Monday, July 30, 2007

So I was hanging out in blogland and someone asked, "Hey sophanne, what are you working on these days?"

O.k., that didn't really happen, but what if it could? What if there was a magical place that consisted only of the beautiful blogland pictures and all the images and textures we share. That would be so cool. I would definitely want to visit the land of Knitting on Impulse. If you want an escape from reality in these dog days, click on her "Natural Beauty" pages and wait for the downloading. It's worth it.

This week brings another trip to the home of the "retiring" Uncle Attorney. His secretary/wife/aunt is under the weather and the last visit to move books made me realize how much paperwork is involved in the legal profession. I'm going to get to visit the land of Legal Documents! For you attorneys out there, I'm sure this must seem like I'm being smarty-pantsy, but such is not the case at all. As the music teacher, the land of legal documents is an exotic and foreign country.

I'll take some knitting along-for visits with the aunt. I might be out of blogland for a few days- stepping away from this computer might actually lead to significant knitting progress-in between wills and depositions of course.

Back to my imaginary trip- here's what's on the needles (the last time I had a post like this, I actually finished one of the three items displayed-anyone taking bets on which of these will get finished?) Malabrigo Moeibus (from EZ Knitting Around), Koigu socks in a Stansfield pattern (from Sensationsal Socks) and Lorna's Laces Pie Shawl from the back of the yarn wrapper. I thought I'd try out starting simple with some lace-weight and see what happens.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Rain Day

I hope it doesn't rain. Wait, it's Rain Day, I hope it does rain. I'm so confused. It rained but not while we were there. Mostly it was a food fest and I ate funnel cakes vicariously through the camera.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Crack (me up) Saturday- not to be denied

I thought I was doing enough vicarious freaking out for Yarnhog's moths. I also thought that my thoughts and life of late had become serene enough to not even have a self-deprecating idea for Crack (Me Up) Saturday.

GHB is out of the house, enjoying his favorite "hobby." I'm home on the couch quietly enjoying mine- alternating between Malabrigo Moeibus and rereading Watership Down. The reread was actually inspired by a comment from Yarnhog.

Suddenly, there is a cat wollering across the room. Since Sophie's death, Annabelle has been meowing a lot. I'm sure she's been a little traumatized by both Sophie's absence and the fact that we then left her alone for 10 days. I thought this was your typical "pay attention to me" call. After she refused to come over, I investigated and found her and baby bunny. Baby bunny was playing dead. I didn't know that.

A few minutes later, there was a baby bunny in my stash-

She brought her in through a hole in the screen door. I wouldn't recommend a paper bag and a whisk broom when chasing bunnies. After several futile attempts with those tools, I remembered how the doors in our basement worked.

Den, door, laundry room, door, storage room, door, mud room, door to the outside. A little coercion saved bunny from kitty in the laundry room. A little more sent her hopping unscathed on her way out the mudroom door.

That baby bunny has a story to tell when it gets home. My heart just started slowing down.

Life of Luxury-while it lasts

In just a week I will slowly begin the trek back into the world of the working. It starts with a few meetings here and there, then they reach a fevered pitch with daily discussions about copy machine expenditures, the best new way to teach kids, new ways to document that we're using those best new ways, etc., etc.

The reality that knitting may save my sanity in those weeks is settling in. The subconscious that purchased a big old pile of luxury yarns and needles at the beginning of the summer is revealing itself in mysterious ways. Naturally there was the immediate rush of stash enhancement at the time.

What I wasn't expecting was the relief that comes with knowing I've got some koigu mmmm socks on Crystal Palace needles in a Sensational socks pattern that's easily memorized and some malabrigo on my new knitpick options begging to be a moeibus in a k1 yo k2tog pattern. Simple patterns, lush fiber, bring on the meetings my friends-I can outlast all of them.

The spindle has arrived and I'm equipped with several options for instructions. Now I must get in a learning mood.

An observation- my color of choice lately is slowly shifting from the green family closer to the yellow one. (the not pictured koigu is a g/y mix as well) All of these yarns were purchased separately. What's with the yellow? Only my subconscious knows.

No C(mu)S today. It was time to take a break.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Can You Feel It?

I felt it.

It felt good!

Postal Bag 6.0 Mission Accomplished.

Pattern: Message Bag from Knitting for Peace

Fiber- Cascades Nikki Artichoke- just under 800 yds.

It's amazing what will happen when you follow the directions. Action shots to follow.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

more delay in the mail

This post has three purposes.
1. to see if I can embed a video
2. after video is embedded (I hope) to serve as a reference point once the drop spindle arrives
3. to remind myself why the mail bag is taking sooooo long.

A slight delay

The hours spent on the DVD have delayed the Messenger Bag. The Friday goal is a little unreasonable for now but fear not, there should be felting by Sunday. What you're seeing is the bag and the flap, just in case it undistinguishable.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Nothing left to spin.

Not so much to report but I do like the feeling of blogging daily-here goes.

Nearly all of the day was spent assembling a dvd slide show of "Spin City." Some well-cropped pictures and IZ singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World can put the spin on anything. GHB teared up throughout and while he's not the King of Receiving Acts of Kindness, I did hear him watch and listen to it several times after the initial presentation.

One thing it's hard to put the spin on is poor service at restaurants. We found a new one- had incredible food and service yesterday-went back today and had incredible food.

I'm thinking I need to try out waitressing next summer. I know that it's harder than it looks-I always tip because I know its a thankless job. But it seems to me one of the tricks is to keep more than one thought in your head at a time and I'm pretty sure I can do that. I'd just worry every minute about spilling food and beverages on people.

Also spin on knitters and technology- ADD Knitter brought this techcrunch article about knitting and Ravelry to the attention of bloggers and I've been tracking the comments-something like 109 so far. I finally put in for the invite (what marketing they have) and I only have to wait until 17,000 others are in. I'm not a joiner but the technocrunch article put me over the top. The ridiculous art of knitting? Please- as many commenters point out- and video gaming is so much more sensible.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Spin City-The Final Chapter

On the up-side, there is some vacation money left over. GHB and I decided to take it and split it. There's a sale at my new favorite LYS but for now I'd like to think I'll save it for a while and make sensible purchases (as opposed to the spinning wheel at Goosepond Or every single sale book at Knit Picks) I could probably rationalize the wheel into feeling like a "sensible purchase" with enough how-to's from the internet. The fact that I've never really spun a strand of wool makes it tough though.

So yesterday and this morning I spent the day helping move a law library down 13 steps for my retiring uncle. He has been an attorney in his downtown office for 50 years. He moved his practice home and will not take any new clients. I arrived at the tail end of the move-when they could move no more.

It gives pause for thought when considering the purchase of those knitting books. Somebody, someday is going to have to move them.

Here's a little yarn pron from the Saturday visit to the LYS. It's Cascades-Nikki-artichoke. You'll NEVER guess what it's going to be... Can you say Postal Bag v. 6.0? I feel good about this one and have about 11 inches of 20" done of the main bag. The goal is monogamy and finished by Friday. Wish me luck.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Am I knitting, Grandmother?

Lest you think I've invented a new stitch pattern, I must explain that this piece of swatch was put together by husband's grandson-age 5- we'll call him NW and if anyone figures out what those letters stand for-2 points for you. He asked me to take it home so that I could show all of the kids at school what a kid who was 5 could do.

Last summer he had some yarn and needles and not quite enough patience and we decided that he knit Italian Style because it looked like spaghetti. Eager to go at it again during our Thanksgiving visit, we deemed him the loosey goosey knitter. This last visit showed great improvement and his patience earned him some wool. (not that he consciously new the difference)

This is a child who, when not knitting, can be very impatient, demanding, and yes, in the way only an age 5-middle child can be, whiny.

When knitting, he transforms into a charmed angel, able to sit still for at least an hour and a half, requesting only the occasional reminder at how much better he's gotten with the question, "Am I knitting???"

We won't go into my own personal trauma associated with that as he called me "grandmother" for the first time.

Early in my training, when asked to write my philosophy of music education, I was told that it needed to include a rationale based on things that ONLY music education could offer. (e.g. self-discipline-pride in a job well done were too vague and could be found on a sports field as well as the band room.)

So what I wonder is, given the amazing effect that knitting has had on NW, what words could justify a "knitting curriculum" (or better still- a fiber arts curriculum that might include weaving, dyeing, spinning, crochet) in an elementary school.

I realize that this is but a wild fantasy, as no standardized test could ever really measure it in any significant way, no college entrance application is ever going to ask about it, and employers (unless fellow knitters) couldn't care less.

It's at this point in a post where I would usually toss my 2 cents in and offer up my thoughts but I can't quite find the words and maybe it's something that can only be passed down from one person to another (as opposed to group instruction.) That being the case, I'll throw it out there and see what my brilliant blog friends think.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Crack (me up) Saturday OR what did you believe?

Raise your hand if you believe that this knitter, 2 days ago, frogged 27 inches of a 258 stitch handspun sweater. The up side? It won't be eleventeen sizes too big because I'm learning to believe the tape measure. The down side? Well, you know the down side.

Life is all about beliefs and changing them with new information. Today's Crack (me up) Saturday post is a list of things that I once believed when I was figuring out the world. If I'm remembering them right, most were around age 5 and 6.

I once believed that...

Banks all around the world had pneumatic tubes underground on beyond those that you see at the drive through or else how could you write checks from different banks? FYI-I didn't know they were called pneumatic at the time.

I would never ever hear the song "Hey Jude" again after it was done being popular on the radio.

The brain had various apartment stories of stick men. The first floor worked my brain. The second floor worked their brains, etc. This was years before that shampoo commercial.

If we were on the interstate going 70 miles an hour, then the people ahead of us must be going really fast.

That it would be really cool to play the bassoon.

More recently, as I posted the picture of my hand in the air I thought, "Oh great, now they have my fingerprints and can tie me to the DiMera vendetta on Days of Our Lives." Then I realized you only have a picture-not my actual fingerprints and that I'm not really on Days of Our Lives

Friday, July 20, 2007

Spin City Part 4- The Journey Home

Picture if you will, 6'4" GHB (Good Husband Bob) in the second to last row of an airplane wearing earplugs and working on his laptop. FYI-He has a booming voice. Now picture the woman three rows from the back pushing her seatback into the not upright position.

Listen closely- you will hear a loud cry of pain (louder than usual because of the ear plugs.) Should you find yourself in a similar situation, you can expect him to be viewed as a terrorist for the rest of the flight. In fact, flight attendants will look at you for signs of battered wife syndrome-or possibly for reassurance.

Pekingese dogs don't much care for traveling by air in dog crates. They really don't bark so much as they whine. Much like the children earlier in the week. For the entire flight. That would explain the aforementioned earplugs.

This next lesson learned is an oldie but bears repeating again and again. Never Judge a Book by it's Cover. It's a little long but stick with me.

John (the holder of the middle seat from Charlotte to Pittsburgh) barely made his connection to Pittsburgh. He had been tossed around all day after his Phoenix-Pittsburgh connection fell through. This was his second airplane trip ever.

He was sure that since he had been up at 3:30 San Diego time that he'd been up for 24 hours at 9:30 EST. He also wondered out loud how they got the baggage to it's final destination after a flight was cancelled. "Do they have a separate plane just for luggage?"

When he found out GHB and I were relatively familiar with his neck of the woods (as in we lived there 20+ years ago-John's age by the way) he began talking about local high school football programs and their coaches as if we knew exactly who and what he was talking about.

We learned that he'd attended Belmont County Junior College for 2 years and that if he kept a 2.5, he was going to try to go to Ohio University or Kent State majoring in education so he could have summers free.

His favorite hobby is drinking Jaegermeister Balls but being only 20 he felt bad drinking a beer in front of his mom.

All in all he was endearing, a pleasant relief from the passengers on the previous flight who were trying to run each other down to make connections.

After a few minutes of quiet time, he asked me what I was making. I said I was knitting socks and showed him the completed first in the pair.

Then he said, "Do you know alpacas? We have an alpaca farm. My mom runs it." Yes, I was honest enough to say that I didn't realize they were actually a separate animal until a month ago.

I asked, "What does your mom do with the Alpaca when she shears them?"

He replied (and I could not make this up) "Oh, she throws it in a trash bag. She says one of these days she's going to do something with it. We have a bunch of that stuff in trash bags in the garage."

Somewhere in Martin's Ferry Ohio there is a garage full of alpaca in trash bags. Go Purple Riders!

Socks from the Train

Thursday, July 19, 2007

an aside


TWO TONY's -or is it TWO TONIES-on Days of Our Lives! Woo hooo- now we know there will be some crazy madcap drama fun!

...all I can remember is that it had someting to do with a vendetta and how to end it...

Spin City Part 3- Vancouver B.C.

It takes approximately 2 minutes to carry 3 strollers down the steps of the detour at 3rd St on Vancouver, B.C.'s sea wall. The number of people waiting to go in the opposite direction appears to be directly proportional to the number of people coming down. This does not include time for any emotional meltdowns. There must be something good in the Vancouver air.

Gauge will vary when placed in a variety of stressful and not so stressful locations. My travel advice? Knit with imaginary yarn. I was actually between socks just then having completed a fabulous pair using Regia-my new favorite sock yarn- and one sock in Trekking. I am proud to say that both were PATTERNED socks. I've graduated from the stockinette sock.

Are you tired yet? Do you feel like you were there? Did you get the subtlety of the title of these posts? Is it clear now that people who do not have children go on vacation with children to realize that the rest of their life IS a vacation? Many blessings to the mamas and the papas out there. I would lose my freakin' mind.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Spin City Part 2-Portland

Portland, Oregon is a beautiful city with a very clear map to the LYS knit/purl. Finding it so quickly gave me at least 10 minutes of guilt-free browsing before returning to the gang waiting for me in record breaking heat. Someday I hope to shop there.

The temperature in Portland is directly proportional to the whine factor. Thankfully we arrived at the waterfall in the Pearl District just as things were beginning to hit critical mass. This was enabled by the free ride on the street car. Portland Rocks.

When traveling by rail to Portland Oregon, you may get to see a bald eagle carrying a fish in his talons. You may also see a nekkid guy hanging out by the tracks. If you look in, you may see someone knitting socks. (Another clue that it's summer are the nails on said knitter. That would never be the case during the school year.)

This seems like a good time to announce the winner of the worst public transportation story contest. Many thanks to everyone who entered. Good husband Bob struggled with a decision but the winner is A.D.D. Knitter and her dripping pot of honey. The judge asked that I let you know that the deciding factors were the multiple layers of stress, discomfort and deception involved in that experience-foreign country, outraged strangers speaking in another language, no present for the in-laws. Congratulations A.D.D.~see it was all worth it in the end. email me@bltsATalltelDOTnet and let me know where to send it.

I would tell you the colorway of the Koigu she's receiving but I really didn't have enough time at knit/purl to have it register and they wrapped it so nicely. Some kind of muted-pastel but not too much earth tones.

There's no place like home. Stay Tuned.

Spin City Part 1

I've noticed that in knitter's blogland, we thankfully do not report on every single stitch made. Mostly just the interesting bits, the successes, the questions, the moments of glory, and the lessons learned.

Working within that framework, I will now share what I learned while I was on vacation.

While I can appreciate (to a certain degree) the philosophy of Waldorf Schools, my limited experience suggests that it may not be the ideal learning situation in all circumstances. I may change this opinion when I learn their approaches whining children.

No matter how hard you try, a 2 year old that looks exactly like Will Ferrell's YouTube Pearl WILL NOT say "You Pay Now." She knows when she's being played.

If you need someone to entertain young children (provided they've not yet reached a meltdown point) a music teacher and a grandfather are the way to go.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Prizes purchased

Had a brief visit to Knit.purl in Portland. Two skeins of Koigu for the winner. No time to check out the entries... too much whine. Oh how I wish it were wine. More thoughts on that for a later post.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

planes suck

ok I'm at an airport kiosk... can you say addicted?

I'd like to think when this beautiful handspun wool becomes a sweater that I will love and cherish it for years to come. I'd like to believe that when I wear it, I'll be able to block out of my mind the 4" knit while flying from Pgh to SanFrancisco (first leg) The vacationing families from hell were all around us. Once we were able to switch seats to avoid various deli items being passed over our heads it got a little better... just for a few minutes.

I am sure that the people around me were likely lovely human beiigs when not airborne. But as I was smelling the body odor and feeling the pressure of their bodies against my knees and their overhead outstretched arms bumping into my knitting needles, I was pretty sure I didn't want to find out.

... did I just hear Dad refer to "Seattle, Oregon?"

Perhaps I need to perceive the 11 rows of 258 stitches as all that stood between myself and an ugly incident with a sky marshall. Would that Miss Manners could form a traveling squad of ettiquette marshalls hired to slap people in the head (like in the V-8 commercials) for the various offenses experienced for the last 5 hours.

As I am clearly goog to be blogging while traveling, I'd like to make it interesting for everyone else. Hence my first contest.

What's the worst public transportation travel story you've got? ENtries will be accepted from now until our return July 18. Judging will be done by Husband Bob the good husband. Prize will be some lovely souvenir sock yarn yet to be found in an unknown LYS. I'll be sure to make it worth your while. I'm going to need to do plenty of good stuff for all of the ugly karmic vibes I had going on for the last 5 hours of my life..

...hey kids.. there's a reason they call them HEAD phones not SPEAKERS!

DId I mention 5 hours?
Spread the word. Let's hear those stories

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Git along little dogies...

We're headed west for Adventure 2007.

I'm not sure about blogging frequency.

Don't forget me while I'm gone!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Where did she go?

As you may have noticed, The Gentle Sophalina left us yesterday. Yesterday was the crying sobbing day. Today is the day when there is relief that she is no longer in discomfort. There are also occasional whimpers today when I am knitting without feline interruption. I stayed with her as it happened and in that brief surreal moment when you don't realize exactly what's going on, I thought, "Oh look- she's doesn't have that labored breathing anymore, she's all better." And really, she is.

What I wonder today- and I'm thinking only on that purely philosophical, metaphysical, not so religious level- is where did she go?

Her body was still there- in fact to my surprise, it was exactly the same. With no funeral director or television producer there to creep me out, it was just a peaceful kitty.

The "she" that was her wasn't her body. It was the way she bonked my feet to say hello when I was on the recliner and then poked her funny head through my knitting. It was the perky little skip in her step when she knew I was headed to the door to let her outside. It was they way she learned to beg on her hind legs for lunchmeat every morning.

I learned in 6th grade that you can't throw anything away on the planet. It was a lesson in recycling and it stuck. Just because you can't see it, doesn't mean it's gone. I'm just not sure where it is.

Husband Bob said that Brother Fred, who died on the same day 3 years ago, must have wanted a cat.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Mystery of Hobbies

I'd like to preface this post by explaining how household finances are managed. To avoid any major fights about money, we have a budget. We each contribute $X and get an allowance every month.

Our bills are always paid, we get to vacation, most discussions over money usually end with one of us saying, "oh yeah, that's why we have a budget."

Our intention was to have at least yearly budget meetings but after the first two we both quietly took the attitude "if it ain't broke..."

All of that being said- can video slot machines be considered a hobby?

Occasionally I will join my significant other at these establishments. While I cringe at the thought of losing even $20.00, it's worth the few hours of entertainment (I play penny machines VERY slowly) that it brings him in what I can only call his hobby. As it should be in a good marriage, he will occasionally indulge and patiently wait as I investigate a new yarn store- even suggesting souvenir yarn.

When he really doesn't feel like being alone, he will gladly hand over the cash to let me play, but there is an underlying understanding that if I'm not going to gamble it, it might be better if I just gave it back.

Similarly, if he suddenly took an interest in learning to knit, I would happily buy him the finest fibers available. The same rule would apply. If you're going to tie that Koigummm around your finger to remind you to go to the dentist, pass it on over. I'll remember the dentist and knit with the Koigumm while you're there.

In fact, if I have the cash (from aforementioned allowance) I don't give the cost of yarn for a size XL baby alpaca cardigan a second thought. His time at the slot machines is the same to him and he doesn't end up cluttering the house or attracting moths.

The astute among you might suggest that I have something to show for my hours of time spent with yarn and yet... the FO's that I have been happy with happen at approximately the same rate as his "jackpots."

So what's a hobby? Around here it would seem it's all about the possible rewards weighed against the risks-both in fiber and at the slot machines and, come to think of it, Life.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Preparation, Trepidation, Anticipation and Resolution

Packing Preparation

Why is it, when traveling, one feels as though one must be prepared for everything? It's certainly not the case in daily life at home.

I am determined to fit the upcoming 10-day excursion into a 27" bag. Perhaps that is what makes it seem so daunting. Oh, I've used the 36" and 48" luggage before-only to find that I've taken MUCH more than I could ever need. During our trip to Maine last summer, husband and I actually Fed Ex'ed a large box of clothing home because it was too much to carry.

On this go round we will be staying primarily with family. They have washing machines. If I were to take what I wear in a week at home it would very easily fit into a 27" bag with room to spare.

Travel Trepidation

What projects can I take on the plane with me? Do the baggage handlers understand the emotional attachment to the fibers and projects I will be forced to entrust to them? Is there something wrong with me for feeling so attached to various bits of yarn? Given the recent events in Scottland and Britian, I dare not try to bring any sort of metal needle on the plane and yet, how whacked is that? What about stitch holders? Will they look like weapons?

Anxiety Anticipation

What if I hate the clothes I'm wearing? What if I lose valuable knitting time enjoying the company of others? What if I drop a stitch and don't have a crochet hook? What if they make me throw away my #2 sock needles just as we go through security? What if (because of a rude and pushy conductor) one of my shoes falls into the train tracks (as it did in NYC) and I didn't bring any others? Yes, I was Deedle Deedle Dumpling in Penn Station. Not so much fun. What if I can't find a computer to blog on? What if there's not enough light?

Resigned Resolution

I write this now as an oath-shared with all of you who have known me so intimately for so very long (heh heh.) I will be traveling with my 27" bag, a backpack full of yarn and a "purse" of sorts. The computer is not going with me. I'm not bringing every article of clothing that I own. I may even only bring ONE pair of shoes. What will be will be and if anything horrible should happen, I'll get lots of sympathy.

On a postivite note- at least knitting has replaced reading in my leisure time. That backpack is going to be a lot lighter than it used to be when I had to decide which books I would "need."

Monday, July 02, 2007

WIP (s)

Before blogging I didn't realize that "WIP" could be so easily pluralized. Stash fit in one plastic bin. Project plans could be listed on one hand. I didn't need interchangeable needles- I always had enough.

Thanks to the power of the internets, wip has become wips. I have two sets of interchangeable needles and the number of plastic bins has been multiplied by 4.

Worse still, Goosepond sent me an email that said I could get a spinning wheel for a mere $600.

Top left- a hopefully big comfy sweater designed with Sweater Wizard 3.0 and using handspun (I'm calling it Frosted Blueberries) from the Sheep and Fiber Festival.

In the middle- my first attempt at stranded knitting. The yarn (Berroco Ultra Alpaca) is not "light" as the pattern called for, the stranding gets better as it goes, it will likely be a felt bag (which I'm calling Box of Hair 5.0) A much lovelier version of this can be found at Erin's site.

To the right- First attempt as something other than stockinette socks. It's Regia. This "more than stockinette" sock knitting goes a little slower but I can feel that it's going to be worth it.

I'm in over my head on all counts but you can't just keep knitting scarves.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

thank you to the academy

So I checked my rating again and I've come up

Online Dating
Thanks to everyone who used the word crack!

Apparently they weren't able to discern the hidden images in the Collage.

Nightmare on 74th St. - a Collage

I've really got nothing to post but I've been playing collage with some flea market pictures. I don't remember seeing any of these patterns or colors in "That 70's Show." I guess there are some things that are better left hidden.

Computer collage is almost as fun as paper and glue and much less messier if your PC has the memory. Microsoft's "Picture It!" did the dirty deed here.