Saturday, September 20, 2008

Photo'd 'n' dropped off...

Yup, I did it. I found the camera and took some pics. And I've dropped off 3 of my 5 entries. It's been a crazy week with lots to do and lots of places to go. But I was determined to memorialize this moment before I dragged off my entries to the Fair. So I got the camera and hope the pics are okay. First off, here's my Wool Peddler's Shawl.

I knit this for Mark's aunt last Christmas and it really did turn out lovely. I knit it out of KnitPicks' Wool of the Andes in hollyberry, I believe. The pattern comes from Cheryl Oberle's book Folk Shawls. Truly a joy to knit and a project that I won't mind knitting again. The upper triangle is all garter stitch and then the pattern begins about halfway through. Here's a pic of the details of the pattern...

It's a very easy pattern, easy to memorize and easy to keep track of where you are. Very nice, indeed.

So that's my first entry.

I also entered that very first sweater I steeked. This was a Philosopher's Wool kit that I'd bought last fall. It's their Color Your Own kit in the colorway Fire with Yellow. Those creamy bands are yellow. But this was really fun to make. I think I knit this sweater in about five weeks.

I had enough fun with this one that I did buy their book with all their patterns and I'm dying to purchase the yarn and knit another in their Windows pattern.

Anyway, next and last in the hand knitting categories is a pair of socks. This is Brenda Dayne's pattern called Pembrokeshire Pathways. I forget where I got the pattern (, but you can always get a link from her website. The pattern looks really complicated and it's beautiful once made, but it's actually quite simple over four rows. Really, nothing to it with a simple two-stitch cable. I knit these in Koigu PPM, I believe it's colorway 101.
Next are two entries for our Fiber Dept.

First up is a pair of plain st st socks in my own two-ply yarn spun from fiber I'd gotten from Cathi at A gorgeous 100% merino fiber dyed in various shades of blue, hence the name Blueberries N Cream. I ended up with about 480 yds of 2-ply just in this one hank (which was wound into a center pull ball on my trusty ball winder). I still have another skein of about 300 yds of 2-ply. I'm thinking I might just have to knit up a matching pair of mittens... /wry g/

Here's my last entry. Some simply 2-ply handspun of 100% merino from Crown Mountain Farms in their colorway called Buffalo Soldier. It's an interesting mix of yellow, orange, brown and a touch of army green. I guess that's where the soldier part comes from... LOL!

I was able to spin up two skeins of yarn from 8 oz and I have a grand total of something like 680 yds of 2-ply. Yeah, I think I'm definitely fine enough for the sock yarn I wanted to spin. Too bad I don't need more socks right now... LOL!

Anyway, those are the entries. I have my fingers crossed that I can earn some ribbons and maybe some prize money so I can go buy more yarn and/or fiber. Not that I need any. I have tons right now. But more is never a problem. I have more projects planned for the next year than I probably have time to make them... /wry g/

I have to pass along an amusing story. A friend of mine had a "Quick Cuisine" party last night. She asked me and I said, sure, why not? She did explain that this is a kind of party where you put together food to take home. Two nights a week, Dee is stuck not only cooking dinner, but everything that goes with it (planning, preparing, cleaning, etc). So I'm thinking this would be nice for those nights that I'm working late and won't be home. I could plan the meals and she just has to pop them in the oven.

So I drive down to Clinton last night and I'm in Linda's driveway and the house is dark and her car is gone. I knock on the door. Nothing. I try her cell. No answer. So I called Dee and asked if she knew Linda's daughter's cell. I explain I'm in the driveway and no one's home and I'm hoping everything is okay.

Long story made short (too late!), Heather comes over from next door where she's babysitting. No, the party isn't at the house. It's at the business. This is not a home party. So she gives me directions and I find my way. I actually was getting worried when I'm sitting at a traffic light, look up and there's a sign attached to the side of the building "Quick Cuisine" with an arrow pointing me right to the front door.

It's a kewl idea. You go in and you can either purchase ready-made dinners or you can compile your own. There are various stations with all the ingredients and you simply follow the directions, put everything together in either ziploc bags or aluminum trays and take home for cooking. I bought six meals and several desserts for about $120. Not bad. I spend more than that at the grocery store on a weekly basis.

So I'm planning on doing this once a month. Get 8 or 10 meals to toss in the freezer. Either they can be used on the nights I work the second job or if we need something fast and easy. (Though some meals are even better... They're made to toss in a crockpot! Woohoo!) No planning. All the prep is done. You just cook it up and eat.

I like that idea. And the best part is that they change the menu every month so you don't end up with comments like, "Mom is working so it must be chili night..." followed with a big sigh.

Tomorrow I drop off my fiber, getting back to the Durham Fair. I'm going to ask about parking. I really hate the thought of having to park offsite and take my wheel on a schoolbus. My little Prelude is very portable, but she's not a traveling wheel. (Hence my new itch to own a Kromski Sonata. She's a double drive and she's built to travel. Even comes with a bag for that purpose. Kewl or what? I just have to save the $500+ she costs.../sigh/) Anyway, I'm hoping I can park closer since I plan to come up and spin with the ladies. I've even committed myself to showing up all three days.

One last thing. Even though I've already posted " 'nuff said", I simply have to make one more comment on our election. I read the paper. Always a mistake for me. A woman from my town wrote in to our regional paper that she couldn't believe McCain thought he'd get the Hillary voters just because Sarah is female. The audacity of McCain to think women would fall for that ploy!

Actually, and this is why I have to rant a bit, I can't believe this woman would honestly believe that's the whole reason he choose Palin. The writer is the one who's terribly short-sighted and totally naive if she honestly believes that I'm going to vote one way or another because a candidate is female. Course, it just begs the question if she was going to vote for Hillary based on the fact that she has ovaries, doesn't it? /wry g/ Is someone that honest-to-God stupid? I would never base my choice for candidate based on race, creed, religion, color or any of those other insignificant details. I do my best to do my homework and make an informed choice. Who are they? What kind of experience and past history do they bring to the job? What have they actually accomplished (repeat-not promised, but accomplished) in their term(s) in office? What do they hope to accomplish? And, most important, how do they plan to accomplish it? I don't want to hear "pie in the sky" promises that are just as easily broken as they are made. I want to hear an honest, workable plan. If you only stick to a couple issues, that's more realistic than promising everything, including a cure for cancer. That's impossible and we should all know that. But a few choice and key issues and tell me what I want to hear and you've got my vote.

McCain is the man. No, he did not endorse this ad. He doesn't even know I exist. I doubt he really cares (other than the fact that I'm a voter). So, take it for what it's worth. As I said last time, you know where I stand. Have you done your own homework and made your choice? Whatever else happens, this election will be historic and I bet it's going to be one of the most public and down-to-the-wire in history. I'll be watching... Will you?

Have a wonderful week! It's looking to be spectacular (especially considering I'm taking a vacation day on Friday so I can go meet some new spinning friends).

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Camera MIA and politics... Yikes!

If anyone knows where the camera is hiding, I'd certainly appreciate being let in on the secret... /sigh/ Taking pictures was never the problem. I knew how to do that. You point and shoot. But I'd finally learned not only how to download the pics to the computer, but also how to place them exactly where I wanted them and now I can't find the damn thing.

Life is never easy, is it? LOL!

Yesterday I had to finalize my entries for the Durham Fair. (Yes, this is the reason I wanted to take pics. Let's memorialize this moment kind of thing.) I'm still entering my Philosopher's Wool sweater. That's a given. I'll take it out of the winter clothes storage this week and freshen it up. Next is that pair of Koigu socks where I knit the Pembrokeshire Pathways pattern. They really did turn out lovely. Then I have to call Aunt Lois today and see if I can stop over during the week and borrow her Wool Peddlers Shawl. I was really proud of that one. That's it for handknitting. Sad, isn't it? They do offer a LOT of categories, but I tend to knit a LOT of socks and I can only enter one. Sidenote: Would you believe they only offer one category for socks? Sorry, but there should be 3 categories -- plain socks, patterned socks and colorwork socks. Funny because the Fiber Dept has all three categories, but not the Needlework Dept.

Anyway, let's move over to the Fiber Dept for my two entries there. A plain pair of socks in that lovely Blueberries N Cream that I got from Gypsy Girl. They did come out nice, though I do have to admit that my stitches are so darned even that the small inconsistencies in the spinning really do stand out. Course, that just makes me want to get better with my spinning. Second entry is I finally finished my 2-ply hanks of Buffalo Soldier from Crown Mountain Farms. They turned out much lovelier than I'd thought. Yesterday, I finished plying the second hank and then I washed and whacked and hung them in the bathtub to dry.

My friend Linda stopped over yesterday and said that I should make everyone mittens this year. Everyone she knows wants mittens, so I should do that for Christmas. Now I'm torn. I was going to knit Moebius' for everyone from handspun. Now she has me thinking about mittens. Course, I was also going to look for some patterns on "smoke rings". Basically, they're a cowl that's fairly lacey with a pretty pattern. If I get some nice smoke ring patterns, maybe I could take the handspun that's left and knit mittens to match. Hmm... that's an idea. And maybe I could translate the smoke ring pattern to match on the back of the hand. It's another idea to toss around while I keep spinning. I only have another 5 lbs or so to spin before I have to decide... /g/

Let's see... what else is new?

Oh! I finally started a sweater from Barbara Walker's book, "Knitting From The Top". Remember I bought that huge bin of yarn from CT Wool last spring? Well, I figure, I have the whole school year to work my way through the bin. Why not start with chapter one of the book and simply work my way through each one? Lord knows, I have enough yarn to make a number of sweaters. And my wardrobe is woefully sweater deficient. Why? Because I hate buying sweaters when I can knit them myself. These will work up a lot quicker than those gorgeous Dale of Norway patterns I'm hoarding. So let's start with some neck down sweaters and then, maybe around Christmas, when I'm looking for something with more of a challenge, I can cast on for a Dale of Norway. That will also be around the time when I plan to cast on for one of those future wedding shawls for my daughters.

I have to do something other than socks for a while. I counted at the beginning of summer when I stopped wearing socks. I have something like 25-30 pairs of socks. I don't need more right now. Yes, I will probably cast on a few pair for the Hubby just because. But I surely don't need more right now until I can wear out a few pairs.

On other news fronts... Not much to report. I have a wedding to attend the first weekend in Oct. And, now here's a shock, but I'm going to buy a dress. AT least, that's my plan. I haven't bought a dress in probably 10 years. I figure it's about time I finally got into the 21st century and bought something good. After all, I have this wedding, the hockey and basketball banquets at the end of the year and the service awards dinner at Mark's job. There's 4 occasions to wear it. And won't it be nice to play like I'm grown-up and wear pantyhose and heels? It's a thought. I'm actually kind of excited about it. So I'm going to take youngest daughter with me. (You know the girl... the one who's effectively hidden the camera and is still playing dead in her room... /g/) She's got a good eye for fashion. Me? I'm the worst. If there was a way to wear jeans and not humiliate the groom, I'd probably do it. So, rather than humiliate him, I'm going to try my best to look like a proper wedding guest.... LOL!

Oh, speaking of humiliation. I try NEVER to discuss politics. Really, I do try. Unless someone asks my opinion, I figure you'll vote the way you want and I'll vote the way I want. There's a good reason for a curtain on that machine and let's leave it at that...

BUT (you could see that one coming, couldn't you? /g/) one of the blogs I do read is Mollywobbles by Aiden in Chicago. He called Sarah Palin the worst "effing" mother in the world for humiliating her daughter by accepting the VP nomination from John McCain when her daughter is 5 months pregnant. He thinks it's reprehensible to parade her daughter around while she's unmarried and pregnant. I was going to put a comment on his post, but I didn't. I really don't want to get into a huge political discussion, but my question to Aiden is this...

Why does Aiden assume that Sarah's daughter is humiliated? First off, she is engaged. Okay, so they haven't married yet, but they are engaged. Second, who are we to assume that they didn't plan to have children right away anyway? Just because you wouldn't want your teenager to become a parent at an early age doesn't mean that that isn't what she wants. Maybe she's a girl who grew up with the hope to marry early and have a whole passel of kids. Just because society no longer wants that for their female offspring doesn't mean that said offspring doesn't want that for themselves.

I knew a lady years ago through a bowling league. When she and her two best friends were in high school, their goal was to get married, buy houses near each other and have tons of kids. They all got married shortly after high school, bought the houses near enough that all their kids attended school together and went on to produce, collectively, 29 children. Yes, 29 children. Claire had 11. Her two friends had 13 and 5 respectively. And they were all happy. Two divorced. One remarried. But they were all happy with their lives.

So.... humiliation? Who are we as public outsiders and observers to assume that anyone was humiliated? That's the "talking heads" making assumptions about what is in another person's mind. And this is the reason why I don't listen to the talking heads. They sit around and "analyze". Let's face it, they guess. They hear a speech, extract one single line and then construct entire articles about their assumption of what was meant by that one single line.

No thank you. I will never determine the way I vote based on something that someone other than the candidate themselves have said. The media has turned this election into the circus it is. Forget their analyses and conjectures. Don't let them tell you how to vote. Do your own homework and listen to the candidates yourself and make your own opinion and then vote your conscience.

Now, just to set the record straight, I'm voting for McCain and Palin. I voted for McCain in the 2000 primaries. The only way he would have lost my vote is if he'd lost his mind and taken Lieberman as a running mate. Instead, he solidified my vote with his choice of Palin. There. I've said it. I've always been a Republican, but I won't say that I've always voted my party. Sorry, I'm not a party girl. I'm an issues girl. And McCain has the answers I wanted to hear.

That's me. And that's my rant on politics. Now go make up your own mind.