Tuesday, October 27, 2009

On the Needle

So, yeah, I was looking for a catchy title for the latest missive. It's amazing what a day off can do to your head. I have another pot of amazing mulligan in the slow cooker - actually, it's cooling since it si
mmered all nite. I found a leftover Thanksgiving ham on sale for 30% off the other day & bought it. Since there was enough ham for 15 people, I divided it up & froze several bags. To my surprise, it was a spiral cut ham, so I chopped it up & made two pots of soup right away. There's ham, corn & potato soup cooling - I thicken it with instant mashed spuds too. I had a taste for breakfast, added more pepper & some sour creme - Mmmmmmm, yumm!! Most of it will go to the Ex - just keeping my inheritance safe!!! he he he I also bought a huge local cabbage the size of a pumpkin so I made ham & cabbage soup for me. I like lots of pepper in mine, he doesn't! One of the things I really love about Fall & Winter is soup - along with wool sweaters, ice cold clear days & wood stoves. I used to have the kettle & soup pot simmering on the old wood stove in the winter in my little house.

And that brings us up to wool sweaters. I've seen the light or is it 'felt the cold' & de-bagged my Briggs & Little wool sweater in progress. I need something warm. Now. I have been wearing my fuchsia wool sweater a lot lately but it's fancy - I want something to lay about in. To sit outside & feed the birds in. Something long with pockets for my fingerless gloves. I've got most of it finished. It's knit in one piece to the armholes & then split for fronts & back. I put a deep armhole into it & intend to pick up the sleeve stitches, short row the shoulder & taper it to a snug cuff. Not sure about big collar or hood yet. Here's an old pic of the side vent & bottom. I've carried the garter up the fronts & will frame the collar or hood in the same. I've finished the fronts with the deep armholes & am working on the back. I haven't decided about a front zip or buttons as yet - maybe just loops & a couple of odd buttons will do . . .

My purple sweater is almost done but it's going to be too light to wear outsi
de - I could use it in the warehouse on Sundays though. I just about froze my butt off last week!! I still have to go thru all my bins & see if I can find the deep purple yarn to finish off the fronts & trim the collar. I know there's a whole sweater's worth of deep purple hidden away somewhere! Reminder to self - buy SEE-THRU bins for yarn!!!

Two Wallabies in the basket & one more almost finished!!! I've got about an inch of the yoke done on number three! I changed the yarn to the pastel green, pink & white for the yoke. I like this one better than the yarn with blue in it. It's really looking very cute & I think the solid bottom with the variegated yoke is the nicest look in this yarn. Most sweaters take between 4 & 6 balls of yarn - I'm making size 4 to 8 kids. When I get 6 done, they can go off to Knitopia to be sent to Afghanistan. Only 80 more balls to go . . .

Monday, October 26, 2009

So how did it become winter so fast??? My house plants are still outside although, I think, tomorrow they'll have to come in for the winter. I finally have some time off to shift them around a bit. I noticed the Christmas & Easter cacti are just loaded with buds!! And I'm not sure the spider plants are as happy as the Jade plant seems to be out there!!! Time to tuck everything in for the winter. And check the oil & other fluids in the car while I'm at it. My life is so exciting these days . . .

I got to enjoy the sunshine from INSIDE this past week - chained to a desk & phone! I've been working the 9 to 6, 8 by 45 routine lately & I hate it!
I have no time to do anything other than work & commute!! And I hate that too. I've become spoiled over the years by self employment! Yeah, I work odd hours for irregular amounts of money but I have lots of time to do my own thing too. I'm wasting valuable knitting time commuting! I could be knitting or working in my office while the washer runs & soup simmers on the stove. I'm used to multi-tasking for several hours at a time, THEN getting dressed & taking a leisurely couple of hours to read the paper & drink tea at my local Greasy Spoon. Or sometimes, I'll get up really, really early, work till 1 & watch Peter Fallico on the Home & Garden channel while I have lunch. Then I'll have a nap! I often work later in the evening too while listening to a murder on my headset. I don't have to be nice to anyone or get interrupted when my Mojo gets working! But, I'm helping out for another month & then I'm back to Saturdays only for a while. I can't wait!! I miss my naps. I miss Peter Fallico. sigh

There's yet another kiddie Wallaby on the needles & I just joined the body & sleeves for the yoke tonite. The body & sleeves are a slately color with a greenish cast so I've picked a multi colored green/pink/blue for the yoke & hood. I think it'll be okay. Not much progress on the purple sweater for myself. It's got so chilly that I'm thinking of bypassing it at the moment & jumping right back into my big blue B&L WOOL sweater that I stopped working on when it got so hot. That was just a couple of months ago wasn't it???? No pics lately because I've run out of batteries & haven't had time to shop. I've been crawling into bed with a book, some raisins & an extra quilt instead . . .

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Water water everywhere . . .

Well, the little leak turned into a major flood
by Monday morning. I got up to a monstrous lake & water pouring down the wall from an air return vent. As much as I wanted to wait till my day off, this was emergency time!!! I was kind to the kids upstairs, left the water on till they left for school & then had to turn it all off to stop the flood. The plumber I called at 6:45 still hadn't returned my call by 8:30 so I called again to find out why. He told me to turn off the water - I had - & would try to get someone over by the end of the day. I told him I had 5 kids living upstairs with no water. I had a plumber by 10. I guess those damned kids are good for something after all!!!
Turned out to be an old pipe with TWO pinholes. Only TWO??? And PINHOLES?? That was a hellova lot of water for pinholes!!! The nice young plumber - they DO get younger every year - had me fixed in under an hour. He didn't mess around. Area was too small to work in without removing part of the wall. So he cuts off the pipe at a fitting he could reach & cuts off the other end at the tank & replaces the whole thing with two fittings & one length of flexible pipe which he neatly fastened to the wall. Thank god for flexible plumbing!!!
It's a small world!! Turns out he's the grandson of Jean - a spinner in the Merritt Guild, who used to break & train horses!!! I met her at Tulahead, the first time I went to a Retreat!! She taught him to spin & knit when he was little, but he lets granny send him the thick knitted handspun slippers he loves to wear when he gets home from work. I sent the nice boy home with two bottles of Port for his troubles . . . And I was only three hours late for work.

So today, I'm sitting here cooking in my office while trying to dry out the carpet. It didn't all get wet - only the part nearest the wall across from the leak. Looks like the cement got soaked in the furnace room & the water was sucked through it under the tiles into the carpet - there's no subfloor here. If I get this dried out, I may avoid mold. If not, this carpet too will be hacked up & removed. Hey, if I live here long enough, there won't be any carpet left . . . . I know, I know, I should move but we decided I have to stay here till after the Olympics!! The flood got me to throw out a couple more boxes of stuff though. And I have one more monster plastic tub packed & ready to go.

Since I'm at home drying the place out, I decided to make beef stew. I dropped by my local veggie store - they have fresh & deli meat in the back - I lucked out with two big pieces of sirloin steak marked down to $3 each. I bought carrots, spuds, turnip & celery. I browned the meat, threw in some V8 juice, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, turnip, two kinds of spuds, some Knorr beef cubes & a little pepper. It smells wonderful. I've been smelling it all afternoon as it simmers slowly on the stove. My Ex, who doesn't cook, says he needs to eat more veggies. He says he's just not getting enough fruits neither. So, I'm back to cooking for him. I tossed in all the veggies I could stuff into that pot. I figure it cost me $8 to make it. And he'll get at least 5 meals out of it. He gave me $20. I still have carrots, spuds, turnip, celery & one steak. For next week when he gives me another $20. Not bad eh??? I'll just tuck the change into the sock fund . . . .

Sunday, October 18, 2009

No Spinning Weekend

I really needed to go & spin with the girls this weekend but with a sick cat, two weekend jobs & no money, I had to stay home. So, I figured I'd fire up the old spinning wheel & spin along in spirit while listening to my latest Nevada Barr mystery on my MP3 player. That was the plan. Life came along & the Plan was abandoned. I did look longingly at the spinning wheel several times, but I rearranged some of my overcrowded living room looking at all the stuff I have in bags, packages, bins & baskets instead. I could almost open my own store! But, isn't that the complaint of every fibre addict??? We become addicted, buy up everything that catches our eye & then need to throw out the furniture to make room!

So I threw out two boxes of books & one stack of magazines
I've been hauling about since 1991! I put most of my spinning fibre into one huge bin on top of another huge bin of yarn for kid's hoodies. I like my location but my place is falling apart. I plan on moving in the next year so I've been trying to throw out a box or bag of stuff every week. Packing up is sooooo hard to do.

Good thing I stayed home. I came home after work to a flood in the hallway. I noticed a wet patch around the light fixture the other day & thought the damned kids upstairs had overflowed the tub. But, today there was a flood. I have water dripping thru the air vent at the top of the wall & the gyprock is all wet. And NO, I am NOT phoning the plumber on a Sunday!! I have to go to work tomorrow too . . . . I guess I'll be mopping tomorrow nite & phoning the plumber on Tuesday. I suppose another of those strapped plumbing joints has popped open. This is my fourth flood in 6 years - if the rent wasn't so cheap & the location so convenient, I'd move!!! But, with the Olympics coming, rents have skyrocketed - especially this close to rapid transit. And my buddies with trucks have asked me to please wait till spring, if I can.

So I worked, I mopped & I actually found time to finish the blue hoodie as well as start a new one. I found a greenish grey yarn for the bottom & sleeves which I think I'll match up with a multi-colored yarn in pastel green, pink & yellow. Not sure how it'll look exactly but I'm gonna try it out. If it's too weird, I'll use the blue/white yarn for the yoke & hood. I was hoping to finish my purple sweater but I couldn't find the rest of my purple yarns. I know there's lavender & plum hidden away somewhere in the stash but it's probably in the bin at the very bottom of the 5 bin pile . . .

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Another Thanksgiving

I survived another Family Holiday on my own. I actually enjoyed this one a hellova lot more than when I had to attend the BT's family gatherings. No one got drunk & obnoxious before dinner & no one was too drunk to crawl into a car after dinner. No one slept face down on the table & there were no snarky remarks from anyone. I slept in & spent the entire day knitting & reading in peace & quiet. I had Sushi for lunch - they were open from 12 to 5 - and I two huge bowls of turkey soup for dinner! I rooted around in the freezer & found TWO bags of turkey carcasses - must've been in there since LAST Thanksgiving!! I simmered them all day & dropped in a half box of bow ties pasta & two cups of small green peas at the very end. Now there's two quart jars of the stuff left in the fridge to share with the Ex.

And what do I have to be thankful for?? I really thought about that. I'm thankful for good friends & a healthy Ex. I'm thankful for having all the bills paid even though the Sushi took my last 10 bucks. I have my health, the cupboards are full even though I'm out of cat treats & the tea is running shor
t. I'm happy even though I'm alone most of the time. My brain works well enough & I'm content even though the old bod creaks & aches when its damp outside. I'm thankful that I can look after myself, earn a living & not be a burden to anyone. And I'm thankful I'm not burdened with the BT.

I even made the cat happy yesterday though I'd run out of cat treats. She got a new cat bed. I noticed she tends to lay on the sample square I knit out of Buffalo wool a couple of years ago when I knit my last sweater for someone. She snagged the square & scoots it around the house to lay on. So I grabbed a couple of balls - I found yet another box of the damn stuff - my biggest crochet hook & made her a bed. It just about killed my right hand & wrist - both are really sore today!!! - but I finished it off last nite. And she's laying in it as I type. It's big enough for two cats but I think she likes it anyway. I may make a second smaller one to lay up on her shelf in the office window!

I've been working on the latest Wallaby. The new one is navy & a variegated navy yarn. I thought about doing the sleeves in the variegated yarn & the body in the solid but was halfway thru the first sleeve when I remembered. So, the yoke & hood will be variegated & th
e sleeves & body solid. It's really cute so I think this way is the best!! I had the yoke finished to the neck when I realized the back was larger than the front! I have no idea how I did what I did but the back was 10 stitches larger than the front . . . I had to frog the whole yoke to correct the problem!! So this is a photo of the Wallaby with only a couple of yoke rows on it with the back & front stitch count corrected. I think I've also solved the stretch problem under the arms too. I've increased the number of stitches to 10 from the 6 in the pattern & put the stitches on loose strings so there's give in the sleeve when I join it onto the body. The live stitches under the arms are sewed or knitted to the body stitches at the end. I have the yarn picked out for the next one already - I think it'll be another version of the solid body & variegated yoke in greens!!

My purple sweater is almost finished - I wish I had it ON today!! I have a large bal
l & a half left & I think I'm going to knit the collar right away before I finish the bottom. When the collar is done, I can use all the remaining yarn to finish the body in garter stitch. And I think I'll crochet around the entire sweater with dark plum to finish it off!!

With this sudden cool weather - cold for us, that is - I've also decided to finish off the Blue Briggs & Little sweater I started in the early spring when it was so cold. I got it
finished halfway up the front yoke when it got just too warm to work on it. It weighs a ton & that's a lot of wool sitting in your lap in the warm weather!!! I made deep side vents - in the photo - & have to finish the back yoke & sleeves. I made a really DEEP armhole a lot like EZ's Tomten jacket & planned on picking up sleeve stiches & short rowing the caps. I still think this is a great idea but the sweater may be just too heavy for me to do it with sore hands. Just have to see how it goes - I have the idea that I could make the sleeves straight from the armhole & do some short rows around the elbow for shaping . . . .

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


I was reading Crazy Aunt Purl the other day & was amused by her discussion of the Meyers-Brigg personality type test. I remember doing that test in one of my Psych courses. I had to dig thru my old textbooks to find my results, I was an ENTJ. Not surprisingly, I found I was an Extroverted Intuitive Thinking Judgmental type!! After reading her blog, I thought I'd just take the test again to see if I changed - it's been over 30 years since I took that test!!! To my surprise, I HAVE changed somewhat - I'm now an INTP. Turns out I'm now sitting on the fence between Extroverted & Introverted but leaning into Introverted. Must be all that time I spend alone knitting!! I'm still well into the Intuitive & Thinking categories but, I've fallen off the fence into the Perceptive category. Hmm!! I'm still quite close to the fence but have definitely moved into Perceptive. Does this mean that Knitting Experience has changed my attitude somewhat?? Has Fibre Fanaticism softened me up??? Something to contemplate.

Speaking of Fanaticism, I've been knitting Wonderful Wallabies like mad whilst w
atching reruns of CSI lately. I've finished the pink & purple model & moved on to a navy stripe version. I have a huge storage bin full of worsted weight yarn waiting to become sweaters for cold kids. I need to win the Lotto or at least win enough Lotto to let me knit for a few months to get these things DONE. Guess what I'll be doing for Thanksgiving while you married types cook, entertain & eat? Yup, won't have to do any dishes or be nice to anyone but I'll be in my jammies eating takeout Sushi, knitting!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

October Pinks & Purples

It's cold, damp & grey outside so this will be a colorful entry. You'd think the first day of October would at least bring a little more sunshine. I was hoping to harvest a couple more Butternut Squashes out of my mini-gar
den! Guess not. My old basement is cold & damp this morning - I think the landlord turned on the furnace a couple days ago but you wouldn't know it down here - mind you, I did have all the windows open until this morning . . . . I swore I was wearing shorts till the snow fell but I wimped out & put my fleece lined sweats on on Tuesday.

Then I got out the fuchsia wool sweater I finished in the
spring. And I'll be wearing it until I finish the purple Kyler's Kardigan - which is about halfway down the body at the moment. It's about 4 inches longer than the pic on the left. I was concerned about running out of yarn in the main color but I found another ball so I think I'll be okay. The sleeves were done early so I wouldn't have to worry about having enough yarn to finish them - I'd rather have a deeper color block at the bottom of the body than patchwork sleeves. I was planning on giving them a garter cuff but the sleeves are actually Iong enough so they may not get a cuff at all. It's actually kind of fun working a Top-Down Sweater because you can customize it as you go without changing the sweater pattern. And, I do like the cuddly garter stitch but haven't used it much because it really sucks up the yardage!!! But, now that I've knit one of these, I may just do it again in other colors - I have a lot of Eton in bright blue. And I have 5 bags of Magenta to spin! Oh, and there's almost two sweater's worth of lavender & deep plum Luzerne from the past aging in the stash . . . .

And speaking of deep plum, I've almost finished the pink & plum Wallaby on the
right, which will be going to Afghanistan. And I've already picked out the yarn for the next one! I've got some wild variegated yarn about the same weight as the yarn I've been using. Apparently the colors aren't that popular in our neck of the woods these days but I'm sure little kids will love them elsewhere!!! In the picture, I'm working toward the neck & will attach a hood. I think I have enough pink to finish the yoke but it will get a plum hood. I try to knit sweaters without buttons or toggles which can get lost. And I prefer not to have seams if possible too. I figure the recipient's family may not have the resources to fix seams or replace buttons. And I've tried to remember to include a safety pin or two - just because! Wallabies are really fun to knit - except for the two tight rows when you join the sleeves! But, I'm sure I'll work that out as I go.