A book review: Spin Control

by Amy King, 2009

a review/summary
I borrowed this book from the library along with many others to evaluate what books to add to my spinning library. This one will be joining my library at the end of the week, making an Amazon order for Christmas. Amy challenges the readers to play with the wheel. It’s nothing I couldn’t have figured out on my own but to see it written down, permission to play with the wheel whether it seems conventional or not, somehow makes it ok to set about doing. She tells us to change a specific setting one way then spin, then make another change and see what happens. Then change another setting and asks how it changed from the previous ones. (scientific method anyone?)

After the introductory chapters she gets to the business of explaining many of the questions I had in a blog draft like how to know how much twist to put in the yarn. She shows us how to evaluate previously spun or purchased yarn in an effort to reproduce it and encourages us to keep a spinning notebook. She shows us how to spin a variety to novelty yarns and even shows several knitted swatches of different prep and spinning techniques on the same base fiber. I feel like cover to cover gets me a spinning class. Can’t wait to get my hands on the book permanently. I’m off to browse the rest of the books, stay tuned for more reviews.


What’s for dinner?

I like how many of the large recipe sites have a search function so you can enter the ingredients you have on hand and what ingredients to exclude and then search for what you can make for dinner (or lunch or breakfast or snack). Today I found a site that searches all the other sites with that functionality, I present SuperCook. I am in no way affiliated with them nor do I receive compensation for writing about them. This site allows the exclusion of individual ingredients or the options of: all dairy, all meat, all fish, all shelfish, all gluten and all nuts. The draw back to all dairy is that I have good butter substitutes, but milk is mostly out of the question when used as a thickener. I think I will plan a menu using the site to see if it offers up any new recipes that I might enjoy. When I search the recipes, it lists the ones first that have only the ingredients I listed (if any exist) and then offers up other suggestions if I have other ingredients on hand. I don’t know all the recipe sites it crawls but it seems to have many, including sites that have recipes but are not exclusively food sites. I leave you with this interesting quote from the FAQ:

Are there any default ingredients Supercook assumes everybody has at home?
Yes, Supercook assumes your kitchen at home has salt, pepper, sugar and water. There is no need to add these ingredients to ‘your kitchen’ on Supercook.


101 things in 1001 days

A long while ago, I found a site that challenged readers to make a list of 101 things to accomplish in 1001 days, if you search for posts here with the 101 in 1001 tags or use your favorite search engine, you’ll find it. I jumped on board and am almost half way through my 1001 days. I have made some progress, which is exciting and had to remove some things from the list that are no longer relevant or impossible to complete at this point. While I am fairly certain that I will be fortunate to complete 60 or more of the 101 things, I have learned how to make a more feasible list in May of 2011 if I choose to try this again.

12. Purchase or make a drop spindle (9/2008 made 2), spin at least 6 oz. of pre-dyed fiber & knit into socks
18. Finish R2D2 hat, write instructions (11/2008)
21. Frog Homespun blanket and reuse yarn to make hoodie (2009)
22. Stamp cards to use for special occasions: have 20 in reserve – 10/20 (11/2009)
26. Calculate yards or number of projects in stash, get to work (this is in constant progress which would be finished if I would stop adding to the list and stash)

1. Play guitar on worship team (requires learning to play guitar) no longer on the worship team, need new task

2. Lose enough weight to fall into healthy BMI and keep it off (I do have an exact number for a goal weight) (in process)
4. Kayak at least 15 times each year as often as possible

1. Read/listen to 15 Classics (1 every other month) – in progress
2. Re-read Wheel of Time, creating personal encyclopedia to track characters/plots – 5.5 of 11 reread
3. Read 10 biographies from individuals who dedicated their lives to societal change (1 every 3 months) – in progress
4. Join a book club: IRL or virtual (2/2009)
5. Write a review for each book read as a result of this 101 in 1001 list – in progress

13. Basement organize boxes into smallest floor area possible, maximize work area: accomplished when there is room to host video game night with friends or craft session (summer/fall 2009)
15. Sort teaching boxes, condense by at least one box (summer/fall 2009)

1. Rediscover natural hair color, no dyes until 100% natural again (fall 2009)
2. Go to the beach at least once a year: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
3. Commit 9 random acts of kindness without receiving/accepting/admitting credit (in process 2 out of 9)


How people found my blog, part 3

I like to check my site statistics every now and again to see how people arrived here. Sometimes I can’t understand how his/her search engine directed them here and other times I can. I hope he/she was greatly entertained if the search was a bit errant in sending the traffic here. I present a random assortment of phrases that landed many people here:

  • writing prompts generator software
  • prompt generator
  • random writing prompt generator
  • christmas prompt generator
  • writing prompt generator
  • tigerheart club
  • books by janette walls
  • the glass castle book club
  • curious case of benjamin button
  • the shack book club questions
  • the shack book club guide
  • bookclub reviews of the shack
  • the shack bookclub review
  • schacht matchless spinning wheel
  • best travel spinning wheel
  • suzie spinning wheel
  • louet s51 dt
  • lime and violet cant listen I admit, I don’t completely understand why the poor person was directed here for this one, the l&v part-yes, the can’t listen part-no
  • alan dart finished knitting projects
  • alan dart patterns
  • spinning wheels have to go round
  • tessellating fish pattern
  • tessellated fish pattern
  • yarn traverse pattern software I admit, I have no idea why the poor person was directed here for this one.


I listen to a podcast, CraftyPod, where I heard about One Pretty Thing, a huge collection of diy crafts the author finds. It feels like a gigantic bookmark that I don’t have to use my favorite search engine to find. I’ve only been reading it for a few days, but found this craft intriguing. It’s a tutorial for turning the plastic grocery bags into stronger, reusable bags by melting several together using parchment paper and an iron. These bags were even customized with words to indicate which bag contained veggies, milk, ice cream, bread, and more. The site, So You Think You’re Crafty, is a 10 week challenge in which 10 preselected crafters compete to design a craft on a given topic, see this blog for more details.

While I find these bags absolutely adorable, what crafter wouldn’t?, I am a bit concerned on several fronts. The first-melting plastic bags together can’t be good for the lungs. Is it better for the environment to put them in the landfill or melt them together and try to reuse them for a period of time? I’m aware that in some areas the plastic bags can be returned to the stores to be recycled or recycled at the local country recycle program so would this project be helpful or harmful? The second-I have worked hard to accumulate resuable bags, some of which will wear out eventually, but as of today have a long life in front of them. To have enough plastic bags to do this craft would require that I use more bags from the store, which would in effect tell the store that I support their use of the plastic bags, which I don’t.

So, does anyone have a gas mask and any extra plastic bags to donate?


Confessions of a book-aholic

I love books. I have loved books since I was young. I can’t remember not loving books, I can’t even remember my first book that’s how many books I love. I have sung the praises of visiting the library as a child to check out my limit of books every Saturday. If you live in Michigan, check out melcat to see if your local library participates. If your library doesn’t participate, ask the librarian why not. If you don’t live in Michigan, see what your state has that would be similar. I love sitting at home and searching the database for books to request from far off libraries or ones just down the road, interlibrary loan is wonderful. I have requested books for knitting, book club, biographies, home birth, many whims and fancies and of late-spinning.

I love that at the time I searched I found 19 different books on the topic of spinning that I wanted to check out and could order then without leaving the couch. Last week, 4 books came in for me, my library had 3 on spinning, and today another 10 arrived. While I will not be able to read all of them word for word by the time they are due, I will be able to evaluate the copies to see if it would be an excellent addition to my spinning resources. The final cut will most likely be renewed just to be sure. Some of the books are out of print, so I will have to settle for used books and in some cases retired out of a library.

I made my list using various online sites that recommended books here and there. I also searched melcat for handspinning once I found that tag in common. I am doing a single elimination process. If I look at book and don’t see how I will use it or it has information that another book already has, off the list it goes. If it has new information or combines information from two or more other books, on the list it goes.

So far it’s a tentative list but here are four possibilities:

  • Teach Yourself Visually Handspinning
  • The Spinner’s Encyclopedia by Enid Anderson
  • The craft of hand spinning by Eileen Chadwick
  • The Complete Spinning Book by Candace Crockett

The first one I’m fairly certain of wanting, the second is a reference book rather than a cover-to-cover read. The last two are rather redundant, so I don’t need or want both, but I don’t know which is better at this point. I’m hoping that after borrowing the rest, it will be clear.


In which we stay home and spin

I had hoped to go to White Cloud today and join in the spinning fun that occurs most Monday afternoons. Unfortunately, we were not able to, so we stayed home and had some spinning practice. Here is the bobbin yesterday and today:

As you can see, it’s a little more even and a little more full. I’m spinning rather fine yarn, so it will take me a while to fill two bobbins. I’ve decided to drop down one gear and spin a tad slower. My wheel was sucking the fiber in quite quickly and as a result, I lost hold a few times and had to fish it out again.


Three Cups of Tea

one mans’ mission to promote peace . . . one school at a time

by Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin

web site

a review & summary
Greg began raising money to build schools to educate the children in Pakistan 1990’s after he was unable to complete a summit to K2. He was the medic on a team who was scheduled to summit but had to do a last minute rescue and evac of a team member, thus eliminating his chance to reach the top. On his way down the mountain, he took the wrong path and found himself in a local village. Seeing the poverty in this village, he vowed to return an build them a school. This book chronicles his travels as he raised monies to build that school and many more with the hope of stopping the violence through education. He offers a unique perspective on America’s War on Terror with insights about the civilians this war impacted firsthand. I highly recommend reading this book if for no other reason than the unique perspective.