Monday, April 29, 2013

Chicken coop

Spring has come to the Northland.

The temps were simply gorgeous this weekend.  So gorgeous, in fact, that we built a chicken coop.

 Saturday morning my guy woke up way before me and got started.   My son and I painted most of the outside.  We painted it the same color as the house. 

 I love the little door for the chickens.  My son spent a lot of time going in and out of that door.

The baby chicks are going to get picked up tomorrow.  I can't wait. *squee!* They probably won't get to live out there for a while though.  Gives us plenty of time to interior decorate the inside. 


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Fiber dyeing

With the change of the seasons and my playing with fiber again I've gotten the itch about dyeing fiber again. In the past the dyeing I've done has not been anything too fancy.

 I've been frustrated with my lack of being able to mix the basic colors and get different shades and hues. It seemed to me that no matter what I did, I was ending up with the same shades of colors no matter how I mixed the colors up.

It didn't matter how many youtube videos I watched and playing around with the colors, something wasn't clicking.

Some of my fiber friends suggested I get a color wheel so that I could see how the colors played with
each other. I read my copy of the Twisted Sister's Sock Workbook" yet again and decided to play around with food coloring.  Yes, food coloring.  Right now I don't have any plastic bottles that I can dedicate to acid dyes and honestly, in the new kitchen, I'm not sure I wanted the acid dye powder flying all over the place.

So ... I grabbed some of my handy-dandy canning jars and mixed up a few colors and measure out a yard or so of Superwash wool top and experimented.

I'm really pleased with what turned out.  I kettled dyed and handpainted the yarn.  I took my time and let one color exhaust before adding another color.

It's so happy.

I originally mixed up red, yellow and orange colors and towards the end of the process I took the little bottle of green dye and just dropped drops here and there over the fiber.  You can see in the above photo where the green broke up a little bit and turned blue. 

Like I said, so very happy with how it turned out.

Then I subscribed to the Knitting Blooms Podcast and saw she had shared a tutorial on handpainting roving.

The clouds parted and the angels started singing.  Her tutorial was exactly what I need for handpainting fiber to click.  Yes, that day I went to my local Wal mart and bought what I needed and that night I used leftover dye and dyed 3 ounces of superwash wool top.

I can't help but smile when I look at this braid. I can't WAIT to spin it up.  But first, I need to finish plying my Tour de Fleece 2012 fiber. 

I can't wait to break out the dyepots again.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Snow storm

Last week yet another snow storm came to my area. I knew it was coming and as soon as it started I left work early to try to get home before the storm got too bad.

It took me an hour and a half to get home last Thursday when it normally takes 45-50 minutes.

On the way home there was one car that slid into the ditch on the highway.  The highway patrol was there with it flashing lights so we all knew to move over.  I don't think anyone was going over 50 miles an hour.

I was "lucky" enough to get yet another snow day.  Though at this point I think everyone in my family is sick of snow days.  Monday I woke up yesterday to 3 email alerts about the next, yes, next, winter storm that was coming to my area. I was able to get home last night without a problem

This April has been the snowiest April on record and they've been keeping track for the last 150 years according to the weather person this morning.


But today I woke up to 10 more inches of snow and ended up coming late to work and bringing my son to school late because our road had just enough snow to make my husband worry that I might get stuck if I was the first person on our road to try and get out to the highway, which was clean.

But, I'm sure you are dying to see what it looked like on Friday (April 18)  You are in luck because I have pictures and video. I just didn't have the heart to blog about this that day. Also, my internet was running sloooow.

This is my husband in the middle of snowblowing the driveway.  The cowl on the snowblower is 2 feet tall.

I made my son stop so I could take a picture. 

This is my son running through one of the paths that my husband made with the snowblower. 

  Here I am standing in the driveway. 

This was my road.  (south direction) 

Here I am standing in the middle of the road.  This was just incredible to me.

Here is the road in the other direction (north)

 Here is the back of our house.

Oh, did I mention that a branch the size of a small tree fell on my garage?

Yes, and thankfully there doesn't seem to be any major damage.

Here we are at the end of the day. Look at the beautiful sky and the sun making it all rosy and pretty. 

Here was some video I took when I first stepped out of the garage.

And another one showing the trees.  You can hear the wind a bit as well.

I've been told that better weather is on it's way.  I hope so.  My baby chicks are supposed to come next Tuesday.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


I've been so bad about spinning lately, much less posting pictures.

Recently I finished my second bobbin of the fiber I started spinning for 2012 Tour de Fleece.  How bad is that?

I thought I had posted a picture of the fiber I dyed on the blog, but when I did a quick search I couldn't find it.

I did find it on my flickr account.

 Thank goodness for notes.  It's Merino top, 3 ounces.  You can't really see the greens in the fiber.  I kettle-dyed this becuase that was the only kind of dyeing I knew how to do and not freak out at the results.

Here's a picture of it being plyed up.

Here's a close up.  You can see the greens better in this photo.

I was trying to go for a thin enough ply so that I could get a two-ply sock yarn.  Or close to it.  I'm  not sure if I'm going to get it though.  It seems to be a fine thick and thin, if there is such a thing.  I'm also only about a third done plying.  This is going to take me a while.

A couple weeks ago I got a some books from the library on spinning.

I learned a LOT from each of these books. The DVD that came with  "The Intentional Spinner" by Judith MacKenzie was really helpful.

My only "disappointment" with the DVD was that I watched her method of plying and I tried it and it did not feel natural.  So I've reverted back to my old method of how I hold my hands when I ply.  No biggie.

Another thing in her book that was really insightful to me was the ability to change what yarn you can make by switching up the whorls.  Now I knew you could do this, but I hadn't given it much thought.  After seeing her switch it up it was a light bulb moment for me and I feel like I've rediscovered my wheel again. 


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Spring in Wisconsin

Spring in Wisconsin is not typical. This year's spring is even less typical.

Last week we had a spring snow storm or late winter snow storm or freak snow storm.  Take your pick.  It was certainly not normal.

We got plenty of warning the warning included the caution of conditions deteriorating quickly or rapidly once the system hit our area.

How quick is quick?

Within 5 minutes there was whiteout conditions.  It was incredible. 

I hot-footed it out from work as soon as I could and went to my son's school to pick him up since I wasn't sure if school was going to close early or not.

Here's some photos from my drive home.

Outside my workplace

Turning onto a main highway.  

 Going down the highway

Same highway.  To the left you should be able to see "Barker's Island"  Not so much today. 

 Country roads ... take me home.  You can sort of see the garbage truck.  I was worried he was going to pull out in front of me.
Not really sure what he was doing. 

Then on Saturday we got out and bought my son a new sled.  Yes, you read that right.  A new sled in the middle of April.  Good grief, right?

Saturday was gorgeous.  I took a few pictures while my son was "sledding"

Look at how blue that sky is.

Today as I write this, the sun is hiding and we are preparing for yet another snow storm to blow through.  Unbelievable.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What's going on?

So what's going on with me? Not a whole heck of a lot. I'm still plugging along on my first Bayerische sock. But not enough to post another update. 

I'm mostly waiting for the weather to get nice.  And when I say nice, I mean *really* nice.

As of right now my area is under a later winter weather storm warning.  Joy. ... or not.


On Good Friday this year I had the day off from work and my son had no school.  The weather was gorgeous. So gorgeous that we took two walks that day.  And Saturday, March 30 we took a short walk and came across this on our road.

So totally random that I love it.

I haven't met all my neighbors so I don't know who was whimsical enough to make these guys. You can't tell but the one on the far right is actually a dog. Totally made me smile.

After the nice weather of Easter weekend the weather pattern has shifted again and while we are still in the 40s, it's a windy, damp 40s temp. 

But you know the saying about not liking the weather; wait a day or two.

At the end of March we sold our minivan.  We immediately had regrets.  Actually, we told the couple that came to test drive the van that we had made the decision that if they didn't purchase it that we were just going to keep the van.  Well, the people loved the van and bought it much to our chagrin.  I'd say within 5 minutes of signing the agreement DH and I were like "Oh no, what did we just do?"  Seriously, the van was that good.  It was pretty sad to see the van drive away and know it was going to a new home.  I was consoled by the fact that it was going to be much appreciated by the new family.  They currently have three kids under age 6 (I think) and those three kids, who were all still in carseats, had to share the backseat of a Cavalier.  Eeks!  That's not much room.

DH hit the Cr*aiglist listings and we ending up purchasing a truck.

It's a 2002 Ford F150 (boy I hope I have that right.)  It's in pretty fabulous shape and a metric TON of fun to drive. It gives a fantastic ride.  It's already been fitted with a ladder rack and she's (Yes, it's a she) ready to start hauling all the things we will need for the dream deck that is being planned for the back of the house and ...

a chicken coop.  Yes, we are going to get some chickens.  This past Monday I went to the local feed store and put an order in for 10 Silver Laced Wynadotte chicks and ...

six Guinneafowl. I'm not sure what breed of Guinnea fowl we are getting though ... the guy didn't ask and I didn't know enough to be specific.  No biggie.  They are due to be delivered on April 30.

We can't wait.  My DH has been doing research and has already got a pretty firm idea of what kind of chicken coop he wants to build.  I'm pumped because we are gonna have chickens and the Guinneas are going to eat all the bugs and ticks.  If this is the peak year for tent worms, the Guinneas are going to gorge themselves silly, I think.

While I did some research on these two breeds I came across a good YouTube video about the Wynadotts and a cute video about a Guinnea stealing a dog's food right out from under his nose.

There hasn't been much baking going on.  I guess I'm feeling to antsy about the changing seasons.  I just can't wait for the warm temps and the sun.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Service project

Back in March one of my knitting friends sent out a call asking: "Will you join me for a service project?"

One of her friends was collecting little afghans/quilts to donate to her local local hospital for the NICU and for the hospital to give out those those have suffered the loss of their child.  The smallest ones being 8" x 8" and up to regular sizes.

I thought "Hey, I can do this." and I said I would help.  I made three blankies and sent them off in the mail yesterday.

This was my first blanket. It was 8" x 8" and made from some leftover acrylic yarn I had used to make my son a cabled hat. It's pretty soft.  After I made the main part I was stumped for a border.  Remember, I'm a newbie crocheter so I needed something simple.  One of my friends came to the rescue and taught me a border.  Thanks! :-)

I made two blankets out of this yarn.  They were both 12" x 12"  The picture doesn't show the true color, unfortunately.  It's a soft green color. The yarn is Bernat Baby Coordinates and here's a better "color chip" courtesy of the Bernat site. The color is called "Iced Mint".

 Love and kind thoughts were crocheted into each stitch.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Bayerische sock update II

After fighting with the increase row on the Bayerische sock and then realizing that I was messing up the cable twists I frogged the sock after the third or fourth row.

Woe unto me.

After telling some of my friends that my hands were sore after working the increase row and my difficulty in making the increase stitches they all told me I was knitting too tight.

After pondering some of the stuff that is going on in like I have to agree that I was knitting too tight.  I don't know if I always knit that tight or if I was knitting tighter than usual because I felt I should because of using  US size O needles.

In any case I cast on again and was sure to knit l-o-o-s-l-e-y.

The second time around I kicked that increase row's butt.  HARD.  I rocked it.  No foolin.

I have now completed two repeats on the cuff of the sock.  I'm ready to split for the heal

Unfortunately you can't really see the pattern in a picture.  I'm not sure if it's the lighting or the variegation of the sock yarn.

I also color coded that pattern.  There was no way I was going to make mistakes on the twisted stitches again.

I'm still goofing up.  But I'm catching it fairly quickly and not having to tink a lot of stitches back. Twice, at the end of rows I was adding on a second purl stitch.  So I have a design element because I was not going to tink back and get rid of the stitch.

I now know that I can *not* work on this sock when my son has decided he needs to talk.  When he gets going he is *quite* the chatter box and I very easily lose track of what row I'm on.  -- EVEN THOUGH I've got color coding going on, row is marked with magnets *and* I've got a row counter going.


Once I got going on this sock I am pleased to see that the rows are going quickly.  It's nice.  After taking more than an hour to do the increase I was worried each row was going to take *forever*.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Princess Bride

I have never seen "The Princess Bride."

Hard to believe, right?

Well, after hearing about it on a few different podcasts I decided that I should see what all the fuss is about.  I put a request in for it at my local libary and was able to watch it this past Monday (April 1) with my son.

It was a cute movie. It was fun to see Andre the Giant again.  I remember seeing him wrestling on TV when I was my son's age (currently 8).

But you know what?  I wasn't that enchanted with it. I think that because it had been hyped up so much and that it was a favorite for so many people that for me it got built it up to be more than what it really was.

It was sort of a letdown in that respect.

But ... like I said earlier, it's a cute movie.  My son got into it and when Inigo Montoya said to Count Rugen "You killed my father. Prepare to die you son of a b*&ch" My son's jaw dropped and his eyes were HUGE as he looked at me to see if I had heard the bad words.

My jaw was dropped too because I wasn't expecting it, but also because I knew my son would be looking back at me and I had to look just as shocked as he was.   It was a priceless moment.