Sunday, August 23, 2009

Miss Greta Loses One of Nine Lives - A Cautionary Tail/Tale

We came very close to losing Miss Greta this week. Suffice it to say, we learned a lot, but we didn't have fun. What we thought was a problem with hairballs, turned out to be a severe urinary tract infection. We learned that simply because a cat is throwing up, it can be a lot more serious than hairballs. I want to thank my friends on Plurk and Twitter for their very helpful suggestions - particularly, the friend who gently reminded me that cats usually aren't "sick" with hairballs. Fortunately, that suggestion stuck with me and we got her to the vet first thing Friday. Because our Miss Greta is one tough cookie, the vet thought she probably had this infection for some time and it just suddenly brought her down. Through every one's thoughts and prayers and excellent veterinary care, Miss Greta is at the deck door right now cursing at the birds - just two days after taking her to the vet. She's a ways from her usual perky self, but she's back on the path.

On a brighter note, I want to give my Yankee Ingenuity Award to FNB Plastics for developing the "Original Spinning Wheel Cup Holder." One of the down sides for spinning, at least for me, was that I didn't have a place to have my coffee or soda near. I could move the wheel near a table, but then it blocks the door. When I'm at a spinning event, the cup has to go on the floor and then I'd have to stop spinning and reach down and grab it. It just wasn't efficient. Now, the cup holder sits on top of the wheel, at least for the Ashford Joy wheel, and I can drink, many times without stopping the wheel. There's models for many different wheels and more in development. To attach, there's bolts that fit through the open spaces in the wheel, so there is no glue, no drilling into the wheel. The cup holders are made in the USA and are reasonably priced from the manufacturer (mine was $30, with shipping). FBN Plastics can be found at

On the Needles: I seemed to have skipped Sock Pair #13 - so I am actually on Pair #17 which is from Trekking Hand Painted. I'll have to get the numbering straightened on Ravelry. (No wonder math is not my strong suit - I can't even count!)

Off the Needles: Since it's been a little over a week since I've blogged, I've finished off Pair #14 - the Bubble Hand Spun, which was photographed last time; Pair #15 - a pair of socks from leftover Regia self-striping (I think) with vanilla heels and toes from Brown Sheep Wildfoote; Pair #16 which is left over hand-dyed sock blank with Wildfoote heels, toes and cuff in a burnt orange.

52 Books in 52 Weeks/Book No. 35: The Piano Teacher by Lynn York. This is not the usual type of book I pick up; however, one of the blurbs said that Ms. York was a cross between Agatha Christie and Flannery O'Connor - two of my favorites, for very different reasons. Other than the fact this was "sort of" a cosy mystery and it was set in the South, I didn't catch the resemblance. An okay beach read, but then I'm not a beach person.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Finally! The Reason I Have Problems With Math

Last time I talked about how 3 = 1 by plying three single strands into one yarn. This week I've taken the one yarn and made it into two socks at the same time. Therefore, 3 = 1 = 2. Anyone that has known me for any length of time knows about my aversion to math and that I have knit forever. Particularly disturbing to anyone that enjoys working with numbers is my argument that it's illogical and my demonstration above and last time only goes to show that it is illogical or it's an explanation as to why I have problems with math. These socks are now finished and are from my hand spun. I have lots of yarn left over, so I'm sure you'll be seeing it in other garments in the coming months. This is Pair #15 in the 52 Pair Plunge.

Off the Needles: Also, off the needles is Pair #14 my Bubble Socks, which was my stealth project from last week.

On the Needles: I'm working on a pair of cropped socks from leftover yarn. This pair will be Pair #15. It just dawned on my that I am more than a quarter done with this challenge.

On the Carder: I haven't mentioned Pokey, the alpaca fleece for a while. I'm finally to the point it's not behaving like linguine noodles and expanding each time I take more out of the bag - I can finally see an end to the process. It's still a ways down the road, but there is an end. I have decided that Pokey should blend fleeces from Abbie, Black Ear and Patches' Boy, some of our local sheep. The finished garment should be worn by someone on the red carpet, so when they're asked, "Who are you wearing?", they can say Pokey, Abbie, Black Ear and Patches' Boy. Yeah, right.

52 Books in 52 Weeks: I have been reading The Piano Teacher and Buffalo for the Broken Heart. If I'd concentrated on one, I might have one finished - but no. So stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

1 + 1 + 1 = 1

So when does 3 = 1? When you take three single plies and make them into a 3-ply yarn! I spun the three bobbins of very fine singles of hand-painted superwash wool to the left and then spent the past few lunch hours plying them into the yarn on the jumbo bobbin to the right. The yarn on the right is very fine in diameter and hopefully, after handwashing and air drying, it will measure out to fingering or sock weight yarn. This was my Tour de Fleece challenge that I didn't finish in time. I think I may have way more yardage than I need for a pair of socks; but with hand spun yarn, it's not like you can go to the store and get another skein.

When I was running road races, I used to dream about coming in after the race was all over and every one had left. Fortunately, that never happened - until now. I finished up the challenge about a week and a half after the end of the race! I'm looking forward to making this yarn into socks.

On the Needles: Currently, I have a stealth project on the needles. A new toe-up pattern which works up very quickly. Hopefully, I'll have the pattern posted with photos for the next blog. It took some doing, but I am finally down to doing one project at a time. The loophole in that philosophy is that I have one project on the needles, one project on the hook, one project on the spindle and yet another on the quilting machine.

Off the Needles: I have finished the Knit One Below bag, and will photograph it after it's been felted. After my last disaster felting, I can't quite bring myself to put it in the washing machine - quite yet at any rate.

Also, off the needles is Pair No. 13 of the 52 Pair Plunge III - another pair of Waterfall Socks. This pair was made with Tess of Maine Designer Yarn. Love the base yarn, love the color, hate that color came off in my hands. I will have to wash these before wearing them - probably using a Color Catcher sheet or I'll have blue feet! I think the Waterfall Socks (designed by WendyKnits) look much better in this yarn than the Mini-Mochi.

52 Books in 52 Weeks/Book 34: The Dark Horse, by Craig Johnson. This is the latest in the Sheriff Walt Longmire series - another one of my favorites. The characters make this book and the plot's not half bad either. In this one, the Sheriff goes undercover to investigate the murder of the husband of a woman sitting in his jail. This series reminds of a modern-day Lone Ranger, complete with an Indian sidekick. There's great action and while the endings may not be a sappy as the Lone Ranger, they are good, strong resolutions. I got to the end of this one on a Sunday night, knowing full well I had to get up early for work on Monday. I also knew I couldn't sleep until I finished it. So I dragged myself around all Monday, drinking way too much coffee - but it was worth it.