Saturday, December 31, 2011

Day 364 - How I Spent My Day Off

Started off the day replacing six damaged needles.  Yes I got the kimono back finished last night.  Tonight I steam blocked it and rehung it on the needles and joined the shoulders and bound off the neck.  I have everything blocked and the sleeves are ready to be joined to the body.  So yes I made my 11.

However the best part of the day has to be the almost four hour lunch that Marjory and I spent at the Olive Garden.  Barb begged off pleading sick and not wanting to share, and she did sound awful.  So we decided that soup and salad were the way to go.  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and spent the time catching up on life in general, family and old acquaintances. 

We both decided that we really hadn't been in the mood to deal with Christmas this year, if not for her husband there would have been no decorations or a tree at her house.  I countered with a Norfolk Island pine with a handful of German paper stars as my tree, the presents that didn't get wrapped and that there were no cookies despite having laid in a large supply of butter, eggs, sugar and flour.  She was in the same boat with the cookies.  Our best guess is that it's simply been too dark and gloomy, hello solstice and the wettest year on record, for either one of us to get in the holiday spirit. 

We agreed that we both needed to exercise more and I suggested that we look into finding an after work program that we could both tolerate and try doing it together.  I know from experience that I'm much more likely to stick with it, if I have someone else to feed off of.  Hopefully we can find something reasonable somewhere between Grandview and Grove City.

I spent what remained of the day paying bills and running errands, still no movement on the part of the insurance company.  I did talk to the doctors office and passed on the information I received last night.  I think my next stop is HR. 

All in all not a bad day off.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Day 363

It dawns on me that in a couple of days the 11 for 11 challenge will be over, and I'm going to have to be more clever with titles.   Oh well.

I was amused earlier this evening realize that I was running around the house with a hank of yarn draped around my body like a bandolier.  Purple alpaca as ammo belt.  hahaha

Successfully cast on the back of the kimono.  DAK will be doing it's thing to control the patterning this evening.  I was surprised to see that I had trashed a needle on the ribber bed while knitting the hem.  Since I don't have to get up for work in the morning, I'm planning on staying with it until it's complete.  Yeah, three day weekend. 

Lunch with Marjory and Barb tomorrow.  It'll be like old times.  It's been about ten years since we all worked together.  And months since we've all been in the same place at the same time.  There will be much laughter to share.

My good news for the day is that I don't have any broken bones in my wrist.  It only took them a week to let me know.  The bad news is that the insurance company is still refusing to authorize the nsaid that was prescribed on the 21st.  This wrist is never going to heal if we can't get the inflammation under control without making me nauseous or trashing my kidneys.  I've expressed my frustration to the insurance company today.  I am severely right handed.  I want this blasted brace off my hand soon.

Saw this on the BBC feed today.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Day 362

Knitting resumed on the sweater back.  It relaxed me to the point that I almost fell asleep after about 45 minutes of knitting.  Knitting is the new yoga... at least for me.  Looking forward to Friday off work and lunch with a couple of my former co-workers. 

Winter has arrived here and with it my collection of sweaters.  Since I work near the entrance to the store and the overhead doors, I wear ski sweaters almost every day.  My supervisor asked today if I had made my sweater, (Dale of Norway, Salt Lake City).  He wanted to know if I had knit all the little people too.  Now most of the day shift has seen me working on sweaters. I usually bring them in while I'm working on the last bit of handwork or weaving in ends, so it's no secret that I knit.  I was kind of surprised this morning since he's seen me work on two other Dale sweaters since I've been there. 

How was your day?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Day 361 - Not Knitting

Resting my hands after the push the last several weeks.  Spent some time looking at Ravelry but not really tempted.  My Schacht Matchless is now front and center in the living room, and I have to admit I was tempted to try to turn some purple fluff into singles.  But I'm still focused on finished the sweater. 

Frustrating drive home tonight, the weather is turning from endless rain to snow and the truck decides at the light to hesitate and I managed to flood it.  So I sit for a whole cycle of the light, trying to get it to start without draining the battery.  And when it started I decided to bag it, head home and swap out the truck for the car.  No sliding into work on Columbus' unplowed streets in the morning.

Two more days of work then a three day weekend and lunch with Barb and MT.  It'll be almost like old times, and I'm really looking forward to it.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Day 360

The year is winding down, only five days left.  I really did not want to get up for work this morning.  And all week long there will only be two of us on any given day.  One person is on vacation and the rest of us are rotating a day off as paid holiday, aka New Years Day.  I get Friday and a three day weekend. 

I'm trying really hard this evening to make a CD for a friend and the computer keeps telling me there are problems.  It shouldn't be this difficult.  It keeps refusing to acknowledge that there is a blank one in the drive.

I working on Robin's sweater.  About twelve rows into the back yoke.  Garter stitch in sock yarn takes awhile to to knit several inches.  Less pressure than there was on Saturday.  Hoping to have it put together by the weekend. 

Day 359 - Fröhliche Weihnachten

Christmas wishes via text message from a friend far away started the day off right. Not a cookie was baked, nor a gift wrapped, yet the day was still great.  Some whines from a child wanting springerle or lebkuchen.  But that happens. The mittens were a hit.  The scarf kit less so.  The sweater was appreciated and handed back for completion.

My sister gave me a framed piece of needle punch of a flock of sheep and a bell jar for a house plant.  Now I need to find an appropriate plant.  There was knitting on a scarf and work on the sweater, but much more food, wine and good conversation.  Overall a great day.

Hope yours was too.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Day 358 Christmas Eve

Mom told me on the way home from church tonight that Dad had gone out and bought her Christmas present this morning, but that she had forgotten to get him something. And in fact had forgotten what he said he wanted.  I offered to go online and order him a TSC gift card.

When we got to the house she said something about getting him a new chore coat, and he said he didn't need one and pulled a new Carhardt out of the closet.  Then he pulled me aside and said that Mom had told him that she wanted perfume for Christmas.  He had gone to the drugstore but didn't know which one.  Did I know how to pick perfume?  My advice was smell them and pick one you like.  His solution was to hand me cash so I could pick something out.  This was after 9 tonight.

Now I know that my mom likes Chanel No. 5.  They sell don't that at Walgreens.  And my Dad confessed tonight that he sent home lots of Chanel when he was stationed in France in the 1950's.  He says it was $15 a bottle in France and $50 a bottle in the US at the time, so all the women in the family loved it.  I pointed out that Chanel was a bit more expensive than that these days.

White Diamonds is what she will be getting tomorrow.  His gift card will arrive in the mail.  Me I still need to finish a mitten and wrap everything.  The sweater will be in pieces and on the needles.  Three out of four pieces are complete.

Hope your Christmas Eve is wonderful and Christmas is joyous.  Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Day 357

The pile of purple alpaca continues to grow.  Two pieces to go and I'm starting worry if there will be enough yarn.  Plan is to knit the back and the see what's left.  I can make it work if the band has to be a different dyelot, although I'm kicking myself, since Barb from Weaver's Loft asked me in September if I was sure I had enough.  She had held a hank in that dyelot back just in case.  Silly me, I told her to sell it.

We'll see.  Yes I made my 11.

Bake quiche for dinner and dug through the stacks of books looking for titles for Marcus and Sandy.  Marc should be busy for a while.  Still looking for a title for Sandy.

Still hoping to get something close to finished on the sweater, so I'm off to knit some more.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Day 356 - 9 Days to Go

There are nine days left in Heather's 11 Minutes for 2011 Challenge.  Nine days of celebrating the joys of fiber related craft and skills.  Have I found it difficult? No, not really I was already pretty firmly addicted to the stuff.  My major challenge has always been documenting it.  I still need to get better about taking pictures of the process rather than just the product.  And I think that's more of an issue of me forcing myself to find some way to make the photos interesting.

Has my writing improved?  You'll have to tell me.  I know that technically I'm a fairly decent writer.  I can actually spell and generally punctuate a sentence correctly.  That doesn't mean that I'm necessarily interesting.  I'm a long time member of the short and sweet club, so I find it somewhat difficult to write volumes on a topic.  I don't talk that way but writing, oh yeah. 

Did I make my 11 today.  Oh yes.  I worked on the sweater yoke at lunch.  And have spent the evening MK a sleeve for the kimono and have started the cast on of it's mate.  Do I think I'll get the Christmas knitting finished in time?  I think it will be tight.  Mittens yes.  Sweater maybe.  Kimono, not assembled before Sunday but probably knit.  3 pieces done, 3 to go.  This employment thing this year has really thrown off my holiday rhythm.  Think about it, I basically have had December pretty wide open for the last several years.  This is a good thing, but I need to adapt.

I hope that your holiday prep is going well.

Comments on the blog.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Day 355 - Light

It's the longest night of the year.  For the next six months the days will only grow longer.  And we welcome the return of the light.

Real candles are glowing in my house. They perfume the air and hold back the dark.

When you look across history, regardless of faith, this is a significant time of the year.  While here in the northern hemisphere the coldest days of winter are yet to come, this is the darkest night and with the return of the light comes hope.  In the tenets of my faith the birth of a child is the symbol of this hope.  And we still celebrate this hope more than two thousand years later.

 Regardless of your beliefs, I wish you and yours the most joyous times in this holiday season.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Day 354 - Mission Accomplished

This is the center point of the front of the sweater.  Shaped and short rowed garter stitch form the yoke.  All of the MK is done.  Only handwork remains.  It will be a challenge, but I think it is possible.

This is slowing everything down.  I am overwhelmingly right handed.  Yes I can knit in it.  No it doesn't hurt.  But everything is slowed because of it.

Day 353 - Late

While I wrote the  Podcasting for Machine Knitters post earlier in the evening and had in the back of my mind that I needed to write this one, I forgot about it until after I had shut down the computer and was ready for sleep.

My evening was spent MK the back of Robin's sweater.  Knitting and ripping and knitting and ripping, replacing dropped stitches and reknitting, before I finally got it off the machine around 11:30.  I was determined to get to bed at a reasonable time.  I did get the front on to a set of circular needles and started to work the garter stitch yoke.  I'm reading Todd McCaffery's Dragongirl while I knit.  Think about it, it's basically mindless garter stitch, I need something to keep me focused so I don't get bored and lose interest.

I have Tuesday off and plan on getting the sleeves knit and set aside and just maybe get some work done on the kimono too. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Day 352

Spent the morning weaving in ends.  At least 3 FO and one of them a Christmas present.  Went to write the pattern for my sister's sweater only to discover that the computer had somehow ate her size chart.  Off to remeasure her. 

Pattern written and sweater cast on.  Not really sure why I thought full figure shaping was a good idea, but almost to the waist and then back out again.  I want to have this piece off the machine tonight so I can HK the short row garter stitch yoke at lunch tomorrow. 

I did get the balls on the redbud this afternoon.  It may be the only tree that gets decorated this year.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Day 351

Stockings finished blocked and delivered.  Done.  Christmas cards signed, addressed and in the mail.

The original is on the bottom.

Found the yarn for Robin's sweater and have swatched a hank.  Made the mistake of steaming it and the numbers are all over the place.  Back into warm water to reset the yarn.  I should cast on another piece of the kimono while I'm waiting for it to dry.

Yes, I've made my 11.

Day 350

One stocking done, one with duplicate stitch about 25% and blocking and seaming to go.  Have to turn them in tomorrow, but I should have this little bit done before they open.

I picked the Christmas card shot last night, submitted it electronically for printing too.  It was supposed to be done by 11.  When I went in at 6 pm they hadn't started printing it.  What the heck did I pay for?  I think they gave me extra prints as some form of compensation.  Cards to sign, address and post after the stocking delivery tomorrow.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Day 349

The hand was so bad that I called the doctor about noon.  I was shocked to get in almost immediately.  Turns out that today was the day they were switching to a digital system to comply with the new federal regs.   Based on the fun my doctor was having getting my exam/symptoms into the system, it really doesn't work that well.  Diagnosis, tendon damage of some form.  Back in the wrist brace around the clock and much better pain killers for this pass.  If it isn't improving in a week, I get to go back.  Turns out that I was doing every thing right, it just didn't heal.

Before and after.  After needs blocked and seamed as well as a name.  But really close.

I selected and sent off the Christmas card shot for this year.  I should be able to pick them up after work tomorrow. I culled the card list and need to print labels and find stamps and they can go out Saturday morning.  It's been 3 years since I could afford to send out cards.  Hopefully people enjoy the image as much as I did shooting it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Day 348

Tired after an evening with knitters and food.  We shared projects and our winter potluck.  The stocking is ready to have the ends woven in. 

My right wrist is trashed.  Don't know what's wrong, but a trip to the doctor is in order.  It's getting painfully worse not better.  If it turns out to be broken, I'm going to be so pissed and screwed.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day 347

HK of stockings finished.  Weaving in ends to resume immediately, followed by embroidery and seaming.  I want these done and gone.

I need to figure out where the aubergine yarn for Robin's sweater went.  I evidently organized it into hiding.

I made my 11 for the day and have plans for tomorrow.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Day 346 - Minimal Fiber Time

A splitting headache that motrin couldn't touch made for a long afternoon.  No knitting time at lunch.  I did manage to get past the gussets and into the instep of the stocking, and that's about it for the day.  I am looking around for the yarn for Robin's sweater.  Looks like my cleaning spree over the weekend may have been too efficient.  sigh...

How was your progress?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Day 345 - Stockings

All stockings, all day.  I started weaving in the ends on the first on and have knit the heel flap and started the gussets on the second one.  I made my 11 and not much else today.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Day 344 - Burning Things

What do you do when you have a collection of unidentified yarn?  First you estimate how much of it you have, and then you burn a piece to sort out what it's made of.

For the first part of the equation, find a McMoran balance. 

Cut a small length of the mystery yarn and hang it on the notched arm of the balance.  Cut off wee bits until the arms balance.

Measure the piece and multiple by 100 to get how many yards per pound (YPP).  Then weigh the remainder and do the math.  (I know MATH is a dirty word.)

To get fairly good idea of what the yarn is made of requires burning a piece and observing how it burns, what it looks like, what it smells like and what is left.  See the chart here.  Note do this somewhere you won't catch the house or anything else on fire.  And burning yarn can really stink, so keep that in mind too.

Using these techniques, I managed to get my remaining cones of yarn cataloged and sorted into storage bins to go in the studio. 

I also finished the intarsia and MK on the second stocking and it is ready to have the heel knit.  So I have rocked my 11 today. (And really early too.)

Anyone else have mystery yarn in the stash?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Day 343 - Busy Day, Evening to Unwind

Busy, busy, day at work.  I was supposed to cut out by 2 and avoid the requirement for a lunch break.  By 1:30 it was obvious that that plan wasn't going to work, so I grabbed a 30 minute lunch, and went back to face the afternoon.  Despite my best efforts to hole up and finish what I needed to complete, I kept getting called away to help answer questions.  I pointed out to the ASM who pulled me away at one point that while I was happy to help, I was really trying to get finished with the quotes I was working on to avoid OT.  I flat out asked if she would approve my OT for the week and she agreed.  My supervisor thought that was one of the cleverer things I could have done as it got him off the hook.  Finally clocked out around 4, and headed off to meet my best friend at our monthly hair appointments.  Spent about 3 hours unwinding at the stylist's and came home with a wavy mane.

I did work on the stocking on the machine tonight but ripped out and reknit almost every row I put in due to dropped stitches.  Exercise in frustration was what it was quickly becoming, so I gave up for the night in favor of blogging.  Giving up on blogging in favor of sleep.

Hope your holiday knitting is going well.

Comments on the blog.

Day 342 - Progress

I more than made up for yesterday.  I worked my way through the gusset on the foot of the stocking at lunch.  I MK past the garter stitch details on the second stocking this evening.  And I managed to empty the three trash bags of quarantined yarns and got most of them sorted, cataloged and into storage bins.  I have about a dozen unidentified cones left to go.  I'll did out my McMoran balance to figure out the yardage and the bins can go into the studio.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Day 341

Our holiday party had an unexpected visitor in the form of the candidate for our new minister.  She's very nice, and listens well.  Even with our familial habit of talking over each other at times.  She preaches for the congregation on Sunday and we will be voting on extending a call at that time. Thus should be interesting.

While I took my knitting with me, no knitting was done.  So I'm reluctant to claim that I actually made 11 today.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Day 340 - Happy Birthday

My Grandpa would have been 105 today.  One of at least 7 kids, he left school at around age 12 when his father died, so he could go to work to help support the family.  He never graduated from high school, but was a voracious reader and self educated in a variety of areas.  The picture above is from my parents wedding in 1960, that's my Grandpa on the right.  He would have been about 54 at the time.

An avid gardener with his own heated greenhouse, he encouraged his grandchildren to plan their own gardens and pored over the seed catalogs with us every winter while we schemed about what we wanted to try.  He taught us how to prepare/mix our own planting medium and start the seeds in the greenhouse even while there was still snow on the ground.  We learned how transplant seedlings and harden them off to get them ready to transplant to the garden after the danger of frost had passed. 

He encouraged us to try to wildest things. I remember the years that we decided to try grow peanuts.  We live in Ohio.  This is not a state known for peanut production.  But we studied what information we could find and picked a variety with a relatively short growing cycle.  We were so happy when we dug them up and actually had something to harvest.  We dried them, then roasted them in Grandma's oven.   It wasn't an earth shattering amount but we had actually grown and roasted our own peanuts and we had something that we grown with our own hands to give Dad for Christmas that year.  Before organic/no pesticide gardening was ever a concept, we were mixing smelly African marigolds with the green beans in an attempt to discourage bean beetles.  Dad was taking over planting and maintaining the garden about that time and was a bit skeptical about the whole thing, but went along with it anyway.  

When I was bored one summer, I decided to tear my bicycle completely apart and put it back together, just to see how it worked.  He supervised and helped when I needed it, but for the most part let me figure it out on my own. 

Basically he supported  us in what ever thing we decided to explore.  He's been gone since 1980.  I was a sophomore in high school and in truth he had been gone for about 6 months before his heart finally gave out that spring.  One of the last things we did together before he got sick that last time was plant Queen of the Night black tulips along his driveway and outside the window where he sat and watched the birds at the feeders.  When I bought my own house in 1991, one of the first things I planted was Queen of the Night tulips along my front walk and they are still there every spring. When I look at my yard and garden I know that I am definitely my grandfather's granddaughter.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Day 339 - We Can't Count

Somewhere along the line, we lost count.  There are 365 days in the year.  And 31 days in December.  Today is the 5th.  365-31+5=339.  oops.

I knit  the heel flap of the stocking while my best friend and I sat around after dinner working on Christmas stuff.  She was embroidering the names on her grandchildren's stockings, me working on the commission.  Both of us catching up on life.  It was a good evening. Yes I made my 11.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Day 336

Cast on the second stocking of the pair.  Ready to start the intarsia, so getting through Santa's beard and the garter stitch is my goal for the evening. 

I did get the systemic pest control applied to all the house plants currently living on the front porch.  I need to bring them in before the snow flies and time is getting short. 

I did get the amaryllis bulb planted and will probably plant the paperwhites when the potting mix cools off.  (Add hot water to a blob of compressed potting mix)  Poof. But too hot for the bulbs.  I need to find some gravel or maybe marbles to put on top of them to keep them in the pot.  They should bloom by Christmas.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Day 335 - Two Stockings

I reworked the first stocking as I didn't like how close to the seam the picture ended up.  So I ripped it back and rehung it on the machine and reknit it. 

The stocking with the deadline went back to the LYS for some additional instructions.  All agreed that the yarn provided, while a dead on color match, cannot be knit to the same gauge.  The LYSO will consult with the client to determine priority, color or size match.  I brought home additional yarn in DK weight on the chance that size will be the deciding factor.  That way I won't have to go back.  Need a decision ASAP as this baby is due on the 12th.

Courtney planted my bulbs and since I didn't watch, I'll be surprised to see the colors come spring.  I brought home an amaryllis bulb and more paperwhites from the grocery today.  I really want blooms in the house. I need to bring the rest of the houseplants in for the winter.  The dining room is going to get crowded in a hurry.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Day 334 - Not Much

The reply back on the email said to make it the same size as the original.  But we had been talking about 2 different patterns that need to be duplicated.  So which one.  Guess I need to make a trip into the shop in the am. 

Other than that and reading knit blogs there has been little fiber happening here today.  Long day at work, followed by stupid letter in the mail that required an immediate response.  Only to be told that I was "too ignorant to understand" what I had read.  OK talk to my attorney.  End of discussion. 

But tomorrow is the weekend and fiber abounds...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Day 333 - Waiting

On answers regarding the priority stocking and gauge.  So work continues on the mitten.  

Knitting Christmas ornaments arrived in the post today, tempting me for a short couple of minutes to consider setting up a tree so I could hang them.  The quick realization that there is NO instant gratification when it comes to decorating the tree, nipped that idea in the bud.

Back to the mitten...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Day 332 - The Mitten progresses

Ready to put the thumb stitches on a stitch holder while I knit the rest of the hand.  True progress.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Day 331 - Successful Swatch, NOT

I guess it depends on your definition.  Since I'm supposed to match a gauge, it's not successful.  I need to hit about 21 stitches to 4 inches and at 18 it is stiff enough to stand unsupported.  There's no way that I'll be able to get it to 21.  So I've sent an email off to see what they want to do.

Other than reading blogs and measuring the swatch, I really haven't played with fiber today.  It happens. 

Right now I'm listening to the bread machine and enjoying the scent of baking bread.  Something to appreciate on a cold and blustery evening.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Day 330 - Swatching

For another commissioned Christmas stocking.    It's acrylic yarn.  It feels like armor.  So happy that it's not mine.   I have to match an existing stocking pattern and gauge.  I have to get something close to 21 stitches to 4 inches.  I swatched 3 different settings and it's off the needles and resting.  Hopefully one of them is close and I can start knitting tomorrow. 

I need to take pictures to document the process.

Yes I made my 11.  But not much more.  sigh....

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Day 329 - FO

I finished my fingerless mitts this evening.  It has rained all day.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Day 328 - Small Business Saturday

What better way to support a local small business than Christmas shopping at an LYS?  I knocked off about four gifts from my list including two Kidsilk Crack scarf kits, this afternoon. 

The local BIG college game was today and that usually means it's the absolutely best day of the year to shop.  Not when it's Thanksgiving weekend evidently.  Driving into the mall parking lot reminded me why I hate shopping this time of year.  But I had a list and this was the only place to get one particular item.

I did get a mitt finished and it's mate started and suspect that there may be enough yarn left to make a second pair.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Day 327 - Black Friday

The reports say that at least 50 percent of Americans were participating in Black Friday shopping.  Which I have to say puts me solidly in the minority, as I can't remember the  last time I shopped on Black Friday.  I know I haven't in the last 4 years because of the job situation, and I was never fond of it anyway.   Since I'm working retail these days to pay the bills, I had to work today.  It was a very quiet day at the pro desk,  not too many contractors working.  I was sending texts to a couple of pros that I knew were working asking them to please send me something to do. 

My right wrist was damaged earlier this week. I suspect by a guy who somehow managed to twist my wrist while shaking my hand.  So I'm wearing a wrist brace to immobilize it and serve as a warning to others to take it easy when they shake my hand.  Hopefully it will heal quickly.

It doesn't hamper my ability to knit, so I'm continuing work on the fingerless mitt pattern.  I'm past the cuff and into the hand heading for the thumb opening.  This is actually a pretty simple pattern and the yarn is heavy enough that the piece grows quickly.  (Only 35 stitches around helps too.)  I suspect that I will be close to finishing the hand this evening and moving onto the thumb in the morning.

How did your day go?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Day 326 - Thanksgiving

We gathered at my sister's today, my parents, my brother and I.  With my brother in law and niece, there were seven of us.  My sister and I made an abundance of food and there was much enjoyment and conversation around the table.  We are thankful for family, near and far.  For the relative good health that all are enjoying. My brother and I are both thankful to have steady work this year.  Both of us are in the construction industry and a steady job is definitely a blessing after the least several years.  Personally I am thankful for my stash.  It has provided me with hours of enjoyment as I slowly turn the abundance of wooly string into warm clothes.

Yes I made my 11 working on fingerless mitts while the guys watched football.  I hope that you and yours had a wonderful holiday.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Day 325 - Prep work

Today has been a minimal fiber day.  I have (gasp) done no knitting.  I did manage to get my 11 by reading knitblogs this evening. 

So what did I do instead?  Cooked.  Bouillabaise was on the menu for dinner, cod, mussels, scallops and shrimp cooked with fresh onion, and garlic, tomatoes and herbs.  In a pork stock base, frozen from our Sauerkraut luncheon last month.  Then cranberry sauce and a pair of sweet potato pies for tomorrow's meal and rather large pile of dirty dishes took up the rest of the evening.  When I get done with the posts tonight, I'll be putting ingredients into the bread machine so there will be fresh bread in the morning.  That will leave me with my asparagus tomato pesto pasta salad to make in the morning.  Robin will be shocked if I manage to show up on time.  But I'm doing all the prep in advance for once so maybe...

And the even bigger shock of the night was that I actually clocked out and left work on time for the first time in a couple of weeks.

If you're in the US, Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy your day off. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Day 324 - Visible proof

The mitten is growing.  This is the palm of the left hand.  Slowly but it is growing.

Yes I've made my 11 for the day.

I don't know about the rest of you but I'm also thinking about what I'm going to be cooking for Thursday.  I'm thinking pasta salad with sausage filled tortellini with asparagus, wee tomatoes and pesto, sweet potato pies, fresh bread, and cranberry relish.  My sister is covering the turkey and stuff.  I also want to make a big pot of bouillabaisse for dinner for me.  Yummy

Monday, November 21, 2011

Day 323 - Unwound

The mittens continue to be my challenge and fill in piece.  I did discover last night that Google Translator does a pretty good job translating Finnish (the pattern) into something resembling a coherent pattern in English.  I translated enough to get me all the way thru the gusset and shaping of the first mitten.  Right now I'm abut 2/3 thru the thumb gusset.  I'm still a bit worried that these will fit my fat hands. 

I knit myself into a stupor this evening.  Who says knitting isn't relaxing?  May be too much so tonight.  I did get my 11.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Day 322 - Why I'm Unhappy

 This was my newest planting area as I was building it late summer 2010.
 This is what the oaks looked like that fall. 
This is the scarlet oak on the left in the photos above.  Yes it does live up to it's name.  Beautiful isn't it.  This was shot in 2009.
This is what I saw when I walked out the door Saturday morning.
That hole is less than 2' feet from the trunk. 

 The yellow pipe is the new gas service.
 The shattered pipe is the storm drain from my gutters.  Notice that the other part of the roots are over there. 

These were basically half the roots on the tree that help keep it from falling over in heavy winds, storms or snow.  They also feed it.  And now they are gone.  The tree is about 25 - 35' high at this time.  That's a lot of tree to support.
 So when they got finished they decided that the best way to backfill was to use the back hoe.
 Never mind that it kept getting tangled in the limbs.
 Or that it had been surrounded with a planting bed full of perennials and bulbs.  Nope they didn't move them.  They are somewhere in the hole and there are chunks of sod in the planting area.

And they weren't happy that I was taking pictures and actually yelled that there were to be no pictures taken.
 And the area is now covered in rocks.  All that topsoil I put down the hard way last fall. Gone...
And my storm line...shattered, full of crud and tipped the up instead of down. That isn't going to drain.

They basically did the same thing along the back fence.  My shrubs and perennials are gone and the planting bed is full of sod.  Actually it is now higher than the bed inside the fence.

Day 321 - Not Good

Spent most of the day watching and waiting on the gas company to finish the installation of the new service line and meter and connecting everything to the existing gas lines in the basement.  They have done their best to destroy any planting area they were near. I'm truly concerned that they have killed my oak tree. Photos tomorrow.

My 11 were spent teaching Barb how to use Ravelry.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Day 320 - Friday at last

I was at work before 7am and didn't leave until after 8.  But I did manage to get lunch today.  So it was better.  I accomplished a lot, so it was good.  Don't know what management is going to say when they see the OT or the screwy punchs around my lunch break.  It took a bit of maneuvering to make sure I managed at least 31 minutes off for lunch. (They have rules about no working off the clock.  Which is OK but can be awkward at times.  Especially when you're used to being salaried and doing whatever it takes to solve a problem/provide customer service.)  My supervisor has said he'll back me but we both know they won't be happy.  End result very little fiber time today.  Two rounds on the mitten.

Finally managed to reach the gas company this afternoon.  I explained about the notes, and strongly expressed my unhappiness with how they have drawn out this whole mess, and their less than stellar ability to communicate.  I also asked what they were planning to use to run the new service through the basement (unknown).  I pointed out that the house had black iron for the existing service and I expected any new work to match.  I was blunt to the point of stating, "I don't spec or allow that plastic crap in the homes I design, and I damn sure don't want it in mine."  Tomorrow may be interesting.  There were more ultimatums in the doors tonight.  Looks like they are trying to make it as painful as possible.  There is a new huge hole in the lawn and multiple piles of dirt again.  I have very little faith in them at this point. 

Maybe I should limit myself to the machine tomorrow.  Harder to screw up the tension there.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Day 319

Not a big fiber day.  Long day at work, and then a Scentsy party at Robin's.  Lindsey has decided to become a Scentsy sales consultant.  Interesting idea and scents.  Something new for this area. 

Found this at Joann's this evening.  Made me think of Heather.  You go girl.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day 318 - arrghhhhhhhhhh

Ever have one of those times where you'd like to reach out and punch someone?  The day was going well until I came home from work, entering as usual via the kitchen/back door.  I walked through the house and went out the front door to get the mail from the box on the porch and discovered a note with what I have to interpret as a threat on it.  It was from the contractor doing the gas line installations for Columbia and stated "Final Notice - Must call for an appointment this Saturday or gas service will be shut off".  When I was bringing the groceries in I found another one in the side door.

They've been screwing around with this for months.  Pretty much everything they've told me has been a lie.  Two weeks ago I came home late on Friday evening to find one on the side door, "Please call to confirm a 11/5/11 appointment to move meter outside. 419-xxx-xxxx Paul Thank you for your time"  Only problem was it was late, and no one had contacted me to make an appointment.  They had both my house and cell numbers, its not like you can't call.  Turned out that when the guy finally showed up after 10am, there was enough time, as I had to meet my mom and sister to celebrate my sister's birthday.  The guy said they would be back the following Saturday.

Flash forward a week, I hustled to get the laundry done so I didn't need the water heater, and hung around until after 2 pm.  No one called, no one showed.  Didn't hear anything until tonight's threat.  Understand that I have repeatedly told them if they have to leave notes for me to find to use the back door.  Here's the number for my leash cell, you can pretty much always reach me. It's not like it's impossible.

They're about to discover that I don't respond that well to threats.  I have the number of the project manager on Columbia's payroll.  I'm pissed.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Day 317 - Growing

I've made it past the garter stitch beard and have started the shaping of the leg and returned to simple intarsia, I'm well past the halfway point and picking up speed.  It is probably about 8 inches long at this point. Maybe it will be off the needles tonight and the next one will be ready to cast on tomorrow.  I've been working on it for about an hour tonight, and will likely spend another 90 or so before calling it a night.  So I've more than made my 11.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Day 316 - Back in the Saddle

Machine Knitting.  The swatch hit gauge on the first try.  I measured it this morning after letting it rest overnight.  So this evening while the lightning flashed and the thunder rumbled I cast on and start on the stocking.  I got through about a third of the design, and am in the middle of the chunk of intarsia with texture.  Slow going there.  Hopefully I will get thru the rest of the intarsia tomorrow night, so I can put this one on HK needles to be finished and cast on to repeat it again for a second one.

Flower bulbs were half off tonight when I was leaving the store, so I grabbed a bunch to plant in the new beds under the oaks.  I love spring bulbs and there are enough here to do succession planting in layers, so the color should last for several weeks.

How did your day go?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Day 315 - Why Eleven?

That's what my niece asked me this morning.  (After I pointed out that anonymous comments addressed to Aunt Lori, weren't quite so anonymous.) I explained that I had a friend who, in January, had challenged her friends and readers to spend 11 minutes a day doing something fiber related and some how document it.  And how this friend had gotten really sick, and I had agreed to step in and take over while they found out what was wrong.  Initially this was on my blog, but now I'm writing entries for both blogs.

So for Lindsey, of the knitting lessons, here are the rules, originally published January 12 in Podcasting for Machine Knitters.

So I am committing to 11 minutes of Fiber Related activity every day for 2011. So far this year I’m golden even though I’m just getting around to writing about my insanity. This cannot continue and you will be either happy or chagrined to be seeing daily blog entries by 10pm each day with podcasts interspersed perhaps far more often than previously published. Love or hate it is what I need to do and you dear readers can enjoy or not. I want my mojo back!!!
Since I hand knit and crochet in addition to machine knitting there may be quite a bit more than I normally discuss. But its all fiber and I believe that most mental, physical or spiritual health professionals will agree that this can only be a positive thing. That said? Here we go…
I’ve spent more than 10 minutes writing this entry. But I’ve also spent some time thinking about my goal. I can’t just say I thought about knitting on any given day and for today there will be actual knitting done but I want to make the rules for myself. Set an example so to speak and live it. I’d invite everyone to join with me in this but it’s going to be difficult. I know it is going to be difficult so I need some rules and guidelines I have to live by. So here are my rules:
11 Minutes for 2011 Rules (For Heather Thompson)
1) I will spend 11 Minutes in pursuit of Fibery Goodness EVERY DAY of 2011.
2) I will make note and blog entries detailing each day’s pursuit.
3) Thinking about knitting without a specific project will not count.
4) Spinning, hand knitting, crochet, yarn shopping, meeting attendance, class preparation, class time, fiber bearing animal and plant care and collection all count!
5) Reading counts but only if it is pattern, technique, or industry related. Reading a Debbie Macomber book does not count, sorry!
6) Posts must be made daily.
7) Writing blog entries does NOT count!
8) In the event of my death, maiming, dismemberment or significant illness a Doctor’s note will be provided!
9) No quitting just because the MOJO seems to be back.
10) Napping with or blankly staring at yarn, tools and books does not count.
11) Failure is not an option.

Rule 8 is now in effect.

My 11 were spent today working on my mitten and working with Lindsey on the next step in her slipper pattern.  Her challenge whether she realizes it or not is to get the remaining 10 pattern rows completed before she sees me again for a lesson on how to turn the heel.  After last weeks lesson that included a trip to the frog pond for her, I think she may have been gratified to see me rip back about 5 rows of patterning when I forgot to increase for the thumb gusset.  oops...

How did your day go?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Day 314 - Happy Anniversary

Saturday, November 12, 1960, was Sadie Hawkins Day.  It was also my parent's wedding day.  Fifty one years today.  Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Day 313 - Movie Night

The guy in brown delivered this tonight. The last of the Harry Potter films.  So I made my 11 while I watched this.  In the end I had this.
So yes I made my 11. 

Today is Veteran's Day and I want to say thank you to all those serve.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Day 312 - Patience?

Today has been a lesson in patience.  The program that we use to write quotes/sales and sell the same went down nationwide sometime this morning.  If you happened to be using it before it decided to run away and hide somewhere, you were fine.  The program worked and life was pretty normal.  I happened to be signed in and once we realized there was a problem we really watched to make sure someone didn't sign us out.  Once you were out there was no way to log back in. 

By the end of the day I was the only one in my department still able to make quotes.  This would be amusing, except that I ended up with a line of contractors wanting to place orders or get quotes.  Since I was already on the phone with another customer, who wasn't quite as decisive, so it took way too long and they left.  Normally at the end of the day you close out all the programs you've been using and clock out.  Tonight I taped a large note on the computer to remind everyone to leave it alone.  Hopefully I'll still be able to do my job in the morning. 

My knitting patience came in the form of this.  60 stitches on wee steel needles and the color pattern is just starting to emerge.  Yes I made my 11.

How did your day go?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Day 311 - You can have as much...

as you can handle. This is what my boss told me when I asked about the overtime I'm accumulating this week. I have one customer with a really large project with a really quick deadline and a lot of incremental steps to get there, and I sell him a lot every of stuff every afternoon to get his crews ready for the next morning.  And I'm trying to compile a check list of the things he needs the most so he can walk his job and send it over every day. 

In the meantime I have other customers who also need attention, as well as the walk in traffic, emailed quote requests and phone calls.  I have at least six large quotes to finish and get back to the customers.  As well as the special orders I need to write for the big project.  I'll be busy for the next month or so...  OT is always welcome coming into the holidays.

Tonight was knit night and I was late getting quotes out and paid for as well as setting things up for the morning.  New projects were shown, new books and magazines perused, and plans made to celebrate the holidays together.  As I was running late I didn't get a chance to pick up my FO. 

I came home a got a bit done on my new mitten.  Ready to as the contrast color to the mix.  This should be interesting.  So I did make my 11 but not much more.

How did your day go?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Day 310 - Another Long Day

But the last one for the week, as I've made evening commitments for the rest of the week.  About 10.5 hours today.  And I still have a spreadsheet to finish. 

My 11 were spent hunting around for a colorwork mitten pattern.  Right now it looks like the Egyptian mitten pattern is winning.  I did cast on an 1 round.  The pattern is in Finnish, but fully charted.
How did your day go?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Day 309 - Exhausted

FO to celebrate.  The beret is done. 

It was a long day, and I can't hold my eyes open.  So short post and I'm signing off.

Hope your day went well too.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Day 308 - Student

Lindsey wants HK slippers and wants to make her own.  Yesterday we looked at patterns, selected one and downloaded it to her laptop.

She didn't have needles so we ran to the LYS this afternoon to pick up a couple of pairs.  In a stroke of luck they didn't have two alike, so two different circulars in different lengths and colors, which should actually make it easier to learn the technique. 

She remembered how to cast on. But needed a refresher on purling and the different appearance of the two on the needles.  Soon she was knitting away and reading her knitting enough to quickly recognize mistakes.  I showed her where to find tutorials on YouTube and had her make a video of my hands while I demonstrated the techniques she would need next. 

This is her first attempt at socks and she's doing a good job.  I laughed when I told her that socks were generally not the second project type for most knitters.  She asked what mine had been, and I said an Aran sweater, but quickly pointed out that wasn't normal either.  Her mother piped up that I had always been an overachiever. 

To be honest I didn't know any better.  I wanted the sweater. Grandma didn't want to make it for me, so I did it myself.  I think she's probably in the same position.  I won't knit them for her and she really wants them.  That's a great motivation in my book.  She will learn the techniques, because she has a goal. 

While I more than made my 11 teaching, I also got the beret back on the needles and should complete it at lunch tomorrow. 

Day 307 - Planning

Traded work for plants today.  Some will replace the daylilies that the gas company destroyed.  The evergreen will add a bit of winter interest at my front steps when everything has gone dormant.  I need to move a hosta and some bulbs to plant it.  Hopefully tomorrow morning when I get back from work.

The gas company showed up after 10 am thinking they were going to work in the house today.  I politely explained that I had a birthday lunch to attend and would be leaving.  When would I be back?  Turns out that 3 pm didn't work for them.  I'm not real sympathetic, birthdays come once a year.  Lack of communication and coordination on their part does not make this my problem.

My sister and I both had a fiber filled day.  She hit her favorite needlework shop in the morning before meeting Mom and myself for lunch.  After lunch the two of us hit the LYS, Joanns and B&N on the hunt for magazines and books.  She also drooled over some of the sample garments and yarns.

We made plans to start a family knit night for herself, her daughters, our cousin and myself.  I've taught all of them at some point and they want to learn more.  This should be fun.

I did get the shaping finished on my beret and got it off the needles, although I'm now in the process of taking off the band and picking up the live edge to knit down and re-do the band to make it smaller.  I've more than made my 11.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Day 306 - Tired Again

Crazy day, it was supposed to be a short one, technically I was supposed to leave by noon.  Instead I missed lunch, wrote quotes all afternoon, asked my supervisor to quote one of the lists that I had, answered phone calls/pages and still wasn't done at 5:30.  My supervisor actually texted me at home to see if I had pulled an order for pick up tomorrow.  I responded that his boss had made pointed comments about how I was not to work until close, so I got my critical ones quoted and clocked out.  I did make a point of printing the correct pick list, to make it easier, and had left it at the service desk for the manager who had sent me home to resolve. 

Got a phone call really quickly after that response.  Consensus, yes I had done the right thing.  Pointed out that I was planning on finishing quotes during the all store meeting on Sunday am.  I've got three quotes, a bid and a spreadsheet to do on Monday, in addition to anything else that may walk in.  It's going to be a very busy day.

Came home to find another note in tucked into the door I don't use.  This one is again from the gas co. subcontractor, the same one that screwed up the garden on Monday.  The note said to call to confirm our appointment on 11-5 (tomorrow) as they are intending to install the inside lines and hook up the meter. 

Maybe I'm missing something but usually if you schedule an appointment, there's some actual scheduling/communication/interaction going on.  Not a note left in an inconspicuous location dictating a meeting.  I have plans with family to celebrate a birthday, they are SOL. (OK maybe I'm tired and cranky and fed up with pushy contractors today, but still I have a life and have plans that can't change.) 

But my boss and I did get stopped by the outside sales guy, who passed on that his big customer, who I had done the kitchen measurements and designs for yesterday, had been really impressed.  Impressed enough to send an email, which he had passed up to the store manager. 

Trying to unwind tonight, I did work on the beret, but only for about 30 minutes.  So while it is closer to being finished, I'm not there yet.  I have tried it on and don't like the band.  While it measures about three inches of negative ease, I think it feels too loose.  But I'm not ripping it back this time.  Instead I'll snip a stitch and pick out a row and pick up the live edge and knit down on even smaller needles to tighten it up.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Day 305 - Busy Busy

One of the many hens and chicks in my yard
As I was heading out to my desk this morning, my boss and our outside sales guy were debating about how to get something measured for a customer so the sales guy could sell truckloads of merchandise.  Seems that the in house design staff were out for the day, and that they either didn't do or understand how to do onsite as built measurements.  The consensus was that there was no way that we could get anything done for them this week. 

At this point I spoke up.  Yes, I know how to measure for cabinets.  Yes I know how to lay out a functional kitchen.  I'll do it for you, but I want the sales.   While I don't get commission, I do get graded on sales per hour and I'm not stupid, truckloads of cabinets are big sales.  But I can't run over there until I take care of the customers I already have waiting on me this morning.  After weeks of relatively flat business, for some reason I ended up, busier than a one armed paper hanger this morning, following up on a final details for one customer and getting that order pulled, taking phone calls from several others, trying to pull together a quote and materials for a list that had been phoned in earlier, as well as dealing with carry out sales.  It was almost four hours before I could leave.  In the meantime management had decided that the place I needed to visit was a bit too dicey for an associate to go alone, so someone else needed to go too. 

Ninety minutes later we were back, complete with scribble dimension sketches and notes for five different layouts.  I had a customer waiting for me with a list that he wanted priced, and another who had wanted a site visit asking me to move it to Friday, but in the meantime could I pull together another quote and send it over so it could be delivered tomorrow.  In between pages and phone calls, we got three of them into the design software and drawings emailed out before I got called away and had then had to leave for the day.  Tomorrow is supposed to be short, but with three large orders going out the door in the morning, eight units to walk with a customer, two more kitchens to design and the materials list for a gutted out house to quote, I don't know that I'll be leaving very quickly.

On my needles, the beret is finally to the point where I've started the shaping for the top.  I'm thinking another evening and there will be another FO in the collection.  Time to get really serious on the Christmas stockings.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Day 304 - More Than 11

While the younger women of the family met in my living room tonight to dissect/critique the recent Sauerkraut luncheon that we had prepared at church a couple of weeks ago, I sat and worked on my beret.  Basically we looked at the master list, made revisions as needed and documented what worked and what didn't and why/how to change it.   Through it all I knit.  The beret is still in the mindless knitting stage, so I didn't need to watch, and could listen and respond as needed without losing my place.

Tried to find a copy of the potato chip scarf pattern for my niece.  She thinks they are cool.

How did your day go?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day 303 - Warm

The heat is on, the house is cozy.  Darned toasty after waking up to 54 degrees this morning.  Actually it's warm enough that it's making me sleepy.

Came home tonight to discover that they had installed the service line sometime today.  No they didn't trench any of the yard, it was all bored.  However they didn't bother to dig up the plants in the garden and they are all gone. And the area that was once full of perennials is full of rocks/gravel.  So I think we will be having a discussion tomorrow.

Sent my secret project on it's way this afternoon.  Spent this evening trying to work on the beret and falling asleep.  I should really take that as a hint, but I need to get ready for girls night here at the house tomorrow.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Day 302 - Still Holding On

Wrapped in wool and watching the fire. Still holding out until November to turn on the heat.  Not joking, yes the house is cool.  A balmy 56 in the living room. I'm wearing alpaca over a turtleneck and a wool hat. Mid 60s is going to feel warm.  Tomorrow is the first. Everything changes.

I made my 11 working on my beret.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Day 301 - Frogs

The beret was way too big, even for my fat head, so off to the frog pond it went. 

After church today, I ran out to Utica for fresh apples.  Turns out it's the last day of the season for Branstools Orchard.  Came home with a big bag of Goldrush, crisp, sweet, and juicy, yum... 

Came home through Granville so I could stop by Wisp and pick up another hank of Malabrigo to match the hat.  I can't decide if I want to add fingerless mitts or a neck warmer to the set.  This gives me options. 

And I'll leave you with this.  Frosted covered rhubarb and sage with the bars of early sun coming through the fence in the garden this morning.  All the shades of silvery green.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Day 300 - Multiple Milestones

Three hundred days of 11 minutes of fiber related fun a day for 2011.  Three hundred days of somehow documenting it, either here or on Podcasting for Machine Knitters. According to the stats this post is also post 100 on this blog.  So multiple milestones have been achieved today.

It was cold last night and this morning.  I could see my breath in my bedroom.  Yes I'm still being stubborn.  It was a chilly 48 degrees F in there this morning. 

When I stepped out for firewood this morning I was greeted by this.  Yes that is ice on the lily pond.  Bloody cold this morning.

 But doesn't it make the edges of the leaves beautiful?
This is Bloodgood Japanese Maple.

Yes I made my 11 working on the beret.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Day 299 - Home Again

My truck is back all repaired and shiny clean on the outside.  Eddie actually worked on cleaning it inside and out but said he gave up on the floor.  My sister has been tweeking me for several months about the rolling trash pit that is the passenger side floor, so I more than understood his problem. It was a work truck for several summers and stuff tended to accumulate there.  So I guess my assignment for tomorrow is to clean it out and get the bits and pieces stored away. 

I'm sitting in front of the fire, which is working hard to take off the chill.  Back to work on the beret.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Day 298 - Brrr...

Coldest night of the season so far.  Still holding off on the heat.  And the fireplace is working hard to take the edge off tonight.  Should have enough firewood to last until Monday.  Stubborn, I know.

I had my annual visit to my allergy doc this afternoon and spent my wait working on my beret.  Turns out my doc is also a knitter and loved the yarn, wanted to know where I got it etc.  We talked about knitting, family and construction for at least 45 minutes.  So yes I did get my 11 in today.

Day 297

Restarted the Malabrigo beret. Made it through the band. So I got my 11.

Got a lead on a possible job, so my focus is on getting that application polished and submitted so the post is short.  Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Day 296 - Done

Trips to the frog pond, redesigns and unhappy finishes are behind me and the secret project is done.  I finished binding off on the second attempt this evening.  A couple of ends to weave in, a nice bath and blocking and this project will be ready to send on its way. 

So yes I made my 11.  Probably back to the redesign of the beret for my work project and on to the stocking design for my evening project tomorrow.  Need to chart it in DAK.  Pictures in a couple of days.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Day 295 - Two Steps Forward, One Back

The shaping on the secret project was finished during lunch.  But I decided that I didn't like the edging and it needed to be re-done.  A careful snip and subsequent picking out of the row and pick up of the live edge and I was off knitting the edge on smaller needles.   Progress but a step back to regroup and finish.  Should be done tomorrow afternoon.

I fell asleep several times in front of the fire, and proved that I can't knit in my sleep. Yes I got my 11 but I'm off to bed.

Day 294 - Practice Makes Better

Over the years friends have asked me why my pictures of things seemed so much better than theirs.  I think that part of it is simply practice.  The more you do something the better you'll get.  Note: Digital makes this MUCH easier and cheaper too. The other thing is that I'm willing to keep at it until I get images that I like.  Take this series from this afternoon.

 This is a ginko tree in my parents front yard.  That's my car parked behind it.  The amazing color is what caught my eye.  But the background is cluttered.  There's my car.  The walnut tree and house across the street in the background.  The only thing this really shows is color.
 Now I've started closing in on the texture and color of the leaves.  But they are a bit back lit, so you don't see the colors as well.
 Now I'm starting to frame the shot to pull your eye through it.  The diagonal lines of the branches pull your eye around the photo.  What background you can see through the leaves is more diffused.
 Still back lit, and playing trying to unclutter the background.  The trunk doesn't do anything for this shot.
Still back lit, but all about the texture of the leaves.
 Trunk provides more visual appeal, but the background is distracting again.
 This tine I thought the contrast in colors of the leave and the grass with the diagonal of the trunk giving movement to the shot would be an improvement. Still back lit.
 This is more tightly framed.  Still has the trunk and it's shadow pulling your eye through the picture.  Still back lit.
 Pure color and texture, but the back lighting has it all in shadow.
 Texture, contrasting shadows and lines.  A bit of clutter in the lower left, but cropping it would also remove the lines.
 Good detail of the leaves.  Color is truer in with the sun behind my shoulder.  Tree trunk on the left is distracting and should be cropped in the final image.
 More tightly focused.
 Trunk and leaves no longer back lit.  A bit too close, not enough foreground for my taste, but the texture of the bark is now highlighted.
Better color with the sun behind me.  Using the trunk's shadow to create movement.

Are these perfect?  No, but they aren't bad, especially since I did them with a little point and shoot.  Like many skills they get better with practice. 

Work continues on my mystery project.  Shaping started last night and ripped out this evening because it wasn't right.  Made it a bit longer and started shaping again.  Much better this time.

One of those hard practice makes perfect things.