Monday, July 30, 2012


Can you imagine his excitement?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Boys and sticks

I had a staffer meeting this morning that took me away from church. I gave a presentation and it went really well.

When I got home Ben was babysitting Wolfie. Our friends had watched Jack last night so we could get dinner and a movie. Now they are seeing a matinee while we watch their kid. It's so nice to have a couple we can trade with.

Now that I was home we had enough hand to wrangle dog and toddlers out to the park. We are learning important lessons about hitting the ground and not t people

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Three years of nursing plus one year of clinicals, and I got my first dirty needle stick last night.

It happened after working for 14.5 hours. I was cleaning up an apheresis treatment set-up. I had taken over the treatment from another nurse. He used a needle at a junction where I prefer to use a stopcock. He also used a needle without a safety device. Grrr.

I slipped while trying to detach it for disposal in the sharps bin. A little poke can generate a lot of hubbub and paperwork. They did a rapid HIV on te patient that came back negative. This morning I had blood draw at my occupational health clinic. My manager has been very helpful and supportive in figuring out all the paperwork. The patient had a hepatitis panel drawn earlier this month which was also negative, but they redrew for protocol.

I'm certain nothing will come of this. She's clean, I'm vaccinated, yada yada. But boy does it suck to get a needlestick. You can't help but feel super stressed.

I can't wait for this summer to end.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Saturday Night

Ben and I like to really cut loose after Jack goes to sleep.

Yup, it's like party central in here.  Hopped up on Coke Zero and Chipotle, making yarn and playing a Batman video game.  We are positively RECKLESS!


Ben eating kippers at the deli.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Raspberry ice cream

A great end to a long two weeks. I'm not even on call tonight. Freedom!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Summer time at home

While Amanda is adventuring across the globe, she asked that I post more on my blog to appease her homesickness (which is mild, I'm sure).  I explained that I haven't been having a great time with work lately, so I haven't been in the mood.  But I guess I can conjure up some at home stuff to write about for my dear sister.

Jack is getting more confident and careless while running around.  We had some scrapes this week.

I'm trying to get him away from the TV more often.  They get addicted so soon!  We went to story time at the library yesterday and today.  I can see his little brain figuring out the routines and games involved.  He's so shy, but already getting braver about participating.  He's also better about not hitting other kids. 

I must be knitting too much.  I've had constant pain in my hands and forearms for over a week.  I try to take frequent breaks, stretching and resting my arms.  It's no fun not being able to knit for hours like I want to!  Those on Ravelry can see I have a lot of projects in the works.  This is the first summer where I haven't wanted to slow down my knitting. 

Today I'm making an effort not to knit at all and to minimize iPhone use, in case all that finger and thumb work is contributing too.  Sewing is not my best craft anymore.  I'm out of practice and impatient.  I know!  You would think knitting takes more patience.  But it takes so much more effort to set up a piece by sewing than knitting does.  You can pick up needles and yarn, start or stopping willy-nilly.  But sewing involves lots of space, planning, prepping, thread, pins, measuring, and cursing at the pattern because the marks NEVER line up for me.

I've had this great jersey stripe fabric for a while with a top from Burda in mind.  It came out a little boxy, but I think it will look nice with skinny jeans.  (I did iron it after taking these pictures.)
I didn't bother to hem anything, so all the edges are raw.  The jersey won't fray.  This was a simple project.  It took longer to sign in to buy the pdf, print, and tape it together than it did to cut and sew the actual shirt. 

So that's life this week!   Oh, did you know you can buy bags of ice at McDonald's for $1?  I send Ben to fetch once every couple days.  I like to have a giant cup of ice water with me all day long. 

Happy birthday Dad!  I hope we see you on Facetime tonight. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I'm famous!

Not really :-)  But I'm so happy to see they finally used a picture from open spin night last winter.  I'm on the far right (straight from work, in my scrubs).  Here's the page it's on. I thought it was hilarious we all had chunky vintage glasses too.  I should really try to catch the next spin night. 

Summer naptime/mommytime

Best spent in a chilled basement, with chilled cherries, SYTYCD, Chipotle, Coke Zero, and knitting.

I'm missing Amanda and Miranda. It's a show even better with friends.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Cherry Creek Arts Festival

While Jack took a nap we dashed back downtown for the arts festival.  It started off another perfect day for walking. Cool and cloudy.  But the thunder started its warning.

Hmm, looks like it's really raining.  We should stay in this booth for a bit.  
 Whoa!  Shoot, I can't keep my feet dry in this.  I think it's up around my toes.  Water bottles and flip flops start floating past us. 
 Uhh, this is really bad.  The guys across the street just lost a few two by fours to the torrents.  It's pounding.  A loading dolly just floated past us in the gutter!

 Ahh, the rains abated after quite a while. We were up to our ankles in the tent.  We ventured down the middle of the street where the water was more shallow.  Then at a junction we hopped up to the sidewalk. 

 And we were so proud we remembered the umbrellas today.  Fat lot of good they did us!  But then we said "oh, screw it!" We're already soaked, let's see if any booths are opening back up. 

When I took the above shot a woman on the sidewalk pointed to my parents and said "Now those are the true art lovers."  How right she was!  They even made another purchase after the floods. 

We splish sploshed back to the mall and through the building to the car without slipping.  I took off my shoes and for the third time tilted the water out of them and wrung out my socks.  This is one Cherry Creek Arts Festival where I wasn't complaining about the heat!

(Can you believe I wrote this post without punning the location?)

Saturday, July 07, 2012


It was a perfect day to go to the zoo.  Cool, cloudy, and not too crowded.  We had a great time with the new elephant exhibit.

He thought the gibbons swinging around were the best.  Penguins were a close second place.

Friday, July 06, 2012


My folks are visiting! We are enjoying a very NIJ dinner (not in Junction) at Euclid Hall.

Peach Season: Begin!

Thursday, July 05, 2012


My proudest moment this week: Jack ate all his dinner tray. 4 squares, 4 food groups: string cheese, two servings of ham, three servings of strawberries, and three servings of sweet potato. I'm so happy he ate some protein and vegetable!

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

A very subtle 4th of July

Ben and I couldn't remember what we did for the fourth last year.  Apparently this.  So that we capture memories, as much as they are, I'll post about today.

After an unrestful night of tossing and turning in bed I got up at 5 to go to work.  I had one patient in the main room, where I simultaneously did all the machine and equipment maintenance.  Then they added a second patient for me, this one in the ICU.  Before that I had a nice, relaxed lunch (salad with ham and boiled egg) and talked to Ben, who had Jack at the Tilly's house for a little party.  I'm told Jack ate 6 watermelon slices, three brownies, and handfuls of goldfish crackers.  He's been losing weight from this cold so frankly I'm thrilled about all that food!  He and Wolfie also had fun throwing poppers and splashing in a puddle.

I left work around 6:45, just shy of a 13 hour day.  It's nice to get 50% extra pay for working today.  This was my drive home on the bottom of C-470 facing west. 
Hey, where are the mountains?  

Rounding the loop just past Kipling, even up close I could barely see the foothills.   It's been hazy all week because of the fires here.  But today was the worst by far.  Ironically, I hear it's from winds bringing the smoke to Denver from a fire in Laramie. 

At home I played in the basement with the guys.  Ben is proud that Jack can play video games at a younger age than he did himself.  When I got home Jack had just cleared the second level of Angry Birds on his own, earning three stars.  He tried Fruit Ninja next.  We've been trying to teach him that not all video games, and not all consoles, work by flapping your arms. 

Fireworks are pretty much banned across the state because of the wildfires.  There are a couple displays, but I'm sure they are packed to the gills with people because of how few there will be.  We were never big fans of fireworks because 1) they are late at night.  Unless the 5th is a non-work day we'd rather sleep, and 2) crowds. But I kept Jack up a little past bedtime to watch the Capitol fireworks in DC.  His response was very meh.  Instead he licked his dinosaur like an ice cream cone, sending Ben into fits of giggles.  This went on for a while. 

And that was our Independence Day!

Sunday, July 01, 2012

How to Make Yarn

How to Make Yarn 

This is an overview of the process of making yarn.   It's intended to show the whole journey that fiber takes over various devices and stages.   It's not a detailed description of technique.

I learned to spin on a drop spindle in a class. Later I was generously given a spinning wheel, which I learned to use with trial and error, entirely self taught.  I'm so happy with how this project turned out.  I took nice pictures along the way to share my love of this old fashioned craft. 

 Start with roving.

(This isn't even the beginning.  Shearing sheep is the beginning.  I'm skipping that step, along with cleaning, scouring, combing, blending, and dying the wool.)

This is a blend of merino wool and other fibers (I lost the tag.  Silk? Alpaca?  I'm not sure, but it's lusciously soft).  This came from an etsy seller.  Browsing for roving on etsy is one of my favorite things to do on the internet.

Roving is combed fibers that are ready to spin.  Pick an end, split into smaller strips if you prefer (I left it fat, making for longer color changes).  Start spinning. 

And keep spinning for hours.

 Marvel at the gorgeous colors. 

Marvel at how thinly you can spin after the hours of practice you have put in. 

Hopefully you already decided whether to make single or double ply yarn.  If it will be double ply, then hopefully you put some extra twist in the fiber.  That way you can twist two strands together in the opposite direction, and hopefully achieve a balanced yarn.  That's a lot of hope.  In other words, plan ahead or you'll be frustrated.

This is where my wheel comes in handy.  It has a built in "kate," the diagonal rack holding my bobbins.  I can easily pull the yarn off those bobbins while plying it onto the center bobbin which is being spun by the wheel.

I don't think I'm very good at plying.  I've read some techniques, but my fingers just don't do it well.  Perhaps an intermediate level spinning class would help me figure out what I'm doing wrong.  Perhaps I just need to do it slower with more patience.  Plying is not my favorite part of the process. 

Single spun yarn on the right bobbin, plyed yarn on the left bobbin. 

Take the double ply yarn off the bobbin by winding it onto a "niddy noddy." This is a wooden stick with two perpendicular rods at the ends that you wind yarn around.  You can also use a chair's back, but the niddy noddy is more compact and even.

Look how balanced my yarn is!  It lays loosely on my lap like string.  It's thrilling to get such plain, string-like results!

I had a single bobbin leftover.  I heard that you can ply onto itself using a center-pull ball.  So I wound it on a niddy noddy and then made a ball.

I love these even, green strings.   They are fun to thrum.  (Poor Ben had to endure me saying "Look! Look!" several times.  You know you married right when he unwavering applauds your string making.)
I didn't like how that skein turned out (it's the greener one you will see later) because the colors overlapped more and the twist didn't stay very well.  However, doing it shows the amount of twist I was talking about earlier.

Over-twisted single ply:

Now evened out by re-twisting in a double ply:

After coiling on the niddy noddy you can twist the hank onto itself.  These knotted hanks are how yarn is often sold in stores. 

But I hadn't "set the twist" yet.  The yarn gets a quick soak in warm water.  I added a wool wash from Fancy Tiger because it smells good. 

Gently drain the water and squeeze the hanks.  You want to be very careful not to agitate the yarn or it will start to felt (that is, shrink and tighten up on itself).  Roll the hanks up in a towel

and press to get out the excess water.
Hang for a couple days to dry out. 

When dry, you can wind these hanks into center pull balls.  Yarn stores will offer to do this for you when you buy hanks from them.  For some reason, the workers in yarn stores take FOREVER to wind yarn.  I have my own swift and winder to do this at home.

I can't believe I forgot to photograph that part!  Here's what it would have looked like:
 (Thanks for the cameo, Miranda!)

So here are my three skeins of homespun yarn, ready to be knit!

I chose to make the Trixie Cowl pattern.  I needed a complimentary yarn.  I found a dark purple alpaca and silk blend from Blue Sky Alpacas that worked nicely with my own yarn.

After knitting the scarf it needs to be "blocked."  This will set the form and even out stitching.  Another soak in the sink.

And another squeeze in a towel.

Then pin it to shape on a blocking board.  Let dry for a couple days.

This pattern has you block the piece flat before joining in a loop.  Be careful not to be too distracted by Colin Firth's smoldering portrayal of Mr. Darcy, or you might join the wrong ends together.  That will make you angry and have to spend a lot of time un-picking that rueful kitchener stitch.

Then you are finished!  Wait for daylight and take some final pictures.  Don't include your head if you slept in, have frizzy hair, and no make-up.  Do include your kid because he's cute 24/7.

Finally, update your Ravelry page.  Here's my Ravelry page for the finished scarf. 

Final step: go to etsy and browse for roving ;-)