Monday, September 25, 2006

The War Is On!

I got a late start on my Sock Wars socks. But I happen to have today off which works out well. So I have gotten a little over halfway through the first one and have actually started a bit on sock two as well. Below is a pic of sock one in progress. I'm doing this one on two circulars (like the last pair I made) and it's coming along nicely.

When you have a moment, head on over to Mima's site. He has some pictures of the incredibly involved and detailed sweaters he has done. Very beautiful work. He mentioned that I inspired him to try his first pair of socks! In likewise fashion, I hope to start a sweater soon and take some inspiration from him!

Yesterday was a cool and rainy day and I decided it would be a good day for soup of some sort. I found a couple of recipes for Corn Chowder online and picked what looked to be the best two. I then took what I liked from each of them, combined and modified them and made a new recipe which turned out to be a definite keeper. It's even vegan! (I'm not vegan, at least not yet, but I am a strict vegetarian that has considered, and is leaning towards, veganism. So anything that I can make vegan is that much more appealing!). Now I just have to see if I can remember how it all came together so I can type up a copy of the recipe to keep!

Well, back to sock-ing. More later!


This great little band from Utah have been around for over ten years now, mostly and unfortunately slipping under the radar. They have a wonderful frontperson in singer/songwriter Amy Greetham who bears a similarity to The Sundays' Harriet Wheeler. Check out the sublime "I Walked Away" and see what you've been missing!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Sock Warrior!

I am a Sock Warrior! I sent in my request to join Sock Wars a little close to the deadline so I wasn't sure if I made the cut, but it looks like all's well and I'm 'in.' This bit of good news made it neccessary to make a trip to the LYS. I headed over there after work and was browsing around a bit when I was approached by one of the ladies who works there. I've only been there a few times and had not yet met this employee. Her name was Marlene and she asked if I needed help finding anything. I told her I was looking for DK yarn to be used for socks. "I need it for this online contest I've joined," I said. Her head spun around to look at me and she said, "Sock Wars?!" "Yes! You, too?" I asked. "Yes!" she said. It was such a funny moment. It felt like bumping into a long-lost sibling and having this instant sense of recognition. So I told Marlene that I'd check back with her once the contest started to see how we're both doing. I imagine I'll get killed off pretty quickly, but in the end we are all rewarded with a pair of socks and you can't beat that!


You could easily dislike Daniel Johnston for his lo-fi music, his akward phrasing, or his often tuneless singing. Or you could say that he's only gotten attention because of his bouts with mental illness. But if you dig a little deeper, behind all that is a talented songwriter who courageously expresses himself with raw honesty and a sense of humor. In my book this earns him as much if not more respect than all the "professional" singer/songwriters out there. Here's a snippet of the first track, "Grievances."

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Knitting, Uploading, Stacking, Etc.

I must say that I had a really good day today and decided to stay home and work on a couple things. So I broke out the second clog and knitted away at that while sitting in front of the computer, loading CDs into iTunes for use on my iPod! Here is a shot of it in it's cool iFrogz skin, which I would highly recommend.

I must say that I held off on getting an iPod for a long time, but now that I finally got one, I love it. I use it on the way to and from, and even at work. So today I got all my Shonen Knife, Magnetic Fields, and a good portion of my Fall CDs done. And in doing all that I got the clog done...yaaaayyy! Here's a pic of one knitted/felted and the one I just knitted.
After that, I had lunch and relaxed a little before heading out to work on the woodpile. Last Tuesday we had three and a half cords of wood delivered for the upcoming winter season. So now we have to find a place for it all! We have an area that the previous owners set up just for that purpose. It has a roof that is built off of the back of the garage and holds a decent amount of wood.

Then I started a stack between two trees in the backyard. The work went pretty quickly and we ended up with a pile as tall as me.

But as you can see from the pic below, we still have a lot of wood left! Not that that's a bad thing! Even with all that wood, I'm sure we'll need to order some more before the winter's over.

Here are a few shots of some of the goodies that we grew ourselves. Along with the peppers...

and sungold tomatoes...

we also grew a lettuce mix, kale, jalapenos, squash and cucumbers.
I want to take a minute to say "Hi!" to Ruth-Anne. I've gotten a few emails from her letting me know that she has made it safely to Colorado and even has a few interviews set up already...woohoo! Good luck Roofy, I miss you!

If you've never heard of Shonen Knife, they are made up of three Japanese women who play Ramones-ey punk/rock with a twist. Their songs are full of references to Japanese culture and are usually pretty silly in nature. This, their 8th album, is full of fun songs. This time many of them are about food such as "Banana Chips," "Sushi Bar," and "Hot Chocolate." And they end it all with a cool version of "Daydream Believer!"

Monday, September 4, 2006

Dorodango Danger!

Well, my unplanned but exciting exploration into the world of dorodango is done for this weekend. I had such a good time playing in the dirt and mud and learning the process. By my third attempt, the shaping got much easier and I fell into an easy rhythm that was really quite meditative in nature.

There were only two bad sides to this. One is that I got almost no knitting done over the past two days! But I will get some done today and am still hopeful about getting the rug done. The second bad thing is that none of my dorodango made it through the whole process without cracking...argh!

Above is a pic of my third attempt, the best one. Here it is looking lovely before any cracking had started. At this point I thought it was finished and would possibly just need to cure a bit over the next couple days. I set it aside on a soft "bed" of cloth to do just that. But when I looked at it late last night before going to bed, I noticed this...

I'm not positive what caused this but from what I can gather it is most likely one of two things. The first reason could be that I didn't allow enough time between some of the steps to assure that enough moisture was drawn out. If you finish the process with too much moisture inside, it will still eventually dissipate but the inner core will shrink, leaving a gap between it and the outer layer which can lead to something like the pic below (not mine, thankfully, but an extreme picutre of what can go wrong!).

The second reason why the cracks might have formed is from polishing the outside too much. I know this is what happened with my first one since it cracked while I was polishing it! It might even be what happened with the second one. But I made a special effort to do a very minimal amount of polishing on number three. So if I had to guess, I'd say the reason it cracked was from too much moisture trapped inside. Since these were my first attemps, I was eager to move along to each next step and probably rushed the process a bit. But I will definitely try these again as they were big fun. I actually found myself thinking about where I could get some different kinds of soil that would produce different color dorodango. Hey, if any of you have interesting soil near you (very pale, very dark, red, etc...) and want to send a little my way, let me know!

As for the knitting, I don't have too much to show you, but I will anyway, just to prove that there has been some progress! Here is one of the two sides of the bear head, in progress. It doesn't look like much now, but we'll see what happens when all the appropriate parts are sewn together!

I guess it for this update. I shall now head off to do some cleaning which will leave me free to concentrate on the knitting. Hopefully more progress pictures later in the day (fingers crossed!)

LISTENING TO: TRAILER BRIDE - "Whine De Lune" I'm not much into any kind of country music, but along with Tarnation, this alterna-country band are an exception. They create some of the most atmospheric, spooky, back-woods music you'll hear. Melissa Swingle leads the band with her lilting southern voice singing songs of love, loss and she plays the saw! How cool is that?

Saturday, September 2, 2006

Saturday, Part 2

As mentioned in this morning's post (see below), Sean the WoolGatherer is in big trouble. I not only put aside my knitting to try making a dorodango, but I actually tried three! I figured I'd probably screw one up (which I did), so I'd wanted another one (or in this case two) as a back-up. So I spent most of the afternoon in the yard with a shovel and a bucket, digging up dirt, making mud and forming it into balls. Why, you might reasonably ask? Well, when I first read about them on Sean's site, it reminded me of something I would have done as a kid. I had a great friend growing up named Julie. She lived across the street from me and we both loved trying fun stuff like this. Kind of like when we used to take hammers, pulverize different color stones and make face paint by adding water to the dust! If we had heard of dorodango as a kid, we would have certainly spent days on end making them. So it was just fun to feel like a kid again, sitting out in the yard with a pan of dry dirt, rubbing it into the surface of a ball of mud! And I did have a lot of fun doing it.

As for the pictures...the first shot shows three of them in progress. The one on the left is two steps into the process, the one in the middle was one step further, and the one on the right was one step further yet. The one on the right is also the one that I screwed up during the second to last step of the process. While lightly polishing the surface a huge crack started and then it split in half. I guess I was rubbing too hard...argh! But the other two have successfully made it through that step and are just awaiting the final "capsule" which I'll do tomorrow. After that is done, they'll have a lot more shine and will gain even more over the two following days. Or so the instructions say! I'll post more pictures as they progress.

So now I'm off to do a few errands, then back to work on the knitting for sure! Oh and Sean, you're off the hook...but only because I had so much fun!


It's a beautiful, sunshiney day here in Maine!

Today begins what I hope to be a very productive three-day knitting weekend. As mentioned previously, the goals are to finish the Bear Skin Rug and the second of the two Clogs. I'm feeling good about it and think I'll be able to get it all done...woohoo!

Thanks to everyone for their encouraging comments about the spinning. I've by no means given up on the learning process, just set it aside for a little until I'm able to get some hands on instruction. And actually, I'm sure I'll still pick it back up before that and play around some more.

Well, Sean "tagged" me so below is my version of the book list...

1. One book that changed your life: Reiki: The Healing Touch by William Lee Rand. Being a Reiki practitioner and knowing the effect it has had on my life, this indispensable guidebook would have to be the one.

2. One book that you've read more than once: Geek Love by Katherine Dunn. One of the most bizarre, disturbing, and funny books I've ever read. I've read it three times but feel like I'm due for another trip back to the carnival.

3. One book you'd want on a desert island: House Of Leaves by Mark Danielewski. I don't think I could ever get bored by this one. Not only is it a long and involved book, but it's one that grabs you and doesn't let go. Plus it's scary as hell.

4. One book that made you laugh: Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris. He's the brother of the hilarious Amy Sedaris (Strangers With Candy). Enough said.

5. One book that made you cry: The Amber Spyglass by Phillip Pullman. An unusual choice for this category perhaps, but there is a scene of such heartbreaking loss that I remember openly weeping while reading it.

6. One book that you wish had been written: The Complete Illustrated Guide To Life And How To Not Fuck It Up.

7. One book you wish had never been written: Scientology by L.Ron Hubbard. Call me crazy, but I tend to think that a hugely profitable and powerful "religion" based on the musings of a modern day science fiction writer is a little silly, not to mention scary. Plus it involves aliens! Though one good thing has come of it....Tom Cruise's career is looking shaky. Thanks L. Ron!

8. One book you're currently reading: The Secret Life Of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. Well, actually I'm listening to this one, but I did originally read it a few years ago. It's such a wonderful story that it's worth revisiting.

9. One book you've been meaning to read: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel by Haruki Murakami. I picked this one up at a used book sale at the local library. Oddly enough I had just read a review of it that same morning so it seemed like fate.

10. Tag 6 people: Ok guys, I picked some of you that I thought might actually try this yourselves (though what do I know? NO pressure by the way): Matt, Don, Jason, Mel, Sean (WG), and Dave.

P.S. Sean of WoolGatherer fame is in big trouble. He mentioned on his site about this Japanese technique of using mud to make these shiny spheres called Dorodango. Why is Sean in trouble? Because he's given me something new that I'm going to need to try! It looks like a very interesting process and I think I'll enjoy playing with the mud, just like I did as a kid!

LISTENING TO: THE FALL - "Fall Heads Roll" Probably my favorite band...well, at least in the top three (it's so hard to commit to just one favorite!). These guys have been around since the late 70's and their music is a valid and important today as it was then. Mark E. Smith has been the only constant through 40-some different lines ups over 30-some albums (and that's not counting the compilations and live albums). His obtusely poetic lyrics and distinct Mancunian-accented singing are the defining feature of this amazing band.