WIP Report

Not much completion going on in Casa del Revknits. But there are things to report.

My spinning mojo is quite good at the moment. I’m spinning with Pigeonroof Falkland, and I love the colors. I hope I’m not overspinning the fiber:

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The progress on the vest has reached the steek level – I’ve created the armhole steeks. I’m about to start creating the steek for the V-neck – it’s a little scary, knowing what will be happening. And because of all the colors, this is not a portable project. I would like to get it done before Ravelympics begin, but I have a fair amount of travel, so that might be a little beyond me at the moment.

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The comfort knitting is my Lacy Prayer Shawl – in Malabrigo worsted in Natural – I might use this project for a dye experiment. Free download through Ravelry – go to this page on my blog, and you’ll see.

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And I need to start on a baby sweater project for my boss, that will probably be the travel project…only two colors in a cheap but washable/dryable yarn!

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How a Spinner is Born

First, a casual glance at spinning fiber and goodness as one walks by
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Entranced by the fiber goodness, a closer inspection is required
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Decide that further tactile investigation and play is the order of the day, one engages the spindle
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And learns to draft the fiber with the correct paw
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Realize that park and draft is more complicated than it looks when somebody experienced does it, it’s hard to know where to look
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Then takes a break because learning new stuff is tiring
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When do I get to ply?
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Because We Care

It’s bad in Haiti – I live in San Francisco, and have lived through earthquakes, but trying to go through a 7.0 earthquake with unreinforced buildings, etc. etc. is just unimaginable.

So, there are plenty of ways to give. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Doctors Without Borders: The hospital that they run in Port Au Prince has been destroyed, they’ve moved all the staff and patients out into the courtyard.  The group is flying staff into the region from other countries, which of course means there will be issues in those countries as a result.
  • Church World Service: There’s the immediate crisis, and then there’s the rebuilding. Church World Service has partnerships with the local communities in Haiti and will be doing both.
  • UNICEF: This world-wide organization will be there to help children in the coming days, weeks and years.

Seriously, folks, get out the credit card and donate today.  I’ve done my share.  And if you live in earthquake country and don’t have an emergency kit put together, let this be a wake-up call to start.

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Spinning Update

I have some more information and tools for spinning:

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Abby’s stuff is great for the newbie spindler.  Every page has something of value!  The DVD is pretty good, of course it can’t contain everything in the book. If you are thinking of getting the video – buy the DVD, because the download video quality is not all that good, I’ve heard.

One of the things I learned from Abby’s book is the multiple ply plying ball. You take two singles and wind them together in a tensioned ball, and it turns out that this makes it much easier for the beginning spindler to control the plying. I’ve made a lot of progress over the last few months since I took my beginner’s class. See?
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The yarn on the left was the first beginner handspun, and the stuff on the right is some lovely merino/silk top that I got from A Verb for Keeping Warm (at Llama Llama Knits). I really enjoyed spinning this stuff, and feel pretty darned proud of it:

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There’s more than this skein – I’ve got two ounces, and am I’m pondering a small project for this – a cowl or a hat at the moment. Suggestions welcome!

Things in the spinning department were going well so well last week that I knew I needed some more fiber, which was conveniently down the street from my new credit union (Redwood Credit Union).  Anyway, this fiber jumped out at me. I haven’t spun with this fiber before, and the colorway is amazing!
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This Falkland fiber comes from the Falkland Islands off the coast of Argentina. I’m trying to branch out with a variety of fibers – it will be the year of “make my own fiber club” since I appear to have missed most of the deadlines for the ones in 2010. At least Stitches West is coming up – I should be able to score some spindles, a nostepine, and some cool fiber there!

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Back to Afghans for Afghans Knitting

I’m very excited that there is another youth campaign with Afghans for Afghans along with Church World Service. Details of the campaign can be found here.

I’m thinking that I’ll finish (finally!) the blanket squares that have been haunting my yarn area, then work on some sweaters and vests to start with, and finish up with some socks and mittens with any leftovers. I got a bunch of Pastaza wool/alpaca yarn at Bluebird’s summer sale, and there’s more on the WEBS site too, so I think I’ll buy a bit more and have a bunch to play with over the winter.

Updated:  I did buy more Pastaza at the year-end WEBS sale, and while on vacation visiting my Mom, I managed to finish this little vest:

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I used the schematics from Sweater 101 to make up a vest pattern, and used the criss cross cable with twists for the central cable.  My other thoughts were that having some ribbing at the sides would be a way for the vest to be close-fitting and warm.  I had the ribbing come up the sides of the armscythe (eliminating the need for an edging), and had the central cable come up along the v-neck as well.  That little cable was continued on its own after I reached the top fronts, then grafted together and sewn into the back neck.

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Other knitterly features include:  short rows at about 5 inches on the back to make the vest hang better, short-rows at the top-shoulders with a three-needle bind-off.  The only finishing at the end was the top back neck and weaving in the ends.

I’m pondering writing this up as a pattern – what do folks think – it is worth it?

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Breaking Up with Chase Bank is Easy To Do

(Note: this post is not about knitting or spinning.  We will return to our regular programming after this post.)

When I moved to California almost 11 years ago, I had to change banks, and I decided on WAMU, which had free checking accounts.  For years, I had good experiences, at least ’til their sub-prime lending ways led them to collapse in September 2008.  But everything was insured, so I didn’t lose money, and JPMorgan Chase took them over.

I was willing to give these folks a chance, but the more I read about Jamie Dimon, who has basically refused to help homeowners refinance their mortgages, and has bought the Congress with his lobbying, and the complete lack of remorse about their part in tanking the economy, I was getting more and more irritated.

But then came the $5 bill.  It tore as I was pulling it out of my wallet, neatly in two.  No big deal, I thought, the next time I go into Chase, I’ll trade it out.

So, when I went into the branch where my Mom lives, I deposited a check, and then asked to change out the $5.  The teller looked at me apologetically, and told me that Chase does not accept “multilated currency.”  I stared at him dumbfounded, and said, “but you’re a BANK.”  He then told me that I could mail the bill the to hUS Treasury. He also said he thought this was a stupid policy.  I asked to speak to a supervisor.  He went up to her, and then told me she would get me the address to send the currency to.

I was kept waiting for 15 minutes – the manager was sitting at her desk, calmly doing her own work, even grabbing a file from a file drawer to continue her work.  Finally, I asked another clerk to get the supervisor.  He went up to her, and then tried to tell me that she was getting the address, so I demanded in a loud voice to speak with her.  Angry, she stalked to a station and pointed to me. Here’s how it went from there.

Me: “Is this a bank?”

Her: “Huh?”

Me:  “Is this a bank?”

Her (through gritted teeth):  Yes.

Me:  Then give me another $5 bill.

Her:  No, you need to send this to Treasury.  I was getting the address.  (She wasn’t.)

Me:  You’re a BANK.  This is your JOB.

Her:  It would cost us money to do this.  This is YOUR money.

Me:  I will close out all of my accounts.

Her:  Ok, we can do that right now.

Me (realizing I have auto this-and-that and couldn’t do it that day):  I will do this at my own convenience, not yours.

Banking Irony:  I take the $5 bill to KMart to buy something for my mom, and the clerk takes a piece of tape, tapes it together, and puts it in the drawer.  I like to think it ended up in the deposits of the Chase Bank that night.

So, I will be putting my money in a credit union, which usually have their customer interests a little higher on the priority list, being non-profit and membership-based.  It will make my life a little less convenient, but I am very, very willing to live with that. ‘

If you have your money in one of the “big four” banks (Chase, Citibank, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America), think about moving your accounts.  There is no reason to continue supporting banks that are predatory on both their customers and the taxpayers, and can wreck our economy because of their political clout.

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