Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sickness, socks, and spinning

For the first time in quite a while, I was too sick to knit. Nasty GI bug finally got me. It got many of the children I work with, but we had a week with no more incidents and I got too confident. Sunday night was the great karmic smackdown! The bad news is I was in bed for as almost twenty-four hours (haven't done that since my month of bed rest when I was pregnant with twins). Normally, even when I'm sick, I don't stay down. This time, I couldn't sit up. The good news, I feel much better and what ever bulk I'd added due to Holiday Treats... is gone.

I've tried to make up for lost knitting and spinning time. I'm on the home stretch of my second "smitten" sock! Still enjoying it, although I'm annoyed that I clearly went off "random" somewhere and spun waaay too much red/pink on one bobbin for a while.

smitten almost fin

Right now, I'm spinning some more chaos with a slightly more controlled environment. I have two ounces of seven or eight different rovings and batts. I haven't done any dying for myself in over a year and this little bit of fun has inspired me to do it again. Now that I've seen all those lovely random pairings, I'm ready to make some on purpose. A whole skein even.

Eowyn is still intrigued by Cocoa. Part of her interest seems like natural dog curiosity, the other part seems more, um, predatory. As a dog, Eowyn has quick, powerful movements and I would rather be cautious with her around Cocoa than sorry. When I was young, we had an Irish Setter (Ginger) and a guinea pig and this dog was terribly confused by the pig and thought it was her baby (same color).
Ginger would lick it (all the while the guinea pig was squeaking indignantly) and push it up under her with her nose to try and get it to nurse. There are cases where dogs and small animals can be friendly. I just don't think Eowyn is like that. See how "curious" Eowyn is?

eowyn chicky cocoa

And she seems to know she needs to feel guilty about it. Look at how she hides her eyes!

eowyn wants cocoa

Eowyn is just as stubborn as every other living thing in this house. Tonight Chicky said, "I let her sniff Cocoa and Cocoa licked her nose!" Cocoa does lick Chicky (which is weird, I've known at least twenty guinea pigs in my life and none of them licked people!) but licking a dog is another thing. And an Unsafe Practice at the very least. The boys and I have stressed to Chicky the need for caution with both of them in a small space. We'll see how it goes.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Still socking. Heh.

I've stopped adding my "smitten" pictures to my appropriate flickr groups because I'm worried they'll think I'm crazy for taking so many pictures of one yarn and one sock-in-progress. I'm even going to be reasonable and put a small sized picture below (if you're jonesing for a better view just click on it).

almost a smitten sock

Today was knitting with Chicky's class. They were celebrating the 100th day of school, so our time was short. Here are Chicky (in my Lady Detective hat) with two of her friends knitting. The boys were knitting too, but were more camera evasive.


The children go to their dad's house after school tomorrow and I have a pile of fiber begging to be spun. I'm planning on dividing my time between the socks and the wheel. No wonder I don't get out much - too much fiber and too little time!

I'm waiting for my Zen String shipment (yarn) and my Spunky Eclectic (fiber) to arrive. I'm thinking about setting one of those "wool traps" for the postman (I do have a "man" so I feel ok using the term, but also like I have to defend my use of it). We'll see if it works.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Heath Ledger

Heath Ledger
Originally uploaded by Boyz_nl
I'm gonna say it - I'm bummed. Liked his acting, and his beautiful face. Chicky said, "Hey, is he a knitter?" I was like, "I wish he were a knitter and still alive." Small conversation and then she said, "He doesn't look like a drug taker." Which led to a bigger conversation about how anyone can do drugs, you don't need to "look like" anything in particular.

"Smitten" socks

I was so in love with the srappy handspun skeins that I cast on for a pair of socks. So far, they look like this

smitten handspun

(I'm using the medium size pictures even though the right side gets cut of a little and messes with my control-freakish need for symmetry. The yarn begs me to do it anyway. See all the layers of color? Isn't it amazing? The sock cuff is about four inches along now. The color shifts keep me entertained and the texture is lovely. This could be the quickest knit socks, for me, EVER!

This past holiday, I received a lovely stump teapot. It is perfect. Holds 16 oz., doesn't drip when it is poured, has a fine mesh infuser, and a flat top for stacking. Isn't it cute?

stump teapot

I like it so much I've used almost all my loose-leaf teas! When I was at Whole Foods today, The Republic of Tea guy was there and he recommended Apricot Honey. It's a rooibus with marigold flowers. Quite tasty. I'm always up for a good tea recommendation.

Yikes, I need to go make dinner. After dinner and clean up... more knitting...or maybe spinning my Spunky Eclectic November fiber...hmmm.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Sweet Coffees

Sweet Coffees
Originally uploaded by Pacifist®
OHMIGOD! This is the cutest cavy baby picture EVER!

Fiber-luscious weekend

I have been up to my elbows in fiber this weekend. Almost no knitting and all spinning. I managed to finish spinning and plying my scrap bag from funky carolina.

scrappy love

They came out to about 634 yards, 17-18 WPI, and a little over eight ounces. I wish I had kept a better eye on Chicky - she took a lot of the lovely darker blue-green scraps. I love the random spinning and plying.

finished "scrap" skeins

And a better picture of funky carolina's superwash merino "remand" colorway. This came out to 243 yards and 15 WPI after plying.

remand superwash merino

I found this picture of the kids when we were at the Outerbanks a few years ago. I wanted to make a card out of it or something, but never got around to it. It's still one of my favorites.

beach heads

Chicky is in the middle of a tea party with all of her stuffed animals and Cocoa. The animals are all very well behaved and sitting quite proper on the edges of the blanket. Cocoa has a very special "chair"

cocoa in basket

I'll giver her credit, she is a very mellow guinea pig (other than her short track racing in the middle of the night). Sure, she's nocturnal, but when Chicky's around that pig has no rest during the day and she takes it well.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Knitting, really.

Since there haven't been any knitting pictures lately I thought I would prove that I really am still at it. I'm working on the toe-up socks, which have a gusset and flap heel because the wrap thingy was not flying or fitting my foot. I am winging it, so I know it's not perfect, but I'm hoping to copy my mistakes on the second sock so at least they match!

First toe-up sock

And a better picture follows of the Spunky Eclectic Fiber Club October 2007 colorway Goblin Eyes. I ended up getting 386 yards at 15 WPI all total. I wonder what it will become?

Goblin Eyes

Last night, and tonight, I am still working on my fiber scraps from Funky Carolina. It's coming along nicely and I hope to have it all spun and plied by Tuesday. I will have the children Sunday and Monday during the day, so we'll have to see...

I took lots of photos of very cute small children at work today and have been doing the Canon tutorials for the software. It is soo cool! Hopefully the ease of the whole process will increase my work blogging!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

It's here...

Yesterday I spent my available minutes at work checking the camera's progress to my house. The last time I checked before I left it was still on the truck, so I was hopeful we would make it in time. When I pulled in the drive I could see a box (!) but I figured it was too big to be the actual camera (I was right, it was the camera bag I ordered). And I could see a sticky note attached to the door. DRAT! I hauled my sad self out of the car and peeled the note. The first delivery attempt had been made at 2:30 - I missed him by an hour. Not to be a quitter, I went on -line to the UPS web site and checked the "I need my package today" box. If you do that, someone will call you within an hour and give you whatever scoop they have at the time. The scoop for me was that I had to wait until the delivery truck returned and they would call me to come and pick it up... in Chapel Hill (about 20 minutes away), and they close at 8 pm. I have already said, more than once, that I am not patient and I needed something to do with all that waiting time. At around five I said to the kids, "Anybody want to go to Margaret's?" and they all screamed, "YES!" I figured that would kill almost two hours and certainly the camera would be back at HQ for pick-up by then.

We went to Margaret's, had lovely food, not so much lovely conversation (in the beginning) because there was some confusion about whether or not we were getting sweet potato chips (I was thinking not, but Chicky was assuming yes) and a small flurry of emotion happened at our table. It ended with Chicky resting her head on the table in defeat. To her credit, she is the youngest so all the world is unfair all of the time and I, her mother, do not understand this ever. (She tells me this daily, regardless of the topic.) After tucking in, things went more smoothly and we enjoyed killing time for a while. I called the house when we left and there were no messages from the UPS people... I decided we would just drive over there and wait, how long could it be?

The Customer Service Center was a mere mile and a half away and when we got there trucks were returning like moths to a flame! I was so psyched! The trucks would pull in, back up, they would get the conveyor belts unloading, dudes were sha-shinging boxes with the scanners - it was a regular model of efficiency. It was entertaining for about ten or fifteen minutes. Then we needed some other stimulation so the kids decided to get out of the car and jump up and down (really, they thought this would be fun). At this point, I started to think maybe I had made the wrong decision and I should just go back after work on Thursday. Nope, my desire for the camera won out. After calling my house eight times I decided to just walk in and see if it were ready. It was! My joy was complete!

We got home, the kids watched me unpack the camera, brought me the lens and I started playing with it (even though I didn't have a CF card). It is lovely. It will take me a little while to learn to drive it effectively, but since my other camera was a Canon, at least some of it is familiar. I adore the software bundle, too. I have iPhoto, but I've never liked it as much as the Canon software.

When Chicky was somewhere between 15-18 months old we took her to The Playhouse because we were trying to find some comfort object for her. Morgan never really had one, and Bowen had Sebastian (the crab) and loved his desperately for years. When we were in the store, the woman that was working showed us the new "Groovy Girls" they got (this was in 2000) and she brought Chicky a girl and a boy. Chicky had no interest in the girl, but grabbed the boy, smiled, and swung him around a bit while gripping his waist. It was love at first sight. The two have been together ever since - minus a stint when we accidentally left him at the pediatrician's for three days, despite my frantic search in the room a day later, and a panicked phone call when I realized the tragedy. He typically wears some short coveralls without a shirt underneath (he's a country boy at heart), but occasionally he can be seen in his soccer uniform. His overalls have a hole in the bum and are wearing thin all over. He's got some pretty skinny arms these days, and one of the seams in an arm pit is threatening to break. Chicky worries about these things and we have discussions about the Nature of Love and Stuffed Things. When she was about four, I tried to find another Guy (his Official name was Zane), but he was no longer being made. When we would go back to the Playhouse I would ask her if she liked any of the other Groovy Guys and she would say, "No. I like Guy." Today, when I got home from work, Guy was lying on the kitchen table, where Chicky had left him after breakfast. Since the children are with their father tonight, and the dog is not such a willing model, I decided Guy should be the subject of my first photo shoot. Without further ado, here is Guy.


And here he is in his other favorite place, Chicky's bed.

Guy reclines

What a Guy. I'll miss him when she doesn't need him anymore.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


I made a purchase through Amazon on Saturday am. I wanted to buy it from a local store, but I couldn't get this with it at the same time. Well, it turns out it didn't work out that way though the internet either. According to the shipping predictions (something akin weather predictions), they would both arrive on Wednesday. Yesterday I came home and the lens was waiting by the door (yea!). Imagine my hope that today the camera would be here, too. Nope. I've checked the tracking a gajillion times and the camera is still in Greensboro. For those of us that live in Hillsborough, that is where our mail goes, so I was hopeful that if it arrived in Greensboro around 1 pm the much anticipated camera would be here this afternoon. It is still in Greensboro. Sigh. I wait very poorly.

The spinning is going well. I'm finally spinning up my "scrappy, happy love" from funky carolina. The bag weighed 8+ ounces, but I let Chicky spin some, and as I didn't watch her closely enough, she took a lot more than I had anticipated. I'm hoping it will end up being around 6 ounces in the end.

scrappy love

One bobbin from the Ashford is full, and I've started on the second. This yarn will be a two-ply because I want all the random spun colors to pair willy-nilly! I'm sure this weekend my hobbies will be competing for my attention. I may need to "schedule" my spinning, knitting, and photography.

Wish me luck!

Monday, January 07, 2008

On my own...for one night...

This past week my parents were visiting from MN. They live in the hinterlands of Minnesota (Grand Marais). Traffic, popular ethnic foods, and people of color are all sources of wonder for them. My step-mother has a broken wrist right now, so that put the damper on the bowling idea. Instead we went for a walk at the Eno. Temperatures here have been kind of wacky so there was ice to be messed with in the river. The kids had a blast. They were everywhere; in front of us, behind us, on the same side of the river one second, and on the opposite the next.

kids crossing the Eno

I wanted to get a picture of Chicky smooshed inside this dead tree stump, but I knew she wouldn't go for it. So, here it is... empty.

dead tree

While Dad and Jean were here, Jean was reading She Got up Off the Couch, by Haven Kimmel. She had read A Girl Named Zippy on a previous visit and I knew she'd like it. I adore it when someone is reading and they have to put a book down because they're laughing so hard. Better yet, when they tell you about it and you laugh so hard you're crying just remembering. Every so often I'd ask, "What's her dad doing?" - just to find out where she was in the book.

I can't tell you how excited I am to be sleeping in my own bed again. Chicky is a restless, bony, poky sleeper. I was awakened by knees in my back, an elbow to my eye, snoring (no, that was the dog on the bed), and general squishing. Last night, between 11 pm and 12:30 am Cocoa (the Most Beautiful Cavey) decided to take up short track racing. She would come tearing out of her little house and run a lap around her cage, banking on the corners and spewing litter everywhere, fly back into her house and chatter. It was so loud it woke Chicky up. The first time it happened, we laughed about it. The second, I checked her food and water, and by the third Eowyn had moved from the foot of my side of the bed to the front of the cage to see what was going on. None of us figured it out, but I think Cocoa has become Eowyn's idea of "fast food".

Today was the children's first day back at school after their intercession break; I am anxious to find out how it went. Twenty minutes before we had to leave, the boys were sitting on the couch with their backpacks on, ready to go. I'm sure we'll be back to our regular ass dragging by Friday. It was a welcome surprise.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

So long 2007, hello new year & new fibery pursuits

I finished Bowen's socks yesterday morning, so I officially made nine pair of socks in 2007. Bowen is very happy with his socks and has them on right this minute.

Bowen's socks

Now to finish the other three pair of socks still on the needles from last year. I'm having some intense need to cast on, so I started Morgan's socks. He would like a longer cuff in some orange and yellow Opal.

I had a quiet New Year's by myself yesterday. The fireworks and gunshots got a little old around 1 am. The children stayed up to ring in the new year at their dad's house with root beer floats, and considering the lack of sleep, have been quite agreeable today. Chicky has been holding her guinea pig (we found Cocoa's "spot" that makes her purr), and they boys are playing games. Not a bad way to start the new year.