Saturday, November 28, 2009

Never Celebrate too Soon

A client paid me some money he'd owed me for a couple of years. A nasty car accident & the subsequent closure of his business made my getting paid pretty iffy. But he showed up with money last week. I was smiling a whole bunch at my good fortune & planning to buy a couple of things I wanted. Then the computer died. And yesterday the brakes on my van failed. I'm in the middle of Friday lunch traffic when I'm getting a mushy pedal. In fact I'm double & triple pumping & ended up locking them up at one point when I decided I was not going to be able to limp home. I could've probably ridden the E brake if the cable was connected!!!! Found me a little repair shop in a hurry & found they couldn't even look at it till the next day. I'd have to leave it! But my car's full of boxes of documents! Good thing I know tow truck people & do their books!!! My poor mechanic, who's going back on chemo in December, gets to fix my baby again. Apparently, I blew a wheel cylinder & was pouring brake fluid on the wheel every time I pumped . . . . I got the pickup truck to get home. Now this truck is your typical mechanic's special. Although everything appears to work, you have to wiggle, thump or curse to make it happen - but it's insured, I can go out if I want to & I can almost see to back up!

So, since I'm now broke, I'll have to stay home & work, sigh. I was going to buy one of those hot steam mops to clean my floors & may yet - eventually. I have a Swiffer Wet Jet but I hate buying the throw-away pads & bottled cleaner for it! And while it cleans the middle of the floor just fine - it pushes all the dirt into the corners! I do love my regular Swiffer though. But again, I hate buying dust cloths for it. I found a pattern on Ravelry for Swiffer washable cloths. I intend to knit them in thick crafter cotton. The Ravelry pattern looks just like the cloth with a textured bottom & little knobs to press thru the Swiffer catch points!!!! For those who're interested, here's the link -

And, here's some pics of finished projects - finally.
My purple sweate
r is done & I've worn it out several times. It's Kyler's Kardigan in the largest adult size. I didn't include the triangular pockets because I didn't have enough yarn in the end. For the same reason, I didn't put on a collar or hood. I can't seem to get the whole sweater in the photo & still show the texture which is yummy!! Garter stitch really eats up the yarn but I wanted a snuggly sweater & this one is. I could've made it larger even though the gauge & my measurements said it should fit. It stretches a lot though, it's hip length & has sleeves to the wrist bone. The left pic actually shows the colors fairly well & I wear it mostly as a jacket to keep me warm in the evenings or to dash to & from the car. I'll make this pattern again but will probably make it larger if I want buttons or zip.

For those who haven't seen my Moss Stitch Blazer from Big Knits, here's the pic. I made the largest s
ize since my yarn - Dalesman's wool from New Zealand - was about sport weight & I couldn't get the gauge right. I made this sweater eons ago in a raspberry acrylic which was a 'pouffier' yarn & I wore to shreds. I finally had to throw it out to stop wearing it!!! My Dalesman's yarn sweater is a little shorter than the photo in the Big Knits book - I knew it would stretch as I wore it so I made it a little shorter on purpose. The one Dawn French is wearing looks sloppy because it's too big on her - too bad they didn't make one in her size!! It easily fits a 66 to 70 inch bust & since the front is a roll front, you can make the roll bigger or smaller to accommodate a couple of inches either way. I also think it works better in a 'firmer' yarn to give it a little more stitch definition.
I tried taking a pic with it on but my mirror reflected the flash & made it useless! I know double moss seems like a pain in the butt - but - it works, it's lovely & the pattern
is very nice on! This is the second time I've knit this one & I'll knit it again. I have some soft blue wool & acrylic yarn in the WishBin which would look lovely with navy edging . . . I might make only one change & knit it in one piece to the armhole next time around.

Socks - tis the season
for cold, clammy feet! And that's the very reason I started to knit my own socks in the first place! Since I don't have anyone but myself to knit socks for this year, I've only knit a few pairs but they're ALL MINE. Well, to be honest, I have a couple pairs for my mother & my Ex wants a couple more pairs but really, I have hardly any that I HAVE to knit! Just finished this one in Regia. Isn't it great?? It's actually red & pink stripes . . . the second pair are also Regia but in a Kaffe Fassett colorway which I just love! I love it so much that I've had them on my feet twice & forgot to take a finished picture. They're now in the washer again! The yarn was a gift from a pal & she said the yarn screamed my name from the bin! She was right. They match half my current wardrobe.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Another Day, Another Dollar

So, it's American Thanksgiving today. I've never really understood why they celebrate in November. Maybe it has something to do with Christmas shopping. They seem to get really serious about Christmas on Thanksgiving when they start planning commando raids on the nearest shopping centre as soon as the turkey's digested . . . .

So, I'm sitting in my home office reading all these emails about last minute shopping, "deals of the year", today only, last chance coupons, 45% off for Thanksgiving etc etc ad nauseum. My mailbox runneth over! I don't give a damn about Christmas shopping. And, I don't intend to do any!! I haven't even been IN a mall this year! They've wasted their time. While I admit I DO love turkey. I also love truffles & mincemeat tarts. But do I have to go thru all this commotion just to get them?? I'd rather spin!

Speaking of spinning . . . while rooting around in a bin, I discovered a shopping bag of dark brown doggie fur. I believe it came from my friend Mary's Nick, who died last year. Nick was a gigantic Newfie who cried & moaned whenever Mary left his sight. Such a big baby. Mary cried for days when he died. I'm thinking about carding it with some of the darkest Arvik shetland wool & spinning it up to knit a surprise for Mary. I know it'd be the happiest & most unexpected surprise & would
certainly make her day. So, I think it'll be my project for Sunday . . . after I finish the current tax return that is!!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Life in the Fast Lane

The cat is still mad at me. She was still leaving brown gifts in the corner of my office although I lost it the other day, picked her up, took her into the office, pointed her pink nose right at the latest "shitty offering" - no, I did not rub her face in it - eeeeoowwww!!!- shook her & gave her a whack or two before letting her fly out the door!! I ignored her sucking up for most of the evening afterwards. So far, so good . . . She's leaving the 'gift' in the littler box. I think she got the message! But, I have been home more lately too.

I finished my purple sweater! I ended up crocheting up the fronts & around the neck just to give it a finished look & have about 4 oz left in a ball. It's a little too small around the bust but no one's wearing them closed anymore so I'm sure it won't matter. I think it's only a little too small because it's garter stitch!!! But, it's warm & fuzzy & great to wear while watching tv or working in a cold office, that's for sure. After finishing it off, I started the pouch to the purple Marble hoodie I'm making! I've been cold lately & wishing I'd kept my ratty old pink sweater which I think I tossed into the garbage can so I'd be forced to finish something else to wear. But, I now have the recycled purple one to keep me warm!! I'll include pictures when I have a computer to publish them on . . . .

Oh yeah, the computer. Remember the big storm two storms back?? I turned it off so it wouldn't get damaged if there was a power surge or lightening strike. It decided to commit suicide on the way out. My techie buddy & I have been talking about doing something about the noisy fan for over a year. Apparently the fan was connected to the power supply. They both died. No juice. Absolutely. Dead. Time to do something about it, I guess. Steve asked about memory. Dunno, said I, you built it. Okay, says he, time for more memory. Want a bigger drive?? Sure, said I, a couple of terrabites would be nice for all the recorded books . . . . and you wanna get rid of the cache files while you're there?? Or just install a cleanup program & I'll do it. Just upgrade anything that looks like it needs it & bill me. There goes the Spring Retreat . . . .

Saturday, November 14, 2009

If I won the Lotto

If I won the big Lotto, I'd spend my time with fibre.
I don't need a lot of money but I'd get a place with a glassed in workshop area for plants & fibre. I love vines, ferns & palms. You need a lot of light - not heat - to grow huge plants. I'd have a wall of storage with see-thru fronts so I could see what I have without digging thru a mountain of stacked plastic bins. I'd have a washtub & an old washer to soak & rinse my fibre & beat it into felt.
If I had a glassed in workspace today, I'd install a really good computer/stereo/TV unit to play audio books, soft music & good movies while I worked with fibre. And I'd want space for some exercise equipment too & room for my ball chair too. Sighhhh . . . . Above is a pic of my ferns & lobelia in the cedar box against the house where I live. I took it yesterday!

I had a big south facing glassed in porch on my first house. I bought a shack by the rail yards that came with a chicken hous
e, fruit trees, outdoor toilet & a lot of wild life. The first wind storm blew down the little back porch. The City said I didn't need a permit to rebuild the porch so, the man of the moment built one that covered the entire south side of the house! We built the floor & 3 foot sides out of recycled lumber & installed recycled windows from 3 foot off the floor to the ceiling. They didn't open but we installed old doors on either end of the porch to create ventilation. I filled one end with plants, macrame hangers in the windows & the other end had a clothesline & my spinning wheel. We stacked chopped wood in the clothesline end near the door - did I mention that I had a wood burning stove that heated the house & hot water? All winter long, I simmerd soup & onion skins on that stove. I learned to dye my wool with onion skins first. I listened to a lot of radio & read a lot of books in that house - we had no tv reception. We did have pheasants, foxes, skunks, cats, dogs, a wolf, ducks & frogs. The roof leaked but there was plenty of hot water. And I was happy enough there.

Since the weather turned cold, I've been trying to finish a hoodie for myself - yeah, I have a couple of other sweaters on the needles but one is too heavy for a car coat & one - well, I have to find the rest of the recycled yarn to finish it. I've looked & looked & can'
t find it. I know it's there somewhere!! I may have to use something else to trim it! I've been looking at all that luscious purple Marble yarn in the see-thru container for months & just couldn't help myself. I've knit about 6 kid's hoodies in the past few months & decided I wanted one too! The Marble is light & yummy - I don't need anything really heavy yet - & since I'm basically running from house to car to office to shop - I don't need a heavy jacket. I do want something washable which the Marble is, since I'll probably wear it all the time. If I was smart, I'd sew one out of fleece this afternoon & wear it tonite! But then, I wouldn't be a knitter, would I?? LOL

Sunday, November 08, 2009

I can't believe it's November

How the time flies when you're busy! I'm still the official Office Slave for the small business I've done the books for for the past 20 years or so - looks like I'll be there till the end of the month. While I don't mind the work, I DO mind the lack of personal time!! The regular paycheck is nice but I have work piling up on my desk at home & the cat has decided to pee in the corner of my office instead of her litter box to get even. While she is around 13 years old & they get funny as they age, I know she's doing it because I'm not home enough. She lays on her fuzzy shelf on the window ledge while I'm at the computer & sits on the bathtub edge to get petted when I'm in the bathroom. She even has the catbed dragged into the kitchen so she can lay there when I'm washing dishes or cooking. She's so constantly underfoot when I AM at home that I know she's getting even with me for being gone every day.

So, for the moment, I'm commuting - I hate that too - & wishing I was back home in my office with the soup pot simmering on the back burner. I have an insurance exam to study for - while manning the office next week, I intend to study when it's quiet! I volunteered to work the week so the boss can go on a mini holiday with his family - their first this year ! I'm more useful at year end than he is because I can upgrade the software, pay the bills & do the business year end while manning the phones!!

I discovered I'm short of winter socks! I spent so much time these past few years knitting for everyone else that I forgot about MY needs. My socks are getting old. A couple of them have heels & toes reinforced with fuzzy nylon which have become hard over the years. I even put my toe through the end of my blue Invicta socks! But, I think they're about 10 years old!!! Time to retire some of them to house socks . . . I have several balls of yarn that were given to me as gifts - my sock knitting buddies are especially good at picking out colors they know I like. Ha ha ha . . I cast on some lovely wild Kaffe Fasset pink & purple Regia onto my 2.75mm Brittany Birch needles. It's been a while since I used my wooden sock needles. I've been working with 6mm plastic Denise needles with the Hoodies. The BBs felt really foreign for the first few rounds until I broke one! I paid a lot of money for the Brittany Birch needles but the vendor is out of business. I guess it's time to make another set of bamboo skewer needles instead. I like the bamboo because it bends without breaking & comes in 10" lengths. I bought a package of 100 for a couple of bucks a few years ago. They range in size from 2.5 to 2.75mm. I sort them according to size, sharpen one end & dull the other before rubbing them with fine sand paper & raw fleece to polish them. I've used waxed paper when I haven't had fleece around but I like the finish the fleece oils give them the best. Do they snag?? Nope. Never had a splinter or snag since I made them.

I think these socks will go with several of my summer tee shirts - they're all fuchsia, plum & hot pink! Oh, wait, they'll also go with my Fuchsia wool sweater!