Archive for July, 2009

Bosh and piffle.

July 29, 2009

Partner tried to order me a Kindle today, and they replied they don’t send them to Israel. 

Why must they force us to be sneaky?  Do we now need to turn to some hapless soul in the US who will lend us an address and will then have to forward the package on?  I realise I won’t be able to use the wireless system to download books directly to the Kindle, I will download only to my computer and then transfer everything to the Kindle, I realise I won’t have all the features like newspapers available.  But the simple fact that I can use the blasted thing to store books and read them makes it totally worth it to me.

Dagnabbit.  >:-[

WIP Update

July 28, 2009

1.  Finished the second chart of Batya’s scarf, now into the repeats.  This will now go faster until I reach the half-way mark.

Can’t wait to block it!   This time the beads stand out better.

2.  In my search for an easy on-the-go project, I decided to use up my scraps of cotton yarn, made myself a Tribble bath scrubbie – it was great as something easy to whip out in odd moments, but it took less than a day.  Oh well.

3.  A few months ago, I received some fantastic Araucania sugarcane yarn in a swap in my Vintage Bitches group.  (Thanks, Angie!!) 

At first I couldn’t decide what project would do it justice, so I’ve let it rest in my stash, only occasionally taking it out to stroke its softness and marvel at its colour and shine.  But it has become more and more insistent that it be knitted with NOW, and finally yesterday I found a suitable pattern!  Lace, of course – the Wabenschal scarf.  So yesterday evening, to the encouragement of my Stitch-n-Bitch group, it was cast on!  I’ve finished the first chart and am now into the second, the main body of the scarf.  It’s taking longer than it should, because I have to stop every couple of rows and go “Ooh”.  It is so amazingly soft!

So…..despite completing three projects this past week, I still have seven WIPs.  Perhaps that’s my magic number, and no matter how much I knit and complete projects, they will replenish to seven.   

I can live with that.

Israel, the cozy-free zone…

July 26, 2009

Living outside the US, in a non-English-speaking country, the availability of books in English can be such a source of frustration.   

New books in English, at the established bookstores, are usually enough to fill one small shelf or section, and are subject to the whimsical perception of the booksellers regarding what people would want to read in a foreign language.  OK, some of the best-selling authors are somewhat represented, in specific genres, but there is usually not a cozy to be found, nor many other authors I like.  When I attempt to talk to the managers about trying new authors, they often tell me loftily that there’s no market for those books.  (Well, if you haven’t tried, how the hell do you know that???)

 Used bookstores usually do have a higher number of books in English, but again, only what people have traded in, mostly those bought here, only occasionally bought abroad.  I haunt the local used bookstores  – they know me as “the cozy lady”, and they usually let me know when something I may like arrives.  New releases are rare, though, limiting my participation in discussions of newer books in several of my online book clubs to mostly lurking.

 Budget is also a major factor, due to the high duty taxes.  A new book selling for $7.50 in the States will sell new here for the equivalent of about $18, and used for about $10.  I do order books online, but the shipping adds to the price, and I never know when the post office will open a package and decide to charge me duty as well, so it’s not always worth it.  Sad, because I really would like to support independent bookstores and publishers as much as possible.  Buying used online could be an option, but most of the sellers don’t ship outside the US…and a few of those I’ve tried that do have hit me with enormous shipping charges.  I love the Book Depository, since they will ship books for free, anywhere in the world.  But the last two times I went looking for something, they didn’t have what I wanted.  And they aren’t the cheapest around. 

*sigh*      OK, OK, given all this, I do manage to find an amazing number of books on my TBR list, albeit pretty random and catch-as-catch-can.  I do have lots to read.  I think at the moment I’m mainly irritated by the fact that when I become interested in a particular author, or want to find a particular book as a gift,  I often have not been able to find any of the books anywhere around.    Hence this rant.

I check out swapping sites, but I’ve only found one locally, and not much that appeals to me so far.  Just got a mail this week from a friend about a new swapping site, I have to investigate!

 I’ve spent many an enjoyable hour cruising ebay for used mysteries……fantastic deals, and a whole lotta books I want.

 The great majority – say about 80% – ship to the US only.  I can understand the costs and hassles involved, can’t blame them.

 Most of those who ship worldwide don’t specify shipping charges, just “contact seller”.  A few do include the shipping.  One lot of 13 books, going for $8, only cost $45 to ship; another lot of 10 books, selling for $5, cost $42 to ship, etc.  I did find one seller who will ship for just $34, but that was only for 5 books.    It may very well turn out cheaper in the long run, even with the shipping charges, but paying that much for mailing books, when I know it costs a lot less, just sticks in my craw.    (At least I get a laugh out of it.)

Such is life, if one is a confirmed bookaholic…. 

Oh, and for months now, I have been strongly hinting at home that a Kindle would be a lovely birthday present for me in August!  A grand solution!  (Although I do love the feel of a book in my hands)  One can always hope…..

Work wrap

July 26, 2009

Finished the cozy lace shawl for work – no more sitting around in a refrigerator when my office buddies set the air conditioner to arctic levels!  Blocking it now, it should be ready tomorrow.    Partner thinks I shouldn’t have made it in black – she says it makes me look like one of the elderly Greek widows from Zorba the Greek.  I have decided to ignore this critique.


July 25, 2009

Worked on Batya’s birthday scarf tonight – finished chart A on the first half of Waves of Grain – sometimes I can’t believe I’m doing this lace in cobweb weight mohair again.  I would love to see this scarf in a heavier weight too, but I don’t know if I want to knit it a third time, no matter how much I like knitting with beads.  After this I look for a new beading pattern, there are lots out there.

Finished the tea towel and coasters for Claire and sent them off – no pictures yet, though, until after she receives them.  It’s a surprise!  Still have lots of linen/cotton yarn left.

Including the birthday scarf, I “only” have seven WIPs at the moment.  Four of them are lace, and one is a colour pattern that demands a chart and constant counting.  That leaves only two for on-the-go projects, that I can whip out on the bus, in waiting rooms, or in a long supermarket checkout line.  One blanket, which is still at a size that I can shlep around, and one pair of socks.  Not really summer projects (well……maybe the socks…..), I’ll have to think about this, a new project may be in order.

This, of course, is what’s commonly known as rationalisation, or self-enabling.    ^_^

Knitting To-Do List

July 23, 2009

I borrowed this from another blogger, don’t know who originated it because I’ve already seen over 100 knitters add it to their blogs or Rav posts.

Bold for stuff you’ve done, italics for stuff you plan to do one day, and normal for stuff you’re not planning on doing.

Garter stitch
Knitting with metal wire   (It combines knitting with jewelry making, so I’ m going to have to give it a try)
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up   (In progress as I type)
Knitting with camel yarn
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Knitting with silk

Moebius band knitting
Participating in a KAL
Drop stitch patterns

Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch patterns   (I have the yarn and the pattern ready, just need to get some WIPs out of the way.)
Knitting with bananafiber yarn
Domino knitting (=modular knitting)
Twisted stitch patterns

Knitting with bamboo yarn
Two end knitting
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn
Toy/doll clothing

Knitting with circular needles
Baby items
Knitting with your own handspun yarn
Graffitti knitting: knitting items on, or to be left on the street
Continental knitting   (Tried it, didn’t like it, went back to English knitting.)
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns
Lace patterns
Publishing a knitting book
Teaching a child to knit

Knitting to make money   (What a good idea….)
Button holes
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting
Norwegian knitting
Household items: dishcloths, washcloths, tea cosies…
knitting socks- or other small tubular items- on two circulars
Dying with plant colours

Knitting items for a wedding
Olympic knitting
Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn   (I have the yarn, but not the perfect project yet….)
Knitting with dpns
Holiday related knitting
Teaching a male how to knit
Knitting for a living
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dying yarn
Knitting art

Fulling/felting   (Have the project, some of the yarn…..soon, soon)
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener BO
Knitting with beads

Long Tail CO
Entrelac Knitting and purling backwards
Machine knitting
Knitting with selfpatterning/selfstriping/variegating yarn
Stuffed toys
Knitting with cashmere
JewelryKnitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern
Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Freeform knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mitts/armwarmers
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
Knitting on a loom

Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets
Knitting with dog/cat hair  (I have enough dog/cat hair in my yarn as it is…..)
Hair accessories
Knitting in public  (Every day!!)


Now I’m thinking of more items to add to the list, as if this isn’t enough!

Sandwich no-nos

July 23, 2009

Utterly mundane subject, but currently relevant.  As I sit eating my 9:30 meal at my desk – a tuna sandwich – I  am again unsuccessful at fathoming why or how on earth the people who work in the dining room are incapable of draining the oil from the tuna before slapping it between a couple of slices of bread.    The bread is soaked through, and the plastic baggie holding the sandwich has a supply of oil at the bottom.  I’ve wrapped napkins around the sandwich, and I still have to wipe the oil off my fingers after every bite.  This is not the first time,  every few weeks I have to remind the dining room that there’s too much oil on the tuna…things are better for a while, then it’s back to drip city.

I could, of course, make my own sandwiches at home and bring them to work.  But I like the convenience of getting the sandwich here.  I’m out the door to work at 6am, which means getting up at 5am to shower, dress, eat something, get the kidlet up and ready for whatever activity is planned for her morning (which despite sounding like a simple task takes an inordinate amount of time and energy, usually involving loud bangs and shouts), and I don’t want an added task.  Making it the night before is an option, but I get home at 18:15, make dinner for kidlet and spend some time with her, when she goes to bed (which gets later and later – and more controversial – as she gets older) is when I clean up, wash up, do laundry, read blogs/facebook/whatever….until I decide enough is enough and sit down with a cuppa tea and read or knit for a while before I collapse.  Don’t want to add another task there either.

So I’m stuck with oily sandwiches.  This afternoon I’ll mention it again, and it will get better for awhile.  Such a silly thing to have to worry about.

And……….we’re off!

July 22, 2009

Drum roll, if you please.     (And please be gentle, it’s a new blog….)