Sunday, November 30, 2008

Happy Saturday And Santa is a Homie

It's hard to tell that it's Christmas time here in Sunny southern Ca so the Decorations on the topiary dolphins in Corona Del Mar always gives an indication. Seriously, there were Christmas lights up in October and it made me want to scream. The Holidays just blur together and you don't get a chance to enjoy each of them singularly. The Grocery store was setting up displays and stocking the Christmas candies on Thanksgiving day.

I just found the most offensive yet funny Christmas item today. While walking around the grocery store we saw this. I had to go out to the car and get the camera to take a picture and a little video to share with you.

Hey, the packaging said to "TRY ME!"

Santa is a Homie with his Polar-Posse...
I guess the band "War" never imagined their song ever being used to represent a questionable Christmas toy.

Yes we laughed at this because its just so wrong. They even used a mid 60's Chevy Impala. The hydraulic suspension an undercarriage lights were just bonus.

Not much else of importance happened today but I'm hopeful for tomorrow.

Life is Good

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The other side of Black Friday

Black Friday came and went, and for me the only purchase was a double pack of deodorant because it was on sale and I ran out yesterday. This year the lines of people waiting to rush in and buy what they think is a good deal didn't make me feel like I was missing something. Sure I would like to buy some of the things that were on sale but my needs are few this year. When the wants become needs without cause or reason you just have a house full of meaningless stuff. How I spent Black Friday may not have helped the economy but my happiness isn't measured by balance sheets.

I had plans to return some books to the library today but they were closed. I didn't expect the library to be closed but I guess they wanted to go shopping today too.

I started reading The Complete Short Stories of Marcel Proust without knowing what to expect. The Forward was written by Roger Shattuck a world-renowned Proust scholar and the Preface by Anatole France, a leading French poet, journalist, and novelist who later won a Nobel prize for literature. The dedication by Proust was to a friend who passed away just nine months before the book was published exuded his deepest admiration. I'm savoring this like a good meal. The style and composition of his writing is unlike what I normally read but instead of feeling foreign to me it's like listening to your favorite college professor connecting vague unrelated references into a clear message.

Do you read the preface and forward when you begin a book? Or are you one to just dive in and enjoy? In most cases I prefer just to gain a little insight on what the writer had in mind.

Here is my question to you..... Do you read multiple books at the same time? Do you have a "work" book or a "train/bus" book and also a "Home" or "quiet time" book? Do you find that you read certain genres in one environment and others when you have the alone time to relish or focus on your selection?

The clock is ticking and I'm not focusing enough time on the Christmas scarf. I'll need to spend a lot more effort on this if I plan to give it as a gift this year.

Life is good

Friday, November 28, 2008

The turkey was good!

The turkey was better than years past. This was our first Thanksgiving in the last 4 that we stayed home. Last year we did the Portland whirlwind tour to test drive spinning wheels. The year before that we spent in the Bay Area so it was nice to enjoy the relaxed pace of home. After a wonderful dinner I sugested a walk on the Seal Beach Pier to get some ocean air and walk off the meal.
The Christmas lights were already up and it was very quiet tonight. One of the first times I've walked the pier and didn't see someone surfing the North side.

We decided to hit the jacuzzi after we got home and before the home made pumpkin pie. All relaxed now and full of comfort food but I'm afraid we'll have turkey for a long time. I haven't had the appetite that I used to but that's ok. The 14.02 pound turkey was the smallest I could find and it'll probably yield 4 to 5 meals disguised at burritos and who knows what else in the next week or so.

Turkey day is behind us and "Black Friday " is in progress. Are you going to fight the crowds for the that super deal? We have a Mall that opens at Midnight in an attempt to steal the shoppers from the big places. I'm not even going to venture into the fray. If you do I wish you well.

Life is Good

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Faux Friday

First and foremost I want to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving.

I do some reflecting at times like this and feel grateful for having two wonderful, healthy teen "children" who are the most special gifts a parent could hope for. My loving wife who I share my life with and puts up with all my faults. I feel thankful for my contact with all of you. We exchange comments on our blogs or other social network places. The ones who I have met in person are warm generous people who inspire me to new heights in my craft or share a friendship that is priceless. My life is better because of you all.

Today was a productive and good day.
Let me hit the bullets
  • Netflix fiasco
  • AT&T negotiations
  • Finding missing yarn
  • Finishing a book and started the next
Netflix had some issues and my account was put on hold for no reason at all. I called and they said it was resolved and the next day it wasn't fixed. I called again and the person closed my account and lost my whole queue. 156 movies lost, but after a 3rd call and some raised voices this too was resolved. but wait, it goes on... When they reinstated my account I was double billed, yes not only did they mess it up they double billed me for it. My 4th call resolved the billing, I will have movies on Friday and the billing cycle was moved two weeks to compensate for their error. Score one for the Twisteds.

A week ago AT&T sent me the online bill for my phone and internet. They raised my bill and it wasn't pretty. I called the customer service today and once I was able to get them to transfer my call back to the USA from India I inquired why my service was raised. After they went through the whole "rates have gone up for everyone" song and dance I quoted the advertised prices that are in the TV commercials and then told the person I was ready to cancel my service and move to cable. All of a sudden she was helpful said she could offer me a new plan and reduce the price by almost half. Funny how when times are tough and you have an option to move your service they are willing to work with you. Score two for the Twisteds.

Tonight I was watching public access and saw someone who looked like someone I went to High School with. Googled his name and the position and found out his middle name. Then went to a sealed box that contained my HS yearbooks and sure enough it was him. The surprise was when I opened the box and found a yarn kit that was missing since we moved here last August. I never opened the box because I thought it was just the yearbooks but this was in there to fill the void in the box.

Mrs. Twisted was thrilled at the discovery. Score three for the Twisteds

My last bullet was, I finished the much often interrupted Jules Verne classic Carpathian Castle. The ending was extremely good and not what I expected. For those of you who appreciate the forward thinking of Gene Roddenberry, you would love Jules Verne. He was in touch with the inventors and the dreamers and he wrote about the future or the cutting edge technology before it was common knowledge. This was his one love story that he wrote over the stretch of 30 plus years. Not like the science fiction style of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea or his other adventure novels. Moving forward, I started the Complete Short Stories of Marcel Proust. I'm intrigued by the attention his novels attracted in the early 1900's and the praise of his contemporaries. This looks to be a long and hopefully enjoyable journey through his catalog of work.

Last and not least, I saw that today I passed 20,000 hits to my little blog. Still amazing to me that people read my ramblings about the crazy things that appear here. I could never predict what will inspire visits or comments. Thank you all for the visits and your comments mean so much to me.

To those of you traveling tomorrow I hope you arrive safely and everyone has a great Thanksgiving.

Life is Good

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cool Beans

A little impromptu road trip happened today. We talked about going to the apple orchards a few months ago but it was hot and we didn't want to fight with the crowds that go up there on the weekends.

I knew we had to go fil up the car before we left and that to was another good reason for the delay in going.

Yes, that's $1.95 per gallon and how appropriate the sign behind the station. How cool is it that gas is under $2.00 per gallon?

For those of you who live outside of the So Ca area and don't know of Oak Glen Ca, it's about 70 miles North East of Orange County. I've been going up here since I was a kid with my parents in the late 60's. The orchards are fewer and the sheds or road side stands have turned into tourist shops, but it's still a nice day trip when you want to escape the city. This was our 2nd trip since the Mrs. moved here. Last year we watched Huell Houser do a show from the orchards and she saw things we missed on our first visit and so she wanted a return trip.

We arrived in the early afternoon and stopped for some cinnamon apple mini donuts at Snow Line orchard. After some sampling of the 5 varieties available we took our hot sweet snack outside and enjoyed the quiet crisp fall day. While sitting under a hundred year old chestnut tree we saw how the growth of the tree resembled cable patterns in our knitting.

Look at the continuation of the pattern from the trunk onto the branches like cables that extend onto the arms of a sweater.

More to see so off to the 2nd stop. Los Rios Rancho is one of the larger places so we stopped to look for apples due to the previous visit where they had the most variety.
We settled on a bag of Staymen Winesap for the pie we plan to bake later this week. I think a few McIntosh will be added as well for the right mix of sweet tart that we both like in our pies. The season was about over so we didn't get to do the pick your own but we did that previously. I was hoping to pick some raspberries too but the late season heat was not good for the crop.

We try to always have our knitting with us and the quiet brisk fall afternoon was inviting us to sit and enjoy a little before the hour drive back home.
The clouds were filling the sky and as I'm witting this the rain arrived so our trip was well timed.
The trees were beautiful, for Southern California standards it was quite pretty to see the red and yellow leaves.

Another great day.

Life is Good

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cold as Ice with an epiphany

You never know what you'll read about when you come here. How many of you still use ice cube trays? We used to buy the 5 lb bags of ice at the grocery store but I got tired of paying so much for frozen water that comes from the tap. Yes it may be purified but since we started drinking so much iced tea were using more ice. I bought the ice maker for fridge but hooking it up would be more than a pain since the water supply is not anywhere near the fridge. This brings me to one of the things I've been dealing with for the last few months. The plastic trays didn't last long when the cubes began to stick. Twisting as you are told to just made them crack and I quickly moved onto something new. We used to have these wonderful aluminum trays when I was younger, before it was normal that ice makers dispense through the door your choice of cubes or crushed ice.

They used to come with every fridge and I thought I'll just go buy some of those. I drove to Bed Bath & Beyond and picked up today's version that looks like this.

Trust me they are not like they used to be. Thin gage and the handle failed within a week. Such a disappointment. I was thinking, the place where these are made is probably half way around the world and the idea of these must be pretty strange. On to my next ice freezing incarnation. Trying to locate some silicone ice molds but these are not readily available in the stores nearby. Tonight I found something online but my need for instant gratification had me driving to The Container Store for a hybrid ice cube tray. Not that they burn alternative fuels, these are hard plastic with a silicone bottom allowing you to press the cubes out.
The first load came out like like greased lighting. I just bought one to try out in blue and if they work over a couple week period, I'll go back and pick up a red one too.

I had a little knitting epiphany today. For some reason I had issues with tinking back through a K2tog, psso sequence. The scarf I'm knitting has these repeatedly in every other row so when I mess up, I would mess it up even further and my wife would help me get back to ground zero. I've tried numerous times to get this and it meant dropped stitches and some serious messes. Well today it clicked and I tinked back the whole row without messing things up and corrected the mistake and proceeded without incident. I've been able to do some repairs but this one stitch sequence gave me trouble. Tinking in lace takes some concentration but not so daunting as it was.

Life is Good

Sunday, November 23, 2008

To list or not to list?

Are you a list maker? Rambling ahead....

Do you enjoy researching and planning? Do you feel better when you know the path you are on? I love the research and self examination on each item. I prefer to control my life or at least maintain some order. That's not saying I don't enjoy a little spontaneity too. My wife cringes a little when I talk about doing something new because she knows what's coming. Like when I took up spinning, I researched for months on end. Spreadsheets with all the features and pro/con list. The decision to buy my first guitar was a research exercise ad nauseum, ask the wife about it and she can answer with just a facial expression. I'm not sure I could put up with my OCD behavior but I'm glad she does. When we started going back to the library, I started looking at my life and felt like I missed so much because of the books that should have been read by now. Looking at all those list of 100 books you should read before you die and there are bunches of list. No matter what list I looked at their were holes in that compilation. That caused me to begin merging list but its turning out to be just a place to begin my loose guide. Every time I go to the library or book store I find another book looks like it should be on my list. My problem is that I'm adding more books to the list than checking them off. As I was writing this I realized the same sort of applies to all my list. The fiber list has paused at least and the yarn stash has idled in the last 6 months. At least we seem to be using yarn at the same rate as we are buying it now. It's just easier to talk about or think about doing things and actually doing them. My endless struggle with time management frustrates me because I never account for the time I spend thinking about what I want to do. At least this only seems to apply to my personal life, my professional life is almost void of research in comparison. That's enough talking about doing something, time to engage and participate in my life a little before bed.

Have a great week

Life is Good

Gems & Minerals or Rhodochrosite & The Alchemist

I have some spinning to show you today. The South African Fine is now yarn.

The coloring is really nice and it blended well as I plied it. The color is similar to rhodochrosite. I found it a little hard to keep the thickness consistent because of the occasional felted spots in the roving. I should have combed the felted spots but I didn't expect this from purchased roving.

After winding it off and measuring, it worked out to be 310 yards of light worsted at 10 WPI
I'll probably spin more of the SAF but will buy it undyed.

The Mrs. already has a Tam pattern in mind to knit this yarn into. More on that when she casts on.

Yesterday I went on and on about the book "The Alchemist"
I finished the book this evening and enjoyed the story very much. The theology or lack of it was welcome because everyone has their own idea of what God is. This was more about reaching for your own "Personal Legend" by listening to your heart. The author referred to the personal legend as your meaning of life and you connecting to God because you share the same soul. I enjoyed how the story weaves the characters in one by one but they all were integral as the boy journeys towards his personal legend. If I didn't know better the phrase Personal Legend sounds like a buzz word used by Oprah.....

Have a great Sunday everyone

Life is Good

Friday, November 21, 2008

enlightenment or entertainment?

Not sure how you see self help or inspirational books. I read Deepak Chopra's "The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams" right after it came out and was curious about what I would find between the covers. I was 35 and looking for answers to the questions about life and thought I was looking outside the box. I must admit I read the book and didn't fully understand all of the teachings. So much was in vague parable form and left so much open to interpretation. What I did take from the book was our connection to everything and how you react can have so much effect on circumstances. Common sense meets the Dalai Lama. The reason I bring this up, I returned to the library today and while looking at the audiobooks I saw a book by Paulo Coelho "The Alchemist." I thought back to the Deepak Chopra book and wondered if this would be similar. The story of a boy who travels the lands and becomes one with the world while an elder man shares his sage wisdom. Each parable puts the kid in another situation where the elder can guide him and let him learn another nugget of life. It brings to mind the TV show Kung Fu with David Caridine. The elder blind sensei would teach life skills while the martial arts were the structure or vehicle to do protect the student in real life situations while "he walks the walk." there is no Kung fu here... If it makes me think or reflect then it's worth the time to listen to the 3 hours of Jeremy Irons. I read for a few reasons, to learn, to promote thought, or to be entertained. If a book is able to give me more than one of these features it just makes the book that much better.

Another book jumped at me for completely different reasons. I do enjoy a quick read and one with lean, no fluff story telling is even better. "My Mortal Enemy" by Willa Cather looks like a good read before I ever turn the first page.

wobbling wagon wheels

Nothing to excess today and a little falling off the wagon.

Sometimes you have a little short attention span theater going on. A little spinning, a little reading, even a little nap after dinner.

The falling off the wagon happened because we had a craving for a quick dinner and Del Taco was whispering "come back you'll love it, trust me." We gave in and I even had a Cherry Coke, why not be really bad if you are going to fall off the wagon. It just wasn't as good as it was in my mind.

I was asked to be the gift consultant for the Wife's Father's lady friend's gift. Her Father is quite the ladies man or was until he met his "lady Friend" last year. The plan was to knit her a pair of socks. The favorite colors were Blue/Green so we discussed yarn and pattern and I recommended the generic feather & fan pattern, very pretty and easy to finish quickly for her.

We have a thing that happens with most projects, we come up with a little name that goes into her Ravelry projects page. Not the simple "Aquamarine sock," sometimes fun and descriptive of the mood we were in at the time. The sock yarn is SW merino/nylon in a pretty seafoam green from My Small Wonders so I suggested "Dad's Ladyfish Socks." Semi-obscure references to most, but she got it. I love the Incredible Mr Limpet movie and the way he, The Don Knotts character, changed when he found his Ladyfish. Not saying that her Father is Mr Limpet, but she knows the connection I was going for.

Back to the spinning and a little more reading before bed....

Life Is Good

Thursday, November 20, 2008

multi-tasking while spinning

Not much to blog about today.

I took the Mrs. to the library today after she heard me talk about it yesterday. She grew up in Salem Mass and was used to large beautiful old libraries so she was very happy to see a beautiful new library with a little history. Our little town has two libraries and is building a new one behind to replace the existing older one that is supposed to open early next year. After discussing the policy with the nice librarian we found out we could return the books we checked out at the old one at the nice one. So I don't think we'll be back to the other one until the grand opening of the replacement. I'm sure this rambling is very boring to everyone outside of the city limits of Tustin. :P

I did pick up some thing really cool though while I was there. I looked at the audiobooks and they had these special digital players that have a book already loaded and all you do is add the headphones. I plugged in my speakers, turned it on and spun 2 ounces of that South African Fine while I listened to the first 14 chapters of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. It's so nice to multi-task while spinning. Their are so many books I want to read and I love the audio book format when you can adjust the speed of the spoken word. The player has three settings so you can make the reader speak faster or slower. You can book mark and come back to a certain passage if you like and it restarts where you leave it when you turn it back on. The player is called Playaway, I don't see myself ever buying one but I love that the library has them for checkout.

Pretty cool when they have an audiobook on a ram chip housed in a player that's smaller than an Ipod Nano. The Story was preformed by Michael York. When I heard him read it, was like hearing Professor Asher Flemming lecturing in his class. I know not everyone will get the reference. I'm sure a few of you who enjoyed the Gilmore Girls know what I mean.

Life Is Good

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pink wool and new books

Two fun things happened today. I went to a new Library, one that I've passed many times but never went in. This is on the original site of the Irvine family Ranch house. It was gutted by fire in 1965 and converted to a library just a few months ago. What a beautiful home it must have been. It's a huge building with two floors and a basement. It was like walking into a Barnes & Noble but these books were all available to come home with my card. I inquired and the librarian said they bought new books for this branch. I've never seen a library full of new books.

I picked up two books, not like I finished the others yet but these were calling my name. How many of you are fans of The Thin Man series of movies? Dashiell Hammett wrote the books that the movies were created from. You may know him from the Maltese Falcon. I also picked up Woman in the Dark from Hammett. This was originally released as magazine segments in 1933.

Second thing was I went to the Tuesday night spinning group. It was only Julie, Kelly & I tonight. I stood before the wall of yarn and fiber just hoping to get inspired and pulled a braided coil of hand dyed South African Fine wool to spin. Originally I bought it for dye inspiration and to try spinning South African fine breed. I bought this last spring but it just waited for me to want to spin it.

I split it into two 2 ounce mini-bumps. Not sure what it will become but it looks good so far.

Here is most of the first single.

It was a very good day....

Life Is Good

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Monday short post

Tonight we had the chance to knit with a long time friend and catch up. The group was meeting inside due to the possibility of smoke but we sat outside because we bought food from another place and enjoyed our time with our friend. At 9:00 the Corner Bakery closed and many of them went home while a few wanted more and we joined them in Starbucks until they closed. Never closed a Starbucks before but we had a good time talking to some of the ladies. I forgot my scarf pattern so I spent the night on the lace skirt and made some wonderful progress.

Not much else really for today. I will try to do better tomorrow.

Life is Good

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My little private Sunshine

The smoke was easing today but the heat continued to be a little repressive. Held up in our home with the A/C on watching the final Nascar Race. I know, I know it's one of my guilty pleasures. If your wondering I'm a Jeff Gordon Fan (ducking my head to miss the flying debris from all the Gordon haters or Jr. lovers, you know who you are.)

It's early and I've only knit a little so far today but we're getting ready to hit the hot tub. Maybe some more when we come back.

The bright spot of the day was the back to back phone calls with my kids. My son is contemplating a move to Wash St with a friend who wants to attend Tiger training school. We were both surprised that their was such a school that taught tiger training but I'm assuming it's a sub-specialty of zoology. He was all excited about moving away and living life on his own. Later he asked my opinion on him becoming a history teacher. All of you who have never met my son, he is a gentle giant with a heart of gold. I think he would be a great teacher after watching him in various points of his life sharing with others. Patience of a saint and the compassion to give all he has to enrich the lives of everyone around him. Can you tell I'm just a little proud? After our chat about work, school and his favorite ska band of the month he had to get back to work. I called and had a wonderful call with my Daughter, the sixteen year old going on thirty six. She went through the merry-go-round of boy friends right now. She is very insistent about not getting serious with any one boy and to date often with all the boys she likes. Last Week she had another minor injury in the last game of the fall season. She plays varsity softball year round and playing catcher has had two broken wrist multiple broken fingers, a concussion, many cuts and bruises and now a strained ACL from a direct collision at home plate. A few weeks of rehab and a brace like the ones the football quarterbacks wear and she'll be fine. The MRI was good so she can play another day. Just the sound of her voice can make my day turn around. Like my little private sunshine. Can you tell I'm in the wrapped around the little finger club?

Time to knit and a little reading before bed. Have a wonderful week

Life is Good

Saturday, November 15, 2008

scarf update

I had big plans for the day. What do they say about the best laid plans? I wanted to read and knit on the scarf and maybe spin a little. It just wasn't meant to be.

The TV was nonstop fire coverage that preempted any reasonable show but I was able to watch the Boston College victory over Florida State. I'm not a sports fanatic but I do prefer college sports.

Back to my day, I planed on grilled knackwurst on deli rolls and a box of Kraft Mac and cheese (we really love the fake cheese flavor of the blue box pasta) . Somehow I forgot we ate the last two dogs so a change in plan since it's hot here we had some deli grinders.

The knitting didn't fare very well. I finished one row and was one stitch too many and while tinking back I messed it up even more. I was getting a headache and this just made it worse. Reading never sounded good after the headache. My sinuses always act up when the barometric pressure go wackadoodle, Yes Wackadoodle. Whenever we have the "Santa Ana" winds, the pressure jumps and my head goes crazy. I'm not sure when the name changed from Santana as in hot desert winds but I'm sure someone just assumed it was Santa Ana because of the proximity to location of both Santa Ana Canyon and city and the sheep just followed suit. The news idiots call the winds 60 miles North of Santa Ana by the same name just because they don't know any better. I took a magical sinus pill that requires ID and multiple signatures with the pharmacist and the pressure eased for the time being.

A Lee, fellow plurker asked me to post a WIP picture so here you go.

The day ended well because the headache eased and the scarf was repaired and some chocolate was in the equation.

I hope the fires ease a little and it gets better for everyone affected. Here is a link to the maps showing the affected areas close to Casa de Twisted.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday post

It's hot windy and the fires are burning again.

Tonight was the Men's knitting group. The group was a little small tonight but it ebbs and flows. Little bit of knitting and a little bit of spinning and a lot of talk about politics, religion, Christmas knitting projects, spinning fiber and the bad cover band music that comes from the restaurant/ bar next door to the yarn shop we meet at.

Took some books back to the library this afternoon and picked up a few. Finished The "Last Lecture" and enjoyed it quite a bit. It brought back memories of the relationship with my Mom before she passed away. More than that it reaffirmed my desire to live life in more of a positive way and keep my head up no matter what brick walls may interfere. A few more books in the queue are "Out of the Silent Planet" by C.S. Lewis, "Click" by Bill Tancer and "Catch 22" by Joseph Heller.

Looking to progress further on the scarf this weekend and with the Summer temps coming back will probably stay in with the A/C on to avoid the smoke.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

frogging with inspiration

due to the problems mentioned yesterday,the Daughter's scarf was ripped back to the beginning and a change in plan was made. It was too wide and I was going to run out of yarn before getting the proper length and it seemed a little dense so the lace pattern didn't show very well. Since it was being frogged I changed from a size 6 to a size 7 and the width reduced by eight stitches. My wife took a turn on the needles and almost got me back to the same place in a few hours. I wish I could knit that fast but we all have our strengths.

My spinning mojo is not inspiring me lately. The fiber that I dyed just sits and taunts me. I want to spin it and knit the swatches but not today.

How many of you are readers? A few months ago I was inspired to read the book by the late Randy Pausch, "The Last Lecture." When the special on TV was aired, I saw the most positive person ever. I think of myself being an optimistic person but compared to him I felt like Eeyore. Reading the book made me look at my self and reaffirmed some of my thoughts. He looked up to Captain Kirk, and you probably ask why? Kirk wasn't the smartest, that was Spock, Bones took care of the medical issues, and Mr Scott could engineer more power at request. It was leadership and the ability to keep focus no mater the situation. He acknowledged and respected their skills in their fields but set the tone and remained in control. So many managers feel threatened to surround them self with people smarter than they are. I'll be finished with the book tonight, short quick read but very inspirational.

What books have you read that were inspirational or touched you personally?

Hope you all have a great Friday...

Life is Good

leaning towards lace

Tonight we attended the Pub knitters and we had a few people who haven't attended in a while. They are planning a Christmas Party with another knit group but we are having issues with where to have the gathering. The place we used last year was already booked.

The recent hand spun was washed and dried and skeined today and I'm very proud of the progress. Just a few uneven spots but I'm happy with the consistency.

Both of us prefer to knit with fingering and DK weight yarn so this is just the beginning of more thinner weight yarn coming from Lorelai. I have some lofty goals for my spinning. First is to dye and spin the sport weight Cormo for the Mrs' twin set after she picks the color. This should be a 3/8 weight yarn spun woolen to give the softness and strength. This is just a brief stop towards even finer spinning. I'm thinking about some lace weight in the Cormo. We had a chance to look at the new Knitting Lace of Estonia book and the patterns are amazing. I have two in mind already, one is the Estonian Triangular Summer Shawl. The Lily of the Valley flowers in the white lace is just stunning. This will be the second item but in the natural snow white Cormo. I'm hoping to get the 1,100 yards needed from 4 ounces.

Back to my knitting tonight. I realized that about an inch and a half ago I had the right side and wrong sides reversed. So, I need to rip it back but no problem. I'll focus a little more and press on.

Here is the Lower Trestles all braided up

See you all Tomorrow

Life Is Good

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Some dye experiments.

I wanted to test dye the pindrafted ultra merino that I picked up a couple weeks ago. A little experimenting with color. I was shooting for ruby, a deep dark red with something more, you know that certain something special when you see a brilliant ruby gemstone.

A few months ago we sat on the bed very late one night and contemplated dye names that we could use if we ever opened an Etsy shop. Not that I'm ever going to do that but we came up with a bunch of names that meant something to us. Our first date was to the Seal Beach Pier where we ate lunch at Ruby's diner. So the first named dye color is Ruby. (click on the picture to get a better look at the color)

The second test was my first try at blended blues, yellows and teal. This was a lighter color surrounded by a darker deeper color. This looked like one of my favorite surf spots. Lower Trestles near San Onofre. The way the water looks when you are carving through the water and the light reflects the deep blues and ocean greens just over the nose of your board.

I wish I could surf here everyday but we have a life that doesn't always fit the surf lifestyle.

Here is my tribute to Lower Trestles, one of the better places to surf in California.

I may add a more blue but that's not far off. My pictures don't really show the fiber that well.

Yesterday or a few days ago I mentioned some news. Last year before we moved I was planning a blog contest. Yes the Twisted Blog-Jeopardy is going to happen. I'm close to 20,000 hits on my blog and it's going to be close to Thanksgiving/Christmas, so what better way to thank all of the wonderful people I have met, online and in person, since launching this blog. I'm also approaching my third anniversary of learning how to knit. If you are new to my blog or not reading it at my last contest, we like to go a little over board. (read here for some idea of what I'm talking about) Now we add hand dyed fiber and hand spun yarn to the potential gift items. More details to come soon.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Monday is for plying

Tonight we attended the Monday knit group and it was a little cold for some of the ladies. It was in the mid 60's burrrrrr. We sit out on the patio just because out group is so large and would flood the Starbucks if we went inside. Cranking along on the scarf and enjoying the nice chit chat.

Came home and finished plying the merino that I spun in the last few days. 6 ounces of merino in three ply fingering weight, about 358 yards.

All skeined up and resting until morning when it will get a bath.

Short post tonight but I'll have more tomorrow.

Life is Good

Monday, November 10, 2008

Happy Sunday.

I hope you all had a great Sunday. I did a little spinning of the midnight merino. I know it's taking a long time but I'm spinning the whole pound.

The scarf for Jen is coming along really well. One little mistake and some frogging back a row but it's looking good. It's made from Knit Picks Andean Silk in Navy & Slate.

It's hard to see the pattern while it's still on the needles. Maybe when I get a little further I will be able to open it a little . The pattern is Fishtail Lace Scarf.

I promise not to bore you with the daily update pictures.

Yesterday I found this beautiful pork roast that I slow cooked this afternoon.

We went out in the early afternoon, the smell when we came home and opened the door was soooooo good. The roast was tender and moist with just a little seasoning when it was browning. I found some new potatoes I've never seen before, red skinned Yukon gold. Hard to tell since I skinned them for the crock pot but very tasty.

I hope you all have a wonderful week.

Life is Good

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Is it Summer again?

The weather here is a little out of character but I'm not complaining too much. Because it was so nice this evening we drove down to Laguna Beach to enjoy the sunset. So much nicer than the Summer months when their are so many other people doing the same thing.

Today I received a message on Ravelry about a fun fiber day from a local source that looks like a given for me to attend. More info to come later. Thanks Rainy

Not much visible progress on the knitting, spinning or reading fronts but I'm feeling good about my effort.

Looking through the grocery store ads tonight was not as inspiring as it has been. Trying to come up with some larger meals that will result in a dinner and lunch. Looks like a Tri-Tip roast is a good deal this week. Have you seen the reduction in package size lately? The half gallon ice cream is history. The cereal boxes are 9 to 12 oz now for the same price. Instead of raising the price of the item, they reduce the amount for the same price and gain the profit without the sticker shock. The only way to combat this is to cook from raw foods. I'm trying to remove the processed foods and cook more like my Mom and Grandmother cooked. The whole act of meal prep for me is usually 30 minutes or less unless there is a casserole. Even so, the foods that go into the casserole is prepped and in the oven in 30 minutes. The hard part is creating dishes that we both enjoy. I'm a self proclaimed picky eater and that's one of the reasons I learned to cook 35 some years ago. I never realized that there was so much of a difference in diet from Southern Ca to the New England States. I'm from here and she was raised 3,000 miles away. Much more comfort foods there in the cold months where here their is a lot of ethnic influence. The Mexican caliente is ingrained in what I cook. Red Pepper flakes find their way into so many meals. Most of the meat is seasoned with garlic and onion. I have a favorite rub that has some pepper flakes and various seasoning all in one and it's a staple now. The wife is quite happy to have me make the menus and scour the papers for sales and coupons. I tend to grocery shop alone because I will sometimes hit up to 3 stores and spend a lot of time at the meat counter selecting the proper cut for a specific meal.

Two questions for all you lurkers.
  1. What is your favorite meal? It could be one you get at a restaurant, your Mom used to make it for your birthday, or it's one that you developed over time. Details are appreciated.

  2. Do you have a meal that you haven't had for a long time because it's hard to prepare or you just forgot how good it was? Is it seasonal?

OK enough rambling about nothing of any substance.

Life is Good

Friday, November 07, 2008

Jules Verne, P&P, Spinning, Elvis Costello & Madeline Albright

Day one of the time management exercise and it went well. A little too much TV today but I spun while we watched back to back episodes of Kitchen Nightmares. After that was over I put in the latest DVD from Netflix. The 2005 version of Pride & Prejudice with Keira Knightly and Donald Sutherland. Was very disappointed with this version. The A&E 2 disc version was so much better.

Not sure about the weather here. It feels like Summer is giving us one last hurrah. We're looking a 80F temps for the next few days.

I started the Jules Verne book today. "Carpathian Castle" takes place in the mountains of Transylvania in the 1300's. I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked this out at our local library. After reading more about Mr. Verne it looks like this was one of his few romantic novels but it was written over a 40 year period. I also found out his books are the 2nd most translated novels after Agatha Christie. It's an easy read so far and looks to be finished in a couple days. I don't read for speed, I read to enjoy the travels the author takes me on.

Oh I wanted to share a picture or two. I'm spinning Ashland Bay Merino in Midnight.

An in process single picture. I changed my technique a little and made the yarn much softer but still strong enough for the 3 ply fingering I have planned. I'll have this single finished soon and start the 3rd single tomorrow.

I was watching a little late night Conan OBrian and Elvis Costello was one of the guest. I found out he is hosting a talk show "Spectacle" on the Sundance Chanel produced by Elton John. It's a show where he talks to other musicians. Times like these I wish we had cable TV. The 2nd guest was Madeline Albright, the former Secretary of State under Clinton. She had a book to promote but she sang a duet with Elvis at the end of her segment. What a great country where a former SOS will sing a duet with an angst filled new wave artist of my youth. They sang "Don't fence me in." Not the greatest song but it was entertaining to see these two sing together.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Happy Thursday!!

Happy Thursday Everyone.

I'm not sure how this blog the day after everything happens is working. Are you confused? Sometimes I'm confused about what today is because I write these post at about 2:00 to 4:00 AM each night. Just before I head to bed. I'm writing about what happened earlier the same day and most of you read it the next morning.

I had some issues with the stitch count on the lace scarf but that was resolved and forging ahead well ahead of schedule for Christmas. No WIP pictures yet but soon.

On the reading front, I finished a book today.

Not really happy with Steinbecks style but it was interesting reading about the life and times of the people and the social economic layers of the characters.

I had wanted to read one book per week but either my interest have wained a bit or too many other things have interrupted my plans. The library has so many good books that I can't wait to read but the problem is what to read and in what order. I wanted to read "The Last Lecture" and I just received the notification that my request was filled. So I have that along with a Biography on Tesla, Short Stories of Marcel Proust, Carpathian Castle by Jules Vern. I'm leaning towards the Jules Vern right now but I'll decide later when I have time to read. I never knew he was so prolific of a novelist. I remember reading 20,000 leagues when my son was 4. (fifteen years ago) We took turns reading a chapter at a time. He was an amazing early reader and it was fun to see him enjoy the theater of the mind so early in life. We would stop when we came across a word that we didn't know and look it up in the Compact English Dictionary my parents bought me years before.

Next is to try and push myself to be more disciplined and focused. I do enjoy TV but there is very little that I really want to watch everyday. Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 PM 6 days a week when it's not being preempted by stuff I don't want to watch. House and Fringe if I'm home. OK I love Poker After Dark but that comes on at 2:00 AM. So my dilema is to be realistic but push myself enough to spin, knit, read each and every day and when that's under control also add the return of playing my guitar. I know I can easily fit in an hour of each. I have easily 9 hours to schedule this activity but I need to work this around fixing dinner, knit nights and various other distractions. Imagine if you could read a book a week, knit and spin 7 hours minimum each week. There is so much I want to read. Hundreds of books and so many projects I wish were in my grasp of knitting. The 50 pounds of fiber begging to become usable yarn for these projects. So many songs I wish I could play, or techniques that would make me a better player.

I know that these times are not that impressive to you power knitters. I know I could add an additional 3 to 4 hours a week of spinning and knitting over the 7 I'm already planning and this would be huge to me. Some of my knitting can easily be done while the TV is on and the spinning is always done with some white noise.

Here is a question to all my blog readers; Do you need to read with silence? Do you hunker down and turn off the TV? Can you have the TV on in the back ground and tune it out? I've been reading with my headphones on for years. Too many hours of reading on planes or at lunch where I drown out the background and enjoy the hard fast music of my favorite artist. My mind just compartmentalizes the music and I see the story in my mind and the outside world disappears for a while.

Well, it's after 4:00 Am and I should crawl into bed for a few hours.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Moving ahead.

Not much happened on the knitting front. We did a little celebrating because my wife voted for her first time today.

The returns are still not in for the West Coast as of 2:02 AM. Some of the races are still close while others were a land slide. It's amazing to see people actually go vote and show some sort of energy instead of the apathy that filled them for so many years. Hopefully these same people will not follow blindly but question authority and stand for what they believe.

And yes I even had a glass of wine tonight.

Life is good

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The voting ranks adds one more today.

Today my wife votes for the first time. Not sure what it was, I've asked her to register and vote in the past but she decided to step up and make her voice heard this time. We plan on voting together tomorrow morning for the first time as a couple. Our state is crazy and people forget that not 6 weeks ago we didn't have a signed budget and the spending is out of control but here they are trying to pass more state/local bond issues that are other words for tax increases. So much attention is focused on the Governor and President but the bulk of the politics are in the control of the local , state government and your state representatives to Congress and Senate. When you vote for these individuals remember that they are the ones who are writing the laws that we all live by and are responsible for the spending of our tax dollars while the one at the top only signs the bill unless it has a 2/3rds vote and then it doesn't matter who is in office. So these individuals have more power than you think.

OK enough Politics, I'm sure you are as tired as I am with the commercials and the crud that is filling the mail box lately.

Tonight (Monday) I went to the Monday Knit night and brought some of the fiber that I picked up Sunday. Everyone was awestruck with the Redfish silk merino. One of the other ladies bought some in another colorway but she said she would have bought the one I had if were there when she went to the booth. I love to see what everyone else buys at these fiber shows and yarn crawls just because they look at things differently than I do. I heard that some other people had bought sweaters worth of fiber and I felt good because I know they paid more than double, triple or four times the price per ounce for their fiber. I guess it depends on whether you want to dye your own or how much control you want in the fiber. Most of the colored fiber I buy now is for my inspiration for future dyeing.

Two rounds on the skirt completed today and I spent a few minutes reviewing the Russian join because I'm at the end of a skein. These skeins are 550 yards each. Amazing to knit right through the skein change in lace without having to weave in the ends.

Have a great day and please exercise your rights and speak your mind in the best way possible.

Yes this is the same picture on Stale Peeps blog but I'm not sure everyone reads both . Another good use of Malabrigo Silky.

Life is Good

Monday, November 03, 2008

Fiber Fun on day three of NaBloPoMo

Today (Sunday)was another busy day. Bright & early I was in Torrance for the annual Weaving and Fiber Festival. As I parked the car I noticed Gene from my Friday knit nights. Gene started spinning a few months ago and we discussed the show last week. It's funny who many people you meet when you craft. The line to get in was about 50 deep and friends waved me forward. I had to get in and out quickly because the Mrs had an appointment, so using the free pass in line didn't bother me too much. The was hosted by the local hand weavers guild and while paying the entry the lady looked up and said "hi, aren't you in the spinning guild?" It's turning into a very small world when it comes to the fiber crafts around here and I love it.

My plans were to make a quick sweep through the vendor halls and head to the Morro Fleece Works booth to pick up my fleece. As I entered the first hall I stopped to talk to Lori Lawson from Capistrano Fiber Arts and catch up since her trip to the Taos Wool Festival. I peeked across the way and saw the Redfish booth and had to look at the amazing fiber. One 4 ounce hank of 50/50 Mulberry silk and extra fine merino stood out to me and I debated leaving the booth and picking it up on the way out but thought nooooo because I knew it would be gone if I did. Yes it's that special. The picture doesn't do it justice.

I made a circle through the room and headed for the next room and took care of the business of picking up the extra hank of Malabrigo Silky bringing the hank total to 8. Safely enough for the sweater/top the Mrs has in mind. Thank you Cathy for bringing this specially for me.

Next was the reason for the trip since I really don't need more fiber. Sheri was sitting there at her booth helping other friends from the Tuesday night spin group when I walked up she was busy so I looked over the other fiber she brought. I picked up some really pretty bamboo/silk and it too had to come home.
These two just screamed at me "buy me buy me now!" I'm not an aqua kind of guy but it looked like Caribbean seas and you know the purple was perfect.

On the way out I saw Gene looking over Lori's hand dyed hanks so I walked over and introduced them. Not sure what he purchased but I found some dyed Cormo locks and had to have them too. I know it wasn't required but soooo pretty and again almost oceanic; looking like inside of the curl while morning surfing at Huntington Beach.

I found the door and made my way home in time to meet the North County Sunday group because it was a special day. One of the ladies wanted to introduce her new guy and asked us to come. I also had a chance to meet Laura AKA KnottyLa. I started reading her blog a couple years ago and this was our first face to face visit even though we live so close to each other.

Later in the day I opened the box to check out the new fiber and was very happy to feel the softness of my latest fleece purchase.

This was a 7 pound raw fleece and weighed in at more than 5 pounds processed. About 74% yield is a testament to how well the sheep are cared for.

Life is Good

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Knit Knight Yarn Crawl

Today we had a little yarn crawl with the Monday night knit group. We found each other on Ravelry and recently formed our own group there, Knit Knight. We had plans to hit four yarn shops in the Westside/Southbay area. Twist Yarns of Intrigue, Beach Knitting, A Mano Yarn Center and Concepts in Yarn. Mrs Twisted had something scheduled at 3:30 today so we cut it short with the first three.

Nice cozy shop with so much wonderful luxury yarn.

The last three faithful shoppers paying for their goodies.

Part of the group waiting to head to the next shop.

Our motley crue

Yes I am on a yarn diet but yes we did buy some yarn.

We already had 5 of these beautiful Malabrigo Silky Merino hanks.
The project now under consideration takes 7 hanks. Well, I'm picking up another hank tomorrow at the fiber fair from the same shop owner to bring it up to 8 hanks just in case.

Couldn't pass this one up either.
Dream In Color Smooshy color way Butter Peeps for my wife Stale Peeps

That was the end of our purchases but tomorrow is another day.

Life is good