Monday, October 26, 2009

Patience can pay off

   I tend not to be a very patient person.  I hate to stand in line, wait in traffic, be put on hold or to be told to call back tomorrow.  I especially hate when the Maytag guy can't come for two weeks or when I can only get one month of a prescription because  that is all my insurance allows ( maybe that's not patience, just frustration)  But in other areas I am almost infinitely patient.  I love to spin, have two wheels going at all times so I can vary what I am spinning and I usually have at least three knitting projects at a time.  Last week I mentioned four working projects and showed you the two that I finished.  Still no buttons for the basket weave scarf,  but it is blocked.  The endless socks aren't done, but I have decided they are my last pair of cotton socks on size 0 needles.  Too hard on my hands.  So I am working on the lovely Herbivore scarf, which is a joy to work on, even though it is getting to be about a zillion stitches in every row, and I need to finish that damn sweater for the Kid.  It is easy, really a snap to finish, and I like knitting on Alpaca Light.  It is the color that I don't like; Maroon.  I have never liked that color, even though this is a really lovely grey/maroon blend.  There is a lot of sweater  to hold on my lap, but if I just finish it I can start something else.  Maybe reward myself somehow?

   So what else is finished?  Lovely spinning.  The Wildflower honey BFL from the painted sheep is done and I have about 450 yards of lovely sport weight yarn.  I am not sure that it photographs very well, but it is a lustrous, creamy color, and exactly what I wanted.  I am now thinking that I will make gloves and another cowl to wear with my grown up lady coat. The spinning experience on my Louet S90 was 100% positive, but perhaps a bit less so for the plying.  I tried the first skein from the built in Kate, but that didn't work too well, so I used my Katie-a-go-go, or whatever it is called, and that worked better.  I am thinking about a Woolee Winder for the Louet.   Just thinking at this point.  I have 3.5 oz of the blue merino-silk  to finish spinning.  The first 8 oz have produced about 800 yards of lace-weight .  It is just gorgeous yarn.  I am not used to spinning quite this fine, but I love it.  This has been an absolute joy to spin, and I hope to spin some more  merino silk, maybe in a deep purple .
   And what about corgi cuteness?  Last week Eliot had his teeth cleaned, and  had to lay on the couch all day Saturday with his head on a pillow. He is as bad as the kids were when they had their braces adjusted.  At least he didn't make me go to the bowling alley to get him a milk shake. And Kitty cuteness, Soot has discovered a new bed that I bought for Riva.  I decided it is too small for her corgi rotundity so left it on the table til I could return it to the pet store.  Not happening, Soot is in love with this bed!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Needles, wheels and Yoga

   Yoga first.  When I retired, after being a librarian for 36 years, I had back problems.  They came from  way too many years of moving books, moving libraries, sitting at computer desks that were ergonomically incorrect, sitting too long , standing to long, wearing the wrong shoes, yada, yada, yada.  I had tried yoga before, but my friend Susan, also a librarian with back problems, suggested Svaroopa  Yoga.  I was skeptical, but tried it.  I'm hooked and have been taking classes for a couple of years at Hartland Yoga Center  which is about 30 minutes north of me.  Because this type of yoga is aimed at one's back, lower back in particular, it seems to help.  While knitting, spinning and weaving do not really challenge my back in the same way that moving books did, all three provide some challenges to my posture that I believe can be improved by practicing yoga.  Last year I got a little book for my birthday called "Yoga for Knitters".  I keep it in my knitting basket mainly to remind myself to take a break every so often and do some poses and relaxation breathing.  I don't pretend to know anything about any of the many other types of yoga other than Svaroopa, but I imagine there are other styles that work as well.  Give it a try!
   I got a new wheel, and I am having serious wheel love.  It is a Louet S90, a much coveted, no longer produced folding wheel from Holland.  The wheel came to me from Alaska and brought with it the salty memory of my years there.  Now a S90 is not a wimpy travel wheel. I could not throw it in an overhead bin on any airline. It is a sturdy girl, 20" x30" ( tall) by 61/2" deep when folded.  It is also pretty heavy, but it spins like a dream and has a nice high orifice.  It has one wide treadle, so it can be treadled with one foot, either one, or by both at the same time.  Because my Majacrafts are both double treadle I thought that I was a double kind of girl until this summer when I started spinning on my single treadle Canadian Wheel.  I must be ambidexfooturist, or some such thing.  I am just finishing up 8oz of golden colored BFL from The Painted Sheep which is intended to be a small scarf or a cowl to wear with my grown up lady winter camel hair coat.

    Now for the needle.  I was buying a new needle to knit a Herbivore scarf for the Kid for Christmas so I thought I would try a Kollage square needle.  I bought a size 5/3.75 mm 24" circ and started knitting.  Although the knitting looked fine I found I was ignoring the scarf in favor of the endless cotton sock.  Then when I knit on the scarf I noticed that my wrists hurt.  Now I am VERY careful of my wrists.  A few years ago I knit a Koigu cardigan closely followed by a Koigu mitered square  vest.  In between I knit a brioche stitch scarf, all were on size 21/2 or 3mm needles.  I acquired a serious case of carple tunnel requiring the use of really unattractive wrist splints, and cessation of all knitting for a couple of months.  I was one unhappy camper.  Anyway, this scarf is dead simple, but very attractive, and I really wanted to finish it.  So, yesterday I went to the Elegant Ewe and bought a size 5/ 3.75mm  Crystal Palace Bamboo 26" circ.   Happy knitting.  Happy wrists.  I had a chance to try the needle out today as I had appointment with my financial planner.  He was late.  What do these guys do anyway that would make them late for a meeting?  He had the audacity to ask me if I watched the early morning trading on the NY Stock Exchange? And miss coffee with Harry Smith, I don't think so.  Do people watch that stuff on TV?  Yowzer... So the Kollage  Square Needle... not for me, but other folks love 'em.

   What about Rhinebeck?  Yep,  I went.  Will I go again?  Nope.  Been there, done that.  I got some cool stuff, met up with some friends, refused to wait in line for an hour for lunch, had no choice when I got stuck in traffic for nearly 45 minutes both coming and going.  I'll stick to NH Sheep and Wool .  The best part of the trip was the 7 hours in the car listening to the book on tape of  The Secret Life of Bees.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Less Stress

   NO disasters today.  I retrieved the lawn mower from the back 40 and tucked it behind the Kubota in the cellar of the barn.  It no longer actually mows.  I believe the belt  that drove the mower blade melted and became one with the metal housing.  Looks like someone needs a new lawn mower. Oh, dear.  Didn't do laundry, but chances are that someone will also need a new washing machine in the near future.  Though I was observant enough to have learned how to get the top and front off the washer, and perhaps remove the pump and shake out the quarters.  Maybe not.
   I took some pictures and uploaded them to Flickr.  That presented a major learning curve, though I have done it before, it was in the presence of a teenager, and now that he is in Ohio I am on my own.  Here we go:
Most recent knitting, a yellow lacy cowl, Poinsettia, by Anne Hanson, Knit in  a pale yellow silk/merino:

Basketweave scarf knitted in Manos Silk Blend, pattern from And the Beadz go on... in Wickford Rhode Island.  This is a short scarf that needs buttons.  It is not blocked yet.

   And some recent spinning,  BFL, the blue was  was dyed by Lynne Vogel, and spun in her class last August and I believe that I dyed the  pastel yarn in Lynne's class in the summer of  2008. Lots more spinning to show you another day.

I've been kind of a spinning fool lately, I have rediscovered my Woolee Winder on my Majacraft Rose and it has made my spinning a bit less tedious.  Also, some wheel changes are in the air.  Little Gem is on a vacation at the moment in New Hampshire and a lovely package is heading my way from Alaska.  More on that next week.  I am not sure I will blog again before I head off to Rhinebeck on Saturday.  I haven't been for about 6 years and I am looking forward to it.  I had planned to look at wheels, but that ain't happening, so I think I will check out more silk, and cashmere roving and see if I can find a 15 dent reed for my Harrisville Loom. Oh, and meet up with the Harrisville crew, of course.  See you there?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so close to home

   Yesterday was not a good day.  It involves a repairman, a fire, a trip to the laundromat and many, many bad words on the part of my dearly beloved, who can fix almost anything that I break.  And it was a busy night.   He had to go back to work in the lab after work, and he was NOT A HAPPY HUSBAND.  Well, the repairman was not there to fix the washing machine, and I actually went to the laundromat before I broke the washing machine.  The Dish Network guy came to install a DVR, which also included climbing on the roof to put a new whatsit on the dish, and about 3 phone calls to make it all work. But it works, I assume.  Haven't tried it yet.  Then I had to go to the laundromat because I had a comforter, dog beds and bathroom rugs to wash.  It was a sunny, but cold day and I knew I could put them on the line to dry. But I forgot them and it snowed and rained all night.  They are still there, wet. None of that heavy, bulky stuff can go in my apartment size front loader, as it makes the machine agitate itself off the platform it is on and across the cellar floor.  It sounds like NASCAR in the cellar, and I don't imagine is very good for the machine.  Which broke anyway while washing a load of skivvies.  It sounded like a cup of nuts and bolts in a blender and was flashing codes at me, dinging and full of water and dirty unmentionables.  I called the M**T*G guy, who said he could maybe come in a couple of weeks, but I could bring it in and he could fix it quicker. Yea, okay, load her up sweetie we're taking a road trip.  So I said my husband is pretty handy and then he said  "takeoffthetop, thenthefronttheresacouplascrewsandthepumpisinthelowerright
takeitoutandbringitinoremptyitout,maybe." That made no sense, but I took notes and you-know-who found 3 quarters in the water pump.  Fixed. We put it back together and only had one extra screw.
   But the lawnmower is still parked down over the hill behind the apple trees.  I mowed the front lawn wearing a down jacket, hat and mittens.  In addition to 6" of grass there were several 200 year old maple trees worth of leaves on the ground, and I assumed that I could just mow them up into rows and save a step in raking them up.  Wrong, no, very wrong.  Even at about 31 degrees they got chewed up under the lawn mower deck and sort of spontaneously combusted. I was sitting on the lawn mower and it was a tad bit disconcerting to see all the smoke.  So I drove it far enough away from the house that it was not really visible, hopped off and left it.  Did I mentioned it rained all night?  We won't need it til spring and then I will be in way more trouble than I am for leaving quarters in my bras.
   On the knitting front I finished both my silk/cashmere cowl and the  basketweave scarf.  I spent the day doing safe things like paying the taxes, which may just be a tad late, and watching " The Proposal" which came out on video today.  As a former resident of Sitka, Alaska I have to make a statement here.  That film was not filmed in Sitka. I believe it was mostly filmed in Massachusetts.  The downtown was not even closely related to Sitka and Sitka's scenic woodsy trails do not pass through deciduous forests.  Although the movie was not totally horrible, it was very close.  And to any of my Alaskan friends reading this Happy Alaska Day!
  Tomorrow I promise pictures.  The cowl should be dry, the scarf blocking and the silk/merino plyed! Yay!!!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Where's the wool?

   So, I am not very good at this blogging thing.  I promised I'd talk about yarn, knitting, spinning, weaving and all that jazz.  Well,  I have about 16 WIP's ( works in progress) and I'll mention a few.  I have 3 1/2 active knitting projects.  The semi-inactive project is almost finished, but hit a snag when the Boy was home.  He is what we cowgirls call a long drink o' water.  I'm not really much of a cowgirl, but I once lived in Colorado and simultaneously owned both a horse and cowboy boots.  That's enough to qualify in my mind. Anyhooo, I am knitting  an Alpaca light, maroon, V neck pullover for The Kid. He chose the pattern and the yarn.  He is 6'3" and weighs 143, and therein lies the problem.  This is NOT a standard size.  I am using a very basic V neck pattern, 38" chest,with orangutan arms.  I got it almost all done and he came home, tried it on, and it became obvious I had to add almost 3" to the armpit- shoulder length, and therefore alter the sleeve cap accordingly.  He won't be home again til Christmas so I shoved it in a bag and forgot about it.  I have three active projects, all kind of fun but nothing to brag about.  One is socks, I always have a pair of socks going.  This pair is for my Dearly Beloved.  They are cotton, Opal, I think in a drab grey- blue stripe, 68 stitches on a size zero.  They are endless and are taking for friggin' ever.  But I only knit on them when I am away from home.  They are travel, waiting room knittin' socks.  Then I have a wonderful silk merino scarf in a basketweave pattern, Luscious colors, totally untaxing knitting.  I only knit on that when I need total relaxation,  de-stress knitting.  I need another scarf  like a hole in the head and The Girl needs one even less.  Don't even think of my mother-in -law.  This is seriously lovely yarn.  Maybe I will send it to the Queen with a picture of my new corgi.  Last active project.  It is a beautiful yellow, silk cashmere cowl in a fairly simple lace pattern, Poinsettia by Anne Hanson.  The gauge is a bit funky, but I know it fits as I took it apart at one time when I screwed up the lace, and tried it on.  I got the yarn at School Products   in NYC when we went to visit Pratt last spring.  I think it will be a luxurious little thing to wear this winter.  It also shows some prospect of being completed fairly soon.
   I need to weave.  As I only have two looms I only have two projects.  One is a friggin' Scottish Tartan scarf.  It is a dismal yellow/brown/green thing that I hauled back from John C. Campbell in September.  I took the left over warp from a loom we  refused to weave on because the treadles were funky. I only need to finish it because I need to sell that loom. The other project, on my 36" Harrisville, is dish cloths, 6 of them in 2 patterns using the same warp.  One set of three is plaid, the other 3 are striped.  They should be fun but moderately tedious, but then I wouldn't know because I haven't even put my warping board together yet, so , like so many projects I haven't actually started this one yet.  Next week, really.
  The only really successful thing I have going is spinning.  I am spinning 11 3/4 oz. of merino silk, mosly light blue roving that I got at NH Sheep and Wool.  It is luscious, a joy to spin and is really a quick spin.  Of course it helps that my wheel is in front of the TV, and I am actually apt to sit and spin, like in a few minutes when Project Runway starts.  Gotta run.
  Pictures, you say, maybe tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Ten on Tuesday

       I am new to this blog thing.  It is my second day, and though I could think of a million things to say, I believe focus is important.  Something I lack, totally.  So I am following the formula of several blogs I read and using their structure.  Today's theme, girls, is Ten on Tuesday; things I want that I can't afford.
    1. To fund Health care.  Who said I need to be realistic.  I really truly would sleep better at night knowing that every man, woman and child in America has affordable access to good health care.
   2.  For The Kid to be able to finish his education, including endless graduate school, debt free.  We are talking about a boy who is brilliant, just a bit unfocused, and may need to do a bit of experimenting before he finds his niche in the world.  Have at it , kiddo. ( in your dreams, anyway)
   3.  For The Girl to have her college debt go away.  And now she can focus on graduate school as well, full time, without all those night shifts in the ICU.
   4. Good Health.  We are getting older, as I so often obsess about , and there is not enough money in the universe to keep us healthy.  But a girl can dream.
   5.  To visit most of the National Parks.  Yep, take a year off, buy a nice little RV and visit the  real beauties of America.  I've been to a few, the Grand Canyon, Arches, well, very few, and after spending last week with Ken Burns I feel that it is my civic duty to see more National Parks.
   6. I'd like a cleaning person.  Every week, faithfully.  Someone non-judgmental enough that I don't have to spend 10 solid hours the day before she comes just picking up.  Realistically I could afford this, but I don't work, and that New England Protestant guilt thing kicks in and it ain't gonna happen.
   7.  Okay, some Koigu Cashmere.  It's on sale this week, and another Martha cardigan would take 9 skeins.  I'd wear it, til the end of my life, promise.
   8.  Since we are so far over the top, I'll take a Toyota Highlander Hybrid.  My 7 year old Chevy Trailblazer is a wonderful, reliable, inefficient mode of transportation, and I'd like to do something besides composting to make The Earth happy.
   9. A new wheel,  a Jensen Ashley, already finished.  As much as I love my Majacraft Rose, I think  the Ashley is my dream machine.
   10.  World Peace, why not...

Monday, October 5, 2009

To blog or not to blog?

I read blogs, I enjoy them, I'm talkative, but I totally lack the ability to sit down at the computer and do anything that involves spell-check, capitalization, or considering whether I really want just anyone out there in computer la-la land to read what I have to say. Since I had a milestone birthday a few days ago, and no matter how you view it I am more than half way through my life,  I decided to muster up enough self-discipline to do something- any one thing- on a moderately regular basis. So, I will blog, I will do it somewhat regularly, like probably not daily, but maybe weekly, more or less, and if I get really irregular most likely I will just stop and chalk up my lack of success to, well... inertia.
So, what do I have to say for myself? Why read this blog? I have  grown children, adorable corgis, a still tolerable husband, I am retired from a 36 year career as a librarian, but then, probably may of you out there in computerland are in the same boat and the last thing you want to hear about is my perfect kids.  I guess the overwhelming focus in my life is yarn in one form or another. I knit, spin, dabble in dyeing and am a beginner weaver. I have a stash that I will never use up if I live to be one hundred, in addition to boxes of hand spun yarn, fiber galore, fleeces to be processed, dyed, spun and then DEALT WITH. So I am hoping that if I introduce you to this aspect of my life, that you, my bleaders ( yep, I am reading Julie and Julia), will take an interest and perhaps hold me accountable, in my mind anyway, to getting on with this whole thing and to help me to change from a maniacal fiber acquirer to a real, live fiber artist, or something along those lines.