Thursday, December 30, 2004

Though I didn’t get much knitting done over the past few days, it was a fabulous Christmas long weekend. My sister and her boyfriend were able to come out to visit for five days, and we had a great time. Lots of good food, opening presents, playing with Emma, Christmas-partying, a trip to Mt. Baker for skiing, sightseeing around the island, hiking Mt. Finlayson, and general fun.

Our first Christmas in our new house was wonderful. Emma got a ton of presents- some great toys. Her particular favorite is a dog pull toy with a xylophone on its back. I was a little surprised that she got so into the presents. I would have thought she was still in the paper/bows/boxes stage of gift appreciation, but she really did get excited about the presents too. I guess that it helped that she got some really cool toys. She was pretty indifferent to the clothes, but was very interested in the toys.

I did finish the first Christmas sock, and started the second on the ferry when we went to Mt. Baker. I didn’t do any knitting on it during the day at Mt. Baker, since Emma was awake and wanted to play. She and I went on a big long walk in the afternoon while the others skied. She fell asleep during the walk (I rigged a sling out of my coat so she could sleep), so she missed most of the gorgeous scenery. Of course, being one and a half, she was far more interested in the sticks on the path than vistas of snow-covered mountains. We probably only went a mile all told, but carrying a 24 pound toddler in a makeshift sling for ¾ of a mile is still tiring. I was wiped out when we got back to the lodge.

We really do live in a beautiful area. We need to make more of an effort to get out and see more of it while we’re here. The whole area around Mt. Baker is gorgeous, especially the North Fork Nooksack River. The Pacific Northwest rainforesty/moss-dripping-off-the-trees environment fascinates me. In my former life as an environmental biologist for the state of North Carolina, back when I had a real job where I actually got to use my degree, I got to explore rivers and streams and do freshwater mussel surveys, wetland delineations, and endangered species surveys. I can hardly stand to pass by woods or a body of water without getting out and poking around to see what I can see. I really like to know what it is I’m looking at, and keep “life lists” of much, much more than just birds.

I collect field guides. I am a geek.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Not too much to report today. I finished the heel of the first Christmas sock and am almost ready to change yarn for the toe. I won't tell what color the heel and toe are- I'll let it be a surprise, since I'm sure everyone is waiting with bated breath.

We hung pictures and my bird clock on our bare walls last night. It really makes the place look nice. I also put a garland of lights over the kitchen sink, which is pretty. Shaun and I are both SOOO enjoying having white walls. The last two places we've lived (the past 10 years, in fact) have had dark wood on the inside, and it's so nice to be in a place that doesn't suck the light right out of the lamps when you turn them on.

I need get cracking tonight and block some snowflakes. I want to put some on my Christmas tree, and I want to give a bunch as little giftoids to people I work with. Nothing like waiting until the last minute, right? I do so dislike blocking snowflakes though, what with the glue and the stickiness and the mess.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Yesterday while riding the ferry and following Emma as she did laps around the passenger deck, I knit most of the leg of a cotton sock. This is Cascade Fixation yarn, 98% cotton 1% elastic. I made Shaun a pair of socks out of this yarn a couple years ago, and was really pleased with the results. This yarn makes great socks. The elastic in it means that the yarn itself is super stretchy, with memory. The socks hug your leg and really stay up, especially if you use a rib pattern. I used the provisional cast on method I described in a previous post, with a K1P1 rib on the inside and K4P2 on the outside. While it is more bulky than using a plain cast-on edge, I still like it for this yarn. The Fixation is a thicker yarn than the Fortissima- I'm knitting on US 2 needles and could have used 3's- and I was worried that the double layer at the top would be too thick. Once it's on a leg, though, it's just fine.

These socks will get (peasant) heels and toes in contrasting colors. I have red and green in the Fixation yarn, so these will be my Christmas socks!

In other news, I still love my house. I think I'm in that honeymoon stage, since I actually enjoyed unloading the dishwasher last night. Wonder how long that will last......

Sunday, December 19, 2004

What do I love about my new house? Oh so many things.
  • The dishwasher
  • The full-size washer and dryer (I can wash blankets!)
  • Showers that actually have water pressure
  • The full-size fridge with cubbies on the door that fit gallon milk jugs
  • So much kitchen storage that two drawers are empty
  • The pantry
  • Cream-colored walls
  • The linen closet with a compartment for the vacuum cleaner
  • A closet for my yarn and fiber
  • An oven with a glass door and a light
  • The light fixtures in the dining room
  • A dining room so we can eat at a table
  • Crushed ice, ice cubes, and filtered water from the door of the fridge
  • Carpet that isn't red shag from the 70's
  • Big windows
  • Close to town
  • Two towel bars in the bathroom

I could go on and on. I was sitting in the living room watching Fellowship of the Ring last night, knitting, with the baby asleep in the back room, and all of a sudden I felt like I was back in high school, babysitting at someone else's house. It's so strange to be in a nice, comfortable house and know it's mine. After 10 years of renting whatever we could afford during our grad school and Shaun's PhD, I feel like we're all of a sudden.... I don't know. Grown-ups? Real people? It's a very strange feeling.

Friday, December 17, 2004

We're in! We're in!! We moved into the new house yesterday, and I'm so happy! We rented a truck, and two very very good and helpful friends came over and helped us load up. I had packed about 3/4 of the house over the past week, so it was mostly a lot of lifting. (Sore muscles today...) We did have to scrounge more boxes from the grocery stores and liquor store so we could do the last of the packing, but really, it wasn't bad.

Emma was at the babysitter's house most of the day, which was great. Not great that we sent her away for the day, great that we could carry things without worrying that she'd get stepped on. Stop it. You knew what I meant. She was so excited when we picked her up and brought her back to the house and she saw her crib and all her toys.

Cobalt and Naia (dog and cat), on the other hand, had a very stressful and confusing day. Cobalt kept looking at us carrying things out of the house, with these big worried eyes that seemed to say "Are you going somewhere? What's happening? Are you going to take me with you? Where are you going with my bed?!!!" She was so relieved when I took her out to get into the car.

The cat spent the day in the bathroom at the old house so he wouldn't dash outside while we carried boxes, so he was super confused when we finally let him out and the house was empty. Then he had to endure a car ride in his carrier ("I don't want to go to the vet!"), then he was let out into a big new house that just didn't smell right. He spent the next six hours skittering around, jumping at small noises and sniffing everything. The master bedroom was the most terrifying, because the closet doors are large mirrors. Evidently there is another cat living in the house, who looks exactly like Naia. This cat must be driven away at all costs, no matter how much hissing and growling it takes.

We finished unloading the truck, returned it, and picked up Emma, and were back at the house by about 5:30. Shaun and I spent the rest of the afternoon and most of the evening unpacking. The kitchen is done. Emma's room is done. The dining room is done. Our room is done. Most of the living room is done. The bathrooms are not done, but the towels, shampoo, and toothbrushes are unpacked. The office is still a disaster area.

About 9:00 the two friends who helped us move, plus one more, came over and we decorated our Christmas tree! Our first party! It was pretty low-key because four of us were exhausted. Shaun and I haven't had a Christmas tree for about five years, due to very small living spaces. It's so pretty. There's a corner of the dining room where it just fits.

It feels so great to be in our own space. As I was unpacking last night, I was almost in tears at one point, I was so happy. We have enough room to spread out a little, and the house is just so pretty. I feel so lucky to be here. It feels like home.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Well, even though I haven't posted for a while, I've been getting lots done. I finished washing the Rambouillet x Cormo fleece over the weekend. What a job that was! I wanted to get it done before we move, so that the whole fleece was processed the same way- same water, same drying method. I can't wait to get this carded up and start spinning it. Need to borrow the Guild's carder first.

Here it is in all it's poufy whiteness. It is so soft and yummy. I haven't weighed it yet to see how much grease and dirt it lost during the wash (it started at 6.7 pounds), but it couldn't have been too much. I only picked out three burrs and five 1/2" pieces of straw while I was washing it, and that was all I saw. I am now a great believer of buying fleeces from sheep who have been coated. It makes a huge difference. There was some sandy debris that washed out as soon as it hit the water, and a fair bit of grease, enough that it required two soapy washes and two rinses, but it wasn't really caked.

Is that a future spinner in that picture? She's certainly fascinated by wool and the whole spinning process. When I was at spinning group last time, she held on to the back bar of my wheel and put her foot on the treadle next to mine while I was spinning. What a great helper!

I also finished most of a pair of socks over the weekend. This is a Fortissima self-striping yarn, not sure which color number. I tried a new (to me) beginning, and I really like it. Instead of casting on and knitting merrily away, I used a provisional cast on and worked 1x1 rib for an inch, worked a round of k2tog yo, worked stockinette for an inch, then folded over the rib and worked the provisional cast-on stitches together with the leg stitches and continued down the leg. The k2tog yo row made a nice little picot edge at the fold, the ribbing on the inside keeps the sock up, and the stockinette on the outside shows off the yarn. And no cast-on edge! I'd like to (modestly) point out how well the stripes match up.

I really like the way these turned out, and wish I had made all the socks I've ever made with this method. I'm sure that someone else has come up with this before, but I worked it out on my own. It's a very spiffy way to start top-down socks. I've always been vaguely unhappy with a cast-on edge at the top of a sock, just where it needs to be stretchiest.

I was going to finish these up last night, but I was too tired and had to go to bed shortly after Emma did. Maybe I'll get to them tonight, if I get some packing done first.

The house will be ours tomorrow! We went and signed all the escrow papers yesterday, which took almost an HOUR. There was a stack of forms and info sheets and contracts and stuff over an inch thick, and we had to go through every sheet with the escrow agent and sign or initial most of them. This morning we sent the down payment to them, and by midday tomorrow we can start moving in!!!!!!! We actually already have the key, and last night we went and looked around. Can't wait till it's ours!

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Ta Da!! Here's the finished sailboat sweater! I'm really pleased with the way it turned out, despite the scarcity of blue yarn. I had originally planned to have the sleeves blue underneath, with a medium orange stripe and narrow white stripes, like the sunflower sweater. I think I like this way even better. It looks very nautical. Each sleeve took 5 1/5 hours to knit, and I sewed it up and knit the collar last night (2 hours). Sweaters for kids are fun- very fast!

Here's a shot of the two sweaters together. I think the twins will look very cute.

And here's how much blue yarn I had left over. 14 inches.

Monday, December 06, 2004

I finished the first sleeve on the sailboat sweater last night. I think I've resolved the issue with the blue yarn that I didn't have enough of. I decided to switch the colors and make the orange the main color on the sleeves instead of the blue.

I still wanted to have as much blue as possible, so I divided the remaining blue yarn in half (yes, I completely unrolled the remains of the skein, so it was exactly in half), so that each sleeve could have half the yarn. I then measured out how much yarn 10 stitches consumed, and took that measurement and calculated how many stitches each half of the yarn would produce. Divide that number in half and I got the max number of stitches in each stripe (I wanted two blue stripes per sleeve). Since I knew from making the sunflower sweater that the sleeve is 68 rows long, I knew that a 10-stitch stripe would require 680 stitches. Compare that to the maximum possible from the blue yarn, and Yay! There should be enough blue yarn to make two stripes 10 stitches wide on each sleeve.

It worked! When I finished the first sleeve, I had just enough blue yarn left over to do the cuff, and I do mean just. There is a little scrap of blue yarn that might possibly be long enough to sew the side seam of the body. It's not long enough for even one more row of the cuff.

Perhaps you think that all these calculations and worry are a little obsessive? Well, you might be right. But it's so gratifying to figure something out and have it work the way you plan. It also means that I won't have lots of mostly-full skeins left over. I can look at my tiny leftover length of blue yarn and feel like I am the queen of planning ahead, even though I know that I'm really not, and the only reason I had to go to these lengths is that I didn't plan ahead and buy enough yarn in the first place.

In other news, Emma and I had a really good weekend together. Shaun went to Seattle to do some work at the University, so Emma and I were stranded at home for two days without a car. We had fun reading books, going for little walks outside, brushing the dog, packing boxes to get ready to move next week (!!!!!!!), and baking cookies. Emma had such fun with the cookies. When I started mixing them up, she desperately wanted to see what I was doing, so I put a chair next to me. She climbed right up and stood there the whole time watching. I let her dump in the dried cranberries, though she wanted to eat them, and she really got a kick out of the electric mixer. When the first batch was out of the oven and had cooled a little, we each had one and boy were they yummy! The only problem came when she kept wanting "moooorrrrre!"

Thursday, December 02, 2004

A List to Think About

1) Chef salads are sometimes sold at the deli counters of grocery stores. This is a good thing, especially if it's 5:30 pm, you're hungry, and you won't be home for hours.

2) The mess that is created when a toddler grabs a chef salad from the deli counter and flings it on the floor is incredible.

3) Bleu cheese crumbles increase the messiness of the mess 10-fold.

4) Bleu cheese crumbles are very difficult to get out of a plastic lattice grocery basket.

5) Lettuce is very slippery.

6) The edge of the deli counter is very hard.

7) Toddlers are very fast.

8) It's hard to run when you're not sure if you've just cracked your head open and are having trouble focussing.

9) Grapes are good toddler bait.

10) Grapes are also slippery.

I dare you to ask me how I know these things.

I finished the sunflower sweater last night. Once I made my mind up to just get it done, it went pretty fast. I did the second sleeve in one day! Please excuse the washed out photo- It's cloudy and drizzly here today. The sunflower and sleeve stripes are really a bright yellow, with deeper gold flower center and side stripes.

I'm still not sure about the stripes on the sleeves, but I guess it's OK. It looks a little color-blocky when the sleeves are out like that, though the stripe I added in the collar helped some. Probably when the sweater is on a kid it'll look fine.

Whaddaya think?

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

I worked on the sunflower sweater yesterday, and managed to finish the first sleeve. I think I like the way the stripes came out on the sleeves, though I hadn't originally planned them. It's different from my vision of the sweaters, but I think it's OK. Intarsia stripes are definitely easier and neater than intarsia pictures.

I don't think I mentioned it, but Emma got her first two molars on Thanksgiving Day. No wonder she had been so cranky and fussy last week! The two on the top are the ones that poked through, but I think the bottom two aren't far behind. Her gums are bulgy and seem sensitive. Poor girl. I think we'll all be thankful when teething is done.

I was talking about teething at playgroup today, and one of the other mothers (who is really nice and whom I would otherwise consider a rational, smart person) said "Just give her some whisky in her sippy cup, it really helped my son when he was teething."

WHAT? That is just so wrong. I mean, I know there's that old home remedy of rubbing whisky on an infant's gums to help teething pain, but I thought that EVERYONE now knows this is not a good idea. And that's just dipping your finger in the whisky and rubbing the gums. She was suggesting that I give Emma a shot of whisky to drink! Does she not know that that much alcohol can be very damaging if not fatal to a baby??? It made me want to scoop up her son (who is only about 5 months older than Emma) and run out of the room and hide him away forever.

Luckily, there was an enormous hubbub and outcry raised by her comment, and she did look distressed and confused, and said she had no idea this was bad, and that she wouldn't do it again. I just can't believe she thought this would be a good idea in the first place.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

I finally took some pictures of the finished yarn. I had to wait until we got some sun, because flash just doesn't do it justice. It shimmers and sparkles, and fairly glows. Here's the stuffed bobbin of 50% Merino 50% tussah laceweight 2-ply....

and here's the skein. It took over an hour to wind the yarn off the bobbin onto the niddy-noddy.

And just because it's so purty, here's a closeup of the yarn.

This skein is 1158 yards (1059 m) of 2-ply yarn, and weighs 3.77 oz (107 g).

I plied the rest of the singles yesterday, and got a skein that's 132 yards (121 m) long and weighs 0.41 oz (11.5 g).

So the total is 1280 yards and 4.18 oz. Yay me!!!

I think this yarn must become a shawl. I think it's imperative that this yarn become a shawl. Never mind that I never go anywhere that I could wear it. Maybe when Shaun and I go out to dinner for our anniversary. Or maybe Emma can wear it at her wedding. Or I can wear it at her wedding. Whatever. It doesn't matter. The yarn wants to be a shawl, and that's that.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Hello, my name is Sue and I am a compulsive spinner (knitter/weaver/crocheter etc.) When I get going on a project, I don't know when to quit. I finished the skein of merino/tussah laceweight. No pictures yet, but it's beautiful. I can't wait to see how it knits up as lace.

I did the plying on Wednesday night. I started right after I put Emma to bed, thinking that I'd be done in plenty of time for a reasonable bedtime, so I could get up Thursday morning and bake my pies. In my deluded little mind, I was thinking that three hours would probably see it done.

So I started at 7:00. I plied and plied and plied. At 9:00, I looked at the bobbins of singles and I swear they looked exactly the same as they did when I started. I know I had taken some off, because I could see that there was finished yarn on the wheel bobbin.

At 11:00 I realize that the singles are, in fact, multiplying on their bobbins.

At 12:00 I debate whether to give up for the night. I am very tired, true, but I am beginning to see the level of the singles decreasing. If I give up now, who knows how much the singles will have multiplied by morning.

At 1:00 I realize that I really should go to bed, because HGTV has signed off for the day, most of the umpty-zillion DirectTV channels are only showing infomercials, and I'm so tired that if I stopped treadling, I would probably fall asleep where I sit. But no! There is more yarn to be plied. I have accepted that there is more singles on the bobbins than will fit as finished yarn on the wheel bobbin, but as a compromise I will ply until the wheel bobbin is full. Yeah, I know, how is that a compromise.

2:07 a.m. I concede defeat to the singles. They have successfully multiplied faster than I can ply. The wheel bobbin is stuffed as full as I can get it, and there are still oodles of singles on the bobbins.

Yes, that's right. I plied for 7 hours straight!! I did not get up for a bathroom break, to get a drink, or take out my contacts. And still there are singles on my bobbins. I think I heard an evil little giggle as I staggered off to bed.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

I finished spinning the Merino/tussah singles last night. It took three hours to finish off the pile of roving, then another half hour to rewind the bobbin onto another bobbin. I like to ply from rewound bobbins, so that the singles go together in the same direction they were spun- the first end of the singles gets plied first. It seems to make a smoother yarn. It was 11:00 by the time I finished, and I was tired.

That's the problem with spinning really fine. It takes forever to fill a bobbin. I'm not sure of the yardage on each bobbin, but it seems like miles!

Emma has been exploring a new pastime- feeding Cobalt (our dog) Cheerios. She was very cute last night right before dinner. She had her little bowl of Cheerios on the table to keep her occupied until dinner was ready, and she would eat one herself, then give one to Cobalt, eat one herself, etc. She also enjoys throwing things off her highchair tray. As soon as Emma gets into her chair, Cobalt runs over and takes up her station under the chair, poised and waiting for the treats from above.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Just in case you're interested, here's a comparison of the Rambouillet x Cormo wool before and after washing. These are two halves of one large lock, so they started out the same size. As you can see, there was quite a bit of take-up in the staple length after washing, as well as a lot of fluff-factor! The fibers are so springy, if you stretch out the crimps, they are still the same length.

And here's a shot of the rewashed fleece, carded with dog brushes and attenuated into roving. Lovely stuff. The second wash did the trick, and the wool drafts like a dream now.

I continued to spin on the Merino/tussah last night, and thought I was going to be able to finish the premeasured pile of roving, but at 10:00, I was too tired and had to go to bed. Tonight for sure!

Monday, November 22, 2004

What a great spinning weekend I had! Perhaps I overdid it a little, as my right ankle (treadling foot) is a little sore today....

I did a lot on the Merino/silk 50:50 blend I've been working on forever. I did finally get around to weighing out enough roving to match the full bobbin I had already spun. It's really helpful to do that, as it gives me a finite end point and lets me feel like I'm making progress.

This is where I stand on this skein. The back bobbin is the full one, the front one is in progress, the roving is what I have left to spin on the current bobbin, and the sample in front is the finished two-ply.

Close-up of the two-ply. The singles are 110 wraps per inch, the two-ply is 57 wraps per inch. I'm quite pleased with my spinning on this project. It's the finest and prettiest yarn I think I've ever made.

I also played with the Rambouillet x Cormo fleece a little. I carded a couple locks on my dog brushes and spun some samples. I wasn't totally happy with the wool, as it was still a little greasy and sticky. I washed some of it a second time and rinsed it twice. It's now drying, but from what I can tell, it's a big improvement. The samples didn't draft very well, which was frustrating.

Please keep in mind that this wool was carded on dog brushes and didn't draft very well. This is not my best spinning. These are (from the bottom) two-ply, three-ply, four-ply, and five-ply. I decided I like the four-ply best, so I did up the rest of what I had spun as a four-ply mini skein. It's only about two yards.

Isn't it cute!!! This yarn is going to be great. It's so sproingy and squishy and I want a really big pile of it so I can take a nap in it. I can't stop squishing this sample in my hand.

Once I get this wool washed and carded properly, it will be lovely.

Friday, November 19, 2004

OK, so I had to wash some fleece last night. Not the Merino I just bought, some of the Rambouillet x Cormo fleece I bought a while ago. Why did I do this, you ask? Well, I rationalized it by saying that it's practice for washing the Merino. You see, I've never washed a finewool before, and I wanted to get the hang of it before opening up the (more expensive) Merino.

I've got to say, the Ramb x Cormo fleece is GORGEOUS! It was pretty before I washed it, but after washing, it turned snow white and soo soft. I wish I had a functional camera (grr) so I could show it in it's poufy white gloriousness. I'm dizzy with anticipation of spinning this.

The fleece is dense, crimpy, and lovely. I pulled the locks apart somewhat before washing, so that the water/soap would penetrate better and one wash would do it, and hopefully avoid felting from too much water time. I wish I could describe how the locks felt. They were dense like a really good cake is dense.

I did one load in the washing machine and one load in the dishpan. Both came out the same, but the washer holds more. And it's certainly easier to spin out the water than try to drain it in the sink and squeeze it out without handling it too much and felting it. Luckily, I think I avoided the whole felting demon. We'll see tonight when it's dry.

Wool-drying is about the only thing I'll miss about the house we're in now. Our propane heater is huge (way too big for the size of the house), and the top has a large surface area. Since the heat comes out the top, not the front, I can set up a clothes-drying rack on top of the heater and drape a piece of net over it to hold the fleece. The rack holds it far enough off the heater that it doesn't get too hot, but still dries quickly. We keep the heat low at night, so it wasn't quite dry this morning when I left, but almost.

The two loads I did last night are probably enough for half an adult sweater. They take up the entire drying area. And I only washed about one tenth of the fleece....... I'm going to be busy.

I need a drum carder.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

The camera saga continues. It was working OK yesterday. I took some more pictures of the house when we went to compare swatches. Then today, I went to turn it on, and it wouldn't! The light came on, the lens extended, but then it spontaneously turned itself off. The batteries are brand new, inserted correctly, there's a memory card in, the stupid thing just turns itself off?!

Waaah! I just want my camera to work.....

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Yay! My camera is back! But because I'm an airhead, I have the camera with me but no charged batteries. Honestly...

We're going to the house this afternoon, to measure the livingroom and evaluate the colors of couch fabric swatches in the room. If all goes well, we will have a couch and chairs on order by this time tomorrow. The swatch that we're leaning toward is a deep reddish brown color ("Claret") that should go with the slate floor in the kitchen/diningroom/hall (which are directly adjacent to the livingroom, thus the concern).

The color should camoflage dog hair nicely, but will show cat hair. But since the carpet is beige, and the cat hair is beige, cat hair on the couch will be considered a "designer accent," tying the decor together.

Must get batteries before going to the house.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Grump grump grump. Sorry about that last post. I'm feeling much better today.

Didn't do any fibery things last night, as I was finishing the cleaning. But the house looks great now!

I've got about 5" of the sleeve done on the sunflower sweater done. Hopefully I'll be posting a picture tomorrow- I checked the location of my camera this morning, and it has left Burlington, WA. That means it was put on the Fed Ex plane this morning and will be delivered today. Isn't technology great? It lets you be so nosy and impatient.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Warning- yesterday was not a great day, and this post is comprised mainly of ranting.

I spent most of yesterday cleaning the house and doing laundry. Our landlords are showing the house to prospective renters tomorrow, and I figured I should prolly pick up a little. I'll be so glad to get out of this house and into my own place. I wouldn't say I "hate" the landlords, but I do harbor a profoundly deep and abiding dislike of them. They show up (without warning) at random times throughout the year, I'm sure they go into the house when we're not there, they gave us no contact info for themselves (we mail the rent to his mom), they have two camper vans, an empty boat trailer, a ~30' sailboat on a trailer , and an outhouse (non-operational) in the yard yet complain when we leave things on the back deck or leaning against the side of the house. Like a lawn chair, a garden hose, or a box of birdseed.

I think they think that we're about 18 years old and renting our first apartment. When we moved in they explained to me how to clean the oven and kitchen sink. And it's written into our lease that we have to vacuum the carpet once a week. Perhaps I should give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that their last tenant was a complete slob, but I have in fact met their last tenant, and she's not.

And then there's the fact that when we told them (two weeks ago during one of their unannounced visits) that we'd bought a house and were giving our notice, they asked me if we could "get some of our stuff out of the house before they show it, because it's a small house and just looks smaller with all our things in it." Excuse me??!! I'm not moving half my stuff to a storage unit and living out of a suitcase for two months so that you can show an empty house. Your house is less than 900 sq. ft. Accept it. It's tiny. That's partly why we're moving. Yes, we have a highchair and toys in the livingroom. Yes, there's a crib and a computer desk in the second bedroom. We have a CHILD. Our stuff stays until we move out.

So I spent most of the day cleaning to get the house pretty. I won't mention that I did this by myself, since my darling husband escaped to work (this is Sunday, remember- the weekend) and to the gym. I won't complain that I did all the laundry, including his, and he didn't even say thank you. I won't even feel bitter that Emma had to play by herself since I was cleaning and doing laundry, and darling hubby didn't even come home until after she was asleep. No, I won't mention any of those things. I wasn't ticked, not at all.

On a happier note, I did start the first sleeve on the sunflower sweater after I put Emma to bed. I'm doing a center panel of 20 yellow stitches, with 2 gold stitches on either side, then the rest in red. We'll see if I have enough red.

I told you this post was mostly ranting. You were warned.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Just checked the Nikon website, and my camera has been repaired and shipped. Estimated arrival is Tuesday. Yay!

It's weird, though. I got a letter yesterday with an estimate of the repair bill (thankfully, $0.00, as it's under warranty), and it said to respond within 45 days or the camera would be returned "as is." So I went online today to confirm that I wanted the repair done, and lo and behold, they'd already done it! I guess since it was under warranty, confirmation wasn't necessary. Or maybe they just sent a whole new camera. I guess I'll find out this week.

Either way, I'll have my cute little camera back, which is the important thing.

And just because I can, here are a couple more pictures.....

The sailboat sweater, sans sleeves, and

halfway through the sunflower sweater front. I don't have a pic of the completed front yet, due to camera failure.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Well looky there! I posted a picture!!!!! That's the house we're in the process of buying.
While staying up much too late last night, I turned the heel on the Fortissima sock. I did it as a short-row, though I'm not crazy about that style. It just seems so much less-sturdy than a heel flap and gusset. In reality, though, I have several pairs of short-row-heeled socks that I made prolly a year and a half ago (maybe two years ago; I think it was pre-Emma) that have held up just fine to heavy wear and weekly laundering in the machine. Plus the short-row style works much better for this self striping yarn.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

I finished the front of the sunflower sweater on Monday. It came out much better than the sailboat- the intarsia is much more even. Perhaps cotton yarn was not the best choice to learn intarsia on. It shows every little irregularity in the tension. However, I'm reasonably pleased with my results. I also discovered that I prefer to leave all the ends dangling until the end and weave them in all at once. It's easier to get the tension right that way.

I started a sock on Tuesday, while I was following Emma around the ferry. (Off-island for furniture shopping-eek!) It's just a Fortissima Colori yarn... self-striping jacquard. The stripes are red, yellow, blues, and the "fair isle" part is white and turquoise. I'm working them toe up, in stockinette to show off the yarn. Regular ho-hum socks. But it's always good to have a pair of socks going.

Emma has had a little cold the past two days. She was cranky and out of sorts, and had a low-grade fever, about 101, give or take a tenth or two. She went to bed at 5:30 on Tuesday night, and slept until 8:45 Wednesday morning! Poor girl. She's like me- when I'm sick, all I want to do is sleep. She had the fever all day yesterday, but didn't get to nap much. Kai was being really noisy and a pain. We got home about 6:00, she ate a little dinner (not much), and went to bed. I did give her some Tylenol, since she seemed so uncomfortable. She was up and crying at 10:30, so I got her up and gave her a snack and a drink (she hardly ate anything at lunch and dinner), then she went back to bed and slept until 7:30. No fever this morning. Yay! That kind of cold I can handle. No gross runny nose, no coughing, and best of all- I wasn't sick at the same time. (Unlike our mega-cold in May which knocked all three of us flat for a good week.)

Sunday, November 07, 2004

So I finally buckled down yesterday and started the front of the red sweater. This one will have a sunflower on it. I realized that I was wise to start with the sailboat sweater first, as my introduction to intarsia. The sunflower is much more fiddly, with more small areas of color. After the first hour or so, I had an epiphany of sorts, however. I realized that the key to intarsia is ....

***Accept the multitude of ends and the tangled strands of yarn***

When you just accept it and keep knitting, it becomes an almost enjoyable experience. I say "almost," because it still isn't as fun as cables. But at least it's going better than on the last sweater. It's fun to see the design emerging.

Perhaps intarsia could be viewed as a metaphor for life. Accept what comes to you and just keep going.

In a semi-completely unrelated topic, here's a scary thought. As Shaun and I were driving to work the other day, we were listening to NPR and Georgie's press conference. I said, "I can't believe Emma's going to be in school before that joker's out of office." As soon as I said it, I had to stop and catch my breath. It made me dizzy. Literally. Not just that he was reelected and who knows what he's going to do to screw up next, but that Emma will be in school in four years.

Friday, November 05, 2004

I have been uninspired the past few days. The election seems to have cast a pall over everything. All I felt capable of doing was knitted dishcloths. Not even fancy dishcloths, just plain ol' diagonal garter stitch. And I only did one, on the night of the election. I was watching TiVo'ed shows, popping back to CNN every once in a while to see how badly it was going. It is gratifying, though, to finish a project the same evening you start it. Alas, the red and blue sweaters, the placemats, the doily- all continue to languish.

I did go to spinning yesterday. There were only two of us there- Maybe everyone else is in a slump too. I got an hour and a half of spinning done, but then I had to go pick up Kai from school.

Oh! The New Zealand "Escorial" Merino fleece I ordered off Ebay came yesterday. It's yummy! Soooo soft! Now I know I don't strictly need this, but I'm really glad I got it. It'll be a great sweater when I get it spun up. I don't know that I've ever seen a raw Merino fleece before, just the combed top I have that's blended with silk. I was surprised at how little grease there seemed to be in it. I mean, there is some, obviously, but it's not caked. Should be fairly easy to wash. Now I can't decide whether to wash it now or wait until after we move. I should wait, but I'd like to see it all clean and poufy.

The most distressing thing that's happened recently was that my digital camera decided to conk out. I don't know what happened, but sometime between last Friday afternoon and Monday morning, it completely stopped working. I packed it up and sent it back to Nikon on Tuesday, but who knows how long it'll take to get it back. Waah! At least it's still under warranty. When you have a one-year-old daughter and her grandparents (and auntie!) are across the country, it's very important to have a digital camera. How else will they keep up with her extreme degree of cuteness??!!!

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

And there was sorrow and much lamenting. Meh.

Monday, November 01, 2004

I got a LOT accomplished yesterday! Oh sure, I did laundry, washed dishes, vacuumed, cleaned the bathroom, cleaned the cat box, took out the trash, and boring things like that. But even better, I got lots of FIBERY things accomplished yesterday!

1) I finished the back of the red sweater. Yay! The largest portions of boring stockinette are done.

2) I spun for three hours while Emma napped/played. First I transferred the contents of the bobbin I had been working on to another bobbin. This makes plying much easier. Then I started spinning singles on an empty bobbin. I plan on weighing the full bobbin to see how much is there, the weigh the (mostly) empty bobbin and weigh out fiber to match the weight of the full bobbin. See how consistent my spinning is (i.e. do the two bobbins come out remotely close to even when plying.)

3) Started and finished this dishcloth. It's a circular cloth with a pretty diamond-lacy edge. I modified the pattern in that I added 7 stitches to the cast-on and and therefore an extra lace repeat per section. This was done to make the diameter larger.

Nothing like a productive day!

I would also like to take this opportunity to say that Emma is the smartest one-year-old I have ever met. She really understands us and can follow directions quite well. I had lots of examples of this yesterday, as we spent the whole day together. She could go get things when I asked where they were and she put thing back when I asked her. While she has been doing this to some extent for a while, she's really good at it now! One time I asked her where her other slipper was (because I had no clue where she'd carried it off to) and she trotted off to the bedroom and fetched it! She must have taken it there probably an hour or so before, and still managed to remember where it was. I think she's doing better than I am....

She also discovered that if she steps on the seat of her little chair, then on the arm, and then on the backrest, she can reach high enough to climb into her highchair by herself. Now I'm all for exploration, but when I go to use the bathroom and come out to see little Emma standing on her highchair, clapping, I get a little freaked out! It's three feet off the ground!!! At least it's a very stable chair.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Will someone please tell me why I just bought a merino fleece off Ebay, when I have plenty of fiber already? What I have will last me for months, and yet I felt compelled to get another. It just sounds so yummy. Merino, soft, silky fine, tight crimp, bright white....who could resist those words?

I went to the quarterly Textile Guild meeting today, which was fun. The program was by Deb Menz, author of Color in Spinning and Color Works. She's a really dynamic speaker, and had lots of gorgeous samples in all different media. It's amazing what color can do. (It did irritate me, though, that she kept saying "mediums" instead of "media.")

We also had a member sale table at the meeting, which was dangerous. I restrained myself and didn't buy any fleeces or yarn. However. While browsing the $1 table I did get a sleying hook for the loom and a threading hook for the spinning wheel, and some pins. I also got a package of 50 bobbin lace bobbins. Because I so need another hobby. I've been wanting to try this for a while, and cheap bobbins seemed like an omen.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Did some spinning last night. I'm still working on the 50/50 merino/tussah blend I started ages ago. I'm spinning this really fine, and I really like the way it's coming out. Just for kicks I decided to measure just how fine I'm spinning it. So I got a dowel and marked off an inch and started wrapping. And wrapping. And wrapping. Holy cow- I'm spinning a 110 wpi singles!! I mean, I knew it was fine, but my word. I'm quite proud of myself.

This should make pretty lace. I plied up a sample, and it's really soft and shiny, even though it's so firmly twisted.

Yay me!

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Not too much to talk about recently. The house purchase proceedes; just doing things like reviewing the inspection report, signing more mortgage papers, reading the community covenants and restrictions, etc. It still seems a little unreal.

Emma has been doing well as far as sleeping goes. She went 12 hours again last night. It's so wonderful! She and I decided this week that we are done with nursing. She's been losing interest for a while now, only really wanting to nurse at bedtime. Lately, even that has been hit or miss whether or not she'd pay attention long enough. So on Sunday we just stopped. She doesn't seem to miss it... :-( Another step away from being a baby.

I put the wings on her dragon Halloween costume on Tuesday. It's so cute!!!! I'm really pleased with how the wings came out. I actually sewed the wings on Monday night, then attached them to the costume on Tuesday morning before playgroup. It was so fun to see all the kids dressed up. I must say, though, that in my completely unbiased opinion, Emma had the cutest costume. But then again, she is the cutest baby ever, so how could she miss?

A side note- apparently the costume I got was not actually a dragon, but an alligator. Being the Florida State supporters that we are in this family, our sweet little girl could not appear in public as the mascot of the evil University of Florida. Shaun said flat out that she wasn't wearing it unless it looked less like a gator. He suggested flames coming from the mouth, but I opted for wings. I must admit it's cuter with the wings than without. Good call, Shaun.

I have had no luck finding a third skein of the blue yarn for the sailboat sweater, though I did find another of the red in the same dyelot. I may have to bite the bullet and just order it from the yarn shop, and wait the two months or whatever ridiculous amount of time it takes to get anything that way. While I was stewing about the blue sweater, I started the red one. It proceeds slowly- only about halfway up the back. Solid stockinette is just so mind-numbingly boring. I much prefer fancy cables.

The placemats on the loom are also languishing. I did finally get some more green sewing thread so I can do the hems on the fourth one, but I somehow haven't gotten around to it yet. Too bad, because I'm really looking forward to the log cabin dishtowels. I could probably weave off the third placemat in one evening if I put my mind to it, but inertia is hard to overcome.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Finished the front of the sailboat sweater and attached the shoulders last night. I'm quite pleased with the way the intarsia came out. Considering I've never done it before, the few bumps and wiggles aren't too bad. Now to do the sleeves and on to the red sweater! I think I may add stripes to the sleeves. That would use up some of the contrast color yarns, and would reduce the amount of main color needed. I could probably get by with just one more skein each of red and blue.

Emma and I went to spinning group yesterday. She slept nearly the whole time again- yay! I got to spin! We did have to leave early, though, to pick up Kai from school. Oh well, at least I got to go for a while.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

So yesterday we went to the realtor's office and signed the papers saying that we would willingly put ourselves into hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt. We are now under contract to buy the house! We paid the promissory note (such an innocuous term for a $5000 check...) and now we just have to wait for the mortgage agent to lock in our loans at the lowest possible rate between now and closing, and we're done! Closing is December 15!!!!!

We had the inspection done today ($400). The inspector seemed really thorough, and looked at everything. He said the house was well constructed, and he saw no major problems. There were several things that should be easy to fix, and the sellers will do those before leaving. The three worst were: a trim board that is missing from around the top of the house under the eaves, a water barrier under the front porch/steps where it passes over the foundation, and a section of missing insulation under the house. He said the roof looks good, the foundation looks good, the attic and crawlspace are dry (except a little under the front porch), electrical is fine, water is fine (though we may want to put pipe insulation on the feeder lines under the house), and decks are good. Overall it seems like a good, sound house.


I worked some more on the blue sweater last night, and got about a third of the way up the front. The intarsia pattern of the boat is coming out well! One thing, though- I think I'm going to need at least one more skein of the background blue. Which means that I'll need at least one more of the red, too, when I get to the next sweater.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Well. Well well well. So the mortgage agent (Julie) called on Friday and we have been approved for a loan. Apparently we have excellent credit! We also got word from our real estate agent (Chita) on Saturday morning that the sellers have countered our offer, but their counter is still within our budget and loan amount. We go to meet with Julie this morning at 11 to go over all the numbers again, then will get together with Chita and finalize things with her.

I still can't believe this. It seems far too quick. Exciting though! I keep telling myself that people buy houses all the time, and it's a perfectly normal thing to do, and just keep breathing...

In other, less earth-shaking news, I started the Hanukkah sweaters for the twin boys I used to babysit for. The yarn was backordered, and took forever to come in. I started and finished the back of one of the sweaters yesterday. I charted original designs to go on the fronts of the sweaters, with input from the boys on color and pictures. Maks wanted blue and orange, with a boat; Sam wanted red and yellow, with something like a sunflower (he likes symmetrical things). So I drew the pictures, transferred them to graph paper, and decided on colors. The backs and sleeves will be plain. I've finished the back of the blue sweater. I started out using a commercial pattern for the shaping, but had to heavily adapt it because the yarn I'm using knits up at a finer gauge than the pattern calls for. I just recalculated all the stitch counts/increases/decreases. My calculations seem to be correct, as the finished back is the size I was aiming for!

Emma and I went off-island yesterday, to Costco and assorted other errands. It's pretty ironic that going off island to buy things like diapers, wipes, cereal, and things like that actually saves us money. If we get one giant box of diapers and fill the gas tank at Costco, we've paid for the ferry ticket!

We had fun on the ferry on the way over. Emma is highly mobile and likes to watch people now, so we spent the entire hour and a half doing laps around the passenger deck of the boat. She toddled along, grinning and waving at everyone, with occasional shrieks of delight, and I followed behind. I was able to knit during this, since the back of the sweater is just plain stockinette with no color changes.

All this exercise meant, of course, that she was tired and ready for a nap when we got to the mainland. She fell asleep almost immediately when we got back in the car, so I drove to the farthest-away store first, and she got probably about 40 minutes sleep, what with waiting to unload the ferry then driving time.

So we did all our shopping errands and Emma sang and babbled away while strapped in the cart or her stroller, we had lunch, we did our last stop (Costco), then headed back to the ferry. We walked around the ferry area a little, then Emma was ready for a late afternoon nap. Back to the carseat, she fell asleep right away, and slept the rest of the wait in line (~1.5 hrs.), the entire ferry ride (~1.25 hrs.), and the whole ride home (~.5 hrs.). I guess she was tuckered!

Friday, October 15, 2004

Buying a house???? What am I thinking?? That's something grownups do!

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Oh, my head... it's all in a whirl. Where to start-

We went and saw three houses on Tuesday. The first was really nice. It's a two bedroom, two bathroom little house, really light, bright, and friendly feeling. Also close to town, nice yard, and only two years old, which are definate plusses. The second was OK, actually in town, but was rather cavernous, modern, and had a choppy floor plan. Very nice yard though. The third was much farther out of town, had huge bedrooms, and was very cozy and friendly, but right on a busy road. This third house had the biggest lot.

Wednesday we mulled things over, talked to the mortgage agent (Shaun did), and (in my case) spent a sleepless night thinking about spending money in the 6-figures.

Today, we went and looked at two more houses. The first today was out of our price range, but vey nice. We went mostly to have something to compare to, and weren't really considering it. The second we saw today was a little more reasonable, but neither Shaun nor I liked it much. It was OK, I suppose, but it was very 70's, and would need a fair bit of work. The lot was really nice- almost 2 acres, but the house itself was a little dark due to the large trees on three sides. I also got a weird vibe from the inside. It was sort of musty, and there was only one cabinet in the (cramped) kitchen. The master bedroom was on the first floor, right off the carport, and the other two bedrooms were on the other side of the house, upstairs. I'm a little uncomfortable with Emma being so far away. There was a large laundry room across from the master bedroom that could possibly have been adapted for Emma until she's older, but it wouldn't have been ideal. The whole house seemed a little damp. Outside, too, there were lots of mossy and dampish areas on the house and stonework.

Then we went back to the first one from Tuesday, and the more we looked at it, the more we liked it. We looked some more, and looked at each other, and decided-----


I can't quite believe it. This seems so fast. We went back to the realtor's office and filled out all the paperwork, and signed on the line with the X, and initialed on the jillion lines with the X's, and suddenly we are potential homeowners. The sellers have until Saturday 9:00 am to accept, reject, or modify the offer, and then we go from there.

I can't believe that in the space of less than a week, we've gone from cursory glances at the real estate pages in the paper, to this. Doesn't finding a house you like take longer than two days?

I get anxious about spending $100 at the grocery store- how am I going to deal with buying a HOUSE?

It is a really nice house, though. Now we just have to see if the offer is accepted, and if the financing comes through.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Well, we're embarking on a scary grown-up adventure today. Shaun and I are starting to look for a house. To buy. For our very own. Yikes! We go to meet the realtor in about half an hour.

Actually, I'm trying not to think too much about it, as I may start to hyperventilate....

Monday, October 11, 2004

I just discovered that Emma's next two teeth have appeared- the upper lateral incisors, on either side of her front teeth.

She's a hexadentate baby!
Emma slept 12 hours last night, without a single peep. She went to bed at 7:30 pm and woke up at 7:30 am. Woo hoo! Of course, I was awake at 5:00, but that's beside the point. I can wake up and lie in bed, drifting in and out of a haze, and still feel like I slept. If I have to get up and get Emma back to sleep, I wake up much more thoroughly. I'm so glad she's starting to sleep really well.

In other news, I wove TWO placemats yesterday! Just one more to go, then I can play with the log cabin pattern. It'll be interesting to see if the placemats come out remotely the same size. :-) I did use a marker paper while I was weaving, but I suspect that the warp tension varied several times as I advanced the cloth.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

After going to spinning group on Thursday, I got all energized to spin again, and did about three hours last night. That's after 2 1/2 hours in the afternoon on Thursday (Emma had a nap in her stroller almost the whole time we were at spinning group), so I really got a lot done. I'm currently working on a really nice Merino/silk blend that I got off Ebay. It spins up lovely- soft and with a nice sheen. I'm spinning it pretty fine, and will ply it for laceweight weaving yarn. I'm thinking scarves or a really drapey light shawl. Although I'm not sure about the shawl- where on earth would I wear it, for pete's sake.

The problem is that I like to make lace, but I'm just not a girly-girl, so I don't wear it. Same with doilies. So so so much fun to make, and really pretty, but there's a limit on how much lace I can stand to have on display in my house. Especially now that Emma is so mobile and curious. I caught her this morning carrying around a doily, waving it in the air and rubbing it under her nose like one of her blankets. With some doilies this wouldn't be a huge deal, but it was the "Nosegay" doily, which I really don't want to wash and block again if I don't have to. It took 352 pins and over an hour to block out the first time! After I blocked it, it spent the next three months rolled in tissue paper so it wouldn't get messed up before the County Fair. It did win a blue ribbon, though!

I have to get back to the loom, too. I haven't done any more on the placemat project since I finished the first one. Now that I have more than one shuttle, I won't have to cut the chenille yarn for the stripes; I can just carry it up the selvedge. I want to hurry up and finish the placemats so I can try out the log cabin pattern. So complicated looking, but just plain weave!

Friday, October 08, 2004

Pretty good days today and yesterday. Emma and I went swimming yesterday- we did 16 laps in the big pool before she got too cold and we went into the baby pool to warm up. Swimming laps is OK, if we get into the big pool first. If we get into the little pool first, there's no way we can then go to the big pool- way too cold! I think she has fun in the water. She was kicking and splashing a lot yesterday.

Today, I got a lot of work done- fed the flies, autoclaved 3 liters of agar, and will pour it when Shaun gets back from watching the Red Sox game.

Emma's sleeping right now, conked out in her stroller. Very sweet.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Woo hoo! I just SCORED at the Thrift Store! I found a Leclerc boat shuttle with bobbin, 8 Handwoven magazines, a cashmere and silk blend sweater, and a dragon Halloween costume for Emma. Total cost? $4.00! For everything! The shuttle is the same model as the one I have- an 11" closed-bottom, but I think it's older, as the slot for the thread has a metal rim, and it looks like it's seen some use. Not that it's in bad condition, just not shiny-new. I may try to clean it up with some steel wool, but really, it could be used just as it is. Yay! Now I have three, because just two days ago I ordered another one off the internet. Talk about timing- I should have waited. Too bad there wasn't a bobbin winder...

I haven't decided what I'm going to do with the sweater yet. Probably unravel it for weaving yarn. Maybe I'll use a different warp (silk?) and use the sweater yarn as weft only. I had to get the sweater, just because the yarn is so nice. Very fine gauge, and soooo soft.

Emma is so cute in her costume. It's a little big, but I think we can roll up sleeves and legs and it will work fine. It has a hood that has the dragon's face on it, and a ridge of spikes down the back, and a TAIL. My little green dragon.

We went to playgroup this morning. It was fun, except for this one woman who is so irritating. She knows everything about everything, and everything she knows is right, and don't try to tell her otherwise, because you're wrong. Excuse me, I'm sure. Grr.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Yesterday as I was washing dishes, I looked up and saw SIX Varied Thrushes and three Red-shafted Flickers flipping through the leaves on the ground in the backyard. What a treat! Varied Thrushes are so fancy looking.

Emma made up a little game yesterday. She held out her tiny teddy bear for me to kiss, then she held it up to her own lips, then held it up for me to kiss again, and so on. She thought it was really funny. She's so cute.

I've noticed in the past couple days that she is sucking her fingers more. Sometimes her thumb, but more often her middle two fingers. She still likes the pacifier, though.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Well, my frame of mind has improved somewhat since that last post. It helps that I got a lot of chores done this morning. A semi-clean house always makes me feel smug.

I finished weaving the chenille warp on Tuesday night. The third section wasn't long enough for a scarf, but I do think it's long enough for something, if only a little runner/table mat. On Thursday night, I warped the loom again for placemats, with a 5/2 pearl cotton warp. I'm using the green chenille for weft, because the 10 dent heddle is too widely sett for the pearl cotton, and I think using it for both warp and weft would be floppy. I finished one placemat that night. It looks OK, but I'm not super happy with the header and footer. I didn't want fringe on the mats, so I wove an inch with sewing thread and will turn under a hem. The thread was difficult to get an even selvedge with. I think I need a steeper angle in the shed, as it was pulling in fairly hard.

I think when I finish these placemats, I'll warp for the dishtowels in the log cabin pattern, but using two threads in both the warp and weft. That should make a more substantial fabric.

I like the way the chenille looked as both warp and weft, but the pearl cotton sure is easier as warp! The chenille shredded pretty badly if I didn't pay attention to how I handled the heddle. I think a chenille warp would be much easier on a table or floor loom. The rigid heddle loom can abrade the warp quite a bit.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Yesterday was a very long and complicated day. I babysat 11:30 to 12:30, then worked 12:30 to 1:30. During that time I fed the flies and mixed up 3 liters of agar solutions. Then I babysat 1:30 to 4:00. I thought Shaun had to catch the 4:15 ferry, so I went running around looking for him. Turns out that he changed his plans and was going to fly to Seattle instead of driving, then rent a car there and drive to Portland, so he didn't need a ride to the airport until 5:00. So I went back and babysat 4:15 to 5:00, then drove Shaun to the airport, then back to the lab to borrow a computer for the Textile Guild meeting (was going to use Shaun's, but obviously I couldn't if it's on its way to Portland.) I was going to pour the agar plates before the Textile Guild meeting, but there wasn't enough time, so Emma and I just went to get set up at the library.

So I was going to have a nice relaxed Textile Guild meeting this time. Shaun was going to take Emma, I was going to use his computer for the slide presentation, and I knew that the digital projector worked with the computer. However, Shaun had to go to Portland. So I borrowed a computer, which is a Mac, not a PC (urg). I get to to library, and the CD with the slides works fine in the computer (yay!), but the computer won't play nice and communicate with the projector. So instead of being able to watch a nice clear slideshow on the 4' x 5' screen, we had to squint and strain to see the computer screen. Meanwhile, Emma is very overtired, and crying because it's way past bedtime. I have a splitting headache, I haven't had dinner, and all I really want to do is tell people to just go home because I can't deal with all this.

Anyway, the slideshow was good, but no one could see it. Show and Tell was fun, and I got to show off my weaving and knitting. Finally the meeting was over. Time to go home, hooray.

Except that it isn't, not for me. I have to go back to lab and finish pouring those stupid plates. Emma and I don't get home until 10:30. At least Emma slept in her stroller while I poured the plates, lucky girl.

Finally I got home and could crawl into bed.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

So I finished the second scarf last night. Yay! I think I have almost enough left on the loom to do a third scarf, but I'm not sure. I think I'll just weave merrily along and see how it goes. Then to warp the loom for the towels!

I also got out the rotary cutter and trimmed all the placemats and the runner I finished ages ago. That rotary cutter is pretty slick! A little scary, though, how sharp it is. Keep Fingers Away!

This morning I got the alligator clips and some copper wire to make my fringe twister. I plan to make it a three-pronger, so I can make twisted cording for edging ornaments and making bookmark tassels as well. I'm not sure about the copper wire (#8 gauge), because I don't know if I can get it straightened out enough. I may still try to find a wire clothes hanger.

Emma slept mostly through the night last night. She woke briefly at 3:15 (this seems to be a trend) and all I did was hand her her pacifier and blanket. She laid herself back down (first time for that!) and went right back to sleep. As she was laying down, she said "Mommmmyyyy." Very sweet. I don't think she's ever called me Mommy before, just Mama or Mom-mom.

No bad dreams last night- I dreamed that Emma was learning to weave, and kept showing me her samples.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Well, the trip to Seattle was a success. This is the first time I've been to Seattle on my own, and while city driving is not my thing, I think I did OK. The fact that Weaving Works is fairly close to the highway helps.

Weaving Works. Extremely fun store. Extremely bad for me to go to with a credit card. I spent over a hundred dollars, and was only there less than an hour. But it was all good stuff, honest! I got a Leclerc boat shuttle, 5 extra bobbins, a 60" tape measure (since mine has apparently disappeared), three cones of yarn for dish towels, and two books. They have lots of yummy yarns there. I was going to get a fringe twister but didn't, since I think I can make one fairly easily. Shaun has lots of scraps of pretty wood at his shop, I found alligator clips at the hardware store for 90 cents each, and I think clothes hanger wire will do for the cranks. I'm not quite up to making a shuttle, but I can do better than a $13 fringe twister. So it's not that I spent a lot, it's that I SAVED money, right?! That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

I also stopped at Joanne's in Burlington and got a rotary cutter, cutting mat, and acrylic ruler so I can finally trim fringes properly. I really should finish off the placemats and tablerunner I took off the loom ages (like a year and a half) ago. Although, come to think of it, I did finish 3 of the four placemats, and I'm not sure I like the way the fringe looks on them. I used crochet cotton for the warp and acrylic yarn for the weft (hey, it was my first weaving project and I was impatient to begin), so the knotted thread fringes look skimpy. Maybe I'll just trim the fringe short and do an overcast edge. But I can still use the rotary cutter for that!

I tried out the boat shuttle yesterday, and man, does it make a difference! I wove more than half a scarf the same length as the first one I did, in less than half the time. It is so nice to just toss the shuttle, and have the yarn unroll itself, just the amount I need, and not have to pull miles of extra through each pick. Stick shuttles are for the birds.

I did discover, however, that I need a bobbin winder. I thought I might be able to get by using my spinning wheel, and while a chopstick jammed into the flyer orifice worked, it was definitely not optimal. I checked on Ebay and there are quite a few listed, so I should be able to get one for under $50.

One of the books I got was on log cabin weave, which looks really interesting. I hadn't realized that it could be done on two harnesses (and therefore a rigid heddle loom). The dishtowels I bought yarn for (5/2 perle cotton in white/blue/yellow, which were on sale, so I saved money again-see!) will be log cabin. There are lots of interesting variations in the book, and the towel project may morph into placemats as well.

In other news, I think Emma is about to get some more teeth. She was really good on the trip to Seattle- she did fuss some, but who wouldn't- cooped up in the car all day. Yesterday, however, was not so good. She was fussy all day, and wouldn't nap. She would sleep for maybe 40 minutes, then wake up still tired, cranky, and refusing to sleep. She also cried when I brushed her top gum before bed last night. I can see the two teeth in either side of the ones she already has on the top, and they're getting bulgier. When her other teeth did that they were almost ready to pop through.

She did sleep well last night, though. She woke briefly at 3:15 and that was it. I kind of wish she had woken more, as I was having horrible dreams about her dying. She drowned after being kidnapped by terrorists and taken along with a bunch of other people onto a ship, which then hit another ship and sank. Sort of 9/11 meets the Titanic. I tried negotiating with the terrorists to let her go, but they said there were no exceptions and they had to keep her. It was awful. I woke up sweating and crying, only to fall asleep and start the dream again. I should have just gotten up.

I finally did get up at 7:00, and to try and forget the dream, I started a kid's book I got Saturday at the used book store in town. It's The Hermit Thrush Sings, and I'm really enjoying it. I basically picked it up because of the title (sucker for hermit thrushes), but it sounded interesting so I bought it. I only got about halfway through before Emma woke up, but it's way better than I expected. I'm always a little suspicious of books I haven't read or heard of. I guess it's because I read books I like over and over and over. Recently, though, I've felt like I'm in a rut, and have searched out new reads in the library. The DaVinci Code was good, and The Shell Seekers, and the Elm Creek Quilts series (which made me want to make a quilt). Deception Point was good (same author as The DaVinci Code), but I had a really weird dream after reading it, inspired by the book. I seem to be an extremely suggestible dreamer. I often have dreams inspired by books or TV, usually after watching/reading something scary.

Anyway, back to work. More weaving tonight- finish that scarf!

Friday, September 24, 2004

Have I mentioned that I hate my job? No? Well, I do.
Well, Emma did it again! She slept (nearly) through the night. I say nearly, because she did wake briefly at 3:15, but all I had to do was lay her back down, and she went right back to sleep. And I was awake anyway, so it wasn't like she was depriving me of any sleep. I don't know why I was awake, except that I occasionally do that- wake up at 2ish, then can't get back to sleep for a couple hours. Probably not enough excercise.

I'm going to Seattle tomorrow. I need to do some errands off-island anyway (Costco, pet food, etc), so I decided that I'd just trek to Seattle and visit the weaving shop that all my textile guild friends are always talking about. I want to get a boat shuttle for my loom, as I only have stick shuttles now, and they are a pain to use. Unwieldy and awkward. I have a chenille warp on the loom right now, and have already woven one scarf off it using the stick shuttle. I'm really proud of the way it came out, but I want to see if a boat shuttle speeds up the process any. Weaving is fun. I think for the next scarf I weave, I'm going to try a twill. If I can figure out how to do that on the rigid heddle loom. I think it's just a matter of using a pick-up stick. Need to check that out.

Emma will be coming with me, of course, so hopefully she won't be too fussy. She's usually a pretty good traveller. She likes her carseat.

I haven't done any fibery things since Wednesday! After I finished the little knitted doily, I did start a crocheted doily, but haven't gotten very far yet. It's this one. I've almost finished the solid center part of the pinwheel.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Woo hoo! A really really good day! Emma slept 12 1/2 hours last night! Straight through! Didn't wake at all! (That I heard, anyway). I woke up at 8:00, and peeked in her room, and she was still conked out. So I got to have breakfast by myself, and then she woke up at 8:15 or so. She's been doing really well for the past week, sleeping-wise, usually waking once during the night, but last night was the first time she went SO long.

I worked in the morning, and Emma hung out with me, then we babysat before/during lunch, and I worked some more in the afternoon while Emma was at the babysitter's. She was asleep when I picked her up at 2:00, and I put her in her stroller and she continued her nap quite peacefully for another THREE hours! I don't think she's ever taken a three hour nap. Granted, she didn't have a morning nap today, but still!

Plus, she's been in a really happy mood today. It's nice.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Hmm hmm hmm. Not a very interesting day. I babysat, worked about 3 hours, and Emma and I went swimming while Shaun worked out. It was Lifeguard Swim, so there were a lot of kids in the pool. Why are other people's kids often so annoying? Note to self- don't go to Lifeguard Swim anymore. Unfortunately, that was the only time Emma and I could go today.

I finished a little knitted doily last night out of #30 ecru Cebelia. Turned out OK, but I'm not a big fan of creating circles out of short-row segments. I'd rather do them in the round from the center out, that way there's no seam to sew at the end.

I've been doing crochet with sewing thread recently, so using #30 felt like rope!

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Well, so here I go in the high-tech world of blogging. I thought this might be a good way to keep track of my thoughts, my little girl Emma's accomplishments (she just turned one!), and my various needlework and fiber arts projects.

Of note to report today- I finished another hat last night, out of Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece, color Lapis. It's the third one I've made using my own pattern. Same pattern for all three, but I keep tweaking it a little each time. This latest one is a little too short for Emma's head, so I may add a cuff. The other two are in color Cranberry, and are for size 9-12 mo. Maybe I'll put a picture up if I can figure out how.

Emma has been walking a lot! I think she's about done with crawling, as she much prefers upright mobility now. She has managed to stand up on her own a few times without holding on to anything, and can crouch down from standing to pick something up, then stand again with no support. What a big girl!

She also has four teeth now, two top and two bottom. Hopefully the next round of teething will hold off a while. She's been sleeping well- only woke once last night, at 1:00, then slept until 7:30!!!!!