Meatballs & Muffins

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I found some inspiration to cook a bit more this weekend, fueled by both watching MasterChef and seeing how much we’ve been spending on eating out lately. Our weekday routine is pretty hectic with me trying to work out so there’s been a lot of fast food runs and I’m not proud or happy about it. Since we didn’t have anything on the schedule for the weekend I decided to make these Thai pork & veggie meatballs. I made them a while ago and loved them, but never really made them again afterward. It’s not like they’re hard – just sometimes the idea of cooking a meal seems more daunting than it really is. Since the recipe makes more than enough for us, I divided the meat mixture in half and froze one part for later. That way – hopefully – I won’t be hitting the fast food line the next time we’re in a pinch.

This morning I tried getting back into my Breakfast Sunday routine. Homemade raspberry muffins with garden-fresh berries I picked the other day. Every year I think I should just rip those canes out – they’re probably going to destroy the foundation of the house – but then every year I get these delicious berries and forget about that idea. The muffin recipe itself is lacking – it came from a Better Homes & Gardens cookbook in the cabinet that I never use because every time I do I realize why I ignore it. So my new goal is to find a muffin recipe I love that is good enough to go in the family recipes cookbook with the other tried-and-true favorites.

Rain is coming our way again. So no outdoor spinning. I did manage to finish one bobbin last night, which was one half of the 4oz braid. I’m trying to spin it thicker than normal on my lace flyer so it’ll add twist faster. I’m a bit nervous about what the finished product is going to end up being, but it sure looks pretty at the moment on the bobbin. The fact that this has spun up fairly quickly since I’m not trying to go for thin specifically has me thinking about ordering a few braids of fiber on Etsy and making a throw blanket for the guest bedroom/craft room that I’m working on. I just have to figure out what colors I want – everything in my house is some sort of blue or green since it’s so calming, and I’m not sure if I should stick with that or if I should try to incorporate some other color into it. Maybe I’ll kill some time on Etsy and see what jumps out at me.

Rebellious spinning

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Today a friend of mine on G+ shared this: Spinning in Cowgirl Boots – Homespuns and the American Revolution.

In an act of rebellion, women took to their spinning wheels, their knitting needles, and their looms. If you were a Patriot, you wore homemade clothes from homespun yarn.

You know, this is something I can really get behind. I don’t really attend any kind of 4th of July BBQ or anything and I rarely make a big deal out of the holiday, though now that we have the kid I feel like I should step up my game a bit. But spinning and knitting? Yeah, I’m down with that. Can we just trade out the usual over-the-top patriotism of the 4th of July with more of a low-key BBQ and spin/knit-in? Because I will gladly scrub my house and buy a bunch of burgers and steaks to feed everyone if that’s the kid of celebration we’re going to have.

Anyway.

Tour de France starts tomorrow, which means Tour de Fleece starts as well. I wasn’t sure if I was going to even participate this year – I haven’t spun anything since last year before the baby. But, with part of my “look for happiness in the little things” idea from yesterday, I decided I need to do it. The weather is nice, and I always love being out on the patio, so it’s a perfect excuse to do both after the baby goes to bed and take some time to do something that makes me happy.

I won’t be able to spin every day, nor am I spinning my traditional thin yarn, but it’s spinning and making and creating, which is something I’ve been needing to do more. I decided to start a bit early and go ahead and spin a bit. The fiber is Malabrigo Nube, and it’s what I picked up on my annual yarn shopping trip this year. I’m using my lace flyer but I’m trying to spin it thicker than usual so it a. doesn’t take a year to finish and b. will be something thicker to knit up that also won’t take a year to finish. I’m hoping the lace flyer will help keep the twist nice and bouncy once I ply it up. I’m not sure what I’m planning yet to knit it into – probably a hat. Not that I need more hats. Maybe I’ll pair it with some stash yarn for a baby cardigan or something? I figure if I knit up a few things here and there in different sizes then I’ll have some gift knits in the future and won’t have to stress over not being able to get something knit up in time.

Or, maybe (most likely, really), it’ll just sit in a plastic bin with the other hand spun until I get around to deciding what to make out of it.

Spun and knit

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The husband’s scarf is done and I really kind of want to steal it. My spinning on the fiber wasn’t the best, and it’s a bit over-spun in places, but the Cascade 220 Sport did a fantastic job of balancing it out. It’s soft and has lovely drape and is just plain lovely. And I won’t steal it because I’m a good wife with a good husband who appreciates that I take time to knit him things.

It doesn’t count. Not really.

2015-yarn-day-haul

Every year my knit group girls and I go yarn shopping. We get brunch, then shop, then ice cream at Jeni’s. The date of the shopping trip changes from year to year, but it’s always either on MLK Day or President’s Day because we’re a group who work the type of jobs that give us those days off as holiday.

Knowing this date was coming, I’ve been desperately trying to get in the mindset of not buying yarn. I have several sweaters worth already, plus plenty of sock and lace and miscellaneous balls of worsted wool that could be made into hats and gloves. I, truly, do not need more yarn unless the need arises for a specific project. That’s how I’m rolling with this no-buying-yarn thing lately: it needs a specific project, which means no buying yarn just to buy it without finished object in mind.

The day went (mostly) well. I drooled over all the pretty Malabrigo and Madelinetosh, wishing desperately to snatch a few skeins up for a sweater or just a hat, even. But I do not need more hats, and I have yarn at home. I repeated this over and over with every idea that popped up. Socks! Nope, I already have several pairs worth waiting to be knit. Maybe a scarf? No. Another lace cardigan? How about you finish the 5 sweaters you already have yarn for first?! I bullied myself into not buying yarn, and came out of my favorite yarn shop with some lace blocking wires (something I actually needed) and some Malabrigo Nube wool for spinning (colorway is Indiecita). I justified the wool because I don’t have a lot hanging around, and I always love watching the singles transform into a gorgeous yarn once plied.

And then we went to a new yarn shop. One I’ve never been to before. It was a fairly large shop, and the woman working was quite sweet. I have this need to buy things (which is why I’m in the too-much-yarn department) and felt like I needed to buy something at this shop. It’s important to support small businesses, after all. I paced the store multiple times, reminding myself of my goal. I ultimately decided on a $10 bag of 4oz of wool that I can dye and spin later. One more ball of wool wouldn’t be a big deal, right?  Annnnnd then I looked at the clearance section. Clearance yarns are my weakness. Good yarn at discounted prices?! SIGN ME UP! I pondered a few balls of a pretty purple lace-ish wool that looked a bit like a patterned sock yarn only less garish – it would have made a lovely cardigan with some black dress pants for work. But that would be another 1,200+ yards of yarn coming in, with not near enough going out, so I let it go. And then I ran across sock blanks. Three of them, $8 each. I may be on a yarn diet, but I’m not stupid. Knit Picks wants $20 for a sock blank. The original price on this was $17. $8 is a freaking bargain.

So one sock blank came home with me, and the other two went with two of my knit group girls. We’ll be dyeing them up at our next cabin trip in November. Which is why this yarn totally doesn’t count – if it isn’t dyed it isn’t “usable” since I’m certainly not going to unravel it just to make myself a pair of plain natural-colored socks.

And that’s how I’m justifying today’s yarn purchase.

Stalled

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That winter lull. January is always so busy, with end of year wrapping up at work. It always feels more like just a continuation of the craziness from the holidays, just morphed and evolved into a new kind of crazy. February, though… February I can breathe. I can think of things other than deadlines. The sun is noticeably returning, and mornings are getting a bit brighter on my drive to work. I can start looking forward, officially, to the spring and all that it entails: warmer weather, the smell of the freshly turned dirt, and being outside more. I’m having more good days than bad, which is fantastic. I’ve done a few things to change up routines and try to hold life together a bit more. We’re eating more meals at the table, for example, and I’m planning dinners a month in advance instead of weekly since I hate meal planning. I used our fancy new color laser printer and made myself a cleaning schedule/routine that I can use a dry-erase marker on, and printed out some other family planning pages based on some ideas I’ve had brewing for a while. Basically, February has given me the much needed time to do all the things I’ve needed to do (focusing on myself/our home, that is).

The scarf for the husband has stalled. I was doing so well, knitting on it every chance I got. I never once got tired of it – I think switching colors every 2 rows helped. And then a horrible, no good, rotten thing happened: I ran out of black yarn. I have all of this handspun left, and it isn’t long enough. I broke down and ordered a 2nd skein from Webs, and I’m not happy about it. I’m trying to make 2015 a year of stash knitting/projects, which is why I’m so upset about needing to order more yarn. But that’s how knitting goes, I suppose. I did, at least, come away with only ordering that one yarn, and not a single item more. It was a very difficult task, because yarn is pretty and soothing and tempting, but I managed it.

With that project stalled, I paced around the house feeling restless for something else to work on. I’m trying to limit myself to just 2 projects at a time, but that kind of goal doesn’t work in situations such as this. Well, it does. But it required going to my car to retrieve my sock project that I keep in there for emergency knitting. One could argue that not having something to work on is an emergency, but I worried that if I took the knitting out of the car I’d forget to put it back and then I’d be stuck somewhere with time on my hands and no yarn or needles to work with. Not wanting a situation like that, I referred to my Google spreadsheet (I took the idea from the Yarn Harlot with her holiday spreadsheets she talked about and I made myself a spreadsheet of projects that I have yarn/fabric for, projects that have deadlines, etc so I don’t miss things – like a Ravelry queue but for EVERY project, not just the knitting ones) and cast on a scarf for my friend. It’s on the list, and is a project that I cringe every time I see the yarn in my closet and think “I should get on that” and never do. So now it’s in progress, though it knits painfully slow compared to the other scarf. Every row feels like it takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r. On the bright side, today and tomorrow I have knit group, which hopefully means lots of knitting on this without distractions.