Sunday, April 22, 2012

THE Toaster

Toward the end of my grandmother's life, she was living half the year with each of her two daughters.  While staying at my mom's house, she got so tired of the crappy toaster we had grown up with, she insisted that her toaster from the early 1950's be shipped to my mom's house.  When my grandmother died, the toaster remained at my mom's house.



The Best Toast You Can Imagine
Not only did this toaster go up and down by itself, and allow for thicknesses as much as a bagel, but it also made the most perfectly even toast you can imagine.

Truly an example of how they don't make 'em like this anymore.

For years, I told Thaddeus what a great toaster this was, and that I wanted my mom's toaster.  We looked for them at flea markets for years, hoping to find one like my grandmother's (to no avail).

For my latest birthday, Thaddeus finally decided to break down and get me one on eBay, but before he ordered it, lo and behold, the toaster appeared at our local flea market...in mint condition except for a less-than-clean cord (the woven cloth type).



So for $5 and a $2 replacement cord (also found at the local flea market), we now have what is in my mind the best toaster money can buy.

The make is a Sunbeam T20B (my grandmothers is a T20A, but there is no difference).

If you ever see one of these, do yourself a favor and pick it up...it's truly worth it.

Current Knitting/Spinning
I've done a bit more work on the Zara linen stitch pullover.




I've also done a bit more work on the hexapuff blanket.




This is just a photo of the hexapuff I made using the scraps of the Optim Merino yarn I recently finished spinning.  With this being the first time I dyed yarn by myself, I wanted to see how it knitted up.

And here are some photos of the finished yarn (both dyed and some left undyed).










It turns out I spun a total of over 2 lbs of yarn.  It's incredibly soft and fluffy, and as you can kind of see from the photo with the undyed yarn, it's got a nice silky luster to it.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Pinterest Etiquette

For those that don't know, Pinterest.com is a web site that allows you to set up personal, virtual pin-boards where you can "pin" photos of things you find on the web.  The resulting photos should ideally link back to the original web site.




What's the Purpose of Pinterest?

Okay...how many times have you been surfing the web and found a great knitting stitch pattern or technique that was well documented with photos?  Or a gift that you'd LOVE to receive in case anyone asks.  Or a recipe for something you just had to try making?  You can create a "Recipe" pin-board, or a "Perfect Gifts for Charles" pin-board, and then when you need to reference them again, Pinterest will point you back to the original web page.

Pinterest also allows you to "follow" others'  pinnings so you can be inspired by their recipes or DIY projects, or photography, or whatever.

There has been some controversy as to whether pinning a photo from someone's web site is stealing.  Especially if you don't link it back to the original web page or at least credit the photographer.  And where do you draw the line between referencing someone's work and becoming the place where folks gather to see it?  For instance, if I created a pin-board of "Franklin's Cartoons" and copied/consolidated every funny drawing Franklin had ever put on The-Panopticon, wouldn't it be easier for folks to just go to my pin-board than ferret through Franklin's brilliant writing to find his witty cartoons?

I honestly don't know the legalities of it all, but I hope that I conduct myself in a way the promotes work like Franklin's rather than steals from it (and to be fair, I don't think I've ever pinned anything of Franklin's on any of my pin-boards...it was just an example).

Current Knitting/Spinning
I've done very little knitting lately...just some minimal work on the linen stitch pullover.

I did however, finish plying all the Optim Merino singles and I now have miles of the resulting yarn.



This hank is about 25% of the total yarn I made...and to give you a sense of gauge...I'll do the standard coin comparative.


I'm thrilled with the yarn and I'm going to attempt to dye some of it...hopefully I won't ruin it.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Decisions, Decisions!

Whether it's what to knit next or who to marry or what to have for dinner, I've wondered for a long time how people make decisions.

Decisive or Passive?
Based on how opinionated I am, you'd think that I was a very decisive person, but you can ask Thaddeus...I'm not.  I would much rather have someone else make decisions for me.  I don't care to decide on what restaurant we go to, or what movie we see or how much to tip the cab driver.  Most of my decisions are made by either doing what I did the last time in a similar situation (if the results weren't disastrous) or letting someone else or circumstances decide for me.

I'm potentially looking at a somewhat large decision, and I have to admit, I'm relying on fate to come up with what I should do.

Perhaps not the best way to make decisions, but it's worked out pretty well for me so far in my life.

Current Knitting and Spinning
A while ago, I was at Twist with my knitting retreat friend Kirk and his partner, and I bought a bunch of Zara merino yarn in four different colors (3 greens and 1 navy blue).

Since I never got around to storing this yarn in my knitting room, it stayed in the living room in a Twist bag.

Again, leaving the decision of my next knitting project to circumstances, I decided it would be my next project.  I opted to make a pullover (for Thaddeus or me) and I knew I was going to make random stripes.



Since I didn't want to do plain stripes, I opted to knit this sweater in the linen stitch, so the change from color to color has a blended look to it.



Honestly, not sure that I like the colors so much, but they're not awful.

I also finally finished plying the last of the Optim Merino.



Now, I just have to wind it onto a hank and consider whether I'll dye it.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Deborah asks, "How much yarn did you end up using for the blanket?  I think I see only one repeat, so is that just one ball (and what size ball-- I see they come in different weights/yardage)?"

This is the fingering weight Kauni and I used on full ball (with VERY little left).  I think Kauni does come in other weights/yardages, but this is all I've ever seen in my local yarn store.

Mary-Helen writes, "I just thought of something I've never thought of before: how do you get married in the US if you don't want a religious wedding? Is it City Hall? Or is there some other place that does civil ceremonies? And how commmon are they? Here is Aus far more people get married in gardens, parks and other places than do in churches now. Is it the same in the US?"

There are a number of civil servants who are able to marry people in the states.  Judges, county clerks, justices of the peace, etc.  I'm honestly not sure how common they are, or what the statistics are.  As for the venue for marriages, I don't see a lot of couples marrying in gardens and parks, although "destination weddings" are becoming more and more popular (where the couple goes to a vacation spot, like Cancun or the Virgin Islands and gets married  in a hotel or outdoor pagoda...since guests have to pay their way to the vacation hotel, they're usually smaller affairs).

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Church And State

In an ideal republic, like this country, there would be no mixing up of religion and government...and I say this from both the perspective of the religions and the secular aspects of our society.

Separate?
Not really.

One area I've mentioned before is that priests and ministers and rabbis are allowed to perform a marriage, which is both secular and religious.  It bestows hundreds of legal rights to a couple (the secular part) and celebrates the union in a spiritual/religious way as well.  There are lots of overlaps in other areas.  Not taxing religious organizations.  Religious schools taking the on the public responsibility of teaching.  Praying to the flag and acknowledging god everyday in classrooms.

It would seem to me that if I were a religious organization, I'd want the government completely out of my "business".

And I know as a secular citizen, I definitely would prefer the religious influence out of my life.

If it could only be so cut and dried.

Current Knitting/Crocheting
I did finally finish the baby blanket using Kauni and the Tunisian crochet technique, and I love how it came out.









I ended up doing a three-stitch Tunisian crochet around the edges and I like how that worked to flatten out the outer-ruffling effect of the pattern design.  I'm not sure this would make a very good baby blanket for a number of reasons.  First of all it's a bit rough as yarns go, although it might soften up when I wash it.  Second, it's not machine washable...a cardinal sin for a new parent gift.

However, I love the technique, and I will definitely use it again using appropriate yarn for a baby blanket.  I just couldn't resist the amazing colors in this colorway of Kauni.

Current Reading
I just finished reading a truly amazing book...the biography of Louis Zamperini called "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand (the author of "Seabiscuit")



Amazing story of an amazing man that I can't believe I hadn't heard of or read about before.

Also, if you're on Facebook and like my taste in books, you should join GoodReads.  It's a great place for tracking friends' reading.

For Tom
The obligatory infrequent photo of Nico...our wonderful kitty cat.