Summer WIP Frogging

Apparently, I’m driven to eliminate languishing WIPs and destash my hoard of yarn. Why, I don’t know but it appears to be happening and I’m being quite cut throat, where before I was quite sentimental about my Works In Progress.

 

My listing:

 

Blodeuwedd The Hat for me
Little Boy Blue Blanket (Loading…45%)
Cosmos Doily Madness: Doily Three (Loading…95%)
Child-bearer’s Cardigan (Frogged)
Boba Fett Amigurumi Doll
Rose Doily #804
Bigger on the Inside Shawl
Gloves for myself
Villimarjatar Shawl (Frogged)
Large Pineapple Doily (Loading…50%)
Monster Slippers for Valerie
Volunteer Scarves
Volunteer Baby Hats (Loading…5%)
Cardigan of the Progenitor (Loading…16%)
1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Hobbes – Yay! (Loading…53%)

 

If you’re wondering why I’m making five Hobbes dolls, it is due to the fact of a promissory backlog. I promised four people Hobbes dolls as gifts and figured there was no time like the present when, on hearing that the Pharmacy Delivery Driver’s birthday was upcoming, the Maternal Parental begged me to make him a Hobbes doll in appreciation. She actually pleaded with me to put aside the work I was doing on her cardigan and get working on the Hobbes doll as soon as possible.

 

So, knowing that I had this backlog growing, I figured I’d eliminate them all at once. I’m currently 53% completed with this task. At this point, I can do this pattern in my sleep, which is good because I have been falling asleep at the desk while working.

 

Onto Villimarjatar. I initially tried to make this shawl in a sock yarn. Until I saw an episode of Fruity Knitting where Romi Hill was interviewed, I was fully prepared to knit eight hundred yards into my shawl using said yarn despite being unhappy with the look of my progress. Let’s hope that the new yarn I’ll be using works more effectively.

 

The reclaimed sock yarn will be going into two projects. One cake will go into the Syncopation socks. The other cake will join my first attempt at Doublefun socks. I’ve been looking forward to making the Doublefun pattern for some time now. Some of the remainder may go into my take on the Find Your Fade shawl. We’ll see.

 

Into the destashing, one of my relatives has decided to rekindle her knitting skills and was fully prepared to go up to Joann’s to buy supplies with which to do so. I just couldn’t allow that seeing as I’ve got all this yarn and all these needles that hardly get use. So, I made her up a box that will, hopefully, make her happy.

 

What made me happy was, on seeing the depth and breadth of the box, the Maternal Parental decided that she wanted a batch of yarn as well. I really hope she means it this time. If they both keep at it, I’ll give them the more expensive yarns once I’ve fully divested of the less costly product. More people need to be knitting, crocheting, and weaving. That’s my philosophy.

 

My other philosophy is that, shock and awe, I’m moving away from acrylic. The more I work with wool and other natural fibers, the more I want to. Also, there is the environment to consider. Wool and natural fibers are…natural and biodegradable. As much as I like being the Empress of Economy, acrylic costs the environment in the long run even if it saves me money in the short term. So, in future, if I do buy acrylic yarn, it’ll most likely be a colorful wig project someone commissioned me for. Which is to say…not very likely.

 

About the only other thing on my RADAR is a story idea creeping on the periphery of my conscious thoughts. I dream it just fine but when I wake, the dream is gone from my mind like someone erased it. I’m determined to bang something out on this keyboard over the next few days. So, one way or another, something is getting into my OO.o Writer.

 

Until the next time, have a safe and fantastic journey around the Sun. Take care, my friends. Rolling on the floor laughingRed heartRainbow

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How I Lost My Fear of Crafting, Part Two

Note: There was no prompt for me to post this today. I just felt like it. Call it me getting ahead of the assignments, if you will. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do all the daily prompts in addition to the Writing 101 prompts with no problems. Anyway, back to the story.

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One day, around the time of my twenty-fifth birthday, I decided I must learn to knit. By then, we had moved into a stable neighborhood and I was mentally stable even if still ragged around the psychological edges. I had come a long way from near complete mental breakdown up to this point and I was determined to treat myself with a self obtained accomplishment. Knitting was to be this accomplishment even if I had to bleed for it.

 

So, taking my meager savings, I bought a pounder skein of black yarn from Amazon along with the cheapest straight needles I could find. I ended up with a pound of Caron’s One Pound Yarn and a pair of 10” size 8 Susan Bates knitting needles. I was overjoyed to finally have the implements of knitting but I didn’t know the first thing about how to knit. I searched high and low on the internet but to no avail. This was 2006 after all. There was nothing there excepting a few sites and a few videos online.

 

Not having luck with searching online, I decided to go to the library website to see if they had any materials related to knitting. Wow, am I ever glad I did. They not only had materials relating to knitting but they also had an upcoming class at the Catonsville Library being taught by a famous knitting woman. I had no clue who she was but the words “Free Knitting Class” had me rushing to register. Lucky for me, there was still room in the class for a few more people. I was given the requirements for the class as well as the date and time to show up at the Library.

 

I showed up at the appointed time in the neighborhood I was barely familiar with. I was about twenty minutes early, so I spent my time fiddling with my needles and yarn while waiting for class to begin. Once I got the all clear to go to the classroom, off I went to my first lesson with sweaty palms and a leaping frog in my stomach.

 

The class was comprised of all women of varying ages and backgrounds all there for a single purpose: To Knit. One of the Library staff was there to introduce the Famous Knitting Woman whose name I cannot recall beyond “Knight” as her surname. In addition to Famous Knitting Woman, there were three teaching assistants who did most of the teaching.

 

Once everyone had been introduced, class was started. There was a knot in a skein of yarn being use for demonstration purposes and I was given an opportunity to show my party trick of getting near impossible knots out of bits of string. Famous Knitting Woman had gone to retrieve the scissors and before she could make it across the room, I had already gotten the knot out. She could hardly believe her eyes. I just shrugged and said that it was my talent before getting self conscious.

 

The class went well and, after the last two students (a mother and young daughter) showed up, we all settled into casting on the initial stitches. I was so nervous about dropping my needles that I held on for dear life and casted on stitches so tightly, they could scarcely be pierced. After a few tries, I managed to cast on reasonably loose stitches via the Long Tail Cast On and began attempting to knit. Famous Knitting Woman saw how I was knitting with the stitches far from the point and suggested I move them up to the very tip to aid in my knitting becoming speedier. However, I was so nervous, I kept dropping stitches and eventually fell into a habit of keeping them back which has stayed with me even up to today.

 

Soon, the class was coming to its end and Famous Knitting Woman made suggestions of things we should buy, books we should read and tools we should consider acquiring to aid in our progress as knitters. By then, it was dark and, after saying goodbye to everyone, I walked back to the dark bus stop in a daze that I had finally learned something of the basics of knitting. However, on getting home, I began doing something wrong and I knew it but didn’t know how to fix the error. It would be from 20 June 2006 until 6 August 2006 until I finally found a fix for my problem.

 

All during the Summer, I focused on reading knitting books and practicing by knitting on “the Object” until my hands bled. I’m not kidding, my hands got blisters and bled from the amount of practice I got in on those needles and yarn. Yet, try as I might, nothing I did seemed to fix the problem of the extra stitch. I didn’t know what I was doing but, for some reason, I went from ten stitches to eleven and onwards until I had an unwieldy project sitting on my aluminium needles. Still, I kept at it even as my hands bled and my eyes turned bloodshot from so many hours of staring at the same project. I didn’t give up.

 

One day in August, we got a call that my Maternal Grandfather was in the hospital. Apparently, my uncle from my Grandfather’s second marriage contacted the family via my aunt. We were invited to a cookout to give the family a chance to know each other. Less than one week later, my Grandfather was dead from his illness. The stress of having to deal with so much during that time drove me to escape into the world of knitting.

 

Giving up on “the Object”, I searched high and low on the Internet again until I came across the KnittingHelp website. Amy Finlay’s videos quite literally kept me sane as I learned to properly knit for the first time since June. I practiced throughout the night until the morning of the Wake. Once we were at the funeral home, I retreated further into my knitting and managed a pretty decent looking beginner’s scarf. For the first time, but not the last time, knitting kept me from blowing my top at an inappropriate moment.

 

Part Three, the final installment comes tomorrow. Rolling on the floor laughingRed heartRainbow

Weather Woes Part Deux

The power is out again, since 10am this morning, and it’s now stifling in here at 88f with no sign of relief in sight.

If only the power would come back on. 😦

Weather Woes

Wow, that was some weather here last night in the Baltimore metropolitan area.

The power has been out since 23:30/11:30 last night and I am really worried for the Maternal Parental. It’s supposed to be just as hot today as it was yesterday with at least one more round of severe weather.

I need power for the air conditioner. The Maternal Parental has emphysema and I have asthma. Neither are good during extremely hot temperatures.

Crap, I’ve got to go charge my phone on the handcrank charger. *sigh*

Aside from that, I think I’m going to crochet today.

Getting A Grippe

I was on the bus Thursday evening, trying to take care of some business when I did *It*. I did that thing that’s apparently illegal to do now unless a crowd of panicking pitchfork carrying, face mask wearing lunatics is desired in the aftermath of the act. Yep, I sneezed.

I already thought the reaction people have been having to this recent outbreak of H1N1 was a bit more on the side of…overzealous but when I saw a kid give the oddly obligatory ‘God Bless You’ before standing up as though in a trance and walking the near two mile distance to the next nearest major roadway…and who knows how far beyond…

That was just sad. Poor deluded girl.

You see, like others of my species, I’m affected by the dreaded Seasonal Allergies. Lately, tree pollen and Dandelions have been in overdrive in this part of Maryland. I just happen to be heavily allergic to several triggers and have been sneezing, coughing, and otherwise having a reaction with such gusto that people have fled in terror from diminutive me. Ah, with such power to wield, I’d rule the world with my sneezes. If I were more of a bully, I’d cough up some Fleetwood Mac tickets. No pun intended.

Get a grip. Considering I was able to literally wipe the multicolored pollen off of myself with a towel over the past few days, I’m wondering why more [Health professionals] aren’t marking the distinction between the different illnesses. Unless severe, allergies don’t usually come with a fever.

The other big half-sad I’ve been seeing lately are the Phantoms of the Phage. Most people are so busy being panicked, that they’re not thinking about just how Influenza [and other things] infiltrates the body. Masks make you look funny but, as they keep saying, unless they’re rated, that’s all they’re doing. The dreaded germs are super tiny and are going right through the holes in the fabric, the cuts in your skin [including the microfissures from washing your hands too much], and your lacrymal ducts. Even if you do go around in one, you’re still forgetting about your eyes. Those contain mucous membranes as well. I’m waiting for the day I see someone coming down the street in Maryland in the middle of our Summer weather in full HAZMAT gear.

Go on, I dare you. Hope you’ve got a good scrubber.

I could also make people paranoid with a rant about just how many things we touch throughout the day given our nature as touchy feely animals crawlin’ ’round on this big blue planet but…I’m not that mean. I would never plant the idea into your heads to think about just what you [and a lot of other people] touch throughout the day. I CERTAINLY wouldn’t bring up the American predilection for ‘fast food’.

Anyway…

They practically begged people to watch all the civil preparation and ethics programming on things like this a few years ago and just about everyone brushed it off as a ‘Never gonna happen’ scenario. It probably doesn’t help matters that I live close to one of the closed down schools but, unless someone’s walking around with a pre-existing condition or an already weakened immune system, quit freaking out. Now, if bits start falling off of me, that’s a different matter.

Fuck it, I’ve got clothing to knit for this upcoming Winter. Winter, the blissful time of little to no allergies. For me at least.

Finally, A Bit Of Relief…

Right now, I am enjoying the cool early morning air that comes from a day of mostly rain.

There is nothing better than air at this temperature. Cool enough for me while warm enough for everyone else not to bitch and moan about it being cold. Moist air without being suffocatingly muggy. Just cool. Damp. Nice.

I’ve been breathing a sigh of relief since I woke up this morning.

This has all be so good on my mood that I’ve not even been procrastinating in making the hat I promised him. I had to start it again with a higher stitch count, but I got right back into knitting it and have been working on it all day with only a break for tea and Yum Yums. And e-mails to P_D_C. Thanks P for the help in determining the stitch count!

I believe, that is I hope, this weather may be the transition of blazing Summer into Autumn. As I write this, the steady cadence of the rain is increasing. I’ve no problem with that at all.

It’s ironic though; I finally have nowhere to go that would put me out in the weather and all the good weather starts happening. I must make an effort to change this. In case you’ve not figured it out yet about my rambling: Rain good. Me like rain.

It’s just so nice to get a breath of fresh air again.

If this weather keeps up, I might feel in mind to actually do some studying, updates, and perusing of the Open University sites I have the links to. I’ve been so out of it this entire summer what with the heat, chaos, and all of me transferring services that I haven’t had much time to do more than knitting as all the other stuff required lots of books. Knitting, on the otherhand, required only balls of yarn and yarn is a lot less heavy than English, French, and Mathematics books.

Now, however, I have a chance to relax. Sit back. Learn new things and…teach myself crochet in addition to knitting.

I was thinking about it while knitting downstairs. It’s better to keep my mind occupied than to let it wander when I’m in the midst of Ideation. I might as well get a positive out of a negative and the short term goal of creating things keeps my other thoughts in check. It works more than anything else has at any rate.

People throw everything from religion to diets to courtship rituals at me and, at the end of the day, the thing that works best is yarn and creativity. I don’t know if it works for everyone but I can say on good authority that it works for me.

Pbbbt, I’m rambling, I should probably get to knitting, watching the Doctor Who double feature of The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances, and relax while being soothed by the sound of the rain.

Memories of Another Time

You…(expletive deleted)…in South America. You suck. How dare you usurp all the cold!

OK, I’m not really angry and I am glad you’re getting the snow I often wish for even as far north as Buenos Aires.

So and so’s…

Anyway, tomorrow is going to be another fine day of misery and sufferance in the unbearable heat that is Baltimore City. While I’m thankful to live out in the county now; my business tomorrow takes me into the heat and dark madness of the urban jungle.

Ha ha.

I am going to make darn sure I leave early, really early, to avoid the summer sun and will hopefully be able to get my sundry shopping in before my appointment. From there, I’ll go in and get this work done and afterward stop over at the place I’m hoping to volunteer at again and see if they’ve got anything open. Fingers crossed.

It’s times like this I really like to lord (lady?) it over all the people who complain about it being too cold, rainy, and/or cloudy for their liking. I’m quite happy with temperatures below 80F and find it hilarious when people wish for it to be upwards of 95F like my mother and a few of her friends. She’s currently experiencing the effects of heat exhaustion but, like with every other health issue in her life, doesn’t want to admit that its the main problem.

This is easily remedied by laying off of the coffee and cigarettes, drinking more water, keeping the electrolytes (stay the hell away from Gatorade ’cause Pedialyte works better!) balanced and keeping her now sixty-six year old self (had a birthday recently) either indoors or as under taxed as possible. She doesn’t want to buy that though and is, instead, making it everything under the sun BUT heat exhaustion.

Did you know that in summer, a sudden exposure to a glass of water can somehow cause a drop in blood pressure and all the symptoms of HE even though one has not had a drink from said glass?

None of this is very good in this heat. On top of it being hot, the humidity is increasing and she’s got this belief that she’s Wonder Woman and that she has to walk at least three times a day regardless of the circumstances. I just hope she stays in tomorrow ’cause its too hot and muggy out there. There, got it back onto the topic of weather. 😦

Anyway…

I can’t wait for Autumn and Winter. That’s my time of the year and I say that proudly. My one favorite holiday (actually the only one I celebrate) is in October, and everything about that half of the year has always enticed me from mythology, to climate, and even to the change in the color of the sky.

As much as it’s nice to have fresh tomatoes and all, I love the smell of carved pumpkins, apple cider, cool breezes, and rain soaked fallen leaves.

All the best colors come out then. When it’s summer here in Maryland, everything turns this sickly silvery green-gray from the heat. Nothing really looks verdant and lush like you see in the pictures. It was like that since I was a child but recently (as of the mid-1990s) it’s even worse and to the point where it’s brutal going out in summer.

In contrast, the Autumn (when it finally kicks in!) is wonderful.

When I was younger, the whole thing would really start in August but now it’s much later (if at all!) in the year. It would get chilly first and I could smell a difference in the air as the currents changed from relatively southern based winds to the winds coming from Canananananananada (I love you Canada!). It was like I could smell Ontario in the wind or something and I got this weird, tingly, blissful feeling like some people get when it’s Christmas morning only I got it every cool day.

This is when the leaves started changing. The contrast in colors really did seem to creep up too. One minute, the leaves were finally seeming to recover from the temperature equivalent of shell shock and then, just at the top of the tips of the trees (usually maples first) I noticed the first tinges of reds, orange, and yellows. The sky went from the darker blue of long exhaustive summer days to a more subtle lighter blue, usually with a spattering of deep silvery gray clouds hanging just low enough so as to contrast the lightness of the sky. Those were usually the clouds passing between rain storms and between the sky and the scent on the air, I hardly wanted to go indoors.

Then, oddly, in September: we’d have what’s referred to locally as “Indian Summer“. Seemingly out of nowhere a last dying burst of summer decided to visit from the beginning of September, through the Equinox, right through to the first part of November. It was around that time, during the warm spell, I recall going on trips to the Cider farm where we got a chance to see Apple Cider made on an old style press and had a chance to taste pulp from the machine before the farmer escorted us outside to a pumpkin patch they’d grown for us to get pumpkins for Hallowe’en. Good times…

The leaves by then were really changing and, by this point, they’re a mass of oranges, golds, reds, deep burgundy, and yellow with just the faintest hint of stubborn green left in some. You’d look up and down a street and, no matter how horrid it looked the rest of the year, it was like a royal garden or some sort of autumnal paradise. As the air grew colder and the wind whipped just a bit harsher, I’d wrap my coat around myself as I walked to school with my mother entranced by the scenery and only half paying attention to where I was going.

On one occasion, I recall that my notoriously hard head served me well because I went right into a metal lamp post at a full clip while staring up at the contrasting leaves, clouds, and sky. :p

Before long, the leaves left on the trees would turn brown and follow the autumnal rainbow that had gone before. By that point, it was mid-November and the rains came down much more regularly with more fog and I’d experience a much darker day. The days were shortening and the temperature was getting just that much colder. It was like clockwork and by the 15th of the month, the freezing rain kicked in. From there, it’s days before Thanksgiving and the first snow that usually occurred on or around that day. It was never much, just a dusting, but a subtle promise of the winter to come and a comfort for anyone who loves the winter as much as I do.

November rolled into December and before long the first “real” snow fell. This was also not usually more than a few inches but it was enough to play with, make snow angels, snow persons, and snowball fights out of. It was usually a battle between liquid and frozen precipitation right up until January when it got bloody freezing. Even so, it’s still great weather as it’s a good excuse to get wrapped up as snugly as possible in layer after layer of warm clothes like a polar explorer on a trek to conquer the wilderness of a city sidewalk with the hope of attaining the goal of reaching school and claiming it in the name of Education.

January edged into February and the true beginning of Winter kicked in. The real snow came in and wading through thigh to hip deep snow was a daily occurrence until the snowplows laid the salt and scraped the middle of the street clear. It was a fight against the elements even for something as simple as going to the store for groceries due to the high level of snow and the thick, dark clouds promising, with their lightning and ominous thunder, even more snow later in the day.

By the end of February, the rains had begun to kick in again and the snow was washed away before being replaced by what seemed to be hurricane force winds in March. It was hard enough having to stand up straight without having to worry about getting to school as well. I actually recall one occasion where I was lifted briefly by the wind while holding my mothers hand. We were on our way to the rear entrance for children over Pre-K and Kindergarten age. In the space between the pool fence and the school building there was an accidental wind tunnel and anyone under 70lbs would go flying without a good helping of determination and/or reenforcement keeping them steadily on the ground.

Nearly the whole month was like that right up to the last week, when out of nowhere, that pesky heat came back right in time for my birthday. Rotten…*grumble*

At least it used to be like that. The weather is so wacky now, there’s no defined seasons anymore. It sucks to have it in the 60’s – 70’s Farenheit in late December and to have summer intolerable even beyond normal hellish conditions for Maryland. I think even the trees are ready to have an industrial action over what’s been happening lately.

I can’t wait to get to Canada…*sigh*

I’m going back downstairs to knit.