Sunday, March 10, 2013

Back again!!

Whew!!!! Man, have I been gone a long time. Sorry. Soon after that last post I finally got a job. I work in a hospital laboratory. It's an hour away from where I live which means I spend two hours a day on the road. Except for the days that I'm on call. Then I get to spend the night in the hospital. Sometimes in a patient room. Where people die sometimes. Have I creeped you out enough? I haven't yet seen any ghosts there yet, tho.
Well, besides working my butt off, I have been trying to get some spinning and knitting done. And sewing. Making scrubs. I have cut out a whole ton of denim squares and one of these days I'll make a denim quilt.
So, spinning. I have set myself the insane goal of trying to spin up 5 pounds of fiber this year. Yeah, I can almost hear the uproarious laughter. The most I've gotten done in a year is less than a pound. But I have tons (well, lots of pounds, anyway) of fiber and it really needs to get spun up. So, I took my 5.4 ounces of wool/mohair blend and spun it onto four bobbins. The problem? The lazy kate that came with my spinning wheel only has three posts. I have either been doing just 2ply yarn, 3ply by chain-plying, or a 4ply by making two 2plies and spinning them together, which is a cabled 4ply. I wanted a standard four ply. Besides, I only have one plying bobbin and I wouldn't be able to fit two regular bobbins-worth onto one regular bobbin. Couldn't really afford another lazy kate. Well, I could, but I'm saving up for other stuff right now. Stitches Midwest, Iowa Sheep and Wool, more accessories for my spinning wheel, etc. 
I did some looking at DIY plans and found one that I liked. Unfortunately, I didn't record the site and I can't find it again, but I'm on record as saying that I copied someone else's idea here.

The supplies: a wooden plaque, a round dowel, and some wooden letter V's. Also wood glue, stain, varnish, and brushes. The square dowel was provided by hubby. The round dowel was cut into 8 inch lengths. The square dowel was cut into 6 segments, each as long as the letters. Four holes were drilled into the plaque. All was sanded down smooth.
The square dowel segments were then glued on either side of the letters. After drying, the "legs" were then glued to the back of the plaque. Stain and varnish was then applied.
The round dowels were then glued into the holes in the top and stain and varnish applied.
And it works!!! Although I kind of wish I'd gotten the four holes just a little bit further apart. And it may benefit from some wool washers underneath the bobbins. But the materials cost me about $20. I am well pleased with my four post lazy kate!
Rant of the episode: Working so much I have so little time for fun stuff!!!!! 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

I've been busy!

Hubby and I recently visited with my daughter and son-in-law. We did some ziplining! It was completely awesome!!! All but my husband super enjoyed it. He has issues with heights and was less than enthusiastic about it, but he did give it a good try! There were several rope bridges, too, and he did two of them before deciding that he was done with the whole thing. But   it was pretty cool he did any of it.
We also visited an aquarium and a botanical garden while we were there. The aquarium was pretty awesome. I wasn't terribly impressed with the botanical garden, tho. Perhaps if more stuff had actually been in bloom it would have been better. I still like the botanical garden in Torrance, California much better. Much more diversity of plants.
And on Saturday we attended a chicken festival. That wasn't quite as exciting as I had hoped it would be. It was funny to watch the chicken flying contest. They stick a chicken in a mailbox on a 7 foot post and shove it out the front with a toilet plunger. The chicken that flies the farthest wins. It was very very hot and we ended up leaving early.
And I am still spinning for the Tour de Fleece! I spun up two bobbins of border leicester wool and got some good spinning done on my Turkish spindle. I have since started spinning the milk fiber that I bought last fiber festival. That stuff does not draft very easily; it's a bit sticky. I may consider attempting spinning some undyed milk fiber. It could be the dye that's causing the stickiness. I've had that happen before.
Rant of the episode: pukey dogs. Yuck. At least she didn't hurk up much. Gotta give the old lady a break, tho. She's 16.5 years old, after all!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Spinning for the Tour de Fleece

It's time for the Tour de Fleece!!!! And so far, the Tour de France hasn't sent us a horribly insulting cease and desist letter! Yay!! Well, there's always next year. So, the bobbin in the first picture is border leicester wool. A Ravelry friend sent me a lovely teapot and it was cushioned with wool locks! So I joined the Stashbuster team, since I've had this wool for a couple years now, I think, and I'm getting it spun up. This yarn will be knitted up as a double-knit potholder in the Ravnamewasforciblychanged Games. I haven't spun on my wheel for a few weeks because I didn't think I would be able to get a full project done before the Tour started, and I wanted all empty bobbins. I was missing that wheel. I feel better now.

AND I also have a spindle project going. This is a very basic Turkish spindle that I bought at a knitting retreat 1.5 years ago. The fiber is Superwash BFL that I bought at that same retreat. So I suppose this also counts as stashbusting. Actually, almost all of my stash is older than 2012. I did buy two braids at Stitches South in April, but that's been the last fiber acquisition since my son-in-law got me fiber for Christmas. I also will spin up some milk fiber that I bought at a fiber show last summer, and some merino I bought at the same knitting retreat mentioned above. I hope I get all my spinning done in the Tour! We'll see!
I finally got some knittable yarn from the alpaca fleece my daughter had bought me!!!! I knitted it up into a hat and it turned out quite nice.
Rant of the episode: Not so much a rant as a HUH?????? So, in our town we have a grain elevator. Farmers store corn in there and periodically a semi-trailer will pull up under the spout and load up with corn and take it off wherever. Some gets spilled on the ground. One day, some time before the US got to be a bazillion degrees and started burning up, I went for a bike ride past this grain elevator. Saw a man with a bucket scooping corn off the ground and putting it in his bucket. I kind of wish I had asked him what he was going to do with this corn. Feed his family? Feed his chickens? Was he destitute? Was he just looking for free corn? It was rather weird, but in the end I just kept on riding.

Friday, June 22, 2012

USOC vs Ravelry Or Never Underestimate the Power of knitters/crocheters/spinners/weavers

 Sooooooo, the USOC decided they were going to piss in Ravelry's sandbox. Every Olympics, members of Ravelry "participate" in the Games in their own enthusiastic way by putting on the Ravelympics. Just as the athletes are challenging themselves physically, the members of Ravelry challenge themselves creatively. Much fun is had by all as we knit/crochet/spin/weave, really only competing with ourselves. We have no corporate sponsors, no big money, nothing, just having fun by supporting the Olympic Athletes in our own unique way. UNTIL, the USOC decided they didn't like our name, nor some of our projects and sent a cease and desist order. Okay, granted we might possibly be infringing unintentionally on trademark. We were parodying the Games by having crafting games. But we did call it Ravelympics and we did have patterns with Olympic themes, some of which were then offered for sale. No one is really disputing that there may be trademark infringement. The issue that the Ravelry world had a problem with was this:

 "The USOC is responsible for preserving the Olympic Movement and its ideals within the United States.  Part of that responsibility is to ensure that Olympic trademarks, imagery and terminology are protected and given the appropriate respect.  We believe using the name “Ravelympics” for a competition that involves an afghan marathon, scarf hockey and sweater triathlon, among others, tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games.  In a sense, it is disrespectful to our country’s finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work."
 Denigrate?????? Disrespectful???? Um, USOC, I assume you now know how to spell "PR NIGHTMARE"?
 This was in the letter, too:
 "Over more than a century, the Olympic Games have brought athletes around the world together to compete in an event that has come to mean much more than just a competition between the world’s best athletes.  The Olympic Games represent ideals that go beyond sport to encompass culture and education, tolerance and respect, world peace and harmony."
 I think that the USOC just demonstrated exactly the opposite of all those Olympic ideals. Their letter was not tolerant, respectful, peaceful, or harmonic. And what part of crafting isn't cultural or educational? In some countries, knitting has been taught to schoolchildren. This cease and desist letter is apparently their "standard form". Really? They regularly rely on slandering and libelling their opponents? Because that's what those comments are, slander and libel. I looked up the definitions. The character of Ravelry was defamed and THAT was what the crafting community had issue with. 
 The Ravelympics generated a huge amount of interest in the Olympic Games. It was our way of celebrating the efforts of ALL athletes, not just in the US of A. Because what the USOC  failed to take into account, is that the Olympic Games are WORLD wide, not solely a USA purview. And another thing that the USOC failed to take into account, is that Ravelry is also WORLD wide. There is a reason why it is called the WORLD WIDE WEB. America is becoming known as a highly litigious nation. Everybody sue, sue everybody. We are also starting to get the reputation of being bullies. This endeavor by the USOC is now a highly charged example of being litigious bullies. No one disputes their right to defend their trademark, but ALL agree that it was NOT necessary to do it in such a heavy, hack-handed manner.
 Crafters from all over the world joined together to watch the Olympic Games. Some of those people would not have otherwise watched. Now, a whole lot of people are going to be boycotting the Olympic Games and/or boycotting the US sponsors. So, the USOC may have "attempted" to look out for the Athletes, but only succeeded in revealing themselves as money-hungry bullies, who only care about themselves and their own bottom line. They have ended up hurting the very Athletes that they claim they are "protecting". In the words of my Ravelry companions from the British Isles: Bad form, USOC, very very bad form!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Pigeon down!!!

So, I go to let my dog out one morning and I see a dead pigeon in the neighbor's yard. Oh no!!! Poor pigeon!!!! But, it's the neighbor's yard, not mine, so I left it there. It was still there that evening. So, maybe I should go dispose of the poor beastie??? Ew. But I walked over there to inspect it and found that it was a fake pigeon! I haven't got the foggiest clue why they'd want a fake pigeon, or why it was laying feet up in their yard, but there's the proof!! It's been about a week now and that fake dead pigeon is still there...........Go figure.

Silly doofus dog. Can't seem to leave the outdoor grill alone. Always has to be inspecting the area to see if we dropped something tasty onto the porch. There are a couple of tools hanging off the side and apparently she decided the tongs would make a lovely necklace. Bwa ha ha ha ha! She barked to be let in and of course I had to grab the camera and snap a picture first.
I am knitting a hat with the alpaca that I spun! YAY! It seems to be coming out rather nicely for crappy alpaca that I spun just any old crappy way. Hmmmmm, I wonder if there's a lesson in there about not uber-controlling the spinning and just letting go and doing whatever the fiber feels like? Weird. Don't know if my OCD would go for that.

Here are some wool locks, unknown sheep breed, that I will be carding up and spinning as one of my projects for the Tour de Fleece. Which is coming up here in a couple of weeks!!!!! Yikes!!!! I hope I manage to get lots of spinning done!
Rant of the episode: weight loss. More specifically, lack of it. Grrrrrrrr. Why is it so very very very hard to take off and so very very very easy to put right back on????? God must have loved calories; he made so many of them!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Two Dead Guinea Pigs

Hubby had found some wool yarn at a flea market. I knitted a couple of bowls and dyed them green, which came out a disgusting shade of pink. I like pink, I just didn't like THIS pink. And I didn't want them to be pink. I wanted them to be green. Okay, screw green. I overdyed them with black, adding lots of vinegar in order to break the black. Because black food coloring is actually a mix of other colors; it's not a true black. So this is what I got. I liked this a lot better than the disgusting pink.
 After they had soaked up lots of dye, I washed them in the sink. Which means I actually left them there for a while and would go back and put fresh water in the sink, because they bled a bit. At one point hubby went into the kitchen to get himself a snack. He comes downstairs where I'm sitting at my computer and tells me that there are two dead guinea pigs in the sink. "Yes, dear, I know," I say. Hey, he's lucky that at least I don't need to thwack the dead guinea pigs.
So, after they were mostly dry it was time for felting. Into the washer with HOT water and soap. It took about 35 minutes in the hot soapy water. That looked pretty decent, so then I let the washer go through the rest of the cycles, which included a cold water rinse. When I took them out, here is what I had! I think they came out pretty good. I have no idea what I'm going to do with them. Perhaps they'll go in a swap or something.

And here is the faux cashmere after finishing. YAY!!!! I haven't tried knitting with it yet. I think perhaps I will find something to knit on the vacation we will be taking soon to visit our daughter. She gave me the fiber and this way she'll be able to see me knitting something from it. I shall need to swatch first to find out what kind of fabric it will make, then decide on a project.

And I finally finished off the alpaca fleece that she gave me for Mother's Day. The first half that I spun up was pretty crappy. I spun way too thin and it came out wiry and scratchy. This half I tried to spin thicker and softer, adding in less twist. This was the first official use of my new hand cards! I think I did decently, although this was not a very good fiber to begin with. Rather crappy alpaca.  This actually came out pretty decent. Not very soft yarn, but not totally scratchy, either. I got 248 yards of 3ply yarn. I am going to knit a hat. Yes, this will be the third hat I have knit from my own handspun yarn. Which is ALL I have knit from my handspun yarn. I really really need to get better at spinning so I can knit OTHER things!
Rant of the episode: DOGS! Dogs can be so gross!!! I let my dog outside the other night for the last time before bed. Usually she barks after a couple of minutes, but this time she didn't. So after a few minutes, I went to see what she was up to. It was dark so I turned on the flashlight app on my phone and went looking for her. She's hooked to a cable so she can't go too far, but she is full black which is hard to find in the dark, believe it or not! Turned out she had found a dead bird and was having a good old time chewing on its bloody carcass!!!! EEEEWWWWWWWW! So then I had to pick up the pieces of said carcass and throw them in the trash. And yes, I did SCRUB my hands thoroughly afterwards. Gross.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Happy Fireman!

Happy Fireman!!! I'm a Happy Fireman! Happy! Happy! Happy! This is my Happy House! Why am I a Happy Fireman? I have no frigging clue. I think I'm actually scared of this. I went for a walk the other day and was almost home when I spied this. I haven't got the slightest clue what this is for. Why stick this in your yard? I have no clue who these people are. I have never ever seen any of the people that live in this house, so I have no clue if any of them work for the fire department or not. My house was just around the corner, so I went home, got my camera, and went back to take a nice, disturbing picture. Does this scare you, too? Happy Happy Fireman! 

It's a possibility that we will have guests tonight, so I have been doing housework. AAARRRGGGHHH! Ick ick ick ick. The living room needed vacuuming, so I plug the machine in and start to sweep away. Got a high pitched EEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! Hmmmmm, not a good noise. Normally the thing is fairly quiet for a vacuum. Flip the thing over and take a look to see if something is stuck. Hoo boy, was something stuck!!!! Managed to get the bottom plate off and then had to take the scissors to this mess. Quite a lovely hairball, isn't it? The vacuum works better now. Darn.

Faux cashmere!!! I have finished the plying. It's just a 2ply, nothing special. It will rest overnight at least. Hopefully I will be able to wash and thwack it tomorrow! It won't be until then that I'll know whether or not I put in enough plying twist. I hope so. Oh, and I'll be able to count yardage as well. I'm sorta thinking I might maybe knit a shawl with this? If I had enough yardage, I might actually be able to do a sleeveless short bolero type of thing. I don't know. We'll see.
Rant of the episode: Hubby's impatience with my washing and thwacking! The last bit of yarn that I washed he asked me "Can't you do that in a bowl????" I was washing it in the bathroom sink. Well, I suppose I could have done that piece in a bowl; it was a small bit of yarn. But the above yarn may even need the kitchen sink for washing. Also, every time I thwack yarn, he has to come from wherever in the house he is and give me a dirty look. Really, dude? Just leave me alone. At least I'm thwacking yarn and not you. Which would you prefer???????