Saturday, September 29, 2007

Halfway There

We are halfway to our vacation spot - currently we're spending the night in Virginia, with a final destination of Hatteras, North Carolina, where we'll be relaxing and lounging for a full week.

I have brought with me (in addition to the norm of contact case, toothbrush, shampoo, children's books, beach toys, sippy cups, etc.):

1.) Embossed Leaves Socks - one is currently down to just decreasing the toe. One left to go.

2.) Screw-y Socks - first one is knitted, second one has yet to be cast-on for

3.) Belle shrug - I'm on the first sleeve, currently an inch and a half or so past the crook of my elbow

4.) Seraphim - I'm up to 100 or so stitches on the plain stockingknit part - I get to start following a chart when I get up to 250 or so stitches.

I have high, high hopes.

(And not just because of the 4 hours left to drive in front of me tomorrow morning or the full six hour drive home that we'll do a week from tomorrow.)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

There Is Such a Thing As a Free Lunch

....not necessarily an actual lunch, though.

Much, much better.


Now, this delight is not mine to keep (at least not yet!) but it is mine to use for the next several months and play with and decide if I like to spin, or if I loathe it because I suck at it as truly and terribly as I suck at drop spindling.

Apparently my university used to teach both spinning and weaving way back in the dark ages (or the 70's depending on how you regard that particular decade) and the wheels and looms have been all but languishing in forgotten disregard ever since then. This past summer when the art department ran out of storage space they combed through their vaults and decided that the wheels and looms would be the first to go to free up additional space for more recently-used and therefore more-relevant items. However (and luckily for me!) one brave ceramics prof spoke up and promised storage space in her non-profit studio the looms and wheels were spared for at least a few months more.

Fast forward to last Friday, when I was meeting Kim (the Horticultural wonder) for our twice-weekly knitting meeting and she mentions to me how one of her student workers picked up some extra cash this summer helping the art department move out things from storage....and how some of those things were both wheels and looms.

The greedy gears in my head started a-clicking, and Tuesday I was in the art office chatting up the department secretary putting on my best face and offering to very kindly "rent" the wheel from them for a semester - putting it to good use and cleaning it up, etc. - hoping all the while that she would say that I could surely just borrow it and that no fees would be necessary. The very next day I received a confirmation call saying that I could certainly borrow the wheel - as long as I could bring myself to wait until next Monday at the earliest, as the ceramics prof was headed out of town and I wouldn't be able to arrange a pickup time with her until then.


In the meantime I've solicited a few suggestions as to what books I should be looking into first, have put roughly two dozen books on spinning on request to be sent to me here at work (I've already gotten 4, and read my way through part of a wonderful work last night - The Complete Spinning Book, by Candace Crockett) and am just as excited as anything to get started.

My hope is that in a few weeks if I'm really really nice I can find out about snagging a second wheel so that Kim (the Horticultural wonder) can have one at her house too and that she and I don't have to both practice on the same one - because as she's the one who had this incredible piece of knowledge in the first place and was kind enough to share it with me - she totally needs to get in on this fantastic piece of luck as well!

Dudes! A free spinning wheel!

Wouldn't it be fantastic if the wheel turns out to totally not suck, and they let us keep them for ever and ever and ever?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Of Things 2 & 6 Legged

Well, I might have been a wee bit presumptious when I said that September was going to be My Month. I had figured that after all the bad karma of August I was more than due my share of coasting & good news, but alas' last week showed me that it 'twas not to yet be.

Last Thursday, after what had been a fairly good week so far, I got the news that a relative's two children had been found to have a particularly raging case of head lice - and of course our luck being what it had been, this was the same relative who had taken in the Munc
hkin for two weekends in a row while Peggers and I were busy painting our New Green House.

See where 6-legged things come into play?

So of course I ran to the phone and called daycare to alert her to the possible invasion, and then sat and waited for her return call with bated breath......................

................."Okay," she said. "Come and get him - he's got at least one little critter in his hair!"

So there went the end of the week in a blur of nasty, chemical-laden shampoos, screaming fits while I combed out his hair with the tiniest comb you've ever seen, and more than 20 loads of laundry to wash (hot water) and dry (hot dry) every single thing in our house that could be logically crammed into a washing machine or tossed in the dryer. Plus all the vaccuuming, the spraying (think mattresses, carseats, couches, etc.) and the general rounding up of stuffed animals and suchlike that couldn't be washed or dried - all of which needed to be stuffed in black plastic garbage bags, tied tightly shut, and then stuck in the attic for a good 2 months to bake in the early September heat and kill anything that crawled, jumped, or sucked blood from a scalp.

So that, combined with the news that the other driver involved in my car accident has the worst possible insurance on the face of the earth, and as such we still don't know if a rental car can be covered by her insurance or not for the two weeks (!) that they say it will take to repair my car (to the tune of $4,500!) made last week Not Very Great. If the other insurance won't pay for the car rental, we're pretty sure that what we'll do instead of paying the $800 or so rental car bill out of our own pocket is give my bike a nice once-over fix up and attach our little pull-behind child wagon to my bicycle, and that I'll get to & from work and to & from daycare by the power of my own two feet.

See where 2-legged things come into play as well?

Happily enough, though, this week is looking much better.

I haven't been doing much knitting at ALL lately - a sort of existence that is very very bizzare to me. I've been doing lots of reading lately at night instead, and have also been going to bed early in a state of near-constant-exhaustion - - but I'm hoping now that things have slowed down I'll get a chance to resume my knitting and keep on churning out a nice parade of FO's. The one big thing that I did over the last two weeks was receive & then immediately mail-out my Dish Rag Tag box - something that was absolutely loads of fun, irregardless of the fact that we did not place for a medal in the race itself.

My new Dish Rag Tag washrag in it's proper new home. See how the sponge has been relegated to a second place now, way in the back????

I knitted a two-tone Ball Band Washrag for my recipient - and because of my general inability to decide on the colour format I simply switched strands halfway through to give her a sort of Half Moon Cookie sort of washrag, if you will.....

This makes me think of gingerbread slices with whipped cream on top, for some reason.

She was just lovely and accepted my low-colour washrag with very kind words. Everyone else's washcloth has been made out of nicely bright, cheerful colours, so I felt more than a little bad that I was giving her one that was so.....................natural looking. I'm going to make it up to her, however, by knitting her an absolutely eye-popping bright one and sending it along later, Just Because. Along with the washcloth I included in the Team Box a bag of the always-popular Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans, a cute little set of Brittany cable needles (I got the idea from Emily, who gave me a set of them way back when, and thought it was just a perfect knitting/gifting idea!) and two skeins of kitchen cotton.

When I opened the box in the first place, though, needles poised to cast-on for my washcloth, oh my look at what was waiting for me.....

Yeah - this was eaten in, like, 5 seconds.

Along with the super-huge ball of blue I also got a super-huge ball of the flecked cream that you see I used to actually knit the above washrag, and then when I greedily searched the box look at what my wondering eyes (and fingertips!) encountered.......

This has got to be THE coolest pair of scissors in the entire universe. Bar none. Forget the ones with the animal or bird-shaped handles. THESE are the perfect zen knitter's scissors. I'm totally in love - as is the Munchkin. He clamours for them almost daily, and I once had to forcibly wrench them out of his little chubby toddler hands when he made a death-defying leap and snagged them off the dining room table. Obviously I need to find and immediately own about a million more.

Despite the fact that our team didn't place for a medal, we all still (I hope!) had a really good time in the playing - and if Emily ever decides that she's brave and crazy enough to try this again, I'm certain I'll join right up.

I just loved our battered box that was sent from team-member to team-member all around the States.......