Thursday, August 27, 2009

Why We Don't Eat at the Table

That would be because it usually looks something like this:

I can pretty much explain why each thing is there, instead of its proper home, except for the Dora the Explorer panties. I guess they fell out of the bag the Rugrat brought when she came to visit last night. She's potty-trained, but has the occasional accident (I suspect because she gets too busy doing something and ignores the signals that she needs to GO NOW!)

Anyway, I'll get it all put away today, or almost all of it. The husband's tools may have to go in a box for him to sort out later. I have these spells of being determined to keep the dining room table clear, but stuff always seems to creep back on before I notice. Partly that's because it's by the back entrance, so everything gets dropped there when we come in the house. But really, I'd like to at least give the impression of being civilized occasionally!

As you can see, I've been dyeing!! Woo-hoo! This is part of what I've gotten done. Here are close-ups of a couple of things:

My first hand-dyed projects! I was so thrilled when I took them out of the plastic wrap after they'd been steamed! The skeins are a super-super-fine single-ply merino. There are 600 yards per skein, so you can imagine how fine it really is, but it still has incredible tensile strength. I've done a little knitting with it on size 0 needles, and it's not as difficult as you might think. That could be because it's single-ply, therefore no splitting like you get with some two-ply laceweight yarns.

So these go in the Etsy shop that's opening Monday. I still have a billion things to do before then--more dyeing, and better pictures. I have to leave the pictures to the husband, because he has the natural instinct for doing good pics, while I just point, shoot, and hope for the best!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Idle Hands...

...lead one to join social networking sites, apparently. I joined Twitter. I'm not entirely sure why, seeing as how I'm already on Plurk and don't keep up with that very well. I suspect that the people who use mobile phones for their tweeting and/or plurking and/or facebooking are the ones who can keep up with it. But we'll see how it goes. I think I like Plurk better than Twitter, because each post has a drop-down box so you can reply directly. It's much less fragmented, and you can see all the replies to a particular Plurk. I like the timeline format too. I don't know why Twitter is more popular than Plurk--I guess it's just the way fads happen sometimes.

Truth be told, I joined Twitter because I set up a new shop today. (I have nothing in it yet, so don't trample each other in the rush to get over there and look at it.) I'm going to do some hand-dyeing of fiber and yarn, but I won't list anything for a couple more weeks. I do have some really terrific cones of super-super-super fine merino yarn (thread, actually) and I look forward to seeing how it comes out of the dyepot. The Twitter account seems to be required marketing, from some of the information I've read. Then again, one must actually "tweet" for it to do you any good!

So since today is technically my first day of being unemployed (had to finish up some loose ends yesterday), I've been making lists and gathering supplies for the dyeing start-up. The down side is that it will put me in competition with some friends who already do fiber dyeing. On the other hand, I think we each will have our own style and that there's such a wide variety of fibers and yarns to work with that I won't be stepping on anyone's toes with what I'm doing. On the third hand, I haven't actually gotten anything dyed yet, so I'm getting ahead of myself anyway. I think Thursday will be "dye day" so I'll be sure to get pics up when I get something done.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Not Entirely Unexpected, But Still...

I lost my job a couple of hours ago. I'm not totally surprised, as mentioned in the post title, but I was hoping we could hang on there for a little longer. I don't want to give too many details, but I worked from home taking care of client invoices. It has been very nearly the perfect job for me, because the hours are were so flexible. I had certain days to drop the invoices off to the clients, and other than that, I could do the work pretty much whenever I chose. Trust me, when you're coping with fibromyalgia, flexible hours are a blessing. But we lost a client last week, and one today, so the whole thing's folding. Tomorrow is my last day, but I'll have very little to do other than close the post office box and set up mail forwarding.

This comes on the heels of DH's job overtime being cut back, which comes out to around $100 less per paycheck. So I'm not sure what we'll do now. With what's left of his paycheck after expenses we can manage--if we have no emergencies, and you know there are always emergencies!

I could look for a part-time job, but besides the difficulty I would have with set hours (which I would just have to find a way to manage) there are other considerations. I would need new clothes since I only have one pair of good jeans, one pair of grubby jeans, and a few nice tops. (Wasn't it Thoreau who said to beware of any enterprise that requires new clothes?) If I get another job, I will most likely have to drive quite a ways to get to it, and there will be no mileage reimbursement like I get now. I mean, like I did get (haven't gotten used to the idea of being unemployed yet!) Those things aren't small considerations. If I don't get a job, we could sell one car, and I'd be without one during the day. That's not as horrible as it sounds, because I really haven't been going much of anywhere during the day unless it's been work-related. So I could do any errands in the evening. If I had to do something during the day, like a doctor's appointment (not that I'll be able to afford that now!) Missy lives close by, and I know she'd let me use her car. She's kinda nice like that.

Well, anyway. I'm thinking on computer right now, just trying to adapt to the situation. Things will be fine, I'm sure. Now I really do have to knit from the stash! There won't be much yarn-buying going on here!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Putzing Along

As usual, I've neglected the blog. But that was partly because I was so busy finishing things! Yes! I finished three projects in one day--Saturday, August 1st. That got me on schedule with the "52 Project" goal, so I was quite happy about it. Here are the pics:

Yes, the Girasole is finished, and I absolutely love it. I used Wendy's blocking technique, which worked very well (the instructions are at the end of the post, after the picture of her kitty Lucy.) I think it would have come out slightly larger if I had done the whole pin-blocking thing, but since my back has been giving me fits the past couple of weeks, bending over a king-size bed and using a bazillionty pins for this was a no-go. Next time I'll put the ironing cover on my cutting table and iron it on that. I should be able to stretch it a bit more than I could on the regular ironing board.

If you look closely, you can see the change in color on the border, but Daniele was right. She commented on my last post that it probably wouldn't be noticeable, and it's not. I think that's mostly because the odd skein had to be joined right at the border, and the change of knitting direction and pattern helps hide the difference in shades. If I'd had to use it 50 rounds earlier, it would have been a problem. (BTW, Daniele was also right about my ill-fated attempt at a schedule. How'd you know, D??)

So the Girasole took three and a half skeins of Ranco Multy, at 376 yards per skein, therefore between 1300-1400 yards. If I did it again, I would use one size needle larger (I used a size 3/3.25mm on this one.) BUT. Though I love the shawl, I find round shawls a little awkward to wear. I don't see why it can't be made as a half-circle instead. Yeah, that means purling on the wrong side, but I can handle that. It also means that I have enough Ranco Multy in another colorway to make a half-circle (must...not...start...) BUT. I've made the Girasole, and would like to try something different but sort of the same. Enter Wendy again. She has just finished designing two cool round shawls (here and here), so one of those will be going on the list.

Next item:

This is the 2003 Collector's Heart from Heart in Hand (Celia Turner, designer.) It's another small cross-stitch destined for our bedroom wall.

And we have this:

It started out as this, from Zarzuela's Fibers:

I spun it into a fine singles, and I think it turned out really well. Now I need to figure out how many yards I have so I can decide what it will become. I'm anxious to see it knitted up. I hadn't done any spinning for a long time, and now I remember why I love it. I'm poking around in the fiber stash now, trying to decide what to spin next.

I can't tell you how good it feels to actually be finishing things. (Ok, technically the Tropical Fish yarn isn't finished until I knit it, but it's still progress!) I have to fight the urge to start new things--I think "startitis" will always be an issue with me--but seeing results makes me happy. It's especially true since the fibromyalgia has been flaring up the past couple of weeks, so my life feels very limited at times. I don't get out much unless it's to go to the post office for work, but I at least have something I can do that makes me feel useful. It's not brain surgery or the cure for cancer, but I make pretty stuff, and that has to be worth something, right?