Thursday, April 24, 2008

New hand-painted yarns

Available at Burst of Happiness.

Hand-painted yarns:

hand dyed yarn

A wittle baby-waby sweater

A few posts back, I posted this. It's about how I'm working on a sweater project for my friend's baby, due in June.

Well, I finished my first sweater -- one of my first complicated knitting projects. Although there are mistakes, I'm pretty excited that I did it! I used a vibrant green cotton -- Bernat cottontots. It's my practice run for the final sweater, which will be using yarn I carefully hand-painted (see other post above).

knitting projectsknitting projectsknitting projects

Nurse Robyn

Monday, Mark had his 5th knee surgery on the same knee, third since I've known him. We've got it down to a science, really. He's doing well.

I took a few days off to care for him. I also had to take my cats for their checkups and shots Tuesday. They are about 15 years old, and I found out little Roady really is little. She's lost a lot of weight since last year, meaning two pounds. She's only seven pounds now. The vet is worried and now she needs a full blood workup to see if we can figure out why. Tomorrow we go to get the blood drawn. Now after the $140 I spent on shots and checkups Tuesday, I have to fork out another $200 for bloodwork. But Roady is like a child to me. I think I love her more than I would a human child, actually.

Here's a picture of her:

Friday, April 18, 2008

I don't got your back

In a life-threatening situation? You better hope you're not with me. Do you ever wonder how you'd react to a dangerous situation? You see those "heroes" on TV who say, "aw, shucks. I ain't no hero. I just did what anyone would have done in this situation." And you think, "yes, I'd be a hero, too!" while deep down inside you wonder if you really would just go running away while children perished in a burning bus.

I've had a few minor tests, and so far I've failed miserably. I'm a pathetic wienie.

Example 1: Day after our wedding, Tamaya resort near Bernalillo, N.M. We had a 2-room suite on the ground level. Mark had left the sliding door open in the bedroom, but the curtains were closed. I was in there changing, and he was in the living room. I thought maybe I should shut the door so some psycho couldn't walk right in. The curtains were closed, so I fumbled through them blindly with my hands while trying to find the door. As I did this, my hands met someone else's hands. They grabbed my arms. It was the psycho I had just been worrying about!! Oh, God. This is it! I was about to meet my maker. I should have screamed so that Mark could come in and rescue me, but all I could do was silently gasp for air. That's it. Lucky for me, it turned out to be Mark playing a practical joke on me. We won't go into whether I thought it was funny. The point here is that I didn't do anything. I was just going to let someone murder me without making a peep.

Example 2: Today, Petroglyphs National Monument in Albuquerque. This place is minutes from our house, but we'd never seen it. We found one entrance where you could park at a park in the middle of a neighborhood and walk into the monument. Basically, it was sand and mesa, with some mini mountains of black rocks. Every square inch of ground was coated in rabbit poop. I wandered off the trail and approached the black rocks. Mark was saying, "What if you got bitten by a rattle snake? I'd be a hero and carry you back to the car." At that moment I spotted a hole next to a rock and pointed at it and said, "a snake house!" Then I noticed that about a foot and a half away was a coiled rattle snake. What should you do when you see a rattle snake? I don't think you're supposed to scream "aaauuughhh!!!! A SNAKE! A SNAKE! RUNNNNNNNNN!" while jumping up and down, and then run away. He was rattling at me as I did so. When we reached the safety of the trail, I was upset at the threat to my life and decided I'd had enough of the wilderness.
Just one more reminder why I don't do the outdoors thing.

If you're trapped in a burning bus and you see me walking away, please understand: it's not in my nature to do the right thing.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

My very own gnarliness!

Recently, my friend Amy showed us her gnarly toe. It was so awesome. Well, I wanted to be gnarly, too. Alas, it was hard to find a flaw on my unblemished self. Till now!

OK, how to make this not a long story? Let's talk about canker sores. They are something that seem gross to people who don't get them, and are excruciating misery to those who do. For the record, they are the result of irritants and not like having herpes or something. Let's just get that out of the way. I am not gross for getting canker sores. I'm gross for this other thing, which I'm getting to.

So, the mystery of canker sores, mouth ulcers if you're looking for a more pleasant term, has not been cracked by the medical world. Therefore, the only remedies they have had are the same ones they had when I was a little kid. UNTIL NOW!

I had a canker sore on my gumline, just over my canine tooth. It hurt like hell for days, but 5 days into it I was feeling better. I had a dental cleaning scheduled and the hygienist was very careful not to hurt me. But my dentist said he had a way to make the ulcer go away INSTANTLY. I laughed and thought he was pulling my leg. It took him awhile to convince me that it was true. They now have a laser that actually does something to relieve them. He described it as feeling "warm" (I prefer to describe it as feeling like he was holding a blow torch to my mouth). He said it would be pain-free by the time I left the office.

I'm envisioning my pretty pink gums, free of wounds! Free of pain! Glory be to God!

I asked how much he'd charge. I'm not rich, you know. He said, "For you, free. For your friends, not free." He is my cousin, after all. And I really appreciated it.

As everybody put on goggles and shades, I got a little nervous. As he burned the living hell out of my gums, I remained stoic. When the assistant told me it would be "a little pink" for a while, I thought, "no prob!"

I got to the car and looked in the rearview mirror, and to my horror, it was not a little pink. It was like the color of blood. You could see it from 12 yards away, probably. But, it didn't hurt. It really didn't!

Let's go into more detail, OK? For two days, it has tasted metallic. Several times, slimy, dead tissue has peeled off my gums. This makes me want to vomit. But, it doesn't hurt.

Day 2, I get up and still have a huge purple spot on my gums. Do you want to see?


I realize that I cannot smile for several days. This will be hard, since I'm the kind of person who has been nicknamed "Smiley" by numerous unrelated people in my lifetime. I am the kind of person who has a business named "Burst of Happiness." And another business called "Burstyriffic."

It's not Amy's toe, but it's still gnarly!

Monday, April 7, 2008

What baby deserves such effort? Shannon's baby!

I mentioned in a post below that I'm taking on a new project. And boy has it been a pain. But it's also fun, if that makes any sense. It's just that I won't be dyeing yarn in this exact manner again.

OK, to start:
1. My friend is pregnant.
2. I have been learning to dye yarn.
3. I have been expanding my knitting skills.

I had bought this book:


and fell in love with the yarn on the cover. Inside, it shows you how to dye this exact yarn, plus solids in the same colors. Then it gives a pattern for this cute baby sweater and hat. Here is a picture of the inside of the book and the sweater and hat made out of this yarn:


Sooooooo. I tracked down the exact yarn, which is Henry's Attic Island Cotton IV, a very soft, boucle-like cotton. It's so wonderful. Then I bought the dyes -- Procion MX -- at Langell's art store in Albuquerque. I also needed a thickener called gum tragacanth, which turns out to be a bit hard to come by. It is used in icings, or something, so I found it way across town at The Specialty Shop, a baking store.

I got my yarn, which came in two 1/2 pound skeins. I had to reskein it. One skein was to be split into four equal skeins for the solid colors. The other had to be reskeined into a huge 5 yard long skein. This was not easy to do and required setting up kitchen chairs and walking 'round and 'round while wrapping it around the back. Of course, the yarn kept popping off one chairback or another the whole time.

Eventually, I had this:


the one on the left is the giganto skein, and to the right are the four mini skeins.

All of the preparation took me about a week -- with an errand here, an errand there. Winding skeins, etc. The day I was to dye, it was pretty nasty outside. I needed a 15 foot workspace, but it was too cold out there, and really windy. So I had to set up a bunch of tables in my entry way, which was rather cramped. I prepared my dye mixture and soaked my yarns. Then, after I added the baking soda and activated the dye, I had 2 hours to finish the whole project. I painted and painted, and my back was killing me from hunching over. My head started to hurt. I finally finished the big skein and now had to paint all the little ones in solid colors. I was running out of time, so I had to beg Mark to help me. He kindly did.

After that, the skeins were wrapped in saran wrap and placed in a black garbage bag for 2 days to cure. Then I rinsed them and hung them outside to dry. After they dried came the part where I have to rewind the now-tangled skeins. I wound them into balls, which are ready to be knit into the sweater:

hand dyed yarn

I'm still working on the practice-round sweater in a green cotton yarn, shown in the photo of the book above. After that, I'll get to work on this one.

New bags

Here are a few things I've sewn up in the past week:




Available for sale -- click on photos.

Friday, April 4, 2008

An itty-bitty sweater

I am undertaking a massive project. In the future, I will post details of it. But basically, I bought this yarn dyeing book and fell in love with the confetti cotton yarn on the front. Inside, it shows exactly how to dye the yarn and then gives a pattern for making the cutest baby sweater and hat. I just happen to have a pregnant friend, so I decided to attempt this project from start to finish.

More on the yarn, but I decided I ought to do a practice run on the sweater with cheaper yarn before making a disaster of the yarn I have invested so much into. So I bought this soft, green cotton and started knitting. Here is the beginning of a tiny li'l sweater:


Now that's Burstyriffic!

The other day I opened up a new storefront called Burstyriffic where I put my hand-painted yarns. I'm not rushing to fill it up, and I do actually plan to use my yarns, if they don't sell before I get around to it. But at the rate that I make things, I need some sort of outlet for moving it along, right?

Well, for the heck of it, I searched "Burstyriffic" on Google to see if it was coming up with my Web site or if someone else was using this ridiculous name (I know, I know). Imagine my delight when I found this blog item where someone had nice things to say about my brand new little yarn shop!

I'd like to thank the person who did this blog for featuring me! It was a wonderful surprise.