Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ooooh -- Look! Gas!

It's been all over the news. Parts of Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, and North Carolina have a gasoline shortage. Hurricanes Gustav and Ike knocked out oil refineries and gas pipelines from Texas that serve our part of the US. This qualifies as a crisis in car dependent Atlanta.

Usually I drive to work, which takes me about 45 minutes door to door, speeding all the way.

But as gas stations started running out, I started taking the train. So I drive the speed limit from my house to the nearest train station, which is the western-most station on the east-west line, wait 15 minites for the train to show up, ride half an hour to the second to last station on the east end, cross and walk along a very busy street with no sidewalks to the office. From door to door, it's about 1.5 hours. One way.

Up sides: saving money, saving the environment, and getting to knit on the train. I could still listen to my podcasts if I wanted.
Down sides: doubled my daily commute time and I get a bit nauseous on the train with all the shaking.

Today, I drove because I had pottery class tonight and if I took the train, the commute would take so long, I'd miss the class entirely. After class, I was able to drive right up to my usual station and pump a full tank of gas for less than $4 a gallon. No waiting in line, no scuffles, no police interventions like at other stations earlier in the "crisis." Clearly, the rumors of the pipelines resuming operations are true.

Still, depending on whether or not I have meetings outside the office and the probability of rain, I will probably continue to use public transportation a few days a week.

At least I'll have my knitting.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Last week, I was at a retreat, held at Serenbe, a planned community of 900 rural acres with three hamlets where all the housing and development is concentrated. It's 30 miles south of Atlanta but so totally rural you wouldn't know you were only half an hour from a major city.
Now, you know you're in the country when you have not only horses, but donkeys and pigs too.
Only one of the three planned hamlets are built up. You can see pictures by clicking here but here's a taste:The homes are a mix of architectural styles: rustic, brick, white concrete modern. All the homes are about 2 or 3 stories and some have stores or restaurants on the first floor.

I got to stay at a 2 bedroom apt above a storefront. It was quite a novelty for me because it had stairs. I live in a ranch and since my husband uses a wheelchair, stairs are strangely, something to savor. That was, until I had to haul my luggage up those stairs.

Second floor was the kitchen and sitting area.

view out the back, a gravel courtyard with shops and more homes around it.

The third floor was 2 bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms. Notice the very tall bed. And all the white! It was like living in a home styles magazine.

I loved it there. Except that it was so rural, that my cellphone didn't get a signal. I used a land line (that's a novelty too, now) to call Husband to say that we have to come back some day, perhaps for dinner, and have a little drive in the country.

Once the gas prices come down.

Tracking and calculating

I have been trying for the last week to track in my date book how much time I spend knitting on which project.

I want to be able to really know how much time I did spend on a project. I always have several projects going so noting on Ravelry that I started a project on X date and finished on Y date isn't entirely helpful.

One project is my dad's sweater vest, pictured in progress here:
I've made sweater vests for my brothers and over Chinese New Year this year, my dad asked for one too. His birthday is in November so I've started his vest. I'm using On Line Linie 119 that originally I ordered to make a sweater for me, but the color's not quite what I'd like but I think my dad would like.
It's actually a lighter, dustier blue, not the purplish seen here. The swatch is where I tried out different color combinations for the linen stitch stripe to go across the chest.

I love knitting this sweater in the round. It's mindless knitting at it's best. So good, that I got at least 3 hours of knitting during the 6 hour ACLU conference I went to last Saturday. It was a good conference too.
Then, last week, I was at a retreat which required a lot of listening, thinking, talking, and sitting. So I brought out this vest.
At 8:30am, I placed a marker then I knit for half an hour. There were some breaks of about a minute or so when I wrote a note or two. At 9am, I placed another marker. It turns out in 30 minutes, I knit 175 stitches, almost an entire round of 194 stitches.
When I get to the linen stitch section with color changes, I will have to time myself again. And again when doing the ribbing.
By the end of the project, knowing these time swatches, I will be able to calculate how much time it took me to knit the whole thing, including the swatches.
Once I know how many hours it took to do the knitting and finishing, I'll multiply that number of hours by $15 an hour, add in the cost of the supplies and I'll know the value of the vest.
I chose the value of $15 an hour because that's the minimum the organization I work for pays staff. At work, we have no administrative assistants. We do all our own typing, faxing, filing, etc. in addition to coordinating programs. Or in my case fundraising, advocacy, and managing staff.
Every knitter, potter, craftsperson, artisan, artist knows that the value of their time and talent needs to be included in the value of the finished product so that's what I'm trying to figure out.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Late to the party

Am contemplating knitting socks. Years of listening to Lime and Violet, reading the Yarn Harlot, Yarn Storm, Grumperina, et. al. had made me think that all the pretty, pretty sock yarn I have accumulated should actually be made into socks.

What a though, eh?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Orange dyeing

A few weeks ago, my favorite yarn shop, Knitch, was clearing out their Cascade 220 wools, to make way for Shepherd's Wool yarn. I noticed that Shepherd's Wool has more yardage than Cascade, costs more, is softer than Cascade, but not as many colors.
Anyway, it was $5 a skein, how could I say no? So I didn't.

In thinking about my new Hillary orange kick, I looked for oranges and yellows and thought if I hold them together, they might give me the color I want.

I picked Gelato (yellow) and Mimosa (orange) and this is what I got:
Uh, no.
So I took the yellow and overdyed with Orange kool-aid and got this:
I didn't have any particular cardigan pattern in mind, so I swatched to figure out gauge, see what the colors look like and got these:
Gelato-overdyed-with-orange-koolaid and Mimosa:

Gelato-overdyed-with-orange-koolaid, Knitpicks Bare undyed yarn, and Mimosa:
I really like the results. And now I have this much dye left over:
I have more KnitPicks Bare yarn, so I can dye some more but not sure that I want to have that much orange yarn. I believe this will be a case of me holding on to this until my husband gets tired of it taking up space in the refrigerator.
It's only about 3 packets of sugar-free koolaid, 2 cups of vinegar, and 6 cups of water. It probably costs a total of $2 so there's no huge cost if I toss it out, but still, I'm reluctant to toss it out.
I'm going with the Gelato-overdyed-with-orange-koolaid, Knitpicks Bare undyed yarn, and Mimosa and starting a Long Coat with Chevron Lace, referred to here.
eta: to include recipe:
  • Pre-soak yarn in warm water for 30 minutes. When ready to dye, squeeze out most of the water so it is just damp.
  • In large ceramic bowl, mix 3 and 2/3 packets of orange koolaid, 9.5 cups of water, and 3.5 cups vinegar.
  • In glass bowl, scoop in 2 cups of the above dye mix and 4 cups water.
  • Lay in one skein of the presoaked yarn, making sure that all of the yarn is submerged.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and put in microwave for 2 minutes on high.
  • After 2 minutes, heat for another 2 minutes on high. All the dye should be soaked up and water clear or just cloudy white.
  • Using wooden chopsticks, remove yarn from glass container and squeeze out water.
  • Hang up yarn to dry.

Friday, September 12, 2008

A little stunned

I just got an e-mail message that the yarn I ordered to make a cardigan for Best Friend was shipped and should be here today.

Except that I ordered only 10 skeins and they're sending 19. Oh, I hope that's a typo on their part.

Added later:
After some e-mailing back and forth, it turns out that it was a typo, so I will be getting 10 skeins, not 19.

Contributing to the delinquency of a minor

Last night Husband, Husband's Friend and Husband's Friend's 15-year-old Nephew (hereafter referred to as Nephew) went to the baseball game. The stands were incredibly empty. Probably due to a combination of tight economy, it was a weeknight, and it was Sept 11.

The game began with a tribute to first responders, the singing of the national anthem, flags at half mast, and a fly over by 2 F-18 fighter jets.

After the game (the Braves won over the Rockies), Husband wanted to go out, but Nephew has school tomorrow! After some discussion, Nephew assured us that he regularly gets to bed well past midnight, so we went to a bar. On the way over, they used my cell phone to call Nephew's mom to say "oh, we'll have him home in 45 minutes." yeah, right.

Husband said when he was a teen, he had older friends (uh, 25 years older?) who took him to bars and got him drinks while underage. He thought it was great and gave him bragging rights at school, and he turned out okay. (Insert standard joke that Husband turned out to be a lawyer, is that what you mean by "okay"?)

Slightly against my better judgement I drove us to the dive bar that Husband and I used to hang out in all the time. It's in Little 5 Points, a part of town that's like neo-hippie central. There's the organic grocery co-op, head shops, tattoo parlors, dive bars, performing arts venues, etc. It's just like State Street in Madison, where Husband and Husband's Friend grew up and where I went to college. So it's a part of town we like to go to, even if it is gentrifying and a Starbucks has moved in.

Anyway. We went to the bar, got us all drinks (except me, the designated driver). This bar didn't check IDs, so Nephew got his vodka and cranberry juice no problem. I also saw one of my friends and former board members there.

We finished our drinks and I dropped off Husband's Friend and his nephew at the nearest train station at 11:45pm, about 15 minutes after Husband's Friend told his sister that they'd get home. At midnight I hear my phone go off as I'm driving. At 12:15am I reach home and return the call, figuring it's Nephew's mom. It was and she wanted to know where her son was.

I called back and said "hey, I dropped them off at the Inman Park MARTA Station at 11:45pm."
Her: "They said they'd be home by 11:30!"
Me: "They did? I don't know anything about that. I know that I dropped them off at the Inman Park MARTA Station at 11:45pm."
Her: "I don't know what that means. I don't know where Inman Park is."
Me: "It's where Little 5 Points is, on the East line."
Her: "That doesn't mean anything to me. I don't know where at is."
Me: "Well, all I know is, I dropped them off at the Inman Park MARTA Station at 11:45pm."
Her: "Okay, well, thank you."

I'm thinking, Husband's Friend and his nephew are going to be in deep trouble when they get home.

On the one hand, I don't think what we did was all that terrible. Nephew's had an experience, chaperoned by 3 relatively responsible adults, that will help him deal with drinking and bars in the future. We all have to learn how, eventually, and heaven knows that the way I learned, as a 19 year old young woman alone at college with no relatives around, was not the best way. Thank goodness I came to no harm, unlike many, many, many young people. The worst that will happen is that Nephew will be very, very tired today at school. But who's to say that he wouldn't stay up until 1am playing video games or whatever anyway?

On the other hand, I do feel a little guilty about it. I mean, look at the title of this post. And Husband's Friend said that his sister was verbally abusive to him, so there's some chance that she will also be verbally abusive to Nephew. Keeping him out later could put him at some risk. But I hope not.

And here is another example of why I don't use real names on this blog.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Finished: Sister's sweater

Finished Sister's Emerald Sweater:

Pattern: Emerald from Knitty.com

Yarn: Lamb's Pride Bulky, in the Ocean Waves colorway

Needle: size 10 US

Started: June 19, 2008

Finished: September 6, 2008

Modifications: Made size small on top, size medium on the bottom with extra darts to accommodate her boo-tay. Hmm. Seems to fit me pretty well too. That's me modeling it up there. Also, used three buttons toggle-style instead of one button as per the instructions.

Close up of buttons, sent by Sister this week:

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


For ages, I really didn't like the color orange. But somewhere in the last few years, I've warmed up to it, but only certain shades.

I'm a winter, so I like cool colors, like tangerine and the lighter sharper oranges. Autumny oranges are not for me.

When Hillary Clinton took the stage at the Democratic National Convention in her head to toe orange pantsuit, I thought "I have got to make something orange."

Just finished Sarah Palin give her speech at the Republican National Convention and thought "She's no Hillary Clinton." and again thought "I have got to make something orange."

This weekend Knitch is having a sale, $5 for Cascade 220. Last time I was there, I didn't see any oranges I liked, but Friday, I'm going to leave work early and scope it out again. If I don't see the color I want, I can always dye my own with Kool-aid.

I had started the Opulent Raglan from Knitscene in the Rowan Felted Tweed I got on sale at another yarn shop, but just am not excited about it.

What does excite me? A chunky-knit, Emerald sweater from Knitty for fall. Just finished one in blue for Sister, just ordered the yarn for a red one for Best Friend, it's time to make one for me. In Hillary Orange.