Sunday, September 25, 2011

9.25 Banned Books Week

It’s Banned Books Week this week. Whatcha gonna read? I’ve slowly been working my way through the 100 most challenged books of 1990-1999 and then I suppose I’ll have to start on the ones of 2000-2009 that don’t overlap.

This week I’m going to try The Color Purple, which I’ve never gotten round to reading.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

9.24 Just because

Test my vocabulary

This way I won't have to go take the test again to remember what it was.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

8.17 Experimentation

The trouble with experimentation is that not all experiments are successes. The nature of the beast - it doesn't stop me from experimenting, and yet, I admit in this case to unreasonable disappointment.

Somehow, I expected this (Spice brown colorslide, Polwarth from Dunnose Head Farm):


plus this (Seal brown, silk noil):


to come out with a little bit more varigation that just plain baby-puke brown:

I keep trying to tell myself that it isn't really quite that bad, but I'm unconvinced.

I think I see an overdye pot in my future, but I'll probably spin it up first.

Monday, August 15, 2011

8.15 Wrapping up TdF

This summer is going by in leaps and bounds - I feel like I'm wearing 7 league boots as the world whizzes by. I've been away on vacation and am now back. Photos from that will have to wait until I post the photos from TdF which finished a week (two?) before I left.

I had plans for TdF, and some of them worked and some got sidetracked. I never got around to posting prep pics for the things that worked, and most of the stuff that I did show was sidelined for other things not originally on the radar.

So, this:

and this:

turned into this:

and then this:

and that is as far as that went.


became this:

and this:

and eventually this:

Interrupted by this:

we eventually arrive at this:

And last but not least, I found a project that had gone awol:

and finished spinning it up, now resting on a bobbin, waiting for something to ply it to:

This never did get started during the TdF:

so progress pics on that will have to wait.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

8.14 Daft or brilliant?

I’ve just done something either brilliant or really stupid. I’ve noticed when I do a search on a title in the library catalog that quite often there are multiple books by the same title and it occurred to me that it could be an interesting thing to see what different things could wind up with the same titles. Someone mentioned “Remember Me” a week or two ago in terms that made me write down the title on my “check it out” list, but I didn’t write down the author’s name. There are 12 different books titled Remember Me in the county library - I’ve ordered them all.

Monday, July 04, 2011

7.4 TdF part 2

The second thing I'm working on for the Tour de Fleece is also on a spindle. Ultrafine merino, dyed in Murex purple by Freyalyn. I have 100 grams and I'm shooting for cobweb. Dunno if I'll succeed at that, but I'm trying.


I'm making progress on it, but I doubt I'll finish in the next two weeks...

Saturday, July 02, 2011

7.2 Tour de Fleece time

I'm working on several things for the TdF this year. One of them is starting out with the silk hankies from my box-o-fun.


I had given up hankies a few years ago because prepping them hurt my hands too much. 1 I had been prepping them by poking a hole in the center and then slowly stretching them out into a large circle, before breaking the circle and spinning the result. This puts too much sideways pressure on the fingers and I gave it up and got rid of all my hankies.

Recently, however, someone mentioned spinning hankies by sticking the hook through the middle of the hankie and spinning without pre-stretching. This is working. I still am careful not to spin for too long at a time, but mixing the movements of stretching with spinning in short lengths is being much kinder to my hands that doing the stretching all at once.

I like the result of spinning hankies and caps - long smooth bits of silk mixed with the slubs and bumps. It looks like I'll be able to continue to spin it this way, at least for a while longer.

1 Developing osteoarthritis in the finger joints - it's been mentioned before that getting old is hellish, but now it applies to me. Grump.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

5.29 Birthday fun

If the best gifts are those things that one would thoroughly enjoy, but would not buy for oneself...


My family does do good birthday presents!

Friday, May 27, 2011

5.26 Lacykaty

Sometimes I wonder...

I realized I hadn't posted a picture of the Lacykaty. It wasn't until I had gone the trouble of editing the picture again, and getting it ready to upload that I realized that I've already been through that process and all I really need to do is post the damn thing.

So, herewith is a picture of the Lacykaty.


Made for K of course.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

5.3 Ishbel finished


Awhile back, I showed you a beginning of Ishbel. I finished it ages ago (and K instantly co-opted it), but it's never been photographed. I still need to get her to hold still long enough to get a body shot, but here at least is the closeup of the lace.

Ishbel, handspun grey Corriedale plied with Interlacements Tussah silk that had been dyed in blue/green/red/purple.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

5.1 Dyeing can make me happy

About a month ago, I showed you some spinning I'd been working on. Now that I'm not working both a full time and part time job, I might be able to post more than once a month. (I make no promises.)

I mentioned that I wasn't entirely happy with the dye job on the fiber. It's now been all overdyed with the original parent colors and I am much happier with it.

We have red:

and the knitting that comes from the red (the knitting is much truer to the shade of red, but the yarn pic gives a much better idea of the variation in the color):

And we have blue:

The variation isn't quite as obvious in this picture of the blue, but it does exist in the skein and I'm looking forward to seeing how it comes out in the knitting.

I'm much happier not having such wild variation in color in my knitting, although subtle is nice. I prefer spinning lots of color, but prefer knitting with almost plain. It is a puzzlement, and it does make it difficult to knit with my handspun unless I do something about the color post-spinning.

Monday, April 04, 2011

4.4 Spinning


I have gotten a bit of spinning done lately. DHF that I dyed, not entirely felicitously. I did like the way the spinning came out.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

4.3 Sunbeam shower


Tiger cat trapped in his bathtub. There's something about a sunbeam that just lays a cat out flat.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

4.2 First week...

Monday: Start new job.
Tuesday: Overheard: Person 1: Everybody around here is sick. Person 2: Yep, if you sit here and just listen all you can hear is people coughing and sneezing.
Wednesday: Come home with a sore throat.
Thursday: Wake up with a headache and sneezing.
Friday: Give up in the afternoon and come home early, coughing.
Saturday: Spend all day alternately coughing and napping. I'm going back to bed now.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

2.8.11 Ten on Tuesday

Ten favorite Oscar winning movies.


I rarely pay attention to the Oscars. I've almost never seen the nominees before they get voted on. I usually don't get around to seeing the winners or the rest of the nominees until three or four (or more? ETA: apparently "mostly more", given how few winners I've actually seen!) years later.

I wasn't even sure which movies I had seen were actually Oscar winners.

Google to the rescue on the innernets: Best Pictures

Well, running through the list, I've actually seen 14 of them. I disliked Rocky and Gone with the Wind, leaving me with 12. Ben-Hur was ok, but nothing I'll watch again. The Sound of Music is in the peculiar position of being a movie I liked enough that I watched it over and over, to the point where the music and the movie affect me like nails on a chalkboard. I'll probably never see it again and I switch stations if any of the music ever pops up.

So... My top 10 Oscar Winners:
  1. It Happened One Night
  2. Rebecca
  3. Casablanca
  4. West Side Story
  5. My Fair Lady
  6. Oliver!
  7. The Sting
  8. Amadeus
  9. Forrest Gump
  10. A Beautiful Mind

Sunday, February 06, 2011

2.6.11 Birdfeeder

The birdfeeder in the back yard attracts a variety of birds at this time of year - dark eyed juncos, cardinals, the occasional chickadee, and a flock of mourning doves. Since the dog died last year, we've had crows and squirrels raiding more often; the cats just don't have quite the same effect.

This visitor was a new one:


The best I've been able to figure out, it's a kestrel. They eat rodents and small birds - I'm only surprised I've never seen one at the birdfeeder before.


It stayed for about 20 minutes, and then was gone as suddenly as it arrived.

Friday, February 04, 2011

2.4.11 Apricot Bread

I finally amassed all the ingredients to make one of my favorite breads:

Apricot Bread (based on the version in Beard on Bread)

Preheat oven to 350F.

2 cups [loosely packed] dried California apricots (on the east coast these are harder to find - most everyone carries the Mediterranean which won't make the bread I like).
1 cup boiling water, poured over the apricots to soften them. Wait about 30 seconds and then start pulling the apricots out of the water and start chopping them. I usually just pull a few at a time out, but if they are getting mushy, go ahead and fish them all out at once. Save the water.

Measure the water - add enough to have a full cup of water again.
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 c sugar
2 eggs

Mix water, soda, sugar and eggs together.

2-3/4 c flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 c black walnuts (As with the California apricots, the black walnuts are needed for the proper taste. They're somewhat hard to find around here, but my sister gave me a package for Christmas. )

Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients.

Spray two loaf pans with cooking spray. Divide batter into pans equally. Bake for 45 minutes (until risen and dark golden). Let cool on a rack and enjoy.

Friday, January 21, 2011

1.21.11 Frustrations

  1. Our new(er) computer goes to sleep when not used, to be woken up with a tap on the power button. The screen on the computer goes to sleep before the computer does, to be woken up with a wiggle of the mouse. If one sits down to the computer and thinks that the computer is asleep when it really is only the screen, and therefore taps the power button, the computer powers down instead of waking up. No amount of shrieking - "No you stupid thing, wake up, don't shut down" stops it from its mission at that point.
  2. I've been slowly culling a set of books from the shelves, for the purpose of handing them to S as his next series to read (the Belgariad by David Eddings, FWIW). I had all of them except the first one located. Last week, in a fit of AHA! I found the first one and handed it to him. All of the rest of them have vanished. They are not in my bedroom, not on the shelves in the living room or the dining room, not in his bedroom, not in the office...
  3. I miss having a dog. The squirrels have decided that a cat is insufficient protection to make them leave the bird feeder alone. I have threatened to send J and S out on some dark night to pee all around the perimeter as the dog used to do.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

1.18.11 Ten on Tuesday

10 favorite games from my childhood:

1: Jigsaw puzzles. When I was very young I would do them until I was bored with them, then I would turn the puzzle pieces upside down and do them again sans picture. As we got older, we would get a big puzzle for Christmas and spend the week between Christmas and New Year's doing puzzles on the card table. As we finished each one, we would spread newspaper over it and start the next one because we couldn't bear to take them apart as quickly as we wanted to start a new one.
2. Life. We usually didn't finish the game, which was just as well because that way no one got hurt feelings over not winning.
3. Chinese checkers. We got quite good at it. I suspect nowadays a 6 year old in practice could beat me hands down.
4. Rummy. Gin rummy, rummy 500... We went backpacking a lot to cabins (all the camping and distance from people, none of the sleeping-on-the-ground-on-a .5 inch mat). Card games were easily portable and endlessly amusing.
5. Solitaire. FreeCell (which we simply called solitaire), variations on FreeCell, Clock Solitaire, Pyramid Solitaire, Idiot's Delight... I had a book of 101 solitaire games and we worked our way through it. Cards: See above.
6. Rte. 29. A game we made up, involving riding our bikes round and round the court we lived on. One person was designated "Mother", the others were children who were allowed to start riding when mother arrived and had to stop when mother called their name. Some years later my mother expressed her amusement at this game; we lived in a small development off Rte. 29 and to go anywhere one had to drive - all of us children spent a lot of time being driven places and having to wait for our mothers to pick us up or drop us off.
7. Tag and Freeze Tag. Excellent for working off large amounts of excess energy.
8. Red Rover. I adored Red Rover. Are kids allowed to play it nowadays?
9. Four Square. Bouncy rubber balls, a game where skill rather than size counted (being the smallest in my class, this was an important factor to me on the playground), what was there not to love?
10. Clue. We didn't have a game of clue, so it was a prime favorite when we could talk our friends into playing. They of course, having the game, were bored with it and it wasn't an easy job convincing them.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

1.16.11 Weather relativity

Saturday was a busy day for S, involving much hauling from place to place. It started with him needing to show up on the other side of the city for his NYSSMA solo.* S's band solo is always in January and in five years, I have not once driven to solofest in sunny weather.

We woke up to snow coming down and the radio saying 1-2 inches expected. 1-2 inches expected (in NY) means, leave 10 minutes early. My sister (in MD) had 1-2 inches expected a few weeks ago and the school system closed for the day.

I couldn't help thinking of the time when I had just moved from MD to CA. In March. I was chatting with the program administrator just before leaving for lunch. She looked out the window and suddenly exclaimed - "It's raining! Oh, darn. I was going to go shopping at lunchtime and now I can't."

There you have it: Weather relativity.

*The New York State School Music Association arranges for the opportunity for the music students, both vocal and band, to be evaluated once a year in a standardized setting. The local high school uses the midterm and/or final exam requirement as a way to prod the students into attending NYSSMA - if you do a solo, your assessment from that event is your midterm or final with no further testing required at the school. K&S have always chosen to do the solofest. **

** The vocal students have the choice of solofest or being evaluated on a solo by their regular teacher. A few of the vocal students each year choose to take an F rather than sing a solo for anyone, which boggles my mind just a trifle. As a music student myself in high school, I understand the difficulty of making oneself sing a solo but I would have gone to the stake rather than voluntarily get an F. ETA: This happens at the class level where the students are no longer taking music because they have to - it's an elective class. Presumably, they take the class because they like to sing and think they do it well?

Friday, January 14, 2011

1.14.11 Fawn alpaca/wool

Fawn colored alpaca blended with wool. This is part of a bump I acquired at November's spinning guild meeting.


Originally part of the shepherd's stash, he was destashing a bit and I lucked out. This is really nice roving and I'm getting some more practice on woolen spinning.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

1.13.11 Snowy day again

We were to get snow until noon - it might have quit by 3, but it isn't a sure thing yet.


The spruce tree is almost visible -


but the grass is looking rather weighed down.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

1.12.11 Three to six inches of snow

Which turned out to be eight to ten inches of snow = shoveling the driveway four times today.

Sore shoulder.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

1.11.11 10 ways to be more organized...

1. Uhhhh....
2. Better check with someone else.

There is a certain organization necessary in order to keep track of four people's schedules. Unfortunately, I think that all of my organizational talents get sucked up in this necessary practice (Monday: S-Cub Scout Assistant, K-Show Choir Intern, J-Networking Mtg; Tuesday: (1st Tuesday E-CE Mtg);K-Vocal Choir;S- Scout meeting; Wednesday: S-Cub Scout Asst,K&S: Music Lessons,... All days S-track practice getting out at random times... and So it goes.

All the organizational slots in my brain are fully occupied and I look seriously forward to reducing the number to two people, one of whom I will not be responsible for making sure he gets anywhere on time.

I've taken up a practice I saw recommended and it helps: Start each day with a list of three things to be done. If those three things are done, the day was a success. If more things are done, it's lagniappe.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

1.8.11 New beginning

I plan to knit with the Polwarth skein, but the last skein of last year has been lying on the kitchen island (where it was set after the cats dragged it out of the knitting basket) and every time I passed it, it called my name. I have approximately 650 yards of grey corriedale (pindrafted top spun sort-of long draw/sort-of point-of-contact) plied with Tussah silk from Interlacements. The Interlacements top is one I bought years and years ago because I liked the saturated colors, but then couldn't stand the randomness of the colors. I finally divided the colors into green/blue and red/purple. I have another, smaller skein of the grey with the red/purple.


Ishbel is in progress.

Friday, January 07, 2011

1.7.11 Finished skein

Four hours of plying later, I have a finished skein.


I was rather pleased with the consistency of the three plies. I plied to the end of the shortest single. This is what I had left over from the second and third:


Having washed, salad-spun, and hung the skein up to dry, I have hopes that I can measure the finished yarn tomorrow afternoon. Then I'll have some idea how much yardage I have to work with.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

1.6.11 First spinning of the year

I dyed the red and blue in separate pots. The remainder of the red dye pot was used to dye another stray piece of top. My first spinning of the year has resulted in this:


I'm spinning it short draw and, after a bit of sampling, decided that I needed to make a three ply rather than two. I've taken the red end from the red/blue top and am making a third single. I briefly debated chain-plying, but I didn't want to lose the length. The third single should be finishable tomorrow - maybe I can even start plying. I'm pretty sure I'm going to have a fingering-weight when I'm done, but I haven't sampled the washed yarn, so I'm not positive yet.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

1.5.11 The more things change...

the more they stay the same. This picture was taken 3 years ago, but the scene was enacted once more today.

See a box, get in a box. Fuzzy things in our way? Oh, well.


The Christmas tree came in a box and will be returned to the box and the basement. Preferably sans cats.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

1.4.11 Happy birthday, sweet 16!

Sixteen years ago this evening, K got the little brother she'd been waiting for. Her ecstasy lasted all of about 2 days, but it was nice while it lasted. Her enthusiasm waxed again when he started paying attention, because he thought she was wonderful and she thought he was the best audience she'd ever had.

This blissful state of affairs lasted until he was about 6 months; he started crawling and none of her belongings have ever been safe again.

It is nice to know that they have managed to grow up as good friends except for those moments when they hate each other with the fiery hate worse than death.


S is 16 today, taller than I am (not hard to do), smart and funny, impossibly annoying at times, helpful when he thinks about it (or when it's pointed out to him), always trying to push the limits, able to talk almost anyone into almost anything, ready to get his driver's permit and hit the road.


Monday, January 03, 2011

1.3.11 Dye projects

I dragged out the dye pot and dyed some of the last of my DHF top. (Truly wonderful stuff, I'm going to want to get some more.)

I'm experimenting with a couple of different ways to do this. This one was not entirely satisfactory in the fiber form (a little too much white in the result), but I'll wait to pass judgement until I've got it spun up.


One of the things I like about this is that I usually wind up with an unexhausted pot and then some more dyeing can be done for pastels. Seasilk (about 700 yards) which went home with my Mom when she was here.


Sunday, January 02, 2011

Saturday, January 01, 2011

1.1.11 Happy New Year

I don't make resolutions. I do have intentions (and superstitions). One of my superstitions is that I should spend New Year's Day doing those things which represent the things I want to spend the next year doing. This also implies not doing those things I don't want to spend the year doing.

Superstition or representation of intention, this generally works. It is easier to demonstrate that this works if we discuss the negative rather than the positive. After I spent three New Year's Days avoiding doing any housework, thereby showing my intention of avoiding housework three years running, the house was a mess. It worked, after a fashion...

2010 was somewhat of a lousy year chez nous. I don't usually discuss personal issues in a public forum, and since the personal issues have been somewhat all-consuming, there hasn't been much public forum activity. When all I have to discuss is stuff I'm not going to discuss, not much discussion happens.

So, that being said, here're the things I'm doing today, representatives of intentions for 2011:

1. Not spending all my time worrying about the things that I have to worry me.
2. Reading.
3. Activities with my family - a jigsaw puzzle with J, advising K on her sewing project, chatting with S about school and books.
4. Spinning.
5. Knitting.
6. Planning new projects for 4 and 5.
7. Planning and executing a blog entry.
8. A certain amount of housework (see above).
9. Avoiding doing those things which tend to be my avoidance tactics. I want to do useful things today.

and last but not least, I've got my red underpants on. I've never quite known whether this is supposed to make you be lucky or get lucky, but I'm taking no chances.