Monday, March 31, 2008

Comedy of Errors Sunday

Fail the first: Sunday morning I woke up, went downstairs, and opened the back door to let the cats out. We have 2 bird feeders in the back yard (one thistle, one seed). They are suspended on 2 large shepherds hooks. I have the 2 hooks zip tied together about half way up to support each other.

As I'm letting Lenny out I notice that a squirrel is on the hooks to the feeder, which is not surprising since they climb them all the time to help themselves to some bird food. But something looked strange, I took a second look. Turns out the squirrel had wedged himself between the 2 uprights, just behind the front legs and could not move. I rushed upstairs, threw pants and socks on, grabbed some shoes and threw on my coat and thick winter gloves and went outside. I thought the poor thing was dead, but as I came closer, I could see the rapid rise and fall of his/ her chest. The poor squirrel was terrified, but it could not move and was probably exausted from struggling. With my thick gloves on I carefully placed one hand on each side of the shepherds hooks and lifted him up. He tried to bite me the entire time (not surprising), but he was no match for my gloves. Once he was free he sprung from my hands and raced out of the yard, right past Lenny, who was looking quite confused.

In looking back, I should have taken a picture, cause the scene really was hilarious. At the time I almost walked out the door without pants in my hurry to help him. That would have been a whole different type of hillarious for my neighbors.

Fail the second: My bike was ready to be picked up on Sunday, so I went and got it and decided to test ride my route to work since it was such a nice day (we are supposed to get 4-8 inches of snow today so that would be fail the third). I got my helmet, bottle of water, checked my tires, grabbed my cell phone (it would have helped if I had checked to see if it was charged, fail the fourth), wallet and knitting and headed off. As I was riding along the bike path that followed 61 and turned onto Warner road my pedals started to feel odd. Something felt loose. Then something felt really loose, and then I noticed that things were no longer attached and hanging free on my pedal arm. 3 miles from home. Fantastic. Essentially my drive shaft came apart. This would be the section that they diagnosed as "loose" and they were going to "tighten". Either they didn't do that, or by doing that they caused the device to fail. I walked the bike home, loaded it into the van and drove back to Erik's, which was closed by then. I decided to not waste the trip and went to Panera and had a cinnamon roll and 2 cups of coffee while I knit. They have a 30 day guarantee on their service so I'll bring it in today, or Tuesday since the roads might be interesting with the snow tonight.

Fail the fifth: No knitting at G2's tonight.

On a bright spot: I finished the first cuff for the second set of silk stockings on Sunday, my class at SUNrise on Saturday went really well and my friends had a good time at their first event. I guess everything balances itself out. There was a yellow crocus in bloom in my front garden and the tips of other bulbs were starting to come up. Spring really is coming, despite the current conditions outside.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Old reliable

I dug my bike out of the garage yesterday. I can safely say that I have not ridden it for several years. It's a cute bike: one speed with coaster brakes, but I don't need anything fancy.

I bought it years ago for $50 when I lived in Chicago. I did not own a car at the time so my bike (along with public transit) was how I got around. I would ride it to get groceries quite frequently so it has a basket on the front and collapsible basket on the rear wheel. It also has a bell. When I first moved back to MN I didn't have a car for about a year and I rode my bike to and from work every day.

My goal is to ride my bike to and from work no less than 2 times a week. It will be great exercise for me, and easier on my wallet. I took my bike to Erik's Bike Shop in Woodbury to get an estimate for tuning it up. The total is $44, which is less than a tank of gas currently so already it's worth it. I live about 5 miles from work and there is a pretty convenient bike trail between my home and work. A new bike that is comparable to mine runs between $250.00 and $500.00.


My bike will be ready on Monday, just before we are expecting more snow and rain. Oh well.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

March Madness of a different variety

Although I played basketball in Jr. High (for one season) I'm not what I would call a fan and never gave a thought to "brackets" and March Madness.....until now.....


The battle of the final 16 starts on Thursday! Will Chloe keep her lead? Will Bai Ling pull the upset? Will a Peldon blow them all away?

Tune in tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Arrived safe and sound!


I mailed them on Friday, 3-21-08, and they arrived 3-24-08. According to M they fit perfectly! (hopefully she doesn't mind that I'm blogging her knees for everyone to see)

The stockings are based on the surviving pair of Eleanor of Toledo. The directions that I used for inspiration are found here. I'm still not convinced of her interpretation of the lattice work on the cuff, but everything else looks right.

I can hardly wait to start pair #2!

Bracing myself

After many years I finally decided to purchase a Neti Pot. I have been told by many who already use one that it is THE BEST thing they have ever found. I have not brought myself to using it, yet.

The brand we purchased is sold by Sinucleanse, and I bought it at Walgreens.

I have seasonal allergies, which occasionally transform into sinus infections so this product is ideal for me. The problem is I am worried about the sensation. I have had my sinuses flushed 2 times in my life and I was under general anesthesia both times. When I woke up from this procedure I was in terrible pain. I was 11 when I last experienced this and the memory is not diminished after nearly 30 years.

There really is nothing left to do but suck it up and give it a try. The online videos show it to be very simple and not painful (except the guy who put Single Malt scotch in his Neti Pot, wow) so I should have nothing to worry about.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Stockings for a Young Lady

yl stocking
Originally uploaded by Valkyr8
I finished the first stocking on Sunday. I'm trying to get some fun knitting done before I start the second set of silk stockings. Not that knitting the silk isn't fun but I had a couple projects to finish first and since I'm giving myself 1 month per stocking I don't need to start the next pair until April 1.

The pattern is from Nancy Bush's book, Knitting Vintage Socks. I love the pattern, it's really simple and I think it looks elegant. The leg of the stocking fits over my calf so it should work for Liz just fine. The yarn is Knit Picks Palette in Verdant Heather. The yarn is lovely and knits up a treat.

The reason for the different color toe is the simple fact that I only had enough green to reach to the end of the pattern repeats. I had the blue skein leftover from the socks for my sister and decided to finish the toe with it. If I finished it with the other skein of green then I would be forced to buy a third skein and delay the finishing of the pair. Considering the fact that the toe will be safetly stowed inside a shoe, I'm not bothered by it.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Pea Pod Baby sweater

I picked up the yarn for this project at Yellow Dog in Eau Claire, WI on the 15th. I worked hard all week and finished everything on Friday. Just in time for the baby shower the following day.

I think the finished sweater and hat are pretty cute, but following the pattern sucked! It was poorly written and very confusing. For such an easy project I struggled an inordinate amount. Oh well, it's done and it is actually quite cute.

I used Cascade 220 Heather in a deep purple. The buttons I found at Jo Anne Etc. I picked up 4 skeins, but I really only needed 3 to make a 12 month size sweater and hat.

I think the outfit was well received, and just in time too. ;^)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Knitting for Peace

Last night Rachel and I went to a meeting at the Textile Center of the MN Knitters Guild (I decided to join up while I was there). It was the quarterly meeting so they had a guest speaker, Betty Christiansen who wrote the book Knitting for Peace.

It was a nice talk and it was fun looking at all of the finished projects. I really wish I had time to do more charity knitting and I'm going to see what I can do to make time for it this year. She is very passionate about using knitting for spreading good will and I agree with her position. Call it corney, but I do think that when you give someone a hand knit item a part of you goes with that item. Your thoughts, your well wishes, sometimes your sweat and tears.

She shared a story about a woman who was the Denver contact for an organization that creates security blankets for children who brought a stack of security blankets to a church where students were being sent just after the shootings at Columbine. The secretary at the church scoffed and said "you know these are teenagers, they are not going to want a security blanket". She left them "just in case they were needed". 10 minutes after the teenagers arrived she got a call to see if she could bring more. Sometimes a wordless gesture or an object that signals safety and warmth is what people need in a time of grief or shock, when their world is upside down. How amazing to be part of something that could have that effect on someone. It was a powerful message.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

March snow

With two days left until Spring officially arrives, having a snow shower (or two) really is to be expected. I can't really complain when this is the result.


See that small speck of red? That would be a cardinal filling the back yard with his call. He was very loud this morning.

I was driving on ruts of ice most of the way to work, but it was hard to complain considering the view.
It's supposed to be in the 40's by the afternoon so most of the snow will be gone by then. Sad.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Washing up

I finished the Cardigan for Merry Sunday night. The yarn held out to the very last inch, unbelievable. I only had enough to make 2 loops instead of 3, but I don't think that will be a hardship. Everything was washed today and laid out to dry. Now to buy some buttons and sew them on. I hope I can hand it over on Wednesday.

I also washed the silk stockings. The water turned a light pink, but not bad. I should be able to put them in the mail to the recipient before the end of the week. I hope to mail it on Thursday. It will be sad to see them go, but now I will be inspired to start pair number 2.

I began a pair of stockings for Liz and another baby sweater over the weekend.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Yellow Dog Photo Session

Saturday came and Setti, Giulia and I set off for Eau Claire, WI at 9am. We had signed up to be part of the 1,000 knitter project and get our photos taken by Franklin Habit. It was a ton of fun! I got some shopping done at Yellow Dog Knitting (some lovely Cascade for a baby sweater), had lunch with my parents and enjoyed a lovely spring day with friends.

Dixie was a excellent hostess!

There was a lot of excitment!

Giulia had the best answer to "what does one wear to this?".

Franklin was lovely!

I may have knit my 2 rows a little tight (in my defence, I always knit tight). My apologies to whoever had to follow. It was tons of fun hanging out and visiting with people and especially fun to come back to my birthplace for such a festive occassion.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Today's post brought to you by the lettter...

Originally uploaded by Valkyr8
Q for Cute!!!

This is the Cardigan for Merry made in Dale Baby Ull. I'm knitting it in the round to minimize seaming. I'll be starting the hood tonight.

I'm going to look for buttons when yarn shopping this weekend.

Monday, March 10, 2008

"The Day of Mamoth Projects"

According to a book on horoscopes that I was introduced to this weekend that would be my birthdate. How fitting.

Friday G2 and I left for Korsvag with "Bruce" and one of my wedge tents. We had a lovely stop in Alexandria for dinner and got to Fargo around 10:30. We stayed up late talking with our hosts, but not too bad. We rose at a liesurely time, ate breakfast and went to the site, about 2 blocks from their house. We loaded in Bruce, set him up and got him warmed up (which took a while since it was COLD in the car).

We started working on the tent around 10:30-10:45 ish and were folding the finished tent at 5. There were 4-5 people who came for the class and participated in various parts of the class. Everyone who wanted to got a chance to work with Bruce. We made a 10' wide wedge and I think it went very well.

I get especially smug when the "leftovers" from cutting and sewing the tent consist of this:

I love it.

Dinner was a Mongolian Buffet place called the Hu Hot. It was fantastic!

The evening was spent hanging out, enjoying scotch, enjoying beer, knitting, socializing, and a brief intervention, which was as sucessful as one could expect. Oh well. The evening went late, no surprise.

We got up and had a lovely breakfast and more socializing with a grinning baby. I finished silk stocking #2 so I suceeded in making a pair in 39 days, which is awesome! I'm going to work on some other projects before starting pair #2.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Just say Plastic

In my attempt to lessen my footprint on the earth I find myself hindered in some aspects.

I don't own my home so there is little I can do to implement energy saving techniques there. I can replace bulbs (I have), put lights on timers (done), turn things off/ unplug (check), use a programmable thermostat set at lower temps during the day and night (done) and use motion sensor lights (in back). In a perfect world I would have a wind generator, solar, change out the lawn for something that uses less water, add more insulation and change out the water heater and other appliances for ones that are more efficient.

One very simple change that I can do: stop using plastic shopping bags.
Currently I carry a folding shopping bag from Byerlys/ Lunds that I purchased for $1.50 and one of my cotton market bags in my purse. If I forget one of these bags I will use paper (which isn't much better), or put my purchases in my tote/ purse or carry them out (which is what I did at Target Sunday).

FYI: I have used my Cub canvas bag at Rainbow, my Byerly's canvas bag at Trader Joes and Kowalskis and my knitted market bags everywhere and no one has refused to use them. The Trader Joe guy even remarked "Cool bag! But it has the wrong name." with a smile and a laugh when I handed over the Byerly's bag last week. I always get a compliment on my handknit market bags and that always makes my day.

This site has a lot of products from lunch bags, shopping bags, produce bags, etc. There is a excellent resource for where to recycle plastic shopping bags in the Twin Cities on this site. This article has a good argument for using canvas instead of plastic. It's a really simple choice and I'm going to focus on seeing what other choices I can make throughout the year.