Friday, August 29, 2008

End of Summer

So, this weekend marks the end of summer. I can't believe how fast this summer has gone! Maybe that's because we have been working our butts off on the new house. I must admit, I am anxious for some cooler weather and Fall just happens to be my favorite time of year. Part of it is because of these guys:

Oh yes, I'm a die hard Redskins fan and the season is upon us. They were actually on TV last night so we toggled between the Democratic National Convention and watching the Redskins get beaten by Jacksonville. Badly. Just damn. BUT every year I remain optimistic that we will be seeing the Superbowl yet again. Sunday is the draft for our fantasy football team so we need to start getting prepared!

I did some dyeing yesterday and we are working on getting it skeined up right now. Mr. Man had a swift to yarn winder lesson this morning and is quickly learning some of the frustrations of working with lace!! Here's one of the colors - lace weight - called "Mermaid". I think it turned out pretty good!

Heather - those pictures are especially for YOU little Miss Impatient! :)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Who wants to buy some yarn?!?!

LOOK what came in the mail yesterday!!!

All these beautiful yarns hand dyed by Elliebelly! These colors were all custom dyed for Knit Witch. Elliebelly was so wonderful to get our order out to us so fast and she did a great job. This is all sock yarn and it is so soft - 100% superwash merino. It will be going up on the site but not for a few days yet while we get some stuff figured out on the site. They will sell for somewhere around $22 and are all a generous 4oz skein! So stay tuned!

Oh, and I won one of Elliebelly's contests so she sent me this too! It's 30% Seacell and 70% Merino - yummy!

My hard working handyman husband was hard at work for me again yet yesterday. I was wondering what he was doing until he showed me this:

It's a skein winder!!! It has adjustable dimensions so I can wind a 1 yard skein, 1.5 yard, 2 yard, etc. I just got a huge wholesale order in for dyeing so this baby will be going to work very soon.

Most all the time Mr. Man loves me and does sweet things for me. Sometimes, well, I wonder. He left this thing on my computer. Apparently it's a cicada casing. Ummm.....thanks?? I gave it to the kittens - they loved it!

And last but not least, a cuteness picture!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

More Home Improvements

Here's another project that we (and by "we" I mean Mr. Man) finished up over the weekend. When we moved into this house we had very little storage in the kitchen for canned goods and other kitchen type ingredients. We had up a temporary bookshelf to hold some stuff but then Mr. Man made this for us!

It amazes me that he can do all of this with no written plans at all. He just puts it together in his head and then puts it together for real. We are such an awesome team!! Here it is all filled up.

Mr. Man laughed at me because I organized everything and wouldn't let him put anything up. He laughed at my "veggie section" and "bean section" and "fish section" and "pasta section". Well, we'll see how long it actually stays that organized!! He still has to put doors on the bottom part but that part will be done soon! I can't believe how much work "we" have done on this house since we moved here. We LOVE it here!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Weekend Work

Here's a little sneak peak of what we have been up to over the weekend.

We are having so much fun dyeing all of this yarn! We can't wait to get some of it up on the website. We also have Elliebelly yarn coming this week and that will go up on the site too! I think a lot of these colors we dyed turned out pretty darn well. I am definitely learning. We have a huge fiber order coming this week so that will be keeping us busy for sure.

SOME of us in the house had a lazy weekend. Can you guess who? Ah, the life of a cat!

And I snapped this picture of a beautiful Goldfinch on our thistle plant.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Pure Evil

That's generally what I think of when I think about this:

I have never learned to sew. My mother TRIED to teach me when I was younger but I think she quickly discovered I was hopeless. She tried to teach me to hem a pair of pants once. She got me started, walked down to get the mail and by the time she got back I was in tears and had sewed the pant leg together. Totally traumatic.

So, a few years ago, what do I ask for for Christmas? You got it, a sewing machine. I really WANTED to learn to sew. The evil being pictured above is what I received. Now, it isn't really an evil machine - it's actually quite a nice machine that can do all kinds of fancy things that I know nothing about. However, I know next to nothing about using it. It has been in our home collecting dust for about the past 3 years and I have never used it other than to try a few practice stitches, cuss, cry, drink and then quit.

Fast forward to Blue Ridge. Our totally awesome neighbor, Liz, loves to sew. She is even GOOD at it. So good, in fact that she spent several years WORKING FOR SINGER! Wooooo hoooo!! There may be hope for me yet! She came over one evening and helped me with some basics (ummm, like turning it ON and making the thread go where it is supposed to go and trying to make me believe that bobbins aren't really as awful as they seem).

Liz sits down, shows me all this basic stuff, is totally impressed with my machine because apparently it has a self-threading needle, can do embroidery stitches, has an automatic back stitch button and other sorts of thingies. She shows me how to thread and do the bobbin and everything is working great. Then she says "Now you try!".

I sit down at the machine, carefully place my fabric knowing that I am going to impress her with a short jaunt of stitches. HA! As soon as I hit the footpedal the machine completely jams up and the code "88" starts flashing on the display. Great. Liz starts looking through the book and says "Oh my gosh! Code 88 isn't even IN the book!". It took us about 20 minutes to get it all fixed and back the way it is supposed to be. Thus continues the saga.

Determined, I did take what she taught me and practice. I made a couple of little baggie things just by sewing some edges together. Then I decided that I should get an actual pattern to try. I purchased a triple pattern (project bag, knitting bag and needle case) from Wired Up Designs. I don't know much about patterns but I knew when I got this package that it was extremely well put together and professional! She has pictures and good explanations so, I was all excited!

I tried to be patient and if I screwed up (which I did) I took the time to take out my stitches and redo the work. I pressed all my seams and did (almost) exactly as instructed. The only thing I really messed up was the topstitching but that was totally my fault - had nothing to do with the pattern. Long story short (well, not really) - this is what I ended up with.

I think it turned out pretty darn well!!! It has a liner and everything (see, now I know fancy sewing words like liner and backstitch and press).

Know what the best thing is about this bag? I didn't cry ONCE during the entire construction! That, my friends, is a victory.

Friday, August 22, 2008

You might be a redneck if................

You transport your groceries from the car to the house in a wheelbarrow.

I'm not saying that WE did this, you understand, I'm just saying.

That is all.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Onwards and Upwards

Here's how the second dye batch turned out. Still not great but definitely better than the #1 batch. I'm learning and it is fun for sure! I know, I just don't have enough hobbies........

When we were in Atlanta we picked up the banner that our friends Kelly and Pam did for us. They have an awesome graphics studio in Atlanta. If you live near there and need ANY kind of quality printed materials or signs check them out. Here's the poster they did for us for our booth at SAFF. I think it turned out great!!! They are also going to print our bags for us and do some other fun stuff for us that we will be taking to SAFF and some stuff we are doing later in the year.

Banner position chosen for the usual reason.............

Oh, and for all of you not already in the know, Bigfoot found in the North Georgia Mountains was, sadly, proven to be a hoax. Shocking, I know. Like Georgia doesn't get enough of a bad reputation for being a country bumpkin state so a couple of bone heads go out and find a Bigfoot suit, claim they found it in the woods, stuff it in the freezer for a couple of months then claim they have found the REAL Bigfoot and are heir to the Bigfoot Fortune and then skip town and are "unreachable" when authorities want to take the body to the lab. Thanks a lot guys - we really needed that around here. Ummm, really? You didn't think they would want to do DNA testing on your FROZEN HALLOWEEN COSTUME?!?!?! Sheesh..................

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

We really know how to have a good time.......

This is how we spent 3 hours of our morning yesterday.

Blue Ridge traffic??? Yeah right. We had to go to Atlanta and what is normally a 1.5 hour drive ended up taking 3.5 hours. Oh yeah, we were having fun. Good thing Mr. Man and I get along so well. Apparently yesterday just happened to be one of the worst traffic days in Atlanta history. Lucky us. Anyone who knows Atlanta will understand what it means when I say that this traffic started BEFORE we hit Canton on 575 and didn't let up at all until we hit 285. Needless to say, our cause for moving was undaunted. A couple of major arteries were completely shut down due to major accidents, other major arteries had several accidents making things extremely slow and go, there was a car fire on 400 and some bone head decided that morning rush hour in Atlanta was the perfect time to "flee" from the cops and he ended up hitting some folks and a bus and shut down another major thoroughfare. Nice.

We are so glad to be back! We visited my mom and did a bunch of shopping and went to the dentist.

One good thing about sitting in traffic is that it provides for lots of knitting time. Here's a picture of the Hey Teach progress. It's definitely moving along and this is probably more knitting than I have done on any one project in MONTHS but I still don't think I am going to make it. Overall though, I am very pleased with the project. I think I might have screwed up the neck on the back so there may be some redo on that.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

We do not speak of the Ravlympics

There's a reason we aren't talking about the olympic project. I don't think it has a snowballs chance in hell of getting done. I simply haven't been able to take the time to sit down and work on it as much as I would like. Yesterday, we were crazy busy with yarn bowls and fiber and canning. I actually dyed my first fiber!!! I don't think it really looks that great but it was a learning experience for sure. I can definitely see the value of mixing your own colors. I didn't mix these colors - just used them straight out of the bottle just to get some experience with what they look like. So, the colors came out too "pure" looking for me if that makes any sense. They are almost done drying.

Can I just tell you that I am totally winging it here? I have no idea what I am doing. I have a couple of books and they have definitely helped but this is definitely a trial by fire sort of thing. Anyone out there that dyes fiber that would like to share their source for blank fiber?? I got this from Dharma Trading Company but I think I can probably get a better deal somewhere else - especially if I can find someplace that will wholesale to a business. Thoughts? Suggestions?

Here's a look at the dying kitchen in action. Mr. Man made this cool hangy downy thingy that I can put the yarn on to soak parts of it in the pot. It's totally adjustable which is why it isn't hanging straight. I can fix it to hold different yarns at different depths.

Here's some other views of the mess.

Here's peach jam and yummy marinara all ready to put up.

As far as Hey Teach goes, I have the back and most of the left front done. I'll post pictures tomorrow - maybe I will actually have a little more done by then.

Monday, August 18, 2008

When in Rome............

Yep, we went to Rome. Georgia that is!!! Rome is about an hour and a half from Blue Ridge and we decided on the spur of the moment to go there for a visit. My aunt emailed me and let me know that my dad was coming the next day for a visit. So, we decided to load up, drive there and surprise him! We had SUCH a fun day!!! My aunt cooked us a scrumptious brunch, then we played cards (yeah, Wayne and I lost) and I laughed so much my face was sore by the end of the game! Then we all went to dinner at the BEST FREAKING ITALIAN RESTAURANT EVER again. There just happens to be one in Rome - yeah I know, another shameless plug for my dad's restaurant - so what?!?!

Here's some pics - here's me and one of my favorite guys in the whole world (my dad):

Here's two of my other favorite guys in the world. This is Mr. Man and my cousin's husband PJ. PJ is one of my most favorite people. He is an MD and insists on referring to his scrubs as a "hero suit". Haha!! He keeps trying to get me to come back to nursing and work for him. Ain't gonna happen.

Anyone else think there might be something a little "funny" going on here?????

Here's my aunt, me and my dad:

Here's my aunt, me, my cousin Stephanie and my dad. If I had my hair down (I know, I never do - it's too freakin hot) you would see that Steph and I have pretty much the same hair.

Steph and PJs daughter, Peyton, is in this picture. Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of her older brother, Brennen. He is probably too tall to fit in the camera frame anyway! Nathan couldn't come, unfortunately, and he was definitely missed - especially by Brennen!

We had SUCH a good time and will be anxiously awaiting their visit to the new digs in Blue Ridge! We are so glad we were able to just pick up and take a road trip.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Untimely kudos

We (I should say Mr. Man) received a lovely gift in the mail a few weeks ago! I know, I haven't posted about it yet but I wanted him to have it ON for a proper picture. Thank you so much Melissa!!! The artwork is original and done by her and you can order more of her awesome artwork on all kinds of stuff at her Cafe Press site.

We were sitting on our deck having a leisurely beer and we happened to catch a snake prowling around in the pond, no doubt eating our poor little tadpoles! Can you see him?

How about now?

Here's a closeup.

And I happened to catch this picture of a fly attacking a grasshopper. You can't really see the fly well but the fly is perched on his head. Weird.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Knit Witch Spinning

FINALLY! I know poor Heather has been patiently waiting to see what her custom dyed fiber spun up into. I don't think it turned out half bad. In fact, I might even say this is the first decent yarn I have spun. It still has some thick and thin but overall it is pretty even. I still need to wash it and reskein it (because I realized AFTER I finished skeining it that I had screwed it up) and then it will be ready!

Aren't the colors great?!?!?!

I was going to do more spinning but this is what the foot pedal of my spinning wheel looks like right now.

So, maybe later..............

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Guess What?!?!

Finally, what you have all been waiting for..............the Knit Witch announcement!

Knit Witch now has a booth at SAFF!!!!!!!

We have gotten a lot of requests from people to be there so they can see the yarn bowls in person so we finally decided to just do it. We will be located in the Sales Arena area of the show. We will have yarn bowls, spindle bowls, other pottery like coffee mugs, pitchers and bowls and yarn and roving. So, if you are going to SAFF be sure to stop by our booth and say hello to us! We are really excited to be doing this and looking forward to meeting a lot of people "in person".

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

More Weekend Adventures

This past weekend Mr. Man was busy per usual. He made yet another kitchen island for our downstairs kitchen. We will be making this (small) kitchen our dyeing kitchen. The best thing about this island is that he made it ALL out of scrap wood from our house and our neighbors house! We didn't have to buy a thing for him to make it AND we used up stuff that was just laying around AND we got more shelf space! Turned out pretty good, don't ya think?

And of course he has been working on yarn bowls. Here's some he made that were almost ready to go in the kiln. The new kiln holds A LOT of yarn bowls!

Here's the new kiln. We have actually had it for over a year probably but now we finally had a place to put it and got it all wired up and ready to go! We had about 7 of those bowls explode during the first firing - it takes a little time to learn a new kiln but the remainder have all been glazed and are up on the website. I'm really glad it is outside because the other one is inside and it makes the house about 120 degrees when it is running!

On Sunday I snapped this picture of a butterfly on our ginourmous thistle bush that we have out on the side of the house. Cool, eh?