Friday, November 30, 2007
Monday - late night at work (relatively) packing the rental truck with all our gear for the next day of field work. Had to get to bed early because of next morning's early rise.
Tuesday - Ended up having to book a hotel for impromptu stay to finish the job the next day. I had no overnight toiletries and change of clothes or computer or knitting or spinning to keep me occupied. So I pouted about my unfortunate situation and went to bed.
Wednesday - came home, unpacked and went to bed early- really tired.
Thursday - got involved in making a big dinner, did some knitting on the sweater. I was in an exciting transitional part where the instructions stated to slip stitches onto scrap yarn for the sleeves and begin working on body portion of sweater, at which point I decided to add some texture stripes. Consequently, I knitted until bedtime.
Tonight: I would like to share my recipe from last night's dinner and knitting progress. Also got some more fiber from Tanglewood Fiber Creations to start spinning. Stay tuned!
Sunday, November 25, 2007
I love the hardwood floors! They will be stained a walnut color.
View from "the gathering room" of the kitchen and front entry way.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Needless to say, as soon as we moved to the couch after lots of talking and eating, I fell asleep for a short nap... a few times, since we stayed till nearly 1:00. Not being a night person anymore because of the early mornings during the weekday, I struggle to keep up with the rest. But at least I wasn't the only one, because as soon as Tracy sat down she was out for the rest of the night other than about 15 minutes when she woke herself up for part of the conversation and went right back to sleep!
At Tracy's they have a tradition of going around the circle and everyone states what they are thankful for, which I thought was really neat. So this is what I am thankful for: family, our health, a fantastic husband who is also my best friend, new friends and old friends, good jobs, the comforts that we have, feeling so welcome in a new city. These are just a few. But I am truly thankful for these things every day and at least I don't feel that Paul and I take any of these blessings for granted.
As for today, it is a playground. Paul is already searching the internet for Black Friday specials and I'm about to do some spinning or knitting. Later today we might go out and get some Christmas shopping done during the sales or go see our house progress or maybe not. Having no solid plans is so nice sometimes!
I have started knitting the Anniversary Sweater and it's moving right along so I keep spinning more yarn to keep up with the knitting. I'm nearing the end of what I have carded so I will soon need to do some more carding to keep up with the spinning to keep up with the knitting. I was going to originally card everything first, but I get bored doing the one step forever, so I keep going back and forth to change it up a bit. I'll post pictures when I get a good full bobbin of the single yarn and then the plied yarn.
Oh, and I've given up keeping the whole thing hidden from Paul. There is so little time to work on it if I only work when he's not here. He's just trying to not pay too close attention to what I'm doing.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
These pictures are taken around my apartment complex, but my whole ride to work is pretty.
Friday, November 16, 2007
I hadn't blended fiber before but had read some about it in books and magazines. So I gave it a try using a bit of book technique and a bit of my own.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
I followed Shirley's instructions as I remembered them (which could be worrying as my memory is not always that great).
- Spread the fiber on an old blanket and sorted through, pulling out some of the larger vegetable matter such as sticks and straw.
- Divided the pile in half and loaded one half into a mesh bag.
3. Filled the washer machine halfway with hot water and Orvus Paste or similar (I used Animal Legend Paste Detergent from a livestock supply store).
4. Carefully submerged the mesh bag in the water, being careful not to agitate it to prevent felting.
5. Left the washer lid up so that the cycle did not continue. Let the fiber soak without agitation. I left it in for about an hour or so, but I don't know if we really need to leave it in that long.
6. Advanced the cycle to the LAST spin cycle and let the washer do it's thing: drain and spin-dry the fiber.
7. Removed fiber and let it dry on a rack.
8. Repeated Steps 1-7 with second half.
It will probably take a few days to dry so now it's time to just be patient!
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Now, I know you are wondering why the heck I'm writing right now when Paul and I should be celebrating. The reason is that I am getting home really early these days since I'm riding my bike to work and don't want to come home in the dark. So I'm working 8 - 4:30ish and skipping lunch. Paul won't be home until 7:00 so I had time to get things in order around here, since I have to partake in the chores now that Paul is a hard-working man. My list included taking out the trash and unloading the dishwasher. Plus, I set up the cards that our families sent so we can open them tonight. Not too difficult, so I had a little time to spare.
The anniversary mood and cold weather inspired me to make the sweater that I plan on making for Paul (he knows about this because I had to explain why it took me 9 hours to get home from Fishersville). This is the very one for which evolved into the all-day alpaca chase on the way home from Virginia last week. Paul if you are reading this, don't read any further or you will see the sweater design, fiber and everything. It's ok if you don't want to be surprised, but I know how you like a surpise...
This is the pattern that I got from Carole's because she suggested that it would be much easier to make a sweater like this as a beginner sweater maker, than to mess with knitting each piece separately and sewing together like I had tried in the "biceps sweater." This one you knit from the neck down in one piece on circular needles. Just what I need!
Here is the lovely alpaca fiber I bought from Shirley at Misty Farms. I sneeze every time I open the bag because it is alpaca fiber in the raw and needs a bath. Tomorrow night when Paul is in Ohio I will commence the washing ritual. This is not the most fun part of fiber preparation and I would personally skip this step and go straight to the clean stuff, but 1) it's cheaper to buy it this way 2) alpaca is pricey 3) it's a relatively clean fiber as it has no grease and so is not too labor intensive. Shirley gave me some simple instructions for washing it in the washing machine, leaving out the agitation step to avoid felting. I'll post the steps tomorrow so you can see.
I better get ready to go out to dinner, Paul should be home soon. I think we concluded on an Italian restaurant which might require a little dressing up as opposed to the other option which was Quaker Steak and Lube (a little more casual as the name suggests- gas station turned steak-n-burger joint).
Monday, November 12, 2007
Classic Cream Scones
- 2 cups of flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 4 tsp. baking powder
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1/3 cup chilled unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup currants or raisins (optional).
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F, lightly butter a baking sheet. In a large bowl, stir flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. cut the butter into 1/2 inch cubes and distribute over flour mixture. Cut the butter into the flour using two knives in a scissor fashion or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a small bowl, mix cream, egg and vanilla and add to the flour mixture. Stir until combined. Drop 2" rounds of dough from spoon onto cookie sheet for a rough look, or pat dough to a 1/2" thickness on a floured surface and use a glass to cut out rounds from the dough. Bake for about 13-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove baking sheet and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before removing scones. Serve warm with whipped cream and jam. Leftovers, if there are any, can be stored in an airtight container for a few days.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
40 minutes later I was on another country road that had narrowed down to one lane and felt the intuitive feeling that I have somehow missed it. Noticing a car close behind me, I pulled over to let them pass, but the lady pulled up next to me and rolled down her window. "Honey, are you lost?"
Friday, November 9, 2007
The reason that I'm writing to y'all in this morning before I leave is that I felt the urgent need to make a little plea for help and better to get the word out sooner rather than later. I really miss spinning with other spinners. If there are any Charlotte, NC readers that know of a good spinning guild in the area and contact info so I can find out meeting dates/times please let me know! You can leave a comment on my blog or email me from my profile. Thanks so much!
Thursday, November 8, 2007
- We are outdoors working for many consecutive hours in a row (sometimes 12+), which is somewhat unusual in normal society
- There is a presence of other geologists besides myself
- We are working really hard to complete a project
- Nothing happens without teamwork
- I'm working with people who seem younger than they really are. For example field people seem to be perpetually college-age even if they are 38 and have 3 kids.
- Social hour(s) afterwards is mandatory
Two of our fun team members on our hike this evening
I loved going on field projects for school, and I find that these real-world work projects can inspire the same feelings that school did, both good and not so good. They can be stressful at times and I'll long for them to be finished. Yet, satisfaction prevails most of the time and a sense of adventure, excitement of seeing new places, and enjoying the company of unique folks almost always accompanies it.
Tonight is my last night here in Virginia and I'm looking forward to coming home, for I miss Paul, and the birds have been on their own the last three days. But this project was a memorable one for the social life that we had after work. I liked this group of four, which turned into six one night when we were joined by two others working on the same site but different project. We went bowling one night, out to the movies the next, and this evening we even went on a hike. No alpaca farm visit was scheduled in the end, but that's ok. There's always next time....
I'll post more pictures of our hike-- maybe tomorrow. I'm zonked and need to go to bed!
Monday, November 5, 2007
Saturday, November 3, 2007
The windows and doors have all been put in (except garage doors). It even goes well with the green paper I think. The paper is growing on me.
In the end, we never made it to the grocery store, the post office to mail the wool (they close at 3:00 on Saturdays we found out) or the helmet store. There's always next weekend! We have some important things to take care of tonight: baking a pumpkin pie and watching a movie. We need to enjoy some rest this weekend because I leave tomorrow afternoon for Virginia and Paul leaves Tuesday morning for Seattle. So in the next week if you don't hear much from this neck of the woods, you'll know why.
Friday, November 2, 2007
Fully assembled-- my favorite part is the door gap, brush insulator thingy that I got from Home Depot, and cut down to size. It serves as the brush to pack the fibers tightly onto the large drums. It works like a champ!
Thursday, November 1, 2007
After dinner, we cleared the counters, lined up the instruments and chose our pumpkin pattern (we were going to go with a traditional Jack look, but decided to try one of the elaborate designs).
Time to get serious-- we worked simultaneously so we could get the intricate pattern carved before midnight.
Bragging time! I have to admit that even though we didn't come up with this creation ourselves, this is the best lantern I have ever been a part of making!