Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Best Conversation I Had All Day

On the train coming home tonight I had an extremely interesting conversation with a five year old named Jacob.

He wanted to know what I was doing (he didn't quite understand in the abstract that I was knitting a mitten, but I wish you could have seen his face when I put the finished (mostly finished - still thumbless) one on my hand and he got what I was doing).

(The pictures are terrible, but that's what you get when you use the camera in your ipod and the light from the table lamp. Better pictures later.)

He wanted to know if I had other yarn, if the points of the needles were sharp like a sewing needle, if I had more yarn in my house (his mother's exact words were "I'm sure she probably has a lot more yarn at her house.")(Yes, Jacob. Oh, yes...there's more) and if I had any aquamarine yarn in my house, because aquamarine is his favorite color.

Aquamarine. Is that the cutest thing you've ever heard?

He then took his toy out of his bag and told me all about it, then showed me his coloring and then he read me "Uncle's New Suit" until we got to their stop . I think that was the most enjoyable train ride I've had in a long time.

Oh, Jacob also wanted to know if I planned on adding thumbs later.

He was relieved when I told him yes.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Here We Go Then....

I never did get around to telling you about my camping trip, did I?

Oh, well. it was great. We had lots of fun. It was very relaxing. This was the view from our campsite, so really nothing to complain about there.

This is a picture of my mother doing dishes. She was ridiculously charmed by this little portable sink thing that we found. It folds up and fits into a little bag and I don't think I've ever seen anyone enjoy doing dishes quite so much.

Which worked out great for me, because it meant that she usually did all the washing up.

Anyway, part of the reason that I never got around to posting about it (aside from the fact that it usually takes me about a month to get around to posting anything) is that I have been Really, Really, Really Busy.

In addition to my Actual Job of, you know, having a job, and my secondary job of trying to keep the house two (okay one) steps ahead of becoming an episode of Hoarders, Ive also been working on a project. Phase I is this:

I will admit to being biased, because I am, but I love these stitch markers more than you can imagine. Not just because I like pretty shiny thing, but because they're things that I made that are a step towards building something that a couple of years ago I wouldn't have thought that I could do. I'm still not sure I can pull it off, but Holda Fiber Arts is me. All Me. It's mine and now it exists someplace other than inside my own head. The stitch markers are a start, but within the next year the plan is to have hand-dyed fiber and yarn available.

Hopefully other people will like them as much as I do, because they're going to be for sale at Rhinebeck in the Tsock Tsarina's booth (Art For Your Feet) in Building C, Space 9/10.

You have no idea how much I'm freaking out (in a good way) (mostly in a good way) about the fact that the first venue I'll be selling something at is Rhinebeck.

I guess if you're going to do something, you might as well jump straight into the deep end. Or off the deep end. I'm not sure which one this is yet.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Better Late

The problem that I have with writing a blog is that when things are happening I don't have time to write about them, then by the time I can sit down to write about them, they aren't always relevant anymore.

For example - Hurricane Irene. It's hard to believe it was only last weekend. That's right - it seems like it was ages ago, but it's only been eight days.

For all the carrying on in the media, you would have thought it was the end of the world coming, but for all the effort they put into getting everyone worked into a frenzy, it really wasn't all that bad. By the time it got here it was "only" a Category 1 hurricane. Still a hurricane - it could certainly kill you dead enough if you went wandering around outside in it, or, in the case of a man from East Islip - windsurfing. If you're nice and cozy inside your house with plenty of food and water and a basement full of camping gear, well then it's just some wind and rain.

Okay, a lot of wind and rain.

And honestly, a lot of water, once high tide hits.
These were actually taken from my front steps about 20-30 minutes before high tide, so the water actually rose a bit higher than this, but it cleared pretty quickly once the tide turned back out again. We ended up with about a foot or so of water in the basement, but since we've always lived in flood zones, we keep everything down there either up on shelves or in plastic bins, so we didn't lose very much.

I know you're worried, but it's okay - all the good yarn is kept upstairs on the second floor. There's plenty of yarn in the basement, but that's mostly acrylic. It's all safely stored in plastic bins, some of it in giant zippy bags inside plastic bins, so no yarn was harmed.

I actually felt a little bad after the storm. Aside from the inconvenience of having to get the water out of the basement (whatever wasn't cleared out once the outlet pipe for the sump pump wasn't underwater anymore, that is) we really weren't affected that badly. Some of my friends lost power and only got it back yesterday. Despite the flooding the longest we went without power was about 10-15 minutes and despite my fears to the contrary, Irene didn't even interfere with my vacation plans.

Which I'll tell you about tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Good News and ....Okay News

The good news is that my computer doesn't seem to be completely fried. It's just partially fried. No internet - that seems to be out of commission, and a bunch of keys seem to not be working properly, but I've now got my photographs and more importantly my knitting patterns backed up to jump drives, which is at least a start.

So, the okay news is that I've at least got some limited use of a computer. The good news is that I can put off having to come up with $800 for a new one for a month or two at least, which is good because Rhinebeck is coming and all my extra money is getting put away for that right now.

Must keep the priorities straight.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Apparently I Am Not Capable of Learning After All

I'm blogging from a borrowed computer tonight due to a slight mishap here at Casa de Jenn last night. We've had a leak in the upstairs ceiling for a little over a year. Not a bad leak, it was pretty intermittent for a long time, but we told the landlord about it shortly after it first started.

A year ago.

He figured that the roof is pretty new, so it was probably just a gutter backing up and said that he would come over to look at it, he just never quite got around to it. (There's a lot of that going around, as you'll see.)

About three or four months ago we started enclosing notes with the rent check telling him that the leak had gotten worse, it was now leaking in two or three spots, that pieces of the plaster are falling down, and the paint is bubbling where the water is running down the wall under the paint on either side of the window. We included pictures.

Since the leak is directly above my sofa, this means every time it rains I have to bring up somethng to catch the water in and then cover the sofa with big plastic trash bags. It's really quite an attractive decorative statement. Of course late August is thunderstorm season, so I'm spending a lot of time with black plastic trash bags spread around my sitting room, which brings us to last night's lesson.

I was using my laptop table as a work surface to make seom stitch markers, so I moved my laptop to the arm of the sofa and had beads and supplies spread along the seat while I worked. After a while, my mother called me to come down for dinner and while we were eating of course, the rain started. We checked the downstairs windows to make sure it wasn't raining in and I said I would check the upstairs windows when I went back upstairs but since it doesn't usually rain in up there, I wasn't really worried enough to rush.

I completely forgot about both the leak and the fact that I had left my laptop sitting on the sofa directly under the leaky spot.

By the time I got upstairs it was entirely too late. I noticed that the couch was wet right away and then I realized that the computer was soaked and I panicked. I went running back downstairs - without any pants (the upstairs was originally attic space, it's much hotter up there than it is in the rest of the house, so I usually take my shorts off when I watch TV and just sit around in my underwear and a tank top. That's right - Revel in the class.) and started literally pouring water out of the computer then started trying to dry it out with a blow dryer. I don't know if it worked because I haven't tried to turn it on yet today, but before I unplugged it and turned it off last night I was getting the Blue Screen of Death, so I'm not holding out a huge amount of hope.

The laptop is actually about five or six years old and I have been planning to get a new one, I just wasn't planning to do it this week, which I guess downgrades this from The End of the World to A Huge Pain in the Behind. The real problem is that I haven't backed anything up in about - well, ever. It's one of those things that I keep meaning to get around to. I know there are programs that go in automatically and keep a backup copy online somewhere - I've been meaning to get around to that too. (Noticing the trend yet?)

Originally the only thing that I thought about was the music that I've downloaded on iTunes, but I know from the last time my computer crashed (yes, it has crashed before, which makes my failure to back up even more head-slappingly stupid than you thought it was originally) that I can load purchased songs straight from my ipod and everything else that's on cd I can just reload, so I wasn't really worried.

Then I remembered that I have photographs on there. Those I really can't replace, but a lot of the ones I really wanted I had printed a few months ago, so again, not really a tragedy.

Then I remembered my extensive porn collection (to the unitiated, they probably just look like knitting patterns). They were mostly downloaded from online sites, but not all of them were in my Ravelry queue, so I don't know where I got them or how to find them again.


Well, considering that I'm currently trying to purge my house of crap maybe this is a good thing. I can look at it as a clean start.....

Okay. No.

But on the bright side, when I do get a computer back I can go browsing for patterns again to replace them all.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Look Upon My Works Ye Mighty and Despair

It has come to my attention that I seem to, inadvertently, be intimidating other knitters on the Long Island Railroad.

On the way home from work one night last week I was knitting away on my current sock, listening to Game of Thrones on my ipod, and just before we got to Lynbrook station, the woman who had been sitting right next to me for the past 20 minutes or so suddenly started to talk to me. We had a very nice chat about a pattern that she had printed that afternoon (it was cute and I must remember to look for it on Ravelry), the difference between English and Continental styles of knitting (I favor Continental) and how old I was when I learned to knit (eight), all in about 30 seconds. Because 30 seconds after she started talking to me we pulled into her station and she jumped up and got off the train.

That was a little weird, I thought.

My mom figured she waited so long because she figured that way she could talk to me without me feeling like I needed to be polite and pay attention to her for too long. Okay, I can buy that - it's not like I walk around with a T-shirt that says "If I Minded You Talking to Me about Knitting and Spinning I Wouldn't Do It In Public"

It reminded me, though, of something that happened a few months ago. I noticed a woman getting on the train in Jamaica station and sitting in the seat facing me several days in a row. After a day or two, I noticed that she was watching me knit and did my little "Hi, yes I see you watching what I'm doing" smile. One morning, I noticed that she had yarn and needles in her bag and asked her about what she was working on. She sort of brushed it off and said something about not wanting to take out what she was working on because it wasn't as "nice" as what I was doing.

I thought at the time, and still think, that is a terrible reason to not take out your knitting.

Whatever it is that you're knitting - that's YOUR knitting. It only needs to be as "good" as you're happy with. If you're a beginner and you're just knitting a garter stitch scarf, that's great! Keep going, you'll get more experienced and more comfortable and when you feel more confident with your skills, you'll be ready to move on to something more challenging. And if you never have the urge to knit anything other than garter stitch scarves in your entire knitting career - that's great too! If garter stitch scarves are what floats your boat then that is what you should knit and you should never look at somebody else's knitting and think that it's any better than yours.

Hell, if I ever thought that way around my friend Lisa I would never knit another sock as long as I live. Her latest design is called Fronkenshteek and I still keep looking at it and thinking "what the hell?" I would love to get a look inside her brain someday and see what exactly is going on in there.

My point though, is that I didn't spring forth knitting lace and cables and fair isle. I started with the same wonky garter stitch scarf that you're knitting. It's taken a long time to get to the point where I am now, and I've enjoyed every minute. Also, when you see something that makes you think, 'Wow, that's incredible. There's no possible way I could ever do something like that so I might as well just stop knitting right now," you should just stop and fondle your yarn for a minute and then tell yourself, "Wow, that's incredible. I should give it a try one day!'

Maybe you should be careful about trying it on the Long Island Railroad, though. Apparently, my knitting can kick your knitting's ass.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sarah to Sweater - Part 1

I bought this fleece at Rhinebeck last year and its been sitting patiently in my basement all winter, waiting for me to do something with it. The fleece originally belonged to Sarah, a Romney/Merino sheep from Ensign Brook Farm.

I tried washing the fleece in the washing machine for the first time and it worked awsomely! So much easier than trying to keep the water temperature about the same from one wash to the next in the sink. Also, a lot less messy, since I'm not dripping water all over the kitchen when I try to change he water. It's also faster, since I can do nearly twice as much in the washer as I can do in the kitchen sink.

So, I've got about 1/3 of the fleece washed so far, which is helpful, because I've got about seven pounds of it. (Sarah is apparently a very fluffy girl.) I've managed to card about half of what's washed so I have a whole grocery bag full of rolags all ready to go and I just finished spinning my first bobbin-full, which I guess puts me well on the way to this year's Rhinebeck sweater.

All I need now is a pattern.