Friday, May 30, 2014

HP, Change Your Printers!

I own and use a HP Photosmart Premium.  It is great except for one thing.  I have to be connected to the Internet in order to print.  I think this is about the stupidest idea any company has ever had.  Because there are so many companies trying to track my computer use right now, the printer can't contact HP over the Internet and I can't print.  This practice is also an unnecessary use of electricity.  HP must change their printers so that people can print without connecting to the Internet.  I'm sure most people just want to sit down and print something.  It shouldn't be necessary to connect to the Internet as well.  We are not all connected all the time and we don't want to be.  It would be a waste of electricity and money.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Which Two-Color Shawl?

These are the shawls I'm contemplating:

Windchaser Shawl by Lori Law


Winter Arboretum by Erika Flory

Vanilla Orchid by Ágnes Kutas-Keresztes

Partly Sunny by Jennifer Weissman

Yes, there's a definite pattern or two, and that's ok.  I'm usually not one for dramatic contrasts and I like leaf patterns.  All the curtains in my apartment had leaf patterns at one time, including the shower curtains.

Monday, May 26, 2014

The Cat Who Loves Music

Lately Molly has been yelling at me on the weekends.  The first few times it took me a while to figure out what she wanted.  This weekend I'm sure I'm right.  Yesterday and today when she started meowing again, I started playing music.  She went directly to her favorite bed, the box the laptop came in, and settled down for a nap.

Anyone guess the inspiration for the title of this post?

Massachusetts Sheep and Wool Craft Fair

Saturday I drove east to attend the Massachusetts Sheep and Wool Craft Fair in Cummington, Mass.  I like going there. The drive through Berkshire County, past the grand houses in Dalton and onto country roads is very pleasant and a good spring tonic.  So far the fair isn't crowded so I can see things and the vendors have a moment to talk to me instead of just talking my money.  

I had no grand project in mind, but last weekend took care of that anyway.  I went to the Periwinkle Sheep's Open House on Saturday.  In a box of discounted yarn I saw a beautiful turquoise fingering yarn in alpaca and merino, and another and another until I had scooped up five, enough to knit almost any large project I wanted to. The price was discounted from $24 to $10!  How often does that happen? 

Since I am on a very tight budget, I set them with my things to contemplate.  In this era of $5 polar fleece throws, I wondered if I should really purchase them.  I don't really like synthetic polar fleece and it's yet another product of nonrenewable crude oil that corporations now want to tear up and poison our earth for.   Polar fleece blankets might be acceptable for my current job.  However, they may not be in another and I don't see anyone wearing them when they go out.  I am also a shawl or cardigan person, not a blanket wearer.  I also realized that I had been sitting at work wishing I had a larger piece of knitting I could wear instead of the small shawl I had.  I think I have now further justified my purchase :)

One of my reasons to go to the fair was to see my friend Laurie Perrin of Sliver Moon.  I received a big hug from her.  It seemed so odd not to see her former partner Kay ten Kraft there, whom we lost last year.  It still hasn't changed our love of yarn, though.  I did my first serious browsing in her stall then ventured out to other ones.

I didn't want to spend much money on the fair, but I ended up doing so.  However, I felt good about it.  I took two skeins of yarn with me.  One was a present of turquoise fingering yarn from the Periwinkle Sheep and the other was a hand-painted yarn from the Fuzzy Bunny.  I had always thought I wanted a larger shawl than many patterns and I know that now.  I was very surprised to find a very good match for the Fuzzy Bunny yarn.  It will help the bright colors stand out.  I also found the right color purple to go with the turquoise yarn, and it even seemed to be the same brand yarn.  

This photo was taken before my cameras died.  Part of me is now sighing that I used money that could have gone toward a new camera instead.  At least I don't think I'll be tempted by yarn for a while now.  I think I have enough to knit for a while, and I've barely knitted since I started my new job.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Good Cat-Size Boxes

Recently I went to a local food co-op to buy a few things.  I forgot to bring my own bag with me.  While I was waiting at the register I picked up an empty cardboard box from the rack in the front of the store.  I brought it back to the register and said to the cashier, "This is a good, cat-sized box.  You can put it in there."

The cashier replied in bemusement, "I hear that a lot of that from people,  boxes being a good size for cats."

The gentleman behind me said, "That is a good, cat-sized box."

The funny cat in the box is my cat Tattoo, whom my family adopted in the middle 1970s when I was in high school.  He was crazy about empty boxes.  A favorite memory is when we brought home a portable black and white tv for me to take to college.  It was in a huge box.  He launched himself right on top of the box.  He could hardly wait to get inside.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Pink Not So Much

I've been poking around in my beads this afternoon since allergens compelled me to stay inside.  I haven't really played with my beads since we lost Midnight.  She was my beading partner.  She used to come right over and sit down to watch.  

I was looking to see if I had pink flower beads because I want to make earrings to go with my vest.  I didn't find any.  I never liked pastel pinks for years because little girls were supposed to like pink.  I still don't favor it.  I like bright pinks instead.  

I found a lot of beads in different shades and shapes of purple and  blue-green with some green.  My favorite colors, of course.  I found a lot of beads that brought a lot of projects not even started to mind.

I've come up with the idea of making some kind of a patchwork applique vest featuring my own cats.  It's a Native American tradition, wearing representations or even actual physical parts of the animals that you identify with spiritually, or symbols that represent people or events.  I've wanted to honor Midnight, and my other cats, somehow, and I think this would be the best way.  

A Confession

I have a confession.  Occasionally I buy clothes on Ebay.  My personal sense of style usually doesn't coincide with fashion trends.  That is one reason why I frequent secondhand stores.  What is Ebay but a giant secondhand store on the web?  At least that's my view. 

It first began with a teal corduroy skirt made by Lands' End.  I really liked the black one I had and thought I'd try to see if it existed in another color.  It did, in teal.  I bought it for less than ten dollars.

I like to wear vests.  I find they're the perfect garment for the transitional weather in spring and fall.  They also express my personality.  It may not surprise you that I don't look for traditional, one color vests.  Unusual vests are not easy to find in the local stores.

I think the vest below was one of my first Ebay purchases.  The photo is from a current listing on Etsy.  The funny thing is that the design on the vest is the same design on a sheet of gift wrap that I bought in the 1970s.  I still have it.  I think the company must have been Gordon Fraser.  A friend suggested that I hang the paper on the wall as an art object.  If I could afford a method to protect it as well I would.

Recently I bought the vest below because I realized that most of my fabric vests didn't fit any longer and I needed one.  The colors were so pretty I had to buy it.

Last week I was thinking that I wanted a vest that didn't cats on it but was colorful.  I didn't find anything online.  Then I had a wait a minute moment and realized I had been looking at the perfect one for the past couple of months without buying it, so I sat down and did!  It is so beautiful I don't know why someone else didn't buy it.

I think it may be time for me to go into my closet to find the vests that I no longer wear and make them available to other people.