Monday, May 29, 2006

fun with the boys

The boys and I have been pretty busy lately. The Dearest "took a week off" (meaning he was supposed to actually have some time to do home projects, but he ended up having to work nearly the whole week anyways. What *is* it with people who expect you to work during your vacation? /rant) and we went to Legoland. We've also been taking some Music Together classes, which Monkey Boy really loves. Today (Memorial Day) was spent playing in our new inflatable pool. Here are some shots from the past week:
summer with the boys
click for a larger view

Since the Dearest was able to spend some quality time with the boys, I was able to dye these rovings:

"Sea & Sand"


The second roving started out as "Copper Penny", but someone on Flickr commented that it looked like a cinnamon roll so I renamed it Cinnabon. LOL These are both 50/50 tussah silk and merino blends, about 4oz each. I used Jacquard and Cushing dyes to handpaint them with little spots of color. The Cinnabon roving is a little more saturated than I intended, but I still like it. When spun, these rovings produce a slightly heathered look due to the undyed parts.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Here it goes....

I spent a couple of hours over the weekend dyeing yarn for my DyeORama secret pal and came up with these:

DyeORama Swap Yarn, part of May Proj. Spectrum
"Sargasso Sea"
DyeORama swap yarn
"The Ocean Blue"

She wanted "blues and greens and purples", so hopefully she likes the finished product. We're only supposed to be sending one skein, but I can't make up my mind which one is better so she'll get both. :) The skeins are 350+yds each, superwash yarn in a fingering weight. I was a little concerned at first since the yarn seemed really thin (even for fingering). But after dyeing and hanging to dry, it's softened & plumped up quite nicely.

More adventures in dyeing:

"Violas" on the left, "Pansies" on the right

"Cherry Blossoms"
350yds of DK weight superwash

150yds of fingering weight superwash...colors are a bit washed out here.

Dyeing is so much fun! However, I think I"m going to have to start selling all this yarn- there's no way in the world that I will be able to use every thing that I dye. And I know that the Dearest is getting tired of tripping over all the yarn. : )

Saturday, May 20, 2006

It's May, right?

I ask because for some reason I "lost" April. This morning I woke up and was surprised to realize that it's already May 20th. What happened to April and the first 20 days of May???

Anyhew....My Project Spectrum spinning for April is finally done:
Finally! April's Project Spectrum done!
Nearly 400 yards of handdyed BFL I got from ebay (can't remember the seller). Light worsted weight and probably destined for socks (for me!).

And I was finally able to take pics of my Mother's Day present from the Dearest:
My Mother's Day Gift
Isn't it cute? The lining can be extended upward and it has a drawstring so the Dearest thought it would make a good small project bag for knitting. I've actually been using it as a purse since it's so Spring-y.

Last night I spent about 2 hours working on my Green Gable sweater. Some of the ladies on the GG KAL said that their sweaters grew a lot during blocking, so despite my having a 39 inch bust, I'm making the 38inch size sweater. But now I'm worried that the sweater will be too tight over the girls. After trying my sweater on, I decided to attempt some short rows to make the bust less tight. An hour (and much ripping) later, the short rows were out and I just threw in three sets of increases around the bust. I'm going to decrease them away and hopefully that will do. If not, my Sis would love a Green Gable!

Friday, May 19, 2006

I'm alive, I really am

Yes, I know it's been *awhile* since I posted. I could give the usual blogger excuses ("too busy" "lost my camera" "nothing interesting going on"), but honestly I just didn't feel like blogging. But the blog bug has bitten again, so here I am with much randomness:

Mother's Day: Mine was great! DH washed my car for me, then we went to lunch with my mom and stepdad, where yummy Chinese food was had by all. I got to take a relaxing afternoon nap while DH & Little Man went to the hardware store. Later that night DH presented me with the cutest little basketweave purse full of yummy Bath and Body Works stuff. Very sweet, especially since he said that he picked the basket/purse because he thought I could use it for a knitting carryall.

WIP Roll Call:
Step Socks for Sis: One down, the second is about 1/2 the way down the cuff.

DH's Sandy Socks: I thought I had a pic of this, but it turns out I don't. Anyways, I'm done with one sock and am starting the instep of the second sock.

Project Spectrum Socks: First one done, 2 inches into the cuff of the second one.

(does anyone sense a sock theme? I didn't realize that I had so many socks going right now!)

I just finished these cuties for Monkey Boy out of my own handspun:
Monkey Boy Socks

I'm still knitting on the Tshirt Sweater from Ella Rae. The back is about 10 rows from being finished. I had a scare when I realized that I didn't have enough yarn to finish the front. I'd bought four skeins of Malabrigo "Red Pearl", which should have been more than enough- I had over 800yds of worsted and the pattern calls for only 650yds of a DK weight yarn. Luckily one of the ladies at LPK (where I'd bought the original skeins) was willing to part with one of her skeins so I'll actually be able to finish the sweater.

As for Veste Evereste, I had to spin this up before I could start on the back.

All of my stalled sweater projects meant that I had to start something I could actually finish. Plus I didn't have a project in mind for May's Project Spectrum color of green. So I decided to try Green Gable:
Green Gable
I'm using Cotton Fleece in "Rue". I've tried it on and so far it fits pretty well. The neckline doesn't flop over when I'm wearing it, thank goodness. GG is just flying along (good TV sweeps knitting)- maybe I'll actually finish it sometime soon!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Fresh air and fresh eggs

One of the Dearest's clients has a little avocado farm near San Diego, and every time the Dearest has to go down there to do work, the client says "You should bring your family down and play on the farm."

Today we did just that. The boys were wowed by all the avocados (Monkey Boy kept trying to pick up green ones and eat them). There was a whole henhouse full of beautiful chickens, a mini vinyard, 40+ acres of avocado trees, bee hives and (the biggest hit of all with the boys) a golf-cart/atv to ride around in. The caretaker, Juan, has four kids of his own so he was great with Little Man. LM was super excited to actually get the chance to "drive" the "jeep"- Juan let LM sit in his lap and help him steer. Best of all was Abraham, Juan's 5yr old son, who led LM all over the place and told him the names of all the chickens, and where to watch for snakes (!), and which oranges were the best to pick.

We came home with two huge boxes of lemons, avocados, oranges and pummelos. They also had some macadamia nut trees. LM and Abraham crawled all under the trees and came out with their hands and pockets full of nuts. Later Juan showed us to how crack them open using a hammer. I don't actually like macadamia nuts, but they taste very different when they're raw. It's a coconut-y taste and texture that agrees with me.

Unfortunately I didn't take my camera with me around the farm because I already had my hands full with Monkey Boy. So here are some pics of the stuff we brought home:

really fresh eggs
*really* fresh eggs....I love the green one on top

how to crack fresh macadamias
cracking the macadamias with a hammer
taking them out of the shell
picking them out of the shell
Yummy nuts!
LM shows off his macadamia

Friday, May 05, 2006

Geek Ahoy!!!

My poor poor poor children. They are doomed to be geeks. It's in their DNA, after all. The Dearest is a computer consultant who grew up around 'puters and loves to work on them. My own exposure to computers started when my mom's boyfriend brought home a Texas Insturments/TI99. It was a little keyboard that didn't even come with its own monitor; you had to hook it up to a TV. I spent a whole, hot summer between fourth and fifth grades learning how to make a white ball bounce up and down on the tv screen using Basic.

The Dearest and I met through the precursor to the Internet: a local BBS (Bulletin Board System). There were *so* few women online at that time that the SysOp who owned the board would call to make sure you were actually a live person (cuz lots of guys would log on, pretending to be female just to play jokes on the other users). The BBS was all text and ran at 1200bps over a regular phone line. Looking back, it was sooooo slow and clunky compared to the 'net!

Anyhew, I think with all the backstory, you can see how doomed the boys are to be geeks. And if their background isn't enough, I'm doing my best to geek them out. Like so:

Another freezer paper shirt

click for larger pic
Yes, that's right, Monkey Boy has his very own freezer paper stenciled shirt, proclaiming our status as BSG geeks. I think the shirt is especially appropriate for MB and his evil little grins.
BTW here's the back of the shirt, which I did with an iron on transfer:
Back of Tshirtcloseup

Devinemom asked me in the last post what ink I used for my stenciling. I got the original idea from a tutorial on (I would link to the post, but Craftster is soooo slow lately. Just search for 'freezer paper' and it'll come up). I use the cheapy acrylic craft paint from the local hobby store. It's the stuff that is 89cents a bottle and comes in about a gazzillion colors. I also use the "extender" stuff, which is sold in the same aisle. You add the paint to the extender (2parts paint to 1part extender), mix them up and go to town. I use a cheap sponge brush to apply the paint, and I've found that it's better to use a really thin coat & add more later than try to goop it all on right at the beginning. Less chance of bleeding if you do the thin coats vs. the thick application.

Oh, on the knitting front, I'm almost completely done with Sis's sock. All I have to do is sew up the toe and weave in the ends. Hopefully I'll be able to post some pics tonight.

Finally, for those SAHMs out there, check out Cheeky Lotus's Manic Momday post. So true!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Little Man the Artiste

Little Man loves to draw and recently he's been really fascinated with robots. I love his drawings, they are so sweet. The robots always have happy faces with big eyes, and LM usually has a story to tell me about each one.

I wanted to make a bag or Tshirt with one of his drawings on it, and yesterday I finally did it. I used freezer paper, traced one of his drawings onto it and used that as a stencil. Here's the original drawing (sorry for the darkness of the photo- it was *dark* today):
robot drawing

And here's the new shirt, a Little Man Original:
first freezer paper stencil

Freezer paper stenciling is sooo easy and fun, I'm getting hooked. I spent over an hour today looking at different images for more stencils. Monkey Boy is getting a new shirt tomorrow and I want to stencil on a couple of my old T-shirts (hopefully covering some stains! LOL).