The Twisted World of Fiber, Hooks, Needles, Wheels and Dating after Widowhood

This is my story, and I'm sticking to it. Warts and all. I wanted to call it 'Seriously? WTF?', but that doesn't quite explain it all. Or does it?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

It's official

I was at the shore with The BF a few weeks ago.  He was in the living room, and I was walking back into the room from the kitchen.  He says to me "I was thinking about something".  So I asked what.  He shook his head no.  I said "don't think so hard.  You'll hurt yourself".  lolol So, he says, " should we get married before or after your son".  The Boy got engaged last month, had a date picked out, then they realized all his friends would be working that weekend, so they now have no date.  sigh................

When The BF said that, I turned around to see who he was talking to, because surely it wasn't me.  He always said he would never get married again.  I never pushed it.  We live together.  It's all good.  When he saw the look on my face, he said,  "oh, I guess I should ask you - will you marry me?"  So I said yes.   :-)  

Why not?  Life's too short, and well, why the fuck not.  We decided to do it in January.  We are taking The Daughter Figure to Vegas for her 21st birthday, and will do it there. I told my sister and my best friend.  I didn't say anything to the kids right away.  I told The BF he had to tell The Daughter Figure.  It took him almost 3 weeks to find the right time, and after all that, he came up with a 'hey, guess what we're doing in Vegas in January,' yelled from the other room.  grrrrrrrr  She took it very well, except that she is upset that I might change my name.  I'm not 20, and didn't lose my Dad, so I am not sure where this is coming from, but we will be discussing it over the next few months.

The next hard part was for me to do- I had to tell The Boy.  He HATES The BF.  He would hate anyone that would do 'the nasty' with his Mommy.  The poor BF cannot do anything right in his eyes- he mows the lawn crooked, he doesn't play video games right (really???  How the fuck does he figure THAT?)  So I know I was going to have a battle on my hands.  He thinks The BF is worming his way into my life to scam me out of everything.  I'm thinking, like what?  My yarn?  The spinning wheels?  A dog? Sheesh.  It really isn't The Boy's business, but we are doing a pre-nup, and my kids will still get the house if something happens to me/the relationship.

The daughter Figure has already scoped out every Chapel in Vegas, looking for the right balance of tacky/nice.  I am leaning toward tacky.  And cheap.  Definitely cheap.  :-)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Gratuitous Flower & Dog Shots

            My roses are blooming!  The red one was a tiny little thing when The Boy bought it for me on Mother’s Day about 4 years ago.  After we re-did the pool, I transplanted it to it’s current spot, and it has grown out of control.  The smaller roses are a couple of years old, and are doing well, but the Daylilies are bigger than they were last year, and I’m afraid something is going to have to go.  The pink and orange climber is so heavy with blooms it bent the trellis. I’m going to have to break down and get a stronger one, and mount it to the side of the house with brackets for the extra support. 

            The Daughter Figure saw a peony at the garden center and fell in love, so I bought her one last year.  It has the slightest dark pink on the outer tips of the petals.  The Spiderwort that is growing in front of it is really nice, and after it blooms, you can hack it back, and it starts all over again.

        The wild rose bush is also in full bloom.  It gets so heavy, I tie it to the fence with a bungee cord.  :-)  And all of the perennials we planted this spring are in bloom.

In the background, surrounded by a little wooden fence thingy is The BF's Japanese Maple.

We are babysitting The Boy's rescue pup.  He is about 6 months old now, and full of so much energy, we get tired just watching him.  Here he is with Topeka, our Chessie.  She will be a year old next month.
You can see his surgical scar across his thigh.  He has 2 plates and 2 pins in his leg.

Aren't they they sweetest damned things you've ever seen?

And last but not least, The BF on the couch surrounded, yet again, by animals.  
Dr. friggin' Dolittle

Friday, May 27, 2011

Weekend doings

Last week, The BF and I went to the shore house and started throwing all manner of things in a dumpster.  My husband was a packrat.  He couldn't pass up a bargain, or junk from the side of the road, and I believe that if he lived, he would eventually have been on the show 'Hoarders'.  We found duplicates and triplicates of a million things- mostly stuff we have no use for.  He had built storage in the eaves in an upstairs bedroom, filled it with crap, and promptly forgot about it.  I screwed the panels to the wall and left everything in the space, so no one is the wiser.  I left everything in there.  It was either that, or cry.  So I got out the screw gun.  :-)  If new people get adventurous and open it up, it will be like one of those time capsules, except this one will be filled with useless crap.  Pretty much like any time capsule, I guess.  :-)

The Daughter Figure and I are going back down again tonight to finish up what still needs to be pitched, and to make the place presentable.  Not sure if I am going to rent it or sell it.  I need to bring in a Realtor to help me decide.  I need to do some quick shopping at Walmart/Target to find a small tv stand for the living room, we need to pack up tools and stuff from the shed, throw out a small fridge, and figure out how to get the full sized pinball machine out of the living room.  Yes, a full size pinball machine in the living room.  Sigh........... 

The Boy is going away for the week, so we won't have access to the trailer, but I will have access to his pitbull mix puppy.  He is coming to stay for the week.  The BF knows this, but does not know it is starting tonight.  And I am leaving tonite.  So guess who gets to watch the pup tonight and tomorrow?  Not me.  :-)  bbbwwwaaaahhhh!

It will be fun for him- an 11 month old Chesapeake Bay Retriever (with a freshly opened inground pool in the backyard), a 6 yo neurotic Springer Spaniel, a 6 month old pit mix, 3 Maine Coons, a Nanday conure and a Chinchilla.  Ha!  And I thought I was going to be the one having a hard day on Saturday.  :-)

For the rest of the weekend, I plan on doing nothing but knitting. And vacuuming the pool to get it up to snuff so the robot can take over.  And knitting.  Did I mention the knitting? Ok, and maybe some spinning.  I have just a little bit more of this lovely BFL I got on etsy from Art of Xen a while back.  I forget the name of the colorway, but I call it Neopolitan Ice Cream.  I think I will try making a 3-ply with it.  It will still be fingering weight.  I think.  When I finish it, I will post pix.  And, if I get my nails done, I am going to have The Daughter Figure videotape me knitting for youtube.  There really aren't any videos of people knitting the way I do.

On a fibery goodness note, I have entered another contest.  This one is being done by Sandra Singh.  It is for the beautiful Rock Island shawl pattern by Jared Flood, and also includes the Lorna's Laces yarn to complete it. Sandra has a wonderful website, full of delicious yarny goodness, and she also has a blog and a newsletter.

Have a safe and happy long weekend, everyone! 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Craft Room Redux

My book club is coming over on Monday night, so instead of just cleaning the house, I was obsessing over re-doing my crafting room.  I couldn’t do anything else until that was done.  I found a cabinet for cheap at Ikea.  It was 50.00, and it is huge.  The only problem was, the store in Elizabeth was out of them, so I had to go to the Brooklyn store.  The BF had to work, and he really didn’t like the idea of me going to Brooklyn by myself, but I was on a mission, and was going come hell or high water!  Luckily, my pal Kathy was good enough to take the ride with me.  She’s a trooper.  The weekend before, we went to MDS&W together, so this adventure was a piece of cake!

 We made it there and back with no problem, and shopped for all manner of cool  cheap crap while there.  We even had awesome Swedish Meatballs for lunch.  How can you pass up Ikea Swedish Meatballs?  lol  The only problem we had was driving the damned flat cart with the 2 giant boxes.  The carts have those ‘fuck you-I will go in any direction I please’ wheels on them.  It wanted to pull to the right, and then would over-correct to the left.  Or into the curb.  Or a parked Audi.  Oh, we also had a hell of a time loading the boxes into the car.  Again, VW wagon Clown Car across the Verrazano & Goethals.  If I had to stop short, we would have been decapitated.  :-)

The putting together of the cabinet was a nightmare.  My house is furnished in mostly ‘put it together with this weird wrench we give you in the box’ type furniture.  My daughter’s whole bedroom set is from Ikea.  I can put that kind of shit together with my eyes closed.  EXCEPT this cabinet.  They stopped marking the pieces with letters, so you had to guess which piece was the bottom, and go from there.  It is put together with it’s back facing up, then lifted upright to install the doors.  When I man-handled the whole 7 feet of it upright, I realized the top and bottom were in the wrong places, which would keep the shelves and hanging bar from attaching.  Also, (and I know better with this shit) the cardboard back that you nail to it chipped the whole interior.  Good thing I was going to pack the shit out of it with yarn.  :-) I finally got it together correctly, loaded it with my stash, moved the stereo into the closet, and set up the rest of the room the way I want it.  It should look nice for about 4 days, and then I will have to keep the door closed to avoid scaring guests.
This is the Ikea cabinet from Hell.  It has 3 doors and tons of space for my stash and crafting crap. 

 This is the single side.  From top to bottom- Wool, sock yarn, superwash wool, cotton.  I tried to put the cotton on a higher shelf, but the weight of it collapsed the shelf.  sigh......

The double side holds my hemp, silk, yarn for projects on the needles, my swift & ball winder, cross stitch stuff, distilled water for the iron, extra project bags, and a bag of crochet squares from a swap I have no desire to put together right now.

The top cabinet came from Overstock.  It is supposed to be for a bathroom.  I left the shelf out of it and use it for my sewing thread.  The Barrister bookcase holds all my antique books-many of them signed by the author, and I have a journal from a woman from Philadelphia from the 1800's.  Ignore the shit to the left.  It's recycling crap.

From the left- HUGE bag of washed Romney x waiting to be carded.  My sewing table, with boxes of material underneath, sewing machine and carder on top. To the right is my bookcase of craft books.  The top of the bookcase holds my DPN's in a wooden clamming scoop and my straights in a felted tall thing.

My Majacraft Rose, named Myrtle, (long, stupid story) sits in front of the bookcase, next to the antique ceramic stove, which is full of fiber.  How full, you ask?  look, there's some spilling out as I type this.  lol


This is the coolest table!  It was my Grandmother's dining room table.  It fold out to like 96 inches, but I just open one side when I need to cut patterns or when carding fiber.  The obligatory cat is lying in a basket of blanket makings- an unfinished University of Michigan crocheted monstrosity, 20-odd cream colored knit and crocheted squares, and a Coming Home poncho that I must have been drunk and high to have even started. In the background is my rotary cutting mats and my blocking board.

 The last 2 cabinets hold sewing supplies, bobbins and more yarn.  MOST of my Rowan is in the cabinet on the right.  Above the cabinets is an ironing board cabinet.  It is one of the coolest things I own.  I am a dork.

The whole fucking mess, as seen from the doorway.  And yes, that's a Japanese Wedding kimono hanging on the wall, and a camel bell hanging at the window.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Washing a fleece

I purchased a fleece at Maryland Sheep & Wool on Saturday.  I was looking for either a Polwarth or Targhee.  I came home with 8 pounds of beautiful Romney and almost 2 pounds of Border Leicster with a BFL influence.  The colors in both fleeces is to die for.  Black, greys, tans.  They have it all.  The fleeces were already skirted and were clean of most VM.  Neither was very greasy, either, but they did have to be washed.  This is how I cleaned them:
                                              BL with BFL influence before washing

                                            Romney before washing

                                           More Romney before wash

I had a mesh bag from the 10 pounds of onions I bought last week.  I also had a black mesh collapsible laundry bag/basket and a delicates bag I used.  Since I have a Kenmore Oasis washing machine, I couldn’t use it to soak the fleeces because it is electronic, and only fills to what it senses, and I can’t get the water hot enough because even on the hottest setting it mixes with cold water.  

                                             Soaking Romney

I wound up using the slop sink in the laundry room.  I ran the hot water to fill the basin, added a bunch of Dawn dish detergent after the basin was done filling and swirled it gently to not make suds.  I placed a bunch of the fleece in each of the bags- being careful not to overfill them, and gently pushed them down into the water.  I let them soak for about 15 minutes, lifted the bags out to drain, and washed them again a second time.  It was taking forever with just the 3 mesh bags, so I also started using 2 small plastic baskets.  I submerged them, the placed the washed wool in the mesh bags to spin out.

To rinse them, I refilled the basin with cooler water- not cold, but not hot, either.  After 2 rinses, I used some really old stitch holders that look like safety pins to close the bags.  I used the washer to spin out the wool.  Again, since the machine is electronic, it cannot be set to only spin.  It does a rinse and spin that takes a total of 24 minutes.  Since I didn’t want the wool in there that long going through all that rinsing and spinning, I ran it empty until I heard it doing it’s high speed spin thing.  That’s when I placed the bags in and left the machine to do it’s job.  

The wool came out almost dry, and it wasn’t felted at all.  I brought it outside and laid it out on a shower curtain.  Word to the wise- if you have an oak tree that is still dropping those stringy seedling things, DO NOT lay your drying fleece anywhere within the vicinity.  I had to pick out a bunch of them, and they are the same color as the tips of many of the locks.  Grrrr.  The Romney is drying on the front lawn now.  Far, far away from the oak tree.
                                             Drying Romney.  You can still see the locks!

                                           Dried BL/BFL.

After I finish washing the rest of the fleece (I ran out of hot water), I am going to use the Indigo Hound Viking combs (or Freddie Kruger fingers, as the Daughter Figure calls them) I just bought at the festival and make some roving to spin up.  Woot!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Been a While

I have been remiss in my blogging efforts.  There has been so much going on lately, both at home and at work.  I hate being busy at work, because it cuts into my pattern searching, yarn buying, tweeting and Facebooking time.  The only thing I can’t do at work is knit.  Sigh………
Let me list the lucky streak I’ve been on in the past 6 or so weeks:

1.       20 skeins of Lana Grossa yarn through the  Jimmy Beans Wool blog.
2.       A signed copy of Knit.Sock.Love by Cookie A. through New Stitch a Day
3.       A batt of fiber from Homestead Wool and Gift Farm through KnitPurlGurl’s blog.
4.       The New Jersey Pick-3.  I hit it straight and box with numbers The BF said I should be playing.  He looks this crap up, not me.
5.       Hand lotion and Bath Salts from Twig & Leaf Botanicals through Vegancraftastic’s blog.
6.       A free pattern just for leaving a comment on Karen Clements blog- Knit1la
It started with a contest that was put on by New Stitch a Day.  Most people might think I’m crazy, but I have no desire to knit top down socks.  Since I now own 2 Cookie A. books, maybe I should just get over that. 
I have been knitting 2 pair of socks, a top and a jacket.  One pair of socks got put on hold because the dog had a “friend” over, I left the knitting on the couch, said dogs jumped on couch, and got tangled in the yarn.  I came back to a broken Knit Picks circ and about 100 yards of yarn wrapped around my coffee table.  They also snatched a second skein off the table, and proceeded to fuck that one all up, too.  We have 3 cats that never touch my yarn, and a dog that can’t be trusted for a second with it.  Sigh……
I also worked on a test knit.  I made a Fair Isle hat, and it came out great!  It was a Smooth Fox design called Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.  I showed it to my son’s GF, and she said “ohhh, did you make this for me?”  Um, yes?  She promptly took the hat with her and left.  o.0  Now Fair Isle is my new obsession.  The socks have been abandoned (again).  I am now working on a headband with my Lorna’s Laces Green Line DK in the colorway Black Purl, and a bunch of purple Cascade 220.  The background is in the LL & the design (Deathflake) is in the Cascade.  I can’t wait to finish this!  Especially since it’s almost Summer!  I will totally misplace it before the Winter comes.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Rowan, How I Love Thee..............

I love everything about Rowan.  EVERYTHING!  I love their yarns – Silk wool dk, Cashsoft dk, Calmer, Big Wool, Biggie Print, Summer Tweed, the list goes on.  I am anxiously waiting on an order from Jimmy Beans Wool Watcher for 12 skeins of Pure Life British Sheep Breeds BFL in mid brown Jacob.  I need a 12-step program for their Wool Watcher site.  Grrrrrr. 

I love Rowan’s patterns!  I am making the Anise (unfortunately not in a Rowan yarn), and the pattern is brilliant!   First, it’s in centimeters!  So nice to swatch in cm! Then, they assume you are intelligent enough to not need everything spelled out ad-nauseum.  They have you match the front to the back shapings by counting down 9 rows to start the decreases, measure the stockinette for the fronts against the back to start the double moss stitch, flip the fronts, etc!  Come on, we all do this anyway, so why waste a lot of words and paper, right?  Thank you, Rowan, for knowing we use our brains to knit.  I am on the 2nd front, then will do both sleeves at the same time, as they are worked flat.  The only thing is, I need a real Knitter to figure where I can shorten the sleeves.  From the armscye, it is 46cm (18 inches) long.  That would put the sleeve length past my fingertips. Tuesday knit night, Here I Come!  I would post pix, but Blogger is sucking right now and won't open the upload link.  Sigh..........................

Sock update- I am still wimping on turning my heel.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Stray pup needs Help!

While on duty on Sunday, my son found a 3 month old puppy in one of the parks.  He was full of bite marks, and had a badly broken leg.  The Humane Society took him in, did a complete work-up, and had to send this poor baby to a specialty vet for surgery.  His leg is badly damaged, and the surgery and therapy is going to run almost $3,000.00 dollars.  we are asking to please find it in your heart to make a donation to his surgery and recovery.  The info for donations is as follows:

All donations can be sent to Associated Humane Societies,
124 Evergreen Avenue, Newark, NJ  07114
...Attn:  Res-Q Fund. (Riggs).  The dog’s  ID# is 99291

All this poor baby wanted when he found him was, food, water and to nuzzle.  He is the sweetest thing I've ever met, and I know ALL THE DOGS.  lol

Sunday, February 20, 2011

More Stuff I've Learned

1.                  Judy’s Magic Cast-On is magic.

2.                  Cat Bordi’s video for the cast-on is both funny and informative

3.                  Malabrigo sock cannot be made into socks on a #2 (3.0mm) circ.  At least not by me.  Drapey socks are not good.

4.                  The BF has narrow feet.  Long, but narrow.  And those gross witch toes.  You know, the one’s where the 2nd toe is longer than the big toe?  Blech

5.                  I can’t find my Knit Picks circular 1’s & 1.5’s

6.                  Knit Picks doesn’t care if I order more needles.  At .

7.                  Along with some yarn to make knitted panties.  That I need like a hole in the head. 

8.                  My daughter, who is home from college for a long weekend, cannot find her way from Massachusetts to New Jersey.  She’s only done it 20 times.  Her gps is apparently more useful when left in her desk drawer at school.

9.                  And she has absolutely no sense of humor when you ask if the exit she saw for Springfield was perhaps only meant for the Simpson’s- not her.

10.              And all that started because she missed her train, because college doesn’t teach you about having a sense of time, the realities of traffic, or friends not remembering where in the parking lot they left their car.  Although physics did teach her that you cannot get a half an hour away in 12 minutes- in a car.  Even if I was driving it.  Sigh……………

11.              College students will steal the Bunny Nugget you just made and not give a rat’s ass that you didn’t get a picture of it.  Or that it involved learning a 3-needle bind-off.

12.              3-needle bind-offs are totally cool.  And easy.  And kinda fun- but I thought Kitchener was kinda fun.

13.      Pom-pom making hasn't changed since I was in Middle School and used to make them for my roller skates.

14.              Regia 6-fadig has some weird (read: gross) color transitions. 

15.              Although, it knits up faster than fingering weight.  Duh

16.              My back is out. 

17.              Ice makes it feel better than heat. 

18.              Chiropractors are closed on Sundays.

19.              I am dreading coming to the heel of my sock. 

20.              Typing this blog is keeping me from getting closer.  lol

21.              Word refuses to accept that “lol” should not be capitalized after a period.

22.              My 7 month old Chessie likes to pee on the rug in the room the cats hang in.

23.              The cats don’t care.  Frankly, they think she’s stupid.  And gross.  I tend to agree.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Hedgie pix

      Ok, I finally finished the Hedgehog, and he is in the machine felting as I type this.  I even remembered to take before pix.  lol  Thank you, Debbie for the eyelash yarn, because in a fit of stupidity, I threw all mine away figuring I would never use it again.  And of course, now I want to make ALL. THE. HEDGEHOGS.  Sigh.................

 Before felting- kinda looks like roadkill   :-)

After felting in my Kenmore Oasis, which doesn't have an agitator thingy.  He doesn't look very comfortable jammed between the iron & the gallon of distilled water, but it is holding him in the shape I need him to be.
The Oasis does an ok job of felting, I just have to run the water in the slop sink to get it as hot as possible to go in the machine.  I throw a couple of big bath towels in with whatever I'm felting, and run it through two wash only cycles.  I have no idea what yarn this is.  It had no labels.  He will have eyes tomorrow.  :-)  Still not sure what I'm doing for a nose, though.