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Nov. 19th, 2014 | 11:16 am

The spinning workshop was really awesome. I learned a ton of different techniques: andean plying, long draw, winding a center pull ball on my thumb, crepe yarn construction, cabled yarns, and probably more i'm not thinking of. It was wonderful

It was also good to see a lot of folks from the guild. I haven't been involved for quite a while, so that was nice.

Woodturning class continues to go well. Last night was day 1 of bowls, and everyone is doing beautifully. They have some really nice cherry to work with, and I think they're all going to be very pretty when they're done.

I'm playing flute at church this Sunday. It has been a while since I've played so I had best get the flute out and practice a bit.

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Nov. 12th, 2014 | 11:51 am

It just got cold here. Polar vortex, whatever the hell it is. It's here. 34 degrees right now. I'm just depressing myself, so i'll move on to other topics.

This weekend I am super-duper excited to be attending a two-day workshop on spinning yarns for knitting projects. It's sponsored by the weaver's guild and is being taught by Kate Larson. I just ordered 500g of fiber for another sweater project, so I'm looking forward to discussing plans with her for that fiber. It will also be good to see the weaver's guild folks since I've really pulled out of that organization the past couple years.

The past week or so has been crazy. I was in New Orleans at a conference that had me in an exhibit hall trying to talk to strangers from 6:45 am to 7:00pm each day, then i was expected to do shit like team dinners on top of that. It was almost torture. The one plus is I really do like the team I work with for these. They're really super people.

I got home Wednesday evening, then tried to participate in an ingress thing over near Waterloo IL. There was a big competition where it actually meant something to win the cycle, compared to normal when we pretty much always win. We had tried to do a big field to secure the win but it didn't end up working out. With some encouragement after that, I tried to plan my own big field. It did work out. We threw it on Sunday and won the competition. There were 15 layers of green over St. Louis, from Pittsfield, IL to Greenville, IL to Centerville, MO.

In between all that ingressing was a extraordinarily fun time in the central west end, celebrating Robin's birthday. Yayyyy. We ate such amazing food and had a delightful time in each other's company. A+++ Would hang out with those girls anytime. Note to douchebags all over the world: Do NOT show up at a nice brunch with a bathrobe over your clothes, then play music over your iphone speakers at the table. NEVER. NO. NO. NO.

Back to normal non-travel work this week. It has been a couple days of catch up, and yesterday I had my class at Craft Alliance. They're doing fantastic. Everyone made honey dippers, and it was really great to see how creative they all were.

Time to huddle under an afghan with cat and laptop for warmth now.

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Oct. 16th, 2014 | 09:24 am

Today's laundry day. I personally don't mind doing my laundry since I work from home and there is no better conference call activity than folding clothes. A friend of mine likes doing laundry too. In fact, she's started her own personal laundry service in Minneapolis. She also has a laundry blog. That's pretty cool, but yesterday's post is about getting rid of dust mites. It makes me feel like I probably should wash my pillows today too *shudder*. But then--there's nothing like a clean pillow that has been newly fluffed up in the dryer.

In other news, did I mention I'm going to Finland next week? It's sneaking up on me here. I'm visiting a client there. Oh, also--my first woodturning class is all finished. They were fantastic students and really got the tool handling. Makes me happy to see a room full of brand new woodturners who aren't getting catches all over, and who stop and check the quality of the cuts they're making to think about how to get a better finish off the tool. Yay woodturners! I'm teaching one more 4-week session this fall, and we're working on the catalog for a whole bunch more for next winter/spring.

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You'll never believe it--I'm still knitting

Jul. 2nd, 2014 | 11:55 am

The knitting goes on. I miscalculated a bit on my sleeves and would have done the increases differently had I not miscalculated, but I think in the end, it will work out OK. I'm going to go ahead and finish this one and see what happens when I wash it. If it doesn't work, I'll just rip and do it again. No big deal.

The front and back await their sleeves.

But I'm not likely to make a ton of knitting progress over the next few weeks as it's Tour de Fleece time. I've never felt like participating before because I wasn't a very dedicated spinner, but I've really been enjoying the spinning this year, so I'm bringing that to the table, along with an enormous pile of fiber.

In the meantime, I'm finishing up 8 oz of black Leicester long wool. It wasn't a particularly fun spin, but not too onerous either. I did practice my long draw drafting a lot on it, so that was nice. It's good to have some solid sheepy colored yarn around to use as contrast with the colors I tend to pick.

I'm going to try to spin this green/black/gray into a light fingering weight to make Hitofude. I'm not sure if I'll have enough yardage, but I think the pattern will work out if I need to do a color change.

The Thunderboom fiber is destined for some kind of wintery accessories since the green in it is exactly the same green as my sweater.

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Done done done.

Apr. 24th, 2014 | 09:15 am

2 pounds, 4 oz. That's how much merino wool I have spun into yarn for a sweater project. It's 2530 yards, somewhere between DK and sport weight. It is an enormous pile of yarn.

It makes me want to throw a party now :)

I have reduced the gigantic ball of merino fiber down to just a moderate sized ball. I'll save that for a future project, maybe. At the moment, I never want to spin commercially prepared merino top ever again.

Last night we took the Beginning Handgun class at August A. Busch Conservation Area. Cheers to them for putting on a very informative and well organized course! My only complaint was that when I signed up for the class, it clearly said Ages 16 and up, but there was a family there with two kids who were probably 12 or 13. They were very well behaved, but LORDY the questions. Clearly one of them was obsessed by guns and wanted to know about things like incendiary rounds and armor piercing ammo. Sigh. Tonight is the "hands on" session at the range. It's supposed to storm, so we'll see how that goes. They won't allow shooting if there's lightning.

I am thinking about going to the All Missouri Spin In on Saturday, but that is going to depend on whether or not I have to work this weekend. There has been a defect blocking testing of a feature we need to deliver next week, and the QA may need to happen over the weekend. We'll see. Also, I may be a teensy bit burned out on spinning, though a different fiber might perk me right back up.

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fun weekend

Apr. 14th, 2014 | 03:04 pm

The weekend is over. Alas. And my day has been a neverending stream of conference calls. In fact, I have another one starting in 5 minutes.

Tomorrow I head to the frigid North for the day. Not even staying overnight, but I will be waving hello to scentedwoods and annablume from my meeting at Best Buy.

This weekend was fantastic. Friday evening was low key with dinner at O'Connels. The weather was lovely so I had had the windows and doors open all day. I shut the side porch door before we went to dinner though. We arrived home and I opened the porch door again. There was a mysterious pile of shredded wood on the step. Bam, a cat came flying through the door. Oops. Bubbles had been locked out for a couple hours and was having none of that. She wanted back in, and thanks to a nearly rotten door panel, almost dug her way through. Now I'm looking at options for custom replacement doors because I don't think there's any way to save that one. It has been held together with glue for too long.

Saturday we were up early for the sheep festival. The weather was so wonderful! There were a lot of vendors and I picked up a pound of oatmeal colored Cormo/Border Leicester and half a pound of Black Leicester long wool. I ogled a lot of other stuff and wrinkled my nose at the smell of full fleece though somehow I still find myself wanting to buy one.

We sat outside on the grass for about an hour while watching the sheep dog demonstrations. Those dogs are amazing, and there was one moment of excitement when some sheep nearly got into the crowd. Such fun. Sadly, I got a bit of sun in the process and ended up a touch pink. Nothing painful, but it made me tired.

The afternoon was a fabulous birthday/housewarming party for robin and jim. It was fantastic. Tons and tons of awesome people were there and the patio is just a lovely party place. We left fairly early (a bit before 10) because of above tiredness from sunburn. Still, I had a great time.

Sunday, Robin came over and brought me leftover cake, then we went and waded into a creek for a fundraising challenge. It was a lot of fun despite the cold water. Video is here.

And I spun 4 oz of merino on Sunday to make progress on the epic sweater quantity spinning.

Now the conf call.

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Mar. 31st, 2014 | 10:10 am

I forgot to mention, I was at the symphony twice this weekend.

Friday was Brahms 3, Wagner's prelude to Tristan and Isolde, then a stunning performance of Schoenberg's Erwartung. It was incredible. A brilliant performance by Karita Matilla and the symphony both. Unfortunately, Brent was not as captivated as I was. I found it enthralling.

Then for a change of pace, I went to the Sunday matinee with Robin and Jim. It was "Simply Sinatra" and had a singer with a Sinatra-esque voice along with the symphony + a bunch of band players for the big band feel. It was a lot of fun. The most entertaining part was as we were leaving when I overheard a conversation between two women behind me.
Lady 1: "Well, next time we'll know to read the fine print."
Lady 2: "I know! Did you see they are doing a 'Tribute' to the Bee Gees? We won't want to get tickets to that one either"

It was a difficult effort but I managed to suppress my laughter and wait til we were safely outside before I shared with Robin and Jim. How they missed the fact that Sinatra died in 1998 and of COURSE it wasn't him, I do not know. Jim also pointed out there's only one Bee Gee left. Hahahhahaha.

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An update here

Feb. 6th, 2014 | 10:02 am

The trip to California was great. There are a lot of photos of the wedding on facebook, some of them pretty amazing. Everything was so colorful and fun. Laguna Beach was lovely, but had too many people. It was handy to be able to walk places but it felt crowded. San Francisco was its urine-soaked self for new years eve, but I do love that town. We had a delicious dinner and skipped the fireworks. The train ride was very enjoyable. I would have been happy with it taking even longer to get places. I had plenty to do the whole time.

I did get a hat made for Nate for Christmas. I started on Dannye's scarf but it is languishing in a heap on my dresser right now. All I want to do at the moment is spin.

Since the start of the year, I've spun/plied a bunch of sparkly fiber in colors inspired by each wife of Henry VIII. I knit one mitten out of this yarn and need to do the other. I also have spun/plied a sampler pack of british breeds (natural colors). I ended up with 8 shades of sheep. Brent thinks they would make a nice masculine scarf for him. He's probably right. I've also got 1.5 bobbins of singles from a sparkly blue wool/milk/angelina mix. They're ready for plying now.

In addition, I have 2 bobbins (8oz) of singles spun from white merino. These singles are destined to become a three-ply yarn that I'm going to knit into a sweater. I need to spin 4 more bobbins for a total of 24oz of fiber, ply it all and wind into skeins, then I am going to drop it off with Rachel to have her dye it for me. Green I think. I don't care for spinning the merino so it's a bit of a chore, but I have a HUGE ball of the natural fiber, so I might as well use it up.

We have a new feral cat outside. No evident ear-tip so we need to trap her when it's a bit warmer and get her in to the vet for a spay. She's black with white markings and a really wide head. She likes to sit in the patio chairs on the cushions. The three original ferals out there don't care too much for her, but she isn't bothered by them so it's relatively peaceful.

I did our taxes this week, so that's nice to have out of the way. I earned $105 in royalties from the book I wrote for, and I find it irritating that I had to fill out all the self employment details in order to file taxes for it properly.

I'm in the process of spring cleaning in the yarn room. I know it's not spring yet. In order to do it properly, I have pulled all the bins off the shelves and dumped all the yarn in the center of the room to be inspected for insects, aired, then replaced in bins. A bunch of the bins have nearly disintegrated from sun exposure. I think it's a problem specific to the red bins. They're leaving bits of bin cloth everywhere, so I'm tossing them. I can't decide whether to order similar bins from amazon in white/cream, or if I should take the time to sew my own bins. It's a big time commitment to make them, but they would be so cute....

Not a whole lot new going on. I'm trying my best to get my development team to embrace agile development methods. I feel like screaming every time I hear "i can't estimate this without a detailed technical design document". I got my PMP certification renewed for another year. That's pretty awesome. It was a lot of work to get the 60 hours of professional development units to re-certify. I carried over 11 to this certification cycle, so I only need 49 more in the next 3 years.

Fun things
We went to two of the SLSO Beethoven festival performances. Eroica was lovely, but I wasn't a huge fan of the Dean works that were programmed with it. Beethoven's 5th was played far too fast and seemed frantic and messy. The Shostakovitch 5th symphony, however, was fabulous! Also, I feel like I must note--every time a St. Louis group performs works by Russian composers, we always run into Russian immigrants at the performances. I love that.

Coming up this weekend, I'm taking off work on Friday so we can go to the coffee concert for the Brahms double concerto where I will get to moon over the handsome and extremely talented Daniel Lee. Some other guy will be playing violin along with him, but whatever. After that, we have to head over to Collinsville to help out at the Woodturners and Wood Collectors booths at the woodworking show. More of that on Saturday, followed by a baby shower on Sunday. Full weekend ahead!

We still have a number of symphony performances coming up, and I'm starting to dream about opera season, when it's warm and lovely outside.

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Christmas Crafting

Dec. 4th, 2013 | 10:34 am

Time again, for Christmas crafting, though this year is a relatively small list.

1. woven scarf for secret santa
2. wood ornament for exchange party
3. woven scarf for dannye
4. matching hat for dannye
5. hat for nate

I also need to finish alterations on brent's kurta. The only problem with all of this is the fact that all *I* really want to work on is spinning and making hexagons (I'm up to 49 now, only 550 to go).

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AAW symposium

Jun. 25th, 2013 | 10:48 am

I'm off for two weeks and we're heading out tomorrow to head to Tampa to the AAW symposium. I have scoured the schedule to pick out exactly what sessions I'm going to do. Yay!

I turned all day yesterday and probably will do some more today, but right now I'm tidying up around the house and doing laundry so I can have clean clothes for the trip.

The woodturning website is pretty much done and our Strange Folk application is in. I'll keep updating with photos of more stuff when I make it, like the batch of drop spindles I did yesterday. They're the entire reason I wanted to learn to turn, yet this is the first time I've really settled down to make them the right way. I've made a couple before, but always halfheartedly. This time I got all the things I needed and just went for it. They spin beautifully, though the design is not particularly inspired, it's quite functional.

I volunteered to demonstrate them at the August woodturner's meeting. I'm sure no one there will ever make one, but at least it's something different to show people. I can't decide whether to try making any supported spindles. I don't know how to use them, so there is that minor issue.

I just started a new knitting project for the car ride. It's a huge lace shawl and will be deep purple. I get an urge now and then to knit lace, so there we go. It's a very well charted pattern at least, so it's pretty easy to follow.

Oh, and my blackberries are getting ripe and I'm going to miss out on them. Boo!

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