Thursday, December 27, 2007

I am rich (and an odd duck!)

Hi Alene, this is most of my stash. The non-wool portions aren't in the cedar chest (the chest was once my Grandma's). I feel warm and happy looking at it.

A few years ago, not long after I became an odd duck , I went on a stash diet. Just for fun, I took an inventory of my stash and kept the list. I worked from my stash for about the next 1 1/2 years, sticking mostly to my resolution. On the rare occasion something new came in, I gave away an equivalent amount. I also just plain gave some away, which is easier when you start to feel like you have enough. Then I checked how much I had left and extrapolated how long it would take me to use up the rest at the same rate of consumption (just to feel scientific). I was startled to learn that I still had enough for a few years despite starting with what seemed like a moderate amount and giving a bunch away. Well, that really changed my way of thinking.

It's true that it can be great to have enough to shop the stash, but for me, having that stuff there and knowing I'd be wanting to make something else by the time I got to it was oppressive. I gave some more of it away and continued the stash diet. It went well with my no-UFO strategy. I have officially become a low stasher.

In 2008, I resolve to spin what I have before buying more fiber (that didn't stop me from spending my gift cert. in 2007 on fiber;) AND to work from my yarn stash. When I need to buy, I will buy in an environmentally &/or socially responsibly way. I joined a Ravelry group, Greenies 2008, to support this. There are a number of options at my LYS so I don't expect to suffer too much! In the meantime, look at that lovely wool -- I feel so rich. Love, Cindy

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Day After

Hi Cindy,

Hope your family had a fun and warm Christmas. We had a great hike with our friends and their dog. I did about 5 miles total, in and back out on the Lost Dutchman Trail. The others did the 9.1 mile loop over Black Mesa and through Garden Valley. It was really beautiful. There was even water running in most of the streams. I felt it quite a bit yesterday when we got back but I'm mostly over it today, just a little stiff. DH is feeling it more and has blisters from his ill-fitting boots. We're already talking about doing something on New Year's Day, either a short hike or a bike ride to a local coffee shop.

On Monday I plied the purple yarn I spun over the summer, mostly spun on the drop spindle you sent me. I think I have about 100 yards total. Unfortunatley I don't have a picture right now. I'll try to take one and post it later.

Take Care, A

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Christmas!

Hope all is well there. Without further ado, a FO! The modified Cactus Blossom as a cardigan made top down, by hand & machine, with 3/4 sleeves . . . er, make that 5/8 sleeves (they came out a bit shorter than planned but work well for at home as you can see). Photo by DS.

We went to my family's party yesterday at my younger sister's. Her baby is 10 mos. old now and adorable! We had a good time and came home in yet another storm , this time blowing snow being most of the difficulty. It's been quite a month for storms with more ice than we've had for a long time. While at the party I cut my finger slicing rolls; not serious but very annoying and will put me off spinning for a few days.

We finally got to see the HP OoTP movie! I really liked it although several sets were quite different than I imagined. I'm looking forward to seeing the special features on the DVD soon.

I had been trying to spin some Finnsheep wool but was having difficulty. I believe it was in excellent shape when I got it in 2002 (!) but seemed a bit dry or matted or something now. I wasn't sure. I decided to use it for a dyeing experiment and use up the last of my tie-dye stuff from this summer. I was careful not to let the dyepot boil (I've only tried dyeing roving once before and I felted part of it). I must have used too much dye because the pot never exhausted. Alll that leftover dye meant lots of rinsing and somewhere along the way the inevitable happened . . . I have a gorgeous blue-green soft thick rope of felt. Hmm. Methinks I'll leave the dyeing of roving to the professionals and stick to dyeing yarn (I've had good luck with that so far). I thought I had a picture of it but I can't find it.

More soon on my crafty plans for 2008 and on how I became a low stasher. Oh, and did I mention I'm on Ravelry now? Love, Cindy

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Happy 100th!

Hi Cindy!

According to the list on the sidebar this is post 100! Hard to believe that we've babbled on for 100 posts over the last 6+ months.

Our agency had a decorating contest between the different groups. It started off slow but as Judgement Day got closer the competition heated up. Here are a few pictures. The first is my window. I'm lucky enough to have a south-facing window right next to my cube. I covered most of it with transparent snowflake paper and a gel snowman with snow flakes.

Our portion (4th Floor-Water Resources Section) of Hydrology went crazy with decorating. Well actually it was Carrie, LuDean and I. In addition to covering all five drawers of 30 filing cabinets with wrapping paper we hung lighted garland and Carrie made stockings for everyone in our section with names and snowflakes melting into water drops. We won for Best Santa's Helpers.
Our biggest competition seemed to be the 2nd floor Technical Services portion of Hydrology. They have a fireplace (lighted) with stockings, a naughty-nice board and wish lists. They have
also all decorated their cubes with plenty of ornaments etc. hanging from the ceiling. They won Best Traditional Fireplace, Best Individual Cube Decoration and Best Holiday Screen Saver.

Grinchville won Best Overall Adherence to a Theme. They had Grinch playing on a projection on the wall and had a giant lump of coal too. They even went around and Grinched (stole) things from other displays.

They went on for about 15 minutes giving out all kinds of awards. I think everyone that did any kind of decoration won some type of award. It was a great team-building exercise and the competition was a lot of fun too. I've already heard rumblings about next year's decorations and the judging was at 9:30 this morning. Just 365 days (or less) to plan.

Happy Winter (tomorrow)! A

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like . . .

. . . the North Pole! More snow today, making 3 substantial snowfalls this month! Two had mixed precip so some difficulties with ice. That's DD near the garage.

During the 1st snow/ice storm, I made the Elf Cap from Handknit Holidays out of some of the experimental yarn I made earlier this year. It's kind of a riot of color and could be a teensy bit snugger (same old knitting hat story for me:) but I've been wearing and enjoying it regularly. It knit up really fast cuz it's on size 15 needles.

The last photo is of the lovely silk top you sent me. The small whitish ball is some of it, the threadlike parts, plied with undyed silk from silk hankies. The center pull ball is 2-ply yarn, not particularly even, spun worsted from the dyed top with lots of predrafting. I love silk even though it's not so easy. Thanks for choosing such a pretty color. As you can see I still have lots of undyed hankies to work with.

Are you loving your wheel? I love mine and my spindles too. I'm glad I didn't give them up when I got my wheel. Gotta go for now, C

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Birthday wrap-up

Hi Cindy!

I've survived the birthday and have a working wheel! We got it mostly put together on Monday night although I didn't take it for a test spin until Thursday. Margi was quite interested in the assembly process and had to take an up close and personal look at it.

Teddy wasn't so interested in what was going on but he had a great time attacking the papers all the parts and pieces were wrapped in. Abby just made herself scarce.

About three or four years ago I found a fairly nice wood chair dumped in our alley. It had one arm broken off but the rest of the chair was in good shape and it was really comfortable too. I painted it with a crackle finish and then polyurethaned it so that we could use it out side. It is actually the perfect height for a spinning chair and has a good cushion on it. The cotton that I covered the seat with had pretty much faded away in the brutal AZ sun so it was time for a fix up. Last weekend I brought it in the house and decided to use one of my scavenged felted sweaters to cover the seat. It was a big enough sweater that I used the back for the seat cover and then folded the front to use as a back cushion. Margi thinks the chair is the greatest, especially for checking out the leader and the string holding the hook. Other than that she hasn't gotten too close to the wheel yet. I think she's a little intimidated by it.

I took Friday off work so that I could enjoy my birthday. I ended up taking DH to work, we are having issues with the latch on the driver's seat of the truck so it's not going anywhere until we can get it repaired. I went over to Fiber Factory in the morning to treat myself. I've been lusting after the Ozark Handspun yarns for a few weeks. Normally they are $26 each. I was talking to one of the store owners at the checkout. They had gotten their selection at a show and paid quite a bit less for them. They were offering them for $20 each. They had about 8-10 skeins total. I chose one that is mostly natural browns, grays and tans but there are a few areas of pinks, purples, greens and blues. I knit it up yesterday into a scarf. I used size 17 needles and started off with 3 stitches. After about 6 inches I increased to 5 and knit until I got down to a few yards left then decreased back to 3 stitches. I used up all the yarn and wove the ends back in. It took only about an hour to knit and looks great. This morning I added a 1" button with a Celtic knot. Since the knit is so loose I can button it anywhere I choose. I don't know that the lampshade is the best model. Maybe I'll have to have DH take a picture of me modeling it.

Well, that about finishes up the birthday news. Thanks again for the 'zine from your friends. I'm thinking about making a few of the coffee cozies for a few people at work. I'll leave you with a picture of our Christmas tree. Take care and stay warm! Love, A

Friday, December 7, 2007

Happy Birthday!

Hope you are having fun with your wheel! Will you have a cake or special meal today? We've had more snow and xmas prep here . . . but fiber fun too (pics & details soon!). Have a great day, love, Cindy

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Doorstep Surprises

Hi Cindy!

Welcome to December! Got your Christmas knitting under control? The first year I knit I made things for a few people, my MIL, my friend, my mom (okay, maybe that was a birthday present since I didn't start it until Christmas day). Last year I decided that I wasn't knitting presents because I didn't want or need the extra stress. This year is the same although DH may now get his socks by Christmas (I'm about to start the heel turns so maybe I can finish them by then.)

But I'm not going to talk about Christmas or even gift knitting right now. I'm going to talk about our wonderful week of doorstep surprises. Most of it wasn't a surprise of what was coming, just when it showed up. The week started off on Monday with DH being disappointed that the box he was expecting hadn't arrived from Musician's Friend. Tuesday rolled around and found his box waiting under the door mat. He's had the big Vox amp for a couple of years after getting a screaming deal (half price or less) on it at Guitar Center. It was a birthday present to himself, probably for his 41st. It is big and does all he wants it to and then some. The little amp on top is the Christmas present he chose. It is actually battery powered and he can take it anywhere. It's got the traditional brown cloth like the ones the Beatles used to have. He's been playing on it all week around the house.

The second "doorstep" surprise was the charming knitting 'zine written by your friends that you sent. It arrived on Thursday. Thank you, it is really neat. I've skimmed through part of it. Pretty cool. I plan to head over to their site and leave a comment. Thanks for the birthday wishes too, a week early. Yesterday was my BIL's birthday as well as one of the admin assistants at work.

The weather forecasters were actually correct in their excited proclamations of the rain storm that we received although they were a little off on the timing (that can be forgiven). It was overcast at 3 am when I took DH to his retreat and still overcast at 9:30 when I got back up. I am so glad I took the day off yesterday. I couldn't have made it in to work until late and was still tired as it was. The rain started around 11:30. Shortly after the doorbell rang and I saw a brown truck in front of the house. I figured that it was the wool and maybe the niddy-noddy since DH had gotten an email on Tuesday night that a 1 pound package had shipped. I figured with the rain I'd better get it in right away.

The rain continued all day and well into the night. It poured at times and other times it sprinkled. I'd say we had at least a full 12 hours of rain. We've gotten at least 1.5 inches here so far and they're saying it could continue raining most of the day today. The rain made it pretty difficult for DH at his retreat. Most of the time they are in either the zendo or the house but the men's urinal is set up as a bucket out behind the zendo, in a muddy patch of ground. Not fun. DH did okay but says it is much harder than he expected.

Anyways, you're probably wondering what the wool looked like and if the niddy-noddy was with it. Imagine my surprise when this is the box I found on the door step, half buried under the door mat. I actually had to entice the cats with yarn to check it out for a good picture. I haven't opened it yet although I probably will today, just to look at the instruction book. I think we'll probably wait until Monday night to put it together unless DH feels up to it tomorrow night. I'll take pictures and write about it as we put it together. I also started that surprise Christmas project yesterday so I'll post about that hopefully tomorrow when it is done.

Stay warm and dry. Thanks again for the zine.