Sunday, June 29, 2008

watermelons and baby windmills

I learned a valuable dyeing lesson today. When you dye something an incredibly bright and jarring shade or colorway and you think you might be forced to claw your own eyes out if you look at it




One only needs to dip it in a faint contrasting color to tone the shade down a bit and make it bearable. If you think the colors above are rather eye blinding-you should have seen them before I toned the pink down! This "Watermelon" is my newest colorway-and one I've been wanting to make for some time-but the last time I tried I almost blinded myself and was forced to overdye the whole thing. Just how was I able to make a self striping sock yarn with a 3 month old infant at home?

Why, I simply employed this lovely little contraption! This is my long awaited Christmas present from my dear, dear husband. We finished it yesterday at the Ranch-where his father employed MUCH mojo and hard work to bring it to fruition. I'll have to make a post on the story of making it-there was much sweating and cursing involved. But it's here now-and I LOVE it.

What makes "the windmill" so special is that it's twice the size of a typical swift. It's adjustable between roughly 50 and 108 inches. Therefore at it's full extension it makes it possible for me to dye six different stripes in a sequence. I'm finally able to skein and dye and reskein sock yarn at less than two hours at a pop. I am SO excited! maybe I'll be able to start selling some!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Ten Minutes a Day!

I stumbled across this here today, and thought it was a great idea. Just think of what you'd have if you spun 10 minutes each day. Even if you limit yourself to weekdays, that's almost an hour of spinning in a week's time. You could have a substantial amout accomplished! I had to remind myself recently that I stay home each day. It IS possible to plan a few goals around my life at home. I can say, for instance, that I WILL knit an hour a day, or even half an hour. I don't have to get all anal and proscribe a time for doing so... (I have my limits) but wow I could sure get a lot done if I'm even 50% faithful to a resolution like this.
So, today I spent about half an hour spinning some of that lovely alpaca roving I bought in Ft. Collins almost a year ago. I'm working on some of the stuff I left the natural ashy gray. I'm pretty close to being done with a bobbin. I've already got a bobbin full of the stuff I dyed plum. I can't wait to ply them together and see what comes of it. I did it on the deck, sleeping baby on a playmat beside me, children playing with the hose in the yard. It's lovely here-about 78 degrees, with no humidity and a slight breeze, and no bugs-thank goodness for the Black Hills and low maintenence babies.
What am I gonna do with the finished project? I initially bought enough for a "vest"... but a vest sounds so... dowdy. I also resolved to make it my practice stuff-the goal being to spin as fine as I can in preparation for the superwash wool sitting above one cupboard. I plan on spinning socks with that stuff. But back to the project at hand. It's been so long that I don't even know how many ounces I bought-so, I don't know how many yards I'll end up making, but lets assume there will be about 600 yards of sport weight 100% alpaca. Oh the possibilities! Feel free to suggest something!

Friday, June 20, 2008

This just in!

Special reporter Katie Gray has made a shocking discovery!

"If you wave those long things on the sides of your body around, you can actually bat at the toys hanging in front of you. Who would have thought you could actually effect the scenery around you!?!"
"Back to you, Bob."

more missing teef!

Another tooth has turned traitor and jumped ship from Lizzie's mouth. Perhaps it just couldn't take the constant chomping on "corn on the knob." We may never know the full motivation for it's desertion, but Lizzie is thrilled with the prospect of another visit from the "toof fairly."

Need a napkin?

We've been quite domestic round these parts lately! We made these wonderful cookies. They are an oatmeal chocolate cookie you wouldn't be able to resist eating if I placed it in front of you. They're oh-so-soft and chocolatey. What I wouldn't be able to resist telling you (after you've eaten several of course) is that they're specifically designed to aid in lactation. So, you'll want a napkin, not only to wipe up the mess you made salivating, but also mop up your shirt after you start leaking.

Okay, not really. It only aids in lactation if you're already doing so. If no one has had their lips wrapped around your nip for the past few hours, you're safe. If however, you want to boost your milk supply, these lovely babies will help do so. They're chock full of galactogogues-foods that aid in the production of milk. Our ancient forebearers understood about these foods much better than we did. There is a reason all those fertility goddesses were surrounded by bushels of grains. Whole grains like oats, flax and wheats are perfect boosters, as are yeasts. I think they should be mandatory food for all new mothers! I love it that the original recipe says that a serving size is one dozen-cause a dozen is about how many you want to eat in one sitting-trust me!

Here's my adapted recipe for Noel Trullio's Lactation Cookies and a link to the original:

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups oats
1 bag chocolate chips
2-4 tablespoons brewer's yeast

Preheat oven to 350°. Beat butter, sugar, and brown sugar. Add eggs and mix well. Add vanilla. Sift together flour, brewers yeast, baking soda, and salt. Add dry ingredients to butter mix. Stir in oats and chips. Scoop onto baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes. Let set for a couple minutes then remove from tray. Makes appox 2 dozen large cookies.

The only "odd" item in the mix here is the brewer's yeast. You can find this at your local health food store. If you aren't lactating, I wouldn't spend loads of time finding this. It is an excellent natural source of a number of important minerals, though, and can help you justify eating "just one more" to get your daily dose of vitamins and minerals in a form much more easily metabolized than those smelly little pills we all swallow.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Political Picture - George Bush
see more politics and fun!

Breastfeeding moms... Bush looks like he could have an interesting latch there... doesn't he?


I loves me a good flood! I know I know-it makes me one sick puppy. I'm sure if I ever had a house in harm's way I'd change my tune in a hurry. But they're so... dramatic! Exciting! It's so beautiful to see Mother nature's power!
Spearfish Creek is in full display. I never thought I'd ever get the chance to see it over it's banks. But it's over them now! We snapped a few photos this a.m. You can see everything I shot here.

Jackson ST Bridge

Jackson-note the water you can just see coming down the hill. This is backing up before it can get to the drainage area and there is a considerable pool built up.

Nash St Bridge

Looking south from the Nash Bridge-upstream.