Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November Reading List

Books Read in November

157 - 01 Bookplate Special, by Lorna Barrett (11/3) AUDIOBOOK
158 - 02 By the Sword, by Mercedes Lackey (11/3)
159 - 03 Winds of Fate, by Mercedes Lackey (11/7)
160 - 04 Wicked Appetite, by Janet Evanovich (11/9)
161 - 05 Snow Angels, by Fern Michaels (11/9)
162 - 06 Provocative in Pearls, by Madeline Hunter (11/10) AUDIOBOOK
163 - 07 Smokin' Seventeen, by Janet Evanovich (11/12)
164 - 08 Full House, by Janet Evanovich (11/12)
165 - 09 No Ordinary Child, by Darlene Graham (11/13)
166 - 10 Scared Stiff, by Annelise Ryan (11/14)
167 - 11 A Single Thread, by Marie Bostwick (11/18) AUDIOBOOK
168 - 12 Slightly Tempted, by Mary Balogh (11/18)
169 - 13 Simply Perfect, by Mary Balogh (11/20)
170 - 14 Wedding Belles, by Haywood Smith (11/20)
171 - 15 Liar, Liar, by K. J. Larsen (11/20) AUDIOBOOK
172 - 16 Three Weddings and a Kiss, by Woodiwiss, Anderson, Chase & Kleypas (11/21)
173 - 17 Home Improvement, Undead Edition,  edited by C. Harris & T. L. P. Kelner (11/26)
174 - 18 Slightly Shady, by Amanda Quick (11/27)
175 - 19 Charmed & Dangerous, by Toni McGee Causey (11/27)
176 - 20 Raining Cat Sitters and Dogs, by Blaize Clement (11/28)
177 - 21 Beginner's Grace, by Kate Braestrup (11/29) AUDIOBOOK

I've read a couple of really horrible "why am I still reading this?" books this month. A couple of them were so bad that I finally did put them down before I reached the ending (but not before wasting several hours thinking anything to read was better than nothing to read). By the way, the ones that I didn't finish, didn't make it onto the list.

I did, however, read (okay, listened to and then read) a really wonderful book on, of all things, prayer. I had loaded it onto my ipod on a whim. Actually, what happened was that there wasn't anything I wanted to listen to available to download from the library when I had access to the internet. So I took the only half-decent thing I could, thinking that it would tide me over until the next trip to a hot spot and I could try for something better. The book surprised me. Once I got used to the awful cadence of the reader (la-la-la, la-la, la-LAA-la - regardless of the sentence being read), I found I had a difficult time turning off the ipod. The author is a chaplain to the forestry service in Maine, and is Unitarian in her theology. There's just something about her down-to-earth practicality in her approach to God that appeals. You just have to listen to a pastor who recommends the standard "Oh God, oh God, oh God" prayer for any crisis situation - crisis being freely defined by the person praying. I actually went to the library and took out a copy of the book so I could take my time when I re-read it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

So what's next?

I finally finished the Phellogen socks. I still don't know why it took me so long. I loved the pattern. I love to cable. So the only possible explanation is that the socks unknit themselves at night so that I would keep working on them forever.

They do look much better on than they do in this picture, by the way. It was totally worth the time it took to knit them.

 * ~ * ~ *
Blanket Update:
207 squares in 319 days

(Status: Why am I still trying to give updates on this?)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

You know how good I am at this.

I finished weaving the cloth for the bag, and I love the way it turned out. I could tell you that it's just a simple tabby weave on a 2-2 warp with an alternating 2-pick weft, but that would just be showing off my new vocabulary. Basically, I just did a simple under/over/over weave (aka tabby). I warped the loom with 2 strands of the red, then 2 strands of the blue and then I wove (the weft) using the same 2 stands of one color then 2 strands of the other combination.

It's amazing how quickly I was able to weave these pieces. The first one is 29" long, and the second is 72".

Now I just have to finish the project by sewing it all together. I wonder which will come first, the slippers or the bag.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Deep violets, you liken to The kindest eyes that look on you, Without a thought disloyal. (Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

I can't believe how excited I am over this.

You do see it, don't you? It's my first little bud. There will be more pictures when it actually blooms, I'm sure.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thanksgiving Festival

I spent the day demonstrating weaving and spinning at the church's Thanksgiving Festival. I'm exhausted, but it was worth it. We (Melissa, Anita and I) had a blast showing off our skills and teaching the children how to drop spindle and wave. Actually, Melissa deserves most of the credit. She made up a bunch of spindle kits that she gave away to any child that seemed really interested in the spinnning. I kept being called away to fix this or that, or to take care of some minor crisis (the problem in trying to volunteer where you work is that they expect you to actually work if they need you), so it was really Melissa who did most of the demonstration and teaching. Anita and I were able to relax (in between the cries of "Sandi, I need you) and enjoy the day.

Showing my boss' daughter how to spin on the wheel

The amazing and wonderful weaver, Ms Anita

Demonstrating how to weave on my tabletop loom

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My new toy

I am now the proud owner of an electric spinning wheel. It's beautiful, with a remarkable mixture of handcrafted wood and modernized gadgetry. The idea of powering a spinning wheel with an engine (although a tiny one), also amuses me.

Sometimes, I have the most amazing luck. First in meeting, by pure chance, an amazing weaver who was/is willing to share her knowledge with me. (Thank you, Anita!) And then in her generosity in giving me her old wheel.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I'm so blue

You know those kitschy t-shirts, "my parents went to ___ and all I got was this lousy t-shirt"? Well, my daughter went to NYC and all I got was blue m&ms. I would have much rather have gone on the trip with her. (And in all fairness, the opportunity was offered to me. Several times. Unfortunately, finances and logistics of a new job prevented me from taking the opportunity.)

But really. Blue m&ms. Everyone knows that the blue m&ms are horrible. I literally pick them out of the bag and get rid of them before hunting out the good flavors (like green, brown, red...). Sigh.

At least I'm going to get to eat a couple of "real bakery" cupcakes. (Mom was so tired when they got home from the airport, she left the treat from the girls at my house. And naturally they'll be too stale to give to her, so I might as well eat them.)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Lizard's Wild Ride

 I rushing off to a meeting, and noticed this on the hood of my car. Can you see it?

 It was a lizard, looking absolutely terrified. He had to have been sunbathing on the car when I left my apartment. I have no idea how he managed to cling to the hood as long as he did. But I was approaching the entrance to the interstate, and I knew that once I hit full speed the lizard was going to learn to fly.

 Instead, I pulled into the first driveway, and carried him to the curb. (I tried to shoo him off the car, but the poor thing wouldn't move. He was clinging to the hood, by golly, come speed or scarey lady.)

I felt bad that I had to leave him so far way from his home and his family. But just think of the story he's going to be able to tell his grandchildren of the wild ride he once took.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

St. Joe's is the place to go!

I'm a day late with this, but my favorite thing this week is St. Joseph's. More accurately, it's the people of St. Joe's. I spent a little over 8 hours volunteering with the most wonderful group of people. The church was hosting the diocese convention, and I went in to help prepare, serve, and cleanup the dinner.

And let me tell you, it was quite a dinner. Father Marty is an amazing chef, who I was told learned while in Italy. We (the volunteers) were able to sneak off and have a share of the dinner and it was incredible!

Even better was the way everyone just accepted me and made me a part of the group. Most of the workers have been long-time church members and therefore have long-time friendships. But from the very first person I met, I was made to feel that I was just as much a part of the friendship and fellowship as everyone else. By the time I dried my last dish (around midnight), I felt that it was one of the best days I'd spent in a long time.

And I don't even really mind that I can barely move today. (It was a lot of hard work!)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Warped and ready

The most difficult part of weaving is warping. Warping consists of cutting a great many long pieces of  wool and putting them, one at a time, through the loom so that they all line up properly.

Actually, I don't mind warping at the loom. I have a rather obsessive need for order, and threading the yarn piece by piece through the proper heddle can be relaxing. (Unless, of course, you get a bunch threaded and go around to the other side to grab them only to watch them drop backwards because you didn't allow enough slack.)  No, the problem I have is getting all the pieces cut the right length without tangling them up.

The trick to cutting the yarn is to use a warping board. And it's a trick that, until now, I wasn't able to use because that's the one piece of equipment I wasn't given. But, being the wonderfully adaptive and inventive person I am, I came up with an affordable warping board alternative.

I bought several large hooks for the wall. They can be moved around without leaving any marks on the wall, so they're perfect for  my apartment.

I even found the perfect spot for my "wall art warping board" -- in the entryway behind the front door. To be honest, I wasn't sure it was going to work. But I was able to measure off 90 pieces of Sugar'n Creme 103" long in just a couple of minutes. I had the loom warped in just under an hour and a half.

An hour later, I am well on my way!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Beware of the Tinking Fairies!

With all of the knitting I'm doing on these socks, I really should be finished by now. I can only think of one explanation - my house is infested with "Tink"erbelles. Seriously. I think the fairies are sneaking into my knitting bag at knit and tinking back any progress I might have made during the day.

These are still Round 2 socks from the Tour-de-Force, and Round 5 is being released tomorrow. Those darn Tink-erbelles better skedaddle quick.

 * ~ * ~ *
Blanket Update:
207 squares in 312 days

(Status: How far behind am I going to get before I throw in the towel?)

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

I want a cookie!

It doesn't look like much yet, but this is the start of some really yummy cookies. Now I just need to decide if I'm going to make pumpkins, flowers, butterflies, or (Becca's choice) elephants.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Funf Riesling

 I'm blaming (crediting?) this wine purchase on one of my knitting friends, Sean. He had first mentioned this wine to me, pointing out that it would be worth buying just because the bottle was pretty and the name was cute. Supposedly I'm beyond buying wine just because of the bottle. But apparently peer pressure still works. Because when I saw this wine on sale at the grocery store as buy-one-get-one-free, I came home with the two bottles.

It's not bad. Slightly sweet, and very fruity, it seems like a nice cheap white wine that went well with the salad I had the first night, and with the leftover pizza I drank it with the next. I will say that I like the bouquet better than the taste; but then, I usually do.

So anyway, this was pretty good wine. I'm giving it two stars.
  • 1 star = It was okay but nothing special
  • 2 stars = It was good and I liked it
  • 3 stars = It was good and I'd buy it again
  • 4 stars = I really, really like it, enough to call it a favorite
  • 5 stars = It's mine, all mine! And I don't want to share.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

One out of ten isn't bad. Is it?

Things I planned on doing today:
  1. Go to church
  2. Warp the small loom for towels
  3. Unpack a couple of boxes
  4. Vacuum and dust the bedroom and living room
  5. Clean the bathroom (sharing with a teenager means this task is done almost daily)
  6. Write my thank you notes and birthday greetings (I owe 6 notes)
  7. Ply a skein of yarn on the wheel
  8. Make cookies
  9. Make a loaf of bread
  10. Plan next week
What I actually did today:
  1. Went to church
  2. Tried to warp the towels, but got frustrated when the yarn tangled for the third time
  3. Gave up and went to Starbucks
And I wonder why I never manage to cross everything off my "To Do" list. Sigh.

Today's Giggle:
Overheard at Starbucks: "Hey, you know what we could get while we're here? Coffee!"

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Playing Footies

My daughter had me in hysterical laughter. I was sitting in the living room, minding my own business, knitting as I watched the ending of some stupid show. I looked up just in time to see her strutting across the room in her brand-new footsie pajamas with a smug expression on her face. I couldn't help it. I burst into laughter, and didn't stop laughing until after I fell off my chair.

She is so-very-proud of those silly footsie pajamas. And yes, I am jealous of the utter coolness of Footsie Girl.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Monster Pops

Cake pops are NOT my favorite thing. They're yummy, especially after they've have a day or two to set properly. But they are a royal pain to make. I have no idea how Bakerella does all those gorgeous shapes and designs.

The important thing is that mom and I had a lot of fun making these together. My kids might be too old to play in the kitchen with me, but at least my mother is still willing to have a little culinary fun together. Although I had to let her lick one of the beaters instead of keeping both of them for myself.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Preparation is all the work

Tuesday I decided I wanted to warp the tabletop loom for kitchen towels. If I warp it this week, I should have enough time to get two towels woven before I have to warp the loom for the demonstration I'm doing at the Thanksgiving Festival on November 19th.

Of course, I didn't think to print out the waffle pattern for the towels. No problem, I said, I'll just run over to Starbucks for a couple of minutes so that I could copy it down. Yeah, maybe if I had settled for just the tabby pattern (shown in the bottom right of the photo). The waffle weave was a lot more involved than I thought it would be.

Now I'm wondering if I'm going to be able to warp it AND weave it in the week and a half I have available. Especially since I still have to ply two fingering weight skeins of yarn that are taking up my bobbins. (The demonstration is for both spinning and weaving - in pilgrim costume, no less.)

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Missing MoJo

I haven't been doing very much knitting lately. I'm not sure why. For a while I was blaming it on the move. After packing up my stuff, and transporting the boxes, then unpacking everything only to return to the old apartment and repeat the process again each day; I was just too tired and sore to think about doing anything at all.

Now that the big move is over, and (most) of my stuff is put away, I'm slowing picking my fiber back up. And it is about time.

I had managed to finish the first round of the Tour-de-Sock. I really liked the Calaba pattern by Regina Satta. I thought it was a fun knit. I was surprised that the Penny Rose yarn striped the way it did, but it went well with the cables.

I did get knocked out of the competition in the second round. Not only did I not finish the pair in time, I'm still knitting them. I missed round three entirely, and it doesn't look like I'll get to knit round four. (Even though I'm out of the competition, I can still knit each round in order to earn points for my team.) 

As you can see, I still have a ways to go with Round Two. The pattern is Phellogen by Glenna C. I'm using Knitpick's Stroll, which is supposed to be a tonal but seems more like a variegated to me. The socks are really pretty, but the cables are kicking my butt for some reason. It's frustrating. But now that I'm finally on the heel, and the end is in sight, I think my pace is finally starting to pick up.

I really do need to get my knitting mojo back. Not only do I have to catch up on the Tour-de-Socks, I also have a cabinet full of UFOs that I need to get finished. I just don't have the room anymore to accommodate this many projects!

 * ~ * ~ *
Blanket Update:
207 squares in 305 days
(Status: Is it still an "update" if there's been nothing to report for weeks?)

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

It's starting to feel like home

I'm not very good at decorating. You would think that with all my crafting skills I would have picked up on how to make my house look pretty. Unfortunately, I can't manage to pull it all together. (I can't accessorize outfits, either.) But right now, I'm really liking the way my living room looks.

Just don't look at the other side of the room...

What am I going to do with all these boxes? There's no more room to put anything!