Monday, April 30, 2007

Big Box O' Happy (aka Pimping my Vendors)

I got a big box of happy today. I really needed it, too, since I had a massive migraine. And with regards to migraines, I have a tip. Whatever you do, NEVER, EVER take a sip of Dr Pepper and follow it with a packet of Goody's "cool orange" headache powder. First of all, "cool orange" is marketing verbage for sickly sweet reenactment of mixing toothpaste and oj. Secondly, carbonated soft drink plus powdered medicine in the mouth-throat junction equals enormous amounts of foaming nastiness. Yup, Goody's minty-fresh-oj-aspirin-dr-pepper foam all up the sinuses and foaming OUT MY NOSE. I just wish Mr. Robincat had the presence of mind to take a picture. He knew there wasn't much he could do to help the situation, so he just wrangled the kids while I made the situation worse by trying to wash the nastiness down with EVEN MORE DR PEPPER. Smooth move, Sherlock. This just made more foam.

But let me tell you.... the migraine is GONE! I guess I absorbed all the aspirin/acetaminophen/caffeine through the blood vessels in my sinus cavity, cause I never did feel it go down my throat.

Anyway, on to the big box of happy. It came in the mail today, along with another packet of roving from . Oh. I haven't shown you pictures of my other packets of roving? You'll have to wait til tomorrow. Too much has gone on today for me to be taking more pictures right now. Big box of happy is from the absolute best kept secret in Ashford vendors, Running Moon Farm. Their website is . They raise Gulf Coast Native sheep, which I swear must have the most luscious, sprongy wool in the known world and they sell hand-dyed spinning batts from these lovely sheepies. They also have (wait for it....) hand-turned orifice hooks -- with sett gauges in the handles. They are beautiful. Yeah, it looks good in the picture, but it is SWEET in the hand... soooo smooth and perfectly balanced. And really. I emailed Margrett at RMF on Thursday about getting a custom orifice hook and Ashford hi-speed kit and they are here TODAY. They turned it for me Thursday night before milking. (Actually, they did 3, so I could pick from a variety... how cool are they???) She takes paypal, too.

On a completely different note, this is the progress we've made on "The Park" so far. It's been raining almost every weekend since we bought it (and it's raining today). I would say that we spent forever levelling it, but either we got really lucky or really blessed with the levelling. We put some mulch on the weed barrier to get ready to level it, moved it 1 foot towards the mulch just to get it out from under the tree. I put the level on it to see how much work we had ahead of us, and IT WAS MIRACULOUSLY LEVEL. In all 3 dimensions. How cool is that?

Monday, April 23, 2007

A Rose is a Rose is....

not the wheel for me.

I'm so sad. I tried Mary's Majacraft Rose yesterday and I loved it. Well, I loved the top half. Speed was great. Really great.

However. Treadling was another story. It was fine until I adjusted the brake string to get some take-up, and then it just dragged. Grr. I really want a Suzie Pro, but I'll have to try one of them out now to see if it's "a Majacraft thing" or just "a Rose thing."

So far, I've tried a Rose, Sonata, Joy, Polonaise, Mazurka, Fricke ST, Victoria.... and I own a Traveller.

Rose - Love the speed. Too hard to treadle, and have to ratchet up the brake to get any take-up. Dislike the delta orifice and hate the sliding hook.

Sonata - LOVE the treadling, but would have to get a high-speed whorl. Like the cup-hook style flyer and portability. Concerned about production-level durability.

Joy - Just feels unresponsive. Treadling feels gooey (maybe I just hate stretchy drive bands). Not fond of the frame set-up (dangerous for toddler fingers).

Polonaise - Love the speed. Not a fan of the off-center ST. Heavy treadling required, but that was probably becayse it was cranked up way too tight. Need to test-drive a Symphony.

Mazurka - Not even in the running. Darling little wheel, but not heavy enough for my fiber appetite. Plus, I've got the Traveller already and not a fan of ST.

Fricke ST - Well, it's an ST. And kinda homely. It spins great, but I keep feeling like the flyer is going to fall in my lap. Don't like the orifice/flyer either.

Victoria - Kills my knees. Too small. Super portable, though. Just not the thing for me. Spins FANTASTIC, though.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Yesterday's Progress

Sorry for the bad picture quality. It's currently raining outside. We have to move some of the mulch from the front yard to level the thing now, and then finish putting on the decking to finish the current "step" in the manual. Onwards and upwards.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Neverending Sweater

Oh my gourds! She's multiposting again!

Yeah, well both my kids are asleep. I take advantage of that whenever I can.

This, my friends, is the neverending sweater. I won't tell you what size my husband is, but it isn't a women's small. This sucker has a lot of stitches.
And there's about a bazillion more rows to go before the neck (well, more like 30, but it FEELS like a bazillion). At least he's anti-turtleneck.

Ok, now for the gory details.

It's out of Paton's Pure Merino in "Natural Marl," found on sale last year at Michael's for something ridiculous like $4 for 220yds. It's very very soft and arany.

Pattern: Zimmerman's Knitting Without Tears, Beth Brown-Reinsel's Knitting Ganseys, and Elsebeth Lavold's Vikingmonster book all had a baby together. You can see the freakishness of my pattern drafting in the armshaping, which is BOTH raglan AND gusset. Yup, my husband is a freak with fat armpits... (just kidding... it's really because he has to streeeeetch way over the table when he plays pool and billiards).

Playground Progress

Just in case anyone is googling away to find out how to put this thing together (like we did), this is the "Costco Sunray 2007 Playground." RUN, do not walk, to Find Scott's instructions, read them THOROUGHLY, and put it together his way. Some of the manufacturer's instructions, although correct, actually make assembly more difficult.

And they said it couldn't be done.

This is the progress we made over the weekend. That includes buying a pneumatic wrench, corded drill, weed barrier, and a case of Dublin Dr Pepper for fuel. (That's not an alcoholic drink, y'all. It's the GOOD Dr Pepper.) In case you're wondering, all those boards were numbered by yours truly.... I stole the kids' sidewalk chalk for the job, though.

Not a fight yet in sight. However, we did manage to clarify the definitions of both "plumb" and "square." Ask away, but we'll never tell.

We also have a frickin' huge pile of mulch in our front yard for the play surface. Like the entire contents of a dump truck. Pflugerville is so cool like that. It was FREE. Now we just need to buy a new wheelbarrow......
BTW, power tools are FUN!!!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Etsy Shop Update

Toddlerette named this light fingering weight yarn "Don't Be Shy."

There's 835yds of this yummy stuff....

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Yummy Yummy Goodness

I normally don't blog about food, but this was just too good. And you'd THINK I would be tired of eggs after Easter and all that? Nah. This is a serious adulteration of a recipe from Diane Mott Davidson's novel, Dying for Chocolate. Here's a picture after 2 adults and 2 toddlers attacked it...

Here's the recipe (my version). It's low-fat. I promise!!

1 8oz package shredded cheddar cheese

1 butter-tub container shredded parmesan cheese

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2/3 cup milk

1/3 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 handfull fresh spinach

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

5 eggs

Preheat oven to 375. Butter a cake pan. Put cheese in cake pan. Put spinach and walnuts over cheese. Beat eggs, add flour, salt, and nutmeg; beat in cream and milk. Pour this mixture over everything, do not mix, and bake for 45 minutes. Try not to eat it all in one sitting.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Sleet on Easter?

Ok, so they're technically ice pellets. But seriously, this is CENTRAL TEXAS! It's not supposed to be this cold in the winter, much less Easter. Good thing I bought Toddlerette and Uberboy sweaters to go with their Easter outfits!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Helmet Liner Pattern

This is a pattern I wrote last fall that I never got around to posting.
ETA: I am SO ashamed of myself for not putting this in earlier. This pattern was inspired (very greatly) by Tychus. It's the same basic technique, just different gauge, yarn, and no color changes to fret about.
Materials: 1 ball Austermann Step (420yds/100g) color 01

Supplies: US size 2 or US size 3 knitting needles (or to make gauge), Small Tapestry Needle

Gauge: 32sts and 44rows over 4”x 4” (10cmx10cm) square in garter stitch

Techniques Required: Provisional Cast-On, Garter Short Rows (no wraps), Grafting

Provisionally cast-on 48 stitches.
Begin leaf (make 5 together – do not break yarn or cast off between leaves):
All even rows, knit to end of row.
Row 1: Knit 48. Turn work.
Row 3: Knit 46. Turn work.
Row 5: Knit 44. Turn work
Row 7: Knit 42. Turn work
Row 9: Knit 40. Turn work
Row 11: Knit 38. Turn work
Row 13: Knit 36. Turn work
Row 15: Knit 34. Turn work
Row 17: Knit 32. Turn work
Row 19: Knit 30. Turn work
Row 21: Knit 28. Turn work
Row 23: Knit 24. Turn work
Row 25: Knit 20. Turn work.
Row 27: Knit 24. Turn work.
Row 29: Knit 28. Turn work.
Row 31: Knit 30. Turn work.
Row 33: Knit 32. Turn work.
Row 35: Knit 34. Turn work.
Row 37: Knit 36. Turn work.
Row 39: Knit 38. Turn work.
Row 41: Knit 40. Turn work.
Row 43: Knit 42. Turn work.
Row 45: Knit 44. Turn work.
Row 47: Knit 46. Turn work.
Row 48: Knit to end. End of 1st leaf.

After row 48 of the fifth leaf is completed, knit 2 rows, and break yarn, leaving plenty to graft with. Remove waste yarn from provisional cast-on and graft cast-on edge to work on needles. Weave in ends and block if desired.

Monday, April 02, 2007

We LOVE our kids

I mean, we REALLY LOVE our kids.

We bought them a park. No. Seriously. We did. With this year's bonus. Because apparently, they have stolen our brains and we don't actually need a new fridge or the deck refinished or any of those "REAL" needs. Not like they need a park, anyway. Well, they actually do.

They're getting THIS . It will be coming in VERY BIG boxes from Costco in a delivery truck. The delivery man will dump the boxes in our driveway. Assembly is up to us (meaning James wants to do it even though I could probably do it better -- 'cause I READ instructions).

I'm scared. Very scared. I WANT MY MOMMY!!!!! (just because she's the absolute world's best handywoman.... seriously)

I have no idea when this thing is getting here or how ridiculous we'll look trying to assemble it in the back yard, but stay tuned for updates on "assembling a park."

Sheesh. We love these kiddos. (And don't worry, Mom. We're still going to wash and seal the deck and get a new fridge. ;) )