Saturday, April 29, 2006

What did you do today?

I made myself up some PS April yarn! I needed something thicker to use with the mohair yarn I purchased a couple of weeks ago. Enter my KP laceweight. I needed to practice with another dye method (hot pour) and another dye type (Jello).

Yarn and storyline here.

I really like it! It turned out just how I wanted- a pale yellow, but stronger in some places than others. I think I would have been disappointed if I wanted a stronger yellow (or a more true color throughout), but then I would have probably increased the time cooking and the amount of dye used as well. These were the smallest boxes of Jello that you can buy, so there isn't a lot to work with in it. A couple of giant-sized boxes ought to make a good solution. I didn't realize just how much there is of the KP laceweight- 880 yards! It was a LOT in one pot. But, it worked out well in the end, so hooray! Now if I can just get it dried and balled...


I forgot to add...there's been spontaneous knitting action. I swear, this scarf needs to just KNIT ITSELF, and I think it somehow did this week:

clapotisey goodness on the coffee table

Here it is after the ninth repeat for the straight section. It just is working out lovely. I'm not even hating the mohair after our little tying-up-the-end-of-the-ball incident tonight. That's how much I love this yarn. I forgave the mohair in it. However, I won't forgive:

oooh, shiny!

..that black dot in the corner. It's the black thread that keeps everything plied together nicely. It gets into my stich markers like nobody's business. See, mohair will just rip away, no harm no foul. But this is like super-strong nylon thread. That acts very different than fluffy wool. The black mark is where it got caught somehow and then would not let my stitches drop down. And then I tried to break it. With fingers. For like two minutes, making it substantially worse than when it started. Oy!

B is for Becoming

Well, back to work, and wouldn't you know it, half the week has passed already. That's one thing I can say for my work: it certainly passes the time. And lord knows, we've got plenty of time on those long 14-16 hour workdays.

So, the contract arbitration came down, finally...we're getting 10% all told. Sweeeeeet. That is a major, insane amount of bonus considering how we've been fu-barred over the years, as I hear it from the elders at work. So, what's my new pay scale going to be like? $124 each payday before taxes. Uh huh, yeah, I think that's nice too. That's wedding and yarn fodder. Then add in time-and-a-half to double time each month, and man, it's good to be tha comm spec!

We got to play with the fire things today at inservice. It was so much fun! We put all these fires out (fully supervised by observant, well-trained, very funny firefighters), we used fire extinguishers, a real hoseline, walked around in a house full of fake-smoke (okay, think about when you fumble for the bathroom at night without lights- then add in SMOKE. It's damn near impossible in daylight!). After that, we put more fire out, walked up the 6-floor training tower (I carried an air tank bottle! Yay for exercise!) and then sledgehammered the shit out of a FREAKING HEAVY piece of space-age metal that wouldn't move if the war of the worlds UFO's were shooting lasers at it. I finally got it to the end :) I like proving that I'm useful in situations people wouldn't think of me as being good at. Plus, I got to wear a neat helmet (that was hard to put on, I put it on wrong twice!), and big gloves (one gal mentioned how nice they'd be for ovens) and the turnout coats. I felt like a little midget in it, but it was fun.

There was a lengthy talk about a special-forces firefighting team (by a cute team leader, to boot), but it was interesting. I started making associations about what he was talking about, trying to put in all I'm learning for dispatch into perspective. Then, like a minute later, he'd start talking about that very same thing. Now I'm not psychic, and I'm sure that there's a lot of seasoned dispatchers that could be making those associations, but I was pleased I did.

Tim also praised me for learning lots of things out of the manual. (The second time this week that someone's told me how much they admire my tenacity for filling out and reading manuals!) I think it took him by suprise when I was asking about the engines and trucks and moveups for certain types of calls. (They were talking about an aircraft crash for example, and I was thinking, oh shit, that's like half of town that gets called out, not to mention the tones and the tacs...) So often our computer system makes those recommendations for us and we don't think about them. Plus, you know, I'm supposed to be on the "oh shit, what's that thing called again? Oh yeah, an engine!" mode. It'll come on the radio when I'm like, "Engine one for.....uh...a fire! *breath* at blah blah.....(long pause, then) where's it at... Map page 23a, 2104" *click of air really quick* Computer systems aren't perfect, and there's a lot that can go wrong in ours (System that doesn't go down my ass!) But if there is material that's been covered in the manual, I don't want to be getting that test question wrong! I like being smart, I like being right, and I like being good at what I do. Plus, hey, FIRE TRUCKS! They didn't let us drive the truck or ride in it (And the big new fancy ladder truck was there today!) but I'm sure I can get an engine ride-along in sometime. Plus, you know, you kind of have to be a firefighter engineer to do that. Give it time. I'll be manning the back of that sucker, screaming down pearl street like its my fucking job. Oh wait, it kind of is.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

A is for..

A is for...arrival!

My darling little sis arrived happy and healthy at the airport yesterday, in town for a friend's wedding. Yay! I saw her earlier last month, but since I won't see her again for ages, it was great seeing her again. We had a lovely dinner at the 'rents (steak, fries, salad and pound cake w/strawberries and ice cream for dessert), and giggled all night. I came home super late! Oh well, it was worth it.

Also up are the completed gumball socks! Fresh off the needles, in all their unblocked glory. Casey felt up the sock and proclaimed it "gruffy". He's never felt superwash wool before, and everything I have him feel is pretty much soft as a cloud in comparison, so you can't blame him. Here's the goodness:

Yarn: Knitpicks parade, "Gumball", 2 balls

Needles: Clover bamboo circs, siz 3

Pattern: my own, toe-up with the hourglass heel from the Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook

Also fresh on the needles is the Opal Handpainted I purchased a while ago. This was supposed to be for Project Spectrum's black/white/neutral month, but instead it's for now. The socks are the same as before, toe-up, 2 at a time. They're on 2's so they will take a good while to complete. And since I'm back at work tomorrow, they'll be a weekend/break project. Hopefully by the end of the month they'll be done.

Toe up indeed!
I can't decide whether I want to have them be in some sort of pattern after I finish the toe increases. It may make a lovely jaywalker pattern, or one of the sockbug patterns I downloaded. I've got the Socks! book too, and this yarn would probably make a lovely cable. Too many decisions!
My sign up is complete for the dye-o-rama, and I purchased some more dyeing supplies: Kool aid? Check. Vinegar? Check. 6 skeins of dye-your-own yarns, plus MORE Parade sock yarn and patterns? Double Check! Want to see where all the dye-o-ramer's are? You can view the frappr page of us here. According to Scout's blog there are 274 participants. WOW! I can't wait to see what people post when they start dyeing. And I am so excited to get my pal! Hello pal, whomever you are! Can't wait to start dyeing for you!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Turning the corner


The Gumball Socks are nearly done! Can you feel the love? Here, have a little on me. Would you just look at those short rows! They are truely impressive (for me). Each sock they're getting better and better! You can hardly see the foot in my twisted decreases now. *beams proudly*

I love, love, love these colors. It defies explaining. I think its a combination of our warm spring weather, candy, and the fact that each one is my favorite shade of that color. I'm even going to save the little leftover balls to note how thick each stripe sequence averages so I can make my own similar dye-your-own colorway. Which reminds me...

starts as of right now! I'm signed up, baby! Oh yeah. Now ya'll realize this is just plain stash and hobby enhancement to the nth degree, right? Sure, I'm doing this to "make friends" (as I tell Casey). Yeah, and it'll really help me learn more about yarn and such. Nope. Just mystery yarn stash enhancement. Oooh, mysterious! I purchased some sugar-free Jello a few days ago to test out the yarn dyeing thing again, on the Knitpicks merino lace. (I wondered if regular Jello contained sugar, and if so, if it should be next to the yarn. I decided sugar-free and chemicals can decide for me). If the Jello goes well (or doesn't), then we'll see where the dye o rama dye comes from next. My dye-o-rama pal might want all natural, you never know. I kind of like having different dyes and trying different kinds to see which is better or easier. Next up are food coloring (maybe Wilton's icing tints) and then the *gasp* Jaquard dyes. Real Chemicals. I want to make the swap socks self-striping, which is kind of an ordeal, but several sites are making it easy for us newb's to dye yarn up

Hmm, that's all I've got. Lil sister comes home tomorrow, picking her up at Bag Claim 1 at the airport. There's only one baggage claim there, why did they feel it needed to be numbered? How would you confuse it with the non-existent Bag Claim 2, 3 or x? Mysteries of the universe indeed.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

There was an accident

I had a little accident today. It involved a LYS, a debit card and the sale rack, among other things. Ooops. From left you see some Crystal Palace kid merino in color 4687, or butter yellow if you're looking at it. I don't know if I am going to like this, but at $4.49 a ball, I don't really care. The red is Bernat sox! colorway #115659, or fire engine red. On top of the red is a ball of Handpainted Originals by Brown Sheep, colorway "forest floor". That was $5.49 and balled up for me (as was the merino). I have two or three skeins of it already (purchased in March), so this one goes into that back stash. Probably a scarf. The black, grey and green are all Patons Kroy sock yarns, which I love the feel of. Mmm, sock yarn.

Here's a better picture of the laceweight merino mohairy goodness:

That little dish dealie with the silver ring? Here it is close up:

Oh, those are glass beads (on sale by bulk- as much as you can fit in the petri dish!) and then beading wire. I am in need of stitch markers with all this stash enhancement! Mainly because I'm also knitting another clapotis in my Louisa Harding, and my stitch markers are A) all used up and B) kind of scratchy, so they get tangled up in the knitting. Not good! Especially with ribbon yarns and a mohair that's twined in. It makes for some interesting knitting, that's for sure.

I also discovered the most charming thing in the tree beside my deck today:

It's a little bitty birdie nest! (I think). The whole thing isn't much bigger than my fist. I wonder what lives in it? I hope there's little baby birds that will pop up in it. Moreover, I hope it's not just a squirrel nest, an abandoned nest, or something else that has an animal I wouldn't want to be living within five feet of. I'll be keeping an eye on it.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Easter redux

Looky here folks! It's an Easter miracle!

It seems for once I have matched the current project du jour to the holiday du month! As you can see, my newly started, toe-up socks (2 at a time!) match my leftover easter candies perfectly. Hmm, maybe it's a sign I should eat more candy while knitting. There's colorways to be had here people! The cast-on I used was from the new issue of knitty and is truely magic. I can see all my socks being done this way from now on. Danger, DANGER Will Robson!! Pattern reworking ahead! We'll see how that goes once I reach the heels. I think I can still use my hourglass heel, but who knows.

The yarn is Knitpicks Parade, Gumballs colorway, a superwash wool on size 3 circulars. (Quick! The yarn is on sale! Go forth, I will wait). I was a bit worried the 3's would be too large, they feel like tree trunks after the size 2's I knit Casey's mom's socks out of, but it feels just right when you look at the fabric and the way the yarn wraps around the needles. Superwash is kind of stiff too, so a denser fabric would be REALLY thick and probably not that fun to wear. I seriously plan on using more of this stuff. I have the daffodil colorway already (bottom right corner on the above link), and I think another order may be in store. It's freaking cheap, so who cares? Socks for all!

Man I like vacation! Just look at the socks flow forth from me! I've got my previously vacation-knitted three pairs washed and blocking in my bathroom right now. THREE! Casey wanted to use my bathroom, but was freaked out when all towels had wet socks on them. I told him the bathroom was currently "sockupied". Giggle. As much as I like vacation, I'll be glad to get back to work and STOP eating candies, lying about the house, and, you know, work for a living. I gained a few pounds, eep! Bad Knitter! But this vacation thing was used for it's intent- avoiding all work, being lazy, knitting, eating and doing whatever I want! So I can't really feel bad for living up to what I told everyone I'd be doing. Mission Accomplished!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter everyone!!

I've got a lot of photos to show. So lets get started, shall we? First off, I finished the socks. And they're going to be given away today, rather than taken for my own selfish feet. Aww. The Easter spirit lives! Want to see the sock? Sure you do. Here it is on my foot:

Note that my foot is most likely smaller than the recipients', so it looks a little loose on me. No problem.

Here's the heel. I figured out how to avoid the nasty sock heel hole problem. I wasn't wrapping my stitches correctly. D'oh! Thank you internets for solving my problem. Whoopee!

A very project spectrum cupcake. Yay for yellow colors! Yum.

This little guy was next to my easter basket this morning. What is he? He's an i-dog! That means he interacts with my i-pod (and other outside noises, or stereos), and behaves accordingly. Right now he's off, but he's fun when he's on. He likes Bon Jovi, but hates Metallica. Very odd thing this little guy. But I'll love him all the same.

This was my easter basket. Puppy!! He's very soft. I love plushie easter baskets. And he's filled with my favorite candies (the brown bags on the end are Haribo Bears, a gummy bear from Germany). Those Germans know their gummies! Delicious!

This was Casey's easter basket. Note the colorful eggs (filled with different candies) and fun random candies sprinkled about. I do love shopping in colorful candy aisles! There was also a Benny Hill DVD and an itunes card that were immediately siezed upon giving :)

When it's April in Oregon, that means one thing: the weather can't make up its mind every ten minutes. Here we have a little hail storm. It started to look like it snowed out! Previously this morning it was sunny and party cloudy with blue sky. (Hence the light for pictures). Very odd thing this weather!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Holy non-blogging Batman! It's been a while. So what have I been up to? Absolutely nothing! Well, that's not exactly true. Here's the last two weeks in a nutshell:

I finished dyeing up my yarn. Here it is, all pretty and balled up. I like the pink one best, but the yellow looks really neat as well, especially knit up. Like a lemon- lime soda.

Then I started knitting more socks. They're addictive! Try it sometime, you'll love it. So far, this makes pair #4 for vacation. WOW! This sock is nearly done, and has a mate that is mostly done too! I loved knitting it so much, I nearly stole it in a fit of sock envy. But I think it will end up going to its intentioned owner after all.

Want to see more stockinette? Sure you do! It's Knitpicks merino sock yarn. Yummm.

Now everyone knows sock yarn can be addicting. And according to the Yarn Harlot's new book, it's not considered "stash". So, this can't really be included in "stash enhancement" for the most part. Yeah, the dye-your-own lace wool is totally stash, dyeing and hobby enhancement. Someone stop me!

Then I found a new KAL of sorts. I marked my interest, hopefully I'll get in with the application process. It's a dyeing secret pal project. Starting with.... sock yarn! Which means I'll need to buy.... dyeable sock yarn! I'm SO excited!

Now I'll leave you with some images from my house, all in a nice April project spectrum colorway. I had a hard time coming up with orange and yellow, since I don't really like those colors (and they don't look all that good on me). But I did find a few things!

(from top: sci-fi books of casey's, my IKEA shower curtain, IKEA pillowcase, blankie with animal, french poster, Peanuts figurine, french poster, Calvin and Hobbs box set, picture frame, IKEA tool set, my own dyed yarn, Yarn Harlot book, dyed yarn again)

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Flash Your Stash!

Here are the two holders of the beloved stash:

This is the original stash holder. It holds yarns that I love but have not (or may ever) use. The fancy alpacas, Louisa Harding Impression yarn, lace yarns, etc. This is where the good stuff lives. It is next to the table where my laptop is. Close to my heart :)
This is the big basket where everything else is kept. It's almost full! I gleaned this from my sister for free when she moved. Score! It's huge and it holds a heck of a lot of stuff. In fact, it holds most of what is pictured below:

Here is the stash, as I know it. Size 6 UGG slipper for scale. Eeep! And that's not all of it; there were some balls and UFOs that didn't make it in, due to lack of interest of un-knotting it all. From the bottom clockwise, there are sock yarns, lace yarns, worsted yarns, merino yarns and then the whole right side down is alpaca yarns. Alpaca is my love :) Since the bf doesn't read my blogs, I'm safe in keeping up my fiber acquisitions. Hooray!

An impressive side effect of the flashing of the stash: re-organizing the stash! Everything was put away in bags by type: alpaca, ribbon and lace, colored worsted, sock yarns, and a bag of yarns I'll never use because I don't like them. I feel very accomplished. Which is good, because this vacation is killing me! I haven't had this much free time in a year, and I don't know what to do with it! It's almost stressful. I don't want to waste my free time, but at the same time, isn't that what I'm supposed to be doing? Wasting time I'd be spending not sleeping, stressing, working harder than normal people? Maybe it's the fact I'm getting enough sleep and drinking more water, but darn it, I need something to do here!