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 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


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.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Poison Ivy trivia

I was looking at a WebMD magazine yesterday and found an interesting little nugget about poison ivy. I need to do some further research, but here's a paraphrase of what I read.

Poison ivy seems to be benefiting from the increased carbon in the atmosphere. It now grows about 30% faster and stronger than it has in the past. The has lead to a strengthening of the oil in the plant that makes you itch like hell. Wait, here's the info about the increased carbon & urushiol (the oil that makes you itch.) Apparently my wanting to tear the stuff out by the roots is a REALLY bad idea. Just how in the world will I get rid of it? I'll read further.

Monday, October 8, 2007

I finally did it.

I put my name on the list for Ravelry. I had debated about. After all, did I really want to organize my stash where not only I could see it and see all the projects I needed to do, but so could the knitting world? Curiousity, however, won out, and I remember seeing on Wendy Knits a small portion of her stash and feeling much better that mine was nowhere near that size. There are 15694 people ahead of me!

That said, I've seen a sock yarn at the Loopy Ewe I've been eyeing for the past day or so. It's strictly the unusual colorway. If I wait long enough, I won't have to buy it.

Or how about this? Bunnyville print courier bag. I think this print is just too much fun. I'm debating the bag. I'm not sure the handle is a length I would like. I must make up my mind soon. This month LeSportsac is 25% off with a code from Lucky Magazine. I may just get another purse and get a messenger bag from someplace that I can try it out first.

In other news, I was a lazy person and did not make it to the gym. I did start counting calories and keeping that annoying food diary. It's downright horrible to see how many calories are in a Grands Flaky biscuit. (That's why they are so delicious, and don't forget the butter!) I will get to the gym tomorrow, slathered beneath my socks with Caladry Lotion. Mom had to add her 2 cents to my poison ivy yardwork by suggesting I learn what it looks like. I know what it looks like. I've had to pee in the woods before, and you damn sure want to know what poison ivy looks like. As I've mentioned before, the effects of it are cumulative, and I finally got to the point where breathing on it or looking at it funny makes me break out with those lovely blisters. Have I learned my lesson? Will I wear real shoes to do yardwork? In all honesty, probably not. I will dress appropriately when I tackle this area again, because I am damn well pulling every last bit of that plant out. For a seedling or 2, I'll just make sure not to get it near my skin. I was careless yesterday, and I'm paying for it today. Next weekend, when the weather is cool, I'll be outside with the heavy boots, sweats and long sleeves pulling that sucker out by the roots. (Is this the excuse I need to get some Wellies? If I get Wellies, do I have to wear a floral skirt, maybe by Laura Ashley, to do my yardwork?)

I think I've looked at too many Americanized ideas of how the English garden. Maybe I should just get back to knitting.

A pox on yardwork...

also known as I have poison ivy yet again. At least I'm pretty sure that's what the blistery, itchy streak on the top of my foot and matching patch on other ankle is. That means Caladryl twice a day and Benadryl capsules at night for the next week or so.

I know, I've already gotten the lecture from Keith about wearing flip-flops to do yardwork in. Yes, I'll actually start wearing things like old sneakers or boots along with long sleeves for yardwork. It's just so hard to wear those things unless the temperature really calls for it. You know what I mean. For me, it needs to be in the 50's at most for me to wear that much clothing for yardwork. (I'll just blame genetics here. Most of my ancestry comes from colder climates. As much as I love the South, cold, dreary England would be better suited for me temperature wise.)

After that, I goofed off watching bad TV and knitting. I worked on Keith's sock and sweater. I tried out the Spinning Bunny in the Roses for You colorway. Let me tell you, the colors are just incredibly gorgeous. They knitted up so beautifully. However, the Tencel is not as stretchy as wool, and it just didn't work with the pattern I was trying out. It would be fine if I weighed less and had thinner ankles. Since I don't know how much I have to lose to make the lace pattern work with this particular yarn, I frogged it. I'll work the pattern with a different yarn and use Spinning Bunny for toe up socks.

I have to go now. I need to hit the gym today. I'm still working towards that goal of 1 hour of aerobics a day. I'm a realist. If I actually get to the gym and do 30 minutes 3 - 4 days this week, it's more than I've been doing. I'll have to work up to that hour. Off to some low-cal breakfast and exercise. Ciao!

P.S. My new sock bag looks surprisingly good. There was a little bit of bleedthrough from the black fabric that lines it, but all in all it looks nearly new still.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

WIP (works in progress)

Hi everybody!

I've been out taking photos of a volunteer watermelon, stash enhancement and works in progress. Without further ado...

The watermelon has grown this past week!

I've made progress on Keith's sweater and a little on his sock.

I've made a lot of progress on my sock and check out my new sock bag! (As soon as I finished taking pictures this morning, I headed inside with sock bag, knitting bag, digital camera and coffee only to be foiled by storm door and cat. I spilled coffee droplets all over my sock bag! It's in the sink soaking for a few minutes, then I'll hang it out to dry. It will never look as good as it did this morning again!)
Finally, here is the stash enhancement. The single yarn is the Woolly Boully Luna Moth that I was going to post earlier this week. The other one has Gale's Art on the top (it's a handpainted silk and wool blend - yum. Worsted weight. I think it will become a scarf) On the bottom is Butterfly Kisses from White Willow. She called the yarn Butterfly Kisses since while it was drying outside, a butterfly was fascinated by it and kept landing on it. Since I think it's funny when the butterfly larva decimate the parsley plants, of course it appealed to me. In fact, if you're down here in the South, it's time to plant parsley for next year. I planted 4 of them last year, but if the drought permits, I'll plant more this year. I love seeing the tiger swallowtail caterpillers on them during the summer.

Off to a bit of yardwork. I pulled 3 bags of stuff out of the yard last Sunday. I want to order a dumptruck load of mulch from one of the tree trimming companies, so I have to get those areas ready. I have daffodil bulbs to replant (I rarely divide them, but when they've grown so much that there are bulbs at the surface, I pull them up and move them) Have a great Sunday.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Size matters

I was thinking about size briefly this morning as I was pondering sock yarn. I've been working on Keith's sweater fairly regularly now, and there are times when I feel I've not made a bit of progress. I realized this was a question of scale. The amount of stitches I've knit for his sweater would equal maybe a whole back or front of a sweater for me. Maybe it would equal both sleeves. I don't think I'm even up to midchest yet. I haven't measured since I didn't think that would encourage me any.

I think I'm mostly a process knitter. I just flat out enjoy wrapping yarn around the needle. That said, I do like so see a bit of progress to. One of the most wonderful things about socks besides getting to use tiny needles and portability is that I can see progress. I know there will eventually be an end to this project at which time I can start on the next one. (Spoken by a woman who has 2 socks, Keith's sweater, a birthday gift and a chemo cap on the needles - perhaps I should get something finished, no?)

Well, it's Saturday, and as much as I would love to spend the day here at home lazing about, it's off to the wool works. We got in a new shipment of Jitterbug yesterday which I'll get to watch fly out the door.

I'd best go. One of my feline mistresses has come to check on me. I did feed them canned food the instant I got up (cats come before coffee in my house - or so they tell me), but now it must be time for a little kibble.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Oh, how I love the Brain.

That said, I've been pondering knitters. Specifically, group versus solitary knitters.

I am mostly a solitary knitter, and lately I've met a few others who confess to being solitary knitters. Please remember I'm not a sociologist or anthropologist, just someone who ponders from time to time. I think part of the huge increase in knitting in the past few years has been the chance for people to connect with other people. Knitting groups have sprung up like mushrooms after a good rain. They are all over the place, both online and in the physical world. The other night at Knit Night someone said if it weren't for knit nights they would have no social life at all. And that's so wonderful that people have found a way to connect over a common interest and find the similarities.

But what about us solitary knitters? For myself, I do go to knit night at the shop most weeks, as well as AKG. It is nice to be around other knitters for awhile, and I get to do that every day I work also. But even when I didn't work in a knit shop, I tried one of the SNB knit nights and decided that at the end of the work day I'd rather watch TV while knitting over the cat in the lap. For a little while I felt odd about that. I'd read Stitch N Bitch and come away with the impression that part of being a knitter was hanging out with other knitters. It's not that I didn't like the people going to the SNB since I found most of them quite interesting, but it's never been part of my nature to do that. I did go to quilting classes where I hung around with other quilters, but quilting requires much more attention than knitting. Quilters talked around the ironing boards and cookie tray, but not much while actually sewing. It's hard to keep that 1/4" seamline straight and discuss politics. Truth be told, I just like to have some time alone, and I'm comfortable being alone. I have usually had jobs where I work with the public, or my job was intense, and at the end of the day I need the time alone to unwind and recuperate.

To thine own self be true are words I try to live by. And for you out there who are solitary knitters, it's totally ok to be that way. Just because there are a lot of knitters who like to get out and knit in groups doesn't mean we all have to be that way. I would also say get out and try a group or two. You may find that you like to go every now and again. I've found that a lot of knitters are quite interesting people if you can stop talking about knitting long enough to find out. I've been amazed at the careers of some I've met over the past few years. Imagine little ol' me teaching a doctor a knitting tip!

One of the things I love most about knitting is that it is such a flexible craft. You can have a room of 10 or 1000 knitters, and every single one of them will be doing it a bit differently. The same goes for our personalities. So solitary knitters, enjoy the peace and quiet of solitude. For you rowdy group knitters, have a great time at knit nights. As for me, I'll enjoy my solitude most nights and venture out weekly in order to stay in touch with what all is going on.

And before you think that I'm anti-social, one of my favorite pasttimes is hanging out with friends over coffee. I happen to be the only knitter amongst all my long time friends, and I can appreciate their non-knittiness on a whole new level now. (In other words, I don't have to worry they might buy that handpainted yarn out from under me.) Not only that, I can amaze them when knitting socks on doublepoints or Magic Loop.

I'm off to knit now in front of the telly with a cat in the lap. I think I'll work on a sock since Keith's sweater is now large enough to really interfere with a feline's sleep.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Shopping doesn't fill the void

Off and on over the years I've spoken to friends about how shopping is not the way to fill a void in your soul. I logically know this. However, I've gone on a small shopping binge over the past few weeks (see Sunday's post), and it was today that I realized that sock yarn, as lovely as it is, won't fix what I'm feeling about Brownie's long illness and death.

That said, I haven't felt the urge to look at Etsy all day (or any other yarn websites) which is a very good thing since I received this today.

(Insert picture here!)

Woolly Boully Meanie in Luna Moth.

I have another skein of sock yarn and sock bag to carry socks in progress on the way. Brooke of White Willow on Etsy shipped them today.

I've also had a chance to process some of the other feelings I have about Brownie's death. Part of me misses her while part of me feels relief. Of course I feel a bit guilty about feeling relieved. It has been a huge relief to not have to clean up after an incontinent cat several times a day.

Does the sock yarn shopping have anything to do with the fact for several months earlier this year my paycheck went straight to my credit card which had been used at the vet's office? Let's face it, working in a yarn store, while incredibly wonderful, doesn't pay as well as keeping books for small businesses who are willing to pay for outsourcing.

Sorry for the disjointedness of today's entry. I use this blog to examine some of my emotions and give you, family and friends, a chance to not read about them instead of whining to you over coffee or the phone. You have the opportunity to say "Eve's getting a bit emotional, so let's go see what's happening at Stuff on my Cat."

More cogitating on deep matters later.