Today Chris and I had planned to spend a couple of hours together at the gym. I've been a member of various gyms for the past eight years or so. I was pretty regular about going back when I lived in Rochester, but since moving here to Buffalo I had tapered off to less than once a week. The first thing I noticed when my exercise dropped off? Not weight gain or fat gain (although those came later) but all my aches and pains coming back. They all vanished when I was going to the gym three times a week. The only pain I had was occasional muscle soreness from working out, which I could usually eliminate by gently stretching the affected area. The other problems that came up when I stopped exercising regularly were being more tired at night and my undiagnosed S.A.D. coming back. I hadn't really noticed I had eliminated it until it came back, but when I was working out regularly winter became so much easier to get through. And did I mention that we both love the spinning classes? Talk about a great bike ride and a serious work out!
Also in the weekend plans: I need to card the rest of my fine wools for the fleece study. We've been having a great time with it, and I love that so many of the other ladies in the class have found really great spinning and breed information on the net and have shared it. When we got together as a group to talk about what we had done so far (mostly washing and carding) someone (maybe Liz?) sheepishly mentioned that she had used her salad spinner to get as much water as possible out of each sample before laying it out to dry. Two or three others immediately piped up, "so did I!" If she hadn't said anything, would anyone else? or would we all have been too embarrassed to admit to it? I'm really learning how much good spinning relies on good fiber preparation, and will try to take pictures of my best methods to share. It's interesting too that many of us are coming to the same likes and dislikes of the various breeds, depending on how pleasant we find them to prepare and spin, as well as on the finished yarn. We all seem to love the California Variegated Mutant (CVM for short) and the Cormo. Interestingly enough, most of us were ultimately disappointed in the merino. Did we get a lackluster fleece, or is being the most famous not the same thing as being the best?
The wedding shawl is almost done. I've knitted the lace long enough and now need to knit the "cobweb frill" for the other end and then graft it on. Then of course I'll wash and block it and post some pictures. I've been fit in the wedding dress mock-up too, so it looks like I will have clothes on on May 5th.
My friend Mindy had her baby, Mason, early on the Monday morning after Thanksgiving. pretty much as soon as she told me she was pregnant I ran out and bought yarn for a classic Elizabeth Zimmerman baby surprise sweater. Mindy chose not to find out if she was having a boy or a girl, so I tried to pick out gender neutral colors that would match the nursery. One of the really sweet points of the baby surprise sweater instructions (and don't we all love Elizabeth Zimmerman's writing style?) is that she has you make buttonholes on both sides of the front, so that you can sew the buttons on the correct side after you know what the baby will be! Mindy brought the sweater in to the theatre this week so I could sew on the buttons, and Mason aka "Bootsie" was willing to model the sweater. This is a nice shot of Mindy, but not Bootsie's best photo, so take a look at happy proud Mommy.
Here's a much better picture of the little guy in new cardy. I'm glad it fits him now, when the snow has finally hit. Check out the non-gender-specific duck buttons! What a little cutie he is! I think he's almost doubled in size since the last time I saw him a few weeks ago! And of course I love him in his technicolor dream coat! I never believe a baby sweater will be big enough when I'm knitting it. Humans start out so tiny. I have to remember Bruce's wisdom: "If it fits a two liter bottle it's the right size for a baby."
Speaking of babies, my cousin Laura should be having hers any day now. I am planning a trip to the home brew shop today to buy ingredients I hope to brew tomorrow and would really like to invite my cousin-in-law Steve to come along. He was really interested when he found out that I'd been brewing, and I would love to share the process with him, but he's Laura's husband, and i think that if I have lured him away with beer when she goes into labor, there might be trouble. Right here in River City. So I'd better save the invite for the next batch when I'm just luring him away from feeding and diaper changes.
I'm trying to decide what kind of beer to make for my next batch. It's between a German Rauchbier, a Scotch Ale or a Scottish Ale. I've never had a Rauchbier, but have only read about them. They're made with a smoked malt and have a smokey character. It's thought that the first one brewed was a mistake--someone left the malt drying over the fire for too long! Scotch Ale and Scottish Ale are actually two different things. Scottish Ale, is well, Scottish, but Scotch Ale is actually Belgian! I didn't learn this until I've started reading brewing books and I'm sure I've had and enjoyed both, but now I don't know which is which! And of course I think that some beer companies label a Scottish Ale as Scotch, just to add to the confusion. Ah well, I may just take the recipe book with me and choose in the store. I'll definitely post about the results.