Sunday, December 29, 2013

On to Onederland!

A healthy holiday gift!
Despite the call to weeks of food debauchery, referred to innocuously as The Holiday Season, I managed to lose 2 pounds and firmly place myself into the 10% weight loss circle since my stroke last year.  Losing this 24 pounds has been a long time coming, and I must say I am glad to be 1.5 pounds below this benchmark for improved health.  My next goal? Onederland!  I haven't been there in years.  My goal is to reach Onderland in the first quarter of this year--that is 13 pounds to tip over, and 15 to be firmly in Onederland.  It is ambitious, but doable since food debauchery slows to a standstill for me this time of year and there is the "New Year Resolution" burst to push me on my way.

There is also the slow cookery book my sister gave me for Christmas!  I love it and am on my second recipe, an aromatic rice vegetable pilaf that will make a great combo side dish for the roast beast on today's menu.

There are probably two more towels on this warp!
Finishing things up is high on my list of things to do the first quarter of the year.  I will be thinking in terms of quarters because of the Ravelry Group Spin Your Stash. We've decided to set our goals in quarterly form to give us a chance to focus more.  The first quarter will be to spin a project's worth of yarn.  Though I would like to spin enough heavy yarn for rugs, I am going to start with finishing up yarn for the throw project that has been going on for what seems like forever.  Regular readers have seen this before:
Pretty forever yarn.
Yes, it is pretty, but after awhile, well, I'd just like to see the end of this project.  I also have a huge pile of that merino/alpaca blend I want to use as warp!  I thought of putting it aside, but I'm kind of stubborn, so I will forge ahead with this project.  Yep, it will be more of the same for you, dear reader, but please bare with me.  I am sure to have some observations to share to keep it interesting.  And I'm sure to have a few weaving mistakes!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Dish towels are done!

Dish towels!
Yes! Finally a stack of dishtowels to show for all the time I've spend weaving.  I haven't been able to show the table runners I made because of a few serious problems which will add to my book "100 Weaving Mistakes Not to Make, Lessons from My Adventures in Weaving."

These haven't been ironed yet.

I've already given one set away.  There has been  a little back up in my Holiday Gift Giving. We saw a break in the weather and a break from work so we headed back east to see some family for a few days.  This was decided with little planning, just deciding the day before and it kind of messed up my efforts to mail packages on time.  I wasn't able to give them the hard press (weaver for ironing) until I got back.  In fact, I gave a set to my brother without this last bit--I meant to press at a hotel but never got to it. Oops.

Another pic of the towels. You can see the selvages!
I've woven 11 towels from this warp so far.  I still have enough on there for a few more.  Will this warp ever end?  I am writing a note to self about this--no more giant towel warps! I think I have more than 11 yards on there! Though it has been fun to weave,  I can't try that nice Canadian Snowflake pattern from Laura Fry. I am very much looking forward to working on it! 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Big changes for the holidays

The tub and shower combo in our new bathroom
Note to self: don't schedule a big remodeling project during the holidays. Which is just what we did sandwiched between Thanksgiving and Christmas we had our master bathroom redone.  And no, we did not do it ourselves-- the DH and I know our limitations. We prefer to hire skilled craftsman for fear the tile job will look like the selvages on my first weaving project or worse, my first try at hand spinning. Lumpy, bumby and uneven does not a lovely job make. So we hired a local firm called Chris Kare and they did a really nice job and it was all done within two weeks.  Baxter, our dog, also made fast friends with the workers and I think he'll miss the excitement.  Fortunately, Baxter didn't "help."

The cabinets.
There are before pictures, but I won't be showing them. Just think vintage 70's blue bathroom and you can picture it for yourself.  It was in really bad shape so it had to be done.  Now I wonder how I ever put up with the old one.  This month also marks our 30th wedding anniversary, so the new bathroom makes a great gift to ourselves.

As they worked on the project, they came across some electrical problems and we ended out having an electrician come in to straighten them out.  This is the sort of thing that can happen in older suburban tract housing so we weren't completely surprised.  While he was here we had him check out a couple of other things and install some lights. Voila!

Overhead light n my studio!
We added an overhead ceiling fan and light to my studio!  It gets hot there in summer, so DH suggested a ceiling fan.  The man is brilliant!  We purchased one with lights so not only can I cool the place down for summer weaving, but see during winter evenings!  I hadn't realized how much I missed overhead lighting until this beauty went in. The suburban tract housing I've been living in the past thirty years all lacked ceiling lights in the bedrooms.  I realize now how much I missed light from above.

My towels have not languished. I have one more hem to do, which I will get to as soon as I am done blogging.  Once they are hemmed, it's into the washer for some wet finishing and then a good hard press before they are wrapped and sent to family as gifts.  I am really happy with these towels and I'm looking forward to posting them on Ravelry.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Black Friday Weave-A-Thon

Early into the Black Friday Weave-A-Thon
Stores were not the place to be Friday morning.  Seeing how long the line was at Kohl's, I decided I really didn't need the $10 coupon, or any of the stuff I'd picked out. At home I had a plenty of towels I needed to have woven in time for the holidays (Gift Spoiler Alert!) and I realized my time would be better spent at my loom.  Standing in a ridiculously long check out line is the last thing I want to do on a day off.

One down, and another started!
This is how I ended out spending six to eight hours straight at my loom on Friday.  The countown to the holidays has started and I have to get weaving if I want to have them off the loom, finished and in the mail in time for the holidays!  With Thanksgiving coming so late this year, there is a shortage of weaving days before the deadline--especially since I have to mail everything.  Oddly, I can get something delivered to addresses in Holland faster than I can to some addresses in the U.S. so I will keep that in mind as I finish these towels.

On to my second turquoise towel!
I managed to lose 1.6 pounds this week despite the Thankgiving Eat-A-Thon.  I did a turkey-free Thankgiving and made a lasagna.  It was really good and lasted us two days of solid eating.  It was semi "healthy" as I used the low-fat ricotta. I am really glad I did this as I don't think I'd want to face the traditional leftovers today.  The lasagna is long gone.

This leaves me with a 7.6 pound loss for the month of November.  I am skimming .4 pounds above my goal of losing 10% of the weight since my stroke.  I know I can easily polish this off this week between the gym and healthy eating.  I am very psyched about how I am doing.  My decision to give up sweets has really paid off.  And I don't feel deprived as I really enjoy eating real food!

Today, I made it to my last towel.
Weaving is a calorie burner, by the way.  I put the heart rate monitor on Friday and found I wasn't exactly sedentary, though I was pretty far from my aerobic range.  Today, I started weaving after the gym and got much better heart rate readings--not aerobic, but better than Friday.  So, I think it would pay to do some cardio prior to sitting down to a weaving spree.  Well, I'd better get back to it.  I have one last towel to weave!