Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Do Library Cards Expire?

I used to go to the library every other week or so years ago and take out a couple of books to read.

Reading Material
After the last crappy book I read, I went to my small stack of remaining unread books that were purchased a while ago, and selected a PD James detective novel. The last one I read was interesting enough, so I figured this would be acceptable reading.

But I really am scraping the bottom of the barrel. I need to start going back to my library on a more regular basis and checking out books there, but it has just become so much more convenient to just order a stack of books through Amazon and work my way through them.

Current Knitting
I am racing through the beginnings of this new lace design, and enjoying both the process and the result.

The section of the lace I'm working on is actually a square piece, but I didn't have my pins to block it out a little for the picture (they were left with the last Ichida project). This section is almost complete, and will eventually form one half of the center section of the lace.

I'll post a scan of the schematic for the overall piece so it's easier to track where I am in the progress.

When Franklin was out visiting Carol, she had received a preview copy of her own book, so I guess the public arrival of the book is imminent.

No, Franklin is not looking at her chest...he's looking at her book, Knits So Fine. I did get a chance to browse through the book in between our incessant chatter, and I am now looking more forward to its release than I was when I first heard about it. Folks will be very pleased with this book.

Monday, April 28, 2008

New Beginnings

With all hope of finding my last Ichida lace project, I have decided to start a new one.

New Lace Design
There is no name associated with this design (that I am aware of) is number 13 in the second book of lace by Naoko Ichida.

I've actually made a little progress on this piece already...more than the picture would show...I'll post a more up-to-date picture on Wednesday.

Having gone through difficulties and mistakes on the first Ichida project, this one is going a lot more smoothly. It's more complex in design than the first one, but not quite as beautiful. I'm also glad to be using a slightly thinner yarn for this's going to look much nicer.

Current Reading
Does anyone think it's odd that I took a picture of the last book I read in the garbage can?

If anyone has ever read this book (and it's doubtful, since the book is rather old and practically impossible to get through), they wouldn't think it odd at all. The book is Frogs Into Princes - Neuro Linguistic Programming by Richard Bandler and John Grinder .

I have always found Neuro Linguistic Programming to be a fascinating technique, and I wanted to read more about it. Years ago, I picked this book up at a book sale somewhere and just recently got around to reading it. It's actually transcripts from a seminar by the listed authors, and it was a painful read. I found some useful information hidden carefully in the obtuse text, but it wasn't worth it.

Television Is Ruining Our Children
Here's our child ruining his eyes by sitting too close to what we call "kitty TV."

Nico can sit endlessly watching out the sliding glass doors on the back of our house, waiting for birds, squirrels ground hogs and other cats in the neighborhood to walk by. This picture shows him getting ready to pounce on the local squirrel.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Birth Month Celebration Almost Over

Often my birthday gets extended well beyond the actual anniversary of my birth.

Gifts From New Zealand
James of FibreAlive came through again with an incredibly nice set of thoughtful gifts.

In addition to a perfect birthday card, a duplicate copy of Selma (for friend Selma when I see her next) and a couple of small wrapped knit-related gifts (such as a cute magnetic puzzle of a sheep having a bad hair day), James also sent these AMAZING candies in the shape of morel mushrooms, call...of all things...Fairy Mushrooms.

Here's a closeup of what they look like.

Even Thaddeus, who isn't nearly as sugar-crazed as I am, loved these delightful candies.

How much more appropriate could a gift be? Candy...Mushroom...Fairy, seems like the perfect gift to me.

Thanks James!

Current Knitting
Before leaving for the week this past Monday morning, I picked up a cone of ultrafine bright pink yarn and a set of double pointed needles. I decided to just pick a new lace design from the Ichida book and start anew.

Unfortunately, the yarn is too fine for the needles I brought with me, so I'll have to wait till I get home on Thursday night to begin knitting again.

Which is fine, because I've had an awful cold this week and I've not had much time or energy to knit anyway.

As an update to the lost knitting, I was able to contact directly the person in charge of lost & found for United airlines. She was very nice and very helpful, and she assured me that they had received no knitting projects in their lost & found for the last week. I asked if I could come and look myself (thinking that they might not recognize such fine lace and circular needles as a valid knitting project). She said I was welcome to come in and look. I may do that on Thursday.

Current Spinning
I got a little more done on the Black Bunny Fiber lace-weight spinning that I've been working on.

I'd like to finish this relatively quickly, because I got my latest installment of the BBF Fiber Club roving last week as well.

This lovely roving is Wensleydale, hand-dyed with Cochineal to give this muted, but rich and soft color. I am more and more impressed with Carol's work every time I get something from her. Nico pushed his nose into it and investigated it thoroughly before being distracted by a bird at the birdfeeder outside the window.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Dementia Boy

Having dementia since I was in my 20's (not really...just very forgetful...I think) has never been a very useful characteristic.

Lost Lace
Even worse when I lose something I value because of it.

I posted this already on the Herbert Niebling forum on Ravelry, but yes...on my latest business trip, I left my current lace knitting project on the plane in the magazine pocket in front of me (despite flight attendant warnings to check for personal belongings there).

In addition, I also left behind three sets of USAirways headphones, two 36" Addi lace cable needles and a set of reading glasses with a case.

I will try and see if I can locate these lost materials, but I honestly don't hold out much hope.

Current Knitting
I wound off some bright pink thread from a cone at home, and I brought the two Ichida books and some double pointed needles with me to see if I might be able to get up the gumption to start another complex lace project.

Over the weekend, I finished the surprise knitting project, so I'll be able to blog about it sometime next week.

Franklin Visit
For the 2 or 3 of you who didn't know, Franklin made his way out to the Philadelphia area to do a photo shoot. He stayed with friend Carol and I got to spend a few short hours with him at brunch. Carol gave me the nice gift of the Tom Cruise unauthorized biography (did you know there are a few of them printed?) and I got some special M&M's from one of Franklin's fans who works for Mars Candy. Marilyn was supposed to attend, but got sick at the last moment...we missed her.

But at least Thaddeus was able to join us.

All in all, it was a good time, and I get to spend more time with Franklin just next month at the Men's Spring Knitting Retreat.

Speaking of which...for the guys that are registered for the retreat, you can expect to receive an e-mail from me tomorrow sometimes asking you to select your preferred workshops for the weekend.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Grammar Police

Posting a blog entry or a comment leaves way too much to interpretation, so if I misinterpret, it is not intentional.

Just To Clarify
I honestly don't care about whether someone ends a sentence with a preposition. It was really my snarky way of showing how stupid all this back and forth bickering is between the two Democratic candidates.

When a candidate is finally chosen, I'm pretty certain most Democrats will pull together and elect ourselves a non-moron for a change.

And unlike most of the Obamautons, I can say positive things about my less-favored candidate. Although I would prefer to see Senator Clinton become President Clinton, I also think Senator Obama would make an excellent president.

Current Knitting
I have gone back and fixed my egregious mistake on my lace project. I should definitely not work on this project when I can't focus clearly.

That's a quarter on the left side of the picture. I am now up to round 118 with only 22 more rounds to go.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Got an e-mail from a friend of Gay Singer/Songwriter, K Anderson with a link to this music video. K Anderson knits in the video and I liked his voice, so I thought I'd embed it here.


Monday, April 14, 2008

Change In Which We Can Believe

Does Barack not understand the concept of proper grammar? Ending a sentence with a preposition is behavior up with which I will not put.

Taxes are finally complete, and the lower floor of our townhouse is now finished and looks great. I have a fully functioning craft area.

Nico seems to approve. He enjoys playing hide and seek among the various bookcase cubes.

Now all I have to do is make it through a week of ugly traveling this week, and some items associated with the Men's Spring Knitting Retreat and I'll have made it through most of the crazy time.

Current Knitting
I ran into a snag on the Ichida lace project which may take a little work to fix. Since I will have to devote a little bit lace-only time to this project, it sat and stewed for a few days with no progress.

I did get quite a bit done on the secret project and I should be able to finish it this coming weekend. Soon, I'll be able to divulge details.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Torknittoh asks, "How was ordering from IKEA? How would you rate the product/experience?"

Overall, our experience was quite good. They have very nice products for incredibly inexpensive prices. Thaddeus and I were able to shop on-line for all the stuff we bought, get it in my little Honda Accord and assemble it all. The assembly instructions can be somewhat cryptic and they need to be followed exactly, else it could be disastrous. Their web site isn't overly easy to navigate, but it has a boatload of information. We went to two Ikeas, both in the Philadelphia area. The Conshohoken one had much friendlier help than the South Philadelphia.

Regarding my new craft area, Marilyn writes, "At least you finally have a suitable space for your Weavette."

Excuse me...that's Weavettes. And, yes, I do.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Are His Hands Cold Yet?

I just hope someone is wresting his gun out of his cold, dead hands as I type.

Nut Case
I have never been one to go by the adage that you should speak well of the dead. I don't think it's time to start now.

Truth be told, while I have never understood the obsession with guns held by the consensus of the NRA, I didn't particularly like the part in Michael Moore's movie where he doggedly pursued a confused and daft Charlton Heston. It was clear the man was no longer in his prime, and that Moore was picking on someone with a clear handicap. However, when Heston was vibrant and sane, I found his views on morality and gun control to be either hateful or ignorant or both.

Current Knitting
This weekend was all about birthday dinners, setting up my new craft area and completing tax documents.

Birthday Dinner
For weeks I had been anticipating going to dinner at one of my new favorite restaurants. It's a small Italian restaurant in the middle of New Hope that most folks have never heard of, but Joe, the owner-chef cooks food that is the best I've had since I was in Italy. When we got there, Joe wasn't there...he had had a heart attack the week before and his family was cooking and cleaning and preparing and serving to keep Joe's business running. The food wasn't as good, but I still enjoyed myself a lot, especially when Joe made an appearance and sat and chat with us for a while. Good people.

New Craft Area
As part of the carpet installation and the Ikea desk assembly, Thaddeus and I are also re-organizing our downstairs area to make three distinct sections...TV viewing area, office area and craft area.

Here's the desk completely assembled.

Which started out with MANY more parts than this diagram shows.

In addition, Thaddeus and I set up two work tables (in the corner) and four stacks of storage drawers (all from Ikea as well). Once I've gotten all my yarn and tools transferred to the craft area, I'll post pictures.

Tax Filing
I used this new desk to complete tax filings for eight different taxing authorities (Federal and state and local taxes for both Thaddeus and I and two additional states since I worked in two states other than my home state). Taxes turn into my annual nightmare.

As such, I didn't get a ton of knitting done...I finished up through round 112. I won't have a progress picture until Friday.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Thank you all for the birthday wishes. Overall, despite how non-standard my birthday weekend was, I enjoyed myself a lot.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Today I Am Officially On The Brink of 50

Yes, as hard as it is to believe (myself), I am now 49 years old.

Birthday Eve Dinner
I arrived home from work last night to a beautiful new orchid from Thaddeus and then we had this for dinner.

It was all ideal.

Today, we go back to Ikea for more torture (I'll regale you with my Ikea desk assembly nightmare some other time), and then to dinner tonight at my latest favorite restaurant in New Hope.

Current Knitting
I worked some more on my secret project, and now I'm about 30% complete with that and I also did another 2 rounds on the Ichida lace.

Current Spinning
Here's another couple of hours of laceweight spinning of the Black Bunny Fiber.

It's a good thing I have a lot of perseverance. Both my current main projects are require a boatload of it.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Dawn writes, "I just happened to notice in the blurb under your photo, that you and Thaddeus will have been 25years together this year! When is the big celebration?"

We will celebrate 25 years in we still have some time to plan.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Subconscious Revealing of Mental Illness

Who is Jon Arbuckle and his "supposed" cat named Garfield, and more importantly, how does Jon's actions in the comic strip reveal author Jim Davis' inner life?

Thought This Was Interesting
A friend sent me this interesting link, which both made me wonder who would even think about doing something like this, and what does it all really mean?

It made me want to order some of Davis' Garfield books and see how they might translate in this subliminal method of delving into the author's psyche.

Current Knitting
I've been able to get up to round 103 on the Ichida lace.

Each round is now over 700 stitches, and they are requiring a bit more concentration than the rounds that were mostly the mesh/background stitch.