Thursday, November 27, 2008
With the help of a wonderful sockknitter, I was able to work out the method of creating the same pattern (or close to it), and I wanted to do them toe up (the original was cuff down). I had just been showing some women the provisional cast-on, and telling them how useful it was for toes on socks! Now was a good time to put that to use. I did.
There were a few little hiccups along the way. I wasn't sure how long to do the foot. I needed to look ahead to see how much length I would need to turn the heel, and how much more I needed for the gusset... but with some calculation, I came really close. As a matter of fact, the socks fit perfectly! I'm really pleased.
It was great fun to knit! I was so excited to see where the ribs were going to turn next, and looking forward to working the gusset, since the ribs had to take a different direction. The sole is more interesting to me than the top. I had it in my mind that I would put the heel on either side of the sock, and have the bottom showing on the top on one of them. But when I was setting up the heel, somehow I forgot that, and made them both the same! And you all know that I just will not rip it out. So I now have to do another sock... if I can find more yarn.
Here is a quick peek at it. It is really hard to show the bottom of a sock while wearing it -- and trying to get it all in focus. Maybe I need a sock model.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
But I do have some pics for you, since I finally did get the batteries into the camera after that adventure (see below). I spun up another skein of that blue, but much softer twist this time. It’s nice! But it all depends on what I will make with it. I had plans to knit a lace shawl, and it will work very well for that. However, I also find the softer twist makes for a weaker yarn. Can’t have it both ways, I guess.
But before I could get this pic, I needed to get some batteries for my camera. I only take a few pictures and then the batteries are dead! They are not cheap. I do have the rechargeable, but they are lost somewhere, along with the charger.
So one day at noon, I ran out to the drugstore down the street, where I remembered seeing a flyer that there was a sale on batteries. Of course, at noon, everyone else from the offices downtown are running around doing some quick shopping, so the store was quite full, and all the tills had line-ups at them, and it was quite difficult trying to weave my way inside.
I was going to enter through one of the aisles near the last cashier since it was empty. But I did see that there were some legs and equipment around the edge of the counter, so I guess some workmen were doing some repairs. Why now, of all times?
I made my way going against traffic through the people waiting for a cashier, and located the wall of batteries next to that last cashier. I was trying to decide which to get (the package of 8 or the 4?, generic or copper top?), when I heard a female voice coming from around the corner saying “Push, push!”
Well, now, I stopped a moment. Where have I heard this before? That sounded quite famil….. Oh, I know! But was it possible?
So I peered over the stand of potato chips to where the “workmen” were working to find a woman lying on the floor with her knees up, a man with SECURITY across his back tending to the head end, and a young female paramedic kneeling at the other end! Was I really seeing what I think I am seeing?
Well, yes, apparently it was true! I don’t know if she was in labour at that time, but it seemed to be. The paramedic kept telling her to keep her eyes open, to breath through the nose, not the mouth… “let me know if you feel the need to push”. (There are no pics because I didn’t have batteries in the camera yet!)
Well, now. This was most interesting. What was more fascinating was that all the other shoppers seemed oblivious to the wonder of the moment going on right there. They were intent on getting their precious purchases and running off. I wasn’t sure if I should stick around either, but I did want to know the outcome (so to speak). But I found a cashier, paid my money, and left hesitatingly , thinking I should look around the corner from this OTHER side to really get a good look. I decided I really didn’t want to see very much, and besides, I still hadn’t any lunch! Yes, I think that would be a better plan.
So I never did find out what happened, if she had it right there, whether an ambulance finally arrived to take her away, or did she just have some other problem. Imagine the story she would have to tell that kid!
Thursday, October 23, 2008
I had gone by a few weeks ago, and noticed that the house looked empty. It's located on a main thoroughfare, so is in a great location. Her son is not well now either, so I don't know why they don't sell the house; they could have done very well last year. But I had noticed that there was a nice apple tree in the back yard, that no one was picking! So I went over to see if I can have a few for myself. They were huge! And so many on the ground; that was so sad to see. I picked a small bag and had to be satisfied with those. Of course, the nicest ones were at the top, as they like to be.
I made myself a nice apple crumble. I found a good recipe on the net (very simple to do) and baked a nice 8 inch pan full. It was delicious!! It was far too small -- because it all disappeared so very fast. I guess it shrunk a lot when it cooked, right?
You may recall a few years ago (September 23, 2005) that I was so sorry to see my pear tree vanish. I miss it still. But fortune was good to me, and offered me another one! Can you imagine? And it is just half a block away.. I don't know how the Universe manages to do these things. No one seems to know what it is, and all the pears have been falling off, only to be nibbled on by the squirrels. So I can't let them go to waste like that, now can I?
I made another apple crumble and this time I put in a couple pears as well. Ah, what a wonderful treat that is!! I'm a good cook.
Of course, I think the real trick to making the topping is butter. Now, I don't use butter at all, and haven't for many years. But I've been wanting to make cinnamon buns and am told that you really need butter and brown sugar. I saw that one store had butter at a special price, so bought two pounds of it. And I used about 1/4 cup, or a good slice of it in the topping. That seemed to make all the difference, and it turned out beautifully! I've always maintained that you need to use good quality materials to be successful in your work. That was mainly in spinning and knitting, but it seems to apply in cooking as well.
On Sunday morning, I woke up with a sore throat. Now, that is odd. I've been quite careful what I do, and I don't remember being near anyone that was sick. Never know. And by evening I was sniffling a lot! This again is very odd, since I have been watching myself quite well, since I can't afford to get sick! By Monday morning, it was quite a severe case of stuffed head and running nose. I didn't feel sick, no headache, just a really bad nose!!
It wasn't until the next day, when I was making something for supper, that I realized I had some tomato sauce with FOUR cheeses in it! I love cheese, it just doesn't love me. So I think I over did it a bit.
And then it was some time later (I'm rather slow these days) that I remembered that I used butter in my topping for the crumble! And a lot of butter. I ate the whole thing in one day... and another the next day. What was I doing to myself?! Of course I'm going to be sick!
Well, I've done this before, so I know what to do. It's a simple matter of not eating for a day or two, drink lots of water, and have several cups of fenugreek tea with a bit of mint. So that is what I've done, and today I'm much better.
Sometimes this old brain just is not thinking clearly. I never connected that what I was using in my cooking would somehow affect me. I just never learn.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
October 14, 2008 was to be a HUGE event -- earth-shattering. I eagerly awaited news... and Well, I should have known when I saw this announcement:
See what you think.
But I do like this one:
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Nothing changed. It’s still the same play with the same cast of characters. There were a few extras that were changed, but no one noticed.
Although the present (and past) Prime Minister declared he would not call another election for 4 years (the twig trying to be as much as the shrub that he can), he suddenly felt the need to have one much earlier. With no change. It cost us over $300 million. Oh, well.
One of the good things about our system in
It was difficult to know that there was an election here. If it wasn’t for the mandatory 396 minutes that each broadcaster must make available for political parties to purchase for advertising during the 2008 election campaign, there would have been nothing on the media at all. I never did see any posters, lawn signs, or billboards anywhere during these 37 days. It was all very subdued – very Canadian.
The rest of the population apparently didn’t know there was an election either, for there were less than 60% of the eligible voters that actually voted – the lowest ever in the history of
So nothing has changed. Everything is still the same. *sigh*
I did some spinning and Navajo plying-on-the-go with my CD spindle today. It was fun!
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Well, I did a provisional cast on, because of course, this one is done that way. I was just showing a few ladies the other day how to do the provisional cast on (there are several different ways) so it was all fresh in my mind. I did the required 92 stitches. I knit my 3 rows of garter. I started the pattern, with all the markers.
I don't like it. For some reason, the yarn doesn't feel nice. It looks ncie, but I don't think it is going to be a shawl. I don't know what it wants to be. It feels too hard. I did spin it with a lot of twist, because I like the look of the yarn when it is quite defined. But it's not feeling the way it should. I've already washed the yarn, so I don't think it will make it any better after knitting.
I've let that one sit for awhile, and I've started another "sample". This one is just a simple plain lace pattern: a few YOs, some decreases left and right, and that's it. It's not working. I keep losing a stitch someplace. How can that be? There are only 29 freaking stitches!! For some reason, I can't make the pattern work out. I think there is something wrong with the pattern, of course -- it can't be me!
I don't like the feeling of this piece either. I will do a bit more and wash it. If that doesn't make it any better, then all 6 skeins* will be designated for something else. Right now, I'm going to see if I can sleep on it for a bit, and see if it looks different in the morning light.
* just did a calculation: there appear to be about 300+ metres per 114 gm skein.
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
It’s not as if I have forgotten all about it. I think about it several times a day. I have written so many entries, in my head, on the way to or from work. I write a few things while at work. I have actually put a few of them into text form. But there they sit, awaiting final editing. But once I’ve written it – either in my head or put it into text – I’m done with it. I don’t want to go back and re-hash it all again. It’s old news to me.
When I first started this blog, so long ago, it was for the purpose of having a place to let others know what was going on in my life, or a place to vent most often. But as I went along, I realized I was focusing more and more on fibre-related topics, and was actually stopping myself from posting anything different! Oh, I’ve got so many things to complain about, but do people want to hear me whine all the time? You’d think nothing goes right in my world, and all I do is complain, and bitch and am always grumpy and angry. Well, okay, so that might be pretty much accurate… I just don’t want everyone to know that!
Fall happened a few weeks ago. Of course, way up here, fall comes a whole lot earlier. I can feel it coming, and I have the urge to run away. I know when it’s time to leave! I don’t want to stay here – if I had wings, I’d be gone. However, I’m still here, and feeling much like the bears, and want to hibernate. I’d be quite happy to lock myself up the whole winter, and just be left alone. I’d spin and knit, and even pull out my loom – oh, I would need more than a cave for all this, wouldn’t I? Looks as if I have to curb some of my activities. And for some reason, everyone feels that I need to go to work. So I go, I sit, I go home. I could just as easily have done that right here, and been more productive doing something I enjoyed. But --- oh, well. (not complaining)
Let’s see what I’ve been doing. I am still spinning. I now have 5 skeins of this yarn. That’s more than I need for the lace scarf I will be knitting. I should start knitting it already. But it’s so much easier for me to sit down, and spin, and not think about what I’m doing. I would rather spin, and write articles in my head! Haha – I don’t have much to show you. Did you see this yarn yet? Oh, I guess not.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
The sizing is done by using heavier weight yarns and larger needles. There are some adjustments that can be made by adding or decreasing some stitches where needed, but once you get the initial number set, the rest is just plain mindless knitting. I could finish it with some I-cord around the edges, but this one is only a "sample" and probably will be ripped out.
This was the “sample” and I really do like the look of it, so am planning on doing one in my size, with some of my handspun, once I decide on a colour!
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
And you end up with this even odder piece of knitting!!
I will tell you that the one long straight side forms the front opening, when you bring them together. The needles are holding the stitches which will come together, at the back, and then you knit UP to the neck.
It's all very EZ, really! Right?
Monday, September 15, 2008
They start by doing the small teddy bear warmer, to get a feel for how the pattern works. It does look completely wonky when you read through it, as do all of her patterns. But you need faith!
So here is the first part of it. All in garter stitch, and short row. This was a good way to try out different ways of doing short rows, with wraps or not, and how to pick them up again. I think I found the one I like. This will be ripped out eventually – my very first thing I will rip out! – but I’m calling this a sample, so it is really not meant to last for long -- it's not a real piece of knitting! Haha
Okay, this is half of the front (it can be left or right… they are both the same!):
More to come --
Thursday, September 11, 2008
However, all hills can be climbed, and I did it too. I enjoyed the ride. I haven't been up to that part of the city for a long time, and they have been busy people over there! They have remodeled the main road and, as a result, other things have had to be reworked as well. It's almost unrecognizeable -- some of the buildings look the same, but they don't look quite the way they did. Interesting.
I did what I had to do and started on the way home, but of course, I never take the same road back. I have to see other parts of the city, and I wanted to go by a house of an old woman I used to visit a lot. She passed away several years ago, and I miss her a lot. She always had the most immaculate garden, with so many flowers! In her last few years (she was 98), she hardly left the house, so her garden wasn't tended quite as nicely. But she would root a rosebud that someone would give her so she had a white, a red, and a yellow outside her door. She had the most amazing lemon tree in her front entrance -- she got 1 and a quarter cup of juice out of one lemon!
The house appears to be empty now. Her grandson lived there for a short time, but I think he didn't look after it well, so he was asked to leave. The yard looks slightly neglected, and there aren't all the flowers in her yard. There is an apple tree in the back, and no one is picking the apples. Very sad.
I stopped at Betty's house, since I haven't seen her since earlier this year. I try to go over once a month to have a spinning day. Betty is in her early 80's and is the lovliest lady I know. She is losing her eyesight, which she finds particularly annoying. She can still knit a little if the light is strong enough, and she can't read as much as she would like. She still can spin somewhat, and enjoys that. Her grandson is living with her as he is going to university, so she is not alone.
She has had a gardener for a few years who looked after her yard. There were a few large trees that needed some trimming as they have become over-grown. Since Jim didn't have the necessary equipment to do it, she hired an arborist. They arrived with all the harness and truck and set to work very quickly. Jim arrived at that moment and said that he could have done that! Well, she didn't feel he was able to do it as efficiently as they could. Then he said, well, I'll trim the cherries.
Betty has two Nanking cherry trees in her front yard, up against the house. They really grow as shrubs, and can get quite unruly if not kept under control. They could have used a bit of a pruning.
Well, Jim trimmed them right down to the ground! Just for spite. Betty was horrified. I was shocked when I saw the stumps. They will come back, but there were no cherries this year, and there may be only a few next year. But I can't believe how anyone can be so cruel because someone else did something better than he could. Needless to say, Betty is looking for a gardener now.
I rode on my way back home, and had a pleasant outing for the afternoon. I am constantly amazed by the strange lot of humanity we have in this world. I don't understand it all.
Friday, August 29, 2008
This of course isn’t the first time that we’ve had a recall of some food product. Probably won’t be the last. However, the thing that really bothers me is that in this huge country, we have only ONE plant that processes meat products for all of us? This especially irks me living in the west – the land where we raise all that beef and have huge hog farms. Why do we ship all those animals to some plant in Toronto, where they do who knows what to it, and then they ship it back to us (at inflated prices)? Do we not know how to process our own animals here? Do we not have any meat plants here? Is fuel so cheap that it’s more cost efficient to ship all our produce all the way across the country, pollute it, and ship it back? I don’t understand it.
The release of this latest calamity also brought to light the fact that the same plant puts out a wide variety of products. When you were convinced that Brand A was so much better than Brand B, you finally realize it comes from the very same plant, is the very same product, only the packaging is different. I heard this many long years ago, when I learned that my favourite tomato soup was made in the same assembly line as the cheaper store brand soup. So we pay more for the label? Now we learn that those advertising campaigns telling us that this particular product is carefully selected, slow smoked, proudly presented -- it was all false. It all comes out of the same vat as that cheap no-name product!
This one event has again reinforced my opinion that we shouldn’t adulterate our food. What was wrong with just have plain ordinary meat? Why do we have to mash, pound, dye, mix all sort of alien products into it, and then package it in neat little slices and expect anyone to actually get any nourishment from it? It’s as far removed from real meat as is the “bread” you find in the stores. Do they really think they are fooling anyone? Probably are, considering that most of the population has never seen real bread or real beef. I pity them.
All this fuss and bother over a variety of contaminated meat products sure makes me glad that I am a vegetarian. I always believed there was a good reason why I was drawn away from animal products, and every time there is another recall of processed foodstuffs, I am thankful that I have no need for pieces of dead animals in my diet.
Now, if only I can find a little patch of earth in which to grow a few vegetables.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Where was I? I went back home about a month ago now. "Home" is a funny word. It means different things, depending on how you use it.
The house that I grew up in was sold long, long ago. Mom and Dad build a new house, much larger now that we all had left home, in a little village several miles away. I've never gone back to that old place. And I don't want to.
But this year, finally, Mom sold that house. It was just too large for her, by herself, and there was a lot of work in maintaining it. She just couldn't manage it. But it's in a little village, with nothing really happening there, and it was hard to sell. She had lowered her price a lot, but eventually, when she doubled it, she had someone take interest, and sold it. She had an auction sale to sell off everything she couldn't take with her, and she moved away.
So now, there really is not "home" over there. We all used to go to Mom's house at Christmas and in summer, saying it was home, but I never really grew up there. And now I don't even have that anymore either. So I don't know where "home" is. I've lived in this city for over 25 years but I don't think of it as home. It's a place for me to stay until I determine where I want to go next. I'm still thinking. For now, "home" will be where Mom is living.
But this summer, we held another of our family reunions. Mom comes from a very large family, and when we include all the distant relatives, there are a whole bunch more. My great-grandparents arrived in this country with 5 children, and one was born here. From that small beginning, we have spread all over Canada, and into the States as well. But every now and then, on an irregular basis, we gather together to celebrate our ancestors, and to re-acquaint ourselves with each other.
This was a fun weekend. Relatives came all the way from Vancouver to Ontario. I really wanted to see my distant cousin (couple times removed, I dunno) from Nova Scotia, but she wasn't able to make it. It was so good to see cousins I haven't seen for years. Some have gotten so much grey hair! And also to meet their grown children which I have never met yet at all. We don't get together that often, apparently! I haven't been to a family wedding for a long time.
One of the things we wanted to do this year was to hold an auction of some of our handmade items. Many of us are very handy with our hands, making all sorts of things. There was such a nice collection of quilts, and blankets, and glass dishes, and jams and jellys. I wanted to do some spinning (no question there) since my grandmother was a spinner (wool and hemp on a spindle). I wanted to honour her very short life. But I couldn't just put in a skein of yarn, so I had to knit something, although she was also a weaver. This had to be something special, not too complicated, but had to look very intricate! I searched for a long time, and eventually found a lace that I liked, and it was a very easy knit. I was rather pleased with it. (see my earlier post about the whole story)
Well, my cousin from just south of my city won it! There were a lot of very sad faces. A couple of my aunts really wanted it, and so did some of my cousins, and my neices. I'm sorry I only made one! Here is a pic of my cousin Sharon showing off her new shawl:
I have plans to make a few more for my dear aunts. They are a very special bunch of women, and I love them dearly. But my mother had 8 sisters, so there are quite a few of them! Not to mention all my cousins, and my neices. So I have a bit of work ahead of me. I better not say anything more, just in case I tempt fate!
In the meantime, I'm spinning more of that blue. It's taking a very long time to fill up one bobbin, and I can't spin for very long because of my back. But a little every day makes me feel a bit more normal.
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
What you ask? Why, the shawl, of course! The thing I've been working on for all these days. Actually I started knitting it about June 16 or 17 (it seems like so long ago), and I finished it on Monday night. I had only one more section to do on the border, but it was late on Sunday, and this section needed some concentration and planning, so I left it for Monday. Then I washed it, darned in the two ends I had (ran out yarn with one ball), and thought about blocking it.
The problem is that I don't have space in my place. It's very very crowded right now. I dont have enough space on the carpet (can't even SEE the carpet!) to stretch out a shawl. And where are all my pins anyway?
So I thought I would so it at work. I have lots of space there! Several of my people are away, so their offices are vacant, with plenty of floor space. I could lay down a sheet, pin it out, and by morning it would be dry, and I'd pick it up before anyone would see it. Except for the cleaning people. Maybe they will leave it alone.
I found a couple boxes of push-pins in the office, and tried to stick them into the carpeting. No good. The carpet is pretty thin, and the pins don't hold a thing. Okay, this won't work.
I then notice the dividers we use between desks. The one between me and the girl next door is very nice: tall and wide, and empty! But I don't want to use her side. My side has lots of posters and papers tacked to it... oh, that can come down.
So I find a clear spot and start to pin it up.. I suddenly realize this is not going to work either. The space is far too small!! Okay, so I then turn to the long wall, and start pinning it to that. And it works much better.
The funny part is that as I pin one section, a pin on the other side suddenly pings! and is flying across the room! I had all these sharp pins flying in all directions. I'd hear a pop, and there goes another one!
I wasn't sure what size I was going to get with this shawl. As I knit, I kept asking myself if it is large enough. I did put in one more round of repeats for one pattern; I wasn't sure if I should repeat the next one as well. And maybe I should put in a wider border?
But I was able to stretch that thing a great deal! I was quite amazed. I got almost 80 inches across the top, tip to tip. Not too bad. And probably about 34 inches for the middle point. It was quite easy to get it fairly square and balanced on both sides, and then I left it.
I was thinking I would go back later in the evening to take it down, but I may have to answer lots of questions about why I was there so late at night. I would go in early on Wednesday.
I was a bit late in the morning, but still early enough. As I get to the building, I realize I forgot my security pass! I can't even get into the building without it. Okay, turn around and go back home to get it. As if I needed this TODAY of all days.
I finally get to work; it's still there. The girl next door says she saw my shawl; someone had come around early in the morning looking for me (they know I don't start that early) and saw it, so of course they all had to look. They were impressed.
I took a few pics, in the light I had available, and then took it down before my supervisor would see it as well. She might not see things the same way I did.
So here is a pic of my shawl as it was tacked to the wall. I will get some pics of someone wearing it later on. But I just was so excited to show you all that I will post whatever I have.
And it's another good day.
Saturday, July 05, 2008
You may recall that I had been working on a shawl for our family auction later this fall. I couldn't find the right design that I wanted to knit! It had to look good, simple enough to wear, and yet to show off the yarn and my skills. Anything I looked at was either too simple, or didn't seem appropriate for the yarn.
I eventually found a design that I liked. It is a triangular shawl, from the neck down. I thought that I could make a few adjustments to make it larger or smaller, or to add a few designs, if needed.
I started knitting this in the middle of June. Somewhere I had a photo of it starting out, but with all the other complications I've had, I seem to have misplaced a number of my pictures! But I will include one that shows some of the knitting of the border. Yes, I am now doing the border, and have almost completed it. It looks a bit small at this point, although I know that it will stretch a lot when I block it. I think it will be a good size. The design is not complicated (but most lace is very simple to do) but does look good, I think. I expect I should have it finished and blocked sometime next week. I have to find a floor somewhere that I can use for the blocking!
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
I can't believe it's 141 already! I remember the Centennial quite well, and it wasn't that long ago. Was it? It surely wasn't 41 years ago -- where did those years go? And I'm hardly even 41 myself-- how is that possible?!!
There is knitting! I finally started on the shawl about 2 weeks ago. It took me a very long time to find exactly what I wanted to make with the yarn I spun way back at the beginning of this year. I looked at so many patterns. I wanted a rectangular stole, with an interesting pattern to view and to knit. I thought I'd like to put in some beads either in the fringe or on the borders.
It all changed. I finally settled on a triangular shawl, knit from the neck down, in a fairly simple lace pattern. It does look good, I think, so far. I'm about to start on the border, but have been thinking of re-working the design of it. I don't know if the shawl will be long enough! I always have this problem -- why didn't I work out the math at the beginning so I would know for sure? That would be too simple!
There has been no knitting this weekend. I was rather busy, and it had to be put on hold. There is still time. I was on my feet for most of the weekend, the final being 32 hours straight. When I finally was able to sit down, I wasn't feeling too well -- oddly. But there was more to do, and I was able to lay down later in the day. I wasn't able to get to sleep right away, but eventually slept a little, and then a little more. Most fortunate, Tuesday was a holiday, and I didn't have to go to work. I was able to get some urgently needed rest. I did sleep late (which was such a pleasure!) and did precious little all day. I didn't do any knitting! I did some spinning though... that was mindless enough for today. I had a nap.
I had a few things to do today, but found a few aches and pains, which is to be expected. But the oddest was that it hurt to stand up! The bottom of my feet hurt... that has never happened before. I checked to see if I had any blisters; none yet, but they may have been starting to form, if I was on the feet for much longer. As it was, I stayed off my feet for most of the day, doing little, listening to some radio, checking emails, chatting with some friends, and generally taking it easy. It was a good day!
Pics will be forthcoming soon. I somehow have lost my card reader, and can't get the photos out of my camera! Technology! The border shouldn't take much longer now that I have a bit more time.
Best Wishes Canada, and many happy years to come!
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
I haven't posted here for ever so long. I didn't mean it this way. I had good intentions of posting more regularly. I had a whole series lined up.
Then LIFE happened, as it likes to do for me. Unexpected things got in the way, really messed up everything I had assumed was regular routine. Not anymore!
I've had a most horrendous month. There just has been too much. Too much of everything, and I was overloaded. I'll tell the story, one day, when I've settled down and can recall it all.
But I will tell you about one thing that happened last week. I was sitting at home in the evening, spinning and was downloading something from the net, and listening to the radio. That is the way I do things. I had just made myself a pot of some soup, and I had turned off the stove to let it sit for a few minutes. It was late, but I often have supper very late (depends on when I started it).
The sun sets very late now. It actually sets about 9:30, but stays daylight for about an hour after that. We have very long evenings... a really short night, and by 4, it's getting daylight again.
Suddenly, the lights went out, the radio went dead, and the computer shut down. Silence. Oh, damn! I blew a breaker --- but nothing was really on. And where the *** is the breaker box in this place?? I do a quick search... no, there isn't one! Maybe there is a main box in the hallway somewhere.... nope, it's all dark out there too. Ah, ha!! It wasn't me that blew it; the whole floor is out. Maybe the whole building. The whole block? I look out the window, trying to see if any place has lights. Yes, that building does, and that one, and the street lights are on. Well, okay, so maybe it's just my building.
Now, everything is dead in the place. Nothing is working. Luckily, I do have a battery operated clock. It is not even 10 pm. Now what?! I can spin a little -- it's still light enough through the window. Oh, I have some soup!
I ladle out a bowl, in the dark kitchen, and go sit by the window and enjoy it in the silence that is now my living space. That is an odd feeling when all is quiet. There is no sound inside... nothing is running. And I miss the noise! I want the radio on; I want some lights; I want to hear the fridge running; I want to make a cup of tea; there is nothing I can do.
I finish my soup. It's now too dark to spin, but not dark enough or early enough for me to go to bed. What to do? Can't listen to any music..no power. Can't read.. no lights. Can't really do anything!! So I go to bed.. and try to sleep, but that doesn't work either. And how will I get up at the proper time, if my electric clock-radio isn't working?? Now I am afraid to sleep!
In the morning, I am awake rather early since it is already bright daylight and I can't sleep. We still have no power. Good thing I still have a clock. I don't know what I would have done otherwise. I get ready for work... there is no lights in the windowless bathroom. Well, I will try for a dark shower -- that's not too hard, since I hardly open my eyes that early in the morning anyway. Can't do that either --- there is no hot water! Of course!! Nothing is working in the building!! We have cold water.. no hot. Can't even heat any up!!
Can you imagine what I had to do to shave (didn't do it over the weekend) in the dark without hot water? I do have to go to work, don't I? Maybe I don't. I find a shirt that didn't need ironing (can't do that either). I'm wondering now about things in my freezer... how long will they stay frozen, and how long will they still be cold?
So I run home at noon to check on things. Still nothing. There is a note saying they are working on it "since midnight" and will get it repaired soon. Thanks. I come home after work... still no lights!!! Now this is becoming really annoying!! The office has closed -- everyone has gone away. Of course. Still no hot water, no lights, no power to make supper. What do you do when nothing works? There is a note on the door that evening that they hope to get everything back by 8:O0 -- in the morning!! If you have any damages, contact your insurance company! What the ---?
I do go out and do a few things I needed to do outside of home, and I get a pizza. I go to bed.. still no power. There is still nothing working in the morning!! Now I'm getting quite angry. Other people in the building are crabby and grumpy. Don't talk to anyone!!
I run home at noon, and find that the power is back on, and everything is running again. The freezer has started getting cold again, but everything is sort of soft. Will it be safe to use? But it's good to be able to feel sort of normal again. And to have hot water!! It's been off for 37 hours.
We take so much for granted these days. Flip a switch, and there are lights. Turn a faucet, and there's hot water. But I don't like being at the mercy of some large company that can shut it all down whenever they like. This was a malfunction of some equipment, but the principle is the same: I have no control over my own comfort and survival. Some disaster can strike and I may not have any heat, water, or food. People in other parts of the world know this. We were fortunate that this was in the middle of summer, while there is still light, and it was warm. What would have happened in winter?
Now, I grew up on a farm, without electricity. So I know I can survive without all these things. But the fact is that I have no choice now. I don't have a large supply of food in the house -- I can run out to the store and get what I need very easily -- IF they are still open. I don't have a well for water -- I have to depend on the goodness of the municipal supply. I can't cook supper on a stove because we aren't allowed to burn wood anymore. I don't have lanterns for light because we've never needed them before. I have candles, but I don't even have matches in the house!
Sometimes I think I'd be better off living in the country or woods somewhere, without the modern conveniences, with a well, with a garden, with wood-burning stove. And someday, I fear we will have to do that!
But I would sure miss the internet!
Friday, May 23, 2008
It wasn't terribly dirty-- greasy yes, with only a few little bits of grass seeds. I carded carefully since it was quite a fine fibre with good crimp, and made combed rovings of it all. There was a bit of waste of short fibres that really weren't useable at all. I then spun it with my trusty CD spindle, very fine, because that's what it wanted to do, and then made a 2-ply on the spindle as well. (I really love my spindle!)
Here's a pic of the small skein. I don't remember how much it weighed, but it was just over 5 gm. I haven't measured the yardage I got out of it, but there is quite a bit. I still have no idea what it will become, but it will be something nice and small. Or it may be incorporated into a larger project.
Monday, May 19, 2008
We had enough white stuff to cover the ground, and for a time, it was a white-out, a real blizzard such as we never had all winter! AMazing!
But that was like two weeks ago. Today was freakingly hot. I really don't understand the way this weather thing works. I mean, first it's warm, then the snow, and then it's hot! What's up with all that? Makes one really confused.
I can't take the heat much at all. So if this is the start of summer, I am sure I will not be moving much at all in a month. It really drains me, and all I can do is lay down, and wait until it passes by.
Now, when I was in school (not that long ago), we were told that March 21 marks the mid-point of the sun's travel north, and that the day is equal in length to the night. That's not quite true this far north. Only today, I see that we have 15 hours 47 minutes of official daylight. By mid-summer, we will be up to about 18 hours. And of course, you know that further north, the sun never sets. What an amazing place that would be!
At the last spinning class, the teacher was giving away some of the left-over fibres, and there was a small bag of some raw wool. She didn't know the breed, or where it came from, and gave it to me. There really wasn't much, but it looked quite nice, and fairly clean, without much VM in it at all.
I finally decided to do something with it one night, so washed it. It came out very nice, and when it was dry, I wanted to spin it. But how? What to do with it? There really wasn't much to do anything substantial with it, so I decided to spin it on my CD spindle. I really get a lot of use from that thing!
I carded the wool, using my nifty new carders, and since there were very few short fibres, I combed it and then spun it worsted and really fine -- because I like to do it that way! You will notice that I use a quill with my spindle, since I really don't want to handle this fine yarn any more than I have to. I think it will be quite nice when plied (I'll do a 2-ply this time) and then I will decide what to do with it. I'll come up with something nice, I think. In the meantime, there is that lace I need to start knitting.
Friday, May 02, 2008
About 2 weeks ago, I got an email from Joan saying that she was coming to do a couple of workshops AT THAT VERY SAME SHOP, and was hoping that we could meet. Well, of course, I couldn't wait! I called the shop to be sure of the day and time that she was at the shop so that I could say hello and visit with her a bit. The clerk told me she thought it was on Thursday, and she asked the owner and was told that it was indeed on Thursday night. So for the next 10 days, I was so excited about meeting Joan!!
I had a horrible week. Everything seemed to go wrong... there were appointments that got mixed up, there had to be some quick re-arranging of schedules, it snowed! But that didn't matter to me -- I was going to meet Joan on Thursday night, and nothing could detract from that! I told the ladies on the regular Thursday chat that I wasn't going to be there this week because I had to go visit with Joan. Oh, I was so excited!
I finished up work on time, and ran home to change, and made my way all the way out to the shop. I got there, finding only one lady knitting...and a clerk -- I guess I was early. That's okay. I told the clerk, who was very intent on her internet browser, that I was here to meet Joan. She asked if that was my wife, was I to meet her there? Huh?? There was no point in trying to explain -- I said I'll just wait.
Then she suddenly remembers who Joan is, and tells me that she had been there LAST night. WTF??!? But they told me specifically -- even the owner said so -- that she was going to be at the shop on Thursday!! And I made all the arrangements to be there on Thursday! I could have come on Wednesday... I didn't have anything to do that night anyway. But I was told definitely that it was on Thursday. So I came on Thursday. Only Joan was not there.
I was furious!! So that I wouldn't be arrested on criminal charges, I turned around and went back home! I was not in a good mood. I am still not in a good mood! Don't even mention the name of that shop around me! I am furious with them. They have no customer service at all. It's never been a very friendly place whenever I have visited the shop, looking for something specific. I rarely purchased anything there because they didn't have what I wanted, and everything is over-priced, but I did like to look around at some things that I would get "for something special". Not anymore!
I was just talking with someone the other day how you can never find any businesses that care about customers any longer. The clerks seem to be so arrogant, so uncaring about giving good service, so lacking in knowledge. The girls at this shop seem to be very attentive to women customers, but not to me. They obviously don't want me around, don't want my money, and they are not going to get it now! I won't miss them.
There is simply no excuse for that kind of behaviour.
But I won't get to meet Joan now. That is what makes me so very sad.
Monday, April 28, 2008
But I do want to show you a skein of yarn I’ve spun up. This is made from something called Punta. I don’t know what it is… it says wool, but there is no breed called Punta. I’ve learned this is from a region in South America, but there are several areas called Punta, so I still don’t know what this is. It is really wonderful to spin! It’s very fine, quite soft, and quite shiny. I have loved spinning it. I had a pound of fibres, and I spun it all. This was not a quick spin!
You will recall in a previous post that I spun up some yarn for a project that I had in mind. But when I started knitting, I realized that it was a little too thick. So I went back and spun up this Punta… but much finer this time. I have three skeins now (didn’t measure the mileage I got out of it) but the little knitting I’ve started appears a little too fine now! Never win.
I haven’t yet found the pattern I want to use. I wanted a rectangular shawl, with perhaps a few beads on the ends. I considered a triangular shawl, and then I found a wonderful circular pattern that would look good. But I didn’t care how it looked in this fine yarn after knitting up a sample (it may still happen with a thicker yarn). Now I’m still looking for a rectangular scarf/stole/wrap kind of thing. I may have narrowed it down a bit now. Time is running short, so I need to get working on this real soon.
Several months ago, I moved to a new position. It’s still with the same employer (a very large corporation) but in another area. It’s a new building, and they are still going through some growing pains. Well, the workmen are still wandering around, but most of my floor is now finished, and we are fine tuning little things.
I have found a kindred spirit at work. I mean, she knits. What could be wrong with a knitter?? She is a lovely lady, has a very interesting life, and great stories to tell. She has worked as a fire tower person for several years, and this year, has published her recollections of her first three years on various towers. It’s quite an interesting life! There are days that I am really considering finding my own tower, and just spend all my days watching for smokes, spinning and knitting in complete solitude with no one else around for an entire 6 months!! I think I would really enjoy it.
However, I’m too set in my ways now, too insecure to leave the comforts of the big city, to live like that. For a few weeks, I think it would be so wonderful, but eventually, I think I’d like to hear some traffic noise, see lights all night, fight with people on the train -- you know, maybe I won’t miss it at all!
But she was on a temporary contract, and her final day was today. She starts her tour of duty in a week. She has already packed, and will leave in the morning to make her way to base camp, get all her groceries, and just wait to move in. She misses the tower very much. Spending these past 6 months in the city has not been a fun time. She did not enjoy her time in our office. Office politics being what they are, she just didn’t fit in. And that is so sad. She is a very capable, fun and intelligent woman. But someone felt threatened for some reason, and needed to feel powerful, so made her time with us miserable. The only thing that saved her was knowing that she only had a certain number of weeks to go, and then she was out of here.
I’m going to miss her.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
This winter has been quite unusual, for me at least. While I know that many of you have had far too much snow and cold this year, it has been incredibly mild here. Yes, there were a few days here and there where the temperature has dipped quite low, and we did have a little more snowfall than we have had in the last couple years, but it hasn’t stayed around for long. Whatever we did get has all disappeared by early March, and there have been many bright sunny days! There has been no run-off – the snow just has evaporated!
I don’t blog here that much, as Kenny has pointed out. When I started the blog a little over 3 years ago (has it been that long?), I had intended to post very regularly. But I found I didn’t have that much to say, and so a few days would go by, then a few weeks! That’s just how it is.
I’ve tried to stick to fibre items when I do post, but there have been times that I felt very strongly about another topic and have stated my views. That’s partly why I chose the name of my blog as I did – to allow me to go in any direction I wanted. After all, it is MY blog!
I had a blog previous to this one, and that was on a different theme. I have lost interest -- or it lost interest in me -- and there has been nothing posted there for many long months now. This one I still try to keep alive, but I won’t make any promise as to how often I post!
It’s not as if I’ve been sitting around, or lying around, doing nothing! Even on the beautiful sunny days, I have been inside looking out, and spinning. I had a large bag of some fine wool that I purchased last year sometime (part of that 12 lb package). This came in the most unusual form; I’ve never seen anything like it.
I have used silk caps before. In fact, in my last class, we made our own silk hankies and silk bells (from silk cocoons no less). I’ll try and get some pics for you next time. But this was a wool cap! And it was gigantic! I was tempted to put it on, and post a pic for you, but that would have been too silly. Instead, I have spun it all up and it’s now in about 6 hanks. It is a very fine wool, perhaps Merino with some mohair blended in with it, I’m sure. I got almost 500 gms of it. I was a little disappointed in that I wasn’t very consistent throughout; I have a few looser areas, and some thinner ones. Overall, I’m quite happy with them, and it was such fun to spin it.
I had intended to knit a lace shawl with it. We have a family reunion this summer, and they wanted some handmade items for an auction. Our family is quite diverse in the kinds of crafts we do, so there should be quite a variety of items. I thought I would knit something, and then why not spin the yarn as well, as my grandmother did. She did a lot of weaving with her yarns, which were usually wool and her own hemp.
However, when I tried to find some beads that I wanted to incorporate into the lace, and when I looked at my skeins, I decided it was a little too thick for the lace I wanted to knit. So I have set out to spin more! I have time! This time I’m using some Punta that I have, and am loving it even more than the wool caps. Because I’ve been spinning so much lately, and because this roving is so well prepared, I have been working on my long draw technique. I’m finding it such a joy to do, and really have to force myself to take a break for supper, or to go to bed. This isn’t the first time I’ve stayed up all night to spin, but I haven’t done this for a couple years. If only that job didn’t interfere with my life so much!
The new job is working out quite well, and overall I’m enjoying it there. I can walk to work in about 12 minutes, which is great since I don’t leave the house some days until 8 am. I have a great view of the mountains from the office, and the people are really nice to work with. This past week was just a mess, and things just went wrong one after another. I sure don’t want any more like that!
But the sun is shining, the days are much longer now, the air is warm and I have my spinning. What more do I want? This weekend, there has been a marathon of pre-Easter shows on http://www.radiooutofthepast.org/ -- go to the Old Time Radio conference room and sign in (no password required). Tomorrow, Sunday March 16, is another 12 hours of fantastic shows from when radio was king. They start at 9 am Pacific/1 pm
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Twenty years ago, in February of 1988, the Winter Olympics opened in
It's been bitterly cold a few weeks here this year, but now that it's February, it's warmed up nicely! In fact, the greater-than-normal snow that we had this winter has all disappeared. It didn't really melt; there wasn't any running water in the streets. It just seems to evaporate. Which isn't really such a bad thing!
I've been staying inside this week (I know -- I just am not right in my head) and spinning. I'm doing a lot of spinning! I had a bag of some mysterious white wool that I purchased about a year ago (from that 12 pounds of stuff I got) and decided to do something with it. It's really nice stuff, but an unknown breed. There might be a bit of mohair in it as well.
I tend to spin rather fine, and it's taking a lot longer than I thought it would. I see only a little bit more room left on the bobbin so think I'll do another handful or two and be done with this one, and start something else. And then about 5 and a half hours later, I'm still trying to fill up the bobbin!! It's taking me about 2 full long days of nothing but spinning to get only one bobbin filled! I haven't even started plying yet. I want to do all the spinning first, and then the plying. It just seems that I am more consistent that way. I am not really sure what I will do with it, but a lace shawl is taking form in my mind. I think it's going to be a 2-ply, but I like a 3-ply better. It's white, and I'll leave that way. Although, dyeing is not out of the question. Shall see.
The other day, a friend down the street called to say that he is going to Safeway, and did I want to pick up a few things. Sure -- every time I have the opportunity to get a few heavier things and get a ride, I'll do it!
I picked up a few things I needed, that were on "special". The total came to $xx.87, and since I don't like carrying around too many coins, I try to give the clerk an amount so I get back a quarter or make it an even dollar. So I gave the clerk some bills and 12 cents, and watched her get all confused. It was so much fun!
I always check my till-tape when I am at the check-out, since invariably, they always over-charge. It's a little game we play: they try to get away with it, I catch them at it! I had picked up some canned tomatoes; they were 4 for $5. Okay, a bit higher than normal price, but what can you do? I foolishly took two different styles of tomatoes (same brand, same deal). She charged me $1.25 for some, $2.15 for the others.
I then went over to the Customer Service counter to ask about this difference (the check-out clerk doesn't know anything, and probably didn't speak English), and had to stand in line. The girl at the counter (probably mid-20s) was hollering over to one of the cashiers that she is going back to high-school (this not a good sign). I pointed out the items on my tape, and asked why the difference. She called over a runner to go and check on them... she went, and forgot to come back. I eventually went over to the aisle and looked myself (the runner was no where to be seen); yes, all items were 4/$5. The little girl eventually came back, said they were $1.25 each; that's what I already said! The girl behind the counter wasn't sure that ALL the items were the same price, so she had to go and check herself (again, taking far longer than she should have). She returned and agreed they should be $1.25 each.
Okay, I know it's only $1.80 difference, but by now, it was the principle of the thing. I kept waiting!
She did some quick calculation in her head -- "75 and 15...." and came up with a total, and gave me $1.70. I took a moment, to see what she did, and couldn't come to the same conclusion. Now, this was becoming a real test of my patience!
"I think this is not right."
"Yes, 75 and 15 is 85, times 2 is $1.70."
"No," I say, "75 plus 15 is not 85. Add it again."
"75 and 15 is 85. I don't know what you want."
"All I want is for you to add it up again. 75 plus 15 is __."
At this point, I simply gave up and walked away. I was afraid someone was going to get hurt. I really don't think the high school is going to help her much anyway.
Monday, February 04, 2008
You all know that you can take a huge amount of yarn or fibre, and with a little effort, compress all of it into a rather small space. We’ve all learned how to cram balls of yarn into otherwise unoccupied spaces, such as behind books on bookshelves, into unworn shoes, behind and under the couch, unused areas of the freezer, that kind of thing. And it’s hardly even noticeable!
Now, a friend of mine tells me that we are all given the same number of hours in a day. While intellectually, I understand what he is saying, I still think that there are ways to pack into one hour a lot more things than normally possible. What I mean is there are times that I have been able to take all those balls of yarn (the jobs needing to be done) and squish them all into tiny spaces (the hours in a day) with a great deal of efficiency. But there are times, I think, that these mounds of fibre just need to be fondled and admired and can’t be forced into tight confinement without destroying the beauty in them. Hence the realization that I just don’t have enough time.
Now, there may be some of you (so very few of you) that will tend to believe I am being laggard in performing my duties. Well, perhaps. But I think it’s really a matter of how you view what has priority.
For example, there is the matter of meals. While this is something that everyone must do, there are ways to make it as efficient as possible. One can simply go out to eat at a place that prepares meals for a business. It’s done many times a day by thousands of people. True, some may want to consider the financial implications, but let’s not look at that right now. One can purchase ready-made meals, and you can have them at home at your convenience. One can have someone prepare them for you, and it would be waiting for you when you got home. Or one can just skip them altogether now and then.
Of course, there is the other possibility of becoming organized, efficient, skilled at preparing meals for oneself, but that takes a lot of the fun out of it (and takes time). There is the tedious task of planning what you want, what you would require, checking your food stash, and preparing a list of what additional items you need (and there is always something you need). Then there is the actual shopping for these items; it’s not the same as shopping for yarn, where you can leisurely admire, touch, rub against your cheek and dream of what you can make with it – they don’t seem to like that in the grocery stores. Then you have to lug all your booty home (why is it all so heavy?), find places to put it away (there are usually pre-set storage spaces for these things) and then rest. Finally, you have to take time to pull out what you need, getting it all ready (much of it is unprepared, you see), putting it all together in different ways, and setting it to cook. Then you wait.
Ultimately, you then pull all these cooked items out of their over-heated spaces, place into serving dishes on the table and enjoy, if you have any energy left. It’s not all finished yet of course – no one seems to remember that after having your fill, there is the clean-up steps too. If there are any left-overs, you have to find places to put those away, and then remove all the dishes, and wash them up, and put them all away. This is a never-ending process! If you were to count up all the time spent just with preparation, eating, and cleaning up, you would find you could have a lot more knitting time!
There is also the requirement of covering this body. But that’s why we knit or weave! And there are prescribed things I have to wear at certain times of the day, or different places. It would be so much easier to just have ONE outfit I could wear everywhere. No, not enough variety, is there? Okay, that’s not a solution.
Because I have acquired so many different items of clothing for various activities, they need attention too. First, shopping for them (not one of my favourite activities), then finding places to store them as well, and then they also demand care and attention, repair and cleaning! Again, this is something else that requires more time, which is already in short supply. This also requires the investment of some equipment solely for the purposes of care of clothing, which also need a place to be stored when not being used!
This whole idea of having a large enough space to store all the stash of food, and clothing, plus all my fibres, and related equipment and instructional material for all of that is the biggest cost factor. This space also demands to be cared for and then you need specialized equipment for this task as well plus the space to store them! It’s a never-ending cycle!
One thing I do find really takes up a lot of time, besides eating, is this thing called a “job”. It really demands a majority of my day, and I’m not really sure I am using it best advantage. I mean, I know I’m supposed to have one, and it seems to provide me with the means to buy things like food and a place to store my stash, but what else is there to it? I have to spend a good portion of my precious time just getting to the place where they want me, and getting back again. It’s not as if I am performing some essential service or benefiting mankind in any significant way. I wonder if I couldn’t make better use of all that time in some other more enjoyable way, and still be able to get the things I need.
So I’m saying that it’s not that I don’t have enough time – I have as much as you do – but that I have a lot more to pack into that limited amount in the day than most of you do. By the time I go through the eating process, the clothing process, the storage space process, there just isn’t much time left at all. Add into that some of the other necessary activities, such as email and web-surfing, a little sleep, socializing, and what’s left for the real purpose for existence – the joy and exuberance of playing with fibres, and all that entails? As I get older, it seems I am not as energetic in finding creative ways to cram into that same space of time as much as I once was able to.
No, there is only one thing to do: something just has to be eliminated. I’ve cut down a lot on the eating process and kept it to a bare minimum, care of clothing is only as necessary, care and maintenance of the storage space has almost been eliminated, sleep has been reduced to only a couple of hours, and all these steps have helped immensely. There is only one more thing left to minimize – that thing they call a job. I’ve recently even increased my time devoted to it by one more day a week – what was I thinking! But, I’m working on correcting that!
Thursday, January 24, 2008
with some of the yarn and the beads from the knitting (during a quiet moment at work), and now I had the perfect matching button to suit this scarf.
This was the project from a bead knitting class I took in the fall of last year. We strung the beads on the yarn first of all (all 175 of them) and then knit the pattern, pushing a bead into place when required. There were 3 different methods of placing the beads -- that is why we did them in three different patterns. It's all rather easy actually, and allowed us many design possibilities. After knitting the ribbing for around the neck (you don't want cold beads against your neck!) we had to break the yarn, and then string on another 50 more beads for the ending. I don't like joins in my work, so I estimated how much more yarn I would need, and THEN strung on the beads to that portion, and continued knitting. Of course, I was generous in my estimate, and had a lot left over. But that's a lot better than NOT
There is, of course, the other method of placing beads ONTO the stitch, and that requires less prep work. You can design as you go that way, and allows for greater "free-form" patterns. I will do that on another project.
The really hard work comes in trying to photograph your work! In person, these beads have an iridescent quality, but if the light is just not right, it doesn't show up in the photos. And of course, you don't feel the weight of the beads on the scarf, which adds to the luxuriousness of the whole thing. In all, a fun project, and I will be doing more of them -- time permitting! Next: Why I'm running out of