Sunday, April 12, 2015

Patchwork Dress

I bought this pattern a long time ago and forgot about it.

It would be great in batik fabric. You can find it at Sewthankful.

Cats Like Fish Lamps

The cats and I have had problems trying to carry on after losing Midnight.  She was a big part of all of our lives.  Molly is very intelligent and spent a good part of the day playing games with Midnight.  She was getting bored easily. The birds were gone for the year.  I was tired from work and allergies and sometimes sore.

 I remembered a lamp that my aunt had when I was about three and visiting her with my parents.  It had a shade that was motorized somehow and made it look like water flowing in a waterfall. That made me think of fish lamps I thought I saw for sale.

Not long afterward, I stopped at a yard sale and found a fish lamp for sale. Molly loved it.  She likes to lie in the laptop box and watch it. The colors in it are a little odd. I think they were toned to go with the current decorator colors.  I found a more pleasing one at a second-hand store which was also well appreciated.  However, both light bulbs blew and I have yet to get all the screws off it to replace the bulbs.  I think the screws might need some lubrication.  It's not a bad idea to have two fish lamps if you have the room.  Even cats can figure out that it's the same fish all the time.

Sometimes Nice People Win

Recently at work an employee was moved to a new cubicle near mine.  I suspect it was because the management hoped that her positive attitude would have a positive affect on her neighbors.  About a week later one of her neighbors was very rude to her.  

The rude neighbor also frequently criticizes the callers with her other neighbor.  For the most part I keep my opinions to myself, but I wonder what makes these twenty-somethings feel they have all the answers.  I sure didn't at that age.  I wonder if the rude woman thinks she's a Christian.  She sure isn't loving her neighbor.  Our job is not to sit in judgement on people but to help them obtain what they need.  We are not judge and jury.

It didn't take me long in the work world to learn that I certainly didn't have all the answers and I had a lot to learn.  I was a lot better off mentally when I realized that.  However, I have also been overlooked because I was support staff, not a professional person.  That hurts, but it's not an excuse to take it out on other people.  It's a reason to show people "your stuff," and a reason to treat people how you would like to be treated.  Does that phrase ring a bell?

Also recently, upon taking my car to the garage for inspection, I learned that the radiator was splitting from the top down and needed to be replaced right away.  The brakes needed work and the battery replacing.  Somehow the conversation with the garage manager led to the fact that I needed another digital camera so I could post photos of items I'd made to make more money.  The manager very kindly offered to give me a camera.  He was moving, had three cameras and didn't need them all.  Later he said he didn't think he'd ever used it. As I discovered later, it is a good digital camera that had to have cost over 300 dollars. Needless to say I made him know how grateful I was.  Why else did he offer the camera to me than I've been nice to him every time I've been in the garage?

I've been so overwhelmed that I haven't even played with my new camera yet.  My sprained right shoulder is getting better.  I found using a bag of peas, or any tiny vegetables, really is the right treatment for some parts of the body, mainly my underarm.  However, the spring allergies have already arrived.  Maybe they'll be offset enough by sunshine, warm temperatures and green growth so that I'm productive again.

I am also happy that the turquoise and purple fingering yarns I bought for a shawl are also the right shades to go with a skirt that I found at a rummage sale.  It's linen blend with large, modern abstract flowers.  I found out last year that I'll need a shawl in the summer too. Now I need to decide on a pattern.  I've been pondering it for a while.  I also want to figure out how to shorten the very long skirt and use what I cut off to make a vest.  It's too pretty to waste. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

From Startitis to Finishitis

I seem to have left my phase of “startitis” behind.  It’s a very descriptive term I remember from Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s writing.  My startitis didn’t have the same characteristics that hers does.  Mine came about because I attended a weekly knitting group.  I learned quickly that it was not a good idea to knit anything very complicated there.  The talk would make it a little too difficult to give the necessary attention to anything fussy.  I’d have to tink it back later at home and start over.
Vest waiting for finishing, Spring Mist colorway dyed by my late friend Kay ten Kraft.
I reached the part of a vest requiring some attention so I decided to start the body of the next vest.  I let this continue until I had almost finished 3 vests and 2 pullovers, knit one vest to discover it was much too large, one variegated vest knit in one pattern that I unraveled to knit in another for which I don’t think there’s enough yarn, and a hand-painted vest I changed my mind about.  I did manage to knit and finish 2 pairs of slippers (that still need to be felted--its difficult when you don't want to pay six dollars at the laundry mat to do so), a shawl, a hat, a holly leaf and berry tree ornament and a holly leaf and berry barrette.

Not to mention the sock it took me about two years to turn the heel on.  I was knitting a sock from the toe up and no one else from my group had done that.  I had trouble understand the short row instructions.  I looked for instructions for other kinds of heels.  Several sets of instructions on the web seemed to stop in the middle of the instructions.  At least this woman who knit her last heels thirty years earlier didn't know how to continue on from the instructions given.  I eventually found one heel pattern to use, but I wasn’t thrilled with the way it looked finished.  I’m going to try the Sox Therapist’s Fish Lips Kiss Heel.  I like the way it looks finished.

This past summer I tried to knit the Bold and Blended Striped Wrap, twice, and it never came out right.  I kept running out of one color.  I wonder possibly if not all skeins in the brand are the same yardage all the time. Tre o Molti might be a better choice for my selection of yarn.  It is more like I saw in my mind’s eye.

At the end of September I began knitting the Camilla shawl.  I worked on it steadily, despite having to take it back countless times, especially the fourth (Garden Gate) pattern, and after Emily caught her foot in a loop of yarn and ran away from my effort to slip it off her foot, pulling many stitches off the needle and creating a lovely hole in the knitting where all the yarn-overs pulled out.  I am proud to say that the shawl is finished.  I even wove in the ends.

This winter I ordered some beautiful Wool of the Andes Hand-Painted Special Reserve yarn to knit pretty leg warmers.  I bought Plume with lovely shades of purple, blue and a color I haven’t decided is turquoise or bright teal.  I was getting tired of the tan cabled leg warmers my mother gave me.  I’ve finished one leg warmer.

For me finishitis is the complete opposite of startitis.  I really don’t feel like finishing the garments I knit because I needed to wear them.  I’m not a big fan of picking up and knitting the rib.  It’s very easy to have too few or two many stitches.  Sewing in the ends isn’t that much fun either.  My life has been very stressful in other ways, and I expect that has something to do with it. The office temperature at work continues to fluctuate so that might motivate me.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Where Are My Glasses?

Sometimes I put my glasses on the table beside me before going to sleep.  I discovered this morning this is not a good idea.  Molly also likes to walk over the table, maybe looking to see what new thing might be on the table.  When I woke up this morning, I was unable to find my glasses.  I had to wear my old pair, which are much older, to work today.  Finding them tonight is my main task.  I hope it entertains Molly.  I know now where not to put my glasses from now on.

Media Cat Deigns to Watch Cat Video

Molly is my media cat.  She loves music and the British archaeological series Time Team.  She will start complaining if I don't put something on soon enough for her entertainment. I hadn't been able to get her interested in videos for cats.  She had had her sister Midnight to play with.  Now she doesn't have her sister, there's nothing to watch outside and she's bored.  I found the video below and thought she might enjoy it.

She watched it!  Her eyes got big and she crept toward the laptop.  Instead of trying to reach a bird, like most cats, she circled the laptop warily, then climbed onto the arm of the chair and then the back.  She sat there starting at the laptop.  She seemed puzzled as to why there were birds on my laptop and their songs were coming out of the speaker.  I told her she's a cat and she's not supposed to be smart enough to be bothered about that.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Knitting's Changed Forever

Today knitting has changed for me forever!  I spit-spliced the two ends of yarns, twice.  Spit-splicing is a method of joining two ends of wool yarn together, eliminating the tails completely.  I didn't know about it until a friend rescued a piece of knitting that my cat Emily mistreated.  Because the piece was already knitted and the ends were so short, Laurie was clever enough to needle felt it the rest of the way.

I was watching the Miss Fishers Murder Mysteries on Acorn T and winding a ball of yarn when I came to a broken end.  Ordinarily this would upset me but today I thought it gave me a chance to try out spit-splicing for the first time.  I couldn't find the end the yarn broke from, so I rewound it from the other end, to find another broken end about a yard from the end I knew was there.  This was a little trickier than the video I found because the yarn was 4-ply.  I managed to interchange them quite well.  I dampened the strands with water, rubbed them vigorously between my hands, and like magic the yarn felted to a strong union.  I think this will revolutionize my knitting. 

I used my cell phone camera.  It isn't as easy to use as a regular camera.  I must remember not to chop off the cat's ears.  

Here's Christy Nelsons's video I found on YouTube that showed me very well how to spit-splice: