Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The best laid plans....

Well, there was no exciting trip to Big Sur. Instead there was a lazy weekend full of TV, knitting, visiting, and eating. Let's weigh the pros and cons, shall we?

Not Driving to Big Sur: Con - It is gorgeous and I missed it. Pro - I didn't spend $200 in gas this weekend.

Not Camping in Winter: Con - It is deserted and gorgeous and I would have had some fun without electricity. Pro - It is awfully nice to wake up all snuggled under a bunch of blankets and then walk to the kitchen barefoot to make tea.

Not Visiting Morro Fleece Works: Con - I didn't get to visit with Shari and I didn't get to drop off that Romney fleece that is taking up half of the closet. Pro - I will save $20 in gas by mailing the damn thing.

Knitting: Con - in Big Sur it was 65 degrees. Pro - in Riverside it was upwards of 80 outside and room temperature inside Knit N Stitch (where I practically took up residence this weekend).

So I am pretty happy with the quiet weekend I had.

Christmas Goodies....
Outgoing - The first batch of knitted socks was well received, I am pleased to say. I was quite nervous that they would not fit / be appreciated and I can rest easy on both counts now. Half the stuff I collected for presents is still at the house, awaiting gift wrap and packaging and addressing and mailing. Maybe by tomorrow. Don't they say that Christmas should last all year?

Incoming - I made out like a bandit. Pet treats, a new can opener, a fabulous dress-'em-up lawn flamingo (inherited from my Uncle Jon which makes it extra special!), some awesome North Ronaldsay roving (the spinning has already begun) from Pat in anticipation of our impending venture to Scotland, some very nice gift cards, and a spectacular one-of-a-kind picture for my wall here at work. A triptych, really, of bat eared foxes, a leopard, and black backed jackals, from Mandy's friend's trip to Africa. They are professional photographers and made this up for me special *sniff*.

I heard about The Compact (http://sfcompact.blogspot.com/) on NPR and I think 2007 will be the year I try to get rid of a bunch of stuff cluttering up the house. I don't know if I can make the full commitment (buying nothing brand new for a year), but I am willing to make some deep cuts in my consumption! I will try to get some outgoing barter items listed here, or on spindlers, or on ebay / craigslist soon. 2006 was the year of buying stuff because I can finally afford it - but now I see that just because I can, doesn't mean I have to (or should).

Hope your holiday is / has been special to you too.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Happy Holidays! Here is a holiday poem to cheer you:

"The shopping is done,
the wrapping has begun,
the mailing will be late,
the knitting is quite effeminate."

Now you know why I don't quit my day job and become a poet. Out of 7 pairs of socks and one pair of mittens that were on the list, I have 3 pairs and 2/3 of a sock done. I have revised my expectations of finishing downward and bought backup gifts as appropriate. Everybody stay alive long enough to have a birthday next year. I still don't think that is bad knitting progress considering I began Thanksgiving weekend and am still doing all my normal activities (work, yoga, RCC, soap) plus doing my holiday shopping.

I was not planning on making any New Year's resolutions in January, but then Wendy (http://wendyknits.net) announced her "knit from your stash" plan. A goodly plan, methinks, and worth pursuing. So I am vowing to add nothing to the stash (fleece, roving or yarn) (sock yarn excepted) until Lambtown in July. Of course, I will still be dyeing and selling roving to non-knit from your stashers. We can't all do it at once or the world economy will collapse. Or something.

Today's vacation picture of the day:

Vacation may get pushed back one day - me leaving on Friday instead of Thursday. I will ask the checkbook fairy. I may need to spend Thursday knitting a hat to wear on vacation.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Had a great day at the Riverspinners party on Saturday. Spinning, food, games, shopping, selling, talking, and planning.

Sunday was spent making big soap and spinning plans for the new season, tidying up the basement, and listing items on ebay for the holiday season (ebay ID thesoapplantation) - roving, spinners' gift baskets, and soap. It's already time to start booking shows for 2007!

The Christmas knitting continues - I finished another sock last night and cast on its mate.

Plans for vacation are proceeding well - the dogs are staying home due to the chance of rain. Camping - yes. Camping in Rain - yes. Camping with Dogs - yes. Camping with WET Dogs - no way. Here is hint #2:

Friday, December 08, 2006

Well, apparently I have a funny idea of when "tomorrow" is, because many weeks have passed since my last post. Sorry. I am working away at the holiday knitting - 2 pairs of socks are done and a 3rd is in the works, but progressing slowly. It is so pretty, I think that I don't want the yarn to end. No pictures until after the holidays!!

Today is payday, so tonight I will also be working away at the holiday shopping. I hope everyone likes soap, so that I can finish my shopping down in the basement. *hahahhaha* I thought I might post a couple items I would like to have, if anyone is so inclined. I have a lot of stuff already, so donations to Heifer International or another worthy cause would be super too.

heifer international

Any sock yarn from The Loopy Ewe would be welcome - click the button on the sidebar. Sheri (the owner) knows just what I like. I am a big big fan of Fleece Artist.

Lord of the Rings box set

Fawlty Towers complete series

"Japa" (CD) by Dave Stringer Japa

"Parcel of Rogues" (CD) by Steeleye Span Parcel of Rogues

I have a lot of fiber, but no bison roving

It might get cold this winter and this would keep me warm: Kimiko

In other news, The Soap Plantation has its last show of the year on Saturday in Riverside. We will be at the Riverspinners Holiday Party (6515 Clay St) from 10-4.

Janel from Spindlicity and Plantation Productions have been working feverishly on The Alaska Cruise and are taking reservations NOW. Come join in the fun!

Finally, I have a secret (but not for long) - I am going on a vacation for Yule. Just me and.... me. Here's a hint...

Monday, November 20, 2006

A big day... because I finished the 2nd pumpkin sock, I added The Loopy Ewe to my blog button area, I did it all by myself, I added the picture of the 1st pumpkin sock to the post that has been on hold, I remembered to petsit for Anne, and my tea order came in. Now, I am ready for some dinner.

Tomorrow, a Yuletide wish list for anyone who hasn't figured out how much I love yarn, roving, spindles, bobbin lace, bobbins, and books about all of the above.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Catching up....

November 4 -5: I had a lovely weekend at the Lace Day on Saturday and the Handweaver's show on Sunday. Sold some stuff, bought some stuff, stuffed myself with cookies and coffee. Dropped off a finewool fleece with Sheri of Morro Fleece Works, did NOT buy any spindles, wheels, or other fiber tools, and made an effort to buy gift wool for the holidays. Handed out many, many cards for the cruise.

Nov 7: Managed to make it to my polling place and vote - thanks to Mandy for looking it up for me. I hate it when people don't vote, especially when they then complain about how things are.

Nov 8: I actually made it to yoga at 6:30 am and had a great time. Set up in the afternoon for our in-home show in Chino Hills and was later crippled by a big bad "icepick" headache. Now I carry my advil with me everywhere.

Nov 9: Went to Algebra, took (aced) the test, and was done by 7:30. No new material, so no homework for the week. Worked on a bobbin lace project in the evening - I have a class this weekend and am way behind on my practicing. I am working on spiders and would love to work on roseground before my class... we will see how far I get. Winding the bobbins for the moon is taking forever.

Nov 10: Made it to 6:30 am yoga again *yay me* In the evening Val came over and we went to go see "Flushed Away" and have some dinner at my renovated Marie Callender's. The movie was fabulous. Really really enjoyed it. Pat was right - the slugs rock.

Nov 11: I spent all day at the in-home show. Did some selling, did some shopping, ate some tamales, and spun 2 oz of ingeo on the Millie. I really really love the ingeo and the time really flew. I think I will make it into a tank top for summer.

Nov 12: Another show, this time in lovely downtown Hermosa Beach. Sold some soap, ate some snacks, spun another 2 oz of the ingeo, and finished winding off the silver - purple BFL off the bobbins. Now that they are in balls, I can ply the 3 singles together (silver end first) and move along closer to my planned circle / spiral shawl. Wish me luck on getting a lot of yardage!

Today... I am still chipping away at the pumpkin socks. There was very little knitting this weekend (spinning makes a better demo project for me). I am still chipping away at the Adamas shawl - I seem to have misplaced the pattern card I made up. I started a Christmas gift project last week - handspun mittens for my Grandma. I need to get cracking on those, but they knit up fast. After that there is a whole flock of gift socks on my plate. I love my spinning friends - I can just give them roving and let them do the work :)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Today's pick is from the pumpkin patch. Sock #1:

Monday, October 30, 2006

Happy Halloween!

(Imagine finished Pumpkin Sock #1 here)

The sock is willing, but the server is weak.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Progress on the Pumpkin socks is slow. I knit a little every day, but the ribbing just goes on and on. I like the way they are turning out, though. And when I say they, I mean sock #1. Sock #2 is a distant dream, although I suppose it would be a good idea to put the ribbing on waste yarn, knit sock #2 up to the ribbing, and then switch back. Then my life will be all ribbing, all the time, instead of stressing about remembering the changes I make to the sock body when I get to #2.

I tried it on this morning and learned that I should have knit about 1" of plain stockinette before beginning the ribbing to make them really comfy.

I am also working on the Adamas shawl at home. One row takes 20 - 30 minutes so it is not a good "knit a couple stitches and then set it down" project anymore. I have 14 1/2 sets of diamonds done now. The picture shows 16 sets of diamonds before starting the edging - we will see how much yarn I have left. Maybe I should add a lifeline at the 16th repeat. All in all, I am completely in love with it, and completely in denial about the 2 mistakes I know are in it (so far).

There will be a big announcement in tomorrow's post - stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I am back from Vegas and all in one piece! I left Friday about 6:30, after finishing laundry and making a stab at tidying the homestead. Got in around 10, but then got lost in Henderson for an hour. You would think that after 5 years I could remember how to get there. Saw lots of friends on my way to Whimsy, and they were happy to see me too. Got dressed up in something wenchy and went to work selling clothes. There was some great new designs this year. The drizzle that I drove thru near Baker arrived in Vegas about 3pm, and then it cleared up, and then about 7 or so (right around dark), it started pouring rain, and there was thunder, lightning, and wind. We got the clothes in, threw the tarps up, and closed down. I went home with Deb and Trinidad (who I stayed with last year). We threw our sodden clothes in the laundry and went out for dinner. We stayed up talking for a while and I got some knitting in.

This is sock #1. I am really enjoying this pumpkin yarn (still more orange and less red in person), although I like the way the colors stack in the toes and heels more than the striping in the foot. But the colors aren't pooling in big patches, which tends to bug me, so I am happy. The yarn itself is smooth and soft. I am starting to pick up the short rows, and need to make a decision about the leg pattern (if any) I want to use. I think it might be fun to do the whole leg in 2x2 ribbing and use up all the yarn, and then turn the cuffs down. I was fooling around with the Mermaid socks, tried that, and liked the effect. It also solves the problem of whether or not to increase for the calf and make knee socks.

Friday night and Saturday morning had more of the same - amazing, fearsome, stormy weather. Henderson (south of us) got marble-sized hail. It abated about 10 and we got the word that Faire would open at 12 instead of 10, but was still on. The weather for the rest of the day was quite nice, and the crowds started by late after noon. I worked hard, ate many meat pies, and we bartered Guinness for bloomers with the ale wench. Did quite a lot of flirting and flouncing, but no real takers. I did enjoy viewing all the kilted patrons. Did a little shopping, but I have most of the faire gear I "need". I found an awesome tankard at Moonstruck - it has a deer on it (pictures someday), and a pottery teapot from Lodema the Potter. Saturday night I could barely knit for tiredness (we closed at 10) and slept well.

Sunday was also gorgeous, and finally we saw real crowds. The place was Puh-acked. We finally got the last of the stock out and were busy, busy, busy. For my part, I was busty, being in a better fitting bodice now that I am all skinny. We closed around 5 ish (the hordes of patrons were still shopping with a vengeance, trying to make up for missing Friday night and Saturday morning). We did a little wage-bartering and I was wayyyy overpaid in clothes and $, but still we are all happy with the arrangement and I will be back next year, with bells on! Said goodbye to Todd, Judy, the kids, and the bulge (due at Christmas), and wished them a safe drive home to AZ. I was finally back at the apartment about 8 (got lost again, Deb had to come rescue me).

Left around 10am Monday morning, right on schedule. Took the scenic route down Flamingo to the freeway, missed all the construction traffic (repaving mostly, and in the other direction). Saw the coolest thing - the dry lake outside Primm was filled with water (it actually flooded the freeway on Saturday morning, so I couldn't have left early anyway). It looked really really neat to see this huge lake in the desert. It was clear and sunny in the desert, not a cloud in the sky, until I got to Hesperia and drove straight into a wall of cloud, under which were San Bernardino and Riverside.

Got home around 2, chatted with the neighbors, watered the roses, and took a NAP. Then I was up and off to yoga at 6. Took Julie's beginner class (worked on warrior and sun salutations), Scott's deep stretch class (lots of shoulder stretches), and managed to stay for Laura's Meditation class - the whole 25 minutes!!!!! But then I was beat and it was home to bed for me.

Now I am back at work, and getting so much done, as you can see :) Whimsy will be at the Dickens Festival in the Bay area this year (4 weekends starting Thanksgiving) so I am thinking of driving up for a day there, just to hang out. I haven't ever been to that show.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Ta Da! The mermaids are all done. Cuffs bound off, ends worked in. The top sock (the first one I knitted) is much more gold and the bottom sock is more blue. I love them both to pieces.

Now that they are done, I can move on to ....

Pumpkin socks! This is the pumpkin pie yarn from RubySapphire (Etsy). This is a crappy scan - it looks very coral, when the color is really a bright happy pumpkin. I am getting about 18st / 2", so I will knit them on #0 needles like the mermaids. I am making up the provisional cast on right now.

This weekend is Faire, so I will try to post again on Tuesday. Unless I don't come back. The way work is going, that is looking like a better option every minute. I would need to come in and sneak Fishy IV out.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Weekend doings: Well, Saturday was the Angel Fair in Pasadena. Mandy and I took soap and lotion and the spinning wheel. It was... interesting. We were amazed and surprised that the first 2 things that sold were the Menorah soaps, and that we received a special order for several more. Only one Angel shaped soap sold. How odd. Mandy strapped me to the chair to keep the Hare Krishnas from abducting me, but she needn't have worried.

I spun quite a bit of the purple BFL roving (that will be the silver and purple shawl - someday), and fielded many, many questions about spinning. We decided that I need to put out a change jar and only demo when somebody plunks their quarter down - like the fortune telling automaton at Disneyland. We heard a new spinning observation - someone said "oh, what you're doing is just like making ice cream". I was speechless, if you can imagine that. Otherwise, it was a nice day - good weather, good company, good neighbors. Except for the woman undercutting our soap prices right across from us.

Sunday's to-do list included doing my math homework, doing laundry, cleaning up the house, going to yoga and making soap. Here is what really happened:
I knitted the heel, all 4 repeats of the arch lace panels, and began the ribbing. For those keeping score, you may be interested to know that this is sock #2 of the pair - sock #1 has been largely done since last Wednesday (I left the ribbing unfinished and on the needles until I knit this one to the same stage - I want them to be the same height!).
I also listened to Prairie Home Companion, watched 2 specials on Ben Franklin, all 4 episodes of "The 6 wives of Henry the 8th", 2 episodes of "Carnivale", and the first part of "Casanova" on PBS. A good day.
Friday I leave for my annual pilgrimage to the Las Vegas Ren Faire http://www.lvrenfair.com/ where I work for Whimsy (a clothes booth). It's a good time.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Today's pick is more of the same - the Mermaid sock is growing (I started the lace panels for the leg today at lunch), the Adamas shawl is languishing, and tomorrow I am going yarn shopping for yarn for the Kimono Jacket.

In the mail last night I received the Pumpkin yarn(http://www.etsy.com/view_item.php?listing_id=471036) and the Peppermint Yarn (http://www.etsy.com/view_item.php?listing_id=471036) - and they included a set of stitch markers and a bag of candy. How cool is that?

Trying to get caught up here at work - and am puppy sitting - so it's a short post today. I might go looking for a very cheap digital camera this weekend so I can dazzle you all with pictures.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Today's pick is more of the Mermaid socks. They are going... well... swimmingly. I hope to have the foot done and hopefully the heel too by the end of my stupid math class tonight. I have a list of prospects for the leg... stockinette, 1x1 ribbing, and several lace patterns (from the 365 knitting stitches a day calendar) are in the running. If I get some time I will scan the pages and put it up for a vote. If you have the calendar, the days are 10/11 (Eyelet Twigs), 10/15 (Scallop), 10/24 (Foaming Waves), and 10/25 (Arch Lace, which I think looks like the mermaid's tail). Words cannot express the joy in my heart when I look at this yarn. I think I will get some more and make a set of matching mittens. I would love a whole pullover this color, but I don't want to knit it on size 0 needles or buy a knitting machine.

I knit about 1/2 row on the Adamas shawl last night while waiting with M for R to come to dinner (which was fabulous - we had Thai. I will post the address when my car comes back from the shop, as that is where I left the flyer). The rows are taking about 12-15 minutes each (longer to purl back), and every other row is 4 st bigger. But I have finally memorized all the pattern repeats, so I can just zoom along on it when I have large blocks of uninterrupted knitting time.

The gray sweater ("Aud" by Elsebeth Lavold) looked at me accusingly when I got home, so I may bite the bullet and finish that soon. I am hoping it will be cold enough outside to wear it this fall / winter.

The car needs new brakes, so there will be no yarn shopping for a while. I think I have enough to keep me busy for a decade or two anyway.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Yay! Here I am! Today's Pick is the Mermaid Socks (The Fleece Artist sock yarn in the Mermaid colorway from http://www.loopyewe.com/). I have just this minute picked up the provisional cast-on stitches and started knitting the foot in the round. I am using size 0 needles and they are working just right. And now it is time for lunch to be over and work to start again *wah*. I was quite pleased with the Loopy Ewe - fast shipping, good packaging (every skein wrapped in tissue), and a couple sample cards and a freebie set of needle inventory tracking cards.