Friday, March 30, 2007
The good news
The computer is still under warranty (for another 75 days or so) and they already have the new hard-drive
The majority of my files are backed up. Though I will have lost some of my powerpoint lectures.
I was able to get all my photos off the computer using the card to the digital camera and the card reader. Thank goodness. I would be crying right now if I had lost all those pictures.
I don't have to work on the computer over the weekend.
Go back up your data right now!
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
This project is just the type of knitting I really want to do right now. Beautiful colors of a really nice fiber. The knitting is done on really small needles (size 1's) in a pattern that I am making up as I go along. It is so much fun to play with the color choices. I am just going with the flow on this, knitting what I feel is right. I am also playing with texture a bit, using a combination of knits, purls, and slipped stitches. I imagine that I will run out of the colored yarn before I finish the bag, so the bottom portion will be all white.
I have plenty of the white silk, but it needs to be spun up. Which is great, as it has gotten me back into spinning. I don't know if my technique for spinning silk is the best technique -but I am liking the results. All of the yarn I have so far has been spun on my drop spindle, but I have been spinning some of the white silk on my wheel. I really think it will be underspun, so I may have to run it back through to add more twist. The yarn I spun on my spindle had a lot of twist in it.
Ah, the dandelion. Hated by many. But in our household we love them, the sunny color, the cool leaf shape, and the fun of blowing the seeds around.
Violets are another plant that may be considered a lawn weed by grass enthusiasts. When we lived in Missouri our yard was full of violets and I really loved them. I truly prefer biodiversity in my yard.
Trees do have flowers.
As a botany teacher, I find my students often have the misconception that flowers are one type of plant and trees are another. Thus trees do not have flowers. The same misconception is held about grasses. In fact, most trees and all grasses are flowering plants. It's just that the flowers are often reduced and we don't notice them because they are not showy. But this time of year, it is blatantly obvious that trees have flowers.
Flower pear - just beginning to open up.
Maple Tree - Technically, this tree has finished blooming and the fruits are starting to develop. The fruits of the maple tree are the helicopters you may be familiar with. This type of fruit are called samara and are specialized for dispersal by wind. They are just starting to develop. Helicopters are a favorite at our house, so expect to see more pictures of them as spring progresses.
Woody Shrub - Forsythia. Another sunny yellow flower, which brightens up cool, cloudy March days.
Finally, a close up of a daffodil (or is that narcissus?)
Monday, March 26, 2007
Yesterday was gorgeous outside and we had had lots of rain so the ground was nice and soft. Perfect for pulling weeds. So I spent about an 1 1/2 hours yesterday preparing what will become our vegetable garden. It will be a mixed garden though, as the previous tenant here left several perennials - yarrow, lavender, daisy, and coneflower. I went ahead and planted spinach and lettuce (though it may be a bit early for the lettuce). We'll see if it survives the squirrels.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Full Tide of Night by J.R. Dunn (1998).
First, I have to admit that I was drawn to this book by the cover and the size of the book. It is about 4 inches by 6 inches. Relatively small for a hardcover book. The description of the story on the inside of the book sounded really interesting. It is categorized as a science fiction book.
For me this book is difficult to review. The story was compelling, but it left me confused. Basically, it is the story of a woman, Julia, who escaped from the destruction of earth by a people called the Erinye, travels through space to a icy planet, and, using genetic technology, populates the planet with humans. All of this with the help of Cary - an artificial intelligence computer. The story starts 150 years after Julia's escape from earth. Her "children" are rebelling against her, as is Cary which is going through the AI equivalent of adolescence. At the same time, a mysterious ship is headed towards the planet which may contain the evil Erinye. Most of the story however, focuses on the splintering of the rebels: the regular rebels and a group called the Rigs, who are very much fashioned after communist China. The story gets mired down into the political rantings of the Rigs and the counter movements of the leader of the regular rebels. On top of this, there is the rebellion of the computer.
I was confused by a lot of the story and felt like the more boring points were discussed in detail while the interesting points (how did Julia populate this planet, how did the communities evolve) were barely touched upon. There is a strong anti-communist, ant-totalitarian sentiment about the book. The story thus is more political than science fiction.
I guess overall, I did not really enjoy the book and probably would not read another book by this author.
Saturday, March 24, 2007
In addition to the downtown area, we spent a little time in the Wrigleyville area (without getting to see Wrigley Stadium itself). It was a neat area also, not a grand as the downtown, but not ugly.
But we did not venture into the poorer neighborhoods or really to anywhere that I would call slums. We did drive by one area that is bad off on the way to the airport and saw lots of old houses that were boarded up. And the area around the airport is not pretty at all.
All in all it was a great trip and I looking forward to visiting again.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Friday, March 16, 2007
Does this help?
I am excited to see how much the tree changes in the next few days.
Monday, March 12, 2007
A couple of years ago I was a scholarship recipient for SOAR, a spinning retreat and workshop sponsored by Interweave Press. At the end of the week they have a silent auction, with the proceeds going to fund scholarships in the following years.
SOAR was a great experience and I hope that I will be able to attend again in the future. While I was there a very generous woman gave each of the scholarship recipients a couple ounces of handyed silk. I quickly spun up the yarn (the blue, green, and gold yarns) using the drop spindle I bought while there. Ever since then I have wanted to knit something wonderful with this yarn. Something that would be worthy of being sold in the scholarship auction. I did not think I would have enough of the colored yarn to make something substantial, so I bought some natural colored silk top and have been spinning that up to help stretch out the colored yarn.
The struggle has been in deciding what to knit. The yarn is 100% silk and is between a lace and fingering weight (the thickness is not consistent within or between colors). I have plenty of white silk fiber to spin up and could easily get more. There is a bit more of the green and blue yarn that is not pictured. So I was thinking along the lines of a stranded knitting stitch or a mosaic knit pattern (similar to my hats I posted earlier). I could make a bag, a hat, or pulse warmers. Maybe a scarf, but that would not work with stranded knitting. I like the idea of a bag, but I don't like sewing linings in. Maybe a hat, but how would that be with 100% silk.
Maybe I should start swatching.
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Pattern: Gentlemen's Plain Winter Sock from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks
Yarn: Froehlich Woole, Blauband, Maxi Ringel. I received this yarn in a swap several months ago.
Needles: Size 1
He was not able to wear it for about 9 months. And now it is too small. But she had him wear it last weekend, and I really appreciated that.
This scarf is probably the second knitting project I started and completed. It is for my mom. I really like the fringe.
Friday, March 9, 2007
Thursday, March 8, 2007
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
Toys were played with
There was also boomerang throwing and swinging at the park, but my camera battery ran out of juice, so no pictures of that fun. It was a nice, but busy weekend full of family.
Monday, March 5, 2007
First, the gnome hat that I knit for my mom. This hat was one of my earlier knitting projects and incorporates the very first handspun yarn I ever made. Several years ago, my friend Sparkling Squirrel and I took a spinning class at the YarnBarn. It was a lot of fun, and I ended up with a little bit of crazy looking handspun yarn. It just happened that the colors of the yarn were the same as those of the high school I had attended, and where my youngest sister was going at the time. My mom and step-dad were really into going to the Friday night football games. So I used the handspun as the brim of the hat. I did not spin the white yarn, it is from Henry's Attic. The pattern was one that I made-up as I went along.
I did not intend for the hat to end up so pointy, but I liked it.
"Artistic" show of the sun shining through the yarn. This is not my handspun, but the store-bought. This photo was taken while we were stuck in a huge traffic jam trying to get to The Incredible Pizza Place for my nephew's birthday (which will described in the next post).
Looking back at some of my early knitting projects, it is interesting to see how "fearlessly" I dove into creating my own patterns. (Fearlessly is in quotes because I am not really afraid, but less free with creating my own knitting patterns lately). I hope I can capture that back.