Sunday, September 25, 2011

And the Moving Finger Moves On . . .

Time keeps marching on too! Only last week I put gas in the Beast, checked the glop that used to be oil & made plans to do a little maintenance on the old thing before winter. Since the battery posts were white & I couldn't find the date anywhere, I figured my next paycheque would not only get it some oil & fill up the fluids but replace the battery as well, sigh. But then, it died as I tried to beat the rain home yesterday from work. Thank Gawd for BCAA! And there goes my spare money once again.

Since my finances - such as they are - have been set back by mechanical repairs yet again, I guess my social life will be restricted to hanging out with my knitting needles this winter. Nothing like
a little kick in the pocketbook to get you started on the Christmas Donations! So, I cast on for a hat. Just a simple, ribbed hat suitable for either sex when it's cold outside. I found four balls of wool in the donated stash - WOOL - but in four different colors! And about the only thing you can make with one 50 gram ball of Sport weight yarn is wrist warmers, fingerless gloves & a small hat. Don't let the picture fool you, there's 84 stitches on those wooden needles & it will expand to fit an adult head. This was the only set of DPs I had in a size that would work with the yarn - 4mm - so I went with them since I wasn't sure how far the yarn would go. I'm pretty sure this hat will be large enough for an adult head but when I make the next one, I'll use circs instead in a 6 or 8mm to make a bigger, fluffier hat. The ribbing keeps it nice & stretchy & I'm sure there's plenty in each ball to make a good sized hat. And I'll be making it again in Wine, Brown & light Grey. Wooohooo!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Where Does the Time Go??

I finished the latest pair of socks & actually took a photo before they wound up on feet - MINE! Like I don't have at least three pairs of blue socks in the basket . . . but I liked this colorway & saved it for myself a long time ago. Fabel by Garn Studios. I think I like their yarn even better than the old Confetti black & blue speckled yarns that I bought by the dozen for you know who. This time around they're all MINE, MINE, MINE! well, except for the socks I volunteered to knit for the Christmas Hampers . . . Scarves & hats are just so damned boring.

So, I'm trying to knit as many pairs as I can before Christmas. And sew all those squares together for a couple of blankets - Oh, Girls . . . .

Monday, September 05, 2011

Happy Labor Day

I know it's a Stat but I've got work on my desk! Apparently so do a lot of us on this Labor Holiday. I know the Unions fought tooth & nail for the benefits
that most of us enjoy when we go to work but those benefits only apply to "employees". And Honey, that ain't me. Oh, I enjoy the 'freedom' of choosing who I labor for, when I go to labor, how much I will labor for & how long I will labor. Sounds great?? Well, not always! Sometimes the Self Employed labor far longer for far less in far weirder circumstances than an Employee could ever imagine. But today, it may not come to that. I suffered in sauna conditions yesterday - even put my bare feet on the warehouse cement floor to cool off because it was so hot. Today I should be in the basement office pounding on the computer but I think I'll sneak off to Starbucks & listen to a book on my new-to-me IPOD. Yes, I've been seduced by the Dark Side.

My Buddy Steve gave me an IPOD MINI for Christmas. It's a little one inch square gizmo that clips onto your collar. I love it. It stops & starts at a touch - gr
eat if you're working in an office & need to answer the phone or talk to someone occasionally. Great for music or audio books. UNLESS you get very long books with very long chapters because the gizmo goes back to the beginning of the song, chapter etc when you turn it off or pause it. I spent two whole days listening to the same chapter beginning over & over again. And when it came time to change to a new part of the Book - long books are broken into multiple parts for ease of download - I couldn't tell if I was going forward to a new part of the book, back to the beginning of the last or another piece that had loaded out of sequence . . . that was IT for me! My Creative device packed it in a couple of weeks ago so I'm left with the Mini. Steve took pity on me & gave me his old IPOD. It's a First Gen - not exactly sure what that means other than it was the first - & has a cracked screen. The screen has been cracked for a very long time but he used it anyway until one of his buddies gave HIM a new Fourth Gen IPOD. Tech guys!! But it's mine if I decide to keep it & we think we can even get a new screen. Steve's been trying to get me into IPOD for a couple of years now but I've dug in my heels because I refuse to pay for the NAME. I mean, I can get an Insignia or Creative which will hold exactly the same data & do the same thing for less than half the price!! Will people beat you up on the street for your Insignia?? Not likely. They will for your IPOD.

Meanwhile, back to Socks & Stuff. The blue Garn Studio socks still don't have their heels turned. I've been where I can work on them without enough light to see what I'm doing or been where there's tons of light but too many conversations going on to concentrate on the short rows!

I have been messing with a sample ball of Berroco Geode. It's a mix of mohair, silk & wool in winey colors that morph from a very reddish wine to a deep bluey wine color. I loved it at first feel but apparently it's discontinued so the only thing I could do when I'd finished fondling it was to make some fingerless gloves! One is finished but I'm not liking it much - I have to do something else with the thumb shaping . . .

And - I was cleaning up my kitchen counters - especially the corner with the tea caddies, pasta can & oil bottle - only to find the lone survivor of the last soap making kit I bought. One bottle of mixed Super Moisturizing oils & it's partner, 70 gms of flaked lye! I like to make my own soaps. I started doing so when I got married because he was even more sensitive than me & couldn't use detergent bars at all. I got out the old Reader's Digest 'Back to Basics' book & made my own. I used Gillet's flaked lye
& Beef Tallow from Safeway when I first started. But I discovered cheap olive oil, coconut oil etc & began to experiment. Lard is too soft to make good soap & beef tallow is almost impossible to come by. Crisco is no good. The best oils I've found are a combination of olive/coconut/Vitamin E oil & avocado oil. I bought my oils in several different ethnic markets at first. When I found Voyageur Soap & Candle Company, I thought I'd died & gone to soap heaven. Everything can be bought in bulk, in kits or small containers. I like the kits because the mixtures of oils are wonderful, they're premeasured & make FOUR pounds of soap. So, after the History & the Commercial, TaDa 6 new bars!

I like large soaps that still fit comfortably in my hand. I always liked the shape of the Dove bar so I found Bee Hives & LadyBugs which are flat on the bottom & curved to fit your hand. This is a super moisturinzing bar scented with bitter almond. It lather's beautifully even in very hard water like that in Saskatchewan. I'll be letting it air dry for at least a couple of months so that it hardens up & lasts longer. I have three more kits of Coco Butter Soap to make up - gifted to me by someone who 'doesn't have the time' anymore.