Monday, March 31, 2008

Molly Had A Little Lamb

Mr. Bee kindly took me to A to Z Farm yesterday to see this spring's batch of new lambies. It's THE true mark of spring for me, more so than the first robin I see or the first time I step in mud up to my eyeballs trying to unwrap the dog from the tree out back. This year A to Z had a plethora of new babies to cuddle and coo over. I took a picture of their tally board so I would know how many they had this year, but it didn't come out and I can't remember, but suffice to say they were everywhere! Lot of singles as well as sets of twins and triplets. Some had just been born the day before and some were a few weeks old. And every single one was adorable! I'm not lying! Ask Mr. Bee, I had to welcome every one! And the baby piggies too!

The newest babies-born 3/29/08

A little bit older

Oreo Lambie!

Lambies in a basket

...Lalala...one of these things is not like the others. One of these things is kinda the same...lalala


There is always a spinning demonstration in a side room. It's one of my favorite parts. This guy,


Nels, is always there, feet clad in home knit wool socks, jaunty hat perched on his head, spinning on his Babe wheel beside the pot belly stove. He is every bit as sweet as he looks too. And I don't know what it is about him and that stove that makes me incredibly homesick for Maine, but it does. He kinda reminds me of my Poppie I guess. There was a lady with a small loom making a scarf, but I tried not to pay too much attention. That's just what we need, for me to take up weaving too! There was one other lady with a drop spindle and it was the oddest thing, she had a kind of hand knit 'holster' on her right hip and it appeared to have a shot glass or something in it. Her spindle was sitting in it and she was whirling it in the glass, building up twist, then she'd stop and release the twist up her roving. It was kind of slick looking. Now that I have my wheel, I can't imagine going back to much drop spindling, but I really examined how to knit that little shot glass holder dealie, lemme tell ya. That would be so much more fashionable than carrying my inebriant around in a plastic sippy cup every day like I do now...I could make them in different colors to match each day's ensemble.

A farm in Cambria set up a little booth selling yarn, wool slippers and assorted sheep enthusiasts' things like mugs and note pads. They also had some big bags of dyed roving but I resisted. I only gave into temptation a little bit by buying two small plastic bags of something called "All Mixed Up" which looks like some crazy person got let loose in a room full of dyed roving and just took a puff of this and a puff of that and stuffed them together. It's about 1.5 to 2 oz total. Should be interesting.

Last night I wound up my Mermaid Tail two ply onto my new niddy noddy. I ordered a pvc piping one from Mielke Farms. Up until then, I had been using two kitchen chairs put side by side. I read the instructions carefully. At least what I thought was carefully. It turned out to be not so carefully after all. I should have stuck with the kitchen chairs as it turned out. I wound an entire bobbin of lace weight yarn onto the niddy noddy incorrectly. When you 'cross over' you do it once in the front and once in the back. If you do both crossovers in the back, you weave the yarn together into a nearly untangleable mass. Ask me how I know. I dare ya. And, no, the lovely David Tennant had nothing to do with it this time. I wound the whole thing confidently, just like I was in my right mind.

Mr. Bee listened to me rant and rail about the injustice of it all. Then he dried my tears and put the yarn around his hands and patiently sat for about and hour while I untangled and rolled it into a ball. Then I spent another 30 minutes winding it back onto the niddy noddy correctly. Boy that's a mistake you only have to make once. Kinda like plying in the wrong direction. Or poking yourself in the eye with a sharp stick. During my seeming eons of wrapping and rewrapping, that Dyson Vacuum Guy comes on with his commercial about how he loves to make mistakes because that's when you know you're making progress. I was not in the mood. I wanted to slap the snot out of him. Hard.

But it was all wound, set, and hung to dry by 11:30PM. I checked at lunch today and it wasn't dry yet so looks like those photos will have to wait until tomorrow, but I'm happy with it. I think it's even lighter than sock weight. Even finer than my last skein. Since this is only the 4th skein on my wheel I'm calling that pretty good.

I have a little bit of singles left over that I wanted to try out on my new Handy Andy Andean Plying tool but I'm terrified because I'm apparently 'wrappingly challenged' and the directions for the Andean thing are way wrappy-like so I'm putting it by for now...for my own safety and that of others.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Promised Pictures

Awww rats! The sun isn't out so my Tropical Fish sock photo does not show it's truly amazing
brightness. Ixnay on the shopping run to go buy those Foster Grants!
I really like how the twisted rib cuff turned out.I don't know why I was surprised that this Blackberry Ridge yarn was so stripey. It didn't look so in the skein, but I like the result anyway. You can't see, because of the weather and the lousy photo job, but there are a lot of variations in the blue and reds; lot of bits of teals, purples and pinks on either end of the color changes. Fun! You can see what I mean a little bit if you click on the picture to biggify it.

And here are some of my Mermaid Tail singles.

That big lumpy piece on the left hand side is my end. I don't give it as much twist so I can find it. Yes, I've had that problem before! And yes if you look closely you will see a white snowflake towards the right hand side. And no, I don't want to talk about it! It's enough to make me want to break down and cry.....but instead, I'll just close the curtains and spin some more!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Houston Wii Have a Problem!

Funny thing about the remotes for the new Wii game that Mr. Bee has. They are about the size and shape of the bones the Bentley and Holli chew every evening. Funny how the motion of playing with them; mimicking throwing a bowling ball or swinging a tennis racket, are the same motions one makes when throwing a Frisbee or a tennis ball for the aforementioned canines. Put them together in Living Room Chez Bee and mayhem quickly ensues!

You have two grown adults trying to launch imaginary bowling balls or hit a cyber baseball pitch,or what have you, and you have two 75# dogs doing the Frisbee Dance and barking merrily at your feet. (Throw it Go ahead. Throw it. You know you want to. I'll bring it back. I will! I will! Throw it! Oh! She's gonna throw it. Aww! She didn't throw it. OK. Next time throw it. I'll get it. I'll get it. Just throw it. THROW IT! THROW IT!!!!! ) Dodging a hyper mega dog is a obstacle rarely seen in an actual bowling alley. We may have to institute a crazy canine handicap!

I have one of my tropical fish socks done but it's too dark to take a picture of it tonight. Its dazzling yellow-ness really needs to be appreciated in the bright light of day. So be forewarned to don your Foster Grants before you read my next entry. I've also been spinning up some 'mermaid' merino. It's all cool greens, aquas and teals, just like a real mermaids tail. At least all the ones I've seen. I have 3 oz of it and I've spun half into lace weight singles already. To say I am spin-crazy these days would be a gross understatement. Why I spin just like a puppy after a Wii remote!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Introducing...

Name: Spring Claret
Born: Friday March 21, 2008
Weight: 4 oz of Merino/Tencel loveliness
Hours in Labor: ~15-20
Mother: MIGHTY PROUD (If she does say so herself!)
(Click on photos to biggify them)




Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wii Wii Wii All The Way Home

Last night my plan was to finish spinning the singles of my wine-colored roving and start plying. I have been loving, loving, loving spinning this stuff. It's finer than the tresses of wee forest fairies....um...if wee forest fairies had slightly lumpy tresses that is. But none-the-less, I sped through my work day yesterday, counting down the hours until I could get home and spin again. And yet, I spun not. The best laid plans and all that. You see I had a Wii problem.

I gave Mr. Bee a Wii for his birthday. The big day isn't until next month, but since Wii's are only slightly scarcer than hen's teeth around here, I had to strike while the iron was hot. I was able to get one last weekend at Target and since that's a pretty big purchase to try and hide for a month...let's just say the bag is catless. At first Mr. Bee was fine with waiting until April 19th to play with the thing. When I say 'at first' I mean in the initial 15 minutes where he was so grateful he didn't argue and so stunned that his devious little mind hadn't started formulating reasons why he SHOULD and NEEDED TO play with it right away. Soon, it was clear (read: 'he wore me down and it was easier to just give in than listen to any more', here) that he needed to do some quality assurance testing to make sure the thing was up to snuff since it had been purchased more than 30 days before his birthday and everyone knows the return policy on such things is dicey at best after 30 days. He didn't WANT TO you understand. It was absolutely necessary. Vital if you will. I still managed to hold him off from Sunday until Tuesday night. You people have no idea what a huge accomplishment that was!

So last night he hooks everything up. Since two players are more fun than one, I was recruited to help test it. First up-bowling. I had never played Wii before. There is a remote control thingy with lots of buttons. There are lots of settings in the TV screen that need to be chosen, clicked on, and set. There is a magic bar that sits in front of the TV that reads the infrared from the remotes. It's all very sciencey. So Mr. Bee set all this electronic wizardry up, handed me my remote, and asked if I had any questions. I said, "Yes, why are my little bowler's boobs on crooked?" Mr. Bee hung his head. Of all of the questions I could have asked regarding set up, rules or how to play. Of all of the wonder I could have professed over his prowess and mastery over all things electronical, I was more concerned with the deformities of the little cartoon person that represented ME on the t.v.. In my defense they appear almost vertical rather than horizontal. I still think she was involved in some horrible bowling accident-too close to the ball return or something- even though Mr. Bee allows that those are her HANDS not her bosoms. I don't believe him. I added insult to injury by repeatedly picking up spares in the game making the announcer exclaim "Nice Spare" to which I would reply, "Thanks but they're crooked". Every time. Yeah. I don't think I'll be invited back to play Wii again which is unfortunate because I really enjoyed it and seemed to show an aptitude for bowling, tennis and golf that was lacking in my formative sports-playing years. Oh well, I guess I will be felled by knitter's/spinner's elbow rather than Wii elbow after all. So be it.

At any rate, tonight's plans are to finish up the singles and ply. I didn't think to divide the roving in half up front so I have been switching bobbins back and forth trying to fill the same amount of singles on each one so that there will be less waste when I ply. Here is another poorly taken but gratuitous singles shot.
I only have three small globs of pencil roving left to spin up. With any luck, I will have actual YARN pictures tomorrow! And they'll be better quality than the one above!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Spinnin' Round and Round The Yummy Weekend

I didn't get to go see Franklin this weekend. It just wasn't in the cards so I'll have to live it vicariously through Dale-Harriet. We couldn't have asked for a better representative of the Sow's Ear Hog N Bloggers!

I took a gastronomic tour of Mt. Horeb with friend Anne. We went to Sjolind's Chocolate Shop where I had a West Indies Hot Chocolate containing ground ginger and peanut butter. It was yum! We knit there for a while before toddling down the street to Sommer House Cafe where they make a world class blue cheese chicken salad and Norweigan krumbkaka. More yum! We knit there a while and then headed over to BlackBerry Ridge Woolen Mill where I got a great kit for a sweater for Mr. Bee.>


This picture with the bosomy manikin makes it look a little girly but it's not really. It's a unisex design and the yarn I got is a natural fisher men's tan kinda stuff.

We went to friend Donna and Tom's today for a delicious chop suey lunch and then scurried home to take Ben and Holli for a short stroll in the fine spring weather. Better enjoy it. More snow coming tomorrow!


Other than that, I've been spinning my little fingers off. Here is a shot of some of the claret singles. More Yum! I KNOW!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Bloomin' Mailboxes and Rockin' Robins

I have an important announcement to make! For the first time in the past 147 months that has been the winter of 2007-2008, I believe that spring may be on its way at last! Now I know that I've been lulled into a false sense of security on this before. I've gone all springy-in-the-head over a warm day here and there, only to have my hopes dashed by another 6" of snow right on it's heels. But this morning, I discovered our mailbox poking it's sleepy head through the snow bank for the first time since January. Tulips and daffodils be damned! I've never seen a more beautiful sight than that black metal dome with it's little red plastic flag breaching the dirty, drooping mounds of snow! Then...THEN!!! On the way to work, I saw a whole herd of ROBINS! I KNOW!!!! Could this be it ?!?!?

In more good news, I finished The-Most-Boring-Baby-Blanket-Ever for Adorable Baby Jack this morning. Here it is in all it's banal glory.

I just have to wash it up and pop it in the mail...and it will arrive way before Adorable Baby Jack reached retirement age which is when I originally estimated it would be completed. Yay for me! Now it's off to spin spin spin my beautiful claret marino!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Chicken Tortilla Casserole

I made a yummy casserole for supper last night. It was easy and pretty healthy too if you stick to low or ff versions of the cheese. I stuck the recipe in Molly Bees Kitchen-link here and on your left! Enjoy!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Grumpy Gloomy Gus

I’m generally a pretty positive, upbeat person…but I must say, I’m sick of being sick. I’ve had every cold, stomach virus, sinus infection and bronchial highpopalopus that has come down the pike. And on top of that, all of the medication and angst keeps setting off my usual twitchy tummy problems. I pretty much reside permanently in the loo at Chez Bee with a tissue in one hand and an antibiotic in the other. TMI, I know. But if I have to suffer….you have to suffer.

I’m tired of winter. I swear to God, if I have to shovel one more flake! I need to see a blade of GREEN grass or a bud on a tree…something! I need to poke my head outside without my nose hairs freezing. I need to venture outside without having to be dressed in the 42 layers required to merely exist here at Ice Station Zebra. I need to stride purposefully down my driveway instead of waddling like a tentative penguin stuck in a minefield on the ice. I need SPRING….NOW!!! If I have to kick that black crap from the wheel wells of the car one more time…or scale one more frozen ice-mound-of-death to get from here to there …or scrape one more icy window, I’m going to crawl into the bell tower with a rifle! Oh relax, we all know it’s more my style to crawl up there with an industrial-sized bag of M&M’s… so the citizens of Beetown are safe, but you get my point.

I know that this general attitude is going around. Peaknits says she feels deflated like Flat Stanley and Sheepish Annie has a whole entry about the fact that if the world didn’t suck, we’d all just fly right off, so I know I’m not alone. It just feels like it. And to add insult to injury, Mr. Bee’s general attitude about things he can do nothing about is like that of a philosophical-yet-heavily-stoned surfer. “Dude, if you can’t do anything about it, why stress? Spring will come when it comes, Buuuuuddddy. Cowabunga and Hang Ten, Molly Bee”. If he gets hauled off and slapped, there’s not a court in all the land that will convict me!

And I’m not the only one…look at those faces!


Look at poor old, Ben...talk about Flat Stanley!

At any rate, my rant is over. Guess I'll go work on the boringest baby blanket ever in the history of the world. I finally started the decrease side so it's getting there. I've been 'rewarding' myself with 30-60 minutes of spinning the lovely vivid red roving. It ain't green, but it'll do for now.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

People Are Paying For Snow?!??!?!?

It was a sad day in Mr. Bee Land yesterday. Brett Favre retired from the Green Bay Packers and one of the creators of Dungeons and Dragons passed away. Cheeseheads everywhere were in mourning and the state of Wisconsin virtually ground to a halt over the Favre announcement. Gaming geeks worldwide tried to figure out how they could transfer hit points to buy their gaming hero a little more time but alas it was for naught. Mr. Bee, being both a Cheesehead and a Gaming Geek, took it especially hard. He's a tough character though, my Mr. Bee. He rallied nicely by bedtime, claiming that life and football would go on!

I got a hilarious email from friend-Gail. She said that she was driving along in her air-conditioned car in Wilmington, North Carolina yesterday and she heard an advertisement on the radio for a company that would come to your southern home and would fill the yard with snow for your birthday party, or whatever, for the low, low price of only $450.00. She realized that she has seen recent photos of my yard, as well as that of her sister who lives in northern Maine, filled with snow and was mighty ticked to think that we had obviously had parties and had neglected to invite her. (Hardee Har Har, Gail! Now that would have been funny in January when we are supposed to have 10 feet of snow, but it is now March and it's still cold....and still snowing...so now you're just rubbing it in!) I told her to buy her plane tickets because we were having a snow shoveling party and she was invited. And I'm opening an EBay account...I must have $50,000 worth of snow in the front yard alone!

Gail once sent me the most hysterical post card ever. She had moved away and I hadn't heard from her in quite some time. This was back in 'the before times' when we didn't have email. (I know...gather round, children and I will tell you tales...) I worked at a Tourist Information Center and had access to post cards, so I sent one to her that just said, "Gail?". About two weeks later I got one from her that said "What?". I think I still have it somewhere. Gotta love that wry Yankee hu-mah!

I had to put my beautious claret spinning aside (sob) to whip up a quick baby blanket for friends who just had a son out in NJ. We hadn't even known they were expecting, but we got the announcement and photos of Adorable Baby Jack last week. I thought I'd make one of those blankets that is knit like the basic dishcloth only bigger. I got some lovely cotton/acrylic yarn at The Sow's Ear. It's baby blue, has little flecks of other colors in it and it's oh so soft. The color name is "It's A Boy!" so it's perfect. I started it, sure that I remembered the pattern, and knit almost a whole ball before I looked and realized that something was horribly wrong. It was growing wide too fast. So I went online and found the dish rag directions and realized that I was only supposed to increase on one end not both. Doh! I ripped the whole thing out and started over and it's going swimmingly now. (To add insult to injury though, the washcloth pattern was called "Idiot-Proof Dish Rag". Guess I proved THEM wrong!) Knit Night is on Friday night so I hope to be on the downhill side of it by then and finish it off so I can get it in the mail before Adorable Baby Jack graduates!

Last night was 'Beauty Parlor Night" at Chez Bee. Two dogs, a cat and a rabbit that needed to be brushed and manicured. We got the brushing done. It's not easy because the dogs and cat LOVE the Fur-minator brush and all jockey for position to get beautiful first. Mr. Bee has to wrangle two while I brush one and then we rotate. We got a whole 'nother fur baby's worth of fur out of them and I suspect when I vacuum the carpet tonight I'll get yet another. We didn't get all the nails done. That's a job for this evening, so I'd better get to it although it's not much fun. While they love the brushing, no one wants to get their nails done. Pray for me!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

More Lessons Learned

Why do I insist on trying to do anything while watching Dr. Who? Honestly, isn't wiping the drool off my chin, caused from feasting my eyes on the lovely David Tennant, enough to keep me busy? But no, I decided to ply my yucky yarn so that I can start spinning my yummy claret roving. I'll never learn....I ended up with this.

What is this you ask? Check out the upper left hand corner of the picture specifically. This is what happens when you ply correctly, in the opposite direction that you spun the singles, then turn on Dr. Who and totally forget to ply in the opposite direction and ply all of the rest in the same direction as the singles. What do you get? You get a mess, that's what you get! And the best part is that you don't even notice until until you go to skein it and the incorrectly plied bit all falls apart. Now the Doctor's over AND you have a mess AND you don't know how to fix it AND it's bedtime. Disaster all around! Given the amount of time it took me to end up with absolutely nothing, I hope this is a lesson I only have to learn once!

But it's over and I'm moving on. Here is the new fleece. I haven't finished separating it into pencil roving yet but I couldn't wait to share it's reddy-purply goodness.


Thanks to Dave and Mrs Sable for the tips on Navajo plying/plying with white. I will definitely try that next time. Disastrous directional plying of this aside, I still hate the muddiness of the coloring. Too much of the lavender and olive, but it would have looked nice with white I think. At the very least, I will ply it in the opposite direction of the singles next time so I at least have SOMETHING to show for my time!