Friday, December 19, 2008

My Wonderful Husband

See that beautiful yarn. It is my Christmas present from Darren. He is such a sweet husband. I saw this yarn last Saturday at Ancient Pathways, while we were there knitting and fell in love with it. It is 880 yards of lace weight wool, hand dyed by Meg (the owner of Ancient Pathways). The picture doesn't do the yarn justice. It is very dark purple and black and will make a beautiful shawl. Anyway, I told Darren I loved the yarn and I thought about buying it, but was good and put it back. That night, he sent Meg a PM to have her hold it for him, so he could pick it up on Tuesday. He gave it to me Tuesday night because he was afraid that someone would mention that he had been in the store without me. Isn't he the sweetest thing. This was after I thought we had agreed that my Christmas present was going to be the much more practical bamboo needle set on Ebay. He told me to go ahead and buy the needles for him for Christmas, even though he is getting a pair of socks (which will be knitted by spring.) Isn't he the best.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

No More White Stockinettte

I'm knitting a sweater for Dad for Christmas/his birthday. The main portion of the sweater is white stockinette. This is my first adult sized sweater, so I had no clue how mind numbing it is to knit that much with no pattern and no color. To make it worse, gauge swatches lie, so even though I made a gauge swatch, my gauge was wrong. Being the stubborn person I am, I refused to accept that it was too big until I had knit almost the entire back, meaning that I have knit almost 2 backs (one was frogged) and 1 front. I am done. Happy dances were danced, along with some woohoos. No more white stockinette for me.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bad Blogger, No Cookie

Ok, so I really am not the kind of person who blogs regularly. I knew this when I started. I will start blogging regularly soon, because I am doing a swap that requires blogging. It is the Hogwarts Little bit of Everything Swap. So far, I'm fairly clueless, because I have never been involved in a swap that required more than just posting a list of stuff you like and picking out/making stuff your partner likes. Being clueless is quite interesting, because I'm suppose to be leading the dueling. I'm learning a lot as I go and am quite excited.

Well, it is now November, and I'm sure you are dying to know how the no spend month went. We ended up breaking the rules and going out to eat at the end of the month, but we learned so much about what is important to us financially that I think it was a success. We are currently just working off a budget and doing Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover, baby step one, but I think we might institure a short no buy for the next couple weeks. Having some no buy time helps us to stay focused.

The past 10 days, we have bought a lot more than we usually buy at one time, but only one yarn purchase was a frivilous purchase. We are keeping our house a lot colder this winter (I don't feel like paying for heat since I pay so much for AC) which meant that I needed some warmer clothes. The $50 spent on clothes and $30 spent on an electric blanket will be much cheaper than the heating bills. Then, our crockpot died. Crockpots are a neccessity for cheap, easy winter meals. So, we got a new one. Darren also got some new shirts, because his are starting to disinigrate. All of this was important, but we need to regroup from it.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

What we Have Learned so Far

We are over a third of the way through our no spend month. We have learned a lot about ourselves already.

  • No spend is easier to stick to than a budget or minimal spend and much easier than we thought it was going to be.
  • Eating out must have been really bad for us, because I now want to be cheddar cheese on everything. I think my body is trying to make up for all of the grease.
  • Even if I do put cheddar cheese on everything, it's still healthier than eating at Denny's
  • I am forming a new outlook on the stuff in my house. I'm longing to declutter my house. I don't as much of a need to hold onto stuff. I thought that the opposite would happen, but I think I'm figuring out what I really value and don't want the rest invading that space.
  • Darren has given up soda at work. He told me that no spend is no spend and that should include soda. He is now drinking one cup of coffee on his way to work. That is a lot fewer empty calories.
  • I'm thinking a lot more about where I spend my money. It's starting to seem worth it to support stores with my purchases rather than just buy things cheaply.
  • Part of me wants to knit every yarn in my stash before buying new yarn. This scares me, but it's an interesting idea.

Friday, October 10, 2008

On and Off My Needles

So far, I haven't really talked about my knitting. I knit all the time. I take it with me everywhere and do it whenever I get a spare moment.

Most of my knitting right now is for the Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup and Christmas presents. Mostly, they are overlapping.

The Charms assignment was to knit something to make someone else happy. I started making my mom's Christmas present.

He is a little elephant made out of the fist yarn that I spun on my drop spindle. I spun it from roving that I dyed with Easter egg dyes.

Here is the yarn:

It was made from this roving:

After starting it, I found out that out that one of the other students (in the Harry Potter competition) had her house burn down. I couldn't do much for her, but I could pray for her and knit her this scarf. When bad things happen I'm always cold, so I thought a scarf would be appropriate.

The Transfiguration assignment is to felt something. I've never felted something before, so this is quite exciting. I'm making slippers for Darren's mom for Christmas. Here they are prior to felting with a slipper sock for size comparison. These things are huge. I'm going to felt them this weekend while washing laundry.

The Potions assignment is to make something out of a lot of different yarns. I'm using this opportunity to use up the leftovers from making longies. I'm making Darren a project bag for his crochet. It's going to be felted too. I'm using a lot of different colors, then I'm going to overdye it blue. This should give all of the colors a blueish hue, so they all go together nicely. I've never overdyed before this, so I'm excited about this project too. Here's the bag so far. The long piece is the bottom.

The Herbology assignment is to dye yarn using plants or fungi. I used ivy to dye the handspun that was on the boobins of the spinning wheel. It was a very interesting a stinky project. If you choose to dye with plants, do it outside, or else your livingroom will smell really bad. I put a bunch of ivy leaves in my new dyeing crockpot with some water.

I cooked the leaves until the water turned green. Then I threw the yarn in. Don't throw wool yarn into hot water unless the yarn is already hot. It will felt. I didn't care to much about this yarn (it was really poorly spun), so I didn't pay much attention to the whole felting thing. I cooked the yarn (while in the other room the other room) unitl Darren went down the hall and commented on the smell. I went to check on it and ventilate the house. The yarn was green and the water was mostly clear.

So I dumped the whole thing into the sink to wash and rinse. Using cold water to wash and rinse felted the yarn more than it had already felted. Don't put hot yarn into cold water. It will felt.
Here is how it turned out:

I'm debating whether to throw it out or make a pot holder out of it. Since, I can't throw away yarn, it probably will become a pot holder.

I have a few other projects on my needles, but I'm not working on them right now, so I'll talk about them later.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Our Surprise Package and A Little Spending

First off, confession time. Darren always has soda (when did I start calling pop "soda"?) everyday at work. Normally, we get Starbucks or something similar on the way to our SnB on Saturdays. Since we didn't today, poor Darren was falling asleep while crocheting. So, I sent him to the bakery next door to get caffeine. We will plan better next week. We bought tea bags at the grocery store and will be drinking tea instead of water.

Confession number two: I don't even know if this is allowed spending or not. We have a moth problem this time of year (the kind that likes dried goods, not wool). Most of our dried goods were already in good containers, but we didn't have any for brown sugar, powdered sugar or powdered milk. We bought some.

Now the exciting news. Thursday night, Darren told me there was a package our back patio from UPS. I figured it could be one of two things; the yarn I ordered through a co-op in June or the used crockpot my mom said she would send me for dyeing yarn/roving in. I told him to bring it in and he said it was too big. So we go outside. The box says it's from my mom, but it is huge, so we open it.

That's not a crockpot.

Darren and Minerva modeled the pieces. The thing in Darren's hand is the crockpot Mom promised.

All put together inside the house. It is a Country Craftsman, which is a better wheel than we were going to ask for for Christmas. My parents found it at a garage sale, so they bought it for us.
It needs a new fly whorl and drive band.

Confession number 3: We are buying the parts now. We have two justifications for this:
1. We are fixing something used, which isn't the same thing as buying something new. (Darren's excuse)
2. This wheel is no longer being made, so there is no telling how long the parts will be available. (my excuse)

Darren has asked for a spinning class and roving for his birthday. I think that's pretty darn cool.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Our First big Challenge

Of coarse, as soon as you decided to do a no buy month, something comes up. In our case, it was a knitting competition and Christmas.
I have been participating in the Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup on Ravelry. One of the classes(challenges worth points) this month was to felt something. I have been debating on doing socks or felted slippers for Darren's Mom for Christmas. So, I happily signed up for the class, planning on doing slippers. I have plenty of wool around here, because of the store.
Everything was great until I looked at the pattern It calls for needles that I don't have. I didn't think this was possible. I have a lot of needles. Darren made the ruling that I could buy them because they are for a present and a competition, but I didn't go for it. I first asked about borrowing them from someone at my local SnB. One person had some, but they were on loan to someone else. So, I posted on DSD about doing a trade, thinking that noone in there right mind would trade away needles. (I have a thing for needles.) I went off to think about alternatives. I decided to make Darren a project bag out of scrap yarn for the competition and either knit Mom the socks or put it off 'til November when I can buy the needles. I came back to check DSD and did a happy dance. Kathy wants to trade. So, in the morning, the mailman will be taking away some sock yarn that I didn't really like. Sometime soon, the mailman will be bringing me needles. How exciting.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

No Spend October

After hearing about Dawn's no spend year, we decided to do something similar. We are planning on doing a minimal spending year, but need to take some time to iron out the details, so we are doing a no spend month in October. We still have a few details to decide on, but here are the basics.

The only things we can buy in October are:

Food-The kind found at the grocery store, not the kind found at restaurants.

Food Prep Items-Anything that we truly need to prepare food. (I doubt we will be buying out of this category this month)

Personal Care Items-Shampoo, deodorant, etc.

Medicine- I hope we won't need any, but we might


Tires for Darren's car- it needs them badly

Pet Care- They have to eat too. They will not be getting any toys this month though. I haven't told them yet. They will be sad.

We might be buying train tickets this month, because I need to see my family and if we buy them now, it will be cheaper.

We will also have to pay our bills. We are keeping internet service and Netflix. We still need to figure out Darren's soda situation. He buys at least one soda a day ( in his refillable cup). This is food, and is going to be allowed (I don't want to see him without caffeine). However, I need to figure out if it is cheaper from the grocery store.

If everything works out this month, we will start a minimal spending year in November (yarn is a necessity and I have a tiny stash).

Reasons Why Am I Writing a Blog

1. Everyone else is doing it and apparently, I like bandwagons.
2. I spend way to much time talking about knitting(often to myself), so I decided to write about it.
3. I am horrible at staying in touch with people, so this allows me to do it all at once.
4. We are doing a no-spend month, in preparation for a minimal spending year. This should prove interesting.
5. I want a laptop (after next year of course) and so I need to spend enough time on the computer to make a laptop seem necessary.