Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Sunday, October 29, 2006
People have been asking me what I’m going to do on my vacation. Where am I going to go? Being the financially-challenged person that I am, and the homebody that I am, a big trip is out of the question. Then I realized: I’m going to take a trip into space – CYBER SPACE!!
I have been overwhelmed at the information overload that is available on the Internet. If you read or watch the news at all, you’ve probably come across the story about how the amount of information we are exposed to is growing exponentially, and growing at such a pace that we are unable to keep up with it. I first heard this at a conference over 15 years ago, when we had only one computer for our whole staff, and e-mail only, no web pages. The thought stuck with me. Look how far we have come…
This is so evident to me when I start looking for knitting information on the web. Only a few short years ago, there was ONE premier knitting webpage, “Woolworks”, that gathered knitting information into one accessible location. Now, you Google “Knitting” and a seemingly endless amount of sites appear. Not only that, but when you look at these sites, and start jumping from link to link to link, it is very easy to get lost down the cyber rabbit hole! And you can start again, and go a completely different direction. And over and over again. That’s just regular knitting sites. It’s even worse with blogs. I get so carried away clicking on buttons on blogs, and learning about all sorts of new knitting-related blogs, and groups, and exchanges. Webrings for knitters of different knitting specialties, different religions, different sexual orientations, different nationalities, different familial makeups, all manner of focus groups! I myself belong to the cat knitters webring, the fluffy knitters webring, and could probably join a few more, once I found them. Then there are the exchanges. You can join a secret pal exchange, a tote exchange, a pattern exchange, a sock knitters exchange, a knitters’ tea lovers exchange, and on and on.
Then there are the podcasts! Only a short year or so ago, I think there were two knitting podcasts: Cast-On, and KnitCast. Just recently I found a list of knitting podcasts on a blog, and I think there were close to two dozen! A few weekends ago, I downloaded all the past episodes of Cast-On and KnitCast, and have been slowly catching up with what I’ve been missing.
The same goes for the Internet knitting magazines. There used to be just one: KnitNet. Now, we have Knitty, MagKnits, and more. And as before, these are full of knitting information, knitting patterns, and links, links links!
Now, I don’t plan to spend my entire vacation staring at my laptop. I do intend to get some work done, to get more organized, to get outdoors and get some exercise, and to relax with some huge chunks of knitting time. But I do want to spend some time exploring this wonderful resource, and, like Alice in Wonderland, get lost down the rabbit hole. Now instead of a bottle that says "Drink Me", Alice would have a button that says "Click Me"!
Friday, September 29, 2006
But, the month is almost over, and hopefully I'll regain some of the brain function soon, and be able to concentrate on more of the fun aspects of life, instead of work, work, work.
Until then, here's a photo of one of the projects that I've been working on. I made almost a dozen of these Apple Caps. Very quick and easy, and just in time for apple season!
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Why is this blogworthy? Today I took a walk around town, something I used to do almost daily, and need to get back to doing. I walked from my house at one end of town, to my brother's house at the other end. A half mile, through the "heart" of the village. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon, a tranquil summer day.
On my return trip, I saw a family playing volleyball in their backyard. Further along, I walked through Central Park, and another family was there, having a picnic. There was laundry out on someone's clothesline; dozens of baby rompers. In another yard, a woman was picking flowers from her garden. Climbing the steps up the church hill, I wondered if the town could be any more Norman Rockwell than that. So like Lake Wobegon. I think this especially hit home because I realized at that moment that in a few days we would observe the 5th anniversary of 9-11. It shook us all, but five years later, at least in this little village, the appearance of life as usual was ever present.
That's something very precious to me. I know our town has changed in some ways. It will continue to grow, as the whole region is growing. But it's a comfort to know that on a warm summer afternoon, a walk through town is pretty much the same as it was 40-some years ago.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Places like this continue to amaze me. That they were built by people with little or no engineering skills is one thing. That they are still standing after more than 80 years is another. In our harsh Wisconsin winters, the freeze/thaw action wreaks havoc on even the most common concrete surfaces. Why these structures have not crumbled to pieces is truly a marvel. They inspire my creative spirit to no end. They give me this...
Monday, July 17, 2006
Last week I started a spreadsheet of all my current projects, and tried to prioritize them. I made columns for details like needle size, gauge, brand of yarn, etc. I still don't have it all filled in, but the hardest part was trying to prioritize. One project was obvious - sock's for my niece's birthday in August. But since that's a carry-along project, should I really be working on it at home, where I can work on something bigger? I'm sure I'll get them done in time. So then what? Should the oldest project have priority, because it's old? Should the project closest to being finished have priority? I only ended up choosing the top two projects, and the rest will have to wait for a number.
The scary thing about all this is that my spreadsheet has 10 projects on it. With the exception of the hat I work on while on the treadmill, all of these are in the living room. There are countless others upstairs, and in the bedroom, in various stages of completion. The further away the project is, the more details I've forgotten about it. My cousin commented that she's amazed by the number of things I get done. If she only knew the frightening number of things still waiting to be finished - some date back 20 years. (Now she will know, since she reads this blog!)
It certainly looks like a clean out is in order. The bad thing about clean outs, is that I always get motivated to start new projects!! And this is just the knitting. Not to mention crochet, weaving, spinning, cross stitch, embroidery, quilting, sewing, polymer clay, stained glass...gosh could that be all? What am I doing sitting at the computer? I've got work to do!
Saturday, June 17, 2006
Ok, I know that's only one anklet, but trust me, there's another one. I just thought it would look better photographed "on-foot", and it was tricky enough getting that shot! Not to mention I had to crop off my "Little Lotta" looking leg. Ma, these socks make my legs look fat! Maybe it's just me. Anyway, they are comfy, and right in time to have something to wear around the house. The yarn was Plymouth Sockotta, and I've got plenty left from one ball to make another pair. And I picked up a similar looking yarn this week in several other bright colors to make more anklets. Good summer knitting!
Now on deck, I mean "on the needles" is a pair of regular socks made from Trekking. Which reminds me, I have to pick up stitches around the heel flap before tonight's game. I got that far last night and it was too dark in our section of the stands to see very well. I actually had to stop knitting and fully concentrate on the ball game. At that point it was pretty much a blow-out, with the Loggers winning 14-2.
More tomorrow, when I will actually have a day where I don't have to be anywhere and do anything. Well, anything except dishes, and house cleaning, and other chores. Sigh...
Sunday, June 11, 2006
I'm getting a lot of knitting done at the ball games. The last two nights it was cold in the stands, and when I finished a sock I seriously thought about wearing it as a mitten! I'm working on a pair of footie type socks now in Plymouth Sockotta. Not sure if I like the Sockotta, but the socks are turning out nice enough.
Finally, here is a picture of the new kitty, Lilly. I was thinking it was going to take months for her to get adjusted to being here, but just look!
She's making herself right at home, and is even coming around for petting. Rusty and Rollie are still not sure what to make of her. So far she's stayed out of their hair, but the more settled in she gets, the more interaction they're having. Sometimes it's good, sometimes noisy! At least the house is big enough that they can each claim their own space. Not the best picture of her, but rest assured, more will follow...
Sunday, June 04, 2006
This is the fourth year for the team, and the games are fun to watch. They have the style of pro ball, but a hometown feel. Unfortunately, the team is not off to a great start this year, losing two out of the first three games. But it's early, and there's a lot of baseball yet to come.
Of course, I take my knitting with me to the ball games. Usually socks or other small projects. I almost have a pair of Lion Magic Stripes Socks finished, and hope to complete them at today's game. A picture will be posted as soon as they're done. I'm also working on some footies in Sockotta, which I'm not sure I like (the yarn), but they seem to be turning out all right.
The other big news is that I'm adopting another cat from the Coulee Region Humane Society. I thought that two cats were just fine, but I've always said I'd get another British Shorthair if I got the chance. This week, one showed up on their website, and I knew I had to rescue her. She's a pretty girl named Lilly. Her humane society photos don't do her justice, so look for more photos once she's here.
Saturday, May 27, 2006
I'm only learning the ins and outs of blogging, so I'm not sure how to get that file to open here in the blog. If you have any problems with it, please let me know.
Finally, Rollie says "Don't look now, but I think I'm being watched..."
Sunday, May 21, 2006
The yarn was the same as the Booga, more Tahki Ambrosia Slim. I already have a third bag started, this time a Market Squares bag from Knitter's. I made this pattern a few years ago, when it came out, but only made it half as big. It turned into a lovely hat. The yarn was some coned 2-ply wool from Webs. Very nice to work with.
I'm using more of the Ambrosia Slim in the new bag, but in a different colorway. This yarn is fulling very nicely, so it's fun to work with.
Now that summer's almost here, it's hard to find knitting time. I am so far behind in yardwork, housework, eBay work, you name it. I get a little knitting squeezed in during lunch and meetings, but that's only on small things, like socks, washcloths, booties, etc. There are so many yarns and patterns waiting to be made. As soon as I finish this, I'm going to sit down with my needles and knit for the rest of the evening. Wish I didn't feel soooo sleepy....
Finally, Rusty shows just how boring it can be to be kept inside when all the little birdies are outside just dying to play with him...didn't know cats could sulk, did you?
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Tuesday I thought I'd just knit and relax in the evening. I picked up three balls of Lion Watercolor yarn in the clearance bin at Hobby Lobby, and thought I would make a baby sweater. Found a pattern on the internet, and cast on. After knitting for a couple of hours, and almost coming to the end of the first ball, I realized that I should have made the smallest size instead of the largest, because I was probably going to run out of yarn. So I ripped it all out. Normally I wouldn't have noticed, but this time it really felt like two hours wasted. I guess I'm just having an "off" week.
Wednesday wasn't much better, with a tick bite that landed me at the clinic. I did manage to transplant 46 strawberry plants, and start a new bed, so that makes the future look bright. This is such a busy time of year for yardwork, it really cuts into the knitting time. But I'm really feeling like I need to relax with my feet up and the needles clicking. Maybe Friday night...
Finally, Rusty says "Don't bother me, I'm getting my catnip fix."
Saturday, May 13, 2006
I had been hoping to go further afield, but we stuck close to home, relatively speaking. We explored the better parts of Vernon County, Wisconsin, located in Southwestern Wisconsin. On our way there, we made a stop at St. Joseph Ridge, to visit this grotto.Because the weather was against us, raining and spitting snow, and 40 degrees, we did't stay too long at the grotto. But I'll say right now, these types of places fascinate me. There are enough of them located in my part of the state to do an in depth study on. I'm kind of "collecting" them - grottos and sculpture gardens. This one was built in the 1920's. Someday, I'd like to build my own. Most of the grottos and sculpture gardens I've seen have been made by immigrants, but they didn't start building them until they were in their 60's or later. So the way I figure it, I've got about 20 years yet to do my research, and collect my rocks and pieces of glass and other interesting articles. Every grotto or garden seems to have religious symbols, and patritoic symbols. Maybe I will put in some knitting symbols as well.In addition to man-made structures, it's fun to find geologic features that seem to defy reason. Here's a landform called "3 Chimneys", located between Viroqua and Westby. I'm going to have to do a bit of studying on this one too. My brother knew where it was located (in a farm field on a country road), but neither of us could find out why it was formed or what material it was. We were in an unglaciated part of the state, and I thought we were too far away from the areas overrun by glacial meltwaters, but I'm not sure.
In addition to finding unique landforms, we were also exploring Amish country. At first, we bought a few things from a "commercial" shop that carried crafts by local Amish and other artisans. Then we started going down the country roads, and finding the actual farmsteads, many of which sell their goods right from home. At one home my brother bought a peach pie, fresh from the oven. It was too nasty a day for a picnic, so the pie rode in the backseat, filling the car with the most wonderful aroma! Every place we stopped, when we got back in the car, the fragance of baked peaches made us swoon. At another home I bought a bent hickory footstool and we visited with the carpenter in his woodshop. Later we realized that we had only found one of several Amish communities in the area, so another trip is planned.
In spite of the weather, we had a good time, probably spent too much money, learned a bit more about the Viroqua area, and basically had a nice break.
Coming soon - KNITTING CONTENT - I promise, really I do...
Sunday, May 07, 2006
In her memory today, I baked cookies. Lots of cookies. Over 300 - we are having an event at the refuge this week, and I offered to bake cookies for the volunteers and presenters. Ma would have loved the baking day - she taught me to bake when I was very young, and she had a huge recipe collection. I'm not sure how many actually got made, but she was forever clipping recipes or copying them down. I still have most of her recipes and need to sort through them and get them organized and preserved.
She taught me a lot about needlework too. Embroidery, sewing, crocheting, but surprisingly, she didn't teach me to knit. She claimed not to know how, but I think it came and went. I have a baby sweater she knit for me, and I remember asking her to knit a garter stitch sweater from a "Woman's Day" magazine for me when I was in high school. She did, but it was terribly heavy and uncomfortable. I think she ripped it out and used the yarn in an afghan. She was an expert crocheter, and among other things, made beautiful lace hankies, many of which she gave as bridal or anniversary gifts.
Perhaps her best known trait was to be able to make something out of almost nothing. She was very creative, and saved almost everything, because you never knew what you might need it for. Juice cans were lashed together and upholstered and became footstools. Scrap lumber and molding became a triple decker bunk bed for my dolls. Old curtains were used to make the doll's bedding. A large piece of plastic draped over piled up timbers became my swimming/sliding pool. I could go on and on.
It's that creative spirit that I hope to carry on, whether it's in cooking, or knitting, or gardening. You can see from the photo that she had a pretty good green thumb. Tomorrow I hope to start in on the gardening, and I'm sure she'll be with me in spirit. I can't wait. Happy Birthday Ma!
Sunday, April 30, 2006
I decided to be good yesterday, and not go around to any sales. My brother though, was instructed to look for and pick up any "things I'd like". This is one of the items he came back with - a cute little knitting tin, complete with the hole on top for the yarn to feed through. There's also a kitty on the other side. Sweet. For a dollar, no less!
Not much else going on knit-wise. It's raining today, and it would be a lovely day to put on some old movies and knit away, but I need to get busy and catolog some of these books I keep bringing home and get them on the new shelves my brother put up for me last weekend. There's another book sale coming up in May, so I need to make room for more.
Finally, Rusty asks, "Why is there no mention of me? I thought this was supposed to be my blog...I demand some attention!"
Thursday, April 27, 2006
I've plunged headlong into Sparkpeople, and it's consumed a lot of my time. But the results have been oh so worth it! I've lost 15 pounds in four weeks! I'm starting to notice a difference in the way I feel; the clothes are getting a little looser, I'm not soooo tired, and some of the health issues are starting to fade away. How wonderful. On the downside, though, I've been camping out on the Spark website so much, that I've gotten little else done. I realize that after a month, it's time to start getting back to my normal routine.
Wait, my normal routine was work, come home, sit on couch, knit, sleep. That doesn't sound very good. I'll have to find a new normal, one that's fun and exciting, that won't put you dear readers to sleep!
I am getting ready for a rummage sale at my sister's house this weekend. It's the annual Village Wide Rummage Sale. Actually, I've been putting this off too, but I'm off work tomorrow, and as soon as I finish this I'm heading for the basement to sort through boxes and have a good clear out. I promise. No hopping on the treadmill and then getting too tired to work. No way. Not even 10 minutes. After all, I need money to pay for the darn thing, don't I?
So I will leave you with this interesting little photo. Many years ago, I bought one of these little gadgets from The Nature Company, that lets you see the world as a fly sees it. A curved, faceted lens sunk into a little piece of wood. Similar to a teliedescope, it gives you a fresh look at ordinary objects. Great for anyone who likes to design and combine colors. This picture was taken holding the lens in front of the digital camera, and it's a picture of the stained glass light fixture that hangs above the dining room table. Cool, yes?
Saturday, April 15, 2006
Here's the Booga Bag, all finished! I like the way it turned out, but I am going to change a few things for the next one. I think I will put in some yarnovers to make holes in the top of the bag, and string a large shoelace or something through them during the fulling process, to keep them open. This was a suggestion of some of the knitlisters. Also, instead of knitting one long length of cord and cutting it in half, I'll make two cords instead. That way all the cording will have the same tapered end, instead of a sharp edge on two ends.
I have some two-ply worsted wool coned yarn I got from Webs a couple of years ago, and some boucle novelty yarn - maybe for an accent stripe? The next bag beckons.
Finishing a project always leaves me a little bit at loose ends. Should I start something new, like another bag, or something completely new, or go back to an unfinished project? I did work on a couple of old projects last night. Decisions, decisions!
Finally, Rusty and Rollie want everyone to have a great weekend! Here they are, looking very comfy...
Friday, April 14, 2006
Last week was kind of frustrating. I bought a new treadmill, and let's just say, for the record (broken record, actually) that I despise Sears. But Sears was where I had to go to get my Nordic Track. Buying it wasn't so bad, except I had to wait over 30 minutes before a salesperson would talk to me. Several walked by, but it wasn't their department, so apparently they weren't allowed to even acknowledge my existence. Finally the lone sales guy was free, and the actual demo and purchase probably took less than 10 minutes. Two days later, my brother picked up the crate, which weighed 250 pounds, and it filled up his pickup! We strapped it to his appliance dolly and managed to squeeze it down the stairs to the basement, with me on the bottom going "yeah, I got it", and hoping he wouldn't let go.
I'd only cleared enough space for the machine, not the machine plus the box, so inching it out of the carton took a while. Finally the two main parts were free, and then we started looking for the directions. No directions. No hardware. No manual. It's 8:30 at night, and we're screwed. I call the store, talk to a different guy, who says "If you want to bring it back, we'll give you another one." I politely explain that there's no way on earth that I'm going to get the thing back in the crate, much less ask my brother to pull 250 pounds upstairs. And get to the store in the next 30 minutes. In my head, much colorful language was floating around. Luckily, none of it came out of my mouth.
Finally the guy told me to come to the store the next day, and they'd give me a parts kit and manual from another machine. Which is the probably the reason why mine didn't have any. So the next day I left work early, drove another 40 mile round trip to Sears, talked to three different guys, who all scratched their heads for about 30 minutes, and was finally given a parts kit and manual.
After all this frustration, is it any wonder why I headed to the nearest yarn store?? And here's what I bought, to calm myself...
Lovely, soft, Australian Merino that will someday become a pair of socks. I love the tweedy yarns, so this was right up my alley.
Hours later, and two free dinners in a row for my brother, the treadmill was finally put together and running. That night I was on it for 48 minutes, and almost couldn't walk when I got off! Since then, I've learned a little moderation. Still haven't figured out how to knit and treadmill at the same time, but that's coming...
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Voting - I actually got to knit while queuing to vote today! Not too long, but for our small town, that's a first. I didn't even have to wait in line at the last Presidential Election! The hot item on the ballot today was a school referendum where the school district is asking permission to go into debt and raise the tax levy $800,000 per year for the next five years. Financial type votes always bring out a crowd. I was number 273 in the voting line-up, with 3 hours to go. School board and village board races also had multiple candidates, which is again unusual for teeny, tiny Trempealeau. Most people run unopposed.
Tomorrow I get a big new toy - a Treadmill! I am serious about this lose weight, get healthy kick, and have wanted one for years. I would love to be able to knit and walk on it, but I have visions of the yarn falling and getting tangled in the belt, and the motor burning out!! We'll have to see - maybe one of those waist hooks or knitting pouches will come in handy.
Sunday, April 02, 2006
My goal for the weekend is to finish the bunny (the ears have been ripped out and re-worked), and then to start a Booga Bag, which I finally have the pattern for. It's raining here today, and it's supposed to last all day, so I feel like pulling out my "Rebecca" video and nestling in on the sofa with needles and yarn, tea and kitties.
Finally Rollie asks "Why did you shut the door on me yesterday and leave me upstairs in the knitting room for three hours while you went galavanting? Why? Was it something I did?"
Monday, March 27, 2006
Also, I didn't like the top of the bunny's head. I'm modifying the original pattern, and I don't like what I did. I left two stitches on the front and back of the head to make a space between the ears. The stitches would be Kitchener stitched. Have you ever tried to Kitchener only two stitches? It doesn't work very well. Plus, there were some gaps where the ear stitches were joined, and in trying to pull everything together, I only managed to make bunny look like he had a bad brain surgery episode.
With only enough yarn left to make one arm, I put the bunny aside and picked up the Baby Blocks Afghan that I've been working on for the past few months. I started this last fall, and since it's for no one in particular, I 've only worked on it when I needed a no-brainer project. The pattern is from "The Shop on Blossom Street" by Debbie Macomber. I enjoyed reading here two "Shop" books, even though they were as sweet as marshmallow fluff. I tried reading one of her other novels, but just couldn't get interested in it. I guess it was the yarn shop setting and knitting content that held my attention.
Today I went upstairs and lo-and-behold, I found more bunny yarn! It was another partial skein of Bernat Meadowspun - from the 1950's! I forgot that I was trying to use it up in this project. Still, I think I going to rip out the ears, and give them another go, modifying the top of the head yet again. How many days until Easter?
Kitty Update - I made Rusty sick on Saturday. I had to run an errand, and since we had been outside exploring that morning. I thought he might like to come along with me in the car. He's done it before. He was fine going, but coming back he got very green (surprising, for an orange cat) and tossed his breakfast. When He got back to the house he just sat in front on his food dish, feeling empty, but not able to eat. I think his world was spinning, poor thing. I felt so bad for him. I hope he's not traumatized for life by this little episode. Cats have an amazing memory for such things. He's still not forgiven the vet for cleaning his teeth!
Saturday, March 25, 2006
The next thing I made were kid's mittens, also from Thunder Bay. Because the Heilo hat turned out small, I found some worsted weight yarn for the mittens, thinking they would turn out bigger. Nope, still kid sized! The light yarn here is an anciet ball of Bernat Berella, from when it was 100% wool, and the dark is K1C2 Parfait Solids. They have been sitting in my odd ball bin for a long time, and they go well together. I had yarn left from the mittens, so I decided to make another pair, in an adult size, but reversing the light and dark. This pattern is from the 1999 Vail Book. I didn't get these finished, I kind of ran out of steam.
Here's what I'm working on this weekend. It's a bunny, from an old (1970's) McCalls Special Baby Issue. I'm altering the pattern a little bit, to make most of it in one piece. I thought I might run out of my ball of leftover yarn, but now I think I'll be ok. I had planned to have a bunch of these done before Easter, but now I'll be lucky to get this one done. I'm still not sure how it will turn out.
Friday, March 24, 2006
I really doubt if anybody's looked at this blog, but if they did, they probably gave up on it right away. I did too, until today, when I was reading someone's knitting blog, and remembered that I had one too! Well, sort of had one. Thanks to blogspot for not dropping me for no activity. I had tried another blog a year or two ago, and after 30 days of no postings, the host site dropped me like a hot potato. So I'm slow.
Anyway, maybe now I can devote a little more time to this, and have some fun with it. To that end, here's a photo of the two kitties, Rusty and Rollie, happily napping. Rusty is an 8-year-old British Shorthair, and 3-year-old Rollie is just Rollie. I got them both at the local Humane Society in 2003, after my cat Dusty passed away at the ripe old age of 18. Rusty is mellow, and Rollie is a spitfire. They keep me entertained, and are more fun than most people!