Thursday, November 30, 2006

I get a gold star for going to work in this:

Now that I'm home (finally), I think I'll take a nap.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Who turned off the heat?!?!?!?

Will Rogers once said, "If you don't like the weather in Oklahoma, just wait a few minutes and it'll change." I think he was talking about the last 24 hours.

Yesterday it was over 70 degrees, a little gray but nice enough to wear short sleeves. Last night the forecast was for today to get to about 60 degrees and then start dropping midafternoon, so I wore a light jacket and didn't take a umbrella to work. Oh, and I turned off the heat because I thought it would be plenty warm without it, and I thought I'd wait until tonight to cover my pansies so they wouldn't freeze.

Today? At 530 am it was 59 degrees. That was as warm as it got. By noon it was 40 degrees and dropping with lots of wind and rain, and by 5 pm it was 28 degrees. Right now it's still 28 but with a wind chill of 14 degrees, and we're expecting sleet, ice, and snow, WITH A TOTAL UP TO UP TO 4 TO 6 INCHES OF SNOW. Yikes!

My sympathies went out today to the Salvation Army bellringer at Gordman's--I'd have given up and gone home. At least she was on the south side of the building and protected a little bit from the northerly winds, but still!

I just want to wrap all my spinning fiber around me like a coccoon to keep warm . . . .

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

How I know it's Fall . . . .

Every year, about this time, my neighborhood experiences a phenomenon I call "The Birds," after the Hitchcock movie. Thousands, and I mean thousands, of greckles and other birds invade the shopping areas and circle for hours. Watching them at dusk is really amazing, and the noise--it's unbelievably loud. I got lucky today and was able to catch a couple of minutes of video on my camera:

Monday, November 27, 2006

Mourning our loss

Oklahoma lost a true progressive hero last week when Keith Smith died of pneumonia. A memorial page has been set up to celebrate his life and accomplishments:

In Memory of Keith Blaine Smith

I never met Keith, but I've had many an email from him regarding political issues. He was a true bulldog when it came to the things he believed in. I've heard a lot of stories from my former boss about Keith and his sense of humor and his unflinching dedication to make Oklahoma a better place. Anyone who knew anything about Oklahoma progressive politics knew Keith Smith.

Oklahoma and his friends, both known and unknown, will miss him.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Dyeing success

First thing I've learned--there's a damn lot of prep work that goes into dyeing fiber. More than I remember.

Secondly--you can NEVER had enough bottles, squirt bottles, and bowls. NEVER.

Thirdly--I reaffirm my extreme hatred for plastic wrap. The stuff is just evil, I tell you.

I wish I had lots of photos to show you of the whole process, but I don't have enough hands to dye and take photos and not ruin my pretty little camera, so you'll just have to use your imaginations (I know you have them, don't look at me like that).

So, while I'm waiting for Maggie's cinnamon rolls to come out of the office (see, Missy? You've created a monster), let's talk about what I accomplished yesterday.

I used the Twisted Sisters Dye Kit from Sheep Hollow Farm and Fiber. While this doesn't seem like a lot of dye, eight packages of 2-4 teaspoons of dye creates 8 quarts of dye. That's a lot, believe me. It took me an hour to mix just the stock solutions, then I attempted to mix the "Dye Pool" colors that are listed in the Twisted Sisters book. I didn't have some of the colors, and I definitely didn't come out with anything close to what they showed, but what resulted wasn't bad.

I used Blogless Laurie's dyeing instructions, as shown on Stephanie's blog from last year. This is the entire series, including ditzing, dyeing, and spinning, which is well worth reading. You can peruse these postings for an idea of the process:

The Wool House Presents

The Wool House Presents - 2

The Wool House Presents - 3

The Wool House Presents - Finale

You Spin Me Right Round

Singles, Chocolate, and Spinner's Limp

Hysteria and Navajo Plying

I dyed the fiber, four ounces of BFL, using the pantyhose technique in two separate pieces. I really like this because it keeps the fiber together without having to tie it up. It's hard to see what you're doing, but as long as you remember to "squish" the dye into the fiber, it works really well.

And this was the result:

I used way too many colors, but I'm surprised at how consistant the colors ended up:

Last night I was afraid I had felted this when I rinsed it, but the fiber was really compacted from the pantyhose. Once I spread it apart a bit, it was fine. And oh, is it beautiful--I really like these dyes. They are super expensive but give really beautiful results.

Like I said, I have a ton of dye left, so I'm going to do some yarn today. I'm thinking violet and pink and maybe some green and yellow--suddently I'm in a Springish mood.

Speaking of Springish, I picked this yarn for my next pair of socks:

Superwash Merino from Sunshine Yarns in the colorway "Wildflowers." This colorway was inspired by a recent trip Dani took to Ireland. It's absolutely gorgeous, and I'm going to make another pair of Fan and Feather socks with it.

But right now, this is calling me--and Maggie, too:


Saturday, November 25, 2006

Saturday Sky and "almost" finished Socktober Socks

Saturday, November 25, a little after 11 am CST:

The morning started out somewhat cloudy, but now, at 11 am, it has cleared up quite a bit.

I haven't gone out yet to look at the fleece I washed yesterday. I'm afraid I may have messed it up somewhere along the line. That would make me feel bad, both for the sheep and for wasting something that could have been used, but if I did mess it up, it's only a bagful--at least it's not an entire fleece.

I "almost" finished the Socktober socks last night:

Yarn - Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino in the color "Fall Foliage"
Pattern - Wendy Johnson's Spirit Trail Socks
Size 2 needles for a Size 8-1/2 foot

You see that I say these are "almost" finished. Look closely at the cuffs:

Sock 2 (on bottom) has a larger cuff than Sock 1. Oops . . . .

This is why I have to write down every single thing that I do when knitting. I had forgotten that I had used a Size 1 needle for the cuff so that it would stay up, being that it wasn't a ribbed cuff. However, now that I've done the larger cuff, I think I like it better. It's easy to get on and off, and even though the socks are slightly slouchy, I like that--they're comfortable. So at some point I'm going to rip back the Sock 1 cuff and redo it with the larger needle. I also think I have a looser gauge on the leg of Sock 2, but oh, well--at this point I'm just happy to have them done.

Anyway--socks (almost) complete! Now I have to pick out the yarn for the next pair. Too many good choices to make it easy . . . I need to pick out some more fiber to spin, too. (Can I have another four days off? I have waaaaay too much to do to go back to work.)

So, the UPS man never showed up last night (pout). But I'm still planning on dyeing today. I'm going to touch up the silk I dyed at the retreat, and then I think I'll pull out the Lanaset dye kit I have and see what I can come up with.

Maggie's plans for the day include a really long nap and pressuring Mom to make more cinnamon rolls (that's all Missy's fault).

Friday, November 24, 2006

Still waiting to dye . . . .

Well, almost everything's arrived--the bottles, the fiber, the yarn--but I still don't have my dye. I have a feeling that if it doesn't come tonight (via UPS, who usually comes by here at the end of his route around 7 pm), I won't have it until next week. I still have some stuff I can do, but I was looking forward to really getting to experiment with lots of colors. Sigh . . . .

However, this does not mean that the weekend's a bust. I got a lot of crap picked up and thrown away. I've finished the BFL that I dyed at the retreat:

I ended up with 245 yards of close-to sock weight yarn. I need to look at it a little more closely once it's dry, but it's not bad. I had a few spots that came out solid, but most of it's this very pretty stripe.

I thought today would be a good day to try and wash this bit of fleece:

It wasn't too yucky, and some of it's pretty nice:

Look at that crimp!

It's been through four baths, three with Orvus paste and one with Dawn, and it's still not very clean. I'm leaving it on the porch tonight and will try again tomorrow. I may need to discard some more of it after all--if I haven't felted the whole damn thing.

I think I'll sit down and try to finish my sock tonight. I'm loving these four-day weekends!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Just a little something for the holiday . . . .

probably my favorite WKRP episode.

Monday, November 20, 2006

It's all coming together, my little pretties . . . .

(Sorry, I was channeling the Wicked Witch of the West there for a minute . . . .)

So things are coming together for the Great Thanksgiving Dyeout this weekend. I found a microwave at BestBuy for $15--can you believe that? How can you pass that up--it's a sign from God, I swear.

It looks like some of the supplies I ordered will be here this week, so I should be able to get something done before the weekend's over. I need to get my dye bottles from Dharma Trading at least, because I do have some dyes already, a "Twisted Sister Sock Book" dye kit that I bought a while back. I have a pound of BFL and a half pound of alpaca/silk blend that I can start out with if need be. And I want to redye the silk that I did at the retreat in October--I missed some spots.

I've ordered superwash sock yarn from KnitPicks, a pound of superwash merino fiber from Wool2Dye4, dyes from Artist & Craftsman Supply through Amazon, and the aforementioned bottles from Dharma Trading. I found some chip & dip bowls for dyeing from BirthdayExpress, but now I'm concerned that they're the wrong kind of plastic. Anybody need 10 Halloween spider chip and dip bowls? They were really cheap.

Now all I need is a few miscellaneous things--some cheap trash sacks and tape for protecting the countertops, a couple of buckets to soak stuff in, vinegar, paper towels and bowls for mixing, a drying rack, and some cool roast lifters to keep me from burning myself (I have a tendency to do that a lot). Then I'll be set.

At some point I plan to get a big plastic storage tub to keep all this in, because knowing me, I'll misplace half of it before the year's over with.

My other plans for the weekend are to finish the fiber that I've been spinning (the BFL I dyed at the retreat), and finish my Socktober socks (hey, it's still Fall--I'm considering that still within limits.

And, if I get REALLY crazy and the weather is warm enough, I'd like to scour the fiber that we were given as door prizes at the retreat. It needs a good washing and cleaning.

Sounds like I may need a vacation from my vacation . . . .

Happy Turkey Day, everybody!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Saturday Sky--Dyeing for Thanksgiving

Saturday, November 18, around 10 am CST:

It's a pretty day here, but still a little chilly. I don't think it's supposed to hit 60 today. At least the high winds we had earlier this week have ended. That was a truly miserable day.

Lately I can't seem to get the chill out of my bones. I just haven't been able to feel warm for the last couple of days. I hope I'm not getting sick. I took the plunge and will be "dyeing" for Thanksgiving. I've ordered dye, yarn, fiber, and plastic bottles. I need to get a few more things, including a drying rack, but I'm ready to go at it. Except . . . I need to clean up some in the kitchen so that I have enough counter space for dyeing. I also want to clear out the fridge so I can restock for the holidays.

Right now it's almost 3 pm. How much of gotten accomplished so far?

Not a darn thing.

I think I may go take a hot shower and have some coffee. Maybe then I'll be ready to hit it.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Saturday Sky - it's a brand new day

Saturday, November 11, around 10 am CST:

The weather here has been bouncing back and forth for the last few days. It was 80 degrees earlier in the week, but on Friday it barely made 60. This morning we were down in the mid-30s. The trees don't know what to do right now.

The craziness of Tuesday's election finally caught up with me last night. I think I was in bed before 830. At my age, I can only take so many late nights and wild emotional swings before I crash full face.

To say I'm stunned by the election results this week is a true understatement. When I went to bed after midnight Wednesday morning, I don't think I truly understood what had happened. It was Thursday before it actually began to sink in as to what a huge deal this was. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that the country would have shifted this much. I know there are a lot of politicans walking around licking their wounds this weekend.

And for all of you that voted, thank you. No matter how you voted, the fact that you took the time and made the effort to do so means so very much.

Now, on to other fun stuff! I finished a sock last weekend:

And look--a picot edge!

This was done using Theresa's picot method, and it was very simple, but fair warning: If you whipstitch the edge to the inside of the sock, don't stitch it too tightly--it needs to be loose so you can get the sock on! I had to rip it out and do it over, but now it's just fine. The second sock is progressing nicely, but it was ignored quite a bit this week because of all the election stuff going on.

I'm really loving these sock patterns--I call them "one-line patterns" since there's only one row in the pattern where you do something other than straight knitting. I need to find more--these are about all my old brain can handle these days.

Last weekend I also started spinning some of the fiber I dyed at the OkieFiber retreat. This is BFL dyed with Jacquard dyes:

I'm trying to spin it at sock weight, but I find myself steering off course every so often:

This will be two ply, and since I have 8 ounces, I should get a pretty good amount of yardage.

Have a good weekend, everybody!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I need sixteen hands and as many computers tonight.

I blame my ex-boss for turning me into a true political junkie. Right now I'm streaming Air America video, I've got several websites up, and I'm listening to the state returns on the TV.

And I'm trying to knit at the same time. Oh, and there is alcohol involved, a lovely Ballatore Rosso Red Spumante.

I'm such a happy camper.

I had thought I might be able to spin some tonight, but that went out the window when I walked in the door. I've been glued to the computer since a little after 6. There are a few races in other states I'm very interested in, so I'm waiting for those to be called.

All in all, it seems like a pretty damn good night.

And the song "nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah nah, hey hey hey, good bye" keeps going through my head . . . .

Vote and help out a fellow blogger . . .

Go read Bliss' latest post at I Hide Yarn.

If this doesn't motivate you to get out and vote today, I don't know what will.

Thanks to americanstranger at DU for the graphic!

And while you're at it, go read Mike's comments at Okiedoke, and consider who you're voting for.

Thanks to evlbstrd at DU for the graphic!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Saturday Sky

Saturday, November 4, around 1045 CST:

This was taken from my bedroom window. One of the things I love about this area is that just behind my apartment is a really nice neighborhood with unique houses (no cookie cutters here) and lots of beautiful old trees. Their owners take very good care of them, and so it makes for a really lovely area in the fall.

The sky started out gray this morning, but the sun has suddenly come out and it looks to be clearing. I had my heart set on some cloudy, cozy weather today, but it looks like that might not be happening.

I finally got a photo of my cleaned up "garden:"

Not a lot of excitment, but it's fall, ya know? I've been covering the mums with plastic every night this week--we had a couple of near-freezing nights, and I'm hoping they'll last a little while longer (for what I paid for them, they should).

This is my newest addition to the garden:

It's not made well enough to be outside all winter, but for now it'll do.

My nose has been driving me absolutely insane this week between being dry, sore, and runny, not to mention having several nosebleeds. I've seriously considered just cutting it right off my face. Last night I stopped at the drugstore and bought all kinds of stuff to try to get some relief and be able to breathe again. It's helping a little, but I'm still miserable. It's hard to get enthusiastic about anything when you can't breathe, that's for sure.

I'm almost finished with my first Socktober sock--just a few days late! I want to finish that today and cast on the second sock. I also want to start spinning some of the fiber I dyed at the OkieFiber retreat, but I just can't decide which one to pick. I may have to do an "eeny meeny miney moe" to figure it out.

If I don't take a nap first . . . .

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Halloween fabric for next year

Not long ago I promised a story about the USPS and their lousy service. This is that story. (The names were NOT changed to protect the innocent, because I don't know any names.)

Around the first of October, I bought some really cute Halloween fabric on eBay, and the seller mailed it promptly after the sale. I had also ordered a couple of quilt books from (great for used books). Wednesday I came home to a notice on my door that the mailman had tried to deliver a package and I wasn't home. Several months ago the management company at my apartment complex closed the onsite office, and so the mail carriers have been leaving packages at my door behind the flower pots. Obviously this was a new guy or a temp, because I've bought so much stuff over the last year that they know to just leave it.

So I filled out the form, signed it so they could leave it at the door, and put it downstairs for the mailman to pick up. I came home that night and it was gone, so I figured it would be delivered on Friday (giving them the required day to turn it around).

Friday--no package.

Saturday--no package.

I think Monday was a holiday--no package.

By THURSDAY of the next week--still no package, and the eBay seller was getting concerned. I was getting mad.

Luckily, that was the week when I was taking Friday off for the OkieFiber retreat, so Friday morning I went over to the post office and asked about the packages. When the guy came back, he had ALL THREE PACKAGES--they had been sitting there for a week. And to top it off, the guy didn't say "sorry" or "I wonder what happened" or "kiss my patoot"--in fact, he never said a word. Talk about crappy service. I'm glad it wasn't anything really important . . . .

Oh, and since when is it common for the people working the windows to have boomboxes and bumper stickers and all kinds of crap at their stations? The place was almost as junky as my apartment (which is saying a lot, let me tell you).

Anyway, here's the cute fabric I bought, made by Nancy Wolff Designs (sorry for the creases--I should have ironed them first!):

This is was I originally wanted--how cute is this! I can't remember what blog I originally saw this on, but someone made a little quilt with this as the center fabric and some simple borders around it. No piecing--that's a quilt I can probably pull off! I especially like the black cat, and the purple bird (?) somehow reminds me of Crow T. Robot from MST3000.

This is a companion piece:

And the seller sent me two fat quarters for free:

The fabrics are so neat that I think it's best to do something simple with them, so I won't have to kill myself being creative. Hopefully I can get something done before next Halloween.

Still don't have any pictures of the "garden," but maybe this weekend. Hopefully my mums won't burn from a freeze before then.