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.