Sunday, May 25, 2014

Pat, I miss you

I've heard the snickers behind my back every time I suggest starting a new sweater project. I know they're my pals & I know they laugh but I've always been a great Starter & a lousy finisher. All my life, I've been the one with the 'Great Ideas' or the 'Money Making Project' every Fall to fund those Christmas gifts we needed to buy when we were broke. For 26 years my closest friend Pat was my finisher. Pat was a detail oriented person.
When we went to a fashion show once - I saw the shape & color of the clothes while she noticed the trims, the buttons, the gussets & the shoes! She remembered the kind of glass eyes that expensive Stuffie had that we couldn't afford. She's the one who found the perfectly matched hat or lipsticks but she couldn't come up with a project idea to save her life. She'd dither over the colors, shapes, findings & patterns forever until I would point to the project that I'd already chosen in my head. I saw the Big Picture & the Bottom Line. She saw all the Steps & Details. I was often impatient while  she was overwhelmed but together, we made beautiful things.

I'd often go shopping for the supplies before she even decided to participate. I had to. And she was always finishing up the hems, buttons, pockets, eyes etc because I'd lost interest & was on to the next thing. I miss her. Without her, my sweaters don't get finished. They get halfway there or three quarters of the way & I lose interest & start a new one. It's a terrible character flaw, I know. If I was a size 0, I'm sure I'd finish something but when you're a size Barn, it takes forever. Do they have 12 step programs for people like me??? Maybe they should if they don't. Or I need a new Pat. Sigh . . . . .  maybe I'm just condemned to knit socks.

And speaking of socks - I've finished the latest Frankensocks in blues - above. I got bored with all that blue & added a teeny tiny pink stripe & that was my downfall. They're mostly Blue & the 20 somethings will fight over them as they are, LOL. And then I finished a pair of Pink Lace Socks. The yarn has a lot of elastic so they stretch a lot. They came with some yarn donations a couple of years ago - they even had the Kollage square DPs still in them. One sock was finished while the other was almost done when the knitter ran out of yarn .  .  .  . I understand, really I do!
I merely shortened the finished sock & got enough yarn to finish the toes on both. They stretch so much that they'll fit a couple of sizes & will make a teen-aged heart somewhere go pitty patt!!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Happy Victoria Day

The Almanac says you must have your garden planted by Victoria Day if you want to
harvest before the first frost. My mother told me there was no longer any danger of frost by the middle of May and that's why this particular day was chosen. I'll bet there's more than a few people in Canada who wouldn't necessarily agree this year.
Yesterday, I noticed my clematis - Jackmani - was covered with big furry buds & two flowers were finally out. Usually, this clematis blooms in early spring before the leaves come out!!! Last year it didn't bloom at all. The last time it looked like this was back in 2011 when I took this pic. Looks just like this again this year with two big flowers & all the fat buds. Could it be the rotted chicken manure I plopped in there???

Being in southern BC, on the coast, with Vancouver Island to block the Pacific gales, we often plant things early & leave them out growing late. My Christmas & Easter cacti could tell tales of patio neglect in that category!! They're usually out from early April to late October under the patio table where they get filtered sun & bake the afternoon away since it faces west. Last fall, they got dragged in by a friend after I damaged my knee & they haven't gone out yet since that knee doesn't quite bend far enough to let me place them on the ground. And one has to be transplanted, the poor thing. They don't get watered enough inside. I neglect them dreadfully. But they do bloom & bloom & bloom every year .  .  .  . 

I have a cedar box 5 feet long & 3 feet off the ground against the house at the back of my patio which is overflowing with ferns - wish I had a bunch more just like it!!  Was, that is. It, too, got neglected sadly when I hurt myself but most of it came back. I decided to stuff spider plants into the holes this year since they've been living in water in jars all winter. They'll have a short life but a good life out there all summer & fall. And I'll have a greener space to spin. I want to spin out there all summer long.

I've decided to spin in the Tour de Fleece with Team Canada & Sunset Fibers. We're talking about spinning Stash this year. It's amazing how fast it builds up when you're busy & I have a whole 6 month membership's worth of sample Rovings of the Month from Sunset Fibers to spin in mine. There's also a couple extras that I ordered & one I got for my birthday - thank you Gail - because I just love Polworth. So, off the
top of my head, I have 9 - yes 9, 4oz bags of hand painted rovings to spin from Sunset Fibers. And this morning when I looked, I have 3, 4oz rovings in Magenta, 3 in Puau & 2 in Purple from Aurelia Fibres that were purchased several years ago.
My first spin will be Blue Jeans on the left. The original bag shocked me with it's nasty white roving & nastier beige drier fluff mixed with lovely dyed blue wool. I tentatively talked to the Vendor & she told me to just spin it up. It's 'Designer Yarn' she said. I grumbled but did it. And washed it. OMG. It's wonderful, yummy, scrunchy, textured & soooo petable. I loved it so much that I bought another bag.

We aren't even going to mention that big bag of Coopworth or the remains of my Grab Bag of mill ends from the Sheep Shed that have been aging for a decade.

I tried to work two jobs the last few years & had no time or energy by the time I got home to do much other than knit socks & touques. I'm still shocked at how much day I have to myself now that I'm back in the Home Office .  .  .  . 
If I had enough income, I think I'd almost welcome Retirement & just enjoy knitting, spinning & Volunteer work. If I could only remember to buy that damned lottery ticket!!!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Frankensocks & Itchy Ears

The Goopy ear is all better - more or less - but now Itchy Ear season is upon us. You know those gorgeous flowering ornamental fruit trees that every Downtown area seems to have?? They make me sneeze & itch. I love their dainty ballerina colors of pink, purple & white but I start sneezing a block away .  .  .  .  14 sneezes later & I'm a road hazard. Haven't been arrested yet but I figure it's coming.

I look forward to the end of tax season every year - well, the frantic part of the season, that is - because people are still calling & dropping them off all summer. This year, I'm formally selfemployed, but managing to make enough in casual jobs to get by nicely. When you don't drink, smoke, party, shop the mall or gamble, you don't need much to get by. I intended to spend more time with my patio garden, dyes & spinning wheel out there in the mornings. So far, I'm still commuting to the office in the morning in my jammies & doing income tax in the mornings!!  But it's not all bad. I'm listening to Jurassic Park as I compute. I have a giant mug of milky tea in my fist & I can go to my favorite cafe for Friday lunch around 1:00. And, I've already done three returns today.

I've been spending a lot of time in cars lately too. Just spent two half days taking the Ex to his eye appointments. He's getting to hate driving in traffic, when they mess with his eyes he can't see to drive anyway & it's easier than dealing with him if he has an accident. I just find a shady spot, pop in the ear buds & knit. The sock on the left is one half of the current Frankensocks in thicker leftover yarns. I have a couple of 20 somethings who fight over any Frankensocks that might become available.

This little sock here - next to Dotty's Chicken Bag - will be in lightweight DGS Confetti yarn for me for summer. Since I only have the one ball, they'll be finished with a nice light grey after I turn the heel. I have several balls of this thinner Confetti yarn - all in different colors of course - but they'll all work out nicely with solids for half of the foot. I mean, who's gonna see the part inside the sneaker anyway?? Right???

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Socks & Goopy Ears

I've been a hellova mess the past few days with a nasty ear infection. Isn't it crazy, since I've been a kid, my right ear is the one that gives me all the problems. And it's the one that hears the best. It's the one that's sensitive to nickel & reacts within minutes, it's the one that itches when I'm allergic, it's the one that seizes up if I have a cold & the one that developed eczema. The itch drives me nutz. So, of course, my fingers are dirty from all this paper at tax time, I scratch & scratch without even being aware & BOOM. My ear blows up. This time part of my face & throat joined in. Sigh. Spent a couple of days in bed with a good book on my Kobo & the hot grain bag under my face & ear. I read 5 books, slept a lot, the swelling has come down & my ear is safely draining. No knitting got done. But I thought about it a lot .  .  .  .  I should be grateful I guess. This year I didn't come down with the scourge of papershufflers everywhere, Pink Eye.

I did play a little with different ways to start a sock from my Cast On Bind Off book by Leslie Ann Bestor. I thought the picot cast on would be fun on a pair of summer socks. It's okaaaaay but no matter what I did, it rolled & flopped. I guess I need more practice. Not the kind of start I want on my summer socks! Maybe I'll try a lace pattern .  .  .

Now, when I make summer socks, I make them the same as winter socks only shorter & use lighter weight yarns!! Mostly, I make them just above the ankle bone so they not only cover the foot in the sneaker but also cushion the ankle from the opening of the shoe. You also don't get sand or dirt in your socks when you walk on loose material.

I also hate socks that slide into your shoes when you walk so I make the same nice, deep heel with the same cushioning on the back & under the heel. If you have to wear socks, they might as well be comfy. Right???

Although I'm sure barefoot is better, most of the summer I flop around the house & patio in my ancient thongs that I'm not supposed to wear. LOL

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

All over but the tears .  .  .  .  another year, another tax season finished. This one was so busy I can't believe it. Having the Tax Man's computer down for a week was great but OMG, the last three days have been hell. Thank you to Ron, who showed up yesterday with his tax stuff, two bags of salad & two loaves of Cobbs bread otherwise I don't know what I would've eaten!!!! And my ex-boss who also showed up with THREE tax returns that needed doing who offered to make a run to Timmies for me .  .  .  bribes help. I made the final run to Revenue Canada's Big Blue Box last night around 11:30 with the ones that I couldn't efile.  Holy Crap. It's over.  I won't even think about the late ones & the small business returns that dribble in over the next three months .  .  .   The Sheep?? Oh just look at that cute wooly face .  .  .  .

So, I haven't done much of anything crafty. Thought about summer socks a lot though. I'd love to wear thongs & sandals all summer but I pronate big time which means I'm stuck in my orthopedic sneakers most of the time. And if you're in sneakers, well, you have to wear socks!! I could wear those little bitty cotton ones but they keep my feet wet all summer. It's what cotton does - keeps moisture next to your body to keep you cool. So it has to be wool or silk.

I have lots of yarn to make short, summer socks. I was thinking about all the single balls of crazy patterned Confetti I have laying about. And all the solid shades for heels & toes as well. Confetti has great yardage & there should be no problem getting a pair of short socks out of one ball but I could put a solid colored toe on them for insurance. 
Summer socks are also a good way to use up all the leftovers too - if you're gonna wear socks all summer, let them be Frankensocks!!
Or, I could knit some of the lace patterns into my summer socks to make them special.