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Archive for January 24th, 2006

Bloom has Blossomed

Tuesday, January 24th, 2006

I finished all the knitting, plus the crocheted edging, to my Bloom Shawl in aqua Multicolor brushed mohair. I still need to work in the ends and block it, but wowie! Beautiful.

I’ll never be a crochet expert but this worked out just fine. My first version of the shawl was in very pricey yarn, Noro Blossom, and so I stopped knitting when I got to $40. This yarn is only $12.50 a ball and needs only two balls… actually something like a ball and a half, even when you crochet the trim. I figured the yarn was so light and airy, it was sort of lace-like and the crochet would look good. It does, more than I expected.

I’m just not very fond of double and triple crochets… I like smooth, opaque fabric, and big crochets make holey fabric/lace and bumps which are not my thing. But for this shawl, the crochet looks just right. Trish Bloom, the designer, did a very nice job matching the main fabric to the trim (she also suggests other trim options such as fringe or beads, or no trim at all like my first one).

This version will be a store sample at Threadbear Fiberarts, at least until my April 1 class happens. If you live in the area, you should be able to see it at Threadbear by this weekend. I’ll plan to get photos for the non-local folks also, but this huge full-circle shawl is very hard to photograph, never mind hard to block. And the yarn is so soft and so subtle, it does not show up in photos anything like reality.

Speaking of Threadbear… don’t forget, I’m teaching “Darn that Sock!” at Threadbear this Sunday. It’s a wonderful, powerful class. You can learn something that most people don’t ever learn, and you can avoid throwing away beloved handknit socks before you are ready to let go.

I’m a Sock, this Must be Rigged.

Tuesday, January 24th, 2006

OK, so I visited Tracy’s blog. She took one of those quizilla tests, this one was “What Random Object are You?” She was a toaster. A shiny pretty toaster. Now, I collect shiny old toasters. We have six toasters and only one makes toast anymore… well, maybe two do. But they are pretty, shiny objects of industrial artful design. I think of them as kitchen sculptures, along with my teapot collection.

So I went to the quiz. I almost always avoid these, and if I take them I don’t bother my blog with the answer, it’s a personal guilty pleasure. So I took the test and this is what it said, I’m not kidding:

Pic of sock with details
Random Object Quiz brought to you by Quizilla

So I’m not sure I believe this “I feel lost when on my own” thing, as I put 250,000 miles on my 1985 VW Golf, alone, going to Boston and Chicago and Washington DC and Montreal (among other cities). Yeah, by myself. No friend, buddy, sweetheart. So that part doesn’t ring true…

But how the heck did I get to be a sock out of “Random Objects” when I thought it was more about kitchen appliances? And what is it that I have more of, than anything else? Socks. I laughed a lovely belly laugh out loud!

Laughing is good for your health. There was my cheap entertainment for the day!

Good Monday

Tuesday, January 24th, 2006

Nairobi National ParkWeather
For the record, the sun shone Monday, the third day in a row. Sunday was a little hazy but mostly sunny, and Saturday/Monday were just plain sunny! This is just as wonderful as weather can get around here, this time of year. I loved every second.

Looking at the National Weather Service, it looks like we might see a bit of sun on Thursday but otherwise Tues/Wed/Thurs/Fri will be snow or rain. I need to hang on to the memory of three luscious days, to get through the rest of the week.

New Knit Program
I had a good time with my new teen program Monday. It was the first day of the term so we had a small enrollment but it was fun. One girl wanted to crochet (fortunately one other woman working with the kids knew more about crochet than I did), and one girl asked about some necklaces she’d seen that she liked. It turned out she wanted to do macrame on tiny cord.

I know how to macrame. I never forgot. For Christmas in probably 1970, I got a purse kit and made that with fat white cord. I know I did a few other projects but I can’t remember them.

So today it was 36 years later? And I remembered. And we found the thinnest yarn in the box, which was some Lion Brand Microspun in a hot fuschia, a very nice yarn really, and I showed her how to macrame and she did a great job. Woohoo!!!

I forgot my camera. I don’t do mornings well, you know… most days I work at 2pm or later. Some weekends I teach at noon. This program is at 10:45am. No, that’s not early but I had not been awake long because I just live my life about 4 hours later than most people I know. Dinner between 9-10pm, for example. So I didn’t realize I’d left the camera on my desk. I’ll get photos soon enough, I’m sure.

Lunch with Tony
On the way home from that program, I decided I’d like to eat at the Vietnamese/Thai/Chinese restaurant on the South side, where Tony and I like to go. So I headed over there. Then I realized it was a Monday and Tony sometimes has Mondays off. I called him, he answered, he met me over there for lunch. It was just great to see him. He’s good company.

Lioness in Nairobi National ParkBoring Reality
On the way home I checked out washing machines. Mine died a few days ago, a real drag since I use it for spinning water out of dyed yarns as well as washing clothes. I found a decent cleaned-up, tuned-up used one for a decent price (six month warranty) and they deliver. I have no interest in a fancy new machine. I’m just a reduce/reuse/recycle sort of woman, I guess.

So it looks like I’ll have a “new” washer sometime soon. The one I’ve had until now is Harvest Gold (can you say 1970’s?) and I love it because it doesn’t spray during the spinning/extracting cycle, which could felt some fibers. I also can use it with the top lid open. Sigh… they don’t make them that manually-controlled anymore. The “new” one is shinier and newer by at least a decade or two, and no doubt more dependable, but I’ll have some adjusting to do.

Computer Class Happiness
After appliance shopping, I had computer class (mostly retirees) at Haslett Community Education on the far side of town. My students are WONDERFUL. This term is just incredible, and I’m loving it. My night class is full of loyal returning students, some have come to my classes for a year now and still come to learn more. Makes me feel good, I have to be doing something right if they feel they keep learning each term and keep coming every Monday. What a great life I lead!

Family Togetherness Plans
Tuesday I will be in Ann Arbor with my brother, Eric, and his wife, Diana. We all have the day off so we are going to work on some computer stuff together. They are going to show me how to sell on Ebay, and that will be one way to let go of some of the stuff I’ve been hoarding (this time it will be books, CDs and a few videos). And we’ll have a nice time together as well. They are good company, I’m looking forward to it.

Tonight I’m going to go after those photos once more, of the yarns I dyed. I crashed the computer last time I tried it and I just lost faith for a while… but I’m on it again. The workday is not done yet.

I’m totally obsessed with wanting to knit on the remake of my sweater that looks like a huge Turkish sock, but for now it needs to wait. It is so clear to me how rarely I work on sweaters, I’m sort of knitting in the dark and it looks OK but not great. One day at a time, huh? I’ll figure it out somehow. It may take a few times reknitting to get it right.

For the neckline, the first time around, I started knitting the neck before it was really ready for a collar. I can just rip back the collar part and knit more on the body and then try again for a smaller collar. But not today. I’m not good at self-control but if I want to be with my brother all day tomorrow I need to do a lot tonight on the computer.

Photo: As usual, no local photos means I dig through my many photos of Africa. 1) This is a vista from the National Park outside Nairobi, Kenya. There are cacti at the top of the hill at left. This park is so close to the city that you can take a half-day “safari” without doing damage to the wildlife or staying in their turf. Just right for this citygrrl!

It was magnificent, and we saw so many animals! Hartebeests, Antelope, Gazelles, Lions, Ostriches, Rhino, Water Buffalo, Guinea Hens… almost anything we could imagine, but for some reason we didn’t get close to any Zebras. Go figure. We had a great guide and it was truly wonderful. This was December, 2004. 2) Lioness in same park.