Another Hobby Blog

Monday, November 27, 2006

Snow Update: Keith Home Safe

He got back to the car safely, put the chains on, and drove back home. :) Car is safely in the garage again, we're both home safe and wafm, watching the cold and snow on the TV news.

The hail and rain of earlier this afternoon turned into a sheet of ice under the evening's snow-- the driving conditions are worse than I can ever remember here in the Seattle area. Usually if the ground is wet the snow won't stick. So usually if there is snow on the ground, it's snow on dry ground, not snow over ice.

There are a lot of people who are stuck on the roadways tonight. Tow truck estimates run upward of 5 to 6 hours-- and that's for the real problems.

Definitely staying home tomorrow!

Knee Update: I Get To SWIM Again!! :)

...which is what I was doing just before it started snowing. I was swimming (really Swimming! frog-kick, front-crawl, swimming!) for the first time since my surgery, and I would have stayed in the pool longer had another gym member not drawn my attention to the white-stuff sticking (Sticking??!) to the roads.

so I'm in a much better mood today, having finally had the chance to exercize (and enjoy it!) for an hour.

which means it's time to capitalize on the decent mood and tell you something that happened recently before something else goes wrong and my mood tanks. (apparently my husband's car stuck in the snow is only enough to dampen my mood, not dispell it completely.)

Check-up appointment with my surgeon was last Tuesday (just before Thanksgiving, which might explain the delay before I got to go swimming), and he's pleased with the progress. He shook my knee, pulled it, pushed it... decided it was still attatched. :) He's happy with my range of motion, and says I get to go Swimming again! yay!! finally some exercize (real exercize!!!) that I can *enjoy*!! (not this lifting weights junk that I've been stuck with for the past several months! .. it has it's place as a fill-in activity, but it is *not* my idea of daily exercize! ew!) .. so I spent an hour and a half in the pool doing laps. :) and would have easily spent another half hour had it not been for the snow/hail/ice/rain/sleet stuff.

He loved his socks! :) Loved them, I say!! nearly in tears with joy, if you can imagine! I even got a *hug*!! wow. a hug from my surgeon. How amazingly cool is that??!

He says they're his first pair of hand-knit socks ever and they're already his favorite, even though he hadn't tried them on and so can't really know whether they fit right! .. he said he was going skiing over the weekend and would bring them with! :) Yay!!

So I guess, since my surgeon had to do a patch-and-repair on my knee, it's only fitting that he should get a one-of-a-kind pair of hand-knit socks that endured several patch-and-repair jobs before they even got off the needles!

Let's just say that I was up, knitting, the night before my appointment, until 5:00AM getting these things done. Worth every bit of it.

This is what they looked like just a short week prior:

The astute among you will already have noticed that the heels changed color somewhere along the way.

Yes, I realized with horror that I was *not* (despite careful weighing of the ball of yarn and the sock throughout the progress to be sure I'd have sufficient for the second sock) going to make it all the way to the toe of the second sock, and in fact there was some doubt the yarn I had would actually turn the heel on the second sock. I'd searched all my LYSs in the hopes of finding the yarn to match with no luck, and when we travelled to Tucson for a couple of days to visit with Keith's father, I checked the LYSs there--also no luck. But somewhere along the way I found a yarn that co-ordinated pretty well (if only I'd planned it that way from the beginning! would have saved me some knitting and ripping and re-knitting!)

So with one sock completed, and the second sock knit to the start of the heel, and with one scant week before my next appointment, I realized what I'd have to do...

I didn't really have the time to rip the completed sock back all the way past the heel and re-knit it all, but I needed the yarn that made up the heel and the toe so that I could complete the arch of the second sock!

So I put in a lifeline around the heel, and took it right out!

I picked up the stitches and re-knit the heel in the contrast yarn. There were some anomalies. The untrained eye probably will not notice. The trained eye would notice and forgive.

At Midnight, the evening before my appointment, I thought I had a pair of socks. :) One last try-on on my own feet to be sure (as sure as one can be when the size of one's foot is 4 sizes plus a gender different than the target!)... and was astounded to find out that one sock was approximately 12 rows shorter than the other in the foot length! Yipes!! how did that happen?? .. apparently in the gusset formation of the second sock. .. but again, I was short on time to actually rip back!

So two more lifelines and take the toe right off:

add in the missing 12 rows, and kitchener stitch it back together. :)

It's even hard to tell there was a repair made from looking at the finished socks!
I love kitchener stitch!

First Snowfall 2007

First snowfall yesterday-- lasted maybe an hour. Big white flakes mixed with rain. Didn't stick. (no surprise)

Second snowfall today--little flakes, big flakes, mixed with hail the size of bean-bag stuffing, mixed with raindrops from time to time. Stuck to the roadways!! (startling, really..) Very unpredictable driving conditions. Many cars in ditches. One of those cars ours. (VERY unpredictable driving conditions-- the hail mixed with snow mixed with rain and ice gives spots of traction and spots of sliding that just cannot be guessed or corrected for.) Thankful for AAA car assistance (though I suspect it will be a long time before they get far enough down the queue to help my sweetie get back on the road...)

Thank goodness I called him to let him know how careful he needed to be!

... ..

AAA wait estimate: 4 hours

.. ...

I found the chains for both cars, was going to put chains on mine and drive the other pair out to him, but it turns out that the chains for my car are unforgivably difficult to work. (I have used many sets of chains before and never had so much trouble! .. of course, my knee is also not up for the challenge of kneeling at all, much less in the cold and wet, either.)

After half an hour of fussing with the chains and not succeeding at getting even one of them on a tire, I gave up. I would have attempted the drive without chains (very short drive, very familiar terrain) except that the sudden and freakish snowfall brought *every* one of my neighborhood's children (and grown adults seeking to behave childishly) out into the streets, and they were not getting out of the way of the few cars that were passing by (not stopping to my attempts to flag them. hmpf!)

Turns out Keithr also timed out on waiting around for me to arrive and was walking back to the house to get the chains.

.. ...

now he's back out in the cold (with new warmer clothing, at least!) trudging back to the car to put the chains on it so that he can bring it home.

Thank goodness for cyalume. (that'd be the glowy green safety light stuck to the back of his jacket so he'll get seen by the other vehicles on the roadway while he's walking.)

.. .. ..

it was rather amusing to see one of my neighbors out for a "walk" on his cross-country skis!

We usually don't get anywhere near enough snow pack to ski on! This snowfall is absolutely freakish. In the 1 hour between the time that I got home and called my sweetie to suggest that he come home due to the weather, and the time that he called me to say that his car was in the ditch (not actually in the ditch, it turns out! he got lucky.. off on the shoulder and close to the ditch, but not needing a winch-out! yay!) **3 inches** of snow had built up on the trunk of my car! **three inches!!!**

That's my car in the left of the picture! That's my car just *1 hour* after I pulled into the driveway!!! *3 inches!*

..and you can tell from the light bouncing off the snowflakes (I love how falling snow photographs!) how much of the stuff was still coming down!

I'm cancelling tomorrow. (well, more literally, I'm cancelling my out-of-house appointments for tomorrow!)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Holiday Doldrums

I don't like to post unless I can muster a good mood. This holiday season that seems highly unlikely. :I

But I do like the handmade needle holder that my SP9 made for me! :) .. must get pictures soon.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A Hole in my Handmade Sock, Darn It!!

Imagine my horror when I found a small hole in one of the socks made for me by my SET partner!

(Yes, I checked the house for pests immediately, found none, had the exterminator experts come out anyway, just in case!)

And then I sat down to fix the problem. :)

From this... this!

The hole was in part of the rise (between cuff and heel), and the fixed portion is a little thicker than it ought to be, but you can hardly see the difference! :)

Below are some of the steps involved:

Fortunately, my SET pal (thank you, Cindy!) sent me a little butterfly of extra sock yarn along with the socks, so I was able to repair them in their same yarn!! :)

(don't think I'm going to try to write my own instructions for this technique!! There are some very well-written instructions out there in the world, and I've even searched out a couple of the links for you!)

option 1

option 2

Note-- both "official" sources used a vertical skeleton, I used a horizontal skeleton. I didn't bother to look up the "official" sources when I needed them, I just dragged my best effort up from memory. It worked, though!

Three Weeks of Swap-Bot Thank-Yous!!


I had intended to get my thank-you notes up today, but it looks like I don't have what I need to do that properly! .. so I've composed a draft, which should make it easier to get the post completed in a couple of days.

Thank you to all the wonderful Swap-bot participants who have sent such lovely and wonderful surprises to fill my mailbox these past few weeks!! I will post a better (more picture-filled) thank you note in a few days! :)

Thank You, Rox!

My very first real, lasting internet swap pal!! :)

Rox sent me a fabulous Halloween card! and a wintery magnet! (made, I am certain, by her own loving and crafty hands!!)

Thank You, SP8ee!

(this thank-you is a little bit belated, actually... but every bit sincere!)

My wonderful spoilee for SP8 sent me (for my recovery-from-surgery phase) a wonderful pair of books!

Aunt Erma's Cope Book -- a great read, good for keeping the spirits up when there's no way possible to get everything done that needs doing. :)

and a puzzlebook of Sudoku! I love puzzle books.. and I am very good at Sudoku (and other logical/mathematical solution-style puzzles), so this was a much appreciated choice! In fact, there are still enough unsolved puzzles in the book to make it worth bringing with on the current round of holiday travel! :)

I did discover an interesting fact when the puzzle book arrived-- A fundamental difference in the approaches toward life between my mother and I...

I like to start at the back of the puzzle book (or the text book or the craft how-to book), pick the most challenging puzzle (or project) and do my level best to solve it with little to no idea of *how*. I don't read the step-by-step instructions in the introduction chapter-- I only read the overview on the puzzle concept. In Sudoku, for example, I know there are 9 digits in each of three directions (horizontal line, vertical line, within the square), and that's sufficient to get me going. The rest of the process is a matter of straining my logical circuits until I find the solution, make a wrong choice (and end up with a non-solution situation), or can't press any further and get stuck for awhile. A good puzzle can take me several weeks of 10-minute bursts, and I am always surprised when I pick it up again (after finding myself stuck and abandoning it in frustration) and find that I can still push it forward with the solution skills I already have. I always wonder why I get to these block-points wherein I can't see what to do next? Especially since the next time I pick it up it is so obvious what I can still do! Why can't I see the entire solution set all at once? why do I need to take a break and come back, see things from a new perspective? .. but it's part of the fun to push as hard as I can at something that is a bit (maybe a little bit, maybe a huge significant bit) above my capacity level. I enjoy the challenge, I enjoy the breakthroughs, the "Aha!"s, the laboring over what I know should be solvable. .. and if I chance to get something wrong, I can accept that, because when one is working beyond one's capacity, one is bound to occassionally fail. Easy success does not make me happy--I want reward for my investment.

My mother, on the opposing side, starts at the beginning. She reads the introduction thoroughly (several times if needed), goes through all the practice steps, and starts with the easiest puzzle. She gets her sense of accomplishment from conquering each step independently, understanding thoroughly the workings of each independent process before complicating the situation with an additional factor. She draws enjoyment from working the easy solution and being "graduated" to an incrementally more difficult challenge.

I suppose there is hope that, some day, if we keep to our patterns, we might both meet in the middle.

Thank You, Juli! They've been great fun, and I think of you each time I work on a puzzle!! :)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Patty's Challenge #2 -- washcloth

sugar and cream, size 7 needles, seed stitch with garter stitch border.

(For some reason I can finish these challenges in plenty of time, but getting the results posted onto my blog takes me *forever*!)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

OMG!!! I Forgot the Very Best Part!!!

(...again with the superlatives...)

There was a fabulous tin sock-needle DPN holder for works-in-progress!! Hand-made by skilled craftsmen using historical techniques, tools, and pattern!

This was such a fabulous treat to find in my box that I swept it up promptly and put it into my project bag with my surgeon's socks! (for which I need to find more yarn before I turn the second heel.. must go on a search today for match or complement)

And then I was trying to say thank-you from my already-shrunk-to-blog-size photo, and I just plain missed seeing it, and it was no longer in the original box, so when I did an inventory I didn't catch the oops!

Here it is, in all its own glory! :)

Oh! and it turns out that my gingerbread was actually banana-walnut bread!! (much to my surprise and happiness when I bit into it!) Maybe my nose was lying? .. or maybe there is ginger in the recipe? either way, it's *yummy*! I had a second piece just now for breakfast! yummers!!

Monday, November 06, 2006

SP9 Thank You!!

On Saturday I opened my mailbox to find the most amazing package! Yay!!! A package from my current Secret Pal! :)

So many good things to keep me warm!
Gingerbread!! (speaking of which, I'm going to go warm up a slice in my toaster oven, spread some butter on it, and have it alongside a scoop of ice cream! YUM!!!) Home-baked Gingerbread!!!!! :)
Chai Tea!
Really pretty ocean and world themed wrapping paper! (just the thing for my current ATC and Postcard crafting kick!)
The cutest hand-made paper card with flip-flop design! (hand-made by Three Marias)
A really nice business-card holder also by Three Marias! This will be indispensible next time I go to a fiber event! ..
Hand-Knit LEG WARMERS!!!!! really nice cozy leg warmers! (the rolled-up bundles in the upper left corner of the picture) Beautiful color, and they fit wonderfully! They will be my best friends this winter--my knee is already pitching a fit every time the weather turns cold or intense-- and then they will be so nice to wear during warm-up on the ice when I finally get to go skating again!
A felted (also hand-knit!) ear-flap/headband! Perfect to wear when the wind is blowing! The felting makes them much more protective against the wind than my previous head-band had been!
AND!! a Hand-Knit pair of Alpaca driving mitts! :) ((I can never have too many pair of driving mitts! .. one by the computer, one for each car, one in my coat pocket (each coat) for when I'm out walking.. one to loan to a friend, one for my skating bag (when I get to skate again..)) These alpaca mitts are crochetted! and so very toasty that I think I will need to wait for the weather to get colder before I can wear them very much! :) .. they will be perfect for keeping my hands from freezing before the car's heater warms up, though! and the cars already have frost on them in the mornings now.

Thank you so much! I feel very pampered with all of these wonderful hand-made gifties! (PS--I verified your location from your zip code. ;) .. now I just need to start going through the list of all participants and eliminate the ones who can't be you.... )

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Jester Bag!!

I forgot to draw attention (in my fairy costume pic) to the Jester Bag that was made by my Washcloth swapper!! Isn't it the perfect accessory?? I just *love* it! It was the perfect size to hold my ID and a little cash and a very small project (a pair of socks was a little too big, so I took some tatting instead) and my cellphone!

Thank You, Cindy!!

Happy November, Everyone!

(...since I didn't wish everyone a happy Halloween! -- too busy with costume details and last-minute swap obligations!)

So.. Halloween was yesterday, and it happens to be one of my favorite holidays. (Because I like playing dress-up! as a fiber artist with a strong background in costuming and fashion, how could I resist?)

My ideas are always more ornate than I can carry out in the time available, but I am pretty happy with this year's results:

I had intended to be an injured fairy with a splint on my knee and some stitched-up wings .. I got the fairy costume finished, but didn't get the scratches and tears for the injury part. ah well.

(The fairy boots were surprisingly comfortable, by the way! .. no rain, so I didn't get a chance to find out how weather-repellant they were, but they were warm enough, and the caulking (silicone-rubber) on the soles gave some cushioning on the sidewalks, and some traction on the smooth floors. I had been worried the caulked soles would abrade quickly on the concrete, but they held up nicely (for the half-a-block walk, anyway!)

We didn't quite decide what Keithr was going to be... (the vampire fangs didn't work right), but he looks quite dashing, don't you think?