Friday, February 09, 2007

Cats on books and everything else...

Fromage, Boris, Ziggy and Mew-stradamus decided they needed to get all sorts of kitty fur all over the new couch. We have now turned into those type of people who cover all of the furniture until company comes over. I think this means we are officially old...

Current projects: Dyeing roving and knitting more sockies.

I am currently knitting on a pair of Pomatomus socks. Yes, I am SOOOOO last year when it comes to socks. I decided to do them toe-up and quickly discovered that this pattern is not the easiest pattern to translate into a toe-up pattern. If anyone else wants a few hints, here ya go.
First - Cast on 37 stitches on one needle and 36 onto the other needle (I use 2 circs) before you go into the pattern on chart B for the first time.
Second - On the first repeat on the leg (chart A), make sure to do the SL2, K3 Tog stitch to get back down to 36 stitches.
I also found that the yarn I was using with a size 2 needle (as suggested) was way too big. (This is superfine merino sock yarn, not thick stuff). So, I ended up frogging about 5 hours worth of knitting and going down to a size 0 needle and starting all over again. The pattern looks REALLY cool, so I am going to give it a try.

Dyeing: I did my first dyed roving during the Stupor Bowl! AND IT WORKED! I had never dyed any roving and thought I would start with immersion dying some roving a solid black color for a hand-spun yarn I am working on. It did grab more than I had expected (not felted, thank goodness) but it is spinning up just fine. I am going to try painting a solid color and steaming it this weekend to see how well that works and if it makes the roving a dark enough color. I figured if I am going to card different solid colors of roving, the immersion should work well (since it will get run through a drum carder), but if I am wanting the roving to be less "grabby", I will try painting it.

I have been having a great time mixing up all sorts of 1% stock dye solutions so I can start experimenting with color mixing. I have been using the book Color in Spinning by Deb Menz to start learning how to mix colors and play with color mixing in roving and in hand-spun yarns. Scout suggested this book when I was curious about dyeing yarn. I have found a few things that will help with my yarn dyeing, but I am going to be using this book to learn more about color theory and how to make that certain color I am looking for. I feel like I have made a quantum leap in dyeing!

My very fast flyer came in for my Lendrum wheel today! I am so excited! I have been having a couple of little problems with my wheel recently. This first is the excessive squeaking from the bobbin (which usually starts about 30 minutes after my hubby goes to sleep in the next room). I picked up some lube to hopefully solve that problem. The other headache was with the plying head. When I would use the plying head to ply my singles (and using the LONG band), I was having a VERY hard time getting it to turn. It felt like I was fighting it hard to try to get it to work. This is the first and second time I have had this happen. In my Lendrumspinners Yahoo group, they mentioned this problem and the solution is to take a little bit of fine grit sandpaper and lightly sand inside of the plastic ring. The problem had something to do with certain wheels being made during high humidity and when they get to a really dry climate the wood contracts the plastic piece in the plying head and so it doesn't spin well. If you have a Lendrum wheel, it's a great group with a lot of good information!

Slim down update: I have been pretty good about working out, but not as good as I want to be. I have been working out at least 2 days per week (a day short of my 3 day goal) but I have been lifting to failure on my weight days and I have been lifting 2 times per week. I have been doing this for about 3 weeks and (without a diet change) I have gone down to a size 14! Yeah me! Next week, I will be starting to add diet changes into the plan. Last week, I decided to take some measurements of "problem areas" on my body. I remeasured this week (I shouldn't have done it, but I was curious) and found I lost 3/4" off of my butt and 1" off of my belly (also known as the "Muffin Top")! I will do another measurement in 2 weeks, after my monthly cycle works itself out. (I gain water weight like crazy the week before so any measurements in the next two weeks would not be valid). I am up to 9 miles per day on the exercise bike (at a medium tension), I am up to 60 crunches per workout session and I am able to do 3 sets of 15 reps on all of my upper body exercises! My favorite song to do crunches by? Fat Bottom Girls by Queen (and with a starting measurement of 43 inches, I qualify!). My favorite lifting song? Since I Held You by The Cars. My aerobics songs are whatever comes up on the iPod at the time. I am up to the letter J in my song list this week! I really wish there was a work out plan to slim the belly but let me keep my butt! I am really enjoying having some "junk in the trunk" for a change!!!

Ziggy - He is still hanging in there, but going downhill. The tumor on his neck has grown to the point where it is starting to bother his ear and he is scratching at it a lot. He is also sleeping all of the time and not very active. He still jumps on the counter, still likes to beg for food and still loves to mess with my shoelaces when I am putting my shoes on for work, so it's ok. We are keeping an eye out to make sure he isn't in any pain. He hasn't shown that he is in pain yet, he still has an appetite and he still uses "the box" so we are thankful for each additional day we get with him.