Monday, June 30, 2008

Sock Machines Everywhere

I just got back from an amazing conference. The Circular Sock Machine conference was held in Nashville, Indiana and I was able to go with Deb and Pete Oswald and friends Sharon and Jan.

Deb and Pete know all there is to know about the Gearhart machine and that is what I have. Sharon owns an alpaca farm and spins and knits as much alpaca fiber as she can and Jan knows how to take apart and repair machines as well as knit on them. There were so many classes on using sock machines at the conference that my head was hurting from all the stuff I tried to cram into it! This is a picture of the room full of everyone's sock machines. There were all different kinds of sock machines and some for sale too.

I was sorely tempted to buy another but I resisted and I just bought some accessories and a 60 slot cylinder that fits my machine. I'll have to swap it out when I want to use it but Pete and Deb showed me how so I should be able to do that.

I did actually make two pairs of ankle socks while at the conference. Most people didn't really knit actual socks but just tried out what they learned in the classes. Many didn't know how to use their machines and there were a few "first socks". I am so lucky that I live near Deb and Pete and that we get together regularly. I have to say I still can't use my ribber without help but I'm sure I'll get that down soon.

It was a fun filled week of socks, socks and more socks! Oh, and I even worked on a hand knit sock while riding in the car! This is Toe to Cuff Lace Rib Socks by Heartstrings Patterns. I'm teaching a class at Double Ewe on it and need to finish soon so it can be a display sock.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Knitting in Public

I knit in public a lot. I have my "sock in progress" in my purse almost all the time. It never fails - if I forget to bring it, I'll have a period of time that I could have put to good use knitting. The sock has been in progress for a long time - months really - but look at all the sock that was produced during "found" time. This is yarn that my daughter Anita gave me 2 years ago for Mother's Day. I let it marinate in the stash for about a year and a half and now it accompanies me everywhere. I pull it out at doctor's and dentist's offices, while waiting for my Mom when I've driven her somewhere, I pull it out anywhere and anytime I have a minute. I do also bring a little tin of tatting with me also and I pull that out sometime too. Found, productive time - it's a good thing. Oh, and the pattern for the sock? It's a composite of several patterns that I've combined to make my own favorite sock pattern. I love that garter stitch short row heel.

Saturday Kelly of Double Ewe sponsored a gathering for World Wide Knit in Public Day. It was a blast sitting out in the beautiful summer day as a group. There were treats, there were prizes, there was admiration of other's knitting and there was just plain camaraderie among people with an interest in common. We were lined up in front of the Driver's license renewal office (it was closed) and I did see a few very confused guys walk up and look at all of us before figuring out that it was closed.

I had to leave early and got a call later that day that I had won a prize! Kelly had donated a bag of 8 balls of Crystal Palace Yarns Merino Stripes and I won it! It's enough for an afghan but I'm thinking of making a Feather and Fan Shawl with it. It should be wonderfully warm this winter. Thanks Kelly!!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Scooter City

When I was working in the elementary school the wonderful physical education teachers there would set up something they called scooter city. The scooters were four wheel platforms that the kids scooted around a "city" that had roads, stop signs, movie theaters, car washes, and even a McDonald's! As the lunch lady, sometimes I just had to join them when my shift was over. It was a LOT of exercise! But fun.

Well now I have my own scooter! And the whole city to ride it in. I'm not really able to bicycle any more because of my knees (unless the Compadre "gives me a ride" on the tandem - he pedals and my feet just move around). I was feeling bad about having to drive even for the small errands that I go on and so I bought a little 50cc scooter. It gets 110 mpg! And now that I'm getting used to it, it's fun too. I had a little bit of buyers remorse after I first bought it because I found it so scary to use, but as they say - practice, practice practice! I went around the neighborhood streets stopping and starting and turning until I felt much more comfortable. This machine is classified as a motor bicycle legally in Minnesota and so I don't have to have a motorcycle license or take classes. It can't go more than 30 miles per hour - I usually go 20-25 miles per hour. Faster than I ever bicycled!! The Compadre and I went out for a spin around the lake last night. He was on his bicycle and me on the motor bike.

I've been reading some blogs that focus on frugality, environmental issues and wise use of money and also been reading The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn (borrowed from the library of course). I've been trying to be more careful with our resources and our money (I regularly fall down when it comes to craft supplies though!). So, I needed a heavy denim jacket for riding my motor bike and I immediately thought thrift store! I rode my bike all the way to the mall area and went to Savers thrift store and found this! Taz on a chopper bike - diesel devil. Too funny! It has a leather collar and Taz is "wearing" leather. I washed it up last night and it's just like new. I paid $12.99 for it and I'm guessing that it was a very expensive jacket new.

The Compadre chuckled once during our ride last night and I asked what was so funny? He said I "looked so cute". Hmmm, what did he mean by that? This morning he explained that I reminded him of Ralph S. Mouse. When the kids were little one of our favorite books was The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary, featuring of course Ralph as the mouse. I'm thinking of naming my bike either Ralph or Mouse. The Compadre thinks it should be mouse because he calls his Scion Xa car Cricket. We're into vehicles that get good gas mileage aren't we! And it's a good thing with gas prices what they are. We filled up my bike with gas last night for $3 and put 3/4 of a gallon in it! It only holds a little over a gallon. Woo, hoo!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Catching Up

Well, I really didn’t intend to take more than a week off of blogging but it seems once you start skipping days that it gets to be a habit. So, what are some of the things that happened in my life in one week? Let’s see:

It seems that Abigail is growing by leaps and bounds as babies will do and so in order to preserve her modesty (Amy said her crack was showing!!) I went into high gear in diaper sewing. I sent off a package to Maryland that had my old spinning wheel and all its accessories, fiber, spinning books, 14 diapers, and 3 diaper covers. I had the package packed and shipped professionally by the UPS Store. For a price – I might add – but I consider it well worth it to make sure the spinning wheel gets there in one piece. Anyway, the diapers are made to resemble disposable diapers in that they are fitted and have elastic around the legs and in the front and back. I’m guessing that each diaper takes about an hour to make so that’s a lot of sewing. And then there are the absorbent inserts that go in each one. They are separate so that when they are washed they dry faster. My son John helped me get the last ones done so that I could make a self imposed deadline of Monday. Amy and Eric (and Abigail) should have the package on Thursday.

I’ve been trying to walk as much as possible. My knees are reminding me that they are there but I have decided that I’ll just take ibuprofen and walk anyway.

Some good friends of ours were in the path of the Hugo tornado on May 25. I wish we could do more to help them. Their house is still standing but

has extensive damage – so much so that they won’t be able to live in their house for the 3 to 4 months it will take to repair. They were lucky though because the houses across the street from them are totally gone.

The Compadre works with a man that got locked out of his house during the tornado and survived by hanging onto the post by his front door while the rest of the house blew away. You can see the front door where he was in the next picture. As he says, he doesn’t know why he survived. I’m thinking that I’ll be much more inclined to go into the basement when the sirens blow now.

Yesterday I did something expensive and totally out of character for me. It kind of scares me. I’ll tell you about it in my next post. Oh, and it takes practice – and I need a lot more. Any guesses? And if I’ve already told you, no fair guessing!