Saturday, May 22, 2010

You try to give away what you want yourself. (Lois McMaster Bujold)

Have I mentioned that I'm in a swap on Ravelry? The theme is Virtual Vacation, and I'm supposed to send off a box to someone of yarn and other treats from my area as if the person had been visiting me on vacation. (Somebody else will be sending a similar box of goodies to me.) So I had a wonderful excuse to go shopping today.

My first stop was Yarn It! in Fort Pierce. I really love this shop. Celeste has gotten in a little more stock, but the main draw is the alpaca and other spinning supplies. I was able to pick up two items for my swap box. I was very good, and resisted buying more roving for myself even though I was tempted.

Since I was in Fort Pierce on a Saturday anyway, I had to go over to the Farmer's Market. Just to look, of course. I came away with two more items for the box, and a loaf of cheesy bread for breakfast.

On the way home, I stopped at Knit or Knot in Jupiter (it was only a little out of the way, and I am my grandmother's child) for more treats for the swap box. And even though I tried really hard, I didn't find anything to bring home for myself. The Malibrigo lace was very tempting, and so was the Louet Linen. But I have yarn for four shawls already in my queue, so getting more shawl yarn sounded unrealistic even to me. I was also very tempted by some of the sock yarn (they have the best selection), but again it seemed unrealistic given the amount of sock yarn already in my stash.

My next stop was at Debois Park, since I was already in Jupiter. But the park was so crowded, I changed my mind about sitting and knitting by the water. Maybe I'll try again one afternoon during the week.

So I just came home, and knit another chart's worth on my Aeolian shawl while watching Firefly.

Today has definitely made up for yesterday.

Friday, May 21, 2010

There is no gravity. The earth sucks. (Graffito)

I'm either extremely angry or very depressed. Possibly both.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits. (Satchel Paige)

After I dropped Becka off at work this afternoon, I went to the pool for a couple of hours. Usually I would have either gone to a knitting group or found work to do inside the apartment. Instead, I took my raft and just floated in the pool, watching the younger moms chase their children around. Part of me missed having little ones (my teenagers are much too cool to hang out at the pool with mom), but the larger part of me was thankful that I didn't have to vigilantly entertain little ones while trying to keep them from drowning or splashing strangers.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort. (Franklin D Roosevelt)

4 oz Merino/Tencil Blend

Even though this is Wednesday, and is supposed to be a WIPs and FO post, I'm going to start off with a spinning update since I didn't do one yesterday and I actually have spinning worth talking about.

The finished "Countess"
212.5 yds - 16 wpi

The Countess roving from Cloudlover came out to be 16 wpi, which is a sport weight (maybe a heavy fingering weight) yarn. There is 212.5 yards, which is pretty good; it's definitely enough to be usable. And most importantly, my daughter loved it. She was able to take it home with her to Brooklyn.

I wasn't so crazy about it. I really liked the colorway; I hadn't expected the purple and the blacks to come out a heathery gray and lavender. It's the tencil that I didn't like. This is the second time I've spun a tencil blend, and I've come to the conclusion that I really don't enjoy the spinning nor the result. Tencil does give a nice shine to the yarn, but you lose too much of the soft quality of the wool (in this case, the merino). When spinning the tencil blend, I had to really work at putting enough twist in the single -- which is not usually a problem for me. My plying was inconsistent as a result of the extra twist in the singles.

n the knitting side, I feel like I'm suddenly productive again. This is probably because I'm knitting this week. The past two weeks I've felt horrible (some type of flu/cold/nasty bug -- but since I won't go to the doctor, it really could have been anything), and I've had company (my daughter -- a wonderful but far too short visit). The past couple of days I've been busy, and things are really starting to progress.

On the Handsome Devil socks, I've turned both heels. The foot should fly along, since the pattern is only on the instep stitches. This pleases me, since it looks like I'll be able to stick with my goal of knitting one pair of socks a month this year. I'm also managing to meet my goal of knitting a square a day on my sock blanket. (Actually, I'm two weeks ahead.) This past week, I finished seven squares.

I cast on the Aeolian Shawl. This is a KAL I'm doing with my daughter. We were supposed to cast it on together while she was here visiting, but we just didn't have enough time. I managed to wind my yarn and her yarn into balls, which is not a fun thing to do by hand when you're talking 1200 yards of lace each. I'm seriously thinking about using the Knit Picks gift certificate my kids gave me for Mother's Day to buy a ball winder.

I really love the pattern, although there are a horrendous number of beads. Seriously, we're talking a bead every ten stitches or so on every other row. It's a good thing that I totally love the beads I found to match the yarn.

And I love the yarn for the colors. The colors are incredible. The picture doesn't do it justice. I have to wonder if the colors are too much for the lace pattern. I'm having trouble seeing the leaf motif, and I'm the one knitting it. A solid, or even a semi-solid would probably make it easier to see the lace. But I really, really, really like the colors. (I'd pout as I say that, but a pouted lip is difficult to see in a written post so it would just be wasted effort.)

I have one project that I actually finished, but I'm not posting a picture since it's for a swap. Maybe after the box is mailed out I'll post details.

Monday, May 17, 2010

It doesn't matter if people are interested. It's about you taking your stuff and shouting out into the void. (Jadelr and Cristina Cordova)

My girls, on Saturday before Cari left.

Cari's visit was way too short. And I didn't get to spend nearly enough time with her because of work. (The program supervisor was on vacation, which meant that as the only other supervisor I had to be there every day.) Hopefully we can figure out a way for her to come back again soon, when I can take a couple of days off and actually get to visit with her. Because I miss her a lot. (Can you be homesick for a person?)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

It is not necessary to understand things in order to argue about them. (Pierre Beaumarchais)

The Good:
  • My daughter is here, visiting from Brooklyn. It is so nice that she's home with me. (Even if all she does is tease me!)
  • I finished spinning and plying the Merino/Tencil from Cloudlover. It's the Countess colorway that my daughter picked out, and I wanted to get it done before she got here. (I still have to soak and whack it, so she might not get to take it home but at least I finished it.) It's a 2-ply light worsted weight; I'm not sure of the yardage yet.
  • I'm casting on a new project; a KAL with my daughter for the Aeolian Shawl. I'm using Claudette Silk with the prettiest beads. The beads make me happy.
The Bad
  • I am still feeling horrible from that cold/flu/whatever I had last week. The fever is finally gone, but the horrible hacking cough is driving me crazy.
  • The Program Supervisor is still on vacation at work, so I'm still doing both her job and mine. Although it seems I'm spending more time doing her job than mine. Which means that when she gets back from vacation, I'll have to put in some extra hours to catch up. That's totally unfair, in my opinion.
The Ugly
  • The drama llama visited the knitting groups again. This time is the last time I'm getting involved. I can get past the he said-she said stuff. It's the actions of a person I both liked and admired that has me walking away.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

A Happy Mother's Day to All of Us!

I had a wonderful Mother's Day, and was treated like a queen. It's really nice to have children with jobs.

I spent the day relaxing, just enjoying myself. I did, briefly, think about going into work to catch up but managed to talk myself out of it. Instead, I spent some time with my spinning wheel and some time with a mystery novel.

For dinner, the children took me to Ginza, a Japanese steak house. It was delicious! I really love the theatrics of having the food cooked at the table, and I'm glad my kids indulged me with this. Afterwards, we stopped at Cold Stone for ice cream.

And if a night out isn't enough to make a mom happy, there were also flowers and a gift card to Knit Picks. Plus a phone call from the child living out of state, reminding me that she will be home for a visit in just two days. I am totally spoiled.

I think I did a pretty good job raising my three children.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Teenagers complain there's nothing to do, then stay out all night doing it. (Bob Phillips)

Yesterday was Prom Night for my youngest. I'm not sure who it was a bigger deal for, her or me. Okay, probably me. It's just that I can't believe my baby is old enough to be going to the Prom.

She signed out early from school, in order to start getting ready. Yeah, that was the official excuse. She primped, and preened, and texted with her friends all afternoon in order to be ready on time.

Oh, she knew she looked good.

Oh, and may I take a moment to point out the shoes. Three inch heels -- how in the world did I ever agree to these? Although I did really like the silver toenail polish.

Her date was picking her up at 7:30. By 7:15, she was tired of the camera and refusing to let me take any more pictures. Although I did manage to get one more of her, with her protective older brother. I think he was more taken aback by her grown-up appearance than I was. It was sort of cute, the way he questioned her about her plans and her friends. Although I did have to step in and remind him that if I, the parent, was satisfied with the answers then she really was allowed to go regardless of his opinion.

Did I mention that her date was supposed to pick her up at 7:30? He was late. Very late. Late enough that I was beginning to toy with the idea of letting protective big brother deal with the situation.

Lucky for him, he finally arrived at 8:30. (To be fair, he did call around 8 to explain that they were lost).

I think they made an adorable couple. And at the risk of upsetting my daughter, I will admit that I'm happy that they're "just friends." I really am not ready to let my baby be grown up enough for a relationship. Letting her go to the Prom was difficult enough.

This morning she reported that they had a great time. After the Prom, they went with a group of friends to City Place and then to Denny's for breakfast. I made the mistake of waiting up for her -- she didn't get home until 2:30 am! (But I was very pleased that her date walked her all the way to the front door. He really is a nice boy.)

By the way, I'm being very nice by not bringing up any of the stories I have about my high school proms. Staying awake all night, waiting for my daughter, gave me plenty of time to remember my glory days and the fun we had. Maybe someday I'll tell you about spending the night at Joe's (my date was Donny), Model UN, beer under the boardwalk, and Great Adventure -- although if you know me at all, you've probably heard the stories before...

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Modern invention has banished the spinning wheel, and the same law of progress makes the woman of today a different woman from her grandmother.

(Susan B. Anthony)

The ply has been set on the first 4 oz of the white wool, and it bloomed beautifully. This is a soft, smooshy light worsted weight 2-ply yarn. Because of a problem when plying, I separated it into two skeins. The first skein is 159.75 yards, and the second skein is 128.25 yards. That's a total of 288 yards for 4 oz of worsted; not bad at all.

I have two bobbins of singles ready to ply on the next 4 oz. So I have to decide whether to spin the rest of the white (I have 8 more oz) so that they stay fairly consistent, or if I want to spin something bright and shiny first. I have several rovings from the Crown Mountain Club (including the new May Targhee), and the alpaca that I recently bought in Fort Pierce. I also have a Merino/Tencel roving that my daughter had picked out -- if I start spinning that now, I might even manage to get it finished for her visit next week.

Hmmm, the pretty or the smooshy soft?

Monday, May 03, 2010

Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you - not because they are nice, but because you are. (Author Unknown)

At work, I try to always say "please" and "thank you" when I ask someone to do something. It doesn't matter if I'm asking a student, or asking staff. Even though I'm supposedly the supervisor, I still politely ask "please" and "thank you."

Just for the heck of it, I kept track of how many times I overheard one of the instructors using either "please" or "thank you." In the seven hour day, I heard these words used exactly three times.

Please don't try to convince me that it's a cultural or generational thing. The truth is, it's just bad manners.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

He who limps still walks. (Stanislaw Lec)

Shopping with the teenagers yesterday left me with tired, sore feet. Even worse, it left me with a tired, sore ego. There were far too many dressing room mirrors to avoid acknowledging that I am beyond "a bit" out of shape.

So this evening, I joined my daughter at the gym.

That was my first mistake.

My second mistake was trying to keep up with her.

I actually did pretty well on the treadmill the first 10 minutes. By 15 minutes, I was promising myself a visit to the hot tub if I could live to 20 minutes. By 20 minutes, I was beginning to mentally compose my will -- leaving absolutely nothing to the sadistic child who tricked me into the gym of course. (Poor child, she was totally unaware of my discomfort and continued to merrily bop along on the exercise bike to her ipod tunes.) By 25 minutes, I was moving along by pure willpower, determined to keep going as long as my daughter did. (Plus, I wasn't sure how to turn off the treadmill without help.) The last 15 minutes are gone from my memory. I just know that by the time my daughter took pity on me, I had walked 40 minutes.

This was probably just one small step for most people. But it was one giant leap forward for me.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we're here we should dance. (Unknown)

Bloomingdale's has the most comfortable chair in their fitting room. It twirls, it rocks, and it is perfect for sitting and knitting. Macy's also has a comfortable chair, just not as nice as Bloomingdale's. (I really wanted to stay at Bloomies longer; or better yet, bring the chair home with me.) David's Formal Ware had straight-back chairs, but at least I was still able to sit and knit. I had to just stand uncomfortably at Ross, Marshalls, and Nordstrom.

Becka and I left the house this morning at 10:30 to go shopping for a prom dress. We picked up her friend Mia on the way, since Becka didn't trust my opinion on fashion. (To be honest, I did tend to offer "Isn't that a little too low on the neckline, or too high on the hem" on a number of her choices.) With the help of three stops at Starbucks and lunch at the mall food court, we managed to make it through the day without any real disagreements.

And it was a long day. First we headed south to check out a couple of stores. They didn't have anything we liked, so we headed north to the mall. Even though we found a couple of candidates, we went back to the original area to visit a store we missed. Then back north to the mall. It was 9:30 by the time Becka and I arrived home.

She did manage to find a dress that she liked, and it's hanging in her closet. We'll go out shoe shopping one evening this week, since the prom is Friday night. I won't tell you (yet) which dress she picked out, but here are the top three candidates.

Taking pictures in the dressing room with a camera phone is a little difficult. The lighting is horrible. This is a purple chiffon dress, with vertical ruffles.

This black and white dress has a pleated skirt.

Check out the lacing on the back of this dress. (I took this picture, and I'm rather proud of the camera angle.)