Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Musings for 2019 Knit Traveling

Now that I'm not going to be spending so much* of my vacation time coming to Florida, I spent some down time today thinking about other ways I may want to use that time. I mean, I'll go up to Boston and see friends there, and I'll see my relatives in NY once or twice a year, but other than that? So many possibilities.
*Well, not any, really

One category of possible travel that I was specifically thinking of is to go to yarn-related events, such as Rhinebeck (no longer within driving distance, but still something I'll want to do at least in some years), and other fiber festivals, retreats, and the like. I mean, I'm not sure a knitting cruise* is in my budget for 2019, but a short trip or two, within the country, to go to something I've heard about but not seen, is certainly possible. I'll be keeping my eyes open for anything nearby, too; there was one in June, not close enough for me to handle getting to in my immediate post-move fragility, but I'm watching to see what else they do.
*Yes, there are knitting cruises

Rhinebeck is the only big, national knit event I've been to. In terms of small festivals, there was the Fiber Revival that I went to a few times, but while very pleasant, it isn't something I would travel this far for. Back in 2014, though, I went to the Interweave Knitting Lab in New Hampshire, and enjoyed that quite a lot. That kind of thing might be worth traveling for. (I have to get used to the distances in Florida; in MA, nothing in-state could be more than 2-3 hours away, whereas here, it could be a 5-6 hour drive, a very different animal.)

I'm not sure about classes; I have to think about who I might want to take a class with*, or what kind of technique I might be interested in. Lectures probably appeal to me more than classes, though. I know I'm interested in a good marketplace, too, especially if they have a selection of local, or at least not available everywhere, yarns.
*There's the Yarn Harlot, maybe Franklin Habit ... who else?

Other possibles:

  • Maryland Sheep and Wool, which is in May, and is not far from Baltimore, so maybe I could also visit a friend in DC on the same trip
  • Stitches West, or other Stitches location, but Santa Clara is near enough to Oakland that I could potentially see my brother on the same trip
  • SAFF, which is in October, so I wouldn't do it in a Rhinebeck year; it's near Asheville, NC, so I could potentially see a friend who lives there

Any thoughts? I would value any input, understanding the topic is of course very subjective.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Office Walls

I've been in Florida for two months now, and like so many things in life, it feels both longer and shorter than that. Time is so weird that way.

I'm not the sort to put up pictures and declare the walls "done"; things change, are added, and sometimes removed. It's fluid. Still, it feels good to say that the office walls are in a good place, even if they don't get the "finished" rubber stamp.

A few more things here.
A few more there.
Over here as well.
Even tucked in there.
Including some of the bottles I had atop the kitchen cabinets in the condo. Not quite a full-blown collection, but they make me happy.
Which is what counts.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Ups and Downs; Mostly Ups

It's been a busy weekend, more good than not, although it didn't start well. On Friday night, I decided to take a walk around the block, barefoot, to try to get my feet a little toughened up; I've always been a tenderfoot, but as a kid I could go from wincing barefoot at the start of the summer to toughened up by the end, so I figured I can make it work.

Apparently, though, I went too far for the first stage. Just a two-block walk*, barely over a mile, on sidewalks that felt warm but not painful, and by the end of it I was hobbling. In the morning, I looked at the large blisters on the soles of my feet in disbelief. How could that simple walk cook my feet like that?
*Clearly, I should have stopped after one block.

Well, it did. My mother looked it up online, then helped me with petroleum jelly and bandages, and I'm happy to say that though still tender, they are much better today.

Although today, my calves hurt from the funny way I was walking yesterday (and still am today, actually)...I really am a delicate flower.

It was a nice walk for three-quarters of the way, at least. There was the sunset:
A tree root laughing at a chain-link fence.
"I send my roots where I want to."

Pretty flowers.
And fabulous-smelling flowers. Possibly gardenia? Smelled wonderful, anyway.
Despite my hobbles, we had a good day yesterday, going into town to take the little boat ride with a friend of my mother's, and then going to lunch at a wonderful French restaurant that's in a strip mall, you would never believe it was so high-end, but there it was. On the way back, we did some errands, and then when we got home I sat with my feet up, reading. As one does. In fact, if you like mysteries, I can recommend Spencer Kope's books, Collecting the Dead and Whispers of the Dead. I hope he writes more.

Today included some not-fun, like balancing the checkbook; some slightly more fun, getting a few things at the grocery store; and some fun, namely with kittens. As I mentioned last week, I'm volunteering at the local cat shelter, if by "volunteering" you understand that I mean playing with kitties and calling it socializing them.

It's a tough job, but someone has to do it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Ahh, but ow

Mom and I went down and walked on the beach after dinner. It was beautiful, and much of the time there was a nice breeze, but it's hot here (summer in south Florida, duh), and now I'm all sweaty, and my feet are a bit sandy, and they're also sore because they are wimpy feet.

It was worth it, though. Camera, next time.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Yarn: Acquiring and Planning and Experiments, Various

As you saw when I was sorting it, I still have a fair bit of yarn, even with the huge amounts I got rid of before moving. (And it looked so good once it was sorted out.) (It still looks that good; don't be misled by the past tense there.)

I've also mentioned a few yarn acquisitions made since moving:
  1. yarn for a baby blanket (now half done), 
  2. yarn bought when Classic Elite yarns were 30% off at my LYS (and 2a, where I ordered a couple more skeins of the blue from Webs, which had it deeply discounted as well, so that I could make a bigger shawl, which is what I imagine it will become)
  3. yarns that my mother brought home, that had been donated where she volunteers
I also bought a skein of sock yarn at the same time as #2 above, which I don't seem to have blogged about? Man, I really am not into the blogging groove completely yet, am I? It's Delicious Yarns Frosting Fingering, in Currant (which, to me, should be more a red than purple, but I guess they were thinking more of a blackcurrant).
It's definitely purple.
I love the nutrition facts on the back of the tag.
Another that I hadn't blogged yet was from when I was at the knitting group last week, and the Classic Elite was down to 50% off, and I ended up buying some more. Not more Chateau, this time, but Fresco. You know me: it's so soft!
I did a little poking around online, and decided that three skeins of each color should be enough to make a sleeveless top (maybe this one), so that's what I got.

Back to that mystery white yarn from the thrift shop. I mentioned that I had asked on Ravelry for help identifying it, and one of the suggestions was Knit Picks Diadem, which is available in a fingering weight but was once also made in DK. The more I looked at it, the less I thought that what I had was fingering, so I went back to Ravelry, found a couple of people who had the DK in their stash, and after sending messages and waiting (impatiently), finally heard back from one person who was willing to sell. Yay!

I got two skeins, one in gold and one in copper, and they arrived yesterday (she only sent them Friday, so chalk up a win for the post office, NY to FL in that time). They definitely looked like a possible match.
But how to be certain?
I wound the gold.
Still looking good!
When I first got the white, I knit a tiny swatch, just to be sure I liked working with it, which I did.
So I then did some pattern-browsing, and thought I liked the idea of the Nurmilintu shawl, so I cast on the start of that as another wee swatch.
Therefore, with gold in hand, I did the same thing. I wasn't positive that it was a yarn match until it reached the same point as the white had, but it looked good then.
And in fact, white on top of gold shows:
Same size! They look and feel similar; the gold might feel a touch thicker, but if they knit up to the same gauge, I don't see it as a problem. If the white isn't really Diadem DK, well, it's close enough for me.
Although maybe I should order a skein of the fingering, just to be sure? For science!

Anyway, I really need to be working on the baby blanket, not getting deeper into this right now, but it is so tempting, startitis, isn't it? There's nothing wrong with the baby blanket, but ... it isn't new and exciting right now.
I still like the way it's going, at least. It's just the deadline that's making me feel stubborn.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Still Settling

It's coming up on two months since my move here, and I'm still making adjustments and setting up routines--which is, I think, perfectly normal for this time frame, although sometimes I'm just ready to be adjusted and settled already. But it happens as it happens. One routine not yet fully established is clearly blogging, since often after work, I want to go sit out on the lanai, and even if I brought the laptop out there with me, typing at any length on it there isn't the most comfortable thing. It will work out, in time.

I mentioned that I was going to knit night at the yarn store last week, which I did, and had a good time. It was a small group, but the others were very pleasant, and didn't make me feel odd man out. It was nice just to sit and knit for a while, and I got the first sock of the pair done, and started the second. I'll plan to keep going, most weeks anyway, and see how it goes.

The store may be relocating soon, and it was so funny: the owner mentioned that she was putting in a proposal for a larger space down the street, and that it has a small patio space behind where she could put a table out. And one of the others exclaimed, we could sit out there in winter! Let me tell you, I love having moved to a place where sitting outside in winter is a pleasant idea.

Another thing I'm going to be doing is volunteering at a cat shelter that happily is only ten minutes away. Gosh, aren't I nice, volunteering? Well, "socializing the cats and kittens" means going to play with them for an hour every week, something I think I can fit into my busy schedule! I definitely want to get a cat myself, but (see above, re adjusting) I'm not quite ready yet, so in the meantime, I will get a bit of fuzz therapy this way. And for a good cause: win-win.

Yesterday, we went up to go to the theater with a friend of my mother's, and then to dinner. We saw a really admirable amateur production of The Bad Seed; some of the acting was a little hesitant, but the actors who played the mother, Christine, and the daughter, Rhoda, were both really good--in fact, the child was just as creepy as the character had to be, so good for her. It was quite impressive, and a pleasant day overall.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

It's Going to Be Different

The nearest yarn store to me has a knit night on Thursdays, and I'm planning to go tomorrow for the first time. And I'm not nervous about going, it isn't that; I figure I can always find something to talk to knitters about, no problem. But it does remind me of something I haven't been letting myself think much about, which is how much I miss my knitting friends.

Now, let me say, I miss all my friends. And one of my friends has just been diagnosed with breast cancer, and while I would feel helpless if I still lived up north, being this far away and wanting to help is no fun either. (The good news is that she has been told it is treatable, but still.) She's been having a rotten year, and I'd like to take her out to lunch and let her vent, or whatever would help her right now.

But this is specifically about knitting friends. It's been a little hole, not having my knitters here to show what I'm doing, see what they're doing, talk about what we might do next, all that. My mother is very knit-supportive, but she'll understand when I say that I miss talking the craft with others who do it.

Which means that going to this knit night is good, and hopefully will lead to friendships of some sort, but it will also make me miss "my" knitters up north.

Monday, July 16, 2018

A Few Monday Thoughts

I'm not saying that the report I'm working on is bad, but I'm pretty sure I was stupider at the end of the day than I was this morning.

On the other hand, after work I managed to go pick up my new Florida license plate, and get a beach parking permit, so I'm not completely flattened.

And on the third hand, I messaged a couple of people on Ravelry recently about buying some yarn, and I haven't heard back from either of them*, and I know I might not**, but the waiting is driving me a little bit crazy, too. I'm like Bugs Bunny, dropping a letter in the mail to Acme and then tapping his toes as he waits for the mail truck to deliver what he ordered.
*Four days ago, and two days ago. Not long at all, objectively.
**Although at least they both had it listed as "Will trade or sell," so I'm unlikely to get back one of those weird offended 'how dare you' messages about the request.

On the final hand, I don't think it's going to be a late night. There's only so much correcting mistakes like "despite of" (20 times) that I can take.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Sock, on a Friday Night

My knitting friends know that I have sometimes, at stitch and bitch, been known to try on my sock in progress, under the table in the pub, to see if it's time to start the toe decreases.

Last night, I was in one of the few places where I couldn't do that. It was here:
But since I was getting a pedicure, there was no trying on happening! Not on wet feet. I knit for a bit more, then put it aside. I  tried it on tonight, and yeah, about time for the toe.
This is the first of the pair, and I have several sock yarns I'm really curious to work with, so it remains to be seen whether I will cast on for the second sock in this yarn, or give in to impulse and put it aside for now.Not deciding now.

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Comic and Yarns

It's hard to come up with a good title for really unrelated things, but other than going with "Items From Today," I'm kind of at a loss. So here are a few things that happened today!

I've mentioned before that my mother volunteers at a thrift store, so she brings home all sorts of things. Today, she brought me this:
"If you want it; I can always take it back." IF I want it? Like there's a question?

The colorful stuff is called Schachenmayr select Tahiti, and it's 99% cotton, light fingering weight, so another good hot-weather-knitting-experiment yarn. I'm trying to decide if I have enough to make a sleeveless shirt with it. I should probably swatch and see how it looks knit up, anyway.

The white is mystery yarn, no labels. It's a heavier weight, maybe DK? It's got a sort of halo, sort of sheen, that makes me think silk might be involved, and/or perhaps some mohair, or alpaca, or ... I really don't know. I put the question up in a Ravelry forum to see if anyone there can ID it from the picture, and someone suggested it could be Knit Picks Diadem, which is half silk and half alpaca, and looks promising! (I might just have to order a skein, in a good contrasting color of course, to check. For science.) It's nice and soft, and I imagine it would have a nice drape, maybe in a little shawl...

Also today, I looked into a comic that Mary Ellen told me about, Wallace the Brave, and it's great fun, so two thumbs up on that.

Also also today, I went to the library to pick up some holds, and continue to be far too amused/impressed that with their self-checkout machine, you don't have to scan each book individually; you put the stack in, and it beeps as it checks them all off for you. Technology is cool when it works.

While I was there, I heard someone call my name, to my considerable surprise. But I turned around and it was the librarian, holding up one of the books I had just returned, and asking, "Was it good?" Book people rock.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Wow, Really?

Since I've been down here for a while, I'm assessing my footwear, what I have and what I may want to get, and when I got an email from DSW, I decided to go to their website and see what they had listed under slides.

I was not expecting to see anything like this.
Fifi Slide Sandal
My mother and I decided that it looks like it was made either for, or out of, a muppet.

I think it looks slightly less muppety in black. But it doesn't look better for that. In my opinion.
Fifi Slide Sandal
Which is just my opinion.

Saturday, July 07, 2018

A Little Knitting

Before I moved, I happened on a skein of cotton yarn that felt delightfully soft, and decided that it was really only right that I get some to experiment with, given my move to a warmer climate. It's for science!

The yarn is Cumulus Dappled, by Juniper Moon Farm; it is 94% cotton and 6% nylon, and much softer than cotton I have encountered before. I got the colorway Pacific Surf, which is all kinds of blues and some green/turquoise/aqua as well.
Earlier this week, I decided the time had come to play around with it. Since I only had the one skein, I thought I could make it into a lacy kind of wrap, and settled on the Ventura Wrap, a nice simple pattern to make the most of the quantity. Big needles mean stitches can squish together:
Or spread out a bit:
Or spread way out.
This is another lesson in how backgrounds affect the color in photos. As you can see, I tend to lay things out on the footstool to photograph.
But using the white table as a background gives a much more true view of the colors.
I'll have to keep that in mind. Meanwhile, I'm over half done in just a few days of non-dedicated knitting time. Works for me.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

4th on the Water

As we have done countless times before, on Wednesday my mother and I drove over to Everglades National Park and went on the boat tour.

It was not a perfect, but a very nice day.
Off on a sand bar, an osprey contemplated his (or her) next move.
"Hmm. Am I hungry? Or what?"
A bird took off across the water. Egret, I think?
Fins! Eek!
One of them really, really enjoyed surfing in the wake between the engines.
He (or she) was having a fine time.
Much less clear to see, but actually as perceptible as I have ever seen them: manatees!
This is about as well as you can see them. When they're not moving, you would swear that pale patch you were looking at was a large rock under water. But they can move pretty fast when they want to.
And here, a roseate spoonbill, taking off from the nest.
We had a fine time.