Thursday, July 28, 2011

Beach Bloggin'

This post comes to you from the beautiful Outer Banks, North Carolina, where we're spending a week with Tom's family, as we do every year. Our numbers are somewhat reduced this year--the three nephews aren't here and the two nieces didn't bring boyfriends. The days are spent on the beach, reading (or if it's too hot, inside reading), with much good food, good drink, and good conversation (assuming we aren't all engrossed in our books). My mother-in-law doesn't spend time on the beach, but she brought several puzzles and spends her day reading, putting together puzzles, and crocheting.

Sadly, I've been spending most of my days working. What starts as an innocent attempt to stay caught up on email ends up as almost a full work day. Yesterday was particularly bad, with the whole day spent tethered to my laptop. Today is better; I'm done with work until the afternoon (when I'll check email again and finish one small task for the production migration tonight).

Despite spending time working, I've made additional progress on the stealth project and Madeline's Cleite shawl is moving along (although it might move along faster with lace needles, which I've ordered). I'm on the first repeat of chart 2 and despite being off on the intial stitch count for the first row (which I handily fixed by increasing), it seems to be going well. I can see why lace can be addictive and find it oddly meditative (until I find that I'm not where I'm supposed to be and have to tink back). I think this pattern will make a beautiful wedding shawl.

That's it for now. Stay cool and happy knitting!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Can You Believe It?

Two, count 'em, two posts in a month! That's got to be some kind of recent record for me. Ah, I long for the halcyon days when I was blogging several times a week. Alas, I fear those days are gone for good. Because I do a lot of writing at work, writing for fun feels

Anyway, I've got 30 more minutes of spinning time and then I can declare victory in the Tour de Fleece, although I did not finish spinning the Rambouillet. I still have a couple of hours of spinning left, plus the plying. I'm afraid I'm not being as careful with the consistency of my spinning. I'm getting a little tired of spinning grey and am at the point where I just want to be done with it. I still like the spinning but it's time to move on to something new.

Last week, or week before last, I discovered that something ate through the wool on one of my bobbins (this was old wool). And I found little insect carcasses in said wool. So today I went through the stash in that cabinet and a basket that was nearby to determine how bad the damage is. Two skeins of sock yarn are damaged (both grey), although I didn't see any sign of critters. All the yarn in that basket has been bagged and is now enjoying the arctic clime of the freezer. Most of the yarn in other cabinet was already bagged and I didn't see any evidence of insects. I still need to check the closet that has all of my unspun wool in it. I'd like to think it's okay, but as soon as I say that, it won't be. Time will tell (and that time will be next weekend).

The Mule Run last weekend was a lot of fun (if you call staying up all night waiting for runners to come by "fun"). The software upgrade we did on Saturday went well until the primary load balancer at the data center went belly-up, which caused a three-hour delay, which in turn delayed me prepping for the Mule Run. In the end, though, everything worked out (and I even managed to get a 45-minute nap in around dawn on Sunday). Tom ran about 50 miles before deciding he had had enough (it was a little humid and he didn't eat and drink enough early on). There were three finishers out of seven starters and all the finishers looked great at the end. I was up for 31 hours (except for the little nap). And I paid for it on Monday, with the worst migraine I've had in recent memory. I was totally flattened. It became clear to me that I need to clean up my diet: eliminate gluten again, reduce my sugar intake, and reduce the amount of alcohol I drink (I do so enjoy a cocktail after work). There was a period when the migraines were much less frequent and I think it was during my gluten-free period.

My nephew is getting married at the end of October at the beach (an outdoor wedding, barring any nor'easters or hurricanes) and I thought it would be nice to knit a shawl for his fiancee, just in case it's a little chilly. I found a pattern and had her choose the yarn (a burgundy alpaca/silk blend from Alpaca with a Twist). I started knitting it this afternoon and I think it will look okay, although right now it's tiny and shriveled-looking). I have to keep reminding myself that blocking will do wonders for it.

And the stealth progress continues to grow. I'm not quite halfway through it and it still continues to charm. Although I'm wondering about the wisdom of knitting a lace shawl (pretty much my first) and the stealth project, each of which has a deadline. I hope I didn't over commit.

Anyway, that's all for now. I need to finish preparing for the week ahead.

Happy knitting!

Friday, July 15, 2011

How'd It Get To Be July?

Well, it's been quite a while since I posted. I owe you all a Squam Art Workshops trip report (it was very cool, in more ways than one). I owe you some photos of finished objects, especially the Corinne sweater. One day I'll get all these things done.

Work is occupying a large amount of my time, although I'm working much less than I was earlier this year. But the writing and the emails continue and that makes writing and emailing outside of work feel The last thing I want to do when I get home is to sit down at a computer. So the blog suffers and my correspondence suffers.

But I do have some random bullet points for you!

  • We have ants in the house, a lot of tiny ants
  • At first we had only black ants; now we have some tiny pale red ants too
  • EcoSmart, window cleaner, and vinegar and water are all effective ant killers
  • But they don't keep the ants at bay
  • It's highly annoying when they have the audacity to crawl on you and bite you
  • Also, is it too much to ask that the dishwasher actually get dishes clean?
  • Tom and I got it working better, but I still have to rinse the items on the top rack after the dishes are "clean."
  • Grrrrr
  • Bosco has turned into quite the hunter of shrews
  • Shrews are beneficial to the garden
  • Bosco is working hard at decimating the shrew population
  • He likes to catch chipmunks, too
  • Fortunately, we've been able to rescue the chipmunks
  • We've started harvesting tomatoes, zucchini, and hot peppers from the garden
  • Some critter takes a single bite out of each ripe tomato
  • Grrrrr
  • That's why we stopped growing tomatoes several years ago
  • I joined the Tour de Fleece this year
  • And I've actually been spinning every day (except one day when I forgot)
  • I think I'm going to finish spinning 4 ounces of Rambouillet!
  • It only took me four years
  • Work on the large stealth project that will contain approximately two pounds of wool when it is finished continues apace
  • I can't watch "Poirot" and knit at the same time
  • Too much ripping back
  • I love David Suchet as Poirot
Ha! There appears to be a limit on the number of bullet points one can have before getting an html error. That's probably a hint for me to stop rambling on and go to bed. Tomorrow's a big day. We're completing a major software upgrade at work for our client and it's also the annual Mule Run for our running club. I'm not running it this year but Tom is, so I'll be up all night. It should

And now I must spin a little Rambouillet so I can say that I did spin today. Today was the mountain stage of the Tour de France and the suggestion was for the spinners to spin something challenging. My challenge is simply to get to the wheel and spin!

Happy knitting!