Wednesday, July 11, 2012

New Beginnings and Ice Cream

In this post I want to talk about two main things, ice cream......and new beginnings.

New Beginning 1.

My friends are expecting their first baby. This is a picture of the two pairs of socks I finished. These were both mostly done at least a month ago, but I just kitchenered the toes a couple days ago. These socks are for those two of my friends as they become parents. I've been sneaky - claiming that the pair for the dad is for my stepdad for Christmas (they have the same size feet) and that I needed the soon-to-be dad to try them on - even said so on my podcast to throw off suspicion. But I was really using him to make sure that they would fit him. I just thought it was fair that he finally get a pair of socks, after all, his wife has received several, and now his soon-to-be son has 4 pair waiting for him. So, these will go to the future mom and dad. My small way of well-wishing for their family.

 New Beginning 2.
This is a pic of a pair of socks. I ripped out the toes - the first time I've really done that. The reason I'm doing this is because the socks did not fit my step-dad at Christmas. He never told me that about the multiple pairs of socks I'd made him, apparently most of the pairs I've made him have been "close enough" but this pair was just too far off. So, I'm making these from last year fit him by making them longer. I figured that as long as I was going to make them bigger, I may as well make them more fun, so I'm making the toes out of another yarn. Let's hope someday I actually finish this. I'd like to have at least two pairs to mail to him before it gets cold.

New Beginning 3.
This is The Fiboreum. My husband named it that. You can call it my studio. Now, you may not have known this, but this room used to have a different configuration and a hideous paint job. The paint job was silver accent paint as the wall paint on 3 walls and one dark magenta wall. With the mirrored closet doors it was.....well....a lot to take in. Now, thanks to one of my friends, it's a lovely sage green. I've been so excited to have a room I can actually stand to be in that I've been industrious. You can see my dummy for costuming that I've been re-doing. It was a shop dummy - about a size 0 - so i needed to change it to match me. It's close.  In my chair you can see the start of......

New Beginning 4
A new fleece to spin. 
This bobbin shows how it looks on the wheel. It's a very distinguished fleece. That means, it's got grey in it. It's either a brown so dark that it looks black or a true black. I'm not sure which. It's absolutely gorgeous. However, the issue is not that it looks bad, the issue is that it isn't very soft. Don't get me wrong, I'm absolutely in love with how it's spinning up and I fully intend to use it. I'm just not going to use it in any pattern that requires me to have it next to my skin.

 And here's how it looks in on the storage bobbins. This is 4 oz of it, the first 2 days of spinning it. I took the picture in full sunlight in hopes that I could convey not only the color (I got close, it's darker than this) and the shine. The shine is what makes it looks lighter in the picture than what it is in reality. Looks at how lovely it is spun up? So crisp! Very low halo, and the tiny hints of whitish grey which give it an added dimension of color.

I finally bought the book: The Perfect Scoop. It was highly recommended by my friend Jasmin and my friend Lorien, two women who know ice cream and are foodies. After trying a number of the flavors that Lorien has cooked up, I was sold. After the book came, I found that I had a bag full of lemons off my friend's tree. So I made Lemon ice cream. This is what it looks like - a nearly white with tiny yellow flecks in it. The yellow flecks are 2 lemon's worth of lemon zest. The recipe says to blend/food process down the lemon zest until it's no longer discernible, but I think it looks so pretty like this that I left it partially intact. I'm hoping that spending the time working from home while I take care of my husband will give me a little extra time to make ice cream now that I won't have my commute. I've been working longer than normal hours, though, so no promises.

Monday, July 09, 2012


So, I haven't really meant to keep it a secret, but I haven't mentioned it here husband went in for surgery on Friday to get his Achilles tendon chopped up and a huge bone spur taken out. To say the least, this is the most difficult surgery I've been through with him. Believe it or not, having his sinuses "roto-rootered" (to steal the nurse's phrase) wasn't so bad. It was longer under the knife, but much faster to heal and with more manageable pain.

 Since there is really nothing you can do while your spouse is moaning in pain (after you've given them the full amount of pain killers), you kind of feel helpless. So, I knitted. I knitted a little sock to site at the end of his splint (he gets a cast or a boot or something in a week). There it is in all it's glory. I figured, at least I can keep his toes warm.


I also knit a lot while I was waiting for him. I started this blanket the night before the surgery. Did most of the very bottom teal stripe. The rest.....the rest I did during and after the surgery. I know it doesn't look like much, but that's at least a 3 foot width...maybe 4 or more. It's almost all the knitting I have had enough brain for. Plain garter stitch over and over and over and over. I started it because I needed something to knit during a recent podcast. Then, well, I figured I would make it a scrap blanket. It would be ugly, but warm, and I'd "clean up" some of my random stash bits that weren't really enough for a project on their own. Although I figured there's no way to get around it being ugly, the husbean is insisting that he thinks it's pretty. He's also on Vicodin.

Detail so you can see some of the colors closer up. Yes, that pinkish brown stripe is Noro. After I took this picture yesterday, I've put on 2 more stripes of a couple inches each. The thing comes up past my knees now. I guess I just needed something I could "do" without using my brain or needing to have an ending spot when I need to jump up and help the spousal unit with something. Let's just say I'm a little tired and brain dead.

Lastly, for those who may caretake for plants, here are some of mine. I planted this one yesterday in my one empty pot out front (the other still has flowers). It's basil, since I go through enough of it these days I figured I should just get myself my own supply......for however long that lasts.
And then, here is what I call my tomato jungle. I named it that way because a jungle is exactly what it is. These are all voluntaries that sprung up this year. If you can make them out, there are two short raised beds in this picture. The tomato plants are growing in the beds and between them. I was going to thin out the plants when I first saw them, but I kind of didn't want to mess with the whole Man-Eating aesthetic that was going on.  I have no idea how many plants there are, but I am getting a good couple of handfuls of tomatoes every few days, which is almost up to how many tomatoes I eat. 
 Here's a close-up of the front can see the plants are still coming through the cage, trying to reach out to grab unwary passersby. You can also see something like 15 tomatoes. The vines are so thick that I have to pry them apart gently and look for any sign of ripe tomatoes to pick. I've lost probably 10 to bugs and critters so far, which I pick and throw into one of my other two empty beds for next year. I think next year I'm going to thin out the voluntaries if they spring up again....and maybe invest in a couple cages. That is, if I survive this year.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Tour De Fleece 1, 2012

 So, as some of you may have heard, there has been a huge dealie going on between many knitters and the US Olympic Committee. Basically, many of us compete in the Ravelympics (now defunct - thanks to the USOC it had to be renamed, but that's a whole different story which many others have covered in depth) while watching the regular Olympics. Luckily, no heck has yet been raised about the Tour De Fleece, what many of us compete in (against ourselves) while watching and cheering on our favorite cyclists in the Tour De France.

It's very meta if you think about it. Watching spinning while spinning?

Let me be honest, I don't have a favorite cyclist, so I just generally cheer for the guy who seems the most determined and awesome.

But I do have specific Tour De Fleece goals. This time, my goal was to spin and ply 8 oz of fiber. The goal was first to finish a bump of crown mountain that I was already 2 oz in to. I think the color is Atlantis, which would be cool as I've been spinning it while watching Stargate SG1 and Stargate Atlantis. Here a pic of 2oz of unspun. Isn't it lovely? Mostly white and denim blue with some blackish brown spots that are a warm beige. Wierd, and not really me, but I like it.

So after spinning the remaining 6oz of this bump and then plying all 8 (as well as spinning 2 oz on my travel wheel and another 2oz of a new fleece project), I met my goal. There was also a knitting portion, but that got completely derailed, as you'll see in my next post.

Progress pics. Here it is as a single.  As you can see, it's gone very much bluescale. The whiteish-blue and dark blue are more overpowering. The brown/beige is more or less lost in the singles. I tried to bring it out, but it didn't really work.

Here is a ply pic. As you can see (even though it is really blurry), some of the beige is also coming out. What I found while doing these is that the two halves of the roving (I spun it in 2 oz chunks - 2 chunks for each bobbin, then navajo plied) were pretty different. You'll see it in the skeins below.

So here's the first pic of the two skeins. I had trouble getting true colors to show up so I took a photo in natural daylight and one in diffuse light. Here you can really see the differences in the skein. The back skein is just darker, more saturated with color. There was less white in that 4 oz. The first has a lot more white and  a lot more beige.

My spinning is also a little different between the two skeins. The darker skein is a little more loose both in the single and in the ply. The second skien is a little tighter. I was testing to see what the differences would be. However, looking at them now, the differences in spinning are pretty minimal. Even in this light, you can really see the color difference