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.