Saturday, December 31, 2011

Not With a Bang...

Not feeling so hot today... alternately nervous, depressed, cranky, listless and overwhelmed. Not the way I wanted to end the calendar year, especially one that has been looking up. Oh, there was work stress and money stress and my cat died, but the last few months have been happier.

I'll eat some cereal, quit watching tv so late, get on a regular sleep pattern and go to the spin- in tomorrow. That will all help. I was excited to take my spinning wheel, but now wonder if I am up to cleaning out the car, cleaning up the wheel, adding the new driveband, deciding on a project... blah blah blah. I am going and will have a good time, even if I bring "only" a spindle. I am still trying to finish my Tour de Fleece project from July, so it will actually be an excellent project to bring.

2007 was the year of being happy, 2008 I lost my boyfriend and my job, 2009 was the year of World of Warcraft & knitting, 2010 was the year of working again, 2011 has been the year of reading & more reading. My plan for 2012 is to make it the year of "finished!" projects. I have at least 16 urgent unfinished projects on the needles (or loom, or canvas) that I would like to see as actual completed items. The hard part will be picking 12 to complete. I figure if I complete one half-begun project each month, it should be a reasonable goal. All carrot, no stick - no restraints from starting new things or moving around in the queue, as long as one item is done each month. Hopefully it will rekindle the knitting bug. Maybe I will even take the plunge and spend some time with other knitters at the local knitting shop(s).

2011 Reading List (50 books)
Salt
Ireland
Skipped Parts
Weekend With Mr Darcy
Summer of Fire
The liberation of Alice Love
What the Dickens
Bond With Me
Blood Ties
Man Law
The Girl in the Greenhouse
The Return of the King
The Chamber 4 Fiction Anthology
Wicked
Blood Safari
Gap Creek
A Husband For Margaret
The Greatest Knight
Heart of a Knight
Silk & Steel
Wicked Promise
Murder at the Vicarage
Bright Young Things
Grace
The Scarlet Letter
The Two Towers
Listen
First there is a River
The Magnificent 12
Carved in Bone
Code Blue
County Line
The Last Unicorn
Life's a Beach
Four Corners of the Sky
My Man Jeeves
The Last Samurai
The Fellowship of the Ring
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
The Hobbit
13 Little Blue Envelopes
Dracula
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest
Bone Rattler
The Moonstone
Bertie Wooster & the Lizard King
Little Women
The Red Tent
Pride & Prejudice
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Lazy

Surprise day off from work today and I am spending it being lazy. Reading my book (_Bleak House_), playing my game, not doing chores. I may rally and put in some laundry later. I think the weather was nice (didn't actually go out or even look out a window today). I have a soap order to make - I'll get that started when the laundry is going.


In separate news, I was facebook stalking and found out my sister is getting married, and one one my aunts remarried. Also found this:

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sweet Sunday

I managed to get up and out of the house today as it was gardening day at Martha's. We cut back the roses & shrubs, harvested the lemons, snuggled the corgis and then it was time to make food from the fruit. Fruited spiced wine and lemon tart / pie were accomplished and eaten with gusto. I started to watch the BBC version of "Bleak House" and I think it will make a good series to watch while spinning.

Yes, spinning. I picked up a new drive band for my spinning wheel when I drove up to San Francisco last weekend; I visited John & Mrs. John at Village Spinning & Weaving. I figure now that I have it, I should end my two year spinning hiatus and get to work on the fiber I acquired at the fiber fairs this fall.

The pets are all snoozing - on the bed in little cat balls, or as little headless fluffballs on their perches. Maybe I should put the heater on.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Checking In

I took a moment to review my December posts from the last few years; it is good to see my life stays on an even keel over the long haul. Knitting, reading, compuer, pets, eating.

I took a week off work and had a lovely, quiet time (see above). I also drove to San Francisco to work at the Great Dickens Christmas Fair. I enjoyed the drive, visited my cousin, worked for my friends, saw a show, bought a new audio book and watched the ocean.

I started and finished a hat (and am wearing it now) and am about to start another.

This year was the year of reading more; I think next year will need to be the year of finishing UFOs.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Terrific Tuesday

Success! I have finally figured out how to use the lucet (lucette) I picked up at the handweaver's show a couple weekends ago. It took several viewings of a couple different YouTube videos before I cracked it, but now I am merrily making cord. It is so rythmic that I find it difficult to stop.

Almost done with Martha's sweater - just finishing up the neck band and then I need to tackle the sewing up. Not my favorite part, but I have my eyes on the prize - a finished object for my good (and cold) friend.

Another lightweight day at work today. I could get used to this. Looks like we will have Thanksgiving off, but will be working that Friday and Saturday for month end. Whee.

In the pet realm, the dogs got a treat of canned food tonight and I am still on "shed watch" for the snake. She is growing up so fast!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mild Monday

Finished knitting the body of Martha's sweater today; only the neckband remains for knitting. After that comes blocking & finishing and delivering! Snuck in a couple rows on my own version of the same sweater last night. Only one or two more rows to go until I need to make the sleeves.

Played some quality WoW yesterday and today - upgraded the PvP gear, got my tailor levelled to 500, and tonight put half a level on my hunter. It is amazing that one makes progress if one applies oneself.

Went to the gym tonight and read a few pages of _Don Quixote_ on the reclining bike. I put in a solid 30 minutes and am feeling good. I go in to work late tomorrow, so I have a plan to go to yoga in the morning and later call to see if I can get into the Holiday Bazaar that they are hosting in December.

The snake is getting ready to shed - I will be excited to see if her coat pattern changes after this shed. Baird's hatchlings don't look anything like the adults, but I don't know what the in between stages look like. Only one way to find out!

Friday, November 11, 2011

11-11-11

Obligatory "cool date in history" post today. It was actually a pretty good day - lots of cheer at work and good knitting progress this evening. I fed the snake, finished another book, started the last skein of yarn for Martha's sweater, watched some programs on Netfix and patted the dog on the head.

I had the bright idea to have a card weaving workshop with my No Idle Hands friends/ group and now I am at that stage of preparation where I realize I have no idea what I am doing. On the other hand, fun is the important part... and I did a little prep work this week so it shouldn't be a total disaster.

No World of Warcraft this week, as I am trying to finish up the sweater, but I sure do miss it.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Mid Week Update

I am still knitting on the sweater for Martha. It is getting smaller and smaller! Odd, because it is also getting larger and larger. Managed to find the extra skein of yarn today, so I am no longer worried that I will run out before the end.

Worked on a gauge swatch for the mitts for Margaret, size 2 needles are definitely the way to go. Next step: determining size and casting on. Some math may be involved.

I haven't touched the spindle or my darling World of Warcraft, but have found a little time to do some reading on a mediocre book that was a free Friday offering from Barnes & Noble. It is just barely good enough to keep my interest.

Time to evict the cat off the laptop, find a movie on Netflix and get knitting!

Monday, November 07, 2011

Fiber Frolic

Tonight I buckled down and added some more rows to Martha's sweater. I could even finish it some day. I'm still loving the pattern, the yarn, the color and am motivated to finish my own (in the same pattern) when this one is complete. There has been a nip in the air this week; definitely time for handknits. I need to make some typing gloves to use at work as it has been just freezing in the office and my hand flexibility and coordination is slipping away.

Sunday was the annual Southern California Handweaver's show & sale. I am never happier than when I am surrounded by fiber. The Yarn Harlot calls it wool fumes - she may be right. I saw several friends and acquaintances and had some nice long visits (some nice short visits too). There were some "classic" vendors and some new folks, all with interesting and beautiful wares. Fiber, patterns, finished goods, accessories, beads, yarn, equipment; it is all "home" to me.

Fran decided she wanted to try out a navaho spindle and it looked so fun that I gave it a whirl too. It is just spinning off the point (like my charkha), only upright. It came pretty easily but I don't know that I would ever want to finish an entire project on one. Maybe if I had a navaho rug loom to go with it...

I brought home some fiber (mohair, of all things) to spin and experiment with and finally took the plunge and bought a lucet (a tool for making cordage). I resisted the firey orange roving, but fell for some orange silk yarn and have plans to make some lucious socks... or maybe gloves! At some point I got out my spindle and spent some time spinning the merino / silk blend I bought last year (also my Tour de Fleece project) and remembered how good it feels to have fiber in my hands.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Spinning Saturday

I haven't done a great deal today, but I did touch the spindle and made a small amount of progress on the Tour de Fleece fiber from this summer. It seems like it is taking forever to spin, but I think the real problem is that I am not actually doing any spinning these days. I will take it with me to the Handweaver's Show tomorrow and it can be my walking around project. A fitting one too, as I bought the fiber there last fall from Capistrano Fiber Arts. I haven't spun the other roving that I picked up last year, nor knit the silk socks I bought yarn for, but it is safely stored away (moth free) and I will get to it in good time. Hopefully this year I will be able to get a drive band for my spinning wheel and get back to some production spinning over the winter. I suppose it is a little embarrassing that I didn't just mail order the drive band at some point over the year, or even make a new one from some rug warp or linen thread. I'll live with it.

It was a pretty quiet Saturday all around. I did some tidying in the morning, played a little WoW, picked up bird and cat food at the pet stores and even brought home a mouse for Velvet the snake. If I can manage to throw some laundry in the washer and pay the rent, I will call it a full day.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Knitting Wednesday

I have been adding a row here, half a row there on Martha's sweater for the past couple weeks. It was supposed to be finished by August 1st, but I have fallen far behind. It did not help that I had to rip out half of it to fix the fronts and then I injured my wrist and was sidelined for 4 - 5 weeks.

Anyway, I sat down tonight and added some rows while watching a movie and I think things are back on track. Time to start worrying that I am going to be short on yarn before I get to the end!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Alpaca Sunday!



Monday, October 17, 2011

Motley Monday

A simple day today, but I did get some things done that were on my to do list. Apparently the only way I will get them done is if I don't actually make the list, but rather pretend it is serendipity that makes me end up at the ATM or in the parking lot at Target.

No knitting to speak of, but I managed to deposit money in the bank to pay for my autumn soap order, buy a new trash can (and bags!), and even redeem my coupon for free eggs, which just happened to expire today. I even picked up a new cheese grater / slicer, which has been on my kitchen equipment list for a couple of years now.

Time now for a little laundry, a little World of Warcraft and maybe a few quality minutes with my drop spindle. At some point I do want to finish my Tour de Fleece project and start spinning up the fiber I acquired at Lambtown!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Alpaca Sunday!

I just want to snuggle the heck out of them.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Lambtown Lovliness

I am posting to you from Dixon, CA, home of the Lambtown festival! I skipped the last two years, but was back this year to soak up all the sheepy goodness. MMMM lambs.... I brought my camera - and took pictures - but forgot my camera to laptop cord. Oops.

We arrived about 9:30 and I managed to bolt from my beleaugered friend Anne within 5 minutes. I just had to run in and see my peeps! I saw Sheri and Gabrielle and did a little catching up. Gabrielle is trying to talk me into buying a French Angora... must... resist...

oooh sleepy me. We spent the day at the fairgrounds from 9:30 to 6:30 or so and then walked a corn maze from about 6:45 to 8. I am pooped!

To Be Continued.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Fun Never Pays

I went to roller disco last week and had a great time. I also fell and sprained my wrist. The swelling is almost gone, and I have had an interesting week of watching my hand change colors (today is gray with red knuckles). I enjoyed the 70's / 80's theme & dress code. Managed to find some genuine 80's clothes in the closet - some of which still fit.

The up side is that I have a new fun activity to enjoy but the down side is that typing is painful and difficult and knitting is right out.



Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Time Off

I guess I should come back to the blog at some point... perhaps tomorrow

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Knit Game Read

It doesn't have the same "oomph" as _Eat Pray Love_ , but _Knit Game Read_ is a much more accurate view of my activities!

I finished the body of Martha's sweater today and just need to knit & sew the neckband, seam the sleeves, work in my ends, wash, block and de-cathair it. Done by the end of the week!

I got so excited that I put in two rows on the same sweater for myself tonight. It is far behind but I am re-motivated to work on it.

The "Owlie" mittens are wayyyy behind schedule and I balled the yarn for Margaret's fingerless mitts only last night. These are each small projects, but my knitting time seems to have evaporated.

Lots of overtime at work these past few weeks and it showed in my check. It will be a relief to be caught up with AAA, electric, gas and grocery bills. Not enough left over for yarn (the electric bill hase gone up $30 a month in static fees - before the variable of electric usage), but enough for mango ice cream as a treat. Yum.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Coolness

I spent a hot, restless, dehydrated night in bed yesterday, and woke up to this! It finally rained in my town. I a very strong urge to run out and roll on the cool wet concrete, but somehow managed to resist. It was a gray, drizzly day until the late afternoon and I took full advantage. I didn't get much gardening done, but it was fun to spash in the raindrops, deadheading the roses and poking at the grass shoots.

After gardening I spent some quality time with Martha's sweater (Cece), knitting on the porch and reading on my eReader. I started the decreases for the fronts and bound off for the sleeves.

Dozer and I took a walk in the early afternoon; unfortunately by then the rain had lessened but the heat turned up, so it felt like I imagine Panama does in the summer. Hot. Hot and damp. My frustration was increased when, after the muggy walk, the knitting shop was out of the size needles I needed to purchase. How I managed to have every size save the one I need is a mystery.

In the late afternoon, it was movie watching and sleeve knitting time. Unfortunately, sleeve knitting time lasted about 3 hours longer than it should have: I cast on the wrong number of stitches not once, but twice. The third time I got it right and the first sleeve is about half complete. Without the restarts, I think I could have finished both sleeves and been ready to attach them to the body today. Bummer.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Prize Day

I didn't hit my Tour de Fleece goal, but I feel good for participating and I was rewarded with my prize pack of fiber today when I arrived home from work.
There are three baggies of an alpaca / BFL blend and some postcards of London. I am tickled yellow, orange and brown!

I meant to post last night, but was just so tired and forgot to log back in to say something witty. This morning I went to work for a few hours, but tomorrow is gloriously empty and free! I estimated my hours for the second half of July (16-31) and it came to over 100. Even with a conservative guess on how much of that is overtime (they calculate it strangely), I should have a very respectable check coming ... which almost makes up for the fact that they pushed the pay date 3 days later than usual.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Workaday World

Haven't managed to touch the crafts today, but I did get a few pages read of _The Two Towers_; Frodo & Sam have met Faramir and co. I put in 7 hours at work on my day off today and am looking forward to a 12 hour day tomorrow. It will be so nice to have some breathing room in the budget - or maybe go to the doctor, dentist, eye care or ob/gyn for the first time in four years. Or get the cat to the vet and solve the mystery sniffles.

Early bedtime tonight!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Working Woman

Tomorrow is my day off after the craziness that was month end, but I was offered the opportunity to come in and work in a different department for extra hours. I said oh yes, please! and have the double good fortune of getting more hours and feeeling like I am coming to their rescue. My budget is so tight that every little bit helps.

I put in a few more rows on Martha's sweater and should really get the yarn for Margaret's mitts balled up and a pattern designed. It is hard to balance my knitting time with "resting the knitting muscles" time when I am on a knitting jag like this. Overdoing it will only lead to permanent pain, so I take breaks and try to pace myself.

A happy week!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Best Knitting Compliment

...is seeing your work in use!

Jess wore the pink hat at work today and is very happy with it. I forget how cool it is to make things, because I can. Perhaps if I received a hand turned pottery bowl or carved statue I would have the same feeling about the creative process. Anyway, I am glad it all came together. Go team!

I managed to get a few more rows put on Martha's sweater today. It is coming along nicely and I cracked open the second ball of wool. I love the color, love the pattern, and am getting ready to start the decreases soon. School starts Monday, and I am aiming for the closest delivery date possible. I hope she is just as please with it and wears it often.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Long Day

Put in 13 hours at work today (minus lunch and 90 minutes driving). I managed to get 3 rows knit on Martha's sweater at lunch and a few short rows on a sock heel during my break. Mental note: take more breaks.

Another long one tomorrow; betime soon.

Oh! Gave Jessica the hat. She loved it.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

No Post Saturday

Just too wiped out.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Different Night, Different Bowl


Went to the Redlands Bowl after work tonight to hear the symphony. They had a Beethoven program which was quite lovely, with the 5th piano concerto and 7th symphony.


I managed a little spinning on my Tour de Fleece project today, although I am hopelessly short of my goal. I thought I could catch up tonight and Saturday, but I got called in to work and I can always use the hours.

On that note, I think it is bedtime!

Mad Hatter


I knit like a fiend Thursday night and finished the Bow Tie Cloche. It came out really cute. Here it is drying on a conveniently head-shaped ceramic jar. I hope Jessica likes it and can wear it to her chemo treatments.


It was a super easy knit that used the techniques of alternating stripes of color, a little lace and I cord. I was very proud of myself for working in all the ends and finishing the fiddly bow promptly.


Total knitting time, approximately 3 days.

Eddie, baby

I figured a title from a Monty Python skit was a good title for a post about our trip to see Eddie Izzard on Wednesday night at the Hollywood bowl. My pictures didn't turn out so well; here is a vido to tide you over.




It was fantastic and fantastically funny. It was great when he did the crowd run right past us




and great when he was back onstage and waxing philosophical. My favorite parts are when he cracks himself up and starts dissolving into laughter.

It was a great time with good friends. Thanks for the birthday present, Martha! I will have to make her a knitted toilet roll cover or something for her birthday.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Progress Report

It is hot as the dickens in here tonight - time to soak in the tub for a while.

The hat is nearly done - just have to knit the bow, attach, wash & block.

I managed to spin for a few minutes this evening, but it is just too hot to have 12 gr of wool and silk wrapped around one arm.

Tomorrow night is the big day - Eddie Izzard at the Hollywood Bowl - and I am ramping up by watching you tube clips. I may die of excitement, but I hope not.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

B-ow!! Tie Cloche

I knit and knit and knit this afternoon and have one repeat (of 4) done of the lace. I am working on two #3 circular needles - my dpns are too short to work comfortably without worrying about stitches falling off the ends. I am hip to finish this today, and I could do it if all I did was knit, but my thumb is telling me it is time to switch projects for a while. Back to Tour de Fleece spinning for me.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Saddle Sore

I am still spinning away on my Tour de Fleece project. I am on the last puff (12 gr) of the first colorway and can finish tonight if I log off the computer and get back to work.


I started the pink hat last night and am almost finished with the ribbing and ready to start the lace pattern.


Friday, July 15, 2011

WIP Crazy

WIP is work-in-progress and I am about at capacity! I took a bunch of pictures, but must finish charging the camera before I can post them. I feel like my whole life is knitting oriented and I like it very much - at least until my left thumb and wrist tell me it is time to take a break.

The yarn for the hat (the Bow Tie Cloche) and the fingerless mittens for Margaret came in today and it is all gorgeous! I am going to start the hat tonight as soon as I hit "post". I have an early bedtime tonight, but I think I can manage to cast on and knit a couple rows. I should be able to finish the hat this weekend and then start the mitts. We are short staffed at work and next week is going to be somewhat insane... I will either need lunchtime knitting to stay calm and centered, or put it aside entirely so I don't knit all that craziness into the projects. Maybe I can finally finish _The Two Towers_.

The yarn for the Camp Loopy project (mittens - or maybe gloves - with owls on them) has been balled up for quite some time, the pattern is printed, and I am allowed to cast on anytime now. The only hiccough there is that the pattern calls for size 1.5 needles, which I do not own and have actually never seen. I may fiddle with the pattern and make the largest size with a size 1, which should bring down the gauge. The yarn is so fine that I think that making the smallest size with a size 2 needle will not yield a dense enough fabric.

I am still spinning for my Tour de Fleece project - 3/8 done and 5/8 to go!

I added a few rows to Martha's sweater this morning and have about 2" to go until I can start decreasing for the fronts. Note to self - research "3 stitch buttonhole" or decide to leave the dang thing off.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Beautiful Day

Today was an amazingly beautiful day. The weather was temperate, the wind was breezy and the air was clear. I didn't focus too much on fiber projects, but rather gave some time to other items. I took a stab at tidying up the garden by cutting back the dried out coreposis tinctora, the rosebushes and the oregano, cutting down the weeds and pulling up some wayward grasses. It looks somewhat less wild and wooly now.

I made a batch of bread and started some laundry, so I can say I did some chores.

Anne and I met for a yummy thai lunch and then spent the afternoon knitting in the park. We worked on washcloths for a while and I managed to weave in a few yarn ends on the Iron Horse shawlette after my arm started hurting from too much knitting. There were several species of birds to watch and even some groundsquirrels playing chase. I am sure we saw sparrows, starlings, black phoebes and even a robin.

Eventually it was time to come home and I am getting excited about starting my second Camp Loopy project. I am going to make some mittens with owls in the pattern in some stashed cashmere yarn. They will be a hoot! I even scared up some beads for the eyes in my lacemaking stash. Cast on starts at midnight, although I may wait until the morning. Tomorrow I go back to work so I should impose a respectable bedtime.

Good friends, good food, good weather, good knitting ... a good day.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

She's Crafty

I made lots and lots of time for fiber projects today! I spun 25 gr of merino / silk top for my Tour de Fleece project. I had forgotten how much I love to spin (luckily my hands remember) and how lovely Bosworth spindles are. Good fiber + good tools + practice = beautiful yarn.

I knit a few rows on a washcloth, but that is hardly photo-worthy. More exciting is the progress on Martha's cardigan. Iwill be able to start the shaping for the V-neck in a few inches. I had an idea to work on row of Martha's, one row of mine and finish them concurrently, but it might eat too much into my fiber time. OTOH, I might not get mine done otherwise. OTOOH, I am making two different sizes, so I should probably not get them confused.

I watched far too many shows on Netflix while working, but it beats watching shows while not working and staring at the wall doing nothing. If only I could figure out a way to play World of Warcraft while knitting!

The new box of hat yarn is in the mail (shipping to my work, this time) and I hope to have it Friday for weekend knitting. There is a skein of yarn for a pair of fingerless gloves for my aunt stowed away in it also. To round out the knitting queue, the cast on date for Camp Loopy project II is on Friday and I am making mittens for myself. The pattern is for fingerless gloves, but that is outside the parameters of the project so I will just add a mitten top. It will match my muffin top. I might make them gloves instead... but that would require both learning how to add fingers and learning how to make fingers, which might be beyond my patience at this time.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Surprise!

I get to have a mini-vacation this week, as I am off work Wednesday, Thursday and half of Friday. So many projects to work on! I think I will put some serious time into my Tour de Fleece project as I am 9 days behind already. I also want to make a dent in Martha's sweater and get that to a good stopping point so I can whip up the hat when the reordered yarn comes in.



I am loaded up with projects, but not feeling overwhelmed. I am also not suffering from "startitis" - I actually want to make the items and be finished with them more than I want the excitement of starting something new. It is an unfamiliar feeling, but a good one.



Time to tour! My goal is to turn these 4 oz of merino / silk top into a nice fingering /sport weight yarn, one ply of each. Lori Lawson at Capistrano Fiber Arts recommended the color combo and I am going to give it a try.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Content

I had a long day at work (yay, overtime!) and it was not too fraught with drama, I got a few rows added to the plum sweater at lunch today and the pet store had millet seed back in stock tonight.

Now the cat is lying next to me with his head on my arm instead of on top of my arms. It is very sweet.

Almost bedtime - leaving work at 8pm = getting home at almost 9 and suddenly the night has disappeared...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Knitting on Commission

I have been accumulating a "request" knitting list and it is very exciting! I actually do love the idea of knitting a project if someone else "sponsors" the yarn and pattern. I am juggling plans for a hat, a shawl, fingerless mitts and now a cardigan and am only feeling a little overwhelmed. Just "whelmed", maybe. I am going to make the most of the week "off" between Camp Loopy projects!

Today I started a cardigan for Martha to wear in her classroom when the a/c is blasting. I already had the pattern, we found a great yarn, and I settled in with Netflix to get in some quality knitting time today. It is jsut a baby in that picture; it is about twice as long now and I still have some knitting energy left in me.


It feels good to have my knitting mojo back. Of course, only I seem to have the urge to cover myself in wool and wool projects during the first crazy hot week of the year. Contrarians unite!

Knitting to Relax

I have had two skeins of Merino / Tencel yarn dyed by The Yarn Pirate in the stash for quite some time. I love merino/tencel blends for their softness and sheen. Either one of these would look fabulous as socks, but after the fun I had knitting the (far too small) Iron Horse shawl, I got the idea to alternate the two.

First I make a yarn "cake" out of the Icicle colorway. It is a lovely blue - dark blue - white - gray colorway that reminds me of my parakeet, Skye. Snowy walks, gray gravelly drives, bright blue sky, ah, white winters back east.
This is the Butternut skein, with brown, yellow-green, dark brown and bright orange. It is everything I love about Autumn (and I love just about everything about Autumn!).


The two little yarn cakes, ready to be knit into something wonderful. I am quite a ways into the shawl now - it goes quite fast with largeish (for me) yarn and size 4 needles. The fabric is soft, smooth and has a lovely drape. I am not entirely sure if I like the way the stripes are lining up, but I like the idea of blending the seasons so I will keep at it.


Now the only difficult descision left is: do I use the blue or the orange colorway for the edging lace?

Friday, July 08, 2011

Pissed Office

No box of yarn on my doorstep today... but a delivery confirmation on the USPS website. I am furious.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

End of the Line


My first Camp Loopy project is done! It is pinned out on my bed, blocking and drying. First I gave it a good soak and rinse and put fresh sheets on the bed. Bingo is my self appointed sheet monitor, and made sure everything was ready for me to begin pinning out the damp shawl.

Drying as fast as the fan will go. It is very tiny, but very pretty. I could definitely make this again (in a larger size). I might even go wild and use the needles the pattern asks for!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Swimming in Music

I have been soaking in Scottish folk tunes since yesterday. My current obsession is "Cam Ye O'er Frae France" most famously by Steeleye Span and covered by Highland Way last night. I just want to drown in the sound. The picture is boring, but the sound... oh the sound.


...and to keep up the fiber content

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Highland Way

I went to the Redlands Bowl tonight to see a night of Scottish Music; I thought it would be primarily piping. My first clue that something might be "up" was the fact that the parking lots were full and the place was jam-packed. The opening perfomance was a pipe and drum band, but the feature was a more modern band called Highland Way . They are quite good! There were some original songs, some Dougie McLean covers (will I ever stop calling him Dougie McDougal?), some traditional tunes and even a Steeleye Span song *swoon*. Oh, and a cover of the Proclaimers. Mmmm, Proclaimers. I thoroughly enjoyed singing along and knitting away.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Into the Final Lap

I have managed to make good progress on my Iron Horse shawl this afternoon, although I spent much of the day playing around online. It goes fast when I knit it. I had some minor mistakes but am just *cough*fixing*cough* them as I go along instead of ripping out rows and rows and rows. For some reason the lace seems to go faster than the stockinette rows did; perhaps I am paying more attention. Or maybe it is all those K2tog and SKP stitches eating up the mileage.

The illegal fireworks are really starting to pick up now and the younger dog is hiding under the desk. The older one surely can't hear the booms and bangs over the sound of her own snoring. The doors and windows are secured anyway. Not 20 minutes ago I saw a pitbull flying up the middle of the 7 lane street in front of my house; running away from the noise, I assume. Hmm, I should turn on the light in the birdroom so they are less distressed by the noise.

The new Camp Loopy project is socks or mittens or gloves with cables and the cast on date it 7/15. I found a free pattern for some cute socks with owls on them and have resolved to use some more stash yarn, although I have not gone stash diving in search of the perfect skein. I wavered for a moment (I still have some Christmas Present Credit at The Loopy Ewe), but managed to come to my senses when the cat sneezed on my arm. His vet trip comes before new yarn.

I signed up for the Tour de Fleece, but as I have have now missed the first 3 days entirely, I am giving up. Stick to my knitting, that is the plan.

Whew. The house is starting to release all the heat it soaked up during the day. It might be time for another dip in the tub *brrrr*

The Dreaming Time

With the advent of HOT HOT HOT HOT this weekend, I am up more (and more lively) in the middle of the night, it seems! A much better day was had today.

Unfortunately, the day did not contain much knitting. I think tomorrow I will find a coffeeshop or such and enjoy some air conditioned knitting time.

Happy Day Off!

Sunday, July 03, 2011

July 2 - still

I am aware the clock says July 3, but I am still awake and I am counting this as Saturday's post. It has been a long day (even with a nap in the middle), as I was up at 4am and it is now 1am.

Harlequin was safely delivered to his new home in Temecula and he was busy snuggling with his new person within 5 minutes.

I am still feeling depressed, frustrated, short tempered, angry and generally hopeless.... so I will call it a night.



Edited to add a picture of my sweet Harley bird... now Russ' sweet Harley bird! He is the one on the left. He and his siblings are all turning 1 year old this weekend!

Friday, July 01, 2011

Oops

I was reading the pattern for my current shawl project and realized that the needle size bears no relation to the size the pattern recommends. Fabulous. I could have used needles that I already had instead of going bonkers that I needed new ones AND it would be the proper size instead of suspiciously small.

I will just block the holy hell out of it.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Limit

No. I am not doing a Tour de Fleece challenge. I am already overloaded. And with that in mind, I had better get moving on my shawl knitting.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Frabjous Day


  • Went to the Redlands Bowl and heard wonderful music

  • Visited with Anne

  • Got in some knitting time and finished a washcloth

  • Snuggled the cockatiel who is going to a new home

  • Finally put that check in the bank

  • Drank quantities of coffee

  • Did not run out of gas on the way home

Monday, June 27, 2011

Overdrive

Somehow I went from "oh yes, I used to knit" to having a shawl & a washcloth on the needles with a pair of fingerless mitts and a chemo cap in the 'urgent' queue. Of course, there is still That Scottish Shawl to finish, a sweater to seam, a sweater that only needs an edging, a cardigan in progress, two half finished shawls and the Irtfa'a project in the UFO collection. And that pair of socks I started this spring.

Perhaps the pendulum is swinging too far the other way, but for now, I like it.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Snuggles & Sociability

I managed to get out of the house to day and be sociable. We gardened in the morning (RIP, beanstalk), I joined my guild for a little WoW time, I chatted with the parakeet and I met my friend in Redlands for an afternoon of knitting and parrot snuggling.

It was nice to sit and knit with someone else - haven't done too much of that since my knitting store closed almost a year ago. I noticed a dropped stitch in my Iron Horse shawl about 8 rows down and have st it aside for the moment. I just need to remember where I put the tiny crochet hook (I swear I just had it) and pull the stitch up the work , squeezing it into the existing rows. Part of me can't believe I missed that glaring error and part of me says, well if you are going to work while you are tired, you are going to have errors. It is an easy fix and I will be done with this soon, I hope.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Expectations

Maybe, instead of berating myself that I have not gotten anything done this week and fell asleep after one row of knitting today, I should take into consideration the midnight - 4:30 am time slot I chose for sleeping, three days in a row.

In other news, I did get one row of knitting put on my Camp Loopy shawl today before I caved in to exhaustion.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Mixed Blessing

A very handsome plant volunteered at my friend's house this spring. I begged for it to stay and it got more handsome and more interesting as it grew, and grew, and grew. They twit me about "the beanstalk" as it is obviously some kind of weed, and somehow they have humored me until it is about 8' tall. Last week it flowered. This week I can see the little pods forming where the blossoms were and it struck me yesterday what this ugly duckling must be... a pokeweed Phytolacca americana. Um... oops.
The good news is that it is a vegetable (kindof) and makes a stain that can be used for ink, paint or fabric dye. The bad news is that just about every part is poisonous and it will need to be removed from the vegetable garden before the dog starts nibbling it. Maybe that is why she has been so quiet this week?

It must have arrived in the garden via the droppings of the birds that visit the feeder. I will have to spend tomorrow taking it out and having a farewell service. I wonder how to get some seeds...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Haiku Thursday

Today I cat sat,
good job! But for my own?
Forgot the cat food.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

More Progress


I have hit the long slog of the stockinette portion of Iron Horse. It is also starting to get heavy and hurt my hands; the 90 minute knitting session last night made my thumb numb. I remembered that pain was one reason I curtailed my knitting so drastically a couple years ago.


But here we are, at repeat 21 of 26 sets of stripes...

...and it still looks like a blob. It is going to be too big to photograph soon... I am about maxed out on needle room. It is month end at work this week and I am catsitting, but I think I can get to the lace portion by Sunday. The due date is 7/15 or before, so I should have plenty of time.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Not Making a Choice...

I have been sitting here for 45 minutes, full of excitement at having an evening to indulge my hobbies. Shall I read? Knit on one of several projects? Play with the pets? Play WoW?

Apparently I will hit refresh on Ravelry and suddenly wonder where the night has gone.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Getting Excited

I am thoroughly enjoying Camp Loopy. It kindof sucks that I am broke, but thankfully there is stash yarn of good quality to knit through. I have been knitting - and enjoying it - and chatting on Ravelry quite a bit this week. I love seeing all the new patterns that are out there now, all the wonderful projects and color combinations that people have in progress, and get a kick out of the role-playing about being at camp that my cabin mates have embraced whole heartedly.

These are my peeps. This is my passion.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Pulling into the Station

My Iron Horse shawl is coming along nicely. The picture isn't very good, but the project is pleasant and the yarn is heavenly.

I couldn't get much knitting done this weekend due to an overnight trip to Ramona and a day working in the garden, but I really turned up the energy today and have made great progress. I am still concerned about a yarn shortage, but then I remember that lace gets blocked.


I have been keeping up with the Cabin 3 posts on Ravelry and it has been great fun to see what everyone else is up to.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Good Tired

Off line yesterday and today due to a sleepover / gardening party. I packed up the dog and scampered down to my friend's rural property. We chatted about old times, new times and future times, had yummy snacks, pulled a gazillion weeds, uncovered a long-forgotten garden path, identified birds and lizards, watched my dog chase peacocks and brazenly dig dog wallows right in the yard and flower bed and generally enjoyed the day. It felt really nice to get out in the open, as opposed to my urban home and cubicle workplace.

No pictures, for I am a dummy. Sorry.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Possibilities

I was reading in bed last night (the dog woke me up at 3:30 and I could not get back to sleep, when I came across a passage that rocked me.


"Sam noted that she had only told Georgette the same things she'd told Annie -- that she was smart and strong and could do anything she wanted to do. That she was beautiful and lovable and someday she'd find the right someone to love her as she deserved" - The Four Corners of the Sky, p 101.


I wondered, what would my life be like now if anyone had ever told me that? Would I be confident, successful, popular, loved? I have sort of a vague idea that parents are "supposed to" support their children, but never had any idea how that actually would get applied. I guess now I have an inkling, and I feel cheated.


I've heard the phrase 'it's never too late to have a happy childhood' bandied about, but I can't see it. The concept / idea / expectation that there is someone to depend on, to encourage, support or comfort me no matter what or when is completely absent.


Do I know how to proceed? No. The most appealing option is to sharpen the resentment to a fine point, but that will only cut me. Try to go back and ask for a frame of love and affection? Too little too late. I suspect only French Vanilla ice cream has the answer, for now.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Knitting on the Iron Horse

Quite good progress for a morning's knitting today. It feels good to have yarn in the hands again. Techniques are coming back to me slowly, so I am glad ths is an easy and forgiving project. My major success was working out / remembering how to carry the off color yarn up the side of the work. I wasn't too sure about pink and green together (I keep having flashbacks to 1987), but I think they are working really well. They are also slightly variegated, which adds a lot of visual interest.

I seriously despair that I will have enough yarn, but I always feel that way at the beginning of a lace project.

Break time is over - back to the salt mines!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Gearing Up

This morning I whetted my knitting mojo by surfing Ravelry for a pattern and winding two balls of yarn for my Camp Loopy project.

This evening I kept up the pace with an evening of washcloth knitting (for fun and profit) and movie watching. It feels good to have yarn in my hands again.

It is nice to be snuggled in grandma's rocking chair, headphones on, an evening that is not too hot nor too cool and no kitties walking back and forth in front of the screen.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Camping - the Knitterly Way

I am signing up to participate in Camp Loopy this summer and getting excited about knitting again. Interestingly, my aunt requested a shawl to take to Mass to ward off the air conditioning so now I have might have a new home for my Camp project already lined up!I purchased this yarn a couple years ago for a different project (sorry Karen) but I think it will work well for the challenge - a two color project. I was surprised to find three skeins, and I am sure I can do a lot more with 555 yards than I could have with 370.

I am still mulling over my project options. Stripes seem boring, but I haven't found a pretty pattern that is also free. The one I truly adore, Catkin, is $6. That is a perfectly reasonable price, but I will have to wait a bit before I can justify it.


I washed and blocked the alpaca scarf today (pictures when it is fully dry and finished), wove off the last of the huck lace warp, will wet finish that tonight and am knitting washcloths furiously to restock the soap booth supply box. I am nearly out of my favorite yarn; I will have to "interview" new cotton yarns and find a steady supplier. I remembered this morning that I work 3 miles from one of the largest yarn stores in a two county area and will make a pilgrimage there next week.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Subliminal

I had a dream last night that I was dating the dad from "Billy Elliot" and also that I was in the tornado that struck Joplin, MO.

I don't know what that means, but it was actually a pretty nice dream.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

The Work of my Hands - Teaser Post

I have actually made some knitting progress in the last 24 hours. Last night I finished a "broken rib" scarf made of alpaca yarn that I dyed some time ago and then today at lunch I finished a cotton washcloth. The washcloths get made in spare time and go into the "soap for sale" box so there will be some when I have a gig.

It felt good to knit and it felt better to have some finished goods. I have to wash and block the scarf and will get some pictures posted soon. The only drawback was that I the book I am reading (_The Two Towers-) requires both hands to hold it open, so I was not able to knit & read at the same time. I will bring a different book tomorrow as I add some rows to the sock-in-progress.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Payoffs

I took a break from frantically weaving some small hand towels (for sale) to check the bank balance and budget spreadsheet... and found that I had missed a deposit and am suddenly in the black $90. That is dog & bird food for the month and gas money for a week. Let that be a lesson to double check my work.

In separate news, I am trying to watch all the movies in my Netflix queue before shutting off the service and finally saw "Billy Elliot". Why oh why did I wait so long? It was just wonderful! Another lesson: if I think a movie sounds good, maybe it is worth watching and not avoiding.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Chillaxin'

Today was my "Sunday" since I worked on Saturday. Played on the computer, stared out the window, brushed one cat and two dogs, put in some laundry, read some of _The Two Towers_ and made a little lunch.

Oh, and had a dream that I was working at NPR and sneaking around the theater for the Academy Awards in places I shouldn't be.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Dog Days

I have been considering for a while now whether I will get another dog after Sunny and Dozer pass away. They are getting up there and you know I like to think about things for years before making a decision (and then rush into it after all, but I digress). I love my dogs but aside from chase the cats and keep me company on late night car rides, they don't really do anything. On the other hand, I can't really envision life without one. I guess they are useful as an icebreaker in public settings and a cheap alarm system. I realized this morning that while I often think of getting a new dog when these two are gone, I have never considered what I would do if one died and one was still going strong. That knocked me for a loop. Since I adopted Sunny to be Sophie's companion (1998), I have always had at least two dogs. These two don't really interact with each other, but they aren't antagonistic. Will Dozer be lonely if Sunny dies? Will he notice? There are still cats to chase and frankly, I think he considers himself one of the clowder.

There are several breeds of dog I would like to try - flat coated retreiver, borzoi, dachshund, husky et al, and several I would like to avoid, but if they live as long as Sunny has, I won't have enough years to try them all. And I am deifinitely done puppy-raising. One was enough to put me off that task forever!

We may find out the answer to these questions sooner rather than later because if Dozer doesn't stop humping the cat while I am trying to type I may have to kill him. Argh.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

The Last Samurai

I finished The Last Samurai last night and it was absolutely heartrending. This is no relation to the movie of the same name (which I love and adore and may watch later tonight), but rather a somewhat bizarre story of a brilliant young woman raising a genius child and earning their way by transcribing back issues of Carpworld and Aquarium Fish Hobbyist. Their main hobby is watching The Seven Samurai ad infinitum.

Her introduction of the Greek alphabet and the first level (?) of Japanese kanji are worth the read all by themselves, and I am finally intrigued by the idea of learning classical Greek. I love books and authors who reference other books, which she does in spades, but through the filter of Sibylla it is more interesting than just dry footnotes and margin scribbles.

I loved the way the story seemed to jump about, but always picked up its loose ends. I loved the characters of Sibylla and Ludo and the strength of the bond between them. There are passages hilarious, tedious, moving and illuminating all. I was just along for the ride until the last couple of chapters, when things took a crazy left turn and everything came into focus. Ludo does find his father, but I think that he learns that the relationship that is most worth saving is the one he has with his mother.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Day at the Demo

Yesterday I spent the day demonstrating spinning and weaving with the No Idle Hands group. Cleverly, I managed to forget to have someone take a picture of me! But here is the view from my loom. There were spinners, knitters, someone was making bobbin lace, another woman was grinding grain, a fellow was cutting and sewing a waistcoat and two ladies had their lucets in use. The gentle arts were well represented.

It was a very pretty day and I had a good time. I was a little overwhelmed with new people and was not the chattiest me, but I got out there and that is a start. I brought the table loom and worked on the little huck lace tea towels for a while and fielded lots of weaving questions. I often demonstrate spinning and know all the answers to the usual cadre of questions, but I do not have a weaving "patter" yet and was at a loss for words several times. It will get easier with practice, I am sure. My least favorite question is surely 'but it is so complicated, I will never understand'. I just want to shake them and say, but just look and listen and pay attention instead of saying I can't and you may surprise yourself!

Anne and I went on walkabout to see the rest of the fair and to visit with the other spinning group who was there. I got out the distaff, spindle and grey corriedale roving and we were quite a hit. I even knew one of the Riverside Spinners from a Riverspinners event several years ago. It is a small spinning world.

We were right next to the Gentlemen Adventurers (a sword-fighting group) and it was very interesting to see their gear and watch their demos and displays of weaponry and skills.

Set up was a little disorganized (I am not used to bringing a loom and had no idea how to lay out my space), but tear down was quick and worry free. We were home at a decent hour and barely sunburned at all.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Weaving a Life

Feeling better today. I walked the dogs for a couple blocks last night (the old one is so slow that any further is not possible) and promptly slept for twelve hours.

I spent some time weaving yesterday; I have run through all the samples in my sampler and began a small tea towel. So far, so good. If I stop for too long, the cats sleep on the castle and I am stuck, as it is a jack loom. I was also pleased with myself for fixing my threading error.

Walked Dozer to the store and got some staples; flour, sugar (for bread), spaghetti, yogurt, cereal, bananas. This is my life. Gas is down to $3.99 at the corner gas station - I will have to swing by there later. Luckily the parakeets have resigned themselves to eating pelleted food, as I am out of budgie seed.

I don't know why I am happier today, but being a 5 instead of an 8 or 9 on the depression scale is much more pleasant. Maybe I will take Beaker out to the porch today for some fresh air and I will read to him.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

8 on a Scale of 10

Finally had to get up (at 4:30)(am) after an hour in bed worrying & trying to think of things to sell. If ever there was a time I needed a tune up at the shrink, this is it. But there is no money for copays or meds or even vet visits for the pests. Er, pets.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sensibility

I thought I had died and gone to nerd heaven last night when I watched "Sense & Sensibility" (1995) for the first time last night. All my acting pets were in it (Emma, Hugh, Imelda, Aunt Agatha, etc) and it was funny, touching and beautiful together. In fact, I may go watch it for the third time right now.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Overwhelmed

As you may have noticed, I am... mercurial. So far this week has been full of unnecessary and self-imposed stress over things that should have been better planned months ago. Bleh.

Walked the dogs last night and gave Sunny another grooming session (she is not a big fan). I found a very suspicious lump under one of her teats. This was not an old dog warty thing or a friendly fatty tumor. This feels... bad. Really bad. Going to have to put the dog to sleep bad. I will have to ply her with bits of banana and pieces of chicken more often. Food is love, as we all know.

It is month-end at work, and seems to be decently busy this month. Overtime = $$$ and I won't say no to that.

Time to stare at the loom for a while as if I am going to weave and then go to bed early. 5:30 wake up call is harder than it seems.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Warp Speed

I finally decided to warp up the loom for a sampler. I measured out the warp the other day, but finally had a good chunk of time today to get the warping done in one shot (little weaving joke there). I want to make some huck lace dishtowels and figured I should make a sampler first to better understand the construction of the different kinds of huck lace patterns.The loom with the warp chains wrapped around the front beam, the reed sleyed and the heddle threading in progress. My loom is an 8 harness. I am using harnesses 1-4 for the pattern threads and 5 -6 for the tabby borders / selvedge. The heddles are threaded (I only had to rethread half due to an error), the warp is attached to the back beam and the warp is beamed. Spacers in back courtesy of Trader Joe and his paper grocery sacks. Same stage, view from the back. Threads are going obediently over the back beam.



Front beam is tied on, warp threads have been adjsuted for tension and knots secured. Oddly, I had a vast difference from R to L with the length of the warp threads. I am not sure if this is due to bad tension while beaming, or if I used different pegs to wind the two warp chains. Note to self - mark your pegs next time.The pattern cloth has begun! The green yarn is just to space out the warp threads evenly. The cloth so far is one repeat each of the first two lace patterns in the sampler - weft floats in block A (tabby block B) and weft floats in block B (tabby block A).

I was cursing the textbook for putting the treadling in the center of the book, making it difficult to follow, but I just remembered I have a copy machine and I can fix that problem. Now to find a speedy way to wind bobbins and I will be zooming merrily along.


Total processing time? About three and a half hours steady work. It took about an hour longer than that, but I was not moving very fast and also watching a movie.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Impediment

This is why I hardly play WOW anymore.

Also, I have discovered that if I don't spend the night in the bird room on the computer, I don't have 30 minute coughing fits the next day. Definitely time for an air filter in here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Stuck

Can't go to the gym until the clothes are clean. Unfortunately I forgot to put in some soap and have to send them through the cycle again. Grrr.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Busy Weekend

I made it out to the Renaissance Faire yesterday. I stocked up on incense, bought a new pair of scissors, saw the Moonie Show:and generally had a good time. I saw the (new) queen in her court and out on walkies, Spun some yarn in the guildyard, ate a potato and got amazingly dusty. However, I was cute as a button and sunburn-free. I took the walking stick that I use as a distaff and got lots of attention. Few re-enactors use a distaff nowadays, so it creates interest with participants as well as the public. I also managed to get some spinning done while "on the move".

Friday I visited with some faire friends and discovered that I love dachshunds. They are in the running for the next dog I get (if any) after mine kick their buckets. That night I saw "As You Like It" at the Redlands bowl. It is enacted with a Wild West theme, and was loooooong. It made "Titus Andronicus" look much better in comparison. Next week "Leading Ladies" opens at Redlands Footlighters and I think I will waddle by and check it out.

Today I wound some warp to make a huck lace sampler and had the cockatiels out for walkies. Mustardseed really is just the sweetest thing ever. She has the sweet temper of her granddam Dante (my first cockatiel). The newest babies (3 months old now) are very much still in the sassy-pants stage, although clipping their wings last week has begun to change their outlook. Back to the weaving - I want to make a set of huck lace distowels, but think I will do the smart thing and work up a sampler of the different patterns to get accustomed to the concept. I am using "The Best of Weaver's: Huck Lace" as my guide. It has been in the library for a year and needs to earn its keep at some point! The warp is wound and the loom is in the other room calling to me. Now, if only I remember how to warp!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Faire Day

I am off to the Renaissance Faire this morning with Anne and Celeste. I have my clothes, my spinning, a pass, money for parking and my tankard. Go team. It is a little overcast, but that should help keep the heat down. If it can keep the dust down too, more's the better, as I just had th car washed yesterday after its oil change.



This week has been full of friends & visiting - Thursday I went to yoga, then out to dinner & a play with friends. Yesterday was more friends visiting and another play. Today is faire all day and tomorrow is gardening. I am going to need a vacation to recover from my vacation!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Cinco de Birthday

I am a little surprised that I am still awake! But I am fading fast, so only a quick post tonight. It was a wonderful day to turn 36 - friends, well wishes, cake, presents, confetti, more cake, sitting in the car at lunch reading LOTR with my feet out the window, dinner, beer and cat fur. OK the car fur in the mouth from the cat walking on the compuer desk was not that great.

It was just as much fun as the party at the knitting store last year. How I long for the knitting store to return! Sigh.

Suddenly Soaping

I rose early today *cough4:30cough* and it is finally cool enough to start some soap. Between the hundred degree weather and the wave of depression earlier in the week, I have not been able to get much accomplished. But I am feeling better today and things are looking up. The birds are chirping, the dogs are dogging, the cats are being aloof. All is normal.

Not much new knitting progress but I am still reading voraciously; _The Fellowship of the Ring_ is right here next to me.

Today is Cinco de Birthday at the Pickyknitter household and I have been considering new goals for the upcoming year. More weaving? Preparing an item to go to the fair? Joining a gym? Committing to more soap and fiber festivals and moving back toward full time soap? Washing the dog? So many options. For today I will go to work and be cheerful, then come home and have a birthday beer with friends (and soap delivery, if the weather holds).

Monday, May 02, 2011

Mayday

Sorry I missed posting on Beltane! It was a beautiful day and I enjoyed it thoroughly. There was gardening time in the morning, returning the bird time & stuffing myself with loquats in the afternoon and watching "LOtR" in the evening. The cat was rescued from the garage, I cooked some dinner, did some cat food / people food / bird food / gasoline shopping and washed up a bunch of laundry. I even cleaned out all the drawers of my bureau and freshened them with lavender and cleaned off grandma's dressing table. Now it looks lovely with just a lamp and a picture.

Today it was back to work and as usual the afternoon stressed me out. I feel particularly bad for one notary whose signing took up most of 3 days by the time it was over... so much that I cried on the way home. I think I needed more coffee. Or even some coffee, as the office is out and I forgot mine at home.

Tonight the cockatiels are all on walkabout / flapabout and the dogs are barking at everything that moves. Now Harlequin is on my shoulder begging for head scritches and nibbling my ear. How can such little birds be so sweet?

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sitting Pretty

I have been parrot sitting this week and it has been wonderful. The 5:30 am "Hell-ohhhhh" is adorable and she even called out "Hey, hon" when I was in another room. I see now why greys are so popular.

I finished _Dracula_ at long, long last and it moved pretty fast - for the last three pages at least. I also finished listening to an audio book lecture series called "History of Fantasy" and that was good fun for a week of commuting. My 'to read' list is much longer now! Many of his observations had me saying, yes, yes, that is obvious, but there were a few very good points I had not considered before. I am still reading The Last Samurai (not related to the movie) and finished a quick teen novel that was a free download. A brain-expanding week!

Also keeping me entertained during parrot snuggling time were some movies - "The King's Speech", "Jeeves & Wooster, season 4" and "The Last Samurai" (yes, that one). "TKS" was particularly excellent - I think it will earn a place in my drawer of movies next to "Gosford Park".

Not much to report in the home garden. A weeding / pruning / harvesting / deadheading day needs to be arranged post-haste. The tomato is growing, the lavender is blooming, the sunflowers are opening, the lettuces are bolting... spring has sprung.

Knit a few rows on a simple scarf while listening to the audio book before work / at luch, but still no serious knitting progress to report. The knitting mojo is still gone; it's going on two years now. I have thought about pulling out a cross stitch project of an evening, but haven't made any actual progress. Same for weaving - I stare at cones of yarn but do not approach the warping board. The cats are pleased with my increased petting schedule, however.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Slogging...

I am still reading _Dracula_. How anyone ever finished this book, much less encouraged enough other people to read it to make it a "classic", is beyond me.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Speedy Sunday

Where did the day go?! It seems I was just zipping over to gardening day at Martha's. I brought home a tomato for my garden, but did not get as far as planting it today. There will be time before work tomorrow.

Groceries, tv, nap, free flight time for the cockatiels and suddenly it was 7pm. Whew! I took some excedrin for a massive headache and now it is 10pm and I am wide awake and ready to go. Fabulous.

This evening I am making a little progress on a handwoven pouch and flipping through my book on huck lace with an eye to weaving up some dishowels for sale. There has to be a way to rig up my swift (which is missing its clamp) so that I can wind off some warp tomorrow. I am also pondering a way to make a single (huge) cone of 1ply into a useable 3 or 4 ply... I see a lot of re-winding in my future. Aha! I just looked to my right and found the two cones of white cotton 8/2 that I was missing. Someday I will get all the weaving yarns in the same place.

A nice hot day today - which serves as an incentive to get the windows & screens in good order so I can get some breezes in the evenings.

Just in Time

I am still awake from Saturday, so I am counting this as a Saturday post. So there! Another quiet day today... work from 6am to 3pm, home, read, nap, computer time. I didn't get any chores tackled but will apply myself tomorrow.

Might even go wild and pick up my sock knitting for a change!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Week in Review

Taxes done? Check! Refund coming my way, even.

Chores tackled? Check! Well, I am putting more energy into them at least. It seems that the more I do, the more I see that needs to be done. But the trash and the recycling went out this morning, I did some weeding in the yard today and I didn't run out of gas once all week.

Knitting done? Not so much.

Cats snuggled? Check!

Inquiry made about the path to home ownership? Check! The path is long but I have a savings goal. Now, to save that amount before house prices triple. Again.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spring is for Weaving

I added a new weaving blog to the sidebar - Blossom Merz - for your enjoyment. His work is quite lovely and his posts about the process of starting a viable commercial weaving business from the ground up are enlightenting and encouraging. It is a lot of work, but he has vision, a plan and persistence. It is paying off! You may have seen him and his work last year at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire or run across his Etsy store. Do click over and visit!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wednesday Update

I have really been slacking in the "post every day" department.

Things are okay but not very exciting this week. I have a surprise day off of work tomorrow and about 345 things I would like to do with it. Options include doing my taxes, going to the beach, washing the dogs, scrubbing the house, cashing in some cans, weaving like a maniac, sleeping all day or being glued to the computer.

I have been spending more time each day in the "bird room" (I moved the computer in here several months ago so I can interact with them more), and have noticed a reduction in my lung capacity / increase in my fits of coughing in the morning. It may be time to look into getting an air filter / HEPA unit. Cockatiels are dusty birds, all right!

I am still reading _Dracula_ and watching "Jeeves and Wooster" in spare moments. Fry & Laurie are comedy gold.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Treading Water

Budget worries are still uppermost in my mind, I am sorry to say. It's all I think about all day, so it is hard to avoid talking or posting about it. When I don't have money I feel ashamed and worthless because I don't earn enough to get by, and when I do have money I feel embarrassed and that I don't deserve it. Let's not even venture into the land of asking for help. People keep telling me I am not a bad person because I earn a low wage, but having things and eating food are a huge part of our identity as Americans. Hours are being cut at work and it seems like every day I find out that someone else is not absent, they got laid off. It is scary and worrisome and I can't put it out of my mind that if the company does not do well, we might literally be out of a job. Naturally worrying makes my performance suffer, which makes me worry more ... you can see where that is going to lead. I will have to take some nice, distracting pictures of the garden to substitute as blog posts for a while.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Move Along

... nothing to see here. Depressed today.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Little Steps

Today has been a day for this-and-that. A little coffee, a little gardening, a little weaving, a little web surfing, a little cleaning, a little TV, a little laundry, a little reading... you get the idea. Saw the snuggliest house for sale down the street from me. 3 bdr / 1 ba, built in 1925, 1K sq feet on a corner lot. There is even a walled in porch / mudroom / birdroom / catio! I am obsessed and yet it is pretty much a hopeless dream. The baby cockatiels are just about weaned and Valentine(a)(0) is just about ready for his new home. I have hit maximum cockatiel density. The ringneck is on my shoulder supervising this post and one of the budgies is still on walkabout after cage cleaning day. Hopefully she will just fly back in later... catching her is a real bear. I am still reading. I finished _The Moonstone_ and it was pretty satisfying by the end. Right now I am reading a very odd book called _Bone Rattler_ that is set in the Colonies about 10 years after Culloden. Martha recommended a book called _For The Win_ which is about video games - that is next on the list.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Whoopsie

I seem to have fallen asleep at prime blogging time every day this weekend. It was not my intention to leave you alone this long! Saturday I had work in the morning, Sunday was a day for gardening and Monday was a day for washing the dog and ripping out weeds from my own garden. Whee.
I managed a little knitting:

And am getting to "the good part" of _The Moonstone_. Who, how and why have been revealed... I am looking forward to where!
The baby cockatiels are feathered and the bigger one is starting to take some flying lessons. Soon he will be ready to move on!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday Night Post

Just a quickie today - I have an early bedtime & an early wakeup call. Read some more of my book, knit some more of the sock, snuggled some more wee birdies.

There was a terrible earthquake & tsunami in Japan today (yesterday, their time) which had a watery effect all the way out here. I am watching news videos of the event and Beaker is laughing hysterically. It is very odd. The owner of the company I work for had a 3am wake up call in Hawaii (where he is on vacation) this morning - to evacuate. That's a memory.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I Love My Rut!

I knit a few rows on the Ostara socks at lunch today while reading _The Moonstone_, and tonight came home and snuggled the birdies. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Three weeks!

The new baby cockatiels are three weeks old this week, and want to crow about it. The bigger one looks like he is yodelling while his sister watches. I don't actually know if the grey is a male or female, but the cinnamon is a female, as it is a sex-linked gene. Her name is all picked out - Primrose. Teasing and tail pulling - siblings are the same in all species, I guess. I can hardly believe how big his wings have gotten in the past week. Once the feathers start to come in, watch out! In this picture, you can just barely see the very dark spot under the wings - that is the "breast meat" or flying muscles (pectorals, I assume). The stripe of white feathers on his side (not on the wing) is down. My favorite thing about the babies is their stubby little tail.

They are both perching, flapping, stretching, standing on their feet (instead of balancing on their bellies), preening and tottering around. The grey will be up for adoption / sale in a month or so (when they are weaned). I handle them every day and they are sweet, calm and outgoing. The gray (if a male) is split for pied, cinnamon, pearl and whiteface. If it is a female, she is split for pied and whiteface. He is really, really dark gray and very well feathered (unlike his sister who has quite the bald spot!).

No sock knitting today, but I did knit a little on a pair of wristwarmers and tackled a few more pages of _The Moonstone_ at lunch. Long days at work for the remainder of the week, but that is means more overtime so I will roll with it. Tonight's entertainments included cleaning the rabbit cage & clipping nails. And parrot snuggling, of course!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

On Being a Knitter

You know you are finally a Knitter when you see that the sock is far too wide when it is only 4 inches long and rip it all the way back to the toe, instead of trying to convince yourself it is fine, and that you are just out of practice gauging how big they should be compared to store bought socks.

The spring sock was far too wide and now it is a little less wide... I hope. I ripped it back before work and started it back up again at lunch. I even managed to get in a few pages of _The Moonstone_ today. I had actually forgotten I was reading it and had moved on to _Anna Karenina_.

There is just time for a few more rows before bed if I sign off now!

Monday, March 07, 2011

Ding!

Well I had a nice happy post planned and then was reminded that I forgot to go to knitting night tonight. Darn it! I will make myself a reminder for next week.

Otherwise I had a quiet day. There was some computer time, some birdy snuggling and the cat wars over the prime sleeping spot. I woke up at 5:30 am with a massive headache, made some coffee to try to stem it, then gave up and walked the dog to the pharmacy at 7 in the morning to get some Excedrin. After an hour or so I felt much better, and the early morning air was brisk and refreshing. It rained during the night and all was clean and shiny.

Hit level 85 on my main in WoW today and was reminded who my real (on line) friends are. I think I have finally landed in a nice guild. I haven't had a lot of time in game lately and it felt nice to chat and joke around and make some progress.

Progress in real life included cooking and pet care and doing dishes. Yippee. Back to work tomorrow, rested and cheerful.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Socks for Ostara

I started some new socks last night with the remainder of the purple bamboo / nylon yarn from the purple fingerless mitts and a ball (or "cake") of a pink / purple / green sugar cane yarn that has been marinating in the stash. The colors are not a perfect match, but I think that purple for the toes and heels and springy stripey for the main part of the sock will be very nice. I was blog surfing the other day and this post from Franklin gave me the idea to use a solid color to make the special yarn go further. I can hardly believe I have never tried it before. After the ribbed & cabled mitts and the broken rib scarf I have as my emergency knitting, it feels good to be knitting stockinette again!

Spent some time today gardening at Martha's and then gardening at home. I declared it "death to dandelions" day and had quite a tidy stack by the end. There are still quite a few left in my yard, but I was out of steam. Long hours at work, darkness when I leave and come home and a staggering amount of rain this season has really given them a head start on me. The coreopsis has started blooming and that is always a cheery sight to return home to. I need to get some white yarn spun so that I can use last year's flower heads as a yellow dye. I can't think of any yellow garments I need, but that really isn't the point.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Afterthought

I promise to return to your regularly scheduled knitting blog tomorrow. Really!!

Stocked Up

Well... I had a bad night after I looked at my direct deposit, then at my budget spreadsheet, then back, then back again... you get the idea. It is going to be another skimpy month.

However, I have:
  • paid the rent
  • put gas in the car
  • bought pet food
  • bought groceries

in that order, and am feeling a little better. I moved over every last penny from savings, and I will still need gas money for next week, but I don't feel like bursting into tears every moment now. I am thinking about putting all the groceries on dart board and playing mix & match meals for the next two weeks :)

Things should start to get sunnier if it stays busy at work and we get some overtime. And if gas goes back down under $3.90 / gal. For a woman who drives 250 miles / week or more, that adds up fast, no matter how conservatively I drive.

I have all day Sunday and Monday to relax and do some weeding in the garden. I am thinking of taking my $4 in cash and buying a tomato and a 6 pack of strawberries for the garden tomorrow at the nursery. Let's hear it for home grown food!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Stressed

I am really tired of running out of money 10 days before the end of the month! I am sick of oatmeal, of spaghetti, p b & j sandwiches and more oatmeal. Economizing is one thing, but this is ridiculous!

On the other hand, the lights are on, the car runs, the house is snug and dry, the pets are fed and the bathwater runs hot. And I have all the stash yarn a woman could want.

The baby birdies came out for some playtime tonight - the little one looks far smaller than she should, for only being 2 days younger. They are getting feathers, the eyes are open and they are starting to be sassy. They can walk and squawk and stand up and flap their little naked wings. They are both very sweet and handleable.

Work has been alternately dead and busy... there are more changes coming down the pike but as long as I have a cubicle of my own i will be happy.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Harlequin

Little Harlequin was baby 4 of the clutch hatched last July. Here he is just about one month old, with no name and barely able to perch on my hand. I thought he was a female until he was 6 months old. I also thought he was quiet, shy and retiring! Here he is in early February of this year. His baby feathers (light gray brown and striped) are being replaced rather haphazardly with adult feathers (charcoal gray and solid). His stripey baby tailfeathers are also growing in a solid light gray and his face is molting into the male cockatiel mask of yellow feathers. It is harder to see in this photo (about 2 weeks later), but he is about 80% done molting into his adult plumage and is starting to lose the "harlequin" look that finally ended up being the perfect name! I will have to figure out how to make a video of him talking; it is amazing and hilarious. Right now he is swinging on his swing, fighting with a toy and thinking about clambering back over to play with the towel on his cage. A week's worth of handling and out of cage time has improved his friendlines and now we even have quality shoulder time and practice step ups and head scratches. A good little bird!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Marching On...

Today I finished the purple wristwarmers and gave them to my coworker. Tomorrow I will get a picture of them "in action" for the blog. I started a new pair and am totally in love with the yarn... it will be hard to give this set away. I love the new yarn from the Loopy Ewe that came last week, but have not started knitting it up yet. Partly I need to get these wristwarmers done and partly I want to really savor it. And mabye I haven't sat down with the instructions for the new toe-up method yet.

Read a few pages in _Anna Karenina_ at lunch today, but am not really feeling it. I have a half dozen books open to about page 20, but none are really keeping my attention.

The baby cockatiels are huge; well, one is huge and one is normal sized. I still have my fingers crossed she will be a cinnamon. I finally got the legband on her tonght - for good I hope! A squirmy baby cockatiel is a delicate thing. They are preening their pinfeathers, standing, stretching, blinking and screaming like banshees when it is dinner time. The yearling cockatiels (hoggetts if they were sheep) disavow any knowledge that they were once small pink & yellow balls of fluff with attitude. They think of themselves as big birds!

The parakeets are acting silly and lovey dovey, alternating with squabbling and bickering. By and large they enjoy each other's company.

The kitties are still vying for my attention.. one was sleeping under my chair earlier and another was trying to fit on my lap.

I walked the dog yesterday but couldn't summon the energy tonight. I miss my ankles and really need to start walking more.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Zombified

I finished _Bertie Wooster & the Lizard King_ today and it was a wonderful little ebook. I regret to say that I cannot link it for you as the estate of Mr Wodehouse has apparently squashed Mr. Rowe's little pastiche.

If you enjoy the trials and tribulations of Bertie Wooster and his inimitable valet Jeeves, this is a very enjoyable work of fan fiction in the master's style. I hate to give too much away in case you are able to find a bootleg copy somewhere... let's just say the action starts on page 46.