Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Fun Test

I was reading one of my OT magazines on Sunday and ran across this fun cognition test. http://www.lumosity.com It tests your mental processing speed and accuracy. I took it on Sunday (after being up most of the previous night worrying about Hurricane Dean) and scored 104. I tried it again tonight and scored 138. It probably helped immensely that I wasn't over tired and understood how to play the games. I had so much trouble with the monster game that I was seriously considering subscribing to the service for a few months to see if I could improve my memory. Just goes to show why it is so important to get enough sleep.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Road Trip to Dallas

Yesterday Roddie and I packed up the "school bus" and were on the road to deliver the tablecloth and shawl to the Texas State Fair in Dallas. After spending that much time on it, there was no way I was going to put it in the mail. I have this fear of the FedEx truck being in an accident and catching on fire with my stuff in it. Not a reasonable fear, but hey, it could happen. I didn't spend 3 years on that thing to have it go up in smoke! It's hard enough just trusting the fair to keep it safe. The judges mail out the results of the various contests in mid-September, so I'll know then if we're going to need to make a trip back to the fair to see the display. In the meantime, here are a few photos documenting delivery day.
Theresa at the fair
Getting my stuff out of the bus.

At the needlework booth
At the needlework booth

Taking the tablecloth out of the bag
Hey don't unfold that!

At the designer/craftsman booth
Don't be alarmed. It's just my manager documenting the occasion.

With that chore out of the way, we visited a great yarn shop in Arlington called "Yarn Heaven". We were greeted at the door by Sparkle, the shop puppy. There are also two beautiful angora bunnies in a cage with fluff just waiting to be spun. Tarie has a well organized shop with a huge selection of needles and yarns. I was trying to be good, so I only came home with another ball of TOFUtsies, some Dream Baby for caps, and a few sets of Inox needles that were on sale. I just finished one set of TOFUtsies socks and really like them. The are cooler than 100% wool socks. The only drawback is that they need to be knitted on size 0 needles. I don't mind that, but I know a lot of people who do! Here is a picture of my first pair in the "Underfoot" colorway.
TOFUtsies socks

Roddie bought a nice heathered forest green yarn for that cute sweater on the cover of the Fall 2007 Interweave Knits, plus needles and some sheep note cards. And we got to see the "Bella" shawl from Fiber Trends, all knitted up. It is WAY nicer in person than in the picture. The shop shawl was knitted in Lorna's Laces "Helen's Lace" , which is a much nicer choice than what came with our pattern from Joslyn's Fiber Farm shawl club. But then again, it's a little pricier too. You get what you pay for most of the time.

After a stop for Mexican food at El Conquistador, somewhere around Waco, we were on our way home. And we managed to dodge almost all of the rain all day!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Stitch 'n' Pitch

Today was Stitch 'n' Pitch day with the Houston Astros, as well as a tribute to Craig Biggio's 3000th hit. We really lucked out that they had already set aside a block of tickets for knitters/crocheters/etc. The game was a sellout and packed with everyone decked out in their Astro's gear. We had a good time, but the "stitch" group sure made a poor showing. Considering how many knitters we have in the Houston area, turnout was pretty sparse. I did finish up a cute preemie cap that looks like a baseball. If you'd like to test knit the pattern for me, click here. Below is a photo of the hat on a softball to give you an idea of the size.
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I did get some good news in the mail this week. My entry for the Texas State Fair made it there in time, so we'll be making a road trip next weekend to drop off the Rose of England tablecloth (lace knitting category), and the Beaded Shapely Shawlette (handspun category). You can see pictures in my 2006 Finished Items album at http://www.grammaknits.net/ngallery/ The tablecloth won Best in Show at the 2006 Brazoria County Fair, and the 2006 Knit at Night Guild 10th Anniversary Conference. Sure would be nice to make it three in a row! The shawl was just finished last Christmas, so this will be it's first entry. Looks like I'll be taking this year off from entering the county fair since I haven't done much "entry worthy" knitting this year.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Brilliant Idea!

On the long drive back from Seattle, we passed an old one-room schoolhouse and I had a GREAT idea. A schoolhouse or small church would make a perfect craft studio! Then we could have our house nearby (with the requisite huge garage). Not only would it be a great place to work with lots of open space and good natural light, but it would also be handy to give small classes, have people over to play, etc. Ideally, it should be in a cute little town that is not totally dried up, not too far from kids, and sitting on about 5-10 acres. Hey, as long as I'm wishing I may as well start at the top! If you ask for the stars, you can always compromise with the moon.

I figure that I've got 6 years and 4.5 months left until I can retire, and it's time to really start getting ready. So I'm working on channelling all my whining about NOT being able to retire yet, into something more constructive. Maybe it will turn into a third career - only more fun. Committing to an idea in writing is the first step toward reaching the goal, at least for me anyway. So if you happen to pass a place with character in your travels, let me know!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

More Toys!

Right before we left on our trip, my new skein winder arrived! Now I can make any size skeins I want and easily calculate how much yarn I've spun. Don't get me wrong, the McMorran Yarn Balance is a very cool toy, but now I don't have to waste any yarn in the measuring process. I think I'm going to finish it in a medium oak finish similar to the CC wheel. But notice that I'm NOT going to tie myself down to a date. I'm still waiting on my Indigo Hound combs to arrive so I can work on a couple of fleeces I really want to start spinning up.
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Ever notice how every time you try out a new hobby there are $$$ in new tools that you just have to have? Not to mention books! But hey, it's cheaper than an race car. On our trip back last week, I saw an old schoolhouse out in the country which got me to thinking, "Wouldn't that make a great craft workshop!!". Hmmm, I wonder how I might be able to find one for sale in a nice little town, not too far from grandkids? Well, one can wish...

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

It's been a while

I actually took some time off from work last week to attend my nephew's wedding in Oklahoma City. The wedding was held just outside of town at the beautiful Express Ranch. The bride and groom really outdid themselves planning this elaborate affair. There were activities planned all weekend to keep the guests and kids entertained - food, movies, a tour of the ranch, and a trip to pick up the new Harry Potter release the night before the wedding! It was absolutely beautiful and everyone had a great time. Below are a few pictures.

Here we are all dressed up. It doesn't happen very often so I made sure to get a photo.

Here is the happy couple carefully coming back across the bridge at the end of the ceremony. The setting was beautiful; even cows chimed in to wish them their best.

Here we are (right) at the reception with my aunt and uncle (left), and mom with new hubby (center).

After brunch on Sunday, we left on our trek to Seattle, WA to pick up a 1936 Gibson tractor for my BIL's birthday. We've always enjoyed taking driving trips, so 5000 miles was not too bad (we've done worse)! Also got to see my sister, her new house, horses, and dog. Hopefully we can go back sometime soon when we can actually stay for a while. Washington state is just beautiful in the summer. We had actually planned a leisurely drive back, but after a rock slide, a washed out bridge, and a dead battery put us a day behind, it was kind of a quick trip home. I did get a lot of knitting done though.

I was going to work on the Victoria Shawl, but knitting with cobweb weight yarn while riding in a truck is much too dangerous. So I opted on a pattern we got at a guild meeting a couple of months ago - "Carol's Clever Little Shawl". I had some Brooks Farm yarn that was just barely enough. But I like the pattern so much, I'm going to do a little modification and knit it again with some space dyed mohair/wool yarn that is also from Brooks Farm.

After that, I started working on Lucy Neatby's "Camelot Socks". As you can see, I got down to the foot and got a little befuddled so I had to stop. It's hard to concentrate with someone constantly wanting you to pay attention to the map! I'll pull them out again this weekend and see if I can get started again. While that was on hold, I finished a pair of plain socks that I'd been carrying around since MS&W in May. Nothing special, just something to keep my hands busy.

This weekend I've got to get the guild website up to date so I can turn over the reins to my successor. WooHoo! Now I can start to work on MY website http://www.grammaknits.net. The goal is to compile all the little bits of information on various crafts that I'm interested in to one place. Handy for me, and hopefully handy for others. I'm planning on keeping the blog just for my personal stuff.
Stay tuned...