Saturday, September 25, 2010

9.25 The 3 dwarfs are here...

Grumpy, Sneezy, Sleepy...

It's been oddly busy and dull here. I'm annoyed at various people and institutions. I've dumped flickr/yahoo since they can't figure out how to accept payment from me and keep telling me that I need to change something (unspecified) about how I am paying them. The final straw was the follow-up email they sent me Question: How was our customer service? Answer: Piss poor. Response: Dead silence. I'm giving photobucket a try for a year, but am disinclined to want to learn a new interface, so it's a struggle make myself get started.

Bloglines is finally going tits-up so I'm transferring my blogroll to google reader. All sorts of op-ed pieces will tell me that RSS feed aggregators are so old school, but frankly, I like having my blog feeds all in one place. It's annoying to move them one at a time, but I'm fixing up the dead-ends as I go and dumping the ones that haven't updated in three years (waving sadly goodbye to some people). I am adding a few new ones, so the list is likely to be longer than it was.

I wish the weather would just settle into fall - ramping up into summertime heat (93 yesterday) and then dumping into fall (62 projected today) is playing havoc with my sleep cycle.

I've been harvesting potatoes and carrots and tomatoes and eggplant. The eggplant has taken the recent string of chilly weather unhappily and may not continue with the dozen or so inch long eggs. The tomatoes I planted this year were Black Cherry tomatoes. They are a nice little cherry tomato to eat out of hand, but not acidic enough for my primary use for tomatoes, which is with cottage cheese. I think I'll switch back to the Sungolds next year.

We had a nice, if chilly, time at the Fingerlakes Fiber Fest. We ran into some people serendipitously but the weather wasn't really encouraging for lounging. The alpacas and the angora bunnies and the shetland sheep were wonderful as usual. The Artichoke French guy was there, but the line was always a dozen people deep, so we tried the lamb sausage people instead. Very tasty. I did buy a few things, but it's all very dull picture fodder - packets of dye stuffs and a couple of packages of beans from the bean soup ladies. We were mostly looking for things for a friend of mine and I did my best to enable her. She tried a bunch of spindles but decided she likes the Tracy Eichheim she's borrowed from me best. She did get some lovely CVM/silk to work on spinning next.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

9.7 Ten on Tuesday

Ten things to do before the end of summer...

1. School supply shopping.
2. Changing of the guard in the garden - out with the parsley and the lettuce; in with the broccoli and maybe some cabbages.
3. See about harvesting the potatoes. It's my first year with potato grow bags and I'm curious to see how it turned out.
4. Put the boat in storage. This means a trip to the Hudson Valley where J's brother puts it in his shed for us.
5. Harvest the Northern Spy apples and get them put in the freezer.
6. Revamp the garage once the boat is out of it. I think we can toss the umpteen shoes and boots that K&S have outgrown, dispose of the oddments of fish tank stuff we haven't used in three years and re-arrange the garden tools.
7. A walk or two along the shore of the lake (Ontario), before the cold winds of fall make that undesirable. It's amazing how cool the lake breezes can be even when it's really hot.
8. Finish up the hats for fall soccer viewing. My standard go-to hat for winter weather is a spiffy red-and-white, to go along with my red coat. S's school colors are blue-and-gold. I got shunted into the red-and-white-school-colors seating section last year, apparently based on the hat I was wearing. People looked at me funny when I cheered the keeper making a save against the red-and-white team. This was not a problem at all games, naturally, but I decided I needed a blue-and-gold hat, regardless of my coat color.
9. Finish up the shawl on the needles. I'm tired of looking at it.
10. Finish up the cross stitch on the q-snaps. Ditto. Although this has been hanging about much longer than the shawl has.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

9.4 Random babble

I'm so glad it's moving into September. The temperature outside is 67F and we have the windows open and I'm actually wearing long pants vs. shorts for the first time in, oh, what feels like six months. Probably really only 3, but when one is hot, time drags.


K is at a car wash fundraiser. She went to it dressed as though today were yesterday (you know, when it was still 89F). I took pity on her and went back after a while with a jacket and sweatpants.


J is working on the car (the power steering suddenly has no power steering fluid). He has just come back from the store (for the umptieth time getting tools and parts and...). He found himself in the plumbing aisle at the hardware store, chatting with a fellow getting plumbing parts. I'll spare you the recitation of their conversation, except to say that at some point the guy's eyes glazed over and after a blank moment, he said "you must be an engineer".

I fell apart laughing.


It's September so it's only two weeks to Fingerlakes Fiber Fest. I don't need any fiber, I don't particularly need any tools... Tell me why I'm going again?

oh, right. Never mind ;-)

I'll be there on Sunday because I have to work the gate for a couple of hours. I'm still debating whether I want to go on Saturday too. I suppose I ought to look at the schedule.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

9.2 Serendipity

I went to dyeing at the Genesee Country Village a few weeks ago. It's the first time I've gotten there this summer and I suddenly realized I didn't have much to take to dye. I'd like to dye the other end of the Zephyr cone, but I can't until I've finished the Dayflower. I've dyed up all my other whites/naturals in yarn already, and short of going out to buy more or getting cracking on spinning some naturals, all I had left to dye was fiber. So... top it was.

I chained a length of it, and when I got there, realized I had forgotten any cheesecloth. Since we're dyeing in open kettles and the fibers get knocked around a bit, it's a good idea to wrap up any fiber in a cheesecloth sack to help reduce felting and/or drifting apart. I borrowed a bit of cheesecloth that had seen previous duty. The white top went into a tin mordant bath in the yellow cheesecloth, and when it came out, the color on the cheesecloth had transferred to the top directly touching it. Having taken a good look at what I then had, I decided against putting the top into the tansy bath waiting for it and put it directly into the indigo bath.

It isn't what I started out to do (tin/tansy/indigo) but I like the result.


The grey will have to wait its turn.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

8.31 Ten on Tuesday

Ten ways to lighten my mood:

1. Go to the African Violet or Orchid Show.
2. Read a frivolous book.
3. Snorgle a baby.
4. Put a lively jig on the CD and dance while doing the dishes. Best done when my kids are not at home as their jeering snickering annoys me again.
5. An audiobook on the MP3 and my spinning wheel with something long draw. Or short draw as long as it isn't too slippery or matted or VM-y or...
6. Soak in the jacuzzi. Possibly with company of the right sort. Kids and cats are out.
7. A nap in front of the fan. Or the fire, depending on the season.
8. Sit and knit.
9. Laugh with my kids. Or a friend. Even long distance is good.
10. Watch a funny movie. Or dig out the Looney Tunes.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sunday, August 29, 2010

8.29 Grey stuff

Two years in a row I bought the same sheep's fleece from Whitefish Bay. It was a spotted grey and white. Last year I shipped both fleeces off to a small processor and got a nice note back that my fleeces were in the queue and I'd hear something back in about 15 months. 13.5 months later, here they are.


Well worth the wait.


So now I have 11 pounds of perfectly wonderful Corriedale roving, suitable for short or long draw, that's going to make a lovely tweedy yarn. One of the nicest preparations I've tried spinning.

They also returned this to me:


I've never had anyone return the discarded fiber to me. I'm not sure what to do with other than use it for mulch. Ideas?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

8.26 What I did on my summer vacation

One of the nice things about living on the east coast for the past few years, is that we've been able to visit Lac Brompton every summer. Sur l'eau is still there, although S is quite a bit bigger than he was when we moved back east. (Upstairs is the living quarters, downstairs is the boat house/shower house; the whole thing straddles a stream, which is completely verboten nowadays, but Sur l'eau is grandfathered in.)


The lake is getting built up quite a bit, but we're at the quiet end and it's still quiet except on the weekends.


The stump is a remnant of days gone by when the whole area belong to the logging company - it sits in the bay at the end of the channel for the stream and collects up gravel. The gravel forms "Duck Island",


which varies in size from 1-duck to 8-duck, depending on how recently it has rained a great deal. When we arrived it was an 8-duck island, but after raining a bit on each of 3 days, it was down to just 1-duck capacity.

Mostly we had mallards (as usual, up to 21 at a time), but there was also a family of mergansers that came by each morning to fish in the bay.


The last morning, there was also a mink. I almost got its picture as it was checking out the shore and the boats, but just as I went to focus, it suddenly made a splashing dash for Duck Island, much to the annoyance of the mergansers.


After poking about on the stump, it took off swimming across the bay and we didn't see it again.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

8.15 Maggie again


I'm reasonably pleased with how the Maggie BFL is coming out. I'm not entirely happy with my long draw yet, but it is approaching consistency, even if only asymptotically.

Friday, August 13, 2010

8.13 Spindling silk and angora

When we first moved to Rochester (6 years ago), I acquired some blue tussah silk in Denim Blue. 3 oz - such a huge amount! (not)


When I started spinning it on the Lollipop, I plied it two ply silk - one ply angora. When I ran out of angora, I didn't lose interest particularly, just immediacy. Other things came and went, and I kept working on the silk rather desultorily.


When I ran across it again (that stash rearrangement!) I decided I wanted to finish it during the TdF. I didn't make the deadline, but I did finish it on our trip to the B&B.

I spun for a while one evening while the resident cat snuggled on the sofa near me. Not a cat used to spindles, every time the spindle spun she alerted on it and watched like a hawk. As soon as I took the spindle back in my hand, she relaxed again.

The next morning I spun again while waiting for breakfast and between then and the time we quit gabbing with the innkeepers, I managed to get it all finished up!


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

8.11 Progress report

Dayflower Daydream is moving slowly (almost 500 stitches per round now), but it is still cranking along. I think I'll have enough yarn for another shawl after this...


Saturday, August 07, 2010

8.7 Summer fun

While both teenagers were away, J and I ran away for a couple of nights at a B&B. (Bristol Views Bed and Breakfast in Naples, NY. Converted old farmhouse, lovely views, great place to stay.) We went hiking along the Finger Lakes Trail early in the morning before it got too hot, and then we went down to Grimes Glen.

I got Grimy Gulch stuck in my head and never can remember the name of the place, but fortunately for me, I took a picture.

We had been told that the bridge was out at the beginning of the trail (true) but that it was not too hard to ford the creek (mostly true) and the waterfalls were great to see (completely true.)


In fact, the valley is all shale, mostly crumbling away and the trail sort-of goes up each side of the creek.


We observed that we had come ill-prepared for the hike - the locals all wore water shoes and followed the trail on one side until it crumbled away, then sloshed across the creek to the other side for a while.


When I slipped and got one foot soggy on the way back down the creek, I gave up and followed local custom. I had sandals in the car and the sun was hot enough my shoes were dry by the next morning.

Friday, August 06, 2010

8.6 Summertime...

and the livin' is crazy. Weirdness abounds.

Among other things, S has returned from 10 days with 36000 other scouts. He's tanned, tired, taller (?), and not enthused about turning around and heading out the door again three days later. Not that he doesn't want to go, but that he doesn't want to get ready to go. Oh, well, since he wants to go, he's just going to have to suck it up.

I had a small chat with his scoutmaster and heard things that can only make a mother's heart glow - helpful, polite, friendly, volunteered for potentially sucky stuff that didn't actually come to pass but doesn't negate the fact that he did volunteer...

K is to return tomorrow - can't wait to see her.

I've gotten a bunch of spinning done, pictures to follow.

I've gotten a bunch of knitting done, pictures ditto.

A long time ago, I was working on an afghan for S. A Taste of Aran Afghan. 20 blocks. I had a bunch of blocks finished when I misplaced the pattern (boo!). About a year later, I found the pattern again (yay!) caught up with a bunch of magazines. By that time I had misplaced the bag with the project in it (boo!). When I did my massive re-arrangement of the spare bedroom (repository of the Stash), I actually found myself with my hands on both of these items (yay!). It turned out I had 14 of the blocks done and one in progress. I now have 16 of the blocks done and one in progress. I might actually finish all the blocks before I lose the project again!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

7.24 Progress Report


Dayflower Daydream is coming along. Slowly. Tinking three rows of over 400 stitches each didn't improve either my mood or my progress. Realizing that it's more than 400 stitches and only going to get worse with the next repeat makes me a little giddy. No wonder it took so long.

Actually, realizing that it's more than 400 stitches already makes me want to go double check that I need another repeat. I would be really pissed if I did another 40 rows and didn't need to.

ETA - Sadly a lifeline wouldn't have helped because on each row I was tinking, I kept thinking that the problem was just with the row previous and if I could just back up that far I'd be fine. I don't think I would have ripped to a lifeline unless it had been just right there. My problem was that three-rows-ago I did the double decrease in the first section and then didn't do it in the next 7 sections. So my numbers worked out in the first section, but not in any following sections...

I've now checked, and ::le sigh:: it does specifically say each section will have 72 stitches when I'm done and there are 8 sections altogether, ergo 576 stitches total. Another repeat it is.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

7.22 Odd Thursday

J is down at Geneseo helping to setup for the NYPower rocket launch this weekend (the weather is looking icky for that but hope springs eternal).

S is upstairs avoiding gathering up stuff for packing for his trip to VA on Sunday.

In theory I'm sewing patches on uniforms, but I notice a little avoidance going on here as well.


This is BFL from High Bid Farm, in the Maggie colorway. Maggie is a perfectly beautiful brindled boxer. I got to meet her on Saturday when we met at the farm for spinning guild. Maggie had a great run (Bad Maggie!) when one of the Shetland rams got out - she chased him until she herself was finally caught. The ram was hot and bothered for quite a while after that. Maggie sat in the shade and visited with us after that, not repentant at all.

I have about 3/4 pound of this color, and another 1/4 pound of a darker shade. Depending on how much yardage I get, I'm thinking the body of the sweater in this shade and cuffs and ribbings in the darker shade.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

7.20 Ten on Tuesday

10 things to take when camping

1. Sleeping pad. Preferably an air mattress. My bones are too old for sleeping on the ground.
2. Sleeping bag or other night covering, suitable to the weather. A sheet in the summer; a lightweight bag in the fall; our zip together winter bags when there's snow on the ground.
3. Pillow. Gotta have a pillow regardless of the weather.
4. Tent. Or possibly a trailer. Or even a camper. J likes to sleep under the stars, which is ok for one night, maybe two, but gets old quickly. A cot is good if there isn't a tent - I'll never forget the little crabby footieprints under the people's cots when we camped out at the beach. I want the crabs Under the Cot, not Walking Over Me.
5. Cookstove. Cooking over a fire is fun as a side amusement, but I want reliable heat for tea water in the morning.
6. Enough clothes.
7. Enough food.
8. A book to read.
9. Sturdy shoes to go for a walk.
10. Something with which to stifle any drunken neighbors. A bludgeon comes to mind, particularly when I recall the idiots who decided it was a good idea to kill a skunk (by stoning it) upwind of us. We went home early that time.

Monday, July 19, 2010

7.19 Okay...

K is in Nicaragua on a summer exchange for four weeks. I got a note from her recently which said, in part, "we went up to a lake in a volcano and went swimming... There was a place about 25 feet up where you could jump in, but I thought it was too high so I only did that three times."

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

7.13 Ten on Tuesday

10 things I like about where I live

1. College town. Not that I am enamoured of college students en masse, but where there are college towns, there are often side benefits. Cheap entertainment for one - lots of possibilities for music, theater and museums.
2. Guilds. Embroidery, weavers, crochet, knit, spinning, lacers...
3. Farmer's markets abound.
4. Lots of parks - by the Lake, by the river, in the hills.
5. Skiing within easy reach in the wintertime.
6. Yarn shops. Possibly too many to be self sustaining for the long haul, but having 5 real yarn shops within easy reach is really nice.
7. Six months of nice weather, three of ok weather and two or three of hot muck. The odds are good. Having real seasons is a major plus after living in CA for so long.
8. A real bicycle race in the summer time to go see.
9. Having a real rocket guild is a plus for J and when he's happy with his hobbies I can enjoy mine with a clear mind.
10. Having an expensive school system is expensive (and somewhat wasteful ::sniff::) but I will say we're getting our money's worth for the most part. Three more years to go and we'll be through with public school.

Monday, July 05, 2010

7.5 Spinning some Brownie

It looks rather like a poster child for bad craigslist photos of spinning wheels for sale, but for some reason, piling the fiber on top of the flyer keeps the cats from thinking it's a cat toy. Why? Dunno.

This is the next to the last bit of the Fudge Brownie I was complaining about but I finally mastered it. Unlike most of the top I've been spinning for a very long time, this roving has a right end and a wrong end for smooth drafting. Guess who started from the wrong end? On the whole, this was probably not a bad thing as I would have been completely flummoxed had I accidentally started from the right end and then gotten the wrong end the next time I bought some. That would have been worse.

With the right end, this is lovely lovely stuff to spin.

And who would have guessed? With the right prep and the right spinning technique (and the right end!) I too can be one of those people obnoxiously mentioning that this four ounces of spinning only took a couple of hours while I watched a World Cup game. You watch now - the next four ounces will take a week (or more) as I'm shifting to top, short draw, and sport weight.

And we won't at all go into the two ounces of silk that I have been working on for more than four years. Nope, we won't discuss that at all.

This is all that's left - do you suppose that I can finish it this summer?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

6.29 Ten on Tuesday (what, again already?)

This summer is scooting on by - one teenager is leaving for a month in 12 days and the other is leaving for 10 days in about three weeks. I'm trying to get everything in order for them to do this, which at the moment seems to involve spending a bunch of money on clothes.

I finished another skein of the malabrigo lace-and-silk. I bought a bunch more fiber I didn't need, but which is yummy.* I got a few more rounds on my newest shawl done. Do I have pictures of anything? I do not.

I got a few more weeds pulled in the flower beds. I'm fighting a losing battle with the asiatic lily beetles, and am seriously thinking of retrenching on the asiatic lilies for a few years. I can't afford to treat all the ones I have with the insecticide. If I reduce the number I have, I might have a fighting chance. Redoing the bed that was dug up for the sewer pipe took valuable weeding time away from the other beds which are all looking rather ragged at the moment, and the beds that have mostly asiatic or oriental lilies look as though they've been hit by the weed eater.

10 books on my reading list for the summer:

1. the Mrs. Pollifax series by Dorothy Gilman. I got started reading those again and will undoubtedly go through them all before I'm done. I read them as they originally came out and they fit into their times well. They were written over a period of 20 (30?) years though, and the elapsed time in the character's life is perhaps 5-7? The political changes of 30 years shoved into 5 makes it a little dizzying and a willing suspension of disbelief goes a long way when reading the whole series in a row.
2. Death and Life of the Great American School System by Diane Ravich. A recent recommendation I've got on hold at the library.
3. Learning to Weave by Deborah Chandler. Like I need something else to do.
4. The Know-it-all by A.J.Jacobs. I read My Year of Living Biblically a few years ago and have wanted to read some more of his books.
5. The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose. An unlikely book, but highly recommended to me.
6. Bonds of Justice by Nalini Singh. The next in a series I've been reading this spring - romance genre with a mix of fantasy/SF. Read the series in order.
7. Angel's Blood by Nalini Singh. This book and the previous one are on order and I'll get them sometime.
8. Repect the Spindle by Abby Franquemont. A belated birthday present, held up with the previous two awaiting publication of number 6.
9. Cast in Chaos by Michelle Sagara. Maybe this summer, maybe some time. Next in another series that I'm thoroughly enjoying.
10. The Sleeping Beauty by Mercedes Lackey. Assuming the library gets it in when it first comes out...

*I've noticed recently (for the umpteenth time) that I seem to go through cycles of attraction to colors. A quick look through the last year's spinning would show almost all variations on red. It would appear the new color cycle will be brown. My current spinning is Fudge Brownie and I just bought a pound and a half pound of shades of brown. I have very little brown in my spinning UFOs or stash, so after that 1.5 pounds, then what will I do? Switch colors or buy more brown? Lay your bets now...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

6.22 10 on Tuesday

10 ways to entertain a child

(How old a child? How much space do I have to work with?)

1. Play I Spy. This is good for many ages - for older kids just pick harder things.
2. Play Ghost. This is good for kids who are fairly confident with their spelling, or for those who need practice with their spelling, and has lasted us for many miles in the car after dark.
3. Play 20 questions.
4. Read them a story.
5. Tell them a story (stories of their parents' adventures as kids seem to be particularly fascinating).
6. Hand them a book.
7. Take them to a park.
8. Share telling a story - each person adds 2 or 3 sentences to the story as it goes.
9. Play cat's cradle.
10. Play My Aunt... and work your way through the alphabet.

Re: The merino and silk - modifying previously spun yarn is not even close to being an original idea. Go for it and have a blast. Merino is one of the fibers that does tend (in my experience) to be stretched out during the spinning process and then to shrink up again when it gets wet. It has an awful lot of natural crimp to the fiber. Silk doesn't shrink much at all, having no crimp, and the combination winds up being a yarn that poofs out on the merino side. I happen to like the effect, but if you want a symmetrical looking yarn it wouldn't be the way to go. It looks sort of faux boucle in effect and when it is knit up.

Alternatively, one could take two skeins of the Malabrigo lace, add twist to each and then ply them together for an all merino yarn, which would possibly be closer to fingering than lace, but I had an odd number of skeins to work with and wanted to keep it in a laceweight yarn.

Monday, June 21, 2010

6.21 Spinning, of a sort

I acquired some Malabrigo lace recently, and as I started looking into suitable projects for it, I realized that there are a fair number of people who are complaining that it felts in the skein, or as it is being knit up. (That is, there are enough people complaining that there are a fair number of people mocking the people complaining.)

There are also a fair number of people who claim they had no trouble and have no idea what the complainers are talking about.

Closer examination of the facts in the case: Malabrigo lace is made from baby merino, is a single, and is loosely spun. As a spinner, I would expect a singles yarn to be loosely spun (it has no balancing force of a second ply (or more) and without the balance, the fabric would tend to bias) but making a singles yarn with merino wouldn't be where I would think to start.


So... I modified it just a bit. I ran it through the wheel and added some more twist (turning it from a low twist single to a moderately twisted single) then plied it back with a single of silk I had laying about.


Part of the skein was felting in the skein, so I'm glad I did it. When I get round to knitting with it, I'll report back on the felting (or not).

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

6.15 Ten on Tuesday

Ten reasons to do Ten on Tuesday:

1. Gets me off my duff and makes me put something on the blog.
2. Interesting topics (for the most part) that make me ponder a bit.
3. Having pondered it, I'm interested in what other people thought.
4. Having pondered it, I can make my kids read it too.
5. I enjoy reading the comments people make about my lists.
7. It helps me find new blogs I might like to read.
9. It gets me out of my rut, making me write on topics I wouldn't think to do otherwise.
10. It's fun.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

6.5 Drive by posting

End of school-year rush continues STOP S away camping this weekend STOP K's recital this afternoon STOP Houseful of people still here STOP No knitting or spinning taking place here STOP Further bulletins as time allows STOP

ETA:: Recital went fine STOP J reports Sewer Line Backing Up AAAAAAGGGGGHHHH STOP

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

6.2 What do you mean it isn't Tuesday?

Monday holidays always throw me off - I wind up starting the week behind the eight-ball. This week is going to be particularly busy as we work through the end-of-school-year-rush with everything. S has a Track Banquet, a soccer game, a camping trip, another soccer game and a band concert all in the next 7 days. K has late practices with her Show Choir, a choral concert, tryouts for next year's school play. The grandparents (all four of them) are scheduled to arrive today to attend the Concerts and the weather report says we're likely to have heavy thunderstorms, hail and high winds. oh joy. I'm not sure J is going sailing this evening.

I have somewhere between 2 and 7 people to feed dinner tonight.

The tryouts for the play are the beginnings of bittersweet for K - the beginnings of the "last times". The last high school play, the last Winter concert, the last Spring concert, the last Solofest, the last...

So, what do I want to tell a high school graduate?

  1. Not knowing at 18 what you want to do for the rest of your life is ok.
  2. Even if you do know at 18 what you want to do for the rest of your life, you'll probably change your mind along the way and that's ok too.
  3. Life's too short to spend brooding over other people's craziness.
  4. Make room in your life for things that matter to you; don't get so caught up in things you "should" do that you ignore the things you need.
  5. Don't ignore your health - you won't be 18 and invulnerable forever.
  6. Other people will let you down at times. You will let other people down at times. This is a sign of being human; what matters is what they and you do about mistakes.
  7. Your happiness is not other people's problem (likewise, their happiness is not your problem). The pursuit of happiness is all we're promised. Sitting around waiting for someone to make you happy is a recipe for unhappiness.
  8. Allow yourself to stay open to new ideas and experiences - don't ignore things just because you've "never done that before".
  9. Learn new things. College can be an excellent place to do this (as well as helping you get better jobs, etc). College isn't the only place, however, and many people will be happy to teach you about their particular passion if you simply ask questions.
  10. Learn to stand on your own two feet - even if you want and have friends and/or partner(s) in life, you will be a better friend and partner if you can bear your own burden and not be one. That is not to say that having friends and partners can't make life sweeter - sharing burdens and joys as you go can be a blessing. Just don't require it of other people or let them demand it of you. Dumping on someone is not the same thing as sharing

And my favorite aphorism: Life is what happens while you're making other plans.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

5.27 Dayflower Daydream

Thanks everybody for the nice compliments on Blue Cocoon. It was a good knit - written instructions only, which made a change from the past few projects before it, and a good prep for the current project, Dayflower Daydream, which is both written and charted, but for which I'm finding the written instructions easier to follow.


It's a circular shawl, in eight panels. It starts with Pattern A, which makes a wedge. Once you get to row 40, you continue in Pattern B on the established wedge (which makes a column) and start a new Pattern A in each panel. Once you reach row 80, you start a new Pattern A and continue with two columns of pattern B...

I have this feeling that by the time I get to the point where I have 3 or 4 (?) columns of pattern B I'm going to have a bazillion stitch markers color and size coded for each repeat.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

5.23 Cocoon shawl

A friend of mine was a sweetheart and took some pictures for me. Ummm... a month ago, apparently, looking at the date stamp.



I finished it about a week before that (before we left for the Okefenokee).

Blue Cocoon, also known as the Cocoon Stitch Half-Circle Shawl from Martha Waterman's Traditional Knitted Lace Shawls, knitted up using the blue DHF/silk I spun up earlier.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

5.20 Been plying...

I've not gotten much spinning done of late, but there has been a bit of plying going on:

Spindle spun BFL (from High Bid Farm)



my rustic yarn all plied up, rinsed and air-dried.


That's all there is of the BFL (unless I buy another bit of top, which would be a different dye lot) and I haven't measured it yet. It's fingering weight, maybe.

That's about a quarter of the Cotwold (I have a pound of it), but I haven't measured the grist yet. This one should be sport weight or light worsted, something in that range. It should make a nice vest, lightweight and warm.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

5.13 The best thing...

about having a teenager with a license is the ability, as she's heading out the door to take herself and her brother to their music lessons, to hand her a $10 and say "Stop on the way home please and pick up the gallon of milk and loaf of bread I didn't get when I was out earlier."

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

5.11 Ten places that make me happy

1. The 1000 Islands - On the St. Lawrence Seaway, between NY and Ontario, are 300-some odd islands, known as the 1000 islands. Blue waters, lovely scenery, lots of things to do. I'll never forget the day my (then) 8-yo brother took his little kayak and paddled to Canada and back (crossing the sea lane each way) without telling anyone where he was going...

2. Yosemite - One of my favorite places to visit, as long as one avoids the hordes of people on the valley floor. To visit the valley floor, one should go in the off-off season. There are so many different kinds of places to see there, depending on the season and the height one goes to. We went to a star party on Glacier Point - cold but fun, staring at the stars in the clear night. (Before the sun went down, they were letting people look through the telescopes at a camping party across the valley on Half Dome. That is, they were until a couple separated from the rest of the party, went over the edge out of sight from their own party and started taking each other's pants off. At that point, the star party decided it might be best to concentrate on the rising moon in the sky instead.)

3. Washington, DC by night - Having grown up around DC with parents who liked family outings, we spent many a Sunday afternoon in the Smithsonian and visiting the monuments. I discovered visiting the monuments by night as an adult and it's my favorite way to do so. The numbers of people are diminished and the monuments are more beautiful all lit up at night. It's easier to find parking, too!

4. Mendocino - California coastline at its best. I'm not a big sandy beach person, but I love listening to the waves on the rocks, and the restaurants in town are great.

5. Lac Brompton - just north of the Vermont border in Quebec - a long narrow lake with several islands and a cabin on the shore that has belonged to J's family for generations.

6. Powells - the only thing better than a bookstore, is a huge bookstore that goes on for floor after floor after floor.

7. Saturday Market - very few places with lots of people are going to make my top 10, but the Eugene Saturday Market is definitely there. Farmer's market crossed with crafters, along with good food and good entertainment. What more could one ask for?

8. Exploratorium - A wonderful hands-on science museum in San Francisco. We took K&S there several times when they were small. The local science center has a room full of hand-on items loaned from the Exploratorium here in Rochester - not quite the same as having the whole Exploratorium at one's fingertips, but a nice place to go play. It's too bad they've almost outgrown it. When they're in their mid-twenties they might be ready for it again ;-)

9. The Smithsonian - as previously mentioned, we spent many a rainy Sunday afternoon in DC at one or another of the Smithsonian buildings. When we moved back to the East Coast, I seized the opportunity to introduce them to K&S. Doing it from a distance means they've only gotten to each building once, but at this point they've seen most of them, including the big Air and Space museum out near Dulles and the new Native American building.

10. Home.

Friday, May 07, 2010

5.7 Minor question...

Why is it that the day it's convenient for me to go watch S's sporting events is always the day it decides to be cold, windy and rainy?

Watching the 4 x 400 was fun, but not the rain.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

5.4 People...

I'd like to interview.


In alphabetical order:

Natalie Angier - one of my favorite science writers. I started with Woman: An Intimate Geography, which is a book I thoroughly enjoyed, which I've bought or lent to every woman in my family, and which I think every woman should read. I wish she'd a) update it with the latest research and b) write a similar one for men. I want one to hand to my son.

Jasper Fforde - The author of the Thursday Next books, which have such a charming wackiness to them. I want to ask more questions about the Well of Lost Plots.

Lynn Johnston - The cartoonist behind For Better or For Worse. I've lived with her strip for many years and it's given me many, many talking points with my children.

Michelle Obama - I'd love to have a chat with her about domestic matters.

Michael Ruhlman's wife - The author of Making of a Chef, etc. was married when he was going to school and learning to cook, then writing all about it. His married life was just backstory, but I'd love to have her take on it.

Most of the rest of the people I'd like interview would be bad for my blood pressure as most of my questions would start out "What the hell were you thinking when..."

Friday, April 30, 2010

4.30 Out of my comfort zone...

Meet Fudge Brownie. From Nistock Farms, one of our local shepherds, this is Cotswold roving, not the BFL or Merino/silk or DHF fine wool top that has made up the bulk of my spinning for the past couple of years. I'm working on going for woolen yarn, not worsted, and retaining the soft loftiness of the fiber prep. The result is not entirely satisfactory, but that's the fault of the spinner, not the fiber.


I keep getting little slubs where the leading end of the fiber isn't being caught into the twist and it sits there all coiled up and smirking at me, although as the bobbin has gone on I think the frequency of occurrence is diminishing.

I think that we'll have to label this yarn "rustic".

Thursday, April 29, 2010

4.29 Finished yarn


I actually finished spinning and plying the darkest skein here the day before we left on vacation, but it was wet and dripping - not good photo fodder. You might recall that this started out like this:


I think I like the way it turned out. I was thinking I would turn this into a shawl, but now I'm not sure. I'm now pondering the thought of a vest. It doesn't really matter at this precise moment, as it's at least three and possible four back in the knitting queue. Plenty of time to think and decide.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

4.28 The Okefenokee

A number of people have inquired - why the Okefenokee? Well, because. It seemed like a good idea at the time, and aside from the distance and time to get there and back, it was a good idea.

We did enjoy alligator hunting, and the Okefenokee is unlike any of the other swamps I've been to (actually, each of the swamps I've been to has been different from all the others). There are three entrances to the swamp - we stayed in a cabin in the Stephen C. Foster State Park on the west side. We drove around to the north entrance one day, and K&S went with the g'parents to the east side on the last day of our stay. I've no pictures of the east side which is all 'prairie'*, but will try to get some from K.

The west and north sides have a lot of cypress (bald and pond cypress), loblolly bay and tupelo trees
and we saw a number of different kinds of birds - a pileated woodpecker, several snowy egrets, a great egret, several raptors of various sizes but no identification, swamp turkeys (not related to the wild turkey), and turkey vultures.

Some of the best results of the alligator hunting are:


If I remember correctly, this was a pond turtle

These two were having a stare down
but the ranger's opinion was that the turtle was a bit too large, or the alligator a bit too small for anything to really come of it. The alligators replace their teeth rather as sharks do, but the size of this turtle's shell would probably mean several broken teeth that might be uncomfortable for a while.

The north entrance has another state park, which we did not visit, and a nature/amusement park which we did. Basic entrance fee included a wander around the animal exhibits, a herpetology lecture complete with snake handling and a chance to pet a baby alligator, and a train ride with views of past times in the swamp. Their alligator pen contained a large pond complete with bridge, which one of the six in the pen apparently considered prime napping material.

It was rather interesting - the two largest alligators in the pen had staked out a small mound, which obviously got the most sun with the least moving around necessary. This was the third largest alligator here on the bridge. The fourth, fifth and sixth (sizewise) were relegated to spots that obviously had enough sun to spread out in, but equally obviously would require the alligator to shift position every hour or so to remain completely in the sun. While we were watching, one of them, whose tail was now in the shade, skootched forward by rotating its limbs without ever opening its eyes. One foreleg got hung up on a bit of fern and it just stopped with that foreleg braced on the fern and hanging in mid air. I should be able to nap that soundly!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

4.25 Swamped!

Back from the Okefenokee - mountains of laundry to do, groceries to buy, pics to upload.

The best day of alligator counting was 23. Big alligators, little alligators, baby alligators...

Friday, April 16, 2010

4.16 Eggs!

One of my favorite blog sites is the Rochester Falconcam. It's a funny thing - I like looking at webcams of various raptors, but the only one I follow is the local one. There's just something about knowing that I could go downtown and watch the falcons in person (although I never really do - the closest I get is scanning the airspace around Kodak Tower when we go down there for other reasons).

I also like to keep track of Quest - one of the two-year's-ago brood. She spent a lot of time on the coast of Massachusetts and then moved inland to the shores of Lake Ontario.

There'll be eyases in mid-May!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

4.6 Magazines

Ok - the assignment today is magazines. Do I have 10? Not sure... but I guess we'll see.

1. Spin-Off. I subscribe to this one.
2. Interweave Knits. And this.
3. Popular Science. J subscribes to this one, but I read it.
4. Scientific American. And this.
5. Consumer Reports. I particularly like the last page with the idiotic advertisements outed.
6. Reader's Digest. My MIL subscribes, and I always read them when we visit. Or at the Dr's.
7. For Women Only. An occasional pick up at the grocery store, I never can get over how they manage to juxtapose "Diet this way now" with "A Great Recipe for Chocolate Cake" on the cover. K and I snicker over it and talk about the hidden expectations. They do have occasional interesting recipes.
8. And... and... I'm drawing a blank here. I'm not really a magazine reader. Sorry, just 7 on Tuesday.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

4.3 Crocuses

This is the crocuses at their best - sadly yesterday's 85F caused many of them to wilt, poor things.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

3.24 Overdyeing results

'Member when I was fussing about the lightest one of these?

I dragged out the dye pot for a shawl I wasn't happy with the color of (more about that later), and while I was at it, I threw the pinky skein in. It's still in the same relative position, next to the medium colored red.
I don't think it's too pink any more.