Nikki's Notebook

My journey as a fiction writer and a place for my projects, writing and otherwise.

Archive for March 2011

All warped up

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Got the warp all set up for my next scarf. Sadly, it’s been about a week since anything’s been on the loom. My nights seem too short now that I get done with work at 6. By the time I walk the dog and eat dinner, it’s 8 and feels so close to bedtime! I’m an early to bed, early to rise kinda person.

My next project is a scarf woven with Knitpicks’ Chroma. It’s a beautiful 1 ply, slow color changing yarn. They also have it in a couple of solids, and that’s what I chose for the warp.

When I got the warp all wound on, I discovered that my two warp chains were slightly different lengths. What happened here? I’m guessing I just wound them on the warping pegs slightly differently, but this has never happened to me before. I just shrugged and trimmed the longer one to match the shorter. Hopefully this won’t come back to bite me in the ass later.

warp chains

Some of the yarn looks like this, the one with the really thick fuzz halo around the string. I’m nervous about these parts, because the heddle might abrade against it and wear at the yarn as I weave. However, Chroma is stronger than I expected, because at one point I tried to break a strand of it just by pulling it apart. This usually works for wool yarns, but was more difficult than I expected, maybe because Chroma is 30% nylon.

fuzzy yarns

And here it is, all tied up and ready to weave! The grey yarn is just the waste yarn that you start with to get the warp threads all even. Tomorrow, pics of the scarf with the pretty colored yarn!

tied up warp


Written by nikkinbird

March 29, 2011 at 1:25 am

Finishing mittens just in time for spring.

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Remember these mittens?


I started them back in…what? October? I remember bringing them to knit on during my breaks at my brand new job at the nursery school. Then, one day, I discovered that the second mitt was noticeably smaller than the first. I was knitting it at a tighter gauge because I’d gotten used to the two color knitting. Apparently, this disheartened me so much that I had no desire to work on these mittens all through the winter months, even though I had no other mittens. Yes, I got through the winter with a couple of pairs of fingerless mitts. Which, when your outdoor activity mostly consists of walking from the house to the car, and then from the car into work, suffices even in a Minnesota winter. I did also borrow some mittens from Chris when I needed them, so I’m not that crazy.

Now that we have Gru, I’ve been borrowing Chris’s mitts every day when we take him on cold spring walks in the morning and in the evening. So I decided it was high time I revived the mitten project.

Now, after a couple of days, my mitts look like this:


I started them up again just in time, too! We have a blizzard warning in effect for tonight and might get up to 11 inches of snow! The snow hasn’t started yet, but it’s been super windy all day, more so as the day went on. The wind practically pushed me to the door when I took the garbage out tonight. After work, Chris and I drove down to Brighton Beach to watch all the big waves roll in. Now, I can enjoy the sound of the wind pounding at the doors and windows from the couch, knitting and tea in hand. Mmmm.

Written by nikkinbird

March 23, 2011 at 1:51 am

Two green “Springtime” scarves finished

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Well, I seem to be slipping a little on my post a day aspirations for the year. However, the goal of a post a day has kept me posting at least a few times a week. This week, I started adjusting to a new work schedule. It’s only a half hour later, but getting done at 6pm makes the evening time pretty short. Now, with a dog, I’ve been getting up at the same time I got up for the earlier schedule, but adding a morning walk into it. Pair that with a good length evening walk as well, and I’m pretty unproductive at night!

My goal this week, weaving wise, was to finish the scarves I had on the loom. I wound enough warp for two scarves, and had only about 8 inches left to go on the second scarf before I was done. So this morning I finally sat down and finished it.

Here you can see the gap I left between the first scarf and the second. I wanted to leave space long enough for both scarves to have a decent amount of fringe.


I didn’t get very far tying off all the fringe. So far all I do is either tie it in knots so it has groups of fringe hanging down, or if I’m in the mood I braid it. I haven’t learned how to twist it yet, but I should because I love the look. I took a break because I felt a cold coming on and had a strong desire to nap. I decided that, since it was the weekend, I don’t need to force myself to stay awake, especially if the rest might prevent a full blown cold! When I came back into the office, I found Tashi lounging in the sun patch in the windowsill behind my empty loom.


Scarf details:
100 warp ends on 10 dent heddle
72″ long on loom, haven’t measured off loom yet
Yarn: Knitpicks Stroll Tonal in color “Springtime”

Written by nikkinbird

March 20, 2011 at 2:19 am

Doggie homecoming

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Today was Gru’s first full day here. He spent all of Saturday and Sunday being relayed between a team of volunteer drivers between Alabama and Wisconsin. We met him in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, a three hour drive from here. Somehow, though we picked him from afar and didn’t get to meet him, he is the perfect dog for us. There aren’t many dogs that we wouldn’t like, really, but his personality is so amazing. First of all, he’s a major cuddler. He loves being pet all the time. Second, he has absolutely no interest in our cats. So they will get used to him more quickly since he won’t be pestering them. Third, he’s extremely cuddly.

Since I’m tired, I’ll wrap up this post for now with a couple of photos. Earlier, I sat down with Gru to brush him a little bit, and he fell asleep as I brushed. It made me feel drowsy, so I lay down on the floor next to him and took a nap! That might have just been the fact that we didn’t get home until late last night so I didn’t get a lot of sleep. Anyway, here are some pictures of Gru settling in!

I was ambushed with cuddles while trying to take out the trash:


He likes to flop over while being petted:


Once again, lulling people to sleep with his sheer bliss of cuddles:


Written by nikkinbird

March 15, 2011 at 3:17 am

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Organizing my yarn stash

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This is the chaos in my living room right now:


I’ve never thought of myself as having a yarn “stash” before. I think that’s probably because I don’t have a lot of yarn that isn’t leftovers from something. I guess I do have several untouched skeins that were purchased for a specific project and never started, but I don’t normally buy yarn with nothing in mind. Unless it’s on a trip, then I get souvenir yarn.

I’m calling it a night and finishing this sorting in the morning! Tomorrow afternoon, we go on a road trip to get our puppy! Right now he is being transported by a lovely group of volunteers relaying him all across the country to get to us! We’re meeting him in Eau Claire, WI. The person keeping him overnight sent us this picture of him:


Up until now, the only picture we’ve had straight on of his face was very sad looking, so we are happy to see that he has an adorable doggie smile. I can’t wait! We’re going to have a dog!

Written by nikkinbird

March 13, 2011 at 5:01 am

Cones of yarn, yay!

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So I think I may have discovered a yarn for making the scarves I’ve envisioned all along. I wanted these scarves to be similar to a couple of shawls I got in Argentina and Uruguay. Both were made of heavy worsted 1-ply yarn in a simple, plain weave. One of them is a gorgeous ruana that I got at the Manos del Uruguay shop in Colonia, Uruguay. My eyes zeroed in on that logo like only a knitter’s could. It’s like my mind was saying, “Hey, that picture reminds me of yarn. It does mean yarn, doesn’t it?” It turns out that in Uruguay, Manos del Uruguay doesn’t sell yarn itself, but sells lots of stuff made from their yarn. My ruana is gorgeous and heavy and warm to wear around the house in the winter. I’ve also worn it as part of an outfit with a wooden shawl pin that I also got in Argentina, but it’s quite bulky and floppy, so is difficult to wear as part of an everyday outfit. Here’s an unflattering picture of me in it when I was trying to take pictures of my hat. I thought the shawl made me look frumpy here. But you do have to admit that, while it may be frumpy, it’s at least cozy.


Anyway, I rather liked the look of the plain weave with the 1-ply yarn, and have been wishing for an affordable yarn that would work with my 10-dent heddle. I found Brown Sheep Lanaloft Sport weight from the Woolery. Funnily enough, on the same order as the yarn, I also ordered an 8 dent heddle, so I could’ve ordered the worsted version of the yarn, too. Today my yarn order finally came. I’m still waiting on one that’s backordered, because apparently the mill is having issues with the dye running. But two 1lb cones are enough for me to play with for awhile! I do notice now, though, that my attempt to order spring colors for my scarves resulted in me having a lot of pink and green yarn. I must have forgotten about all of the other spring colors. Like brown and black sand-covered melting snow. And brown grass. And mud. That’s spring in Duluth.


If you get jalapeño in your eye, rinse it with milk.

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Tonight I made delicious Cheesy Jalapeño Mashed Potatoes from The Whole Foods Market Cookbook, and boy were they ever delicious. I have learned that, since I want my food to be spicy, I should always disregard the directions to remove the seeds from my jalapeños when using them in recipes. I just leave the seeds and everything in and the recipe usually turns out just as spicy as I want it. Which is pretty spicy, but not overpowering. Anyway, besides leaving the seeds in and not peeling the potatoes, I followed the recipe exactly and it turned out great.

But after I was finished eating, I rubbed my eye for some reason. It began to burn, slightly for the first few seconds, and then very, very intensely. I realized my mistake. I started rinsing my eye out in the sink, while Chris’s friend googled on his phone what to do. One of those online how-to articles said to put milk in a shot glass, put the shot glass to your eye, then tilt your head and open your eye. I tried this over the bathtub, and within two minutes I could open my eye again. Five minutes later, my eye felt almost as if it had never happened. Now, about 45 minutes later, I can still feel a little soreness in my eyelid, but thank goodness for that milk!

I don’t have a picture of the potatoes, but I do have a picture of the quinoa stuffed bell peppers I made last night. The recipe is from the same cookbook. I’m loving how accomplished I feel after making this stuff!


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