Friday, January 16, 2009

Do you have a nickname?

What Ho everyone. Just a little greeting ala Jeeves & Wooster. We've been loving the British series and it's a little sad because we only have three more episodes till it's over.

One of the fun quirks in the show is how most of the men have a nickname. Do you have a nickname? Most of you who know me don't realize that you know me by my nickname. I don't really care for my given name, but you don't have a choice in the matter.

One of the blogs I read (mostly lurk) has a lot of amusing nicknames and it's like you are enjoying the daily interactions with each of the characters. Trainman, Brother Tightly Wound and Silver Fox are just a few that get mentioned. I know she does this to give some anonymity to them and herself with good reason.

We also have nicknames for some of the people we interact with, usually because we don't know them personally and when we mention them by nickname we know who we are referring to. A lot of this started when we lived in our old apartment. Smokerguy, Tattooguy, Weebles, Skank, Skank's Mom, Matress, Screech, Plumberguy, THEBEASTetc. They all had back stories and reasons for the names, some not so nice but well chosen based on the back story. Since moving to a nicer place, their are fewer "charaters" but we still have "Noseybody", Guido, and a few others.

There are some changes in my life. I have a new job starting soon after months of repeated interviews. I worked in the Aerospace industry off and on for years but with the recent strike at Boeing and other issues it was a good time to look elsewhere. More info to come when I have more to share....

Some of my handspun yarn has made it to a finished object. Mrs. Twisted made a beret recently from some of the 3 ply merino I spun a few months ago. You can see the whole story here and on her blog.

The first bobbin is complete of the previously mentioned superwash for the ply-by-night group. I had a chance to meet with the Tuesday night spinning group and took the operatunity to focus on finishing the first single. I know I have 6 weeks to finish spinning the fiber and knitting the scarf plus I think the Mrs will do some of the knitting on the scarf.

The lace skirt is at 30% complete and slowly moving in the right direction.

This week Mrs Twisted's sister called from the cold mountains of Vermont and asked to come visit. They're having -20 nights and single digit daytime highs while we're having unseasonably warm 80 deg temps. This is her first trip to So Ca from what I understand and all she wants is some warm weather. She hopes to be here in a couple weeks, needless to say, the wife is thrilled to have some family coming to visit. She went back there a little over a year ago for her niece's wedding but it's nice when they come this direction to visit.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Happy Monday

Hope you are all having a good 2009 so far. I know it's only day five but it seems to be flying by already.

One little picture before I move forward. Last week we had some time after Christmas and spent a day of antiquing in old town Orange. Not like we were going to buy anything but it's fun to look at all the neat stuff and maybe find some purple transferware as a mate to our plate. We had our knitting with us so we took some time to enjoy the afternoon sun and knit in the park located in the circle.

Last Thursday was my Mom's birthday and we go visit her grave with some flowers and do some reflecting. She passed 27 years ago but she lives in my heart everyday. For those of you who are familiar with Southern Ca, it's at Rose Hills. A beautiful serene place sit and think. We've seen a whole herd of deer there in the late evening in past visits and their are signs warning of mountain lions. I guess one attracts the other, I just hope we never see the cats.

We always bring our knitting and a blanket to enjoy the sun and spend some time reminiscing about our Moms. No, we didn't have someone take the picture. I was a little creative with what we had with us.

Behold the size 15 tripod. I guess that would be a bipod.

The grounds are huge and the decorations people leave are incredible. We took a drive past the main entrance and the rose gardens are trimmed back in the main garden but their are still hundred of plants in full bloom on the first day of January.

The time people took to decorate must be cathartic for them. We saw where people brought in six foot trees with glass ornaments and battery operated lights.

I think my mom would have loved it but she would have insisted that it come down promptly on the 26th because that's how it was in our home.

OK on to other news and activities.

The Ply-By-Night group in Ravelry has taken a lot of my attention lately. I won't re-hash too much but we all are starting with this fiber and the same pattern to knit.

From the beginning I wanted to make a few changes and add some creativity. I wasn't thrilled with the colorway but saw it as a challenge to make it work. Some of the other people in the group were talking about pooling or barber poling when they ply and what to do about. I wanted to control the colors as they were being spun and thought I would try two methods of carding to see what happens. I have some Bamboo that was carded in one of the methods and have seen the resultant yarn and it looked pretty good. There is a second method that I think will work as well but since the minimum order was 8oz I split the roving and made two batts of each method. I will spin all 8oz and swatch the pattern in each to make my choice for the final selection. You never know what it will look like until you actually knit it up to see what you got. Here is the end result if you don't want to watch the video ferther down in the post.

The following video is my first try using Microsoft Movie Maker and it was quite fun adding the little transitions and the scrolling disclaimer. This was shot using my Fuji point and shoot digital in movie mode so the quality is not the greatest and the transfer to Youtube doesn't help the quality either. I want to thank Melissa for the use of her drum carder and letting us invade her kitchen to make this video.

You can watch the video in higher quality here if you click the high quality option. Oh there is some sound too.

I can't tell how good it felt to envision something in my head and be able to execute the process so it turned out how I saw it in my mind. I was doing the happy dance for some time after we left. Being too happy to resist we stopped for some Popeye's chicken dinner as a treat. I know we fell of the wagon a little but it sure was good. The Red beans and rice is like nirvana in my mouth.

One last thing before I go. Do you enjoy House MD? The TV show with Hugh Laurie in it. We started watching Jeeves & Wooster recently and were thrilled with the show. This was a four season British show based on the novels by P.G. (Pelham Grenville) Wodehouse. What a great show! If you enjoy British TV I would recommend this for your Netflix queue

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all of you and I hope this year brings you good health and prosperity in all aspects of your life.

For me I give you a lose guide to the future, a look backward and my personal scorecard for 2008.

If you are a new reader then you can see where this is coming from.
  1. I planned to return to school but my plans were thwarted. I'm looking at this as temporary setback. If my plans stay on course I'll go back mid term Spring or Summer semester at the latest.
    Score - 1 of 5

  2. Vacation plans... I think we're settling on a few places that were already on the short list. This was not slated until 2009 anyway so things are good.
    Score - 3 of 5

  3. The yarn diet... It was not intended to be a diet, but a change in lifestyle. We have changed our buying habits and are purchasing for projects or at least the general idea of what's in our queues. Since I started spinning my fiber buying is taking over the bulk of my interest. Fifty pounds of assorted fiber and four fleeces already planned for many handspun projects. This has gone very well this year.
    Score - 4 of 5

  4. Take steps to personalize my fiber... I think this has gone further than I had expected. Our dying has grown and developed so I can obtain what we had envisioned at least with a few tries. My spinning is almost acceptable to the point I generate my own yarn in the configuration or our choice. I know this may sound confusing to most of you but I'm hard on myself and when I want a certain weight in a certain ply configuration for a project, nothing else will do.
    Score - 4 of 5

  5. Improve my body... I did forgo the soda for almost 3 months. The wagon swerved a few times, I fell off and it almost ran me over but I'm back in control now. Most of my liquid consumption is still iced tea with an occasional soda as a treat instead of the norm. The biggest change came from the home cooked meals and the reduction of fast foods. I'm lighter by a few pounds and the BP is lower. There are many more things I want to do and hopefully I will this year.
    Score - 3 of 5

  6. Return to my guitar... I've really failed here. I sold two of the three to reduce the life clutter, Natalie Wood is gone, Woody is gone. Betty Paige is the only one left in the family but she was the only real keeper in the herd. the biggest disappointment is that I haven't had the time or drive to play. A few days ago I pulled out our boom box to listen to a book on tape and found the cassette of my first teacher and the beginning lessens that brought back so many memories. I have located and downloaded some back up tracks of my favorite songs that I can play along with. They've removed the lead or rhythm guitar parts so you can accompany the band. A few new web sites have started this year that dissect the guitar parts note by note some in split screen to show both hands in close up. I'm not playing but still absorbing in small ways.
    Score - 1 of 5

  7. Read For Pleasure... This used to be limited to lunch time reading but we started using the public library and the world of books seemed to open up. You probably read my list fiasco a few months back and I'm using various book list as a guide to give this the structure I seem to crave. Thirteen books may not be a lot to some of you marathon readers but it's the most I've ever read in one year. I've queued some books and began reading a couple that actually had some preparation. My wife thinks it's crazy to do so much research and prep to read a book but I felt it necessary in my case. I've never seen a field study for a novel before but it's interesting because it's like the author is explaining the subtle nuances that I would not fully understand otherwise. Some of our friends know our love for the Gilmore Girls and the book was referenced multiple times in the show. This just fueled my interest to learn about the author and even read his biography. My goal this year is to read at least first two of the seven books in "Remembrance of Things Past" by Marcel Proust. Along with this is the march through some of the "classics" written by Falkner, Mann, and so many others listed on my sidebar. The goal of my general reading is to double my last years total to 26 books.
    Score - 5 of 5

    My cumulative score as far as meeting my last years goals is 21 out of 35 or 60%. That's failing in most grading scales. Last year was far from a failure but I know their is a lot of room for improvement. I'm hardest on myself because I know I should do better and it really eats at me for not living up to my own expectations.
Some reflection;
My knitting has improved from last year. The fear of lace is gone and I'm much more selective in the whole scope of projects. I try to look at how can I make this my own, what can I do to add my spin on the project. Either handspun, hand dyed or modification of the pattern to fit my vision. The two main projects should be off the needles in the next month and a half or so.

My spinning is a constant learning process that I hope to take to higher levels in the near future. I joined a group on Ravelry that is short term spin to knit.
Not my favorite color combo but it's a group thing. The pattern as I mentioned in the last post is the Morning surf scarf. I'll be doing some creative drum carding the roving on Sunday to add just a little of myself to the process.The batts will have the coloring layered in one batt and positioned vertically in the other. I'll take pics and some video to document the process for my own future reference. I'm not positive that it will create the effect I have in my mind but I think so.

I want to offer a few words to all of the friends who read and occasionally comment on this blog. You know who you are. Many of you are listed on the sidebar and some are blogless but just as important to me. Each one of you adds a little something very special to my life. A smile when I need it, encouragement to push myself harder, honesty, pointed words and a kick in the pants when others are worried about being diplomatic. Thank you to each and everyone of you. I learned a long time ago to enjoy the best in people and the ones who are full of spite and anger also have a glimpse of brightness if you look for it. My Pollyannaish optimism would even make Eleanor Porter smile but I see it as my balance in life.

One parting thought that I found inside a Dove Promise chocolate. "Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die tomorrow"

I hope I can live so fully.

Life is Good