Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Turning out Touques - part 2

As advertised in a previous post, almost a touque an evening! I can't knit as fast or as comfortably when sitting outside at Starbucks like I did last night with my buddy Steve. Why were we outside at night, you ask?? Well, a large transformer melted down in Steve's neighborhood & superheated three blocks of wiring. His landlord was on the way home from work when it happened & said the wiring suddenly glowed like red hot streaks, the transformer went "POP" and everything fell to the ground setting off a major brush & grass fire. And blacked out the whole area, of course. Everyone, who wasn't blocked in by fire & hydro trucks, met at Starbucks to keep warm & drink deeply of hot seasonal coffees. We had no choice by the time we got there & had to sit outside on the cool but comfy chairs while everyone waited to go home to light & heat.

I continued working on the latest head topper until my fingers got too cold - it's impossible for me to work in gloves!! I have 11 at last count!! After taking this picture, I realized that most of my hats are kind of 'girly' - it's the yarn I suppose - but I think I better dig a little deeper in the bin to see if there's any 'manly' yarn buried in the bottom!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Turning out Touques

So I'm cranking out a touque pretty much every evening right now. I've discovered that two strands of the donated yarn on a size 5mm needle in K2,P2 will produce a fast, comfy head warmer that should suit either sex nicely. Did you know that you lose 30% of your body heat through your scalp??? I shudder to think about all those men who shave their heads - even in the winter!! My cohort at the Motorcycle School shaves his head even when he's growing his November moustache for Prostate Cancer. At least he has a choice in his head covering. A lot of people with chronic disease who have thin, thinning or little hair due to disease, medication or poor diet have no choice. So a nice warm touque is important. This year I'm aiming to warm up a half dozen heads & toes & provide touques alone for at least another half dozen heads. Next year, I'll be able to warm the heads & toes of at least a dozen people all by myself.

And then there's all those 10" squares my Knitting Group was working on a few years back. I enjoy knitting squares & still crank out a few now & then. But the worst part of squares is sewing them all together. I hate sewing things together so they get stuffed back into a bin. I'm a starter not a finisher. Unfortunately, I can see them through the sheer side of the bin. And someone out there needs those squares sewed together so they'll get put together somehow for this Christmas. I think they would work with a quick crochet around each square in black or navy to make those colors pop before crocheting them together. Just think about the explosion of color when someone opens that parcel! Ha Ha

Sunday, November 20, 2011

I have HEAT

Not to be melodramatic or anything but I HAVE HEAT. Not only that, but I have HEAT in less than FIVE, yup, FIVE minutes! Not to be sneezed at this week in the minus temps that we're having!!! It's pretty damned hard to clear the windshield in the morning without heat since vans are a little too tall to scrape with any satisfaction & scraping on a slippery drive is how I fell this time last year & dislocated my left wrist!!! THIS year, I get into the van, turn on the wiper defroster & blast the window with air on high while I read & drink a tea for a couple of minutes.

I decided once my snow tires
were put on that I should have the whole system properly winterized since I don't know how my new-to-me van has been treated in the past. Without my mechanic of 30+ years, I'm o
n my own. So I went off to Mr Lube & went for the works. I wanted all the filters - including fuel - changed, oil changed, tranny flushed, anti-freeze replaced, hoses & belts checked. It was ugly in there!! They degunked. They cleaned. They checked EVERYTHING. The fuel filter was original from the factory!! OMG. It appeared the tranny had never been flushed. I knew the oil was bad even though it's only been just a bit under 5000 miles since the last change. I wondered if they even changed the filter at all!! Typical. But, now everything works just fine!! And I got them to disconnect the battery once more while I reset the system. Holy Crap. Everything works like clockwork. I just have to get another part time job to pay for it!!!

Since I spent money I didn't have on the Van this year, I'll be staying at home this holiday season - like I bother to celebrate anyway - & knitting up a whole bunch of this 'FREE' yarn I got from Lynne at Knitopia - a snug little yarn shop around the corner from the Buy Low in White Rock, BC. I've been cranking out hoodies for the Boomer project for the last couple of years but that project is ending so Lynne found a new Charity. She says the folks down at A Loving Spoonful - they provide nutrition support to people with AIDS in Vancouver - are seriously asking for donations for adults. Touques are the biggie on the wish list this year!! I've been knitting socks but when I finish the current pair - I've turned the heels on them - I'll crank out touques from now on. Why??? Well, I have two 135 litre bins full of donation yarn that I'd like to replace with a comfy recliner . . . Are ya listening Santa??? Make it BIG, SOFT & with side pockets for my junk . . . And unknitted yarn is wasted yarn when folks out there are cold.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Just a Pair of Cuffs

I replaced the battery in my van. You just know when you buy a new-to-you vehicle that they're gonna put the oldest battery in the joint in your New Baby. Surprisingly, it lasted almost a year! I always knew I had to replace it & had plans to do so with the pre-winter tune-up but it died before my appointment. Typical! But when the battery died, the air conditioning/heating/defrosting/wiping module - ya gotta bless the old modular system of doing things - reverted to some factory reset. All the lights flashed all the time. The air conditioning became dominant. And no one knew how to fix it. "You can bring it in & we'll take a look" they say. Yeah, right. We all know that means $200 to mess around & it'll still flash! I didn't fall off the truck yesterday you know.

I discovered this is a common problem when batteries are replaced in the Caravan/Voyager series. Grand Caravan owners on down to cheapo 1990 Voyagers all have the same problem if they have air conditioning. Most mechanics & shops haven't a clue what to do. They tell you it will reset in 15 minutes by itself. Lies!! The lights still flash & make you crazy for 15 minutes every time you restart the car. It never permanently resets. People have bought new control modules, rewired things, installed new air conditioning & paid out hundreds of
dollars for "Servicing". One woman just duct taped over the lights!! Apparently, all it takes is pushing buttons in the right sequence to reset the whole system. A nice mechanic in Chilliwack solved the problem & put it on the net. The solution doesn't always work for everyone the first time, sometimes you have to reset it several times! And sometimes, you still have two blinking buttons that you have to live with. But it's better than 7 blinking buttons & no heat!!!

And what has all this to do with cuffs you ask??
Well, without the button solution I had a mixture of heat & air all the time. Yeah, the buttons stopped flashing after 15 minutes but the air never actu
ally shut down so I had a cold draft up top with heat underneath. And those damned flashing buttons. So I used the sequence to reset the whole thing. The first reset gave me heat on command but 2 buttons kept on flashing. I just couldn't leave well enough alone so I had to fiddle with it until ALL the buttons went off. And now, I don't have ANY heat for the first 15 minutes every morning. When I do get heat it's a mixture of heat & air or it fluctuates between the two. If it was summer, who cares but it's winter dammit or the start of winter. And I have to keep not only myself defrosted in the morning but my windshield as well & keep it that way too.
I'm freezing. My hands are cold & that air conditioning goes right up the sleeves of my jacket. A light bulb came on & I dropped everything to knit a pair of silk & merino cuffs to wear under my jacket. They work a treat!! And I love them. The heat is isn't fixed but by gawd, I'm a hellova lot warmer!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Still Crazy with Knitting

I've turned both heels on the latest orange socks & I'm just about to the toe shaping. This was yesterday's picture but you get the idea! They should be finished this weekend & hopefully, the grey socks will have their heels turned by then too. I have time to churn out another pair of 'manly' socks before the end of the month for sure & maybe even another if I have an extra week - we'll see. Trying to make a living beating on a keyboard & still churn out as many pairs of socks as I can for Christmas is a bit of a tear. Next year, I'll be knitting a pair a month & tossing them into the 'Basket'.

When the BT was still around, I used to knit at least 8 pairs of socks a year for birthday's, Christmas & the Parent's Anniversary. You know how these things work, once you find the 'Perfect Gift' you stay with it until you find something better. They all loved socks so I just knit all the time & tossed the result in the 'Basket'. I bought cards that caught my eye at the Dollar Store & tossed them into the 'Basket' too. When something significant came up, I shopped in the basket. One stop shopping, that's my motto.

Since they were removed from the Gift List, I've been filling my own sock basket. I had the flu & it dragged on so long that I didn't do any laundry until I ran out of socks. To my surprise, when I pulled them out of the washer & hung them up - well, I had 28 pairs of socks on the hangers. And that didn't include the short summer socks that were tucked away till next year. TWENTY EIGHT!! That's a heck of a lot of socks for one person! No wonder I've only had one toe wear out in the last 11 years of sock making! Perhaps it's time to just fill someone else's basket with socks instead.
A NEW BASKET, something interesting that can sit out on my coffee table all year long & just collect warm socks & hats.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Knittin as fast as I can!

Those orange socks are now history! And I've got another pair of orange socks on the needles already. I scored
another 5 balls from Karen so I can knit the next two pairs with larger feet. I sure hope there's a couple of fellas out there who'll like these for Christmas!! For the more conservative fella, I've dug out some nice greyish Regia. Got a terrific deal on this yarn too - can you say TWO BUCKS A BALL??? I bought it to make socks for my Ex who has terrible feet & feels cold all the time now that he's on that damned heart medication. But he's also developed sensitive feet - can't say if it's side effect or not. I have to knit his socks on my 2mm needles now & it takes forever to knit size 13WWWW socks. And, with some yarns, even turning them inside out sometimes doesn't make them bearable so he's back in machine knit socks & I have all this grey & blue yarn I bought for him . . . oh well, into the Sock Donation Basket with it!! And at this time of year, I have a sock bag everywhere I go.

I finally gave in & brought the Jade Plant & the two Cacti in from under the patio table on Hallowe'en night. I figured if I didn't, they'd freeze out there since we're in the low single digits at night these days. Geeze, that reminds me, the Spider is still out there!! Oooops! But anyway, the Cacti was so grateful to be brought inside that it started setting buds!! One of these is supposed to be a Christmas Cactus & the other, an Easter Cactus!!! And the cuttings I chopped from it's abundant self in the spring are also setting buds & they're still in the jar of water on the window sill!! It has something to do with the periods of darkness. My mother used to tell me that they set buds only when they got 12 hours of darkness. But what about the Easter Cactus?? Oh well, I guess it's just 'Shut up & Enjoy' time.