Of Rats and Jen

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

Wednesday Weekend Review

Filed under: Daily Life,Knitting,Shopping Adventures,Spinning,Yarn Recycling — folkcat at 4:48 pm on Wednesday, September 6, 2006

I’ve alluded recently to the notion that we had to make a point of getting me out of the house all day Saturday. This led to a nice little fiber crawl with my friend Bea. As promised, here’s my post about the goodies I bought that day.

Stringy Start

First stop was Colonial Needleworks in Bedford, the best local source for fine supplies for cross-stitch, needlepoint, and related needle arts. This was our first visit to the shop, and I had a goal – a better selection of colors of Size 8 Perle Cotton, to use for bead knitting.

I met that objective.

Perle Cotton and Metallic Floss
Perle Cotton and Metallic Floss

The metallic floss is also a DMC product, and it’s intended use is for a special style of beaded crochet chain necklaces that another friend, Judith, has designed. It’s featured in the current issue of Bead Patterns Magazine, an online subscription-based beadwork publication.

Misplaced Memories and Missed Exits

Next stop was the Elegant Ewe in Concord, where I hoped to buy a McMorran Yarn Balance. But apparently, I was misremembering that it could be found there. So instead, I had to settle for two skeins of Noro Kureyon in Color #40 for my entre-lac knitting bag that I’m working on.

Noro Kureyon #40
Noro Kureyon, Color #40

Poor me.

After lunch in downtown Concord, we moved on to the Fiber Studio in Henniker. At least, we tried to. Eventually, when I started seeing signs that said Sunapee, I realized that we couldn’t possibly be in the right place.

So I pulled off of Rte. 89 at exit 9, and checked the maps. Sure enough, we should have taken exit 5, a ways back, to switch over from 89 to 202. Oops.

Bea and I suspect that the problem was that a little before we would have come to exit 5, we saw a huge accident on the other side of the divided highway, and that distracted us at just the moment we should have seen the signs that would cue us to change roads.

The maps didn’t show any easy direct route from where we were to where we wanted to be, so backtrack it was – all four exits.

Achieving Balance

Upon arrival at the Fiber Studio (at last!), I found the Yarn Balance I’d thought would be at Elegant Ewe.

McMorran Yarn Balance
McMorran Yarn Balance

Yay! It’s a little hard to see in the picture, but there is in fact a clear acrylic box sitting there with a balancing arm at the top. It’s a devilishly clever little gadget. Basically, you hang a length of the yarn that you want to know the yardage of on the v-shaped notch on the arm. Snip or add bits of yarn until the arm balances level. Then, measure the length in inches. Multiply that number by 100, and you have the number of yards per pound!

Magic. That’s what it is. (Okay, I know it’s science. But it really seems like magic the way the balance was designed to make the process so simple any idjit can make it work!)

Between this and my Wraps-Per-Inch tool (acquired on a previous shopping trip), I now know that the pink lambswool thrift store sweater that I’m recycling is a fingering weight yarn (22 WPI), and that I have 1815 yards of it. Give or take a yard or two. Plenty for a shawl! I’ll have to cruise the patterns and see what I like.

These two tools together will give me a much better sense for what I have in my yard sale and thrift store finds – and what I spin for myself! It all starts to feel a little less random now…

It Followed Me Home, Can I Keep It?

Of course, I had to study the wonderful roving offerings at the Fiber Studio, too. I’ve previously mentioned that I lusted after a purple merino/tussah silk blend that I chose to leave behind.

This time, I couldn’t resist. Surprisingly, though, it wasn’t the purple that followed me home – it was this lovely green blend.

Merino/Tussah Silk Roving, Green
Green Merino/Tussah Silk Roving

That’s 4 ounces of merino/silk, just waiting for me to work my way through some of my other spinning. And it’s soft…so s-o-o-o-f-t….my precious-s-s-s…

Health Update

Had a doctor’s appointment today. My weight is up, as is my sugar, but so is my good cholesterol.

The good news is that my doctor completely understood about the reasons why the weight and sugar numbers are up (and the sugar number wasn’t up into alarm regions, just up compared to my normal). She agreed that the problem with the mold allergy probably began in the spring, escalating as the grout cracks in the tile and the mold behind them grew. And that the difficulty with breathing that resulted is responsible for my inability to exercise this summer, and the slippage in my diet as I tried to eat what I could, when I could, and to just feel better for the moment.

Dr. M prescribed an albuterol inhaler for me that should help me breathe more easily and get back to exercise. (I used to have one a decade ago, but the asthma had pretty much gone away until this summer.) The way the budget falls, we can’t pick it up until tomorrow. But I feel a lot of relief over the allergy issues because A), we know the source now, and B) relief is on the way.

The bad news is, once again I have a doctor who’s leaving the practice on me. Since being in New Hampshire, I haven’t had the same doctor for more than a year at a time – if even that long. I keep trying to establish an ongoing relationship with one, but then they get pregnant and quit the practice, or move elsewhere, or something.

This time, Dr. M. will be moving to California because of her husband’s new job. He’s an engineer who was laid off here, and that’s where he could find work. She’s not happy with it – she says she’s moved ten times in the past eight years for similar reasons. I have to give her a lot of credit – where most doctors would just send out a form letter to their patients informing them of the change, she said she felt the only right way to do it was tell each one personally as she sees them. And at the end of the visit, she spontaneously gave me a hug!

I had my issues with Dr. M at first, but over the months we have come to understand each other and work together well. Judging from the empty spaces for doctors’ names on the plaque in the waiting area, I suspect they’ve had a lot of turnover on the staff recently. Dr. M. has specified a PA in the office for us to see next time, and we’ll have to wait and see how the local staff settles out to see who there is to sign up with next.

Thank you, Dr. M. You’ll be missed. And I think I’ll be dropping a gift bag off sometime in the next month for you before you go – something tells me the candy-apple red of Wearable Hug #14 would look good on you, and would be perfect for those cool California nights…

It’s Tuesday, Isn’t It?

Filed under: Daily Life,Folkcat's Craft Library,Spinning,Yarn Recycling — folkcat at 1:00 pm on Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Yesterday was a bit scattered for me. I did enough productive things to count, but I also found my allergies kicking my asthma in again. Breathe Easy tea and cough syrup do the job of getting me through the day, but the recurrence of my asthma after many years is disturbing me. It’s our third summer in this home, and the first with an asthma problem. Is it just a crappy allergy year, as I seem to see on many peoples’ blogs? Is it one of my medications causing a problem that it didn’t before? I’ll be seeing my doctor in a couple weeks anyhow and will bring it up then.

Among the productive things I did yesterday:

Started Organizing the Craft Library

Books Being Organized
Folkcat’s Craft Library: A New Beginning

I only spent 20 minutes on this (that’s how long it took for my back to start complaining), but it’s a good start. My craft books have been scattered in multiple locations throughout the apartment for a few years now. Some are in boxes, some are on shelves in various places, and some are just in stacks. There are even a couple of boxes still buried in the storage locker someplace that I keep hoping Gryphon will dig out for me – I know I have some really cool books there that I want to be able to use again!

My work on this project will be in short spurts because of my back. See, the asthma returning this summer has made my exercise routine nearly impossible to do. It’s hard to do exercises that make you breathe harder when you’re already breathing hard because of asthma. But we’ll get past that eventually, and reintroduce the exercise.

Washed Six Skeins of Yarn with Eucalan

Skeins Hanging to Dry
All in a Row

The purple on the left photographed more red than it really is, but everything else in this picture came out about right in color. The purple is my first handspun, finally washed and hung to dry, and the five skeins of pink are 100% lambswool from a pink Ann Taylor sweater I’m recycling.

The handspun bloomed nicely with a soak, and has softened a lot. The pink yarn is just beautiful and soft – I think it’s going to make a lovely shawl.

Worked on Christmas Knitting

For which, no photo. But I got a comfortable amount done, enough to feel like I’m keeping up with things.

Short and sweet – that’s today’s post, every bit of it. If I stop here, maybe I’ll have enough time to do something worth blogging about for tomorrow!