Monday

Wednesday

[misc] Conversation Excerpts

###
####
###

AMY: Murderface, do you want some lunchies?

MURDERFACE:

DOLLAR: Come on, buddy, get some lunch.

MURDERFACE:

AMY: You have to eat up the last of the Whiskas pouches.

MURDERFACE:

AMY: It's like McDonald's for cats. It's McWhiskas.

MURDERFACE: Mrow?

DOLLAR: Come get your McWhiskas, buddy.

MURDERFACE:

AMY: Eat the McWhiskas. There... Good boy.

MURDERFACE: nom nom nom nom

AMY: Ha ha ha. McWhiskas.

###
####
###

AMY: [making dumplings at her mom's]

MOM: I did a different recipe for the filling this time.

AMY: Oh?

MOM: I put poison sauce in it.

AMY: [stops] You what?

MOM: I know, I never heard of doing that before.

AMY: What did you put into the filling?

MOM: Poison sauce.

AMY: Say it again?

MOM: HOY! SIN! SAUCE!

AMY: HOISIN SAUCE!?

MOM: YES!

AMY: [goes back to making dumplings] Whew.

###
####
###

[AMY and DOLLAR playing a game of Small World]

AMY: And the next race is... Ghouls. Biovacking Ghouls.

DOLLAR: Bivouacking.

AMY: What?

DOLLAR: Bivouacking.

AMY: What did I say?

DOLLAR: Biovacking.

AMY: ... What did you say?

DOLLAR: Bivouacking.

AMY: That's what I said.

DOLLAR: No, I'm pretty sure biovacking is a word you just made up.

AMY: What does biovacking-

DOLLAR: Bivouacking.

AMY: -even mean anyway?

DOLLAR: To put up an encampment of tents.

AMY: *sigh* It's your turn.

###
####
###

Tuesday

[felting] Needle Felting FAIL

I got the Fall issue of Vogue Knitting and saw a needle felted stole that I just loved. The yarn called for is a bulky wool/acrylic blend held together with a thread. The article tells you to cut a few inches, remove the thread, form a circle and needle felt a bunch of circles together on crafting paper.

I had to do it. It was one of those "Must do it NOW" projects. I went out for the supplies:

Needle Felting Fail


Left to right: Pencil roving, needle felting foam block, needle felting tool, water soluble crafting paper.

I needle felted a little sample onto the crafting paper- a smallish table runner:

Needle Felting Fail


I love the little circles!

Needle Felting Fail


I went to wash it and it basically fell apart. The crafting paper dissolved nicely but the circles weren't felted together well. I was awkward moving the fiber through the water, afraid that I would be pulling the circles out one at a time. Here's it is post-wash:

Needle Felting Fail


So... sad.

I held it up to the window:

Needle Felting Fail


The circles are barely staying together.

Here it is on the table:

Needle Felting Fail


I'll wait for it to dry and try felting the circles back together. It functions, I guess, but I'm still calling the project a FAIL. Next time, I will make sure that the circles overlap each other more.

Monday

[misc] Murderface Monday

Bath time...



I don't particularly like MFlicking my hands because I think he has skeevy breath, but Dollar looooves it.

Friday

[gaming] Small World

I have some pictures from a 4-player game of Small World. While I don't have a picture showing it all together (I did, but it looked confusing and perhaps overwhelming), I do have snapshots of the different components.

The sun shining on Small World. Here, you can see the board with race tokens placed on the various terrain spaces. There are victory coins in piles of 1, 3, 5 and 10. My two races are below the coins (the one on the right is in decline). And the black tray to the left holds all the race tokens...

Smallworld


Some races to choose from (from bottom to top: Fortified Halflings, Forest Orcs, Pillaging Ghouls, Diplomat Skeletons)...

Smallworld


The races. Here you can see Amazons on the hills and Humans on the farmland. There's a dragon token near the center of the picture- the Human special ability was "Dragon Master", so once per turn a human could jump onto the dragon and conquer any region in the world. Very powerful :)

Smallworld


The race tokens that look gray/dull have been turned over because they are in decline.

The game is very fun. The ONLY thing I dislike about the game is the token tray:

Smallworld


They are tough to get out and once you start putting them back, the first one or two can fall flat to the bottom, making it frustratingly difficult to pick them back out again. I need to find some new plastic containers or a better way to do this...

Thursday

[spinning] Optim in September

While in Portland, OR this past spring, I picked up a 4 oz bump of optim at Knit Purl.

Chameleon Colorworks Optim


Fiber by Chameleon Colorworks in the September colorway.

What is optim? It's merino fibers that have been mechanically stretched...

"The stretching process— called Optim— was first introduced in Australia in 2002. It permanently alters the molecular structure of merino wool, giving it greater luster that, in turn, reflects dyed colors more brilliantly than the standard merino counterparts" (source)"

When I started pre-drafting the fiber, it was more fluid, wispy and light than I'm used to. I spun it thin, all on one bobbin, with plans to chain ply it. But... In the end, I decided to leave it as a single. And...

Wah lah!

Optim


It felted a wee bit during the finishing, which gives the strands a bit of a halo, but I prefer knowing the strands will hold. I was very nervous of it pulling apart when skeining it onto my niddy noddy.

I don't know the WPI's, but I think it's a heavy lace-weight...

Optim


The funniest part was when I showed it to my sister. She said, "It looks like your rice scoop."

???

Optim


It DOES look like my rice scoop!

Optim


Crazy.

So, I need to count the strands to figure out yardage. I'm hoping I have enough for a small lacy shawl.

Wednesday

[spinning] Wildside

I've got a skein of bulky, navajo-plied corriedale in a crazy-bright colorway:

Wildside


Hot pink... lime green... nuclear orange... sky blue...

The original fiber looked like:

Sereknity Wildside


Fiber by Sereknity, colorway = Wildside.

The original plan was to try fractal spinning but it wasn't working out. Instead, I spun dk-ish singles and navajo (chain) plied.

Wildside


Probably not the best choice because the color lengths are so short and the joins are fairly obvious. Click on the above picture to see the notes I added in Flicr.

But, I am interested to see what this yarn will look like when knit. It would make an interesting hat. For a clown.

Tuesday

[travel] Fiber Revival 2009

My sister and I went down to Newbury, MA on Saturday to check out the Fiber Revival. I brought my spinning wheel, lazy kate, 2 bobbins of singles to ply and a niddy noddy. Did I actually do any spinning there? No. The 90+ degree weather doesn't inspire me to play with wool.

The location, Spencer-Pierce-Little Farm, is a National Historic Landmark with huge trees lining the drive:

Fiber Revival 2009


There were quite a few vendors present (many to the left, just outside of this shot):

Fiber Revival 2009


Happy people spinning...

Fiber Revival 2009


A late seventeenth-century major house built as the country seat of wealthy Newburyport merchants...

Fiber Revival 2009


There was a pen of alpacas, trying to stay cool:

Fiber Revival 2009


I felt so bad for this hot little guy. He wasn't moving at all:

Fiber Revival 2009


There was a larger fenced-in area for some of the farm's friendly animals: goats, a horse (I'm going to start taking pictures of just horse's asses. I don't know why, but I feel the need):

Fiber Revival 2009


And a three-legged sheep:

Fiber Revival 2009


I bought 2.5 pounds of fiber in various 4 ounce bumps, so I have LOTS of new colors and fibers to play with. Once the weather gets cooler.

Monday

[misc] Murderface Monday

Good morning, Murderbuddy...

Murderface


How do you feel about all this crappy hot weather we're having?

Murderface


Yeah. Me, too. xoxoxo.

Thursday

[gaming] Shear Panic!

And the games just don't stop. Last night I play tested a 4-player game of Shear Panic!. Yes, that means me playing all 4 players.

I've read. And reread. And re-reread the rules. It's complicated, yo. It difficult memorizing all the different actions one could take- Lamb Slam, Ewe Turn, Wool Rule, etc.

But, after a while I got it. Here's my flock once they entered Roger Ram's field:

Shear Panic


Here's the blue player's control mat and the green scoring track depicting the different fields...

Shear Panic


At that point, I hadn't reached the shearing field yet, where this guy wants to remove the sheep closest to him from the game:

Shear Panic


The pieces are so cute.

Shear Panic


So... The game is good. It's a complicated abstract strategy game, which sounds silly to me because it's just a game about a flock of sheep. But, the rules do make sense. Every so often, the sheep will panic (when they first jump off the truck at the beginning of the game, whenever the flock marker lands on a red space) and you have to roll a die to see which sheep panics and moves.

Also, if a member of the flock gets separated, there are rules on how to bring them back together. Because the flock always has to be together. Makes sense, right?

Wednesday

[gaming] Blokus / Wits & Wagers

We weren't going to play any games last night but the mother of all rain storms came and we lost power for three hours- 8 pm to 11 pm. We played a modified 2-player variant of Blokus by candlelight, which was nice.

I've read many reviews that this is a great abstract strategy game for 4 players. It's uneven with 3 players. And it's not very fun with 2 players. When I first got the game, Dollar and I gave the 2 player game a go and... Yeah, it was wierd. Each player is basically playing as 2 players.

BoardGameGeek to the rescue. I was able to find out that if you box in a smaller area, you can play the actual 2-player travel version: Blokus Duo

It was much more fun playing the travel version. I don't think Dollar's a fan of the game but I really like it. I was able to pick it up at Border's in West Leb with a 40% off coupon, so it was < $20 :)

###

They also had Wits and Wagers at Border's, which I've recently heard is a good party game. Amazingly, it's available in the Xbox Arcade and I had Dollar download it. We played a couple times and it's a good "trivia game for people who don't know trivia".

The questions are hard (How many miles long is the Mississippi River? What year was Frankenstein published? When was penicillin discovered?) but stupid answers from other players and good guessing/betting by you is all it takes to win.

Here was the last question Dollar and I had:

How many sheets of toilet paper are in a standard Scott roll?

Dollar's guess: 300

Amy's guess: 1000

Betting round... Dollar starts putting money on various guesses.

AMY: What are you doing? It's 1000.

DOLLAR: What?

AMY: Yes! I'm sure!

DOLLAR: I don't know...

AMY: I'm totally sure! That's the toilet paper I buy! Put your money on my guess! Hurryuptimeisrunningout!

*Ding* And the correct answer is...

1000.

Thank you, thank you very much. Dollar was appropriately impressed that I knew the exact answer.

Tuesday

[gaming] Small World

Dollar and I have been playing the 2-player version of Small World. This is the newest game from Days of Wonder.

###

In Small World, players vie for conquest and control of a world that is simply too small to accommodate them all.

Small World is inhabited by a zany cast of characters such as dwarves, wizards, amazons, giants, orcs and even humans; who use their troops to occupy territory and conquer adjacent lands in order to push the other races off the face of the earth.

Picking the right combination from the 14 different fantasy races and 20 unique special powers, players rush to expand their empires - often at the expense of weaker neighbors. Yet they must also know when to push their own over-extended civilization into decline and ride a new one to victory!

###

The funnest part of the game is seeing which special power comes with each race. It's random, so you might have Flying Halflings and Seafaring Giants. The next game you play, there could be Flying Ghouls and Commando Giants. This adds to the re-playability of the game, I think.

Last night Stout Ratmen was a combo a player could choose and I kept saying Stout Ratmen like it was some guy's first and last name. Hello, my name is Stout Ratmen. It could happen, right?

Oh, and scoring is secret in this game until the end, when players tally up all the victory coins they've collected. The first game we played was close: 87 (him) to 85 (me). The second game was 97 (him) to 88 (me). After we revealed our scores for the 2nd game, I started digging around the couch and checking the floor for a 10 victory coin token I "must" have dropped.

I'm looking forward to playing this game with more people.

Thursday

[gaming] Board Games at Triple Play

In case you live in the area, there's an bi-weekly evening of open boardgames at Triple Play in West Lebanon (remember they've moved from the mall in Lebanon to the Glen Road Plaza, across from the Powerhouse). I went last night and we played Kingsburg...

###

In Kingsburg, players are Lords sent from the King to administer frontier territories.

The game takes place over five years, a total of 20 turns. In every year, there are 3 production seasons for collecting resources, building structures, and training troops. Every fourth turn is the winter, in which all the players must fight an invading army. Each player must face the invaders, so this is not a cooperative game.

The resources to build structures and train troops are collected by influencing the advisers in the King's Council. Players place their influence dice on members of the Council. The player with the lowest influence dice sum will be the first one to choose where to spend his/her influence; this acts as a way of balancing poor dice rolling. Even with a very unlucky roll, a clever player can still come out from the Council with a good number of resources and/or soldiers.

Each adviser on the King's Council will award different resources or allocate soldiers, victory points, and other advantages to the player who was able to influence him/her for the current turn.

At the end of five years, the player who best developed his assigned territory and most pleased the King through the Council is the winner.

###

I liked the game. I read some negative reviews at BGG and, yes, it is a luck-based game in that you have dice to roll and if you keep having crappy rolls, you're not going to be able to influence very powerful advisers. But I think making the best of what you roll is part of a player's skill.

The ending of the game was anticlimactic. The last battle was resolved, we were all victorious and... the player who had been in first place for a while won. Which was... I don't know. I prefer games where you can't see who the winner's going to be until the end, you know? I guess I've just gotten used to Zooloretto (plus all the expansions) where you have absolutely no idea who the winner is until the game ends and you add up all the points.

The winter battles were the weakest part of the game. I spent resources and influence on building a strong army when it really didn't matter. People who spent nothing on armies were still able to win battles, which allowed them to spend their resources on buildings. One the the guys there said that this uneven mechanic was going to be resolved in the future.

Tuesday

[spinning] Tour de Fleece - Finis!

I didn't spin quite as much as I would have liked during TdF, but here's my finished yarn:

IMG_3387


The two purple skeins all the way to the right are the alpaca from Fantom Farms.

I love the singles to the left of them-

IMG_3391


Merino from Frabjous Fibers in Redwood forest. Very soft worsted-bulky weight. I'm tempted to try a mitered scarf with this yarn- because of the longish solid color lengths. These singles were so fast to spin up.

I made a two ply with Ashland Bay merino in the mojave colorway:

IMG_3392


So soft and squishy and bouncy!

And, for the first time ever, I made a corespun yarn:

IMG_3398


I used some of my Grafton Fibers corriedale batt for this. Basically, I drafted/wrapped around a strand of crochet cotton. You can see some white spots where fiber covering isn't as thick as it should be. It's not so noticeable in natural light- the camera flash reveals more than what you would see normally.

Close-up:

IMG_3406


Yeah, I don't know. I haven't finished this yarn in any way (haven't washed it), it's overspun and it's not the smoothest/softest yarn (due to drafting the fiber at 90 degrees to the core, as opposed to simply drafting the fiber parallelly. parallellilly. Parallel to the direction that the fibers lie.), so I'm not sure what to make with it. Maybe a hat, but I'm thinking... The loom? Maybe a woven table runner?

Yeah, I've got to use my loom and I'm hoping that weaving will take care of any biasing from the yarn being overspun.

Monday

[misc] Murderface Monday

Sleeping in...

IMG_3382


The blue lump behind Murderface is Dollar. They slept in Sunday morning while I made blueberry muffins. Must be nice.

Sunday

[cooking] Blueberries - Frist pick of the season

I went blueberry picking with my mom yesterday. She's been to many different farms but likes Noda's Blueberry Farm in Meriden, NH best. The bushes are simply chock-full of berries.

I brought a couple large mixing bowls to fill but my mom has got this system worked out where she attaches a pail to her hip via a belt. She's like, "Wear this pail like this." I'm all, "Yeaaah... I think I'm good." She said to trust her. And I'm so glad I did. I was able to pick a crazy amount of berries in just over an hour, which was nice because it was so hot and the insects wouldn't leave me alone.

But I came home with:

Blueberries!


And that's only about half of them. The other half are in the freezer already.

They are, on average, nearly quarter-sized:

Blueberries!


Blueberries!


And what to do with those berries? Muffins!

Blueberries!


Yum.