Saturday, April 30, 2011

Knitting in Vancouver

My sister in law has been wanting her daughter to learn to knit, and so she signed them both up for a year of drop-in classes at pretty much THE most amazing yarn store I've ever been to -- the Stitch & Knit Shoppe in West Vancouver. Incredible selection of yarn and the friendliest staff! While they sat and had their first lesson, I finished up these socks that I've been knitting on the bus for a while now. They're made with a Crazy Zauberball, which has sort of random color changes so you end up with socks that are complementary but not matched.

(My 8 year old niece is now a knitter!)
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Thursday, April 28, 2011

earth week

I noticed this vignette at the bus stop this morning, and had to snap a quick photo -- just a little more on my "green" theme.

Saturday morning bright and early I'm heading up to Vancouver BC for some business meetings and a chance to spend a little time with my youngest brother and SIL and their brood of 4. Their 8-year-old daughter is a big crafting nut, and I always wish she lived closer! I'm hoping to have a few spare minutes to check out the local yarn scene...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

midweek miscellany

I haven't done well with all the stuff I planned this month, but I did finish a UFO --This was the one I made from Judy Laquidara's "Peaches & Dreams" pattern; I started out calling it Green Peaches, but I think it's actually Green Goddess. It was nicely quilted by Margaret with a leafy design all over, and these sweet vines in the borders:
I'm quite pleased with it. And for more green, I added a couple more rows to Think Green Thoughts from last month's rainbow scrap challenge. For some reason it came out quite skewed -- possibly from sewing all the strips together in one direction, or maybe all my scraps weren't quite straight-of-grain? After it's quilted I shall have to dampen it and wrestle it into shape!
The jewelry and quilt show last weekend went pretty well -- I actually sold 4 quilts. Three were wall hangings that I had made to try out various things and was ready to part with. The fourth was -- the teal strippy top from my last post! My buyer loved it (and now I have to get it quilted up so I can deliver it)

And a cat story: Bucky has reached a new level of impending feline senility. For a while now he's been eating less than I'd like him to, and he's lost some weight. We've played around with different brands/styles/flavors of canned food, but he loses interest. We've spent a little money on blood tests and having some dental work done, but it didn't help with the eating.

What I started noticing recently, though, is that he was very nervous about eating -- constantly stopping to look around at (invisible) intruders. After moving his dish a couple of times I discovered he was most comfortable in a corner of the kitchen where there would be nothing distracting. And, he keeps eating the longest if I sit in a chair next to him while he eats! I've decided it's my twice-daily moment of zen... just sitting in the chair thinking for a few minutes. Thanks, Bucky!


Thursday, April 21, 2011

fiber-related content!

Are you sick of listening to me whine? Good news, then -- I've stopped!

A couple of weeks ago I ran across THIS quilt idea for using a jelly roll or other 2-1/2" strips. Basically you sew all 40 strips together end to end, then fold the 1600" strip in half and stitch to the end and clip the end; then you fold the 800" strip in half and stitch, and so on. I forwarded the idea on to my mini-groups, and Catherine almost immediately sat down and made two tops:I think the second one put her over the edge, because the photo is kind of fuzzy... Mo likes it, though!And then I got a wild notion (is it "hare" or "hair"?) and put this together last night:
Honestly, I'm pretty ambivalent about it. I love monochromatic, but I'd rather have more control over the values and contrast. When you're putting this together it's hard to figure out in advance how the fabrics are going to line up...

My other mini group is planning to do this as a group project in a couple of weeks. We're going to each make a quilt using half shared black & white fabrics and half other fabrics of our own choosing. I'm thinking of heading in a bumblebee direction, but I haven't actually cut any strips yet.

And there's yarn action, too! When I started knitting socks a few years ago I heard about Cat Bordhi from Amy, who was in the process of trying out all of her patterns. They seemed very cool, so I bought the book but was too intimidated to do anything with it. Just recently, Suzanne knit a pair of Cat's socks and we chatted (virtually) and decided to maybe do a knit-along this summer of one of the patterns. But first I decided I had to dive in and make sure I understood the thought process...
This is my first Cat Bordhi sock -- it's the basic "Riverbed" architecture, which is a toe-up sock that has increases running up the sole rather than on the instep. The socks fit perfectly but they look very odd when they're not on a foot. I had never done a short-row heel before but after ripping it out once because I forgot the side increases, it worked perfectly. I don't like the yarn -- it's DK weight rather than fingering, and that makes a sock that's too heavy for my taste. The reinforced heels are insanely think and I'm not sure they'll fit in a shoe! But I'm glad I did it, and I definitely feel more confident about moving on to other patterns from her book.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

up and running

The nightmare appears to be over! Of course I didn't get the very first ATT appointment on Monday as promised... in fact the guy didn't show up until almost 1:30 and after a couple more hours of me trying not to lose it on the phone. We finally had the phones working at about 3:00.

Somewhere along the line our Tuesday appointment for installation of the internet service got changed to Wednesday -- no one asked, of course! But the guy showed up within his allotted time-frame today and we now have this little blinking gadget on the counter and all is well.
This is the only other part of the office worth showing off at the moment -- I've actually kept this plant alive and (mostly) happy for 3 years now.
I've been working on some purple quilting (is that like purple prose?) for the scrap challenge and a little IBOL project, and getting things tidied up for a jewelry and quilt show at my house this weekend. A former neighbor makes wonderful bead and wire jewelry and is hoping to sell some; I have a few quilts I wouldn't mind selling but mostly I think it will be everyone asking "how long does it take you to make a quilt?"... and the other usual stuff.

Friday, April 15, 2011

ATT SUCKS BIG TIME


major rant follows...

When we last spoke, ATT was going to send the phone tech to transfer our office phone from one floor to another, between 8-12 today, and they were going to send a different tech to transfer the internet service between 9-11 today.

At 11, I called to ask about the internet guys. After half an hour on hold, I was told that the order had been canceled, but they couldn't tell me who canceled it or why. They wanted to reschedule it for Tuesday and I said no -- it had to be Monday because no one was in the office on Tuesdays, and the matter was "escalated" to a manager who would call me back. Of course this never happened and as far as I can tell we're still scheduled for Tuesday.

At the same time, I asked about the status of the phone guys, and after further time on hold, I was told we were "next" on the schedule.

At 2 I called again. The rep refused to talk to me at all because I didn't have the 3-digit code from my phone bill, and I couldn't tell her the exact amount of my last bill. Even though all I wanted to know was the update on the tech visit! (of course they had turned off our existing phone and internet service first thing this morning, and all the papers were in boxes). I asked for a supervisor, and she said she would "escalate" it and someone would call me back. Of course this never happened.

When I got off the phone I accessed my bill-pay on the Blackberry and got the 3-digit code and the amount of my last bill and called back and spent another hour on hold getting to the wrong department, who transferred me to someone in Ohio, who transferred me to someone in California, who assure me we were "next" on the schedule and that she would talk to the dispatcher again to get a better idea of timing and call me back. Of course this never happened.

Then starting at about 4 I called again and spent an hour and a half, mostly on hold, being transferred around (because the number you're supposed to call for business service does not ever get you to the right department no matter what you yell into their automated system) and reached a very sympathetic woman who said a) they had no idea what happened to the tech and they were worried that he had gotten into an accident and b) finally got the dispatcher to promise that I would have the very first appointment on Monday and that they would waive all installation charges that might otherwise apply.

What no one was able to tell me was:
- why the business phone line didn't ever get you to the business phone people
- why no one bothered to contact me about the cancellation and delays
- why no one ever called back when they said they would

The highlight of the day was the end of the first call, where after telling me that they had fucked up my internet service, could they sell me on buying cellphone service from them instead of wherever I currently had it? Then the 2 pm call rep started to ask the same question... she got an earful!

I was very good. I managed not to cry. And I didn't swear at them, which was REALLY hard to do. Altogether, I logged at least 3 hours on my cellphone with them.

But after all this, I know that it's not over. The tech is going to show up late on Monday, and he'll decide there's some problem he can't deal with. It turns out that one of my colleagues will be there on Tuesday and she will have the pleasure of dealing with the internet guy (it turns out that they couldn't install the U-Verse service if the phone line wasn't already in, so it's just as well that got screwed up -- but why didn't they know that when they set up the appointments the first time?)

And if anyone asks, will you tell them that I gave excellent service? As if...




*photo from http://media.photobucket.com/image/onions/JennMann1/onions.jpg?o=33

Monday, April 11, 2011

Squee!

Every year I watch Vicki's bird photos, and Sue's bird photos, and I'm so envious... but now I have a photo of my own to share:We have a huge clump of ornamental grass up on the retaining wall behind our house, and usually it gets cut back to a foot tall in the winter -- but this year it didn't, due to rainy weekends, schedule conflicts, and general laziness. I was just getting to the point of nagging Al to trim it last week when I noticed that one of the song sparrows was spending a lot of time rustling around inside the clump instead of just sitting on one spike of grass singing as usual.

We decided to do a little reconnaissance mission, and discovered the nest! So cute... the parents hung out and scolded us while we worked in the yard for an hour or so, but they did go back to the nest after that so all appears to be well. I'll probably take another peek when I hear some cheeping noises.

(I hope to have some quilty stuff to show soon!)

Friday, April 08, 2011

off topic

I'm just sitting here amusing myself while on the phone with ATT. We're moving our office 2 floors up next week, and just transferring two phone lines and the internet service is a 45-minute process -- not counting the time I'm going to spend next Friday waiting for technicians to show up!

Apparently our current internet service is no longer available, so we need a new modem and a separate technician. And a separate account number and separate bills each month! But for some reason they're showing service already installed in the new suite (which has been vacant for several months) but referenced to a different suite number on a different floor, so the whole thing is gummed up, to put it nicely. We don't function well without internet...

The thing about ATT is that they always sound SO competent on the phone but then some part of the process always goes horribly wrong in execution. I think it took at least 10 calls to get everything set up correctly when we moved in here 3 years ago. One can only hope!


Thursday, April 07, 2011

It's Thursday...

Which means only one more office day -- I feel like a kid in school waiting for summer vacation sometimes (okay most of the time) but in my case it's more like "please, please is it time to retire yet?" Lately it seems like I have to pep-talk myself an awful lot, even though I basically do like what I do and I have a lot of flexibility at work. Someone was telling me recently about the employees at a local utility who all have that "I'm just waiting for retirement" mentality and I'm afraid I've become one of them... right now my mantra is "3 more years, 3 more years."

Okay, well THAT'S depressing, so here's something cheery:

I've been wanting to learn how to do colorwork knitting, so I made a tiny Fair Isle sweater! It's from a holiday ornament kit that KnitPicks put out last year. I bought it because they had a pattern for a knitted garland of popcorn and cranberries... but after I figured out that each piece of popcorn would take about 45 minutes I kind of lost interest. If you know anyone who can fit into a 5" sweater, let me know!

And here's a finished quilt to look at -- it's "S is for Spumoni". I sent it to Margaret to quilt when she was having her easy-quilting special a few weeks ago, and she did a quick, neat job of it with some ripples and swirls.


Here's a close-up:I'll have another finish to show you pretty soon, because I figured as long as I was sending one quilt cross-country, I might as well send two. So, I see binding in my future...