Knitting Like A Sailor

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Ugh! What a week I've had. Exhaustion and fatigue have been my constant companions. But that's okay. All work and no sleep makes Enjay a loopy girl :)

What have I done this week. Hmm...
Other than school, kids, and home stuff, I:

  • advised a new knitter on why her knitting looks "weird" (her words, she asked me why her knitting was weird and didn't look like everyone elses) turns out she's an eastern uncrossed knitter and was knitting in the round for the first time. She hadn't decided if she was going to keep the twisted knitting or if she was going to try to retrain herself for knitting in the round. I sent her to Annie M.'s great references on Eastern Uncrossed.
  • kinda halfway decided that I'm going to save up and collect skeins of a certain kinda expensive sock yarn to make a sweater out of it. in the peacock colorway cause I'm a peacocky kinda gal. I might just get two or three and call it a shawl though.
  • found a really interesting new to me blog with this wonderful Quote (from a June '05 post) "I love lace with a passion that only a short, middle-aged, Rubenesque woman who looks like an ambulatory lace pillow wearing it could feel." I completley, utterly understand where she is coming from. Thank you, Pamela, for saying it so succinctly.
  • I tried to tempt my spoilee into trying her hand at needle felting, and when I failed I had to send her the link to the really cool kit I'd wanted to get for her as a teaser. I am now thinking about (Insert luscious yarn here) yarn. Maybe.
  • Spent Martin Luter King Day sitting on my bum in my jammies reviewing the notes I had taken in Ethics on the movie we watched about the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. Some good info there on that site. Heavy things to consider, the fact that the initial reason for the study, other than watching the effects of syphilis, was to prove that Black people were lesser to the white race, with smaller brain capacity etc. The man who originally pushed for the study stressed that that the men in the study lacked intelligence enough to figure out what was going on. They were uneducated and did accept the word of the official doctors without question, but they were well within normal parameters for intelligence. The cavalier attitudes of the researchers and the people involved in the program towards the health and well being of these gentlemen, their wives, and their children never fails to floor me.
  • still trying to decide between remaining in the Dental Hygiene program or switching to the Nursing program.

Other than that I haven't really been up to anything much. Gonna go kick back and watch a bit of the idiot box before heading off to bed.

Have a good night!

Friday, January 13, 2006

GAH!!

School started, and I'm almost finished for the week. I have a Saturday biology lab this semester, so I have classes six days a week. Ugh. Manageable, though it won't be the simplest feat.
The Bad.
Still stuck dealing with the young and clueless, some of whom guesstimated my age on monday as in my early fifties or late forties. I'm 34, people! They blamed it on the grey hair, I blamed it on their being young and thinking everyone is old, but I eradicated the grey hair monday night, just in case :) I do have to say that it is interesting watching the fresh out of high school freshmen struggling to digest the new to them dynamics of college. I try to keep in mind that up until now they haven't been extensively exposed to the real adult world (not that college is it but it's closer than high school) and haven't been expected to have real, adult opinions and discussion, but please, for the love of all things dear, please stop trying to relate Marxism to the high school track team. It isn't working and we're not all staring at you because of our awe at your oratory skills.

The Tolerable.
My general psyche prof seems somewhat biased against women. He's a very nice man, but he constantly makes the stereotypical comments like "guys, back me up on this, that's how women are, right?", talks about kow-towing to his wife to keep her from nagging and such. It's tolerable, he's a very intelligent man, and I *think* he's pushing the envelope for a reason, so we'll see how it pans out.

The Good.
My biology prof is a cute geeky guy who looks like he could star in the next Revenge of the Nerds movie, but he's much better dressed and his glasses are in perfect working order. He knows his stuff too. Since he's an adjunct, I wonder what his real career is.
My ethics prof is a wonderful woman, not at all afraid to say that she doesn't know, and very willing to discuss alternative beliefs and viewpoints. We're dealing with some very heavy issues in class right now and it's making me think about things I've never chosen to consider before.
Lastly, I soo want to be my Sociology professor when I grow up. She's a very well educated, highly opinionated, outspoken and assertive woman. Her class will be challenging, it will be interesting, it will make me think and re-evaluate assumptions I've always made, and I will do my best to absorb as much as I can.

My brain has been stretched and pulled in directions I never even knew it could go, which makes biology that much more dear to me this semester. It's solid, it isn't open to interpretation, and so far it hasn't made me question my views.

The Best
My Secret Pal contacted me today! S/he sent me a very cute e-card reminding me not to study too hard. I replied to their card, I hope they liked it! (Secret Pal, I hope the music was okay, I couldn't hear it on my PC, but I think I picked music box dancer) (my pc normally plays all music fine, and I heard the lovely tune on the card you sent me, it just wouldn't play the samples I got to choose from) I look forward to hearing from them again!

I've also contacted my spoilee, and we've been having a lot of fun emailing back and forth.
Oh, and on the way home today, I saw a triple rainbow! :)

Talk to ya'll later!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Secret Pal 7 Answers

I just checked my email and received my notification of my Secret pal. Guess that means I'd better post this, huh? :) Sorry, Gifter. I'm starting Spring semester tomorrow, and what with everything happening today it kind of went by the wayside. That would be me, a bit disorganized :)

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand?
I'm not really a yarn snob intentionally. Acrylics have their purposes, but I don't often knit them, I prefer to save up for the good stuff. I do have to admit to really liking the one pair of Susan bates quicksilver (the grey coated line, if I'm mis-remembering the name) sock needles I bought when I lived in Georgia, but they're not to be found in these parts.

2. Do you spin? Crochet?
I do spin. I have a Babe and a Schacht wheel, and several spindles. I know the basics of crochet, but it's not a craft that I prefer to do often as I feel the resulting fabric is frequently too bulky for garments.

3. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
I have a fabric case for the set of dpn's I bought from QueerJoe a while back, other than that they're rolling around in a drawer in the kitchen or stuck into various balls of yarn that were handy at the time.

4. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
Gosh...Well, my grandma taught me to knit and crochet when I was under ten. I got the basics down, and then put it away for many years. Occasionally I'd buff up my needles and make a swatch and then put it away again. I'd always been drawn to spinning, and picked that up in 2000, and then started knitting again as a way to use up my yarns. Lately I have only had time for one or the other, and knitting has worked better in that regards.
As for my skill level, I will try anything, and the level of patterns that I find not too difficult are usually advanced intermediate/adventurous intermediate. I've tried some expert patterns and I can do them, if I take it one step at a time and have patience.

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
I do have an amazon wish list, if you'd like to see it I can email it to you. I tried to link to it but blogger didn't like that and gave my hands a hearty slap.

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
For things like candles etc, I prefer homey, pastry type smells like pumpkin pie, sugar cookie, ginger, things like that. For personal use I prefer floral/oriental scents like coco or coco mademoiselle. (edited to add holy CRAP! I just looked up the prices of those and man, do I ever have expensive tastes. I keep the scent thingies from the magazines and use them when I want to smell pretty, Kev gets migraines if I wear a strong perfume often)

7. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
I do like candy, but I don't eat a lot of it. I prefer chocolate to anything else, and don't consider chocolate a candy. Dark semi-sweet chocolate is the best. I refuse to believe that white chocolate is indeed chocolate, and as such it is not favored. Neither are walnuts.

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?
Oh, my three favorite words. Say them with me...Some Assembly Required. Sexy, aren't they? *shiver* I looove to put things together, take them apart, and to see how things work.
Aside from that, I like to cook (is that a craft?) I have made one quilt, and might like to make another some day, but becoming a quilter isn't on my list of priorities. I like needlepoint and tapestry, candlewicking, I've done silk ribbon embroidery, but I'm not a big project person. I have kits I've been working on since high school that I take out, work for a bit, then put away again. They may never be finished, and I'm comfortable with that.
I like to dye fibers and yarn, spin, knit, and that's pretty much it.

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I like country rock, hard rock, classic rock, metal, Glen Miller, Frank Mills, Trace Adkins, Garth Brooks, Def Leppard, Uncle Kracker, Dansig, Allanis Morrisette, Coldplay, Nickleback, Violent Femmes...Just about the only music genres I don't choose to listen to are opera and gansta rap. My computer can play mp3's, I don't have a stereo, and the CD player in the van only takes CD's.

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?
I love deep rich teals, blue greens, green blues, and jewel tones. I'm good with brighter, saturated colors too, but I'm not a fan of the day-glo colors that have been popular. Pastels are alright. I prefer topaz and golds to sunny yellow and pumpkin or warm peach to orange. Pretty, bright colors like Opal Petticoat and Parrot, Lornas Laces Rainbow and some of the STR yarns are great.

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
Kevin (my significant other, partner, and also known as the man who may no longer live here when he ticks me off) and I cohabitate. We have three children, two sons (11 and 2) and one daughter (4 this month) We have a dog, Shaela, pictures in the last post, and one and a half cats, Bielset my fluffy grey boy, and New Kitty, a black DSH Kevin came home with. (btw, New Kitty is officially his name, and he answers to it. That's what the kids started calling him and I didn't feel up to a new pet after my Pongo died this fall, so New Kitty he will remain.) I usually name my animals after Shetland sheep colors and markings or Gaelic words.
My children also have more traditional UK names, Timothy, Gwen and Liam.

12. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
Scarves, yes. Hats, when I live somewhere cold enough, yes. Mittens, no, I prefer gloves or fingerless gloves, and I wear them regardless of the season, my hands get cold easily ever since the carpal tunnel surgeries in '98. Ponchos, no, I don't think I have ever worn one, they seem like they would get in the way.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?
I like wool, alpaca, silk, blends. My favorite types are smooth, plied, classic styled yarns. I would love to try some Kid Silk Haze for lace.
I don't generally knit with anything larger than heavy worsted, and prefer sport or dk for socks when I knit them. I will knit socks from some of the thicker fingering weight yarns too, and use sock yarns for shawls. I wear my socks around the house instead of slippers and need the density from a thicker yarn knit densely.

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like.
I don't do much with cotton because it generally doesn't have enough give and wears my hands out quickly. I have tried the stretchy cotton sock yarns, but my tension was all over the place with them so they're shelved. For now.

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?
Lace. I'm a big fan of the "classics" lace, aran, and fair isle. Although have you seen some of the gorgeous stuff Kaffe Fassett has done? Oh. My. God. I might have to get me some of that there soon. (have I mentioned that I live in the south now? I try to acclimate LOL)

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Judging by what I have been doing lately, swatches! I've been interested in doing some felting, and looking for a good sized bag pattern to haul some textbooks and a bit of knitting around in. Otherwise, I like to make shawls, sweaters, sport weight socks, the occasional scarf when required. I like using fine yarns and small needles even for big projects, so sock yarns are something I would use, just not for socks unless they were thicker fingering weights. Some of Cat Bordhi's patterns look mighty interesting, but I haven't seen the books in hand to make the decision yet.

17. What are you knitting right now?
A shawl from the Heirloom Knitting book in a singles yarn from handpaintedyarn.com, Rosy Fingered Dawn by Hazel Carter bought as a kit from blackberry ridge, I have a plain jane sweater back on the needles for me, from the handy book of sweater design in patons merino and my own handspun, and I have one worsted weight slipper sock to finish the pair.

18. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
I think so. My sister made me a ten foot long red heart scarf once when I was in high school and I wore it every year until the washing machine shredded it 8 years later. Then I cried.

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?
It depends on what I'm doing. Knitting in the round, on a large project like a fair isle in shetland yarn, I actually prefer loooong dpns, but my set broke and I haven't found any replacements, so I use inox or bamboo circs. For shawls, I prefer circs. For sweaters for the kids, scarves and smaller projects knit in pieces, I prefer short straights, and for socks I prefer 6 or 7" dpns. I'm not a fan of brittany dpns, or long straights, they're hard on my wrists.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
Bamboo, wood, casein, bryspun and teflon coated needles rock!

21. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
I do have a wooden swift. I had an elderly plastic ball winder, the handle of which broke off last weekend. I am thinking about saving up for a more durable wood ball winder.

22. How did you learn to knit?
Grandma originally, books and the internet for refreshers, and books, the internet, and bugging people like Mar for technique refinement.

23. How old is your oldest UFO?
I believe it is from August. I tend to frog frequently if it's not working for me, but I am a slow knitter and do take turns with my projects.

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?
If you mean like a mascot, I don't really have one, nor do I collect them. I am fond of Eeyore, I like classic Pooh as opposed to Disney pooh, and I like colorful animals like moths, butterflies, appaloosas, poison arrow frogs etc.

25. What is your favorite holiday?
I like Christmas, fall, the fourth of July, Valentines is a bit schmaltzy, but it's cute from the kids. I try to celebrate every day because that's more fun :)

26. Is there anything that you collect?
Besides fiber, yarn, and the tools to manipulate them? Books. I'm a big fan of science-fantasy authors like Piers Anthony, Anne McCaffrey, JK Rowling, Laurell K Hamilton. I also collect old housekeeping manuals and cook books. I also seem to have developed a collection of yarn Color Cards.

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
None currently, although I am looking at the Interweave magazines, INKnitters, Twists and Turns, and Wool Gathering.

28. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on?
Oh my yes.
Books-
I have lists, if you want I'll send them along to you

Yarn-
One of the lace weight yarns from here
I love Cherry Tree Hill lace weight in the peacock colorway, two skeins would make a lovely shawl!
Kid Silk Haze.
Hebridian yarn from Virtual Yarns
a J&S color card, I'm gearing up to knit a FI in 2007.

Patterns-
the raku suri stole, reflections shawl, forest path stole from here
I'm a big fan of Mary Dominsky's mosaic sock patterns and Lucy Neatby slip stitch sock patterns as well, but I don't have any.

Needles/Accessories/Misc-
I would like some more Susan bates Quicksilver needles in their smaller sizes
I would love some of the longer (I think they were ten or fourteen inch) dpn's for making bigger projects on in size 2, I truly need finishing needles. I can't keep hold of those things to save my life.
I would be tickled to death to get one of the introductory spinning kits from Skaska designs. I have cashmere and thin silk thread set aside for the day I get a russian spindle.

29. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
Not at the moment, I'm too busy trying to refine what I do know :)
Argyle will eventually have to be conquered as I do want to try for the master knitting program.
Support spinning with a russian spindle too lol

30. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
I do knit socks but Kevin steals them before I get any wear out of them so I just make them in his size and schlepp around until he notices and then liberates them. Why fight the inevitable? I also make the children socks, usually with my own yarns. I wear a size 9-10 ladies, size seven men (can't always find ladies tennies in size 9/10) they're about ten inches long, my tape measure has wandered off, with some help I'm sure. I do cuff my socks.

31. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
July 16th, I will be 35.

Well, now that's done. I hope I don't sound really picky. I'm pretty happy with whatever, I just wanted to give lots of options and help, it's hard figuring out what other people will like!
I'm off to pack my backpack for classes tomorrow. Have a good week everyone!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Not so Fug


Who wouldn't love a face like this?
<--My, what a tasty looking cracker you have!
That's my biggest baby, Shaela. We've not had her a year yet. She's about 3, possibly 4. She might be spayed, although we had a few hours of excitement with some stray male dogs last year where she kept her bottom firmly planted on the porch steps and showed them her pearly whites until I finally got them shooed out of the yard. (note to self- don't leave the gate unlocked all night, they were sleeping between the sheds)
Shae's the most expensive dog I've ever owned, considering we picked her up on the side of the road. We've already invested more than a thousand dollars in her health care, fixing the heartworms that the people who abandoned her seemed content to allow to kill her. I've raged about that both here and elsewhere, so I shan't get into that again, mainly because when I think about their irresponsability and what it nearly cost my dog, I find it very difficult to sit still because it still makes me that angry.
However, today we got the best news I've heard in a long time. Shae's bloodwork came back and she is now free of the chemicals the worms release into the animals system, they could detect no eggs in her blood, and there were no juvenile heartworms either. Meaning, if she has any heart worms left in her, and she' probably has one or two, they're not female, there are none looking for a place to latch on, and the neighborhood animals are safe from being infected because of my dog. The heartworm preventative she is on will kill any eggs produced and any juveniles introduced through mosquitoes, and the few remaining worms will die of old age shortly. YAY!! She feels so good now that she was doing the Shaela boogie when I got home, which consists of launching herself into the air, all four feet off the ground, then bouncing from side to side in front of you while folding herself in half to look at you so you know just how happy she is to see you. She's not so much with the clan of couch potato any more. Therefor, I have decided to set a goal for her. This year, Shae is going to lose the excess poundage she carries. She weighs in at 107.7 pounds, and the vet would be much more comfortable seeing her at a more svelte 95. It's healthier for her heart, which has had to overwork itself most of her life, and will strengthen it. I'm overweight too, but when it comes to exercising for my health, pass the bon-bons and where's the remote. However, my dog needs it, and she's going to get it. I know that there is at least one person who occassionally reads the blog who is active with her dogs, I'm hoping that there are others too who can give me advice on things to do with her to help get her moving and building those muscles. Any and all suggestions welcomed!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

WTF???

JenLa asked for Fugly Avatars. I didn't intend to post one at all, but I did go mess around with the program. This is what Yahoo did when I asked for a short razor cut. I didn't mean quite THAT short! Unless they thought I meant a brazilian...

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Fair Enough.

Hi there! How are you today? Me? Well...I'm fair.

My morning consisted of Kev turning off the alarm so I could sleep in, waking up late to get to the bookstore, rushing to get there before the line was out the door, spending five minutes picking out the supplies and finding the required textbooks, and standing in line for more than an hour to pay for them. I was tired, irritated and hungry from the get go, so I bought lunch for the family at Hardees. I splurged on one of their obscenely large Angus char-broiled bacon double cheeseburger meals with curly fries for myself. All the way home it smelled divine. When I got home, I plopped the bag of food down on the table, went and got my books put away, and had a rest in the rest room. Kevin asked if I minded if he gave the kids some of my curly fries, I said it was okay. I came back out and my plate had half a dozen fries and about a third of a burger on it. I think it was about a third of a burger, but I can't be sure. It was in a few pieces, for one thing, and I wouldn't touch it, for another. I sat down, speechless, and stared at it, then at everyone else around the table as they were happily munching on their fries and sandwiches and chicken thingies.

"What happened to my food?"

They proceeded to tell me that my curly fries had been divided up, and that was my portion. Never mind the fact that no one had wanted curly fries when I called to get their orders, and I specifically asked about curly fries! They didn't divide the straight fries up because they all already had some, and obviously I didn't want straight fries or I would have ordered them.

"Okaayyy, but, what about the burger?"

Well, the eldest asked if he could have a bite and Kev didn't think I'd mind, so he let him. Then the little ones wanted a bite too. Then the eldest said it tasted really weird, so Kev took a bite, and discovered that it had mayo. I don't eat mayo, so Kev set about wiping it off, at which point the eldest saw that the burger had red onions on it. He can't stand onions, so he picked those off, and after the top was back on he took another, bigger bite, a bite the size of which only an 11 year old boy can achieve, because his first one had been ruined by onions and mayo and it wasn't fair that his bite was yucky. To be fair, he first broke off another bite for each of the two preschoolers, who may or may not have put their bites back on my plate, hence the pieces I found. He wasn't clear on anything other than the fact that the bites did start out by being placed in the preschoolers mouths because he was too busy trying to breathe around his 11 year old boy sized bite of my cheeseburger, which he couldn't even close his mouth around. Yes, I'm sure it was very cool.

After having my food distributed, mouthed by everyone, manhandled, picked over, and wiped with a (clean? Hopefully!) dish cloth, I was no longer interested in it. I asked to have one of the four sandwiches I'd ordered for Kev and the eldest. As Kevin apologetically swallowed the last of his second sandwich and said I was a little late in asking, the eldest handed me the remnants of his last one, more than half eaten. I handed it back and told him to finish it, and then we had a long lecture about taking advantage, manners, and being "fair." I was in good shrew form, even though it only appears to have been somewhat effective. Their FULL STOMACHS must have muffled it. It's not like I spoiled myself and cheated everybody else, they had ham sandwiches and chicken thingies, all items they chose for themselves when I called to enquire as to what they might like to eat.

Kevin, newly christened as the man who may no longer live here, made supper to mollify me. It was what he called Kevin surprise, #42. Kevin surprise, #42, consists of boil in a bag rice, hamburger (simmered in water, bleck!) and cheap summer sausage sliced and cooked with the hamburger. When it's "brown" dump it, water and all, into a pot on top of the now boiled, un-bagged rice. Toss in large amounts of random seasonings that might be good with it, with no regard as to how the seasonings might taste together. Let it cook until it looks like a good consistency, the consistency benchmark being hamburger helper. Serve with a can of peas and voila, Kevin surprise #42.

While he made this glop, he also cleaned out the fridge. I was willing to eat this glop, because he cleaned the fridge. I ate the glop, because if I didn't the kids wouldn't, and he made it, and *sigh* he had cleaned the fridge after all. Besides, in all fairness, I was starving.

Kev went straight to bed as soon as his glop was gone, to "get in a nap before his shift this evening." I was rounding the island on my way to rinse the dishes and put them in the dishwasher when I discovered the real reason for his quick retreat. I was assailed by this...funk...the funk of old food. I reasoned that it must be originating from the leaning tower of pseudo Tupperware stacked in the sink, with the matching Mt Lid-more piled next to it. From when he cleaned out the fridge. As I neared the toxic plastic tower, the scent became more noticeable, and I began to wonder if he had run the disposal long enough. As it turned out, No, he had not run the disposal long enough. Well, he might actually have run it long enough, but there was nothing in the disposal for it to be run upon, since he hadn't emptied any of the containers he had removed from the fridge. He merely removed the lids and stacked the containers inside each other, old food and all, and then proceeded, as is his habit, to dump the used utencils and assorted garbage and debris from cooking Kevin surprise, #42, in and on top of them. Now, none of the left overs were fuzzy, and all of them were recognizable for what they had once been. However, pasta gets this weird sweetish musty wine-becoming-vinegar smell when it jumps the shark, and every one of the nine large containers had some sort of pasta in it. I cleaned it all up, ran it all down the disposal, and added a good dose of lemon juice too. My kitchen still reeks like wine on it's way to being vinegar, but at least Kev cleaned out the fridge.
So, come hell, high water, and anything else the universe feels like throwing at me, tomorrow I am going to drive myself the twenty minutes up to Hardees. I am going to go inside, order a bacon double cheeseburger meal (no mayo) with curly fries, large size it please, and I am going to sit down, eat every crumb that I feel like eating, and not share one iota of it with anyone. I will stay there as long as I choose, and I might go elsewhere when I have finished.
Fair? Ask me if I care.