Goldi's Locks of Yarn

My place to discuss my raging obsession with yarn and crochet along with happenings in my life and the world at large

Thursday, May 25, 2006

At long last!

I know it's been awhile - sorry about that! I spent the better part of last week through this past Tuesday dog-sitting for my daughter while she was away on a business trip. Bella and I got along famously (she was very well-behaved for me the whole time, good doggie!) and I had the rare experience of watching television again after some seven-odd years away. Seems I picked a good week to drop into the scene too, with many of the regular prime-time shows having their season finales. My daughter has cable and tivo and all those fancy electronic gizmos attached to her TV, but frankly they all only served to intimidate me more than anything else so I didn't really explore much beyond changing the channels (once I figured out how on her remote of a million buttons, lol) and even managing to record a few shows I was in the process of watching when it became time for a Bella-walk.

I never could get comfortable enough with her laptop to get anything accomplished online, couldn't even keep up with the gazillion emails I get on a regular basis, which on my own system are automatically filtered into their own special folders. Having them all mixed together in one inbox on one screen with no (easy) way to quickly sort them out to find the gems, I quickly fell behind and finally gave up altogether, deciding it was a well-deserved holiday away from my online life. Other than the occasional quick scan of subjects and authors, I mostly left the emails to pile up for downloading once I got back home.

And then there was that pineapple shawl... I had been hoping to finish it up before my scheduled dog-sitting trip, but managed to screw up again and had to take another dip in the frog pond. This discovery was made late Sunday night, and since Monday was mostly spent trying to get ready for my weeklong stay, I didn't have time for the swim and decided I'd just take it with me and do it there. I had already determined that I would not have enough yarn to make it to the end, but fortunately was able to get more of this fabulous yarn, however it would not be arriving until the end of the week so I wasn't in a mad rush by that time, knowing there would be a delay. I quickly got the frogging done and ran myself all the way to the end of my supply Tuesday evening and then packed the shawl away. I had made it almost halfway through the 2 pineapples "row", so there really wasn't too much left to do, once I got replenished with yarn. I came home for a short break Saturday night through Monday morning (had an important phone call to make and my daughter is a cell phone gal, so no phone at her house) to find my yarn waiting on my doorstep, yay! Sunday, I sat down and went to town, thinking I'd get this shawl all wrapped up before having to return to doggie-duty, and I came close, really close! And wouldn't you know it... Yup, yet another dive into the pond. This is really getting old! I had somehow skipped over a stitch on one of my pineapples so that one was ending a row before the other one. Upon examination, I discovered it was in the very first row I'd done on Sunday, with the new yarn, practically the first stitch! Ooh, did that one sting!

Since I didn't want to carry the whole cone of yarn with me to my daughter's house, I took a major gamble and unraveled as much as I guesstimated I would need to finish the project, cut it off and wound it up, and wrapped everything up to take with me, figuring I'd do the unraveling of the rows once I got back to Bellaville on Monday. And by Monday night, I finally reached that finish line, with only a few yards to spare - whew! Talk about cutting it close!

This shawl is majorly large! If I just drape it over my shoulders, it actually drags the ground behind me, lol! But fortunately, when I pull up the sides to hang over my arms, it gathers up a bit around the top and brings the bottom up off the ground, though it still might be a good idea for me to wear this shawl with some heels. I'll admit, I did want a long shawl though, and it IS pretty spectacular looking wrapped around me! I didn't get around to weaving in those last few ends until today, and then I took a few pics (as best I could, considering the size of this thing) to share here. These aren't the best shots in the world, but it was the best I could do with the available props and lighting.

Front view:
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Back view:
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Spread out on a king-sized blanket laid over
rapidly growing grass (not a very flat surface, in other words):
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Once I got the kinks worked out of the pattern, it was pretty easy to do, but I would definitely recommend that if you're going to use a heavier weight yarn and larger hook than the pattern calls for originally - go with the small size, at least! Original pattern was done in sportweight yarn and an E hook, I used an H hook with a yarn that technically would be considered a bulky due to the slubs of cotton, though the base yarn was relatively thin. The H was the smallest hook this yarn was willing to work with, sometimes a bit grudgingly. And I decided to work the medium size instead of the small. I will say, this will definitely keep the chill away on a cool evening, though it's not quite heavy enough for a winter-weight shawl. I'm also thinking this pattern would work great in thread too, but then you'd definitely want to go large in that case.

If I can find a competent camera operator and can make myself look decent enough for a photo-shoot, I'll try to get some pics up of me modeling my luxurious new shawl. Soon, I hope!

I am still contemplating what to tackle next, and to be honest, I've been having a difficult time deciding for various reasons. I'm sorely tempted to give it a shot with this yarn in a cardi or shrug, but there are also many other projects and yarns (and threads too!) vying for my scattered attention! I will also shortly have less time for crocheting as other things are coming up in my life that will keep me from it for awhile, but I'm hoping not for too long. I'll try to drop in for an update every once in awhile here as well, as time permits.

Ciao folks!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Pineapple Shawl update

If all goes well and I don't run out of yarn before reaching the end, I'm hoping to be done with this either by tomorrow night or Monday night, which will be exactly 2 weeks from when I started on this project. I've completed four "rows" of pineapples and am about halfway through the fifth and starting the setup rows for the next one, which is down to 4 pineapples. I can hardly wait!

Here's a "full" view of the shawl, draped over a chair, with one side folded over so you can see the edge:
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And here is a (blurry, sorry!) closeup shot of it:
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If you'd like to get a better look at either picture above, you can click here for the full view and here for the closeup shot.

Next pictures will be of my FO shawl!

Still working on that report on skater's visit and the pics of the gifts I made her, maybe tomorrow? If I have time...

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Frustration is my middle name...

I seem to be good at doing a disappearing act lately, sorry about that. Maybe my mood lately is partly due to PMS, maybe not (I'll admit, grudgingly, that the depression isn't helping either), but when I consider my current situation it seems like no matter what I do, I keep running into roadblock after roadblock. I've cut way back with my online time as performance issues with my isp has deteriorated to the point where I can't stand sitting here waiting and waiting and waiting... and WAITING for pages to load, or emails to download, or even an email to go on it's way out the door once I've clicked "send". I have monkeyed with my computer to death - in fact, this is the THIRD incarnation on this particular machine, and I spent a good deal of time on a backup machine while waiting for this last "rebuild my whole system from scratch" incarnation - and had the same woes on that one too. It was right around that time that I finally figured out that the problem does not reside with my equipment or software, but with the service. If I could afford cable or another service, I would switch to it, but I can't. So I just crawl along with my ever-increasingly lousy service and find myself less and less motivated to drum up the patience for it. I just plain don't have time for this anymore! And to think I was contemplating trying to find a work at home situation! Hah!

Adding to the frustration quotient with my computer is a keyboard and mouse that are both wearing out and in need of replacement after many long years of good service. They are both still working, but many of my typos are due to keystrokes not registering (can't blame that for the flipped letters and missing words though, unfortunately - that's purely operator error), and the mouse is displaying some similar problems. I just hope they both hold out for awhile since I can't replace them yet, and I don't care for the backup units I have on hand - those are strictly for emergency purposes only.

Then, there's me. Every day, I'll start out with a long laundry list of to do's, only to be lucky if I manage to cross one or two off the list by the end of the day, in spite of my best intentions. I swear I am the world's greatest procrastinator! I just can't seem to get the engine to kick in. And if procrastination doesn't bite me in the butt and leave me with a daily lack of things accomplished, something else manages to crop up to do it for me. Monday, it was my eye.

This happened once before, a few weeks ago (can't recall exactly how long ago, my sense of time is totally warped). I woke up with a burning, stinging pain in my eye and the feeling like there was something in it, causing me to tear incessantly, along with a running faucet for a nose (only on the side of the affected eye). Attempts at irrigation with saline solution only resulted in loud howling on my part as it felt like I'd just poured acid into my eye!

I had very important errands I HAD to accomplish on my "to do" list that day. And I couldn't see, thanks to my inflamed eye, never mind trying to drive with it. I couldn't get anything done that day. My eye didn't improve enough to allow me some functionality until well into the evening and by then it was too late, so then I just poured it on with my current project with the hope of making some major progress with that at least. I'm working on the pineapple shawl pattern that I had been RAOKd over a year ago, using a wonderful textured cotton yarn I received as a free bonus with an ebay order several months ago, and managed to get 3 long rows accomplished. For whatever reason, before I prepared to start on my 4th row, I decided to review what I had done and discovered, much to my horror, that I had screwed up on the FIRST row! Not just once, but TWICE, on either end of the row! Talk about demoralizing! Due to the nature of these errors, there was no way to fudge it without frogging everything - believe me, I tried to figure out a way. So I ended my night of crocheting by undoing everything I'd accomplished and leaving a nice big pile of loose yarn next to my project on the couch, gave it up and went to bed.

Well, last night I managed to get those 3 rows redone, add one more and start on a 5th before heading off to bed, and I am being much more careful about checking my work before continuing each row. This yarn I'm using is highly textured and, though not impossible, is a real bitch to frog, so I'd like to avoid any more major sessions with this project. But at least the shawl is working out to be quite spectacular looking, so at least there's one thing I can be pleased about. Here's a couple of shots I took of my progress with it as of last Sunday afternoon:

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Since those pictures were taken, I've managed to reach the point where I have two completed "rows" of pineapples with the third over halfway done and am about to start the fourth series. I'll see if I can post some updated WIP shots of it later this week, hoping to have at least 4 completed pineapple rows to show for it. Hopefully I can also find a good background that won't also swallow all the available light - those pics were taken outside in full sunlight, even though it was late afternoon, but the dark purple blanket I spread the shawl on seemed to suck up ALL the light! But you should still be able to get a good idea of the detail on this thing.

Okay, I am still working on trying to write up another message for posting here, with the report on my best friend's visit last week, which includes pics of the gifts I made for her. Maybe I'll finish that later today. I haven't even touched on my struggles as far as a job hunt go, which has been a major contributor to my crappy mood lately as well, but this message is already far too long, again, and even thinking about that situation causes the panic to rise. I can't tell you how many times I've started to write up messages for this blog only to fizzle out and draft them, seemingly forever! In the frame of mind I've been in lately, I usually prefer to just hibernate until I feel better, since I'd rather not fill up this blog with negative rants and whines like this one. But sometimes ya just gotta, and I've found it sometimes helps to get the needed energies kicked back into gear, so I'm hoping this will do it. We'll see.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Keeping watch

It's been a busy week. Lots to catch up on, will get to it soon. For now, another shot of my favorite furball keeping an eye on the world from the kitchen window (one of her favorite hangout spots).

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