Ravellenic Games Update

It appears I may fail the Ravellenic Games.  Not an Epic!Fail, as the crash of Sergio Henao (Columbia) and Vincenzo Nibali (Italy) in the Olympic cycling men’s road race.  The two cyclists, in a lead group of three riders, crashed in the late stages of the race during the mountain descent.  (I remember reading an article in Bicycling magazine, many years ago when I was actively cycling, when the author tried to scale the Alpe d’Huez, the best-known climb in the Tour de France.  He made it to the top, but hadn’t realized how treacherous the descent would be.  He, too, crashed.)

Hmm, it appears I’ve digressed into a different passion.

After 3-plus days of knitting, I have only 5½ inches to show for my work.

Ugh. Only 5½ inches to show for 3 days’—and several hours’—work.

After thee full days of knitting (today is day 4), I’m still on the spiral 3×3 rib, for a total of 5½ inches.   The entire project consists of 36 inches (for both socks).  At this rate, I’ll have completed only 32 inches by the closing ceremony.  This is my first experience using fingering weight yarn.  Between the super-fine yarn and the teeny tiny needles, progress is s–l–o–w.  I could persevere and work harder/longer, but honestly, I’m getting B.O.R.E.D.

Oh yeah.  And I think I’m allergic to wool. 😦

Actually, I could Epic!Fail if I just give up.  When I started writing this blog post, I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel, but now that I’ve discussed my frustration and ennui, I’m much more tempted.  I will finish the socks eventually, because they’re adorable; but I think for now I might switch back to a couple other projects that aren’t wool.

tubsox-yarn

Let the Games Begin!

The Ravellenic Games, that is.

As in Ravelry, the world’s most incredible database of all things yarn and fiber.  The idea is to knit, crochet, weave or spin your way through the Olympics.  You cannot (or rather could not, as the time is in the past) start your project until the opening ceremony in Rio, and must have it finished by the closing ceremony.

The "Do the Twist" tube socks pattern comes from the book "Happy Feet" by Cathy Carron, via Knitting Daily TV.

“Do the Twist,” from Happy Feet by Cathy Carron © 2014

This is my first year as a “Ravthelete,” having never heard of Ravelry before 2015.  I’ve entered the Sock-Putt by trying to make a pair of tube socks with a twist.  The twist is, well, literally, a twist in the 3×3 rib, a brightly colored foot, and little bobbles on the cuff.  The photo on the right shows what the socks are supposed to look like once finished.  The pattern is from the book Happy Feet by Cathy Carron, which I first found on Knitting Daily TV.  (My yarn and colors of choice are shown in the picture above.)

The local yarn shop, fibre space, hosted a Ravellenics kick-off cast-on party last night.  It was a bit of a bust.  NBC didn’t start airing anything until 7:30 (when the official cast-on time was 7:15), and when NBC did begin, it was all that pre-ceremony crap of boring interviews and lengthy commercials.  I have no idea if the ceremonies even started by 9:00 pm, when the store closed and the party was supposed to end.  I left early, having fed the meter for only 1½ hours.

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Knit Me a New Heart

My knitting heart is officially broken.  My favorite local yarn shop (acronym LYS) is closing.  The owner is retiring, and rather than sell the shop and its merchandise, she’s closing the store towards the end of August.  I. Am. Devastated.

There are two local yarn shops I semi-routinely visit, fibre space in Old Town Alexandria  and Uniquities in Vienna, VA.  fibre space is young and hip (you can tell because its name is all lower case), neat and spacious, and closer to my home on the outskirts of Old Town.  It specializes in locally-sourced yarns, very high end, and very expensive.  And you must pay for street parking, if you can find a spot. (This is, after all, Old Town.)

Uniquities is further away, but it boasts free parking, and stocks many well-known high-end yarns.  (Think Rowan, Noro, Tahki Stacey Charles, you get the idea.)  It doesn’t have one inch of wasted space.  And I love it!  So guess which store is closing.  Yep, Uniquities.

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What’s on Your Needles?

I’m not a focused person.  I start one project, get bored, then begin something else because it haunts my brain.  So now I have several items in the works.  I have finished a few things, but we’ll talk about those later.  This is about works in progress.  Even more so, those projects that are actually on my needles, not the two or three projects that are awaiting assembly.  More on those later, too.

My favorite yarn right now is Homespun by Lion Brand.  It’s not a fancy hand-dyed boutique yarn.  But it is made in America.  It’s fuzzy and nubby, and even the non-variegated colorways host are multi-hued.  It comes in 2 thicknesses, or weights, bulky and super bulky.  Which means projects finish quickly.  Always a plus for the attention-span challenged like me.

I'm using Homespun and Homespun Thick n Quick to make an afghan.

This afghan is already taking longer than 8 hours!

First up is the “8 Hour Throw.”  I’m not following the pattern exactly.  It calls for size 50 circular needles (needed to hold 40 huge stitches).  I already have a pair of straight size 35 needles and refuse to buy another pair of humongous needles.  Instead, I’m making it in three strips, changing the number of rows to get the same approximate size.  At the rate I’m going (only the first two colors of the first strip are done), I’ll be finished by next winter.  Definitely not 8 hours!

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Knitters Anonymous

Hello.  My name is Gail, and I’m a knitter.  I learned to knit at my mother’s knee, but stopped when I went off to college.  I didn’t pick it up again until all my friends started having babies, over 10 years later.  I made baby ponchos for them in various colorways.  Then another hiatus.  I halfheartedly picked it up again several years ago as therapy.  I knit a couple hats and eyeglass cases (which still need finishing).  I also attempted something for my grand-niece, but that’s a story for another post.  Then Outlander came to my television set, and I became enamored with all the knitwear.  I found Ravelry, along with patterns for cowls, shawls, and fingerless mittens.  Ravelry introduced me to boutique yarn shops as well as some tried and true old-school yarns, all of which offered still more patterns, techniques, and email lists to join.  I searched for yarn shops in my local area, and found two yarn specialty shops, and the ubiquitous Michaels and JoAnn’s.  And now?

Yarn has overtaken my home!

I filled my storage ottoman with yarn, but it overflowed.   I started buying plastic bins and photo boxes to store the yarn in, but I never have enough.

I decided to dump it all out on the floor.  I took a picture then looked around. I’d missed that box, and another box, and another, etc.  And the storage ottoman, and yarn being kept in a big basket, and a few other smaller baskets.

When the blizzard of ’16 hit, what did I stock up on?  Yarn!  Friday morning I sped out to MIchaels (passing several backed up gas stations on the way) for another stash.  And where was the first place I went once the roads were cleared?  Michaels.  For more yarn. :/

Do you think I have a problem?

Today’s Dishes (Take the Poll!)

One-Minute Organizer set of books is written by Donna Smallin.

One-Minute Organizer (Plain & Simple edition)

When beginning to organize your home and life, The One Minute Organizer says to begin by dealing with “today’s mess,” i.e., today’s dishes, today’s laundry, and today’s mail.  But what constitutes “today’s dishes” if  you don’t run the dishwasher every day?  I suppose it means putting today’s dirty dishes in the dishwasher and washing by hand those items that shouldn’t go in the dishwasher, like crystal and knives.   Of course, this means you have to empty the dishwasher promptly.

I’m reasonably good about loading the dishwasher, and only slightly less reasonably good at emptying it.  It’s the hand washing that stymies me.

When I emptied the dishwasher, the dishes were clean, but I noticed water standing in the bottom.  Obviously there’s a clog somewhere in the drain.  If it’s reachable by hand, I  couldn’t find it.  But then, I’m not really sure what I’m looking for.

So it was a good day to tackle “today’s dishes,” which included today’s dishes, yesterday’s dishes, the day before’s dishes… you get the idea.   Looking on the positive side, the term “today’s dishes” is now well defined.  The bonus is having clean crystal in which to drink this evening’s wine.

My short-term dilemma resolved, now I must decide what to do long-term.  Do I call the repairman or bite the bullet and get new appliances?  The dishwasher is several years old, but I like it.  If necessary, I could just buy a new dishwasher, but since I’m planning to remodel the kitchen, I’m not sure updating just one appliance is worth it.  Both the refrigerator and stove are ancient (original to the aging home) and in sore need of updating.  But I’m not yet ready to do the full remodel.  The one time I watched The Nate Berkus Show, he recommended (to an audience member on a budget) to buy new appliances first, then save up for the rest of the remodel.

What should I do?  I’m terrible at making decisions.

Spring, er Winter Cleaning

It’s time to revamp and reorganize the blog. The Skeptical theme served me well for a couple years (especially since it was literally picked at random via a random number generator).  But a renewed interest has me itching to post pictures and the old theme was too narrow for what I’d like to do.

That renewed interest is knitting, brought by my current love affair with Outlander.  And since we’re in the middle of a prolonged cold spell, it’s not too late to make some chunky cowls and arm warmers.  Look for some project photos and knitting thoughts coming soon.  As well as some additional blog housekeeping.

I'm making a pair of "garter stitch mitts" by Ysolda from Ravelry.

Almost finished: Ysolanda’s garter stitch mitts.

Serendipity @ Midnight

Chris Hardwick awards points to guests for funny comebacks.

Points! [photo from funnyordie.tumblr.com]

Last night The night before last (I’m really horrible about posting in a timely manner!) I was still up late enough to watch @Midnight live. It’s a fairly new quiz-type show on Comedy Central hosted by Doctor Who mega-fan Chris Hardwick.  He poses questions to three guest comedians based on some of social media’s wildest postings.  The guests compete for “Points!” and the honor of “Wins the Internet for the next 24 hours.”  Unless it’s Thursday, in which case the winner gets to claim  for the entire (extended) weekend, until a new winner is declared the following Monday.  Unlike SyFy’s now-defunct The Wil Wheaton Project, @Midnight is hilarious.  (Incidentally, Wil and Chris were roommates at one time.  Scifi nerds, unite!)

The show is so hipster-oriented, I often have no idea what they’re talking about,.  Not so much because of the social media stuff, but because of the slang used.  This ignorance of course, is a product of age, which is something the show loves to make fun of.  To which I say, “Just you wait!”  Heck, if you don’t grow old, something’s happened—and it’s not good.

Nonetheless, I’ve learned many things from watching this show.  One of which is a “furry” is a person with a fetish for dressing up like a stuffed animal, and seeking like-minded individuals for various forms of “social” intercourse.  Which means, of course, there are indeed furry-dating websites.  [All this makes me think I ought to change my “Furries” category here, because that is not what it refers to.]

Anyway, back to the discussion at hand.

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Throwback Thursday

#tbt:  Apparently it’s quite The Thing on Twitter.  I’ve been thinking about reblogging some of my posts from The (Old) Stream of Conscience, and “Throw Back Thursday” seems as good a day as any, yes?

When deciding what post to reblog, I took a look at my 34 categories.  How to choose?  Why, my old favorite, of course, Random.org.  (I also used it to pick the style for this blog.)  It spewed out 14, which turned out to be the ubiquitous “Life & Musings,” i.e., pretty much any damn thing.  Since the blog covered 5½ years, there were 9 pages of posts to peruse; yet, the one I chose was on the first page.

It was written on December 8, 2012, in response to WordPress.com’s Daily Post challenge, which asked “What is your earliest memory?  Describe it in detail, and tell us why you think that experience was the one to stick with you.”  Mine was easy-peasy.  (I’ve edited only slightly.)

My Earliest Trauma Memory

And how appropriate for the season!

A two-and-a-half year-old me entertains Christmas visitors.

Entertaining visitors; permanent crisis averted

Harken back to a slower, quieter time: the mid-20th century, an age without digital cameras, when it took a few months to fill up a roll of film and get it developed.

Christmas day:  One 2½-year-old went to bed the night before, thinking of Santa Claus on his rounds, and worried she wouldn’t be able to sleep for all the excitement.

But I did fall asleep, which made the night pass more quickly.

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