Thursday, October 30, 2014

It Just Wants To Be Something Else

Knitters should never let good yarn be doomed to be a part of bad knitting.

This used to be a commercially knit sweater from, I think, The Limited. When it came into my life on Wednesday it was still almost as it had been when someone purchased it from the store. It was stuffed up in a closet at work, all sad and lonely and wishing for a better life. I heard it wimpering, up on a shelf, stuffed back behind a box full of various things.

Help me.....help me.....oh help me. I am wool. You LIKE wool. Release me from my prison.

I didn't mention to the others in the office that I was hearing voices in the closet. They already think I am just a bit "different" because I knit my own socks and sweaters. I play with wool so I don't go postal. They should be happy about this.

I finally gave in to the voices and dug around on the shelves until I pulled out this heavy gray sweater, long, with a shawl collar and a belt. Egads, I thought I had been thrown back into the 1970's! I had a sweater just like this when I was in high school. This style sweater didn't look all that great on me then and I didn't even try this one on, knowing what my body shape is. No need to shoot my ever fragile self worth in the foot.

It wasn't until I saw the already unraveling seam under the collar that I realized what I must do. At first I thought that I would just fix the unraveling stitches, "knit them up" with a crochet hook and fix that small imperfection so that the sweater would be whole again. Ugly, but whole. It would be an easy fix. I took a bit of a closer look at the sweater just to get a better idea of it's construction. And then it struck me.

Fix it? NO! I will liberate the wool from it's ugly sweater prison. It wants to be something else.

It was frightfully easy. Not all commercially prepared sweaters are good for unravelling and reusing. It totally depends on the seams. I could see that this sweater would most likely deconstruct without too many problems and I was correct.

I love it when I am correct.

There wasn't too much waste yarn when all was said and done. It is very hard not to snip some portion of the yarn that you didn't intend to. I ended up with a rather small pile of bits and pieces of wool. It will be donated to Cindie for her wet felting.

I have no idea the yardage of all this yarn but I can tell you that there is DEFINITELY enough to knit another, more pleasing sweater. But that will not happen for a time. I will measure the yardage, skein it up, give it a good soak and then hang it all with weights on it so that some of the "kink" is pulled out of it. And then the skeins will go back into the stash cabinet for a bit to hang with the other yarn. It just needs to chill and be happy for a while on it's wooly vacation.

The wool is happier already. Can't you see it smiling.

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Waxing Eloquent of the Water Kind

HHBL and I are pretty down to earth people. We stay at the budget Best Western when we visit Cartoon Girl in the big city. We canceled cable because they want to suck our bank account dry charge too much. We count our pennies, believe me! We use it up until it can’t be used up any more before we replace or don’t replace. Our tastes are simple.

But we aren’t down to earth in all things. We are snobs about some things.

We are beer snobs. If someone told us that the only beer we could drink from now until the end of our days was something on the order of Miller or Bud or Michelob…..we would never drink beer again. Rather no beer at all that pissy water calling itself beer. We are snobby enough in the beer department that I regularly pay…..$11.99 for a SIX PACK of local Brewkettle White Rajah IPA. You read that right, $11.99 for six bottles of beer. But oh are they good.

We are milk snobs. Skim milk? I don’t think so. 1%? I don’t think so. 2%? Now you are talking! We are milky enough snobs that I pay, what in grocery budget terms is an arm and a leg and perhaps a left buttock, for the privilege of getting organic milk from a regional dairy. HEY, I can recycle the bottles for cash so it is all good!

And perhaps we shouldn’t even speak about the coffee snobbery that goes on around here. The whole, “I make my coffee every morning with fresh ground beans in a French press” falderal that I participate in. I am WORTH the good coffee I tell ya!

We are also butter snobs, at least the stuff that we keep on the counter for liberally slathering on our morning toast. And I suppose that you could also call us toast snobs because it isn’t going to cut it if the toast isn’t made with bread that I made myself.

Yup, toast snobs.

And, I am sorry to say, I at least am a drinking water snob. I didn’t used to be. Before we built OCK I drank the water out of the tap like most people. Come to think of it, I don’t think I drank all that much water in those days. I drank milk, skim milk (yuck patooie). I drank fruit juice, also something that has been banished from my liquid repertoire. Crazy as it sounds now….I did not drink coffee. But I didn’t drink all that much water.

And then we built OCK…and we put in a reverse osmosis system for our drinking water. Do you know what an ROS does? It takes out all of the things that you have just put into your water when it went through the softening process. It went in softened well water and it came out glorious. I was skeptical, I will admit, when we talked about putting the system in and even as the Servisoft guy was hooking everything up my little skeptical self was saying, “Yeah SURE this is the best water that you have ever tasted. OK, I will take a drink but I am betting that it won’t taste……won’t taste…..Oh my stars and garters this is the best water EVAH!”

And it was. Oh it was. Folks, the liquid items that I intake are limited. Coffee-milk-beer-wine-water. I am surprised that we didn’t burn out that system with the intense usage that we gave it over the next 13 years. All of our ice was made with water from the ROS system. The water that came from the spigot on the refrigerator was water from the ROS system. We even had a spigot over by the sink that we could dispense water from the ROS system. Glorious. Of course I would complain when I had to change the filters on a yearly basis. Those filters cost an arm and a leg and a right buttock. And changing them meant that you had to turn off the water from the well tank to the house and then gingerly unscrew the filters thereby guaranteeing a face full of water as it squirted out at you while you were desperately trying to screw in the new filter.

Good times.

So let me say that when we moved from OCK to Chez Knit last year I mourned the loss of my ROS water. It was back to ok but certainly not great tap water. Yes, I suppose we could have bought bottled water but remember the first part up there about us being simple and frugal. Ripping through bottle water doesn’t really fit with that. And believe me, we would be ripping through water because we drink a lot of water.

And then today, the problem was solved. I was wandering around in Goodwill and there on a shelf, just calling my name was this baby….

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I walked right by her at first because she was Orange. Yes, I am orangophobic. Orange and I do not get along. Orange is so very….orange. I passed her by and then I stopped and went back because…..

HEY! Isn’t that a Britta filter pitcher? Hmmmm. In good shape? Check! It is orange but I can overlook that I think. And the price was……..

$2

SOLD!

I zipped over to Target where I was delighted to find that I could buy a package of 4 replacement filters at a reasonable price AND they would give me a $5 Target gift card for the privilege of doing so. I also found out that the Britta pitchers cost $35 when you buy them new. $35 for a big hunk of plastic!! That just made my $2 purchase all the more excellently awesome. Went home, washed everything thoroughly, put in a new filter, filtered some water…….

Oh Mother Mary and All the Saints in Heaven!!! We are back in delicious water business.

All I can say is that I am going to be spending a great deal of time in the bathroom because I am going to be drinking a lot of water.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

7 Quick Takes–Where I Talk About All the Things

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Yes, I know it is Saturday not Friday. I actually wrote the post on Friday….but then I got distracted,

LOOK THERE’S A CHICKEN!

And I forgot to actually hit “publish”. Sigh.

Blather that might just save your life someday.

1.
Well Saturday I did something that I swore up and down and sideways that I would never do.

No, I did not eat liver. What are you, CRAZY!!!

See, it is really all Cindie’s fault. We went to the fiber festival on Saturday and we had a fabulous time and we laughed and we had coffee along the way and we stopped for breakfast at McDonalds (burp!) and we walked all around and we might have purchased fiber in various forms.

We made it ALL the way around the fiber circuit and we were just about through the first time around….and there was the woman spinning. Not spinning like Linda Blair in The Exorcist spinning. No, she was spinning fiber into yarn with her spinning wheel. There were a bunch of women doing that in various parts of the hall.

And I felt the pull. I tried to resist, really I did. But the spinning just drew me in even though I cried out, “NO! I swore I would never spin! I don’t need another hobby!”

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The wheel went round and round and round and round and I finally gave in.

No, I didn’t buy an actual spinning wheel…yet. But I did buy a drop spindle and some fiber to spin. A drop spindle is a spinning wheels ugly West Virginia cousin. But I have to learn to tolerate the cousin before I can spend time with the beautiful people.

And believe me when I tell you that it might be a LONG time because the stuff that I am producing with that spindle is BUTT UGLY.

But it is all mine.

2.
Do you ever have those days where you wake up on the wrong side of sanity and happiness for no apparent reason other than in is morning?

Yes, today was one of those days. Poor HHBL.

HHBL – How was your night’s sleep?

Me – Ummphhhhhh. Grrrrrr. I’m crabby.

HHBL – Ummmmmmm, I’m sorry?

Me – Grrrrrrrrrrrr

So I managed to get through most of the morning without biting anyone’s head off. Of course today is my day off so no one in the office was in any danger…..but I did think really murderous thoughts about some people on the road who do not know what a turn signal is for.

After thinking about it for a time I realized that I just hadn’t done anything creative for a few days, something that stretched my little gray cells.

So that is what I did for the rest of the afternoon, all while watching a documentary on Jackie Stewart’s 1971 Monaco Grand Prix win.

Don’t judge, it’s how I role.

Now I feel much better.

3.
HHBL and I are deep into our Fall excitement of not having to spend hours and hours and hours cleaning up leaves.

We go and do things on Saturday and Sunday that don’t have anything to do with leaf blowers and rakes and blisters.

We are happy people.

4.
Multiple years ago, when we fist put OCK on the market, the stager (yuck, patooie!) stood on the threshold of my bathroom and said, “Oh my goodness, you are going to have to put away that thing you are using to hold your jewelry!”

I am not a huge jewelry owner but I do like the things that I own. I have multiple ear piercings and I like my earrings. Most of my necklaces were purchased on a trip or have sentimental meaning for me. I was sad. And let us not revisit how I actually feel about the whole staging of a home process. That is a digression that will never get us back on track. So, I took such jewelry as I have and I put all the necklaces and bracelets and earrings into little compartmentalized plastic boxes and stored them under my sink, thinking that I would still indulge in my daily bracelet fetish and what earrings should I wear today and is a necklace appropriate with this tee shirt.

But I didn’t. It quickly became apparent that as far as jewelry is concerned “out of sight is out of mind”. It started out as just a day or two without changing out my earrings or just putting in all my gold hoops. And then it was not wearing earrings at all or putting on a necklace because I couldn’t be bothered with dragging out all the boxes from underneath the sink.

And finally I was in the black hole of never wearing any earrings at all. This continued through the 3+ years it took before OCK finally sold and it continued through the first year here at Chez Knit. But no more!

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Tuesday was one of my days off and I WAS going to just stay home. But I went to get something out from under my sink and I saw my plastic boxes full of my jewelry and I was overwhelmed with the desire to find something to put them in.

Ta Da! Thank you Hobby Lobby for having these AND for having them 50% off on the day I was there.

Doing my happy dance. I think I will go and put on a necklace.

5.
I might have mentioned before my obsession with love of knitting socks. It fills a deep and unexplainable need in me to clad my tootsies in lovely wool. They are happy with me in the winter time.

Crazy as it may seem there is a problem with an overwhelming urge a love of knitting socks…….

You end up with a lot of pairs of socks. That might not seem to be a problem for YOU but it was becoming an issue for me. An issue because as of last Saturday I had 50+ pair of socks.

Sock over achiever? I know not of what you speak. Moving on.

You know it is time to cull the fibery sock herd when there are socks that you consistently pass over in the daily selection. But what to do? I love my socks. I value them for the time they took to produce and for the joy that they have given me. I don’t want them to live with someone who might not understand them. But a cull needed to happen. So I pulled out around 10 pair of socks that I KNEW I would never wear again, took a picture of them….and threw it up on Instagram and Facebook.

BOOM!

All taken in the space of 30 minutes. I can sleep at night knowing that they have gone to a good home.

6.
It is time for the quarterly readjustment of iTunes playlists.

You do this right?

Hello?

FINE! I do this. I have a “Favorites” playlist that gets a great deal of rotation and it was time to clear it out and repopulate with other songs. Call me a nerd, you wouldn’t be the first.

All of you check your “plays” number in iTunes right? It bothers you if a song doesn’t have at least a 1 beside it right?

Right?

Ummmmmmmm

7.
And lastly but not leastly, Instagram. For all your senseless photographic needs.
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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

iTunes Hates Me

I’m sorry. I was going to sit down and write you a long and lovely post.

And I did sit down.

Only it was to try and figure out why iTunes hates me today and insists on skipping to the next song in the middle of the song that I am currently listening to. And not ALL songs mind you, only certain songs. It is as if today iTunes has said to me, “You may listen to Abbey Road all the way through without any problems as all. But if you wish to enjoy the soundtrack to Lincoln or perhaps Les Miserables you will be in for frustration as you have not known for many a day. You are welcome.”

As is always the case these days, on a day when I am not in the office, my “to do” list is long. I don’t need to spend time farting around on the internetz trying to figure out why iTunes is messing with just certain songs and certain albums. I have things to do people and this is not helping. iTunes also wanted to tell me that I was out of space on my iPhone, even though in General settings under usage it tells me that I have a freight car load of storage available. This whole thing is eating up my time folks!

We won’t talk about the hour I spent sitting in front of my computer watching things on YouTube.

Moving on.

So, you are not getting a pithy post today.

Because I am going to go and speak sharply to my iPhone.

I wonder if that will help?

Friday, October 17, 2014

7 Quick Takes: Where I Wander Around in Confusion

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To quote Calvin and Hobbes, “The Days Just Fly By”. You know what is necessary at this point. When you are done parsing the blather contained below you need to click on the picture above to be whisked, at the speed of my panic that there are only 68 days until Christmas, over to Conversion Diary.

Warm and comfy blather for those kinds of days.

1.
My “carrot” at the end of the stick for this, another long week, is that I am going to The Autumn Fiber Festival tomorrow with my friend Cindie.

SQUEEEEEEEE! Fiber!

Cindie, who knows me well and for a long time, made sure to schedule this outing several months ago. It has been digitally “circled” on my calendar for a weeks and I have been saving up moola to perhaps buy some yarn.

Because we ALL know that I don’t have enough of THAT!

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I see spaces that need to be filled……and this is just the “good” stuff. You can’t see the tubs of acrylic that I use for charity knitting.

Problem? What problem?

Autumn Fiber Festival here I come!!

2.
Let’s get the Ebola discussion out of the way shall we.

I find it more than a little ironic that on the day the news broke about Ebola patient, Amber Vinson, flying to Cleveland, spending time with family and then going back to Dallas, all while most likely sick with the beginnings of Ebola, this was on the front page of the Plain Dealer…..

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And then the panic sets in as schools are closed to be disinfected after a middle school worker “traveled home from Dallas on Frontier Airlines Tuesday on a different flight, but perhaps the same aircraft” and my local PNC branch was closed for exactly the same reason.

Folks, I am not downgrading how very bad Ebola can be. Believe me when I say that it is a VERY SCARY thing indeed. But lets all get a reality check here.

And if you want to read a book about Ebola, and who doesn’t, then I would recommend The Hot Zone but Robert Preston. My dad and I started reading about Ebola and other hemorrhagic fevers somewhere around 1995 and this was one of the first books in our “research”.

Don’t judge! That is just the way that we roll in my family.

3.
Again this week I have had what I call “day confusion”. It always happens when I travel on a Monday, which is what happened this week. We traveled back to Chez Knit on Monday after spending the weekend visiting with family and partying at a wedding.

Peter and Jessica got married! YEAH!!

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This was the dress that the woman in front of me, Ruth, was wearing. The minute I saw it I knew it was hand knit. Both that dress and the green dress next to it. I asked her after the ceremony and she said that she had knit her dress and the dress that her mother was wearing…many years ago. How cool is that!

Did I digress? Where was I? Oh yes, confusion.

SO, because I was not doing the usual work thing on Monday and was actually riding in a car for a portion of the day and eating “Pumpkin pretzels” that we bought at one of the Indian rest stops….they are crack! I cannot resist.

Digression!!

Back on track now. Because I was traveling on Monday then the rest of the days of the week have been completely screwed up for me. I was convinced for a good portion of yesterday that it was actually Wednesday and not Thursday. I won’t tell you exactly when in the day that the light finally went on that it was Thursday and not Wednesday. I should have had a clue very early on as I was attending the meetings that were listed as being on Thursday….but the brain, you know, it does and says what it wants to.

It took WAY too many words to tell you that. I apologize.

4.
I am so excited. Towards Employment has asked if I would be willing to donate a “Family Picture Package” towards their annual auction.

Let me think about that…….

Hmmmmmmmm……..

Well of course the answer is YES! We all know that I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Towards Employment. It was an easy answer to give.

Leonard 5

I had a great time with Leonard last week, making him stand in an alleyway as I took my life in my hands for the perfect photo of another man of strength and dignity. Leonard kindly let me know when the truck coming down 13th might be in the line of hitting me.

I would take these kinds of photo shoots all the day long.

5.
Today I am home all day…

I am letting that sink in.

Yes, home all day. I don’t need to go anywhere. I don’t need to meet anyone. It is just me, myself and my overly stinky dog.

I am so excited that I almost don’t know where to start on my “to do” list that never gets “too done”. There is bread to bake and floors to vacuum and soup to produce and office work to be done and photos to edit and things to be sewn and knit and books to be read (I am re-reading The Hot Zone).

But I think for a while I will just sit and enjoy the feeling on not having to zip from one place to another…..for a short while.

The to do list is calling it’s irresistible siren song of business.

6.
I had a boat load of fun doing a short photo shoot this week for my boyfriend and his older brother.

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Superman wasn’t overly fond of wearing his cape…or staying in one place.

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But we managed to get a few photos of them together.

Just way too much fun.

7.
And now for some Instagram. Because who doesn’t like to throw random photos out onto the Internet for people to like and comment on.
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