Monday, October 29, 2007

Hi Cindy,

The sweater looks like a nice challenge. Have you decided on a color or are you going to leave it the creamy color of the fiber? Since I've not even completed an adult sweater I can offer no advice on singles vs. plied. I started a sweater for DH last winter around his birthday but have not gotten beyond the yoke (it's top down from last winters IK). I did do the M-D baby kimonos for the twins last year but that's not a big reservoir of experience. In fact I think Margi's sweater is bigger than those were.

I start my intermediate spinning class a week from tomorrow. I think it will be pretty much like the second one I took over the summer, maybe just a little more structured. DH is planning on getting me a wheel soon, perhaps closer to my birthday. He's trying to get comfortable in the new job before making the $ commitment. On the 10th I am taking a solar dying class. It was originally going to be on the 17th but the instructor had another obligation come up. We need to take about 4 oz of fiber to dye for it. I am torn between the merino you sent me (just shy of the right amount) or the rollags I hand carded for the beginning spinning class. Or maybe I'll just buy some fiber when I go next week. I'll have a full report on the class afterwards (and hopefully pictures).

On Saturday I had lunch with Julie and Lytifa. L is almost 5 months pregnant and looking great. She was so sick the first trimester and ended up in the ER for dehydration. All she could eat the entire time was saltines. She is taking classes at the local community college and it was a real struggle with being sick. She has an English teacher that is really difficult. He dropped her from his class two years ago after she went back to Cincinnati for her grandmother's funeral. He didn't like her eating crackers in class but the alternative was for her to throw-up in class. I think she is taking 3 or 4 classes on top of working full-time. I don't know how she does it. I guess being 26 helps.

Afterwards I went to visit my friend Ash. Her family just moved to north Phoenix a few months ago. She is the one with the twin boys. They are really cute and sweet. We don't get to see them very often because it is quite a drive. I put on 80 miles on Saturday and didn't even get out of town.

This week I am at the International Symposium on Managed Aquifer Recharge here in town. It is actually at the Pointe South Mountain which is less than two miles from my house. If it weren't hotter than the surface of the sun I could almost walk there and back. One of the presentations today was by an EPA guy out of Chicago. He talked about a couple of projects in Regions 5 & 7. The two in Region 5 were in Oak Creek and Green Bay. There were some researchers from WDNR listed on his paper. I wondered if it was anyone you had known. My boss is moderating the first session tomorrow afternoon and then giving a presentation in the later session. There is a field trip to a couple of sites around the valley on Wednesday but our agency was too cheap to pay for us to go to them. That's okay, I have a couple of things I need to do in the office that day before another day of sessions on Thursday.

I guess I'd better finish this off. I'm pretty tired after a day sitting in a darkened room straining to understand a wide variety of accents.

Take care, A

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Help wanted

No, I'm not hiring! I need advice. I'm contemplating spinning a sweater's worth of wool. I have enough creamy natural white (which I could use as is or dye with Kool-aid), I think, to be a sweater and about 3 oz. rainbow dyed Corriedale I could use for accent colors. I'm thinking about this cardigan.

I've never spun for a large project but think I can do it if I'm diligent in following this Knitty article. But plied or singles? I like the look of singles a lot . . . but am I consistent enough? Would it pill a lot? If I chose plied, should I do it woolen (I want to practice what I learned at WSWF, but that would mean handcarding most of it into rolags) or worsted (so I could use the wool without re-preparing it). Any suggestions??

In other fiber news, I stopped at Half-Price Books yesterday (a rare trip shopping alone) and scored big: Kaffe's new book and Knitting In the Old Way at great prices. I have the old Knitting in the Old Way and didn't plan to get the new one, but I'm glad I did now that I see the additional info in it. I tried to upload images of the book but no go; pics next time. Cindy

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Couple of FO's and Pink Knitting

Hi Cindy!

The weather that has brought all the fires to Southern CA has brought us some lovely weather. Yesterday reached a high of about 80, maybe even a degree or two lower, and lots of wind. And just in time I finished off a hat. Actually it was a really quick knit. I used about half of the one ball I bought while visiting you in April and knit it up on 15's. I don't have any dpn's that size but I do have 2 circs. I'm pretty happy with it. This is actually the first hat I've made for myself, all the others have been gifts.

The color for much of my upcoming knitting is Pink! My friend L found out last week that she's having a girl so I dug out my stash box of pink and red related yarns. I'm definitely thinking of a sweater made out of a mix of items from this box although I haven't hunted down a pattern yet. The cotton yarns have also come out and it is likely that a M-D kimono will come out of those. Or maybe a hooded bath towel. I have 5 balls of a white-yellow-blue mix that I'm thinking about over-dying with a pink to give a more girly color pattern to.

Last spring I bought a ball of cotton in this pretty pink variegated mix. I had intended to make a few dishcloths out of it for my friend J's birthday but got enough others done that I hadn't cracked this one open yet. It is brighter than your typical baby-pink but I think L will like it. Her favorite color is red and the dark parts of this head that way. As you can see I've finished the M-D bib and am working on a matching burp cloth. We're all having lunch this Saturday so I'd like to have it all done by then. I still need to get a cute button to finish off the bib. I'm debating a cute flower or a bit of bling with a giant rhinestone. Maybe I'll go by Joanne Fabrics tomorrow night to see what I can find.

Here are a few of my current reading items. I could no longer resist and had to buy Crazy Aunt Purl's book last week. The two books in the back I got on our last trip to Bookman's a couple of weeks ago. Occasionally I drop by Stitchy McYarnpants blog. It's always good for a chuckle and the book is no different. It's amazing what passed for knitting fashion. And what still does. I went through knitting magazines over the weekend and have picked out a whole pile to take to Bookman's next time we go. In that scrounging I also found the Knitting for Babies booklet that I bought when my other friends were expecting last year. I'm sure I'll pick something out of it.

Guess it's time to head off to bed. I stayed home sick to day so no telecommuting this week. More soon, maybe even a mandolin pattern!

Take Care, A

Friday, October 19, 2007

Today is...?

Hi Cindy!

Have you ever had one of those mornings where you're laying in bed half asleep from the alarm and thoughts of what your day is going to be like only to realize you have the wrong day of the week. That is what happened to me today.

I was drowsing in bed. I'd already hit the snooze once (I'm sure that's one thing you remember from those long 20 years ago, my addiction to the snooze button). I was thinking how since it was Co-op Saturday I needed to be there about 7:45 but it doesn't take too long to get there so I didn't have to leave till 7:30. And since I can get ready pretty quickly I didn't have to get out of bed until at least 7 and maybe even a little later. I knew DH's parents might stop by later. Tempe HS is celebrating their 100th Anniversary and DH's mom was salutatorian in 1956. She still likes to come down for class reunions. They're thinking about coming down for the picnic lunch so they could get here as early as 9 or as late as 2. Gotta make sure the house is picked up when they come.

Then DH comes in and asks me (while it's still dark in the room except for the closet light) if his cloths match. I peeled one eye open and solemnly ask if he's wearing shorts (since he's got clean-up morning at the new zen land in Mesa). No, he says, he can't wear shorts to work. Okay, maybe it's really brushy and he doesn't want to get scratched up . Or maybe it is pretty cool yet and he doesn't want to get cold (although 60 degrees has never stopped the shorts before). My alarm goes off again as I ponder his not wearing shorts to do yard work. Hmmm, maybe since it's after 6:30 and he's not going to let me sleep I should get up.

Especially since it's Friday. Wait, Friday? Not Saturday, Darn, I have to go to work another day. Ah well so much for that haze I was in about it being Saturday. Maybe I can do it again tomorrow (in about 6-7 hours since it is now almost midnight).

This is Margi making a bed on her favorite blanket. I think she loves it so much because it is basically just giant yarn sewn together. Mom sent it last year for my bday and Margi claimed it.

Okay, I'm off so I can do Saturday morning for real soon. Tomorrow (hopefully) I'll write about the finished strap and other stuff. Take Care, A

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

What have I been up to . . . and FO

Hi Alene! Despite the back & forth weather, we are in the thick of fall activities. Work, teaching knitting, teaching relig. ed., and crafting are going along well for me. Work, school, and lots of playing are going fine for the rest of the family. Crunchy leaves, plans for Halloween, tucking in what's left of the garden, and the end of our CSA season next in line.

As I mentioned somewhere above, I tried to sew some mittens out of a recycled sweater. It came out like a recycled sweater oven mitt and even that was hard to sew, due to the thickness of the fabric layers and my inexperience with this sort of sewing. So I got out some natural-colored bulky wool and knit DD a pair of mittens. Happily it doesn't take much time to make bulky mittens for a 3 year old. I updated my projects on our blog sidebar and am looking forward to some spinning! Cindy

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Mmmm, tastes like Mohair

Hi Cindy!

Hope you are starting to get some fall weather. We've dropped out of the 90's and are hoping to stay that way although they're predicting a few of those days yet this week. This week we've cleaned out closets and the attic. Tomorrow we're headed north to DH's parents with a load of stuff for garage sale. The bed of the truck is about full and we've got much more space than we had although there's tons more to clear out. I've been toying with culling the stash (cue imaginary soundtrack: Culling of the Fold by the Decemberists or actually just iTunes) of all the acrylic that I've been gifted. I know that it would make good charity knitting but I don't have time. I'm torn though because I'd like to make a Mother Bear or two. I guess I'll keep it for now until I really rearrange the stash.

I have a semi-FO to brag about. I finished the knitting portion of the mandolin strap finally tonight. But first the picture above is Margi "helping" me with it last weekend. And by helping, I meat attacking. She had to give it a taste test before I got too far. She also tried to bathe it to make sure it is clean before it hits the felting process. I did two I-cords at the end so that it can tie onto the mandolin where ever DH needs it. I will probably felt it on Tuesday while I'm home telecommuting.

Here is what a typical telecommute day looks like. Margi always insists on reading reports with me and giving them the sit test. If the report makes a good cushion she figures the well will produce just fine without impacting any of it's neighbors. Of course that's a little less scientific than the method I use and I don't think my boss would agree with her methodology. Of course for some of the data we receive, I think she's got the right idea ;)

I have to speed up my work on DH's socks. He is doing a 3 day retreat at the end of November/beginning of December and wants be able to wear the socks for it. Their 100 year old master will be in town for this one and it is the first time DH is meeting him. They will start at 3:30 am and go till ~9 pm on Friday and Saturday and till ~5 on Sunday. He wants me to take and drop him off for it since there won't be much parking room. I may have to take that Friday off of work just to get enough sleep. DH bought robes and they came about a week ago. He probably won't actually wear them until the retreat next month although he'll go to the single day one in two weeks. Here is a picture of him on the day the robes arrived on the doorstep. (I removed the picture at DH's request since he doesn't have the robes right. amm 10/25/2007)

I'm going to close this up and head to bed. I'm taking the camera along tomorrow so maybe I'll have a picture or two of some AZ fall color. I'm hoping we get up to Jerome tomorrow. There is a yarn store up there that I really like. The owner actually used to be DH's boss the summer he lived there and worked in the library. Of course she's never recognized him and he's not said hi. Still, it is a pretty nice shop and I haven't been there since last year. If you come out to visit I'll have to take you there.

Take care, more soon, A

Thursday, October 11, 2007

How I became an odd duck

Yes, Alene, I'm an odd duck . . . although I doubt that's a surprise to you after all these years. I am unusual among knitters (textile crafters in general, I imagine) in that I only have one or two projects in progress at a time. Right now, it is the Cactus Flower sweater and some felt mittens (not knitted & felted, but recycled shrunk sweater felt to sew up). Doll clothes likely after the mittens.

How did I get this way? When I was pregnant with DD, I sat down and took a hard look at all the stuff I'd started and not finished for various reasons. I knew my time would be more limited with two kids, and I am always aware that overdoing leads to RSI. So I decided that if I wasn't loving making something, then I wouldn't do it. I am still surprised at the effects of that seemingly simple conscious decision. I found it very freeing (no UFOs to weigh me down) and feel that my creativity has only gone up!

I still find it thrilling to start a new project, but now I finish a lot more of them. I love contemplating my next project, considering colors, researching patterns (like Dumbledore, I love reading knitting patterns), imagining everything about it. By the time I get around to the next one, I may very well have considered several different projects and chosen something entirely different than what I might have if I had started right away, so that stops me from buying yarn before it's time to start or "on spec" [more on my stash soon]. I had no idea that all this thinking could be so much fun! Quack, Cindy

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Happy Anniversary!

Hi Cindy,

Just wanted to wish you and your DH a Happy 10th. It is on the 10th, right? I know that it was on a Friday night and I flew into MKE on my grandma's birthday which was yesterday, the 8th. Anyways, hope you guys do something special for the big day, which ever day it is. Doesn't seem like that long but it must be since we're half that next March.

Here's a picture of us at Bryce on your 8th Anniversary. Take Care, A

Monday, October 8, 2007

Knitting Needle Knitting Bag

Hi Alene, I finished my bag this weekend! I wanted to make it from stash. My purply-not-solar-dyed yarn would be cute . . . but it was much thicker and there wasn't a lot of it. I ripped the first few rows several times until I got bigger needles and figured out an alternative to the p3tog (try that on sz. 15's, ugh). And where are the berries in berry stitch?? Duh, on the purl side! So I did use the purply, knitting both sides at once on 2 sets of needles until there was no more of that yarn, then switched to some orange with bits of purple I had leftover from a mitten sample. It worked great doubled. Then I used my pretty Peace Fleece needles at the top (I love them but don't use straight needles that often, so why not show them off this way?). The handles are Heilo doubled, knit on size 9's. I sewed it up at the Sow's Ear anniversary party & grand reopening; made a lining at home the next day. Just the right size for spindle spinning or a small knitting project. I am really happy with it.

We went to get pumpkins in weather more suited for sweet corn and tomatoes. Weird weather year. A front is supposed to come through today, dragging our fall weather behind it. I'm keen for sweaters! If you come in December, I hope to see you (and you might need a sweater too ;)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Lunchtime knitting

Hi Cindy,

I had planned to write yesterday during a break from telecommuting but I ended up talking to my mom. Today was the first hearing on my grandmother's estate and we talked about a few of the issues that might come up. The lawyer's office made a typo in the last version and my uncle is now contesting the entire thing. Mom and her two sisters were there with the estate attorney and my uncle came with his. Three of his kids showed up too. I guess they thought if they showed up it would lend support to their side. Or maybe they thought they'd get checks right then. Part of me is glad I wasn't there but I also offered Mom that I'd come for the next hearing if necessary. So there's a vague possibility that I'll be back there in December right before my birthday. I used to think growing up that Mom's family was close but it isn't any more. I have had little to do with my uncle's family since they blew-off our wedding and this just re-affirms my feelings towards them. A sad state of affairs.

I've been working on a strap for DH's new mandolin. I started it just flat and planned to sew it up but decided that it would work better in the round. The yarn is a hand-painted mohair-wool blend by Brown Sheep called Tropical Water. I'm actually planning on writing this up as a pattern (my first one!) since there are few patterns out there for guitar straps and none for anything smaller.

This strap will end up being about 45 inches long when I finish knitting it. The top foot or so is in black Cascade 220. It will have two I-cords at the upper end so that it can tie around the neck. Once it is all knit I plan on felting it so that it is less stretchy and more supportive.

I have been mostly knitting it during my lunch at work. Since DH left his other job and started the new one we haven't been eating lunch together so I have more knitting time. We are close enough that we can still carpool but lunch will only be an occasional thing now. His new office is down by the Capital while mine is in uptown Phoenix. It only takes me about 10 minutes to get to my office in the morning but 15-20 when I go and pick him up at the end of the day.

Anything planned for the big anniversary coming up?

More soon, A

Monday, October 1, 2007

Frog Pond

Hi Cindy,

I've been thinking about adding another section on the side-bar for items that have/will make the trip to the Frog Pond. Of course I seem to have many more than you do. But than again I have KADD and tend to start lots of things with few ends in sight. What do you think?
The picture was taken at the Japanese Friendship Garden in downtown Phoenix last fall. Looks vaguely like a frog pond, right? The building at the left is the main Phoenix library (a really cool place I'll take you to when you come to visit). The little building in the trees at the center is the Tea House. The gardens are only open during the fall and winter months.
More tomorrow, A

Abandon ship?

Hello Alene, hope things are going spinningly in lovely Arizona. We're still adjusting to our fall life which is a big change from our summer life, esp. since school became part of the mix. Didn't finish all the things I hoped to do in September but that hasn't stopped me from having big plans for thenew month.

I started a rectangle vest on my Bond machine but it is not coming out the way I pictured it at all. Not the machine's fault, but a result of a odder mix of colors from stash and a slightly too thick handspun that keeps clogging up the carriage . . . it's the one I was hoping to highlight too. So the project is officially abandoned, and I'm thinking maybe of using the yarn for a scarf. Hmm. The bag is coming along very well. More soon. Cindy