Sunday, October 26, 2008

My Inner Knitter's OCD

Well, I made this shrug- a great color, a wonderful texture. It's huge, and light, and warm. It's up-to-the-minute in-fashion. What's wrong with this picture? My IK is NOT happy with the edge. (You can't SEE the edge, I tell her. You know it's there, she answers.)
There IS a lot of edge to this garment. But you really can't see it when it's worn. IK is worried that another knitter will examine it, and will be able to discount the garment for it's glaring faults, the way IK can, when she sees a garment that she wishes she had made, but upon close inspection, finds the flaws that allow IK to just KNOW she would have done a better job.
It6 was my first shrug, I told her. It was idiot knitting, she answered. After lengthy dialogue, IK and I arrive at a compromise. I will immediately point out and confess the flaws to anyone who looks at the shrug. IK is not particularly thrilled with this course of action, but has to live with it, because it demonstrates that IK is right, something IK is not capable of disputing, ever.
Because IK is very prickly after this conversation, I have to decided make something that IK will not have a problem with. I am considering what that might be. Pie, perhaps. Apple pie. Ala Mode.

Monday, October 20, 2008

When a pain in the ass is a good thing

I always imagine that when I bowl a terrific score, it will be because I am physically, mentally, and spiritually in the zone. Consequently, when I began my first game on Friday, and immediately felt a painful cramping of something deep, deep in my right cheek... Well, no spectacular bowling tonight. There was a serious hitch in my get-a-long, a pinch, a cramp, a strain of some kind deep at the point of my sitting-down bone. You know that stretch that you do after aerobics class, the one where you sit on the floor with your left leg out straight and your right leg bent at the knee, with your right foot crossed over your left leg, and on the floor to the left of your left knee, and you pull left on your right knee and turn your upper body to the right, and you feel that spot loosen up in the stretch? That's the spot.
Anyway, I slowed my approach way down, so as not to aggravate the cramp, and I stretched it out as best I could between frames. I started rolling strikes. My first game had 7 strikes, and a 190 total. My second game was a 220 and I finished with a 212. My 622 series will get me mentioned on the local sports news. ("Yes folks, that sometime 600 bowler that we have not heard from in the past couple years is back...")
All of a sudden, being 62 just got better.
That was Friday night. Today, I bowl in a daytime league, with other retired people. They already know what happened Friday. What will happen today? Will I be able to live up to my newly recovered reputation as a scratch bowler? Or will I be no better than I was before Friday? Expectations have changed. But I don't know that the world has. Am I the Red Sox or the Rays? I'll let you know.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Camping with Zippy

There are weeks that you would pick out to live over again. I'm putting last week on that list.
We took the camper to Letchworth state park- and had a beautiful couple of days in the sunny, warm indian summer. We hiked the trails and I think we got to every lookout. The scenery was stunning, and we had the place nearly to ourselves. (As we checked out on Friday, though, we could see we were in the nick of time- the campers were rolling in, and the extra parking was marked out, and the shuttle stops were already marked, for the giant craft show this weekend.) I already had my treasure. We had wandered into a little 'antique' shop in Mt. Morris, where I found a $15 box of 'sewing items'. There was treasure in that box.
When we got home, I pored over the items in the box, enjoying the company of all the ghosts.
Among tons of other stuff, there were two sets of steel sock needles, in the original wrappers- gilt tipped and imported from England. I am putting socks on one set as we speak.
Why do I like these old things? I think I feel connected to all the people who have ever knitted when I use the old needles. They remind me that I'm doing something useful, and that I love somebody.
I used Zippy on the picnic table, and I must say, I love her more each time I spin with her. Zippy and I filled a couple bobbins of natural grey wool, which I'll get plied up at home. One of the things I am appreciating about Zippy is that I can work several feet away from the orifice. When you have to treadle the wheel, you can only back up so far... I am trying to figure out if there is a real advantage to my long-draw, 5 feet from the orifice style, or if it's just a no-dif preference. I need to ponder that one for a while.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Old Lady's DNR bracelet

Yesterday, I answered a knock at my door, and there was Pat, whom I had not seen in several years. She was on an improbable mission. Her son, Isaac, a 25 year old graduate of West Point, is now in some further military training in Alabama. He has a girlfriend, and he and his girlfriend are going to make the trek to Upstate New York to meet mom (Pat) this winter, just after Christmas. So, she' s not just a girlfriend. Pat makes wonderful felted mittens, usually by felting a recycled wool sweater, then cutting the parts from the felted wool, and blanket stitching the mittens. Isaac wants some as a christmas gift for his girlfriend. But they have to be black and white houndstooth pattern, because that is the 'tartan' of her college. They have been looking, without success, for a wool sweater in the required houndstooth pattern. Pat is on my doorstep because she knows I have knitting machines, and maybe I can knit some 'sweater yardage', which she can then felt to make the mittens. Why, yes I could. We were figuring out the details for the knitting project when I remembered that I had a houndstooth sweater that I had machine-knit in the '80's. The sweater was not black and white, rather it was knit from two natural, undyed wools, one as white as unbleached fleece gets, and another of natural charcoal grey. Pat consults Isaac, and they decide this sweater will do the trick.
A barter is struck. The crisis is over. The clouds part. The sun comes out. Everything is wet and sparkley.
Then the cat wandered into the room. She wobbled to the center of the rug and didn't sit down so much as fall over. She reclined on her side with her feet out straight. This is her habit of the last couple years. The arthritis, especially in her hips, keeps her from walking no further than she has to, and staying upright no longer than necessary. What drives the Old Lady to keep going is her innate nosiness. She is always interested, and has to come and see what you are doing, especially if it involves yarn, and no matter that she must follow you up and down the stairs.
Pat and I reminisced about the Old Lady. Fourteen years ago, I had told Pat that I was looking for an indoor house cat. I wasn't looking for just any cat. I didn't want to raise a kitten. I wanted a cat that was already 3 or 4 years old, reasoning than noone keeps a closet shitter that long. I wanted a female, preferrably already spayed. And, I am partial to calicos. Pat called me back a week after that conversation, and put me in touch with a woman who needed a home for a 4 year old female calico. Ipso Fatso came to my house and has been in charge ever since. She is eighteen years old now. And for the last couple years, she had been called the Old Lady twice as often as she had been called Ipso. She doesn't answer to either name.
The Old Lady's teeth are going, along with everything else. She's contributing to the financial health of the local animal hospital on a regular basis. One of these days...
Meantime, while you are here, if you want it, ask your friends. They've got what you need.

Friday, October 3, 2008

The perils of emulating Brooklyn Jogger

So-From reading brooklynjogger's blog, I heard about the 'Couch to 5K' plan. Sounds so innocent. Sounds so easy. Don't believe it.
Actually, for most people, it will work out well, but some of us must start much further behind the line than 'couch.' That would be me. I was born in 1946 (You do the math). My body fat percentage is north of 30.
After attempting week 1 of the plan, and finding that neither the jog cycle of 1 minute, not the recovery cycle of 90 seconds were working. I slowed the whole thing down, and have now started over with a 40 second jog cycle and a 2 minute recovery cycle. At least I can breathe! I reckon that whenever I get to week one, I will have a party! Maybe Brooklyn Jogger will bring the guacamole.
On the spinning front, Zippy and I finished the alpaca roving, and I have 7 ounces of wonderful yarn to imagine the possibilities with. I am amazed at the speed with which I spun and plied on Zippy! Also on the spinning wheel front, I picked up two old sewing machines and 'harvested' the motors and foot pedals. Zipparina and Zippidy are already on the drawing board.