Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Little Progress

I haven't been doing a lot of work on the Arvik Ribbons sweater. I've been finishing off all the sock toes & sorting leftovers that carpet the couch I want to move. I keep thinking about being able to lay on that couch & have a
nap when I get home instead of nodding off while sitting in the chair. The kids & I used to laugh at our mother when she'd sit down to watch the news at 6:00 & nod off. I'm turning into my mother, dammit. I sit & nod off.

The sock toes are done, the last pair of Christmas socks have been given away, the pink Kroy socks are in my basket & I had time today while watching Downton Abbey to knit on my sweater. Before adding another rosy stripe, I decided to try it on & check the progress only to find I have another 3 or so inches to go. I have to figure out where the sleeves will go & have decided I'd prefer narrow three quarter sleeves. This will be a light but warm sweater for spring, summer evenings & early fall chills. I hope the handspun won't be too warm.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Something to Show

As I said the other day, I've been trying to recover from staying up all night & the terrible wound to my credit card. I
think I'm finally over the shock of both but its now official, I've spent more on parts & repairs than I paid to purchase the Van! As a result, I'm doing more work for people I thought I'd gotten rid of last year. After doing nothing for months & months, they now need all the paperwork done, yesterday. Cut's into my fibre time this does!! But, I did almost finish a couple of my on-going projects.

My Motorcycle School Boss asked for Socks. I've worked with him for over 20 years & this is the first time he's ever really even LOOKED at my socks! And now he wants some. Everyone else in the office has a pair of the wild Regia socks in the FLAGS series like these! I got a good deal on the yarn so I bought a bunch. Chris is rather conservative. He would never wear socks like these. While Bryan &
Diane, well, the wilder, the better!! They wear theirs with shorts out in the parking lot when they're teaching students to ride. But, Chris wears plain white dull cotton socks . . . . So, I cast on this plain, boring, brownish-grey Regia in early December for his Christmas gift. Boring yarn takes so long to knit. And I hate boring yarn. I found myself unable to put on more that a few rows at a time & had to knit another pair of Pink KROY socks for myself at the same time to give myself incentive. Tonight, I'll 3 needle bind-off all the toes, tuck in all the ends & proceed to spend the rest of my evening on my new top-down sweater in handspun. Must get it finished quickly because I've found a new way of knitting sleeves in a top-down sweater called "Contiguous". It gives you that fitted shoulder/sleeve without the diagonal raglan look & the sleeves can be made wider or narrower without changing the body sizing of the sweater. Sort of like knitting gussets on the side of the heel AS you knit the flap instead of picking up the gusset stitches AFTER you knit the flap.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Yeah, yeah, yeah . . .

I know, been missing for a while.
Nothing to report! Oh, yeah, there's one thing to report - my van is now in full working order, with no drips, no leaks. But, my poor plastic card is badly wounded. You know the old saw, One Step forward & Two Steps back?? Well, I'm Two Steps Back - Again!

In the end, after buying everything that might be needed, I needed MOST of it. Dave only works at night & my repairs took 7 hours! I arrived shortly before 8 & left about 3:30. In the AM. FOUR hours before I had to get up to go back to work. I debated about whether I was more tired or more hungry. Sleep won. And worked the next four days in a stupor. I'm too damned old to stay up all night! And if I didn't need that damned van for work . . . needless to say, all my spare cash this tax season will be paying down the credit card. And no, Dave's not a bad mechanic or a rip off - the bolts in the water pump were frozen. Some of the rad bolts were also frozen. I'm so glad he got the job because he's meticulous, he heated them, lubricated them, wiggled them, heated them again & eventually worked them loose. While the rad was the right one, he had to drill new holes in the frame to make it fit. It took 2 hours to unscrew/unbolt/undo all the bits to get to the job & one more to get it all back together again after the bolts were dealt with. I know, I was there.

So, I haven't knitted much of anything because I've been too damned tired. After staring at computer screens all day, well, I've been staggering home, eating something, sitting up like a Zombie for a couple of hours & going to bed. But the van runs like a charm.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

It's been a Hellova Day

Life is NOT good at the moment. My radiator has been leaking since I got the Van. Not a biggie, I just check it once a week & fill up what's lost. To tell the truth, I thought it was the wonky Air Conditioner/heater module that was causing the system to use extra water! So, I notice I'm filling up more often with more water. Then it gets cold & I'm down to checking it every morning before I start it up - some mornings it needs a little & some mornings it needs a lot. So, I travel with three gallons of water & two of antifreeze & don't go too far. I know, I know, antifreeze is not really very good for the environment. But, I've had the hoses checked. And the clamps replaced. And the water pump checked. And the rad pressure checked - there's a small leak for sure - but no one can find it. The thermostat is fine. Apparently there's a sender unit in there somewhere but no one can tell me anything unless they charge me 4 hours to tear it all out. I threw in the towel today & ordered a water pump & new rad. My customer, the machine shop guy who builds his own equipment, says it's probably the plastic reservoir inside the rad that's become fatigued & cracked. Plastic??? Inside the rad?? It can't be fixed, the rad has to go. So, tomorrow evening, I will be in his shop getting it all checked out. To save time & money, I'm taking all the parts he thinks I may need to replace. I hope this fixes the leak.

And why wasn't I in the shop today?? Two reasons. One, an SUV beat me to it & because of the terrible conditions on the highway yesterday, the new tranny was still up the Valley till this morning. Two, I went to bed with a book & a big pile of pillows last night & fell asleep. Woke up with a pinched nerve that left me unable to turn my head to the right or lift my right arm without unbelievable pain in my upper back. I took drugs - where are illegal narcotics when you really need them?? - & went back to bed to sleep or die. I didn't really care which at the time.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Just a little Eye Candy

I'd forgotten how SOFT the handspun Shetland yarn is
. It's like a cloud & yet it still has a lot of lanolin in it. This fleece - from a sheep named Arvik who has gone to the big pasture in the sky - was a patchwork of greys. I fell in love & bought her last two or three fleeces. At
first, I divided up the colors but there just wasn't enough of any one color to do much so I just spun it up as it came. The greys range from very light to almost black with some brownish grey in there too. The pinks are hand dyed by a local artist somewhere in Washington State. I got the roving as a gift & it ranges from acid pink to a pinky chocolate - fun to spin & seems to work well with Arvik.

I'm using the top down technique
from the Ribbon-O-Round sweater in the new Winter Knitter's. I thought it looked interesting - knit 2, yo - as increase rows instead of the usual rigid raglan style. I'm hoping this will work out better for my very large Apple shape that needs more width in body & a whole lot less in sleeve! So far it's almost a mindless knit except for making sure I knit BOTH strands when I make a stitch.

Other than that, still staggering if I get up too fast
& definitely overworked this week. Somehow I even lost a day! I'm picking up mail, banking the cheques, pounding on the computer & hanging out with Pooches. The Pooches are happy & sad this week because a family member is sleeping over while their humans are away. He likes them but won't let them sleep or cuddle with him - he's a bit of a clean freak. He drags them out for a mile before breakfast & another before lunch & then is gone for the afternoon. I show up just after lunch, cuddle them, give treats & throw the balls for them outside. They usually SLEEP most of the afternoon while I work until he appears around 7 to drag them - quite unwilling by now - out for another mile before he & they settle in for the evening. They're too tired to chew anything up, bark & get into trouble. After all, they've gone from a walk around the block every evening if the weather isn't too bad to THREE miles a day plus afternoon fetch. And that fat little Daisy has visibly lost weight!

Monday, January 09, 2012

A New Project

Remember these??? Yeah, I can hear the hooting from here! Risen from the ashes - actually from the hodge podge on
the BT's crappy old couch - a new project from the remains of several others. I've been slogging through work while wishing to be home in bed & dropping into my chair to veg in front of the tube for a couple of hours when I get home at night. Now some vegging is okay but I found myself NEEDING to do something while staring at that 14" black hole before falling into bed. I NEEDED something relatively mindless without any charts, complex instructions or certain way of doing things. And I needed it to be forgiving & have limited pieces to work with - socks are beyond me right now. I HAD been looking at a pile of Knitter's & Interweave Knitting mags - there's always a whole stack on the container in front of me that's supposed to hold garbage but ended up as a side table - and a couple of things jumped out at me. I've been wanting something light - nothing heavy that you can only wear two weeks of the year on the Wet Coast - something relatively mindless that can ride in the car as "waiting" knitting & go to Starbucks to coffee with the boys. And nothing white or pastel since I don't want to be washing WOOL every second day!! And I think I found it. I think I'll even be able to use up some of my leftovers - yeah, it's handspun leftovers on my Denise circs!!

Friday, January 06, 2012

No pictures, no promises

I AM vertical even though I'd prefer to be horizontal.
Not much knitting going on these days but I did make it to Starbucks last night for a large, Skinny Mocha with my techie buddy Steve. Steve's usually ALWAYS ready for a trip to Starbucks unless he's only just come home & still has a full cup in his hand. He & my other Tech buddy Kelly are flashing their new Starbucks Aps to make me feel old & dumb. Well, phooey to both of you - I just LOVE my new Starbucks Chinese New Year CARD which is very difficult to photograph! Is it me or my camera?? Probably me. I keep getting the shakes or the fuzzies . . .

So, even though I feel like hell, I've been working my brains out at the office with the pooches. The pooches' Owners have been sick too - She's been flat on her tush for the last 3 out of 4 days & actually got dressed yesterday while He's slowly been getting worse & now has the cough. They're leaving this morning for the Caribbean for a 10 day cruise - I'll bet they spend most of it sleeping in a deck chair!! Meanwhile, I've been there every day banging on the keyboard, sending out paperwork, doing payroll at the last minute & trying my best to function. While they're gone, I'll be in charge of cuddling!! And bank deposits. Hallelujah!

Everybody is spinning &/or knitting with quivet these days. It seems to have become the fibre of the minute!! I haven't played with quivet yet but it seems to be very much like camel down which was available but quite expensive waaaaaaay back there when Romney Wools was in Vancouver. I loved Romney Wools. They had bins of local fleeces, fleeces from New Zealand, silk bricks from China, silk cocoons, nylon & raimie rovings, mysterious little bags of curls, red, blue & yellow wool rovings for blending, raw materials for dyeing like chrome, tin, iron etc which are considered toxic today!! I bought a lot of tussah silk & raime rovings & still have a bin full of the toxic 'natural' dye stuff I need to get rid of. One of the things they stocked was camel down. Still had the dandruff in it too! You had to separate the coarse hairs from it yourself & blend it with wool to get a very soft, yummy yarn. It was just too expensive to use on its own. Once I remember a down/silk/wool blend available in roving form - I still have a sample in my knit book!! A tiny 2" sample!! I bought enough to try but it was gone when I returned & they were never able to get any more in. I always wanted more so when quivit hit the market, I wanted some of that too. But the price, well, I decided I'd have to live without it.

Now my new husband - we're talking 20+ years ago here - & I went visiting my parents who hauled us off to the Okanagan Game Farm just down the road. We took huge bags of veggies - mom cleaned out the fridge & the excess in the garden too - because we were allowed to feed the animals but didn't want to pay for the little bits the dispensers gave out. The big male Giraffe sure knew a grocery bag when he saw one, the pig. He actually laid his head on my shoulder so his lips were closer to the bag & tried to muscle out the female & baby!! He loved the wrinkled celery!! And potatoes too. Now the Game Farm had several Musk Oxen & they were shedding huge slabs of hair. They looked really strange with them hanging on their sides & spent a lot of time rubbing against the posts in the centre of the compound. Now I, being a spinner, was interested in all the fur/feathers/hair dropped by all the animals in the pens but was not allowed in . So, when a muskox drifted over to see what we had in the bag, I offered goodies with one hand while tugging on his fur with the other. Oooops. Wrong thing to do. He charged the fence. We got out of there quickly. And the new husband & old parents wouldn't let me near another animal except the Giraffe. Damn.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Rubbing the Shine Off Already

Here it is, a nice, bright, shiny New Year & the shit starts hitting the fan already. I have three tax returns to finish - just couldn't get it in gear over the holidays to save my life. And I've got an ear infection - which explains the headaches I've had for that last few days - which has given me a sinus infection - blow, drip, blow, snuffle, sneeze, drip, blow. So, my eyes are puffy, the nose is red & my damn ear is sticky, y
uck. Good thing dogs love ya no matter how bad you look - especially if you have treats. And then there's those tax returns . . .

Haven't fe
lt much like knitting the last day or so - yesterday I slept in for some reason, see above - but did put a few rows on one sock project. I started the pink Kroy socks but got sidetracked when I had to churn out another pair of socks for my Motorcycle School Boss. But I got back to them this past weekend & turned the heels on both. I thought I took a picture of them with the heels turned but apparently I didn't. Oh well . . . trust me, I'm well on the way to the toes on one & decreasing for toes on the other!! Actually, I'm to the part where I start sweating because it looks like I won't have enough yarn to finish - as usual!!

The last p
air of Christmas Sox have their heels turned & are at the toe decreases as well. They've taken a while to knit because they're ugly. And plain. I've always said that ugly socks take longer to knit than crazy socks. And these ones took some time. Yeah, I know they're not BLACK socks & they DO have some variation to them but they're still plain as a mud fence!! I like wild & crazy socks. But, since I won't be seeing Chris till later this week or next week I have a little more time to finish them. I want to wear those pink ones first!!!

My Pocho Pullover has been frogged already. I started off with navy yarn, added some scarlet for fun & intended to finish with the Anniversary yarn which is a barber pole of light & dark blue. Well, I took it to the Wednesday Nite Nitters & asked what THEY thought because it wasn't looking quite right somehow & I really didn't want to start over. We all agreed that the dark top with the lighter bottom did not look nearly as good as the lighter top with the darker bottom. The dark blue is a little purple while the lighter blue is definitely in the same denim family, just faded. You see the difference quite well in the two photos. The one with the red in it is the one I am NOW making! So I frogged it & wound it into nice centre pull balls once more. Hopefully, this will be the last time it gets frogged. Other than color choice, I think the pattern is a cinch & could be knit by any rank beginner with one hand!!

Postscript - For those who don't know who the BT is/was. I tend to be a serial monogamist & he was the 2000's man, commonly referred to as the BoyToy or BT because he was younger.