Tuesday, June 28, 2011

So much food!

This past weekend was a mix of parties and down time. I’m still not allowed to spin or knit in any significant way, but there was enough going on this weekend that I didn’t miss it too much.

Friday we hung out at P&S’s. We brought the puppy with us, and the three dogs got along very well. S was already there and S&K showed up soon after we got there. Popeye’s chicken and mint chocolate chip ice cream started the weekend of food off right.

Saturday was A’s Alice in Wonderland Birthday brunch that E hosted. She had been prepping for it for quite a while. It was beautiful. I got one quick shot of some of some of the set up, but it doesn’t begin to show the extent of the decorations or food, or little details that just made this party.

And here’s a picture of the bacon roses I made.

They aren’t very pretty (they looked better once they were on their stems), but they did taste good. Should I make them again, I’d go with the shorter center cut bacon rather than the longer strips. They looked and tasted better. The rest of the food was mostly catered from Kerbey Lane. Except the blueberry scones were from Thistle CafĂ©. I love their scones; they are somewhere between cake and a biscuit.

Saturday afternoon DH and I did laundry; yes it was thrilling. Then we, along with my sister and her friend C, went to A’s evening party, as the brunch was just for a few close girl friends. I’d expected a chill house party, but A&S went all out with food and flowers. And E’s decorations were fun and festive. My sister and C went as Tweedledee and Tweedledum, and their costumes were a hit. My Mad Hatter in a tutu was well accepted also.

Sunday we got up and went out to pick some figs from our fig tree. I ate a fig off the tree for the first time this past Wednesday. I love figs, who knew? Our tree is producing for the first time in any real quantities. Last year the birds ate the few that it had. I wish I knew what we did differently this year.

These are the figs I pulled off in just one harvest. We’ve harvested the tree at least five times. There are still lots of little green ones, and half ripe ones.

We brought about two or three pounds of figs with us and headed down to San Antonio to spend the afternoon with DH’s parents. We spent the time eating a wonderful dinner, making (or in my case attempting to make) origami butterflies, and hanging out and talking. MIL is planning on making a fig cake of some sort so I’m glad the figs will get eaten.

We came back a little late and picked some more figs before a little more laundry and then crashing out. DH and I are going to be going on a trip to Paris and Oxford soon so we are trying to get ready. This is the driving force behind the clean clothes.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A visit to Sassy Spinster, with Pictures!

When you get to the old main square of Lancaster, you will find you are actually on a round about with parking spaces. If you use a GPS to get there, like I did, it will be very confused at this point. No worries, just park in the shade and walk across the street and you will find the Sassy Spinster tucked into one of the corners.

Inside you’ll be greeted by yarn, lots of it, and a little yellow bird in a cage. When you hear a tea kettle just starting to boil, it is actually the bird just warming up before it starts to sing. (Unfortunately, I did not get a picture of the bird.)

 Be sure to go past the counter and into a little hallway; there is a room almost as large as the one you just left. It houses the fiber part of the store.

There’s a surprising amount of different types of fiber tucked away in those cubbyholes. Also enough dye to get you started should you decide to start making your own colorways.

Look at the gorgeous braids on the wall; I wanted to take them all home. Do you see that wire can in the bottom right? It’s got huge balls of different colored fiber. I don’t recall the kind, but I was seriously tempted to buy a whole ball. Just to display a 5 pound ball of fiber in bright blue, or yellow in my living room. But I didn’t think DH would go for it.

 Those baskets contained undyed wool of a number of types. The brown in the center at the bottom was merino that still had some lanolin. I can’t say I wasn’t tempted. And hanging off the side of the metal shelf there’s a basket with dog hair and another with mohair locks.

 In between the two walls of fiber there was this great wooden… thing. I think it was an old loom, but I was so focused on the fiber I didn’t think to ask what it was until I’d left. There’s a Kromski Sonata in front of it, and the white thing hanging off the side is a blanket made from a potholder loom.

Looking over these pictures I am feeling rather proud of my restraint in what I bought.

Four types of cotton

I was both intrigued and slightly disgusted by the dog hair. I’m still torn over whether I should have bought any.

And finally pictures of tea:

Earl Grey Creme tastes like it already has cream in it. Steep 2-3 minutes.

The Jasmine Dragon Pearl tea is really wonderful by itself, but when mixed with the Rooibus Tropica has a fruitier taste.
    I'm not sure if it's the White Avuredic Chai that has the cinnamon taste or if it's the Samurai Chai Mate, but these two also go together really well. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I’d been to Dallas twice before, but this was the first time I’d actually driven around. It is HUGE! And the sheer number of yarn stores is staggering. We were in town because DH had a work thing and we decided it was a good excuse to visit friends. So I only had time to visit one store, the Sassy Spinster. It is a combination yarn/fiber store, and I think the back is Susan’s studio. Susan is the very nice owner of the store. She made me feel welcome, and was perfectly willing to let me roam the store while I killed time waiting for DH.

Sassy Spinster was quite a bit more girly than some of the stores I’d been too lately, the fake cats on the quilts threw me off a bit. (Is that kitten sleeping, or dead? Oh, it’s not real. Thank goodness.) But don’t let that fool you. This store has a great selection of yarn, not to mention a really impressive range in the fiber department. I ended up with some lama fiber, a little bag of cotton samples, some bamboo and a mix of angora, silk, alpaca and merino. The lama fiber was from a local lama farm. I’ve no idea what I’m going to do with it but it seemed too cool to walk away from.

I wish I’d taken notes because I’m having a hard time remembering all the different fibers. I can tell you there was hemp, and camel, and baby camel mixed with silk, and tussah silk, and bamboo made using the chemical process, and bamboo made using the other process (I don’t remember what that was), and firestar sparkle, and natural brown merino with a bit of lanolin in it and dyed merino without. There was dog hair, people. DOG hair.

There were wheels and looms for sale. I am still contemplating the triangle loom. You end up with triangle bits of cloth and then put them together in a geometry problem sort of way. I am afraid I’d end up with a lot of ponchos.

Friday night we went to the Galleria. We met up with V&K and M&L and had dinner at Five Guys, and then we played at a neat teashop where I bought way too much loose-leaf tea. Then we went to V&K’s house and hung out and played Killer Bunnies. It’s a rather complicated game, but once you have played a hand it makes more sense. And it’s wonderfully silly.

Saturday V went and did early Father’s day things while DH and I and K and his family went to see Spamalot. DH and I had already seen it, but K and some of his family hadn’t. I think there had been some changes since I’d seen it a few years ago, and I’d forgotten how much I loved the “Song That Goes Like This”. That evening V&K, M&L, and DH and I went to the Studio Movie Grill and saw Green Lantern.

Green Lantern was fun, reminded me of Thor. Not disappointing, just not perfect. The antagonist was too sympathetic for me. I want my comic-book movies to be the Good Guys vs. the Bad Guys. Not the Sometimes Good, Looking for Himself Guy vs. the Guy Who Got the Short End of the Stick One Too Many Times and Is Tired of Doing the Right Thing. I don’t mind the hero being less than heroic occasionally while he is finding his way, but I’m really looking for a bad guy, the kind you love to hate.

Studio Movie Grill would have been great, if I didn’t know and love Alamo Drafthouse. The food was very tasty, but the whole experience was more dinner theater, rather than a movie with food. People were talking, not a lot, but way more than at a Tinseltown, and they’d have been kicked out of Alamo. I guess the super overkill intros at Alamo actually work. And the wait staff did not understand dropping off food quickly and being out of the way during important scenes. After the movie we visited M&L’s house and stayed up talking until way too late.

Sunday was breakfast/lunch at Taco Bueno, then heading back to Austin. We had dinner at my parents’; listened to the CD I got my dad for Father’s Day and ate the cake my sister made for him. Then packed up the dog and headed home to crash out.

And I’ll put up pictures of the Sassy Spinster and the fiber and tea next time.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Not much yarn, but a great weekend anyway.

I’m still on a yarn diet, but we did enough other things that I was not too discouraged by the lack of fiber. Thursday night we went and saw Cave of Forgotten Dreams. It’s a documentary about the Chauvet caves in Southern France. The documentary is a little weird, and the bit at the end about the albino crocodiles is pretty much pointless, but the cave paintings themselves will knock your socks off. I’d recommend seeing it in 3D, because the way the walls curve is part of the art. And like most cave paintings, I don’t think they would make as much sense in 2D.

Friday morning I had PT. The therapist I’d been going to was out, so I ended up seeing someone else. She gave me a nice massage, except for her exclamations of horror at the state of my neck. After pressing on my pectoral muscles to get them to relax a bit, she taped up my back to fix my posture. I was stunned at where my shoulders are supposed to be. I’ve never stood like that a day in my life. I didn’t really discuss going back to knitting or spinning with her because she wasn’t the one who put me on a diet.
That night DH, my sister and I saw White Ghost Shivers with friends who had seen them before. We danced, and had a great time was had by all.

Saturday I went to yoga with Scott, but I did not push myself as hard as I normally would. I was sore from the PT and tired from the dancing. But it was a calming practice and I’d had a bit of a week, so I was glad I went. That afternoon DH and I went to the HighBall for a karaoke birthday party with wigs and props. (I have to find a red wig in the same style.) Then home to let the dog out and pick up my sister, and then back out again to hang with the birthday girl and friends for a great game of Apples to Apples.

Sunday we stayed in and did laundry. I am SO excited about having clean laundry. I should not be this excited, but I am. I played around online for a while* until I gave into temptation; I carded some fiber together and spun for about two hours. It wasn't great fiber, just some left over fiber from my spin 101 and 201 classes, but it felt fabulous to sit down at my spinning wheel. I attempted to spin holding the fiber in my right hand and drafting with my left and, while it wasn’t a complete success, I had better luck than I’d had previously.
That evening we saw the new X-Men movie at Alamo Drafthouse. While there were a few things that were a bit off (isn’t Banshee Irish? and how is Havok older than Cyclops?), I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was true to the spirit of the comics.

Yoga and PT tomorrow. Perhaps I will get the thumbs up to knit and spin more.

*DH has recently gotten an Ipad. I can’t post pictures to blogger on it. It only took me two hours to figure that out.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Do not taunt the frustrated fiber artist

When it comes to fiber and yarn crafts, I am not good at stopping once I’ve started. So I haven’t knit or crocheted or spun in almost a week. I’m dying. Even with yoga, even with a good book or three. I’ve been mean to acquaintances, and harsh to friends. My fuse has shortened to almost nonexistent; I don’t recognize myself. I’m going to have to tell the physical therapist that this is not working.

Monday, June 6, 2011

More fiber, can't spin.

This whole physical therapy thing is starting to get me down. My shoulder has been getting better but the therapist has noticed how upset my ulna nerve is. That’s the nerve in your elbow that hurts like the dickens when you hit your funny bone. I had been ignoring it, but it’s kind of hard to do so when a trained physical therapist has told you that something is very wrong.

So, I’ve been put on a knitting/crochet/spinning diet. For the next week I’m only supposed to do them a combined total of 45 minutes a day, 3 days a week, alternating days (whimper). I was put on this fast on Thursday. This past weekend we went to Houston (three to four hours of prime project drive time) and I did not knit or crochet on the way there or the way back. It was hard. I would not have made it if we hadn’t stopped in a bookstore Thursday so that I could have a new book to read there and back.

On the way back to Austin we went through Navasota* and I happened to look up and realize we were passing by WC Mercantile, the yarn/spinning store from whom I’d bought my wheel at the Seguin fiber fiesta.

We stopped to check it out. Once inside I was stunned by how much of a spinning store it was. All the different types, and colors, and the sheer amount of fiber was overwhelming.

I had a hard time choosing. But I eventually picked out some lovely purple merino:
Why yes, that is enough fiber to spin into enough yarn to knit into a sweater.

And this should be enough to make a little shawl, or I might try to add embellishments to the sweater.
Merino/silk blend mmmmmm....

And then I got this silk because I couldn’t resist how soft it was.
Cultivated silk fiber... so soft.

Spinning has taken its place in my heart right next to knitting and crochet; I didn’t even get a good look at the yarn side of the store.
This is as close as I got.

I have something on both my needles and my hook right now, but nothing on my bobbin, and that might have had something to do with the fiber fascination. Also, I’m rather spoiled when it comes to LYS (Local Yarn Store); I have three of very high caliber that are near me. So I’ve access to yarn everyday. But while Gauge and HCW have a corner with some fiber in them, they have nothing like the selection that WC Merchants has.

This is just the solid color merino section. 

I was tempted by other fibers. There was some hand painted bamboo, alpaca mixed with silk, merino blended with everything, and angora and… too many to name! But as I am not actually supposed to be spinning all that much, just over 2 hours a week total (whimper), I thought I should probably limit the fiber to what I might finish in the next three to six months.

We got back to Austin, picked up the puppy who was staying with my parents (thanks mom!), watched Doctor Who with my sister, went home and crashed out. No laundry or yard work was done this weekend. Guess we’ll be doing that tonight.

*For those of you confused, we left from Conroe and took 105 to 290 on the way back.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Yarn, food and physical therapy

This past weekend was an awesome blur of fun, food and friends. We went to our Friday gathering and watched the first episode of Macross Plus. It was much better than the few episodes I’d seen of the first series. We had to leave early because DH had to work early on Saturday. I'm looking forward to the next episode.

Saturday I watched movies and spun, went to yoga and came back and spun, and when DH got home we went to a birthday BBQ and had a blast.

Sunday got up and spun, then went to lunch with friends at Jim’s. DH and I then met up with other friends to see Pirates of the Caribbean 4 in 3D. It was good, not mind blowing. I think they had just a bit too much fun with the 3D. It broke the 4th wall enough to knock me out of the story a few times. Then we came home and I spun.

Monday we had the day off for Memorial Day. I got up and went to trainer at 9:30am and was dead for a couple of hours afterward. While I was dead, DH was making yummy veggies which we took to the obligatory Memorial Day BBQ in the afternoon. While there I got to play with 3-week old puppies, and a 1 month old baby. Cuteness overload!

So, I now have two new skeins of yarn, and my shoulder is bothering me. 

It’s the BFL I bought at Yarnorama. It’s soft, but not as luscious as the silky cashmerino. Nothing is. I tried to divide the fiber equally into two so as to spin and ply and preserve the color changes, but it didn’t work as well as I had hoped.

Since I’ve been to physical therapy, I’ve found out that really it’s my bicep that’s unhappy, not my shoulder. The bicep controls the turning of the wrist, rather than the bending of the elbow (there is a muscle under the bicep does that). That’s the motion you use when drafting, so I’m afraid I’m going to have to cut back on the spinning for a while. I’ve tried to spin with the fiber in my right hand and drafting with my left, but I can’t seem to get it down. I should probably practice with fiber I’m not as crazy about.

I’ve also found out that the issue I’ve had with my shoulder is probably linked to the issues I’ve been ignoring in my wrists. I had thought that I had the beginnings of carpal tunnel, and I knew I wasn’t going to stop knitting or crocheting, so I figured I’d just take it easy when my hands tingled and stretch them a lot. It turns out that my terrible posture has done something to the nerve that runs from my neck down my arm to my thumb and finger. And that if I can train myself to use my neck muscles it will help not only my shoulder but my hands too.