Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tag

Random Tagging
Tag - I'm it. I was tagged by Elisa with the 8 Random Things thingee.

Here’s the deal: Once tagged, you must link to the person who tagged you. Then post the rules before your list, and list 8 random things about yourself. At the end of the post, you must tag and link to 8 other people, visit their sites, and leave a comment letting them know they’ve been tagged.

1. I was scared to death to learn to knit socks. I mean, come on, it's not life threatening or anything right? So I learned this spring and I'm addicted. I still giggle every time I turn a heel; it's magic!

2. I'm an archeology geek. I love learning about ancient peoples and watch archeology TV shows till my family begs me to please stop, for the children. I wish I'd known about it when I was younger; I might have become an archeologist. The show the "Naked Archeologist" did on "True Blue" which featured indigo dyeing nearly blew my mind, discussing two of my most favorite things at the same time!

3. Boston is in my blood. I love living in CA, don't get me wrong; but I miss Boston a lot, and will always think of Boston as "home."

4. Having kids is amazing.

5. I have a brown thumb. I would love to garden and grow things but I just can't. I kill everything. I want to grow a dyer's garden but can't even get the seeds started. Except for the madder, which is taking over the pots next to it.

6. I have the attention span of a gnat. And it's getting worse.

7. Somehow, I managed to wait for the "Right" one. A miracle for which I never cease giving thanks.

8. There aren't eight interesting things about me.

I'm supposed to tag 8 other people, but honestly I don't know eight other bloggers I'd feel comfortable tagging. So if you read this, and blog, consider yourself tagged. Drop me a line if you are.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Holidays Begin

While looking forward to the holidays, I also dread them on another level. This year I have to be very careful to not blow my diet; so that will be interesting. After Thanksgiving comes the "Birthday Week from Hell" followed by Christmas cookie baking, and then Christmas. Not to mention New Years. Sigh.

My knitting is going.... well, it's going. I finished the Red Sox World Series Socks except for the logo, which may or may not ever get done. My reward sweater is on hold until after the holidays. I'm working on another pair of socks, and some Christmas gifts. I spun some really gorgeous yarns, which again, I should try to get some pictures of someday. I've been sticking to the spindle as my knee keeps flaring up; not enough to hugely impair my life, but enough to not want to push it too badly.

I did start going to the gym again. Ok, I went once. But I do have intentions to go regularly; but the holiday shopping and such have slowed it a bit. I also walked for about an hour with Murphy downtown on Saturday, which I haven't done in a VERY long time. So it's getting there.

Busy time; and Sparkpeople takes up a lot of time! It helps, so I've been doing it, but it keeps me from writing my blog and checking other blogs I enjoy reading.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Do I blog? Oh yeah, I do.

Ok, so it's been several weeks since I've blogged. I won't blog at work, and have competition for the computer at night, and my motivation has been lacking... so no posts lately. So - the Update.

The Red Sox won the World Series!!! WHOOOO HOOOOOOO!!!!! The only problem was they did it too fast. I cast on a pair of "Red Sox" Socks with the very first pitch, and they were only about half done when the series ended. I'm trying to stay motivated to finish them, because I do really like them; but I'm at the boring stockinette foot part on both socks and there are just too many other interesting things to do.

Halloween: Murphy dressed this year for the first time as something other than Spiderman. I think he's been Spiderman for the last five years. This year, he decided to go with something a bit more spooky - The Grim Reaper!! He looked great, and had a lot of fun. I even went trick or treating with him; the longest I've walked at one time in ages. Maybe there's hope.

Sparkpeople: I have now lost 27.6 pounds. My yarn for my reward sweater has arrived, and I'm swatching. I hope to start the sweater this weekend. I'm scared to death but so excited too. I'll try to get a picture of the yarn; it's a merino/silk blend by Zephyr called Juniper and it's a lovely bluey green. Hence the trouble getting back to the Red Sox socks....

Eric got a job. Actually, he got two jobs, but one was kind of strange, and they laid him off (with good references) after only two days. He's bussing tables at a wonderful restaurant called Azu; he seems to like it pretty well. But he needs more hours...

They're literally tearing the floor of my office up; it's a horrible inside/outside carpet that's been there since 1953. Really. They're putting in ceramic tile, and it looks nice and all, but it's nearly impossible for me to get any work done. So I came home early today. Hopefully they'll be almost done by Monday.

Guess that's about it. I know, I should get some pictures. These wordy entries aren't very interesting. That's why I don't blog often enough; too hard to get good pictures! But I'll try this weekend.

Oh! Speaking of weekend; Murphy is SO excited; he's playing the Huskies tomorrow! There are several of his classmates on that team and he can't wait to play against them. I'll try to get some pictures of that as well.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Yarn Museum




The Yarn Museum My Halloween yarn made this year's show! Check out the Halloween gallery; and some of the other galleries if you want to see really bizarre yarns!

SparkPeople

Haven't posted in a bit. Not much going on. Knee is progressing; I can almost walk without a limp and have intermittant pain, instead of constant. I've started back on a serious diet, with the aid of the website http://www.sparkpeople.com/. There's a lot of extra junk on there, which can take up a lot of time, but mostly I use it to log in my food intake and weigh ins. Today starts my third week, and I've lost 17 pounds so far; though in all honesty probably ten of those pounds were water, as my doc put me on a diuretic for those swollen feet and ankles. But still, even seven pounds in two weeks is good. I'm feeling pretty positive; it's feeling a lot like when I lost a hundred pounds a few years ago. I'm lucky to have so much support; especially from my husband, who makes it very clear that he loves me no matter what my weight is but that he's proud of me for being healthy so I'll be around longer. He cooks in a manner that helps me stay on my diet, too, which makes it so much easier. He doesn't add salt or butter when he cooks, he provides really healthy food in reasonable portions; and best of all, he sprinkles in hugs and kisses liberally. Have I mentioned how much I love this man?

Ok, enough with the schmaltz, eh? The kids are fine; Murphy still loves both school and soccer, and his team is 2-2. Eric is looking seriously for a job (anyone have a lead?) and Peru is still doing the Help of Ojai thing, and taking music gigs as they pop up. The weather has cooled to a comfortable zone and the sun is out most of the time. There are even a few trees out here that manage to change colors, and we get to watch the Sox and the Pats as they're both doing really well so I don't miss New England TOO much.

I finished Eric's socks; pictures soon, I hope. I haven't done much spinning as I'm afraid it'll re-injure my knee, but I"m starting to think I might try soon. I'm going to start a project to help in my weight loss efforts; I'm going to knit myself a sweater in the size I want to be (pretty much the size I got to last time.) This is the sweater:

The pattern is "Gwen" from the Louet company. It's a sleeveless tank, knit top down in one peice, which is what I wanted, as it's the sewing peices together that makes my knit goods look homemade. It's cabled, which doesn't intimidate me too much; I'm pretty comfortable with cables. But this will be the first adult sweater I've ever made. It's also fitted a little more than I'd really like, but then, that will just be incentive to exercise more, right? I figure it'll take me a year more or less to lose the weight, and probably the same to knit this. After I've stuck to the diet one month, keeping the journal, I'll buy the yarn as my reward. Cast off, and away we'll go!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Ravelry: The Great Time Suck

That's what they've been calling Ravelry; and it's true. You can spend hour upon hour browsing patterns, looking up your friends, choosing yarns. Once you get in, it'll be hard to find time to knit anymore!

I had a problem where my blog wasn't showing up on my page, but I think I fixed it. I'll find out soon.

Haven't had much knitting or spinning time lately. Work, family, life has intruded, but it's all good. My wrist still hurts so I don't want to do too much and make it worse. I've been drop spindling a lot. I'll have to take some pictures soon of a lesson I learned about gauge and how one spins can affect the outcome.

Murphy's at soccer, so I'm going to go make food for the guys when they get home.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

My Swap Box Arrived!

I love swaps, have you noticed? It's fun to give and receive little presents from people all over. This swap was to use up those small bits of fiber that seem to accumulate; not enough to actually do much with, but too pretty to discard. We were to make some sort of bag, knit, crochet, felted, whatever, and fill it with those little bits.

Jessica is my partner and boy, did she send it FAST! I'm still working on hers. But here's what greeted me at the door last night.

A lovely felted bag with great texture, just the right size to carry a project with me. In light tan, white and gray/black, with a beautiful beaded accent. In the bag were several gorgeous fibers, including a wool/silk blend and some of the softest alpaca. YUM! And some Lantern Moon needles, in size nine, which somehow she new I needed for the project I'm wanting to work on. Thank you, Jessica! I'm going to have to do some serious stash diving to put yours together!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

SQUEAL!!!!!!

Got my Ravelry invite; barely signed up and I LOVE it already! Don't expect to hear from me for quite some time. WHOOO HOOOOOO

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I want to know WHO!

What bog-brained idiot had the affrontery to schedule the Pats game against the Red Sox game? I mean, really. Against the YANKEES? With Schilling on the mound? Against Clemens? And here we are, in the seventh inning stretch, TIED at 1-1? At least the Pats game has been mostly a wipe, so I can pretty much stick with the Sox. If my heart can take it...


Some pics of those WIPs:
The Seraphina.

Yes, I loathe pink. I haven't the slightest idea why I bought this yarn. It must have been a momentary lapse, caused by the incredibly low price tag, coupled with global warming and too much sugar. Or something.

But I somehow like the texture of it crocheted really tightly; it's like terrycloth. I plan on finishing this, even if it takes a while. It will be warm, which was the original objective.

The Modea Tutu Tank.

Again, with the pink. Purchased around the same time. Amnesia. Something chemical in the air. And again, the price. It was going out of stock, so they were clearing it out at like a dollar a skein. I hadn't yet learned that I hate, I mean, with a hate so deep and black it melds with space, novelty yarn.

This tank is so not for me and my forty-something, ever so slightly (ha!)Rubenesque, I've had two children and a lifetime of chocolate cravings figure. But I figured I'd better do something with the yarn or it'd be in my stash forever. I had four skeins. The pattern called for four skeins. Ergo - WIP.


The Triangle Shawl
This is a creation out of my own desperation. I bought this yarn on Ebay. The picture doesn't show it well, but it's black with strands of turquoise and coral as the second and third plies. The colors are bright and electric and I loved the yarn, even though it's acrylic. But what to do with it? It's boucle, so anything smooth textured is out. I tried pattern after pattern after pattern, and nothing worked. I frogged so many times there were flies buzzing. So I decided to make it up as I went along. Again, you can't see it in the picture, but there are lace flowers about two inches in from the border. I'm toying with trying a central motif but I'd better decide soon. I'm also trying to find a nice shaping that will avoid the triangle bunching at the nape and help keep the shawl on the shoulders. I've seen a deep V shaping on a shawl I really liked, and I may take a stab at it. Luckily, this yarn takes frogging well.
No picture of the Pinwheel Sweater, as right now it looks like a hat and in a photo simply looks like a blob. I'm trying to trust that once off the needles, it will miraculously become a flat, perfect circle but my faith is being stretched. I'm almost to the sleeve shaping, and THAT should be fun.

It's now the eight inning. I am not a happy camper. Have I ever mentioned how much I abhor Derek Jeter? And what moron decided to keep Schilling into the eighth? Must be the same guy that scheduled both Boston games at the same time. ARRRGHHHHHHH

WIPs

Ok, so I lied. Yesterday I updated the OTN bot to include the Seraphina Shawl. I made one a year or two ago, and I love it; but I made it on a huge hook with bulky yarn. As a result, it's VERY open and not warm at all.

So I thought hey, maybe crocheting would be easier on my tendonitis than knitting. You use the hook in your right hand, not left, so no bending on the left wrist. WRONG. I found crocheting much more painful than knitting. So with only 6 rows completed, I"m putting it aside for a bit, despite the fact that I LOVE the fabric it's making. I'm using that rainbow boucle stuff that JoAnne's had last year in the humongous skeins, and I'm using a very small hook, C or D. It's coming out looking almost like a felted fabric, somehow, with much smaller open spaces, so it will be warm. I do plan on finishing it someday, but it'll have to wait for some rehab.

Instead, I started the Pinwheel Sweater in the child's size. I know it's nuts. I've never made a sweater that looked like a sweater. I don't have enough yarn (I'm using Noro Silk Garden, and I only have two skeins). The colors will be, well, interesting, not graduated as they are in the original. But what the hey, it's worth a shot. It's a fun pattern, with no sewing. Sewing pieces together is what makes my sweaters look, well, like hell. I haven't gotten the hang of a smooth join yet, so my seams look bulky and uneven. So that's my current WIP.

I did get my swap boxes, both of them, in the mail yesterday, and only a little late. Now to put Toni's box together. She sent me such wonderful things, I'll have to come up with something really special to thank her.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Antsy for Ravelry

Found you!
You signed up on July 8, 2007
You are #14966 on the list.
1906 people are ahead of you in line.
17775 people are behind you in line.
39% of the list has been invited so far

So, maybe 10 days? I can almost taste it!

Friday, September 14, 2007

The doings of the past week or so

Well, it's been a busy time. Last weekend was Murphy's SEVENTH birthday. Mammama came to visit for the occasion. It was so wonderful to see her, especially seeing her looking so well. She kept us on our toes and we had a lovely visit that was far too short.


Being the dweebs we are, we didn't take a single photo of the birthday party. Duh. Auntie Merridee and Uncle Terry came for the party, as did Murphy's best friend Natie. There was food and fun and good times for all.

Prior to the party, Murphy had his very first soccer game. The Ojai Tigers, I am proud to report, whomped the other team 17 to 2. Murph didn't score any goals, but did have a few assists. He really loves soccer!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Me? A Soccer Mom?


Is this not the cutest child in the history of the world?
Murphy's first soccer practice was last night. He's really GOOD at it! Daddy is a little bummed that basketball is not the chosen athletic activity (Who knows anything about Soccer?) but we're so proud of him anyway.
His team is called the Ojai Tigers with really cool orange black and white uniforms, which fits in really well with a certain plan that Mom has if she's ever allowed to knit again.....
His first game is Saturday, which also happens to be his Birthday Party day... so I'm looking forward to a very busy, very fun weekend. And Mammama is coming today for the celebration; we're all so excited and can't wait to see her!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Enough with the heat, already.

We're currently in a major heat wave. Temps in Ojai Saturday were ONE HUNDRED AND NINE degrees, and it's humid (for here. In Boston, 60% humidity is to laugh!) We've had brown/black outs two days in a row; Saturday it lasted long enough that we packed everyone up in the air conditioned van and took a drive to Ventura, just to get cool. We could live with the brown outs; turn everything off but the ceiling fans and it was tolerable, but when the power went completely, it was brutal. Even at 10 pm the temp was still close to 100.

Brown outs are a new phenomenon to me. In Boston, a "brown out" was what happened just before a black out; the lights would dim, then go dark. In California, a brown out can last for hours. Sort of a 80% power reduction; it's really bad, actually. Everything just keeps trying to start up again. Our computer kept trying to reboot itself, over and over and over every few seconds, until we realized it and managed to track down where it was plugged in. I'm amazed that it wasn't completely fried. Oh, and getting a UPS has now moved to the front of the "important expenditures" column...

I managed to get some dyeing done yesterday. I mordanted a bunch of sample skeins with alum, and test dyed some wood shavings that Elisa's husband Dick donated to the cause (Thanks, guys!) It's a mixed bag of wood types which I have been steeping in alcohol for a week or two. The color is amazing; it came out the exact color of Cocoa Krispies! I dyed a large-ish skein of unknown fiber (wool) that I received in a swap, and it's quite pretty. I'll try to get some pictures up later. Ok, the picture DOES have a pink background, which emphasizes the pinky brownness, but the color does seem pretty true. If I'm up to it (which is doubtful, having promised Murphy pancakes for breakfast which for some reason tortures my knee) I'll try the ebony shavings also donated by Dick. The liquor is quite dark, but I'm doubting that the resultant dye will be black. It's so much fun to play and find out! Always a surprise. ADDENDUM: the ebony is pretty much the same color; a tad darker, I think. It's still drying, will post someday....

I want to knit so badly (some think I *do* knit badly, rimshot) it's really driving me crazy. I don't feel like the brace is helping; my wrist still hurts and I still have the little lump there. Ok, so it hasn't been a full week yet. I'm trying to follow the rules. Sigh.

More later, I hope.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

More Frustrations

I'm typing this VERY laboriously, with a brace on my left wrist. It seems I either have a recurrance of a ganglia which I had surgically removed when I was a teen, or tendonitis. I lean towards the former, my doctor leans towards the latter. Doesn't really matter, as the early treatment for both is immobilization, rest, etc. Therefore, I am under strict orders; NO KNITTING for at least a week. Oh dear God. I can't spin because my knee got really badly worse this week, so I got a cortisone shot for that, which helped until I decided to make zucchini bread. I can't knit. I am probably not supposed to spindle either, but come on! I have to do something! So I'm using the wonderful Jerusalem spindle which I LOVE, but I'm using it very carefully, with my brace on (fun!) making sure not to flex the wrist at all. It doesn't hurt to do it, so I'm assuming it's okay. I finished spinning the merino from my swap partner; today I'll ply it (laceweight, I think!!!!) and maybe dye it if I'm feeling adventurous. The spindle really is amazing; it spins fast and forever, and it holds an unbelievable amount of fiber. It was just starting to act heavy as I was finishing up the last few inches of the fiber. I'll weigh it off the spindle to see how much it holds, but it's a LOT.

Murphy's wonky tooth finally came out. He'll be seven next week and he looks so grown up, so earnest and excited about everything. Children are so amazing. I'm so blessed to have such wonderful ones. School has started, and his favorite subject is PE. This is MY child? Nope; he's his Daddy's boy, through and through. That's a blessing too!

Seeing as there's a line for the computer, and I have some swap boxes and birthday stuff to pack up, this entry is short. Lucky you!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Swap Box Arrived!

My husband and son and I were on our way out to dinner at our favorite restaurant, Sea Fresh (mmmm, calmari!) and I nearly tripped over a big box on our drive. I squealed, scaring both husband and child, and grabbed the box, getting into the car.

Wait to get home to open it? I don't think so!!! In the car, I inspected the box, and then carefully opened it. The return address was marked Israel! WOW! I love these swaps; to be able to contact people all over the world and share a bit of our selves and our culture is a wonderful experience. I always feel I shortchange the people on the other end; American stuff seems to be available almost everywhere, and I have a hard time looking for unique interesting things that I think they might not have access to.

Anyway; on to the booty!!!

First; the fiber.

A HUGE package of white alpaca, just gorgeous! All the alpaca I have has been brown, so white is a treat. Along with it was a smaller package of less prepared fiber that I'll have fun picking and combing ( I am GOING to get those combs set up tomorrow!) I'm already planning what to make of it; a shawl? Some fine lace gauntlets? There's enough there for several decent projects. And there's always a dyeing scheme to plan...




Then there's a heavenly bag of superfine Australian merino. Ohhh yum. White as snow and softer than a cloud; it's just gorgeous. People say it's hard to spin, but not to me; it's like buttah, I swear! I love it. The smaller bag of brown fiber is baby camel. WOW! I can cross one more off my list of exotic fibers I want to spin! Even with bits of twigs and such, it feels so soft I just want to dive right in.

Then she sent some cotton yarn in a really beautiful solid blue color and a varigated brown and gold. This is a godsend, as I've been dying to make a market bag and didn't have any cotton yarn to use. This will be perfect! It's an Israeli brand too. The blue isn't quite as electric as it looks; I really do need to take some photography lessons.


On to the YUMMIES!!!

Some really interesting snack foods. One is a peanut butter flavored puff which she says is very popular with children there. I'll add it's pretty popular with children here too! Murphy couldn't wait to dive in and is thrilled that I've given him permission to take it to school in his lunchbox. I tried to explain where Israel is, and show him how the language is different, but I'm not sure he really grasps the concept. But he sure likes the treats!

While he munched those, I treated myself to a lovely cup of spearmint tea and a bit of chocolate (with hazelnut filling; YUM!). She enclosed a large bag with treat size chocolates of three different types. What a treat!
Last, but most exciting to me, is this amazing spindle.
This is her information about it. "Jerusalem High Whorl Spindle. This spindle, although originally in a larger size, was used in the early '20's in Israel. I reduced the size to allow spinning with today's fine wools. It is a very balanced spindle, and I will be submitting an article to spindleandwheel.com in Sept. and it will explain its history."

As you can see, the whorl is square, with two notches on each side. It is indeed well balanced and spins forever. It's heavy (compared to my featherweight bossies!), but not too heavy, and I picked that baby up and grabbed some of the merino and spun a really fine thread sooooo easily. Oh, I LOVE it. I'm going to be spinning a lot on it, as my knee is still too painful to treadle my wheel.

Toni, I thank you so very much for your kindness and generosity! This package is amazing and far exceeded my expectations. I am truly blown away. I hope your partner is as wonderful to you as you have been to me. Thank you thank you thank you!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Spinning Exhibition

Sunday was the Spinning Competition/Exhibition at the VC fair. Unfortunately, it was mostly cancelled, as the building we were to have it in also held the livestock judging. Two hours after we were to have begun our little deal, they were still judging livestock, with no end in sight. So a vote was taken to suspend the competition for this year, other than the Advanced category, which was held outside the building where we had been demo-ing. Since I was a beginner, I passed, but it was fun to watch. And I still got a lovely basket of yummy fibery goodness for showing up!



Here's a pic of the turquoise top I spun while we waited. The color is unbelievable! I already spun a bobbin of it some time ago; I need to knit a swatch and see if it felts. I have a few ideas in mind, but it's critical to know if it will felt! It's not the softest fiber, but it's got great sheen and is very durable. I'd like to knit socks but this fiber seems to want to spin thicker than fingering weight. Funny how some fiber has a mind of it's own...

So it's on to Monday, and my next adventure. I was driving home from work, when about a block away I feel a huge THUNK. I look back at the road to see what I might have hit, and there's nothing to be seen. So I turn into my street, and suddenly there's that horrible, terrible flopping clunking noise that says "YOU HAVE A FLAT TIRE!" Sigh. I'd complain, but really, I'm so grateful that I was close enough to limp into the driveway rather than being stuck on the side of the highway that the sigh is enough. My fabulous, incredible and eternally patient husband finished assembling the enchilada verde that he was making for dinner, popped it in the oven, and dealt with the whole mess, entrusting me only with removing said dinner from the oven when it was done. Have I mentioned how amazing my husband is? So he takes the tire off, brings it to the tire shop where they mount a new tire, and discover just why my tire went flat. Wanna see?

The round circle is a quarter, for proportion. This is the bottom of a jackhammer. This 10 inch long monstrosity was INSIDE my steel belted radial tire. Yikes. Scary to think where it might have gone if not into the tire!
I'm knitting a triangular shawl out of this gorgeous-even-though-it's-acrylic yarn; black boucle with aqua and orange threads plied in. The pattern is one I'm making up on the needles, so this should be very interesting. I've never not had a pattern to make something before. I tried about 4 different patterns and didn't like the way the yarn looked with any of them, so I'm winging it.
Just finished the gusset on the first Moc Croc but I'm already planning my next pair. I really want to do the Bayerische Socks but I'm not sure I'm up to the task; they are amazing!
Bedtime for the littlest one. Leave a comment if you read my blog; it gets lonely!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Proud of my Dad


Check out the link to the left to see what my retired Dad has been up to in Florida. He's helping to build a railroad! It's such a cool project and he's so excited about it. Here's a pic, stolen from their website; but wander on over and have a look. It's a great thing!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

And the final post today. Promise!

I forgot to post the pictures of my Tour de Fleece project; so here they are!




This is the merino tencel blend. I hope you can see the colors; I'm so in love with them. I'd love suggestions on what to do with this; I only have about 2 ounces, and I'd say it was a thin fingering weight.

This is the chocolate alpaca. Oh it's sooo soft! I'm really pleased with the way it came out. Again, I have no idea what to do with it; this one is about 4 oz. A hat, maybe? Or a neck warmer; I know this will be very warm!

It was a fun challenge, and I only missed two days, when my knee was really bad. I reduced my fiber stash right? Of course, I increased my yarn stash....

And still one more post today!


Washed the fleece I bought at the Fair yesterday. SO COOL! The nice thing is that it's a breed I've never seen before, so I can add it to my Breedswap book. WHOO HOO!!
It's softer than I expected and I have great plans for this wool. And lots to learn to get it all done... oy.

More Dye Experiments

I tried the copper again, this time wetting the fiber properly, and I left it simmering for maybe twelve hours. The result is amazing, at least to me. A really dark moss green.



The lighter green is my first attempt with avocados. This was steeped in alcohol for weeks. Simmered a long time, several hours at least. It's a true 70's appliance avocado color. I was expecting neon green. I wonder if my water has anything to do with it?




Then this is a batch of ecualyptus BARK (not wood, as before.) The liquor was a ruby red, so pretty! But I had the feeling I'd end up with more of a brown. Still, it's a pretty brown. So much fun to see how things change!
One of the things I learned with this session is that my little crock pot still can get hot enough to boil the liquid, so I'll have to really keep an eye on it. Maybe use one of the electric thermometers from the kitchen to alarm when it hits a certain temperature; I know some natural dyes are very sensitive to heat.
Always something more too learn!

A Crime Against Fiber

While I enjoy the occasional novelty yarn or fiber, I mostly prefer it simple, natural, un-augmented. Especially if it's good fiber. But then one runs into an absolute crime.


I won some fiber in the Guild raffle a month or three back. One of them is GORGEOUS; a brilliantly soft, heathered, taupe-y color something that feels like a merino blend. I've spun it lace weight (I hope - it's still on the bobbin) and wish I had a pound more of it. It's probably only half an ounce. Sigh.

Along with it is this. The base fiber is wonderful; soft, high lustre, fine crimp, low micron count. It's a deep grape color. And then someone carded in lumps of cotton, I think. Ohhh it's so sad! It can only be spun thick/thin, which I don't like. There are tantalizing spaces where there's no cotton and you can really get a feel for what the fiber is like; then CRASH in stomps a big lump. I spindle spun some, plied and skeined it. Can't imagine what I'd ever use it for. A tragedy, really.

Sheep to Shawl

Yesterday I played hooky from work (with my boss' approval - there are advantages to working in Ag!) to participate in my guild's Sheep to Shawl Exhibition at the Ventura County Fair. It was a blast! There were somewhere between 15-20 people there, spinning or carding or plying, while Chris our President, wove. My knee was giving me a bit of trouble and by the time I got home, I could barely walk, but it was worth it. And my thoughtful husband, who must love me a lot, thought to bring my cane when he came to pick me up. And a soda! Whataguy!

The shawl was really beautiful when it was finished. I wasn't wild about the colors of the yarn we were spinning; purple and green and orange; but when it was spun and used as weft against the lovely rich brown warp, it was muted and really lovely. I hope we got a really good price for it!

I also managed to come home with some fiber; the shepards weren't stupid. Having a captive audience of spinners they came with huge bags of fleece of every color and type. I managed to limit myself to two purchases, one I can't tell about because it's going to be a Christmas present, but the other is just YUM; a 50% Mohair, 30% Merino and 20% Angora blend in a lovely medium dark charcoal color. Oh man, it is to die for! I wish they had feel-o-blog so I could post and you could touch it. Hey, Mr. Gates? Get right on that, won't you?

The boys came with for a while, just to not disappoint, but we'll come on Sunday to do the BIG stuff. I'm going to participate in the Spinning Competition/Exhibition which should be interesting, to say the least! Then we'll have the rest of the day for fun. I just hope I can walk by then!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Trekking Socks


Have moved from OTN to FO. Witness.

I have now cast on for another pair of the Knitpicks Moc Croc socks. They're the only pattern that seems suitable to me for the yarn I'm using currently; a very short color change and a cottony type feel. I tried casting on for the Zokni socks but hated the way they looked. So I .... wait for it... RIPPED them out! I guess I'm getting more mature about my knitting. Good thing I am about something!

Later will be picks of the fiber spun during the Tour de Fleece. Oh! And my boss' wife tells me my plant is Dusty Miller. WHoo hoo!

Dye Swatch


I knit this from samples from the experiments in the previous post. I think I'm going to continue it with each experiment.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Dyeing Experiments

May, 2007
My first dyeing experiment was with Eucalyptus wood. The wood was obtained from a tree in our yard which had fallen during a wind storm over the winter. The wood had aged a bit, perhaps four months, on the ground. It was in chunks of about one inch or so. I steeped it in Everclear for several weeks. I then heated it in the microwave with two small skeins, one mordanted with aluminum alum and the other unmordanted. I heated and cooled it a minute or two at a time, approximately 5 times. I allowed it to cool, removed and rinsed the yarn. It left a lovely reddish tan color on both skeins. I cannot tell any difference at present between the mordanted and unmordanted.

June, 2007
My second experiment was with an unidentified plant from our front yard. Dorothy said it was “Gray” something. The leaves and stem are a gray color with irregular shaped leaves, and the flower is a small bright yellow with multiple leaves. I used the flowers only, collected at full bloom, and steeped for several weeks in everclear. I again used the heat and cool method in the microwave, with a skein each of mordanted and unmordanted wool. The color left is a soft sage, actually very pretty. Again, I can’t see any difference between the mordanted and unmordanted.

July 2007
My third experiment was with copper. I made several mistakes with this experiment. The first was using a copper scrubber that was “copperized” rather than one of real copper. I steeped it in water for several weeks, then heated it with the skeins. No color change whatever.

I then got some real copper scrubbers. I placed one in water, in a small crock pot, and added the yarn, unfortunately, dry. Duh. I simmered overnight. It made a color change to a green/blue color, but was very blotchy and uneven. I blame it on the dry yarn and lack of stirring. Just for fun, I stirred the pot well, wet the skeins, and threw them back in. The color change was much better, but the areas that had dyed previously turned sort of a greenish black. A far less pleasing color. I hope to try again with better techniques to see if I can get a more even color.

I currently have two pots of avocado peel fermenting; one in water, one in alcohol. I’m still looking for non sudsing ammonia to do another pot. I also added more alcohol to the first pot of eucalyptus wood and have left that steeping as well. And today, I just decided to try the copper again... the right way. Pics for all these experiments soon, I hope. (I guess I need to pay my photographer more. Right, honey?) Pics added.


Can anyone tell me what this plant is?

Ravelry

Found you!
You signed up on July 8, 2007
You are #14966 on the list.
7604 people are ahead of you in line.
6463 people are behind you in line.
33% of the list has been invited so far

Sigh. Why do I torture myself looking EVERY SINGLE DAY when they're inviting about 200 per day? At that rate it'll be like a YEAR. Sigh.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Sniff

Due to some unexpected expenses, I decided the other day to sell on of my wheels. I listed it on http://fiberfinds.com/ and surprisingly, I got a call almost immediately! (Thanks, Elisa!) Tonight, however, as I was cleaning it and preparing it for transport to Guild tomorrow, I started to tear up. I can't sell this wheel! This was my first big deal! My husband and I lovingly sanded and stained and assembled it. I LOVE this wheel! Yes, I love all my wheels. What's a fiber freak to do?

So I'm already spinning up some charcol gray Coopworth X New Zealand roving on my beloved Baynes. I'm not ready to give her up. I guess we'll just have to look harder in the sofa cushions.

But there WILL be fiber and FO's for sale in the store, as soon as the resident photographer takes the pics!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Tour Crash

Well, I was going gangbusters for a while there. I spun the two ounces of tencel wool blend and I love the results. I'm 7/8ths done with 4 oz of chocolate alpaca (YUM!) when BOOM.... the knee flares up again.

I was finally feeling hopeful. Monday, the WHOLE day, I walked sans limp. No pain. I walked without a waddle, without the ache. I was gleeful. Giddy even. Then Tuesday evening came, and I could feel the joint getting tight, swelling up by the minute. By Wednesday night, I was considering pulling out the cane. Sigh.

So, fortuitously, I had a follow up with the esteemed surgeon. He said "Considering what we found when we got in there, this isn't really surprising. This will not be your last surgery. Care for some cortisone shot?"

I'm ten weeks post op, for crying out loud! I really had expected to be better than this.

I declined the shot, as I'm afraid of the "kickback" effect he described. It's better today and really, it's not so much painful as distressing. I'll hold off on the cortisone until it's more severe. After all, Monday was so good! If it got there once, it'll get there again, right? So I do my exercises and ice and hold my breath a lot.

But it has cramped my spinning. Rats. Maybe this weekend I'll be able to get back to it. I hope so!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Updating

I haven't updated my links and such in a while. I've started, but it's going to take a while! Meanwhile, check out my store at Fiber Finds.com; I've posted a few things but more will be ups shortly. I'd love your comments on the store.

I need to reduce my stash, so look for a LOT of yarn and fiber to be put up soon.

Monday, July 16, 2007

OUCH!!!!!!

No, I didn't poke myself with a DPN. Much, much, much worse.

I frogged my Mystery Stole.

153 rows completed, and I just wasn't happy with it. I'd made a few mistakes, and that defective yarn thing just made the whole stole look sloppy and ick. So I bit the bullet and with tears rolling, I frogged the entire thing. Cut off the first 100 yards or so of the triple ply, and already I'm back on the horse. (Man, I'm using a lot of aphorisms...)

I am so glad I did it.

The second attempt is coming out so much cleaner looking. I'm using size three needles instead of the fours I was using, and instead of the addi circ, I"m using some Crystal Palace bamboo straights. The points are much more suited to the lace weight yarn, and it's not sliding the way it did on the addi's. I'm thrilled. Ok, so it was two weeks worth of work; I'll be so much happier with the finished product.

For those who don't know, and probably don't care, I hate ripping out. Tinking back a row, well, maybe; but to actually RIP out rows where you have to go back and pick up the stitches again? YIKES! I'd rather start over. And with this project it really was best.

So now I"m excited about the MS3 again.

Oh, and I've kept up with the Tour de Fleece; I finished the tencel blend and I love it. I think I'm going to keep it as a single; it seems fairly well balanced and I don't want to mess up the colors. With only 2 oz, I don't know what to do with it though.

Now I'm trying to do a lovely chocolate brown alpaca in lace weight plied... we'll see!

Pics when able.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Tour de Fleece

Ok, so I haven't done much spinning of late. My knee hurt too much until about two weeks ago. I was so happy when I found I could spin again, I jumped right in and spun too long, and my knee ached for days. So I decided to limit the time spinning per day. Which was ok. But I've been spinning this CRAP fiber that I'm so disappointed in. I need to look up where I bought it because I never EVER want to buy fiber there again. I got it directly from the shepard's farm. The breed is Polypay. It's sticky (despite two washings and a dyeing), it's full of VM and coarse black hairs, which I could live with, but it's also full of neps. I mean FULL of neps. I end up pulling out a huge pile of unspinnable fiber every time I spin it, and it just not fun. I finally finished one strip of purple koolaid dyed fiber, washed and skeined it, and it's horrible. I had wanted to use it for the Sheep Thrills hat exchange, but no way would I wear a hat made out of it; it's far too coarse and itchy.

So when I started the Tour de Fleece, (and I haven't missed a day yet!) I finished the purple, started on the red. But this was duty. This was labor. This was a miserable time. Last night I decided if I was going to commit to a project like this, I should enjoy it, dammit! So I took that bobbin off the Majacraft and thought "what would I love to spin?"


Ohhhhh my. I bought this roving at the Santa Monica Fiber and bead Fest last August and have been afraid to touch it. The colors are so amazing! So I threw caution to the wind and loaded up a fresh bobbing and oh my I am in LOVE. The fiber is Tencel and Merino and it feels and looks like silk. The color is copper and brown and purple and green and just gorgeous. My husband thought it looked like a coil of copper wire, but soft! I can't wait to spin this stuff and I finally remember why I love to spin.

The lesson being get good fiber! It's such a shame that the Polypay is such a mess, and purely the shepardess' fault in carding, I think. I have a pound of the roving, and I'll spin it all eventually, but it's too icky to make anything to wear, so I'm wondering why.

Anyone with a suggestion on what to do with it? Compost heap? Maybe dog coats? Rug?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Promised Pics


Ok, these are the socks. Bad photo. Blame the otherwise perfect Spouse. Will try again later.




These are the newly cast on trekking socks. It's funny, but I really like Trekking yarn. It's coarse, not wonderfully soft like most fiber I like, but somehow, the socks come out really great. Of course, 110 degree heat in Southern CA doesn't exactly make one run for the warm socks...


And here is the MS3, completed up to row 132. Can you see the line where the plys changed? I'm hoping when it's finished and blocked, it won't be too noticeable. And if it is? Well, another shawl for me!

Fibery Stuff

I am in love with homemade socks. I have now made five pairs and have cast on for my sixth. They are fun to make, portable with large sections that don't require huge detailed attention, and so comfortable to wear. It's also very cool to have people exclaim "You MADE those?"

I've learned a lot in making those pairs, and continue to do so. I never knew there were so many ways of making heels and toes, or even of knitting types. DPN's, both one and two circular needle, toe up, toe down. It's amazing. I feel a need to design coming on, and perhaps after I finish the Simple Trekking Socks I will take a stab at it.

I've signed up for a few "---a-longs"; the Tour de Fleece, which is a commitment to spin every day the Tour de France runs. I'm participating in an exchange on the Sheep Thrills group where we spin the yarn to then knit (or crochet) a hat, due in September. Finally, I'm doing (and yes, actually doing! the MS3 knit along. MS3 means Mystery Stole #3. It's a lace stole being knitted sight unseen by thousands of people all over the world. We receive "clues" every Friday and try to knit them before the next clue is released. I started the MS2 last year and never got past the 8th row. Stop laughing! I had only just learned to knit, and it was a little over my head. This year I'm up to row 115, and it's going fairly well. I'll get a picture up soon. The only problem with it is that my yarn is faulty. STOP LAUGHING, I said! No, really it is! I'm using White Jaggerspun Zephyr, which is a lovely lace weight 50% wool, 50% silk. After knitting 110 rows, it suddenly went from a three ply to a two ply. Losing a third of it's bulk changes how the knitting looks, who knew? It seems like the rest of the one pound cone I purchased remains two ply, so I'm not quite sure what to do. If you think I'm frogging 110 rows of beaded lace, you're out of your mind! I'm hoping it won't be that noticeable. STOP LAUGHING!

Time for coffee, and maybe some picture taking, and then to tackle the 116th row...

On to something lighter.

You know how being a parent can be really really hard? When you have those days that you're so stressed out and exhausted that just brushing your child's teeth seems insurmountable?

Today, I had a day that makes those days worthwhile.

Murphy and Dad were playing games on the computer, and he mentioned that he had had a bad day the day before; he'd broken a knick-knack, and hurt himself, and forgotten a thing or two which needed correcting. But then he said something that made every travail in my whole life worth it. He said

"Yeah, but most of my days are the best day ever."

Beam.

Friday, July 06, 2007

An open letter to ALL Politicians

Wake up.

No, really. I mean it.

You claim to want what’s best for this country. You claim to serve it. YOU ARE LYING.

Stop worrying about the next election. Stop worrying about your legacy, and your war-chest, and your popularity. Wake up and look, really LOOK at what’s happening in this country.

We are losing America.

Every value, every right and freedom and philosophy that the Founding Fathers worked so hard for, that they fought and died for, that they risked everything for; it’s all being trashed by a power hungry greedy corporatist administration. Six years in office and somehow these people have pulled the Constitution right out from under us, and you have allowed it.

You are as responsible as Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney for the condition America finds itself in. You did not do your job. You sat back, Republican and Democrat alike, perhaps for reasons dissimilar, yet sit you did, watching, smiling as the coffers increased, as our rights were eroded, as a three branch co-equal government system was raped, leaving us with a unitary executive whose sole motives are power and greed.

Are you aware of National Security Presidential Directive 51? Where are the challenges to this power grab? Any crisis, anywhere in the world, and Mr. Bush can declare himself dictator, with unlimited, unchecked power, including the power to remain in office past 2008.

Are you aware of the theft of Iraqi oil? We do not steal it to pay for reconstruction of the country, no; it’s merely for the profit of the world cabal of Oil Companies. We, the United States of America, are allowing a group of Oil Companies to literally write laws in Iraq which outright give rights to nearly all current and ALL future oil fields to Exxon and Standard Oil, et al. Oh, a twenty percent share goes to be split between the factions in Iraq, after of course, the Iraqi government gets its cut, which has yet to be determined. The Iraqi reluctance to sign this bill is delaying one of the “benchmarks” that the US has imposed to go forward in Iraq. Is this not extortion? People do not understand the greed. They say that if this war is being fought for oil, why are the prices so high? They must understand that it is for control of oil that it is being fought. They have no interest in bringing prices down. By owning, they can control the price, and controlling the price, control much of the commerce in the world.

I was moved to tears this week, watching the history of our Revolution unfold on TV, in honor of Independence Day. I watched how this group of men decided that the King’s rule was intolerable, that their basic human rights had been violated, and that therefore they had a DUTY to rise up against such oppression. These men did not do this lightly. They placed their lives in jeopardy, their families and their homes at risk. They knew what they were getting into. Their families were tortured and killed, their farms were burned, they were hanged and abused, yet they persisted.
They saw that what they were fighting for was bigger than themselves. They wrangled and fought even amongst their own to found a government that could be an example of freedom and democracy to the world. They fought against all odds and they won.

Read the Federalist Papers, and the correspondences of the Founding Fathers. They explored and shared and dissected every area of Government. Why have a government? Who should the government serve? How can that Government be structured and confined? What are human rights, and how can they be attained? Their party affiliations were chosen by the philosophical bent of the party, not by issues.

Where is our Jefferson? Our Franklin and Adams? Where are those with the courage and conviction to stand against a rogue administration and lead the masses back to the Constitution? There are rare few voices out there, and unfortunately, they are marginalized. Dennis Kucinich pens a Resolution of Impeachment against the most toxic Vice President in our history, and people laugh. Over and over the Democrats give up before they even start, saying “oh, we don’t have the votes.” Well, dammit, make the stand anyway. Let the people, yes, WE the people, know that you tried. Let the world know that the majority of our citizenry does not support the policies of this President.

It is simply incomprehensible to me that even the staunchest of Republicans can support this President. There is nothing about this man that is truly Republican. He has spent the biggest budget surplus in history down to record deficits, and none of that has gone to programs that help mainstream Americans. His record on the environment, on health care and science, on immigration and national security are failures in every possible way.

I know there are protests going on. I’ve been to a few, and I get emails every day from very large groups who are working to reign in this Administration. Why do we not hear about it? When 10,000 protest immigration policies in LA, we hear about it, but when there are nationwide protests organized by Code Pink, or World Can’t Wait, or the Coalition for Peace? Not a word.

To all of you facing re-election in the coming years please know this. All the money you raise is useless. Your fate rests in the hands of millions of others like me. We’re ANGRY. We want leaders who will serve US. We want to believe that the people we support will have a backbone and a basic knowledge of right and wrong. We want someone who will tell us the truth, even if it hurts. We want the Constitution to mean something again, and not be viewed as a “quaint document.” We want honest, thoughtful dialog, where people who disagree can work together for the good of the country, without vitriol, without name calling. We want respect for all Americans.

If you believe in America and what it stands for; if you “defend and uphold the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic”, then you will do anything and everything to preserve it.

Are YOU that person?

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Can we please stop with the lies?

Number One. Valerie Plame wasn’t a covert agent.
If the CIA testifies in court that she was covert, which they DID, then SHE WAS. Those who continue to repeat that talking point in an attempt to mislead lie to the American public only look stupid. It’s in the court record. Duh.

Number Two. Scooter Libby’s trial was a farce, he’s innocent, and there was no underlying crime.
At this point, I beg you; at least be consistent. He lied. This was proved once again, in court. That’s what he was charged, convicted, and sentenced for. Do NOT claim it is a trivial matter or that because there was no indictment on the underlying crime it doesn’t count. It sure counted for Clinton. It was a matter of supreme importance that he lied under oath then, despite there being no charges in that underlying alleged crime. The rules are not different for Republicans vs Democrats. Obstruction of Justice is a crime precisely because it keeps the underlying crime from being investigated.

The recent indictment of William Jefferson was a striking juxtaposition to the furor over Scooter Libby, for anyone willing to pay attention. No one denies that there are corrupt politicians in both parties; after all, we all know power corrupts. Look, however, at the difference in how these people were dealt with in their own parties. Not one person in the Democratic Party made excuses for him. No one tried to cover it up, or blame someone else. Instead, as soon as it was made public, the Speaker asked him to resign from his committee positions immediately. If he is convicted, he will leave office. Now consider Tom Delay. Scooter Libby. Duke Cunningham, Jack Abramoff, David Safavian et al.

Number Three. We must win this war.
There is no war. War was never declared. Why is that, one wonders? It’s because there cannot be a war on a tactic. Terrorism is a tactic, not an entity, not a government. (This same rationale applies to the misguided wars on drugs, on crime, and on poverty). If any of this debacle can be called war, it ended with the overthrow of Saddam and the “Mission Accomplished” banner. Our soldiers did what they were asked to do in ousting Saddam. Anything after that is occupation. One can NOT win an occupation. One can manage an occupation, as we did so well after WWII, but it requires a much higher ratio of soldier to civilian than this Administration has been willing to consider. Hence we play “Whack-a-Mole” and more of our soldiers die daily.

Number Four. If you disagree with the President’s policy, you’re a “bad American.”
This is the most divisive, the most subversive, the most heinous attitude I can imagine. It goes against the most basic tenet of our country’s beliefs. Telling me that I hate America because my opinion differs from yours is not only insulting, it’s dangerous. Our country was built on dissent. It’s not a happenstance that freedom of speech is the FIRST amendment to our Constitution. One might posit that someone willing to speak out against abuses by elected officials and fight for the Constitution loves their country more than one giving support to an administration run amok.

This is another case where the attitude of Neo-cons and Progressives show marked differences. As progressives, we fight for your right to disagree with us. We want you to be informed on all issues, from all sides. We want you to speak your mind. We want you to vote. We think that such dialog improves our society. The right wing pundits want you to believe what you’re told. They know what’s good for you. They discourage discourse. They place impediments to voting. They restrict your access to information to keep you focused on what they want you thinking about. Above all, they do not want you to think for yourself.

We who disagree with the President’s Iraq policy do not hate America. We don’t want Al Qaeda to “win.” We do not rejoice when things go badly over there. It’s insulting to be told we are traitors, aiding the enemy. This is a lie that hurts America, as it further divides us, making it harder to find solutions. It’s wrong, and it needs to stop.

Number Five. The Left Wing Media.
This is another Duh moment. All one needs to do here is take a look at who owns the big media conglomerates. Almost exclusively they’re owned by very rich, very white, very male conservatives. Then take a short look at the stories that DON”T get covered. Like Monica mentioning “caging” in her testimony, which has barely even been mentioned in the MSM. Like the focus on the really important issues of our day, Paris Hilton and Britney Spears and Anna Nicole Smith. It has become a full time job to ferret out the information that is vital to really understand what is going on in the United States right now, and one must often turn to external sources such as the BBC get what is being hidden from Americans.

No, I’m not an advocate of the Fairness Doctrine. I do believe in the Free Market approach, but our current system is faulty. The Free Market can’t prevail when all programming is controlled by FIVE people who carefully slant what they allow on the airwaves. If a progressive isn’t given a chance to earn market share, that is not a free market. That amounts to censorship. Welcome to The Third Reich America.

I'm really not done ranting, but my stomach is roiling, so the rest will have to wait. Blech.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Surgery Over

Ok, here are the gruesome details. My doctor was kind enough to provide images from the camera inserted into my knee.Lovely, aren't they? That picture up in the left upper corner is the knee cap, and should be smooth. Think of a chicken leg bone, the white part on the end. Mine is, well, shredded into what looks to a fiber freak like angora in need of plucking.

That metal thingy you see is the instrument they used to scrape that fuzzy stuff out of my knee, and cauterize and seal it. I was awake through most of it, and the doctor was very good about showing me and explaining what they were doing. Problem is, I was a wee tad medicated, and some of it is fuzzy now, and getting more so.

So it's been a week, and I'm still using a cane to walk. My recovery has been a bit slower than expected, unfortunately, but it is progressing. I start PT on Friday, which I fully expect to be horribly painful, but will help, I hope.

I returned to work today. My desk was piled so high I couldn't see my monitor. Sigh. But I waded through a great deal of it and caught up fairly well. I took my lunch break at the end of the day so I could leave early, as the pain was steadily increasing and I could feel it swelling. So it's back to the armchair and the bags of ice for the evening. It was good to be up and around though, and I'm sure a relief for my beleaguered spouse.

I'll try to get some photos up tomorrow of the fibery things I've been working on while I've been immobile.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Annual Spring Sing

Tonight was Murphy's school annual "Spring Sing." As with most school concerts, a certain amount of tediousness can be expected; but the kids are so dang cute that you can't help but laugh and be so proud of them!


Much too late to do anything about it, we discovered our little angel has outgrown his one set of "church" clothes. The suit he wore six months ago will not even meet to button, and the pants are capris now. Sigh. So we had to do some improvising. Luckily, living in Ojai, amongst the hippies and the artists, one has great leeway with one's attire. So we morphed a few things and voila!

Daddy's tie and a shirt that had always been so big we forgot about it were enlisted and he looked so adorable!


He got to play the Glockenspiel, and he sang and made his motions with enthusiasm, making his mother so proud! It was lovely. Here he is with his best friend Natie.
And so another school year inches to a close, and we have to wait a whole year til NEXT Spring Sing. It'll be worth the wait!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Back to Family and Fiber

Ok, so here are the cutest kids.... EVER!

Murphy and Eric. Twelve years apart. The best children a mother could ever ask for. Smart, sweet, honest, loving, generous and gosh darn fun to be around. I am so blessed.

They gave me a lovely Mother's Day. Murphy wrote me a poem that made me cry for half an hour. Amazing. If I could have listed all the things I would want my children to think about me, it would have been that poem.

Eric braved foreign territory, venturing into the local yarn shop "Artful Living" to get me a perfect little project bag. He was wise enough to enlist the aid of the proprietor, Barbara, who knows me well. The bag came with several IOU's, including hugs and chores to be claimed in the future. Very sweet. Thanks, Eric!

My most beloved and charming husband made me buttermilk pancakes and ham and eggs for breakfast, and then took me out to Panda Buffet for dinner. The poor man worked like a dog all day, waiting on me and helping his friend move. It was a lovely day, and I felt very loved and cherished, even more so than I do on a normal day, and that's saying something!

My knee continues to deteriorate. Pain is getting worse by the day. Tomorrow I go for a pre-op visit, then Friday pre-op testing; then just hang in til Monday, courtesy of massive doses of ice and vicodin. I am holding my breath, counting the seconds.

Ok; the fiber stuff. Finished my second pair of socks. Knitpicks "Moc-Croc" pattern. I didn't think I was going to like them while I was knitting; the heel looked really weird. But when I put them on, it formed a perfect little snug pocket for my heel. I love them! The color is wild too; it's Tofutsies, made from soysilk and crab fiber. Yep, crab and shrimp shell. Man, they can make yarn out of ANYTHING these days!

Eric is having a love affair with all things Jamaican currently, so I knit him a hat reflecting those colors. Then of course, Murphy had to have one too! Despite the face, Murphy actually is laughing, not crying in that photo!

Then Eric asked for a different style hat. Found a picture on the internet of one for sale, and I tried to copy it. This is the result. It's crocheted. I haven't crocheted anything in ages, at least six months or so, might be a year! He's really pleased with it, and wants me to make some for his friends. It's called the "Dank Hat," as that is apparently the newest vernacular for really cool. I may post a pattern when I get it sussed out.

I'm working on another pair of socks, and a few other things that may or may not come to fruition. I'll post more when I get a chance. Right now... its off to the recliner to ice my knee and pop another pain pill. YIKES!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Why We Must Impeach this Administration

This is a very long and very political rant. If you're not up for it - Leave now!

I wrote a long time ago about how we needed to be better parents to this country. I still think that’s true, and it’s one of the main reasons that I think we need to impeach both Bush and Cheney. I’ve heard all the arguments from both sides; how it would be bad for the country, that it would be divisive, how it would undermine investigations into other crimes and corruptions, and God forbid we end up with a female president Pelosi by default!

There’s something to be said for just doing something because it’s the right thing to do. We want to teach our children moral behavior but then don’t call out our politicians when they “misbehave.” We want to have the moral imperative in the world but we don’t want to make a fuss when our leaders violate the most basic fundamentals of our Constitution.

What these people have done to our country, to our standing in the world, to our Constitution, to our collective psyche is so pervasive and so heinous that it must not stand. It might be easier to just ride along and let the next election take care of it, but we cannot allow the easy road. We must tell the people of the world, and indeed those same politicians that we will elect in the future, that we will not countenance these abuses of power. We must tell them that we do not slumber, that we are awake and watching and will call them to task for what they do in our name.

I’m tired of politics. I’m tired of having to assume that I will be lied to. I’m tired of people working only for their own best interests rather than the country’s. Yet it’s too important to give up. There are so many people I know who are “too busy” or too stressed or too fed up to follow what’s going on in our country. I don’t do enough either. It’s hard, and time consuming to stay informed, and sometimes one feels alone. I know there are people protesting, but somehow we don’t hear about it on the news, so it’s easy to become complacent.

I laugh, bitterly, every time I think of the furor made over President Clinton’s impeachment. Yes, he did something wrong. He lied about it. Of course, it was a question he should never have been asked, but putting that aside, he lied and he shouldn’t have, and he was IMPEACHED over it. I think that was a tad extreme, but hey, democracy in action, right?

But now, the man who could teach Orwell a thing or two about doublespeak, who has lied over and over and over about material issues, about things that resulted in the death of an uncountable number of people; he’s become the “Teflon kid.” Nothing sticks to him, and even more unfathomable, his party continues to look the other way. It’s beyond incomprehensible. How can people be so obtuse or so greedy as to allow the basic rights of the people of the United States to be worn away?

Has there ever before been a time when dissent meant you were unpatriotic? The McCarthy era, I suppose, another banner time in our country’s history. The first line of defense for the neo-cons is to attack the opposition’s love of country. I’m not the first to draw lines of comparison with the Third Reich, and I know it’s not considered proper to do so, but if we don’t learn from history we are destined to repeat it. The unanswered question has always been “How did the German people go along with him?” The answer is right in front of you now. It’s not happening quite as fast or efficiently as Hitler was able to manage it, but the same mechanisms are in effect. Unite the country under a fear of a common enemy. Undermine the patriotism of anyone who disagrees. Keep the regime immunized against answering tough questions. Slowly chip away at the rights of the citizenship, all in the name of safety, of course. Monopolize the press to limit dissension and keep your message of fear before the public. Give the executive figure more and more power, again in the name of homeland security.

Like presidential candidate Mr. Gravel, I am not afraid of any other country. We are strong in America. We are young and healthy and wealthy and we cannot be defeated by an outside force. I am, however, terrified of my government. We can be toppled from within, and I fear we are far down that road already. We have allowed a group of wealthy, powerful conservatives who do not believe in government to take over our government. Their icon, Ronald Reagan, said “I’ve always thought that the nine most terrifying words in the English language are “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”

How in the world can people who do not believe in government execute any kind of viable government?

Thom Hartmann, on AirAmerica Radio, speaks of the fundamental difference between progressives and conservatives. Conservatives believe that people are inherently evil and therefore must be regulated. Progressives believe that people are inherently good, and that the purpose of government is to uphold the people and help them achieve their best potential. It may be that the view one takes reflects one’s own character. These holier than thou Christians who feel that our country’s laws must be changed to agree with the religious law project their sins on others. I’ve never heard anyone say “Please, pass this law to prevent me from doing something sinful;” it’s always to stop another from doing something the first person would find objectionable. Almost puritanical, isn’t it? I know what’s best for you, dear.

I prefer the liberal view, myself. I prefer to let each person act within their own moral code, to believe what their faith leads them to believe. I think we are all (mostly) good, and if we can have our basic needs met, most people will act as good neighbors. Then I look at the neo-cons, and doubt, sometimes. They are appealing to our base nature, and they’re getting results.

There are so many things I’m angry about. I am angry at those who question my patriotism because I speak up when I don’t like what I see. I am angry at those who say we must respect the President simply because he is the President. I say I honor my country when I defend the Constitution from those who think it’s “quaint.” I think I honor the OFFICE of the President when I demand the occupant of the office perform his duties in the best interest of the country, not in the best interest of his bank account, or his church.

I love my country. The United States of America and its experiment in representational democracy is a historic and amazing place, and I’m so proud and blessed to be living here, where I can write a piece like this and not end up in jail. I want to preserve it. I want to make sure that when my son grows up, he too will be proud of his country, and able to speak his mind about the changes he would like to see. I want to leave this place better than I found it. I want to get back the reputation the United States enjoyed among the countries of the world, back to when we did have the moral high ground, when people all over knew that we would trade fairly and treat people well. In a short six years, all that is gone, despite the way the world got behind us after the World Trade Center was destroyed. GWB has taken all that “capital” and tossed it away.

We, the People, must impeach George W. Bush and Dick Cheney to make clear to the world (and to the next generation of politicians) that America is good. To show that when the people speak, the leaders MUST listen, and that not even the President is exempt from the laws of our country. It’s tough love, but it’s the only way to reclaim our country and restore the glory it once deserved.

The congress needs to stand up and at least TRY to do the things that they believe to be right, even if there is no chance they can pass. There is no shame in being defeated in battle, but to not try because you know you’ll fail? We need to show we stand for the truth. It used to be that that was important; has the need to survive the next election changed that?

We need to do the things we know to be RIGHT. The President and Vice President have violated their oath of office many times over, and we must make them own that responsibility.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Another One Bites The Dust

Or doesn't, more accurately. Murphy has lost another tooth. I'm telling you, the tooth fairy is in danger of bankruptcy. So for those keeping count; he now has three empty spaces, the remaining top incisor is quite loose, and several other teeth are slightly loose. He'll soon be living on applesauce, ice cream and pudding!





On the knitting front, I have finished my first pair of adult socks! WHOO HOOO! These are knitted in Regia Bamboo on size 3 dpns, for those who care. Next time, I'm dropping down a needle size, as the fabric is more floppy than I'd like. Overall, however, I'm very pleased. The pattern is from http://knitpicks.com, the Twisted Rib socks. I really like them. Especially the not having a one inch deep ridge in my ankle when I take them off! I've already cast on for my next pair, which is also from the Knitpicks site; the Moc Croc ones. They're a really cool colorway. When I get a few rows done, I'll try to post a pic.
No news yet on the arthroscopy. Still hobbling with the cane; some days better than others. Today wasn't too bad; on Wednesday I was begging to be shot. I am grateful, really; I know it could be that bad all the time.
Tomorrow is Guild; I hope it's a good day or it'll be a short meeting for me.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Looks Like Surgery

Saw my orthopedist to discuss the results of my MRI. Not a good sign when he walks in the room and says "Well, you really ruined your knee, didn't you?"

So it's arthroscopy for me, as soon as the insurance approves it. I can be awake and watch the surgery, which should be fun. At least, I think so; my husband gets the willies just thinking about it. I just want it OVER so I can get back to life!

I asked him about spinning; he said if it hurts, don't do it; if not, should be fine as long as there's no weight bearing. So I plied some lovely turquoise wool I won at the last Guild meeting. It was nice to get back to it, but it was painful, so I don't think I'll be spinning much, unfortunately. I really miss it. The knitting has been fun, but I'm starting to ache for a change. I can spindle for a while, but I'm supposed to keep the knee elevated. Have you ever tried spindling whilst reclining? I have... but man, your arm gets tired fast!

And me with all this breed swap fiber to start spinning....

Thursday, April 19, 2007

It's a Miracle!

No, not that I'm posting twice in one day, after having laid dormant for three months. Four? Whatever...

The miracle is that I finally got my approval for my MRI, which I then scheduled for 12 noon today, so it's DONE; and tomorrow I go back to the ortho to find out the results! HALLELUJAH!!!!!!!! Oh please, PLEASE let there be a solution to this knee pain! Today was agony; I just got home after the MRI and am falling into my chair with a Vicodin, praying for tomorrow.

Just had to share!

Still Alive!

Ok, so it's been a while. This has been a rough winter with sickness and other medical issues; luckily it's really all been annoyances rather than anything truly serious. Still, wearing and depressing and frustrating at times. I finally got over the respiratory plague I had for December and January, only to have my very old knee injury flare up in a major way. So I'm hobbling about with a cane in fair to middlin' pain, awaiting the old insurance company's approval of an MRI, to be followed (we assume) by arthroscopy surgery.


Meanwhile, Murphy has now lost a total of four teeth, and currently has two gaping holes in his mouth, having lost one of the top front teeth. He reports that six others are loose too; he may end up eating nothing but applesauce!


Eric is in a new play, to debut tomorrow night. He plays a corpse. Apparently he has more lines than you'd think. It sounds like a VERY... uh... interesting play, and I can't wait to see it.


Peru is up for sainthood. I mean, truly! It's been one thing after another and he's had to take care of me, the kids, the house, the shopping, everything. By himself, for the most part. And he's not complained once; never groused, never resentful, just does what needs to be done. Have I mentioned this man is amazing? And on April 1st (Yes, April Fools Day!) we celebrated our seventh anniversary. Yikes! I can't believe it's been that long! But very much the best years of my life.


In fibery news, I've finally got the Breed Swap under control. About twelve boxes have gone out, most of the rest are packed and ready to go. Again, poor Peru has to deal with this, as I'm not able to carry many boxes holding a cane! I hope to get the rest out this weekend.


Monumental to me is that I've finally conquered knitting socks! I tried several times before and got frustrated. Finally, it dawned on me that if I started small I might have better luck, so I made a pair of baby socks; and now I get it! I understand the construction, and that helps. So I made two pair of that pattern, then another pattern of baby socks, and then I tried some boot socks. They were going to be for my BBF Barbara but unfortunately, they fit Murphy.... so I tried one more time and I DID IT! Ok, so far, only one is knitted, but I did cast on for the second sock last night. It's the knitpicks twisted cable pattern, and I'm doing it in Regia bamboo yarn; very interesting! But the first sock is done, kitchenered, and it fits! The next challenge is to try the two circ method...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Happy New Year!

Ok, so I'm a little late. Maybe a lot late. There are still SEVERAL people I have not managed to get Christmas presents mailed out to yet. December was ... well... rough. To put it mildly. Finally surviving Birthday Week from Hell, we were then faced with colds, flu, ear infections, sinus infections, back to colds again. Then there was the water heater blowing up. And the wind storm, that brought down an amazing amount of tree branches, not to mention a very large eucalyptus tree that split down the middle, one half across the bike path behind our yard, and the other across the fence that keeps small children from falling into the culvert. And I forgot about the sprinkler system that required having all the valves replaced. While Murphy had a lovely Christmas, I was barely conscious and spent several hours at the not-so-local clinic, where I was kindly given several prescriptions which due to the holiday were unable to be filled until the next day; no small inconvenience considering the size of the headache I had from the flu (extra, extra, extra large, with a bonus serving of OUCH). Thank God that Peru was able to handle most things until I became somewhat functional before he got the worst of his bout.

So now we're all recovering, and I'm trying hard to catch up on all the things I'm behind on; the Breed Swap, the aforementioned Christmas gifts, the housework, and of course, work. Did I mention the business consultant that's turning the company inside out trying to make us more productive and more profitable? Looking over my shoulder at every step? And did I mention that I have a miserable cold, AGAIN?????? Sigh. But it's all small stuff, thank God. We'll get through it.

Tomorrow I'll try to post some pictures of the yard from the wind storm. They don't show the true extent of the mess, but it'll give you an idea. And some of Murphy and his presents. He's pretty darn cute!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Tagged

I've been Tagged!

THE RULES: Each player of this game starts with the ‘6 weird things about you.’ People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave a comment that says ‘you are tagged’ in their comments and tell them to read your blog.

This is tough; I don't know how weird I am.

1. I like brussels sprouts.
2. I spin yarn from raw fiber. I even like cleaning a raw nasty smelly fleece.
3. I met my husband on the internet. And we're still together, ten years after our first contact!
4. I love my family. I really do. I'd rather stay home and be with my husband and kids than do anything else on earth.
5. I like folk music.
6. I hate math, I hate numbers... but somehow I ended up as a bookkeeper. THAT's weird!

Ok. So I have to tag 6 people? I don't know if I know six bloggers! I'll give it a shot, but I can't list names, sorry.

I haven't blogged in forever as I've had in quick succession the following: birthday week from hell, cold, flu, sinus infection and now am back to cold. I just LOVE the left coast; I seem to have no immunities whatsoever to the bugs out here. How I long for Boston... or at least it's germs!
Will try to blog more later but have limited access these days.