Mar 30

I’m still in the upper 150’s, but I started really training hard on Sunday.  I started some light running with my evening workouts, and actually ran (jogged) 11 minutes on Sunday night.  And, yes, I’m making sure I get the kale shake afterwards.

Would anyone want to join me on the Couch to 5K program?  Now that I know that I can run on my treadmill without breaking it, I want to start training to run a couple of 5K’s this summer.  This program is an 8 week one, gradually getting you prepared to run 3.1 miles.  There are only three running workouts per week, which should be doable.  Of course, on those nights that the weather is nice (come on, Spring, get here already!), I’ll run outside, but otherwise I’ll use the treadmill.  The whole idea of running is Shelley’s fault.  Last night I started preparing for this.  I ran on the treadmill for one minute/walked for one minute for 5 times (10 minutes total) after warming up for 5 minutes.  It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.

Also, starting Monday, I’m back to getting in 10,000 steps per day.  I’ve been getting pretty close, and it has been actual laziness that I haven’t been going ahead and getting the rest of the steps in.  That has changed.  Really, if I’m at 7800 steps for the day, 20 minutes on the treadmill at a comfortable speed gets in the rest, so why shouldn’t I just go ahead and do them?  Lazy, lazy, lazy!

The new breakfast of Egg-Beaters omelets with the one tablespoon each of ham, cheese and pepper is wonderful, less calories, cholesterol and fat, and holds me over very well – I can wait 4 hours until lunch easily.  In fact, one of my co-workers is joining me with this breakfast and Scott is now eating this, too. 

My average calories count is between 900 and 950 per day, which according to calculator I used for my personal specs is what I need in order to lose weight.  Believe it or not, I have to be careful not to fall below 900 because what I am eating is satisfying me enough that I could skip a meal or snack.  For obvious reasons, I really don’t want to go below this number.  All I need to do is end up back in the hospital for some other nutrient deficiency.

Scott and I have started watching The Biggest Loser’s episodes for this season on the internet (we don’t have the ability to watch television the normal way), and we have learned a lot from the first 6 episodes.  For one, we’ve paid attention to how people are exercising and with what equipment.  Many of the things they are using can easily be built or created with what we already have on hand with a few minor purchases to add to it.  We already have an exercise bike, but haven’t been using it because it needs a new seat.  Well, I’ve noticed that everyone stands up and pedals, so we are just going to remove the seat post and stand up to pedal.  Also, using a rope over a pulley in the garage ceiling going down to a platform with weights on it – that’s simple and effective for several different exercises.  We have pulleys and ropes, and weights aren’t all that expensive.  If we buy only what we need then work our way up to heavier weights as we go, then the cost is spread out over time, which is much easier on the budget.

Two, we’ve discovered that we’ve been way too timid as to working up a sweat.  I think my own heart troubles have kept me from really trying, and Scott’s heat exhaustion troubles have scared him, but if we prepare things properly (fans and lots of water for Scott and a heart-rate monitor for me, which I have), then we can just go for it and really work out hard.  So much to learn and we are just feeling our way through this step-by-step.

So, the Story household is gearing up for some interesting times.  Scott is looking forward to all of this as much as I am, which just tickles me to no end.  The idea of me running a 5K still seems impossible, but I’ve come to believe that “impossible” really means “I’m possible.”  And getting fit is a really “possible” for me.

Mar 29
Getting Warped
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 Work-in-progress | icon4 03 29th, 2011| icon37 Comments »

With my move back to more doing than teaching, I have been looking over my current yarn stash for something to use as a simple, 3-yard warp for a scarf on the 15″ LeClerc Nilus loom.  I want to do something in a simple 2/2 twill, but with colors I don’t usually put together. 

I had enough of this Zauberball yarn for the warp, and I like the colors that wander around a base orange color.  I have two yarns picked out for the warp and I’m still deciding which one to use.  One is a purple-based Zauberball, and the other is another, simple purple sock yarn.  I’m leaning toward the more simpler of the yarns and save the other Zauberball yarn as another warp.  I’m afraid the combination of two wild color patterns will be too much, and with the color changes in the warp, keeping the weft simple might be best.

Why purple and orange?  Well, they are two sides of a triad (purple, orange and green), and I am curious as to how they will react with one another.  It’s not a color combination I am comfortable with, but if I stick to my comfort zone, then I will learn nothing.

So, tonight, I intend to get the loom warped and ready to begin weaving.  Let’s see how this turns out.

Mar 25

Wednesday, we had 76 degrees and sunshine.  That night we had dropping temperatures, strong winds and tornado sirens going off.  Yesterday we had 35 degrees and it spat little iceballs all day – Ahhh…  Spring in Indiana!

So, here you go – Week 25’s picture.  March is going to go out like a lion, but that’s fitting since we had such a mild beginning to the month.  But if you will look to the left of the second tree on the left you will see a spot of yellow.  That’s forsythia blooming.  So, be as nastly as you want, Old Man Winter.  You ain’t fooling Mother Nature one bit!

Mar 23

Well, I’m still wandering around in the upper 150’s, but there’s a good reason for that.  Saturday, I ate out at Ouback Steak house with Sandy while we were on our trip to Ft. Wayne.  I was craving a steak, so a steak, sweet potato and a salad it was.  I’ve also had a little too much in the sweets department.  So, it’s now back to the ol’grindstone because I sure don’t want to be in this same spot for a couple of years like I was when wandering around in the mid 160’s.  In fact, I’d still like to see the mid to lower 140’s by the time my niece graduates in June, so I have to get back to work.

Also, I’ve been lazy as to my workouts – you know, one excuse after another not to work out (I’m tired, my back hurts, I’d rather read/spin/knit/do anything besides workout).  I still have been doing the 30 minute walks in the mornings, just not anything else.  So, that will change today as well.

The only thing I have changed as far as the menu goes is the breakfast.  After eating a hard-boiled egg with cheese and guacamole for three weeks straight, I just could not face it anymore, so I’m now eating a scrambled egg with diced ham, diced red sweet pepper and shredded cheese mixed in.  Nice change and I still get what I need. 

That’s it for this week!

Mar 22
1 and a Half FOs
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 Work-in-progress | icon4 03 22nd, 2011| icon35 Comments »

True to my word, I spent last night after work doing something fibery and I enjoyed myself to no end.  Scott was working on his Johnny Saturn page for next week and we listened to Popa Chubby on the CD player (If you like Stevie Ray Vaughn, you will really like Popa Chubby).  I plied the Wensleydale single with the Polworth single, treadling to the beat of the various songs (at times quite fast) and got this:

This is the one I had hoped would boucle after soaking, but it didn’t.  The blues and greens are the Wensleydale and the solid navy is the Polworth.  Still, it is a very sweet yarn coming in at 7.3 ounces in weight.  I don’t know the yardage, yet.

As for the half finished object…

One mitten down and one to go.  Actually, I have about 3/4″ of the cuff on the second one done.  Everyone tried this mitten on yesterday and declared that it will keep Scott’s hand(s) warm this next winter.  I certainly hope so.

Last night was so relaxing and fulfilling that I don’t know why I haven’t been doing this more.

Mar 21

Saturday, Sandy and I drove up to Ft. Wayne, Indiana, to look at some fleeces at Richert Ranch.  What we met were much more than just sheep, we made new friends.

Anita Richert and her two daughters, Alaina and Sabrina, were absolutely delightful.  To start things off on an interesting foot, the right side of my glasses decided to spring apart about 25 feet from their driveway.  Sandy quickly found the right lens, but we could not find that tiny screw anywhere. 

Anita came to the rescue, first trying to use a screw out of her own spare pair of glasses (too big), to out trying to use a brass safety pin (too small) and finally us using the wire from a twisty tie with the plastic covering stripped off (just right).  Talk about your ice breakers!  We were all laughing and working over those glasses like old friends.

Then they led us to the barn where the sheep (and several other animals) were housed.  First there were calves to meet, chickens of several varieties to be admired, some Nubian goats to say hello to, then we met the sheep.

Suffolk and Lincoln sheep, and the Richerts newly developing breed, a Suffolk-Lincoln cross they are calling Lincoln Folk.  Ususally when people cross breed anything with Suffolk, they are looking for a better meat animal.  The Richerts, on the other hand, are looking for the Lincoln length and luster combined with the fine crimp of the Suffolk. 

This is a Suffolk sheep named Corn (guess why!).  We bought her fleece for the Fiber Binder Club.  She loved having her back scratched and about half a second after this picture was taken, all of the other sheep rushed in between her and me which sent all of us into peals of laughter.  None of these sheep were in the least afraid of people.  They were fun to pet and love on.

Then we went into their wool room (and what a great work area it was, too) to look at the fleeces.  And, oh my did they have some nice ones.  Also, they had a cabinet and wall full of awards, ribbons and trophies from their fleeces.  The above one is a hoggett fleece from a Lincoln named Shirley.  We also bought her mother’s fleece, Chocolate.  Both these fleeces are bound for the Fiber Binder Club. 

When we walked over to the table holding all the fleeces, one bag drew my eye immediately.  I could tell through the plastic bag that I wanted it and I wanted it badly!  When Sandy and I had picked out the Suffolk and Lincoln fleeces we wanted, we were introduced to the fleeces from S’More and Truffle.  It was Truffle’s fleece that had grabbed my attention.

These two fleeces are from their Lincoln Folk sheep (in this case sister sheep) and they were absolutely wonderful fleeces.  If this is what they are trying to get with their crosses, then they are definitely on the right track.  The crimp, the color, the texture and the incredible sheen to the fleece was mesmerizing.  Sandy and I had no choice, those two fleeces were coming home with us.  One is of the most beautiful grays, charcoal and silver (Truffle), the other is silver, cream and light browns (S’More). 

They are now boxed up and will be on their way to Zeilinger’s this evening once I can get them to UPS.  We both decided that these will be processed into combed top and we may or may not share them with Dyed in the Wool customers.   We may be so in love with them that we want to spin them up ourselves.

So, Fiber Binder Club members, you have some very nice, ribbon winning samples coming your way over the next several months.  Searching for and finding the nicest fleeces we can has been so much fun.  And we both think Anita and her daughters have something to be proud of in their Lincoln Folk sheep.  We can’t wait to back up there to get more fleeces.

Mar 18
Thinking Ahead
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 Work-in-progress | icon4 03 18th, 2011| icon37 Comments »

Thank you Cindy, Judy and Roxie for your advice.  I will weave the coat fabric single thickness and line it.  Next to think about is how much wool fabric will I need to weave to make a coat.  Well, first I need to find a coat pattern I like for wool coats.  Hmm…  We are going into spring, and I can’t image there are many wool coat patterns out there right now, so I did some searching on line.

On ebay, I found this pattern.  Except for the length, this is exactly what I am looking for.  Not too fitted, but not boxey.  With shipping it cost me less than $7 and should be here next week.  It is specifically for a lined wool coat, has never been used and my size is included.  I’ll look it over very well when I get it to see if it really is what I want.  (Bonus – the wool pants pattern is included!)

I really like the collar and can make it the mid-thigh length that I want.  Cindy agreed with me that making a mock-up with felt fabric first would be a good idea, so once this has arrived, I’ll get some felt yardage and see how it looks.  It’ll probably take a couple of tries, but I want to get the fitting perfected before I cut into any handwoven fabric and really before I weave the fabric.  I’ll need to test it to see how much to weave.

Okay, so now I want to think about the colors. I have have about 11 cones of a medium gray Harrisville Shetland wool yarn (2 ply) and thought that using the naturally dyed yarn in the same weight and plies in the pink, purple and blues added in randomly would look nice with the gray.  It’ll add color and visual interest.  The weft would be all gray, which would make for some fast weaving – besides I want this to have long stripes in it and not be plaid.  The long stripes would be slimming and it would waste fabric to try to match up plaids in the sewing part.

This is going to be an interesting project, I think.  What do you think of the pattern in the picture?  Am I way off base here, or could this work?

Mar 17

Well, I missed taking a picture on the actual week 24, which was last week.  I usually take the picture on Thursday, but I forgot last Thursday and I was out sick on Friday, so it never got taken.  Oh well.

As you can see, it is sunny here and the temps are up into the 60’s.  For us, that is a heat wave this time of year.  I think (and hope) that spring is actually arriving and this isn’t just another tease.

I have a scarf warp for the 4-harness table top nearly measured out – may get it done tonight.  I want to get that loom warped this weekend, then start measuring out another 3 yard warp for the Dorset for the Doubleweave sampler.  With luck, I’ll get that loom warped over the weekend of the 26th and 27th.  My hands are itching to get a hold of my shuttles and send them flying through the sheds and make some cloth.

And what do you think of waffle weave towels for the Harrisville?  I’d like to put a 10-12 yard warp on there and make towels to put back for Christmas gifts.  That will leave the 8-harness, 40″ wide Herald loom.  Right now, I’m thinking of some two-ply gray Harrisville Shetland wool with stripes of naturally dyed wool for interest.  I’m still dreaming of a coat for next winter to wear to work.

Okay, if I did make the wool coat, how should I line it for warmth?  That’s something I’ll need to consider.  Also, if I want it extra warm, should I double weave the cloth to give me an extra layer of wool?  What do you think?

Mar 16

This last week was both easier and harder to stick with the food plan.  For one, I was actually hungry part of the time this past week, but I think it had more to do with stress and anything.  What got me through it all without deviating from my chosen path are, simply, 4 items:

Chobani Yogurts


Egg/Guacamole/Cheese Combo

Kale Shakes

Let’s start with the Chobani yogurt.  This is not a dessert type of yogurt, but a full flavored, creamy Greek yogurt.  Most Greek yogurts are too “bitey” for me and when they add fruit it’s more like a fruit syrup rather than real fruit.  Chobani has real fruit in it.  So far, I’ve tried the Pomegranate, Pineapple, Strawberry, Vanilla and Peach flavors.  I did not care for the Pomegranate, but the others were delicious, and I usually hate peaches in yogurt.  And the best part?  14 grams of protein, 0 fat, and only 140 calories (150 for black cherry).  This makes a great snack because you have fruit and protein all packed into one 6 ounce serving and it satisfies like no other yogurt I’ve ever tried has before.  I like to eat one with my veggie soup lunch and I’m not hungry for about 3 hours.

Second are bananas.  Bananas have been touted as the perfect snack because it has resistant starch, which means it burns slower and keeps you from getting hungry soon afterwards.  At 105 calories for a small one, it has about 400 grams of potassium and 3 grams of fiber.  I like to eat one at about 3:30 as a boost to keep me from hitting the candy bowl in the conference room behind me.  So far, it is working extremely well.

My breakfast for the last two weeks has been a hard-boiled egg, sliced up, half a slice of aged Swiss cheese on top and heated up in the microwave for 18-20 seconds.  Then I add a couple of tablespoons of mild guacamole to the top and eat away.  According to Dr. Berg’s site, this for breakfast will keep you from craving sweets and binging at the end of the day.  So far, it has worked for me, and I’m no longer craving sugar.  In fact, I just plain don’t want anything sweeter than fruit.

And last, Kale shakes.  These sound really gross, but aren’t.  Dr. Berg has some videos on his site showing different ways to make kale shakes.  My favorite, so far, is about 2 cups torn red kale, half a frozen banana (sliced before freezing), about 2/3 a cup of frozen cherries and a cup of water blended for about 2 minutes.  The frozen fruit gives it a bit of body and makes it seem like a type of smoothie.  They don’t taste bad (either that or I’m getting used to the taste), and for less than 200 calories, you get 8.3 grams of fiber, and a long list of great nutrients including potassium, magnesium, calcium, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, beta-carotene, and iron.

Each of these is a staple in my every day diet.  Other foods tend to be veggie based, and, so far, the “no-grains” rule is being adhered to, with red potatoes somewhere in the mix being my starch for the day.

And what differences have I seen in the last two weeks?  Well, besides losing 6.5 pounds during this time, I’ve noticed a definite change in my hands.  They have slimmed down and look more like real fingers than sausage links.  And my face, too.  My double chin and “jowls” are disappearing and I think I look a bit younger because of it.  And, I am now able to wear two pairs of pants that I’ve not been comfortable wearing for a long time.

I’m still eating less than 1000 calories a day (averaged 904 calories this week), but my energy level has grown quite a bit.  If I keep this up, I may be under 155 by the end of March.  Once I can get down to 148, that will be a 20 pound loss for me so far this year.  Seeing progress like this is sure helping me keep on track.

Mar 15

I mentioned last week that I am taking the year off from teaching formal workshops, and since that decision was made, life has gotten brighter.  I actually have most of a warp measured out, and will get it onto the table top loom this weekend.  Each weekend for the next month, I intend to get one loom warped, each of the four with a different type of project.  Sir Henry will finally get a new, weighted beater bar this spring (once we can work out in the workshop) and once it is done, I’ll put a rug warp on him and see what he can do for me.  (Guess where all of Scott’s too large T-shirts are going.)  🙂

Getting out my pattern books is getting me all excited to weave for myself once again.  I want to have several fabrics of enough length to make new vests for next fall and winter.  All my old vests just hang on me, now, and I need new ones.  Nothing like necessity to get one into the mood to create.  I’ve had my grid paper out coming up with some interesting new designs, and one, an asymmetrical design using two smaller, already woven pieces of fabric I have really intrigues me.  Yes, weaving and the excuse to use my sewing machine.  My brain rejoices in this type of activity after months (years?) of inactivity. 

My house may never be totally organized or perfectly clean, but I’m going to have my day a week to play no matter what.  I can live with the dust bunnies.  Some of them have been around long enough to get names.

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