I Popped My MDSW Cherry…

I know, I know. EVERYBODY and their mother on the East coast has been to MDSW(Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival) at least once. This past Saturday was my very first time. And it was sweet.

In the past I’d resigned myself to NYS Sheep and Wool (Rhinebeck!), because I was not willing to travel allllllll the way to Maryland. Most of my local knitter friends, and a bunch of distant ones made a regular pilgrimage down that way every first weekend in May. I figured now was my chance. Talk about overwhelming. I barely took photos of the goodies to be had, instead opting for the usual, ‘ I’m here, look!’-type shots. Hell, I’d even left the DSLR home(now you KNOW it was serious).
Pretty Sky
Sheepy decorations outside the festival entrance

Of course I took time out to show off a sock WIP( the Socks on a Plane have since been finished.):

Socks on a plane... at a festival! (Mine’s on the right).

The highlight of the festival was getting this: a skein of the Cobblestone Sock, by Neighborhood Fiber Co.

Neighborhood Fiber co. Cobblestone sock, Canton colorway

I can’t wait to knit this gem!

Also, I managed to finish the Socks on a Plane in record time: 5 Days ya’ll!

Socks on a Plane, in Socks That Rock, Little Bo Peep colorway

This sock was insanely easy and the thick sock yarn made it go really fast. Socks that Rock is a popular sock yarn that sells like hotcakes at festivals. I got a bum skein with knots and tangles. I’m thinking they sell the oopses at these festivals. I like the yarn a lot for what it is, but I’m not sure if I’d ever buy it again if the usual quality is what I found at Rhinebeck (2013). We shall see.

What am I working on now?
Ashton shawl progress; Malabrigo sock, in Lettuce.

Meet the Ashton Shawl. I’m knitting this in Malabrigo Sock, in Lettuce. I know I bought two skeins of Malabrigo sock and couldn’t remember what shawls I wanted to knit with them. I just did the close-your-eyes-and-point and came up with this in my queue since 2012. What better time to knit it than now?, I say. So far, it’s a really relaxing, easy knit. Can’t wait to block this puppy!

So that’s it for this one. Stay tuned for a special event coming up in the next few weeks. I’ll give you a hint: socks. 😉

TTFN!

A Little Success Goes a Long Way…

Quite a bit has happened since the last post. After completing the 30-day green smoothie challenge I didn’t stop there. I kept going and adding back juices as well. And luckily the Ninja is holding up very well. Loving it!

I have been knitting too. This year’s Winter Olympics brought the Ravellenic Events on Ravelry and for the first time I joined in. Team KnaturalPurls FTW! I completed my Double “Plainbow” sweater, and cast on and finished my second Two-Step cowl (Ravelry link) made from luscious Malabrigo.. I now understand the love for that yarn..
And it's done! Double Plainbow, finished for the 2014 Ravellenics. Lion Brand Wool-Ease in Chili. Pattern by Rena Varsakis. #teamknaturalpurls #ravellenics #Ravellenics2014 #FO #sweater

It’s nice and warm, despite not being 100% wool, though that might have more to do with how tightly it was knit at first. I eventually worked my way from a US size 5 needle to a US 8, because it was just taking way too long. What possessed me to attempt a DK sweater in plain stockinette, I do not know. But it is done and I enjoy wearing it. I’m already planning a new sweater to knit and it too is largely stockinette but I think I’ll get to use a bigger needle this time. 😀

Once the Ravellenics were over I could get back to less fast-paced knitting. I’d been going cowl crazy earlier this winter and felt a complete set was in order.

Untitled

Hurricane Hat and matching handwarmers. The two patterns are pretty much the same, only the handwarmers use less stitches in the patterning and there’s no decreasing. Two different designers, too. I took it upon myself to just take the hat pattern and keep going straight up and make a cowl. Plain and simple. It works! Pics of that soon enough. For now, just imagine the hat without a crown!

As for the title of this post, this is what else is going on in BeanKnit land: I am losing weight!

With the whole juice and smoothie-ing going on I’d dropped a few pounds and it really shows. Everyone is complimenting me and I even needed to get new jeans for my slightly slimmer figure. 🙂 So, I’m on a roll, looking to push this further and really get back down to a healthier weight. I downloaded the C25KFree app and set to.

Ouch. At first I was trying to run too fast too soon(and ultimately, speed isn’t the goal, really), and even with breaks I couldn’t complete the 30-min workout. But after a lockerroom break and more thought I went back in there and adjusted my jog speed and it worked! I tried it this time for 15 min. instead of 30 and was surprised that I’d run(No pun intended) out of time! Go me! 😀 I’m already looking forward to starting again on Monday.

And to go with that, healthier food. I made my own almond milk yesterday:

Home made Almond Milk

My smoothies usually contain almond or coconut milk. But that ish costs almost $5 a half gallon. Nope! Gotta do better than that. So I went and tried my hand at pressing my own. Easy, quick and worth the effort. I used this recipe.

For my first post-workout meal I opted for a meat-less lunch: Pomelo, spinach and feta salad, with raspberry vinaigrette dressing(which OMG tastes like you can fill a pie with it… sigh).

Post-workout lunch! Pomelo, spinach and feta with raspberry walnut vinaigrette dressing. The pomelo tastes good, but there's a LOT of pith to contend with. Will have to work on my peeling skills. #lunchtime  #pigouttime #postworkoutmeal #hungry #mmm

Delicious with some fruit-infused water, another thing I’ve been getting into, to help me get more water into my body. So far, so good.

 

So that’s what I’ve been up to. What about you?

 

TTFN! (OMGlob I need to soak! Yeek!) 😀

Happy New Year 2014!

So, I’ve been doing all manner of things since my last post. I recovered from the crazy of 5K land, though I’ll probably be trying that again soon, because, fitness! Then I got to donate to Children of Promise, this holiday season, and hung out with some beautiful, talented knitters all December long. 2014 got off to a raucous start, though.

It started with a nasty cold which brought me down to giving in to a visit to urgent care. Thank goodness for late Friday night hours, is all I can say. Oh, and 24hr pharmacies.. 🙂

Then, while that was going on I was trying to knit and smoothie myself silly. I’ve joined the Simple Green Smoothies’ 30-day smoothie challenge and so far, so good. I’ve been documenting the experience (or, at least photographic evidence of it) over on Instagram if you’re so inclined.

Merry early Xmas to me and the family. I'd been talking about getting a juicer for quite some time.  Mom and I first juiced back in the 90s. I figured it was time to get back to it. #juicing #liquiddinner

Chunky Monkey Smoothie

I used to use a juicer way back in the late 80s, early 90s when my mom was still alive. We juiced every and anything.
Sometimes it was good, sometimes, not so much. But between the juice fasts I’ve been hearing about and the smoothie challenge I think I’m pretty well covered. It’s a hard road, but I’m still on it. Slow and steady wins the race, they say…

But knitting. I’ve been on a serious cowl kick as of late, completing 7 in about as many weeks. Highlights:
Untitled

Stockholm Scarf

Finito! Fear of Commitment cowl. This KP WotA is no joke! My neck will be warm!  #FO #knitting #knitfaster  #fiberary #fiberuary #cowl

Fear of Comittment
Untitled
Armonika

There was also the Luxe Cowl, as well as the Who’s Cowl’d?‘s designed by Therese Ross-Carter. Therese makes awesome, easy-to-knit patterns that I love. Check out her Two Step, as well!

 

I just blocked a Two Step the other day and will seam that later on today. Then it’s photo time!

 

TTFN!

 

 

And There It Goes…(NaBloPoMo Days 24-30)

I knew I couldn’t do it. I start out all gung-ho and lose steam. Never fails. I can live with it. I’m just not that deep. If I don’t have anything to say, I don’t say anything. And so it goes with blogging. Oh sure, I probably could pop something out regularly if I were being compensated for it, and yes, I know, blogging shouldn’t always be about money. But hell, not a whole lot happened in those 7 days, so I moved on quietly.

 

OK that’s not entirely true. In those 7 days, I finished the Loop Batt, and the Lavendar No-name fiber. At least 200 yds on each of those, weight to be determined. Now I’ve got the Little Bart Coopworth on the bobbin.  I started it out on the spindle and it just didn’t draft well. Once I switched to the wheel it was easy breezy. But I then realized I can’t long-draw for shit and gave up on ever doing that. I’m an inch worm/short-draw spinner, and I’m OK with that.

I cast on and finished a brown hat to match my Harlequin. And queded a crap-ton of projects I shouldn’t have when I have a bunch of untouched WIPs and stacks of other things already in the queue. No wonder I can’t finish anything; I can’t finish anything! 😉

 

I also realized I’m going to have to get it together concerning DIY projects I’ve been wanting to do. Like making my own PVC niddy-noddy and skein winder. I’d like to take another shot at making my own door-table but this time, I’ll use a solid door and sturdier legs. I still would like a folding option, which will complicate things, as I hadn’t been able to locate a sturdy pair of folding legs anywhere the last time I tried a door-table. I’ll have to look harder next year.

 

So much to do, so little time. Bit off more than I could chew, but, unlike with food, I can spit some out, set it aside and take it slow. Yeah, who am I kidding. Full speed ahead! I must craft All. The. Things!

 

TTFN!

 

 

It Was Good. (NaBloPoMo Day 23)

 

Table set and ready to go

 

Despite some important guests not showing up, Thanksgiving dinner at the in-laws proved to be a good time. The kids got to bump around and make all kinds of noise and mess up stairs, and the adults chatted  about everything under the sun(including the missing guests) until food was served.  After a delicious dinner and dessert(cheesecake!), we gathered in the living room and vegged out. Turkey coma  FTW.

 

I brought my spindle and some of the Coopworth from Little Barn and spun for a while. A couple of people seemed genuinely interested in it and asked me about what I was doing. I had to stop myself from jumping up and giving a lecture on why spinning is such a great thing, and just stayed within the realm of, “It’s fun!”  Sadly I created no converts, even with a lady among us who said she knits! Oh well.

 

To each, their own. (read: More fiber for the rest of us! 🙂 )

 

TTFN!

Give Thanks… (NaBloPoMo Day 22)

 

Obligatory Pie close up shot-- Project52 week 47

 

PIE! Pumpkin pie, to be exact. Nothing fancy, just something to take to the family or dessert this evening. Assuming we don’t eat it all first. 😉

No controversy, no animosity, no standing on lines half the day and all night waiting for crap you don’t need. Just relax with the family and enjoy each other’s love and company. Eat some good cookin, blast some music/football game, laugh at your drunk uncle knocked out in the recliner without his dentures(been there, done that), play with the kids, put your brother’s apron out when he never fails to set it on fire… whatever

 

Just. Be. Thankful. Today, tomorrow, always.

 

TTFN

 

Countdown to Turkey Day, and Wheel Madness (NaBloPoMo Day 20)

It has begun, the countdown to Thanksgiving family gatherings. This year it’s the husband’s cousin’s house. We’re not going to do anything super fancy but I’d like the kids to look half decent. It is a holiday, after all.

Sweater Blocking

Boy Beanlet’s sweater is on the blocking board. I figured I could get it blocked tonight, seamed tomorrow and ready to go Thursday. Totally workable. That is, if I can put the Harlequin down and stop spinning fiber. 😉

 

You know it. I have yet to ply the Loop batt(that should be next), and I’ve already started spinning the lavender roving I got from the Little Barn tent at Rhinebeck. And then I heard it: clunk, clunk, clunk…

 

I have a Fricke Double-treadle spinning wheel. Have had it since Feb. 2007. It’s still working well but from time to time, the hex screw holding the footman assembly to the drive wheel gets loose(it’s in a shallow ditch rather than a proper hole, WTF?) and there’s this jerking clunk as I treadle. If I don’t fix that, the damn thing just falls off on me. So, I set out to reseat the screw and…

 

I couldn’t get the damn thing OUT! Try as I might it would not budge. Now, I have two sets of allen keys.  One has several more keys than the other and I couldn’t find the bigger one. I wasn’t sure if the bigger one had a proper sized key so I assumed the key I was trying was correct but that somehow either the screw was stripped or the key was worn. Panic set in as I figured I’d lost my wheel and I’m in no position to get another any time soon.  I like to spindle, don’t get me wrong, I just don’t usually do more than a few ounces on them.

I tried everything. I tried sticking cloth into the hole to make the key thicker to get a grip on the inside of the screw. Nope. I tried gripping the sides of the screw with a pliers.. Nope. Then, the Mr. found the bigger set of allen keys and YAY! It had the right size key.

 

I was able to get the screw out, reseat it, clean up a bunch of gunk on the drive shaft and was good to go. Of course now, it’s late and I’m pooped and ready to relax with a new book. I told you I’d finish “White Heat” last night and I did. Now onto something new!

 

TTFN!