Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thank you Ali!

You have been reading my blog for a year and a half and that was the first time you commented on it!   Glad you liked the fish porn!

Flora and Fauna

Happy weather  to report today.  Blue sky, no clouds, perfect for a walk along my favorite path, the Big Dry Creek Trail.    I remembered my camera today and a good thing too as the wildflowers (weeds) were blooming and I got to appreciate them in the open space instead of my lawn.   Photo heavy post coming...............

There is a small lake that attracts all kinds of ducks, geese, and today a heron.   But what really caught my eye first was major splashing around in the shallow water.    What it turned out to be was a huge Koi surrounded by several catfish and smaller yet huge goldfish and assorted carp.   I was told by someone more familiar with the sex lives of fish that they were spawning...right out there in public for all the world to see.    So what do I do, but pull out the camera to photograph some fish porn for this blog!

The huge orange Koi had to be nearly30 inches long and its "friends" were about a foot long each!     Sounds like a fish story for sure but the photos tell the story!

And there is more!    

The heron only let me approach just so far before it took off across to the other side of the lake so I followed around the path to get closer again, when all of a sudden it caught a fish for lunch.

It played with it a while then swallowed it can see how thick the neck became as it was consumed into its throat.    It posed like this for the longest time  before the neck regained its graceful curve.   Wow!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Why are my posts mostly weather reports???!

Out of the four days of my weekend, why did it rain 3 out of 4 of them?    Saturday was actually beautiful for most of the day, and didn't rain till evening.   I got a long walk in on Sunday and Monday, early in the day before the torrential downpours of the afternoons and saw that the usually lazy creek along the "Dry Creek Trail" was a raging stream.    Had I walked down that path during the storms, it would have been classified a river!   When I walked, however, I only saw the high water marks and the muddy flow of the water.   Once the sun returns, as they are promising tomorrow, everything will be green and lush.   I am off work again on Thursday, so I have my fingers crossed for a sunny day.    I thank God everyday, that I don't live in Seattle, because I wouldn't make it for long without sunshine, as my mood turns forever gray as the days have been. 

On the last sunny day, I photographed some new flowers in the garden.   These make me oh so happy as they defy the weather.   Bleeding hearts, so perfect as they flutter in the shade.

These iris usually bloom this time of the year on their 36" stems, but this is the first time they were not blown down by strong winds, just as they were starting to bloom.   I am hoping to enjoy them on their stems until they are spent.

And for you, Becky of Needles of Iron, I will have some blooms this year from your gift.   Keep posted for more photos to come.    

Friday, May 22, 2009

Spinning on the front porch

It is so relaxing to know that I don't have to spend the long weekend studying, since I passed the part of the insurance exam yesterday.    I do have the text book for my next test, but took today off completely.    No, not really completely, because I did vacuum and dust in the the main rooms downstairs.    On Monday, Mom is coming over for a barbeque, so I had to put a bit of time in to get the house in order.     Now that Gary is not smoking anymore, I can enjoy being in the house all day, and even the back patio.   I put some potted hibiscus plants out there, but since the dog ATE the flowers, I did not take any photos.   A quick trip to google showed me that the flowers are edible and they are even used in salads in the South Pacific islands.   Hoping to break her of this delicacy, I will photograph the plants later.

This afternoon, I took the spinning wheel out to the front porch where the bouncy lounge chairs are, and worked on the second 4 oz of the dragon fibers yarn.    
Catching up on my podcasts, I spun the afternoon away.   I did wait until 4 o'clock before I poured my first glass of wine.   A perfect afternoon.  Here are the results:

Tonight the wheel goes in the corner and the Ishbel shawl will be my project of choice!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Four Day Weekend Coming Up!

I just passed the 4th part of the Insurance exam and now I can relax for the long weekend.  After what was forever in the retail industry, I now feel like I am part of the real world out there with nights, weekends, and holidays off.      Only one exam to go (June 2) and I will have fulfilled the testing requirements for my job.   Of course, the weather is dreary outside, but my spirits are bright!  

So what does everyone think of Kris beating Adam last night on American Idol?   Adam is far and away the most talented, but I guess he was just a little too scary for the preteen set who do most of the voting.    Let's just see whose career is further ahead in 6 months to a year.   Kris is cute and all, but his cuteness will fade away to obscurity without creativity.   Just my opinion..... which I don't share with one of my daughters!

More poppies:

Spinning up a storm.    Just to remind you, this is the fiber, singles and now 3-plyed on the bobbin.   Dragonfibers merino, bamboo and nylon for socks.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sun Shiny Weekend

At last, a sunny weekend.    One garden is planted and on Sunday it thanked me with Icelandic Poppy blooms from plants that I planted last year!

They are so bright and delicate dancing in the sunshine that one cannot be anything but happy when gazing upon them.   Last year I got one bloom at a time on each plant, but after filling them up with Miracle Grow last year, I was granted about 6 buds per plant now.   I should have a nice series of blooms and it is always interesting to see what color appears.   I seem to remember lots of white blooms last year, and here I have shades of vivid yellow and soft peach. 

The perennial forget-me-nots are a nice contrast to the fuschia petunias.   I wish they lasted longer into the season.

Here is my handspun Ishbel against the backdrop of Snow on the Mountain and a closeup of the lace that is coming along very well.   I am almost through one 4 oz skein, so the whole project should take no more than 6 oz at the rate I am going.

On Sunday, I walked my typical 4 mile walk through the greenbelt in our neighborhood along Dry Creek Trail, when all of a sudden I came across this:

Wouldn't this be the perfect place for a group KIP day!  (Knit in Public)  Looks like our State Lottery Money is going for something great.   Here in Colorado, it goes towards capital improvement in Parks and Recreation.   I may just go out to buy more tickets to celebrate, and if I win, just think of all the yarn and fiber.............

Friday, May 15, 2009


Sorry if you tried to leave a comment and were unable to.   Something got messed up, but now I think I have it fixed.   Come back and talk to me.....I'd love to hear from you!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Since when do I have trouble counting

The top section of the Ishbel shawl is done and the beginning of the lace section is giving me all kinds of fits.    It took me a while to do the first row and I diligently put markers every 8 stitches to mark the pattern.   Of course, the first row took many attempts to get from beginning to end with the stitch count ending up correctly.  The second row was a snap with mostly purl stitches except for the beginning, end, and center stitches.

As soon as I started the third row, I knew I was in big trouble, because the 8 repeating stitches did not fall between the many markers, but jumped them.      I finished this row, removing all those pesky markers which were doing me no good, so now I will have to rely on the PSSO stitches to mark my place in the rows.

The handspun is working out nicely on this project, and is so soft.   Blocking when done should smooth everything out.

Two long days this week were spent in the state mandated class to qualify to get my insurance license which I need for my job.   I am pretty cynical about the whole insurance concept, realizing that they are profit making companies who really don't want to insure people or make payouts...ever.  Tomorrow  I take the exam, which I need to pass, but not really happy about everything I learned.    I will be that "trained monkey" spitting out the rules and regs as needed, and glad to know that I will only be dealing with limited products in that field.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Very Happy Mother's Day

The sun was barely out, the rain was sporadic, but a good time was had by all.      

When I checked into facebook early this morning (NO, I am not stalking my kids!), I spotted this:

For a girl who has been in NYC for 4 years, this is one of her first Star encounters and a very current one at that!  For those of you who don't watch American Idol, Allison Iraheta is the redhead who is a cross between Kelly Clarkson and Janis Joplin and only 17 years old!    Looks like she is a good sport to ham it up with Amanda and Preston in Times Square.   

I opened Amanda's  card and gift which were very sweet.   As her card said, "She is not too old to make arts and crafts gifts for her mommy!"   This is for my desk at work and it will go with me tomorrow.   She also phoned in addition to sending the weirdest e-card from Jib Jab!   I would link it here, but I don't know how.    

As for my other daughter, Alison, I did speak with her yesterday, and it gives me such pleasure to hear that she is adjusting to working two jobs and enjoying them, for the most part.   I expect to hear from her again today, later.   ....edited to add: Alison called after work and let me know that she painted me a picture and it will be on the way be continued.    I am the luckiest Mom in the world with the best kids!

After delivering a huge geranium to my Mom, we went out to lunch at Buca di Beppo, which is always good, if you like garlic....and we do!  This is the gift we each received: a nail file and nail polish.  Notice the color name:  Mamma's Marinara!!

I have begun working on my Ishbel shawl and here are the first photos.   Hard to believe that I spun such fine two-ply yarn, but it is working out nicely in this project so far.   I am using size 6 needles and will do the larger size.   I could always alter the number of lace repeats if necessary, but I have a while till I have to make that decision.

The rest of my day will be spent with my Insurance books, since I go that two day class this week and take the test on Friday.    I hope I can stay awake through all of it, because it is pretty dry and boring.   Here I go...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Knitting FO !!!

Here are the Spring Forward socks, finished at last.   I worked on these on and off for several months and finally finished them last night as promised. What I learned: Two at a time socks is easiest when there are the same number of stitches on the front and back of the sock and they do not change at the heel!!! Re-arranging the stitches with this method caused major brain damage until I had it worked out, but then it was clear sailing to the end.     Details are in earlier posts, and on ravelry.

I am pretty pleased how they turned out and since we are heading into barefoot season, I think I will pack them away, but they may actually be gifted to some lucky person!

I began spinning the Dragonfibers fiber last Sunday, and it has such a full-on shimmer that I couldn't photograph it  well.   I will try again in the natural sunshine in a few days, but it does beg to be spun very fine.   

Today was my short day at work, and I finally got around to fertilizing the lawn, so in about a week it should be totally lush.   Of course for my three day weekend, rain is in the forecast and  I WANT to plant flowers.  With Sunday being Mother's Day,  I should be able to do what I WANT......   It isn't fair!

Wishing all the mothers out there a perfect day to do what YOU want.   Appreciate your mothers, let your kids appreciate you, and take a moment to remember the ones no longer with us.   

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Problem solved!

I always had been a little nervous taking my spindles with me for an outing. I now have at least one batch of fiber reserved for spindle spinning, so they don't feel left out now that I have my wheel. But traveling with them in a ziplock never felt quite secure enough, even when surrounded by fiber, but now I have the answer:
These are a couple of cardboard canisters that came filled with the most luscious biscotti, sent by my daughter from Zabar's in NYC (my idea of heaven, for sure). I certainly will enjoy the biscotti, but more than that, I now have the perfect travel container for spindles & fiber and they are beautiful too, photographed with my first and only tulip so far! I must plant more in the fall, but I have been saying that for years. Shown is my Bosworth Midi and a ditty batt from SpinKnitandLife.

Yes, I have been knitting. I have temporarily put my wheel in the corner for a rest, and pulled out my Spring Forward socks to finish them up . Tonight I am determined to knit down to the toes, wash, block and photograph for a posting tomorrow.

Last night at Knit Night at A Knitted Peace, I decided to purchase the pattern for Ishbel by Ysolda to use my new variegated green homespun yarn that I posted about last time.. If I finish the socks early enough, I may even cast on tonight! I plan on making the large size, and I should definitely have plenty of yarn for that.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

oh boy, oh, boy, oh boy.....More fiber to spin!

When I first started spinning over a year ago, it was the pure fascination of it all. I started slowly with a drop spindle and I thought the process was so leisurely that my stash would grow at the same rate as knitted finished objects (FOs)! How could I ever have been so wrong??? Look at me now, with 5 drop spindles and a wheel, lots of handspun yarn and only two handspun FOs to show for a year of spinning. Over the last several months, I have no knitted FOs to show and lots more fiber on hand to spin, as well as many, many skeins of ready to knit yarn. I started this blog at about the same time, and read back to the beginning for this history of a new addiction! Below is just my most recent wheel spinning. I do have lots of spindle spun yarn in my stash box upstairs. It is a little frightening to see how the stash grows, and grows, and grows.

Here are two new fibers I received in the last couple of weeks. This first from Dragonfibers is a blend of Superwash Merino, Bamboo, and Nylon in the Mountain Majesty colorway.

I divided it into thirds lengthwise and rolled each into its own ball.

I have set it up on the wheel, and it is demanding to be spun super-fine for three ply socks. It has such a lovely shimmer. My goal is for striped socks which will probably end up coordinating but not matching.

The second fiber is another purchase from JulieSpins. This one is Merino 64s in the color called Brilliant Hibiscus.
This roving is not superwash and so soft and fluffy/thick that I need to really try to make a heavier weight yarn for a hat/mitts set. This fiber is going into the stash box for now......

I have been a spinning fool, lately, to the exclusion of nearly everything else. At least I have something to show for all that time spent with my new wheel. Believe it or not, this is all from the same 17 oz ball of roving: Briar Rose BFL that I purchased at Rhinebeck last October.You can see that there is a definite difference in the overall results. These are soaked, thwacked, and hung in the closet to dry.

The two skeins with the pink ties, as seen below a little clearer, are spindle spun and navajo plyed on the spindle and lovely, if I do say so myself. The other three were done on the wheel. The 1st and 4th are three ply and so tightly plyed that you can still see the kinking even after its nice hot bath. I hope it settles down after knitting it up. The second skein is my favorite- two ply, but not as tightly spun. A shawl perhaps. Isn't it interesting how different the colors came out after plying, especially the 4th from the left.

Here is another example of how plying can really affect the final yarn achieved. These all came from the same ball of roving from JulieSpins. The greens really are pronounced in the third skein and this is the one I will start with for socks. It was suggested to me at my spinning group that I should have rewound one of the singles to spread the green out, but did I listen?? What do you think????

I think I need to restrict my spinning to one or two days a week. I am bound and determined to have some knitting to show here on the blog and I need to finish some of the UFO's that are lingering.

Or maybe I should rename this blog: Lizzzspins!