Thursday, January 18, 2018

Answer: Neither

Question: Is that the first sock of the pair you're making, or the second?

Yeah, it's another experiment.

I've mentioned before (in September and October) that, for the latest socks I'm making, this yarn has a really, really gradual color transition. And if you look at that second post, you'll also see that I wrote:
...the skein is enough for three socks, almost...
Well, I finished the second sock, and there's no almost about it. And given how the two socks already don't match (and also that I had other knitting, and enough other things, going on, that the idea of worrying about which yarn was up to bat next did not appeal), I decided to just go on, and see what happens.

So here's where we are:
Or, in order of the yarn:
It starts out so light.
Changes so little.
Then, partway down the foot, darkens somewhat:
And again, little change.
The center of the yarn ball is darker (though not actually what you would call dark).
It's been a learning experience, this yarn. Which, as a refresher, is Chincoteague Colors Tides Gradient Collection, and don't get me wrong, it's lovely yarn to work with. The color is just not doing what I expected, at all. Which is more on me than on the yarn!

In other knitting news, I did go ahead and frog that second sock from the reclaiming project. I dug out what was left over from making the socks in the first place, so it will all be together.
Now it can rest for a bit.

And, back to the blanket, I decided to wet-block the swatch I made for the blanket, to see how much it would stretch out.

Before:
And after:
Not a huge change, but that's fine; I just wondered how the slight bumpiness would do, and it does flatten down a bit.

Of course, the real test is washing it in the machine, to see what that does. So I sent it through the washer and dryer, and it (unsurprisingly) curled up again. I think I will try again, sending it through just the washer, then laying it flat to dry, and see what that does. Just out of curiosity!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

More Pre-Moving Progress

I was talking to a friend about this process of getting ready for the move, and she was surprised when I said I'm working hard because I've always been so bad at moving (so bad; seriously, SO BAD). And I can see her point, that that is out of character for me in a way, but history doesn't lie, and I have never been ready when the movers come. And that's with having hit the crisis mode of "who cares, just throw it out, I don't care anymore."

I don't know, maybe in this way, I am flashing back to my procrastination problems in junior high, when Miss Goody-Two-Shoes got in trouble for not doing school projects. With moving, I always underestimate how long things will take (especially the kitchen*), and the panic mode just doesn't get enough done. Hopefully, this time, with this much lead time, and no set date (set by anyone other than me, that is), it won't get as bad. Only time will tell.
*I haven't started to tackle the kitchen yet, but what I've done needs doing, too. It will come.

One thing I've finally gotten around to is laying out all my shoes together, to assess what can go. I'm pretty sure this is actually everything, too, with the known exception of my snow boots, rain boots, and sneakers, which were all on the boot tray by the door. I didn't feel the need to move those, since I know I will get rid of the snow boots after winter is done, will keep the sneakers, and will probably keep the rain boots, so those decisions are done.
Seeing everything laid out was actually less overwhelming than I had expected! I was able to sort out half of them to go without much pain; there are a couple of "maybes" that I kept for now. And the keepers are all tidied away.
Those bins aren't all full, either, but I'm keeping them for now, and will decide later if they move. The shoes are halved, tidy, and out of the way, which suits me for today.

Other areas I have tackled recently: VHS tapes* and DVDs, as well as audiobooks, and my shelf of hockey books. The amount of dust on those was appalling. I hope to find someone who wants the majority, but even if I just drop them off at the Used Book Superstore, I'm feeling good about the few chosen ones that remain.
*Only had a few left, but most of them are going now.

I'm still working out the details of what to move, especially in terms of furniture: as I mentioned, I've made floor plans and moved around cutouts of the different pieces, to make sure of what will fit in my new bedroom, and the room that will be my office/guest room. You can see how high-tech I am (who uses graph paper anymore, right?).

Bedroom:
And office:
I know the photos aren't great, but I'm just trying to give you the idea. (No one but me is worried about the details.) I've done this before when I moved, and was quite proud once when the movers commented on how everything was fitting where I wanted them to put it. Yes! Thank you for noticing! I worked to achieve that!

This time, it's the same but different. Will this fit there, what about that, where can I put the other? I have two dressers, plain but sturdy, which I brought home when my aunt was getting rid of them, some few years ago (I expect I wrote about it then, but I can't find it now), and I wasn't sure about moving them. I don't love them, they are purely functional to me, but they have been "in the family" since my mother was young, so I decided to check with her, justincase. And no, she doesn't feel sentimental about them, and she has two dressers already, so we won't need them to start with at least. The pendulum thus swung firmly to "would be cheaper to replace than to move," and Sunday night I looked at them and thought, "You know, I bet I could clear one of them out now, and make some room."

So I did (some things moved around, some things in the donate pile, some in the try on pile), and I listed it on the local giveaway page on Facebook, and someone (actually, the same people who took the table last week) spoke up for it. Good! Out it goes! (The other one I will need to hang onto until it's time to move; my underwear has to go somewhere, after all.)

Because of this, I decided to do a bit of tweaking in the bedroom. I don't know yet how all the details will work out, in terms of listing and selling the place, and I'm not quite ready to touch base with the realtor again yet, but I thought I could move things around and see how it looked with a seating area incorporated into the bedroom. (It's a really big bedroom, actually.)

You can see the before pictures, as well as the then-after, when I wrote about working in the bedroom way back in April; I can say that I didn't lose a ton of ground from the decluttering work I did then. Have there been times when things got piled on the chair? Yes, but not always. It's a battle I fight, the "what do I do with this layer that I've worn, but isn't dirty, so I could wear it again." Usually things end up piling up on the couch or the chair.

Seating area (with hamper; it has to go somewhere, while I live here, and behind the door is as good as anything).
I'm not planning to move the rocking chair, btw, so if anyone local wants it, speak up. I think it's charming, but my legs are too long for it to be a comfortable seat.

Then, against the opposite wall, there are all the clothing collectors except the one under the humidifier (pictured above; that can move once we're past humidifier season). Just to the right is the closet, so now I can see all my clothing together (well, other than the dressier clothes in the linen closet, but it's most of it).
Oh, do you want to see the clothes in the linen closet, too? Slightly but not fully purged:
So all this is good progress, though there's still plenty to do. But progress is progress. For instance, I wrote back in April:
The blue Rubbermaid tote holds sweaters that I'm not sure about; they may go, but today was not their day.
Well, that day wasn't, but this day was. I put one sweater, one I made myself but that pilled terribly, in the box I have that is labeled "memory clothes"; I may or may not keep it, and all of those, when I move, but I wasn't ready to get rid of them now. The other sweaters, with a sigh, they went. I haven't opened the bin since April, confirming what I already knew: I don't wear these*. Hopefully, someone else will.
*Which doesn't surprise me; I knew I was keeping them for sentimental, not practical, reasons.

As for the memory clothes, today was not their day, but that day may come, at least for some of the items in the box. One step at a time. It's slow, but it gets you there.

P.S. I did an online search for holiday cards with a moving theme, and did you know that only multi-person families move? Or perhaps they're the only ones to let people know they moved? It's (almost ) all "We've Moved!" and "Our New Home!" This is going to take some digging, apparently.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Reclaiming Yarn

I did something new to me in the knitting realm recently. While working on cleaning the bedroom out, I ran across a pair of socks that I finished a few years ago, but almost never wear. They came out too big, and slide down as soon as I put them on. I have tried more than once, and always end up tugging at them and soon, yanking them off my feet.

During this clean-out, I did get rid of some of my old hand-knit socks, with a pang, but ditching these felt different than socks with holes and worn spots. They were finished over three years ago, but barely worn. And such nice yarn! Cashmere! Could this yarn be saved, and re-used? In theory, it is possible, and I decided to try.

I found the end, at the toe, without too much difficulty, and started pulling it out.
The yarn, naturally, is very kinked, from being in stitch form for so long. It's also fuzzy, the fibers melding together a bit. It wasn't hard to pull apart, but it wasn't quite what I would call easy, either. It wanted to be together.
The way it frogged around the heel amused me.
The yarn broke at one point, so I ended up with two balls from one sock (I figured I wouldn't do the other sock until I was sure I liked what happened with the first).
I took one of the balls, and wound it back into a skein. I've never used my swift this way; it felt backward.
Tied it off in a few places with yarn scraps, so it would stay in place.
Still very kinky, of course.
Next, I gave it a bath, lukewarm water and Eucalan. Is anyone else suddenly hungry for ramen?
After a good long soak, I pressed most of the water out in a towel and hung the yarn, with weights on the end, to dry. The side of the microwave worked fine.
And then twisted it up. Look at this little guy.
Slightly fuzzy, but much less kinked.
It looks like it should work, so I did the other one the same way.
And really, I think it should be usable! On to the other sock, and I'll give that yarn the same treatment. Kind of cool.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Blue Winter Mood

It's really cold again, and the downside to living close to the chiropractor is that the car doesn't warm up one degree before I'm there. Then it's freezing again to get into, to go the little grocery store nearby, and freezing again when I come out. But I have a few groceries now, and since it's supposed to snow again starting late tomorrow, I did want to make the stop.

Another 4-7 inches, is the latest I heard. It will warm up again, somewhat, after that, so at least it isn't expected to stick around too long, but still. Brr, plus shoveling. I prefer my sore back to be from clearing out closets and sorting through things to get rid of; I did a fair bit of that this weekend, and feel a good sense of accomplishment, to go with the sore back. Shoveling does not bring the same feeling. At least I don't have anywhere to go on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, it's two months since Carlos died. I guess it hurts a little bit less than it did two months ago, if not much. I don't cry every day. But I do cry some days, and I still feel the loss, hard and painful, at some point or many points every day. My baby boy.
I miss him so much.

The Bruins played this afternoon, and it's such a shame that they didn't play very well*, because NESN is replaying the game tonight, and I do wish I wanted to watch it again. It would be a good distraction. But I don't want to see it, so I'll have to find something else to do.
*They lost in overtime, so their streak of not losing a game in regulation continues. Since December 14th, I think they said; a good long time, anyway.

Put in a movie? Pull up an old game on YouTube? Well, eat dinner, anyway. That's a good place to start.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Looking Back: Shell Bug

When we were at the airport picking up my brother, I found that they had a most interesting car on display there.

And really, after that I think the photos speak for themselves.










Saturday, January 13, 2018

A Tremendous Drop, Interesting Coincidences: All Numbers

This morning it was about 60 degrees here. It dropped all day--42, 35--and is currently 26.

Tomorrow's forecast high temperature (high) is 22, so we have some more dropping to do.

Brrr. Not my favorite way for the numbers to trend.

I am getting ready to watch the Bruins game tonight, after they've been off for five days. This is the first time they have played Montreal this season, and then they play them twice more next week. Three out of the four meetings in eight days! I think the schedule makers must have been drunk.

Jack Edwards had some interesting musings on Bruins numbers during a recent game. He pointed out that numbers 3, 7, and 77 are already retired, and that numbers 33 (Chara) and 37 (Bergeron) each have a good chance of being retired one day. What does that leave? Number 73, which is being worn by Charlie McAvoy, the 20-year-old who is in the discussion for rookie of the year this season.

Innnnteresting, isn't it? I love number things like this.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Oh No They Didn't (Post Office Edition)

I wasn't going to tell this story here, as it's kind of silly how annoyed it made me on Wednesday, and then it was all working out, but then it went one step further into crazytown, and now here I am, telling the story.

I'm sure I have mentioned in the past that I sometimes get frustrated with mail delivery to this building. While I get that it's an odd building in mail-delivery terms (a total of five doors on three sides of the building, and the mailboxes are inside one of those entrances, which you can't tell from outside), none of the setup is new*, and far more often than seems reasonable to me, I either don't get any mail, or get mail late**. (After this week, I have added "will not have to deal with the post office not knowing where to deliver the mail" to my list of things I will appreciate about moving.)
*The building is from 1745, but it was moved to this location in 1875. I can't swear that the mailboxes have been where they are since then, but I do know they have been there since I first saw the building, 11+ years ago.
**I don't expect real mail that often, but I get enough catalogs/bills/charity requests to expect something most days, plus I get the local weekly newspaper, which is delivered by mail on Thursdays. Except when it comes on Friday. Or sometimes Saturday.

By the way, while I'm complaining, very frequently when the mail is correctly delivered, the carrier does not close the door, the one that they just opened to come in. Now, there's a storm door on that side, so they're not leaving us open to the elements, but I hate to think of the amount of heat (or air conditioning, in summer) that gets out, even with the storm door.

So, as it happened, I had two items this week that I had ordered that were supposed to be delivered on Wednesday through the USPS. One ended up getting pushed out to Thursday, but the other one was through Amazon, and when I checked the tracking on Wednesday afternoon, having looked and seen that no mail had yet come, the Amazon tracking said that there had been a problem, that the carrier could not access the building. Great, I thought, the carrier went to the wrong door, it was locked, and they gave up. I groused about it on Facebook and Twitter, as one does, but wasn't really surprised.

Let me say now that I am fully aware that none of this is the fault of the individual carrier(s). Since we don't have a regular carrier who would be familiar with the route, I do not understand why the USPS does not have a process in place to tell carriers what the weird things on this (or any other) route are. I mean, this can't be the only building in the US that has something unconventional about it, right? What follows may sound like I'm blaming the carrier, since they're on the front line and it's easy to get annoyed with them, so I wanted to state upfront that I know, they aren't at fault.

While understanding how this happened, I was frustrated that it happened, and wanted to make sure that the same thing did not happen again on Thursday. So Thursday morning, I taped this little sign up outside the door I mainly use, which is one of the locked ones.
Fairly polite, right? Please and thanks, no "Hey, dumbass," just trying to help.

On Thursday, of course, I was watching for the mail truck. At one point, I saw that the truck had parked near the building, and went down to the boxes, but no mail yet. A while later, I checked the online tracking of one of the packages, and it said delivered! Yay! For some reason, though, I glanced out my window at the doorstep, on the side where I had left the note, and to my surprise and dismay, could see that a bunch of items had been dropped there, outside that door.

  • Which is good, in that I got my mail! Including the red yarn I was waiting for!
  • But bad, in that it was left outside, to potentially blow away, get wet, get taken, all that stuff.

So I went down to get it, and seeing my note there, and being annoyed, I took it and walked over to where the truck was still parked. The carrier wasn't in it, but I stuck the note to the window and then went inside. To me, this was a way of saying, "I said, please deliver to the mailboxes," and honestly I figured the carrier would crumple it up and drop it in the snow next to the truck. But later I saw the truck was gone, with no apparent note left behind, and then after that, I looked down at the steps again, and saw that the carrier had taped the note back where it originally was.

I both laughed and was annoyed. Was this cluelessness, or was the carrier telling me, "Fuck you, you can't tell me how to do my job"? But I didn't actually look at that note until this morning, when I was taking a bag of trash out, and thought I might as well take the note down. Only after I was back inside did I see that the carrier left me a message.
Don't you love that? "No mail box no mail," and underlining the "Thanks" back at me. As if I am just pretending that we have mailboxes, and you, Thursday's carrier, are the first person in the building's history to discover that this building has no mailboxes, and has been trying to cheat the Postal Service into delivering mail anyway.

Plus, it implies that the carrier went around to that side of the building to look for mailboxes, but didn't try to open the door on that side.

Sigh. I decided that, although who knows if today's carrier would be the same as yesterday's (who in turn may or may not have been the same as Wednesday's), I might as well reply, and did so.
"The mail boxes are inside. They have been there for years."

The mail was delivered to the boxes today. I don't take credit for it, though, as the truck was parked down the block instead, which makes me think it wasn't the same carrier. And in fact, I didn't get any specific mail, just the weekly pile of grocery ads. So who knows.

Meanwhile, I took the note down.

In better news, I love what the red yarn is adding to the blanket.
So at least that's something.

And, someone came and took the table I was looking to rehome, which I had about given up on, so that's a good thing!

And it's a long weekend, which is another good thing! Hooray for Monday off.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

One More Knitting Project

This should be my last knitting-for-someone-else project for a while, since it isn't done, and even a baby blanket takes a little time. (I did turn down a friend who wondered if I would make a hat for his dog--he's not local, so I couldn't do the measuring and fit-checking I would need to do, when embarking* on a project like that for the first time, and with the other things I have going on, it would be warm weather before I got to it anyway.) So away I go on the blanket.
*Ooh, unintentional!

When I was getting my hair cut before Christmas, my hairdresser, who I've known since I was a kid, though she's only been cutting my hair for 10 years (my god, it's been 10 years since Karl died? how is that possible?), told me that she was about to become a grandmother for the first time, and she really wants to give them something handmade, and she was wondering if I might be willing to knit the baby a blanket.

I have to say, she asked in just the right way. She said it didn't have to be done before the baby was born, no pressure, that I could pick the pattern and the yarn, that she could pay me for it or we could barter for haircuts, all that good stuff. The only suggestion she had* was related to a pillow that was made for her son by his grandmother when he was born, that she's going to give them when the baby comes along, and she thought it would be nice if the two kind of went together. She said the pillow has a sort of nautical theme, navy and white with a little red, and it would be nice if the blanket could tie into that somehow, if I could make it work.
*And a little guidance is a good thing, really.

I said I thought I could come up with something, and in pretty short order I found a blanket pattern that I liked, hitting the sweet spot between so-simple-it's-boring and so-challenging-I-would-pull-out-my-hair. It's the Bounce pattern, by Tin Can Knits, and it's quite cute, as well as versatile in numbers of colors that one can use. I went yarn shopping on New Year's Eve, and found a good machine-wash choice (called Adore) that they had in navy and white (well, I actually chose the cream), and later was able to order a skein of scarlet online, which just came today.

I did do a swatch before I started, to see which size needles I wanted to use (though I didn't wash it to check if that changed anything, so I can only give myself partial credit).
This is done for one repeat each, on size 5, 6, and 7 US needles (hard to tell differences, I know, but in person it was easier). I started with 5, thought that was not quite what I wanted, liked the result from the 6 much better, and did the 7 just to be sure I wouldn't like that more. But 6 was the winner, so I cast on for real.
Before long, it was waving away in two colors.
The blue sections are the ones that push the white into waves, which is an interesting effect to watch happening. See how straight the white at the top is?
That's because it's the blue above it that will affect it.

And soon, the red!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

More Knitting Revealed

And it's another* item for someone else! Who am I? I've always referred to myself, candidly, as largely a selfish knitter, making a few gifts or donations but mostly knitting for myself, and that seems to be slowly shifting in recent years. I doubt I will ever get to a point where I knit nothing for myself, even in Florida, but given my soon-to-be-lowered need for warm woolly things, perhaps the timing works out well, as I get used to knitting for others.
*There's actually one more after this, too.

In this case, my close friend asked if I could make some fingerless mitts for her uncle. I said sure, and poked into my notes to see what patterns I might have marked for such things in the past. The pattern I went with is one I bought at Rhinebeck in 2012, but never got around to making. (See, never say never!) It's called Ribbed Mitts, by Adrienne Ku, who happens to be the designer of my go-to sock pattern* (which is why I was talking to her). It's a simple pattern, but nicely detailed.
*According to Ravelry, the current ones I'm working on come after finishing this pattern 44 times. Ahem.

I chose a nice grey fingering weight merino I had in the stash from a Webs trip in 2015 (called La Jolla, from Baah!), decided to do the pattern variant with the yarn held double, and cast on the suggested number of stitches, but after only a few rounds, it seemed much too big. Even though they weren't for me.
It can be tricky to be sure, when it's still on the needles, but I wasn't happy with that gap.
I was close enough to sure that I pulled it off the needles, and yeah, it should snug up, but it kind of hung there.
So I frogged that and cast on fewer stitches (36, vs. 44), and went on from there. (If they don't fit him, then at least I will get an idea of the size of his hands, to make another pair.)

Take two, looking better.
See how much less gap?
So I went onward, pausing to take its picture at the "here comes the thumb" stage.
Still liking the fit. And the ribbing makes it a little flexible that way (enough, hopefully).
Before long I had finished it. I amused myself by standing it up for a picture.
Which makes it look stiff, but it isn't. Sturdy, I guess I would call it.
But it's quite comfortable.
And isn't hard to bend the fingers or anything.
Plus of course, one could make it as short, or as long, as desired, at either end. There's also a variation without the thumb.

One thing I didn't do, that I would probably do next time, is to do the last few rounds of the top on a slightly smaller needle. I think that would look a little tidier, and perhaps help the fit. But I'm quite happy with this pair! I washed them, and they're currently drying. Hope to be able to hand them over soon (no pun intended).