Spinning!

Average Temperature: 34°

Precipitation: None

Yarn Colors: Blue

Even though I technically have every Monday off & this is the 5th Monday since we got back from the honeymoon, I feel like this is really the first day I’ve had off since we’ve gotten back. I guess this probably has something to do with the fact that the last four Mondays were something like this:

  • Monday 1: Got back at 2 am from our flight from Florida. Ryan stayed home from work, I spent the day getting the house back together after being gone for 2 weeks
  • Monday 2: Name Change with social Security Office. Cleaning. Errands around town
  • Monday 3: DMV for license name change, Walgreens for new passport photos, bank for name change on accounts, town hall for car registration renewal, post office to mail Passport Renewal documents, 4 hours of cleaning.
  • Monday 4: Ryan stayed home; cleaning & binge watching Sword Art Online

I did the rest of the cleaning already, laundry is good to go so I finally FINALLY after months of not having the time or energy, got to spin today for about an hour.

No, Not That Kind of Spinning

When we moved up here, almost 2 years ago, I was stunned at the amount of independent/designer yarn shops they had up here. I had to drive crazy distances to find non-synthetic yarn in Florida, & while we had one independent store that stocked actual wool yarn about 20 minutes from my house, they didn’t last very long. Anything that isn’t a chain doesn’t last long in the area I lived in Florida.

Anyways, each of the yarn shops up here had something I had never seen or considered before: spinning wheels. How cool would it be to spin my own yarn? My curiosity turned into enchantment when Ryan took me to the annual Sheep & Wool festival in May 2015. EVERYONE spun their own wool there. There were vendors from all over New England & 9 out of 10 vendors had spinning wheels set up in their stalls, where they were selling their hand spun & hand dyed yarn, raw fiber in every blend imaginable & would spin in between customers. I had never wanted to learn anything so bad in my life.

Learning Curve

In the Fall of 2015, Ryan bought me a drop spindle. We had talked about it &, at the time, it seemed logical for me to learn to use a drop spindle before moving on to the spinning wheel…& I couldn’t get it. I watched YouTube video after YouTube video, & nothing. After a few weeks of trying on my own, I decided to go into my favorite yarn shop, The Fiber Studio, & ask them. Janet who works there sat down with me for over an hour. I sort of got the hang of it (she was extremely patient) & I practiced for a few weeks but still couldn’t get a hang of it. It never got easier.

Best Advice & Lessons

One of the things Janet said to me while she was teaching me how to use the drop spindle gave me hope for months: most spinners use the wheel & can’t stand the drop spindle -if they use the drop spindle at all. Just because I couldn’t get the hang of the drop spindle didn’t mean I wouldn’t be able to learn on the wheel.

Fast forward to March 2016. My dad wants to know what I want for my birthday & apparently wind chimes aren’t an acceptable birthday request. So I asked him for spinning lessons, as there was an elderly woman who is supposed to be the best teacher for spinning. He agrees & off I went to the Wool Room to learn how to spin from Anne.

Anne has been teaching people to spin yarn since her early 20s (she’s in her 80s now) & for $100 she offers 3 private spinning lessons in her yarn shop at her house. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn from Anne. She went through the history of spinning, has examples of most of the basic types of Spinning wheels & spindles through history as well as across cultures.
Anne walks you through every step of the spinning process, not just the wheel. From Yue shearing, to cleaning & carding the wool, spinning, plying & setting the yarn. She also gets you on the wheel the first day of class & sends you home with the wheel for practice over the week until the next class.

It was a 100% immersion class. Anne told me on the first class that at least 15 minutes a day would get me into spinning…& by the end of the third week I had my first skein of spun yarn. I was hooked.

My Wheel

The wheel Anne taught me on was an Louet Single Treadle (1 paddle). It was a nice little wheel, but I have knee/hip problems & only using one foot for spinning while the other remained firmly planted on the floor really agitated my knee/hip issues. Ryan & I did some research & we decided it might be worth it for me to have a double treadle wheel (2 paddles).

I did a lot of research before I bought my wheel in April 2016. Spinning wheels are by no stretch of the imagination cheap, especially a double treadle, so I started looking for a used spinning wheel. This is when I learned that once people buy a spinning wheel, they hold on to them, even if they buy a new one or never use them.

Striking out there, I started doing more extensive research online. After countless hours, it looked like my best choice was an Ashford Kiwi. It was small, double treadle, fairly affordable (for a spinning wheel) & seemed like it got the best reviews for a beginner’s wheel across the board. I was afraid I was going to have to order it online & pray it worked for me but it ended up The Fiber Studio had an Ashford Kiwi 2 in stock.

One of the biggest, most important things any spinner will tell a beginner is TEST THE WHEELS BEFORE YOU BUY. This is huge. Just because the price is right doesn’t mean this wheel will work for you. At the Fiber Studio, I tried all of their double treadle wheels to make sure I got the best fit for me. It ended up that it was the Kiwi 2, so it worked out all around.

Fun fact about the Kiwi 2 is that most of them are sold unfinished:

Which means…you get to paint it anyway you want!!! It took us all weekend to disassemble my wheel, paint & stain it, then reassemble, but it was so worth it & we had so much fun:

My Spinning

For the first few months, I was spinning almost daily & loving it. I definitely think the variegated fibers are the most fun to spin with but there’s something to be said for single color fiber.

Double-ply, finished yarn.

Just enough for a beanie! Gave this to my boss for Christmas.

Unfortunately, as the wedding got closer & I went back to working full time, I had less free time for everything, let alone spinning. I’ve found that spinning is really a morning activity for me. If I start, even in the early, afternoon I get frustrated easier & my hands don’t cooperate at much. The zen from the spinning gets wasted if I do an afternoon spin.

Gurney loves fiber

Pre-ply 

Finished yarn

Today

So amidst everything this weekend (including the as-of-yet-unfinished baby blanket) I had time to spin for an hour this morning. I have to have a loose piece of yarn attached to a bobbin whole spinning so Gurney doesn’t try to attack the wheel…

…but that doesn’t stop him from getting bored & stealing my fiber.

Still…managed to get a good amount done.

Off to fold laundry & try to get that Maybaby blanket finished before I go in to work to sub for a class.


TV & Chores

Average Temperature: 44°

Precipitation: None

Yarn Colors: Hunter

Didn’t really do anything on the list I made last night. Crocheted for about an hour but that baby blanket really isn’t holding my attention. I’m about 4 rows away from it being an even square & on my last skein so I might just leave it at that. Probably get it done tomorrow while Ry’s at work…

We binge watched Rick & Morty, both seasons, this weekend. Took some getting used to but it was entertaining in a mind-numbingly addictive sort of way. Probably for the better that it’s only 2 seasons right now but that cliffhanger was a killer.

We did most of the chores & cleaning I do on Monday today instead. I’m hoping this will free me up for some me time tomorrow before I have to be in to cover some lessons in the later afternoon. Probably will knock out my biking for the Lazy Man Triathlon prior to the lessons but..I really just want to sleep in. I have a few more small loads of towels & have to clean the bathroom on my chores list so…sleeping in should be fine?

Oh, we also found out Talia likes reduced fat Cheez-its today.

She ate 1.5 Cheez-its so we’ll add that to the list of strange thing she eats. She also looked so pretty last night:


Temperature Blanket: Week 4

Friday Average Temperature: 27°

Today Average Temperature: 36°

Friday’s & Today’s Precipitation: None

Yarn Colors: Royal. Blue.

Think it’s safe to say that I won’t be updating on Fridays. It’s Day 4 of my work days which range from 8.5-10 hours & by Friday I just don’t have any energy. 

Temperature Blanket

Guess it was a kind of boring week…4 out of the 7 days were Royal so it didn’t make for much of a color variation. I was hoping we’d get into the greens today because we hit a high of 48° today, but the average temperature just wasn’t quite there. Finally caught up through today though!

Other Stuff

Going to be a short & sweet post. I did some freelance editing for my dad’s new academic article this afternoon, which took a good chunk out of my free time after I got home from work & I still have dishes/laundry to do. Hoping to make quick work of the household chores so I can switch to other projects.

Top priority is finish the Maybaby Blanket. I’d really like to get this done tonight or tomorrow; I didn’t have any time to work on it during the week & it’s just repetitive rows so it’s not holding my attention very well. The advantage is I can watch TV while working on the blanket; disadvantage is that it’s boring.

Second priority, immediately after finishing the Maybaby blanket, is to start on my mum’s Hooded Owl Blanket. I’m feeling a bit guilty because I signed up my dad for our half marathon this week & then edited that article but I haven’t started/done anything for my mum. This is a combination of the yarn not arriving until last Monday, the 13th & because I didn’t want to start a 4th blanket until after I finished at least one.

In addition to the owl blanket, I think I’d like to make her a pillow to match so that’s a bit more work.

Other goals for my weekend include reading a bit & maybe doing some actual short story writing; I feel like I’m getting to a good place to start that up again. I’d like to spin for a bit this weekend as well, since I haven’t touched my spinning wheel in over 3 months & I’m worried that I’m getting rusty. I have to cover a bit someone’s shift on Monday, which is my 2nd day off so that cuts into my free time allotment.

We’ll see how it goes.


Snow Pics

Average Temperature: 28°

Precipitation: None

Yarn Color: Royal

Not sure why I’ve been so exhausted lately. Usually I’m wide awake until at least 11:30/midnight but the last few nights I’ve been dozing off around 10/10:30 & solidly sleeping until my alarm goes off. Yes, I’m using this as my justification for not having a very meaty post tonight. Again.

Snow!!!

So we lucked out last night because not only did the storm bring big fluffy flakes, but there was also no breeze until midway through the day so I got some pretty nice nature-esque pictures today while I was cleaning off my car.

And some shots of how high the snow got piled after plowing. From the snow I cleaned off my car this morning, looks like we got about 3-4 inches from last night…I love when we get powder snow because it makes getting the car ready to go so much easier.

Ice Forest

One of the things I love about living in this portion of New England is that beyond hills, the DOT left a lot of trees on our major highway so in the Autumn when the leaves change & the Winter after a good snowfall the views on my drives to work & back home are absolutely breathtaking. I was lamenting this morning as I was driving down my hill  (there’s a spectacular view of the valley & town on the way down) that we never get the fluffy snow & lack of wind on weekends when I could actually go hiking to take pictures. I felt the same driving into work, wishing I could take photos…& then I hit deadlocked traffic, which is practically non-existent here. So I got a few nice shots out the window waiting for traffic to get out of our parking lot state-of-being:

I really like the above one. Didn’t notice the small fir when I took it.


Other Snow Stuff

Another picture of our new home security system from tonight:

The icicles of doom are several feet long at this point…

We got some unexpected, very belated, wedding gifts this week. I’m hoping to take some of it so that Ryan & I can go snow tubing this weekend at one of the ski resorts up here. I would really REALLY love to go skiing since it’s been two years since my Banff ski trip…but skiing is so expensive since we don’t own any gear, don’t have a season pass & probably would have to take lessons. Ryan’s never been (though he’d rather snowboard) & I’ve only been 4 times (3 of which were in Banff) so it would probably be best for lessons. It’s just too expensive to do this year.

So anywho…snow tubing. No experience required, just pay to get in. Should be in the $20 per person range. That’s doable. Maybe it’ll snow this weekend when we go!


Gurney Being Ridiculous

Average Temperature: 24°

Precipitation: Snow! Really?!

Yarn Colors: Royal; White & Silver

Actually not that upset with the fact it’s snowing again…other than it figures the storm we get after dark is the one with the gorgeous fluffy flakes so no good pictures.

Gurney

I was going to talk about something vaguely serious but Gurney is being a complete goof tonight. He’s a bit in love with plastic bags. Loves to sit in them, lick them, shove his face as far as it will go through them…& every once in while he likes to shove his head through the handles, like so:

He’s been loving up on this bag since Saturday so I’m a bit surprised it took him so long to get stuck in it. It usually doesn’t take him that long…but he usually also gets out of them pretty quick.

Talia, asking me for the millionth time how I could bring such a weirdo into her house.

I attacks your toes hooman!!!

He was stuck in the bag for over 30 minutes. Ry & I were talking politics in the guest room when we saw randomly Talia run by, shortly followed by a bounding Gurney in the bag with the most enthusiastic swish swishing noises you’ve ever heard. Funniest, most random thing of the evening.

Laundry

Later I was tossing our color load of laundry from the washer into the dryer when we had this occur…

I is inspecting hooman!

You love me. I’m too cute for you to be mad.

Cold laundry, cold dryer. Bizarre cat. Took me 3 tries to get him out before I could start the dryer. He was content where he was.

He also likes the shower…but other than accidently falling in once or twice when he was playing between the curtain & the liner, we can’t get him to go in when the water is running. For our privacy, this is probably for the best.

Talia lives here too…

Here’s some pictures of Talia today too, just so you don’t think she’s neglected.

Her Royal Highness usually looks pissed off so it’s only good for certain posts.

She’s put out with me because I’m sitting in the chair from the previous photos. She likes sitting on it when I’m doing things in the kitchen so she can yell at me in the process.

Anywho, there’s the kitty overdose for the week. High probability of snow pics tomorrow, we’ll see how it goes.


Valentine’s Day

Average Temperature: 24°

Precipitation: None

Yarn Colors: Royal

Happy Valentine’s Day or whatever. I legitimately completely forgot it was Valentine’s Day today. Ryan wished me a Happy Valentine’s this morning right after my alarm went off but I completely blanked after that.

In the Past…

Every year for about 7ish years (until 2016) my best friend & I would hang out with each other on Valentine’s Day (night) instead of our guys. I guess it’s called Galentine’s Day in pop culture now but we didn’t change the name when we’d celebrate.

Every year we’d pick a different theme or ethnic food. One of us would grab the main food, the other would grab the wine & desserts, & we’d watch Disney movies. It was kind of like our normal Friday nights but more fun because we’d dress up a bit & actually have dinner instead of just wine & chocolate.

One of the best ones we had was the year my mum was sick. My dad was out of town & mum remembered that Allie & I always did Valentine’s together, usually at Allie’s house. She asked if she could join us, so we agreed to have it at her house. Mum made us dinner, I think Allie brought the wine & I brought the desserts/chocolate. Or vice versa. When we got to the house after work, my mum had decked the kitchen out in all reds, pinks, & hearts. I had given her a subscription to People magazine for Christmas that year & mum had cut out pictures of different guys & actors she thought we’d like to put on & around our plates. Beyond actors, mum had a fire fighter for Allie (her hubby is a firefighter) & had found a hot, tan bearded spearfisher man for me (I used to spearfish…if anyone was curious where the blog name came from). Still not sure why People magazine had a spearfisher man in it but I don’t really ask questions. We had such a blast with my mum, & it is hands down my favorite Valentine’s Day to date.

Last year was the first year that Allie & I didn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day together; it was the first year that we both no longer lived in Florida & there’s no easy flight path from her gateway-to-Oz state & my frozen wilderness. It was also the first time since graduating from High school that I celebrated Valentine’s Day with the guy I was dating. Since it was Sunday last year, Ry & I saw Deadpool (as everyone should have) then he took me out to Thai. It was sweet & we had a good time.

Today

Like I said, I totally dropped the ball on it being Valentine’s Day today. I attribute that to it being a work week & not having plans with Allie.

At my aerobics class the morning some of regular students were asking where the love songs were.

Me: What love songs?

K&M: You know, the love songs!

Me: Which ones do you mean? Didn’t any we’ve listened to already count?

K&M: What? Not that we’ve heard

Me: What about this current one? :singing: ‘Come on, feel the noise. Girls rock your boys…’

Apparently Slade’s “Come on Feel the Noize” doesn’t count as a love song, who would’ve thought?

Anywho, it wasn’t until they mentioned chocolate & asked why I wasn’t decked out in red & hearts as I usually go all out for holidays.

After class I hauled it over to our spectacular local chocolate store & bought Ry a high end bag of hand dipped chocolate espresso beans. You know, so I didn’t look like a horrible, forgetful wife.

Had some cute interactions with Valentine’s Day related things at work though. One of our members mimicked a whole Valentine’s Day charades to me before leaving & one of my prek students had brought me a snack size bag of M&Ms. Super cute.

Ry picked up Chinese for dinner & we watched “Arrival”, which was shockingly good. It’s been a while since I enjoyed a serious sci-fi movie. It was pretty solid, we do recommend it.

Other

We’re supposed to get more snow tomorrow, 6-10 inches total. Really wish we were into skiing, because this would be the year to do it.

Shoveling & sunset from yesterday

Talia decided to come say hi to me & ended up shocking my nose with her nose in the process. Gurney decided he got sick of playing with my toes as they hung off the edge of the bed so he hopped up & then rubbed his head against my foot for a good ten minutes. He also just shocked my toe with his nose & now he’s glaring reproachfully at my toe. Guess it’s really dry in our house right now.

Think that’s all I have for tonight…


Maybaby Blanket

Yesterday Average Temperature: 12°

Today Average Temperature: 24°

Yesterday’s Precipitation: All the Snow

Today’s Precipitation:Less Snow

Yarn Colors: White & Silver, Purple Hues. White & Silver, Royal

Yarn Colors

So Maybaby’s mom is doing her room in “woodland fairies” with sage accents. Apparently Sage Green is the baby color of the year, as Min’s baby’s room is going to be sage green as well.

I had a very distinct variegated color I was hoping to use (sage green, brown & pink), but after scouring JoAnn’s, Michael’s & Walmart multiple times, I couldn’t find anything like what I was looking for. Frustrated was an understatement, mainly because this was the second time in a month that I couldn’t find the yarn I was set on for the blanket. 

However, my mind kept lingering on this sunshine yellow & lime green variegated that I swore I had seen in Walmart. On a return trip, it wasn’t there (not sure if it sold out or what) but I knew JoAnn’s had it…so off I went.

The Blanket

I was alternating between which pattern to use: V-Stitch or shells? I really wanted to do the V-Stitch because I knew it would work up faster & probably look prettier. After doing a swatch square, though, I went with the shell pattern. 

Why?

My cousin told me that her only complaint with handmade baby blankets at her shower was that when her munchkin was born, the holes in the afghans were the perfect size for baby fingers, toes & even partial appendages to get stuck in…& new mothers just don’t need that kind of added stress. So I’m going with the All Star Hooded Blankie sans Hooded portion…again.

Instead of the I Hook in the pattern, I’m using an H hook. They also recommend a worseted-weight or thinner yarn weight…I’m using Bernat Li’l Tots (medium/bulky weight) in Daffodil.

While I was working on the first few rows, I kept thinking, “Citrus fruit” but I can see where the Daffodil concept comes in as well. If it’s Daffodil I can sell the woodland fairy tie in better right?

I’m 2.25 skeins  (out of 4) in to the blanket at this point…aiming for 3.25 or 3.5 skeins before switching to the border. That should hopefully be enough material to finish it. I’m also hoping to be done tomorrow or Wednesday with it so I can move on to other things…mainly because all 24 skeins of yarn for my mum’s owl blanket FINALLY came in today:

I guess I’m using the Bernat pretty hardcore this month.