last Eye Candy Friday of the month...

...and tomorrow it's May! (I know! Where did April go?!) Since I'm still suffering from project ennui, all of today's eye candy is from the garden.

Blueberries to be...

Blueberries

A beefsteak tomato blossom...

Red Beefsteak Tomato blossom

And a nasturtium...

Nasturtium sunrise

The nasturtiums are currently taking over the garden. They'll die back in a bit, but until then, they add a nice jolt of color to the garden.

Up this weekend: I have some neglected housecleaning to do...it's time to get serious about the dust on the shelves and I need to move some books from the bedroom to the upstairs bookshelves so I'm not tripping over them all the time. Craft-wise, I'm determined to get the cuffs done on the Rusty Dahlia socks so I can move on to another part of the socks. I also want to ply the "Green Crazy Batt" single (need a real name for this yarn) and declare it done. Beyond that, who knows what will catch my attention!
 

WIP it up...

...or not. I have only been working intermittently on one knitting WIP, the Rusty Dahlia socks.

Rusty Dahlia socks, cuffs

I started these puppies back in October and have not been able to finish them. Other projects have been started and completed, but I can't seem to finish these. It's not that the pattern is hard or the yarn is icky...far from it. The pattern is well-written and easy to follow, as are all of the Sundara patterns I've tried. The yarn is a yummy Bugga! from Sanguine Gryphon (from the Loopy Ewe sock club). I just can't seem to get motivated to finish them. So much so that I have been afraid to cast-on any other socks until I finish these, or at least get them close to finished.  

I've pretty much been in a state of apathy with my knitting and, to a lesser degree, my other crafts. I start thinking about a new project and that's about as far as I get. Not good when you have two rooms full of craft supplies that need to be turned into something useful!

I thought swapping over to quilting might do the trick, but I didn't even get as far as getting the sewing machine ready. Too much stuff to move out of the way to make the quilting space usable. I can't use the ironing board to press fabric because there is a stitchery stand on top of it (because there's no room for it on the floor).  I really need to find places to store things for I have enough space to do something.

Maybe I just need to take a vacation to reorganize everything. I seem to do that about every two years...it must be time! Or a giant cross-stitch stash sale. That would make some room, too!

Hmmm, need to think on that one...
 

Monday, Monday...

...it came a little to soon this week!

On Saturday, the Husband took a long bike ride and was gone most of the day. I took the opportunity to do chores around the house, interspersed with some spinning. Laundry is the perfect chore to do while spinning. You have to get up to change the loads, which gives you several breaks during the process.

I decided to spin one of the batts I bought from Faerie Mountain Fibers. I bought three batts: a cream one, a light green one, and a black-red-and-white one. I was immediately drawn to the red one, but I've been doing a lot of red lately. I decided to spin the green one.

The batt contains bamboo, wool, and angelina, as well as some nepps and noils. This is the first time I've spun anything that intentionally contained nepps and noils. And, I don't like them. I don't like the slubs they create in the yarn. Fortunately, this batt didn't contain a lot of them, so I was able to pick them out and finishing spinning the batt without losing very much.

It's a little greener than I expected, but here it is:

Green Crazy Batt, single

I need to let it rest a bit before I ply it.

Yesterday was the Husband's birthday. Since we decided not to go out to dinner,  I made him a dinner of his choosing: Chile Relleño casserole, a Spanish Tortilla (sliced potatoes, eggs, and onions), and Mexican rice. My Irish-Lithuanian Husband loves spicy food, and Mexican food is one of his favorites (it's good he married a Chicana, right?). Even though I grew up eating spicy foods, he can eat things spicier than I can! We cooled things off with cheesecake and gelato for dessert.

So, not a lot got done over the weekend, but it was still enjoyable!
 

Oh, look...it's Eye Candy Friday...

...to be completely honest, I'm just glad it's any-kind-of-Friday! Not that the week has been that bad, I'd just like some time to myself.

This week's Eye Candy is brought to you by the letters G and L.

Green Nectarine...


Little green nectarine

Lemon blossom...


Lemon Blossom

The garden is getting very green and lush. The Husband is busy weeding and planting new flowers and vegetables. Who knows how many tomato plants he'll end up with this year!

The Daughter is now gone for a couple of weeks. She'll be back around Mother's Day to attend her grandfather's memorial (my ex-father-in-law) and then we won't see her again for a while. 

And I finished something else! I finished plying the Blue Lake Lily yarn:

Blue Lake Lily Merino-Bamboo yarn

...and the close-up:


Blue Lake Lily Merino-Bamboo yarn, close up

Specs:
Started 3/20/10;
Finished 4/21/10;
Blue Lake Lily Merino-Bamboo top from Royale Hare;
Spun using the "faux-ro" method; two-ply;
13 WPI 

While the colors didn't quite fall the way T envisioned, I'm happy with the subtle color transitions that resulted. I still need a lot more practice with two-ply, though!


Up this weekend: Decide whether to warp the loom for the next weaving project. I'm not sure if I'm ready to weave something else yet. My sewing machine is starting to call me, so I might finish one of the two quilts that I have in progress. (Well, I have more than two, but I have two tops that are ready to go. The other quilts are still in pieces!) SIrena is still calling me, too. (Or, maybe it's all that fiber that's insulating my craft room!)


It's supposed to be a nice weekend...I could take my spindle outdoors and enjoy the sun!
 

When all else fails, make it random...

...my WIPs are seeing little or no action now that I have finished the woven scarf. My craft mojo is on a short hiatus while I take a deep breath and figure out what's next.

Random thoughts for a rainy Wednesday:
  1. While rain is infinitely better than snow, I'm ready for rain and cold to go away.

    Usually by this time of the year, I have turned off the furnace and we can open the windows for part of the day.  We've had a couple of days like that, but that's it.

    I'm ready for warm...
     
  2. So tired of drivers who do not stop at stop signs and get annoyed when I do, do not signal, and ride my bumper when I drive the speed limit in residential and school zones.

    People, traffic school is not fun [I certainly don't want to repeat that experience] and I really don't want to be in another accident! Riding my @$$ will not make me go faster... I will pull over as soon as it is safe so you can speed by. I just hope you don't hit anyone on your way to get some place that you think is more important.
     
  3. Is there anything better than a crisp, ripe apple? It reminds me of summer...Yum!
     
  4. Ok, maybe that should read better to eat than a crisp, ripe apple. A hug from my kid and an "I love you" from her or the Husband is better than anything! :-)
     
  5. I really need to get back into a regular yoga class. I'm losing my center...
      

Finished Object Monday...

...that doesn't quite have the same ring to it that Finished Object Friday has, does it? Oh, well!

I finished weaving the bouclé scarf yesterday and trimmed it out at lunch time today. Here it is:

Sarah's Bouclé Scarf

Specs:
Yarn: Jo-Ann Sensations Rainbow Bouclé, used in both warp and weft
Finished size: 7”W x 80”L (including 7” fringe each end)
Warp: 7.5 epi—93”L x 7.5”W
Weft: 8-9 ppi

The colors are beautiful, although one end of the scarf is a bit stripey. I thought about pulling it out and starting again, but the bouclé is very tricky to work with and I didn't want to wreck it. I'm also not washing it because the fringe pieces may completely come undone.

Aside from my normal errands a few chores, I really only worked on two things this weekend: the scarf and my craft room. I had a huge pile of clothes fro goodwill in the middle of the floor, as well as some fiber that had not been put away. I spent a few hours organizing it, but it is clear that I have outgrown this space. 

I'm now starting to campaign to move into the game room (our converted garage) where I'll have more space to store things and don't have to constantly rearrange things to work on a project and to have a place for the loom and the spinning wheel to live, other than the living room. I'm sure the Husband would like that, too! There's a lot of work to make that happen, so we'll have to see how long it will take...I can dream, can't I? :-)

Eye Candy Friday, now with snow!

...as promised, here are some pictures of our trip to Lake Tahoe.

As I mentioned on Friday weather was good when we drove to Tahoe. It was cold, but it was nice to see blue skies. On Saturday, we took a walk along the beach, which was just across the highway from our hotel. I took a few pictures:

Beach at South Lake Tahoe

Freshwater shells

Pinecones and shells at lake's edge

The wedding was at 2:30pm in a park...yes, outside. I was thankful I brought my long wool coat! The wedding was beautiful...

Kevin and Erica

We enjoyed the reception, catching up with family and friends we hadn't seen in a while. It was nice that we could walk to the reception and not have to have a designated driver.

On Sunday, most everyone left in the morning to avoid the storm that was coming in. We decided to keep to our plan of spending the extra day, knowing that we had chains if we needed them.

Well, we needed them! This is what my car looked like Monday morning:

It snowed!

Not too bad, but after checking the CalTrans site, we knew that we would have to use the chains to get over the pass. So how bad was it?

Rear-view icicle

View from the car

Driving Highway 50

My little Honda Fit is not a snow car, but we managed OK. We just chugged along and let everyone pass us!

It was good to get away, but we're happy to be out of the snow!

Up this weekend: Finish putting away all the tax paperwork and getting the living room back into some semblance of order! I want to finish the woven scarf o I can give that to my friend. Other than that, I have no other specific crafty plans. Let's just see what craft catches my eye!
 

WIP-it Wednesday, tax style...

...cuz that's all I've been working on for the last week or so!

My goal is to finish these puppies tonight so I can move on to something else. And yes, that was plural...not only do I prepare our taxes, but I also prepare the Daughter's. Two Federal returns, one California, and one Maryland...it's a barrel of laughs, I tell ya!

I will admit to doing some knitting in while we were in Tahoe, but not all that much. I am working on the cuffs of the Rusty Dahlia socks. I also tried to start the Skew socks from Knitty, but the pattern wasn't making sense to me. I later found out that the pattern had some errors in the version I printed so I decided to wait until I could print out a corrected version.

I have yet to upload the pictures from our trip because my spare time is taken up with the taxes. I hope to get them uploaded for Friday's Eye Candy.

That's all for now. I'm still trying to get back to a normal blogging routine here...maybe next week!

Eye Candy Friday on the road...

...on the way to a family wedding in Lake Tahoe.

Sky on the road to Tahoe

The view from our room by the lake...

Lake Tahoe

back on Monday...

Random thoughts for Thursday...

  1. I have a long weekend coming up and it's thrown me off by a day. As a result, I forgot to post yesterday. Oops!

  2. My biggest WIP is our taxes. Almost there, but I'm missing a couple of small things. Them it's on to the Daughter's taxes.

  3. Why are most skirts so short that they show things you don't want them to? And when you do find a skirt that's long enough, it has no structure so it's guaranteed to look dumpy. Or, it's made out of fabric that looks like clown barf.
     
  4. On the same subject, when shopping for clothes, why are my choices limited to looking inappropriately young (and stupid) or looking like I'm really old and frumpy? People, there needs to be something in between that doesn't cost as much as a car!
     
  5. Can you tell I've been shopping? I'm trying to find something decent to wear to a family wedding this Saturday. I found something...not totally happy with it, but it's the best I can do at this point!
      
  6. I'm hoping to get some decent pictures while we are at Lake Tahoe for the wedding. I'm also hoping to get some knitting time in on the ride up.
     
  7. Is that random enough?
      

weekend report...

...the company party was fun, but my food took longer than I expected to put together.  

The party theme was "Games and Sports." We always try to have at least one vegetarian dish, so I decided to make vegetarian chili beans. To keep within the theme, I called it Final Four-bean Chili and used black, piquinto, pinto, and garbanzo beans. I made it in the morning and it cooked all day...it turned out pretty well.

I also made an appetizer and got a little more creative there. I had an old Go game and used it as the base for my appetizer. I made little cheese balls for the white pieces and stuffed large black olives for the black pieces. (As soon as I can get a pictures uploaded, I'll add it to this post.  Right now my work machine and Picnik are not cooperating...)  I spent most of Saturday assembling the appetizer, though. I'll have to keep that in mind next year!

Game of Go, cheese and olive version

There were lots of interesting dishes, like the cross-word deviled eggs and the 3  horse-jumps made  (1 vegetables, 1 fruit, and 1 shrimp), and one not suitable for prime time (mud-wrestling Barbies). The food was all delicious and we had a great time.

Sunday, I pretty much just kicked back. Since Easter is not a big holiday for us, we kept dinner simple. I did a little spinning and wove a few more inches on the scarf.

This weekend, we are going to a wedding and we are taking a couple of extra days off. Looking forward to a weekend away!

March 2010 Recap

Finished:
  • 3/21 Midnite Lava Flow Merino-Wensleydale-Firestar batts from Lisa Souza [Ravelry]
    342 yards; WPI TBD
  • 3/28 Angie's Cap (knitting) [Ravelry]
Started:
  • 3/6 Midnite Lava Flow yarn
  • 3/13 Bouclé scarf (weaving) [Ravelry]
  • 3/20 Blue Lake Lily merino-bamboo top from Royale Hare (spinning)  [Ravelry]
  • 3/22 Angie's Cap (knitting design)
  • 3/27 Angie's Cap (knitting) [Ravelry]
Worked on:
  • Angora Cottage 70% Merino and 30% Silk 4 oz.roving in purple [Ravelry]
Works In Progress, did not work on:
  1. Flower Power quilt; top finished, need to sandwich and quilt (quilting)
  2. Jungle Songs quilt; top finished, need to sandwich and quilt (quilting)
  3. Rusty Dahlia socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  4. Sea Foam Wrap (knitting) [Ravelry]
IDJ (It's Dead, Jim):
  • Cascade Fixation anklets (knitting)
UFOs:
  1. Chasing Rainbows Heather--one Merino-Bombyx (2 oz) and one Merino wool (2 oz) (spinning)
  2. Dogosaurus Rex sweater (knitting) [Ravelry}
  3. Happy Pumpkin Scissor Fob by Shepherd's Bush (cross stitch)
  4. Hopi by Susan Portra (needlepoint)
  5. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  6. Stranded Hearts socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  7. Violet Needle Roll (cross stitch)
  8. Wisteria Angora-Merino top from Tactile (spinning) [Ravelry]
     

First Eye Candy Friday for April...

...let's hope April is a better month for blogging!

First, here's a progress shot of our fava beans:

Fava Beans

This orange cauliflower is doing interesting things...

Orange Cauliflower

And I finally got a picture of an open Five Spot flower:

Inside a Five Spot flower

I managed to get a little spinning done last night and it felt good to be productive again!

Up this weekend: Our company party is Saturday night. I need to prepare the dishes I am contributing and wrap a white elephant gift for the exchange. We have no plans for Easter so I'm hoping to do some weaving or spinning. I'd just like to have an uneventful day...that would be nice way to spend Sunday.

this is not an April Fool's Day post...

...just thought I'd get that out of the way!

So here it is Thursday, the second week in a row where my posts have been haphazard. I do not want this to become a habit, but sometimes work and life just get in the way.

I hit the ground running on Monday after taking the Daughter to the airport. Originally, my work project was due at the end of Monday, but it was extended when additional tasks were added to it.

On Tuesday, the Husband left early to go to San Francisco for business, While I was getting myself together for work, he called from the freeway—the car had broken down and wouldn't run. (Hello, Triple A?) I waited around to see whether he needed to be picked up (he ended up renting a car) and I got into work late. Goody...that's in late two days in a row!

So I work madly away trying to finish the project by the end of the day. You know there were more changes, right? I did as much as I could while I waited for a final piece of information. When I got home, the Husband was understandably frazzled, but we did manage to talk about the dead car and how much money we were willing to put into it to get it running again.

On Wednesday, I was finally able to get all the pieces of the work project completed and delivered by the end of the day...at least the end of my day, which was 7:00pm.

The garage checked out the car and called with the bad news. The car needs a new engine, which will cost more than twice what the car is worth. I declared the car IDJ (It's Dead, Jim) and told them that we would probably be donating it. When I got home, the Husband and I agreed that donating it was the right thing to do since neither one of us wanted to pay someone to junk the car.

This morning, the Husband called a donation company and they took it away. We are now the proud owners of a donation slip that is worth far more than a car that doesn't run!

So that's my week so far...how's yours? 

Oh, yeah, the weekend report! I finished knitting the prototype cap and decided that it wasn't tall enough. Here's the prototype (excuse the weirdly shaped model...I don't have a wig stand to use):

Short Cap, prototype

I decided that the yarn for the prototype was too thick for the design. I visited Uncommon Threads and Purlescence Yarns and bought some thinner yarn as candidates for the actual cap. At Uncommon Threads, I bought some Cashsoft 4-ply (fingering weight; 57% wool, 33% microfiber and 10% cashmere) and at Purlescence, I bought Panda Silk (DK weight, 52% bamboo, 43% Machine washable Merino wool, 5% combed silk).

I decided that the Panda Silk DK would work best and knit the revised pattern. I like the way it came out:

Short Cap, final design

Top view (wonkiness courtesy of the lame head model):

Short Cap, top view

Specs:
Started: 03/37/10
Finished: 03/28/10
Yarn: Panda Silk (DK) from Crystal Palace Yarns; black
Needles: (2) 7US circulars
About 5.5 inches high (I need to measure the circumference)

I have a couple of edits to make and then I think the pattern is good to go. I will send it to the friend who requested it and then decide whether I should do a wider distribution.

Oh, I also got some weaving time on the bouclé  scarf...it's now about 10 inches long. Only 60 more inches to go! LOL!

And finally, my Rockin' Sock Club installment for March arrived in the midst of all this crazy. I like the yarn colors and the two sock patterns look interesting. I was pleasantly surprised to see that one of the patterns was written by my Stitches West spinning teacher (Janel Laidman). I'd like it a lot better if they were cuff down socks, though! Anyway the package picture is behind the spoiler image:


Whew! That's enough for now...

Eye Candy Friday...

...and I'm so ready for the weekend! As I mentioned in an earlier post, my camera and I took a walk last Sunday to test out its featur...