Wednesday, May 26, 2010

.25mm makes the pool deep

In these “hard economic times” we all have to be frugal, so frogging a sock leg and reknitting is a money saver. Plus Le Picky Picky struck.

For the technically inclined…the foot is knit on 2.25 mm at 48 st rounds. (I am a loose knitter, your mileage may vary.) You can see the swirls as the gusset stitches are incorporated, then I returned to 48 for the first few inches of the leg. I wanted the part I see between the shoe and the pant cuff to be in the stripe pattern.
Then, because I am lusciously designed, I went up to 2.50 mm for the calf portion. Ending with 2.75 mm for the ribbing.

The base pattern is Wendy D. Johnson’s basic gusset heel sock. The leg pattern is the stitch pattern used in the Hermione’s Everyday socks pattern. Which was brought to my attention by Round the Twist.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Good thing TAO is not a jealous man, I am in love! The lines, the curves, the silent operation, the clever hiney.

Meet QuanYin - my new HansenCraft Mini Spinner with the Woolee Winder attachment. She/He's a lot of wheel for a relative beginner like me. And unless things change amazingly I shalln't outgrow her. After all Amelia loves hers and I won't ever be as good as her.

The customer service from Kevin & Beth was A-Maz-ing! Beth even sent me a photo of several "blanks" for the front piece that had been cut and I got to pick my face. I opted for the heavily grained look. (After all, TAO is a wood worker.)

If you've ever seen "Sleepless in Seattle", you'll understand why I love the "butt" on this thing.

That little lever? It allows the entire endpiece to swing down out of the way to remove the bobbin. Amelia's YouTube Video.
Of course I had to sit right down and "get a feel" for her/him. An itty bitty swatch of 2 ply in Myer's Lime Bars.

While I was using her, the naming occurred. QuanYin- a "goddess" of several Asian religions-each with their own twist. In one, she even started off as a male before being absorbed by the winning tribe and made female; and that's appropriate for this little wheel, she's not really feminine, but not masculine either.

Traditionally, QuanYin, is seen as one who comforts the troubled, the sick, the lost and the unfortunate or troubled. Which is what spinning does. Comforts. She is also venerated by travelers and business people as the goddess of luck and fortune. (Both of which my spinning skills need.)

In Chinese Buddhism; instead of "being seen as an active external force of unconditional love and salvation, the personage of Quanyin is highly revered as the principle of compassion, mercy and love. A meditative or contemplative state of being at peace with oneself and others is seen as Quanyin." The snarky part of me could use a friend like that - so much stuff to learn.

Oddly enough, the thing that I am most enchanted with is the flexible orifice hook. Brilliant! Beth gave a great tutorial on how to make one, but with traveling, I had none of the supplies and just bought one instead. Sooooo easy for clumsy, tired fingers.

I am selling Athena my Sonata, as she has languished more and more over the past year. So unfair to a beautiful wheel that wants to be used. So if you know someone interested...give me a nudge.

Friday, May 14, 2010

In which I lie to myself

I cast on these toe up socks, knowing that there would be pooling, swirling,
whatever, but I told myself
“let the colours fall where they may; it doesn’t matter. Just enjoy the yarn.” Knit basic socks and save the semi-solids for the really complicated stuff.
And it was true for a while, then my eye noticed the little swirl stripes. Arrgh. Stripes. But I spoke sternly to myself…”Let it go. Look how pretty.” And it was true. Very pretty. People commented on how pretty.

There was the usual rude interruption of the patterning while the gusset increases occurred and then the swirls started up again. But when I began the leg patterning. Bam! Pooling. Arrgh.
“Keep knitting, let the colours fall where they may; it doesn’t matter. Still Pretty.”
But…it does matter. That ‘s the part I see when I sit down. Now I find myself planning elaborate maneuvers to bring back the symmetry. The same symmetry that was the death knoll for the Roadside Gerry.
Sheech…no pleasing me, eh? And what if the second ball doesn’t play along?

Monday, May 10, 2010

You can't drink from the same river twice.

A funny thing happened on the way to this post. Traditionally I do something about Mother's Day and hope and the future. This year that wasn't going to happen. This year was going to be about although TAO and I work so hard to get from Here to There, each year we end up Here.
right Here where I am a tired middle aged woman with such a sharp riff in the middle of her life that I wonder if that old shibboleth about willing your heart to stop has any practical uses.

But then I think about the disruption that would cause TAO. He'd have to come get my crap, and deal with the paperwork and finances. He'd have to get time off of work, they'd probably fire him. He wouldn't know what to do with the yarn will is only half filled out.

And that would be grossly unfair to him. This pain isn't his pain, because all pain is individual; but he has his own pain. And in a Society that doesn't treat that pain the same way it treats a Mother's pain. If a man loses a son in war - it's an honor/duty/you should feel proud. If a woman loses the same son in war - it's a shame/awful/unimaginable.

TAO feels his pain, and he shares my pain. Shares it enough to risk the wrath of the tightfisted checkbook goddess to send expensive flowers, on the most expensive flower day of the year. Because he wants to remind me of beauty. To remind me that while today may feel as if we haven't gotten anywhere these years, it's not true. Together we've come through something horrific - through our own separate fires and the flames of combined loss/frustration/fear. We've dragged one another up from the morass and each taken turns being the strong one. Together.

Which the end...this IS another post about the future.

Monday, May 03, 2010


I survived the experience labelled "Maryland Sheep & Wool 2010". It pretty much lived up/down to my expectations.

I mostly kept my spending under control. I did buy fair food - which I had packed a lunch to avoid, but gave in. And really....$9.00 for a sandwich? Ridiculous. And a pattern (Milkweed) that was in my Rav Fav's but the sample made it a "must have." The other unplanned spending? Long story.

I bought a mint plant because one of my favourite summer time drinks is limeade with mint leaves.
A pair of sheepskin slippers - made in the USA by a shepherd; to replace my 2007 pair of slippers that died a sad toe death (that cost more money/made in china). I specifically wanted US made.
I went early and walked through all the booths on my list
Before I bought anything. I only bought 2 skeins of yarn. Both with enough yardage to be small shawls or in the case of the 3 Irish Girls perhaps socks. I picked up Miss Babs "Yummy" - A day at Sunflower festival; and 3 Irish Girls "Beckon" - Nora. (That's the rainbow sprinkles with chocolate colourway, which will either be A-mazing, or Ugh!)
I went to the big Saturday Podcaster's meet up. Glad I took my knitting. You will not be tormented with the photo of me with Jasmin & Gigi - it was 90F+ and I forgot to take off my hat, glasses, sunshirt. Even I am too vain to post that photo. As always at MDSW - I met Great People in the lines. Really. Truthfully.
The lesson from 2007 about getting there early so I could get to my car easily paid off big time. I went back to the shade/ice chest many times.
After that I meet my roomie, who was Not Having A Good Morning. And the fact that she was Frazzled actually made me calmer.
I picked up 8 ounces of undyed Borderdale fiber for spinning. It was cheap enough that I felt like I could get it just for the experience.
Ordered my big ticket item - more on that later.
Met up with my Rav Friends. Ooodles of fun. It was great to have faces to put with the Ravatars.
Finally left, thinking a shower and nap were called for before the afterparty. I got the shower. Not the nap. Turns out our room was the only room on the floor that was not part of a wedding party. And they had put little wheelchair-bound Grandpa in the room next door - then turned it into a hospitality suite. Of course that meant they put the door on the metal tabbie thing and slammed it about every 40 seconds. Oh...and there may have been some angry voice raising when they came back at 1230 am and started doing it again.
Other people in the blog world probably can describe Guido's afterparty better than I could - really too tired to get the full fun factor. But lots of people had a great time.

Okay...the big purchase. I had been pondering buying an Electric Spinner for a while. Researching brands, lurking the boards, the usual. I had even been considering stopping spinning altogether, or selling my current wheel. I had mentioned to TAO that I was going to look. He said "buy". I went to each vendor - texting poor TAO after every stop. "Buy". Then came the texts about I found just what I wanted but it's $$$$ not $$. "Buy" 2 hours later he texts "Did you buy it?" "No". Hour later "Buy it?" "NO" "Give me their number." "No." Mid afternoon...on the phone...
TAO "Did you buy it?" "Too much money"
TAO "Give me the number" "No, I want specific options, you'll buy the wrong thing."
TAO "Bet they'll sell me a gift certificate." "Shut up"

I even texted Chelle to help talk me out of it. PS...don't take her shopping with you.

Finally, I filled out the order form. HansenCraft Mini Spinner with Woolee Winder. TAO texts: "Happy Mother's Day, aren't I good at gifts?"

Luckily it wasn't until the next day - when I started to really feel excited about the purchase instead of guilty - that I found out TAO had NO IDEA how MUCH money I was talking about. When I barked at him for encouraging me to spend money when he didn't have a number..."I know you're too cheap to spend money we don't have." Eyebrow lift. Just for that...I'm not telling him how much it cost.