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

December 29, 2006

Endings and beginnings
It hardly seems possible that 2006 is nearly over; it feels as if it barely got started and here we are at the end.  The year has definitely had its ups and downs, trials and tribulations, joys and pleasures.
As usual, the "projects I'd like to finish" list from last January bears little resemblance to the "finished items" list as of today.  It's amazing how easily my head can be turned by an enchanting pattern, or the influence of a friend, real or virtual. 
Last year at this time, nobody knew that an innocent comment by The Yarn Harlot would launch thousands of knitters all over the world into a quest for a "personal best" during the Knitters' Olympics.   It boggles my mind that there were more participants in the Knitters' Olympics than in the actual Winter Olympic Games in Torino.  It also amazed me that I was actually able to finish my "Socks for Bigfoot" within the 16-day time limit.
The cotton sweater I started in January, intending to wear it last summer, still languishes in its project bag, yearning for some attention.  With any luck at all, it'll be with me (in wearable condition) for the SeaSocks cruise in late April.  That's the plan as of today, anyway.  
Six pair of socks made it off the needles, some intended for my feet, others gifted to friends and family.  There's a seventh pair nearly done, cruising down the foot of the second sock, possibly to be completed this weekend.  That is, unless I get distracted by Eunny's "Endpaper Mitts" or one of the lace projects already under way.
One of my greatest joys this year was the interaction with knitters from all parts of the globe, by means of blogs and the Knitters' Review Forums.  These are wonderful people, many of whom I hope to meet in person during SeaSocks.  I wonder, though, if Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines has the faintest suspicion of what they've turned loose on one of their ships.  Heh. 
The Splinter Clan has been marvelous this year, sharing both the highs and the lows.  I'm not sure I could have gotten through some of the difficult times without their love and support.   You guys (you know who you are) are the greatest!
On a less happy note, three people who were very dear to me passed from the earth during 2006.  Mom in January, after a long illness; a dear friend's 25-year-old son in September, very unexpectedly; finally, a talented artisan who had been a cherished associate had a fatal heart attack in October.  All three are greatly missed.
On the whole, though, the bright moments outweigh the gloomy ones for 2006; I'm hoping the same will be true of 2007, not just for me, but for everyone.
11:30 am est

December 27, 2006

Survival of the wierdest . . .
. . . or something like that, anyway.
The holiday weekend was an odd juxtaposition of activity and sloth, mixed in just the right proportions.  Plans described in the last post were altered only in the details, not in the broad overview.  The time was spent adhering rigorously to the following prescription:
Repeat as needed.
Reading material consisted of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (a perennial favorite) alternated with Hogfather by Terry Pratchett, who is, in my opinion, sadly underrated as a social satirist.  Hogfather skewers our holiday traditions in a typically Discworldian manner, never failing to amuse me.   If you haven't read any Pratchett yet, Hogfather makes a good starting point.
Meals happened whenever the tummy-rumbles got loud enough to drown out the television.  Ben & Jerry's "Phish Food" for breakfast?  Why not?  Peanut butter and bacon tortilla roll-ups?  Yum!  Yes, there was turkey and mashytaters and green beans on the 25th, but the rest of the time meals consisted of whatever looked appealing at the moment.  Yes, Virginia, you can have scrambled eggs for supper or cheese and pepperoni for breakfast.
On the knitting front, the color pooling on the Socks That Rock "Scottish Highlands" colorway just didn't work for me, so it was frogged, to be re-thought.  Swatching on the Sorbetto left me uncertain as to how to proceed, so that's back in the stash closet as well. 
The two lace projects never did make it out of their baskets, but should see action this coming weekend as counterpoint to the endless television "marathons" that some stations perpetrate.  One nice thing about having sports on the tube while knitting is that you don't have to look at the screen until you hear a commentator exclaim, "What a play!"  If you look up then, you're guaranteed to see at least five repetitions of the play in question, and can then resume attention to your knitting until the next outburst. 
Note to self:  save some mindless knitting for viewing the Rose Parade; we're going to want to actually look at the screen to see the floats.
2006 is nearly over.  Let's hope that 2007 is better all the way around.
2:40 pm est

December 21, 2006

Bah, Humbug!
Just call me Scroogette.  Or maybe Grinchina. 
Why is it that otherwise intelligent people launch into a massive case of the screaming heebie-jeebies at the very thought of someone spending the holidays alone at home?  Don't they comprehend that those of us with hermitish tendencies find holiday "festivities" horribly tedious?  
I hate crowds.  I hate noise.  I hate drunks.  What do you find at the average holiday party?  Crowds of noisy drunks.  Who needs it?  Not me, that's for certain!
There was a news story on the web today about the large numbers of people who find the enforced jollity of the holiday season extremely depressing.  The writer, who appears to be young and foolish,  sounded rather surprised that this could happen.  Duh!
The reality of the situation is that lots of people are dealing with home situations that are far from pleasant. Some have lost loved ones recently, some find the excessive commercialization of the season irritating, some just don't like being told that they must go forth and party. 
I plan on enjoying the Christmas holiday weekend in my own way, which does not involve rushing around and being sociable with people I really don't like very much. 
Final grocery-shopping will happen Saturday morning; once returned from that trek, I plan to batten down the hatches, bolt the door, unplug the telephone and prepare to repel boarders.  Heaven help anyone who bangs on my door, for whatever "reason" at all. 
Since sleeping late is something I rarely get to do, that's how Christmas day is scheduled to start.  Once I've emerged from a luxurious lounge in bed, I'll brew up my favorite coffee and throw some sweet rolls into the oven. 
After breakfast, I'll get out a luscious yarn I've been wanting to play with, and start swatching it for a summer cardigan.  This may well occupy the rest of the day, except for throwing together dinner whenever I feel like munching.  The television will be tuned to programs that interest me, not whatever placates the largest number of couch potatoes in the room.
Nap(s) may happen, or may not, but if they do, they'll happen whenever they want to happen, with no need to work around anyone else's scheduling.  No waiting in line to use the privy, either.
My copy of Terry Pratchett's Hogfather has been retrieved from its lurking spot, ready for rereading.  His take on the holiday season is one of my favorites.  The Alistair Sim version of A Christmas Carol is already loaded into the VCR. 
What more does a Grinchina need?  Nada.
12:11 pm est

December 14, 2006

"Toolbelt Diva" I ain't . . .
. . . but every now and then I do manage to repair something.  It's usually something that I've first managed to break, being the archetypal klutz.   For example, the saga of this week's disaster:
First, a tiny bit of background is in order.  In my home sits a copy of a medieval Italian noble's chair, fondly referred to as "The Knitting Throne."  Beside said throne is a late-Victorian-style stand meant to hold a lady's needlework project(s).  This stand is particularly precious to me because it was a gift from two of my dearest friends, Frank and Beckie.
On to the details:  The other evening, I was puttering about, sorting this and shifting that, rearranging the project mountain surrounding the Knitting Throne.  Happily engulfed in yarn, needles, patterns and gadgets, I decided to close the top on the adjacent knitter's stand.  It seemed a little stiff, so I pushed.  Bad move.
Next, I heard a horrible splintering sound, and small objects started to fall from the bottom of the stand.  Oops.  What had I done?  On investigation, I discovered that I'd had some 14-inch knitting needles standing on end in a ten-inch deep stand.  When I pushed the cover, the needles transferred the force of the push to the thin piece of wood that forms the bottom of the stand.  Said bottom promptly pulled loose from its moorings, half-dangling from its proper place.  Small items that hadn't been seen in months trickled from the gap, falling to the floor.
Much unladylike language ensued.  
A quick glance at the clock  convinced me that it was time to give up for the night and get some rest (muttering imprecations about my carelessness all the way).
Last night, unable to tolerate looking at the poor injured stand, I removed everything from its bin, unearthing several items that had been on the "missing in action" roster.  Surveying the damage, it seemed rather less devastating than it had originally appeared. 
Thinking thoughts of repair, I went looking for the staple gun and the hammer; both were found exactly where they belonged, in the tool drawer in the kitchen.  How they ended up being put away where they were supposed to be is beyond me, but there they were.  Not daring to question the fates, I snagged both.
The stand, now emptied of its hoarded loot, had to be upended and propped on the sofa, so I could get at the bottom of it.  The hammer was most helpful in getting the bottom piece back into its proper position, and the staple gun did its work.  That bottom isn't going anywhere soon!
Note to self:  do not store knitting needles on end in the stand, ever again!
1:08 pm est

December 11, 2006

Not dead, just resting . . .
That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it!
No, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth, just haven't had much to say about anything in the past little while.  Knitting proceeds; two more pairs of mittens and a kid-size watch cap have joined the Dulaan box, but very little other knitting has happened.   I seem to be following in the footsteps of many other knitters in developing a lack of attention span with my projects.  None of them seems to satisfy right now, none of them hold my interest for more than half an hour or so.  Even "Startitis" seems to have abandoned me, which is a very odd feeling indeed. 
Time, methinks, to dig through the stash and see what odds and ends I can find to spark my imagination (as if I didn't already have more than enough projects on the needles!).
Two weeks to Christmas.   Three weeks to a new year.  Let's hope that 2007 is better than this year has been.
10:58 am est

December 1, 2006

Mitten madness
Every now and then some project or other reaches out and consumes all my available knitting time.   This latest manifestation has me knitting mittens endlessly, with the occasional little hat thrown in.  Witness:
The latest installation of the Knit Unto Others saga.  There's yet another mitten on the needles, but it's not quite "ready for prime time" yet.  To give you an idea of how quickly these little (child size) mittens go together, the multi-colored pair was completed in its entirety in about 28 hours (clock time, not knitting time) over Thanksgiving.   Not having to cook left lots of available time and energy for knitting. 
The lace projects are starting to get a bit fractious, though, wanting attention returned to their yarnovers and k2togs.  The Hanging Garden stole went so far as to surround the latest mitten, trying to hide it from me.  The catch was, the HG is in shades of blue and green and the mitten is a bright neon-y pink.  Lace isn't really geared for hiding that kind of exuberant color, so the sabotage attempt never really got off the ground. 
Silly laceweight.  When will it learn that I always win?
11:58 am est

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