Sunday, December 30, 2007

One more trip to the frog pond

Oh, I forgot to tell you the latest on the Knit Round Scarf. It's positively hideous. I could tell by the look on Keith's face when I tried it on as I was deciding whether or not to add another decrease round. I didn't need him to tell me how bad it looked. I could see it for myself. Let's face it, what looks good on a petite person doesn't look quite the same on my larger size. Since I spent an awful lot of my life as a size 4-6 (in my younger days), I have a very hard time remembering that I'm a much more bootyliscious size 14.

Anyway, the durn thing has 5 balls of Kureyon in it. What the hell was I going to do with 5 balls of Kureyon? The only thing to do was to buy 5 more in the same dyelot, set them aside, and put Lady Eleanor on my queue list.

I haven't frogged it yet. I do want to take a picture of the ugliness of it for Ravelry's ugh! files. I want to save any other curvy gal from making the same mistake.

New Year's 2008

I don't usually make resolutions since I know most of them are pie in the sky, doomed to failure, and abandoned after 2 weeks. That said, I decided to post a few for this year in a more optimistic outlook towards the New Year.

1. I've really got to do something about my health. The hypothyroidism made that very clear to me. Keith and I both need to lose weight (as our doctors tell us), so we are working as a team to clear out most processed foods, unnecessary dairy (we don't need to eat a block of cheese in just a few days), sugar, and to replace said things with as many fruits and veggies as possible. Some items we will keep, such as half and half. There is no good substitute for the real thing, and why make our food life totally miserable? Besides, if there is any way we can eat the suggested 9 servings of fruit and veggies a day, I think I deserve my 2 - 4 T of half and half.

2. Yarn purchasing moratorium. I've got enough yarn. Some of what I have has been purchased after consideration of a pattern, but a lot of it (most of the sock yarn) has been spontaneous, impulse purchases. So, no more yarn until I knit down some of my stash.

3. Finish the projects that I have on the needles right now before starting anything new. I hear this at the shop all the time, but so many times these are women who only have 1 or 2 projects! How in the world do they do that? I've got 6 on the needles right now if I'm remembering correctly: Keith's sweater, Mystery Stole 3, Janice's armwarmers, basic sock, sock for Keith and the Roses for You sock. I finished Honi's wrap last night. I would have made it just a little longer, but I ran out of yarn and decided not to buy a new one just to add maybe another 6 inches. It looks fine to me, but I'll post pictures later once the rain and gloom lift, and you can decide.

4. I'm clearing out some of the stuff I've collected over the years, mainly books. In fact, today I plan to list 10 on Amazon. Mostly Anne Rice since I won't be reading them again.

5. I'm planning to start clearing out some of my other items on Etsy and Ebay. I'm a confirmed packrat who has had a lifetime of hobbies. I can sell finished items on Etsy as I finish them (like some of the beading), and I can sell the components on Ebay.

6. Numbers 2, 4 and 5 lead to the most terrible of all for a packrat (who has, let's face it, quite a lot of honest to goodness junk) - cleaning up and organizing! My office is absolutely terrible. It looks like one of those hoarders lives here. Keith's office is so clean you could spot a pin on the floor, but mine is pretty terrible. It doesn't help that the cats think mine is wonderful because there are places to hide, things to climb on, and odd places to sleep. And let's not forget that part of the reason Keith's office is so clean is because I think he moves stuff into mine thinking I won't notice. Well, I do notice.

Wouldn't it be just hilarious if I made so much money cleaning up that I could quit my job? Then I might actually have time to knit! I doubt that will happen if I'm selling old Anne Rice paperbacks and the odd Michael Crichton hardcover, but it's like winning the lottery. Something nice to think about.

I hope everyone has a happy and healthy 2008!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Hiatus on travel

I know there must be some pet caretakers out there who would do the same, aren't there? Keith has mentioned a few times this month that we should go to California to visit his dad who moved out there about 3 years ago. His dad had been coming back to Atlanta very often that first year or so, flying back about every 6-8 weeks to tie up loose ends. However, we haven't gone out there to see their home or visit, and I think Jeanne, his wife, hasn't been back to Atlanta since she moved.

I'm not adverse to the idea of going to visit, but I have other things to think about. Scooter, who turned 17 1/2 on December 21, is who I think about. If he is like Brownie and Pixel, I only have another 8 months with him. To be totally honest, he is my favorite cat. He has been my favorite almost since he was born. He's got a great personality; he's very affectionate; and he almost always climbs into the bed, gets under the top cover and naps on top of my stomach when I nap in the afternoon. We've done this for years.

I told Keith that to be honest with him, he couldn't get me to travel anywhere until Scoots crosses the Rainbow Bridge. Both Pixel and Brownie passed when they had an acute condition pop up, and I don't want 1. For Scooter to suffer while waiting for a pet sitter to come by; and 2. if he's to be put to sleep, I need to be there. Keith wasn't surprised about this. Sometimes I wonder if he thinks the same thing, but I have to verbalize it.

As of right now, Scooter seems to be in good health. He has to go back in for some bloodwork to make sure his iron levels are coming back up. I'm sure if he knew, he's be hoping they are still low so he can continue to have liver every other day. He won't eat canned catfood anymore, but maybe a little hamburger or smoked turkey or ham from your plate will satisfy him very briefly. I expect the stare any minute since I haven't opened a jar of babyfood meat for him yet this morning. Yes - I know who has trained who in this relationship, and I'm not complaining. We shall miss him terribly when that awful time comes.

No wonder Seattle has such a high suicide rate. We've finally had some typical winter weather with clouds, fog and rain, but see where my thoughts have gone. I am rejoicing we have rain, but wouldn't it be great if it could rain while the sun shone?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Unintended holiday hiatus

It's amazing just how quickly time flies by when you are busy. Any of you who work in retail or retail support know that this time of year gets a bit crazy, and when you leave work, you're not exempt from the food prep or gift wrapping activities. Other things slide, like mopping and blogging.



So what's up with us, you may wonder? First of all, our holidays were quite pleasant. We as a couple decided no gifts for either Hanukah or Christmas. Honestly, it took a lot of pressure off of us. We don't need material goods to prove we love each other, and we've reached the point where we're trying to get rid of stuff instead of adding to it. I will admit that in 2006 we exchanged almost all media - cd's or dvd's for the holidays - and my hubby was the ultimate recycler as he bought them all used.



Now that the holidays are almost over, we're looking towards 2008 with lofty goals. Replace vinyl flooring in the kitchen (that we installed ourselves) with bamboo flooring from Ikea (which we will install ourselves). Clear out some of the books I've bought over the years. Sometimes I wonder what other people think when they come over and there are books everywhere. Bookcases in every room. Books in piles on tables and the floor. I love reading, and tastes change over the years, so there are books I don't mind parting with at all. What was I thinking when I got the book on millinery a few years ago? Was I really going to ever make a hat with buckram? I'm not a re-enactor. Or the Vampire Chronicles? Most of them are a one time read for me. After a while all of Anne Rice's books seem the same. I'm left thinking haven't I read this before? I will admit that Ellis Peters can be formulaic, but I actually like Brother Cadfael. Anne's vampires can get a little tiresome. Anyway, I can clear out piles of books, take them to the Book Nook to trade in, or just take them to Goodwill for a tax deduction, or post them on Amazon's Marketplace. Any way, they're out of here.

Oh wait, I forgot that we'll probably get blown-in insulation sometime in 2008. I will admit that I draw the line at installing insulation. I don't want to be covered with prickly fiberglass. Luckily, none of our lofty goals are necessary maintenance, so we can do them as the budget allows. If I still have vinyl flooring in 2009, I won't be thrilled about it, but I'll live with it. I'll never get a white floor again unless I have pets with white fur to go along with it. Black dog hair does not go with white flooring.

As for knitting, I'm almost finished with the re-knit of the Knit Round Scarf. I've done the required sets of decrease, but I think I'm changing the pattern and adding another set since I've had to add more stitches to get the darn thing to fit. I'm also thinking of ribbing around the neck instead of a rolled stockinette stitch collar. I'll have to see how it all works out. Hopefully pictures soon.

I know this isn't an exciting post, but it has felt like a long work day, and the glass of wine with dinner helped to suck the remaining blood away from my brain. It seems I can think more clearly in the mornings with a cup of java.

Wishing you all a happy new year!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Holiday Resolutions

I'm in the midst of last minute holiday gift buying for several reasons.

1. Keith's family just decided to exchange presents. For the past few years we drew names, then last year we did nothing at all. Just a few days ago it was decided to exchange gifts, and now I'm waiting for wishlists from people. (and waiting...) We're all at that stage in our lives that if we want something (and it's reasonable - not a Ferrari), we just go on and buy it. That makes it hard to find something to ask for as a gift.

2. My own procrastination. I still have to find something for my Mom & her hubby. Last year I knitted, but this year I decided I wasn't putting myself through that. Now I'm stuck as to what to get for them.

My resolution - I think I'm knitting presents again for 2008, and my resolution is to make 1 or 2 (depending on size & complexity) per month. Do you think that will work? We'll test my resolve in 2008.

As for me, I hit a few online sales this morning and last night, but it's all laceweight yarn for me. I'll figure out what I'm doing for next year, look through my stash, then maybe hit a sale or two again. I do want to decrease my stash this next year, but somethings, like Zephyr, are going up in January.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Yikes, The frog pond

Well, I finished the Knit Round Scarf last night, bound it off (keeping the last stitch "live") and tried it on. I knew that it would be a bit tight, but hmmm.

Yesterday I spoke to Kim about some Monkey socks she had knitted up. She said that if she decided if she was telling herself she could like something that it meant she didn't like it. I'm paraphrasing (and probably badly) but you know what I mean. When you are trying to justify that piece of knitting it's time to rip it out. And I did. As I had it on I kept pulling and tugging and playing with the rolling that stockinette makes, then I sat down and just pulled every stitch out to the very first cast on stitch. I kept it since I do long tail cast on, and my long tail had been too long. I cast it on again with 40 extra stitches to start over. Also, the rolling that stockinette does drives me crazy, so I'm doing a seed stitch border.

I only looked at other people's on Ravelry on Thursday night, and I've decided before I start the next project I'm looking there first. I could have saved a helluva lot of time by checking their notes. I'm posting copious amounts of notes there. Can't help it - I'm used to documentation. I'll take pictures in the next couple of days so you can see what I've done now.

Have a great Saturday!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Separated at birth

I must apologize for not being able to figure out how to get the pictures on here, but you have to check out these two guys. (Maybe after dinner I'll be able to get my act together.)

Donald Fehr You'll have to scroll down to see his picture.

John Inman The beloved Mr. Humphries of Are You Being Served.

More later. Almost finished with the Knit Round Scarf.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Eek!

Oh no! I'll be spending even more time on Ravelry and less on my actual knitting. A Needle Nook (k)nitting group has been started. There's a calendar in the works so we can post class schedules and knitting nights. We just have to wait for Jess & Casey to get it up and running. Now I just have to finish photographing my stash so I can post it there.

Thank you for all the nice comments on my knitware model. I'll see if I can get her to pose for me more often. I must admit she's not the best model since you want to look at her and not the knitware. What would Tyra say?

Tonight is the last night of this season of America's Next Top Model. It's down to Saleisha, Chantal and Jenah. I have to admit I'm rooting for Saleisha. We'll see who wins tonight.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Why doesn't my printer do this?

funny pictures I want these little ones.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Sucked back into it

Crochet, that is.
I've got to say that it's all her fault. The Mad Crocheter has this on her queue list - a crocheted Bender amigurumi. I have been able to avoid crochet for years now. I really like the way knitting looks. However - I love Bender. Not that I would ever want to date an animated, drunken, chainsmoking, homicidal robot, but I do love watching him on Futurama. Enough to pick up the hooks and some gray acrylic yarn and go for it. It's on my queue now. As if I don't have enough to do.

I wanted to get some pictures of my knitting posted here today too. It was a lovely day here in Georgia. Sunny and warm with temps in the low 70's. Something about my putting knitting on the stone bench piques the interest of my favorite model, so without further ado here are 2 knitting projects with that cat supermodel, Grey. Just remember that her stage name is Princess Plumeria.


Please note in the shot above the kitty ecstacy of being on a sunwarmed stone bench with knitware to paw. I caught an action shot in mid-wriggle. See the tongue sticking out. That's one happy cat.

This next shot is also in mid-wriggle. I had dared to put the glove on her, and she was going to squirm until it was off.

It's so wierd in December when it's pitchblack outside at only 6 p.m. It feels like midnight. It's about dinner time, so I'd better go see what we have. (Keith usually has food duty on Sunday, so I bet we're either finishing leftovers or having frozen pizza. Don't get the wrong idea. He's very good in the kitchen, but why whip up something from scratch if you don't have to? Besides, grocery shopping will most likely be done tomorrow, and I want him to save his cooking prowess for grilling some steaks.)

It's a small, small world.

Keith and I went to a Hanukah dinner last night. It's been ages since I've had latkes and even longer since I had them that I hadn't made.

Anyway, I knew a few people there, and you know how we all are. We ask questions about where are you from, and who are you related too. It seems that if you're Jewish and from anywhere in Alabama, you'll eventually find mutual friends. In our course of conversation, when I mentioned my maiden name, Jack said I knew some attorneys with that name, who's your father? I told him, and then he asked who my grandfather was. I told him, and it turns out that we are distant cousins. Not only did we know some of the same people, but we are related. I'm cousins with my boss's son-in-law!

We are related on my paternal grandmother's side, and I know next to nothing about her family. We were estranged for some time after my parents were divorced, and when I started visiting her again, we just never spoke about her roots. You know how it is. When you are young, you don't always think about that stuff. Besides, you have all the time in the world. As I've gotten older I've wondered a bit. My grandmother has Alzheimer's, and it's pretty advanced, so I can't really ask her. All I really knew was that her parents immigrated from Russia right around the time of the revolution. Last night I find out there is a family genealogy book for that side of the family, and I can get a copy of it. How cool is that?

I have to admit I was a bit shocked about all of this. When I was younger we visited with cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents, but we got progressively more nuclear as I got older. I really know nothing about my family outside of this very small nuclear group, and here I am confronted with some very enthusiastic people telling me all about people I've never heard of, and where they live, and how we're related, and on and on. I got another drink. I needed time to absorb all this.

Of course I thanked Arlene for a most entertaining evening when I left. It was. I had a lot of fun, the food and company were great, and I left with a hugely extended family.

As for knitting content, I started on the Knit Round Scarf from The Knit Stitch. It's been chilly in the mornings, and I need something that will keep me warm while not interfering with my range of movement. This is really like a tiny poncho that sits on your shoulders. It takes 3 balls of Silk Garden, but I'm using Kureyon since it had a colorway that works better for me. I'll probably be able to post a picture of the finished product in a couple of days. It will be a quick knit. Of course now that I've started it I'll be wearing hippy skirts and sandals for the next few days while the temps are back in the low 70's. Welcome to December in the south. People have been saying how warm it is, but even before global warming I remember Decembers where I'd be wearing sandals. You just never know. One year it will be 28 and snowing, the next year we'll be wearing shorts.

Have a great Sunday.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Is it hair pulling time yet?

Needle Nook is setting up the Malabrigo Afghan Knit A Long. OK, I'm doing all the computer work, and a LOT of it is new to me. Yikes!

Arlene has been tossing around the idea of knitting a Malabrigo afghan for some time now. We've been brainstorming on the best way to do it. We wanted it to be a sampler. It needs to be something all skill levels can do. Different knitters have different skill levels and what's challenging to one may be easy-peasy to another. How do you cater to all the different skill levels, speed of knitting, etc?

I kept thinking of the block of the month quilts I used to participate in when I was quilting more. I thought we could do this as a block of the month knitting afghan, but really, how to work it out?

We also wanted to have support meetings once a month for the knitters. We can help them pick out patterns and colors. The support is free with the purchase of the yarn and joining the group.

It struck me! Why not a Yahoo group and we can do it as a modified KAL? Each knitter could work at her/his own speed, post pictures and comments on patterns, and still join us for the once a month meeting for some knitting camaraderie and get help if needed.

The problems with this is we really want it to be an adjunct to the real world knitting experience, not a traditional web-only kal. The Yahoo group is secondary, a tool if you have a question in the middle of the night, that sort of thing.

And here's where I find the limitations of my ignorance. I've already had to possibly turn one person away since she's under the impression that this is a traditional kal where you can work on your own Malabrigo project. I feel very badly about this. I see I need to improve my descriptions (a lot).

I'm wondering just how much tinkering I can do to the original group to make my description more clear. I guess I'll find out.

Have a great Monday everybody. Here in Atlanta the temperature currently is dropping as the cold front comes roaring in on those northwesterly winds. Much of Georgia is under a wind advisory today. (Sorry about that. The closet meteorologist pops out from time to time.)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Knittin' content

Ah, it's weekly picture time. Without further ado, here we go:
Petra's Fingerless Glove #1. As you can see, I'm almost finished with the cabled area.


Yarns hand-dyed by yours truly. The one on the left was done first, the one on the right was with leftovers and some more red.

Here is the latest car sock. It's toe up in Claudia's Handpainted Merino Fingering weight.

I've been experimenting. I found the flash tends to wash out the colors, so these were done with no flash. I'm still not happy with the photos, but you get an idea. The sock is really much brighter than the picture shows. More mucking about with the camera later (maybe).

The Needle Nook is having a Knit A Long for a Malabrigo Afghan. It's a great way to learn some new pattern stitches and be as bold or demure as you like. The one thing that was wrestled with was how to do a KAL. It was decided after some debate to have it for knitters who can actually get to the shop. The major reason is that this is a shop KAL, much like the quilt shops that have the block of the month program. Who knows, there may be a virtual KAL in the future? Arlene will have to see how this one goes before making any decisions about future ones.

As for this weekend, remember all the fussing about the Neighborhood Watch and cleaning up the neighborhood? Well, people do like to fuss, but many don't like to actually do anything. One of the houses had the tenants evicted, and they left a mess in the yard. An old bedframe, toys, etc. are strewn about. Has the landlord or anyone been there to haul it to the street? Hell no! I decided a day or 2 ago that I would do it myself. This neighborhood used to be nice, and I'd like to make it that way again. Meeting so many of my neighbors I've found that they want it to be clean and safe. Like I said, it seems the actions stop at their property lines. Screw that. We're taking the time later to go clean up that yard, and we'll pick up any trash in the street on the way. Sure, I'd rather be knitting, but someone has to step up.

Tut tut, it looks like rain. Maybe we'll get lucky and get some later today.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Serving my cat masters

Remember that the vet said Scooter is supposed to have liver every other day? Well, Keith has given him his serving of liver for today, and I gave him baby food meat for breakfast. I can hear him in the kitchen begging for more meat. The furry devil thinks that by meowing at Keith quite loudly another chicken liver will appear. He's wrong, but I'm sure he'll be having whatever I'm having for dinner. He's gotten so spoiled that his Eagle Pack Holistic formula kibble is just not worthy of him (unless he's really really hungry, and the humans have been able to resist his meows, stares and pawing.) Wish me luck. I have to head in there to eat in just a minute. I will be strong. I won't feed him the best bits of fish off my plate.

There is some knitting content today. I taught a hat class at work today. I'm not comfortable in front of crowds, so teaching has been a challenge for me. I find it's like anything else. The more I do it, the better I get. I still have a lot of room for improvement. I have to stop and think about how to explain things because I just want to show each person one on one how to do the join or whatever, but that doesn't work in a class environment. So remember if you're ever in one of my knit classes that I'm working very hard to make sure you learn what I'm teaching. I do want you to understand it and be able to do it.

I guess that wasn't really knit content. I'll make up for it tomorrow when I take an updated picture of the wrist warmer. Have a great evening.

Belated Happy Birthday

to my sweet, wonderful hubby Keith. His birthday was yesterday. I am usually prepared for it, but this year I was the one stopping to buy birthday cards and presents on my way home. I had found and ordered the first season of Banacek for him (thank you Amazon), but he also has a 3 page Excel list of CD's he wants. I've been meaning to print the durn thing out and get to Wuxtry (he likes his CD's used since they're cheaper, and he can buy more of them) all week, but finally remembered yesterday!

I have to wonder if the guys at Wuxtry like to see me coming. I'm polite, but I come in, hand them a list and say "I want 6 from this list please." Then I stand there trying not to be bored (Wuxtry is definitely a guy's place) while they find the CD's. I've done this several times, and I figure they like getting the sale. It's not a huge one, but in this day and age a $40 to $60 sale isn't bad either.

Keith had been debating about what he wanted to do for his day. First he thought maybe dinner out. Then it was going to the DeKalb Farmers Market and getting steak & lobster to grill at home. Late yesterday he finally decided we needed to go get Mexican at El Toro. They have great margaritas. I wish there was a lot to write about, but we had a nice dinner. We usually go out and eat on random week nights, so it was very strange to be out with the crowds on a Friday night. We skipped the dessert and came home to the bourbon bread I got from Great Harvest Bread Company. From what I can tell, my local store doesn't have a website yet. Ted has been tinkering with the recipe for his bourbon bread, and he's finally got it mouthwateringly right.

As for Keith, poor guy. All of our wrapping paper is in storage, so I handed him 2 plastic bags with birthday cards and said dig in. I think he was happy (I only got things from his list.) We watched 2 episodes of Banacek last night, so that was fun too.

Oops! time is slipping away, and I've gotta get ready for work. More later.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

An award and some cogitating

First of all, one of my friends, Honi of Healthy Honi, has given me an award. I'll have to figure out what I need to do to copy it over to here to display.

There are things attached to the award, like passing it along, but I feel a bit odd about doing it. I read a few blogs of friends, but I mostly read knit blogs. I'll have to think about who I'll award.

As for the other cogitating, (and this doesn't contain a bit of knitting content) I found myself thinking about The Rose Rent by Ellis Peters this morning. Mystery on PBS certainly expanded the British mystery authors I've read over the years. Because of Mystery and Sir Derek Jacobi I have read all of the Brother Cadfael mysteries. When I read them, I automatically picture Cadfael as Sir Derek, and I'm quite all right with that. He's a marvelous actor whom you have seen in Gladiator, but to me he'll always be Cadfael (even though he was also a damn good Claudius. I won't say you must see I, Claudius, but I found it most enjoyable.)

However, I digress, so back to The Rose Rent. If you have ever read one of Cadfael's mysteries, you will find that Ms. Pargeter did have a formula that she followed. This may be a spoiler if you've not read or seen them, but many involve wrongful accusations with only Cadfael and Hugh Beringar really looking for justice. In many ways Cadfael is a very early CSI. There is also a lot of romance in them. For example, Summer of the Danes always seemed to me to be a romance novel with a murder thrown in. It really would make a great Harlequin, complete with the handsome, strapping Viking on the cover. The Rose Rent is one of my favorites, and I think it's because it doesn't deal with teenage romance. The couple involved in this mystery are older. They've both suffered from hardships and losses. Neither is drop dead gorgeous either. It seems more real than some of the other ones. I guess as I grow older I don't always want to read about willowy teenagers with rose petal lips. Love isn't always a lightening bolt. Sometimes is just seems to sneak in, like the fog, on little cat feet.

If I had never seen the Brother Cadfael series on Mystery, I don't know that I would have picked one up at the library to read. Through Mystery I have discovered Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse and P.D. James's Adam Dalgliesh. Seeing those names floating around from cover comparisons I've found Elizabeth George (who's latest Lynley novel comes out in spring 2008) and Ruth Rendell.

So many of us, and I'm guilty of it, spend a lot of time surfing. I read other blogs; I peruse Amazon for hours; and now there's Ravelry to consume large amounts of time. While I enjoy all that, sometimes I just want to sit down and read a book. I just realized I've left out the author who started my love of the British murder mystery, Dame Agatha Christie. She's still the best for the quick, light read where the bad guy always gets caught. Ooh, here's the knitting content. Miss Marple can solve that case from her armchair while knitting baby sweaters.

I guess what I really wanted to do was to express my love for the written word. I find I may use a word that is archaic just because I like it. Perhaps it seems I structure my sentences strangely as I look to use the proper grammar instead of the conversational colloquialisms. I do love to read books, especially ones that will include words I've got to go look up. Here on my blog I get a chance to improve my writing skills. I'm not always very good. I may jump from subject to subject. I try to not ramble on too long knowing that I may lose your interest. I do agonize over my messages sometimes, re-reading them over and over to make sure they flow. It is like knitting in that I can create my sentences on this page, and if they don't flow as I like, I can make them disappear as easily as ripping out stitches.

Still reading? It's time to sign off and go read a book. Take a trip back in time and read Murder in Mesopotamia by Agatha Christie. Go meet Lynley and Havers by picking up A Great Deliverance by Elizabeth George (although I'll admit Missing Joseph is one I've read several times). From Doon with Death is the first Inspector Wexford and has some surprising twists. Or go find what you like to read, whether it's a cookbook, knitting book or maybe a trashy biography, and settle down for a good read. After all, there's a writer's strike going on, and there won't be anything but reruns on TV very soon, and you can't spend all your time on the computer.

As for me, My Name is Earl is new tonight, and I've got a lot of knitting to do.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Wow, that was quick!

Poor Sassy. She's been one smelly hound dog. She's like any dog, digging a nice dirt wallow and getting covered with red clay dust. Pulling her blanket into the damp, then lying on it so it gets good and stinky. Because of the drought and her extreme amounts of fur, she hasn't had a bath in a while. We didn't want to bathe her in the tub since we thought all the fur would clog the drain.

I called my vet to make a grooming appointment for her and for Monster (who needs a clip under her tail - long haired kitties have "bloomers" which catch things.) Boo Hoo! Pamela, who I liked very much, has left. Now what do I do? Lee suggested I call Sonya's Mobile Grooming. I did, and her groomer was able to come today. It took Erica less than an hour to do 2 sanitary clips (Grey got one too) and bathe Sassy. I was duly impressed. Much less anxiety for kitties and humans. (Sassy wasn't anxious. She got to check out some new smells and meet someone nice.) I'll definitely use them again.


Now for knitting content. I had planned to buy all my gifts this year, but then I caved and decided to make one. I'm pretty sure she doesn't read my blog, so here it is.These are Petra's fingerless gloves in Dream in Color's Smooshy. The color is Some Summer Sky. This first one is knitting up pretty quickly, and it would be even faster if I hadn't had to rip it out since I crossed one of the cables the wrong way. Yes, I can drop stitches and fix cables, but I haven't done it on yarn this thin, and I decided ripping would be just as fast.
Here's the watermelon that grew spontaneously in our front yard. Keith cut it up over the weekend. We promptly forgot about it until today, so I'll taste it later and let you know how it is.
This is the yarn I dyed last week. The color is slightly washed out due to the flash. The green is much richer. I've wound one into a ball, and I'll take a picture of it to post later.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Forgot to add a gratuitous cat picture

You know he's thinking I look damn good for nearly 17! And I love sitting in the sun, soaking up the rays and smelling these sweet, sweet flowers. (Note he's also sitting in the highly invasive spearmint.)

It's been a helluva week.

As I've mentioned before, mainly because finding out I have a chronic, permanent condition, no matter how easily managed, is never what one wants to hear, I've got hypothyroidism, and now I get to experiment with synthroid dosing. (Sorry for the very long and most likely incorrect grammatically sentence.)

So the first week I took 1/2 dose, only 25 mcg. It seemed fine, but the doctor had prescribed 50 mcg, so week 2 I started taking that. Now I've had a little stress with the neighborhood watch stuff, my co-coordinator and the whole inviting the news thingy, but normally I could handle it. This time I went basically bananas. I was in nice terms a basket case. What the hell was wrong with me? I never had PMS so bad that I should be committed. All of a sudden it hit Keith and I almost simultaneously, what about the medication? I checked it out online and found that anxiety, nervousness and emotional instability were all side effects of getting too much and overstimulating your system. I immediately cut back to the 25 mcg. I feel better already. I prefer a calm life with little or no drama, and this past week has been no fun at all. Sorry to the family for being a sullen little bitch on Thanksgiving, but I had to refrain from talking. Who knows what would have come out of my mouth?

Last weekend we went to a wedding in my hometown of Birmingham. Being the weird, socially awkward kid I was, I heartily disliked growing up there. (It's an over sized small town) As an adult, I never had any reason to go back. Sure, I had some friends and family still there, but I disliked Birmingham so much I avoided going as much as politely possible. Luckily Keith and I have both worked in retail related jobs off and on for a very long time, so it is difficult for us to find time off together when it's convenient for other people too.

I had to go to this wedding. Unlike my brother's wedding, Keith was healthy this time. (We missed Brett's wedding after Keith took a faceplant in Lake Lanier while skiing. He got an awful infection in the inside of his nose. We're talking swelling, fever and at least 2 rounds of antibiotics to get it under control. His nose make W.C. Fields' nose look good.) I honestly wondered how this wedding would make me feel. I love my friend and wish her nothing but the best, but I'd be going to so many of those old places where I felt like an alien visiting earth for the first time. I was so surprised to find that I enjoyed seeing these old places. I had fun, and I am so happy that Honi had a very lovely wedding. She looked radiantly happy and beautiful.

We stayed with my brother and his wife. I haven't met his wife but once or twice before, but I really like her. They have just the coolest house ever. It's one of those "modern" ones, and it's just fabulous. They've had the top floor remodeled so that it's almost like one long continuous open space with just some artfully placed walls to keep the kitchen out of the master bedroom. Most, if not all, of the floors have been replaced with bamboo flooring which is just gorgeous. He and Mindi have their own event planning company that they do in addition to their day jobs, and they had a huge event that weekend. We didn't get to visit nearly as long as I would have liked, but I had a great time seeing them, and getting to know Mindi better. If they have a website for their event planning, I'll add it to the sidebar.

For those of you on Ravelry, I've updated some of my projects and yarns with pictures. I'm still learning Flickr, so bear with me.

Oh, before I forget, I've been taking those dye classes. It is so much fun. I dyed 2 skeins of sock yarn last week, and I'll get pictures up as soon as I take some that show the colors properly. There is one more class to take, immersion dying. I'm taking some Lamb's Pride Bulky in a color I don't much like and overdying it to see what I get. I will say this about dying. It is a water intensive hobby, and I think I won't be doing any of it at home until this drought eases. I can wait - I've got a lot of knitting to do. Just look at my queue.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

He's back!!

The problem is, I'm not sure which one he is. And you might well wonder about whom I am speaking? It's one of my orange feral boys. When Mr. Chubbikins and Lily showed up, the orange kitty family was driven off repeatedly. For some time now, probably several months, I've only seen Momcat, and I don't see her regularly. So this morning I was quite surprised to see an orange tuxedo boy out there. I'm just not sure if it's Dadcat or Tux. I doubt I'll find out either since whichever it was ran off. I startled him, and he startled me. I'll just make sure enough food is out so he can eat once I get the wild grey cat back inside.

I'll blog more later. It's been a really busy week with all sorts of drama (not fun), a wedding and my very first dyed-by-me sock yarns. Next post will be complete with pictures.

Thanks to Stuff on my cat I now check out this site too. The Daily Kitten I just love kittens. I'm very diligent about spay and neutering, but sometimes I just want to play with kittens. I'm just a sucker for such a sweet face with needlesharp claws.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Knitting withdrawal

I feel like I've been megabusy this past week, and I've hardly knitted at all. I remember knitting last Saturday (Britcoms) night, Sunday (Fox cartoons) night and at Knit Nite on Wed. Other than that, I don't remember doing any at all. When I have been knitting, I've been working on the cable wrap to get it finished. I must confess here that I really love the tiny needles and tiny stitches of socks. I know those first socks felt like they took bloody forever, but even then I enjoyed the tinyness of them. At least I do feel like I make progress on the cable wrap because I can think "I've done 4 cable rows tonight" which translates into a fair amount of progress. Perhaps I'm at the event horizon where it feels like the wrap isn't getting bigger, nor the yarn used is decreasing the ball size. (yes, have a snicker here if you must - I said ball size)

I must admit that I, like most of my neighbors, was reluctant to take on the task on being neighborhood watch coordinator. Honestly, it's a lot of work. I was 30 minutes late to work yesterday because when you get an email from the police department that says call me, I need to speak to you, you stop what you're doing and call. Turns out we were on the news the other night. This is not what the reporter had told Rosa, but I'm of the school of thought when do reporters tell the truth? Especially if the news channel they work for really needs some filler material? I truly didn't know I was so very cynical about the news until this all happened. As for the story, it focused on the more negative and sensational aspects with a mention of the community banding together. They ended it by mentioning 2 armed robberies on the street. Luckily the detectives had already told us about this, and as they involved pizza deliveries to vacant houses, well, we as a neighborhood really have some work to do. But it does bother me because really, would you move into an area that you saw on the news being described as having increasing crime? Does the average person realize that crime is on the increase nationwide? Not just in our moderate little neighborhood, but in the ones where there's more money too?

Anyway, I have work to do coordinating the block captains, being the liason with the police department and gathering information for both the p.d. and the neighborhood. Luckily I really like spreadsheets, mysteries and puzzle solving. Although I'm not thrilled about the amount of time it's taking from knitting, I really think I'll be good at this.

Hmm, now that I think of it, I haven't even been able to surf Ravelry very much this week. Next week won't offer much relief as I have the second dye class, some Thanksgiving food prep, then the event itself.

I probably won't do any pictures tomorrow since I've not done enough work on anything to make picture taking worthwhile.

Friday, November 16, 2007

I love it when a plan comes together

Ok, I have watched the original A-Team in the past. Anyway, we had our first neighborhood watch meeting last night, and the woman from the office of public safety brought along the assistant precinct commander and 2 detectives who work in our area.

I have to say how thrilled and proud I am of my little neighborhood. It's small, only 51 houses, and we packed that room with representation from maybe 50% of the homes. There are other people who want to be involved, but were unable to attend. The asst. precinct commander said he hadn't been to one of these that had so many men there in a long time too.

One of our residents had been emailing a local tv station for some time now, and while I was at work my co-coordinator Rosa called me and said the reporter wanted to interview us at 4 p.m. WTF?! Neither one of us had known this other person had contacted the media, and quite honestly I don't want to be on tv. I was on once when I was about 18, and I know I sounded like a complete idiot. I must admit that the station that wanted to do the interviewing is one that always finds the most ignorant person they can to make a statement about whatever it is that has happened. Exploitative. I said no, that she could do it if she wanted, but I would have nothing to do with it. I wasn't going to help them fill their useless 1 hour newscast. I said a lot of other stuff too that surprised me coming out of my mouth. (I had no idea that I had some of these latent conservative types of feelings, but then again, it wasn't The News Hour who wanted to interview us either.) Perhaps most importantly, public speaking is not my forte, and being filmed for a potential filler spot or human interest story would make my nervousness much worse. Rosa called me later and said she had taken care of it.

The reporter also called the woman at the ofc of public safety, who then proceeded to call Keith to find out what was going on. Honestly, all of us were caught off guard with this. I later found out that the news station involved is doing pieces on communities that are working together for improvements. However, I personally feel like we as a community need to start working together, along with our local government, to handle these crimes of opportunity that have been happening here. I don't need or want (at this time) an inflammatory news station to be involved. The interesting thing is that Rosa thought doing the interview would be a great idea. Honestly, she could have done it without me, and I wouldn't have minded a bit. I personally feel that we do need to work within the channels available to us first and give them time to work. A reporter is out for a story, and the story is better with controversy, and I personally think that reporters can be intrusive and antagonistic (look at Princess Di.) We will get better results if we can work together in a cooperative atmosphere. If we're not getting the results we want, we can always go to local media later.

Can you tell I wasn't at all happy about this? So I think we're going to be able to have this meeting quietly, but as we're leaving to get to the church, there's a guy filming our street sign. Later, at the church, the cameraman and reporter showed up. The room we're in is small, and our group is large and spilling into the hallway. The cameraman tries to come in with that giant camera, and Rosa asked him to leave since it was disruptive. He was snippy with her, but he left. They hung around and questioned some of the residents as they were leaving. I don't know how many they spoke to, nor do I really care. All I know is that I was able to get in front of the group without totally freaking out from the stress of public speaking. I am very excited about it, and now we know a lot more about what the police department needs from us to help them to help us.

There's a lot more work ahead for us. Will I ever get time to knit again? This week has been slim on the knitting time, and next week doesn't look much better for me.

Gratuitous cat picture

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Keith and his girls

I went to a dye class last night, the first in a 3-part series taught by local dyer Gale Evans. I had a great time and hopefully not a new obsession. I think it is very useful to understand more about this fiber world that has consumed me, and I love learning new things. I got to experiment with dyes and see that they don't turn out like I think they will. And since I was playing around, I didn't take notes as I should have, and I developed a gorgeous olivy gold color by accident that I was later able to reproduce. I know the components, now I have to be more scientific about it.

I got home around 10, then spent a long time on the phone with my brother. When I get off the phone, I hear "Lily, get out of there! Grey! Grey, leave her alone!" followed by sounds of rustling. Keith decided if you can't get them to behave, play with them. I found this:





Don't worry. We leave the shredder unplugged because this sort of activity happens. The long white thing Keith is holding is what he calls a "twizzler". It's just a piece of 8.5x11 paper twisted as long as possible so your hand won't get clawed. It's currently the cat toy of choice in the house, but only when there is a human attached to the other end. Also note that Keith has left his computer case dangerously close to the corrugated clawing pad. He later moved it since it is a favorite napping spot, but it's not very professional covered with catnip bits and massive amounts of wispy gray fur.
Finally, Honi, here's your birthday present in progress. You can click on it to enlarge it to mind-numbing detail of the cables and color. Happy belated birthday!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

100!

This is my 100th post, and it's a No Picture Sunday. I was outside in the brisk, around 40F, fall air taking pictures when the batteries went kaput. No pictures for here, nor can I post any of my stash to Ravelry. Boo hoo.

Honi, you'll just have to wait until later today or tomorrow to see your belated birthday present. If all goes well, I'll bring it for your wedding. If not, I'll mail it by Hanukah.

Today is also the day I start on the synthroid. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about it. The doctor said it might make me jittery, and if so, to take less. I was talking to Mom about it last night, and she said when determining dosing for this sort of thing it's really all experimental. You have to see what the patient needs, and the only way to do this is to start dosing them and see what happens. Why does this make me think of House? Actually, I've just been through this in the other direction with Brownie this past spring. That's why she needed bloodwork done once a month until the dosage was determined to be correct. Luckily unlike the cat I know what's going on, and I can change that dosage myself (within reason, and I can communicate with the doctor.) I'm changing the subject here because I'm not quite ready to think of Brownie and Pixel without tearing up.

Later today I'm meeting with Rosa to firm up the agenda for the neighborhood watch meeting, and we have to give out flyers probably today. As far as I can tell, I think one of the rental houses that most in the neighborhood thought was a part of the problem is now vacant. There is another one where the people living around it have had to call the police more that once, but we'll have to work on them one at a time. Honestly, is it really that hard to not steal from your neighbors?

Well, I had planned to wax poetic on knitting projects this morning, and since there are none here, I'm off to do something useful until I get new batteries for the camera. Hi ho laundry and away!

Friday, November 9, 2007

The answer is here

and I have Hashimoto's. That's a type of hypothyroidism that is caused by an autoimmune disorder. At least I know now, and I get to start on synthroid next week. The doctor will call it in tomorrow since she's on call this weekend, and I'll probably start on Sunday to see how it works for me.

As for Ravelry - yikes! I've been having a great time adding yarn, adding to my queue, and seeing what other people are knitting. Tonight I found a group of vampire fan knitters. Of course I joined. I read Dracula when I was 11. I think that freaked my teacher out.

Cat's workshop, part 2

The Coriolis sock really is an easy sock to do and does give you an very cool looking sock.

Cat does her heels differently from any of the ones I've done. I'm wondering if I would have to do the heel her way or could I do the usual PGR heel that I do.

I think the best thing about her workshop was that she said she wanted it and the book to be a starting place for us to do new things. I think this is true for many knitters, not all, but many of us reach a point where we say I like this pattern, but I would change... We use the pattern as a guideline or inspiration, but we don't follow it word for word. I felt like that about this class. I like this sock, but... and in my mind (or out loud in one case) I would change this and this.

I just plain, flat out had a great time in the class.

I said I spotted myself in another blog, so here's the link. You have to scroll down because I'm in one of the last pictures in the post.

As for Ravelry, yikes! I have to learn how to set up and use Flickr (which I'm sure is easy - I just have to do it.) I've loaded a few projects in, and I want to get the pictures up to go with them. I'd best get moving since I gotta work today. Why, oh why haven't I won the Mega Millions yet? And yes, I do know it works a helluva lot better if I'd actually buy tickets.

Cat's workshop

I will admit that during workshops I get busy listening and executing the knitting instructions, and at the end I have a difficult time remembering all that I heard and saw. Thus I beg your forgiveness if this blog entry is less detailed or as long as you might like.

Cat spoke for a few minutes about sock architecture and the arch expansion, the we dove right into the first learning sock. Let me state here that I had some misgivings about this class before I signed up. The blurb said it was a good class for someone who had never knit a sock as well as someone who had knit socks. I've knit several pairs, around 10ish, I think, so I was a bit worried that I may be a little more advanced than the student the class was aimed towards. However, I really wanted to take a class from Cat, and as I have Tuesdays off, that made my decision for me. I did learn some really excellent tips and tricks in this class and just had a great time.

The first learning sock is the Little Sky Sock from New Pathways for Sock Knitters. Cat taught us the mother/grandmother increase, which I had learned when I took the class from Annie Modesitt this past spring. That was a good thing since I was able to help the students sitting around me. I did have the decency to tell them I had learned that increase during another workshop (and therefore I'm not a knitting prodigy.) The Little Sky Sock went very quickly, and I was able to get mine completed before we started on the Coriolis. (That was were the sockknitting experience was very helpful. I'm not sure how many others were able to get finished. It's not that I'm that fast a knitter - I just didn't have to frog anything.)

While at Knit Nite at Needle Nook I spoke to Mary Jane whom I had sat with at Cat's, and we did wonder about the people who had never knit socks before. In my opinion, I'm not sure that would have been the best class for someone who's never knit a sock before, but it really depends on the knitter.

To begin the Coriolis Cat taught us Judy's Magic Cast On. What a dream that is! I've learned and taught the Turkish cast on, which gives you a beautiful toe for toe up socks, but this one is even less fiddly and gives you very similar results. I wouldn't do a slip knot to start it though since I think that would bother me. You can wrap your yarn in such a way that you don't need a slip knot (thank you Meg Swansen).

Gotta go for right now and get breakfast while it's hot. More later.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Brief post

Hi all,

I really wanted to let you know just how much fun Cat's workshop was on Tuesday, but today when I woke up I felt like my scalp muscles had shrunk 2 sizes overnight. I spent all day Tuesday at the workshop knitting, I knitted when I got home, I toted and lifted all day at work yesterday, and knitted all night last night. Too much for my no longer 20 year old muscles. At least I hope that's all it was. For not only were my muscles too tight, I had that light sensitivity and nausea that come with the ever so much fun migraine.

I feel much better now, but I've spent much time resting in a darkened room. The worst was not being sleepy and thinking about knitting without being able to try out the bizarre things I was thinking. Cat had done gone and stretched my brain in funny ways!

Anyway, just dealing with "ghost" pain now. I'm heading back to bed for awhile in order to rest and to fulfill my duty to provide warmth and a place to rest a furry head to the catkins. Hopefully later tonight I provide you with a better post about what a great time I had on Tuesday. I had so much fun I didn't take pictures, but I found myself on another blog's post.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Ravelry!

I got my invitation this morning. I don't have time to set anything up yet. My name there is Catmagnet.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Doctor's visit

I had the physical today, complete with fasting for the bloodwork. The nurse was quite nice and took me to the kitchen for coffee after taking 4 vials of blood. Now to wait and see if I really am hypothyroid. The doc said my thyroid felt slightly enlarged (symptom). She also said that when I go on thyroid replacement hormone I will probably lose weight (yippee!) My cholesterol is still in the normal range, but on the high side (another hypothyroid symptom). That can be resolved by watching what I eat and exercise. I'll have to go back to oatmeal instead of fried eggs with tortillas.

We have found a place other than my house for the neighborhood watch meeting. I'm thrilled since keeping up with sweeping/vacuuming pet hair is a full time job around here. Double coated dogs and cats shed like mad. All it takes is one of those types of critters in the house, and it's like an episode from when fur'n'dust bunnies attack.

Less than 24 hours to go before I get to take a class with Cat Bordhi. Keith is being a lovely, wonderful husband and driving me down there so I don't have to mess with parking. He's also said he was going to take my van to the $4 car wash. Like I said, I haven't washed it in months, and it's starting to look really bad. Some of the car washes recycle their water - I hope this is one of them.

That's all for now. I've vacuumed, and now it's time to mop.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Trip back last week.

I've been kind of busy this week, what with staying late for Knit Nite and Knitting Guild and errand running and just life in general.


I knit up a hat for the class I'll be teaching in a few weeks, but I forgot to photograph it.


So here are a couple of pictures of North Carolina wilderness areas. We decided to come home through Highlands, so when we left Fletcher we headed west on I-40. (I think that's the highway number - I'm working from memory here.) We got off at one of the exits for Waynesville and headed south towards Franklin. The mountains were looking green, gold, red and just lovely as we drove through, over and around them. When we got married all those years ago, we spent our first night of our camping honeymoon in Franklin. This time we didn't stop, but turned onto a scenic highway heading into Highlands. This road is one of those narrow, skinny roads with the ocassional scary drop off right on the passenger side, depending which direction you are heading. I had the scary drop offs to look over now and again. The drought has affected this area, but there are still some waterfalls.
This one we nearly passed. It's on the side of the road where there is a tiny pullover with no warning that it's a scenic overlook. The autumn sun made photographing it a bit difficult since there were deep shadows and really bright sunlight.
Here we are at Bridal Veil Falls. I'm across the street against some fall foliage. I see one goldish tree in the background.
Here are the falls themselves. You can drive behind the falls (which we did since we nearly passed them) I'm standing there for scale. (I'm the tiny white, black and blue thing in the picture.)
We drove on down to Highlands and got out to roam around the town for a little bit. Asheville, while also full of tourists, has a very different feeling. It reminded me more of my only trip to Colorado with younger people in jeans and hiking boots drinking locally brewed beers hanging out at the pubs. The art galleries go from high end interesting things to places where anyone can rent space and show things that a 5th grader could do better. Highlands reminded me of Alpharette or Buckhead. I was not thin enough, blond enough or covered in enough gold to really be there. I looked like I belonged more in Asheville. Of course, I find these displaced Buckhead Betties to be really quite hilarious in their absurd attempts to maintain their youth only to turn into sideshow freaks with the botox and plastic surgery. We saw one woman, thin with long hair who looked youngish from behind who looked like she stepped out of Tales from the Crypt when she turned around. Needless to say, Highlands will not be my first place to visit again.
One of the local knit shops has a small Highlands location, and we looked for it while we roamed around. I had heard the location was unfortunate, being off the main drag. We saw a sign for it that led us between two buildings, across the back parking lot and to a small patio. There we saw the shop, closed since it was Sunday. I looked through the windows to attempt to see the inside when behind me I hear a very familiar sound. From somewhere a cat has appeared and is meowing at me, not Keith, to pet it. My very aura must say "Catslave". I did as I was commanded since the kitty was quite plump, well-groomed and wearing a collar with tags. He or she seemed nice. I know I didn't pet it as much as it wanted, but since I know well petted cats get agitated and nip, I stopped before I was bitten. Kitty followed us back towards the other building and luckily for me, since I would worry, stopped before we got too far.
We found a barbecue place about 2 blocks off the main street. It had been recommended to us by some kids working in the grocery store. Not quite what we were looking for since I prefer those slightly divy places with a strange collection of pig items. The food was good, and the restrooms were clean, and both those things are quite important.
After that we headed back home through Dillard and down towards I-85.
I have an all day knitting workshop coming up this week with Cat Bordhi. I'm quite looking forward to it. Hopefully it will make up for the physical, complete with fasting blood test that I also have to look forward to this week. It will be nice to know if I'm really hypothyroid, or if it was something out of balance that particular day.
Until later.

Monday, October 29, 2007

SAFF enhancement

First of all, here is the manta ray I got from Dee Sharp Designs. Yes, I know there's a hair in the picture. After I saw that, I took about 4 more shots, but this was still the best one, even with the hair.

Here are the pictures of yarn!
On the left is from Miss Bab's. The photo doesn't do it justice since the colors are brighter. These colors made me think of things like the Preppy Handbook, which came out while I was in high school. I am hardly a preppy, have never been one, but I thought these colors were just great. Maybe I can find a perfect skull lace pattern for it, no? On to the stats. The colorway is called Watermelon. It is superwash, 100% merino wool.
On the right are the 2 yarns Keith picked out. The one on the right is from YarnSmiths. The yarn is called Prairie. It's a blend of 60% lambswool, 20% baby alpaca and 20% cashmere. It's handwash only. There are approximately 500 yards of it, and the gal from YarnSmiths said people do make socks from it. I found it quite funny that Keith picked up the cashmere blend and said he wanted socks from it. (He didn't look at the label. He liked the colors and the feel of it.)
His other sock yarn is from Three Waters Farm. There is no colorway written on the label. It is 100% superwash merino.
These pictured above are also for me. The one on the top is from Three Rivers Farm, the superwash merino. The colorway is Fall Leaves.
The bottom one is from YarnSmiths. It's Mazu, a blend of 70% superwash merino and 30% Seacell. It feels squishy, like the yarns with tencel.
Speaking of yarns with tencel, here is the Roses for You sock. I turned the heel this weekend using my favorite PGR heel. It's coming right along. I do have to stop sock knitting for a little while to get that hat knit for work. I've made some more progress on Keith's sweater. Time to pull out the pattern since I'm nearly at the point where I have to knit the sleeves. I have to knit the sleeves before I can knit the yoke since it's all knit in the round, and the sleeve get attached to the yoke. I know, it's Greek to some of you. The beauty of this sweater is that normally the only seams to sew are the underarms. Since I'm doing intarsia on the sleeves, I'll have to seam them up before I attach them to finish the yoke. It will make more sense to you as I include photos of the process.

SAFF pictures

Here are pictures from SAFF. I decided just to put them all together instead of editing last night's post. (Yeah, I'm still waiting for the caffeine to kick in, and I'm going cold turkey by switching to green tea instead of my 50/50 blend of caff/decaff.)


Here I am with a couple of sitting alpacas. Keith gets cozy with one. Doesn't it look like Keith is kissing the alpaca?



These are Old English Baby Doll sheep. What you can't see from the picture is just how small these cuties are. They are teeny tiny and not very cooperative about having their pictures taken.


These are taken during the llama shows. Llamas are so expressive with their ears. I'm not sure how happy that one was because sometimes it takes Keith a long time to set up a photo to his liking. I actually think this one which is not composed was better than the others. I'm speaking, of course, of the photo on the left. The two llamas on the right had been just seconds earlier in a better position for the photo. The view was unencumbered and the smaller, solid white one was in front of the one with the spots. I still think they are too cute to be left out.
I didn't even think to ask to hold one of the angora rabbits and get a picture taken with it. Some other time.
We only stayed at SAFF until around noonish. Perhaps being around yarn every day has made me jaded, but after awhile it all starts looking alike, and I had gotten some very lovely sock yarn. We went to Target and Starbucks for refueling, and after a short break at the hotel to drop off the yarn, we headed into Asheville. We didn't take any pictures there.
We did go into The Chocolate Fetish, which is a fabulous chocolate shop with a name that brings up some disturbing things when you Google it. That was my first stop, then off to roam around the downtown area. It's filled with galleries, restaurants and pubs. As we wandered we went to Bender Gallery. (It's amusing, because when you Google that, you get my favorite booze guzzling robot.) The Bender Gallery is all art glass. Some of it is so amazing. There is glass there for every taste, but definitely not every budget. I can only look in awe at some of the glass art. We also have to think about what happens in our house since most of the creatures look at a table or a shelf as a challenge to get to, then lets knock it all off to sleep here.
After checking out the shops and galleries, it was time for refueling. Last year Aunt Bev and I ate at The Laughing Seed, so I wanted Keith to try it too. It's a vegetarian restaurant, and it's quite good. They have a bar downstairs that has live music, but we were ready to head back to the hotel after dinner. Remember, I'd woken Keith up before 6 a.m., and we'd had a full day of fresh air, sunshine and lots of walking.
Right after dinner Keith called Andy to make sure we were still getting together for dinner on Sunday. Here's where my own idiosyncrasies come into play. I had emailed Andy a month ago to make plans. We agreed, and I left it at that. Here's where the differences lay. I had it in my calendar. Andy did not. In fact, he knew we were coming sometime, he just didn't remember when. In the meantime, he made other plans.
Well, I was actually quite ok with that. Usually when I go away, I don't think about home or worry about the cats too much. However, after losing Brownie and Pixel this past month, not to mention the rash of break-ins in the neighborhood, I had been thinking about home an awful lot. I had done what I wanted to do, so we could come home a day earlier than planned.
Keith was wonderful about it. I thought he'd be a little mad, but he said he knew as soon as Andy said they couldn't make it that we'd be leaving. Yes, I do owe him for being such a sweet husband. He reminded me that his birthday was coming up. Later over the weekend he mentioned something about a pile of gifts.
I'll do the drive home a bit later. We have a few more pictures of waterfalls and changing leaves, but right now I need breakfast.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

SAFF, part one

This weekend was the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair near Asheville, NC. I went this year with Keith. I have found over the years that I don't much like to travel with other people whether its family or a tour group. Keith says I'm difficult, and perhaps I am. I was very happy that he agreed to go with me since the 2 of us travel very well together. (It helps that we really are soulmates. We have very similar tastes and often think parallel thoughts. Not that it's like travelling with myself at all. We have different personalities which is usually a very good thing.)

Anyway, we drove up later than we had planned on Friday and missed getting to go to SAFF at all that day. However, we did find a good Asian restaurant that had several different Pacific Rim cuisines. It doesn't have a website for me to link you to, so I'll have to tell you from memory that we had sushi (Osaka Maki I think it was - a roll with crab and cucumber topped with smoked eel and raw salmon), miso soup, and green tea. I had a Hawaiian chicken dish and Keith had something more typically Chinese with filet mignon & scallops. At dessert time the waitress and manager talked us into trying the tempura cheesecake. They take a slice of lemon cheesecake, dip it in tempura batter, fry it up and serve it with ice cream. I don't want to think about the calories or cholesterol, but it was super yummy.

On Saturday I woke poor Keith up at 5:55 a.m. I just couldn't sleep. I was excited about being able to look at yarn, but more importantly, I wanted to see the livestock. I work in a yarnshop; I have friends who buy lots of yarn online; I buy look at yarn and buy it online - in other words, I can find yarn. I don't have lots of opportunities to pet llamas, angora rabbits or alpacas. Keith and I did the circuit of all the yarn and fiber vendors. I think if I were actively spinning or processing my own fleeces, I would have gotten more out of SAFF. I did buy 5 skeins of sock yarn. Keith picked out 2 that I'll knit up for him, and I found 3. I did offer to buy him more, but he just didn't find anymore he liked, and he seriously doubts that I'll do his anytime soon. I also found this gal, Dee Sharp, who makes really fun jewelry. I would show you the manta ray that I got for myself, but I need to take a pic. She doesn't have it on her site.

I'll edit this later and insert yarn pictures for you to drool over as I do.

Keith was fabulous and willingly went with me to see all the animals. We have alpaca pictures, we saw angora rabbits galore, and we wandered along the stalls where the llamas were kept. Later we went to the tent where the sheep and goats were. The most wierd thing to me was that as we wandered around the sheep and goat tent, I was overcome with thoughts of cheese. It was a strange thing to be looking at these adorable tiny sheep or looking at big fluffy sheep and thinking of cheese. It only made sense as I was leaving. Goat milk and cheese smell a bit like the live goats do. A year or two ago I tried goat milk as a substitute for cow milk. It's supposed to be more digestable, but it has a smell. Goat feta doesn't bother me a bit, but the milk smell was a little too strong. Apparently it smells enough like live goats to have me thinking of cheese when I should be thinking about fleece.

That's all I'm blogging about tonight. We took a long scenic way home today. We left Fletcher just before 11:00 a.m. and got home around 6:00 p.m. Obviously we took the scenic route and made a few stops. More later.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Yum, liver every other day!

Not for me. No, we got the test results back on Scooter. Even though he's 17, he doesn't have hyperthyroidism. All he has is a touch of anemia that apparently can be fixed with a boiled, organic chicken liver every other day. That's so rough for that cat. (Let me clarify this for you. In the past, when he was younger, I would occasionally give him a bit of raw chicken liver. He would go crazy with the drooling and growling at Pixel and Brownie. Don't worry - they got some too. It would have an effect on them similar to catnip.) He'll be in heaven. It's bad enough he only wants to eat baby food meat or beef or venison catfood. Now he'll get cooked liver on a regular basis.

As for me, I got through the day without crying, even when I thought about Pixel and Brownie. I feel sad, but at least I wasn't crying.

I didn't even think to take a picture of the finished Debbie Bliss armwarmer. Here is a link that shows you the picture in the book. I used a different color of yarn, but it basically looks like that. The hat that I'll be teaching is on the front cover of this book, One Skein Wonders. It's the one on the top of the "e" in One.

That's all for tonight. Just wanted to let you know that Scooter is doing pretty well for an older kitty.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Rambles from a tired mind

I've been thinking today about Pixel and Brownie. How could I not think about them today? Those 2 girls were my very first kitties, and the house seems so empty without them. Brownie passed on Sept. 23 and Pixel on Oct. 22. That is very strange too.

Scooter seems unusually needy today. I'm not sure if we're just more aware of it, or if he misses his mom and aunt. At least Keith is taking this week off, so someone is around the house a lot of the time to provide petting and snuggling to the old boy.

As for Scooter, we have to wait several days for the results of his bloodwork. In the meantime I've been feeding him the last can of venisen whenever he demands some. The vet said the knobbly thing on his neck is a warty growth or skin tag, so that's a relief. (That's what they said last time he was in, but it's a relief to know that it's not anything worse.) I'm not ready at all to lose him.

As for knitting, I actually got quite a bit done last night while waiting at the animal ER. I stopped knitting after I got the news about Pixel, but much was done before then. I'm working on an armwarmer for a class that I'll be teaching at work. Nothing that I've designed - this is a Debbie Bliss design using Debbie Bliss yarn. We're planning to have basic and intermediate classes of the easy gift ideas through November. I'll post a picture after I finish it up tonight.

I feel sort of numb today, but I met Daphne for coffee. She is such a wonderful friend, and it's so nice to be able to discuss my feelings about Pixel and Brownie to someone who understands so well. I feel wrung out, but better after visiting with her.

That's all for tonight. My sinuses and head still hurt, and my heart just aches. I'll stay distracted with Bones and House tonight while I finish the armwarmer, then off to an early night's sleep.

Scooter has a...

vet appointment for this morning. I've written the whole list down of things to check while he's there since Keith is taking him in. I've been planning to meet Daphne for coffee today for a week, and we have so much to catch up on. Keith remembered we were planning to get together and said he'd take Scooter in.

At least if Scooter has hyperthyroidism we can catch it in time. He's not very thin, and he's still alert and active. We do have one big grooming issue - he's not doing his claws anymore. He doesn't like it when I hold him to trim them either.

I'll update when we have the results of his wellness visit with senior checkup.

I think I'm running by Rainbow (the health food store) and getting some flower remedies for me and Scooter. I think we need the one to help with transitions. I may be anthropomorphic here, but I'm worried that Scooter is really going to miss Pixel. She's his mother and he's been with her almost every day of his life. He's had me and Keith almost every day of his life also, but we're not exactly the same.

As for me, my doctor's appointment got moved because of the steroid shot for the poison ivy. I just received from Amazon 2 books about hypothyroidism which I'll start looking through tonight.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Rest in peace, Pixel

Yes, we had to ease Pixel into the next life tonight. She's been active and spry, so we didn't think anything was wrong with her. In fact, we were planning to get her to the vet for her checkup sometime in the next week or so. However, she had been talking more than normal yesterday and today. The animal emergency clinic ran some bloodwork and found that she was dehydrated and anemic. Just what do you do with these elderly cats to keep them hydrated? Apparently you take them to the vet for subcutaneous fluids several times a week. Needless to say, Scooter is getting a check-up appointment ASAP. Two elderly cats passing in the past month has been very tough. Especially Pixel. We knew that Brownie was failing, but even yesterday Pixel was out patrolling her territory. She didn't come in until late last night when it got chilly. She was stubborn about eating until I relented and gave her baby food meat. I did not expect this. Ok, I figured eventually sometime in the future we would have to make that decision about Pixel. I didn't expect it today. Once again I must tell you how wonderful the vets at the Dekalb Gwinnett Animal Emergency Clinic are. The prognosis for Pixel was not good, and the vet told us that they don't offer elective euthanasia. She said if we wanted to treat Pixel we had to know that her prognosis wasn't good; the treatment would be intensive as well as time consuming and expensive. I must admit that I still had trouble believing Pixel was as bad as the labwork said she was. She sure didn't act ill at all. Not a bit except for lack of grooming which I figured was due to some arthritis. I feel numb, and this will take a while to sink in. I thought I had more time with Pixel. She was a wierd, strange and neurotic cat, and I always figured she was that way because her caretaker (me) was a wierd, strange and neurotic person when we bonded. Well, I'm off to drink some Sleepytime tea and try to ward off this next set of tears. (crying makes my sinuses swell, and they hurt already.)

Another night at the Emergency Animal Clinic

I'm waiting for Keith to finish up with dinner. Just before we ate he noticed that Pixel had blood in her urine. (He happened to be in the basement getting a beer while she was using the litter box.) Pixel is 18. She's Brownie's sister. From the quick glance I had online, at least this isn't terminal if we can get it taken care of quickly enough. Of course, it depends upon what is causing the blood. I'll update when we get back.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Forgot about the poison ivy

In case you were wondering, I finally broke down and went to the doctor this past Tuesday about the poison ivy. It looked awful and felt worse. My wrist was covered in these awful huge itchy, painful blisters. I had started wearing a cut off sock over my wrist to keep from scratching it or scaring the hell out of people coming into the shop. Anyway, the doctor gave me a steroid shot. I avoid those sorts of things usually, but they are great anti-inflammatories, and boy did I need it. By Thursday so much of the swelling had gone down. She also gave me an Rx for a topical steroid cream. I'm still using it on some of the areas that look damaged. My wrist is not back to normal yet. It's scaly, a little raw and painful, and mildly itchy due mainly to the dryness. I'm still taking a little bit of Benadryl at night to help with the allergic reaction, and I feel so much better.

As for the poison ivy left in the yard, I'll be much more careful, but it's personal now. Mwahaha!

More on the water situation

Apparently the media has sensationalized the amount of water (or lack thereof) in Lake Lanier, according to something I read last night. I probably found it after checking the "Droughtwatch" section on http://www.11alive.com/. According to some chap from the Army Corp of Engineers, the less than 90 day figure is for one type of water measurement. The lake actually holds more water than that, and with careful water management and less releasing for downstream usage, Atlanta has up to 1 year's worth of water left. So at least I can do laundry today as well as shower - still washing full loads and turning off the shower during lathering. At least I won't have to hoard water and become some sort of post Apocolyptic, Mad Max inspired water lord. (Although I wouldn't say no to the leather gear and total power. Might be fun for a day or 2)

On to the real reason I blog - sock pictures!

Finished socks

These are toe up, and I used Priscilla Gibson-Roberts short row heels. I love how the colors make the cool stripy heels. Now that I've mostly memorized how to do these heels, I totally love them. I've done the heel flap & gusset, but why would I when these are so lovely? For the record, I used the Turkish cast on at the toe and totally love it too. I'll probably try one of the others, but I've got this one almost memorized and love how it looks.

Here's a slightly blurry picture of the Spinning Bunny sock. I'll work on taking a better picture later.


Keith is taking this week off, so I'm not sure just how much fun I'll have. He has that Calvinistic work ethic really ingrained in him, and he wants to do a lot of house straigtening. I've been doing laundry and working on some of my stuff in the bedroom. He cleaned out the junk from under the bed, and apparently it's all mine. (OK, it is all mine, but no one saw it under the bed. Oh, that's where those shoes were.) In other words, I have to act busy until tonight when I go on strike to watch the Simpsons and knit on something.

I guess I better get back to acting busy. I have found a couple of things for Goodwill. I may sneak back here later.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Ravelry

I checked this morning since I get curious, and there are finally less than 10,000 people ahead of me. I'm number 9815 in the list waiting to get invited.

I'm better now

Last night I was getting a bit panicky over the whole water situation. I still don't know what the answer is, but a good night's sleep makes everything look more manageable.

I'll post pictures tomorrow when I've got more time, but I finished my Cherry Tree Hill Supersock socks on Thursday night. To be precise, nearly finished. I have 4 ends to weave in which I will do tonight.

Of course I've already started on the Roses for You Spinning Bunny socks. Both the pattern and the colorway are Roses for You. The yarn is so gorgeous. I loved the way the Tencel made it shiny, but I was worried about the elasticity since it's only 50% merino wool. It is knitting like a dream although I do find it can be just a tad bit splitty. I do have another skein of this yarn, and I will definitely use it again. If you want to see the yarn in person, it's at Needle Nook. If you just want to see colors, here they are. The yarn and pattern I'm doing are the very first ones you see. Your monitor does not do these colors justice. I also have the Tamarack and Spruce.

As for the neighborhood watch, we have someone from the police department coming to meet with us soon. I think tomorrow several of us are getting together and working on the next steps to get this thing set up. Maybe we can use this as an opportunity to get more of the neighborhood on board with the curbside recycling and TNR. I would love to reduce the feral cat populations in then neighborhood. We're not overrun with cats, but it seems they do all eventually make their way to my house. I do leave water out for wild animals, so I have an abundance of delicious prey animals - doves, plump squirrels, and fat chipmunks. Just a few weeks ago a small raptor, perhaps a falcon, swooped through my yarn only about 12' off the ground while I was outside! And last night we were lulled to sleep by an owl hooting somewhere not too close.

Must find breakfast now. It's finally cool again, and I'm out of oatmeal.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Strange days

Who would have ever thought that in 2007 a major American city would be facing running out of water? Then again, who would have ever thought that the aftermath of Katrina could happen here either?

Atlanta has less than 90 days of water left in Lake Lanier. That's a very strange and sobering thought. The drought has been so bad that pretty soon we'll be making a choice to brew coffee or take a sponge bath. I dread the thought of not being able to bathe daily. I know, that makes me sound like a spoiled American, but I'm used to being clean.

So honestly, what's a normal person to do? We've been pretty water conscious around here. My yard looks awful. The few flowers I planted last spring either died or are little brown sticks trying to stay alive. My van is in dire need of a wash and wax, but I sure wasn't going to do it here, nor do I really think about it when I'm out and about. Carwashing is not necessary. Taking a shower is.

I have one of those regulators that let's me turn off the shower flow when I'm lathering up. We've had it for years, and honestly I've used it for years. Some mornings it can be a little too brisk when the hot water is cut off, but that gets the blood flowing. We have a low flow toilet. I don't run the water when I brush my teeth. Now I'm turning off the water when I'm lathering my hands while washing them. I am water conscious, but there's only so much that I, as an individual, can do. More individuals need to be making those same small changes. A little from each person can add up to quite a lot.

Will this water shortage stop some of the unbridled development here in the Atlanta metro area? Those of us who have lived here for a long time can only hope so. Sure, I'm not a native Atlantan, but it's more than doubled since I moved here to go to college in 1981. Keith is a native, and he's watched his city mushroom.

In the meantime, we pray for rain. At least the temps are cooler, and that's less stressful on the plant life. I've been wondering when the trees were going to start falling, and I'm hoping the house doesn't take a direct hit. Pretty grim. I don't mean to be, but it's a situation I never dreamed I would be in. Seriously. Will I be able to take a shower daily in January? Think about it.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Monday, Monday

I know. I was remiss and didn't post any pictures yesterday. I'm still not posting any right now either.


It's been a looong week. I worked yesterday, missing my usual Sunday afternoon nap, then I had to cover for Beth who had jury duty today. I still don't know if she'll be at work tomorrow, but since I have a doctor's appt for the wretched poison ivy, it doesn't matter to me.


Last week I met my new doctor who took over for my old doctor who is working part-time and mostly playing golf near Savannah. She ran bloodwork and found that I may have hypothyroidsim. I'm getting a real physical, the first one is several years, next week, and my bloodwork will be run again. In the meantime, I've been reading everything I can find on it online and finding out that, hmm, some of these symptoms sound familiar. They're the sort of stuff you think may just be parts of aging, but then again, maybe not. As for the poison ivy, it has been spreading some, so I think I've got some of the oil in the bedsheets. Clean sheets tonight and a hot wash for the ones currently on the bed tomorrow. I'm a blistery mess on one arm, so I decided to see what else I could do besides Benadryl & Caladryl.


Our neighborhood has had a rash of break-ins for maybe a year or so. We have more rental property now, and many of us who have lived here think it may be the kids from one of the rental houses. We are starting a neighborhood watch program.

10/18/07 - I'm just posting this as it is. Blogger was down the other night, and I lost part of the post.