Sunday, May 31, 2009

A breath of summer

May typically is the month of transition around here. The temperatures rise, the rain eases back, and the gardens explode in a parade of blooms and green growth. I have some daylilies that have seeded themselves under one side of the stairs of my front porch. Their stalks create walls of greenery that my cat Sammy loves to sit between and watch the world.

I mentioned last week that the Summer of Spinning challenge had begun. At work, I've been busy with a handspindle. The fiber is merino in shades of orange that I had picked up at Black Sheep Gathering last year. I dub it the canteloupe. I'm spinning up a fingering weight on a 21 gmhandspindle that I then transfer onto quills for future plying.

This week I finished spinning the singles of the first 4 ozs of Dicentra Designs Merino/Silk Eowyn and started the second 4 ozs. The first I split in half lengthwise and spun each section of color the length of the pieces with each half on a bobbin. The second hank has been broken up into its component colors with each color being spun up into long color streams. This will be plied with the singles made from the first 4 ozs. I'm looking forward to seing how this turns out.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Good love

It's Memorial Day weekend and an opportunity to take care of things around the house. One of the biggest chores is gathering up the yarn and fiber I've pulled out and had lying around the house. I had a fair amount and needed to sort it out and put it away in my fiber room. One item that was full of yarn was a floor basket which after it was emptied was Buster's object of curiosity.When I'd take a break from the cleaning, I'd do some spinning or check my email. At one point I had the TV on and my feet up. Maisie seized the opportunity for some kittylove and I gave her plenty.

Summer of Spinning 2009

Saturday I started on my spinning for the summer. I'm participating in David Daniel's Summer of Spinning 2009 challenge to spin up as much of my stash as possible. I have a handspindle at the office and my wheels at home to produce as much yardage as I can. I'll be noting my finished yardage here. For more info, click on the button on the sidebar.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sad news

I just heard that Witt Pratt, a good friend from the GLBT Knit list and wonderful sweet man, passed away last night. My thoughts are with Gary and his family. Whipknee will be greatly missed by many.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Clearing my throat

A couple of weeks ago I ran out of my anti-depressant medication. At the time cash was a little low, so I held off having it refilled. During that time, I thought "What would happen if I didn't have it refilled? I went on it because of my hormones and stress. My hormones are settled and the stress is not as high." My symptoms are mild: mood swings, mild depression, some anxiety. Stress heightens these to where my interactions with others are affected. When I went on the meds I was going through a very stressful time at the office where I would come home and cry. Monthly I would have days where it took little to turn me into psychobitch. The meds made the emotional roller coaster smoother and for a while it appeared I would have to be on them for the rest of my life. My partial hysterectomy changed things for the better. It was followed a year later with my changing job roles. I stayed on my meds like a good kid.

The ending of the meds was an opportunity to take stock of what my body is able to handle. Going cold turkey is a risky proposition with the potential of creating mental mayhem. That didn't occur to me until I mentioned it in my tweets and got responses with those warnings. By the time I got the warnings, however, I was already a couple of days off the meds and committed to my experiment.

I can say that my experiment did not create any major problems. The most radical change was a manic period where my creative energies exploded into a whole new take on a world I've been writing about since high school. It was during that time that I tackled my kitchen's mess. I was joyful and my senses were sharpened. For a while it was going well. Then one day one of the cats was doing something normal and I snapped at her because it was distracting me from what I was doing. A couple of other incidents happened at work during a stressful time that made me realize that I still needed the meds if I was to be able to act appropriately. With my job I had to be diplomatic and able to manage my time well. If I wasn't able to handle quick changes of priority it would create problems. So I called in my refill. To make the return not so radical, I halved the dosage and so far that is working for me. If that's what it takes, then all the better. I see my doc later this month and will discuss this with him.

Sunriver in October

Some things are serendipitous. One of the things I wanted to do this year was attend the Spin Off Autumn Retreat (SOAR) which was going to be at Sunriver Oregon. I applied for a scholarship but didn't get one, so was not sure if I would be able to go at all. But looking at my finances it worked out that I could go for at least the retreat portion. I worked out my rooming situation and chose my classes. So the last weekend of October I will be off to my first SOAR. With me will be folks that have been to SOAR before so I'm really pumped about this.

New Toys

Another thing fell into place this week. I've been hankering for an updated PDA that would be able to access the Internet via wifi. For a while I'd been eyeing the iPhone, but the prospect of having another bill for a function I would rarely use was not attractive. I could have opted for a BlackBerry but that also involved a monthly charge. Where I live there are many free wifi hotspots I could access so I was more interested in something that could pick up the hotspots. Well, a week and a half ago I spotted a PDA for sale in the company newsletter. It was an HP iPAC Pocket PC h4350, which isn't as popular but as it turned out had everything that I wanted. Even though it was originally built in 2003 it had many functions that work well here for the model was a high end item at the time. My researching found new ones retailing at over $400 and this was for $125. So I leapt at the opportunity and so far have been well rewarded. The wifi connection isn't working properly and I'm waiting for a synchronization cord to arrive so that I can update the software to try to fix that, but I am a happy happy camper. How much joy did this generate? For the first two days I had my iPAQ I didn't knit a stitch. That didn't last long. I couldn't find a case for it, so I made one that will protect it from the bumps of everyday use. The flower pattern's from Selbuvotter glove Annemor #15; the case pattern is my own.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

To the homeless man scrounging for food in the trash bin

What do your voices say to you? You with your beat up straw hat, drooping greasy clothes and eyes hidden in uncut brows You crouch beaten by your illness that drove you to the pavement What do your voices say to you? Frail yet resilient, a son to a mother now nameless You are feared for your unpredictability Feral, wary, desperately hungry. You feed from the meals of the fatted calves of the city What do your voices say to you about me? Mine say don't give him money there are shelters Don't give him money -- he'll spend it on drugs. I watch you pick the lettuce bits from a plastic box as I carry my sandwich. I have money. You have none. Now you have money. I don't watch you spend the money. I'm not your police. You're a human being deserving some dignity. I hope the voices told you I was okay.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Beyond Routine

I like my routines. In the morning I get up, turn on the stereo to listen to NPR news, do my ablutions, feed the cats, let them outside, dress for work, skim my email, let the cats back in, then go to work. I arrive at work half an hour before I start, fetch my breakfast from the cafe, then return to my desk to read blogs before I start my shift. There have been times when a change to my routine affected me (waking up late, being asked to start early at the last minute). I would feel shattered and recovering from that would take longer than the actual routine itself. I've gotten better over time, but I still like my routines. Part of it is being single and not answering to another.

The weekdays have their structure. The weekend has its own. But unlike the weekdays where work demands that I maintain a strict structure, the weekends are much more flexible. If I have no obligations planned, I can take a weekend and go do things at the drop of a hat. Aurora was one of those weekends. This weekend was too.

Friday I had a business trip to Salem. As part of my kit I included a knitting project: a pair of socks. It got a few kidding remarks but I'm used to that, and being able to knit on the drive down (I was pooling with three others) made the time go by quickly. At lunch we went out and as a matter of course I took my knitting, which I worked on as we waited for our pizzas. I dropped my bag of knitting into my handbag when the food arrived, but apparently I didn't drop it securely as when we left for home that afternoon I found it wasn't in my handbag. It was too late to go back. A phone call later confirmed that I had left the knitting at the pizzeria.

If you're a knitter, you know what it means to lose a project. Some things you think, "Meh, it's part of the risk." Some things aren't recoverable, like projects left on the bus or plane. But this project had two Addi Lace needles and Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock. Not a cheap thing to replace. Plus I knew where it was. I could have contacted folks from Confluence to go pick it up but then they would have had to either mail it to me or try to send it north with a Portland member -- something I felt was too much for me to ask. I opted to go fetch it myself.

Now the fun. When I posted to the Knitbloggers I was going to Salem to fetch my knitting, one of my buddies asked if I was going to the spinning going on at the Mission Mill Museum. Apparently there's a monthly meeting there that I wasn't aware of. I had originally planned to spend the day in Portland then head down in the late afternoon as the pizzeria didn't open until 5 pm. With this though I had the opportunity to meet some other folks who love to spin. They started at 10 am, so I figured I'd go down and play it by ear.

The ladies in the spinning circle were very friendly and as it turned out included Helen, with whom I had had a previous encounter at the Super Bowl weekend knitting party a year ago. While I was there I plied some merino/alpaca/silk blend that Susan of Abstract Fibers gave me for making a sample for her. Further conversation with Helen included an invitation to join her and her fellow knitters at the Blue Pepper. As the spinning group came to a conclusion at 2 pm and I was in need of a place to linger further in Salem, I went to the Blue Pepper. There I not only made my acquaintance with members of the Salem Ravelry group but also renewed my acquaintance with a lady (whose name unfortunately escapes me) I had known through my visits to Unraveled Yarns in Vancouver. I also met a local dyer, Stephania, who had come to drop off some fiber for some of the Ravelers and came away with some lovely Australian merino superwash top. At last the time came and I fetched my errant sock from Christo's Pizzeria and returned to Portland.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Your comments

Thank you everyone for your comments on the Queen Anne's Lace shawl. I truly enjoyed knitting the shawl and am glad that it came out so stunning. Ted wrote: " Is this the design by MMario? I've been thinking of doing it. What yarn are you using for it?" Yes it is the one by MMario. I knitted it out of 8 skeins of Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Wool.

Tallguy asked: "Where are you going to wear it so you can show off your skills?" It's my shawl for fiber events and summer evenings. It's perfect for places that have just a chill in the air.

Tychoish commented: "I heard you talking about this on the list and I was like "meh, a shawl, feh" because that's how I respond to all shawls. And then I was stumbling across the internet, minding my own business and *wham* amazing shawl. It's so cool. I want to make one now!" LOL! That'll teach ya! ;)


The needles and the wheels have not been idle. I started plying some laceweight merino/alpaca/silk that Susan of Abstract Fibers and a couple of hours of spinning last Wednesday came up with 100 yards of pretty yarn. I hope to finish up the rest this weekend when I go south to Salem to visit the spinning group meeting at the Mission Mill Museum and fetch some knitting I left behind at a pizzeria I visited for lunch while down in Salem on business. It wasn't the lacework edging as that's too complex and slippery. It's a pair of socks on Addi Lace needles that I've been working on that were perfect for such a jaunt. You can imagine my annoyance when I found I had dropped them, and as I wasn't the driver I couldn't go back to fetch them. I will get them back and start churning them out.

Nitey night.