Sunday, March 30, 2008

Neck Cozy

I bought this lovely blue yarn from Pattern Works. It's Koigu premium merino wool. Along with it I got a pattern for a neck cozy. Since I was working with a dark blue, I was having trouble keeping the texture of the pattern so I frogged and made it ribbed. I believe it was optimistic to say 175 yards was enough. I was getting close to the end and running low so I finished it off with a bit of a variation. Betty says it's long enough to go around her neck.

I plan to try my variation of the pattern with longer tails so when it's worn in the winter it will actually cross the chest to keep the wearer warm. And make the part that goes around the neck wider and flatter (less ribbing) since this one tends to roll a bit.

It's lovely wool. Nice and soft and pleasant to work with.

Now I'm trying valiantly to knit the second sock to go with the first Noro sock I made. This yarn is NOT soft. It likes to stick to itself so much that pulling yarn from the center of the ball tends to bring a wad of yarn with it. It goes from barely spun to lace weight and back again so it's lumpy. I'm making the second sock because I feel I "should." Then I will wash them both and see if the yarn softens any. If not, I'm afraid this absolutely gorgeous yarn in vibrant, creative, lovely colors is destined to be fodder for felting only. I'll let you know.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Easter

I finished my spring socks. A co-worker said when I first told her about them, "you could have them done by Easter." I thought that was optimistic. But, being as obsessive about it as I can be, I managed to finish them Saturday morning! The color is too blue in this photo which is too bad. The actual colors are green, yellow, and pink on white.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Spring in Minnesota

While the drive to work this morning was difficult on the side streets, the world around me was lovely. I took these photos with my SideKick cell phone. Not bad, actually. (Yes, I pulled over to take them. This phone is too difficult to use for even an ordinary phone call while driving. Very safe, as a result, since I refuse to use it while driving.)

It looks like more snow than there actually was. I think maybe a couple inches fell over night. The side streets were covered with compacted, icey gunk. Fortunately, the freeway was just wet. We didn't top 37 F today as it stayed foggy for quite a while and then just overcast. Very gray.

But spring is on its way.

St. Paddy's Day

Although David isn't Irish, I am. Our family, McConnell, was part of the English effort to force Scots into Ireland to take the land away from the Catholics. It wasn't our fault. And my family wasn't there all that long anyway. The family myth is there was a dispute over the ownership of a horse so in the late 1700s my great, great, greats came to America. My son is more into Scotland. I want to go to Ireland.

At any rate, a good draught of Guinness was in order. Guiness isn't charged with carbon dioxide like most other beers. They use nitrogen. So Guiness came up with The Widget. If you look down the bottle neck, you can see the widget floating in the suds. I looked into an empty bottle and realized that while it slips into the bottle before filling and capping, it won't come out when you drink. When you open the bottle, it expands so it can't come too high up the bottle neck. Very clever, those Irish.

And of course, we needed to have corned beef and cabbage. I haven't made this in a LONG time, like 20+ years, but it came out OK I think. And Rainbow foods was kind enough to have a delicious chocolate and green cake. It was spendy but yummy. (And this was the first collaborative cooking David and I have done without coming close to blows. We each have different ways of doing things, ifyouknowwhatImean.)

Gotta run off to work now. Had to stay late last night to get ready for our do-or-die software test this week. Hope I did enough.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Catching Up

Every once in a while I "Google" the names of people I've known over the years to see if I can find them or to find out what they're up to. This week I found a lady I hadn't seen in over 10 years. It's good to know she's well and she sounds happy in her life. That makes me happy. Hopefully, she'll answer the e-mail I sent and we can reconnect.

I have enjoyed contacting and reconnecting with a number of people I've found through various means. I have a cousin in Georgia I haven't actually seen since the 1970s. My first husband found me by "Googling" me and now we correspond from time to time. As I get older, this just seems like the thing to do.

Now to my current life. I've made a lot of progress on my socks in the last week. My friend Betty says that turning the heel on a sock is an act of faith. I'd gotten quite comfortable doing it just one way and decided it was time to try something new. It's always scary and last night I was sure I was doing it wrong. It may not be exactly right, but it doesn't look too bad.

I had to take the sock off the needle with the other sock to work the back of the heel. When the other one is done, I'll put them back together on the same needle again. While it may be a bit putzy to work two at a time, it certainly gets them both done faster. It just seems more efficient. I might even have this pair done in time for Easter church!

Thursday, March 06, 2008


While I understand some of the reasoning behind the push to keep our work areas neat and tidy, I question the tactics being used to do it. Although, I must admit, without someone standing over my shoulder, marking items off a check list, my cubicle would likely return to its former state. You see, I have always filed by strata. A place for every stack, and something in every stack. I know what pile each thing is in, and if you give me a time frame, I can tell you how far down it is in the stack.

Now we will have monthly inspections. A photo was taken of each person's cube, laminated with each person's name and the "rules." Each month a team of 2 will circulate among the offices and take an inventory of our space, comparing the current appearance with the photo. Everything must be put away at night (do they really think the janitors care how my desk looks?); drawers must be clearly labeled; surfaces will be cleaned. I always thought someone who worked in an area this clean didn't have enough to do...that he or she had too much time to think about organizing stuff and not enough real work to do to keep occupied.

And as for putting labels on all my drawers? I always thought rifling through someone else's drawers was inappropriate behavior. It just wasn't done. I know, I know. I'm pretty old fashioned to be thinking like that.

Anyway, I spend at least 5 minutes every evening taking what I've been working on and finding just the right place to "hide" it. Every morning I have to go to my hiding place and pull out all that work so I can continue. Another 5 minutes perhaps is spent. That's 5-10 minutes each day not working. Hmm. 10 minutes times 5 days/week times 50 weeks equals 2500 minutes or almost 42 hours spent not working. And I'm getting paid for it. Maybe that's not so bad after all.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

I guess I've fallen off the blog

I've been working my little fingers to the bone at work. We are in the middle of a huge project to prepare for database publishing of our catalog. The last catalog was almost 1300 pages. This one will be comparable. The new software should make life easier once it's set up.

In the meantime, I still go to tai chi. That really helps me stay centered and helps me stay calm. This is my 15th anniversary. I joined Sifu Calph in early March, 1993, and haven't left yet.

When I'm not working, I knit. I just frogged a pair of socks I was knitting for the second time. I totally underestimated how much yarn I had. I'd run out the first time, so I started again, this time toe-up, on smaller needles. But I still couldn't get past the top of the gussets. Pooh. So I figured I'd let the yarn age a while in little balls.

Now I'm working on Lorna's Laces Spring Forward '08 colorway from Jimmy Beans Wool on a long size 2 (US) flexible needle. As you can see, I'm working both socks at the same time. The pattern is pretty much made up. Once I got to the body of the sock, I started the top side (32 stitches) k4, p2, *k1, p2* to the last 4 stitches, then k4.

It makes a rather nice pattern. I hope it isn't too lumpy when I'm wearing shoes. Here it is a little closer.

Well, back to them. Would you believe I started these last weekend. I'm making great progress for someone with no time.