Thursday, November 12, 2009

Timeless skills

As I was putting up the tools this afternoon, I thought about where I had learned to do this sort
of work. I remembered that my grandfather had let all of us kids play with his tools and make things, gradually teaching me the basic carpentry skills that I had used for the last two days. Demolition, dad taught me that. How to toe-nail wood into a post, something else I learned from watching him. How to use a hammer, or shovel, Grandpa taught me that, probably by letting me build or make something that I had wanted.

The weather has been clear, sunny and for November warm for the last couple of days. I decided to take advantage of it to repair the last bit of damage remaining from Hurricane Ike last year. Two of the 4x4 posts that support the fence had snapped in the windstorm. I replaced one of them last year to keep the fence standing and keep Rosie, the neighbor's dog where she belonged. And the other post was in the part of the fence that supported the climbing hydrangea, which I didn't want to disturb while it was still leafed out. It took all day to get the materials and replace the one post last year, so I knew what I was getting into this time. Or so I thought.

I gathered all the tools, hauling hammer, nails and level from the basement and shovels and spud bar from the garage. My first surprise was that the old post had been set in concrete, a LOT of concrete. I ended up spending all day digging around the concrete trying to find the bottom. I had a hole 33 inches deep and 4 feet across. I actually called my dad to help me get this chunk of concrete out of the ground, as it weighed several hundred pounds. The second surprise was having to cut down about a third of the hydrangea to be able to get to the post to even start work. I had wanted to leave it in place and work around it the way I had when I installed the fence sections in 2002.

The initial goal had been to have the post replaced and fence repaired by late afternoon but the concrete shot that down. The new goal was to have the fence repaired enough to keep the dog in the yard overnight and finish it this morning. I got the post in and backfilled just before dark yesterday and went back this morning to reattach the rails and replace the two verticals that had been removed. I also had to refill the ramp I had dug in the flower bed to allow Dad and myself to pull the concrete out with a chain.

There are a lot of things that you can teach yourself from reading a book, but it takes hands on experience or observation to know that sometimes the best way to put a board into place to be nailed is to have someone lean on it to hold it in position. My grandpa has been dead for almost thirty years now, but I still find myself using those basic skills that he taught me long ago. I miss him.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

No more counting

The bins of yarn are done. I had to buy a couple of more for the yarn. And I'm starting bin 5 full of UFO. Scary thought that. I'm taking a page from Susan Lazear's blog and listing them as Done rather than To Do.

So I have my first Done object, a baby cap in Red Heart. Yes Red Heart. For gifts to new mothers who have no idea how to care for hand knits, Red Heart is perfect.

The exterior window trim has been painted so that chore is done for a few years. And the tropical plants are migrating to their winter locations. My bedroom is looking rather jungle like with three palm trees in front of the window at the end of the bed.

Now I'm working on the bookshelves and I'm more than half done there. A couple of hours and I should have those finished too. I need to move the drafting board and finish hauling out the nonfiber related stuff underneath. And I will just about be done in the studio.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Four to go

It's a beautiful sunny day, although a bit chilly and I'm still counting. However the end is in sight with only four to complete. I'm working on the worst one at the moment with the Shetland Spindrift. I view Spindrift like a painter looks at paint. So I have MANY different colors to inventory. And of course each one is its own entry on Ravelry. Currently my stash count is at 711 and I expect it to hit near 900 with just the shetland yarns.

Back to the grindstone.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Happy Birthday Robin

Today is my baby sister's birthday. And she's old enough to have stopped counting. To celebrate she took the afternoon off and came to my house to knit. Yes she has one FO and is starting her second project. She knit, I inventoried stash and helped her when she got stuck. She is seeing progress so she's happy.

We had much discussion about color preferences. I was laughing that I was surprised at how many warm rusty reds and hot fuschia pinks I was finding in the stash as I have always thought that blue was my favorite color. I have long claimed to hate pink, but have found a lot of it in the bins. She prefers jewel tones, and rich dark colors so much of the stuff did nothing for her. She did admire a crazy ball I had made about 8 or 9 years ago so I gifted to her. Happy birthday (and I don't have to count it. win/win.)

The count continues but the living room is now relatively accessible, so there is progress. As of this writing Ravelry says that I have logged 613 yarns and I have 7 bins to go. I'm hoping to have it completed by the end of the week.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Slow progress

After plowing through 9 bins of yarn on Sunday, I only managed to get through two yesterday although they were both sock yarns. The goal for this afternoon is to get through about seven so that my living room can be used again. Tomorrow is my sister Robin's birthday and she wants to spend the afternoon over here knitting on her second project.

Yes, my sister has decided to learn to knit and has one FO under her belt, a garter stitch scarf in some sort of mohair/fuzzy blend. Her new project is a one ball scarf in another fuzzy yarn in purse stitch and she's finding it a bit more challenging. She can recognize when something is wrong and simply stops and waits for me to help rather than puzzling it out. We'll have to work on that.

Also on my list of projects around the house is getting the wood trim around remaining 9 original windows primed and painted while the weather allows. I scraped and scrubbed/washed them last week. This morning after I voted, I stopped at Sherwin Williams to pick up a quart of oil based exterior primer. I got them primed before lunch and if the weather holds I'll try to get the first coat of paint on them tomorrow. Two coats of paint and I'll be done for a while.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

What was I thinking

I've found myself with time on my hands due to a recent layoff. It wasn't unexpected. I work landscape and we're going into fall/winter and running out of work. I already know that I can survive on unemployment. Although I need to find affordable health insurance for the duration.

I had this bright idea to re-organize my yarn studio. I had gotten into the habit of tossing any yarn that comes into the house in there when I want to get it out of sight and the unspun fiber was being piled behind the couch in the living room. Basically you couldn't walk in there. Plus I wanted to organize the library of fiber books. So the first thing I did was pull 19 70 qt bins out of the room along with the misc. bags and baskets that have been holding yarn and UFOs. That gave me space to walk. I pulled the bins that contain fabric or embroidery things. They are moving somewhere else. I sorted out the undyed yarns and put them into 4 bins of their own. Then I started consolidating the spinning fiber. There are 14 bins of various fibers and colors plus a large box of undyed batts from the family sheep. There are bumps of wool that haven't made their way back in here. I need to do something else with them to consolidate. Seriously I do not need to buy fiber and there are 6 fleeces in the house still needing processed plus 2 -3 llama fleeces in the garage.

I spent the day going through the yarn bins, inventorying them, and inputting the information into Ravelry. I have gotten through 8. 5 bins and have about 15 to go. I don't need to buy yarn. This has to be SABLE. On the other hand I'm not finding that much that I didn't know about. I just need to get it all organized. Oh and I'm finding a lot of UFOs and needles. The finish the project pile is growing.