Wednesday, March 31, 2010

More Book Reviews Up


Some of my new reviews up on Freshfiction.com

Succubus Shadows by Richelle Meade

Original Sin by Alison Brennan

Come Hell or High Water by Michelle Beardsley

Lover's Knot by Donald Hardy

Wild Hunt by Margaret Ronald

Tangled Web by Lee Rowan

Seducing the Heiress by Olivia Drake


Roasted Roots



Some Notes:

-Vegetables are coated with olive oil before roasting. Don't use too much oil. You could also use a light coating of flavored oil like hot-pepper or garlic infused oils.
-Pan is lined with parchment paper, easy cleanup.
-The outer few layers of the onion skin becomes tough when roasted, best to remove it. It softens somewhat if you will be adding it to a stew, but the texture is never as buttery as the inner layers.
-Try and put vegetables with similar cooking times on the same tray. Cut the thicker ends of carrots in half so they cook in the same time as the smaller ends.
-Temp of oven was between 325 and 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
-cooking time was between 45 minutes and an hour
-vegetables can be roasted ahead of time, and even frozen for adding to a stew sometime down the road.
-Roasting adds tons of flavor, so less salt is needed.
-Roasted vegetables make a great addition to hummus or other bean dips.
-Other vegetables that roast well (times for cooking varies, cook until soft.)
*Asparagus (higher temp and very short cooking time recommended, best eaten fresh)
*Beets, yellow or red
*Rutabaga
*Turnips (outer layers can become too tough)
*Parsnips
*Brussel Sprouts
*Bell Peppers
*Summer Squash
*Eggplant


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Robin Season



One of the best things about Spring is that now Oscar and I can go walking again. He walks, I ride, and we both enjoy ourselves.
On Saturday, we saw at least a dozen male robins going through dances of territory acquisition.
I love Spring :-}

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Up For Auction

All of the auctions can be found HERE.
I'll separate this post into types of items. The sections include:
-DVDs
-Books both fiction and non-fiction
-Games
-Crafting interests (knitting books, Knitting Daily TV the first season, etc)

I have purposely started all of these auction below what similar items are going for. If one of my friends bids, and gets lucky, they can get quite a deal.
(For example, the complete series of Stargate Atlantis DVDs I started at 9.99, the knitting book Color By Kristin I started at 2.99, etc)
DVDS
NIB Stargate Atlantis: The Complete Series Shrinkwrapped
Ice Age: The Meltdown (DVD, 2009, Widescreen; Movie
Kung Fu Panda (DVD, 2008, Widescreen)
Kindergarten Cop (DVD, 1998) New, Sealed
Lakshmi Voelker Chair Yoga - Single Chair Yoga Vol
Jodi Stolove - Chair Dancing (DVD, 2004)
Chair Yoga: A Seated Practice Ann Richmond
BBC Sherlock Holmes Collection
The Bourne Ultimatum (DVD, 2007, Full Frame) Sealed New
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy BBC DVD New SEALED
Quark - The Complete Series (DVD, 2008)
Bela Lugosi DVD Ape Man New, Sealed
Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla
Devil Girl From Mars (DVD, 2000) new, SEALED
DIE HARD DRACULA COmedy Horror NEW, sealed
Fangs of the Living Dead (DVD, 2004) New, Sealed
Samson Vs. Vampire Women DVD New, Sealed
THE BAT DVD Vincent Price, Agnes Moorhead Darla Hood
The Brain From Planet Arous (DVD, 2001) SEALED new
The Cat Women of the Moon new, SEALED
The Corpse Vanishes (DVD, 2006) Bela Lugosi
The Slime People: Up From The Bowels Of The Earth DVD

Books- Fiction
BLACK HILLS Nora Roberts hard cover with dust jacket
Dating Is Murder by Harley Jane Kozak
Hands of Flame by C.E. Murphy (2008, Paperback)
Heart of Stone by C.E. Murphy (2007, Paperback)
House of Cards by C.E. Murphy (2008, Paperback,
Heart's Blood Juliet Marillier Hard Cover Dust Jacket
KINDRED IN DEATH J.D. Robb Hardcover w/ Dust jacket
Newest J.D. Robb FANTASY IN DEATH Hardcover Dustjacket
M/M Romance LOVER'S KNOT Donald L. Hardy Trade size
M/M Romance TANGLED WEB Lee Rowan Trade Size
Pack Challenge by Shelly Laurenston (2006, Paperback)
QUEEN'S BASTARD C. E. Murphy Trade size PB

Books Non-fiction
Best Light Recipes America's Test Kitchen
Easy Does It Yoga by Alice Christensen Am. Yoga Assoc.
HAUNTING EXPERIENCES Michelle Belanger
The Zen of Creative Painting by Jeanne Carbonetti

Games:
NIB STONEHENGE RPG Plus NOCTURNE Titanic Games RPG Lot
SEALED NIB RISK 40th Anniversary Edition

Of Interest to Crafters:
A Gathering Of Lace by Meg Swansen
Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting
Andean Folk Knits by Marcia Lewandowski
Book of Danish Stitchery by Gerda Bengtsson,
Danish Floral Charted Designs by Gerda Bengtsson
Color by Kristin Nicholas 2009, Hardcover w dustjacket
Crazy Lace by Myra Wood (2009, Paperback)
Doggie Knits by Corinne Niessner (2008, Paperback)
Elements of Style by Rosemary Hill (2008, Paperback) - knitting and crocheting jewelry
Enchanted Sole Socks by Janel Laidman Oct. 2009
First Book of Modern Lace Knitting. by Marianne Kinz.
Second Book of Modern Lace Knitting by M. Kinzel
Second Book of Modern Lace Knitting by M. Kinzel (two copies listed)
Harmony Guide 101 Stitches to Knit (this is the boxed set of cards)
Knitalong by Larissa Brown, Martin John Brown (2008
Knitted Lace of Estonia by Nancy Bush (2008, Paperback)
Knitting Daily TV Complete Series 1 (4 dvds 13 episode)
Norwegian Handknits by Janine Kosel (2009, Hardcover)
The Joy of Sox by Linda Kopp (2009, Hardcover, Spiral)
Toe-up Socks for Every Body by Wendy D. Johnson




Not So Difficult Decisions

When we began, the decisions seemed difficult.
By the time we were done, we had found a new clarity, and the decisions came faster and easier each time.
In January, credit card companies raised interest rates dramatically, and we were caught flat-footed. Our monthly bills increased by hundreds of dollars.
This past week we have been discussing our options and made the sensible decision to tighten our belts, and pay off our credit cards as quickly as possible, even if we can only manage an extra $10 over the minimum sometimes, while putting all our efforts toward paying off one credit card at a time completely.
We decided to pull out our Ebay chops. We sold a lot on Ebay just before we moved, and have more than 5,000 individual feedback ratings.
So we started looking around the house for things of value that we could use to raise money toward paying off the first credit card.
We stuck with the easier items to list (Books, dvds, and a few games) but by last night, we had cut more deeply into our possessions than either of us would have thought possible just 24 hours before.
Oscar was able to let go of special edition games which we had never opened, and cut deeply into his classic horror DVD collection. I even gave up my geeky beloved DVD of the complete series (8 episodes) of Quark.
I also made the realization that I no longer use pattern books for knitting, and the only books I keep going back to are those which are antique collections, stitch dictionaries, and books about design.
So with the exception of a few special books by Elizabeth Zimmerman, All my pattern books will be up for auction today.
I'm talking serious changes here. I had thought some of these books would be on my shelf forever. I am even selling a book that my sister-in-law contributed to. I know she understands, and will be proud about our decision to become debt free.
Tomorrow I will reveal details about exactly what is listed (all 60 items) in case any of you would like the chance to benefit from our purge.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Cloud on Knit Picks!


I am happy to report that Cloud On Her Shoulders is available on Knit Picks!
This means even more money to go to Susan G. Komen.

(the Kiva Bag is also listed there, and has already raised money for Kiva.org in its first week on the site :-} )

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring


Spring has gone grey again today, but here is a photo of some Spring Oscar brought home the other day, to keep us going until the season catches up to our needs.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Book Reviews

Some of you may know that I also do book reviews for Freshfiction.com
I had to take a hiatus for a few years when I got sick, but since my health has improved, I have been doing reviews again, since February.
I have a WIDE range of reading interests and my reviews reflect some of that. The only genres I really don't like include horror and generic modern literature like 'women's fiction'. I have enjoyed romances of all kinds from inspirational to erotica, but books like those in Oprah's book club so far, leave me cold. I have read horror I enjoyed ('The Talisman' by Stephen King and Peter Straub) but it was an anomaly. I have yet to read a book marketed as women's fiction that I truly enjoyed, and usually, I end up tossing the book across the room before I am half finished. Unless I am writing a review, life is too short to read a book that pisses me off.
Of course there are books of other genres that have triggered the Dorthy Parker treatment from me ("This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force") but for some reason a high percentage of my book tossings can be classed among generic 'modern literature'. I think I get suckered in by the back cover blurb, then revolted by writing that tends to take itself too seriously, and uses plot contrivances that get in the way of a good story, well-told. My strong reaction comes (I'd guess) from a sense of betrayal, of false advertising. I also dislike books centering around abuse of any sort, and the overcoming of same. I have no problem with someone else enjoying them, but for me, nuh uh.
Yeah, I can be a bit judgmental, but if I can't choose the books I read simply on the basis of what I enjoy rather than what other people find 'enriching', reading loses its purpose for me. I read fiction first and foremost for entertainment. Full stop. I occasionally get more than that, but it's a side benefit, not the purpose of the book. I also enjoy non-fiction, but I read that to satisfy and spark curiosity.
That being said, I really enjoy the serendipity of getting books from Fresh Fiction and not really knowing what might be in the package. To up the odds of enjoyment, I DO specify no women's fiction, and no horror, please.
Other than those restrictions, I am willing to review whatever Mindy sends next. I may not love all the books I get, but it is a fun challenge to write a positive review of a book I don't particularly like. As long as the author's writing is skillful, I can generally find something to say that will steer people who like that sort of thing to it, while warning off the people who may not enjoy it so much, all without saying anything at all negative about the work.
The most difficult thing for me is to come up with titles for the reviews. I think all of mine sound weak, trite or silly.
Some of my recent reviews include some M/M historical romance (not yet up on the site) as well as standard historical romance, paranormal romance, and urban fantasy. I also have written reviews for standard fantasy, erotica and have an upcoming review of a cozy mystery.
A few of my recently published reviews include:
and
My all time favorite book I reviewed was The Mane Event, by Shelly Laurenston back in 2007.
I have been a faithful reader of hers ever since. I guess that's the biggest reward, discovering new authors and books I might not have read otherwise.

Now I need to get back at it, or I might not be sent any more books! I have 4 reviews to go to finish the most recent batch, one is the newest novel in MZB'z Darkover series!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Thursday, March 18, 2010

New Patterns Live at Knit Picks!

My Corydalis Cowl is available on Knit Picks as of today! The Kiva bag is also listed and perhaps the Dragontail Shawl will follow soon. but for now....

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Scrotum Song - The Asylum Street Spankers

In case the title of this blog entry is not warning enough, this is not safe for work, and most folks would usher children and those of a delicate temperament from the room before clicking 'play'.
Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Self-discovery

I'm 47, and I am still learning new things about myself, some good, some bad, some just useful.
Very few people know that I have a truly terrible temper. It has been a decades-long struggle to learn to control it. I have never struck another person (except that one time in college when a guy tried to pull me down into his lap and I was having none of it) but I have in the past thrown a few inanimate objects across the room, aimed at other inanimate objects.
Yesterday my temper went off again, and I sent an email (actually 2 emails) that would have been better unsent, or at least sent after my temper cooled. It doesn't take long for my temper to cool, usually only a few minutes, but especially in this age of instant communications, without my usual level of control, the damage is done.
I try to take my 'temper temperature' fairly often. If something is bothering me, it is WAY better to think about it and express it in a non-violent productive way rather than hold it in until it is too big for my control. I have gotten pretty good at it over the years, but somehow I was at flash point before I realized it, and took action without forethought. I was able to call today and leave a message of personal apology to the person I wronged, and I hope she can forgive me.

Anyway, I always feel horrible after losing my temper. There is the guilt, of course, but in the past 10 years I also often have an anxiety attack afterward. Not a mild one either, one of the full-blown PTSD variety, hands shaking, chest pains, rank sweat etc.
Yesterday I finally made the connection as to why.
A little background; my first marriage was not a good one. My husband was an alcoholic who became extremely abusive when drunk. He also had untreated mental problems. Back then, when I lost my temper with him there were immediate and severe consequences. It is understandable then that after I lose my temper now, my body goes into PTSD mode.
I had a lot of trouble expressing anything negative after leaving Marc, and it felt almost triumphant the first time I was able to feel angry with Oscar over something minor and express it to him. (Poor Oscar, but he understood when I explained).
I never understood the panic attacks afterward, though. Even getting angry over some injustice in the news leaves me feeling sick to my stomach and shaky afterward.
In retrospect, it seems pretty obvious that the loss of my temper throws my body into a state of expecting violence to be done to me even though my circumstances are so much happier now.
It has taken me more than 10 years to finally understand the obvious connection to my previous situation. I am glad to know it, perhaps it is a sign of further healing.

Anyway, this has been the deep thought of the month, I'd say.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Fibery Commercial

A Rav group I am on shared this today:
It's a Belgian commercial for natural gas.



For the 'Making of', go HERE

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Catch Up


I've been a bit absent the past few days.

Oscar and I are fighting off a cold or something, multiple symptoms, but the worst for me is the sore throat and bone-deep ache. I feel a little better today, though. I plan to take naps whenever get I sleepy enough, to help fight this sucker off.


I am working on one knitted item due April 1st, and another without a definite due date that will finish up my old-pattern obligation to Knit Picks. I have submitted a swatch and sketch to a yarn company, arranged to submit a Tunisian crochet pattern to another company (when I get it worked out) and have submitted a request for Knit Picks yarn support for a cool idea my friend Absinthia sparked a month or so ago.


I have also spent some time this week getting used to having a business, and thinking about things like taxes (and tax deductions) establishing a better system of record keeping, and deciding how elaborately and minutely I want to track the spending for Otterwise. Its a lot more fun doing this for myself than it was when I held accounting positions in other companies. :-}

So far I have categories set up for:

-Books
-Online classes and Guild membership (and Master's Level studies)
-Yarn
-Tools
-Shipping (for sending out samples)
-Advertising
- Miscellaneous

For my business model, traveling isn't really a part of it at all at this point, although I heard a rumor Sock Summit might be in Toronto next year, which isn't that far away..

Tracking income is also something I've been pondering.
So far there is:
-bread-and-butter downloads via my website and Ravelry,
-Monthly income from Knit Picks, Patternfish and the like
-Income from individual patterns to various magazine publications
-Direct sale of patterns without reversion of rights to me
-Sale of pattern directly to yarn companies with eventual reversion of rights to me.
-eventually, a book or seventeen perhaps :-}


Oscar's laptop has become more and more unreliable (blue screen of death, anyone?), and he came across a sale on minis. The desktop he is currently using for studying is slow as molasses and just about as useful.

My laptop has been a workhorse, but has everything on it; games and work and photos and writing, etc. and I have been toying with the idea of eventually (some time this year) having a business-only system. I have ADHD and extra distractions are NOT what I need when I am working. Plus my current laptop, relatively light though it is (about 4-5 pounds with the extra fan and lap desk) is still a strain on my abdomen when I try and lift it into place while taking my normal reclining work position.

The new minis weigh just over 2 pounds, and are on sale this week. Oscar had a brilliant idea. We get a mini (less than $300!) for me, transfer my work files and programs (for Otterwise and my writing) to it, then he can have my laptop. When I feel like playing games, I can still use the old laptop when Os isn't. The mini is tax deductible. Cool Beans.


So I have a Mini 10v on the way, loaded with Windows 7. Oscar is pretty happy about having Little Red, too, and doesn't even mind the moon and Yoda stickers (very much).

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Wool-Aid

Late last year I learned one of my favorite charities, Warm Woolies, was no longer able to transport knitted items to where they could do the most good and had to make the difficult decision to cease operation.
There was a large group of Warm Woolies supporters on Ravelry, and they decided not to let all those willing hands, hooks and needles go to waste, and began Wool-Aid.
Wool-aid is unique in that, rather than determining one charity to knit for, they find out which charities need help and put their efforts toward helping them for a period of time. They partner with other organizations to get as many items to those who need them as we can produce.
I know many of my readers aren't knitters, but if you feel moved to do so, any funds they receive help offset the costs of shipping, enabling them to do as much as they can. Information on where to send money (and a Paypal link) found HERE

Their welcome page states:
Wool-Aid is a community of knitters and crocheters who create warm woolen garments for children who live in the coldest climates and have the least access to resources.

Our mission is to provide the very neediest children with wool socks,sweaters, vests, mittens, and hats, as well as wool baby blankets for newborns.

We work with organizations that have a focus on helping children and that are not religion-based. These organizations distribute the warm woolen garments handcrafted by Wool-Aid volunteers to children who would otherwise suffer from extreme cold.


Last month they sent a huge mound of warm items to children in Labrador, distributed via the Warm Hands Network and the Next Generation Guardians

Current campaigns include mittens and hats for Mittens For Akkol, baby blankets and socks for the Warm Hands Network, and what really touched my heart, a tribute to Warm Woolies, and its founder, Kimberly Turnbow.

Wool-Aid is launching a new campaign – a Tribute to Warm Woolies and Kimberly Turnbow to knit warm and wooly socks that will be sent to Mittens for Akkol for their annual Sock Challenge. Mittens for Akkol serves children in orphanages in Kazakhstan, where it is often 40 degrees below zero in mid-winter.

Let’s show our appreciation for Warm Woolies’ mission and for all that it has done for children since it began in 2003. This is a great opportunity for you to knit the pattern for children’s socks designed by Kimberly for Warm Woolies and know that the socks will benefit children who really need them!

...

Guidelines for Sock Knitters for this campaign:

  • Wool (at least 80% wool/animal fiber)
  • Worsted weight yarn or worsted stranded with sock yarn or worsted weight doubled or bulky yarn
  • Sock length at least 7 inches (heel to toe)
  • Sock height at least 8 inches (top of cuff to base of heel) (or a minimum of 6 inches above the heel flap or equal to foot length — please meet any of these requirements).
  • Children are ages 3 to 16, and the greatest need is for the older children, sizes 8 to adult.
  • More socks are needed in a 9-inch length than any other size.
  • Please tie socks of a pair together, with a bow at the top of the cuff, before sending.

You may use any pattern that you enjoy knitting, as long as the finished socks meet the guidelines above.

Campaign ends April 30th.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Frabjous Day!!!

I got an email this morning:

Dear LibriVox supporters, friends, volunteers:

Two weeks ago we sent out a request for donations towards a $20,000 fundraising campaign. We outlined why [url=http://librivox.org/2010/02/24/librivox-needs-your-help/]on this post[/url] (with a number of questions answered in the comments thread). You responded with generosity, and we can now close down our campaign.

So:

Thank you!

We got to our target so quickly it warms our hearts. Not only did people donate, but this campaign also allowed many many people to express their appreciation for all the hard and wonderful work done by LibriVox volunteers.

We won’t have to talk about money again for a few years. Instead, we’ll get back to working hard to fulfill our mission, which is:
"To make all books in the public domain available, for free, in audio format on the internet. "

So: Thank you again.

For those curious:

Campaign Details:

We raised $23,000 from 433 donors, in 13 days, averaging $1,769 in donations from 33 people every day. We had a couple of big donors, who gave a few thousand dollars each, and many more smaller donations which all add up to: everything we asked for. Thank you again.

LibriVox Details:

This money will help support our efforts, which so far have resulted in the following:
* 3773: Total number of projects
* 3227: Number of completed projects
* 470: Number of completed non-English projects
* 31: Total number of languages
* 28: Number of languages with a completed work
* 1498: Number of completed solo projects
* 3549: Number of readers
* 3347: ...who have completed something

Total recorded time: 66472509 seconds, or 2 years, 38 days, 20 hours, 57 minutes, and 37 seconds. Total of 66978 sections.

Have I said thank you? Well: thank you again! Oh, and a very special thank you to our friends and supporters at the Internet Archive, especially Jacques and Brewster, who managed the donations for us so that we didn't have to worry about setting up paypal accounts and all the rest.

And now, back to making free, public domain audiobooks.

All the best,

hugh.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Clean Old Fashioned Eating

"Clean Eating" or the "Eat Clean Diet" are semi-new buzzwords out there in nutrition land. I was curious so I looked into it, and it turns out it's what I grew up on. High fiber, organic, lean meats, etc.
We weren't rich, far from it. We lived out of our garden winter and summer (yes, we canned a LOT), and got our meat as much as possible from Dad trading repairs of farm equipment in exchange for sides of beef and pork straight from the farmer (and sometimes rabbit). And of course in hunting season, we got some venison, too. We got our cheese from the local Amish, along with quart jars of sorghum molasses and lots of other stuff direct from the small U-pick growers.
It wasn't a conscious decision, except that money was tight. But that type of eating spoiled me for life out here in Urban land, and it took a long time before the farmer's markets in California and Indianapolis caught up to how I ate in the 1960's in rural Michigan.

These days Oscar and I share an appreciation for organic, natural food, exacerbated by our need to know not only the ingredients, but the processes used to package our food. (Citric acid is often used as part of a process, particularly in organic produce, thus seldom listed as part of the ingredients in organic lettuce and fruits in particular. Casein is used in vegan cheese as a melting aid, thus it is bad for Oscar)

Thanks goodness we have farmer's markets in the area, and now that Oscar has Wednesdays and Saturdays off, there is no reason we can't shop once a week or so for our lovely fresh produce, and hopefully talk to the growers themselves. I understand some sellers buy at larger markets (like one nearby in Detroit) then resell at smaller markets, but with the right questions, I hope we can find reliable suppliers of food we can both enjoy.

If we start now, we should be able to maintain a similar diet in winter, too, aided by frozen veg and our favorite supermarkets.

Today I am having a lovely vegetable soup made with chicken broth, fresh and frozen vegetables, rice noodles and seitan.



Sunday, March 07, 2010

Dragontail Shawl: Knit Picks Version

My Knit Picks version of the Dragontail shawl is made from their Cotlin yarn in Glacier. (70% Tanguis Cotton, 30% Linen, Machine Wash, Tumble Dry Low)
It would be attractive made with smaller needles and a single strand of the cotton linen blend, but when using the larger needles I liked the fabric best when double stranded. It creates a substantial shawl but is not too warm for spring and summer evenings.
It is soft right off the needles, but I have a feeling this fabric will
become almost like velvet the more it is worn and washed.




Saturday, March 06, 2010

Mourning my Coffee

I learned some catastrophic news yesterday. Ok, only catastrophic for me. I discovered COFFEE has citric acid in it. And contrary to what your logic might tell you, the darker the roast, the less citric acid (and more of other acids) it contains. My perfect cup of coffee is a light roast. It does explain why I have had troublesome days when having more than a single cup. It is impossible to avoid all citric acid. Heck, a human body produces quite a bit of it during the course of the day, but it is almost instantly metabolized thus doesn't create a problem for those of us with hyper sensitivity. It is only when I encounter more than a certain level of citric acid that the results are life-altering. But to be as healthy as I can be, I need to avoid it in foods and topical substances when I can. Which means, for my health, I need to give up one of my most beloved morning rituals; my cup of coffee. Low acid substitutes (like Kona brand) will not get rid of the citric acid, and wouldn't be as satisfying anyway. (It only alters the pH, and doesn't remove the ingredients)
I DO enjoy a strong cup of tea, though, 'strong enough to revive a dead mouse' as some might say, so I will make that my new morning ritual. I hope after a few weeks of this my health will improve, if so, it will be worth the sacrifice.
I know, life could be worse, but it was a hard blow.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Wild Cherry Bark Mitts, Knit Picks Version

The sun has been glorious the past few days. Temperatures are still cold, but the sun streaming in does wonders for fighting the winter doldrums. The drier air is accelerating the evaporation of the snow, too. I can see several feet around the outside edges of the back yard now, and I expect to spot a crocus nose soon.
On to the Wild Cherry Bark Mitts. I used a yarn called Elegance for the mitts this time. It was pretty amazing. The color (called Barn Red) was a darkish red, kind of an intense russet... until it was bathed in sunshine. The yarn came alive with fiery highlights, and I fell in love. The texture is even softer than the Gloss HW (Elegance is 70% baby alpaca, 30% silk) and the mitts felt glorious. I tried to take photos of the 'sun effect' but the color still falls a bit short.


Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Corydalis - New Submissions to Knit Picks

I had a nice photo session with Amanda on Sunday.
It is remarkable to me the difference yarn can make in a pattern.
I like all the versions, but they have a different feel to me.
I will be posting about them individually; first up, the Corydalis Cowl.
My original version was made with Malabrigo, the Knit Picks version with Gloss HW... a yummy rich wool and silk blend.
It has a subtle sheen to it, and has a heavier hand than the Malabrigo. Like thick whipped cream. The gauge changed slightly, so I ended up reducing the number of seed stitch rows, but it remained the same height as the Malabrigo version. You really do need to fondle this to believe how luscious the yarn feels.
I am working on samples for my Farrow Rib Set from this same yarn, in Aegean.

Librivox and Project Gutenberg need help

I have posted here before about Librivox and Project Gutenberg, and the services they provide, but here are a few quotes from the sites:

"LibriVox volunteers record chapters of books in the public domain and release the audio files back onto the net. Our goal is to make all public domain books available as free audio books. We are a totally volunteer, open source, free content, public domain project."

and from Project Gutenberg's mission Statement:
"To: Preserve literary and other intellectual works, and make copies of or products based on those works available free of charge or at the lowest possible cost to the people of the United States and the rest of the world. (Adapted from the Articles of Incorporation)"

I have found so many wonderful things on both sites; out of print folklore books, music from the early decades of the 20th century, antique patterns, herbals and classic literature to name a smattering. They are two of my favorite sites and worthy of support. They provide a terrific service and my life would be less without them.
I recently obtained another headset with mic, and hope to contribute more recordings this summer. I can no longer sing in public or perform in the local theater, but this gives me a wonderfully creative outlet for that part of my talents.

Librovox posted last week:
Dearest LibriVox listeners, volunteers, & supporters:

For four-and-a-half years, LibriVox volunteers have been making audiobooks for the world to enjoy, and giving them away for free. We’ve made thousands of free audiobooks that have been downloaded by millions of people; our site gets 400,000 visitors every month. To date, all our costs have been borne by a few individuals, with some generous donations from partners. However, these costs have become too big.

Go here to help: LIBRIVOX NEEDS YOUR HELP

and Project Gutenberg says on their Wiki:

Project Gutenberg's success is due to the hard work of thousands of volunteers over more than 30 years. Your donations make it possible to support these volunteers, and pay our few employees to continue the creation of free electronic texts.

Donations are made to the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation (PGLAF), a corporation registered in the US State of Mississippi. PGLAF is approved as a charitable 501(c)(3) organization by the US Internal Revenue Service, and has the Federal Employee Information Number (EIN) 64-6221541.

Go here to help: PROJECT GUTENBERG NEEDS YOUR DONATION

Even a few dollars from each of us can make such a huge difference!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The Knitting Olympics

There were a lot of choices I could have made.
The first was deciding to participate in the knitting olympics. The second was to go with the smaller but perhaps more traditional Yarn Harlot version rather than choose among the plethora of categories available in the Ravelympics.
Then there was the choice of project.
When I signed up I wrote.
But I didn't knit a shawlette. I didn't even get beyond a basic sketch of the shaping.
What I did accomplish while the olympics were going on was tremendous, though.
-I finished samples for the Wild Cherry Bark Mitts, the Corydalis Cowl, the Kiva Bag, Cloud on her Shoulders and the Dragontail Shawl (the Dragontail and Cloud were mostly done, the Kiva bag still needed felting) to be sent to Knit Picks.
-I re-wrote the patterns to comply with Knit Picks style and the new yarn.
-I had a photo session on Sunday, then added the new photos to the new patterns.
-I completed writing and grading a pattern for socks in 4 sizes for submission to Knit Circus.
-I attended a 4 day conference before and after the torch was lit.
-I knit a shawl while at the conference in only 2 days to donate to the raffle for the Tempest Smith Foundation.
I did all this while having no fewer than 3 major colitis attacks and the resulting physical repercussions.
Did I fail? Technically. But you know what? In attempting to get to the point where I could begin, I moved mountains of fiberly tasks out of the way. So I'm counting it as a win.
And I WILL design that shawlette. And I will still probably call it 'Curling'.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Genghis Sean or maybe Sean Khan?

I finished a hat and thumbless-mitt set for Sean a week or so ago, and last night was Photo-op night.
We visited Tommy, Amanda and Sean and had a lovely evening. I brought a crock pot full of stew, and Tommy provided sourdough bread bowls; much nom nom noming was heard.

Anyway, Sean appeared to appreciate the hat and mitts, he carried the mitts around for an hour or so anyway LOL.

He also was enthralled with my wheelchair and cane. I think we may have a budding hockey player :-}