Saturday, August 18, 2007

Kick back Saturday

I'm having a relaxing Saturday for a change. Started by going to the Mall (to walk, supposedly, but I only walked from the car to the Starbucks to the table and back to the car), taking my drop spindle and some burgundy Wensleydale roving with me to spin while visiting with folks. One of the mall walkers had made a scrumptious apple cake and shared it with everyone. I really need to get her recipe.

Last night I finally broke down and wound not one, but two! skeins of VY Hebridean yarn for my Amphora sweater. My Mara_class group is going to start it the middle of October so I need to get the yarn wound into center pull balls ahead of time. I promised myself the reward of winding the balls, by hand as I don't have and wouldn't use a ball winder, for surviving Ebay Day at work. We had over 135 folks register on the sign in sheets during the day. Quite a feat considering how small the actual lobby is! The yarn feels really nice going through my fingers and I know I'm going to enjoy knitting with it a lot. The first skein did have a knot in it, which I untied and then started a second ball to finish the skein. I don't like leaving a knot in a ball of yarn, since I knit by feel so much and wouldn't notice a knot until I had knit it into the garment a ways.

Then I did some knitting on FIL's FLAK, until I put it down and promptly dozed off on the couch. I really ran my fanny off yesterday.

After getting back from the Mall, my friend Theresa came over to go with my DH and I to Home Depot. She is a new spinner and wants to make a Mother Marian's Marvelous Spinning Machine like I have. Her drop spindle has gotten too slow for her now so she is looking for ways to spin faster. We got the needed parts and DH started working on it right away in the shop. I suspect he'll have it done for her by next weekend, when we demo at the State Fair. So to make sure she's ready, I gave her a Corriedale fleece I had stashed in the garage. It's one I had gotten at Black Sheep Gathering in 2001, but the lanolin is still pliable. We brought it into the house and I showed her how to wash locks in the bathroom sink to check the fleece. She was amazed at the color change and how the lock bloomed when it was washed. She was asking how she should spin it - in the grease, washed and combed, washed and carded, sent out for processing? I told her to play around with it different ways and see which she liked best. It was like a kid on Christmas Day who had gotten the best possible toy, so much fun to see her face light up at the possibilities!

There is a new website under construction that I read about on Eunny Jang's new blog. It's called Ravelry and it's still under construction but it looks like it's going to be a terrific resource for finding yarn and pattern info, as well as popular alterations to patterns. I put my name on the waiting list and there are only about 17,000 folks ahead of me, lol.

Happy knitting!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Saturday evening catch up

A small amount of progress to report - I finished DH's forest green socks this morning while having tea with friends at the mall and gave them to him when I got home. He promptly wore them to Portland today as they matched the shorts and shirt he already had picked out to wear.

I also spent almost an hour on the phone with AOL tech support getting my personal files transferred from the external hard drive with version 8.0 Plus to the new notebook on which I had downloaded the new 9.0 VR (Vista compatible) version. For some reason the complete organize file would not transfer at one time and I had to do it over and tweak some settings to get it to move correctly and completely. But my files are now on the notebook and I am a happy camper again. Never try to deprive a knitter of her files of emails, patterns, and pictures if you value your life and sanity!

I got quite a bit of knitting done on FIL's sweater today, started the cuff ribbing on the drive home and had planned to finish it tonight, before I spent so much time with tech support. I'll get up in the morning and finish the cuff off with my first cup of tea, then pick up and start knitting the rest of the body down to the bottom ribbing. I've learned to rubber band the sleeves together so I don't have them flopping about when I move the sweater around while I knit on the body. Makes it so much easier that way.

I'm thinking about playing a few computer games, then tucking into bed with the big Vista book and learning some more about the new operating system so I can use the notebook computer easier. So nice to have most of my projects done for the weekend already!

Happy knitting!

Come Saturday Morning, la la la!

Well, I am stuck in the learning curve for the new Vista operating system from Microsoft. Last night DH and I went to Best Buy and got an external hard drive case so we could take the hard drive out of the old desktop that is having motherboard problems and use it with the notebook. Sounds simple, right? Except that most of the programs on that hard drive are Windows XP compatible and there are not new drivers available yet for Vista, including one for my cell PDA to download stored data to my computer for backup. I went to the Sprint website and found nothing there, so sent them an email and will see what they have to say. Most likely that since my phone is almost three years old, they are no longer providing software upgrades for it, poot.

And I can't easily access my AOL files on the external drive, so later today I will have to call AOL tech support and have them walk me through moving the core files over to the notebook's hard drive. I know there's only one or two files to be moved, and I've done it before, but having an expert walk me through it is so much easier on my stress level. And, after all, I'm paying every month for the support with my subscription, so I'm entitled to some support now and then.

I'll have to manually move most of my other files over as well, but that will free up the hard drive for DH to play with. He's talking about getting a new motherboard for the old desktop and upgrading it himself. Hopefully he will load XP on it so we can still use the older programs we like that don't have new Vista versions out yet. I had him do most of the work installing the hard drive in the external case last night so he could see how it worked. I've taken a couple years of computer classes in the mid 90's and use computer networks all day at work, so I have a lot more experience and training than he does. He'd like to learn more about computers and I think that's a good thing so I encourage it when I can. The new motherboard will run anywhere from $80.00 to $150.00, a lot less than I thought it would, so when we get the half yearly insurance bills paid we can start looking for one.

Right now I need to get off here and go meet some friends at the Mall to walk. Then DH and I are heading to Portland to visit my Mom. She's got a urinary tract infection and fell in her apartment Thursday night or ran into the bathroom door, she doesn't remember how she got the bruise over her eye and on her knee. My sister and her two boys spent last night with her to take care of her. DH and I will stay with Mom for a few hours so sis can go to her house and check on it and get a break.

Prayers for my Mom would be greatly appreciated right now, she is 86 and slowly going downhill.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Happy Monday!

A small update so you know I'm still among the living, lol. I managed to get some knitting done on DH's stepdad's FLAK this weekend, about one third of the second sleeve is now done so I'm putting along on it. Sure is nice to be able to knit again, pneumonia takes all the energy out of you and all you can do is lie on the couch and stare at the idiot box, not even caring what's on while you doze. Which considering the content of some of the daytime tv shows, that might not be such a bad thing after all.

Anyway, Saturday was the monthly Spin In at Mission Mill Museum here in Salem and I took my wheel and the latest hank of Dicentra roving I've had for a while. I pull off about a three foot piece and strip it into smaller pieces, then pre-draft those so it spins like butter. When it's all spun up, I'll Navaho ply it to get a three ply yarn and preserve the color changes. I'm thinking about two more nights should get the rest of it spun, then I'll let it rest on the bobbin until the weekend. I like to do as much of the plying in one sitting as possible, because I don't like that loose loop hanging around possibly getting caught and broken or pulled out.

Israel, the 12 year old boy I taught to spin at Sheep to Shawl in May, came with his Mom and showed Bill, the senior male spinner in the group, what he was working on. Israel is so proud (and rightfully so) of the progress he is making in his spinning. So when some visitors to the Mill came in and went around the circle seeing what we were all working on, I made sure he was able to tell them himself and show them how he spins on his drop spindle. Right now he's using a CD spindle my friend April make for me several years ago that I passed on to him. It's got hooks on both ends of the dowel so he can use it as a bottom whorl or top whorl spindle. At this point he's doing bottom whorl. Next month I'm going to show him how to spin top whorl, so he can do both ways and decide for himself which he likes better. Also, being able to do both methods means if he gets a top whorl spindle, say as a gift, he can use it successfully right away. When Israel arrived, I was having lunch in the cafe with a friend and sent him upstairs to Bill on his own. I think it's very important for a young boy to have good male models to learn from, not just women, and Bill is so excited to see Israel's progress each month. They're becoming good friends and I'm really happy about that.

I'll be demoing at the Oregon State Fair on Sunday, the 26th of August, from 10am to 3:30 pm. Part of the time I'll be sitting in the Jackman Long building with my wheel and part of the time I'll be walking the grounds with my drop spindle, especially in the animal barns. That way folks can see how wool was spun into yarn in the past to make all the clothes for a family. Israel and his Mom volunteered to demo as well, so cool!

My Mara_class group has decided that our first winter project will be Amphora by Alice Starmore. I bought the kit this spring with part of our tax refund, my annual gift to myself. Others are looking in their stashes for the colors and some are ordering kits from Virtual Yarns. The start date is the 14th of October, so folks have time to set up their yarns and patterns, measure themselves and make any notes for adjustments like sleeve length or body length, and get excited to start.

Happy knitting!