Monday, December 29, 2014

Finishing Up Right

Very unusual events in the Picky household the last few days: an irresistible urge to clean and to finish projects.  I approve, but it is very strange.  Perhaps the last year of UnFucking my Habitat has started to cement good habits at last.  Things aren't perfect but progress is being made.  Mount Laundry, for example, is a thing of the past.

Year end bonus time came at work and has been a boon.  Gifts were given, party was attended, groceries & cat food were stocked, reading material for the winter acquired and there may have been a yarn incident.  Going "cold sheep" next year for sure.

Things are mostly calm and happy and I like it a lot.  Any resolutions for 2015?  A couple in the planning stages:

  • sell more soap
  • weave the Fuzzy blanket for Martha
  • go "cold sheep" (no yarn or fiber purchases)
Low expectations keep me a happy camper.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Nom Nom Nom November

What a great month.
Blizzcon 11/7-8 including a kickass Metallica concert
James Hetfield
the Warlords of Draenor release 11/13 and a long weekend to enjoy it
I knit a cat hoodie while re-watching the Blizzcon coverage and while waiting for the servers to recover from release weekend (modelled here by the lovely Bingo)
Cat Hoodie
Finished a fun crocheted coaster - two sided!
16 Petals
And earned 100 points for Ravenclaw with socks & fingerless mitts.

Sky Blue

Friday, October 24, 2014

Winding Down

It is a quiet week here at Chez Picky.  Work has been mostly calm, home has been mostly calm, weather has been warm & calm.  Finished a soap order, finished a pair of socks, started some fingerless gloves.

My sweet Billy Bird is winding down, though.  All week he has been quiet and sleepy.  he eats, drinks, preens and moves from the floor of the cage to the perches, but is sleeping a lot and even lets me pet his head - he must be feeling poorly.  He is at least 24 years old and that is a good age for a cockatiel.   His lady Peaseblossom and I are both giving him extra attention but I am not sure he will be with us too much longer.  He has been an excellent birdie & his talents include saying he is a pretty bird and mangling "The Entertainer".

The foster kittens are settling in at last and the dog is almost letting me sleep through the night.  They love watching the parrot and the rat loves chasing them around the bedroom.

Tonight it is time to hang out with my birds and rest up for work tomorrow.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Beach Day

On a whim, I asked a friend if I could join her on a beachcombing adventure. Happily, the answer was yes and we had a lovely visit and trip to a beach by her house.

We investigaed tide pools - anemones! hermit crabs! kelp! - and looked between the rocks for he treasure of the day: sea glass.  We found quite a few likely pieces and I learned how to judge when one is "ready" and when one needs more time in the ocean to get a lovely patina and texture.

I also found a pretty cowrie shell, a hag stone (a rock with a hole that goes all the way through) and an interesting piece of coral.  We checked to make sure it was long dead, it bounced around in my pocket with the other rocks & glass, the family examined it when we returned, it waited on the counter while we had drinks, dinner, dessert and coffee and it wasn't until I was walking out the door that I saw the little notch in the underside... with a very irritated hermit crab in residence!   Jen ran him back to the sea and I hope he will be fine. I could have sworn I checked that peice a hundred times. Well, a dozen times anyway.

It was a really great adventure & visit and I think there will be more beachcombing in my future.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Lambtown 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014


Today was day 2 of sitting with the birds and reading.  It was just as good as yesterday.  My book is silly but interesting, birdies are soft and cuddly, lack of electronics in that room makes it quiet & peaceful.

Still knitting on the Pointelle socks. Switched to a 9" circular needle and it is going well.  The decrease stitches are a little tight but other than that they are fine.  The trick is to use one 9" needle, not two like I tried last year. That was way too fiddly.

Still very tired but I had better rustle up the energy to walk the dog. She deserves some quality time too.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Mabon Madness

Well, fall is finally here and I'm going to make the best of it at home at least, even if things at work are still really tough.

The afternoon light in the house is much better; I don't feel quite as much like I live in a cave.  Can I keep the sun at this September angle forever?  The mornings are each a little darker than the last; leaving the house at 5:30 am is becoming more of an exercise in navigating in the dark. 

I bought a full size crock pot last week and am really looking forward to making more delicious meals - last week I made beef stew and it was quite a success.  It lasted Sunday and 4 days' worth of meals (snack & lunch) at work.  I think lasagna or meatloaf will be next... although trying roast chicken looks good too.

A new birdy joined the flock yesterday, a male pearl cockatiel.  His tag says he was called Dalmation, but I'm going to give him a new start as Robin.  My Mustardseed & Peaseblossom will be thrilled that Robin Goodfellow / Puck is joining the "Midsummer Night's Dream" cast.  His arrival triggered a bird room cleanout and everyone is much happier, myself included. Today I sat with them and read for a while - Hamlet claimed my shoulder and Robin eventually made his way to my knee for some head scratches.  The ladies (Sydney and Violet) stayed firmly in their cages.  The parakeets thought we'd lost our minds. 
Opal and Wavey


Robin from the other side
Knitting continues as well.  I am primarily working on my Order of the Phoenix mission for fall term - Pointelle socks. 
Pointelle (right)
In my off moments, I am slowly making progress on a shawl that has been in the works for a couple years - Catkin.

Monday, September 01, 2014

My August Creation

I meant to write, I really did, but every spare moment was tied up making this.

I finished at 10:30 pm 8/31... 90 minutes before the cutoff time. Whew.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Today's Pick: Brooklet Cowl

All finished!  This is my Camp Loopy project & also my Quidditch project for the final round.

Brooklet project page.

Wrapping Up & Winding Down

It has been too hot to spin the last few days but I did remember to ply up bobbin-fulls of yarn I spun earlier in le Tour:
156 yd 2 ply

232 yd 2 ply

I think they came out quite well.  I might be done spinning for the season - I need to make a knitting deadline Sunday and the only thing in progress now is that tan/ gray yak laceweight.  I can finish that up after Quidditch for a class deadline.

Sad news: Peerie the rat died on Thursday afternoon.  I am very, very sad to lose him this early (18 months) but glad he did not have a long illness or horrible tumors or such.  I hope Rory is not too lonely.  I hesitate to get him a buddy as he is also in his middle age and I don't want to ruin the pet equilibrium that I have.  Of course he was teasing the dog under the gap of the door yesterday... too bad they can't be friends.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Stage 16 & Catching Up

Today is stage 16 of le Tour; we are getting close to the end now.  My spinning project for the last few days has been some yak fiber.  It is both fun and frustrating to rememeber how to spin fine using long draw / double draft. Practice for cotton, I suppose.

This weekend I spun the teal gradient; I will be leaving it as singles.  There's around 250 yards.  It might make a nice hat or scarf.
That is the same background... maybe someday I will learn how to use my camera properly for true colors.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Finally, Flamingos

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Stage 12

Still spinning away for le Tour. Yesterday & today I turned this 2 oz pile of half felted fluff ...
... into lovely, fine yarn.
It will go on the rack to rest for a few days while I select the next puff of fiber.  Part of me can hardly believe how little I have managed to spin in 12 days and part of me can hardly believe that I have made so much spinning time in a schedule I thought was packed.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Stage 9

My spinning progress on the turquoise / purple merino / tencel blend:
 Just a few little puffs left to go... about 3/4 oz
I washed some previously completed skeins this weekend, too.  The purple / green / white came out terribly - the rinse water was deep purple and the finished skein looks sickly.
However the lavender angora from this spring fluffed up to a lovely soft yarn.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Spinning in Stages

I am still meeting my Tour de Fleece goal of spinning at least 30 minutes per day. Most days I have been able to exceed that time and the more I spin, the more I find it's the only think I want to do.  Next year's goal will have to be an hour per day.

Interestingly, the two piles of fluff I've worked on so far are neither of the pictures from the last post.  The first was some white/ purple? black? / green mystery fiber from 2004 (washed and pictures will be coming later).  I pretty much despised spinning it, but there is a nice empty space in the stash cabinet now.  The second is some merino / tencel (?) in turquoise, cherry and purple.  It has hopped from stash to stash but is now in its forever home; soon to be a pretty 2 ply skein.  It might make a nice hat someday.

If I were a more motivated spinner, I would take some fiber and explore the ratios on my Millie... maybe by the end of the tour I will feel the need to branch out but for now I am enjoying hours of spinning light fingering yarn.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Melisandre pour Martha

The socks are done!  They are late in that they were supposed to be the April socks of the month, but early for Martha's birthday in August.

I dried them on the blockers after washing and they came out beautifully. Maybe I should use them for *blocking* instead of just photography.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Le Tour

The Tour de Fleece started Saturday last and I have been chugging along.  Above are two of the items in the "to spin" pile. There is also some lovely green-gold top and I am working now on finishing some white/ green / black roving from *cough* 2004.  It is ugly but I am powering through it.  About half of the last part is left.
My goal for the Tour this year is a time one (again): spin 30 minutes a day.  So far I have been above that mark but not trying to burn out.  Spinning strains the same muscles in my left hand and arm that knitting does.... I don't want to have a blow out.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Score for Ravenclaw

Quidditch is done & turned in 15 hours before the whistle blows.

I have a little yarn still left over.  I added 2 extra rows to the border and probably could have added one more, but I didn't want to run short.  Project is the Ashton Shawlette.

Perhaps a little embroidery with the remainder is in order. Or a matching bookmark.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

My Affection

The "Tailchaser's Shawl" is all done.  I still miss my kitty.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Little Victories

Today I walked my dog and paid off the vet bill credit card.  There's plenty more on the to-do list, but crossing off even 2 small things feels like an accomplishment today.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Spreading my Affection

Last weekend Janet & I went to The Getty Villa for the afternoon and had a nice visit.  There was plenty to see: twisty canyon roads, ocean view, shore birds, sea gulls, oh and a roman villa to boot. We had yummy lunch, looked at some art (educational [1]) and sat to knit.  I even managed to picture my shawl among the lavender.
I was only one repeat from the end of the penultimate section here; in the last week I have moved on to the border and the end is in sight.  Unfortunately each row is taking 30 minutes so it feels a little like Zeno's shawl.  Or was it Xeno?  I should look that up.

Previous progress:

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The New Normal

I go to work, I come home, I knit and only after the knitting homework can I play some World of Warcraft. The results are amazing!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Steady Progress

Surprisingly, a little progress each day adds up.