Sunday, January 31, 2010

Gray days filled with color

There's something about finishing up a huge project that makes one sink back in one's chair and let out a sigh of relief. I did that at the office and came out with tired limbs and a kinked back from all the computer work. I'm looking forward to doing ordinary things which allows for a variety of movement and work methods. In the meantime I'm giving myself a fair bit of tender loving care this weekend. As part of that therapy, this entry will be mostly pictures.

I finished the commission. Now to remove the white souvenirs my cats left.

Sammy decided Maisie needed a bath. It was on the inaccessable part of the nape of the neck, so it worked out very well.

"Do you mind? We're having a PRIVATE moment here."

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pictures at last

I've been remiss in posting pics lately of what I've been up to. For the most part there hasn't been much to show as I've been working on the commission scarf. The touch pad at work has made it easier to do the knitting so I'll have it done by its deadline. This weekend I'm working on getting as many stripes done as possible.

You can see in the corner of the above pic the latest addition to my spinner's toolbox - a Fancy Kitty Kitten drum carder. It's been baptized with some Abstract Fibers wool combined with a silk bell I picked up last year. The blending is turning out beautifully.

I've added a ticker for when I'm going to Rhinebeck this year. I've made my motel reservation (the HoJo at Saugerties) and hooked up with a roommate. Now to wait a couple of months and save my money for the plane reservation.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Call Me Slacker

My days at the office have been quite full since around Christmas. I've been coming home feeling like I've been rolled out by a pastry chef and left to rise. However the leavening in me hasn't been very responsive so by the weekend I was spending the day feeling like flatbread. But I've been getting more energy lately. Not enough to wash the walls and scrub the floor but enough to get a few things done like taking out the recycling and washing and folding (yes folding!) the laundry. There haven't been very many spoons* available thanks to the asthma occasionally coming up when I least expect it and kicking me in the gut, but something's changed and so far (fingers crossed) I'm finding more spoons in my energy drawer to use.

One thing I did was the Seattle to Portland Yarn Train** last Saturday. This is the crawl's 3rd year. A group of Seattle knitters ride the train south to partake of the riches our city's yarn shops provide. Since I have access to these pretty much all the time, I didn't go about with the crawlers but parked myself at the Starbucks in the Governor Hotel as Portland ambassador, navigator, guide, and commisserator to those with sore feet. Around 1 pm a group had assembled with me and took over a healthy chunk of the place, changing the ambiance from a quiet corner to a place full of gabbing knitters. However I didn't escape the fumes from the nearest shop, Knit/Purl. I came home with a couple of skeins of sale yarn and a new tote that looks a lot like an attache instead of a knitting bag. Tres chic!

I currently have on my plate another Harry Potteresque scarf, another commission from the same woman who ordered the Gryffindor scarf only this in black and green. Combined with the work at the office, my hands were getting a real beating. For a while I was having to not do any handiwork at home while my hands recovered but I found a solution that has helped me immensely: a touchpad for my office computer. It has more features than the touchpads you usually find on a laptop computer and the motions require much less effort and tension on the muscles. The effect was almost immediate. Now I'm doing my knitting without feeling like I'm getting claw hands from all the work at work. I'm also spinning on a handspindle at work on one of my breaks to have something different for my hands to do.

I was asked what I would be doing when I was 80. I told him I'd be running races up and down the nursing room corridor. I probably wouldn't in reality because I don't want to hurt someone who couldn't get out of the way, but I'm sure I'd be thinking up some kind of mischief or something to make people smile. Like attaching playing cards to my wheelchair's frame so that they flap in the wheel spokes. The staff won't forget me.

*If you want to find out what the heck I'm talking about, read this.

**Here I am a slacker because I have no pics of the crawlers at other locations, but here you'll get Michelle's posting.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Dear 2009

It's been a few hours since you've left. Like your predecessors you left in the middle of the night without a word. But unlike them you left your mark on my life in good ways and in not so good ways. You did a number on me big time. I know some people have said "Good riddance!" to you but there's a bit of wistfulness in my heart. Let me recount some of the highlights.

Those mad skilz needed for fiber manipulation-- In the past year I put in more spinning hours to fine tune my technique, used a drum carder for the first time, participated in a shearing, and went to my first Spin Off Autumn Retreat. It was enough to encourage me to do a workshop for the Portland Spinnerati for the first time and make some yarn for a very good friend. It gives me the impetus to pursue making some batts for raising funds for travel and other off-work mayhem.

Participated in a number of local events -- Two events, Black Sheep Gathering and Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival, I've been to before. Those are fun even when the wallet is a little empty for you never know what you'll run across. But two national events were also local events. The first Sock Summit, ably put together by Tina Newton and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, was a stunning success in so many ways. The entire vibe of the four days was one of a mutual love of crafting. There were many fangirl moments and Internet buddy meetups. There will be another Sock Summit in 2011 but none will compare with SS09. The other event was the SpinOff Autumn Retreat (SOAR) in Sunriver. For many, including me, it was their first SOAR. While the altitude didn't help my asthma, the classes I took were excellent. The knowledge gained inspired me a lot and gave me a hunger for more. I got a good taste of the spinning community and made new acquaintances that have carried over to the Internet. On top of those events I managed to negotiate the appearance of Franklin Habit in Portland. Yes, he's just as adorable in person as he is in his blog.

I found a fellow space traveler who speaks my language -- Sometimes you get lucky and find someone who, in the course of everyday living, understands you when you decide to go in an entirely different direction than everyone else. I have friends with which I can carry on conversations that are decidedly whacko. But I have to say that Dan beats them all. The synchronicity we have is at times a little uncanny even though we come from definitely different backgrounds. Today at lunch we held a conversation for at least half an hour that sounded like two spies getting together after a hiatus and all without a blink of an eye or "You are just so weird!" We share a fascination of the grotesque. He's a gentle soul at heart and a true delight. I look forward to spending another year with him.

So 2009, even though you threw at me financial and health issues that challenged me (don't forget the computer crapage of September), you did have much to recommend for you in my house. Thanks for the fun. 2010 has its work cut out for it.