Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Size 8 Needles, an outburst, and some sad

Size 8 needles knit items much more quickly than size 3.  The beautiful Kathy Zimmerman cable sweater is slogging along.  Slogging mostly because I can concentrate for approximately 2 rows of cabling before I know I have to stop.

That I might have something to turn to, I matched stash with pattern and found Vertigo in some malabrigo  in the colors dusty rose and pearl ten.  Pearl ten? It must be secret code for "matches dusty rose in a cool way."  As always with wintertime pictures, colors appear less vibrant than in real life.  Some of the colorwork is a little bunchy- if blocking doesn't fix it, I really will rip and reknit.  I like this vest that much.  Does this really make 3 knitting posts in a row?

Confidentiality prohibits me from going into detail but let me just say that my Monday morning after a week of vacation began with a student banging limbs on thunderously resonating metal bookshelves and cabinets screaming (not at me) 


One would think that would be a terrible way to start the week and, in fact, it sort of was.  BUT, after that first thing on a Monday morning, no matter what happens the rest of the week, it's a good week.

What makes me sadder than sad is that I can't share the story with my blog friend Nicole Stanger McMaster at Throwslikeagirl.  Nicole lost her battle with breast cancer this week after an aggressive form of mets popped up seemingly out of nowhere and took her from this planet entirely too soon.  

I found her knitting blog and later found out we shared professions as well.  It's pretty strange and horrible to lose an internet friend.  While playing with internets friends, you feel so connected and yet when you grieve, no one in your physical space (only fellow ethereal bloggers) really understands the extent and significance of the loss- and there is the fear that expressing too much sorrow to and for family members makes you seem kind of creepy.

So, HEY NICOLE out there in Spiritual Internet World, I'm glad I got to know you.  I'm glad you're no longer in pain, and I'm sad that you're no longer here.  

And that my friends, with tears in my eyes,  is all a memorial can really say. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

c'est finis

MountainMama is going to get someone she knows who sews to line these.  There are so many mistakes and small oopsies, that I don't even want to think about it.  These definitely fall into the HANDMADE category and I'm not sure that they're as built to last as the actual John Deere tractors,  but it will do for a few years.  Fortunately, they look pretty good from a distance.  Fortunately they are for little boys with small hands that can actually fit inside the top.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

What else I did over Thanksgiving Break.

They need a little finishing at the top  but right now they're blocking with plastic bags.  To this I say, Dear Intarsia, we are getting a divorce.  Love Sophanne.

Heading to Aunt of Sophanne's for some Bob Evan's pre-prepared meals, Yahtzee, and if cousin has her way, Monopoly!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Wherein I have a new friend and we had an adventure.

It never ceases to amaze me when that happens.  This new friend wants to learn to knit better, taught at nearly all of the same schools I have in my career (just a year or two ahead of me), shares my political inclinations (unlike many in my surrounding area) and laughs a lot and sometimes laughs at inappropriate things.  She has more driving phobias than I and so today we had an adventure.  In the "things always happen for a reason" category, I met her at one of the new schools I have this year.

We picked up the "T"  about where knit night meets and rode it all the way to the North Side of Pittsburgh. We saw this sign when we disembarked.  Not sure  about what "area of refuge" really means but there was one there in case we needed it.

When we left the station, we saw this.  And, as it turns out we were in the same parking garage that Mr. Sophanne and I parked in when we went to a Pirates game this summer.  No traffic for us today though.  The Light Rail did all the work.  (note the green T sign.  I love the T)

After walking a mile we found our way here:

The National Aviary.   It should have been a half mile walk but one has to expect some misdirection in life.

Once inside, we saw some birds.  These two birds remind me of the story of Ulysess visiting Circes Palace and a bird warning him of danger ahead.  

These two were just adorable and photogenic.

We signed up for a Pirates of the Caribbean Parrot show but somehow got locked out of showtime and they don't let latecomers in.  I was thrown off for a good 15 minutes or so.  I was a little surprised at how attached I had become to the idea of seeing that show.

The flamingos are always fascinating as were the penguins.  The penguins begged to be anthropomorphized and I had a most excellent voice and dialogue going on for them.  (think Henri le chat noir except more of an Art Carney kind of voice)  It was perhaps that activity that distracted me from noticing that it was in fact show time.

Back on the T to the Wood St. exit where we found a place called Ewe Can Knit.  I was suspicious when the only reference on the web to them was their facebook page.  It was a pen and stationery store that had yarn on the second floor as an afterthought.  There was some yarn that could have been purchased but it seemed like it was there mostly for decoration.  

The thing is, I have always wanted to have this adventure and feel comfortable doing it.  I plan it in my head every summer and wonder why, at the end of the summer, I haven't done it.  And I realized that you don't hear of many solo adventurers.  Usually they at least travel in pairs.  And really, I can count on one hand the number of people who have the time, energy and desire to have the same kind of adventures I like to have so today was a lucky lucky day.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Awesomeness of Tara v. 8.2

By now you know that knitnightTara is amazing.  If you need a refresher, you can look here and here.

It's time for yet another episode in the series The Awesomeness of Tara.

She knit these lovelies for someone to take to  a "redneck" baby shower.  Camo sweater, bright orange buttons, and cowboy boot booties.  What you can't see is that the booties are fleece lined.

The person she made them for has offered payment and she doesn't know what to charge.  I have offered to be the financial consultant of All that is Tara and said $50- she thought that was high- she has $15 in materials.  I'm saying you'd pay AT LEAST THAT for the cuteness of the boots alone in a high end store and these are better made.

And yet, while these are amazing and adorable, they do not properly give tribute to awesome.  This evening instead of knitting, she was putting together her homemade Christmas card list.  You may remember the knitting penguin from last year.  She was talking about people that she has no real work/family/knitting relationship with that she regularly sends them to and I said "You could send one to Aunt of Sophanne"- knowing the meticulous time and care that go into these cards I was mostly just joking- kiddingly adding names to her list where none were needed- also knowing that they've never met.

She then pulled out the list, passed it to me and said "She's already on there."

That. Girl.  She is something else.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Impish Little Trickster Knitting Fairy

is hired by the knitting goddess to do her dirty work.  Her magic powers include promoting self doubt and suspect vision among knitters.

Case in point:

This is about 43 rows of the back of Kathy Zimmerman's Welcome Back, Friend Sweater.  It's about six inches long right now.

Case in point.

Sunday Morning I had 41 rows.  Sunday evening I had 43 rows.  Monday afternoon I had 47 rows.  Early Monday evening I had 41 rows and now there are once again 43.

The way to avoid the impish little trickster knitting fairy is to CLEARLY mark where you are in the pattern when you stop knitting.   On Monday evening I believed that I had started knitting in the wrong place and tinked 6 rows (WITH CABLES and using a cable needle to uncable).

When I began to start what I thought was the correct place, I realized that the tinked rows were actually correct and previous tinking was an unnecessary.

The bonus is that I love Louet Gems Sportweight.  I also love the chia goo goo(something like that) needles which are as delightful as addi turbo lace at half the price.  I've learned my lesson with over purchasing and managed not to order some more immediately because I love it and more has to be better. At least I've learned that lesson for today.

Friday, November 09, 2012

What I wanted to ask my neighbors but didn't.

When I came home this evening the neighbor kids were burning leaves that were next to a tree and under a tire swing. One cherub was swinging over the fire as the others fanned the flames.

Did I miss the sale at the stupid store? And by that I mean the store that SELLS stupid!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Happy Birfday!

It's been 5 happy years since we've had the Liza girl.  We both are a little bigger and a little happier. (except I think she's sticking her tongue out at me in picture number 2)

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Barely Knitting? Knitting a Bear.

One of the yarns that came home with me at the knit night trick or treatwas some bulky Tahki Primary Baby- from Knitnight Marc

Knitnight Tara and Knitnight Alison were hoping for a unicorn.  I knew if I didn't jump in on it, I would forget what I was going to do and the yarn would marinate until the next swap.

He's pretty adorable.  I do get anxious assembling.  Watching Knitnight Gina do it the last time helped, I feel much better about his facial features.  His arms went on pretty well too.  It's the legs and the ears that aren't my favorite but when you get to that point, you just want him done. 

Name him anyone?

Clutter Wars

You may recall that 2 summers ago I did some serious book culling.  I was proud and felt lighter after the process.

After last months trip to the yarn store, my yarn/book room was overflowing with stuff.  Good stuff, but still stuff.  I decided I'd see if there was any more culling to be done.

As a result I probably donated $400 or more worth of books to the school librarian and three plastic bins (not the biggest but the medium size) to the used book store where I bought most of the books in the first place.

I cleared the shelves of about 5 bags of knitting yarn for the Trick Or Treat exchange at knit night.  I also finally parted with several of the Namaste bags that weren't my favorite and took the financial loss as a lesson in how many knitting bags any one person actually needs.

And then I decided.   No more new hobbies.  No more old hobbies that I don't do anymore.

Knitting and reading are officially my hobbies.

The dried up painting supplies will be thrown away.

I have a fabulously wonderful plan for all of the sewing fabric and notions that I buy every time I see an awesome seamstress on the blogs.  Better still, it does not involve me sewing. (in fact won't that master seamstress be surprised when all of her inspiration shows up at her doorstep?- but sometimes we need other people to either use or throw away our stuff for us)

I don't need to go visit that lady at the quilt store who forgot to call me when classes started.  I don't need quilting classes.

While I am glad to have the computer programs that play with film editing and video, I don't have the skills, time, computer memory, inspiration, or motivation to really dig into it.  Ditto with photo editing.

I can admire a craft, skill, hobby, whatever, without throwing myself into it and imagining that I will become the undiscovered superstar of that medium.

There is still some work to do when it comes to digital information- my new place for reading.

I had another episode of iTunes insomnia that brought all of the early music of The Police back into my life.

 It takes a good bit of restraint (sometimes unavailable) to prevent myself from online purchasing every book  that I've read a good review about.

While I am finally letting go of a notable amount (for me) of the physical clutter I have, I still have no system for monitoring and managing and preventing the digital clutter.  I'm thinking that time will come when it's time.

However small my uncluttering steps are in this lifetime, I am proud.  I know people who do not ever have "enough" in spite of everything new they acquire.

And while I am not really a comment whore (I know you're out there reading and for that I'm grateful), I am truly interested in how other people manage "stuff"- both the digital and the physical.  If you have time and are so inclined, it would be interesting and helpful to discover other people's secrets of stuff.