Sunday, April 27, 2008

I'll Pack A Alpaca....

And bring him home with me!!! Went to the Midwest Alpaca Festival this morning at the Coliseum. There were alpacas of all shapes, colors and sizes. There were...

Chorus Line Alpacas
Punk Rock Alpacas
And punk rock alpacas who's parents couldn't take it any more and took them to the barber...

This little fella thought I was his mama and wanted to come home with me. Neither of us could convince Mr. Bee of this though. Alas. I even tried the 'I would feed him and walk him and clean up after him' thing but to no avail. I did bring home some beautiful natural colored alpaca roving to spin-black and buff.

And my buddy (read 'Wicked Enabler' here) Sandy from Sandy's Palette was there. I can never resist her beautiful colors. These are all merino or merino and tensel.

And these called to me From Susan's Fiber shop. Lousy shot through the plastic bag...sorry! They are Louet wool top in Grape Jelly and FrootLoops colorways
Plus I saw lots of old friends and new. It was like old home week! No one can resist an alpaca! Alpaca smoochin', shoppin', spinnin' and friends. Sigh! Days just don't get any better than this!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

This One's For Cousin Cortney...

...who says I need to post more pictures of myself on my blog. Here's why I don't!

Got up early to go garage-saleing in the neighborhood. Turns out it was 38° with gale-force winds so we drove around a bit, but unless there was a 10 cent Hummel or a previously undiscovered Monet prominently displayed at the end of the dooryard, we didn't even get out of the car. We then headed to warmer climes inside The Sow's Ear for their Pampered Knitter sale. It's like a craft sale in the store; enamel jewelry and buttons, Heather's famous cat toys, felted items and roving.

This afternoon I spent in the company of my fav knitting group, the Victor Allen's Saturday afternoon knitters. I always have a great time with them and they always drop kick any blues I may be experiencing away. The conversation rocks and their mad knitting skills are always inspiring.

Tomorrow it's off to Alpaca fest. I am atwitter with anticipation! Photos tomorrow!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Denim Surprise-Check!

Finished the Denim Surprise yarn last night. Why Denim Surprise? If you look a few entries back, the roving was mostly aqua and apricot. When I plied it, I was stunned to find that the overall impression it gave was a denim blue color. Huh?! Who knew! I guess the surprise is half the fun!

Now it's off to start this little bit of loveliness from Rainbow Fleece Farms. It's an overcast day so you can't see the sparkles, but it's really shiny! My favorite!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Butterfly Whisperer

We had a busy and eventful weekend! Saturday was Mr. Bee's birthday and in keeping with our Birthday-Palooza tradition, we turned it into 3 days of fun. And I actually started a little early since I went to Knit Night on Friday night. I got a hardy chunk of Mr. Bee's sweater done. At least enough so you can see the pattern. I'm really liking it. It's enough to keep me interested but not overly complicated; just lattice and seed stitch.

Saturday we went out for a big brunch and then meandered to up to Ho-Chunk Casino in Baraboo. I went to the $1 slots and won $500 ($150 and then $350) in the first 10 minutes. I took my voucher over to the Blackjack table, handed it to Mr. Bee and said, "Happy Birthday! I'm going to knit." Then I went up to the second level of the hotel atrium, picked a big comfy leather couch and knit more sweater. The atrium is amazing. Even if you don't gamble, you should dodge in and take a look if you happen up that way. There's a waterfall and sandstone ledges like in The Dells. I had a perfect view of the falls and the bald eagle. Bliss. Mr. Bee lost $50 on Blackjack and more on the slots and came to get me about 1 hour later. He asked me how I won and I showed him the machine. He put in $3 and won $350. We ran to the cashier, got our loot and scurried out of the Casino like we'd robbed the place; giggling all the way!

Yesterday we went to Milwaukee to the Body Worlds exhibit. It was every bit as amazing as I had hoped. There was no danger of being 'grossed out' because the bodies were so plasticized that they didn't look real. My favorites were The Horse and Rider, and Phoenix woman. The only time I really thought about the fact that they were people was when I noticed one man had tattoos. It was very educational.

While we were at the Museum, we went into the Butterfly Room as well. Now, I'm not a bug girl, not even if they are hooked to colorful little hang gliders, but I was fascinated! It's a small (very tropical) room and there were hundreds of butterflies of every imaginable color, size and shape just doin' their little butterfly thing in there. At first I was proud that I ignored the instinct to swat.Then I notice that little kids were putting their hands down and the butterflies were crawling right onto them. I thought, "If they aren't killing those little kids, maybe they won't kill me either. I'm a lot bigger than those kids, and even if I get a really nasty butterfly bite, how much venom can they possibly inject?" And before I could think further about the venom I might be inflicted with should they decide to swarm me, I put down my hand and picked up a little black-winged fellow with brilliant rose spots. He was very polite. He licked me a little and once I got over the notion that he was possibly cleansing the potential wound site, I settled in and enjoyed the tickling. And then I was hooked. I tried again and again to catch another one but failed. I finally asked a little girl who was literally covered in the things and she explained it to me. She spoke these words of infinite wisdom...The Butterfly Whisperer said, "You just have to invite the ones that're willing." And she was right. Pretty profound. Mr. Bee practically had to drag me kicking and screaming from the room, I was having so much fun.

I'm almost done spinning the singles of the aqua apricot merino I've been working on. I've shored up my wheel so that it doesn't wobble so much since I am only using one of the two treadles. I'm trying to spin it a bit thicker than the Mermaid Tails, which turned out a lot finer than I'd anticipated. We'll see how it goes.

Our magnolia finally blossomed yesterday so it must be spring!

Don't forget! The Alpaca Festival is at The Coliseum this coming weekend!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Comic Books and Fire Trucks

I am such a geek. Mr. Bee obtained a 'Serenity' comic book for me that had been personally signed by my hero "Cap'n Mal" (Nathan Fillion). I was so elated I did the one-footed-happy-dance (which Mr. Bee says is very close to the Pee-Pee Dance so he was momentarily confused, as naturally he would be) all around the kitchen. I kept thinking, "Captain Mal TOUCHED this! And I work in a company where we could extract his DNA from that and clone him!" Lucky Girl! Lucky Girl! Sigh. SUCH a big ol' geek.

I have been dividing my time between spinning and starting Mr. Bee's sweater. I'm spinning this wool/tensel from Sandy's Palette. I was iffy about the colors at first. I chose it because it's so out of my comfort zone color-wise. It's teals and fleshy apricots mostly. I was concerned when I started pulling it all apart that it was kind of 'barfy colored' for lack of a better term, but now that I've spun up a bobbin, I love it: apricots, teals, vivid blues, pinks. Can't wait to see it plied up. I'm on the 4,769th restart of Mr. Bee's sweater from Blackberry Ridge. I had to cast on 266 stitches. I had to do this approximately 800 times before I got it right; with enough-but-not-too-much tail left over from my long-tail cast on. Then I joined it and knit 10 rows and realized I had a twist. Mr. Bee is a pretty, pretty man, but I don't think even he could pull off wearing a Mobius sweater! I enjoyed having to unravel the whole thing so much that I managed to do it again the next time I cast on. I'm not the shiniest needle on the circular sometimes. But now I've got 'er all headed in the right direction and I'm really enjoying it. There is enough of a pattern to keep it interesting but not enough so that you have to pay a lot of attention. Plus I've put stitch markers between each of the 14 stitch repeats so I can only screw it up in one small area at a time (in theory).

Tragic news: due to getting soaked in the rain the other day, the stickers are coming off my Storm Trooper apparel. Now, I could be sad because I love the iridescent dragonflies a lot (although I must admit they aren't looking so pretty now with some of their wings and heads missing ) or I could see this as an opportunity to go to the craft store for another theme. I'm thinking fire trucks. I've done 'pretty and serene'. Maybe now it's time for ''danger, excitement and public safety vehicles'. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Cutest. Baby. Ever. !!!

Our friends in New Jersey sent pictures of Adorable Baby Jack and the blankie I knit him. Looks like it was a resounding success! Just look at that face! He's only 3 and a half months old but he already has exquisite taste in hand-knit 'woobies' and a grin that's gonna break a lot of hearts some day! He already has mine!

"I think you missed a stitch right here, Aunt Molly Bee!"
"Nah! Just kiddin' ya!"
Go on! Click on them to 'biggify'! You know you want to!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Molly Bee's Got Balls...

Of roving, People! Of roving! Man, you guys are quick to ride that train right on into the Gutterville Station aren't cha?! :-) We went to Rainbow Fleece Farm yesterday for their 'Sheep Shearing' days. Here's my loot. You can't tell, but most of the roving has shiny tinsel like strands in amongst the wool. I'm spinning the stuff on my wheel as fast as I can because I can't wait to tuck into that shiny red!
I went into the farmhouse where they were having demonstrations on needle felting, drum carding and spinning and look who was there!Hazel Carter, ya'll! Knitter, spinner, lace designer extraordinaire!!! I 'bout died, I did! It was like an Elvis sighting ! I held it together quite well on the outside, but in my head I was dancing around screaming...everything short of launching my underwear towards the stage! I'd never met Hazel before but I have long coveted her lace patterns and plan to attempt one when I grow up. I got to spend 30 minutes absorbing her brilliance on sheep breeds, shearing and wool; all delivered in her delightful English accent. What a sweet lady.

Despite the two-ton-heavy-thing on my foot, I went home walking on air after my brush with greatness. In fact I was so over the moon that it only later occured to me that I hadn't seen any actual sheep being sheared at 'Sheep Shearing Days'. And I didn't even mind...that's how awesome it was. The only downside was that I apparently zigged when Mad City Mike zagged and we didn't get to meet. I'm sure we'll run into each other somewhere. I am highly recognizable these days. The shimmering metallic dragonflies give me away!

On the way home we stopped at my favorite little park in Belleville. This is what it looked like last autumn.
And this is what it looked like yesterday!

This is the little walking bridge the connects the park to town. I love to look for water snakes under and around it in the summer and fall. There wasn't any ' under and around it' to search yesterday! Weee! I hope it holds!

We went to Melting Pot with D&T for supper. It was scrumptious as usual; fire, food on sticks and chocolate. Can't go wrong. And it's nice to take a leisurely three hours to catch up with friends rather than rushing so that others can have your table. D&T recently returned from Germany so they had lots to share, and when I could shut up about Hazel Carter long enough, they told us wonderful stories. They brought me back the prettiest little lighthouse centerpiece from the North Sea. It holds a tea light and is so pretty on the dining room table.

Yeah, overall, I'd give yesterday a 12 out of 10!

Friday, April 11, 2008

My Grammie Broke Her Face...

...and her wrist. Yeah, that headline will get your attention, huh? When you're 96 you don't bounce as well as you did when you were...say... 82. She was walking the few yards from her apartment to the mailboxes and down she went. My mother happened by and when she pulled in the dooryard she found Grammie on the ground and a crowd around. The ambulance came and took her to the nearest hospital about a half hour north. They discovered the broken facial bones there and sent her to a bigger hospital two and a half hours south. They put a splint on her wrist, loaded her up with Darvocet and sent her home the next day. I think that fact is actually scarier than the fall itself. Cut a Grammie some love, Big Hospital People! She broke. her. face. If that doesn't warrant a couple days of bed rest and some green Jell-O I don't know what does! I talked to her this morning and other than being hopped up on the drugs she sounded OK. She's a tough ol' bird! They grow 'em wicked rugged up in Nawthen Maine, Deah!

[My personal theory is that she did it on purpose to hog all the family sympathy and attention from my huge-hideous-cast-sportin' foot. She's ruthless and will stop at nothing! I can't get the attention back now...SHE. BROKE. HER. FACE, People! You win, Grammie! It's so frustrating to be so far away and not be able to help as well as make fun of her predicament in person. Don't is the way of my people.]

We had an invisible fence installed for the dogs this morning. We did a little training in the house on the lowest setting, which is akin to a little vibrating tickle, and it was very very amusing. Holli would get the signal when she got too close to the cat food dish and cock her head and look puzzled, but she had no idea why it was happening. Ben got the signal 2-3 times and won't go near the entire kitchen now. And when Holly bumbles in he gets agitated like,"Don't-do-it-you're-gonna-get-the-bad-noise-and-the-tickles-and-there-is-NO-FRICKIN'-WAY-I'm-going-in-there-to-save-you!" And to think that he was the one I was worried about it not working on because he's such a spaz.

If none of this makes sense, don't blame me, blame the Sandman. He hasn't been around for over a week now and to say that I'm getting a little punchy would be an understatement. I've been getting 2-3 hours a night; enough to keep me alive but render me pretty much useless otherwise. Tonight I'm pulling out the big guns...Benadryl. That'll do the trick but I can't take it on a work night because it works so well and makes me sleepy the whole next day.

Tomorrow, if I wake up, I'd like to go to Rainbow Fleece Farm in New Glarus. They are having their sheep shearing days. This, of course, is based on Mr. Bee's kindness-of-heart since SOME people, who shall remain nameless, can't drive a manual shift car with their new concrete slipper on. I'm pretty sure he'll drive me. He's quite the enabler, my Mr. Bee. Then tomorrow night, friends D&T are taking us to The Melting Pot for supper! Yum! Lotsa sleep, fuzzy sheep, melted cheese and chocolate*, all in one day! Life doesn't get better than that!

*This will be the title of my autobiography someday!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Name: County Fair Floss

Fiber:Hand dyed Leicester wool
Source: Unknown (a vendor from the Jefferson Sheep and Wool Festival)
Weight and ply:3 oz./2 ply
Lace weight
Time to completion: 1 week
Destination: a bowl on my dining room table with Claret and Mermaid Tails to be fondled and admired for now.
Overcast day=bad color

The 'money shot'!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Mollies Hobble But They Don't Fall Down

Say hello to my leetle friend.

This will be my new bestest buddy for the next SIX WEEKS! Looks like a Star Wars Stormtrooper boot to me. I've been telling folks that the other boot and the helmet are back ordered. Or that it's a Time Life installment plan kinda thing. It definitely needs some stickers or something to dress it up. I've always operated under the 'if you can't hide it, decorate it' rule. Maybe it won't look so ugly with some butterflies on it. Yeah right!

Seems my 'heel goiter' as I've been affectionately referring to it, is actually a ruptured Achilles Tendon. I TOLD you it HURT! I wear this oh so attractive boot for 6 weeks to see if it 'helps', which it won't, and then it looks like there will be a surgery in my future. Swell. I'm thrilled. In fact I was so grouchy about it when we were driving back from the orthopedist's office that I earned the nickname "Bootsy Undeebundle Nickertwist" from my beloved. Oy ! At least I have one good foot left to work the spinning wheel with! And if I have the surgery, I'll get 4-6 weeks off my feet to figure out how to use it!

I went to Knit Night on Friday night for a couple of hours but had to come home early to let the pups out. Mr. Bee had a sleepover at one of his little friend's houses so I bacheloretted it for a night and all day Saturday. I tried to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather, I really did, but the lure of the wheel is strong. I did spend about 2 hours outside but the rest I was spinning away on my new cotton candy roving. I got it all 'singled' and am almost 2/3 of the way through plying. Photos coming soon.

Sunday I picked up a copy of Spin Off magazine. I LOVE it but not the $8 price tag. A lot of their on line archived copies contain pdf.s so I think I'll just content myself with learning that way. I already learned what wraps per inch was all about and the Knit Night girls filled me in on the secret that my new niddy noddy is a measuring device not just a skeiner-upper. I'm getting there. Slllloooooowwwwllllllyyyyyy.

The swatch pattern came out for the Mystery Lace Knit Along today. I have a lot to hobble though chore-wise tonight; baking of cookies, making meatloaf and picking up the laundry room but I hope to be able to spare 20 minutes or so to whip it up to see what it's going to look like. I'm pledging to keep up with this one! That said, I should gimp out and get to it! Happy Monday!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Horton Hears A What?!?!?!

I was speaking with a young friend today regarding the new Dr. Seuss movie.

ME: Have you seen 'Horton Hears A What'?
HIM: Who.
ME: (giggle) Horton.
HIM: What?
ME: Yeah, Horton hears one (hehehehe).
HIM: Hears a what?
ME: Yeah (heheheheeheheheheheh)
HIM: No! Who!
ME: Horton! Try and keep up! (hysterical laughter)

This went on for quite some time, with him having no clue about the old 'who's on first' gag and getting more indignant by the second. Finally he decided that I must be a couple eggs short of an Easter Basket and a couple days late April foolin' him and gave up, at which point I tried to explain the old 'who's on first' gag which, as it turns out, I couldn't. It just sounded really stoopid, which made the whole thing seem even funnier (to me). I can just imagine how he's going to relate this at the dinner table tonight. It will start out with, "That Molly Bee is so weird..." Hopefully it will amuse his parents where it patently didn't amuse him! It's the little things that keep me going..... a joke's still a joke no matter how small.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Mermaid Tails

My new Mermaid Tails lace weight is dry! The roving was 50/50 Merino and Tencel from River's Edge Weaving Studio in Grand Ledge Michigan. I picked it up at the Sheep and Wool Festival in Jefferson last fall.
I'm pretty happy with the consistency this time.

It has a few issues but overall it's OK.

It's more consistent than the Spring Claret I spun just two weeks ago.

And way more consistent than my lumpy, bumpy first attempts.

Maybe the Dyson Vacuum Guy was right after all!

Cooper and The Garden Guest

I discovered earlier this summer that finches aren't the only thing that like my thistle seeds. Even though there is a plethora of seeds...