The Mad Scramble

I should be working on school work and house work right now, not to mention getting in a good workout (work, work, work) but I felt the need to update my blog, so… here you go.

It’s just after 11:00 right now and I feel like the day has slipped away from me.  Part of it is due to Daylight Savings Time…ugh… and part of it is the fact that I read Twitter and Tumblr in bed until 10:00.  Whoops.  DST always messes up my schedule when it kicks in.  i know a lot of people have this problem.

My semester started at the beginning of February and I already feel woefully behind.  Yet here I am updating my blog. My afternoon will be full of reading academic articles and beginning a literature review.  Sounds fun!  I bet all of you wish you were doing the same. <head desk>

House work as almost completely fallen off my radar.  Updating my blog is clearly more important. Updating my blog is more relaxing right now, but soon I will go into the kitchen and see the chaos on the counter and want to cry.  I think about how long it’s been since I last vacuumed and feel overwhelmed. We have 3 cats and a dog, so I feel as though I should vacuum at least twice a week.  I think we’re going on about day 10 or so.  Who knows.  Clearly, I have no idea. My laundry is piling up and I just cannot be bothered to do anything about it.

Workouts.  Workouts are happening, just not as often as I would like. I have a goal to get in a workout at least 4 times a week. I did nothing toward that yesterday,  I ate two cupcakes.  I was very anti-workout.  The cupcakes were delicious, though.

My schedule feels like life will be a mad scramble until Memorial weekend. Three months of pure craziness. I think I can handle it.  Actually, I have to handle it. My husband is very swamped at work right now.  They have a major project due at the end of April and their entire company is moving to new offices at the beginning of April.  Not the best timing, but the move is necessary. He is stressed and he really does not need me to flip out over stupid things because I am also running on high stress.  This is another reason why my workouts are so important and why I feel the need to get them in.

Summer cannot get here fast enough.  No grad school, no major work projects.  More time to relax and get things done.  I hope.

Wow… this has been a whiny post.  Sorry about that.

Time for a New Me

Or trying to get back to the old me.  Either way works, really.

I am going to be very frank about my weight for this post.

As of two days ago, I weigh 219 pounds.  I’m am 5 feet 6 inches tall and 34 years old.  My BMI is 35.3.  I don’t take BMI too seriously, but even without that number I know I am obese.  My ideal weight should be around 145-155 pounds.  The last time I weighed in that range I was 21 years old.

As an adult, the least I have ever weighed was 137 pounds. I was 19 and this was right after I had a bout of the stomach flu.  I weighed less than my mom (she shorter than me by an inch or two and has never really had an issue with her weight) and my doctor was concerned I had an eating disorder. He lectured me and said that with my frame, I should weigh no less than 145 pounds.  I was looking gaunt and sickly. I told him that I was sick, but that I could eat again and gaining weight wouldn’t be a problem.

(Gaining weight will never be a problem for me.  I like food too much.) Continue reading

I’m Baaaaaack!

And slightly redesigned!

Since I am no longer taking the Makers course (that ended in July!) I decided to rename the blog and give it a new look.

In the fall, I took an Internet Fundamentals and Design course and created a website called Ready Purler One. It was a fun way to mash together my love of knitting and my love of video games while also learning valuable tech skills.  I’m not sure how exciting the upcoming semester will be, but I’m sure you will hear about it here.

I am hoping to make regular posts and keep this blog going.   The theme will be me (how delightfully self-centered!) and I will continue to feature my knitting and spinning as well as random, everyday things.  Who knows what I’ll post!  Hopefully nothing too terribly weird.


I almost believed myself.

End of Semester Reflection

So, this class is at an end and I am disappointed.  I’m not ready for this class to be done.  It’s been an absolute blast.  I hope this class is offered for future students and I would be right there recommending it to everyone I could.  I also hold out hope for a more advanced Part Two.

As I have mentioned before, my final project for the class was a Dodec Spinning Wheel.

2014-07-30 14.07.14


As of right now, it mostly works.  The drive band keeps slipping off, but I think I can fix that problem by making deeper grooves in the wheel and the pulley on the spindle.   The treadle and footman work!

I plan to post something on Instructables with my step-by-step instructions and material list for this project. It may take a little while; there are a lot of steps!

Over the course of the semester I found that I was slowly gaining courage in trying little projects around our house.  Nothing major, but small things like making the cat step for our arthritic feline.  There are other projects (many, many small projects) on our list and I have developed the confidence to give them a try.  Of course, time and money are always the biggest issues with these projects, but they are more than do-able.

Learning Audacity, GIMP, iMovie, Scratch, etc., are resume builders and could open the door to future jobs that before this class I would have never considered.

If this class is offered in the future (and I hope it is!) I will be very vocal in encouraging others to take it.  Thanks, Tony and all of my fellow #SCUMakers!


The Best Laid Plans…

One month ago, I started construction on my spinning wheel with a visit to a friend’s house to use her table saw.  I thought I would have plenty of time to construct this wheel, but as it turns out I am running down to the wire on this project.  Real life does that, I guess.  I know I could have worked on it here and there and maybe been a little further than I am at this moment.  I’m also a perfectionist and there are a few cuts that and other things that didn’t go as well as planned and I can take a long time to get things done because it needs to be “perfect”.  This perfectionism seems to apply to things I’m creating whether it be papers, knitting projects, or spinning wheels.  (My house is not perfectly organized, for example.)  Will I be done with the wheel by the time I present on Wednesday?  I certainly hope so.

This morning and early afternoon involved a lot of running around for the final, difficult to find items on my list.  I finally just said “close enough” on a few of the items.  I still have not found the fender washers I need, and I am going to see how vital they are to the finished product.

Expect my little construction guide later today or tomorrow!

Awkward Sizes

So, I’ve hit a (hopefully) small snag in my project: awkward drill hole and bolt sizes.  We were able to find the bolts, nuts, and washers (except one, which even baffled the guy at Home Depot).  Last night, I went to drill the holes needed for my project and discovered that our standard drill bit kit lacked the sizes I needed.  Tomorrow will see another trip to Orange Apron Land.

I also have to acquire butcher’s twine, a shaker peg, and paraffin wax for the wheel, but I know where to go for those items!

Making: The Next Generation

Cooking and baking count as making and our son is big into helping me in the kitchen.  He’s always been interested but recently he has become more insistent with his desire to help me in the kitchen.

Last night we made homemade Salisbury steaks and mashed potatoes.  He peeled the potatoes and helped me measure the ingredients for the Salisbury steaks.  When it came to mixing the meat mixture together, he balked.

“With my hands?!” he asked, slightly horrified.

“Yes, with your hands.  That’s what the recipe says and it’s really the best way to do it.”


Like a good parent, I got the result on video:


As you can tell from the video, I had to finish the job.  He did mash the potatoes, though!

He has become quite good at making food for himself.  He knows how to make oatmeal (on the stove top, not the microwave), grilled cheese, and scrambled eggs.  When he goes off to college in 8 years, I can rest easy knowing that he can do more in the kitchen than assemble a bowl of cereal.

And the end result of our co-cooked meal was delicious:

2014-07-19 19.16.40

Tour de Fleece

No, that’s not a typo.   Keep reading.

I’m sure some of you are aware that the Tour de France began on Saturday (in England!). The Tour de Fleece also began on Saturday.  What is the Tour de Fleece?  It is a three week “race” to spin as much yarn as you can out of spinning fiber that runs during the Tour de France.  This will be my third year participating.  The background image and the header image on this blog are photos of the yarn I spun last year.

As I currently only have spindles, I do not put out the yardage that those with wheels are capable of.  Hopefully this will be remedied as I continue to work on my Dodec wheel for this class!

This weekend was a little busy and I really didn’t get to begin my spinning until today.


My first spinning project is Exmoor Horn fiber from Hilltop Cloud (HTC). HTC is an indie fiber/yarn dyer in Wales and she does fabulous work.  I am a member of her Best of British (BoB) Fiber Club and this fiber was the March 2014 offering.  Exmoor Horn fiber is a “crunchy” fiber.  (Some may call it scratchy.) I might do a blog post on Katie Weston and her family in the future because they live the maker life.  The yarn on the spindle below was spun today.  Once I am done spinning the fiber into two single strands, I will ply them together and it should make a bulky weight yarn.

2014-07-07 15.07.51

This fiber is Superwash Merino and Nylon.  Superwash Merino is a wool that has been treated and can be washed in a machine on the gentle cycle rather than by hand and will not felt.  This blend can be spun into a yarn for socks (hence the nylon).  This fiber is very smooth and easy on the skin.  I am spinning this fiber much thinner than the Exmoor Horn and may end up being more of a sport weight yarn when I am finished.  I’ve been working on this fiber on and off since the beginning of June.

2014-07-07 15.19.39

All For Love of Yarn is a local dyer from Anoka.  Unfortunately, she no longer dyes fiber and only dyes yarn.  I purchased four braids of this Superwash Merino, Bamboo, and Nylon fiber from The Yarnery in St. Paul.  I’ve been working on this 16 ounce pile of fiber on and off for two years.

The photo below shows the different stages fiber goes through when I spin it.

1.  The braid, as I purchased it.  It even has the price tag on it!

2.  I split the braid into thinner, more manageable strips (the little balls of fiber).

3,  I draft and spin the fiber onto the single.

4.  Once the spindle is full (or close to it) I wind it off the spindle and ply it into a 2-ply yarn.

2014-07-07 15.23.16


The Tour de Fleece runs through July 27th, so be prepared for lots of fiber photos!

Wheel Construction Begins

Last Saturday, I started constructing my spinning wheel.  All of the wood pieces have been cut and some assembly has begun.  I plan for next weekend to involve more construction and possibly finishing the wheel before staining the wood.  It would be good to keep ahead of schedule in case any major problems arise.

My friends have a laser-guided table saw:2014-06-28 14.01.13

Labeling the pieces so that I don’t have to guess which pieces are which later on:

2014-06-28 15.24.36

Assembling the wheel’s base:

2014-06-28 15.49.39

Wheel base and stem (where the wheel itself will be anchored):

2014-06-28 15.54.50