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.