Monthly Archives: January 2017


Just thinking I was nearing the finish line with a few long term projects by the end of January jinxed it… but I haven’t cast on anything new in the knitting department so at least my focus on finishing should carry over into February.

But I also started to act on a few other long term projects (and yes, that’s how I don’t get things done for ages).

I’ve been wanting to convert one of my old sewing machines (seen here and here) into a hand cranked one and finally acquired the supplies.

Now to chose which machine…

This Singer 66 hasn’t gotten much love or use even though it’s a beaut. It’s the one machine I think about selling or giving to a new sewer sometimes but when I get it out, I love it and want to keep it and I always forget about the huge set of attachments I’ve never used for it and oh boy will I have a ball with those attachments one day when I remember them and have time on my hands…


I thought this 99 was toast since it was missing a few things and I was afraid to plug it in, but it was my initial candidate since it is a bit lighter and smaller than the others and I have a fantasy about taking it with me on cabin vacations or out in the yard on a picnic table we don’t have, but it’s still no featherweight, and the crank adds on another pound or so… But it turns out, this machine just needed a good cleaning and a new bobbin slide plate, so it’s pretty sweet on its own and is currently in use in the basement near the serger.


And this lovely old red-eye already has the spoked wheel that makes the hand crank possible (and dammit I forgot to order a new spool pin for it again!) but I’ve wanted to convert it back to a treadle for ages, but I still could eventually – the crank should be easy enough to install/deinstall.


So I need to spend some quality time with the two 66s and chose the one with the worst motor I think, or perhaps I’m deciding on the red-eye as I type this…

Either way, there’s other work to be done at the moment…


Leave a comment

Filed under collecting, recycling, sewing

Some time in January

I’m on a wrap-up bender and actually might be able to stick a fork in a couple more things by the end of the month, but I don’t want to jinx it…

But I’m here to keep track of things, so you might want to hit snooze for the next few posts…

One thick sock is 90% done (still needs top ribbing, I always do that last and at the same time as the other to maximize yardage) and another is fast on the way – first socks are usually a very slow, very occasional project for me, but I get a burst of impatience after one is done – I have the opposite of second sock syndrome – second sock mania?


And there’s still a bunch of tasks to do around the house – some tiny and doable in a day, others still make me want to weep.


I thought the official bathroom re-do could wait another year or too, and while the painted floor is still just fine, the underneath is not… I’m still not 100% on tile though, originally I wanted marmoleum to keep the weight to a minimum and still think it’s an issue, but it’s got some issues too (mostly $$$) and the sink I’d been pining for isn’t made anymore, and our water stains in a dirty rainbow, so I can’t accept wanting white fixtures but not being able to fully clean them and/or willing to constantly clean them, but the beige has got to go and dark grey fixtures would be hella expensive and potentially scare off a buyer and/or my favorite toilet is white only, and I can’t figure out the shower walls, and… no other house project has been so frustrating for me…

But I finally replaced the floor in the pantry – from this godawful “vintage” vinyl:


To this contemporary godawful vinyl:

It’s awful because it’s vinyl and I oppose vinyl in nearly every circumstance, and I wanted black-ish stuff and this is faux soiled metal of some sort – but – it was only three tiles and it’s where the recycling can and back-up water supply goes, so it doesn’t really matter except that it is no longer annoying to see that nasty old stuff. The original linoleum is still holding up, but if we’re still here coming up on another decade, it will likely need to be replaced, so we’d probably just run the flooring into the pantry too (the old linoleum was there, just gouged up beyond repair).

(I’d also like to get some lighting in said pantry, but then the floor would look annoying again.)

In the same weekend I finally got around to fixing the caulk around the kitchen sink that I should’ve done better the first time around, touching up paint, oiling the counters, and N built a nifty cubby in our cloakroom.

(That I still need to finish, but I’m waiting on the oil wax.)

I’m still in full-on cold-sheep mode again for yarn this year except for festivals and legitimate need – usually that ends up being superwash for gifts and whatnot – my superwash stash/scraps only fit in the equivalent of a shoebox at any given time – but this reflective yarn caught my eye recently and I got both some godawful nasty acrylic on the cheap, as well as filament/thread stuff that I can hold with a better yarn. N walks the dog in the dark on sidewalkless roads so they both could use some items made of it.


The orange yarn also broke my buying made-in-China ban (could have sworn it said made in Turkey, which I know nothing about the conditions and regulations there, but at least it’s not China?) But the dog’s fondness of mud and brambles limits things to the very cheap and warm-washable. There are some reflective wool blends out there too, but I’m hoping the spool of filament stuff is the way to go for human wear – especially since I scored both an orange cashmere and another orange wool sweater perfect for unraveling at the thrift a few months ago…

Leave a comment

Filed under home, home decor, knitting


I don’t have a pussyhat on my needles, though it seems I should…


I get it, I generally support it, and I definitely believe that everyone who can should march, speak out, do what they can to preserve and improve our rights.

I hate that women have been assigned pink, but it’s too late to change that now, and at least pink has a wide range of cools to warms so leaning lavender to peach can take away some of that insipid pale petalness.

I like that there’s a physical thing that people can make that shows solidarity and better yet, is practical.

I even unraveled a few red and pink things in my shallow unravelers stash, and was planning to dive into the deep stash end for a skein or two of dusty rose cheap stuff I got to felt, to make a pussy of my own and perhaps a few to pass along…

But then I started to get itchy and it wasn’t from the wool. And I got chased out of a ravelry group for saying grown women in kitty ears was a pet peeve of mine though I still supported the project…


I’m staunchly non-conformist (I usually put these posts out on Wednesdays in rejection of “Wordless Wednesdays”), I don’t really follow trends (some knitting patterns aside), I never felt the need to dress the same as my friends, and I automatically tune out  when I hear something along the lines of “let’s all wear…” It just stinks too much of follow-the-leader conformity, everyone wearing tiaras at a hen party, women in outings all in red hats, and cliques in high school. But there is a male equivalent – Shriners in fez hats, Lions in vests – and a genderless one – identical t-shirts for a fun run or charity project, so groups of any kind do adopt uniforms of a sort – it’s stupid, but it can happen to anyone. So I understand that there are some positive aspects of visually joining the crowd in terms of team-building and positive uniformity in certain circumstances, but wearing pink hats while marching isn’t the point – marching is the point. Being a woman is the point. Someone mentioned wearing the hat at the march would show to others that you were there to march, but most women who identify as female look like women, and if you’re a woman walking down the middle of the street in DC next Saturday with a bunch of other women, then it’s highly likely that you are marching. So I don’t buy that one – wearing one out and about if you can’t be on the streets, or before or after can show support and awareness, so I get that and support that.

Some have issue with the word “pussy” which is just asinine. I don’t have patience or tolerance for those who take words too seriously (except for the truly few hateful and/or racist ones). Except out of the wrong mouth where it can be a bit lasciviously lewd, pussy is generally playful and has the male counterpart of weenie (or maybe dick and prick in some contexts). We need nicknames for things, and pussy is somewhat accurate in terms of describing a furry thing – I’m also fond of the nickname “mouse” found in hard-boiled dick novels (or was that just Mickey Spillane?) but the scale is off for that one too – guinea pig or dwarf rabbit is perhaps more accurate. But if you say you’re mouth is tired from eating dwarf rabbit last night, then folks would just think you weren’t a very good cook…


But back to my feminist itch – I can’t quite scratch it – I feel a bit of what’s being said in this article but not the whole. I do hate seeing grown women in kitty/bear/deer/any ears – anything that would look cute on a baby – and I hate that kinderslut style from the ’90s, and more recent babydoll dresses especially modeled in a knock-kneed inward-facing toe pose, and women wearing baby powder scented things – and I hate women calling each other girls – grown women have left their girlhood, and anything that diminishes our matured state doesn’t help our situation. But in this case, it works because of trump’s use and abuse of pussy – I get that, and the pussyhat needn’t have ears, just be pink, so only part of the itch is about the infantilization of wearing a second set of knitted ears.

But I think most of it falls in a realm I can’t quite explain… Women often do for others at the expense of themselves. We feel like we could and should always be doing more. It’s not enough that we show up to march, we also must spend hours making a hat to wear at the march. Or we’re less inclined to do something or speak up unless others are doing so too – perhaps more the former than the later though…


What I’d most like to see is that these hats were for men – women don’t need to don a hat to say they’re women and they’re still getting the shit end of the stick – but we don’t see outward signs of support or recognition of our still shitty side of things from men.

So dudes, don the pussy!




Filed under knitting

Chugging along

With the help of N, the yarn bowl is now sturdy again and is occupying a place in the living room.

My goal is to get rid of the other yarn bowl on the side table so that the room only has two project receptacles in it at a time – the standing bowl and a ubiquitous African basket. But the standing bowl is shallow, and the other is deeper and holds that sweater I’ve been pissing and moaning about, so once the sweater is done, the bowl can go, right?

I’m not even sure I like the sweater any more – I love the yarn in it, but I don’t really want/need another pullover, but it’s useless now without the bottom tenth and the sleeves, and I don’t want to unravel it, so I just need to bang it out.

Like these socks – for a minute they were never-ending, then they were done.

And just in time for a cold snap.


Leave a comment

Filed under home, home decor, knitting

So this is the new year

Back to back illnesses in the last week made it seem I was handed someone else’s new years resolutions done and dusted.

Give up drinking – check.

Break caffeine addiction – check.

Lose a few pounds – check.

So my resolutions are to reverse those (the coffee was getting a bit out of hand, so I’ll keep that one more in check).

(And I wouldn’t mind keeping off the few pounds but I recently purged all of my pants that only fit well after an IBS flare-up, so I’m looking extra frumpy/saggy.)

I didn’t get to do my annual feat of organization/medium-sized accomplishment that I like to do this time of year, so I’m starting off the new year with a slightly bad/sad/frustrated attitude. I was going to get my wet photography supplies and photographs in a purged and condensed, possibly final, form. But in truth, I’m probably not quite ready for that, so it was going to be a big production of dragging everything out, looking at it all, then re-packing and reducing the size by one box or so. I can’t let go of real photography, but I haven’t been in a darkroom or set up my own for at least 15 years – I’m not comfortable with the environmental aspects of chemicals and water use for something other than life, and there’s also some bad mojo tied up with my job loss this past year and my failure to get into an MFA program a couple of years ago, so I’d have thought cutting the cord would be easier…

But my prints, cameras, and their accouterments are already a fairly manageable lot, tucked away in a closet, except for an enlarger and tub at the folk’s place – the only things left there after the last trip out at Thanksgiving – and for the first time in my adult life, everything I’ve ever owned is now in one place and it feels very burdensome. Luckily a few things I’m not so attached to have value – some children’s books, perhaps a doll or two, and even expired film – but my shelves of items currently up for sale/auction are growing faster than going out the door.

I’ve been at peace, even happy tinged with smugness, at my now utterly frugal life, but I’m starting to see the shabbiness in the cold [not cold enough to kill the ticks, dammit] winter light, and it’s time to replace a few things with new, but shopping brings out even more grump. (And I’m always off – I should have been looking for a wool coat in October, or August? not now when the racks are nearly bare).

But there’s likely a psychological reason for it – I’m being confronted with the past lately, so I’m yearning for something new…?

But I’m not going to dwell on it.

My fiber projects for the new year are to finish most of what I’ve got in the works now (one pair of socks is just so almost done but always seem to need 10 more rows) and crank out a long vest and coat/cardigan and whatever else I mentioned in that recent post.

Around the house, the final reno of the bathroom is becoming more urgent due to a dubious happening with the floor, we need to set up the grow station (or commit to buying tomato and pepper plants again), and the yard has some challenges that still make me curl up into a ball. I’ve also got my own list of small tasks I wanted to complete while underemployed, but still haven’t been able to carve out – small, but messy jobs, mostly involving painting and re-flooring insides of closets.

And the biggest challenge is personal – I’m still not any closer to figuring out how to get my career back on track or reconfigured – I’m less angry now, so it might be possible to do a variation of what I was doing before, but I’m still not in a good geographical area for that (not without a nasty, expensive commute). I’ve been reading some books, but to not much use – nay, detriment really – so I need to find another approach…


Filed under collecting, home, knitting, unemployment