Sunday, September 27, 2009

11,219 lbs of Pinot Noir grapes!

Today was a long day! We got up at 5:30am and after breakfast the whole family headed out to pick Pinot Noir grapes. Today we picked for our own winery, Silvertip Vineyards. Not only was it a long day of hard work, but it was also very hot! I am still thirsty! After the picking was done, Phil took the grapes down to Campbell to be processed. On the way down the hill one of the bins fell off the truck and all the grapes in it were lost.. Luckily nobody was hurt, it was only a small portion of the grapes and we were able to retrieve the bin.


We met the Alpacas!

Yesterday Conrad and I went to a neighboring farm to visit with their Alpacas. This weekend was the National Alpaca Farm Days and many Alpaca farmers held Open Houses. We visited Oceanview Ranch on Montevina Road just outside of Los Gatos. We learned lots of facts about Alpacas and to top it all of they also had puppies for sale.
There was a woman sitting in the barn carding, combing and spinning some Alpaca fleece. Lovely soft stuff! Unfortunately they didn't have any fleece for sale. They did sell some yarn, but I was good and resisted the temptation!

Friday, September 25, 2009

3rd Grade Fieldtrip

Yesterday I went with my son's third grade class to the California Academy of Sciences on a Field Trip. I hadn't been since the big remodel and wow, it is well worth the drive up to the city. Parking was a breeze in their new parking garage under the park.
We learned a lot about our solar system during the special show in the Planetarium and we also got to walk through the "rain forest". Conrad's favorite part of the visit was with Claude, the albino alligator. All in all it was a good day, but we had far too littte time at the Academy and both Conrad and I want to go back for a full day there sometime soon.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Busy weekend

Well it is fall even if the weather is hot! The grapes are ripening and this weekend we picked a couple of tons of Pinot Noir for Silvertip Vineyards (our winery). Phil and Lars de-stemmed, crushed and started the fermentation along with Paul down in Campbell on Saturday.
Kajsa spent part of Sunday prepping for her Monday cooking demonstration in school, she is making scones. Yum!
Our printer broke down last week so today I headed down to town and purchased a new one. There are way too many models to chose between, in the end I just grabbed one in my price range and we have to hope for the best.
Conrad tried his hands at spinning and he didn't do too bad. He found it very interesting and he keeps asking if he can't please spin some more! The problem is, at the moment I have something on all the bobbins so he has to wait until I ply some of them together in the next few days.
Phil and I spent some time fretting over Kajsa's new (used) car and the whole mess with the warranty company. I don't know if it is worth all the hazzle and worrying or if we should just forget about the warranty and pay for the repairs ourselves. That is of course exactly what they are hoping we will do, but still our time is worth something too.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Cars - Arrgh!

Phil and I spent pretty much all of Saturday shopping for a used car for Kajsa. We ended up buying a blue 2001 VW Jetta. Today, Tuesday, it had a big puddle under it when Kajsa got out from school. After checking the oil (it was fine), she called home to ask what to do next. We decided the best thing was probably to take it to the service place and have them diagnose the leak. So now she is without a car again, hopefully temporarily, and Phil and I are back on driving duty. At least it happened right away, during the 3 month warranty period. We'll see what they say tomorrow after they take a look at it.

Lizzard Shawl!

The other day (September 13) when I was knitting the last few rows on my Angora/Wool shawl this little guy decided to come along for a ride. Every time I flipped the shawl to knit another row he clung on and flipped with the knitting.
This is what it looks like (thanks Madoka for taking the picture). I'm quite pleased with how it turned out. I paired a strand of Louisa Harding Kimono Angora with a strand of Cascade Heathers 220 for super warmth and cloud like softness. I used a free pattern I found on Ravelry. It is called Carol's Clever Little Shawl . I made a few modifications, but mostly I followed the pattern.

Phil's Boot Socks

I'm a little late posting this, I actually completed these  on the September 7th. I made both of these socks at one time from the toe-up on two circular needles. I decided to make them from worsted weight yarn since Phil almost always has cold feet. They are meant for him to wear in his rubber boots but I think he will end up wearing them in the house as slippers. Conrad requested a pair just like them for himself, only smaller and grey instead of red.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Lumpy Oatmeal

I did it! I made my first hank of yarn! It is a double ply, unbleached and undyed 100% Corriedale wool yarn.  I started out with 2 oz of roving and ended up with 1.8 oz (52 grams) of plied yarn. I still have 0.2 oz of single ply yarn left, I'm not sure what I'm going to do with that. Because this was my first attempt at spinning, the yarn is slightly uneven but not terribly so. I am actually surprised how smoothly the spinning went, I had anticipated it to be much harder. Now what do I knit with my first handspun yarn? Any ideas anybody?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Finally Spinning!

I'm spinning yarn not knots! The result is a little bit uneven (thin/thick) but not too bad if I may say so myself. I have ordered some dark Coopworth roving from Paradise Fibers , but it is taking forever getting here (not really - I'm just inpatient) so today I couldn't wait any longer and I went to Yarndogs (local yarn store) and bought 2 oz of light colored Corriedale roving. So far I have spun half of it into a one-ply yarn. Once I'm done with the other half I'm planning on attempting to spin it into a two-ply yarn. I'll post a picture then if I succeed.  Luckily I'm home alone tonight (the older kids are camping and Phil and Conrad are watching the Cal game at grandma's and grandpa's house) so I should be able to get some uninterrupted spinning done. Back to spinning!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My Knitting Progress

The socks are finished (completed on 8/31/09), and I  must say I am happy with how they turned out. 

I am definitely keeping this pair for myself! Although I usually make my socks from the toe-up, I made these from the cuff-down, I don't really know why. I knitted only one at a time since I was using two kinds of yarn (I didn't fell up to juggling four balls at once). The stitch pattern is just something I pulled from way back in my mind, I might have read it somewhere or maybe I just dreamt it. Anyway it is two rows of stockinette in the navy color and two rows of seed stitch in the varigated colorway. The navy yarn is Knit Picks Essential Solid (new name - Stroll sock yarn ) and the varigated one is Crystal Palace Panda Cotton.