsy shop, but was just ready to be done spinning them. Have you ever had that feeling? The dark batt had a lot of adult mohair in it, and while it's shiny and slips through your drafting hand like nothing, it doesn't especially excite me. I already had the dark purple on one bobbin, and it had been sitting there for, oh, at least a month?! The lighter batt was a lot softer to the skin, but it was a little more drafting-intensive. I finally managed to finish the lighter batt up, after several stops due to the fiber drafting out of my control and winding on to the bobbin (grr) and lots of yelling from me, but after a long while and a few spit joins, the yarn was plied and off the bobbin. I would classify it as maybe a heavy fingering / light worsted? There's about 170 yd in that skein. I had made some coordinating skeins from the rest of the batts, but I think the grist is pretty inconsistent between them all... I have no idea what to make from them, but I'm sure something will come.
Next up was the ill-fated Luv Gun. I decided against felting it, as it is already pretty tiny. Instead, I popped in a Futurama DVD and sewed it all together with mattress stitch, then sewed on the trigger loop and the brown "wood panels" (I sewed the two brown panels together at the back seam first, then sewed them onto the gun). I stuffed the gun with undyed BFL roving I had lying around. The barrel is open, and actually the knit portion of the barrel is twice as long as you see in the picture. The instructions tell you to tuck half the barrel length inside of itself, and then tack it in place. Well, I didn't tack because I'm lazy. I also didn't make a sight on top of the gun, nor did I sew on eyes to the sides of the gun. All that's left of this thing is to knit up the three hearts that fit inside of the barrel (for shoot-'em-up-with-love purposes), and then I'm DONE. Egads.
Finally, my first Blue Moon Rockin' Sock Club sock is Fini! This is the January pattern and colorway ("Serendipity" and "Dragon's Dance", respectively). Yes, yes, I'm a bad RSC girl and do not keep up to date with my projects. Sue me. The red is a fun colorway,and while I got lucky and got Some of the supposed striping that happens with this yarn, it failed me in places (like all Blue Moon yarn that is supposed to stripe), and pooled. I actually don't mind the pooling so much, I just wish I knew why my personal knitting gauge is so far off from the suggested BMFA gauge for these yarns as to cause pooling.
I enjoyed knitting the pattern, though the one part I did not like were part of the heel instructions where they have you do a double w&t on the sides of the short-row heel. It confused me, and looked kind of weird. I wonder if I do a "traditional" conceal-wrap move on the second sock, if anyone will be able to tell...
Well, today is another overcast slightly cold June day here in Seattle. I don't know what the hell the weather thinks it's doing - ordinarily, I tell people to visit between Memorial Day and Labor Day, since that is our summertime. But this year, it has proved me dead-wrong. In fact, over the last week, there has been snow falling in the mountain ski passes - enough so that the DOT moved out snow removal equipment to clear it off the roads! Two weeks ago or so, the closest ski resort (Alpental) was open, which is weird because Alpental is at a low altitude compared to Crystal and Stevens, which are both higher up in the Cascade range.
However, I think we are going to make the most of this day. Daniel should be along at some point this morning, and we are meeting his friends Jessie & Jeremy, and their baby Connor, for lunch and then a trip to the Seattle zoo. Should be fun! (Connor never really makes much fuss, anyway, and the overcast day should be better for him so he doesn't overheat). We also might descend on Tori and Igor for a BBQ dinner... to be determined. :) Tomorrow morning, I have pilates, which will be nice because it won't restrict when Daniel has to leave.
Hope everyone has a great weekend!
Thursday, June 12, 2008
I'll post pics of that later.
My current phase of mind is: To-Do!
I'm miraculously almost done with my first "Serendipity" sock, which is the January STR sock club pattern. It's actually a quick-going sock. I don't like the double w&t's on the heel, but that is an easy fix. I prefer the concealed wraps on a short row heel, myself.
Daniel has to work this Friday. So, I may go to my friend's monthly happy hour - this month it's in Mercer Island. But I might stay home... I'm sure I'll be pretty wiped when I get home tomorrow after work. I also have a small To-Do list to complete:
- Luv Gun (!!)
- start the second panel of my giant chenille blanket
- finish Sock 1 of Serendipity
- work on some of that odious stockinette stitch for the Marigold vest
And I think I am going to rip out the Noro sock I was using for the 2-at-a-time Magic Loop and use it for something else. That project has not called to me in a while...which means it's time to do something else.
Apart from that, I have to wash the bedsheets and mop the floor. And find out where my pot of sunflower starts got blown off to? I haven't seen them since I left for vacation! Ah well. At least it was a yogurt container, repurposed....but still! :(
Monday, June 2, 2008
The colorway is called "The Incredible Shrinking Violet". Fabulous!!!!
Here is the pattern, by Yarnissima, designer of the Firestarter socks.
Saturday, since I had the afternoon to myself, I cast on for the January RSC socks (finally). The pattern is going quite well! I have to say, I haven't knit with STR Lightweight till now, but I really am enjoying it... and the lace pattern travels, so it's keeping me interested. And the yarn is actually striping, for once! :)
(UGH - sorry the picture is fuzzy...my camera is in it's death throes...)
I also finally connected my Ms. Marigold vest and started knitting down in the round. I am hoping it fits... :) I didn't make a huge gauge swatch, which is usually recommended by people like the Knit So Fine authors, as well as EZ herself.
In other news:
- I start my job exchange (or "prisoner exchange", as I like to call it. :) ), on Monday... I will be working at my friend's job in 777 Installations Analysis for the next 6 months - so, until Christmas vacation. She will work in my position in 747-8 Engine Performance. We'll see how it goes.
- Tomorrow night, my pole dancing class starts! Yay! I am excited. :) I love this teacher, and maybe this time if I learn to spin, I'll get a pole. :)
- Wednesday morning, Daniel and I will take flight to Baton Rouge, LA, and visit my family (and he will travel to visit his grandparents in Houston while he's there).
My travel knitting will be the January socks. They are very compact, especially since the yarn cake hasn't gone nuts and started unwinding itself yet. Plus, I highly doubt I'll complete a pair of socks in four days, even if there will be a ton of travel time (5 hr flight each way + wait time at the airport, then a 2.5 hour drive to Lake Charles, not including leisure time spent at home, hanging out). But NO! I will be good and only take one project. If I REALLY finish the pair (a mighty feat), I will drag someone to an LYS. There has to be an LYS in Lake Charles somewhere.