Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Katrina Roundup

Mom suggested I make a single post containing all of the projects completed during my time working in NOLA. Some of them were finished at home, but they were all primarly done there.

Froot Loops Finished

Piggles finished

Striped x times 2

Charade Finished

Crosswalkers finished

Nutkins Finished

Not bad.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Economic Stimulus

My economic stimulus check arrived, and I decided that Jeff and I should make good use of it. In NOLA, of course I spent quite a bit a quarter stitch and I spent a bunch at the Scrap Happy Quilter as well. Couldn't touch on that one though so I didn't spoil the surprise for Mom!

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It was a fun little quilt shop, and I ended up with a bunch of fat quarters, some for me, some for Mom, and a book which uses fabric coiled around clothesline, then sewn together to make bowls and purses and stuff. It sounds neat!

Then this past weekend I visited my favorite yarn shop in GA, The Oconee Yarn Company. She was having a sale, and oh boy did I stock up.

First, she had a box of yarn which was comprised of partially used skeins. They were marked $1 each, and I pretty much bought her out of natural fiber skeins.
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These skeins all feel pretty full. I'll have to weigh them tonight and see just how much got used, but I really don't think that much at all was pulled out of these.

Then I stocked up on some fun sock yarn.

More of the Cascade Cotton
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Some really neat self-striping yarn that will make flag socks
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Some Berroco Sox, something new!
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Some Cascade 200 Superwash for finishing Mom K's felted vest. It's a slightly mottled brown, which is exactly what I was looking for. I think it goes really well with the bright yellow which is the body of the vest.
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And
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a
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Few
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Tofutsies!

Can you tell I liked working with the Tofutsies yarn? Heck! I'm even planning on making socks for Jeff's paddle-feet with it!

My mom also gave me some wool which was donated to her Project Linus group, but since it's wool they can't use it. I'll make a blanket on my USM as a donation of time for this. It's really nice, and back when Red Heart made wool! It's a bit scratchy, but I'll figure something to do with it.
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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Hot Zone

Yep. I did it.

Hot Zone merged

Note. This picture was taken in my apartment, then superimposed over the demolition site. NOT taken at an actual demolition, and the asbestos tape came off of a roll. No, I do not contain any asbestos.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Augh

After so many productive days I hit this

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Yesterday and today, work got shut down due to bad rain and thunderstorms.

Am I the only one who sees the irony in calling a stop to hurricane damage cleanup due to inclement weather?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I love a challenge

Heather suggested I be held to the "Sock-a-day" standard. I can never resist a challenge, but I made it a little more interesting. I used a slightly more complex pattern, Knitty's Froot Loop

How did I do?

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Let's check the timestamp on that. . .

Yep, did it!

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And I even started the second one that night.

It promises to rain today, which may mean an early day. Whether I'll stay motivated to keep knitting when there's something to do other than look at a landfill, CIMG1294
who knows. Certainly if the weather keeps me confined to the car, I'll be in good shape.

Thanks for the motivation Heather!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

2 in 2

I did it. I did two socks in two days. I can't believe it. They aren't even like big boot socks on size 3 needles. They're for me, 60 stitches on size 1.5 needles. All that's left is sewing the ends in, but my darning needle is at the apartment.

I'm so happy I can knit without looking at the knitting. I caught a tire and a dorm sized refrigerator (both of which are unauthorized waste for the landfill I'm currently at) while knitting. I think if anything, it makes me more vigilant, because I HAVE to be watching what's going on outside the car.

Anyway, here's the socks
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. . . and the groove that the yarn left in my poor dried out skin. I need some moisturizer!

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Wow

I didn't know I had it in me.

I started this on Monday

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And this today.

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Think I can do two whole socks in 2 days?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

On the Kindness of Strangers

I made my way today to the Quarter Stitch in the French Quarter. There I met the two owners, and a lady whose name I found out later was Mary. Mary (and the owners) had been here when NOLA flooded. Mary chose not to leave, and rode out the storm and the flooding in her two-story house. She helped to save some of her neighbors whose houses had gone completely underwater. She was smart and had stored food and water so that she and her neighbors would have somewhere to go. She is still living in a FEMA trailer, and is slowly refinishing the first floor of her house. She only has the summers to really work, being a catholic school teacher.

We talked for a while, about teaching, and I told her what I've been doing here. She told me about a book, where students from the University of New Orleans went out and interviewed people affected by Katrina, and put some of those anecdotes into a book. I take notes so that I can find and purchase it and she says she's going to go check and see if the bookstore, La Librarie has it. I stay, chatting with the owners, and she returns with the book, for me! She wanted to get it for me as a thank you for all that I'm doing here. I was so touched. Here she is, having gone through hell, and she's thanking me for helping with the cleanup efforts.
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I also spent an exorbitant amount on yarn in that shop. I'm all for helping keep these local businesses up and running. They wrap it up like it's your birthday, but the shop owner is a little shy abou thaving her picture taken, so I told her she could hold the package up in front of her face. . . Then shot the picture as she laughed!
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Knitting progress so far

Here this fine Mother's Day, I've completed the second of two hats for my cousin Jenny who is going to be a mother again on Wednesday. Now there are two little pink matching hats. One for her daughter Madison, and one for Emma, who will be born this Wednesday. I really like the idea of a big sis gift. They're made with the same yarn, Sirdar Baby Bamboo, which is 80% bamboo, 20% superwash merino. It's incredibly soft, which is nice for a hat, but did make this yarn a bit of a pain to use. I have one more skein that I bought as a just in case it was needed, but they did each take exactly one skein (97 yards) with a little modification. I did the decreases every other row for the first 4 rows after the pigtail hole, then every other row. I started to see that the skein was running short and didn't want to run out. It makes the hat a little short, but it's so cute, I think it will work just fine.

Here is how tiny it is when it's not stretched. It's just a little bigger than my open palm.
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But it looks cute, and is a hat I'd definitely wear myself!
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I've also made it completely through Jeff's first sock, and have made very good progress on the second!
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(do you like my yellow vest in that shot?)
Now that I have one project off the needles, I"m going to start on a pair of socks for myself, for when I need a change from shades of brown!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

70 hours

I never realized how tiring a 70-hour work week could be, until I did one. Thursday night was particularly challenging, what with the 14-hour day.

However, there have been some fun highlights. . . The ego boosts.

- My nickname on one job site is "Hot Zone" I'm going to try to get a picture of what inspired this nickname. . .


- Heard second-hand from a coworker, who saw me in a tank-top. "It's nice to see a lady all hottied up!" (Dude, I was wearing Steel-toe Boots, baggy Carhartt pants and yes, a tank-top)

Friday, May 9, 2008

More fun

So Jeff's toe socks are over halfway completed, but unfortunately I've had a LOT going on and not a lot of time to work on them. I spent all day yesterday either just doing my job regular-like, or RUNNING. I had to write a crew up and it wasn't even my crew!

But at least I logged 14 hours!

ohh, I'm tired.

But not as tired as I was after the black belt test, at least!

I'll tell everyone stories when I get home.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

New Orleans and Socks!

Progress on the first of two socks for Jeff is coming along. I was about 2 inches in by the time my plane landed, and after two days of work I'm past where I'm putting the heel and off to the cuff.

There are no heels on this bad boy yet, because I'm not positive where I need to put them, so I'm doing an afterthought heel. I left a few inches between the ribbing at the arch (to pull in the arch, Jeff likes his socks tight) and where I started doing the pattern all the way around. That gives me a bit of fudge factor to place the heel, and hopefully will end up with just right! That and I am tired of doing short row heels!

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Sunday, May 4, 2008

And one for Ana

Alfie does his impression of one of the minor characters from Labyrinth
video

Craftiness before leaving

I leave today for New Orleans once more. Another 2-week mobilization. I am both looking forward to it and not. Hey, the hours are fantastic. The work is interesting, and the people I actually work with are great. The people whom I am telling how to do their jobs probably aren't so much looking forward to having me back, but tough noogies! I'm definitely NOT looking forward to how hot and humid it is there, and I'm not looking forward to being 2 weeks without Jeff.

I was talking with my boss, and he thinks this will probably be my last tour. They're ramping down, especially those individuals who are not local and therefore need to get housing and flights and cars. Expensive stuff, and I'm all for the government saving money. Also, work has gotten too busy for me to really leave. In my opinion this is all just fine.

It would have been be detrimental to my career to refuse to return. I played that game once, because I hated the assignment. I went, was trained, and then wouldn't return because I hated it. This time I do actually enjoy the work. They need to get their fair investment out of me this time. The last two week stint, they really only got 6 days of work out of me, because the entire first week I was training, shadowing a number of different people rather than working. At the same time, I don't want this to be my primary job. I want my regular job to be my primary job, and this be something interesting to add on occasionally.

To top it off, I'm headed there with a decent sunburn thanks to the crappy tent. Yeah, NOT looking forward to hot weather with a sunburn.

I did get a bunch of stuff done in the past few weeks. I planted a weeping willow in the back yard where it's low and a little muddy, I planted a jasmine on the side of the porch. I'll keep it trained to a trellis rather than the porch, btu I really like the idea of that gorgeous jasmine smell when they're in bloom, just washing over the porch. Somehow seeing all that destruction made me want to beautify my little home.

I also got a lot of work done on the knee socks. They're sooooo cute! I almost want cold weather so I can wear them now! But of course I'm headed to NOLA.
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I don't know if I'll get its mate done before I go. Probably not, since I'm simply being anxious right now blogging at 8 in the morning with a flight at 1 PM!

I also did another dyeing of some roving. This time it was some of the roving with a black stripe down it.
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I'm calling it Crayola, because, well, it reminds me of one of those 8-color boxes of Crayons!

I've made some more progress on Mom Kass' felted vest. Some frustration with the USM not counting rows accurately, but I"m hoping that felting will erase all ills. I still haven't decided what to pair with it for the neck, front and arm accents, but it will be something neutral. Perhaps I'll dye some of that Licorice Twist yarn to suit!

I definitely overpacked the yarn last time. I made 1.5 pairs of socks, but had packed enough for 7 pairs! This time I've packed enough for 3 pairs, and am planning a trip to Quarter Stitch, which is a really cute yarn shop just off of Jackson Square. This time I'm smart, planning on yarn for the return trip!

On cheap tents

Apparently it is NOT a good idea to buy a tent from Big Lots.

Ana, Alfie and I were at market, doing our thing and trying hard to keep the tent from blowing away. Unfortunately, the new tent doesn't have central supports. I was holding the front crosspieces, trying to prevent it from knocking in to the table and blowing over/breaking Ana's glass. Ana was farther back in the tent, in the shade and feeding Alfie. The little guy was just about to nod off, when the back crosspieces of the tent buckled, made a nice sharp point and crumpled in. . . Right on to his head! Fortunately he had a blanket on the top of his head which I think prevented that from being a much more serious injury. But then of course we can't use that tent. It's lost its structural integrity and we are NOT risking it hitting Alfie or anyone in the head again, so we take it down.

Of course, since we always have the tent, we don't have sunscreen on. Ana can't find hers that she usually carries in the car. We spend the rest of market trying our hardest to keep the sun off of Alfie, and are moderately successful. Of course I was wearing a sleeveless shirt at the time, so my shoulders are nice and pink, and I know Ana was feeling a bit of a burn as well. To their credit, even though the return policy states that a returned item must be in its original condition, Big Lots did take back the tent without question, other than concern for Alfie's injury. So, I traded in the cruddy tent for a market umbrella and stand. The market umbrella at least will be easier to stabilize in the wind (one hand rather than four corners), and will provide us with shade.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

It's amazing. . .

. . . how much you can get done when you choose to knit at work. No, I don't mean knitting when I'm supposed to be working. I mean knitting at lunch. The guys I work with area great, but in general, I'm done with my lunch in about 5 minutes and up until this week, would take the rest of the time to just hang out and talk. Now, not that they aren't interesting conversationalists, but sometimes I can only take so much talk of cars, or television shows I haven't seen, or whatever. So I've started bringing my knitting.

I guess this could be counted as knitting in public (KIP), but I have to say my coworkers are pretty tolerant. None of the typical "muggle" comments. No "you could buy that at W**-M***," No "Isn't that an old lady thing to do?" None of it.

General interest, comments about liking the colors I've chosen, all positive, interested, educated comments.

Of course, the real pill of a guy who we work with doesn't usually have lunch with us. I would be willing to guess that when he does, he will be the one to make snarky or ignorant comments (as is his wont).

As it is, according to my Ravelry bars, I'm 50% completed with the Pippi Kneestockings. One is completely done, and the other has already been cast on. . . I guess I can bump that up to 55%, can't I?

Speaking of socks. Of course I've been changing things up and working only one sock at a time instead of 2 on 1 long circular. Why? Well, initially I bought some very nice DPNs to be able to travel without TSA getting on my case. Apparently they don't like circular needles greater thant 31". I guess they figure us crazy knitters will try to garotte someone.

Then I bought the knitpicks harmony needles. Ohh, are they nice! And so pretty and sturdy. Now don't get me wrong, I like the Sox Stix I have. They're very short (5")which makes the working of socks pretty easy. but I'm always so afraid I'm going to break them. Yes, I know that they will replace a broken one, but what if I'm on the road? So I bought the Harmony Needles.

So how do I like working 1 sock at a time? Surprisingly, a lot more than I thought I would. It seems to go faster. Heck,one kneesock done in less than a week? Awesome! It also is a little less fiddly getting the stitches to move into working position, since there's no join to hop over. Lastly, it is a little easier to work on, since I only have 1/4 of the sock to get through before being able to stop, rather than 1/2. Well, really I feel like I need to get through 1/2 of both of the socks before setting it down because I don't like setting it down in the middle between two socks.

Sure, the socks may not come out identical. but I've discovered I'm okay with that. And they're SOCKS. It's not like mismatched sleeves on a sweater! Nobody is going to be inspecting my socks for identicalness, or if they are they may receive a boot to the head!