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.