Tuesday, September 26, 2006

14 hours isn't so long

Qantas flight 12 wasn't so bad at all. I thought that 14 hours would be torture, but on the overnight it wasn't bad. And even though there was no knitting, there was in-flight entertainment on the little video screen on the back of the seat in front of me, and it included video games, so I was set. I even got some decent sleep. We crossed both the international date line and the equator, arriving in Sydney at about 6am Monday morning.

On the Way Down Under

Note: These Australia posts will improve when I get the pictures into the laptop and the laptop onto an internet connection. For now, its a quick text-only from the internet cafe.

In Andersonville:
Finish laundry, finish packing, go to the bank, pick up prescriptions, eat lunch, go to the airport.
almost miss the turn to Terminal 3 drop-off, wait in a very, very long line at American Airlines for International Check-in, make line-friends (like school-friends) with a FermiLab scientist going to India (which he does often). He had an accent that made me think he was German, but I didn't ask. Behind me was a couple from Huntsville, Alabama who were also on their way to India. He is retired Navy and worked on nuclear-powered submarines. Very Cool. They have been all over the world, including to Australia. Good tips from them.
There was no knitting allowed on the flight from LAX to Sydney, and the bag gets checked all the way through, so there was no knitting from ORD to LAX. I downloaded knitting podcasts in the hope that would make it better. I was wrong. These podcasts are meant to be listened to while you are knitting. But Cast On is quite good.
Thing I discovered on Saturday: It is a really, really long plane ride to LA. 4 hours 15 minutes long. I had no idea. Its approx. 3 hours to San Fran (if I remember correctly from my childhood) and just a couple of hours to NYC/Boston. But Los Angeles? Really really far. Also, all the buildings are very short. There was also a big, dark area next to the expressway as the plane made its approach. I would think it was a river, but I don't know if they have a river in LA. Anyone know? And you would be correct, I've never been to LA. Well, I have, but only as a small child, about 20 years ago.
Sunday will get is own post.

Saturday, September 23, 2006


I am backdating this post to keep the "send me your address if you want a postcard" announcement up top.

Thanks to Shelly and her awesome knitalong (KAL), I have actually had new visitors. And thanks to Ms. Blackbird I now have a sitemeter. So not only are people (should I really presume that plurality?) coming to visit, but soon I will know where the heck they came from.

I am totally behind the times with the technology of blog administration. But I'm excited. Expect posts from OZ as I can.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Who wants mail?

I will be leaving for the land Down Under tomorrow, on a very long plane flight upon which no knitting, crochet or needlework of any sort are allowed. This is going to be a problem, I suspect. But the knitting can go in my checked luggage. I will try not to cry.

If anyone would like a postcard, please leave a comment with your address or mosey on over to my profile, find the email link and send it to me. I will do my best to follow through on this offer.

Keep Smiling! =)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

These little things are addicting

I have been following The Heathen Housewife's mitered square blanket project for awhile now. She started it, and then asked The Yarn Harlot to ask the knitblogosphere to send her more sock yarn scraps. I sent her some scraps of Regia self-striping, and eventually got the idea to use my Koigu and CTH yarns for a blanket. Well, last night, I started my first block. I am now on my third. I've started to get the hang of the cast-on, using my cotton rug warp weaving yarn aka blue string aka leader yarn, for the provisional cast-on over a size 5 needle.

So far I've figured out that I want my blanket to be the same size as my khaki and red plaid couch blanket, so I need 15 blocks with a 31 stitch cast-on as the base line. There will need to be 20 rows of blocks. I am planning to use fingering weight, handpaint, merino wool yarns, preferably 2-ply. I'm not sure how many squares I will get out of the almost-50 grams I have of each of the two Koigus, but if it is one row, then I will get 2 rows of my Koigu (one of each color) and 4 rows of CTH (100 gram balls = twice as many rows). 6 rows does not equal 20 rows. I also have 100 gram sets of striping Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock from the studio sale to the WCKG in the spring. There are 3 colors there (red-orange, green-blue and charcoal-purple), so that would give me 6 more rows of colors so I'd be up to 12. I would also need to work out the textural difference between the 3-ply, wool-nylon LLSS and the 2-ply, 100% superwash merino, CTH and Koigu.

All of this knit-rambling makes me think that I should knit my first ball of yarn up into as many squares as I can to see how far it goes. If I get 20 squares, then I'll knit the blanket that way, if I don't even get to 15 squares, then I'll refigure the numbers. If I get to 20 squares, then I'll only need 150 more grams of yarn to make a whole blanket. I'm guessing that I will find some yarn on sale or hiding in a stash by then that fits the situation.

Here is an idea for a stripe sequence:
Koigu 1
LL 1
LL 2
LL 3
LL 2
LL 1
Koigu 2

I think that this will accent the textural differences in the two yarns in an interesting way. Or maybe I should just use this as an excuse to buy lots of single skeins of hand dyed koigu-esque sock yarn. Well, I've got at least 90 squares before I have to get more koigu-esque if I decide to nix the Lorna's.

I'm going to stop rambling now, so that I can have some sleep in me before work tomorrow. This week is going to be the end of me, I think.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

My Secret Pal wants more

My Spinning Roving Swap partner wants to know more about me, so here are the answers. When I get ready for SP9, I think that I will be digging through the archives and making an entry that links to all these surveys. This one has a few new questions though... typical outfit, purse, favorite thing in nature.

1) Favorite book/movie/TV shows?
How about authors? Tom Robbins, Jane Austen. For knitting, I love Elizabeth Zimmerman and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.
Movies: Pride & Prejudice, Monsters, Inc, Breakfast at Tiffany's
TV Shows: Gray's Anatomy, Gilmore Girls, Mythbusters, Law&Order (esp. SVU), Alias
2) Describe a typical outfit you might wear.
blue Eddie Bauer Jeans, red long sleeve t-shirt, gray polar fleece vest, sneakers, hair in a ponytail.
3) What kind of purse are you using right now?
I got it at Target in Feb 2005 when I was buying clothes to start my new job. It is kind of springlike, with a woven texture and lots of colors. For the most part it is very subtle colors though. It has a brown "leather" handle and base. It does the job, I don't love it.
4) What is your favorite item in nature?
My favorite item in nature? Hmm... flowers! Tulips, daffodils, lilies.
5) What do you do for a living?
I wrangle clients and scenery construction. Officially, I work at here as a project manager. I am directly using my degree in my first job out of school. I can't complain about that, but its still work.
6) What is your favorite flavor when it comes to sweets (chocolate, lemon, raspberry, orange, marzipan, etc)?
Chocolate! Dark Chocolate (but not ridiculous 97% dark or anything) is best, white chocolate isn't even chocolate. Ritter Sport bars with the cookie inside milk chocolate are one of my favorites in Cost Plus World Market chocolate, Dove Dark is my favorite grocery store chocolate and Take 5 is one of my favorites for check-out line candy (but I also like lots of other candy too)

I also love cookies and gummies. I am not very picky about either except that they should not be stale. I have a sweet tooth that will keep my dentist in business until I'm on my deathbed, I imagine. It will be a personal tragedy if I ever develop diabetes.
7) Do you have a type of fiber you've always wanted to spin, but haven't gotten around to it yet?
Not really, I love wool yarn, and wool fiber and my stash reflects that. I'd like to try a bit of something with sparkle in it, but in general, I'm not a sparkle girl with my yarn.
8) Why do you enjoy spinning?
Spinning is MAGIC! I am making yarn from wool. Its not difficult to do, but you can always get better at it. When I spin I am doing something that people have been doing for millenia, but has experienced a very modern resurgence of interest. I love making yarn.
9) What types of fiber do you already have waiting in the wings to be spun?
Oh my! I have Lorna's Laces wool top, a merino-silk blend from Ashland Bay, silver alpaca, carded batts I bought from someone on Spin-Sales, Day's End roving from Abi at High Prairie Fibers, a collection of roving to make neapolitan ice cream yarn, kool-aid dyed superwash merino braids and some plying. That is just in the "we are colorful, spin us now" stash cubes. Deeper in the stash I have BFL, superwash merino, Wensleydale, moorit Shetland, cotton, some Jacob (which I don't like, too coarse... I don't care if they are Bibical sheep) and some other random cream colored, carded, with a bit of VM wool-that-isn't-merino.
10) When knitting, do you prefer using straight needles, circulars or DPNs? Do you have a lot of needles? What sizes?
I prefer to use my Denise Interchangeable set whenever possible. When that doesn't work I try to use DPNs or Magic Loop, depending on the project. I have no interest in aluminum needles. Except that I want to get a Susan Bates sock set, as my gauge is still looser than I'd like for socknitting. I have plenty of needles, because I have piles of unsorted, inherited needles. But a girl can never have too many dpns.
Well, pal, I hope that this helps! And now that I've answered, I think that I will pass the questions on to the person that I am sending gifts to. Sorry that it took so long.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Australian Randomness

I am looking for Australian Knitbloggers to get recommendations from, and in the process I found someone who recently climbed the Sydney Harbor Bridge. Check out Flavia's post here:
Climb Sydney Harbour Bridge Done

My mom has emailed me back about the Bridge Climb. She says no way, no how. Maybe Dad will go for it. Or they could get their own activity for half a day and I'll go climb a bridge anyway.

Oh, and the exchange rate is currently 75 cents American for every 1 dollar Australian. Sweet. Of course, the prices are higher too. Sadness.

I found the Sydney Stich'n'Bitch blog and the local yarn store (which looks gigantic and isn't just knitting), Tapestry Craft. If anyone knows of yarn stores in Sydney, Brisbane or Noosa, please let me know. Yarn and such things are great souveniers.

************Edited to Add*****************
I went to Woolworks to look for Australian Yarn stores. Here is what I found:

In Queensland (home of Brisbane and Noosa):
There is Threads & More in Brisbane


Keep Smiling! =)

I can't help but agree

Canada: Living the American dream... - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

This is a new tee from threadless that I just might have to get. I've never actually bought their t-shirts, but a lot of mine are getting ratty. It just might be time to upgrade during the next $10 sale.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Going Down Under

Does anyone have any suggestions for must-dos and can't-miss activities in Sydney, Brisbane, Noosa and the general Southern Queensland region of Australia? On the list of possibilities so far:
  • Sydney Opera House tour(s)
  • Bell Shakespeare Company show, The Tempest
  • Droog Design exhibit at Sydney Opera House
  • The beach in Noosa
  • Baha'i House of Worship
  • something called the Woolshed? Woolfarm? Its some sort of museum to wool and sheep.
  • Koala Sanctuary place in Brisbane
  • Australian Zoo
  • day trip to Fraser Island
  • Sydney Harbor tour (if Mom and I get the courage to go on a boat)
  • There are some other places in Queensland with ridiculously funny names that I want to see just so that I can say that I've been to Joohoogooleefaaland (no, that isn't a real place, I made it up)
  • there is a National Park with colored sands. I like colored sands. And sand usually=beach or desert, and I like both of those things.
  • eat Tim Tams
  • exercise to work off all the Tim Tams I anticipate eating
Now, I'm off to meet up with Lavina. Leave suggestions! Mom is booking the hotels, I have to find us stuff to do.

How much is too much?

If you are talking about milk on Life Cereal, and your answer was anything smaller than "until it overflows your largest bowl" you would be wrong. I continue to be amazed by the absorption properties of these little pre-sugared whole grain oat squares. I put a reasonable amount in the bowl, pour so much milk on that you can barely tell there is cereal down there, start eating, and somehow, there is a dry bowl at the end, and I was skimping on the milk in those last few bites.

Of course, the cereal squares themselves had practically quadrupled in size. That might be an overstatement, but not by much. Get yourself some cereal and milk and try it out.

In fact, I'm pretty sure that it is impossible to put too much milk on this cereal.

Saturday, September 9, 2006

Help needed

Item the first:
I may be an inconsistent blogger, but I do like it. However, I am not-so-very skillful in the template adjusting department, and I feel like I need to learn how to read all the plain text junk in the template so that I can play with it more intelligently, or I need to find a blog engine that allows me to use some sort of a WYSIWYG page designer so that I can move stuff around/change things, see how it looks, have it generate the code and then let me go back in and tinker with the code if its not quite right.

Item the first and a half:
I think that the blue blog is looking dated, but I finally got some stuff in the sidebar. Is it just a matter of cut-and-paste to move it into a new template?

Item the second:
My TV has stopped working. That is the short problem. In reality, the television, antenna, and TiVo are not working together. Antenna to TV works when they are directly connected. TiVo to TV works, in the sense that all of the TiVo information shows up on the screen, and there is no blue TiVo screen of death (the one that it gets when there is no signal going through). However, Antenna to TiVo to TV does not create viewable television programming. If the antenna doesn't go to the TiVo, then the TiVo can't record.

This problem happened about a month ago, we lived without the TiVo for a while, and then I got a new Coax cable, (but only one, because the connection between antenna and TV was clearly fine), and some more of the composite AV cables (with white, yellow and red connectors) to make sure that the TiVo, DVD/VCR, TV and switcher box were all sufficiently connected. This solved the problem for a while, but now we are back where we started.

Do we have to get cable? In 13 months with Anne we never had this problem (we had cable), and its the same exact TiVo box. The television itself is not very fancy. Is this the problem? Please, if you have a lick of sense about fixing the TV, I'll be eternally grateful and I'll make you cupcakes or yarn or dinner or take you out for drinks or make you warm with knitted things for winter.

Item the third:
Take a look at the sidebar, I made WeatherPixies for my sister in Brisbane and me in Chicago. Now I can look and see what time of day it is there. I'm guessing that no one else cares, but there it is.

Now, I'm hungry and I need to get going on this day that is almost over.

Keep Smiling! =)

Friday, September 8, 2006

Who knits this?

Okay folks, I'm asking seriously, who knits this?

More importantly, have you ever had cold elbows, but had the rest of your arm be warm? In such a way that instead of putting on a "traditional" garment (i.e. a sweater or sweatshirt) you thought to yourself, "Self, wouldn't it be great if my wrist warmer was wider, so that I could put it on my elbow?" Or maybe "Gee, wouldn't my wardrobe be improved if my gauntlet wider and without a thumb opening?"

No, of course not. Maybe in California. But I even doubt that.

I have an image of a knitter who doesn't like big projects making a hat, scarf, shrug, camisole, these elbow warmers and wrist warmers. When she could have made a hoodie and not looked ridiculous! Also, no one would have to blog about the ridiculousness of that wardrobe malfunction.

Please, if you can think of a situation when only your elbow has been cold, or why you would want to knit these, leave a comment and enlighten me.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Spinning Roving Swap Questionnaire

1) How long have you been spinning?
I've been spinning almost an entire year now. I took a class in September of 2005 on using the handspindle at knit1 to learn how to use some little one ounce balls of merino roving I had bought from a co-worker of my roommate because otherwise she was going to return them. I bought my Lendrum ST wheel at The Fold on Halloween weekend last year.
2) Are you a beginner, novice, or experienced spinner?
I consider myself to be an intermediate spinner. I am definitely not experienced or expert, but I know what I'm doing and can spin some nice yarn that isn't 3 wpi. In fact, I'm even teaching a drop spindle class at Arcadia Knitting in October. I probably should buy that mediocre kit so that I can practice with what the students will be using.
3) Do you spin on a drop spindle or wheel, or both?

I am capable of using a drop spindle, and I can teach newbies how to use it, but I greatly prefer my wheel for its speed and sitting-down-ness. And it is way more magical for spectators.
4) What types and weights of drop spindles (or what type of spinning wheel(s) ) do you currently own?

I currently own a CD spindle, and two Ashford spindles, a large and a small. I also have a Lendrum ST wheel with only the regular flyer head. I am borrowing a Bosworth Attache Charkha from my friend Joy, who was the teacher at the first spinning class I ever took.

5) What type of fibers have you spun with before?

I have spun wool of various types/breeds (merino, BFL, targhee, corriedale, finn, jacob, superwash, regular, combed top, batts, roving, fake rolags), alpaca raw and as combed top, mystery breed Lorna's Lace's Wool Top, cotton, recycled denim, decor snow blanket blended with tinsel from Winter WonderFest

6) What fibers do you prefer to spin with?

I prefer to spin with fibers that are VM (vegetable matter) free, in a combed preparation. Wool is the most forgiving, and is my favorite thing to knit with. Alpaca is a close second.
7) What fibers do you dislike?

I dislike fiber that is from "naturally colored" sheep (aka BROWN). I clearly am not into this spinning stuff to do it "all natural" or any of that. I am doing it because I like yarn in all of its forms, included pre-yarn. It wasn't very much fun to spin the decor stuff, except as an exercise in souvenir making.
8) Do you prefer natural colored fibers, or handpainted/dyed fiber?

I prefer to spin fiber that is a dyed color, but it doesn't have to be handpainted. Its mostly just that white gets boring, and I'm not a big fan of dyeing.
9) Would you prefer all one type of roving or smaller amounts of different types to sample?

I would prefer all one type of roving, or different colors of similar fibers, so that I could use them together in a project.
10) What are you favorite colors?
My favorite colors are blue, red and purple. Recently, I've also been into the green-brown-blue portion of the clothing spectrum.
11) What colors do you dislike?
Naturally colored sheep=brown, gray and other icky, boring colors.
12) What would you like to do with your handspun yarn, or what do you plan to do with it? (pattern clarification here)

so far I have knit potholders, a ridiculous ill-fitting hat, a hat and mitten set for my sister, a hat for my aunt Steph, and some swatches. I aspire to knit a hat that a person with a regular size head (i.e. not my sister) can wear and not look ridiculous in. I suspect that swatching would help.

I generally knit hats from the center out, thinking that I'll be able to measure the gauge and figure out how many stitches I need, but it never seems to work out that way and the hats are gigantic. I'm trying to avoid swatching, but really, I shouldn't.

I have all those little balls of merino wool spun up into hanks of 2-ply in bright jewel tones, with some coordinating cream colored yarn. I'm planning to design, knit, steek and finish a throw pillow with a fair isle design on it using all that early handspun.

13) What spinning projects are you currently working on?

I'm trying to get back on the spinning horse, as it were. I'm not spinning
for anything in particular.
14) Do you have a wishlist?
15) What are your other favorite hobbies?

I read and knit and read blogs and knit and read The Economist and knit and
read books and knit.

16) Do you have any allergies (pet, smoke, food, fiber,etc...)?

No allergies, per se, but I would appreciate if the package didn't come smelling
of smoke or filled with the brushings from your lovely pet Fluffy embedded in
17) What is your preferred shipping method (USPS, UPS, FedEx)?

My home mailing address prefers USPS, but I can get any of them at work.

Friday, September 1, 2006

Looks like I have some ground to cover...

States I've Visited:

create your own personalized map of the USA

Countries I've Visited:

create your own visited country map

I saw this over at Long enough for the clouds to fly me away. His is going to change a lot in the next year, since his wife works for an airline now. I wonder if airlines need scenery people. Probably not.

Maybe someday I'll update these maps with all of the places that I'd like to go. Probably not. Because what I'd really like to do is completely fill the maps with red, having seen the entire world, and all the states in the US and all the provinces in Canada.