Thursday, November 27, 2008

November, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Part I: So much for posting more often….
last time was the end of September and it’s November already? I can’t believe the time has gone by so fast. Summer is over and the holidays are fast approaching. I never seem to be ready for the holidays; it’s just the way I am, I guess. Thanksgiving is just a food-fest and Christmas is all about the gifts, it seems. And with the economy so bleak, I wonder why I bother with the tree and all of the other trappings.

I stopped at Walmart the other night to pick up some vitamins and cat food and they were playing Christmas music! Christmas music was actually playing in a store during the first week of November! I wanted to scream. I remember when you didn’t hear Christmas music until the day after Thanksgiving and it doesn’t seem that long ago to me.

I’ve made a major decision; I’ve decided that I won’t let the holidays depress me this year. I refuse point-blank to be a downer when everything else seems to be that way. I will not let the fact that I’m low on cash bother me. I am doing everything I can to live inexpensively right now. I’m keeping my spending to a minimum and driving a lot less, even though gas has come down a lot lately. Oil is still up and I heat with oil. Here in the northeast corner of the US, oil is very commonly used and it’s also pretty expensive. So the thermostat is set kind of low and I’m wearing all kinds of knitted warmies and I turn on the electric blanket at night and I think we’ll make it. I keep telling Mike we’ve got our love to keep us warm! He’s not complaining yet….

Part II – Knitting…dare I say it? I FINISHED something!
I did! Really! My niece is expecting her first baby in December and they know it’s a girl. I wanted to make something for the new baby so I signed up for a class at my LYS. I made a Baby Surprise Jacket (EZ’s pattern) and it came out so cute! I used Jelibeanz yarn by Plymouth Yarns and instead of the usual baby pink or yellow or green, I used a hot pink variegated with striping in bright purple and bright blue variegated. I added a collar and cuffs in the purple and multi-colored heart-shaped buttons. If I do say so myself, it’s adorable.

I’m working on a bonnet in a similar pattern in the same colors to match and if I really feel frisky, I might even make some booties! It’s a quick knit, but I have to say that if I didn’t take the class, I honestly don’t know that I would have finished the sweater. There were so many little tricks taught that I really learned a lot. Of course, the sweater is an elegantly simple pattern, but I don’t think I would have completely understood how it all came together if I didn’t have the teacher there. She was great. She also gave us the pattern for the bonnet to match as an “extra” and in addition, showed us how to add cuffs and a collar to the basic pattern. I feel so good about this little project. It’s helped me along my journey as a knitter to know that I can complete something that isn’t a scarf.

I also started a wrap; it’s a LYS pattern from a place in Lake Placid in upstate NY (Adirondack Yarns; . It’s called “Asymmetrical Cabled Wrap” and it’s all done except for the seaming. I did it in a sea green chunky alpaca and it’s so yummy soft that I can’t wait to wear it. My office is going “green” and so they’ve turned the thermostat to the lowest OSHA-acceptable level, so I expect to be chilly in the office this year. I already use a “Sweaterless Yoke” from “The Knit Stitch” that I made ages ago whenever it gets a little chilly and always get a lot of compliments on it. I even made one for a friend in another office and she swears it’s the best idea since sliced bread. When the blower in the ceiling is shooting cold air down on your shoulders, those little shoulder-covering wraps are just the thing to keep you cozy.

I’m still working on the shawl from July. I’ve gotten a few rows more done, but I have to concentrate so much on getting the right rows done and counting the stitches and making sure I’m on the right pattern row that it gives me a headache to work on it for more than an hour or so. I guess I’ll just keep going. I mean, I paid $50 for this yarn and I’m damned if I’ll let it just sit there! I’ll make it into something….

Back to the socks…I decided to just rip both pairs out and rewind the wool. I’m sick of trying to figure out the Crazy Toes & Heels method. About the only thing I’ve learned from that book is a good toe-up cast-on. I think maybe I need to take a class to get socks right. I should think about that, but I’m trying to save up for a class on an Aran cardigan. I have the wool from a sheep & wool fest I went to last year. I bought it specifically to make an Aran sweater, but haven’t even had the nerve to wind it into balls. If I can set the cash aside for the class, it’ll be worth it to (hopefully) get something finished again. I think I need to have the “homework” from the class to motivate myself. Hmmmmm…can I do that to myself somehow? I’ll have to get back to you on that.

November 26, 2008
Part I – How quickly things change…
Things changed around here in what seems like the wink of an eye. I wrote the beginning of this post on 11/11 and thought I’d get back into on the weekend. By the 14th, my DH, Mike, had been laid off without notice and I was wondering which end was up. He’s since qualified for unemployment insurance (For those who don’t know, in New York the employers have to pay a ’tax’ for each employee so that if the employees get laid off, they will get paid by the state for a while.); I’m not sure how much he will get paid get or how long he can get unemployment, but I hope it’s enough so that we don’t have to worry too much about money.

Folks have asked how he could have been laid off without notice, but he worked for the state legislature as a Receiving Clerk and when you work there, you “work at the pleasure of the legislature” so they can lay you off “at will”. Nice, huh? I’m in a union-protected job and I have health insurance and stuff, so I can make sure he’s covered there. It’s just that it’s such a lousy time of year for this to happen. Bad things always seem to happen to my family in the fall; when my Gram died, her wake was actually on Thanksgiving and when my aunt passed, it was on the same day as my Gram, but last year. I always seem to be going to wakes and funerals in the fall. No wonder I get so depressed this time of year…

And so, it’ll be a quiet holiday season here, but as long as we have enough to pay the bills, it’ll all be fine. Just say a prayer that we come through ok, please? And Thanks!
Remember, until next time, wear natural fibers; hug your cats!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008

First up:

I want to find the time to post more often, and the only way to get started is to start. So here goes…the last time I posted was in July, so I’m already behind on my decision to post more often. I guess I better get going and write, right?

Part I – Knitting…and frogging…and knitting…and socks…and frogging…

I signed up for the Ravelry Olympics in the “Sock Put” category before the Summer Olympics started. I’m on the “Crazy Toes and Heels” Team, but I figured it would be likely I wouldn't finish. I started a second pair when the torch was lit, but I still haven’t finished the first pair I started in July and it’s not looking good for them, either. I can’t seem to find the time to knit and even when I can, the cats seem to be especially awake, if you know what I mean. They are very happy to see me pull out the yarn and needles. I think they must think it’s time to floss when they see the yarn.

I can’t seem to get more than a couple of rows done at home because of my kitties. I’ve been getting a lot more done during meetings at work, even though I get a lot of funny looks. I can only knit in a meeting if I’m not supposed to be typing, but I was in a couple like that last week so I got a bunch done. I actually got about two inches of the socks knit up in one very long meeting. At least my brain and my hands seem to be able to work independently of each other, meaning I can knit and think and even speak intelligently (I hope) at the same time. At least no one seemed to think I said anything stupid.

Right now the problem is that I haven’t finished a “Crazy Toes & Heels”-type sock in ages and I can’t remember how to do it. I have to keep referring to the book and even though the I through the method was great, the book is a bit confusing. It jumps all over the place and is just a little bit too full of explanations. I never thought I’d say that, but I guess sometimes there is such a thing as too much information. This book has so many pictures and explanations and information that it’s sometimes just a bit difficult to get to the actual how-to. Sometimes I have trouble figuring out exactly what the next step is. I wish there was just one or two pages that would summarize the actual instructions on how to work the pattern.

I bought the book from the Queen Kahuna website ( hosted by the author, Mary Ann Beattie, because I wanted to be able to knit two socks at once on two circular needles. I’ve graduated to using one long circular, but am still having trouble following the book’s instructions. For example, it gives instructions on adding short rows to extend the length of the sole of the sock and on how to add slip-stitch under the heel for longer wear, but it’s difficult to figure out how to accomplish both things in the same pair of socks. I’ll figure it out; I did it before and I can do it again. Of course, it’ll be too late for the end of the Olympics, but I did try so I don’t feel too badly about it. I think I won’t sign up for any more “finish this by the end of” stuff like the Ravelry Olympics, though. I just don’t seem to be motivated to finish things under pressure like that. The two pairs of socks I started ended up being frogged right back to the cast on. I guess that means I don’t get any medals, huh? Oh well, I don’t think I’ll die from that. I really didn’t think I’d finish anyway. I’m not the speediest knitter and I tend to be fussy about how things look (probably like most knitters) so I end up ripping or tinking back if I see one little boo-boo or even just something that doesn’t look right to me. I think we’ve all been through that, though, so I’m sure no one will have any problems understanding where I’m coming from.

On the UFO front, I completely frogged the shawl I started for my wedding in July. I've cast on in a completely different pattern and have knitted up about three inches so far. I know, it doesn’t seem like a lot, but I’m lucky to get a couple of rows done between mis-counting the stitch pattern, tinking back to where the error is, and keeping the cats off the yarn. Since on the day I got married it was over 90 degrees F, hazy and humid, I really didn’t need a shawl to keep me warm. I will probably finish the new pattern in time to wear for this winter and it will be a lovely accessory to my winter clothing. It’s usually a bit chilly in my office, so it’ll be nice to have something I can toss over my shoulders to keep warm that won’t be so heavy that I’ll roast. Of course, this year the office is trying to save on heating and cooling costs, so it’s been hot all summer and I figure it’ll be cold all winter. If I’m right, I’ll need some extra little wraps and shawls to throw on so I don’t freeze in the office.

I’ve gotten a lot further with the asymmetrical cabled wrap I started. We went up into the Adirondacks a few weeks ago for a very long ride (about 175 miles one way). We went through Lake Placid and Saranac Lake and up into Tupper Lake and it was just a gorgeous day for it. I even got to stop at a LYS in Lake Placid, Adirondack Yarns ( and picked up some chunky Baby Alpaca and a lovely pattern for a rectangular wrap with cables. It’s a ‘store’ pattern and came with the wool but it looks like it’s an easy knit so I might actually be able to get it knit up for winter. The wool is a sea-green and very soft and luscious. Maybe it’s the super bulky baby alpaca yarn and the size 13 (US) needles that I’m using. Duh…it sure goes a lot faster than the lace weight I'm using for the 'wedding' shawl. I’ve already used three skeins and the pattern calls for five, so I’m nearly finished. I really can’t keep starting things and then leaving them to sit in the UFO pile and languish; I'm going to have to finish something soon.

Mom was looking at the cabled wrap the other day with lust in her eyes. I was working on it in the waiting room when I took her to the doctor’s office and she was checking it out while I was knitting. She ‘knits’ with a loom and doesn’t use wool. She goes though acrylic yarn so fast, she probably couldn’t afford to use wool or alpaca. I know I couldn’t afford it. She does fondle my yarns when I stop at the house to see her, though. Mom really only works on the loom to keep her fingers busy so she doesn’t smoke, though I don’t think she’s really trying to quit smoking that hard. I just worry because she shouldn’t smoke at all. She has all sorts of medical problems and I don’t know what to do for her except be there when she needs me to. I’m the oldest, so I’m the one that deals with things when she needs them dealt with. Ah well, that’s a vent for another day.

So now let me get back to socks. I really want to finish up some socks. I have all kinds of really nice sock yarn and I like the going around and around part because I don’t have to think. It’s the heels and the gussets that are making me nuts. I think I’m giving up on Queen Kahuna. I was a member of the Yahoo group for a while and I read all the responses to everyone else’s problems and questions; my problem was that as soon as I posted a question, all the responders disappeared. I waited a couple of weeks and posted again and still got no response, so *poof* I’m outta there. The only good thing is that I’ve learned how to work on two socks at once on one long circular needle. I can cast on using Judy’s Magic Cast On ( – just google it) and I can work my way from the toe to the heel. All I have to really figure out is how to put in the gussets and turn the heel. I’m sure that working from the ankle to the cuff will be just as easy as the foot part, so I’m not worried about that. I keep looking at the sock books at the bookstore and reading all the reviews on-line, and I haven’t seen anything that seems like it’s what I want, so I’ll just keep looking and knitting and trying to work my own way through.

Part II – Three cats! What in the world possessed me???

Last time I told you about Gracie and how she was joined by Ed and Gene. They are such a lovely bunch of kitties, but they are a real handful sometimes! For example, I have to remember to flip the tissue box upside down before I go to bed at night because they just love to pluck tissues out and shred them. I got up one morning and it looked like it had snowed in my living room! Pop-up tissues are apparently a lot of fun for kitties at night…The boys are also very fond of the bathroom sink and the shower. If they stay in the bathroom in the morning while I’m getting ready for work, they will even come into the shower while I’m in there! And I thought cats weren’t supposed to like water; certainly no one told these cats, that’s for sure!

They are certainly very different from what my Miss Alvin was like. She only went into the bathroom in the winter and then only because the bathroom has the warmest floor in the house. I’m just not used to young cats, I guess. I never know what I’ll find when I get up in the morning or when I get home from work at night. Every day is an adventure and none of them are boring.

Recently, the ‘boys’, Gene and Ed, also discovered toilet paper and paper towels. Help? I have been keeping the toilet paper in the linen closet in the bathroom and I don’t know what to do about the paper towels. Gene especially likes lying in the bathroom or kitchen sink (right under the paper towel roll, of course) and I’m having a hard time breaking him of that habit. I don’t so much mind about the bathroom sink, because I don’t think he can do any harm there, to himself or anything else. In the kitchen though, I’m not sure I want little kitty feet all over my counters, etc. Also, I have a ceramic cook-top and I don’t want him jumping up there when the element is hot, though Mike says “he’ll only do it once…” I don’t think I even want him to do it once.

Part III – now to the scary bits…

I have been going through an anxious period of watch and wait and wait and wait…you get the drift. Anyway, seems like I’ll have to wait yet another little bit. I got the results of the MRI last week, but the results really didn’t prove anything. I go for an ultrasound in November and maybe there’ll still be surgery after that.

Let’s see, what else has been going on in my life? Besides getting married becoming a cat-Mom and getting a tattoo? A bit of a fearful time as I wait to hear how things are going for me, health-wise. I’m having some gynecological issues and waiting to hear how I’m going to end up dealing with them. It’s looking more and more like a hysterectomy will be in the offing. All I have to do is wait for test results, watch, and wait, and wait, and wait….It seems like forever to me. I’m not going to elaborate too much until I know more, but I’ll post as I can. Another visit to the doc in August still didn't tell me what’s what, but I'm hoping I'll find out more in November…Keep your fingers crossed!

Still haven’t heard anything about what’s what in my body. I go for an ultrasound on November 10 and to the doctor on November 11, so keep your fingers crossed and I’ll keep you posted.

Part IV – Inked!

I’ve had so much feedback from my friends and family about my Shaun the Sheep tattoo and it’s pretty much all been positive. I’m just having a fun time with this. I still meet people who see the tattoo and say, “Is that a real tattoo?” Some folks just can’t believe that at 52, I actually got a tattoo. As the commercials say “I’m lovin’ it.” This is fun.

Part V – Connubial Bliss…so far, so good!

I’m leaving the slideshow up because I just want to. After 21 years, I’m happy to share my happiness with everyone. If I could figure out how to put up the video, I’d put that up too. I showed some friends and we all had a really good laugh. Of course, since we were married at an airshow, you might guess how the video sounds. You would not be surprised if I told you that the ‘dialogue’ is somewhat buried by the sounds of airplanes and other airshow type noise. When Mike set up the camcorder, he didn’t think of setting up a dedicated microphone to catch the ceremony so we have our real wedding, like I’ll always remember it. I giggle every time I see it and it makes me happy. I guess I’m not just like the rest of the world, but isn’t that what makes the world go around?

Remember, until next time, wear natural fibers; hug your cats!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Once again, I take a lot of time off from blogging!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Where I’ve been…

I’ve never been a hugely prolific poster since I decided to do this blogging thing, but it’s really been a while this time. I’ve had so much going on that I don’t know if I know where to even start.

Part I – Knitting…as good a place as any to start

I’ve started a pair of socks; I went to Webs one weekend and bought a couple of hanks of Trekking sock yarn so I’ve got at least got one pair on my needles, though it’s been a little while since I worked on them. I’ve been working on a wrap for the last few weeks. It’s a simple wrap, all knit stitch with YOs to make the increases. Absolutely easy stuff, right? I thought so. I even spent <> $50 on the one hank of lace weight yarn (alpaca/silk blend – think it’s Adirondack, but I can’t find the label…) because I planned to wear it at my wedding. That’s right folks; I am now a married lady! I promise; I’ll get to that part soon.

I did finish a felted purse for my step-daughter, Becky, and another felted bag to carry my XM radio stuff in – pix with the post. Not much else to report on, knit-wise, as I’ve been having a bit of trouble finding time to get some knitting in. Of course, it’s summer, so it’s kind of hot to knit for some of us. I really can’t use that for an excuse, though, because the house is air-conditioned. There just seems to be so much more to do that knitting takes a back seat most of the time.

Part II – Kittens in my life!

I think I already told you that I adopted a lovely kitty named Gracie on January 11 and that I was going to try to talk Mike into a second kitty so she wouldn’t get lonesome while we’re at work. I guess I can be very persuasive… :o)…Gracie now has two little ‘nephews’, named Ed and Gene, after my uncle and my Dad. The boys are brothers and even Mike couldn’t resist them; that same good friend Sue who found Gracie for us took them and their mother into her home to foster them so they wouldn’t have to go to a shelter. Once Mike saw them, he was sunk and we had to take them home. Who could resist? Not me, certainly.

I told you they are named after my Dad and my uncle and it’s kind of a longish story, but it does explain the names. Dad and Uncle Ed, for some odd reason that only they knew, called each other “George” for as long as I can remember. Think conversations that went like this, “George, grab me a beer!” and the response, “Sure, George. Cheese and crackers, too?” Anyway, I don’t know why they did it, but they did it. We even called Uncle Ed “Uncle George” and my cousins called Dad “Uncle George” as well. Odd, I know, but the names work because I dreamt I had cats named George and Gracie…get it? “George” being Ed and Gene together, and of course, my Gracie making up the group. So now I do have “George” and Gracie, but it’s really three cats and the house is lovely with all of them.

Part III – the scary bits…

Let’s see, what else has been going on in my life? Besides getting married? A bit of a fearful time as I wait to hear how things are going for me, health-wise. I’m having some gynecological issues and waiting to hear how I’m going to end up dealing with them. It’s looking more and more like a hysterectomy will be in the offing. All I have to do is wait for test results, watch, and wait, and wait, and wait….It seems like forever to me. I’m not going to elaborate too much until I know more, but I’ll post as I know more. Another visit to the doc in August and I should know what’s what, I hope…Keep your fingers crossed!

Part IV – Inked!

Under “Life Change #1” you’ll find a picture of Shaun the Sheep knitting. He now resides on my left wrist! When I was 15, I used india ink and a needle wrapped in cotton thread to ‘tattoo’ a small heart on my wrist. I always wore a watch, so no one really knew it was there. My Mom didn’t even know about it until I was in my 30’s. I always wanted to fix it somehow, you know, put something prettier or more meaningful over it to cover it up, but never had the nerve. Becky has a few tattoos and she overheard me tell her Dad that I wanted to do that some time. The rest, as they say, is history. She told me she’d buy me a ‘tat’ and get the same one as a Mother’s Day present and I said, what the hell, I’ll do it! So there’s the picture so you can see what I did.

Part V – Connubial Bliss…I hope!

Mike and I have been living together for 21 years and neither of us ever figured we’d be married to each other or anyone else, for that matter. So go figure; on May 29th I turned 52 and Mike and I were talking and marriage came up. Surprise, surprise…I thought we were just talking so I didn’t think any more of it for a few days. Then one night we were at the mall bookstore and I asked him if he had been serious. He was…so we started to make plans. We weren’t going to tell anyone until the deed was done, but things kind of got in the way of that. We went to buy wedding rings and when we came home, Mike’s daughter Becky was at our house. She has a key and had come over to watch tv, thinking we’d be home. When we did come home, Mike and I looked at each other, both nodded, and tossed the jeweler’s bag into her lap. She was just so happy, she cried. She’s a great kid, works hard, and has worked her way through nursing school to work at the local major medical center in the Coronary Care Unit as an RN. I’m very proud of her.

Anyway, now the secret was out, at least to one person. The next day being Saturday, we planned to do some garage saling. Mom had asked me to make a deposit for her at her bank, so we did that first thing that morning. I also wanted to make sure I had enough cash in case I found something really good at the garage sales. Becky wanted to go with us and was waiting for us at the house; we were on the way back there from the bank to pick her up. In the meantime, she called Mike on his cell phone to tell him that there was someone at the house we had been trying to avoid. This guy has been trying to buy our woodstove for ages and won’t take “NO” for an answer. Anyway, I turned the car away from the house, deciding to check out one of the local garage sales in our neighborhood. Becky said she’d get rid of the guy and give us a call when he was gone, so we decided to shop until we heard from her.

There didn’t seem to be anything much of interest out front at the sale we stopped at, so I decided to see what was on the porch. Lo and behold, there was a sign on the porch…“For Sale: Diamond Engagement Ring, never worn, $300”. I couldn’t resist, so I asked to see it. It was a really beautiful ring; a solitaire with eight diamonds channel-set, four on each side of the centr stone, and it fit like it was made for me! Mike hadn’t got me an engagement ring; it was just too much for the budget; finding this ring was total serendipity. He looked at me and I looked at him, and we offered $250 and she took it! As we walked away, her boyfriend in the house could be heard to say to her, “I can’t believe you just did that!” I’ve since had the ring checked out and it’s really a nice diamond ring and more than perfect for us! We just couldn’t have afforded anything like an engagement ring, especially one so nice; it would have been too much for the budget in this age of gas being over $4 a gallon, among other things.

Now to get to the good stuff: Mike and I decided that since we go to the 1941 Historic Aircraft Group’s Airshow in Geneseo, NY every year, we would go and get married there and make it our mini-honeymoon. We decided to keep it kind of quiet and not invite anyone because we’re like that. Geneseo is our place and it wouldn’t be fun anymore if others discovered it. I don’t mean to sound selfish, but we wanted to do things our way. The last wedding I went to was so huge and impersonal that it was just no fun and I wanted to have fun at mine. Mom was a little disappointed that she couldn’t come, but her health wouldn’t allow it anyway. She’s 74 and severely arthritic – in a wheelchair for travel – and the airshow is outside, usually hot and in case you’ve never been to an airshow, there is no shade unless you’re under a plane’s wing. It would have been hell for her, and would have made the entire day awful for us because we would have been worried about her the entire day. She understood and didn’t push the issue.

But once Mom knew, it was only a matter of time before the rest of the family knew. We decided to tell our favorite family members in person after we told Mom and we did that. Since we were getting married in a matter of weeks, there really wasn’t time for anyone to make any plans for all the extracurricular ‘crap’ that seems to go with weddings, so I think we’ve gotten away with that bit. I mean, really, how many wedding showers do you really need when you’ve been living with the same person for 21 years? It’s not like we really need anything and I’d be uncomfortable taking other gifts, so it worked out great as far as we are concerned.

We got our license on Friday, June 13 – don’t get all superstitious now, ok? – and brought it with us to Geneseo. We left home on Friday morning, July 11 and drove out to the airfield. It’s a bit of a drive, about 4 to 5 hours, especially since we make frequent stops to stretch our legs because I do all the driving b. We arrived in to Geneseo at about 12:30 and checked into the local Quality Inn, where we had made reservations a year ago. We always make our reservations the day we leave – we know we’ll be back next year.

In the meantime, I checked the Historic Aircraft Group’s website ( and contacted someone about finding a judge or a justice of the peace in town so we could get married out there. They didn’t think I was nuts at all; turns out there was another couple renewing their vows on the 12th and they didn’t think the judge would mind performing two ceremonies. Mike and I met the folks from the airshow and the other couple on Friday at the fly-in day. I had spoken to the judge on the phone a couple of times since we found out what we were going to do. The other couple, John and Lia, who were getting married at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday in full World War II military regalia at the WWII re-enactor’s site were really nice. John was going to be married in military garb and Lia was going to wear a 1940’s period white satin dress. It was so cool and so not us. Once we had everything figured out, Mike and I went off to buy our own wedding garb. We wore 2008 airshow tee-shirts and jeans. I was not going whole-hog on a dress and a tux and all that junk just because we were getting married. I mean, really, that’s just not us! We knew we’d be spending the day on the field; we knew the weather report usually said ‘hazy, hot, and humid’ for that weekend; what on earth was the sense in getting dressed up in hot sticky clothing?

We got to the field on Saturday morning, and the line of traffic was so long, I didn’t think we’d make it to the ceremony on time. Once we got out towards the parking area, I rolled the window down and spoke to the first person directing traffic I could find. I told him that I was supposed to be at the WWII re-enactor area to get married and we were late. He was great! He told me to drive across the parking area and park over near the re-enactor area near the tents. We got there just in time and since we’re rarely on time for anything, that was a feat for us! We only caught the very end of John and Lia’s wedding, but we didn’t miss the judge!

There is one woman that we know from going to Geneseo every year; her name Is Jean and she drives the shuttle every year at the airshow. We always look for her at the show and she always looks for us. We’ve become ‘fixtures’ to her, I guess, but she’s a really nice person and I thought that since she’s really the only person we know and look for every year, I’d ask her to be a witness at the wedding. She wasn’t there on Friday, but we found her brother and he got my cell number to her so we could meet on Saturday. She was thrilled to stand up for us; you’ll see her in the bright green “Free Shuttle” shirt on my left in the slideshow.

Did I tell you I put up a slideshow? It’s under the heading, “Life Change #2” so feel free to check it out. Mike had his camcorder set up on a tripod, so we did have a video, but I don’t have that anywhere yet. You’ll have to be satisfied with the pictures for now. So that’s where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing for so long….

Remember, until next time, wear natural fibers; hug your cats!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Part I – It’s been a while…

I know, it’s been a while since I was here. It’s been a tough few months since the last time I posted and I’ve been thinking and thinking about whether or not I would even keep my blog going. It’s not that I’m not having fun with my fiber-y pursuits, because I am. It’s just that so many other things have been tough that the knitting and stuff are the only things keeping me sane sometimes. I wrote all this on Monday, but didn’t get to do the post until today. I decided to write the good parts first....

Part II – Where I learn to spin…in a different way.

So, let’s see, last time I told you about learning to spin on a drop spindle. It was so much fun and I really enjoyed it. I made a bunch of singles, and then I plied a bunch, and then, because I could, I knit up a cabled headband out of yarn that I made. Can you see me puffing up and patting myself on the back?

I met a really nice woman at the spinning class and before it was over, she got a bunch of roving back from a processor that she had sent out to be de-haired and cleaned. Alpaca…can you say ‘soft’? I mean, it was so soft that I just had to have some. I bought a garbage bag full….I couldn’t help myself. I mean really, who could? And then, she showed me some other roving. The alpaca roving is a lovely milk-chocolate brown; this was a creamy off-white. I think it will be whiter once I wash it as it was just a little greasy, but again, it was so soft that I just had to have it. While I was there, she told me that the LYS where we had taken our drop spindle class was doing a class on wheel spinning…you can just see this coming, can’t you? I signed up. I rented a wheel for two weeks. I’m nuts. I don’t have it yet, but I bought a wheel on ebay…I’m really nuts, right? I bought a wheel on ebay for $127.50 + shipping from the Netherlands…The picture looks good and the seller has nothing but great feedback, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will all be good. The wheel I rented was a Louet and this one is a Schippertje (???), double-drive, single-treadle, and flyer-driven. It looks good and I’ll post pix when I get it. According to the seller, I should get it in 7 – 10 days, so let’s see, that would be next Monday at the earliest. I’m nuts…and I can’t wait until it gets here.

Part III – Update on Mom’s sweater for {was } Christmas {now} whenever…

Last time, I was very high on the “Sonnet” pattern from That was last time…
I explained about how I got it all knitted up and sewn up and the buttons on and it didn’t fit. I wrote about deciding to use a contrasting color, picking up stitches around the neckline and cuffs and then working the neckline in to a wearable sweater. Well it was all writing. Yes, it was back to the frog pond for me yet again. I ripped it all back and wound the wool carefully into nice, soft balls and put them into a large zip-lock bag and put them away. Then, I went to the bookstore and bought Jacqueline Fee’s “Sweater Workshop” and started reading.

I figure I must have a mental block about sweaters. I always seem to mess them up somehow. They’re too big or too small, too low-cut or too tight in the neck. I need to learn what I’m doing wrong, and I’ve always heard good things about “Sweater Workshop”, so I bought it. I had a 40% off coupon and another 10% on top of that, so how could I go wrong?

Well, I read a bit and then I pulled out some yarn and some needles and I followed the directions for a “Sweater Sampler” – I’ve posted a couple of pix [coming soon] so you can see what I’m talking about. It was kind of fun and I think it came out pretty well, so I started a cardigan for Mom, using Ms. Fee’s “formula” (with thanks to EZ as well). So far, so good, but don’t hold me to that until I actually finish the damn thing, ok? There’s a picture of the beginning [coming soon] and it looks pretty good, if you ask me, but then I thought the others looked good until I actually had to rip them back to the beginning, too.

Part IV – Current (and everlasting) Projects

Ok, what’s still on my needles?

(1) Those damn toe-up socks; I don’t think they’ll ever be done.

(2) ‘Branching Out’ scarf from DONE!!!

(3) ‘Gryffindor House Scarf’ from “Charmed Knits” – too booooooooring; ripped it out. I think I’ll use the wool for slippers….

(4) Lacy Prairie Shawl from ‘Folk Shawls’ by Cheryl Oberle in a lovely and soft cream-colored alpaca – this one’s about 1/3 done now, so I might actually finish it before winter is over. This one went to the frog pond, too. Its second incarnation is a feather-and-fan wrap that’s working out much better for me. Update on this: I may be ripping it out….it’s about 8 feet long and the width of a scarf; not much of a wrap, I think…

(5) I did make a pair of felted clogs for Mom, well, the knitting part, anyway. I still have to felt them. And I made a new sole for Mike’s felted clogs; he wears them so much, he wore right through one of them! This time I’m putting the leather soles on both pairs. These are on my radar to felt as soon as I can remember where I put them. I know they are in a Ziploc bag somewhere around here….

(6) I also started finished another ‘sweater-less yoke’ (I don’t know what else to call it) for a friend who saw the one I was wearing the other day and admired it. In cubicles in the building where I work, there are blowers in the ceiling that you can’t control that blow cold air down on your back, and this little knitted thingy – I don’t know what to call it – is just a knitted in the round from the bottom up, decreased for the neck, ‘sweater-less yoke’ for lack of a better term. It just covers my shoulders and my upper back and keeps the drafts off of me. DONE!!! And she loved it! I may have to make a bunch more in some other colors because all my friends want them now.

Part V – Me again, and RIP Miss Alvin…

This part might be a bit tough for those of you who have pets; be forewarned – you might get a little teary-eyed here.

Christmas was a very nice holiday. ‘Santa’ (my loving and wonderful partner, Mike) gave me all kinds of knitterly goodies and had a really good time watching as I opened each one. Since I had given him a KnitPicks catalog with tons of items marked off that I was interested in, I knew I would get knitty things, but I gave him tons of choices so I would not know exactly what I was getting. I like surprises, and he never knows what to get me, so giving him tons of choices in all different price ranges gave him lots of things to choose from to surprise me with.

The tough part started on the day after Christmas. Mike and I came home from work and found Miss Alvin very ill. She was weak and sick and was trying to hide under the Christmas tree. I called the vet and they were closed and the message on their machine said to go to the emergency vet and gave the phone number. I called, they said to get her over there asap and we did. They got Miss Alvin stable and comfortable, but she didn’t seem to know where she was or who we were. Mike thought she couldn’t see us either, but I couldn’t tell. Of course, it didn’t help that I was trying so hard not to cry that I couldn’t see straight. We ended up staying at the vet ER most of that night, waiting to hear how she was going to do. The vet finally told us to go home, her condition was stable, but he recommended we take her to our own vet in the morning when they opened. They kept her overnight and we went home to try to sleep.

When I picked her up in the morning at the ER, the vet on duty told me they suspected that she had had a stroke. Miss Alvin was considered to be a senior cat; she was 15 years old, so she wasn’t exactly a kitten, but a stroke?!? My vet did some tests and she confirmed that diagnosis but thought that if Alvin made it through the first 24 hours, she might make it longer. Alvin’s kidneys did not seem to be functioning and the vet thought they might come back if we got her hydrated and stable. So I left her at the vet’s and went home to worry. Mike and I went back later in the day to visit her and see how she was doing. The vet was optimistic; she said Alvin had passed a little urine so her kidneys were functioning. We left her there overnight again and went back first thing in the morning.

Miss Alvin still didn’t seem to know us, but her body seemed to be working, though not that well. The vet told us that she was a little concerned; that Alvin had some fluid buildup in her abdomen, and she wanted to do an x-ray. After the x-ray, she brought Alvin back in and I held her while we looked at it to see what we could see. Turns out that Miss Alvin had a tumor in a space that all kinds of blood vessels run through and that was, we thought, what had caused her stroke. We figured that the stroke was why she didn’t know us and didn’t seem to be able to see us. The vet left us alone with her, and we both cried a lot and made the decision that we had to give her peace. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. She was no longer the little cat that knew us and called to us when we came home and slept on the bed with us. I hadn’t cried like that in so long; I never thought I would cry over a pet like that, but she was like my child. We don’t have kids, but we had Alvin and she was family, you know? Some people won’t understand that, I’m sure, but those of you who have pets will, I’m sure. Miss Alvin died in my arms that day, with my tears and Mike’s falling on her. She knew we loved her. Heavy duty; I didn’t mean to do this to you. I had to get it out, though, and I hope you understand.

PS – you have to know that a house without a cat is not a home, so on January 11, 2008, I talked Mike into going over to the local PetSmart that my friend Sue works at to look at a kitty she thought we might like to adopt. He wasn’t our kitty, but Gracie was. She came home with us that night and has worked her kitty magic right into our hearts. Now if I can just get Mike to go for one more kitty to keep her company…

Remember, until next time, wear natural fibers; hug your cat!