To all my fellow string enthusiasts, knitters and spinners alike:

JoAnn Fabric is currently selling all yarn-ball winders for 40% off. That's super-cheap, and MUY handy!

I now return you to your regularly scheduled reading.
I got the new seat on my bike last night with help from [ profile] sirzig and I managed to ride all the way to work without dying! The seat still needs a bit of adjustment, because just as [ profile] sirzig thought, it's tilted too far forward. This puts too much of my weight on my arms and about half way through the ride I had to stop and walk for a bit because my arms got tired. BUT, I did manage to get all the way to work, mostly on time, and I didn't ever hurt so bad that I felt like I needed to stop and take the bus instead.

I still need to get some kind of luggage rack for the bike, as I wasn't able to bring my other laptop to work with me today, and that makes me a bit antsy. Overall, though, I am satisfied with this morning's progress.

Last night I had my eye appointment and ordered some new super-light-weight glasses, and the optometrist agreed that I have a problem with dry eye. She gave me a scrip for Restasis drops, but it's very expensive and I'm not sure yet if my insurance with cover it. Before I fill the scrip, she also gave me some new silicone-free contacts to try. She says it's rare, but that some people have silicone allergies that make the brand of contacts I WAS using problematic. Thus, I am currently trying out a pair of plastic contacts and I have some anti-allergy drops to keep my eyes moist and cut down on any issues that may be happening because of local fauna. (I didn't have these problems in Pittsburgh with a different brand of contacts, so we're trying to eliminate allergies as the cause of the problem before I try the super-expensive-no-generic-available-drops.)

Tonight, [ profile] eithni and I have plans to eat the food of my slant-eyed cousins, (thus avoiding the crowds who wish to celebrate this, most green of holidays), and then some tasty scotch at her place accompanied by stringy-goodness.

Happy St. Patric's Day, y'all!
So remember that last failed batch of soap? It was all crumbly and wouldn't stay in bar-form to save anyone's life...

I used a technique called milling to save it and turn it into WIN! I ground up all the soap in my food processor, along with some scraps of similar smelling soap from other batches. I dumped the resultant crumbs into my crock pot on LOW for 2 hours with a couple ounces of water to re-melt. About 2 hours later, I hit them with my stick blender to homogenize once everything was pleasantly melty, and then re-molded them. The results are MUCH better.

Since the soap has already aged enough, I don't technically have to wait very long before using the soap. I just have to unmold-them tonight and let the soap harden a bit as all the water I added evaporates. Soon those of you who spoke up about fishy soaps will be receiving prizes via US Post! (Assuming I have your address.)
So. Last night I bought myself a fancy red bicycle. It says Ironhorse on the side, and that pleases me as much as the color, for some reason.

This morning I was all gung-ho about working out and decided to bike to work, despite the fact that it is REALLY COLD outside. No problem! I have a goose-down jacket and gloves, and I wore a hoodie under my bike helmet to keep my ears from freezing off.


I made it half way to work before I had to give up and put my bike on the bus rack and accept motorized transportation the rest of the way.

My jacket made me WAY TOO HOT. The weight of my backpack makes breathing extremely difficult, and I apparently didn't grow out of that exercise induced asthma I remember having back when I was a kid. (The intarwebs tell me that the condition is exacerbated by cold temperatures, so I should be fine if I wait until a more reasonable climate presents itself.) AND, my BUTT IS KILLING ME. Apparently, the seat on the bicycle is too narrow and the backpack is pushing me down on it too hard. (Having done some reading about my specific pain, I also need to adjust it to make it a bit taller, but that only took 2 seconds to take care of.)

So. I have a minor shopping list for this weekend at the bike show. I need a luggage rack for my bike, and possibly also a wider seat. If I'm feeling particularly spendy and geektastic, I may also get a light (the generator kind that doesn't require a battery and is powered by peddling) and a trip computer... But those two items may wait until I deserve a reward for using my new bike consistently.
For my final thing on Saturday, I added some red herringbone stitch seam decoration to the green wool tunic I've worn to the last couple of events. This counts toward my A&S 50 project list as item 2.

I'm very glad February is over, because now I can just plug away at bigger projects without worrying about whether or not they'll get done by the end of the night.

Sunday we did a bit more wedding planning and I worked on the brown cardigan that I'm making for my dad.
mightyjesse: (Default)
( Feb. 28th, 2009 10:02 pm)
My Thing for yesterday was a linen White Scarf for Rigo to where while he fights heavy. It is a hemmed 7"x60" linen strip hand stitched with cotton thread, with a compass rose (NS design) embroidered at one end in black cotton embroidery floss... Picture on Monday.
mightyjesse: (Default)
( Feb. 27th, 2009 09:26 am)
People-Who-Make-Paper-Cranes-and-Call-It-A-Thing? I salute you! Last night after I got done working out at the gym, picking up Zig's car from the mechanic, and running 2 loads of laundry (I swear, folding and putting away clothes should count as a Thing...), I was so exhausted that I could barely function.

But since it was Zig's first Dinner off in a long while, I made him sushi... So I'm calling that my Thing.

We had ginger chicken and spicy tuna rolls with avocado, red pepper, and green onion. (I had intended to put in cucumber too, but my cucumber went south prematurely...)

I also got some knitting on my Dad's cardigan done, and finished a single that will be plied into more 3 ply chocolate yarn for Dad's sweater - which is eating through yarn at an alarming rate. This may end up being the 3 pound sweater of DOOM. Once this Thing-A-Day challenge is done, I'll show you pictures of all the sweaters I have in progress that were abandoned because I couldn't get them finished in a day. :P
mightyjesse: (Default)
( Feb. 26th, 2009 09:31 am)
Last night's Thing was more turmeric dyed wool...

Unfortunately, I fell asleep with the crock pot on and kinda over-cooked my dye project. Thus this set of turmeric doesn't have as much of a red caste as the previous batch. It is, however, much closer than the batch before it. Tonight I'll likely work at carding and spinning it so that I can finish Keg's leg wraps by the end of this month.
mightyjesse: (Default)
( Feb. 25th, 2009 09:35 am)
I think my Thing for last night was made of fail... Maybe...

I was kinda hungry for spice cookies, but I'm trying to avoid eating junk food so that I can lose some weight before the wedding. So instead of making cookies, I decided that I would make SOAP that SMELLS LIKE spice cookies. I had vanilla and ginger essential oils and lard, so I started puttering around making my soap.

The first mistake was dumping the water into the crock pot along with the oils, instead of holding it aside to mix with the lye. No matter, I decided to just dump the lye in with the oil water mixture and resign myself to the fact that it was going to take longer for me to get trace, as the lye wouldn't mix as readily in powder form.

I was right and my soap did take a bit longer to congeal, but it eventually did and I added my scents. Lovely... The soap smelled fantastic, but it didn't have any color or character... So I thought... Maybe if I add a little cinnamon, there will be some fancy texture/color variations to make this soap super-good!

Riiight... There were some texture variations all right. I discovered a soaping uh-oh called "ricing". Soap in "trace" phase looks a lot like vanilla pudding. The second the cinnamon hit my soap, it went from pudding to cottage cheese. FAIL.

The intarwebs had no advice for me on how to correct my experiment... So I continued with the heating and stirring of my soap in hopes that I could fix the problem...

Eventually I managed to get a mostly homogeneous mixture again, and I slapped my soap into the cute molds that [ profile] eithni gave me for 12th night, but I guess I didn't work fast enough, because the consistency of my soap changed between the first mold and the second mold... The soap went from creamy to crumbly in less than 2 minutes. Pictures of fail behind the cut. )

This morning when I popped my little soaps out of the molds you can really see the difference between the creamy fishy soap and the crumbly fail flower soap. I'm going to let all my soaps cure for 4 weeks and then I think I'll mill all the crumbly soaps and re-mold them in hopes that I can rescue them.

As an aside for those of you who are wondering... The soaps do at least smell good. Raise your hand if you want a tiny fishy soap...
mightyjesse: (Default)
( Feb. 24th, 2009 09:30 am)
So my Thing for yesterday was the long-put-off repair of the sleeve of my favorite cardigan...

I wore it so much that I managed to wear a hole in the elbow... )

So now I have a hot pink elbow. :)
mightyjesse: (Default)
( Feb. 23rd, 2009 10:29 am)
My Thing for yesterday was a linen coif to go with my cute Viking outfit. This also counts as item 1 in my A&S 50 project list.

The coif is linen, hand sewn with linen thread and then decorated (after this picture) with red linen embroidery floss.

Detail photos and pictures of Stephen's Cote. )
I didn't even bother to post my Thing-a-Day for Friday, because you've already seen pictures of the similar Thing I did earlier in the Month. I made 2 more skeins of 3 ply chocolate brown yarn for Dad's Future Sweater.

My Thing for yesterday was to finish up the hemming and the facing tacking on HRH Stephen's cotehardie. I have pictures in my phone, but as usual, you won't be able to see them until Monday. The cote was constructed of brown and white wool, broken herringbone twill, and lined with brown linen. The buttons on the sleeves were all hand made (as seen here) and all the button holes were finished by hand as well. The long seams were constructed using a sewing machine, but all the "fussy bits" were sewn by hand. In all I think I worked on the cote off and on for about two weeks. (More off than on, really.) Now that we have established a working pattern, copies can be made and sent out for construction by the ladies of the house, so that Stephen will have more than one outfit.

Elizabeth will make the blue brocade one.
Abbey will make the Red brocade one.
I will make the Black brocade one (coronation.)

The time of button making is near... I'll send out swatches soon.
mightyjesse: (Default)
( Feb. 20th, 2009 09:51 am)
My Thing for last night was to spin the Kool-aid dyed wool into a single and set the twist so that I can use it to knit a pair of socks. I think it's funny how the newly skeined yarn springs up into a frilly wreath until you wet it and weight it to set the twist.
Before and after pictures of setting the twist: )
mightyjesse: (Default)
( Feb. 19th, 2009 10:04 am)
Gleh. Yesterday starting at around 3:00 in the afternoon, I had tension creeping up my shoulders - headed for my brains. By 5:00 I had a pounding headache, so I drugged myself in attempt to feel better in time for Fighter Practice. By 7:00 it became apparent that doing anything other than laying down in a warm, dark room was out of the question.

So the only Thing I have to report from yesterday was gathering my tax documents together, scanning them and emailing them off to my accountant.

While it was an Important Thing, it feels not right. It didn't involve string... But the money that comes back will allow me to buy MORE STRING! So. I guess that's OK.

I went to bed for the night at 8:00 PM and woke up this morning at the normal time feeling hung-over. At least I wasn't awake to enjoy the migrane, but I didn't even have a chance to tidy up the house before I passed out. Hopefully today I'll feel good enough to finish a proper Thing and get some tidying done.
mightyjesse: (Default)
( Feb. 18th, 2009 09:16 am)
My thing for last night was a case for all my lower gauge DPN's.

The outside of the case is hand-woven wool made with commercial warp and hand-spun weft. It is sewn together with natural colored linen twine and held closed with a button.
Apparently some of you are still rockin' out with the dial-up connections: )
But now I have a nice needle case to keep all my knitting needles tidy... They *were* in a zip-lock baggie that just wasn't doing it for me aesthetically. Now I can pull them out of my work basket without being embarrassed.
mightyjesse: (Default)
( Feb. 17th, 2009 11:34 am)
My Thing for yesterday kept me up past my bed-time in order to get finished by the deadline. However, I do think it's a pretty sock:

This was knit with the same pattern as my other brown sock only I used a commercial string of a finer gage than my hand-spun. I wasn't sure I liked the previous sock because, while it looked OK, it didn't show off all the prettiness of the pattern to advantage. I think the commercial yarn does a better job of that. I shall endeavor to knit this sock's mate shortly...
mightyjesse: (Default)
( Feb. 16th, 2009 11:15 am)
My Thing for yesterday was another tumeric dying experiment, and I'm somewhat sad to report that I don't like the result...

This time, I heated the tumeric until the color developed and then strained it through a paper towel... Most of the goop came out so I don't need to re-card the resulting dyed roving, but the color was less than satisfactory:

As you can see, it's significantly less vibrant than the previous batch. On the other hand, my non-Thing-A-Day project that the last batch of dying was used in, seems to be coming along quite nicely... Gunther will be positively BLINDING in his "Von Kulmbach Twill" leg wraps...

And yes, intarwebs... You don't have to tell me "I told you so!" about the sizing... Next time I'll take the extra day to add sizing to my warps, because the fluffing, and felting being caused by the motion of the sheds was shredding my warp yarns... The aquanet trick for sizing projects on the loom is saving my bacon, but now my office REEKS of 1980's beauty queens... But at least I've managed to get a fair chunk of the weaving done...

Only 5 more yards to go...
mightyjesse: (Default)
( Feb. 15th, 2009 07:38 pm)
I pretty much wiffed on my Thing due to spending time working on a Big Project at TOC, but at the last minute, I repaired the pretty embroidered bag that [ profile] eithni made me and Jasmine chewed to death. It has a new drawstring now, and can be tied to my belt. Hopefully my time management will be better today.
mightyjesse: (Default)
( Feb. 14th, 2009 10:24 am)
My thing for yesterday was a pattern draft for my next project... I call it "Von Kulmbach Twill."

Isn't it just horrifying? I love it... That's what all that string from yesterday's post is destined to be... I will probably need to make some more yellow...