Wednesday, April 30, 2008

CccrRrrraaAAAcckkk!!!!

gggrrRRrrruuummmmbbbbBBBBbbbllllleee

You can always tell it's coming. The light changes. It gets darker. Then a little yellow. (Yes, yellow- the air takes on a golden glow and despite my many efforts to capture this it seems impossible to do so!) You see the flash of light, followed by the grumble of thunder. Then a few minutes later... the rain.


We had this weather almost every afternoon in March. But most of April has been dry. Then hot. Really hot. Yeah, I know I already told you about that, but I have learned that I do actually sweat and it can drip down my back when I am standing still. The rain cools things off but it does get a bit more muggy. They call rain at this time of year "Mango Showers" or so I have heard, but apparently the March rains really messed with the mango crop and since it is now Mango season, the prices are said to be a bit higher. Still yummy though!


Knitting? Well, I am out of Sock Madness. Round 4 was started and I just did not have a lot of energy , so I didn't push myself the way I had in previous rounds. I was knitting away last Monday afternoon and as I was checking to see who posted their finished socks on Flickr I saw my undoing pop up. I put down the sock, sulked for a few days and then picked them up again. I am done with all but the heel on the 2nd sock and already started on the Round 5 sock- but I will wait to show you the socks until they are all done (hopefully this weekend). I must say that they really have some beautiful patterns this year! I can't wait to show you! Okay- I give ... here is the first finished sock from round 4:


Tomorrow is Mayday. If we were home we would be waking up early, heading to a dear friend's house for a dance and sing around the May Pole followed by strawberries, whipped cream (or ice cream!) and shortcake for breakfast.

sigh.

Here it is a worker's holiday (including our driver and our housekeeper) so I expect that we will sleep in, and try to figure out what to do with ourselves for the day. Maybe I'll put on some fiddle music or something to help us feel a little better.

Lastly, I spotted this yesterday and am sorely tempted to buy it! Do you know what it is?


What do you think? Should I get it??!!!

Monday, April 21, 2008

All Sock Madness... All the Time!

I am really trying to not have this blog turn into a 24/7 Sock Madness news channel.

I had intended to do a nice interesting post for you this last week, but I was so busy doing "stuff" that it just didn't quite materialize. And now I am online waiting, waiting, waiting for the next pattern to be released.

Enjoying the hammock as the air starts to cool

It is Summer here. It is hot. Not unbearably so, but somewhat uncomfortable and we are now using the AC at night -hot. I am very grateful that we live in Bangalore (average current temp. 36-37 C./ 98 F.) rather than someplace like Delhi (40-41 C./ 104-105 F.) Ugh. I'm good thanks! It also doesn't get as humid here so it is still somewhat tolerable. The cats, particularly Benny, have taken to lying on the floor, tummy up, underneath the ceiling fans. It really looks quite ridiculous, but I will leave it to your imagination and try to preserve a bit of Benny's integrity and respectable image.

We spent the last weekend getting plants for the outside areas, moving furniture around (family members can insert laughter here), and hanging things on the wall. It felt like a productive weekend and I am starting to feel more comfortable in the house... it doesn't feel empty anymore. It is actually starting to feel like a comfortable home!

Ok- I give up. Things are going wonky on my computer and I want to post before the next round of Sock Madness starts. Will check in again soon!

View from the hammock before the mosquitoes come out...

Oh yes, I have also enabled word verification in an effort to reduce the comment spam that has been popping up on my blog lately... hopefully that will be enough and I won't have to go to comment moderation. But please, if you see any comment that says "See Here" with a link- don't go see it!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Round 3 done!

Just a quick post- I did finish the Round 3 socks for Sock Madness last night, approximately 39 hours after the pattern was released.

I was the first one finished in my division, but I know that the benefit that I had this round will not be there every time! The pattern was released early in the morning my time, so I had a good long day to knit. I finished the first sock on the first evening (Friday) and was able to get a start on sock #2 before I went off for a bit of sleep. Even though I went out for a couple of hours with my daughter on Saturday, I still finished the second sock last night at a reasonable time.

I know- this isn't really so interesting. but the point I am trying to make is that I know I will not win this competition. There are faster knitters out there. I have reached my goal of making it further than I did last year (I was beat out in the third round) and I still hope to make it a bit further. But there are some speed demons out there who I have no chance against!

Without further ado, the socks...

Slippin' Stripin' Socks

yarn: Merino Lace from The Knittery in Moonlight and Warm Pink colorways.

It was a great pattern and I am quite happy with the outcome! And, I will be in Round 4 whenever it starts...

Friday, April 11, 2008

Thursday, April 10, 2008

India Post

I have some dear friends, Mary (aka Spinnity) and Janice (aka Bogie) who gave me a very sweet present before I left the States. Knowing that decent yarn is difficult to find in India, they gave me a gift certificate to Webs and yes- Webs ships to India! Well, after a little hmmming and such I decided to use my gift certificate to order some yarn. Lace yarn. Valley Yarns Merino/Tencel. 2 cones of it! Yippee! I perused the site and sent in my order March 3rd. I also ordered some other lace yarn the following day from The Knittery in Australia. Turns out I also really needed some Superwash lace for one of the Sock Madness patterns. The Knittery yarn arrived in about one week, but then it took about one week for them to notify me and for me to figure out exactly where I needed to go to pick up said yarn. With me so far?

Anyway, back to Webs. Finally this week I decided that I needed to try to track down this package. It had been a month after all! I sent an e-mail to Webs and they assured me that it had left the country. So I knew then that I had to go bug the people at India Post. I have by now heard many horror stories about missing packages, missing items from packages, packages that are damaged beyond all recognition, etc, etc...

Great.

So, I spoke to my driver and he said we needed to go to the GPO (General Post Office). We drove into the city and pulled up to this grand old building surrounded by many lush plants and the always constant traffic. I walked up to the building, saw a window that said "enquiries" and headed that way. Within a few minutes a man called on me and I explained that I was looking for a package that had been sent from the US. He then told me that I needed to go to the FPO (Foreign Post Office) in the even more congested part of Central Bangalore. Goody. Luckily my driver knew where it was (since the gentleman's directions were "St. Mark's Cross Road, near the State Bank of India, ask someone- Second floor" and actually those directions probably would have worked just fine~)

We headed over to the FPO and I walked up the stairs to the second floor (reminding myself that it is actually the third floor) and I entered a room that was filled with large burlap and cloth bags containing packages. They were everywhere, piled, tossed, and helter skelter. I stepped over a couple of bags to get to the desk that someone pointed me towards and approached a wary looking woman. I explained my predicament and she asked if I had the package number. Argh. Well, yes- but that would be in the e-mail that I had received from Webs. Did I think to write it down? Nope. Okay- she said that without the number I could look through this book... and she hands me a register book that is filled with page after page of handwritten entries. These are all of the packages that had been received in the last couple of months. Each day has 2-3 pages of entries. Fantastic. But, then she says, "You could also check here" and shows me a folder with some computer printed entries and low and behold I was the second one listed! That's me! I say and she eventually tells me that the package left there office on the 1st (one week ago) to go to my local post office.

Of course!

So, back to the car and we drive to the local post office (not the LPO!) and I walk in the door, a man looks up from his desk and says, "Ma'am, your package has arrived."

He knows me. Okay. Guess maybe I stand out or something. Anyway, I paid the import duty and brought my package home. While it took almost two hours, I was actually able to get my package without too much of a problem! The Indian Post works. And here is the result...

Package with the requisite heavy twine and sealing wax. It has been inspected.


Yarn!

Thank you Mary and Janice!!!!!

Now this is my last post before the Madness kicks in again. Yes, that's right, Round 3 of Sock Madness starts tomorrow. I have swatched with the lace yarn from The Knittery, have balled my yarn and I am ready to go. There are now 20 of us in each division (down from 50 or 60) and the first 12 done in each division will move on to Round 4. Wish me luck!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Harshakala

Okay, now that the second Sock Madness round is done (for me at least!) I can get back to our regular blogging! I am going to tell you about...


So, I of course love textiles and I was thrilled to be able to go to Harshakala, the National Handloom Expo. There are really few words that can describe what these pictures can, but it was awesome to see. There was a very large tent filled with row after row of vendors displaying silks, hand printed fabrics (silk, cotton, etc...), carpets, wall hangings, clothing, even wool socks (mine are better though!) All of these items are fashioned by hand and are beautiful to behold.

Now, they do use some machines. This is a Jacquard loom that is being used to make a silk Jacquard fabric.
The shuttle zipped back and forth as he pulled on the knob (just next to his face in the picture), but the thread was so incredibly thin it was difficult to see! Silk has some amazing properties in that way. It is an incredibly strong fiber and can be spun very, very, thin (I know - you spinners already know this!) This particular loom had a pneumatic function which I believe makes it a little easier to operate (less muscle power needed).

This is the upper part of the loom and those green things hanging on the left are hole punch pattern cards of some sort. Each card has different holes in it and this will then effect which of the things to the right are used , which is what makes up the pattern. I know, this isn't a very good description, I just am not finding the right words. But dude, it was cool.

Here are some more of the pattern cards:


Here is what the silk fabric looked like:


There was also a display about silk and where it comes from, complete with live silk worms and all. We used to raise these every Spring when my kids were little, although we never used the silk itself. This was a cool, and traditional way of holding the cocoons:


We always used egg cartons, but this is a lot prettier!

I spotted some silk thread (couldn't really call it yarn) and was examining it to see if it was plied in any way when a man came up near me and was talking on his phone. As he hung up I asked him if he worked here...
He didn't, but we got started talking and it turns out that he owns a business that makes and distributes silk yarns to the EU and N. America! Wow. I could not believe my luck. And actually, he is the one that makes the base yarn for Tilli Thomas yarns.

Did he say Tilli Thomas?!
Tilli Thomas, one of the most expensive yarns I know of?

Someone pinch me. This can not be happening! Well, I immediately asked him if I could come by and see what he has, and yes, can I buy some? I am not in the US or the EU at present. I am here and would love to be able to get some decent yarn!!!! He gave me his card, asked where we lived, said he has a place nearby there and yeah... Made my day!

So, I will leave you with a little slide show of what I saw and maybe even some of what came home with us (Bryan helped too!)




Thursday, April 03, 2008

Sock Madness- Reversai Pair done!


Reversai Pair done!
Originally uploaded by SnidKnits
Not the prettiest pic- but I am done with the Round two sock for Sock Madness. And now? Off to bed!