Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wandering Eye

Thanksgiving is over. Everyone's gone. We had as nice a time as we could have had.

This was the first time the family has all been together for Thanksgiving in a long time, since years before my mother died. Given that there are some entrenched hard feelings and champion grudge-holders in the family, I was worried. But everyone was great. The food was good (if I do say so myself) and it was very nice to have everyone together.

And, just after I've recovered from that, Chanukah starts tomorrow night. I'm sorely behind in my gift-purchasing. Some gifts have been ordered, but just haven't arrived yet. Jr. Jr. runs into the house every day after school and starts searching for the presents. He can't find any. He swears he's going to find them under our bed, but all he finds are empty boxes. Little does he know that some things are hiding in plain sight...

I didn't knit at all for several days over Thanksgiving week. I was just too busy. All my stripey socks are stalled. One pair is almost done, but I haven't finished them off. And I tried to get back to Paper Crane. Second sleeve -- it's almost done! But, oh, endless stockinette on tiny needles gets boring.

That's 72 rows of knitting. I have another 96 rows just to get to the armhole shaping and armscye. You can see my problem, right?

I needed something more interesting. I needed something less laceweight. I just bought a pair of cream-colored cords that would look really great with brown boots and a brown sweater, so...

I strayed. Forgive me, for I have been adulterous in my knitting. The culprit? Dark and Stormy. Here's the Ravelry link. Knit in one piece from the top down out of worsted weight, with cabling to keep things interesting. The yarn is Squoosh's Merino/Cashmere worsted. I love it. It's round and squooshy, with great stitch detail. I don't think this one will pill quickly, like a lot of more loosely spun and plied cashmere blends.

I still have that bobbin of singles to chain-ply. I don't know when I'll get around to that. Maybe this weekend, if I can tear myself away from Dark and Stormy.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

This Post Brought to You by the Number 1

One sock:

One mitten:

One very full bobbin of singles:

One part of one other sock:

...and one finished pair of socks:

(Like how I snuck that last one in there?)

This is what happens when I work on many things at once. Luckily, they're small things, but it does feel a bit scattered to me. The top sock, by the way, is Gothsocks. The mitten is a Fiddlehead mitten for my friend Susan. She just tried on that first one a few minutes ago and seemed very happy. The last pair of socks is the Yarn Chef Plum Waves pair.

I managed to get the whole 4.something ounces of fiber onto that bobbin, thank goodness! That's a very fine single, but when I looked back at my first picture from this spin, I realized that I started out a bit thicker. It's taken me at least 3 weeks to do all that spinning, so I'm not surprised that I'm a little inconsistent. I hope the finished yarn isn't too bad because of that.

I'm hoping to get that plied up this weekend, but I don't know. I'm hosting Thanksgiving this year, so there's a lot of cleaning and prep work to do. Of course, I decided that the guest room needed a little facelift before my alleged* guests arrive next week, so right now the room's a shambles. Sanity prevailed, however, and I decided not to attempt to repaint the room while I was at it.

An emergency call to the plumber pushed to the forefront our plan to renovate the boys' bathroom. It's working, but right after Thanksgiving I need to start the process of finding a contractor, getting estimates, etc. I really don't want to have to go through this, but hopefully it won't take too long. We'd just be gutting and redoing, without moving walls or anything.

So between suddenly having to host Thanksgiving, Chanukah starting right after Thanksgiving (and I still have no gifts!), and needing to get moving on the bathroom reno, I'm a bit stressed. And I won't really be able to knit or spin to relax, either.

I can't wait for January.

* I say "alleged" because while my brother has apparently told other people he's coming here for the holiday, he hasn't actually said anything to me yet.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Former Favorite

Once upon a time, Fall was my favorite season. I loved the crisp air, the changing leaves, the holidays. I loved walking through a pile of leaves just to hear them crunch. Fall hikes were my favorite because it's not too hot, and everything's so beautiful to look at.

Lately I've come to loathe Fall. Maybe "loathe" is too strong a word. Mourn? Remember it wistfully? Pine for it? Maybe those give a better sense of my feelings.

These days, school starts, after school sports start, cyclocross season starts, and those things take up all of our time, leaving little or no time for just plain fun. Earlier this season I mentioned to Mr. T that I really missed going for hikes in the Fall and he helpfully checked his calendar and said "The only day I can give you is ____." (And then I re-injured my ankle and couldn't hike that day, anyway.) There are things around the house that I really need familial help with, but there's never any time to do them. Sigh.

The holidays seem to come quicker and quicker, too. This year is going to be really tough, because Chanukah starts something like 3 days after Thanksgiving break ends. Everyone's coming to my house for Thanksgiving this year, so I don't know when I'll get my Chanukah shopping done. This is where the Internet saves me... I can order some things to have on hand at least.

Speaking of Chanukah, I got the cutest menorah this weekend at the temple:

A bike for the bike racers! It's even got a wee little water bottle in a holder, too :)

I continue to plug away at the spinning I showed you earlier. Well, I didn't spin at all last week. It was a busy week. But I got back to it this week. I'm getting close to the end, sweating every inch, hoping it will all fit on this bobbin:

I have no idea how consistent this bobbin of singles is. I feel like it's getting thinner and thinner as I keep spinning, but I see lots of inconsistency, too. I'm aiming to have the bobbin finished sometime tomorrow, and then hopefully I'll get to do the n-ply over the weekend.

I also finally finished the first sleeve of Paper Crane, and cast on for the second:

And then I set it aside. I promised a friend that I'd make her a pair of Fiddlehead Mittens like the ones I knit for myself last year, and mitten weather is fast approaching. Fiddleheads generally go pretty quickly... with the qualifier that "quickly" is a relative term when you take into account knitting only gets done in spare bits of time.

I'm also continuing to work on stripey socks, slowly.

The school decision continues to confound. I went to a required meeting at our home school yesterday afternoon and came away unimpressed, frankly. I didn't feel like the presentation was very dynamic or that it gave me a compelling reason to send my child to the school. The school is one of the top high schools in the country, so I'm clearly missing something. But I do know from our elementary school experience that the leadership at the top isn't necessarily what makes a school great. The big factors are the quality of the faculty, the motivation of the kids, and involved parents. I know the school scores high on all of those factors. For now, we'll continue with the lottery process and see what happens. We may not even have to make a decision in the end.

Monday, November 1, 2010

I Don't Have Much

Sorry to say...

I haven't really knit or spun in a while. It was a busy weekend, and now Jr. Jr.'s home sick with me. It will be a really busy week, too, so I don't know how much I'll have to show you in my next post. Bear with me.

But I do have some leftover stuff from last week to share.

First, spinning: I'm about 3/4 of the way through my current batch of spinning. I'm trying to get one long single out of this braid, and then n-ply it on itself for a 3 ply yarn with long color repeats. The braid I'm spinning was slightly more than 4 oz. Here's the 3/4 on the bobbin:

Here's a better shot of the color, although you can't see some of the reds that show up every now and then in the braid:

And this is how much fiber I have left to try to squeak onto that bobbin:

It's going to be close. I really hope I can fit it all on one.

I've still been knitting on my various stripey socks and the first sleeve of my Paper Crane, which is finally far enough along that I can show it to you:

I'd love to finish this sweater sometime this century. Of course, at the rate I've been shoving food in my mouth lately, it won't fit.

Halloween was fun and had its bit of excitement. In a change of pace from years past, Jr. Jr. was NOT something that required wearing a long black robe and a scary mask of some sort. He's been some sort of ghoul, Scream guy, what have you for the past few years now. But this year he went as "Guy Riding an Ostrich," a costume which was voted funniest in his class:

He and Mr. T went out trick or treating for a little while, until his upset tummy forced them to come home (a harbinger of what was to come this morning, clearly). Sr. Jr. helped by carving the pumpkin and handing out candy. We didn't have a huge number of trick or treaters this year.

Then things got interesting when fire trucks, ambulances, and police cars showed up at our troubled neighbor's house. This neighbor has no job, no driver's license (lost it because of drunk driving), and does nothing much but drink all day. His son lives with him off and on, as well as a skeevy roommate who appears to crash there in between stints in jail. Lovely, huh? We suspect that there's some drug dealing going on there, too. They carried the son away on a stretcher with a neckbrace on, after doing some tox tests. I hope they spent some time searching the house, too. The cops keep a close eye on the roommate and the house, but perhaps it's time for the neighbors to do some more vocal complaining.

On the school choice front, I'm still as undecided as I was before. Tracey from the comments has provided me with extremely helpful information and perspective, as have some other parents with kids in both schools. I'm torn, but I think we'll go through the application process and then Sr. Jr. can make the decision for himself.

I'm hearing reports that there are kids in his grade who are already smoking pot, which freaks me out. It freaks me out even more because I'm pretty sure I know which kids are involved. There's also been some vandalism at a local school/playground which I hear was caused by the same group of kids. I used to worry about why Sr. Jr. wasn't hanging out with the other kids after school more, but now I'm thankful that he tells me "You don't want me hanging out with them, mom, really!" I guess they're not the same cute little kids they were when they were 7 and building paper airplanes in my house.

As much as I want to wring his neck over some things, I have to admit that Sr. Jr. has a pretty good head on his shoulders. Whew!