Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Girls With Purls Anniversary

My knitting group, Girls with Purls, had its 7th anniversary dinner tonight.  I've been in the group about 4 years and we have a pretty good time.  It's also how I met Michiele and Roxie, so for that, even if there was nothing else, it's been a worthwhile experience.

We meet at a restaurant that one of our members has an "in" with and generally have a loud and rowdy time talking, eating, and playing a version of dirty Santa, except with yarn.  All in all it's generally a lot of fun.

As usual, work was fickle this afternoon and I thought I might not make it, but since by 6:00 the people I was waiting on still didn't know what they wanted me to do for tomorrow, I left work and went to the dinner.  (Of course now that I'm home I had to take care of what they finally decided they wanted prepared, but it beats sitting around work waiting).

I did take a few pictures, but they're all pretty much of people sitting and standing around tables talking and then things got fun and I got to talking and forgot to take any more pictures.  So I decided since you really couldn't see anything interesting in the pictures, I'd just leave them out.

Here, have a cute cat picture instead.....

Monday, July 21, 2014

Pencils, Paper, and Pens....Oh My!

These are mine!

I admit it.  I'm an office/school supply addict.  I am completely incapable of going into an actual office supply store and walking out with nothing, even if they don't have what I went in for, I have to buy something!

Tonight's downfall however was the result of a "quick" trip to Walmart on my way home.  I needed to pick up 2 things, but right as you walk in the door.....school supplies!

I can't be the only one whose favorite part of a new school year was getting all the new paper, notebooks, pens and pencils.  I just never outgrew it I guess.  When my kids were in school I loved going shopping for all the school supplies.  Now that my kids are grown, I don't have that excuse. 

But then it dawned on me....I have nieces...and two of them are in elementary school.  They're in year round school and they're getting ready to start their new school year so I got my sister-in-law to send me their school lists.  Then tonight...in Walmart...I shopped!

Some pens, some pencils, folders & notebooks.  Index cards, glue sticks, crayons & dry erase markers.  A little of this, a little of that.  I had a blast.

Their lists are so long, I really didn't get that much in the grand scheme of things.  I left things like binders and pencil pouches for the girls to pick out.  Things that allow them to show their personality by picking a favorite color or print. 

And of course, I couldn't resist getting a few pens for myself.  I needed them...really...I promise.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Spinning My Wheels

I spent the afternoon in Chapel Hill with the Chapel Hill Spinners.  On the drive up, I had a plan.  That plan was to take lots of pictures of everyone spinning and all the lovely spinning wheels and spindles so I could share that with you here and fill up most of the page with pictures.

Yeah, well...I didn't take a single picture.  I got there and was having so much fun chatting and ooohing and aaahing over what everyone was doing that I just completely, and totally forgot until I was pulling out of the parking lot to head home.

There were a lot of lovely wheels and spindles and tons of gorgeous fiber being spun.  Maryann of Three Waters Farm also had some fabulous fiber for sale.

So even though my brilliant plan was a fail, you still get this post, just without all the pretty pictures.  But I did manage to get 2 oz. of my polwarth/silk spun and finished filling another bobbin, so you'll have to make do with a picture of that.
A little boring I know, but it will be fabulous when plied and dyed and knit into a sweater!
Anyway, if you're a spinner and live within a reasonable distance of Chapel Hill, come join us.  It's a friendly group of people of all kinds and very informal. If you're not a spinner, but would like to learn, Maryann does a free drop spindle lesson an hour before the meeting time every time we meet.  Meetings are once a month either on a Sunday afternoon or a Wednesday night and they're posted on the Facebook page linked above.  We're skipping August, so next meeting is September and the tentative date is September 17.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Full Day

You may remember that I told you about the fiber I dyed at Carolina Fiber Frolic, which didn't turn out at all like I'd planned, and how I used Michiele's drum carder to turn it into batts for spinning.

I spun that up this past week and I decided to try my hand at a fulled single ply yarn.  Fulling is pretty much like felting, you just don't do it as long or as hard so they yarn doesn't really felt, it just starts to.  The fulling of a single helps it stay together so that the fiber doesn't separate when you knit, crochet or weave with it.
This was the result.  I'm not in love with it in a lot of ways, but I'm not completely disappointed either.  I don't remember what kind of wool this was, but I have a suspicion that it was at least partially superwash something because it didn't full all that much.  It did a little, enough that I think the yarn will stay together and be usable, but this might not have been the best fiber to test my fulling skills.

There is definitely more twist in the singles than I should have for a fulled single, so I have a feeling the yarn will bias a lot if I try to knit with it.  I think I'm probably going to try weaving with it, if I can figure out what to combine it with to make something attractive.

After all that, I'm still most disappointed in the color.  It's all muted and muddy and while it is sort of pretty in a way, it's so far from what I was going for that I just look at it and go "meh".  I'm going to have to do some thinking to decide what might bring out more of the color in a weaving project.

In addition to getting the yarn washed this morning, I also washed all the baby gifts I've knit for my soon to be born nephew so that I can hopefully get those in the mail soon.  We went to a birthday party for one of Rob's coworker's 1 year old daughter for a couple of hours this afternoon and then went out to dinner before coming home.

So yes, it was a full day.  I know, I'm groaning too, but I couldn't resist

Friday, July 18, 2014

FO Friday

I've been trying to add more hand knit socks to my sock drawer and here's my latest pair.  I like the way the yarn striped around the foot, but I got some pooling on the legs because I had to increase the number of stitches to fit my calves. Just a plain vanilla sock with a 3/1 rib, but I used the Fish Lips Kiss Heel for the first time and I think I like it.  I've started a pair for Rob using the same method, so we'll see how it works for him, but I think it may become my "go to" heel for plain socks.

I used to think I'd never really be a sock knitter because I had the hardest time making a pair that fit.  But I seem to be getting better at it, and really, once you wear hand knit socks in the winter, you really won't want to wear anything else!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Throwback Thursday

When my son was younger & visiting my parents one weekend, he apparently decided it would be cute to scan this picture of me and upload it to Facebook.

This is me in I believe 7th grade.  As you can see, even then I was not a fashion plate, although those glasses and that Izod shirt were IN when this picture was taken. 

I actually remember the day this picture was taken because I totally forgot it was picture day.  Maybe that explains the red ribbon with the pink shirt?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

On Putting Yourself Out There

This picture is of my friend and coworker Wendy crossing the finish line of the Boston Marathon this year. Not only did she finish, but she beat her own personal marathon time record as well.

Wendy is an athlete.  She doesn't just run marathons, she has completed Ironman Triathlons as well. In other words, she swims 2.4 miles, bikes 112 miles, and THEN runs a marathon (26.2 miles).

I've always been in awe of Wendy and wondered how she managed to find the time for it all. I mean the training time alone must be hours every day, but she works the same crazy hours I work in the same stressful job, and on top of that she has two children still in elementary school.

I admire Wendy's dedication and commitment to her training. At times I think she's got to be a little bit of a freak for doing all that exercise, but maybe that's only because I can't seem to motivate myself to exercise at all. And except for an elevated Diet Coke consumption (but who can blame her), she's probably the healthiest eater I know.

Part of me has always looked at Wendy and thought "man, if I could only have everything so together".

But what I didn't know until recently is that Wendy's an alcoholic. We've worked together for 14 years, she's been in recovery for 4, but I only found out when Wendy started her blog, Active Recovery, in May and posted a link on Facebook for everyone on her friend list to see.

My initial reaction was shock. I mean how could I not have known or at least suspected right? Wrong, but that's not what I really want to talk about. What I realized after that was this was just another reason to admire her.

Not because she's an alcoholic, or even because she's an alcoholic in recovery, but because she's decided to put herself out there. Not only has she realized it's not shameful to admit you don't have or can't do it all, and it's o.k. to talk about it, but she's found the courage to admit it and talk about it with as many people as possible.

I struggle sometimes with what to say or post on this blog because I worry I might reveal too much or piss someone off. It's tempting to make your life sound idyllic when you have total control over what's being posted. It's also easy to tell someone else that their problems, issues, or weaknesses aren't shameful to talk about. But it's a lot harder to actually talk about when it's your own problems, issues, or weaknesses because in the back of your mind you're always wondering what others really think.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that although I've always wished I was a little more like Wendy in my eating and exercise habits (although you can probably forget the triathlon, and the marathon too), her bravery is what I really wish I could duplicate. Maybe someday.

Go read her blog, even if you've never had to deal with an addiction, it's an interesting and eye opening read.

*For those who might wonder, I did ask Wendy's permission to talk about her, but I didn't really tell her what I was going to say. And I totally stole the picture at the top of the page from her blog as well, hopefully she won't sue me.