Of Rats and Jen (Inactive)

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

I Woke Up Today in a New World – New to Me, At Least

Filed under: Daily Life,Knitting,Thrifty Shopping — folkcat at 2:44 pm on Monday, January 29, 2007

Another Monday, another week. Nearly the end of January – already almost a twelfth of the way through the year!

Many thanks to all who offered their sympathies and well-wishes for the cold that took both Gryphon and I last week. We’re both feeling much better now, though I still have a bit of a cough, and a nose that’s trying to be at least as productive as I am. Soon, though, it will be completely over. (Knock wood!)

A good sign that I was feeling better this weekend is that I actually got some knitting done. The non-Möbius version of the dicky I’ve been knitting (at a friend’s request) is knit, blocked, and – packaged and on its way to Arizona without being photographed.

Sorry about that! I was so enthused about having it done and on its way that I blazed ahead through the packing and shipping part of the process without even thinking about it! Maybe the recipient will send me a photo I can post showing it in use by the biker it’s intended for.

My evaluation of the project? It came out well, I think. It looks remarkably like a dicky, even like one you might pay money for in a store. I did three stripes – one thicker, bracketed by two thinner – of Harley Davidson orange on the turtleneck collar. A pain for weaving in ends, I know, but it looks good. And I used the Stem Stitch Bind-off from Montse Stanley’s Knitter’s Handbook at the bind-off edge, since it was the top of the turtleneck. Gotta tell you – that’s a marvelous, easy to do bind-off that leaves the edge every bit as stretchy as the ribbing!

I was so impressed with the Stem Stitch Bind-off, in fact, that I used it on my other FO of the weekend – my latest pair of Barefoot Diva Socks.

FO - New Barefoot Diva Socks

The yarn is KnitPicks Simple Stripes, which is discontinued. I forget the name of the colorway – Sunset? Southwest? Southwest Sunset? Something like that.

The gauge was 9 stitches per inch on size 1 Addi’s. I worked this pair with a half inch of negative ease in both the foot and the leg. (My previous pair had negative ease only in the foot.) These feel a little tight in the back of the ankle, but I think that’s not from the negative ease. I think it’s too short a connective band between foot and leg. My short-row shaping in the connective band was identical to the last pair I knit, and now that I have them on, I’m thinking that the rows per inch of my gauge was enough more that I should have done at least one or two more short-rows on each side to make a slightly longer connection between the sections.

Still, they fit well enough to keep them. Which brings me to a total of two pairs of Barefoot Diva Socks in the drawer. I’m going to keep going until I have enough to wear at least every day of the week. The goal is to be able to get between laundry days and not have to do without.

Gryphon and I were feeling enough better to get out a little this weekend, too. One of the last stops of the weekend was at a local consignment store, just for a quick look around. Was I ever surprised when I found this laying on top of a buffet!

Found Object - Long Sock Stretcher

It was labeled a sock stretcher, and priced at only $6. The leg portion (top to heel) is 25 inches long, and the foot about 8 1/2 inches. Too small to do a good stretching job on socks for my size 10 WW feet, but it should serve for posing them for photos!

One side of the wood has that gray, dusty look that suggests this was sitting around unused somewhere for a long time. The price tag offered no suggestions of how old it might be, and I don’t think there’s any way to tell from the stretcher itself. But that’s okay – it was cheap, and it looks cool hanging on my wall!

The other big thing we did this weekend involved a significant paradigm shift for me – a change in how I handle some mundane tasks every day. I’ve had a Palm Vx for, oh, a long time – I think we bought it in 1999. It has served me pretty well, and still does. I have software in it that tracks my various medications, for instance, and sounds an alarm when it’s time to take a pill.

But for quite some time now, that medication timer and a solitaire card game have been the only things I really used it for. Well, that and a calculator function. But I’ve been getting concerned about what to do when the Palm finally, inevitably, gives up the ghost.

I certainly don’t need anything on the same level as the Palm Vx. Once upon a time, the various functions meant something – I was opening and operating a retail store, and life was much more complicated. Now, I just needed a way to track addresses and calendar items; a way to stay on top of my meds and take them regularly; and a form of entertainment for those odd moments of down time.

This weekend, we made some decisions and replaced my Palm – before it can disappoint me. So what is my new reality?

The most expensive part serves the entertainment function – and brings me new options in that field.

New Toy - Creative Zen V

A Creative Zen V. The Target edition – it’s white with red accents. I probably won’t use this for music so much, but I had a lot of audio books from Audible.com from several years ago that I’d never listened to. (They were purchased at a time when I thought having them to listen to would help me pass the hours while I set up the store. And then the store opened, and I never had time!)

Under my new reality, I am finding that sitting at my spinning wheel, or crafting at the craft area in my bedroom, are less likely to involve watching TV. But I still like something to listen to. Radio reception is nearly non-existent here (a river valley between two ridges) – even if there were any stations locally that I liked. This little Zen – who has, by the way, been named L’il – will give me a good option for listening to my audio books while I craft or spin.

And yes – I’m already contemplating what I might knit or crochet for a L’il cozy!

That’s the entertainment function down. How about the organizing? We bought me a 6-ring planner at Staples, with 2-page per month calendar, good notes pages, and a reasonable section for an address book. It’ll be larger in my purse than the Palm was, but I can now get rid of the other little notebooks and things that I used to carry.

New Tool - Planner

The calculator function is easy to replace – every gadget with keys has a calculator these days, even my cell phone! And as for my meds, we’ve adjusted my pill-taking times a little and worked out ways to make sure they happen – for instance, that same phone that has a calculator in it has an alarm that I’ve now set for my evening dose.

My head is still spinning a little today, and I don’t think it’s from the last lingering symptoms of the cold. No, I think it’s because of this fundamental shift that forced me to re-think how I’ve done so many things, for so many years. Reality has been shaken up, people, and that can only be good!



Comment by Carrie K

January 29, 2007 @ 7:28 pm

Doing things differently – even if by choice, is always a bit unnerving. But it looks good! I like audio books but I tend to really listen to them driving. Otherwise I wander off.


Comment by Valerie in San Diego

January 29, 2007 @ 8:45 pm

What drew me to your blog in early days, in addition to your obvious prodigious creative talents, was your willingness to rethink and your healthy attitude towards change, even when it took some processing. So this is no surprise!

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