Monday, May 30, 2005

Feeling Of Two Minds

Before I start complaining, I'd like to say that I love my New Computer. But it's taking donkey's years to get it all working and organised! Of course, part of the problem is that I'm doing all the sorting that I should have done long before now. But it was so tedious to do it on the old system, while it got slower and slllooowwer and sllllooooowwwer — until I had to reboot just to get a folder open. At least that doesn't happen with XP and the thumbnails and tags really help to sort files and see where there is duplication or just plain junk.

It's kind of fun! And it's just plain boring at the same time.

See, two minds.

An interesting side effect of all this is finding things I forgot I have and also finding out what won't work anymore. There are old programs on floppy (New Computer doesn't have a floppy drive!) and program disks that are missing so all the files associated with them are no longer accessible. At least for the foreseeable future I have my nifty-neato switch so I can go from Old Computer to New Computer and back again in an instant. I'm finding I go back less and less however. I'm enjoying the new fresh look of everything and the fast response of the new OS, so it's getting harder to go back to old and slow. But until I get my scanner and zip hooked up and the files-without-an-application problems sorted, I can't let go of Old Computer totally. Besides, it's served me well for 6 years, except for the hard drive crash and the toasted CD drive. (Even the crash wasn't permanent – dropping it on the floor fixed it and it's still functioning. Too bad we wiped the data before we dropped it!) I wouldn't even have gotten a new one if the old would run new programs and updates. The poor thing just doesn't have what it takes anymore!

So what do you do with older computer equipment that actually still works? I've got several items in the list besides the old CPU box: printer (with cartridges!), keyboard, mouse, parallel zip drive (we swapped for a SCSI one), and I don't know what else. Oh yeah, a Mac Classic! If they were totally non-functional it's an easy choice to trash 'em. But they still work and nobody wants them. Sad, don't you think?

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

I've Got a New Computer!

Happy Dance!!! Happy Dance!!!

I'm the proud new owner of an HP Pavilion Pentium 4 computer! Now I have to make it work for me and that is taking a verrrrryyyy loooooonnng tiiiiime. Thom has fixed it so I can switch from the old computer to the new computer but I can't switch files between them unless I use CDs — kind of a short-range "sneaker net". Got the email working and favourites in my browser (both of which need a ton of organizing) and the next project is transferring over my working and information files. I'm going to lose a few programs too unless I can pay for new installations. The most notable of these is InDesign which I don't want to lose, but it's very expensive to replace. Meanwhile, while I decide what to do I can still access it on my old computer. (Can't print from there though.) This is such a three-dimensional process that it boggles my poor little two-dimensional mind!

Craft Report
I've been slowly working on the baby sweater while waiting for files to transfer etc. and I'm almost finished the back. I'm pretty sure now that I need another ball of the Lanett contrast yarn in pale yellow. Off to Birkeland Bros again! No wonder they love me so much there.

Other than that, I'm not getting anything done because I'm obsessed with whipping my new computer into shape. I have a few things to learn about Windows XP still. Good thing I've been using computers for almost 25 years or this would be even harder than it is. And I'm truly lucky to have Thom's help. Can't imagine what it would cost to hire a geek to help me over the bumps! I didn't know Thom was one when I married him 34 years ago. Well, maybe I did. I certainly knew he was the man for me anyway and I was right.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Finally - An FO!

I still don't have a digital camera. Thom even called Nikon and it's still weeks away from being fixed. Maybe. So I can't take a picture of my Fuzzy Hoodie. Or maybe that should be "Fuzzie Hoodie" just to be symmetrical! I tried to post a teaser scan of it but apparantly there is now a different way to post pictures in this blog and I haven't figured it out yet. Phooey. took me a couple of hours this morning to hand sew on the zipper on the Fuzzie Hoodie. I think that was a good idea to do it by hand because it hangs quite nicely and finishes off the front edges without looking too tacky. I'm happy and now another thing can be checked off my seemingly infinite list of UFOs.

On to finishing Estarisa's grandbaby sweater.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

A Quiet Evening's Pondering

Gee, I think I might be getting into this blogging thing! Of course, I haven't let anyone read anything yet, not even Thom. I'm sure I will eventually but I feel like this is just for me so far. One day I'll let the rest of the world in.

Craft Report
I went to Dressew today to get a zipper for the Fuzzy Hoodie and wow! there are a lot of zippers to choose from. Isles of them! Luckily they're all labelled and arranged by colour and length and type or I would be there still trying to choose one. I needed a separating zipper of course for the front of the hoodie and I managed to find the exact shade of purple so it almost disappears. Tomorrow I sew the zipper in place. I'm much too tired tonight to do a good job.

I never realized before how lucky I am to have Dressew as a resource for just about anything to do with sewing. It might not be in a nice part of town and they might not take credit cards, but they have a great selection. My $2 zipper ended up costing me more like $30 after I found a few more "must-haves" to get while I was there! Maybe it's a good thing they don't take plastic. A limitation is a good thing.

Here's a link to the pattern that I used for my hoodie at Sleeveless Sweatshirt with Hood. I used the pattern almost exactly as written (very odd for me) for the medium size but used smaller needles which actually gave me a slightly larger gauge. With handspun yarn you have to expect things to work out a little differently than the original. Considering my yarn is nothing like the cotton tape yarn called for, I'm lucky to get even close to the right sized sweater!

The other work I did today was knit on my acid yellow/denim blue/lime green and white spots socks that I haven't touched for months. It was a perfect project to take to work on while waiting for busses and in the guild meeting. I got most of the leg on the second sock done. It felt really nice to work on this instead of Estarisa's grandbaby sweater. Playing hookey? I'm at a point in the sweater where I need to concentrate so it isn't exactly mindless portable knitting. Am I making excuses here? I knit because I want to. Period. Don't need no stinking exuses!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Another Rainy Day

Boy, are my arms tired today! Kiera is such a cute little bundle of granddaughter but she is getting very heavy. Especially when she spent 45 minutes sleeping in my arms and I didn't dare try to put her down. I need a hot shower and a major massage. And Kiera needs to learn how to walk!

On the Lapidary Journal Project, I've gotten about halfway through. It's taking much longer of course than I imagined. Placing the magazine, scanning, cropping, printing all takes time though I'm getting more efficient. I'm still restricted by the speed of the electronic equipment and the strength of my arms! Then there's putting all those pages away. Opening and shutting binders hurts my hands and arms. Hmmm...I'm detecting a theme here. Maybe I need to do some more strengthening exercises.

On the Hoodie Sweater Project, I've finished knitting all the pieces and now I'm sewing things together. Next is the crochet edging down the fronts, 2 rows of single crochet with the second row worked backwards. I'll try to go downtown tomorrow morning early enough before my guild meeting to find a zipper that will work. Luckily there are several colours to choose from, though the purple is my first choice since it blends in very well. I want to finish this thing soon because I really need to finish Estarisa's grandbaby set. And I really want to knit socks again instead! I haven't dared to try starting something new when I know how darn long it takes me to finish what I've already started.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Rainy Day

OK it hasn't rained all day, but it seems like such a different kind of weather after the warm sunny/cloudy days we've been having this spring. It smells like wet grass and fresh air and flowers and it's quite lovely! But instead of using today as a working day, we went for our usual walk to Chapters/Mayfair for magazines. Found another book on metal clay that focusses more on PMC and has quite a few different techniques in it. This should be it for that subject now. We need to get some actual PMC to play with.

The copying notes from Lapidary Journals project is coming along slowly. I'm not yet halfway through but I had to change the colour cartridge in my printer. This could get quite expensive, I think, but cheaper than buying yet another book or magazine. (Though I will anyway of course!)

I've been trying a little harder to work on my current knitting project, the hoodie. At least I've established that there's enough yarn to finish it! I took out the left front and am re-knitting it — already up to the armhole. Next is the hood and finishing. I found some finer handspun wool in a similar purple to use for the crochet on the front edges. If I run out of that there's some green that will work to sew up with. Then I have to go to Dressew for the zipper. Hopefully I can find a separating zipper in the right size (18") and the right colour! This is of course taking far longer than I planned but it's THE PROCESS THAT COUNTS. I'm emphasing that to remind myself daily.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Organizing Stuff

This is my third day trying to put my Lapidary Journal magazines away in the attic. Probably a silly idea, because I've been finding much of new interest in them now that Thom is doing lampworking and we have a kiln. However there is no room left on my bookshelves and I have to find more space somehow! So I've gone through them for relevant how-to's and I'm trying to scan and print out the pages for both of us. This is going to take a looooong time because there's good pages in every single issue! I even rearranged Thom's lampwork notebook for him with dividers so he has a better chance of finding things later. He was happy about that. He knows he would never get around to doing that himself. Next it's on to the Ornament magazines, which have very few how-to's in them luckily. Then maybe I'll have room for any further beady aquisitions.

UFO Progress: Not much!

I'm going to have to take the left front of my fuzzy hoodie out because I started it incorrectly. Good thing there are so few stitches involved, but I can't start that until I finish the back piece. Nobody else would notice the mistake except I know it's there so it would drive me nuts unless I fix it. Hope there's enough yarn to finish this sweater because I can't reproduce the spinning again after 15 years. Luckily I can always make a stand-up collar instead of a hood if necessary, but so far it's looking good.

I've done about 3 stitches on Estarisa's grandbaby sweater. I'm getting to the part where I have to do the intarsia square so it gets fiddly and not mindless. Good thing it's sized for a one year old and he was only born in January! I've got several socks in mind too, plus another sweater for Kiera's first birthday to finish by August so I'd better get knittin' soon. I've gotta be the world's slowest knitter but with big intentions.

There's also the half-finished boa on the loom, the slipcovers for the living room chairs, and the half-finished hooked headboard which I haven't touched for ages. We won't even discuss the clothing that I want to sew. I always think there are more hours in the day than there are. Oh well, it's the process that counts not the finished item. Right?

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Mom's Heavy Slippersocks

Here it is, one sock in all its glory! Well, at least they're warm and machine washable. Mom doesn't care what her slipper socks look like as long as her feet aren't cold. She can't even see her feet from her wheelchair with the tray in the way! I like knitting them since it's one thing I can do for her now. Her 93rd birthday is only a couple of months away.

As I mentioned, I didn't much like this yarn. Called Vermont Print by Scheepjes, it's very bulky weight. It worked up quickly, only needing 24 stitches around for the socks which was a big change after 64 to 70 stitches for sock yarn. I found that the printed "blips" were too short for the thickness of the yarn, mostly only showing in half-stitches and looking like dashed lines. In finer yarn the blips go at least a couple of stitches giving a much more fairisle impression. It also split too easily and the ply that was pulled didn't snuggle back where it belonged very well. I won't buy this one again. Handspun yarn is best! Well, for most things anyway.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Finished Something for a Change

Yesterday I finally finished a-mom's heavy slipper socks. I ran out of the yarn just as I was decreasing for the last toe so I had to go over to Birkeland Bros and get a new ball. It was $9 but Norm gave it to me for $8 -- sweet guy. But I only used about 2 yards of the darn stuff which wouldn't be so bad if it was nice, but I don't like knitting with this wool/acrylic yarn. It's too hard on my hands and the effect isn't all that wonderful. So I don't know what to do with the rest, almost a full 100g ball. Maybe the next kumihimo swap? It's supposed to be Fat Braids so that might fit. Might be really ugly too!

I need to continue on my tidying of my study/studio spaces -- especially the attics before it gets too hot to go in there. I need to do this cleaning stuff before I lose interest and run out of steam. And I need more bookshelves in here! Or a really big purge. Letting go of books and magazines is too hard for me to do though. I vote for putting some away in the attic instead. Onward!

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Mother's Day Musings

I've always dreaded Mother's Day. Silly, I know -- but it never seemed like it was a day for me but for our moms instead. We always had to rush around and make sure each mom was visited and showered with flowers, cards and affection. However, today I get to putter around as I please with my only duty a couple of phone calls made and received. Thom's mom is busy with his brother's family, my b-mom is far enough away that a phonecall is expected, and a-mom doesn't care what day it is so I'll go see her tomorrow as usual. Celeste already called me with my MD greetings before she headed for her Carribean Cruise. There's still Simon, but I'm sure he's busy with Bronwen's first Mother's Day. I'll hear from him eventually. This is nice! My kind of Mother's Day.

Craft Report
Darn! I think I'm running out of the fat yarn for a-mom's slipper socks. I was hoping to have them done for tomorrow but I may be running to Birkeland Bros first and hoping they still have some of that colour in stock. Oh well, she's getting a lot of wear from my first 2 pairs. Knitting on this very thick yarn makes my hands hurt. She won't be getting another pair anytime soon. If I'm lucky, she won't need them.

Thom is still working on annealing all the beads he's made so far (except the ones I've already used in projects). It seems to strengthen them quite a bit which was proved when he dropped one on the basement floor and it bounced! I have to wait for them all to be done before I can use any more. I'm now sorry I didn't take Thom up on the invitation to go to Mountain Gems yesterday but the headache just wasn't conducive to happy shopping. I can never make decisions or remember what I'm supposed to be buying with a migraine.

My plans for today mostly include putting away all the papers and tools in my study so I can get on with my work without all the clutter. Vacuuming might be a good idea too before the dust dinosaurs take over!

Friday, May 06, 2005

My First Post!

OK -- here I am creating my very first blog post! I hope it doesn't go the way of my usual journal keeping. Namely petering off after a few days or weeks to nothing...

Anyway, here goes! You've gotta start somewhere, right?

Just finishing up my Complex Weavers Beads & Interlacements Study Group spring swap pieces. This time the theme was Ethnic Beadwork. It was really interesting to research Greenland beadwork -- even though there isn't much information on it out there. Thanks to Kirsten who read the little book in Danish from Greenland that Julie brought me, I at least had something to go by. I used a design from the Danish magazine article that Kirsten found and made small pieces of netting joined in a circle into rings. They're slightly too big for me to wear but probably will fit others. By the 4th one I was starting to get the hang of getting the right tension and following the pattern. By the 7th one I didn't have to look at the pattern at all! I hope to post a picture when my camera comes back from the shop. It was nice to actually finish something for a change.