Friday, November 30, 2007

Well, I have demonstrated to myself that I can, for at least a month, post every day. I wasn't sure I could - I go through chatty times and not chatty times. When I'm not chatty, it's very easy for a week or more to go by between posts.
I can do it - but it comes with two costs: 1. I didn't have any more to say about knitting or spinning than I ever do - so there was a lot more offtopic stuff than I usually post and 2. Other writing took a hit - I conversed privately with fewer people because what writing time I had was sucked into the blog.
I don't know what I think, except that I enjoyed doing it for a while and I don't know whether I'll continue or not.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Random thoughts:
For a week off of school, this week has been pretty hectic. School starts Monday - I dunno if I'm ready.
I'm tired of taking knitting out - I'm ready to just work forward for a while.
I can't remember exactly when I finished something last. This is not a good sign.
Today was our third day in a row of cloudy skies. Clear cold nights, while nice, are not the same as a sunny day.
Further cloudy days are all that is in the forecast. Well, that is, alternating with rain, sleet and snow. This is not an improvement.
J says that one year, when he was a student here, there were 43 days in a row with no sunshine. This is not something I really want to know.
Christmas is less than 4 weeks away. I am not ready.
My sourdough starter that Sylvia gave me is still good. I made another loaf this evening. Thanks.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I read a very interesting book some years ago - Raising Your Spirited Child. "Spirited" is another word for what some people might label "Difficult". It was extremely interesting to me, not so much for the major topic, but for a relatively minor aside which explained my son and my brother.

The major topic says that in 9 categories of personality, on a scale of 1-5 (1 is easy going in that category, 5 is not), those persons who score above 30 are "spirited". Approximately 15% of the population fall in the above 30 category. K scored 34, S scored 35. I figured that was ok - I scored a 36. (What - difficult? ME?) (A friend of mine's daughter scored 42. We used to regularly compare notes on what worked.)

The coping strategies weren't newly useful to me - they were all strategies I learned at my mother's knee, watching her deal with my brother (a 38) who was 8 years younger than I; that is, I was sufficiently older to pay attention to how she did it, rather than simply experience it first hand.

Ok, the point I'm eventually rambling around to is that one of the categories is "negativity". Is the first, knee-jerk reaction to anything new, No. In my case, this is one of my high scoring areas. I tell my kids what my mother told me - if you insist on an answer right now, it will be No. Give me time to think about it.

Ok - I've thought about it. And of course, by this time everyone's probably already signed up. However:

The rules: I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on this blog post requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet, and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.

If there's anyone left who isn't already signed up, I would be happy to send something to the first 3 people. If there isn't, I promise to do the same for someone who isn't on the blog circuit. I don't mind shipping outside the US, it may just be something light.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I played with my green fuzz a bit more today - a good antidote to the lowering grey skies and off-and-on rain. The rain has stopped (and is freezing the doors of the car and the house shut) as the temperature is dropping and the wind is howling. The night sky is clear and I'd love to look at the stars, but it's just too windy.

Monday, November 26, 2007

I started spindle spinning this before we left and when rogue went south on me, I switched to spinning rather than knitting for the car drives (down to MD to pick up the urchins and then back from PA). This is BFL from the same source I used last time (only then it was reds and oranges). It isn't quite as nice- she seems to have felted it just a tad. I love the greens though.

This was something I picked up at spinning guild the week before. I went, firmly intending to buy Nothing More, but you see how well that lasted. I'm always a color junky, but at this time of year, particularly when the sky is grey for days on end, I latch onto the saturated colors. I have nothing that I need this for; there are no queued projects that it is suitable for. I just need it for the color.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Home again, home again, jiggity jog.

We're mostly unpacked (that "mostly" will have us tripping over things for a week, you know). The cats are mostly over their mad at us. We've mostly had dinner, and we're mostly ready to go to bed.

Have you ever noticed how weird the word mostly is when you type it over and over?

Sorry, I'm a little giddy tonight. Time for a nightcap and some quality time with the spinning wheel.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Two days ago when we got here, it was in the high 70s F. This morning when I took the dog for a walk it was 18 F. Can you say Cold Front? I was sure that you could.

I got a new #7 needle for the Rogue and diligently worked away. I have come to two conclusions:
1. I like the twisted stitch stockinette hem better for the hem facing.
2. I need a #8 needle. I thought hard about going and buying another, but I know I have one at home that is not only the right size but the right length. I was willing to soldier through with a 40 inch needle for a 36 inch circumference if it was going to do me some good, but it isn't. I don't see the point in buying another 40 inch needle (the only length the shop has in that size) when I can use the right length needle when I get home.

So I spent today's time in the car spindle spinning instead.
Camera and connection aren't working here so pictures will have to wait a bit longer.

Friday, November 23, 2007

After Turkey Soup

1.5 c turkey drippings from the roasting pan, strained
4 c chicken stock

handful celery leaves
1/2 onion, chopped
1 oz butter

4 oz shitake mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 oz butter

3 celery sticks, roughly chopped
3 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 broccoli crown, minus stems and roughly chopped

1/2 c peas
1/2 c corn kernels

2 c chopped turkey meat
3/4 pound fresh fettucini

2 tsp Montreal Steak Seasoning (salt, pepper, garlic, dill seed, cardamom seed)

Heat broth and drippings. Saute celery leaves and onion in 1 oz butter. Add to broth. Saute mushrooms in other oz butter, with spices. Add to broth. Add celery, carrots and broccoli to broth. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add peas and corn. Simmer while preparing boiling water for fettucini to cook. Cook fettucini in boiling water for half the cooking time. Add turkey and fettucini to broth. Simmer for another few minutes and serve.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


I'm thankful for the time and space I live in - I do enjoy being where I am and who I am.

I'm thankful for the family that I have, even when my kids drive me wild, and even more when they're being the wonderful people they can be.

I'm thankful for the good friends I have, on and off line.

I'm particularly thankful for the wonderful job that Marcy did, searching the Web of the Weird so we didn't have to. Thanks Marcy. My eyes may never be the same.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sometimes I wonder why I bother with swatching. I do, faithfully, unless I'm doing a shawl where I don't care.

If swatches never worked, I wouldn't bother and neither would anyone else. They do work, but only just enough of the time to give one hope.

Rogue is in balls again this evening.

I did a swatch. I checked my gauge again after I started knitting. It still lied. About 2 inches into knitting, something changed (probably me, duh!) and umpteen inches of knitting later, (having remeasured again), I'm now at 5 stitches/inch instead of the 4.5 I should be (I think... 4? Whatever. It's Wrong, that's all I know at this time of night.)

That would explain why it was a bit short and tight when she tried the body on.

And of course, I didn't pack needles I didn't need and tomorrow's a holiday so the knitting store won't be open...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Packing for a 4 day weekend away:
Food items

Got to get to the important things:
Knitting project 1: Rogue (including all extra yarn, pattern, extra needles, darning needle [deemed unnecessary at present], scissors [ditto])
Knitting project 2: Oberstdorf [ditto - only gone 4 days])
Embroidery project: Catch the Wind [almost done, might as well take and finish] (including pattern, fabric, floss, extra needles and scissors)
Spinning project: New green wool to go with the new green silk from FFF. Do I want to spindle this or use the wheel? Spend time sampling.

'spose I'll get much finished? Pictures to follow. (Take the camera and the USB cable).

Note to self: If my FIL's computer isn't fixed, nablopomo is screwed.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Random power outages play heck with trying to blog. Still don't know why it's yoyoing.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I got to spinning guild yesterday, for the first time since... ? I honestly don't remember. I think I got to the last meeting before the Fiber Festival (which was in September), so that would have been August? Except that I think we were in Canada at the August meeting, so maybe it was July.

Obviously, it's been a while.

It was just a small meeting - I only counted 53 people. I was only one of the spindlers this time. Most people bring their wheels or one of their wheels and the room gets pretty crowded after a while. I did manage to pick up some ground lamb (yum) and breakfast sausage. The shepherd with the lamb for sale had brought a casserole with the breakfast sausage and it was some of the best I'd ever tasted. Some came home with me and I ordered more for next month, since my purchases were limited by the cash I had on hand, not having brought the checkbook.

One of the women brought a cast iron table-clamp quill wheel, which had a squirrel cage swift rising above it. That was fun to see, and will be even better when she gets it cleaned up and completely working. I don't know which stores she haunts but she always has the most interesting antiques.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


1/2 c milk, scalded
1/2 c butter, melted in the scalded milk
1/2 c sugar added to butter and milk - the butter and sugar will cool the milk after scalding.

1 package dry yeast or equivalent
1/4 c water and a little flour to proof (if needed)
3 eggs, beaten
4-5 c flour

When the milk is cool and the yeast is proofed (if needed), stir milk mixture into yeast mixture and then the eggs. Add flour gradually, then knead. Result will be a soft springy dough. Let rise in a warm spot, in an oiled bowl, covered. Once doubled, punch down and divide in thirds.

Each third should, in turn, be rolled out to about a 12 inch diameter circle. Brush with melted butter. Cut in pie wedges, first in quarters and then each quarter into thirds. Starting at the outer edge, roll to the middle, and place on a buttered cookie sheet, with the point tucked underneath. Brush with butter. Let rise for 15-20 minutes. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes (till lightly golden). Brush with butter, let cool.

Ok, so we only eat these twice a year (Thanksgiving Dinner and Christmas Dinner). I didn't promise anything lo-cal here - you did note the name?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Believe it or not, I actually have been getting some knitting done, even while railing about my class. The body is done almost up to the underarm - I've about three or four rows left to the top of the cables up the sides. Tomorrow I play to take the body off the needle and onto a cord so I can have her try it on before I go any farther. Then... I read the instructions and see what happens next.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

One of the best things about finishing up my class is I got to play in my garden today. I just puttered around, weeded a bit, mulched a bit, removed dead annuals and added some bulbs. I started out to just do a five minute job and ended up there for an hour, only stopping when I realized it was time to pick up K from school. There is something so soothing about that whole process.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I've been a complete vegetable today. I sat down to figure out what the order of the last of my classes should be and, sadly, the one I didn't want to take next is the one I need to take in order not to have a gap before I'm done. I shouldn't have a gap if I take this one next (although I can't see next fall and winter for sure yet), but still. I didn't wanna just now.


My parents have gone home after the weekend's festivities with K's play and next week is Thanksgiving.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Some of my fellow students seem to think that if you can't post promptly on topic, a shotgun will have some effect. I made the mistake of looking one more time and was caught by the shotgun.

Shotgun: I don't understand why you said this and such. That doesn't make any sense.
Me: I was trying to say this and that, not this and such. Explanation. I'll try to clarify my original statement.

Me: Hey - I did say this and that, not this and such. Grrr.

I give up. I'm going to bed. Anybody who insists on posting 29 critiques in an hour and half doesn't deserve to be rebutted.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Let me just say this about that:
Instructors who don't post all of the assignment requirements until a random amount of time after the original assignment was given out may be annoying, but fellow students who wait until the last minute to burst into the room throwing random stuff around that doesn't come close to meeting any of the assignment requirements are even more so.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

We had a hard frost last night - it was almost kind of funny. K's school play (Seussical, she was a Who) was finishing up yesterday evening, so of course we all went. J unlocked the car doors and got into the car. The rest of us stood around the outside of the car. Muffled by the fact that he was in and we were out, he kept saying "I unlocked the doors" and we kept saying "the doors are frozen shut". A comedy of errors.
I took rogue along for knitting before the show - something only moderately successful as I knit 6 rows but will have to rip 2 back. A net gain in knitting, but not in time.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

We have two skeins now. This one looks a great deal more copper than the other, but it's just the way that the strands fell when it was skeined up.

Friday, November 09, 2007

What more appropriate time for turkeys to wander through the yard than November? Still 13 turkeys (down from 14 in July) but no further depredations of the flock to date. The adults are indistinguishable from the juveniles (except perhaps by coloration by the expert, but not to us). They came from the south this time into my neighbor's yard (no not that neighbor, the other one who kept his trees and has a jumbo leaf vacuum which he dumps into the compost pile which can be seen in the background). The dog was watching intently but didn't bark this time, so they wandered leisurely through.
I wonder when hunting season for turkeys opens.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I've gotten rogue up to where the pocket joins on again. It looks like a pocket, and not just a flap!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I don't remember paying attention to how mums grew when I was younger - I don't remember my mother growing mums particularly, or if she did, I didn't watch them grow. Mums are big in the fall here in New York; they are offered for sale everywhere. I have bought a few and plunked them in the ground with mixed success. Sometimes they grow again in the spring, sometimes they freeze overwinter and don't come back..
Since mums are offered in bloom, starting in August or September, I'm always a little surprised at how long it takes the ones in the ground to get around to blooming. I hang over them, urging them to hurry up, they won't get around to blooming before they're frozen. They ignore me. They go on at their own deliberate pace, doing their own thing at their own time. They laugh at frost warnings and ignore colder weather that is killing off my summer annuals.
This beauty attracted my eye originally because the petals are little tubes, where the petals never separate to unfold completely. It's in my back garden and it had a hard life this year.
It sent up stems that reached about 8 to 12 inches high before being set upon by Japanese beetles who gnawed the leaves down to skeletons before I managed to get the beetles under control. Apparently unable to replace the leaves, it made a hasty additional new growth of another 8-12 inches complete with new leaves. Being now topheavy, the first rainstorm knocked it all over, flat on the ground. Trying to tie it up was not succesful, so I left it to its fate. Nothing detered, it made a right angle for each stem and sent up another 6 to8 inches of stem before setting buds. This week, in the middle of rain and slush and snow, the buds are opening up - the only, last, bright spot in the garden.
So... if mums want cold weather for blooming, do the hot houses have to refrigerate them to get them to bloom in August?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Considering that just two weeks ago today it was 80 degrees F, it's a bit of a shock to my system to see that it's snowing outside.
All I can say is, thank heavens for handknit wool socks and handknit alpaca caps. The chance of precipitation for Monday afternoon went from 40% on Saturday to 50% on Sunday to 90% on Monday at noon. There I was, standing in the middle of the parking lot for three hours, supervising the counting of cases of Girl Scout cookies, and dodging rain drops. My papers were soaked, but thanks to the miracle of alpaca and wool, my head and my feet were completely warm. And a special thanks to Sylvia, who actually knit the socks that were on my feet.

Monday, November 05, 2007

On the drive to and from the theater yesterday, and during the lecture that preceeded the play (pure serendipity that we arrived early enough to be directed into the lecture hall), I started knitting with my new needle (12 inch #3 addi turbo) and then, having gotten about 8 rows done, I ripped out to just above the colorwork and started again. I haven't yet decided if I'm going to rip back down to the top of the cuff and start Again. That will depend on whether, when I find my tape measure, the gauge in the colorwork section is sufficiently off that I'm going to have to rip that too.
Another possibility may be that I may have to get a 12 inch #4 addi turbo. I don't want to think about it - I am using addi turbos for the body so it should be ok but you never know.
Switching from bamboo #3 DPNs to the addi turbo circular gave me a huge visual difference in the gauge. Remind me not to do that again.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

One of the best things about living in a college town is the access to reasonably priced activities available through the universities. It's one of the things we like about a college town. Today's reasonably priced activity was going to Kilbourn Hall at the Eastman School of Music and watching the Eastman Opera Theatre put on A Little Night Music.
I saw this first many years ago on Broadway, when I was in high school, on my senior trip to New York. (Other people take their senior trip to Washington DC. Living near DC we had been taken there every year, sometimes multiple times in a year. Our trip was to NYC, finishing up the day at the theater.) It strikes me as a little odd that my daughter's first trip to "grown up theater" is to see A Little Night Music. I think some of the jokes were over her head, but I'm sure she got some of them. Well, some of them were over my head back then too.
She's a vocalist and a budding theater artist, so she paid as much or more attention to the staging of the production as she did the story line - which was, after all, why we took her. A good afternoon all around.
And the intimacy of Kilbourn Hall was a distinct improvement from the 2 inch figures I remember seeing from the nosebleed section at whatever theater it was way back then.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Having finally finished off the second charcoal single, I've finally gotten to the ply-them-together stage. J's birthday was today and I gave him the complete set of Monty Python's Flying Circus. We sat down to show K and S the fish slapping dance (which completely befuddled them) and wound up watching the whole volume, which led to getting some spinning done for the first time in a long while. Maybe I can finish the skein while we watch the college football.

Friday, November 02, 2007

The weather report for today and the next three days:

Friday - sunny and cool
Saturday - sunny and cool
Sunday - sunny and cool
Monday - showers and cold

Any guesses as to which day I'm scheduled to stand outside for 3 hours, supervising cookie delivery?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

I am not a student of the kimono, although I have had some chances to see some beautiful ones. One such occasion was a number of years ago a collection of kimono from the Kyoto museum was on display in San Francisco and I spent some happy hours wandering around admiring them. Occasionally I take out my copy of the exhibition catalog and wander through it, remembering.
I hadn't run across mentions of Itchiku Kubota before, a modern kimono artist. Having had him brought to my attention recently, I started poking about for references and pictures.
I need to see these in person at some point. San Diego CA and Canton OH in early 2009, eh?