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Welcome to my world...

Occasional musings on "life, the universe, and everything" from a fiber junkie.

December 29, 2005

Another year gone
Where does the time go?  Can it really be almost 2006 already?  It seems like only yesterday that the weak-minded were hoarding supplies because technology was supposed to go belly-up when 2000 began.  
For a couple of interesting approaches to the subject of time, you might consider reading one (or both!) of these: 
Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett
Paint Your Dragon by Tom Holt
Both authors have a skewed, inverted-sideways way of satirizing today's society, while telling a very funny story at the same time.  In the midst of the laughter, you find yourself actually thinking.  Spooky.
The Koigu socks are done (except for weaving in the ends), and I've cast on (and frogged and recast, ad nauseam) a pair in a lovely soft alpaca.  With any luck I'll not have to frog them again.
ZigZag progresses nicely, haven't done much with any of the other projects on the needles.  Planning has begun for next year's holiday gift knitting, so I can get the yarn during my favorite store's January sale.  
Goals for 2006:
  • Finish projects currently on the needles
  • Learn new techniques, improve others
  • Weed the stash (don't panic, it won't be that drastic)
  • Reorganize the sewing / craft room

I'll be away from the 'puter until Tuesday, so it's time to wish each and every one of you a happy and healthy new year.


11:55 am est

December 27, 2005

Holiday Miracles
This year's holiday season has been rather bittersweet, since The Mom's condition continues to deteriorate.  For weeks now, when I've visited her at the nursing home, she hasn't had a clue as to who I am.   She has recognized that I'm some kind of family, though, as she's been calling me either "Hope" or "Mary" (her sisters' names). 
When I visited her on Christmas Eve, I happened to wear a sweater that she knitted for me several years ago, a gorgeous blue with cables up the front and sleeves.  Her eyes lit up, she fondled the wool, she called me by name!  
That was the best Christmas present I could have received this year.
10:55 am est

December 22, 2005

Meanderings in Blogland
My, what a lot of knitty bloggers there are in the world!  I've been gradually surfing my way around a few knitting blog rings lately.  Got a couple of thoughts ricocheting around in my (alleged) brain about it all.
I'm amazed at and envious of the amazing objects people have knitted, and the amount some folks manage to complete in a year.  Truly impressive, ladies and gentlemen.  You are all to be congratulated.  On the other hand, my mind boggles when I consider some items, wondering what in the world prompted someone to sit down and actually figure out how to knit a soft-sculpture human digestive tract.  Amazing...
Bloggers are certainly a diverse bunch, for all that we share a love of knitting.   This can be seen in the amazing variety of page layouts and color combinations people have chosen for their blogs.  On occasion, though, I wonder if the blogger has actually attempted to read his/her/its final product.  There may be absolute gems of wisdom lurking in the black type on a gray background, but it's nearly impossible to read.  See what I mean?  Another gem is the bright fuchsia text on a light blue background - this'un positively vibrates.  Then we have many who have chosen a black background with light colored text, or something so tiny you need a magnifier to see what's there. 
Call me old-fashioned if you must (and considering that I spend a lot of time with my mind in the year 1585, it's appropriate), but I prefer a dark text on a light background.  It's the way most of us learned to read, after all.  Also, as I get older, teensy-weensy type faces just aren't worth the effort, ya know?
Project progress...
ZigZag - back and both sleeves are done; cast on the front last night.
Koigu Socks - past the gusset (top-down) on the second sock
Shadow Knit - partially frogged, still being re-thought
Wristwarmers - first one sewn up, second still yarn
Shawl - No change
Fortunately, none of these are holiday gifts, so there's no time crunch for getting them done, though I would like to wear ZigZag this winter.
I'll be away from the 'puter for a few days, resting up and spending time with The Mom.  Happy Hogswatch to all!
10:50 am est

December 20, 2005

Disjointed ramblings
Someone needs to save me from myself.  I've been reading a lot of knitting-related blogs lately, drooling over the gorgeous photos of people's recent creations.  This by itself isn't too horrible, but it has a nasty side effect: fiber lust.  The Yarn Harlot has been extolling the glories of Trekking XXL, others have been working in alpaca or mohair.  In the midst of reading their postings, I find my browser drifting to one or another of the online yarn sellers, viewing the various colorways available.  Thus far, I've been able to restrain myself from hitting the "add to cart" buttons, but only just. 
"Why resist?" I hear you ask.  Perhaps it's the eight balls of sock yarn waiting patiently in the bin next to my chair - the ones that whimper, "Me next, pleeeeease?" when I open it.  Perhaps it's the four large plastic bins in the sewing room closet, each stuffed to the brim with yarns waiting for attention.  It certainly isn't the lack of needles after more than fifty years of accumulating them. 
Then again, it could be the desire to sleep indoors in the winter that restrains me.  After all, if I spend the rent money on yarn too often, my landlord will eventually boot me out of the place, and winters in Syracuse are cold.
Still, the fiber lust hits hard.  Restraining it until my buddy Leo and I stage our January assault on our favorite yarn shop could have some, um, unfortunate side effects.  Leo and Shannon, you have been warned.
On another note...
'Tis the season for reason to go out the window, it seems.   Many of the less rational in the world have gotten their knickers in a twist over what to wish others in this season of insanity.   As someone who spends large amounts of time in a university harboring students from all over the world, I try not to guess at what religion another person follows.  My guesses are usually wrong.  So, in the interests of including as many possibilities as I can, I wish people "Happy Holidays."   Now I'm hearing that other folks who follow this same train of thought are being berated for not mentioning some specific religious festival.  Whatever happened to "good will to all," hmmm?
12:51 pm est

December 14, 2005

Deceptive Sunshine
I'm surrounded by wimps. 
Our annual departmental holiday lunch was today, so the whole team trooped down the street to a lovely restaurant.  The sun was glorious, not a cloud in the sky.  I'll admit it was a little chilly (3 degrees Fahrenheit), but that's no reason not to stroll in a leisurely fashion and bask in the sunshine.  When I expressed this opinion to my colleagues, they looked at me aghast and shuddered.  After lunch, with one accord, they turned down the corridor to get as close to our building as possible before having to go outside.  Wimps.
The walk back was delightful, the sun was bright, there was no wind, so I stopped on one of the benches along the way and basked in the sun for a few minutes.  Lest this seem strange to you, I should tell you that our offices are, quite literally, "in the cellar, behind the elevators."  We see no natural light all day, unless we find an excuse to emerge from the cave to visit one of the upper floors.  This time of year, it's already dark when we drag our sorry carcasses homeward.
It could be my ancestry, now that I think about it.  Mom is from Newfoundland, where it's considered normal to swim in ponds that seldom get above sixty degrees Fahrenheit, or worse yet, the North Atlantic.  Cold is nothing new to a Newfoundlander.  It's also nothing new to denizens of Siberacuse, er, that's Syracuse, New York, where I've lived for the last mumble years.  Sunshine, on the other hand, is somewhat at a premium in the country's second-cloudiest city.  Enjoy it when you can, say I.
3:54 pm est

December 13, 2005

Waxing philosophical
Every now and then, something happens to start me thinking (no, you do not need to duck and run, really you don't!).  Last night, as I happily knit away at the Koigu sock on the bus, one of the other passengers expressed bewilderment at why anyone would want to knit.  After staring aghast at this doofus for a moment, I replied, "Why would anyone want to breathe?"
So, why do I find knitting such a worthwhile pastime?   Why do I expend large amounts of time, energy and budget on yarns and needles and books?  Even though some pieces just categorically refuse to cooperate, I persist in tying elaborate knots in pieces of string.  What's the attraction?  Is it the sensuous pleasure of running my hands through lusciously soft yarns (alpaca-silk blend laceweight, for example), or is it the way my feet feel in warm wool socks when my office becomes a walk-in freezer? 
No, it's a bit more fundamental than that, and in order to explain I have to talk for a moment about the dreaded W-word, nastiest of the four-letter Anglo-Saxon words I know.  W*rk.  My office frequently resembles the "Red Queen's Race" from Through the Looking Glass.  We run as fast as we can to stay right where we are.  At the end of the day, there seems to be just as much left to do as there was in the morning.  This isn't uncommon in the demented world of computer network operations and (worse yet!) help desk managment, even when you have a fabulous team of people around you, as I do. 
Knitting provides an antidote to this, in that, at the end of an evening with the needles, I can look at a current project and see visible, measurable progress.   The day wasn't totally wasted.  Strangely enough, even when I spend a large part of the evening frogging a piece of knitting that isn't working up the way I wanted, it feels like progress to me.    Go figure.
2:56 pm est

December 12, 2005

Progress, of a sort
The Infernal DigiCam has condescended to cooperate, finally, to allow me to get a photo of a couple of current projects. 
Sleeve and sock
The dark red blob is the sleeve of the zigzag sweater, with the first of the Koigu socks sitting on top of it.  Colors are a little off, but that's par for the course.  Zigzag's up to the middle of the second sleeve, giving me hope that I might just get to wear it this winter. 
Speaking of winter, it's still snowing in Syracuse (are we surprised?  I didn't think so).  Fortunately, I get lots of passive solar heating in my apartment - something about being on the top floor, facing south, with lots of huge windows.  The downside of the huge windows is when it's snowing so hard you can't even see the building next door, much less the view. 
9:40 am est

December 5, 2005

It's Monday again
Someone very wise once said, "Monday is a horrible way to spend one seventh of your life."  Can't for the life of me remember who it was, but he/she/it was right. 
There's something truly awful about having to get out of a cozy warm bed before the sun is up on a Monday morning, just to go to w*rk (narsty 4-letter word, that is...).   And then, to look out the window and find that Mother Nature has provided a large dose of yet another narsty four-letter word (sn*w) just adds insult to injury.  Can we count the days until retirement?  Not yet, the total day count would be too depressing at this point, since there are still eight years, 9 months and 25 days to wait.  But who's counting?
The Koigu socks are progressing slowly; the zigzag sweater has taken precedence for the moment.  The back of that project is done, and about half of one sleeve.  With any luck, when I make my visit to my favorite yarn shop in January, I'll be able to scour her button boxes for just the right buttons to finish it off. 
1:46 pm est

December 1, 2005

Suddenly, it's December.  For the first time in a great many years, this month's arrival doesn't fill me with panic.   My mother's declining health has led us to minimize our holiday activities, so preparations are about as complete as they need to be.  About the only thing left to do is to find the video of my favorite version of Dickens' Christmas Carol, the one with Alistair Sim as Scrooge.  It's probably lurking on the video shelf, hiding behind Riverdance
Knitting proceeds apace, hope to have a few photos to post of works in progress in a few days.  This, of course, assumes that "the infernal DigiCam" agrees to cooperate.   It's been cranky since I made it come home from vacation - though why it wanted to take endless photos of the flatness of North Dakota is beyond me. 
10:50 am est

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"Everything happens for a reason, except possibly football." -- Terry Pratchett