Friday, February 29, 2008

2.29B Some people...

Are just too ahead of themselves. I was musing over the fact that today was the last day for D is for... and I haven't done mine yet. Then I ran across someone who posted E is for Eagle (and don't get me wrong, it's a great picture of an eagle, but I'm all - I'm supposed to be doing E now? when did I miss D after all? So I went to Ms. Knitorious's website and couldn't find the abc-along link. When I did get there, it turns out that D is over tomorrow (March 1) and I'm not late yet after all (as long as I do it tomorrow!) and E can wait until Sunday. Hmpf.

2.29 Hah!

I got my grade on my final - 95/100. Which gives me a 96.25 for the quarter. Yay!

2.28 Winter blahs

I don't know whether it's just post-class let down, or whether I am just tired of a winter where the weather can't decide if it's fish or fowl (8 inches of snow this week, 15 degree highs - by Monday it's supposed to be 46 and raining), or whether I'm fighting off the cold K had last week.

I've just gotten an email detailing the third separate thing I'm supposed to be doing on the evening of March 14th. I think I'll cancel the first thing, or shift it to another day, and tell the people of the third thing that I can't make it - the second thing was scheduled first. Oh well.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

2.27 Test done, class over

I took my final exam this morning. Uploaded it back in with 20 minutes to spare.

8 classes down, 4 to go.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

2.26 DHF wool and tussah silk

This is the first of two skeins of Dunnose Head Farm wool (2 plies) and tussah silk (one ply). This is about 440 yards of sport weight. I should wind up with another skein approximately the same.

Monday, February 25, 2008

2.25 Light?

K and S went back to school today - winter break is over. K leaves at 6:36, S at 7:13. It was actually light enough to see K all the way to the bus - and it was downright daylight when S left. It was sunny and bright today. I could get used to this.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

2.24 Librarything

I crossed the 1000 book mark in entering my personal library this weekend. I've been working on this project off and on for a bit over a year (?). I think I'm about a quarter done -give or take a few hundred books. A rough guesstimate at the number of books on the shelves, multiplied by a more exact count of the number of shelves, plus a wild-ass swipe at estimating the number of books still in boxes... K thinks we counted up 8000 books before we moved, but somehow I don't think that's right. I don't think I've had that many since I moved from MD to CA when I had about 10000.

[When I was being moved by my new company from MD to CA, they asked how much stuff I had to move. I gave them an estimate on rooms, furniture, etc, and then mentioned that they needed to know I had about 10000 books, most of them paperback. The woman I was talking to, said "uh-huh". She apparently told the moving van person "5000 books". He said "uh-huh". And came prepared to pack 1000 books. I said "uh-huh". And showed him my collection.
One of the interesting sidelights on this little thing, which I found out afterwards, was that there actually was a weight limit on how much they were willing to move without my having to pay for excess. Nobody bothered to mention this since I was a single person with about a one-bedroom apartment's worth of furniture. With my books, I came within a few hundred pounds of the limit. I did a lot of culling in the next few years, and when J and I got married I only had about 4000 left. I try to cull more often now. At the moment I'm using paperbackswap to cull with which isn't exactly reducing the total number of books in the house...]

K also pointed out that at my current rate of progress (1000 books per year) cataloging them this way will only take me somewhere between 3 and 7 more years. I told her I didn't need to hear that right now.

My fiber books (most of them) are here.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

2.23 Turkeys in winter

We had some visitors drop by this week. I haven't seen them strut through the yard since late summer. They're quite a bit bigger and glossier than they were back then...

and they are either hungrier or bolder (or both), since they were prowling around the outside of the garden fencing, eyeing the bird feeders. They were not, however, ready to brave the dog who's just about the size of the coyotes we have locally. When he went out, they decamped rather hastily.

Friday, February 22, 2008

2.22 smug cat

It's not completely obvious, but he's snoozing on my Icarus. And he's been kneading the Rogue sleeves. He carefully arranged everything to his complete comfort - ON the Icarus, AGAINST the pillow (needlepoint in worsted wool) and BESIDE the sleeves. All he needs is the fire going, but without opposable thumbs, he's got to make do with what's available.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

2.21 "That was so cool!"

K thoroughly enjoyed her ski lesson, and was going down the intermediate slopes before the evening was over. "And I didn't fall down once!" I think we have a second ski fanatic on our hands, S having been converted earlier in January. He goes today with his scout troop.

I got about 25 rows done on the hood for Rogue. No roaring fire, sadly, just a noisy crowded room and a door that kept popping open to admit skiers and cold air. I was comfortable though and enjoyed my evening watching the skiers and snowboarders sliding down the hill under the lights and the snowblowers with their clouds of white.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

2.20 Catching up

Who am I kidding? "Treading water" might be a better title. It's winter break chez nous (which means the kids are off but I am working and finishing up my class. My break is in two weeks, when K and S are back in school. There are worse possibilities than having time to myself.) S had a friend spend the night, so they were up until 1 and then up again at 6:45. K and I are off to spend some time with the Girl Scouts; K will take a skiing lesson (downhill) and I will take my ease by the lodge fire (I ski, but only crosscountry. None of this lurching down hills nonsense.) I'm taking Rogue with me - I picked up for the hood this morning and hope to make good progress today.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

2.19 Project done

Nothing in particular to show for it, but my project for school is done. Only one more week's worth of discussions to post, a final exam, and I'm done. Unlike most of my classes (which are all online), this one actually has a final exam. He told us today it will be 3 essay questions, 2 or 3 paragraphs each (please stop and think for about 15 minutes before you start writing). 3 hours to do the test. We've covered 10 topics in these 10 weeks, but the suggested list that we should know about is: 1. what is each thing covered in a topic intended for 2. what is each thing good at 3. what are the limitations of each thing. A premium is placed on being able to synthesize our own answer from the reading material and discussions. Hmmm.

2.18 two bobbins

Two bobbins down, one to go.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

2.17 kitty trap

To set a cat trap is often easier in the winter than the summer. In this case, the trap was baited with a warm fire and a blanket spread invitingly, and as you can see, it only took about 3 minutes to catch our first one.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

2.16B Book Review

The Great Mortality by John Kelly

Ok, it's a depressing subject. The Black Death.
This is a book that I've picked up and put down several times, before winding my way to the end. It provided me with a great number of bits of information I hadn't really realized, not having studied this particular part of European history closely before. (Most of my reading has been about pre-1200 times.) The parallels that can be drawn about the economic state of Europe at that time and our current times are somewhat distressing.
The book is quite interesting. I'm sure that some of his conclusions are being (or were) hotly debated by persons whose conclusions he was refuting, but the subject isn't such that I'm really planning on delving into the ifs and ands in depth.

His references to the cultural effects of the Black Death on the arts and the fiber world are some that I'm going to see if I can track down. The book has increased my understanding of the literature of the time and I'm sure some of his insights will help me with the art of the time.

Well worth reading.

(Just in case anyone is wondering: The 50 book challenge, as I have interpreted it, is to read 50 books in a year, books that I have not read before. [I read many more books in a year than 50, but I am trying to expand my horizons beyond the books on my shelf that I read and re-read.] It's halfway through February and I'm now at 2 finished books. I think I'm falling behind this year.)

2.16 The weather again

I promised myself that I would quit harping on the weather - it's got to be as boring for my readers as is it for me. However.

The sun is shining.

This is very good news.

Friday, February 15, 2008

2.15 DHF purple/brown

DHF purple-ish
This is the beginning of the first single of the Dunnose Head Farm wool that will go with the orange/purple tussah. The brownish bits are where no dye reached the fiber, the purpley bits are dyed (obviously) and there is one little visible spot of turquoise, just where the new layer is being wound on.
There's something about a new concept, a new project. Makes me want to sit and spin and spin so I can see how the finished product will turn out.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

2.14B Valentine's Day snicker

I went to the grocery store this afternoon about 4:30. The parking lot was full to overflowing. They had a large space at the front devoted to selling custom wrapped bouquets and candy, with 20 guys hanging about trying to make choices. Ordinary ratios of women to men at the grocery store are 2:1 or 3:2 - today, it was more like 1:5 or 1:8. In the far back corner of the store, where they keep the cards, Valentine's cards for spouses were in the corner. Cards for husbands on the left, cards for wives on the right, all in the first three feet of shelf space from the exact middle of the corner. Six guys were piled into the corner, trying not to step on each other, as they anxiously juggled flowers, balloons, candy and cards, trying to pick the right one.

2.14 C is for combo

Occasionally, having a stash is a good thing. When you have one thing in hand, and can reach into the stash for something to go with it...

This orange/purple tussah was an impulse buy at Fingerlakes Fiber Fest, bought because I'm a color-junky. I had no particular plan in mind for it and it doesn't go with anything I have.

However, when I gave it some serious thought, I remembered a bit of fiber from the end of a dye-day. This was a greyish-brown top from Dunnose Head Farm. I stuffed it in the acid bath and then in baggies with too little dye, giving lovely splotches of purple and turquoise across the brown. It goes very well with the orange and purple don't you think?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

2.13 Done.

For today, at least. My code works.
I started working on it at 9:30 this morning. It worked at 9:14 this evening. I've mailed it off to him and I'm shutting down before he can complain about anything else.

I got a little bit of spinning done today, but nothing else - sorry. Tomorrow, pictures.
It's even supposed to be sunny!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

2.12 Projects

1. Finished spinning the orange/purple tussah today - two nice bobbinsful.
2. Finished knitting the back of the Rogue for K.
3. Finished knitting the left front of the upper body of the Rogue and am ready to start on the right.
4. Found the perfect fiber to put with the orange/purple tussah - not the one I had in mind, but perfect nevertheless.

A good fiber day. Now maybe tomorrow the light will cooperate so we can have a good picture day too.

Monday, February 11, 2008

2.11 Birthday's begin

The family birthdays for the year start with my mother's. February 11th. We start slowly, 1 in February, a break, 2 in May, 1 in June, 1 in July, 1 in August, 1 in September, 2 in October, 3 in November, 2 in December, 1 in January.

(By strict accounting, S's birthday, January 4th, is the start of the new year, but conceptually, he winds up being the tag end of the Christmas/New Year's holiday season, often belated and an afterthought, although we try hard to avoid that trap.)

Mom is 75 this year.

Happy Birthday Mom!

2.10 Modern conveniences

Does it really make me happier to know (in the comfort of my own home and without ever setting foot outside) that the temperature outside is dropping by a degree or more every half hour?

From a high of 30 in the morning, to 20 by noon, and then dropping like a rock in the evening.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

2.9 orange/purple tussah

More tussah silk from Just Our Yarn - this is purple and orange and all the shades in between. I have thoroughly enjoyed spinning this, but have been at somewhat of a loss as to what else to put with it. (I put some of it with the grey merino/silk earlier, but I'm tired of grey.)
I did have an inspiration yesterday and am looking forward to working with it!

Friday, February 08, 2008

2.8 This space intentionally left blank

Mostly because my mind is a complete blank.

On the good side, it isn't raining and freezing any more, just drizzling snow at a temperature that might preclude more sleet for a while.
And on the even better side, my software is making progress.
(On the down side, the software isn't done yet, so there is always the chance it will leap out upon me and savage me yet again tomorrow, but that's a problem for tomorrow.)
(Also on the down side, my knitting partner couldn't get together for our 2nd Friday knitting night because she has bronchitis, which is the pits.)
On the good side, because I didn't stay out knitting til 9, I finished the rest of my weekly homework (not to be confused with my project homework) and now I get to go put my woolie socks on and sit on the sofa and knit and go to bed early.

I'm slowly working my way through the abc-along blogroll, adding them to my personal blogroll. I started by grabbing the (unfinished) blogroll in its entirety, but I didn't wait until the list was done. I figured that since I was going to have to go through the blogroll one by one to figure out which ones I was missing or I was going to have to dump the whole thing and start over (but I couldn't remember exactly how I did it and don't have the energy to look it all up again). So I compromised - I dumped it and I'm going through the list one blog at a time.

I know, I'm weird. But, there is a method to my madness. This time, since I'm adding them one at a time and since bloglines shows the most recent 10 posts when you add a new one, I'm taking a quick peek at the entries before I decide to keep them. I'm honestly not planning to add all 200+ blogs to my blogroll permanently. (That would way more than double the number of entries on my blogroll.) Some blogs are already on my list - I don't need duplicates. Some blogs are already on my nerves - having them around for a year (more or less) will annoy the heck out of me. (I don't plan to point out which they are and, not that I think anyone will, I'd rather people didn't point it out for me.) Having signed up for the abc-along, I'd like to watch what other people do with it as well. At the end of the year, I plan to dump the list. Or at least, what's left of it after moving any that become favorites to my main list.

I'm just happy that most of the abc-along-ers have not also signed up for blog365. I couldn't stand the pace.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

2.7 Snow and ice

Sleet, rain
Clouds spitting
Moisture to freeze
On contact, in sheets,
Or in icicles hung
From eaves, or from car bumpers -
Improbably connecting drive
and vehicle frozen immobile,
Waiting for sun to set off brilliant sparks.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

2.6 Ice storm (again)

It rained, as promised, last night, then turned to sleet. This morning we have neatly framed yards in front. Each lawn is mostly bare, where the previous snow had been melted and washed away. Each driveway where the owner had shoveled the drive has a line of white along the edges, where it was just thick enough to resist melting. Each side of the road has a heavier line of white where the plow just came through, shoving the current mess of water/sleet/ice pellets off the main part of the road and onto the lawn. (What's up with that? they actually plowed our little spur. Last time it snowed they skipped our entire street altogether - maybe someone complained?)
When I get tired of working on software, I'll go out and scrape at the ice on the drive.
The kitties are at the kitty entertainment center, being entertained. At last count, we have 5 mourning doves, 6 dark-eyed juncos, 4 house finches, 1 black capped chickadee and 1 downy woodpecker at the various bird feeders. I'm going to have to fill the feeders this afternoon. Another possibility for a planned break when I get fed up with software.
No word from my partner - I suspect his attempt at solving our problem didn't succeed any better than mine.
The wind is starting to pick up, starting to howl around the edges of the house, making things creak just a bit and throwing handsfuls of gritty ice at the windows. Time for a shower, warmer clothes than my schlep-around-the-house-dress, and then, procrastination time over, it will be time to go to work.
There are times when I hate software, mostly when it isn't working.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

2.5 the end of a long day

It's amazing how quickly time can fly with software development isn't working well. I spent all afternoon on it, with very little to show for it except a number of attempts that didn't work. We'll see if my partner has made any further progress when he calls it quits tonight.
This winter has been extremely annoying. (Side note - we've lived here four winters now - no two have been the same.) In fact, it may be the most annoying one we've experienced yet. Last winter was too warm and dry, way into January. The winter before was cold and sort of snowy; the one previous to that was very cold and extremely snowy (the piles o'snow by the driveway were over my head at times).
This winter has been a yoyo. Three or four days of 20+F weather, three or four days of 40 or 50+ F weather. Lots of "wintery mix".
Today it rained. 45F. Tonight, we're supposed to get a cold blast again - rain followed by sleet, followed by wintery mix tomorrow. 1-4 inches of the stuff. Yick.

Monday, February 04, 2008

2.4 merino/silk - a failure in the system

This is the basic clump-o-fiber I've been pulling handfuls from for the charcoal merino/silk worsted-style spinning I was working on. I decided to see how it would look spun long draw.

Doesn't look too bad does it?

Appearances are deceptive. This turns out to be a rather yucky yarn. The fiber prep isn't conducive to long draw without significant rework I'm not willing to give it.

Time for plan B.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

2.3 rogue sleeves

Sleeves. Two of them. Ready for washing and blocking and waiting while I finish the body.
Some progress is being made, albeit very, very slowly.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

2.2 Poetry reading for St. Brigid's Day

Now Winter Nights Enlarge
by Thomas Campion
Now winter nights enlarge
The number of their hours;
And clouds their storms discharge
Upon the airy towers.
Let now the chimneys blaze
And cups o’erflow with wine,
Let well-turned words amaze
With harmony divine.
Now yellow waxen lights
Shall wait on honey love
While youthful revels, masques, and courtly sights
Sleep’s leaden spells remove.

This time doth well dispense
With lovers’ long discourse;
Much speech hath some defense,
Though beauty no remorse.
All do not all things well;
Some measures comely tread,
Some knotted riddles tell,
Some poems smoothly read.
The summer hath his joys,
And winter his delights;
Though love and all his pleasures are but toys,
They shorten tedious nights.

Friday, February 01, 2008

2.1 Finished tussah

Two skeins of tussah silk. The top one is the one I finished first. They won't be suitable for using together as I wasn't very careful about keeping the draft of the second consistent with the first.

Skein 1: 2 ply tussah silk, 12 grams, 575 yards, 19800 ypp.
Skein 2: 2 ply tussah silk, 12 grams, 386 yards, 14600 ypp.

Both are definitely laceweight, but the difference will be noticeable.
The fiber was from Just Our Yarn.