Thursday, February 25, 2010

There is nothing more demoralizing than a small but adequate income. (Edmund Wilson)

Remember the BFL I spun up a couple of weeks ago? I used the mini skein that I had Navajo-plied to knit this large square on my sock blanket. I really love the way it turned out! And as it happens, my friend decided that she didn't need the larger skein of the BFL as a late payment (although I still feel guilty and wish that she would have taken it). So there's 257 yards of this same yarn to knit into something pretty.

I've been able to spin about 5 days this past week, which is wonderful. I spun 3 ounces of a natural wool. This is part of a pound of wool that is also owed out to someone. I'm doing the singles at about 32 wpi, using a supported long draw, and then I'll 2-ply them into a nice worsted. The wool is delicious to work with, extremely soft with really long staple length. It's also extremely fly-away; this is the first time that I've ever had the need for a spinning cloth on my lap to catch the stands of wool as they drift out of the drafted roving. I'm looking forward to seeing how fluffy this yarn ends up after it's spun and plied.

I did interrupt the white wool (which, by the way, is being called "white wool" because I've forgotten what breed sheep it came from and I just don't care enough at the moment to go back and look it up) to start plying the Crown Mountain Falkland. I had mistakenly believed that if I plied it on Friday night, I would be able to bring it with me Sunday to show off to everyone. (Sunday was our annual Knit in the Park -- I don't think I've had a chance to talk about that.) Anyway, I tried to Navajo-ply the singles, but the yarn just wouldn't cooperate. I don't know if it's because I made the singles so thin and my hands just weren't up to the challenge of working with the delicate strands, or if I didn't spin it enough (or maybe I overspun it). But for whatever reason, I kept breaking the singles. After about eight or nine re-starts, I gave up and decided to just do a two-ply. I'm getting a real pretty 2-ply heavy lace/light fingering weight yarn. I'm hoping it blooms when I whack it into a full fingering weight. I had to stop in the middle of the plying, so it's still on Yarnell waiting for me to finish it. The good thing is that I think I'll have some really nice yardage from it.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The first thing is to love your sport. Never do it to please someone else. It has to be yours. (Peggy Fleming)

The only knitting that I've been doing this past week is for the Ravelympics. I've managed to finish 28 squares on my OMG-What-Was-I-Thinking-Sock-Blanket. Which I thought was pretty darn good, until I heard that some of the other competitors were up to 72 and 84 squares finished. There's still five days left, but somehow I doubt that I will be able to catch up.

I did have a very scary thought. And I blame it on my inner-engineer. (Everyone knows that those darn engineer types are just plain weird and quite a bit scarey). Each square takes me approximately 20 minutes to knit. Since I have finished a grand total of 238 squares to date on the blanket, that means I've wasted invested 79 1/2 hours knitting on it.

I figure the final blanket will need to have 956 squares, so there is still 718 to knit. That's another 239 1/2 hours of work on the needles. (Hence the name change from "Sampler Sock Blanket" to "OMG-What-Was-I-Thinking.")

It's kind of cool, though, to think that at $7 an hour (approximately minimum wage - just to keep it easy to figure out), my blanket will be worth $2,240. And that's not including material, just labor.

Of course, someday when I'm old or dead my children will sell off all my stuff in a yard sale (because that's what my family does). At which time they'll probably just get $5 for the blanket...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Anyone who complains of a boring party knows only what the party was like after they arrived. (Andrew Light)

Okay, I'm ready to admit that I have a problem. It may even be an addiction. And I know I need help. Of course, with the friends I have any help offered will probably be to encourage and enable more fiber time.

This evening I had a little time between getting off work and needing to pick up daughter from her job. So I called up my friend, as I usually do, and we met at the coffee shop to knit. As we usually do. Something, a tiny tickling thought, passed through my mind when my friend mentioned that she had been planning on meeting "for our usual knitting." It wasn't Knit Night; today was a spur-of-the-moment knit. Just because we've gotten together to knit five times this past week doesn't mean anything.

No, it was when we were deciding where to meet that I knew for sure there was a problem. We didn't want to go to this coffee shop because our favorite barista wasn't working tonight, and we went to that shop twice this week already, and if we go to the other coffee place there wouldn't be any comfy seats this time of day... it was clear that we're spending way too much time in coffee shops.

So we've decided to branch out, and try something new. We want to get out, socialize away from the local coffee shops. So we're planning a ladies night out. It's going to be movies and desserts. We're inviting everyone we know. We even plan on inviting a non-knitting friend (if we can make one by then).

Oh, but since the theater might be too dark for knitting, we'll meet at the private movie theater at my clubhouse. Everyone can bring potluck desserts, and we'll knit through the show.

It's baby steps, but I'm trying.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Edge... there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.

(Hunter S. Thompson)

I finally finished the scarf for the Special Olympics, so I'll be able to mail it off tomorrow. I say finally, but I only cast it on ten days ago. I wish I had time to make another one, but there's no way I would have it finished in time. (Unfortunately, we found out late about the project this year, and the scarves need to be there by March 9th. Next year, I'll start looking for the details sooner!)

My only other knitting is for Ravelympics. I finished the Opening Ceremony Sprint on Team Blankiemania, and only got seven full squares finished. The gold winner finished ten, and the silver and bronze tied at eight. (If only I hadn't stopped to make myself a cup of coffee and go to the bathroom...)

Now that the scarf is finished, I can concentrate on my other Ravelympics event, Stash Jumping. So far I have five squares finished, but I'll keep knitting. This event lasts until the close of Winter Olympics, so I'll keep you informed of my progress.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Food is the most primitive form of comfort. (Sheila Graham)

Hot Cocoa

Mix 2 tablespoons sugar with 2 teaspoons cocoa. Add a little milk, and stir until smooth. Continue adding milk a little at a time until the mug is 3/4 full. Heat in microwave about 1 minute (maybe 1 1/2 minutes). Top with whipped cream.

When I'm not feeling well, or when it's chilly outside, I love homemade cocoa. I've had a lot of cocoa today -- I'm still sick AND it's cold outside. (Isn't Florida supposed to be warm year round?) My other big comfort food is a peanut butter and bacon sandwich, but I'm trying not to think of having one of those...

Friday, February 12, 2010

The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part. (Pierre de Coubertin)

I'm not going to post today. Sorry. I've spent most of the day in bed, with a horrible head cold. I'm only awake now because the Opening Ceremonies for the 2010 Olympics are starting soon, and I've entered the Ravelympics. I'll be competing in the Opening Ceremonies Sprint and the Stash Jumping events for Team BlankieMania.

Yeah, I am a little crazy. I'm going to blame it on the medication.

Ready to knit a few squares...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

You sort of start thinking anything's possible if you've got enough nerve. (J.K. Rowling)

I was able to do a lot of spinning this week. In fact, I managed to sit in front of my wheel five days. I would have spun a lot more, but unfortunately work and life insisted that I do other things.

I finished plying and setting the BFL I was working on. I had spun the singles at 40 wpi (and was pretty consistent), then did a true 3-ply. It came out to 257.5 yards of 16 wpi (fingering weight).
The 3-ply was tricky, but by the time I got down to the last 50 yards I had it figured out.

Smaller skein is the same fiber, but Navajo-plied. This is 14 wpi (it was the end singles, so probably closer to 36 wpi), sport weight, 31.5 yards. I love seeing how the same fiber can look so different just because of the way it's plied.

And now I'm on to my next project. I'm spinning the Crown Mountain January fiber, which is 4 ounces of Falkland Top. The color is special to the club and is called Awakenings. I'm spinning it at 40 wpi, using a supported long draw. I love this fiber. It literally spins itself!!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Life is just a quick succession of busy nothings. (Jane Austen)

I finished the lizard for Mr. Darcy. He's so cute, I'm tempted to keep him for myself. This was a really fun knit. And since you pick up stitches for the legs and eyes, there's no seaming afterwards. Which is really nice -- I hate seaming. (I still have to finish seaming one side of my Riva sweater.)

I also started a scarf for the Special Olympics on Saturday, and I'm about halfway through. Unfortunately, I didn't know they were asking for them again this year so there isn't much time. The scarves have to be mailed in by the end of February.

I decided to take part in the Ravelympics. I went back and forth on this, but finally decided it would be a good excuse to catch up on my What-Was-I-Thinking Sock Blanket. So I'll be casting on squares during Opening Ceremonies on Friday, Feb. 12th and we'll see how far I can get before the end of the Winter Games.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Humor is by far the most significant activity of the human brain. (Edward De Bono)

Because of his autism, TS is very limited in his expressive language. I spend a great part of our time together prompting him and giving him communication cues in order to elicit speech. I consider it a very good day if I get a complete three-word sentence sometime during our session.

Because he doesn't talk, it's easy to forget that TS has a very active mind. And a decidedly wicked sense of humor.

Today, TS was in a mischievous mood. We had gone down the hall on an errand, and I stopped to talk with someone. Hoping to prevent TS from running off (and I mean that literally, by the way), I asked him to take a seat. He looked at me, grinned, then picked up the chair and walked off. Naturally I shouted. "Timothy! What do you think you're doing?" With that he turned back to me and started laughing. It was obviously a wonderful joke, and he had pulled it off successfully.

Timothy got me again later on. I was annoyed at being interrupted for the nth time by the same staff member, and I was mumbling. Without really thinking about it, I asked TS "Do you believe her?" He very gravely looked up at me and clearly said, "Crazy." When I asked him if he was referring to the staff or myself, he would just say "Yes."

Monday, February 08, 2010

Drama Llama. Yep, he strikes again. (Paula*)

Once upon a time there was a group of fiber friends. They would gather together, rejoicing in their shared addiction to all things yarn. And because it was good, others came and wanted to learn. The fiber friends gladly shared their knowledge, safe in the thought that there would always be enough yarn for everyone. (What wasn't already in their collective stashes could be purchased on the wonder that is the internet and the LYS's, or made by the spinsters amongst them.)

Alas, as the group grew, one sharp-eyed elder noticed that not all the fiber friends were the same. Some used sticks and string, but others were hookers. Still worse, a few were revolutionists that spent their time just spinning their wheels. A cry went out to segregate the spinners.

* * *
I've only got the beginning of this story. And honestly, I don't intend for there to be an ending.

Except that maybe the fiber friends quickly realize that the love of fiber transcends the tools used, and everyone lives happily every Wednesday.

*Quote was stolen without permission from a completely unrelated post of In My Own Little Corner. I have a feeling that I will be stealing this phrase again in the future.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

There is no pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is in having lots to do and not doing it. (Mary Wilson Little)

Things I should have done today:
  1. Spend a couple of hours in the office, catching up on overdue reports.
  2. Spend a couple of hours at mom's house, working on corporate tax returns.
  3. Clean the bathrooms.
  4. Go grocery shopping.
  5. Take a nap (to catch up on the sleep I've missed this past week).
Things I actually did:
  1. Plied and set the BFL I was spinning.
  2. Finished knitting the lizard (which wasn't even on my queue!).
  3. Spent a relaxing afternoon socializing with my friend.
  4. Ate far too much junk food "because the kids weren't home."
  5. Watched four episodes of Dr. Who and three of Cake Boss. (I love the DVR.)

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Multimedia message

Sports do not build character. They reveal it. (Haywood Hale Broun)

It's time to knit (or crochet, or even weave) scarves for the Special Olympics. I hadn't realized that they were asking for scarves again, so there isn't much time. The deadline is March 9th.

Basically, scarves can be any craft, any pattern, as long as you use Red Heart Cherry Red and Heather Gray. The scarves should be approximately 5" x 55." (Mine is about 4 1/2" wide because I didn't allow for the pull of the ribbing, but I've decided to let it be a little skinny because it looks so cute. Plus I've already knit 9" and I don't want to frog all of that.) You can find the address to mail the scarves to at the Scarves for Special Olympics website.

Friday, February 05, 2010

When you make a world tolerable for yourself, you make a world tolerable for others. (Anais Nin)

I don't have a picture to prove it (it's too late to go digging out the camera, not to mention that the lighting is all wrong), but my house is finally clean. Well, I still have to do the bathrooms and put away a huge pile of yarn and books from my bedroom, but the "public" rooms are beautiful.

I feel calmer when my house is neat and everything is in place. It's peaceful and makes me very happy. I even have candles burning all around the living room. I have an urge to put on an apron and bake a cake, just in case company drops in. (Not that I'm expecting anyone, especially this late at night, but still...I'm ready for them.)

And so that's my favorite thing this week -- a clean house.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better. (Emile Coue)

My wheel finally has a name! I'm pleased to introduce you to Yarnell. (Hopefully you caught the puns.) I was spinning Sunday afternoon with a few friends, and one of the girls was telling us about her mother's new dog. As soon as she mentioned that the dog's name was Yarnell, I knew the identity of my wheel. So my Lendrum is named for a dog.

In addition to the new name, I've also done some pimping to the wheel. Nothing radical, just a carrying strap. I stole my daughter's guitar strap and it's working out wonderfully. Now I can carry Yarnell across my back, leaving my hands free to hold my knitting/spinning bag and purse. I have to admit that I'm feeling very proud of myself on this one.

I was able to get in three days of spinning this week, and last night I finished the third single of that BFL I was working on. It just has to rest a little bit, and hopefully I'll have a big enough block of time to ply it. I haven't figured out how to stop mid-ply, so once I start I have to keep going until the yarn is finished. But I can't wait to see how it turns out. I'm still hoping to produce a nice fingering-weight.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Never regret. If it's good, it's wonderful. If it's bad, it's experience. (Victoria Holt)

I don't have a lot of knitting to report this week. I started a pair of socks on Thursday. This is the Traveling Vine pattern out of "More Sensational Socks" by Charlene Schurch. I'm really liking this pattern, even if I did have to frog three repeats on the other leg because I wasn't paying attention and read the wrong line of the chart (over and over).

My Traveling Vines started out as these. I had called them the Socks that Never End because I was using size 0's and they were extremely tedious to knit. A beautiful pattern, but the Knitpicks Gloss yarn just didn't work well with it. They were cast on in July 2008, and have been sitting in my WIPs pile ever since. I finally frogged them, and reused the yarn for my new project. I'm much happier.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Remember, nothing that's good works by itself, just to please you. You have to make the damn thing work. (Thomas A. Edison)

Look. It's a pretty new purse. And did you notice the wicked black fingernails? In person, you can see the glitter and the rhinestone daisies on the nails. I'm feeling very snazzy.

I'm also trying real hard to distract from the fact that today is Tuesday's Tuneup. I know, it's only the second week and already I'm trying to avoid the subject.

And the reason I'm trying to avoid the subject is because I'm having trouble avoiding the M&Ms.

I did pretty well the beginning of the week. I kept my points, ate what I was supposed to, and even managed to get six activity points racked up. Then I made the mistake of weighing myself on Sunday (a day early, not that one day should have made a big difference). I gained three pounds! Well, that was the end of it for me. I ate an entire bag of Hershey kisses, drank regular soda instead of diet, and didn't write a thing down in my food log.

It's now late Tuesday night, and the best I can say is that at least I'm drinking a diet Dr. Pepper. I know I need to get back on track. But those m&m's are just calling out my name...


Monday, February 01, 2010

But where are your shoes?

The real difficulty of working in my field is that our guys are so medically fragile. And although you know that in your head, your heart finds it hard to say good-bye.