Friday, November 5, 2021

Fiber Arts Friday: Criss Cross Canine Cardigan, part 2 - Swatching

With the Copperbranch going into timeout, I was struggling with choosing which to focus on next.

I'm not ready to face my Box o" Unfinished Projects... because most of these either need to be ripped out or need special, focused attention.  None of which I am ready to do right now.... although, I did open the box and look inside... but I did not take a picture of it.  ;-)

So, while I only have one skein of yarn spun so far, this is going to be a very long-term project.  So I figured it's a good time to start knitting on my Criss Cross Canine Cardigan.

The pattern calls for a heavier yarn than I am spinning, which means the first step is Swatching, and I made several.

There are swatches on US3, US4, and US7 and US7 with the prescribed yarn.  None have been blocked.

In comparing the TM swatches (brown) with the prescribed swatch (white), I felt the US4 produced the most similar fabric.  So the bulk of the sweater will be worked on US4, with the button band on US3.

Progress is going slow, and it's already been ripped out once... mostly because I was confusing the leaning increases.  ;-)

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Friday, September 24, 2021

Fiber Arts Friday: Copperbranch, part 6

So, I have not ripped it out yet... or any of the other Stalled Projects, I felt like ripping out over the last few weeks.  I also have not made any forward progress.


I'm pretty sure I will attempt to fix the three sections instead of ripping out the whole thing.  At least then if the rework doesn't go well, I can rip out to the life line.... right?

This means I will need to do some planning and find a few tools.  It also means this project will likely be on pause for a while.

It's tenuous times right now... and it's Fiber Arts Friday.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Fiber Arts Friday: Spinning in the New Studio

Most of my studio and office equipment have been moved into the new location, with the exception of the big loom.

I've been doing day job activities from there and finally got to christening the new studio with a little spinning of Dorset Horn a few days ago.

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Things That Work: Filters

As an engineering student, I had an internship at The Coors Brewing Company, in Golden, CO.

The group I worked in was responsible for the utilities throughout the entire plant and local operations.  This included chillers, piping, heating, ventilation, and waste water treatment.

While in school, I learned a lot about filters and at Coors I saw filters in real-world application.

The job of a filter is to remove particulates.

I use a filter (sieve) when I'm canning tomatoes and raspberries and want to remove the seeds.

I use a filter (strainer) when I'm bottling kombucha.

I use a filter (cheese cloth) when I'm straining yogurt or making cheese.

Chefs use filters all the time when they want to make a sauce more smooth.

My car has a cabin air filter, engine air filter, oil filter, and fuel filter.... all of these are necessary for safe operation.

Your home heaters and air conditioners have at least one air filter.

By definition filters are replaceable equipment.  They do not last forever.  As a filter collects material it's filtering capabilities improve to a point where flow then begins to reduce... this is when they need to be replaced or washed.

All of these filters have multiple layers except for sieves or strainers.

I truly do not understand people railing against the use of filters (masks) to protect our communities from the spread of an airborne, infectious disease.

Personally, I have been wearing a filter (mask) during hot yoga for well over a year.  I wear a filter (mask) when I go for a run or walk off my property.  I wear a filter (mask) at the grocery store, gas station, and any other place of business I visit.... including the office where I am employed.  I also wear glasses.

Wearing a filter (mask) is only a big deal, if you make it a big deal.

Filters (masks) Work!

Monday, September 13, 2021

Cooler Weather Means Cooking Mojo Returning

One of the things I was able to cultivate during the my Covid Layoff was multiple stages of cooking whole foods.  I love being able to re-purpose, or progressively use food, but this takes time and planning.

For example, starting with a roasted chicken or turkey meal.  The leftover meat is used in chicken or turkey sandwiches or enchiladas, and a broth from the bones is used to make a soup, flavor sauces, or cook beans and rice.

I have a harder time doing this in the summer, mostly because I don't want to add heat to the house by using the oven or stove, when it's already so hot, both inside and outside.

So while we are still having warm, 90+ days, the nights and mornings are cooling off... and we have our first 70-something degree day of the season, in this week's forecast.

Over the weekend, I made a couple of Quiches and Fresh Tomato Pies using eggs from our new flock of chickens and a bunch of volunteer tomato plants.  These will mostly be used for lunch and breakfast over this coming week.

I also started a broth of domestic and wild pig bones.

These bones came from meats that Hubba smoked over the last year.  So they have already contributed to a primary meal where the meat was the focus, as well as multiple secondary meals of sandwiches, burritos, and tacos.

I started this broth midday Sunday, brought it to a boil, then let is simmer all afternoon and overnight.  It will spend most of today cooling off and I will filter out the bones and aromatics this evening.

Later today, Hubba will smoke a store-bought ham hock 

Tomorrow, this will all be turned into a Split Pea Soup.

I only wish I had some sourdough starter in progress, because fresh, home-made, bread is one of the nicest compliments to a hearty home-made soup.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

9/11: 20 Years Later

 Twenty years ago, the "unthinkable" happened in the US.

I was commuting between Albuquerque, NM and Detroit, MI.  I was working with a team developing a brand new aircraft.

On the morning of September 11, 2001.  I was listening to the local NPR radio station while driving from my hotel in Novi, MI to the office in Walled Lake, MI.   There was a story.... I don't remember if it was a local or national NPR story.... but it was about how there had not been a terrorist attack on US soil and whether the US would be prepared if were to happened.  The story struck me as unusual and I missed my turn to the office.  So I ended up being a few minutes late that day.

The unusual NPR story would happen again, a few weeks later, with respect to Anthrax.

On the morning of September 11th, less than an hour after that NPR story, I remember my co-worker standing up to answer his personal cell phone.  Cell phones were rare at that time.  He kept it in the overhead at his desk and the only person who ever called it was his wife.  The fact that she was calling so early in the day was unusual.

I remember his words to his wife... "An airplane hit one of the Twin Towers?  It must have been an accident."

I knew instinctively it was not an accident, though I was hoping it was.  I went straight to cnn.com while he was still on the phone to see if there was any information.  There was not, yet... and a few minutes later the site would not load.

One of our other co-workers had a radio, so he set it up and several of us stood around his cubicle, listening to the events unfold.

I was on the verge of tears all day... as I am right now, while writing this.

Another friend/co-worker and I decided to get lunch offsite, hoping to get some respite from the news, only to find several people we knew attempting to do the same thing.  The news was on the TV in the diner and the lunch crowd was melancholy.  There was a sense of unity in the sadness we were all experiencing.

I tried to be productive at work, feeling determined to be successful at this huge project we had undertaken... developing a new aircraft.  Not only a new aircraft, but a new type of aircraft and a new company to support it.  We had no idea what the future looked like and it felt like a bad time to be in the aircraft business.

The airspace was closed that day.  So those of us who had been commuting between Detroit and Albuquerque did not go home that weekend.

My lunch friend/co-worker and I went to a street fair on Saturday.  I believe it was in Plymouth, MI.  It was eerie how quiet it was without air traffic.  I felt bad trying to have a fun distraction while scores of people had lost loved ones and even more were working to find them in NYC, Pennsylvania, and DC.

The airspace was re-opened a few days later, but the travel experience was significantly different.  Everyone was distrusting of everyone else.... We unpacked our bags, removed our belts, coats, and shoes, and submitted to a more-thorough search in order to have access to the airport concourses.  There were armed MPs and military dogs everywhere.

I felt brave (scared but doing it anyway) and defiant while travelling.  I normally slept the entire way home, but was no longer able to do so.  My husband and I grabbed each other and cried when I got home.

I continued to travel every week for 2.5 more months.

While the events of 9/11/01 were heartbreaking, I was optimistic with the new-found national unity and the level at which people were helping each other. 

Unfortunately, this did not endure.

9/11 was the worst thing thing to happen on US soil in my adult life, until January 6th of this year... when a mob of Trump Loyalists attacked our capital with the intention of overturning the election and democracy along with murdering both the Vice President and Speaker of the House.

I watched the events of January 6th with the same sadness and disbelief of 9/11.

However, rather than coming together, my country is more divided than I have ever seen.

One of my co-workers from my cubicle bank on 9/11... the one responsible for me having the opportunity to work on that new aircraft and company... was lost last November to Covid-19.

Too many people refuse to wear masks or take a safe vaccine in order to protect each other.

20 years ago, I truly believed that the strangers on my flights between Detroit and Albuquerque would band together to prevent another attack.

Today, people who wish to travel by air are physically attacking Flight Attendants and Gate Workers.

Today, people cough on each other at supermarkets and school board meetings.

All of these are assault.

So when you say #NeverForget, did you?  Are you truly living in the spirit of post-9/11?  Are you truly banding with and protecting your neighbors?

Friday, September 10, 2021

Fiber Arts Friday: Copperbranch, part 5

Last week I shared the mistakes that were discovered during row 7.

So while I had planned to address the dropped and split stitches after knitting was completed, I had an overwhelming urge to rip out the entire project while working on Lace Row 8 (of 44).


So, at the moment, I have set the Copperbranch aside... I have been working on this project since May of 2019, or really since 2017, if you count that it started out as a different project.  So, someone please talk me out of frogging this one.

It is Fiber Arts Friday.  Not sure if it's happy.  ;-)