Thursday, May 1, 2008

Gadgets, Gizmos and Goodies

Here I am again, sitting at this computer when I should be knitting. The living room VCR broke last night. I have one in the bedroom as well, and watched a "must see" in there this morning, but it's terribly uncomfy to sit on the bed and try to knit.

Still, I could be listening to audio books and knitting. I love my new little toy, the Sony Walkman MP-3 player. I download a audio book on there and I listen on my way to work, I listen on my breaks, I listen when I knit. It's incredibly relaxing, and handy. It fits so neatly in the knitting bag or even in my pocket! Best toy I've bought in ages!



Another interesting gadget, a gift from my darling hubby, is an LCD light, attached to straps, that fits securely on my head. It has three light settings, and its quite useful to knit by in the darkness of the car at night, at work where the lights are dim, or whereever the light source isn't great. The light trains right on the knitting, so it doesn't disturb others around you. I figure it will really come in handy in July when Chris and I go to Bendigo for the Sheep and Wool show. We'll be gone for 5 or 6 days, and we have a tendency to not observe the same bedtime, so I can read or knit by this light and not disturb him if I want to stay up past his bedtime.




The wool winder is seeing plenty of action, although I checked myself a bit. I was ripping off every lable and vigerously winding anything that was in a skein, but then I got to thinking about it. Really, I'm better off waiting until I'm ready to knit with a certain yarn before winding the balls. The value of the yarn will decrease as soon as the ball band is pulled off. So if I decided, down the track, that I wanted to sell it or trade it, I wouldn't be as likely to get a good deal.

Of course, those rules don't apply to the yarn I have dyed. They long ago lost their ball band. I wound the blue/green Te Awa that I dyed in my last dying excursion. I wasn't sure that all 200g's of it would fit on the wool winder. It did, but barely. I really love the play of colors of the wound ball as much as I did in the skein, which is rare for me.




Then there's the red and white splash dyed Patonyle, also a product of that last "dyeing day". I have three skeins of that, but I skeined them, if you remember, on the back of my kitchen table chairs, and did a very bad job of it. Consequently, the mess you see before you here is the natural consequence.




I didn't even try to put the "skein" , as is, on the winder. I attempted, in a moment of optimism, to first wind it correctly on the skein winder/holder. Now, I have a massive tangled mess, but I'm working my way thru the tangles, slowly but surely, a few minutes here and there. Slowly for my good humours sake, and surely because I've (almost) decided that my next sock project will be the "boat socks" I'd planned on making with this yarn.

But the good news about this mess is that it occured to me that in the future, when I want to buy yarn already in a ball, such as the Heirloom Easy Care I've already purchased, for the purpose of dyeing, I can now skein it on my skein winder/holder, making a perfect skein that, after dyeing, will fit right back on to be wound with no further difficulties. SEE, there's a silver lining after all!!

The only addition to my stash in the past few days are three balls of bright red Cleckheaton Merino Spun. I found a pattern for a Cabled Bag/Purse, done with chunky yarn. I saw this on sale at NeedleNook and figured it was perfect for the job.

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Heaven only knows when I'll get started on it, but one mustn't let a bargain slip her by.

I've made some progress on the "Sacrifice Socks" I'm making for Chris. I know I have, but it seems woefully insignificant progress compared to the effort I have put into it.



In comparison, after knitting mainly socks for the last couple of months, where progress is slow and hard to come by, it's refreshing to have the more or less instant gratification of the "Short Row" scarf project. The Noro is still driving me batty, but it's so wonderful to actually be able to see it growing before my eyes, and I reckon I'm almost 1/3rd of the way through it now :) I will make this pattern again!

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Now, my mission for the next day or so is to get my act together and find something to knit up for my new grandson. Nothing else is urgent in comparison, so really, I can lay everything else down when I find that perfect something.

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