Archive for February, 2010

More Medals

February 26, 2010

Got my Ravelympic medals for my second project – the Noble Cowl for Team Vintage Bitches!

I love the way it blocked …

I got medals for the Scarf Super-G, the Single Skein Speed Skate, and another medal in the Lace Luge.

I’m now about halfway finished with a third project, the Lacey Keyhole Scarf.  I’m using BBB filati Trio yarn, which is a fascinating yarn indeed.   It’s 42% fine merino, 27% cotton, 30% poliamide and 1% elastic. And instead of just alternating colours (which it does), it alternates three different yarns – one is almost a boucle, one is thinner and very well defined, and the third is slightly thicker and much smooshier. All are incredibly soft.

I wanted a pattern that would fit, simple to show off the different yarns but more interesting than a simple garter or stockinette. I’m hoping this scarf will do the trick – basic, a little lace, with the keyhole as an added touch.

I wanted to see what it will be like once it’s blocked

Two more days to finish it, so I’d better get knitting!

The Pay-it-forward Karma swap

February 24, 2010

Every so often I jump into the Rav Cuppa Tea? Karma swap.  Not as often as I’d like, considering what’s usually offered, but occasionally.

This pay it forward swap works like this:
– Someone posts “I have item A up for grabs, who wants it?”
– Someone else posts “Ooh, I’d like item A please! I have item B to offer!
– Another party says, “Item B looks great to me! I’ll offer up item C!”

And so on and so forth… Since you don’t get something back directly, that’s where the karma part comes in. Someone else will get your item and pass the gift along in the form of another gift to someone else. This way, people can offer up tea, yarn, or tea related items that they’re not interested in anymore, and items can make their way to people who will love them.

I just claimed an offer by Mary in Pennsylvania, with some black teas (some Spanish, some Fortnum & Mason), some green teas from Tea Haus (almond biscuit and baked apple), some rooibos teas from Tea Haus, and more!

My offer of a bunch of bagged and loose teas plus vanilla halvah was grabbed by Rike in Switzerland, so that’s going out tomorrow.

Also going out tomorrow is my “Make-a-scarf”  swap package to Lennette in Florida.  Can’t wait to see what she sends me!

C’mon, you didn’t think this swapaholic would neglect getting her fix this month, now, did you?

Sorrow

February 23, 2010

Just got home from a funeral.

It has been a sad day.

Galilee Party

February 22, 2010

After a week-long heat wave of temperatures in the mid 80s, it has gotten a bit cooler again. The sun is still hot, but in the shade it’s quite chilly…making it very hard to decide what to wear.

On Saturday there was a family party – a grand-nephew’s ninth birthday – a beautiful day, but we were constantly putting on jackets over the t-shirts in the shade, and peeling them off in the sun.

We were at a park in Koranit in the Galilee.  Beautiful view, if a bit hazy, surrounded by fields of early flowers.

Everyone posed for pictures!

We decided to let the menfolk do the cooking…

After lunch, no birthday is complete without a cake, and we had two!

Augmented by marshmallows…

I took advantage of the day to work on my second Ravelympics project, of course…

(That’s the project bag that Kathy made me – holds a ball of yarn and a project perfectly!)

Then it was just lazy time, for the kids

and for the  adults!

A beautiful spring day…in the midst of winter.

First medals!

February 21, 2010

I have crossed the finish line with my first Ravelympics project, my 198 yds of heaven shawlette for Team Falafel 2010!

I finished knitting it on Friday morning, blocked it Friday evening…

and it was finished on Saturday…..I even wore it a little as the weather cooled!

At the Podium I was awarded a Ravthlete avater:

and two event medals from the head of the International Ravelympic Committee, Adonis Dionysius Bobicus Maximus:

Then we rose for the Ravelry International Anthem.
dum…dedumdum..de…dummmdedumdidoh…..(crescendo)…Dah!!!
crowd goes wild with applause, cake and chocolate bars tossed on stage

I won’t bore you with a teary thank-you speech.  😀

My next project, the Noble  cowl for Team Vintage Bitches, is about 60% done.  I should cross the finish line in plenty of time, I have another week to go.  Depending on how fast I finish, I have another couple of projects in mind to try to complete.

Now I’m off to cheer on my teammates, who are knitting some amazing things!

Carrying your house around with you

February 20, 2010

Heather Webber blogged last week about having to upgrade to a larger purse…and in my comment there I had to admit to a sad but true fact.

I am a serial murderer of handbags. 

I am.  I so overload my bags that they fall apart, some more quickly than others.  It usually starts with the pockets tearing, then the straps.  I now shop only for bags that have the straps as part of the material of the bag, not held by any clip or buckle.  The shopkeepers don’t believe me when I shop, they keep offering me bags that Just. Won’t. Do.

What do I carry around that is so heavy?  A very large – and full – wallet, with ID, cash, bank and credit cards and shop membership cards, checks, health care cards and reference numbers for everyone, driver’s license, etc. etc.  (I’m also a serial killer of wallets.)  My cell phone and bluetooth thingy.  House keyring and work keyring.  Palm pilot.  mp3 player and earphones.  Disk on key.  Emergency first aid supplies.  Make up, nail care and hair care necessities.  Tissues.  That disinfectant gel for washing hands.  Flashlight.  Camera with extra batteries.  Sunglasses in case.  At least one book.  Notebook, pens & pencils.  Foldable fan.  Tin of mints.  Bus cards.  Special gloves for when the Carpal Tunnel flares up.  A whatchamcallit for the grocery cart.  Bills that need to be paid, tickets for anything that needs to be picked up, etc.  And whatever else I need for any particular day.

 

Obviously, I need lots of pockets in my bags, otherwise I’d never find anything.  And obviously, the best option is a backpack, which I do use sometimes, but a lot of times I prefer a shoulderbag, since everything is more accessible.

I’m not sure why I feel that all of this is essential.  I first started carrying around the first aid supplies when kidlet was small, and never stopped.  It’s a fact of life that if I leave anything out, that’s sure to be the day that I’ll desperately need whatever it is I left at home.  So…I shlep.  I can’t understand those folks who have these small bags that weigh next to nothing.  How on earth do they manage?

Have you noticed what’s missing?  Yep, the knitting.  I have a seperate bag for that.  I carry both.  The knitting bag has my current WIPs ( or some of them), patterns, and all the things I’ll need, from extra needles to stitchmarkers to tape measure to scissors…and so on.   On rare occasions I’ll leave the knitting bag at home and stuff one of the project bags into my handbag.   

What do you carry around with you?   Are you a big bag person like me, or do you travel light?

Process or product

February 18, 2010

As I’m racing along to finish my Ravelympic projects…despite having little extra knitting time…the (much-debated elsewhere) question that has crossed my mind is whether I really am a process or a product knitter.

What is it I enjoy more, the journey of the knitting, learning and using different techniques, working with different weights and textures of yarns, making a wide variety of objects in many styles?

Or the satisfaction of a finished product, one that can be worn and admired, given as a gift and appreciated,  something useful?

I am definitely not a linear / serial knitter.  I know some people who begin a project and don’t start another until it’s finished. That’s quite a foreign concept to me.   I know others who have start-itis in a much more advanced stage than mine, with so many projects on the needles and nothing quite finished, and they’re perfectly happy with this.  I have a bunch of different projects OTN, but I get many of them done.  Not all, but most.  Some do need to hibernate sometimes. I do have some projects that are finished but not finished…the knitting is done, but the seams/weaving ends/blocking keeps getting put off.  I do want to finish them, I put in a lot of work on them, but….don’t always get around to the finishing touches.

It has been said – and unfortunately I don’t know by whom, because I like to credit my quotes – that if you learn a new technique to make a project, you are a product knitter;  while if you choose a project to try a new technique, you are a process knitter.  OK,  so maybe it’s a combination of the two that I – and most knitters? –  love.  I admit that I am addicted to the process –  I’ve got WIPS in bulky yarn to fine yarn, from fuzzy mohair to smooth bamboo,  from tiny needles to huge needles, in complicated lace, colourwork, cables, and simple projects with rows and rows of mindless stockinette or garter stitch.  (Personally, I like patterns that alternate complicated with simple…makes it more fun.  A project with only garter or stockinette can get on my nerves…the only satisfaction there is seeing the project grow.)  I  can work on whatever project fits the situation or my mood.    But … if I won’t like the finished product, the process itself isn’t enough for me to take it on.  I also love finishing a project and adding it to my wardrobe (or someone else’s!).  I do sometimes work on deadline,  like on a gift for a birthday or holiday…or the Ravelympics!  Sometimes I get so eager to see what it looks like finished already!    And of course, for the Ravelympics I’m knitting for the joy of it but I also want to challenge myself and cross the finish line and be awarded a (virtual) medal.

The same question pops up in many other situations.  I’m a puzzle freak.  There, it’s almost all process.  The challenge of completing it is there, but it’s the getting there that is fun.  Not much to do with a completed puzzle.  Logic puzzles, crosswords,  sudoku/kakuro/hitachii  and the like just get tossed once finished.  Jigsaw puzzles, on the other hand, can get taken apart and perhaps enjoyed again at another time.  With a few isolated exceptions –  some completed jigsaws get saved, perhaps glued together and kept.  This fruit puzzle in the round decorates our coffee table.

It sits on a little stand, except for those occasions when the cat thinks it would be fun to knock it off and watch it roll across the floor.

Who, me?

Naughty kitteh.

So…are you more of a process or a finished product person?  Is your journey something to be suffered to reach your goal, or is your enjoyment in what you discover along the way more important to you?

Avraham

February 16, 2010

I was riding the bus the other day, happily knitting away and managing cables without dropping the needles, when some folks helped a blind fellow on and he sat next to me.  We started to chit chat, and he seemed very happy that I was talking with him.  He told me his name was Abraham. 

After only a few minutes, he offered me a job…told me he needed someone to help him run errands and just take walks, only a couple of days a week, and he would pay well.  Seemed rather sudden, but I thanked him and told him my schedule was much too hectic, any free time I have outside of work is usually spent with my kid.  He persisted a bit, but when I continued to say no thanks he stopped.  He did give me his phone number, if I happen to change my mind.

Next he tried to pick me up….wanted to buy me lunch or dinner and have a “good time”.  I told him I have a family, thanks anyway.  He backed off, although he threw in a comment that these days anything goes…. 

I moved the conversation to more general things.  We chatted about the the weather, the state of the world, kids – he said he didn’t hear from his kids or grandkids much – local politics…  We didn’t talk about my knitting, although my hands were busy the entire time. 

He asked me to tell him when we reached his stop, which I did.  We parted with him reminding me that I have his number, and I can call any time.

I felt rather sad about the whole thing.  His loneliness that he didn’t or couldn’t hide, while still determined to protect his dignity.  How much he appreciated someone showing him kindness. 

I admire his independence.  He asked for no one’s help when he got off the bus.

But he was asking me, briefly,  for help.  A total stranger whom he couldn’t see, knew nothing about.  Help that I can’t give. 

If anyone in the area does have time, would like to help a fellow out, run errands or just chat, I have Avraham’s phone number.

The Games Have Begun!

February 15, 2010

On Friday the 12th the Winter Olympic games officially began – and so did the Ravelympics!

I woke up to record the opening ceremony (which I thought was stunning!) so we could watch it later at our convenience, and since I was up at 4 am Saturday anyway… I cast on for my project for the Vintage Bitches team – the Noble Cowl.

I’m now halfway through the chart the first time – the pattern calls for doing the chart 2-1/2 times.

A little later in the morning the Haifa contingent of  Team Falafel got together for a cast-on party.   Ayelet greeted us at the door

photo by Marina

there were great decorations all over,

we had lots of good food, and I cast on for my next project, 198 yds of heaven.

Haven’t had much knitting time since then, but I have managed to finish the chart the first time…another 1-1/2 repeats and then the lace border chart.  I love how this pattern is working out!!  Even without blocking, the yarn is showing the lace.  Blocked it will be great.

I have another two projects in mind if I finish these – one a glove design, and another cowl.   And there may be a frogging event project as well…

Good luck to all athletes in Vancouver, and to all Ravthletes everywhere!  See you at the finish line!

What profession….

February 10, 2010

I love watching Inside the Actor’s Studio.  It’s a different level of celebrity interview, it’s a televised craft seminar,  students of a craft exploring the stories of those who have succeeded in the craft, while providing entertainment to those who enjoy and/or appreciate  being spectators of the craft.

I think one of the most popular features of the show is the interview at the end,  an adaptation of Bernard Pivot’s interview questions based on the Proust questionnaire.  Not a questionnaire written by Proust, but rather his published answers to a series of questions popular at the end of the 19th century.  It’s always interesting what artists/celebrities have to say in reply.   Everyone I know who watches the show has thought about what s/he would answer if asked those questions, myself included. They are surprisingly revealing.

Two of the ten questions are

  1. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
  2. What profession would you not like to do?

The first always makes me wonder what I  would want to add to the long list of occupations and professions I’ve dabbled in over the years, beginning with babysitter and continuing on through – not in chronological order – daycare provider, sales clerk (several times), sales manager, dancer, tour guide, warehouse packer (don’t ask), fast food cook and server, politician, psychologist, speech therapist, crisis hotline counselor,  teacher, high school counselor, school principal, secretary, facilitator, community worker…

Yikes.

So what would I add?

At the risk of sounding ridiculous…actor.  Give this drama queen a stage.  I was a drama geek in high school, I later took acting workshops…but all for my own enjoyment, it wasn’t something I needed to go further with, there were too many other things I wanted to do as well.  Now?  I’d love it.

Or…for many years I seriously considered becoming a rabbi.  (God help us all.)

Or…a detective!  I love puzzles.  I can be nosy.  Actually, anything having to do with forensics fascinates me.  Oh!  A forensic linguist!  Yes!  Or a forensic photographer.

Too many possibilities, that’s the problem here.  And sadly, none of them terribly realistic at this stage.

And the second question?

Well, aside from any kind of bureaucrat?  (omg, that would drive me mad, I would be  screwing things up right and left just to see what happens…)

OK, ok,  a serious answer.  I’ve worked as a psychologist, and loved it.  But I have a friend – also a psychologist – who works in the prison system, counseling and doing “rehabilitation” with sex offenders.  Many of them are rapists.  Many of them are pedophiles.  I truly admire her for doing this work.  There is no way on this earth I could do it.  I honestly think that if that were my job, I  wouldn’t be able to get out of bed in the mornings.

We all have our limits.

Maybe I’ll just chuck the office job and become a taxi driver.  Had a discussion about that with a driver this week.  On the one hand, I really love driving.  I like being behind the wheel, and I’m a good driver.  And I like the idea of every single day being different, you never know what adventures you’ll have and people you’ll meet.  On the other hand, people are crazy.  Many of the people who want rides and most of the other drivers on the road.  Especially around these parts.  Don’t need that stress.  And I suppose as a breadwinner I shouldn’t take a job where you never know if you’ll have work or not on any given day.  Not a lot of security there.     OK, strike this one off the list.

Now I’m waiting to hear your answers!

  1. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
  2. What profession would you not like to do?