My smarty pants phone (Droid X2) has proven
to be so very fun.And useful, to
boot!Which is good.The phone itself didn’t cost me all that
much, but the monthly data charge certainly needs to be justified. In my mind,
Of course, part of the pleasure right at
first was hunting for apps to download. Some have remained and some have
not.Some have proven ever so useful and
entertaining, and some ever so lame.
I have discovered the FAOTD (Free App Of
The Day) that Amazon offers.I have even
become discerning in what of those I choose to download. I am not all just oooh free!
I have even bought some.Three, to be exact.One was on sale for 10 cents.I know.The Guy was perplexed to see that charge…
The other two?Knitting apps.Go figure.
The one I would like
to talk about (and I am not being paid for this) is called CountyPlus.It is a row counter for knitting, and while
it took me a bit get intuited with the app, I do believe now that it is the
It allows me to list my projects and keep
track of what it is I want to track on each one, with certain limitations.Am I tracking increase rows on a raglan
sweater, or lace repeats?I can use the
settings to count up or down, and mark the row I am on, or the next row.And I move to the next row with just a screen
I am just putting the word out there for
something I have found to be worth what I paid for it, but there is a free
version for trying before buying, too. I have linked to both through the Droid Marketplace, but both are available through Amazon, too, I think.
I do not know about you iPhoners. You are a breed apart and hard to understand...
Also lucky for me?Loopy is located right out by Lowe’s!And also Designer Shoe Warehouse, but Lowe’s
is what attracts The Guy.So now I am
all ‘heck to the yeah, I'll go to Lowe’s with you!’
Heh heh heh…
My first visit, a scant two days after she
opened her doors, I went for a look-see, and also needing something.Yes…I needed a pair of 16” size 6 circular
needles.Mine disappeared, and I do not
know how.I do not loan them, and I keep
my stuff pretty organized, really.
Those of you who know me in real life may or may not be surprised at that. Perhaps the animals are learning to knit in the round on the sly…hats for
the house elves, maybe.
I thought it was humorous, but in a good way, that I was greeted at the door by the store help with 'is this your first time in?' They had been open two days!! Now I am a devoted knitter, but really...
So there I was looking atThe Wall of Circulars, and there were exactly
only one brand of sz 6 16” circulars in stock.I am not the only one missing these needles, I am thinking.Whatever…I sprung for the Addis, my only
choice.I needed them.
I also bought some wooden sock blockers, in
a small size, with little lamby-kins.Pretty cutey pie, and also useful!
My second visit was on The Grand Opening,
upon which I discovered the sale shelf.Seriously, though…like I need more yarn.And seriously again…that did not stop me from buying a skein of sock
yarn.It was The Grand Opening, after
In my little city, we have no dearth of
bike shops, and we are very fortunate to have plenty of choices in our yarn
shops, each offering their own specialty.
Since last spring/summer, I have scoured 3
partial fleeces I bought at local markets that were from coated sheep, and one
full fleece that I tracked down from a rancher south of here that raises for
market.That one I had heard about the
breed and wanted to try it.Not a
shepherd that practices raising for the spinner, and not a covered fleece.
I completed the carding of these four
fleeces the end of January, and just recently weighed the finished batts. And
interestingly, I have practiced some record-keeping with these fleeces that allowed
me to calculate the percentage of weight loss from pre-wash to post-carding.
Now, a shepherd that raises with spinners
in mind will sell, as I mentioned, a fleece from an sheep that has been coated,
which means that once sheared, the critter gets a blanket belted on that
prevents all sorts of hay, seeds, and debris (common verbage labels this as
vegetable matter, or VM) from becoming embedded in the wool and glued to it by
the lanolin.As the wool grows, the
blanket is adjusted to accommodate the longer growth.So there is an investment in both equipment
and time with coating sheep.In
addition, the shepherd will sell the sheared fleece skirted, which means all
the undesirable portions are already removed…the doodly bits from the behind,
the dirty, stringy leg wool, all that isn’t covered and isn’t prime wool.
This all makes for a difference in cost,
don’t you know.Such as this, I paid
$25.00 for 10 pounds of the uncoated, unskirted fleece from the rancher, and $46.00
for 2.6 pounds of coated, skirted fleece from a well-reputed shepherdess from
the Estes Park Wool Market.Seems like a
huge difference and that for some extra work on my part, a dirty fleece might
be a bargain.
Not so much.
My before and after calculations show, that
after my own skirting, and the additional loss due to veggie matter, I lost 66%
of the weight of the dirty fleece resulting in a price/oz of$2.20.The other in the above example, which is typical of the three coated
fleeces, resulted in a weight loss of 23% and a price/oz. of $1.43.With a LOT less work, and a much better
result…I still have debris in the batts from the dirty fleece.
For further consideration, the fleeces
considered here were all fairly comparable, and none out of line with the
others in quality in manner of luxury or fineness.
I love it when I can put pen to paper and
come up with hard facts.And also
justification for paying the price for quality.
Heh heh heh…like I need to buy more wool…I am
not saying how many pounds I have waiting to be spun.
I like to think of it as preparing for retirement.
In my recent knitting activity, I have been
frustrated when some of my inexpensive, bought-on-Ebay,
bamboo-with-plastic-cables circulars have broken their cables in the middle of
I am nothing if not my mother’s daughter.I continued on.And then I super-glued and kept on keeping
on.And they kept breaking.Some of the more used sizes, I fear, have
reached the end of their life span. The
needles are okay for what they gave me…a range of sizes in circulars of 32”
that got me by for several years…for about $12.00. For the whole set. I am not complaining.They were not meant for the Loops of
They also gave me the time to review what I
wanted to Really Have.And what I really
wanted to have is the ‘Berninas’ of interchangeable needles…Addi Clicks by Skacel. (A Bernina is a high end sewing machine...like the Electrolux of sewing machines.) (An Electrolux is a high end appliance...like a Volvo...anyway...)
I found some Addis that a fellow Raveler was
selling.Gently used, a good price
point, shipping paid…I forked over some leftover Christmas money to further
justify the expense.
My Addi Lace Clicks arrived last week.Eight sizes of tips, and 5 cord lengths.
(Wonderful Guy wonders if I will ever need to buy another set of needles again?
I hesitated to answer…because really? The answer is..probably yes.) I have admired them.I have petted them.I have
connected and disconnected them.I have
showed them off.
But I have not used them.I wonder what I am waiting for….
Maybe for all my other circs to go belly up and
I REALLY need the new ones?
Toddler's and Children's Mitten, by Bev Galeskas, from Felted Knits, out of Porcupine Alpaca, Louet Riverstone, Paton's Classic Wool, andThirteen Mile Lamb andWool. Hand section is knitted and felted. Cuffs are then picked up and knitted. I have not heard whether or not they fit or work. I know they were awesomely cute as knitted!
Aviatrix, byJustine Turner (Rav linky) out of Bernat Alpaca Natural Blends, Debbie Bliss Cashmerino, Louet Riverstone, and Thirteen Mile Lamb and Wool. This is an fantastic pattern, well written, and adjustable for several sizes from newborn to young children.
Mohair Ballet Slippers, by Bev Galeskas, from Felted Knits, out of Mountain Colors Weavers Wool Quarters and Patons Classic Wool, without the mohair...another absolutely awesome pattern from this book. I am ready to cast on a pair for Youngest Daughter, who has worn through her French Press Slippers. I love it when my gifted handknits are loved to death.
Easy Baby Cardigan, by Diane Soucy (rav linky), out of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. Both the pattern and the yarn went well together, and worked. Also washable. Diane Soucy wins as a designer for me.
Mothed, by Mags Kandis (Knitty.com link) out of double stranded #2 Shetland...I have no more information than that! Oh, and it's really not Mothed...I didn't really follow the chart.
A couple of different patterns from Sensational Knitted Socks, by Charlene Schurch, out of Brown Sheep Wildfoote. Love the socks. Yarn is very splitty.
French Market Bags, by Polly Outhwaite (Knitty.com link) out of Brown Sheep Lambspride Worsted, Nature Spun Worsted, and Louet Riverstone. A great pattern with some adaptation. For me, it was suppose to be a stash buster, but unfortunately, I ended up having to buy yarn to finish. Whatever, the girls love them. And this one for me...and Apollo... Ilene Bag, by Hannah Ingalls, (rav linky) out of Maggi's Linen
That's some of what's been keeping me out of trouble.
For many years, married to the X, our tax
situation was complex, being ‘clergy’. It took much record keeping and
organization and specialized accounting.It was always a major ordeal to get things organized and sent off by the
‘deadline’ required by the accountant for the ‘discount’ which was always
desirable, because his specialized services were pricey.Then later, the deadline was extra-speshul
for student financial aid purposes.
After The Guy and I married, things were
different, of course, but as he was self-employed, there were still hoops to
jump through, come tax time.Still no
fun.Still lots of documentation and
The last 4 or 5 years have been back to the
regular world of working for employers who send us W-2s by the end of
January.We buy our ‘tax prep in a box’
and we’re good to go.This past week I
pulled all our crap together, and entered all the data.I proofed it all last night and e-filed the
federal return.Done and done!
I thought.About an hour later…ding…an email…my return was rejected!My employer’s EIN did not match what the IRS
had on record for my employer. Which was exactly what was on my W-2...which was
what H&R Block downloaded from ADP…which was the same EIN for the same
employer for last year…
I called the help line for the tax prep
service, who could find no record of my return, or my purchase of their
software in their system. She asked me 'are you sure you are using H&R
Block?' Probably a routine question…but... alas, I was very
frustrated. I know she couldn’t see who she was talking to, and just
doing her job, but I was feeling patronized and probably am going to have to go
back and fill out that customer satisfaction survey.
She told me I had to call the IRS.Who had closed their helpline 20 minutes prior.
I took a chance and just refilled in the offending
blank, and refiled the forms. Well, when one buys the software, one gets
5 free e-files. I always thought that was cool, because I don't know, we
could help the kids...if they needed it...five free, and I only need one, you
Well, guess what. Those extra
efiles? They are for your REJECTIONS!!!So far I have chewed up 2 of my 5.Oh yeah…that customer satisfaction survey is in my sights.
So I went to bed determined not to lose
sleep over this. I had a plan. I would get up and exercise, get
dressed, and call the IRS as soon as they opened at 7A. If I was on hold,
so be it. I have nothing going on at work and also...it's my employer’s
fault!!! So work stuff!
It worked. I slept good.
I called the IRS, and they confirmed my
rejection for that reasons, after…oh…25 minutes on hold. And then said I needed
to make sure my employer didn't change EINs this year. Otherwise, we would
have to mail our forms.
No surprise to me, my payroll person said
no to the change of EIN, and confirmed that my W-2 for this year and last year
were correct.And did I check for
typos?Was the number entered by
download or manually?
Uh…yeah to the BOTH!!!
So what the heck? We mailed our forms, and I
am not sure what difference that is going to make. And is everyone else
who works for my employer going to have the same issue?
I have been appraising the blog
situation.I started Needles of Iron in
January of 2008, and went along
quite merrily and steadily for 4-ish years, before beginning to sputter towards
the end of last year.
I have asked myself some questions trying
to determine the cause of sputtering, if there is a motivation that can spur me
on, is there a need to continue, why do I write in this form after all, and do
I have something to say.
These are hard questions and not easy for
me to answer. I believe come to this.
Why do I share what I share, and why is it
I would like to think I have Important
Content, but really?I don’t.I would like to think I am amusing and
humorous but really?There are those
bloggers out there that one should read for that sort of thing.I don’t have any great insight on knitting
techniques.I just do my thing my way
and as for free knitting patterns?Well,
I can only point the direction to those patterns I use.I can offer some vacation photos taken at really
fun places, but these, too, are strictly amateurish!
There have been posts that offer my
insights on life and my experiences, and I liked those, but my opinions and
experiences are really my own, and other’s mileage may vary.Other’s mileage undoubtedly varies, and
everyone is entitled to their own.Mostly.
One thing I truly appreciated about
blogging is the interaction with other bloggers, and getting to know my
internet peeps.But I noticed this past
fall, when I lost the opportunity to comment on other’s blog, that little perk fell
by the wayside for the most part, which saddened me, but what the heck.It happened, and the people in our lives come
My blog has been really great in letting my
family know what I am doing to stay busy, and also in making sure they have
enough fodder for keeping me humble.After all, what are siblings for?I am so pleased that my family takes the time to read my ramblings.On the other hand, I will say because my
family reads, I censor myself!Maybe
that’s a good thing.
So where am I going with this?What am I doing and why, and am I going to
keep going and how?
I am back to where I started…writing for
me, about what I want and what I do, but now I am also letting my family know
what I am up to.With some photos thrown