Saturday, May 29, 2010

Thoughts on inanimate objects

Sewing machines
The human mind is an odd thing. This last week, I needed to have my sewing machine repaired. This is an industrial machine, so the head goes to the repair shop, while the table and motor stay put. I had been having trouble with skipping the last few days, and finally I gave up and called the repair shop Saturday morning. They were in and said to send it over. DH was available for transport, since I was working. Machine disassembled and trucked down to the car.

I have an extra machine in my shop, other than the one my employee uses. It hadn't been used for a couple of years since another employee left. I had to install a new light. The box had been sitting on the machine table since I stole the old light for my machine. Clean off the dust, adjust the tension, its good to go. As I kept working, I fiddled with adjustments, including table height. It's an oldie, but goody. I became comfortable with it.

Working with an industrial machine takes a little adjustment. When I first started, I was told that in time, it would become an extension of my hands and arms. This machine has the bobbin loaded from the side, rather than the front like my machine, using the left hand, rather than the right. The needle threads from the left rather than the front. Different hands here too. When I worked at the costume company, I used a machine like this, so the adjustment isn't too bad. The feel of the motor/clutch takes a little getting used to. Each machine is a little different. The more I worked on this machine, the more I got used to it.

Finally, on Thursday, I called the repair shop. By the time I connected with the owner and determined that the machine was ready, I didn't have time to pick it up. Luckily someone else was coming to the shop and could bring my baby to me. It caught up with me on Friday morning.

It took a while to put it together again. The belt guard is a pain and I always get it wrong, before I get it right.
I'm back on this machine, its working perfectly, but it feels odd! I had gotten used to the other machine and now this one took a little getting used to.

Front yard Part 3
The landscaper didn't come back and didn't come back. The flats of flowers needed to get in the ground. I found some time, so I did it. I really like playing in the dirt, but don't have much time. These are chocolate chip carpet bugle, a perennial ground cover under the bushes that edge the yard.

The center walk is edged with Impatiens this year. I would like to find some perennials, but not this year, I think.

We used to have a a thick row of day lilies on the tree lawn. We now have two small plants. The old ones were tiger lilies with tall orange flowers. The new are Stella D'Oro with yellow flowers. these will not grow very tall. Grass is under the straw. or it will be when it grows. The yard sat like this for almost another week. Rainy weather was part of the reason.

Front yard part 4
The landscaper returns! He brought creeping phlox. He brought Spirea and more yellow day lilies. He also brought some more bushes. I love the one with the colored leaves. I don't remember the name of it. The landscaper also brought topsoil for the whole area.

I was disappointed that the rubble still showed. It's good to hold the hill in place, but it's ugly. In time the plants will cover it, and we still have mulch to be applied. Part of the delay is that my neighbor wants to finish weeding before mulching.

Mothers Day
We had our usual breakfast at Bob Evans with all available family. DGS Chris was on leave from the Air Force so it was nice to see him. DD#1 used to drive in from Erie PA for the breakfast, but this year, she lives in Florida. DD#4 invited us for dinner at her house. Her son has been learning chess and playing with a friend at recess if the weather is bad. Grandpa is talking strategy with him.

Sock knitting has happened. The brown socks for DH have one sock finished. I should weigh the remaining yarn, to see if I will get a second sock out of it, but I may live dangerously. The plan is to use up each color in order, and finish with solid brown if necessary.

The purple socks are a Cookie A pattern for SKA on Ravelry. I am finishing the toe on sock #2. I really will have to take new pictures.

I have more sewing to talk about, a little more landscaping, and a baby sweater. I also have a two day weekend, with Monday off.

Monday, May 10, 2010

What happened to our front yard?

Part I
This is a really bad picture of what the landscaping looked like in 2000. The big bushes were Rhododendrons, and were not the same color. They died and needed to go. A landscaper was working next door and agreed to do the job.

Oh, by the way, I can clean out this... and this...and this... We agreed and ended up with... a naked yard!

I went shopping at the garden center and came home with a car full of plants, discovered that the bushes I bought will never grow up to be very big, but I love them. Back to the garden center for more bushes that will be bigger.

Yes, the dog on the porch is cute. She's 35# of Australian Cattle Dog. Dog walks are my daily exercise and thinking time.

Part II
The bushes were planted and 2 day lily plants on the tree lawn. We used to have loads of big orange day lilies, but it was too much really. The rest of the plants went into our garage because of frost warnings.

This plant is one of a pair. It will have yellow flowers and stay fairly small. We will move 2 clumps of the big orange type of day lily from our back yard to the front. I may get more day lilies of different colors if I can find them. This is where the yard stands at the moment. More things should be planted later today, with luck.

Guild Toy
Every spring, our knitting guild has a toy competition. The toys are then donated for distribution to children in need. This year's toy is from Fiona McTague's Knitted Toys book. The yarns used are a combination of Caron simply Soft and Lion Brand Wool Ease, all from stash.

More socks
The socks I call Secret Sparkles are finished. This was a Knitty pattern by Cookie A. called Clandestine. The yarn is Dream in Color Starry, because it has silver sparkles in it. The pattern is very dense and the chart needs to be consulted for every row. There are 3 repeats of the pattern on the leg. The foot pattern is mirrored.

One of the Ram club selections, Intersector Socks, is next up in the pipeline. The yarn is from the Unique Sheep and is 4 variations of a gradient color, getting gradually darker down the sock. There was a problem with the pattern as it switched from rib to cable pattern. I figured it out and contacted the designer. She has fixed it in the latest version of the pattern. I'm going to make another change in the pattern, because I see that there are no decreases from the heavy cables to the heel or the toe. The sock looks too big in the pattern photo. DH has big feet, but needs a foot narrower than this pattern.

Sock Knitter Anonymous has a 2 part challenge as usual. Cabled socks, see above, and a mystery sock by Cookie A, We have 2 clues now, but I've 0nly done one so far. I did it twice, but that doesn't count. The first try was too small. My yarn is Dream in Color Smooshy.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Why is a Raven like a writing desk?

The Mad Hatter asked this of Alice. No one has the slightest idea, but I have a sock kit for Mad Hatter Socks. The yarn is Wool Candy dyed with Johnny Depp's version of the Mad Hatter in Mind. The pattern is mine.

I received a box from Woolgirl with the Alice in Wonderland Sock club, full of lovely gifts.
In addition to the yarn and the pattern, the box contained: an orange sock knitting bag with Mad Hatter print by The Silver Pumpkin, an Alice in Wonderland coin purse designed by Julia of Simbiosis: Super Cute Handmade Stuff, a large Mad Hatter notebook with a bookmark by Roberta of Pink Cherry Mama, a teapot tape measure, a Mad Hatter pillow box with Skittles inside also designed by Pink Cherry Mama, a set of 3 yummy tea flavors form Stash Tea, a teacup sugar cookie from Beaverton Bakery in Beaverton Oregon, a lime cupcake soap and melon berry lip butter (a Don't Eat Me treat) from Erin at Naiad Soap Arts, and a Mad Hatter gift tag. Quite a haul! Also included was a nice check paying for the pattern.

Sock progress
I am working on 3 pairs of sock right now. Crazy, I know, at least for me. I'm finishing up the Sockotta socks for Plymouth Yarn. The Clandestine socks are on leg #2. I've called mine Secret Sparkles, since the yarn is Dream in Color Starry.

The latest sock is a Ram Club selection from last September, called Intersector Socks. The club has sock kits for men. The yarn is Foot Prints from the Unique Sheep, dyed in "Gradiance" colors. Four small skeins of progressively darker colors were in the kit. There was a problem with the wording in the transition from ribbing to pattern. I contacted the designer, Sarah Wilson, and she has fixed the pattern. She offered me a free pattern, but nothing on her site excited me. The most interesting one is in a book I also designed for, so i have the pattern. It was a nice gesture though.

We are talking with a landscaper for some serious clean up of our front yard. Priority one is some dead bushes that need removing, and he will do a lot of other work too. I'll have to take before pictures in the next few days.

Family breakfast
We get together with our son and family on the first Sunday of each month at a restaurant. With a large family, it gives us some together time.

Son has a broken finger, caused by a misjudgment while splitting logs. The finger did not fit between the maul and the hammer when the handles were aligned. It has cut into his bicycle racing, brought it to a temporary halt.

DIL has started school for becoming a physical therapist and is having time management problems juggling that and her graphic design job. The hours are flexible in the job, but is sleep optional?

Granddaughter A is going to prom later this month. She brought her dress to my shop yesterday for alterations. It's tough being really short! She's talking about going to Brazil after graduation. That's where she was born. She and her siblings were adopted.

Grandson V is talking about his summer job. He has one, but doesn't know yet what kind of hours he'll have. Last year he worked at a swimming pool as a substitute.

Grand daughter L is not planning on working, but has a busy summer planned, including a lot of volunteer work at the Natural History Museum.

Plans are afoot for Mother's day, including a breakfast at Bob Evans and a dinner with DD #4 and family.