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January 30, 2007

Add to the To Do List

Oh no, now I need to make at least two of these too!

The secrets of the felted bowl (in theaters soon!)

To answer postmodernpetah's questions:

Yes, they looked very much like hats upside down. The sides were a little shallow to comfortably sit on a head but if I had just added a few inches on the side they could have been hats. The top might not have been as nice and fitted as the standard decreases I do with hats because these bottoms are fairly flat.

You can put anything in them! I shipped these out with candy. But the little one will probably make a good loose change or paperclip bowl. Doesn't everyone need one of those? I've seen them holding fruit (the sides bend out a little with fruit but it looks kind of cool), I've also seen them used as sort of a "cozy" for hot dishes (protects the table and easier to pass). The felted wool is really a shaped pot holder. They look kind of like a pottery bowl so they make a nice table feature (they look better than the Pyrex dish). I imagine they could also keep the bowl cold if I chose to use them with pot luck dishes. I've also seen them hold various things on shelves (mail, rubber bands, sewing kits) whatever you kind of want to hide.

They don't really change colors as much as intensify in color. I'm not sure why do this. Because they become denser so there is more color compacted in one area? Because we are changing the properties of the wool? I'm not sure. It is a fun to see what they are going to do either way.

I'm in the midst of baby stuff. I have too many babies out there who are shivering because I haven't been churning out stuff for them fast enough!

The To Do List:

  • Red shrug
  • Red beret (to match the shrug)
  • Pink ribby hooded pullover
  • Denim blue ribby cardi
  • 2 dragon scarves
  • Three warm hats (one with ear flaps)

And that is just what I want to get done before the end of Feb. Which is an insane goal since there are FIVE birthdays to tend to in February. And I really have to knit for two of them. So I also need to knit:

  • A pair of socks for Grandma
  • A rainbow entralac scarf for Aunt Sally

At least I am not in school or working a second job anymore. Maybe I can actually accomplish this?

The only thing that could possibly sabotage this is all the Noro I ordered for making the most beautiful afghan evah!

Dang, what happened to my resolution not to buy anything new this year? As soon as I set that I went on a drunken spending spree. There is something truly wrong with my brain.

January 21, 2007

Somebody stop me!

While we had our snow days last week, I embarked on a bowl binge. Sounds seedier than it is. I started knitting bowls to felt and I couldn't stop! I began to ransack every corner of my stash for nuggets of wool. Stray skeins here and there or leftover bits from other projects. I could have kept going but I decided it was getting out of hand.

Behold, the bowls in their pre-felted glory:

line o bowls

Let us look a little closer at them.

Double stranded, Cascade 220 and a strand of hand-painted mohair. The one on the left is the last of the Cascade 220 and mohair and the bottom half is a strand of Cascade 220 and a strand of Kochoran which has some angora.

mohair bowls prefelting

The mohair and angora bloomed as expected. I like the effect but I need to give away the angora one soon since I'm allergic to angora. I really like how the angora one ended up being more shallow with the sides sloping out a bit. That makes it look kind of like a pottery bowl.

mohair felted bowls

Double stranded Cascade 220 and a thread of hand-painted Knit One Purl Too mohair. Lovely stuff. Just gave it a little pop of color. The one on the left is Cascade 220 and the stripes are the end of a ball of gorgeous hand painted wool I got somewhere, lost the ball band and have been hoarding for a couple of years.

red bowls prefelting

My favorite ended up being the red bowls. It may all be due to the color but their sizes are good too. The one on the right isn't near as wonky as it looks at this particular angle. The one with the hand painted for striping looks like a beautiful Christmas bowl, doncha think?

red felted bowls

These two were done single strand with the hand painted yarn I striped in the previous bowl. I've had this yarn for a while and kept pulling it out to admire it and then putting it back. I still may be sorry I didn't make a hat out of it as intended. But I'm glad I finally did something about whittling the stash down. I did discover something interesting about felting with this kind of yarn.

hand painted yarn bowls prefelting

It was a single strand, unplied yarn that I didn't double with anything for these bowls. One of them I knit smaller than the others but the big one is the same size as the other big ones. Maybe because it isn't plied it felted down a LOT!

Like into these wee little miniature bowls:

hand painted felted bowls

The smallest one barely fit over the end of a water bottle. The larger one is about the size the smaller one was pre-felting. I'm not entirely crazy how the color ended up working out. It is pretty cool that the smaller one spiraled but, knowing what the yarn looked like before felting, I'm a little disappointed. It is pretty with the red but by itself it just looks mottled.

I've made a call to a 12-step bowl felting group. Here is hoping I can move onto other projects.

January 19, 2007

Deep thoughts over take-out

Today's fortune cookie:

"Pull the universe inside you. Make it your own."


January 17, 2007

Even more randomness

There is a nutria that lives in the wetland here at the complex. I caught him humming to himself this morning. He seemed oblivious to me and the dogs as he sat in a bush that may have provided cover at some point in the year but is leafless now. Looked like he might have been doing a little grooming or eating but he was clearly humming happily to whatever occupied him.

I live with two sighthounds. Former racers. You would think they are fast and see everything. But not only did they never notice the humming nutria this morning, they ALWAYS sniff every leaf and blade of grass. It has driven me nearly to tears the way they spend an infinite amount of time at one bush...nay, one leaf.

And they walk SO SLOW! If I dare to try to hurry them just a bit, they will both drop their heads and I end up almost dragging them. Argus is the worst for this. He will start to pull back. And they love love love to get in front of you and stop. They are looking away from you but they have effectively blocked your path completely. It is like I live with a herd of cattle in my road all the time. People will be nice and say, "move doggie" whereas what you really have to do is gently nudge them with your knee to get them to move a few feet before they do it again.

Their favorite trick is to try to kill me by thinking we are going to start moving so I pick up the pace a little and as soon as I am distracted and look to the side just a smidge, one of them will jump in front of me and stop so I nearly break my neck falling over them.


Random thoughts

A David Copperfield show is coming to town so they are running commercials. In all the shots of the show he is wearing jeans, a t-shirt and a long sleeve cotton shirt unbuttoned. Is it just me or is he under-dressed for his own show? Now mind you, the person asking you this right now strives to stay in her PJs all weekend and has been known to go out in public in them. And I am the one that thinks he looks sloppy and it certainly conflicts with all the pomp and circumstance they throw about.

If you go to his website, it is a bit barfy with all the drama and mugging for the camera. Is he feeling old? Is that why he is dressing sloppy? No one is more surprised than I am that I think he should dress up a little for his appearances.

My dogs are afraid of snowmen. We had a little snow this week and some kids around the apartment complex tried to make a snowman or two. The snow is really too dry to do much at all with it (and we only got three inches) but there have been valiant attempts.

We came across one that was only two rounds high, both about the size of basket balls with two evergreen branches as arms. Argus took one look and ducked his head trying to run away. I don't know why he would be afraid. It looked more like rocks and a bush than a person but he decided it was scary. I finally coaxed him up to sniff it and see it was OK.

It is discouraging when the anchor woman who you are trusting as a resource for information looks at the word Dachshund and pronounces it dash-hound.

There is quite a bit of snow around and while most of it on the road was slush this afternoon, it still has an element of unknown (especially down the side streets). As I walked to the Irish pub for lunch (not liquid, I swear) an Idiot (I went back and made sure I capitalized the I) came screaming down the street as fast as he could in his jeep (way WAY over the normally posted speed limit and this was on a side street).

He was feeling the invulnerability that comes with driving a vehicle that can be stopped by nothing. Oh, wait...Jeeps aren't capable of overcoming everything? Oh...well. This is awkward. And I mainly wondered how the guy could sit comfortably with the ginormous testicles he obviously thought he was sporting.


January 15, 2007

Bit by bit

When you open your hand to give your hand is open to receive. I was talking to a family member who seem overwhelmed by the charity knitting I do. Now I don't do a lot, I make a few hats and scarves here and there but it seems so huge to this person. She just kept saying over and over, "It is wonderful what you do, I wish I had the time."

I'm not sure what kind of commitment she thinks I make. I just throw something together a couple times over a long period and then I make a trip to the UPS store. In fact, I use these projects as an excuse to try out patterns and yarns so I feel kind of selfish. I've managed to make the charity knitting project about me.

But I think the bigger message is that giving doesn't mean I lose something. I don't have to summon up a resource to do this. It takes nothing from me. And I get back far more than I'm giving. I actually feel quite sorry for her. How can she ever feel fulfillment by looking only inward. How can she ever be truly happy by only protecting herself? And she isn't happy, she frequently speaks of this.

Translated into action: a trip taking stuff to Goodwill now and then (you know, the stuff you haven't worn in years), that extra skein you ended up not liking a lot, put in a good movie and knit up a hat or scarf and when it is requested, send it in for the homeless shelter or Dulaan or another cause that speaks to you. When there is a food drive, hit Costco for soup or something and take one can from the case you got and put it in the food drive bin.

That is it. Nothing heroic. But it is tiny actions that end up making a world of difference. Take a tiny action and don't feel guilty because it isn't some grand gesture. Few of us can afford the grand gesture; but we can all afford the tiny ones. And if we all make the tiny gesture it does add up to the grand gesture.

Heck, you need proof? Just keep your eye on this. Trust me, I know the yarn-buying habits of some of these people so they truly are able to only make tiny gestures.

When you open your hand to give, your hand is open to receive.

January 11, 2007

Carrying on the proud family tradition

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Her Grace Lady Laurie the Simple of Barton in the Beans
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Laurie the Simple, eh? Well, it isn't the first time this has come up in my ancestral family tree. A few years ago my brother and I found information about our ancestral name. There were several mottos but one stood out. I wish I could remember it exactly but the translation was basically, big and tough but not too bright. You can just see the giant, beefy, dimwitted guy exceedingly pleased with the motto he paid someone to write for him. And the little, geeky, snarky guy laughing to himself as he heads out of town as fast as he can.

January 09, 2007

All talk and no action

Tonight was the first night in a while where I didn't have to work when I got home from work. No, it isn't the new job overwhelming me. The new job is actually going very well. I am really liking the work and there are just enough things "broken" that I can implement change. I'm a happy woman.

No, this work is the work I was doing in between permanent gigs. I was doing contract work for a local university and it really doesn't take much of my time so I'm trying to keep it up until my contract runs out so I'll have some extra money for a house down payment. The challenge is that right before the semester starts I get swamped so now I'm feeling the pain of two jobs. Just keep reminding me of the extra paycheck.

I'm doing a little knitting. I should be doing more since two things are Christmas presents and I need to get them out doncha know. But I keep getting distracted.

This weekend, when I could take a break from job #2 I made a new dog coat for Sapphire. And it is so cute! You will have to just trust me because I can't find the cord for my digital camera anywhere.

I also took some pictures of the challenges I was facing with one of my knitting projects. I'm doing the braided scarf that was on the last Vogue Knitting. It is gorgeous! But I wasn't really happy with making it the way the pattern instructed. So, brace yourself, I have been changing things a bit.

The pattern calls for knitting the border in the round and then splitting up the stitches so you are knitting 6 strands in the round up from the border. Yeah, that didn't go over too big with me. What a mess.

So I've been monkeying around with this. I think there is a better, and well, more funner, way to make this thing. the trouble is that you have to make 6 strands. That is a lot. In fact, this thing is taking a lot of yarn in general. But it seems to be all worth it every time I take a peek at progress.

Oh, you want to see progress? Well, I broke my resolve to not buy anything new this year faster than any respectable person should break a resolve. But Costco had a great camera for a great price and I've been really wanting a camera that is smaller because I will haul it around more and I want to do that 365 pictures/a picture a day this year, blah blah blah.

Anyway, new camera, my daily pictures hopelessly mixed up on both cameras but at least on the new camera I have a picture of what I'm doing to the scarf.

braid one

I decided it was not fun nor interesting to mindlessly knit 6 strands in the round and I didn't like the gaping holes that resulted from the way they "grew" up from the edge. So I'm doing the strand separately. I did a provisional caston and I'm working a K1, S1 to create the magic tube.

Everyone may already know about this but when I made the angora baby booties from Last Minute Knits I thought it was the coolest trick ever! You K1, S1 this little square and then at the end you split up the Ks and Ss on two needles and pull them apart. Voila! the st stitch is inside and looks beautiful! You just turn the tube inside out.

I really enjoy the K1, S1. It is just mindless enough it is relaxing but it is a little more than just K so I'm entertained. I know I'll be bitching and complaining by the time I get to number 6 strand. In fact, don't put any money down on my getting it done. I have the attention span of a caffinated greyhound. It is possible this gift will never happen.

But in the meantime I'm enjoying myself and I feel like such a rebel!


January 03, 2007

Spotted in Hillsboro...

This display went up before Christmas. A folksy little nativity scene. But it seems to be making some kind of statement.

At first I thought he was siccing his (bouncy? frolicking? drunk?) sheep on someone but then I decided his look is more shocked or horrified. By pointing with the most gigantic finger ever seen, he seems to be appealing to us to look at something.

aghast wiseman

I thought maybe we were to look at the star or something related to the nativity. But there is no star and he isn't pointing at any of the other figures in the nativity. In fact, he seems to be pointing beyond his display.

Looking at the big picture, I clearly see what is horrifying the wiseman. I've circled and drawn arrows. Need I say more?

Listen to the wise man.

January 02, 2007

Not as bad as it sounds

If I could find the cord for my camera I could dazzle you with photos and even a movie!

But I can't.

So I won't.

New Year's resolutions. I don't really like them. I make resolutions all the time and the first of the year has never felt like a milestone to me. Birthdays, some holidays and anniversaries of important events feel more like milestones.

There are a lot a memes floating around and I just am not in the mood to do them. Instead, I'm just trying to get caught up with life. You know, remember to pay the bills and wash the clothes, etc.

I did have a lovely holiday. Aside from driving from OR to AZ at Thanksgiving AND at Christmas. I hate driving. Why oh why don't we have those car conveyer belt things like they had in Minority Report (I can't find an image of it anywhere to link)? Wouldn't car trips be sa-weeeet if I could just crawl up in the back of my car with the dogs and snooze and then knit and read a little when I woke up?

But I can't.

I have to pay attention to the road. Rat bastards.

OK, I do have one resolution.

No more blog posts this late at night when I'm tired. Apparently I'm a little crabby this time of evening.