Sunday, February 8, 2015

Snow Days

There's nothing like 40 inches of snow, a busy slate of leisure and work activities and a nasty, if short-lived, head cold for interfering with a person's crafting schedule.    The snow:
See how thrilled I look?  Yeah.  I'm not nearly
that happy.  

Small car.  Big snow.

The cats are quite puzzled by this. 

This was after the first storm.  We got another fifteen inches last week, plus four more today and we're scheduled for another foot tomorrow.   Just in time for my commute.  Wish me luck, folks! And strong shoveling muscles- I'm going to need them!

In between storms, we made it out to the big train show...(Amherst Model Railway Society Show, but around here, 'the big train show' doesn't need clarification.)
Not even the train layouts escaped the snow.
Then Cookie had a vet visit.  Poor baby- he had four teeth taken out, had to go an entire night without food, and worst of all:  The car.  There's nothing to make you feel truly rotten like your normally silent cat crying piteously all the way to the vet's.   In a snowstorm.  Of course, as soon as I stopped the car, he stopped crying and he completely charmed the vets with his friendly personality and demonstrative affection.  We're a little cynical about the affection at home.  Cookie is pretty ecumenical when he's hungry- you have thumbs, he'll suck up.

Anyway, between all that, and the head cold (I'll spare you photographic evidence of that), there hasn't been a whole lot of crafting.   Some mittens:
There's a hat still on the needles and I finally started the edging on the pastel vest, but really.  Not much.

In the sewing department, I'm making some window coverings for a friend who just moved into a new house.  They're losing a lot of heat through the windows, so I figured they could use window quilts as a house-warming present.   Though sewing projects always seem to been multi-step things.  Wherein step one is to deal with a pile of mending that is blocking access to the sewing machine.  (A pair of pants, a shirt, a sweater and a jacket have been returned to my closet.  And various other garments have been deemed irreparable and put into a garbage bag.)

Next step, lay out the project--in this case, some long curtains I had, that only needed to be shortened for my friend's windows.

At this point the whole thing bogs down, as spreading fabric on the floor is a guaranteed way to get 'help'.
With both Cookie and Biscuit on the job, things rapidly got more complicated.

Biscuit wandered off after being removed a couple of times, but Cookie was determined to thoroughly check out the project.  In this case, by determining how comfortable it is to curl up on.

After I callously dumped him off, he went on to inspect more fabric while I sewed.  Biscuit likes cutting out, but he thinks the actual sewing is boring.  Especially when I refuse to let him get up close and personal with the thread, the threaded needles, the sewing machine, etc.  Once I thwarted all his paws-on inspection, he started complaining and trying to get me to do something more interesting before finally wandering off to nap.

After my feline assistants settled down, more progress was made. Though naturally I didn't have a bobbin of thread in the right color and had to wind one.  Then there was an interval of taking things apart and cleaning the bobbin race before the thread would stop tangling,  But.  One set of windows down, two more to go.

Now I just need it to stop snowing so my time stops being chewed up by horrendous commutes and snow removal.

Thursday, January 22, 2015


Last weekend's plans were derailed by a last minute social engagement which turned into another weekend-long board games marathon.
I only succeeded in conquering the galaxy once, but my final move of the game was to decisively blow up a dreadnought that had invaded my star empire.   I gloated basked at least halfway through the next game.  

We built star empires, constructed the French countryside, and finished with a rousing game of RoboRally, wherein my sneaky spouse snatched victory while I was busy pushing Kevin's robot into a pit.  These things happen.  

While not much happened on the craft front, I did finish off the cell phone cozy.
I may still get funny looks when I pull the phone out of it, but it definitely protects the phone from getting banged and scratched in my bag, and it's not nearly as eye-catching as the sock I was using as an interim cover.  

The cats were thrilled with the company- our friend Kevin is a frequent visitor, and all the boys came out to greet him (and sniff his luggage).  Biscuit has evidently decided he's part of the family, and patted him, followed him around, and supervised his activities in the bathroom.   It was exhausting, however, and Biscuit needed a lie down after a while.

Cookie and Jake were more blase, and curled up together in the living room while the rest of us played games in the library.  

Tonight I arrived home to find everyone weirded out by the furnace having emitted noxious smells. My husband had the situation well in hand- the furnace turned off, repair persons called, and his schedule rearranged to be here to let them in while I'm at work tomorrow.   There are some decided benefits to this marriage thing.   The weather has fortunately cooperated by not being enormously cold, so we'll be fine overnight- we can always build a fire in the wood stove in the morning if it's too chilly.    Hopefully it's nothing serious.  Our hot water is made by the furnace, and while it will stay hot for a couple of days with the furnace off,  keeping a fire going in the woodstove and heating water in the kitchen for baths is a pain in the patootie.  Wish us luck!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Plus Ça Change

At about two minutes after midnight on Jan 1, I looked up from my book and said to my husband, "By the way, Happy New Year." He looked back over his computer. "What? Oh. Happy New Year." And then we went to bed. And the next day we hung out with friends, played with their new kittens and played a board game. Yeah, we're party animals.
Actually the real party was over the weekend, and we celebrated with more board games: galactic domination (Eclipse), covering Europe with trains (Ticket to Ride), competitive colonization (Settlers of Cataan), competitive farming (Agricola) and the electrification of Scandinavia (Power Grid, the new Finland board). It was enormous fun.
The cats were a little dubious about the festivities- even Cookie, normally our social butterfly, was completely weirded out by a toddler. The toddler was a 20-month old and she was desperate to play with Cookie. Cookie was every other kind of desperate. He would come out to check out the company, and the little girl would spot him and express her enthusiasm by letting out an earsplitting squeal of delight, and run straight for Cookie as fast as her little legs would take her, yelling, "Get kitty!" Since this was her only kitty-getting strategy, Cookie was in no danger of being gotten, but the extreme dismay with which he regarded the girl was quite comical. Fortunately the girl was untroubled by her failure to catch him, and would just stare after him and tell us, "Kitty run away," in mournful tones. It will be interesting to see what Cookie makes of her once she masters the 'sit quietly and let the cat come to you' strategy her mother was trying to teach her.
I finally took a photo of the last mittens of 2014.
And simple knitting being a must for the holidays, I also have the first mittens of 2015.

Having finally cast off the Glasgow socks, naturally I cast on for the next pair. These went a lot faster. I guesstimated where to divide the yarn for the second sock, and had to adjust a few rounds- I was finishing off a partial skein and a half and used other leftovers for the toes and heels. I'm thinking that this may be the year of finishing off partial skeins of sock yarn. I love the look of sock yarn blankets, but I suspect my thrifty nature is going to push me to find a way to turn them into more socks. We'll see.

In other news, I have finally succumbed to the lure of an actual smartphone.  And since it's all new and shiny, and I don't want the screen to get scratched up, I have cast on a cell phone cozy from some of those aforementioned sock yarn ends:
Isn't it pretty?  You'd think it was the 21st century!  Wait...
And since socks are a must for the busy 21st century knitter-on-the-go, I've cast on more socks. These are the Slip Stitch Rib pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks.  The yarn is Twisted House Cat in Pointsettia from Wandering Cat Yarns.  Though they are such a large size, I suspect I'll be using up other odds and ends of red sock yarn before I'm done.  

I'm starting to wonder whether by the time I get to a project 'to use up sock yarn ends' the sock yarn end problem may have already taken care of itself.  But probably not.  What I really need to focus on is finishing up the sweaters that have stalled out since they got too big to travel with easily.