Archive for July, 2008

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

More swatching

I’m still playing around with practice batts. This time, I used my gray wool, black alpaca, and pink silk noil that Heidi from the Artful Ewe gave me a couple years ago.

The swatch is my 2 ply, and the ball is 3 ply. I’m interested in the difference between the two once they’re knit. This batt is significantly softer than the ugly orange/brown one I was working on last time. I think it’s due in part to the wool, but mostly the alpaca. My black is considerably finer than my brown.

I’m really just biding my time ’til my wholesale order arrives. It’s been shipped!!! I should get it in a week, and it’s full of different colors of superfine alpaca, silk tops and noils, some different wools to play around with (just to see how they compare in a batt with my Romney), mohair locks (to see how they compare with what I can get locally), and I snuck in some baby camel down for me :-) .

I have high hopes that the superfine alpaca will make my batts deliciously soft. I’m pretty pleased with how this black and pink one is coming. Visually, it’s still not what I’m going for, but with each try, I’m refining it and working it until ultimately I have my own, perfected (according to me anyway, I know it’s subjective) recipe.

I have a monster headache today. I could even feel it and was aware of the pain in my sleep last night so I’m exhausted.

My elbows are getting better. I had a physical therapy appointment this morning, and the tightness and pain are moving and pinpointing. I’m hoping that I’ll be substantially better in another month.

Monday, July 28th, 2008

Health Group- Year 5, week 7

Well, I had two great weeks this month, and two bad weeks. I did manage to exercise with my friend Ros twice this past week. I’ve been using her elliptical, and I think we’re going to do that semi-regularly. Calorie King gives me twice as many calories burned for the elliptical as it does for walking 3 mph, so I like that.

I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this on Health Group yet, but it’s phenomenally helpful, so I wanted to share. No matter what I eat or how well I feed myself during the day, I turn into an entire-pantry-inhaling monster around 3:30-4:00 in the afternoon. I don’t even realize it ’til I’m done. It starts with a few bites of one thing, a few bites of another, picking and grazing through the fridge… until I’ve totally blown my diet.

SO, I tried to think of what I could do that would be simple and effective to help myself through that time of day. And I found it.

I take a glass (8 oz) of 1% milk, put in a half scoop of my WPI protein powder, unflavored, add about a Tablespoon of either Strawberry or Chocolate Hershey’s syrup, and mix it with my little hand mixer.

It’s fast, it’s simple to keep on hand, it tastes good, and it immediately satiates. Completely. Cravings and hunger gone.

On occasion, I add half of a small, frozen banana and mix it up in my blender. It’s amazingly good.

The funny thing is that sometimes, I’m a step or two into my “entire-pantry-inhaling monster” phase before I even notice what I’m doing. I then look at the clock, see that it’s that time, and stop to make my little milkshake.

It has saved me literally thousands of accumulated calories, and I was doing it during my two good weeks, when I lost inches and felt like a million bucks.

So, there’s my helpful hint. I think Hershey’s makes sugar free syrups if you need that. I, personally, am against artificial sweeteners so I don’t go that route, but thought I’d mention it for those that do.

I’m really going to try to have a good week this week. I have a “special” event of some sort or another every single night this week, so it’s going to be tough. But I’m going to try.

Friday, July 25th, 2008

Self indulgent consolations

So, aside from Hayden moving to New York this week, our babysitter moved to North Carolina (this week),

and another fiber-appreciating friend is moving to Turkey next month. I threw her a farewell BBQ yesterday.

This so royally sucks.

Nate keeps asking me if I’m ok, and I’ve caught him looking at me like I’m going to break at any second. I guess I’m not handling myself as well as I think I am.

So, I’m ignoring my house and laundry and playing with fiber. I guess that the official term for what I’m doing is R&D, or Research and Development. I was talking with Nate and a bunch of men at a social gathering last night who were surprisingly interested in my little business and asked a ton of questions (that was flattering. They also made fun of me, but that’s how it goes with these guys, and I throw plenty their way as well). And that’s what they called it. Research and Development.

I’m good with that.

SO, I’m doing Research and Development, which sounds so much nicer than “ignoring my house and laundry to play with fiber”, but they’re essentially the same thing.

I took some of my dyeing disasters (the silk was the biggest disaster) and made some batts. Then stripped them in half lengthwise to experiment.

I spun up little half/batt skeins

balled them up and have begun knitting a swatch to see which fibers and configurations I like, trying desperately to ignore the fact that the colors are heinous.

And knitting a swatch with what looks like Hunter Orange flecks of silk in it is what drew the attention of the men. My participation in the conversation ended when I was asked if I could dye and spin belly button lint. I said, “probably”, they started chortling and lifting their shirts, and I left to find some women to talk to.

So, aside from working with the batts, I dyed more yesterday. This first picture is Tussah noil, Bombyx noil, and a clump of the romney locks I’ve been working with, all dyed in the same pot at the same time. I added salt this time to see if that would help the wool dye evenly.

Nope. But the silk did fine.

So I mixed up my little jars of Jacquard dyes, blended a couple colors together to re-create the blended nature of the Judith dyes that are giving me trouble.

Though the orange wool looks the same in both photos, they’re completely different. The wool in the top photo is distinctly red and yellow, and the bottom photo is a lovely, dark rust color. The rust dyed pretty even, just a little darker at the tips, which is fine. The blue/wine locks are divided like my Judith dyed wool.

SO, I emailed my wool supplier, and when they are back in town in August, I’m going to get me some new fleece. It has to be the fleece. I probably bought the one freaky fleece out of 5,000 that is dye resistant. They want me to bring some of my wool down with me so they can check it out. They’re stumped, too.

And my sister-in-law just called to confirm that I’m hosting our get together this morning.

Oops. Forgot about that.

So I have 45 minutes or so to shower, get dressed, and try to clean up a bit for company.

Oh, and one more thing. We changed the font on my Tweedy Batts website/logo. Do you like it?

Thursday, July 24th, 2008


Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008


Good morning! So much is happening around here, it’s been a busy summer. I haven’t had time to do the heat-massage-ice thing to my elbow, and it really helps, so I need to get on that.

Camping was great, tho’ there wasn’t much sleep to be had.

The roof thing was cut down off the front of our house last night. I’m so excited. I spent some of Sunday measuring my yard and drawing out a to-scale layout of plans and plants.

Yesterday, I took Abby and Liv to the Apple store for an Apple day camp where they learned how to use Garage Band. I picked up some great tips, too, and learned how to record multiple tracks simultaneously. That was cool.

Abby broke her glasses on the campout. I’m off to take her to an eye appt and to open my Tweedy Batts bank account.

There’s more, I know there is, but I can’t think at the moment. I’ll post pictures later today.

If you click on each picture twice, you can see it uncropped.

Friday, July 18th, 2008

I vanished this week

I’ve been cleaning a LOT! It looks pretty good around here. I’m not done, and I’m not speaking of my bedroom… But our main living area (kitchen, living room, dining room, entryway, bar area, old-laundry-room-turned-butler-pantry) looks nice. I’ve had to mop three times in the last two days. That sucks, but after going to the effort to mop thoroughly recently, I do NOT want to stick to my floor for at least another week. So I’ve done little areas here and there to keep it nice as things have spilled and then been tracked all over.

So, I’ve been cleaning the house and cuddling my son, who is having digestive trouble again and has needed hours of comforting.

What I have not done is exercise, stay within my calorie target, or heat-massage-ice my elbow like I’m supposed to.


And it isn’t going to get any better ’til next week because around lunchtime today, the kids and I are going camping at one of my sisters-in-law’s houses with all of the other sisters-in-law and accompanying kids while the men do a Batman movie-guys-night-out. It’ll be a grand time. I’m really looking forward to it. But I will undoubtedly eat too much and not exercise.

I’m running the dutch ovens.

Our contractor dropped off wood and ladders this morning to begin ripping off the vertical, purple siding on the front of our house. One more tiny step towards getting cleaned up and painted out there. They’re going to rip off the little roof thing, too. I’m very excited about that. I hope it’s down when I get back tomorrow afternoon.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, July 14th, 2008


On Saturday, we took the girls to see Lisa Loeb at a Barnes and Noble in Seattle.

She’s promoting her Camp Lisa CD, which is a kids album with songs about summer camp. She’s great. We got there early and were right in front

Afterwards, she signed CD’s for the girls

and Liv’s guitar.

From there we went to my spinning group where Charisa video taped me spinning the wolf yarn. I didn’t realize she was going to post it for the general public, (a little embarrassing), but since she did, I’ll link it for you.

When we came home, I, uh, kind of had to play my guitar a little bit.

But only a little. And I iced right after.


Saturday, July 12th, 2008

Health Group- Year 5, week 5

Good morning! I had another great week. I exercised 355 minutes, met my calorie targets (came in at over 300 calories below a couple days, but went about 500 over last night), and I feel really good.

My weight stayed the same this week, but I lost 1/2 inch in my chest, and 3/4 inch in my hips. And in the last month, I’ve lost an inch in my chest, an inch and a half in my waist, and an inch and a half in my hips.

So, I’m happy.

My friend Ros has invited me over to work out with her a couple times per week. She has THE elliptical that I’ve wanted since I researched them a few years ago. It’s an Octane.

Love it. According to Calorie King, my time on the elliptical burns twice as many calories as walking 3 mph, which is as fast as I can manage with my gimpy ankle.

So, I did that three times this week plus lots of walks, plus some of my physical therapy/core strengthening (not as much as I’d hoped, though).

I’m going to walk now, and push my exercise minutes up to 400. That’s 6.6 hours of exercise in a week!

I can breathe when putting on my shoes again.

Thursday, July 10th, 2008


I had my first physical therapy appointment this morning. Chris said that I am very inflamed, and would be a good candidate for the steroid shots. He also said that my left arm is much worse than my right. He did some sound wave stuff, and then massaged and pushed on it for the rest of the time. I brought my guitar, in case he wanted to see how I was holding it and such, and…

I can’t play it. At least until my appointment next week, but I’m sure it’ll be longer than that. I’m sad. I’m in the middle of writing another song, and it was going really well.

I didn’t even bring up knitting :-) . Not that I’m doing much right now, my fiber time is more spent on spinning and dyeing right now. Speaking of, I have some bombyx and some tussah noil soaking to dye.

So, I have to ice my arm a lot. Do some mild stretches, and we’ll see what he says next week.

I’m closing up my guitar, and will try my bestest not to cheat.


Tuesday, July 8th, 2008


Veronica was launched off her bike, downhill, forehead first into the curb last night. Nate and I were standing right there with our neighbor, watching in horrific slow motion as she came towards us. She almost fell once, almost fell twice, perhaps a third time, then crashed.

We were lucky. She’s not hurt. Her helmet is banged up, right in front, and now I’m wanting to take the all girls in to be properly fitted with brand new helmets. If she hadn’t been wearing one, or if it had been loose enough to push out of the way, she’d be in the hospital. I have no doubt.

Seriously, her first point of impact was her forehead.

Her hands aren’t even scraped. It was awful.

Nate is painting various colors on the front of our house in a continued search for the right one.

We’re not there yet. But we might be close.

Also, while habitually perusing the new Modernism magazine, Nate spotted an ad for these guys.

Holy cow, we want one. Dang, they’re expensive.