Z is for zaftig..

I have to admit that this word is brand new to me, and I found it while strolling through another ABC’er’s Z post and decided that it was a word I needed to know better. You see, I think it fits, and more importantly, the searches I’ve done to get a better feel for it keep turning up descriptions of it as an appreciation of women’s cuves, and I think that fits my philosophy about the female image even more.

And while I’m not sure I’d ever make the Knitty.com pattern by this name, I will be running out to our new uber Barnes & Noble at some point to check out the book whose cover I linked to above!

And it seems I’ll be ending my ABC-along participation in a similar fashion to how I started – a bit late, and without a photo actually in the post. Sorry!

Y is for…

Yarn!

(What did you expect?!)

In particular, *my* yarn. This has been a very exciting week.. I’ve been spinning for over a year, but just learned how to ply this summer. And I have yet to actually make anything with anything I’ve spun & plied. You see, I have this unnatural fear of cutting my plied yarn. I think that somehow cutting it will undo the magic that makes it yarn and it will come all unraveled. But yesterday I had to spin the yarn for the Breed Swap and then *gasp* cut it into 1-yard lengths. The above is a shot of the yarn after a quick dunk to let things relax. I’m happy to report that even though I didn’t take a picture, cutting the yarn did not, in fact, make it unravel.

So now I’m all charged to finish the grey merino so I can make something with it. I have one skein plied already and waiting for me to finish the rest. The singles from the second spindleful were on my spindle for so long that they became de-energized and I didn’t want to try to ply them that way, so I dunked them to re-energize them.

I’ll probably ply this up tonight and then start spinning the last bit left – which might be another full spindleful, but I don’t think so. Then I think it will be socks.. it’s superwash and I had 4 ounces of it, so I think if I do toe-up socks, that will work out nicely.

And now that the holiday knitting is finished, I’m happily working away on a special request from my “little sister”:

These are done in KnitPicks Essential (which means they’re machine washable; the last pair of pink socks got accidentally washed and .. well.. yeah) and I’m using one of the six-stitch patterns from Sensational Knitted Socks – waterfall lace. The recipient has tiny little feet, so I’m making them pretty small, but the lace is pretty stretchy, so they should still look good when she wears them.

I’m hoping to deliver these in two weeks and also to pick up the yarn for the largesse project (stockings with clocks from Folk Socks, I think) which will need to be finished by early February. I also need to finish Peek a boo by the end of February.

Oh, and I ordered yarn (Knit One Crochet Too Angora Soft in Moss & Light Moss) from Webs annual year end sale to make Celtic Icon from Inspired Cable Knits, so between that and the two sweater kits I already have, I think I’ll have more than enough to keep me busy for awhile!

X = 2.37

Whee!!

Guess what arrived yesterday?

SQUEE! That is 2.37 pounds of processed Clun Forest lambs fleece. I send just over 4 pounds off to be washed and processed and wasn’t sure just how much I’d get back after washing and processing. (See how I worked that into my X post? Aren’t I clever? *smug*)

It’s much whiter than I expected – the fleece were dirty and still had some guard hair in them when I sent them to Blackberry Ridge, so the color surprised me.

Looks like a lot, eh? Each of those little bundles is about 2.5 to 3 ounces, except the little one on the top. (Jali was very intrigued by the fleece, but once she got a sniff or two, she pretty much left it alone.) It’s not so overwhelming when you realize that a full two pounds of it got parceled out into 1 ounce packages to go to the Breed Swap. *smile* I’m a little torn about sending so much of it away, but in seeing just how much an ounce is, I’m equally excited that I’ll be getting 32 1-ounce samples of different fleeces like that from the other participants!

Along with the 1-ounce samples, I’m to send 32 locks and 32 yards of two-plied yarn. I held back the fleece I washed to pull the locks, but haven’t actually pulled them out yet; I’ll do that this afternoon most likely. Spinning the yarn, though, meant I had to get the merino singles that I had on my spindle off:

That is 309 yards of merino singles, which I need to wash to re-awaken the twist so I can ply. In order to figure out how many yards I had, I had to measure my Pex niddy noddy, which turns out to be 80 inches for a full wrap. Slightly larger than a 2-yard niddy noddy, but if I decide I want to make it a 2-yard one, I can cut down the Pex. I didn’t measure the small one, but I suspect that it will come in just over a yard.

It also turns out that my estimation of how long it takes me to spin 64 yards of yarn is *way* off. I spun this last night:

It’s about 20 yards of singles, or 10 yards of two-ply, out of about .2 ounces. So today I’m working through a .6 ounce chunk (that little ball on top in the pyramid picture), which should give me the yarn I need for the swap. Then I’ll pack it all up (in the box that the roving came in, most likely) and run it down to our post office to ship it off to the Breed Swap organizer.

I have about 2.5 ounces left to keep for myself (and I’ll get an ounce back when the breed swap supplies come back) and I’m contemplating spinning it up and dyeing it. My friend Carol does period dyeing stuff and I think it might be fun to try some with this fleece. Of course, I might get impatient and try to dye it with Kool-Aid first!

W is for Whimsy!

In a fit of .. whimsy .. I decided yesterday to buy two skeins of Cascade 220 and make not only a bucket hat for me, but also for the intended recipient of Peek a Boo. As the latter is a gift, it got made first:

I tried to get a shot modeling it, but the rim is still wet, so it’s floppier than I hope it will end up. I also didn’t full it quite as much as I might because the recipient has thicker hair and I decided it would be easier to make it smaller if needed than to make it bigger. When it dries, if I’m still concerned about it, I might find a scrap of fleece to line it with.

Mine is already cast on and the brim almost finished. It’s dark green, almost black in some light, to match the accents on my winter scarf. I suspect it will be finished tomorrow in time to wear to our first family holiday gathering Sunday.

V is for Visitor, Redux.

It seems our little falcon has found some good hunting in the circle outside our student union. We saw him this afternoon enjoying what appears to have been a pigeon.

We got to sit and watch him for some time, and I’m almost positive he is, in fact, a Peregrine Falcon. Now that I know he’s out there, I’ll have to keep an eye out for him. Though he might have better luck if he ate squirrels instead..

U is for Unexpected Visitors

The keen eyes of a co-worker spotted this little guy hanging out in one of the trees outside our office windows this morning.

I think he’s a falcon, but I’m not 100% sure. He’s awfully small to be a hawl, unless he’s a juvenile, but even for that, it’s awfully late in the year for a juvenile still so small. He’s also got more white on his tummy than I’m used to the hawks and eagles around here having.

He looks an awful lot like a Peregrine Falcon, but they’re endangered in WI, so I’m hesitant to believe that’s what he is, especially since I think this guy’s got too much white on his tummy. But this area has apparently been the site of at least one releasing in the last 15 or so years, so it’s possible.

T is for..

Tupperware. And Thanksgiving leftovers. But mostly tupperware (and at least one Pyrex). Even when it’s not tupperware, but instead some other more easily available imitation. I usually package up the leftovers from our dinners to take in as lunches since we usually don’t eat as much as we make and it’s cheaper to take leftovers than buy frozen lunches.

The one on the top left is the Pyrex and has leftover sloppy joe meat from dinner Wednesday. The one below that and at least one of the two in the next stack are leftover chicken & rice from dinner a week or so ago. The one that’s not chicken & rice is leftover pasta and sauce from dinner last Saturday.

The other five are all soup with dumplings* made from fresh turkey stock (made from the carcas from Thanksgiving plus the carcas from a turkey we made about a month ago and a small chicken from longer ago) yesterday. The four little ones on top are mostly broth from the same soup that will likely get used in other things rather than eaten as broth or soup.

The soup is more or less usual for us for the days following Thanksgiving, but it was a little more welcome this year than usual because Jack ended up with a pretty debilitating head cold Wednesday & Thursday. We slept at least 12 to 14 hours Thursday into Friday, and at least 12 hours each Friday & Saturday nights, which seems to have mostly knocked out the cold and prevented me from getting it.

* Jack’s family makes what he calls “knifla”, which is essentially a larger version of spaetzle, as dumplings. They’re pr’bly the best dumplings I’ve ever had and I really love soup with them. It’s basically a very wet “dough” made from eggs and flour and then cut with a knife into the simmering broth. They soak up the flavor from the soup and the longer they sit in the soup, the better they are, so the leftovers are usually far better than the soup on the first run (which isn’t bad itself).