So comfy, so passed out., so... sleepy... I roll over and turn out the light. He's just too warm against me, snoring... lulling me to sleep.
Went back to working on squares for the aran afghan:
I'm using up every ball of yarn but I should have enough to finish 16 squares total (for a 4x4 blanket) and sew them all together. Will probably need to buy a few more balls for the cabled border but it's okay if those are a different dye lot.
Yay for fall and cooler weather- I'm so happy to get back into knitting. I want to make a hundred different things.
Early morning cuteness:
Today's my birthday- going to take it tres casual. Kind of partied hard last night. Woke up to Penny under the covers with me, tucked into my armpit. Santana by my head. Murderface at my waist. Dollar next to me. Feeling very content and happy :)
Went to the Sheep and Wool Festival on Saturday with my sister. It was a great day- cool but sunny. Looked like a great turnout and I was impressed that the festival has really improved on the food vendors present- lots of new options.
Alert sheepdogs waiting to perform some herding demos:
Walking through the vendors, I want everything (of course). How can you not?
I was really restrained this year- so much so that I contemplated going back on Sunday just to buy more. #yarnaddiction. I bought yarn to make a rainbow stripe study shawl, a skein of sock yarn and a small ball of wool to spin and enter at the VT Farm Show. That's it. I keep reminding myself that I already have an insane amount of yarn and fiber to spin.
I distracted myself with all the adorable animals:
And grump little felted creatures:
Looking forward to next year!
Pattern: Totally Biased (rav link)
Yarn: 'Adele' by Stacy Charles Fine Yarn, 3.5 balls
Needles: US 8
Mods: Cast on 76 st. Knit until loop would be long enough to be worn doubled around the neck, then grafted both ends closed.
I've made this pattern so many times; I love it. It's a good yarn-eater and customizable.
The color in the pictures is a little washed out. It's a bit darker in real life with small rainbow sequins all over. Very nice and sparkly in artificial light. Will definitely get a lot of wear this winter.
Another finished handspun hat, using yarn spun from a Moose Manor braid of fiber:
I started this hat back in April but only just got around to taking a picture and closing out the project on Ravelry. These fold-over brimmed hats w/pompoms are great for using up all (or nearly all) of a 4oz spun skein of yarn.
Finished my first wearable woven item in time to be submitted to the fair:
Weaving goes quickly (when you don't leave the project languishing on the loom for literally years) and doesn't really use that much yarn. I just need to practice warping quickly and getting tension right. I just need to devote an entire day to a project- if I start and then walk away, I won't ever come back to it. I think when I take a two-week vacation over Christmas/New Years, I'm going to dedicate a few days to just weaving.
Pattern: Treasure Slouch
Yarn: Classic Elite MountainTop Chalet, 2 skeins
Needles: US 8 (ribbing), US 9 (lace body)
Mods: Made the brim longer, to fold over and added a pompom to use up two entire skeins.
The yarn is a bulky, chain-plied alpaca/bamboo blend. I found this pattern on Ravelry, searching for free bulky hat patterns. The fiber blend lends nice drape to the fabric.
I think it has a very 70's vibe to it and I love it. Was unsure whether or not I would- the double yarnovers make a very hole-y pattern but it works.
Also, my hair is very light and red after all the blue washed out. My hair was all-over dark brown but I used to have very red highlights when I was young (my dad's a natural redhead in his younger years). I think the bleaching brought out red that was hiding under the surface. I like it! If I'm sad that the blue didn't last, at least now I have new red!
Another weekend that went by too fast. The weather was gorgeous- definitely autumnal. I didn't have anywhere to be so I just kicked it around the house all weekend watching back-to-back-to-back episodes of Adventure Time and catching up on crafty stuff. Murderface catches up on his Z's:
Santana, forcing me to find another bathroom:
Looking forward to the weekend. Need to take pictures of some new finished items (hats and scarves). With the cooler weather, I've been knitting away.
The VT Sheep and Wool Festival is next weekend at the Tunbridge Fairgrounds. The website has a $1 off admission coupon. Looks like there will be good vendor demos throughout the weekend. I bought a beautiful handmade wooden lucet (aka knitting fork) at this festival a couple years ago- which I still haven't mastered the use of. It's for making cord. I just need some pattern ideas for what to make with lucet cord. Off to Ravelry and Pinterest...
A couple weeks ago I had an appointment at a salon to dye my hair a crazy color. The entire process took three hours and was pretty expensive (in my opinion). First, bleach paste was applied to my hair-
So that the hair would be light enough to take dye.
Then that was rinsed. Blue dye was quickly painted on and rinsed. I really really really really loved how it turned out. Indoors the color was subtle but in natural light- it was a very pretty blue. The next morning I took this picture:
But the color literally didn't even last a week. So disappoint. I got a sulfate-free shampoo, stayed away from hot water and hot blow dryers. It just... washed out. The only consolation is that my hair just looks highlighted now- after the dye washed out, the lighter streaks remain. I could go to Sally's or some hair shop to get dye and do Manic Panic at home but... I don't know if it's worth it. Blue pillows. Blue neck. Blue towels. Blue spots staining the walls above the shower (oops).
It was a fun and flattering color without looking ridiculous but I would only ever do it again for a special occasion- maybe before going away for vacation or an event. It's too much work and way too expensive to do as a regular thing. And it was really disappointing that after only a week 80% of the color was gone and after two weeks, it's completely gone.
On the way home from MA last week, I pulled off I-91 to the Green Mountain Spinnery. I haven't been in a while- I usually see them vending at the NH or VT Sheep and Wool Festivals- but wanted to stop by since it's literally only 200 feet away from the interstate exit.
Pretty Mountain Mohair:
I picked up a pattern for mittens and some undyed discounted seconds. The woman working was kind enough to give me a quick tour of the mill, which was actively spinning yarn. I think I must usually stop by on weekends when wool isn't being processed. It was cool (and noisy!) to see all the heavy carders and spinning bobbins working away.
After, I went to Curtis' BBQ up the road to bring home some ribs. Mmmmm. Riiiiibs.
Was away last week for work, so Dollar dropped off my items at the fair for me. I picked them up Sunday night. Love entering things in the fair every year.
Excited to start planning the things I will be making for next year.
I think the autumn switch has been flipped. AM temp at the house was 36 and the high today is only meant to reach 66. Time to dig out hats and scarves and mittens.
During the long weekend, I wanted to do as many crafty things as possible- and hopefully finish up a few projects. I recently bought a can of metallic silver spray paint and went to the thrift store looking for things I could gussy up.
Here's the crap I bought, totaling $12:
Mostly vases. A couple ceramic ones, one glass, one terracotta, one bird votive candle holder and a glass dish. I sprayed them all over a few times (upside down, right-side up) with silver and the next day added a couple coats of high gloss sealer.
So fancy! The little bird and nest I especially love because of the detail. I love the look of spray painting over plastic animals.
Would definitely do this again. Still want to spray seashells, mason jars, an old candelabra. I've also seen some people use puffy paint to dot a design on the outside of glass bottles- and then spray paint over the entire item.
This past Saturday I went to the first pick-your-own weekend at my local orchard. The trees were in a lower orchard that I hadn't picked in before but it was beautiful out.
Only Cortland and McIntosh varieties available to pick.
I picked one reusable shopping bag full, which (which a bag of pre-picked pears) came to about $20.
I was pretty anxious to make my first fall apple pie.
You can see one of the apples has a little nibble taken out of it. I thought the meat of the apple was tart but otherwise rather flavorless. Fine for pie but not awesome for eating out of hand. I will probably pick again in a month- I wonder if the apples will taste better then.
Even in the picture below, the sliced apples look a little green instead of being completely white:
Oh well. I mixed the sliced apples with lemon juice, vanilla and applejack brandy. Then dusted it all with a blend of sugar, cornstarch, nutmeg, cinnamon. No picture of me rolling out the dough... because it wasn't pretty. I think I need to let the dough rest after I take it out of the fridge- I have such a hard time with the edges splitting apart.
Put the top on, crimp the edges and cut holes. I tried to make a pattern that lost it's definition so I just starting poking holes everywhere.
I brushed the top with milk and sprinkled coarse sugar. Also, before pouring in the fruit I brushed the inside of the bottom crust with milk. The King Arthur Flour cookbook (I used the recipe "Best Apple Pie" from the Baker's Companion) said to do this to create a protein barrier between the bottom crust and fruit, which would help prevent the bottom crust from getting soggy. It worked!
Man, I love smelling a pie baking. I love taking it out of the oven. I love looking at it. I love it a la mode:
The next pie will have a better crust design and look less... stabby.
I'm trying not to be jealous of this picture:
Murderface, spending the weekend in total lazy-pants mode. I get to sleep-in until Santana or Penny wakes me up at 7am (because breakfast is an hour late at that point) and then I have coffee and putter on crafts until Dollar and Murderface have had their 16 hours of sleep, then I start doing chores and making noise around the house. Siiiigh. One of these days, I'm going to spend an entire weekend lounging with MF.
Went around picking one or two of everything still blooming:
Well, it's been super nice and sunny and hot but we're definitely moving into fall. The days are growing noticeably shorter. The local apple orchard this opening this weekend, so I think I'll do some apple picking and make a pie.
The doily is done.
I love it- so pretty and intricate-looking. Was easy to work on but I did have to flip back and forth between the written instructions and the pictures a lot to make sure everything was coming along correctly. The only thing I don't like about crochet is that once you come upon a mistake that you made in a previous round, you have to undo the whole round to go back to it. With knitting it's so easy to drop stitches down to the error and pick them back up. I only had to undo one row on this project but it was right near the end and more than an hour's worth of work.
I might have doily fever now- I want to make more.
Making on a new Totally Biased infinity scarf:
Wanted something easy and fast to work on after finishing the intricate doily. Knitting with US 8 needles after working with a tiny crochet hook and fine cotton thread was like working with broomsticks. But after a week, I have mounds of progress to show.
Boys and girls are even in the house now, after adding Rocky.
Santana and MF went to the vet a week ago for their annual exam and shots. They are doing really well for older cats- Santana is probably 12 and MF is around 10. I made an appt to bring Santana back down for a teeth cleaning during the week. They did some light bloodwork for the anesthesia and saw some bad kidney and liver numbers for her. It's bad- kidney and liver disease- but very early. As long as we're careful and diligent about a new diet for Santana, we can have many more years. We've already started her on new food and she seems to enjoy it.
I'm picking up more comprehensive bloodwork tests and prescription food after work. I'm grateful that she drinks enough. They did a urine test and found no infection. She's always been an extra-thirsty cat; we leave water glasses for her to drink from around the house.
Made my first ever batch of kimchi:
I received one head of napa cabbage from my CSA. I asked my mom for her kimchi recipe. She was cagey about giving details. I was like, "So the red pepper paste that I mix in- it's red peppers... and garlic..." The phone is silent. "... Ginger?" "Yes. Some ginger." "And... ?" "Uh, I'll just mix some up and you come pick it up." Sigh. Someday I'll get the list of ingredients.
I cut up the napa cabbage. Let it soak in salt water for an entire day. Rinsed the leaves. Mixed it all up and packed it into a couple plastic containers. I don't know when I'll get around to eating it, so I put it into the fridge (rather than letting it cure on the countertop for a couple days to speed up the fermentation).
Now that I think about, I've got to try a bite tonight- so see if it taste exactly like the kimchi I'm most familiar with.
Murderface and Penny at the foot of the bed Saturday night:
Penny loves Murderface so much. They don't ever cuddle or do any kind of mutual grooming, though. She tries to rub against him when it's dinnertime but he runs away.
Every now and then he will lick her head during treat-time and give her a silly hairdo. But that's it. Otherwise, she's constantly pining for him.
Murderface is Bachelor4Lyfe.