Monday, February 25, 2008

More Highlights From the Test

I look totally fierce in this photo (doing Bo 8, if I recall correctly) Here I'm throwing Sensei Gant (who received the title of sensei at the end of our test for all his teaching). This is a funny story. Back oh, about 3 years ago, I was a blue belt at Mr. Gant's first degree black belt test. I run up, throw a wheel kick, he grabs my foot and flips me. All caught on a camera with one of those rapid shots going on. So it's like a filmstrip. During MY test, he asks Sensei Shaw if he can get in the line, does so, and throws a wheel kick. Without even hesitating, I capture it and throw him to the ground, then realize what I did and start laughing! He said afterwards it was only a little bit of a gimmie. I really did do a good throw and he was expecting it. Good times, and he's a great teacher!

Jeff broke a cinderblock with his head. Nothing I can say about that other than awesome. During the final "nailing on the belt" with Sensei Shaw, Jeff quite naturally saw an opening and put him in a headlock. The reaction from the crowd was the slow Oooooooh! When he released him, they sparred for a couple more minutes and then Shaw got is payback, punching him a little in the chest and calling him a dirty sneak. This is the exact moment I got the welt on my head.

And here's the video that was shot of my stomp kick. You can see my foot really impact the floor. That's what caused the bruising!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

I am a blackbelt.

It has taken four years of hard work and dedication to be able to say that phrase. At the end of the test, Sensei Shaw asked each of us, "Was it worth it?"



Without a doubt.

I have this.

And this

And this

I broke these (Part of the reason for the bruised heel - No, not from the bricks, from hitting the slab foundation beneath it!)

And got to do this to my husband.


But it's worth it. I am a blackbelt.

I'm certain there will be a couple more rounds of pictures coming as other friends empty their cameras, but these were the highlights so far.

So sore. . .

But I'm a blackbelt.

Jeff and I had our test yesterday. It went well. Pictures coming. . . eventually.

Right now, I can't walk and hurt EVERYWHERE.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Something told me. . .

. . . to go to the thrift store today.

I was thinking, maybe I'll find a nice white sweater I can frog, dye and sell the hanks of beautifully dyed yarn.


Maybe I'd find actual yarn! That happens.

Nope, although I did see a lady walk out with a bunch of balls that were Red Heart.

Maybe I'd find a latch hook tool that would be useful in using with my fairly new Ultimate Knitting Machine.


I saw an entire extension kit. I walked calmly over to it, looking at the poor ratty box and thinking that it was probably broken inside or half the stuff was missing.

Then I looked at the price.

And of course although I already knew it, I looked at the original price.

I figured, even if it was broken, that's less than what I'd pay for a bunch of latch hooks to make ribbing tools for myself. No risk, right?

So what was inside?

It was perfect. It doesn't even look like it's been taken out of the original cellophane.

So, thank you Christine, whomever you are whose name is on the box. Maybe you asked someone to reserve this for you, and then never came to get it. Maybe you did buy it, but then let it sit in your basement and let the box get all ratty.

And thank you, thrift store pricer who obviously only looked at the outside of the box to determine the value. Now, to be fair, this thing is worth exactly $0 to someone who doesn't already have a knitting machine. But I would have paid at least $10 for this. Just goes to show it pays to shop at thrift stores.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Final handspun pictures

Marisal closeup
Originally uploaded by michelleskass
I can't seem to resist posting claustrophobic pictures of my spinning. It's just so beautiful!

This was handed off to Marisa L.'s aunt, Kristin this morning. She'll be back in town on Monday, and we'll meet up Tuesday or Wednesday morning.

I definitely need to make more of this. I bet it'd go like hotcakes in Anne's store or at market!

ETA: Posting through Flickr is interesting. . . I may or may not be doing this more. We'll see.

Happy V-Day!

So while we don't have very much going on this year for V-D, I did manage to finish the "car" socks for Jeff in time to give them to him this morning!

Her he is modelling the sock in a rather hasty, right before leaving for work pose.

He's very happy with them, and I'm very happy I got them done!

Now I need another simple, mindless project to work on in the car or while waiting for Jeff. . . .

Monday, February 11, 2008

More spinning!

The wonderful Anne of the Hillsborough Yarn Company wound off my blue yarn into a cake, so now I present to you a side-by-side comparison of the yarn in hank and cake form!

I can't wait to spin this up. I just have to decide if I'm going to be a big girl and make it into socks for my loving and deserving husband, or if they'll be mine, all mine! muhahahahahah!

I also spun up a very lovely hank of yarn in worsted weight for MarisaL of Ravelry. She has a very fun yarn she wanted to trade, which is four-ply that starts off white, but one ply takes up dye at a much faster rate. Very cool stuff indeed.

I am totally in love with this yarn. One ply is long sections of grey or brown, and the other is medium-long sections of blue, green and white, alternating. Then spun up all six different combinations came together. This is the before wash picture, I'll have an after wash picture eventually. And of yourse you'll see pictures of the very cool dyed yarn, once I get it.

I'm definitely going to have to try my hand at making this yarn again, though.

Yes Mom, I have been working on your spinning. In fact, the bulky bobbin is almost full! I'm really liking how it's turning out, and used a lot of techniques for color change in the yarn for trade that I"m using in spinning up your yarn. I just want to get it done before you get up here so I can hide it! ;P

Monday, February 4, 2008


So I've been practicing spinning an aran weight single for my Mom's birthday. She needs 600 yards of aran weight for a really cute scarf.

Here's the yarn I spun up, abougt 30 yards total

Here's the scarf swatch I made. 24 stitches, with 5 stitches dropped on one end, so this is almost exactly half of the scarf. So whaddya think, Mom?

hm, I probably shouldn't have folded it. . .

Sunday, February 3, 2008


My friend, Phil has decided to help me jump into the yummy and somewhat messy world of making mead.

Here's the recipe we used:

The cooking:

1 whole tangelo, processed with skin on
1 gal wildflower honey
3.2 oz (0.2 lb) ginger root, grated
4 T vietnamese (6% oil) cinammon
1T whole cloves
3 sticks cinnamon
4T loose leaf earl grey tea.
4 gal water

The microbiology:

2.5 tsp yeast nutrient
4 tsp high alcohol yeast nutrient
1 package sweet mead yeast

The potential:

Specific gravity 86= 20 oschsale = 13% potential alcohol (but being a sweet mead, it will probably end up more like 11-12%)

The mess: Only once did honey mixture get spilled all over the floor, and Phil's socks. It was fairly well contained, but I'm still finding the occasional sticky spot on my floor.

The wait:

6 months to 1 year.

I hate waiting.