Sep 30

Well, the 2010-2011 Year of Seasons series of photos is coming to an end today.  I took the first photo on September 30, 2010, and the last photo on September 30, 2011.  And what an interesting difference between the same day one year apart!

This is one year ago.  I remember this day very well.  It was sunny, balmy and in the upper 70’s.  It felt like it was still summer, but with that far-off hint of autumn approaching.

And this is this year.  That far-off hint of autumn approaching happened three weeks ago and it has been autumn ever since. 

Last year, there was no hint of those wonderful autumn colors anywhere until after the 1st of October.  It was dry-dry-dry, too!  Remember, we had an outdoor burning ban for several months last summer and autumn.  Not so this year.  In fact, we have had quite a bit of rain this month after a rather dry summer.  It’s wet enough that there will be no burn ban for Dye Day.  Woohoo!!!

It has been a very interesting year watching the seasons come and go.  If all works out as I hope, I intend to put together a “movie” this weekend of the 50 photos taken this past year so you can see the changes in order, one fading into the next.  In fact, I can hardly wait, because I want to see it all put together, myself.

And I started this week with the first Year of Seasons photo for 2011-2012.  I thought long and hard about what I wanted in this next year’s series.  For one, I wanted something that had visually interesting elements for every season.  This past year was interesting – until you hit the summer, and then it was all pretty much the same.  The main point I wanted to cover was a place that could change week by week, with many elements.  I definitely wanted more of the sky, and different trees and flora, among other things.  So, I thought of a river or large creek, and drove around until I found the right spot, only about 2 miles from my house, which makes it more convenient, too.

Tell me what you think of this shot?

This, to me, covers everything that can change over the course of the year.  There are tons of different trees in here, lots of space for wild flowers, maybe some wildlife, and water that will rise and fall depending on the amount of rainfall we get each week.  I honestly don’t think I could do much better than this, so I’ll have a hard time topping this for the 2012-2013 series.  Although, I do have a couple of ideas…

Sep 29

Here they are, just a day late.

I wish I had more time to do creative things, but, at least through October, my spare time is at a premium, and lunch hours are the only real times I get to knit.  I have a plan, though, that I want to put into place once I get October over with that should free up some of my time after the first of the year.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.  I’ll let you in on it once I have it more concrete.

Sandy took one of our naturally dyed sock yarns and knit a sock out of it as a sample for Dyed in the Wool.  I am taking the rest of that skein and knitting a simple shawlette as a sample for the shop. 

And this is all I am working on at this time.  Once I get this wee shawl done, then I’ll be going back to the sweater, but with Dye Day in a bit over a week, I expect very little knitting to be done for a while – except lunch hours of course.

Speaking of Dye Day, now is your time to start praying for nice weather for Sunday the 9th through Tuesday the 11th.  Partly cloudy to sunny, temps in the upper 50’s to upper 60’s and no more than a gentle breeze would be perfect.   Thanks!!

Sep 27

Well, the foundations class at the gym is history for now.  Seems like my ticker liked it even less than my muscles did.  I ended up with a couple of minor angina episodes after that workout (mostly some heart spasms – baby asprin helped), so I’m back to working out with the weights and using the recumbant bike for the time being.  I did add an extra set on the weights last night and will keep this going through the next few weeks.  I’m up to level 4 on the recumbant bike (out of 25) for 35 minutes, so my workouts are taking about 50 minutes all said and done.  And that is on top of the morning 1/2 walks.  On the days I get to the gym, my steps are easily over 10,000.  I just need to manage to get to the gym more often – like every night after work.  If wishes were fishes…

Scott’s weight is contining its downward journey and his energy level keeps climbing.  I keep forgetting to weigh in the mornings this week, but if my clothes are telling me anything it’s that I’m still holding steady.  I hate plateaus!!!! 

On the other hand, I should have a new pair of socks by the end of tomorrow.  I’m ready to start the toe decreases.  I should have pictures on Thursday for you to see.  Then it’s off to finish a bunch of other already-in-progress projects and some projects for others that I need to have done by the end of the year.  November and December are going to be super busy.

Sep 26
See How Carol Weaves
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Rarely have I had the pleasure of teaching someone who was meant to do what they are learning how to do.  Carol is one of those people.

This her very first “real” handwoven project.  It is a simple Log Cabin in green and purple.  When she took it off of the loom, it was 13.5 inches wide – all the way down the length of the scarf/shawl.  There was no wavering in the selvedges.  At.  All.  There were three very minor weaving mistakes, and after it was washed and fulled, you had to know where they were and go hunting for them to even see them.

And here is Carol proudly showing off her creation.  This will keep her warm this winter whether it be in a blizzard or spinning with her drop spindle by her fire. 

I wish I had thought to take pictures of her first spinning.  I brought her a roving from a fleece I bought  and had processed last year, which is perfect for a beginning spinner.  Even our test spinners from last year loved it.  It is the medium gray, mixed-breed sheep roving (B-RV100002) that is for sale in Dyed in the Wool shop.

She did a lovely job with the spindle, and we fixed her up a quick lazy kate with a box, a couple of knitting needles and rubberbands.  I had brought two large plastic bobbins and we wound about half of what she had spun onto each so she can ply them together.  I showed her how to do that, and she’ll have it done in no time.

Now, she has about 4 ounces of the light, silver-gray Corriedale fleece (B-RV-100001) that was the first month’s selection for the Fiber Binder Club.  It is much finer, but after seeing what she had accomplished, I knew she was ready for something really nice to practice with.

Carol’s next project is a 15 yard (yes, we are a bit ambitious, why do you ask?) warp of 8/2 cotton for dish towels.  The first thing I set her to doing, though, is a sampler using the Handweaver’s Pattern Directory pages that match her warp color and threading.  She has something like 20 pages of patterns to play around with using the colors she had ordered for her weft.  I showed her how to carry weft up the side for those multiple shuttle patterns, and showed her how to record what she is doing so she can go back and find the patterns she likes once it is cut off and washed.  I can hardly wait to see what she comes up with for her towels once she has her sampler done.  Since she doesn’t have a sewing machine, I’ll take mine over to zig-zag her ends before she washes her sampler.

So, how do you think she is doing?  Personally, I think she is a natural at this.  She’s wanted to learn how to weave for 15 years.  I am so glad I have been able to help her fulfill a dream.

Sep 21
Tonks Turning Toward Toes
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 Work-in-progress | icon4 09 21st, 2011| icon34 Comments »

This is the Tonks colorway from the Harry Potter sock yarn.  As you can see, I’m on the last stretch of the second sock.  Getting these to match has been a fun challenge, especially since this is the first time doing a short-row heel.

If I’m lucky, I might get the chance to knit more on them over the weekend – and maybe finish them – because I have other things that I’ve started that needs to get a move on – like my Philosopher’s Wool sweater, which is still in the first sleeve stage.  This getting to knit only on lunch hours is for the birds.

Once I get past Dye Day on October 10th, things will lighten up quite a bit for me and a lot of those things currently placed on the back burner will finally get their time.  I can hardly wait!

Sep 20

That is the sound of me dragging myself up the stairs last night.

Remember me saying that I hoped the foundations class at the gym would kick my butt?  Boy, did it ever!  I could barely walk up the stairs last night, and I’ve been up since 2 this morning because of the soreness.  On the plus side, I have three loads of laundry done and most of the dishes have been washed.  Our dishwasher is out of commission at the moment, and Scott hates handwashing them, even though he dirties 99% of them.  So I got the majority of them done for him.  Dude owes me, though…  🙂

I found out this class, that I thought was free for this week only, is a longer-term free class, so I’m going to let it kick my butt every Monday and Thursday nights.  Also, I intend to do cardio on Wednesdays and Friday nights, so, weight, it’s time to go bye-bye!!!

Sep 19

I had an incredibly long and busy day on Saturday.  Scott had a comic book show to go to in Cincinnati, and I had to drop him off at a friend’s house (another comic book artist) at 6 that morning so they could get there in time to set up before the show opened at 9.  That meant getting up at 4:15 that morning so I could get Scott’s food packed, him up and everything ready to leave by 5.  We had to stop and get gasoline, then a quick run through McDonalds for breakfast (I know, not exactly on the diet, but there was no time for anything else).  After a slight delay getting the guys on their way (SWAT team had the road blocked off and we couldn’t get to the house where Scott’s friend lives), I headed over to my student’s house and got there at 7:00.

We quickly got her first scarf cut off the loom and hand twisted the fringe because I cannot find my fringe twister.  If I have loaned it to someone, could you please let me know so I know where it is?  I have the feeling that I did loan it out but I don’t remember to who.  Then we fulled it in the washing machine and hung it to dry.  I have pictures of it on my camera, but I accidently left it at her house so I’ll show you who it came out later.  I will say this, though – I am very impressed at how evenly she wove this scarf.  The width was consistly 13.5 inches all the way down the length, and her selvedges were lovely.  Really, it could have been something an experienced weaver had done.  And with the green and purple Log Cabin pattern, it is a lovely thing to behold.

Then we started on her next project – a 15 yard warp of white 8/2 cotton with 528 ends for dishtowels.  She and I took turns measuring it off and threading the loom all day.  By 8:00 that night, we had about half of it wound onto the loom, but I needed to go and pick up Scott.   Actually, for as much as we had to get done, I feel pretty good to be as far along as we are on it.  If I had had to do this by myself, I would have taken me a minimum of two solid days.  528 ends are a lot to thread and 15 yards a lot to measure off.

I’ll be going back next Saturday morning to help her get the rest of it wound on and her going on her sampler.  There are several patterns she can use for her towels, and she wants to make a sampler of them with different color combinations to choose from and take the ones she likes best for the towels she wants to weave.  She is borrowing my 8-harness Baby Wolf (but using only 4 harnesses at this point) for this project.  She is interesting in buying a Baby Wolf and I thought that the chance to test drive one would be good.

So, we are almost there getting her ready for her next several weeks of weaving.

Yesterday, after sleeping in a bit, Scott and I headed to the vet to pick up Sandy’s cat and take him to her house.  Sandy had been gone all week with a family emergency and was on her way home, but would not get there in time to pick up Sam from being boarded.  So, Scott and I did for her and boy was Sam happy to get home. 

Tonight, after work, I am taking the first of two “foundations” classes at the gym.  I have no clue exactly what I am in for, but I hope it kicks my butt and shows me more ways I can be working out to tone up and lose more weight.

Sep 16

As you know, I struggle with an addiction to sugar.  I have tried many things, some that work and some that failed.  Fruit is a good substitute for processed sugar and I love eating frozen fruit in the summer, like cherries, strawberries and peach slices.  They are cold, and, being frozen, take longer to eat.

Now that is it cooler outside, frozen fruit doesn’t appeal to me as much, but I still want something small, sweet and that satisfies my sweet cravings.

Lots of people crave sugar and, especially chocolate.  Hershey’s kisses can be found everywhere and even my bank passes them out when you go through the drive-up (have I ever mentioned how much I love my bank?).

Lately, I have been eating whole or pitted dates (not those sugar coated diced bits).  They have a complex sweetness that I really love.

So, let’s look this over.  If you compare 1 piece of Hershey’s Kiss with 1 date piece you get the following

Calories                                         22.22                                     23
Calories from Fat                            11.11                                      0
Cholesterol                                       1.1 mg                                  0 mg
Sodium                                            3.89 mg                                 0 mg
Potassium                                        0 mg                                   54.4 mg
Carbs                                              2.78 g                                  6.2 g
Fiber                                                 .1 g                                     .7 g
Sugars                                            2.6 g                                    5.3 g
Protein                                             .33 g                                    .2 g

The calories in each are nearly identical.

A Hershey’s Kiss is a full 50% fat with ¾ g of Saturated fat in each one.  There is no fat in a date.

A date has neither cholesterol nor sodium in it whereas each piece of candy has over 1 mg of cholesterol and almost 4 mg of sodium.

Potassium is a very important nutrient that most people do not get enough of and having too little potassium in your system can cause serious problems and can be fatal.  According to Wikipedia “Potassium ion is necessary for the function of all living cells. Potassium ion diffusion is a key mechanism in nerve transmission, and potassium depletion in animals, including humans, results in various cardiac dysfunctions.”  When you sweat, you lose potassium, and that needs replenished.  Diet is the best way to do this, although there are some sports drinks that will do the same for quick fixes.  If you remember, I had to go to the emergency room by ambulance last February because my potassium levels dropped too low.  Needless to say, I have been very careful since then to make sure I get enough, especially when I work out. 

The minimum daily requirement for potassium is 2,000 mg per day for most adults, although it is recommended that most adults get closer to 3,500 mg.  At over 50 mg each, dates are a very good source of potassium.  If you eat 10 a day, for example, you get in over 25% of the MDR with only about 230 calories spent.

Okay, a Hershey’s kiss has less “sugars” than a date, but think about the type of sugar – processed verses naturally occurring within the whole food itself.  And look at the fiber content.  7 times the fiber in dates as in a kiss.

Then look at how many you are likely to eat at one sitting.  I have seen people polish off handfuls of kisses, but not with dates.  If you eat 5-6 dates, you are pretty satisfied.  Think when was the last time you stopped at 5-6 kisses.  The fiber alone will help you feel full, and the fruity flavor of the date is more satisfying in my mind.

Having smart sweets to appease your sweet tooth just makes more sense.  The calories in the dates are much healthier ones than in the candy and they actually provide nutrients your body needs rather than just taste sweet.  So which would I rather have, a kiss or a date?  Well, it sounds like dates are lots more fun.

Sep 15
Friendship
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 A Little of This, A Little of That | icon4 09 15th, 2011| icon35 Comments »

Through out the years I’ve had a blog, and have been reading other people’s blogs, I have made lots of friends – most of whom I have never met in person.  We’ve shared sorrows, joys, and stories that give us all a glimpse into the lives of people across the state, continent and world.  And I have come to believe that my friends in the fiber community are the most precious ones of all.  We give to one another more than comments, much more than words and pictures.

When I got home last night, it was dark and raining pretty hard.  Sometimes I check the mailbox when I get home and sometimes I check it on my way to work each evening.  Even with the rain last night, I walked to the mailbox and I am so glad I did.  In it was a squishy envelope that puzzled me because I had not ordered anything lately.

When I got into the house, I saw it was from Cindy, and do you know what that sweet lady in Florida sent me?

These!  The white is her handspun, and she sent these to me to help keep my hands warm in my Indiana winters.  When I opened the package, I could not believe my eyes.  They are so pretty and soft and I adore them.  The colors in the colorwork part sparkle like jewels and the more you study them, the more colors you see.  All I could say to Scott was, “She is so sweet!” and Cindy is definitely that.

Thank you very much, Cindy.  I don’t know what I did to deserve such a wonderful gift.  I’m completely bowled over by the generosity and thoughtfulness of these mitts.

And here are the palms of the mitts.  She knit them out of superwash wool so I can machine wash and dry them.  I might, then again, they might just get lovingly hand washed.

And they arrived with great timing, too.  It is 48 degrees this morning, and I am about to take my morning walk with my walking partner.  They will keep my hands nice and toasty.

Sep 14

This marks the 50th week o fthe year of seasons and the 48th picture.  I missed two weeks due to vacations, but still, ending up with 50 pictures of the same spot through the course of a whole year will be nothing to sneeze at.

As you can see, there are already leaves falling to the ground, and I’m beginning to see colors that we didn’t see until the end of the month last year.  Right now, I’d say we are a full two weeks ahead of the game over last year at this time.

I already have next year’s Year of Seasons view picked out.  This year’s one at the cemetery was great, but a little boring throughout the summer months.  Next years pictures (starting Saturday October 1st) include a creek, so there should be more variety during the year with the rising and falling of the water levels, the wild flowers that grow along the bank and the more variety in the trees and other plant life along the banks.  And, who knows, there might be a deer or a bunny or two spotted as well.  I’m anxious to get the next year’s photos started, but I’ll wait until the proper time and two and a half more weeks isn’t all that long.

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