Monday, August 20, 2012

A Nail Biter

I entered the Wool Spinning Bee contest at the Altamont Fair this past weekend.  So much fun!  Paul and I got going to the fair nice and early, wheel strapped in:

There were 7 of us in this fast-paced, nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat competition:
 And I'll tell you, my wheel was smoking....
.....that's how fast I was spinning.  Ha!   While I had to concentrate on what I was doing, I couldn't help trying to sneak a peek at the others... I could see their bobbins filling up so fast, much faster than mine.  And all I could think was, "Don't look at them! Their yarn is probably really thick and that's why it's filling up fast [and hence, will not be as long as mine]".  One doesn't usually associate stress with spinning --  I usually find it very relaxing, but this day, not so much.  Acutally, I was apparently not that fast, even though I felt like I was going as fast as I could.  BUT, I did get a 5th place ribbon, having spun 104 yards in 30 minutes:
I think the winner spun 180 yards.  Now THAT'S fast! I still had so much fun and will be upping my training regimen for next year.   And I now have my eye on one of these, which would help immensely.

Believe it or not, after that grueling competition I still had enough in me to walk around the fair for a while.

And get some sustenance:

We saw the cutest alpacas:

For some reason, this year we spent a lot of time watching the horse competitions.  We don't know much about them but were very intrigued.  There were some VERY young participants, with teeny tiny saddles and teeny tiny boots and teeny tiny snazzy outfits:

My favorite horse of the day was this one (with the rider wearing the blue coat):
Sorry, couldn't get a closer picture...
He was my favorite because of his name: HAM SANDWICH!  Love. It.

We also went to see the second musical of the summer at the Park Playhouse in Washington Park in Albany, "Hairspray".
Got there early as usual to get a seat.  It was already crowded since it was the second to last night AND it was the most beautiful evening, perfect for outside activities.  While we waited I worked on my second lace socklet:
Paul read:
The musical was great!  So much fun and funny and the music was great.  If you haven't seen the movie, I highly recommend it.  John Travolta is great as Edna Turnblad and Christopher Walken is a surprisingly good Mr. Turnblad (forgot his first name).  You'd never expect him in that type of role, since he usually plays creepy guys.

Sunday, we went to the Madison-Bouckville antique fair.
See all the windmills in the background?  There were many  more in the area.
On the way, I worked on my Tudor Henley sleeve:

Guess what the only thing we found to purchase was?:

THEN, we went home and (finally) got to work on the floor!:
That's Paul pretending to work so I could get
 a non blurry picture of the nailer thing.
Two boxes of wood down, only 26 more to go!

Today, I'm making sauce:

Friday, August 17, 2012

Ribbons!

Paul and I headed to the Altamont Fair on Wednesday night.  He is displaying his car in the "Cars Past Present and Future" building, so he wanted to check on it:
It was fine (but very dusty).  Discussion ensued about whether or not to dust it off.  He decided against it since it's just so dusty there anyway.  He'll give it a good Paul-once-over once it gets home.

And I wanted to see how my judged items did.  We got to the Wool Nook in the Sheep Barn and perused the cases:
And there is my shawl with a Fourth Place ribbon!:

And my skein of yarn with a Second Place ribbon!:
Third from the right, the skinny purple-y one.
It's so exciting to see my items on display.  WITH RIBBONS!!!!  There were so many beautiful entries.

In Other Knitting News:
As promised, pictures of the Cranberry Capelet after it was blocked:
That sideways thing is SO annoying!  At any rate, that's me wearing it. (I told Jana just to get just the capelet because I had just come from babysitting and i was tired and sweaty and my hair was a mess.)

Here's a better view on the mannequin:
Except it's sideways again.  The neck definitely relaxed, as did the rest of the ribbing and it is VERY comfy and cozy -- can't wait for the cooler weather!

I started my Watermelon Slice Socks!:

Soon come the black beads (for the watermelon seeds) but I have to check out some online tutorials for how to add the beads to my knitting....

After I got that far in the socks, I took a short break to knit the Vite Cowl:
Unblocked - blocked picture to come next post...

Made with Cascade Magnum and size 15 needles, this is a super bulky yarn which makes for a super quick knit. I made it in about 3 1/2 hours.  To give you an idea of how thick the yarn is, here is a picture of the ball of yarn with a strand of medium weight yarn next to it (which I used to make the capelet):
The tape measure reads 7 inches across.  That's fat yarn.  It's so fun to knit something so quickly.  This is knit flat and then, after blocking, I will seam it into a loop that will be doubled around the neck for a nice cozy, warm cowl.

In Gardening News:
Here is my bounty of sugar pumpkins:
We had a second crop coming (three or four more pumpkins started growing much later than these) but someone may or may not have accidentally cut the vine they were attached to when trying to clean up the other vines.  So, this is it. This weekend I will be making roasted pumpkin puree to freeze and make pumpkin bread in the fall.  Or now.  I love Love LOVE pumpkin bread.

And we have a gazillion tomatoes (ok, I weighed them and it is "only" 6 pounds worth) so I'm going to make and freeze tomato sauce this weekend.  I decided against canning since I don't have a lot of tomatoes at one time.  I guess "a lot" is relative.  Not enough for me to drag out all the canning stuff anyway.

More on my processing progress next post...

Monday, August 13, 2012

Two Gold Medals

I medal-ed!  Here I am finishing the binding off of my capelet during the closing ceremonies last night:
that part on the right is the bound off edge...
(shortly before George Michael sang "Freedom" horribly...)

Finished product looks like this:
Funny looking right?  I didn't take a picture of me wearing it because I felt like I was being strangled by the collar.  Blocking it will surely solve that problem...
Looks even funnier.  Hopefully I did it right and it will look nice when it is worn.

Speaking of blocking, did you see that mat the capelet is laying on?:
Supposedly very absorbent.  Got it at Bed Bath & Beyond with my 20% off coupon today.  I'm hoping it will make it dry faster.  If not, I'll be employing my fan method. I'm terribly impatient with blocking dry time.

Having finished within the timeframe of the Olympics means I get a gold medal.  But do you know what else this means????  I can start my Watermelon Slice Socks!!

Meanwhile, guess what this gold-medal-in-my-opinion thing is:

My very own shaved ice machine!!!!:
Oh yes I did and I. LOVE.  IT!
Enormously.

Off to wind yarn for my socks!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Fast and Furious

I've been knitting fast and furiously on my Cranberry Capelet (aka: my knitting olympics project which needs to be finished by the time the Olympic torch is extinguished on Sunday night) since we got home from Ohio.  I knitted during naptime while babysitting...
...where I had to attend to a knitting emergency:  crossing my cable the wrong way.  This is the right way:
See that little bit of knitting in the middle on the top?  It's slanted to the left.  As opposed to this:
...which is slanted to the right.  Ugh.  Frustrating setback when I'm on a time constraint! (both with naptime AND with getting my knitting olympics project done).

I also knitted while seeing The Refrigerators  (great local cover band who play funk, rock and R&B; 9 members including an awesome horn section!) at Guilderland's National Night Out at Tawasentha Park...
...even when it got dark....
You can't see it, but that's me knitting in the dark, trying to finish one more row.

And I knitted while watching the Olympics (which is making me sleep deprived, thank you very much) and finishing Season 2 of Downton Abbey (Downton Abbey Seasons 1 & 2 Limited Edition Set - Original UK Version )  (ARGH!  I can't wait until season 3 starts.... in January!).  SO, as of today, I have 1 inch of ribbing to do on the capelet before it is complete.  That is about 7 rounds of 428 stitches.  I have 2 1/2 days to finish.  I'm pretty sure that's doable!

While I was calculating my stitches-to-go and how much time I have left, feeling confident I could make it to the finish line in time, I made this:
Zucchini Rice Gratin
Click on the picture caption for the website, which is, again, The Smitten Kitchen.  Love. Her.  And this was a perfect recipe for my homegrown veggies.  I used my own zucchini, tomatoes and onion!  Ooh, AND fresh, local eggs from a friend's daughter's chickens!  It is really yummy.  You should try it.

Fingers crossed the next post will have the finished capelet!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Didn't, Didn't, Didn't

We made our yearly trip to the Buick Performance Group Nationals in Hebron, Ohio this past weekend.  It was a weekend of things that just didn't go as planned.

We didn't have a terribly smooth trip out there.  When we got about here in Pennsylvania:

We heard a big BOOM! which was this:
A blown trailer tire.
Which led, of course, to this:
Thank goodness Paul is extremely organized and prepared.  Aside from having to take the ATV out of the trailer (and almost roll it into that ditch) to get to the spare tire under the floor, everything went very smoothly and we were back on the road in, no joke, about 15 minutes.  He changes tires so many times on his race car that he could do it in his sleep.  And luckily his friend Rob had a smart phone and found a tire place 5 miles away so we could get a new spare (one more reason to add to my list of 80,000 reasons why maybe someday I might think about potentially getting a smart phone).

Then Friday, the first race day, didn't go very well.  Ray (Rob's dad) and I made several trips to another tire shop to get all new tires for the trailer, since a couple of others look suspiciously like the blown one.  Paul was very distracted getting the tires off the trailer etc, and didn't do well in his races that day.  Plus it was hot.  REALLY hot.  (YES, I had my shaved ice but I had quite a scare because the usual guy/cart was not there and I had to hunt for another cart that had it....)  And then there was Rob's car...
That is Paul and Rob taking the motor out of Rob's car to give to a guy to bring back to his shop in Michigan because it ate the bearings (I think.  I got shown little tiny bits of them in the oil filter.).  So, he didn't race.  He was not happy.  On top of all this, the racing was different this year  in that the organizers decided to have some night racing.  We didn't leave the track until 10:30pm and we were exhausted.

Saturday was the last race day and it didn't get much better.  It was hotter than hot.  It was sticky, muggy, wet-air HOT. 


That is Paul trying to stay cool while waiting his turn.  The racers have to wear long pants and long sleeves as well as a helmet, so you can imagine how hot they get.  Plus the windows have to be rolled up.  AND the inside of Paul's car is all black. UGH.
In the burnout box warming up the slicks (big, fat race tires).
I took a little video of Paul's last run.  The one where he didn't win. : (
video

(I hope you can play this.  I've never put a video in the blog before.)

BUT, he did come in second, which came with some prize money that covered our gas bill for the trip! (Yay, a silver lining!)

The threat of storms was looming for the end of the day so the race organizers were trying to push things along to finish up early.  Because of this, we decided we would at least start back home later in the day rather than wait until Sunday morning.  So Ray and I (the ever faithful pit crew) went back to the hotel to check out and get all our stuff.  Then the races went until 6pm anyway and we didn't leave until almost 7pm.  Again, things were not going as we planned.  But wait!  There's more!

We started home, got several hours under our belt and started looking for a place to stay.  We tried a couple of places but either the area was really seedy looking or the parking lots were not big enough for two trucks and car trailers.  Soooooooo. We decided to drive through the night.
Yup, I took a picture of the night for you. 3:00am-ish.
And the sunrise at the last rest stop.
It was ok for a while.  Then it was just torture.  Tired and wanting to get home.  But we made it home at 6:30am and immediately went to sleep.  Now we are recovering.  They can't all go terrifically, so this one didn't.  We'll hope for better luck on the next one!  (I've typed "didn't" so many times in this post, it doesn't look like I'm spelling it right anymore!)

In Knitting News:
On the trip out, I worked on my Cranberry Capelet and it was coming along nicely:
Then, I didn't touch it for the rest of the weekend because it was too HOT!  Now, I'm a little nervous because there are only 7 days left to complete it and have a chance to win a prize.

Also, I got completely obsessed with these:

Watermelon Slice Socks
And had to order the kit which was waiting for me when I got home and now I really want to start them but I'm not letting myself until I am done with my capelet.  Don't they look so cute and... refreshing?

In Book News:
The lastest book I've read is Goodnight Nobody: A Novel by Jennifer Weiner.  The author and I were in the same class in high school!  She is VERY witty and has written several books including In Her Shoes  which was made into a movie.  I'm working my way through them and have liked all the ones I've read so far.  This was her first crack at a mystery and I really enjoyed it.  A stay-at-home mom, struggling to identify with the other moms in her new suburban neighborhood (after moving from NYC), discovers the dead body of one of her neighbors and then proceeds to investigate the murder.  Intertwined with the investigation is the story of her life and relationships with her husband, best friend and a lost love.  And lots of wit sprinkled in, which, in my opinion, is a specialty of Jen's.

An extra bonus for me when reading her books is the little references to the town we lived in and her life.   Jen and I had the pleasure of being part of the enchanted forest during a summer theater musical production of Peter Pan when we were on college break. (What this means is that we were trees.  Yes, trees.  We had tree costumes and had to stand like trees, allowing ourselves to "sway" our branches when our arms got too tired.  Ooh, and we also danced with the other woodland creatures.  It was so fun to be in these productions during the summer, that I really didn't mind being a tree at age 18.)  Jen referenced being a tree in Peter Pan in one of her books.  It was so funny because I was reading along, got to this part and just laughed out loud remembering.  Do I dare try to find a picture to share with you???

In Other News:
This opened up nearby:
I was excited because when we go visit Paul's brother and his family in Virginia, there is always something interesting and yummy from Trader Joe's at their house.  The last visit, it was sweet potato chips.  So yummy.  I got some today.  It was crowded since it just opened 2 days ago, but I saw some great stuff that I will go back to get. (Not terribly pricey as I had anticipated, which was a bonus!)

And on the way there, I saw this:
OMG.  He's wearing a seat belt and GOGGLES. Cutest. Thing. Ever. (the dog, that is...)