Saturday, October 29, 2005

The garage is cleaner

than it has been in a long long time. Not that you care. We are a family of class-A packrats, and slobs, too. Our garage has served as a dumping ground for all sorts of stuff for many years and today we made major strides on cleaning it. Our big ambition was to be able to park the pop-up camper in there for the winter, and I am happy to say we accomplished that goal. I have a large stack of cardboard in the back of my van to take to recycling on Monday, and Scott has a bunch of potentially Free-cyclable stuff to take to our storage unit in his van. We filled up many extra large (like 5 feet X 3 feet) black garbage bags with trash and put it curbside for Tuesday a.m. collection. I found the box from my first CD player, which had been purchased in 1987 or 88, in Ithaca NY, 4 moves ago, and died and was disposed of about 4 years ago. It's truly pathological when the boxes and styrofoam packing materials stay with us longer than they items they originally protected.

This morning was knitting group time for me. My friend Terri was there and Jenny, whom I had met one previous time. You know, as much as people think a big group is a sign of success, I really like it when there's just a few of us. It's easier to get to know people and have a more unguarded conversation. If you find yourself in Madison on the last Saturday of a month, come knit!

Other good news: download The Jester Hat pattern for free at The Garter Belt now and you can have a new hat by morning. Many thanks to Wendy for her speedy work getting that up. And make sure you admire Melly in her Jester Hat, too!

On the computer front, I now own and have running, an external hard-drive to back up everything at all times. Whew. In the modern era, it seems to cost about a dollar per gigabyte. When I think about my first computer, which did not even have an internal hard drive, and when a 30 megabyte harddrive was considered generous, I marvel at how things have changed. Remember being thrilled by 8 megabytes of RAM? Those were not the good old days.

I'm off to order pizza. I think I need a good soaking and scrubbing to get the dust of ages from the garage floor out of hair and pores. Maybe some day we'll live like normal people. Probably not.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

My in-house tech guy managed to replace the file that was in a corrupted place on my hard disc, so my email crisis is temporarily avoided. But, I have no illusion of safety. Over the years, I have been remarkably free of major computer catastrophes, so I feel as though I'm living on borrowed time.

Here's a quick little knit for those of you who have a hard time with delayed gratification:
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Here's a close up of the ball on top:
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The ball is knitted as an extension of the i-cord and stuffed with a ball of the same yarn, rolled very tightly, before the final decreases. I got this idea from Anna Zilboorg's Fine and Fanciful Hats book. I'm not sure how different my instructions are from hers, but I love the concept. This will be a free pattern on the Garter Belt soon.

What's In My Knitting Bag
I don't have any really cool big projects to show. Instead I have a bunch of small, rather pedestrian projects.
One of my smaller knitting bags:
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The contents:
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We've got a pair of blue socks for my mom's birthday. That was August 1. Oops. The socks have been travelling around in the knitting bag, needing only to have the ends sewn in, since about mid-Sept. Rumor is my folks are coming to visit in mid-November, so I'll just give them to her then.

There's a couple feet of a skinny Branching Out, about 40% of the final length. I really wanted to give this yarn a test-run on a small project and I am quite pleased with it. It's the Blackberry Ridge wool and silk laceweight yarn in Mallard. I can imagine making something larger and more complex from this yarn. The silk gives a nice body and the yarn is pleasant against my neck and face. It's made in Mt Horeb, about 15 miles from my house. Talk about supporting a local economy!

And there's a sock and beginning of the mate in the Regia from the Sows Ear clearance bin. I think I have a lifetime supply of that! This is my second pair from this grey.

Several other projects are languishing in the wings right now. Nothing so exciting I have to show the world.

And Other News...
We are finally experiencing crisp autumnal weather. OK, first there was soggy autumnal weather, but today is crisp. I love this time of year and even late fall, when the leaves have all dropped and the world is not so colorful. I grew up in a small town in New Hampshire and November had its own particular beauty that all the October tourists never understood. The hillsides have a rich purply-grey and the green from the pines. The sun is either slanting in low or gone altogether.

Our porch has been really truly done for about a week. The cold and wet weather moved in right for the completion. I'm happy we'll be ready for the nice weather when it comes. It feels like such a perfect extension of our house that I already wonder how we lived without it.

Colin wants to be a pink bunny for Halloween, so I've been busy with that kind of sewing that is not what I would choose to do. You know, there are projects you take on because you want to, and then there are projects that are foisted upon you. I bought some pink pants and a pink sweatshirt at the Goodwill last week, hoping to avoid a major effort and cash outlay. I couldn't find a pink blanket sleeper big enough for him in the thrift shops. He loves the shirt and pants and runs around in them quite happily. This disgusts Owen, who cannot believe his brother is running around in pink from head to toe. I bought some pink polarfleece and made a hood with bunny ears. The ears have pale pink satin linings inside. Also, will make the tail out of pale pink satin. While looking for costume ideas online, I found a blog with a boy in a bunny suit and numerous commenters assumed that the mother had done this to the child as torture. I'm here to tell you, some kids do this to their mothers! My mom always had us make our own costumes from stuff we had lying around. Small wonder I always went as a gypsy (I know that isn't P.C. in modern times) or a princess. We had a bunch of 40's dresses, a lot of 60's hippy garb, and lots of costume jewelry for dress-ups when I was a kid.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

computer acting out again.

I just wanted to alert everyone that my computer gave me a "corrupted file" message earlier when I was trying to get email. This using Outlook Express. I can still (for now) send and receive email with the infuriating Mail program that came with the iMac, BUT all my email stuff: address book, unanswered messages, past correspondence with unfinished business, etc, is all locked away from me in a probably-unretrievable part of my hard drive. Scott will be helping me back up everything so we can go back for more Applecare: getting our money's worth out of that deal! But, if you sent me a message in the last little while and were hoping for a reply, it would be good to send it again, both to jog my memory and make sure I have your email address.

Lots of other mundane details to report, but now it's very late.

I'll try to get my act together to post in a day or two.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

A little knitting humor

I saw this in one of our local papers a couple days ago. Click for a larger image.
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Some knitting content. Finally!

I figured I better post some actual knitting content, including photos, before some of the web rings I'm in start disqualifying me.

I donated blood this morning and rewarded myself with a trip to The Sow's Ear in nearby Verona. I had Colin in tow, which meant that I had to placate him with a cookie and do my yarn shopping FAST. I bought a skein of Blackberry Ridge wool and silk laceweight yarn to make a little lacy scarf. Although it's lighter weight than suggested for Branching Out, I decided to to give that a whirl. Then I can post pictures of my progress along the way and everyone will know what it's supposed to look like, and I don't have to waste 5 weeks trying to invent the perfect simple lace scarf pattern. Here's the first progress picture:
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I realized that I was doing one of the double decreases a little wrong, but straightened that out. All you experts will spot the errors: the rest of you will just have to wonder.

The other current project is a top-down raglan in Donegal lambswool tweed.
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This yarn changed a lot after washing, so I'm basing all my decisions about the size I need on the washed swatch. The pattern stitch tends to spread a little more than plain stocking stitch, which might work out pretty well for me for the raglan shape. Often, I need to add rather a lot of stitches under the armpits to get around the bust zone when my length is correct for raglan seam shaping. This time, I suspect I'll just be needing an inch or two under each arm.

I'm still itching to launch into a complex color pattern soon, but haven't had the undisturbed time to really play with color and pattern. Lately, I feel like all my time is being scheduled by circumstances beyond my control. I don't like that feeling but what can I do? Colin missed preschool on Tuesday (intestinal distress) and I went with Owen's school to a field trip all day on Wednesday. Thursday evening went to see a dying friend at the hospice center. Today I donated blood. All these are important things to do and attend to, but it makes for a crowded week. It's not like I can tell my friend that he picked an inconvenient time to die. I'm sure he'd agree, as he would have enjoyed having a few more 24 hours on earth. And as I type that, I look out the window facing east and see a beautiful, almost-full moon rising in the pink evening twilight.

I'll sign off with two more photos.
Owen's first effort at needle felting, two geese
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A view of the nearly finished porch with the table on it
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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

More Porch Progress

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I took this picture Thursday of last week. We really are getting close to the end.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Long time, no post

Gosh, I've been a flake about my entire online life lately. I haven't been reading blogs, haven't posted to my blog, haven't been checking in on knittyboard. What have I been doing?

I did finish the knitty submission by the deadline. It was kind of dicey at the end because I realized that I hadn't been very honest with myself about the size I would need to look right in the garment. And it was way too tight for me to model it. So, I sent a desperate email to 5 or 6 women I could think of who might either be the right size or have a friend who is and Lo and Behold, one of my fellow MadCity knitters worked out just right. She could have worn a size smaller, but it didn't look too ridiculously big and the colors and pattern suited her perfectly.

Immediately after sending that project off, I had to start paying attention to work I needed to do for my all-volunteer non-profit enviro group. Our big annual meeting was this past Sat. and I handle a lot of the clerical kinds of tasks that make a meeting like that run smoothly: copying, collating, updating member lists, etc.

Now I'm in that let down after the big crunches. Colin was throwing up on Saturday and has progressed lower down the digestive track to running at the other end. I'm hoping for no more symptoms between now and noon tomorrow, because then he will be good to go to preschool: 24 hours symptom-free.

In knitting news, I've started a top-down sweater in a rich purple tweed lambswool I bought in the summer at Lakeside Fibers. It came on a 2 pound cone that was on sale: who could resist? I'm using the same simple texture I used on the The Professor Vest and hope it will be a cozy dead-of-winter sweater. I'll try to post pics in the next day or two.

The porch guys are really close to finishing. Of course, it appears that our long warm spell has finally given way to more seasonably cool weather, so we might be waiting until spring to really enjoy it. I will definitely have a little social for all my knitting buddies when the weather gets warm enough again.