Monday, July 28, 2008

I hit the finish line, but there's not a lot to show . . . .


(see my previous post for the results)

Obviously I should win the jersey for "slowest spinner in the world"--I can't believe how much some people were able to complete! Of course, I was only aiming for 30 minutes of spinning a day, so I had a low goal to begin with, I guess. Next year I need to set a much higher goal--and not hurt myself doing housework during the Tour. Talk about bad planning . . . .

There are still the two bobbins of alpaca that I need to finish, but I will be taking a few rest days before I tackle them. Right now I'm spun out.

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Le Tour de Fleece 2008--wounded but still walking

Today's the last day of Le Tour de Fleece, and I have to say I'm very glad. I don't have a lot to show for the effort, even though I've met my goal of spinning at leat 30 minutes each day.

Yesterday was a big push to actually finish some yarn. This is 280 yards of alpaca, merino, and tussah silk called "Mango and Raspberries" from Yarn Botanika. It's actually more orangey than pink--

I still have two bobbins of alpaca to ply, and I'm going to start one of those today, but there's no way I can finish even one today. I don't know how some of the other spinners do it--I guess I'm a slow spinner as well as a slow knitter.

My body has definitely slowed me down the last two weeks. All the work I've done in my apartment has resulted in a sore knee, wrist, and elbow, to the point where I'm having trouble lifting much of anything with my left arm. I've been icing it a couple of times a day, and I think it's helping, but it surely has slowed my spinning down even more. Oh well, I'm going to meet my goal, so I feel happy about that. Definitely better than last year, when I totally blew it.

And look, I have sunflowers!

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Monday, July 21, 2008

For all those soon-to-be vacationers--

Franklin's post is a must read.

Souvenir of Cape Cod

You might want to sit down to read this, and that's all I'll say.

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

What I did on my summer "vacation" . . . .

One word--CLEAN.

I will admit to being a Class A slob. Living alone and not having a lot of people in and out of the apartment leads one to a cavalier attitude about tidiness. That and, well, I'm getting older and don't have the same stamina I did when I was 20 (shut up, it's true. I could go for days back then without a break). I've been working my way toward an intervention of sorts for a while now; why it came to a head this week, I'll never know. I think it's a combination of avoidance and a reality check, with a good old-fashioned dose of 'what the hell, get a life' thrown in as well.

Anyway, I've been on vacation all this week. Having ten days to myself has been glorious. I gave myself a day here and there to recooperate, but I've basically been working to get this mess cleaned up since last Saturday. Today looks to be the end of it for two reasons--physically, I've done about all I can do, and I can live with what's left and do it later. I have a pantry cabinet to put together this afternoon and some tidying up to do, but that's it. I can't tell you how glad I am to be done--or as done as I'll ever be. I'll have some things to do in the next week or so, but I'm done, fini, kaput. I need a rest before I got back to work on Monday.

I will share the most embarassing moment I've had in a long time--Sunday I was working in the bathroom and had just about finished cleaning the shower when the tub stopped draining. Of course, I was frantic, because at that point all I wanted was a shower and a cold drink, but nothing would help it. So I tore off to Walgreen's for some Draino. One bottle of Draino later--nothing. Now I was cursing myself because I didn't buy two bottles, so off I went to Homeland for two bottles of Draino. Two bottles of Draino and a lot of plunging later--still nothing. Now I'm really in a panic, so I google "clogged drain" and found something about a product called DrainCare, which was supposed to work wonders. So off I go to Lowe's for a bottle of DrainCare. By this point it's 5 pm and I have to leave the DrainCare overnight for best results, so I clean up as best I can and collapse, hoping for the best.

The next morning, the shower had drained, but when I poured some hot water in the shower--nothing. It just sat there. I was almost in tears. This meant I had to go get the maintenance man. My apartment was such a wreck, I was embarrased to have anyone come in, but I needed my shower to work, so I walked to the office and asked him to come over.

What was wrong with my shower? Well, when I was cleaning, apparently I closed the drain and I didn't realize it (in my defense, I always take showers and never use that damn thing). Took him a minute to "fix" the problem. Talk about humiliating, but on the up side, I have the cleanest pipes in town!

Anyway, there are other things going on. Le Tour de Fleece started last Saturday and it has been a real challenge to sit down and spin every day when I've busted my butt all day. However, so far, so good. My goals were to spin at least 30 minutes per day (a standard for me, because I don't spin for ages at a time) and to try to complete the Oklahoma-grown alpaca I need to make a shawl. This is where I ran into a problem. I didn't decide on that goal until the very last minute, and Donna Hilton, alpaca mistress extraordinare, is still waiting on her fiber delivery from the mill. So I've had to set that aside for now and work on the stash, which is an additional qualifier in this year's Tour.

These are two yarns I finished before the Tour started:

Wool and silk--this is two ply, one ply 80/20 merino/silk, and the second ply is 100% silk, approximately 566 yards. I haven't wpi'ed it, but it's definitely close to fingering weight. It's so soft I'm almost afraid to touch it. I had this on the wheel forever, but it was so worth it. Yum.

This is from A Taste of Vermont (Hi, Jesse!)--the Addison "Real Vermonter" roving, 60% Romney/Corridale wool, 30% mohair, and 10% alpaca. I ended up with about 136 yards of close to worsted weight. It's a little overtwisted, but I think I'm going to make a non-felted bag for my tatting with this, so it should wear well. And I absolutely LOVE the colors--they're a little more blue-green than this photo shows.

Here's what I've been working on for the Tour:

These are two bobbins of alpaca for my shawl. I'm going to make a double-pull skein for each of these for plying. I hope to do that this weekend. The photo doesn't really show the colors very well. I will be adding white, gray, and black to these yarns to make my shawl (a la Wendy's handspun shawl she made a few years ago).

This is from my stash:

This is alpaca, merino, and tussah silk from Yarn Botanika (who I believe now sells under One Planet Yarn and Fiber). I bought this a couple of years ago and have started to spin it many times, but the braid was just so pretty that I hated to touch it. Again, I love the colors, and it's sooo soft, it reminds me of popsicles. (Sorry for the lousy bobbin shot--bad light).

There has been knitting, too--remember this?

A cashmere fan and feather scarf, again from Yarn Botanika, that's been on the needles for well over a year. It's almost done--yay!

I've been slow to post any garden photos this year, so here's a quick catch up. My tomatoes are doing well (except for the few tiny ripe ones that keep getting stolen by birds--aakkk!), and this is the first year my peppers have done well at all:

My sunflowers are doing very well (again, first time, but these are a dwarf variety, which I think makes all the difference):

The herbs are going crazy:

I love this cute little basil--this is a Pistou basil, and it has itty, bitty, tiny leaves:

And my sweet litle violas have finally bloomed--they're about the size of dimes:

That's it for now--quite enough, I think. I've got to go wake up my cleaning supervisor:

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Happy 4th of July!