Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Sometimes you need a little perspective

Until twenty minutes ago, my kitchen was filthy. Like, I'd-turn-my own-mother-away-at-the-door-if-she-showed-up filthy. There was trash overflowing out of my too-small trash can in the corner. The punch bowl from a friend's baby shower was sitting dirty in the sink (the shower was a week ago - I told you it was bad). The counters were dirty, there were dirty dishes everywhere. Won't do. Why is cleaning so therapeutic?

I unloaded the dishwasher. Loaded it back up. Bagged up the trash and changed the bag. Put on the kettle.

(I am a green tea fanatic.)

Sigh. Missed deadlines. Press checks up in Portland in pouring rain at the most inconvenient time possible. A needle fell out of one of my socks and I lost my crochet hook so I have to figure out how to fix it. My massage therapist is taking a hiatus so I have to miss my monthly trip (this is a very big deal, I have a very high stress job). I had a terrible asthma attack the other night because of my laundry detergent (it was new). My face is a mess, my sheets are dirty, my cats need brushing, the coffee table is covered with junk, and I have to go out of town on Friday.

This is the past few days of my life. The kitchen is clean, I can breathe, the dishwasher is running, the cats will live another day without being brushed - so some of it is temporary. The rest? I was literally so angry last night I had to sequester myself. I watched A Very Long Engagement, by the way - fantastic movie. Might watch it again tonight.

But today I was reminded, while I was carefully chewing over my problems and focusing on me me me, that other people have it worse than I do. No matter how bad things get for me, there is generally always somebody having a worse day than me.

I sang all the way home tonight. Hymns. Didn't feel like it, but did it anyway. I made myself belt them out at the top of my lungs while I cleaned the kitchen, fed the cats and bagged up the trash. It's my go-to method of attitude adjustment. You can't feel crappy about yourself if you're focusing on someone else. And you know? I feel better. Not great, but better.

Just a little alarmed and discouraged and stressed, but better.

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on your side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through stormy ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.

And even better now.


Go here and do this:


Shoutout to Strange Little Mama.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Yoshimi and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day

Grump, grump, grump.

Sigh. Nope.




Ahem. Ahem.

Go knit something, you'll feel better.


Saturday, January 28, 2006

Gorgeous Sweater & What I'm Up To

Check this out if you haven't already - Josephine (Scroll down.)

Well done, you!

Instead of knitting on Dad's socks tonight, I cast on for this pattern. Progress after about 3 hours of lazy knitting -

Meeting the Dragon

I had a little trouble parsing one or two things about the pattern, namely, the M1 increases. I have notoriously bad luck doing these, and the only kind I really seem to be able to do properly is kfb. However, on this pattern (see chart) I really had to think about which stitches should be kfb - not the T, but the one before it - and then of course I had to come up with an alternate game plan for those rows that end in a decrease immediately followed by M1, K1. I decided to do a lifted increase for that, which is where you knit into the back of the stitch below the next stitch to be worked. I fussed and fiddled with this a lot. One pattern repeat took me about 45 minutes. I have a feeling I can finish them a little faster now that I have an understanding of how to do those M1s. I can see where I did it differently on that first repeat. I'm not kidding when I say I need to swatch a pattern repeat before beginning a project. It's not for gauge, it's so I can work crap like that out. Oh well. When I was doing the lifted increases the dragon didn't have a backbone. I wanted one. Kfb's accomplish this.

The yarn shown in the pattern is tweedy, yummy stuff. It calls for DK weight but I didn't have any, so I used worsted on 6's. It looks and drapes fine. My big rowing arms don't need slender gauntlets anyway. (I am using Wool of the Andes, because I started feeling insanely guilty that I have about 16 balls of this stuff just sitting under my end table, all alone. And my wrists are cold.)

So, I'm going to go knit something.

I finally figured out the yarn!

Thanks to Lisa - who inspired me. :)

There is a price sticker on the label that covered up the kind of yarn it is. I was thinking it's just Regia 4Fädig, but that's only part of it. (I guess 4Fädig must mean 4-ply.) The kind of yarn is Strato Color. I also looked up the word Fabre in my Translation widget, and that's the color number, so -

Regia 4Fädig Strato Color, color # 5745 (Graphite).

AND, I found an online source, though I paid about $3 less a ball for mine, here.

And here is the detail page.

Ok! I'm on an adventure to rescue a friend in Kentucky, who needs a part for his car. Back later. Probably no knitting today.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Heel #1!

I finished Heel #1 of Dad's Star Trail Socks - I kind of like that name. Check out the cool stripey action!

Star Trail Socks

I really was not expecting the heel to do this. Since it's on the bottom of the foot, it's like a secret. Makes me happy.

I wrote out the pattern notes as I went, and then forced myself to write out the pattern so far tonight, so I can follow it for the second sock. Does anybody want to read what I have so far? I could use an extra set of eyes...

And speaking of cool stripey action -


Two Thousand Socks!

If you're a sock knitter AT ALL, that is, if you've made socks this year AT ALL, then you must go here and report it.

Link courtesy of the Yarn Harlot.

Another contender for Mom's socks - Diagonal Rib Socks from subscriber-only online IK.

These might actually win the race. Have to adjust for sport weight yarn, though, so I'll be swatching over the next couple days. Wonder if I could knit these up on size 0 or 1...well, I know a 1 will work, but a 0? I'll try it...must swatch the pattern anyway whatever it is because otherwise the first repeat I do will be all garfed up.

Through to the Next Round

I love it when Simon says that - especially now that I'm a knitter, and "round" means something.

I'm through to the next round on these socks...I finished the leg ribbing last night and then spent a while puzzling over Sock Theory for the best way to divide for the heel. I want the instep to begin and end with purl stitches to avoid an unnaturally wide foot portion (also, needle joins are tighter if you end with a p stitch and then tighten that last one and the first one within an inch of their lives) and it took my dyslexic brain a little while (I think I had smoke coming out my ears) to figure out how I wanted to do this. I finally got it and started my heel flap. This yarn is going to make a pretty heel as well, though since it's sort of a stripey yarn I probably ought to knit the heels in contrasting colours to keep the stripe going. Humph.

So far the socks are almost - within a row - perfectly matched. That's unusual for me. Normally my socks are fraternal unless knit with solid colors.

So that's progressing. What I'm trying to do is knit part of the first sock, write out how I did it, and then knit the same part of the second sock and follow my instructions to make sure it works. I'm my own test knitter, ha ha.

I bought some lovely skeins of Lorna's Laces in Icehouse to make socks for Mom (she requested them!) and I'm thinking of making either Elfine or the Embossed Leaves socks from the Winter Interweave Knits. I also have one or two other patterns stacked up in the queue that I'd like to knit - Rib and Cable socks, Diagonal Rib socks, even the Web Socks (those are all subscriber-only from IK...go get a Winter issue and use the password on the editorial page to get in...this is a first...and you can look at all of their subscriber-only patterns AND download them).

What I've discovered about socks is that they are portable, versatile enough to challenge me, they take enough time so that I'm sufficiently interested but not so much time I get bored, they are great gifts, and they are endlessly customizable. So for now I'm on a sock kick.

But really, I still have to work on Clapotis, and some arm warmers, and Kate the kitty, and many, many other things.


(PS. About those bathing suits - it seems to me there are two kinds of immodesty. There is the kind that will let you show an entire butt cheek to strangers, and there is the kind that is willing to cover itself up in a manner that stands out in order to prove its point. Both are showoffs, and both are forms of pride. The people who think they are better than everyone else because they grow their hair long, wear circus tents for bathing suits and won't wear pants are part of a clique that says it's better to do things this way. They confuse Christianity with behavior and morals, which seems like a common thing to do in our society. "Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." Modesty means, I think, the same as "temperance" - going the right length and no further. You can be modest in a ball gown, or prideful and immodest in a plaid flannel shirt and jeans. Modesty is an attitude, not a dress code. Most people are by nature modest in some form, and think that people who stand out on either side, people with floor-length prairie dresses and dental floss tank tops are equally immodest.

Think about it - you do, don't you? But if wearing prairie dresses is just your thing, and you don't care what anyone else does, then go crazy with it.

"Don't bother me about modesty and temperance, I prefer a shot of grape juice." On a similar note, there is just no telling some people that Jesus drank wine, and IF you believe He was the sinless Messiah, then drinking is not/cannot be a sin, no matter how much you want it to be. It's the same kind of issue - they distill what they consider "proper" behaviour down to a set of rules that they can keep.

Some people just want rules so badly they are willing to make them up.)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


You want it, you got it.

Here's the kind of picture I'm talking about, with the star streaks.

Here's the socks...one is longer than the other so far...because I'm knitting Shorty. The gap in the light colored stripes probably isn't meant to happen - it's probably meant to stripe all the way around, but I'm making them bigger.

Space Socks

You like?

Space Dad Socks

I started my dad's birthday socks last night. Regia 4faedig on 2mm needles, two at the same time (but not the interconnected two circs method, I'm still scared of that and don't have time to fiddle because his birthday is Feb 10). The pattern I'm sort of making up as I go. I originally started with the "Gentleman's Plain Winter Sock" from Knitting Vintage Socks (don't you love those ridiculous names, such a mouthful), but Dad has size 13 feet and these are sized up to men's 10.5.

Once again, I repeat to myself that socks work on negative ease, while wondering if the diameter was supposed to change radically or just a little. So I hunted around and found a big sock pattern in Holiday Knits (the Angora House Socks) and used the measurements in inches from there. Then Elle and Sheila at the Yarn Store suggested that I make the socks ribbed since I don't have him around for a fitting.

So, I'm ribbing down the top of the foot, putting in a French heel and switching to stockinette and going for the 12 inch long sock. I'll write the pattern out if it works, because there is a daring lack of sock patterns for guys with big feet out there.

But oh - you remember that Dad's Codename is Space Dad, right? And you've seen those time-lapsed photos of meteor showers or even just the stars moving, with all the pretty different colored streaks?

This yarn does that. I'm not kidding! It is so perfectly suited to Space Dad, with a navy background and small hints of other star-colored streaks...

If I can do a good job on them, then the pattern will be called Space Dad Bigfoot Socks. Or something.

And oh goodness, does this ever make me cringe. I mean, it's cringeriffic. Kirsten??? Anyone??? Can you explain this to me? I'm going over the edge, I mean - that's a little too much leg showing for a nice Christian girl, don't you think? Are we seeing a pattern here?


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

My friend wears the Prize Socks


The Prize Socks

Now for post-game analysis...I have never been happy with this heel, namely the heel flap. It has always looked and felt too short to me, and this seems to be evidenced by the little gap above the right heel while she's wearing it.

When I knit this pattern again, I will use a yarn with microfiber or some other sheeny thing to make them glow, but I sure do like these a whole lot.

It's 12:45

I managed to knit two booties, carefully and obsessively measured. One is 10 rows high, the other is 8. Two rows = 1/4 inch at this gauge.


So I carefully, speedily and obsessively knit this for the shower tomorrow. Who am I kidding, thinking I can get a knitted gift done in two hours?


Honestly, I have fiber clogged in my throat.

I made this pattern up, it probably won't even fit him, it's Debbie Bliss Merino DK (tan) and Wool Cotton (blue). All I have to say is -

someone should invent an electric pompom trimmer.

(PS, Gave the socks to friend Tifany tonight, and they were a big hit!!!)

Later: I hear that Debbie is back on a ventilator for a while to rest her lung. This may be a turn for the worse, and may not. Please keep her in your prayers.

Monday, January 23, 2006


So I went back to the chiropractor, and after I told him my symptoms he did an x-ray. My right hip is about an inch higher than my left, and my lower spine curves left accordingly. The sciatic nerve goes through the hip joint and gets squeezed, and I feel like I'm sitting on something warm. Not pain, just warmth.

This is obviously not something that happened overnight, and I wish he'd caught it sooner, but I'm glad it will be treated.

So ow.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Praise the Lord

The socks are finished. They are blocking. This is quite possibly the worst job ever done picking up gusset stitches, but blocking helped a lot.

Also, I've been playing with a button...but the caveat is that I'm obsessed with Art Nouveau stuff lately and I'll probably change it in a week - so, exhibit A.

Art Nouveau obsession, exhibit B, the new purse I bought, check out the nice orange knitting pocket inside:

Billy Bag inside

Billy Bag back

Also let me add that this is a Billy Bag and I got it for an absolute steal. Although I do see some flashing and pooling.

Never mind

I just entered...I will be making the Straight-laced socks from Knitty, probably in some kind of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport.

Must get wool. But for now, must knit sock.

The button above is from the JenLa blog.

Here's my contribution...

Suggestions welcome

The madness never stops - I'm 3 1/2 repeats plus the toe away from finishing the Prize socks, and I'm sitting here surfing around for a pattern to knit during the Knitting Olympics. (Go to the Yarn Harlot blog for details.)

I don't really want to make a garment, but I could make Trellis for Niecie.

I could make Jenna Wilson's Lasagne scarf for my friend Kim. (Would that be suicide, or just really, really long?)

I could make a pair of socks that are challenging...like the Straight-Laced socks from Knitty. (Hey, they're extra spicy!)

I could make Nona's Baby Jacket if I use Bamboo.

I could buy 2 bags of Lang BeBe and knit a Girlfriend Shrug for a small girlfriend (that doesn't seem like a 16-day challenge though).

I'm going to do something, but I can't decide what. Would anybody like to make a suggestion? This being my first Knitting Olympics, please remember that I have a short attention span, very little personal discipline, and I'm not sure I want to make a sweater for me...yet. Though I am thinking that when Kirs and I finish Clapotis that I might want to do Mariah...in Patons Classic Wool...because I have this leftover gift card for JoAnn's from Christmas...

But not during the Olympics. I don't think.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Short Soy Latte, 2 Splendas

Starbucks has been keeping something from you.

It's called a Short. No, really. You know how you usually step up to the counter and in careful tones pronounce "I'll have a tall soy half-caf latte"? Or whatever your poison is. You know the deal - it's going to get repeated to the whooooole store, and so you make sure you don't say something dumb.

Well, you're ordering a Tall, but you could be ordering a Short, and enjoying your coffee much more and paying less for it.

Truth is, a cappucino is supposed to be a six-ounce beverage. It has two shots of espresso in it. A Tall is a 12-ounce coffee and contains the same two shots of espresso. So you're paying about seventy cents more for a little extra milk - and honestly, it doesn't make your coffee taste better.

A short soy latte at Starbucks is $3. It's also a better tasting drink than the talls, grandes or ventis, and with fewer calories.

So says the article I read at Slate last week about Starbucks. Of course, I had to check it out for myself.

Thing is, it's not on the menu. They have it, they'll serve it to you, but they won't tell you about it on the menu. It doesn't make the company as much profit on those two shots, so it's a secret. So I nervously got in the drive-thru line, armed with my Prize sock (it's a long line) and practiced "short soy latte, 2 splendas" while I knitted. When it was finally my turn at the speaker, the chick took my order withOUT yelling "SHORT? SHORT???!!!! What's that, you idiot? We don't have that!" and I suddenly got excited at my secret. Would the coffee be as good as the writer said? Was I about to waste $3 on an undrinkable bargain?

At the window she handed me a perfect little 8oz cup, too small even for those horrid cardboard jackets. I took a sip. I have to say I've been drinking Starbucks for a long time, but this was the best coffee I have ever had. It was absolute perfection.

So the next time you go to Starbucks, try a Short. All the cool kids will want to be like you, and you'll have a better tasting coffee for less. Trust me, or come back here and spam my comments with "YOU DORK, IT TASTED LIKE SHOE POLISH." Actually, if you try it and like it, come back and tell me anyway!

Bottoms up.

I Will Survive

With the help of popcorn, an ice pack and a lot of Tylenol, I will get this knitting done.

I misplaced my tailbone. I went to chiro for an adjustment yesterday (off my regular monthly schedule, because something didn't feel right) and my sacrum was out of whack. So he thumped around and put it right (in whack?) but now I am super sore.

I have been sitting on an ice pack for an hour. Ten minutes is the recommended time. And I have most of an entire sock past the heel to knit. (I did buy a real live leather office chair last night as well - the folding chair I've been sitting on for years — call it inertia — is too low, too uncomfortable, and not a computer chair at all.)

The good news is that today I'm going to get my hair done. While it does mean giving an exorbitant amount of cash to Aveda, it also means I get plenty of knitting time while the dye is processing. I am convinced I have the best colourist in Nashville. She's absolutely fantastic at making my greenish-grey blonde hair into something that even my sister says is my best feature (and she's got this gorgeous chestnut hair that never needs anything).

So hopefully today while I'm processing I'll turn the heel on the prize sock and then I'll be able to get the instep done tonight and tomorrow. Or maybe I could just do the heel now, and put a movie on Superstar to keep me company.

And sit on my ice pack.

In the meantime, Sock knitters, this link is for you. I apologize in advance for all you won't get done today because of these links.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Superstar Rock Star Kung-Fu All Star

THAT is the name of my new computer.

Some informal tests I ran: (this is a 20" Intel iMac Core Duo with 512Mb of RAM; I checked two places and neither had the RAM for this machine in stock yet)

1. Open Safari: approximately 3 seconds/dock icon bounces 3 times.
2. Open Mail: instantaneous
3. Speakers: Fantabulous
4. Tiny Remote: Super cool - easy to use interface lets you play DVD, iTunes, look at photos - great because computer is in my bedroom, so I can watch movies in bed
5. Tiger, generally: rocks (love the Sudoku widget and the Bible verse of the day)
6. Safari RSS feed: trying to find a use for it
7. Photoshop CS2: to open, about 1 min; to open 150 mb file, about 50 seconds
8. InDesign CS2: opens pretty fast, seems to work just fine (but I need some plug ins before I can check how fast the wording stuff goes)
9. Illustrator: about a minute and a half to open, must remember to try Live Trace on something
10. Bridge: seems as fast or faster than my G5 tower at work

Public service announcement: if you buy a Mac, you will never be sorry. Never ever ever.

Public service announcement #2: if you buy a Buddy Miller album, you will never ever ever be sorry.

Knitting today: about 200 stitches on hat. GB knit one stitch because I bet him he couldn't. It was funny.

Check the Sidebar

I've gotten so many positive comments and feedback from that post about photo class and asking somebody to frog for you, I put it up as a permalink.

Today's music: Glenn Miller. Today's activity: New computer.

I am so stinking excited I can barely concentrate.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


Somehow I thought these would be bigger. One down, one to go.

My mattress stitching is pathetic. It took all night. Yarn is Debbie Bliss Wool Cotton, #7 needle, pattern from Holiday Knits. Very quick to knit up and so pretty.

Helpfully modeled by Roger the Bear.

One down, one to go

Reason #1

You know you've got the knitting bug bad when...

You catch yourself referring to Cold-Eeze as "Wool-Ease."


I have Sockitis

I desperately want to finish sock #2, to the exclusion of my work. (Bad idea.) I desperately want to start knitting my dad's socks (another bad idea) before I am finished with these. I also want to knit some booties and a hat for my friend's baby - the shower is Tuesday. If I just concentrate on the Prize socks and the baby stuff I'll be done no problem. Today I'll buy some yarn for the booties and hat. I hope the yarn store on the way home has Rowan wool cotton...I think it does...but I am also thinking Dale Stork or Baby Ull. Nice soft yarn for wee ones. I need something DK weight, machine washable, and suitable for babies (with NO angora content, I'll wheeze). Sheila??

As for the prize sock, I have set a deadline of Sunday afternoon, and they should be no problem to finish. Problem is, the cold is messing with my mind. I finished the fourth repeat before heel during American Idol (I like short socks) and then stared incomprehensibly at the instructions for moving the stitches around to set up the heel. For about 20 minutes. I've already done this once, yet I couldn't work it out, so during Invasion I worked on Clapotis. (I don't knit during LOST.)

To further bulk up my suspicion that the cold is taking away my powers of reason, I have two Sudoku puzzles I've been working on for over a week. All I can think of is there MUST be a mistake in there somewhere and I should just erase everything, because these puzzles are really just process of elimination. Or else I really am that sick - except I've been doing them at work as well on my breaks and I'm not having any trouble with those.

I hate colds!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Itchy Itchy Ya Ya Na Na

Pardon me for a moment if you will to digress briefly from the topic of knitting with a change to "theology" as the topic of the moment. (If you aren't interested in theological constructs, now would be the time to go check out Grumperina's new hat).

The number one "heckle" shows in America are the three or four American Idol auditions shows that run before every season. (I suspect "Skating with Celebrities will surpass it due to the pure masochism of the stars willing to subject themselves to such humiliation.) Crazy people of all stripes come out, and the one thing they all have in common is that they are firmly convinced they can sing. They deeply, truly, and completely believe it — and they couldn't be more wrong.

To wit: last night, the Chicago auditions featured people who were off-key, trampy, slutty, overly tanned, untalented, whiny, selfish, amateur, and generally living in dreamland. They want nothing more than to be famous. The sort of grand finale on the show was a medley of different people singing the song "Lady Marmalade," which has rather a naughty chorus and they apparently thought their daring would impress the judges enough to ignore their terrible voices. One guy sang the lyric "Gitchi gitchi ya ya da da" as "Itchy itchy ya ya na na" — and I've been thinking about that ever since.

Recently two experiences happened that seem (however unlikely) to be tied together with these American Idol auditions. One, I witnessed a truly bitter and angry person venting frustrations with Christians. (I must take a moment to say she did not speak badly of Christianity, but only Christians.) Two, a friend told me of some of her experiences with a group of people I can best describe as being cultish.

In one case, the person speaking had no experience with Christianity and believed that the Christians talking to her did not preach a message of grace, but rather a lie. In the other, the "Christians" (I must use the quotes) talking to her presumed to preach a message of grace, but instead preached lies.

Action, and perception. Hang with me - it's going somewhere.

Theologically speaking, both groups thought they were singing the "right" song. One was off-key, and the other was singing the wrong lyrics. It may even be that both people were singing the right melody. And to take the metaphor to punishing levels, we Christians have a songbook. Measuring everything against the Bible is how we are supposed to stay in key and sing the right lyrics to the song.

The answer to both people is to read the songbook to figure out how the song is supposed to go. I think my friend has been doing that - because God helped her finally realize that she thought she was hearing one hymn from these people but was actually hearing a very poor substitute.

I wish that we—Christians collectively—could get away from the idea that we can hum along to the song that is playing and fake people into thinking we are singing it right. I wish more of us read the songbook so that we would know if we were hearing (and repeating) the words accurately. I wish more of us would realize that being salt and light does not give excuse to abusing our neighbors.

The message of the Cross is simple, but not easy. We are sinners. We owe a debt to God we cannot pay because of our sin. God paid that debt for us by sacrificing Christ. Because He paid that debt for us, we owe Him our lives, allegiance and hearts. When we say the word "grace", we mean that we did nothing to deserve His favor. Neither Jew nor Gentile could earn it by keeping the Law; all the Law can do is show you that you're a sinner. Let's say the Law says that your hair has to be combed. It is like a mirror that shows you your hair isn't combed, but it can't comb it for you. Even if you aren't part of Israel, you can see plainly that your hair is messy. God sent a Messiah who would comb your hair for you. And now your hair is combed, but it's not because of anything you did. It's because God did it for you. There is no room for arrogance or pride in Christianity. And you owe it to God because of these things to tell the truth about Him to other people.

That is it. No "itchy itchy ya ya na na." There is only grace.

If you've stuck with me this long, I hope my weird little post blessed you. Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

It just occurred to me

That I can keep my G3 iMac in case the programs don't work right on the Intel machine and I have to wait for a patch.

I think I'm going with the new one.

That iMac Core Duo

I found a site that had some pretty good forums/discussion about the CS2 issue, and a benchmark test to run for comparisons with machines. The basic idea is to download a jpg, run a radial blur with certain settings, and time the processor.

On my G5 2Ghz dual/2G ram at work running OS 10.3, it took 56 seconds. Apparently in Rosetta, this same action on a new iMac takes 1:05.

That is absolutely negligible lag time. But this was a 12 mb file. I wonder how it handles a 170 mb monster.

I'm still leaning toward the Intel iMac, I think.

Later: I tried it on my pathetic little G3 400, and so far we are at six minutes and counting.

Still later: 10 minutes and six seconds. Argh.


The more I look at the Prize sock the more I like it. I guess I was thinking it was too soft, but the yarn seems sturdy and nice. It's not shiny and it doesn't have that hard, tight-spun look that comes from the nylon binder, but it's soft and pretty and has a lot of stretch to it. I have decided I'm happy with this Sock. I did the ribbing and one repeat of the shell pattern last night after supper, until I got tired of working on this pattern and changed up. So I started on Jaywalker. Didn't realize I'd already done half a round of pattern stitch, so I accidentally duplicated that round on one side and then accidentally dropped the dd from the row before and couldn't fix. So I went tinking, and didn't have a productive night with that sock. I think I will tink back to the end of the ribbing and start it properly.

In other news, I worked a lot on unfinished products on Sunday. I went to the LYS informal Sunday gathering and hung out and worked a bit on Liesel, a lot on my Opera scarf (I'd say conservatively about 75 yards left to knit, but it's lace and goes on forEVER), and I ripped back part of a sock I'd done in Vera (LL's) that got a big hole in it when I washed it.

Some things bother me - one, I have a different gauge apparently (on same needles) than I did when I made it this summer - it was my first sock, and first magic loop project. So I have a tight little line of stitches where I threaded my needle through and then ripped back to there. (Could also be that the sock had been washed.) Second, I don't like the Greek bindoff for the toe - but since I didn't weave in the end of sock 2, I should be able to easily rip that back and kitchener it and then make this one to match. Third, it's been a while since I knitted a short row toe - so of course I messed it up. I'll have to rip back to the stage where you have all the yarnovers sitting there prettily, and I don't know that that works. I think because the yarnovers are pretty impossible to save, I'll have to rip back to the base of the toe. Which is an easier place to rip back to, but -

it makes me wonder if just maybe this yarn does not WANT to become a sock.

I'm thinkin' about it.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Houseguest and Cold

(Two things I have this week.)

The houseguest is an old roomie, and I think I caught a cold at the yarn store the other night. I'm taking vitamin C like a fiend. My head really, really hurts. Must stop and buy medicine tonight on the way home.

I finished one of the Shell/Prize socks and blocked it, then had a friend with size 7 feet try it on. It looks great and it fits her - but I won't use this yarn for socks again. I think it's just too soft. It's billed as fair isle yarn anyway, so it's my fault. I just really don't like the self-striping and jacquard craze that's going on for this type of sock. The stitch pattern is primary, so why muck it up with stripes? It would look terrible.

Next up is second sock, and then a pair of the Gentleman's Basic Sock in some Regia for Space Dad.

I found a cute and so soft cashmere/cotton sweater at Old Navy - it retailed for $26.50 originally and I got it for 10. I don't dare wash it; at those prices the cashmere is bound to pill at the sight of water. It's got to be the shortest staple fiber ever.

If you're a cable/stitch expert, stroll on over to Kirsten's blog and see if you can help her identify what's in the middle of the cable. I'm pathetic at that stuff...

Kirs tagged me for a meme - so here are my answers...Beware of tag!

Four Jobs You Have Had In Your Life:
1. A&W Carhop
2. Seamstress
3. Room Service Waiter
4. Server

Four Movies You Could Watch Over and Over:
1. Love Actually
2. The Fifth Element
3. Strictly Ballroom
4. The Triplets of Belleville

Four Places You Have Lived:
1. Manistee, MI
2. Allendale, MI
3. Hendersonville, TN
4. Nashville, TN

Four TV Shows You Love To Watch:
1. Lost
2. Celebrity Fit Club
3. House
4. My Name is Earl

Four Places You Have Been On Vacation:
1. Florida
2. NYC
3. Canada (Ontario)
4. Japan

4 Websites You Visit Daily:
1. USA Today
2. Slate
3. Grumperina
4. Weight Watchers

Four Of Your Favorite Foods:
1. Sushi
2. Popcorn
3. Lasagne
4. Onion Rings from Sonic (how embarrassing)

Four Places You Would Rather Be Right Now:
(No answer, I'm happy where I am)

Four Bloggers You Are Tagging: (if you hate this, don't do it!)
1. Angela
2. Chris
3. Zonda
4. Nique

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Stash Hiding Expedition

Honestly, I am not going to knit up all the yarn I have in a week or even a month. My stash hasn't reached "my own yarn store" status yet but I have crazy amounts of yarn. I should own stock in Blue Sky Alpacas and Lorna's Laces. I have pairs and pairs worth of sock yarn - good stuff. I have a british ton of Wool of the Andes for making toys (and somewhere in there is a pair or two of wristwarmers).

I had company coming - an old roomie who needed a place to stay for a few days - and this made me view my apartment with a critical eye. I have a big apartment. A big, nice apartment with huge windows and crown molding and a nice fireplace (but a tiny kitchen). But when one of the major design elements in this big apartment is Yarn, *and* you have company coming, it's probably better to hide some of that yarn away.

So I did - I bought some Ziploc XL bags and one - ONE - of those monsters is holding the Wool of the Andes under my end table. Another is about half-full of wool-acrylic mix, ranging from crappy and sneezy (Encore Worsted) to barely tolerable (Wool-Ease). (I haven't been able to get my family and friends to shed their horror of hand-washing yet.) This means my copper tub for yarn is now full, instead of overflowing. It means I don't look like a crazy yarn lady anymore.

I've been reading "The Secret Life of a Knitter" which I got for Christmas, and in which she talks all about hiding stash all over the house. If I did this, I'd never find it again. Ever. I have a closet full of clothes I don't wear anymore that I can't bear to part with. Boxes of junk for my portfolio. Practically every computer box I have ever walked in the house with. Putting yarn in there too is just a bad idea.

She also talks about how there are kinds of works in progress - ones you'll never finish because the project was wrong, the yarn was wrong, or the knitter was wrong were the most interesting to me. I have a lot of this. Garnstudio silk tweed comes to mind. Lovely yarn, bought for a lace project and absolute hell to knit with. (Scratchy.) I should have waited that day and gone to the OTHER yarn store for the Elsebeth Lavold I wanted. Things like that mean I have tons of yarn I'll never use, that is too skimpy a quantity to trade, and too nice to give away.

And I really love the colour of that yarn, a deep bricky red, so maybe I'll find something else for it. And since we all know the word "maybe" is the one that dooms knitters to a lifetime of unused stash that must be held on to, then I am doomed.

So the stash is hidden and I'm sitting here with a cup of green tea, ready to knit the toe of my prize sock. I hope blocking radically changes this yarn, because I still don't like how it knits up. I'm going to block after I finish this one, so if it stinks I can go buy some other sock yarn (since I don't have any solids) and only be half a project behind.

More later.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Finished sock, and bigger collection

Thuja finished

I finished Thuja tonight and gave them to their appreciative owner. :) Tee hee.

L-R: Kodak Brownie, Ansco Shur Shot, Polaroid 420 and case, Ansco GAF, Debonair, Polaroid 340 Land Camera, Kodak Duraflex III, Polaroid Super Shooter:

My Antique Cameras

This is a photo of my camera collection so far. It started with the old Brownie (and I mean old on the lower left. I've added to it whenever I've seen something that I thought would be fun. So here it is so far. My favorites are the two Anscos and the Kodak box camera. But the Polaroids are beautifully designed, and the Super Shooter and the Debonair are perfect examples of Modernism. The smaller Ansco and the Brownie are the only two that don't work.

The Brownie belonged to my grandfather - Space Dad's father, Radio Dad. He was born in 1886 (yes, Radio Dad would be 120 years old this year, and to boot he got married to my grandmother in a shotgun wedding in 1929, when he was a practically ancient 43). Well, Radio Dad was the first man in his entire county to own a radio...and had lots of skeptics who "stopped by" to "check it out." He died in 1950 or 51 around age 65, when Space Dad was 7 or 8. Somehow Dad has held on to this camera all these years.

He bought me the small Ansco too, because he thought I'd like it. Now THAT is a cool daddy.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Macs, Socks, Aliens, Sudoku and Warlords

I guess that new 2Ghz dual processor iMac is going to be my baby come January 20 or so. It's pretty. In the meantime I am trying to figure out what the heck Rosetta is and if my CS2 programs will run on this processor.

This second Thuja is seriously chapping my butt. I screwed up the heel flap by slipping the stitches of the first 8 rows the wrong way (knitwise) when I know better. Ripped it back. Then I picked up sts for the gusset wrong (I can't seem to do it the way I'm supposed to, and keep using Grumperina's pretty way to do them, which isn't technically correct but does look nice). Then I had holes at the gusset join, so I had to rip back a few rows and reknit. Then my stitches were off, and I had one too many on one side, and somehow I had to decrease about 86 times to even it up. So now I'm just working the gusset and wishing I was already knitting the instep. Which I would be, if I wasn't feeling so PMSy.

Some days you knit, and some days you frog.

"Invasion" is a genuinely creepy show. I don't know why I watch it. But I don't really like any of the characters much, and the alien thing creeps me out. On the other hand, I am absolutely besotted with Mr Eko after tonight's episode of Lost. I won't give away the secrets in case you haven't seen it yet, but it was very, very interesting. Makes me think even more this is some kind of dream experiment.

Somehow or other I "got" the concept of Sudoku, seems like all at once, yesterday. I was struggling so hard to figure the most basic puzzle out, and then it was like all of a sudden I could see it. It's odd because I don't know that I was doing anything different. I guess it was practice - like the first time you realize that a knit stitch and a purl stitch really do look different, or the first time you successfully knit something in stockinette without the stray garter stitch row in there. It's a feeling somewhere between surprise and relief. Do you know what I'm talking about?

Monday, January 09, 2006

Whoa, it's Monday already

Yesterday I decided it would be a good idea to clean the baseboards in the bathroom. Oh, and clean the kitchen, catch up on all my laundry, knit past the heel of the Prize sock, and work on a freelance project. Then watch a little TV. Nice day of "relaxing" right? Then around 10 I got a migraine. It's really no wonder.

Just sort of thinking along the lines of what Wendy over at Knit and Tonic posted today - I don't understand the people who go to yarn store owners and ask them to do their dirty work...that is, to ask them to find their errors and frog it for them. I have been at yarn shops when this is happening, and my response is always the same - why are you knitting a pattern that is so difficult for you you can't frog it yourself? I mean, it might just be time to get a glass of your favorite adult beverage, sit down and rip, come what may. You will learn more about the pattern and become a more fearless knitter. Why not at least try it?

But instead, you get in the car and drive to the yarn store and ask her to do it?

See, the problem is that at least one-half of knitting is actually knitting, and another great big chunk of it is learning how to fix problems. If you can't expertly whip out a crochet hook and start fixing that ladder, you are never going to be a happy knitter. If you can't figure out why you have too many stitches, you'll make the same mistake again and again. And if you can't frog back a repeat of a 10-row pattern, then you really (sorry for saying it) haven't lived.

When I was in college I took several black and white photography classes - not that you'd naturally assume that - and we had assignments each Monday and then on Friday we had to post our work. In between we'd have discussions about what made good photos. So I'd race around for two days and shoot whatever I could find that looked cool, then take my last deep breath of fresh air for the night and go develop it. Occasionally I'd sit in the darkroom for an hour before I got the film wound right into the canister. Then I'd mix my chemicals, soak the film, rinse it, fix it, dry it. The next day I'd have to go through my negatives to see what was worth printing, and then confine myself to equally stuffy, equally dank, equally smelly darkroom conditions and print that one negative. Sometimes ten or fifteen times before I got the enlarger set right, the exposure right, the burning and dodging right, and the developing time right. Then you wait for it to get through the dryer. Then you go get a Payday out of the machine and go home, because hey - you invested yourself in this work.

Come Friday I'd be in the lecture room, proud as punch of my work and totally blind to any aesthetic value it might have because I spent so much time on it. And this lovely, lovely print would sit up on that wall all through the lecture while he talked about Henri Cartier-Bresson and Richard Avedon and these people who were mythical in stature compared to my small college butt, and the whole time I'd be breathless with excitement about what my professor might say about my modest little picture.

And at least six times of every nine, he'd rip all the photos off the wall, pronounce them crap, and the assignment for next week would be a reshoot. Because he was teaching us to make something, from the beginning process of concepting, through the artistic work of shooting to the technical work of printing. There was no point in mollycoddling us - that would not make us better photographers. We'd have to actually SEE what was wrong and then learn how to correct it. Often we'd just have to reprint, but it was just as painful.

Those hours I spent in the photo lab taught me to never take my work so seriously that I was crushed if it was hated or ruined. That rule has carried me through most of my adult life, and it's a good one. Especially as it applies to knitting. Knitting is not an art form - unless you're a designer. It is a technical process designed at getting a final piece of work that looks a certain way. Part of that technical process is the undo and the redo.

If you don't care enough about your work to frog it yourself, then you don't care about your work at all. And if you care too much - that is, if you're so afraid of wrecking it that you won't touch it yourself - then you ought to develop a thicker skin and remember you can always (usually without bloodshed) do it over.

I know people become emotionally involved with their knitting and that is a good thing - so do I. But you must limit the emotions to those that actually help you. Emotion is one tool and reason is another.

Don't ask people to frog your work unless you've tried and you're desperate. Your work is worth your time and your investment, even if it hurts.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Thuja and other assorted socks

I finished the heel on Thuja yesterday during lunch and started the foot - then left him at my office when I left for the day. Whoopsie.

A friend is feeling very discouraged at the moment, so she is getting the Prize of Prizes - those pretty shell socks Grumperina made from the Nancy Bush book. In some bright blue Palette. I am midway through the second repeat of the shell pattern, and I must say they are lovely.

The yarn, however, is crapperific in one important way. It got so tangled coming out of the ball I had to stop and wind, and got so tangled during the winding I had to cut it and knot it back together. I mean seriously - have they not solved the problem of how to keep a skein from getting tangled on itself when you pull from the center??? Blue Sky Organic Cotton does this too. It's worth winding the whole thing over again from the outside of the ball to avoid it.

Seriously. Have I mentioned I'm going to get a ball winder???

Other than that, it's plied a little loosely, but since it's 100% wool I'm pretty sure it will be okay.

Prize Sock

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Good times with friends

Snapshot from Plaid Country amusement park. Pictured L-R Walter, Hamilton, Henry and Roger.


I turned the heel on Thuja #1 and started the gusset decreases.

Best line from The Producers: "It's like a Nazi hoedown."
Best song: "Keep It Gay."
Best running gag: Bialystock dumping things in his hair to get his combover to behave.

Thuja! Thuja!

I knitted and knitted swatches last night and couldn't come up with anything even resembling gauge for any of the socks in Nancy Bush's book. While I'd like to make some of those for Guitar Boy, he wants house socks, he wants them thick (like worsted weight) and he wants them machine-washable. So I'm going with Wool-Ease once again, because he liked it in the other socks so much.

So, no Nancy Bush patterns for him. That leaves two options - to knit him Dream Socks, according to the gauge I do get or to try a new pattern. I've knitted the dream socks a bunch, and love the pattern, but I'm itching to try something new. So I am going to knit Thuja. Thuja! Thuja!

The pattern looks nice and simple and manly as well as fairly interesting to knit. The link is over in my WIPs list. Check 'em out! I know the Art Yarns is superwash but I don't know anyone who carries it and I already have yarn.

And, after an embarrassing search through my stash last night looking for a #4, I can confidently say I'm in Kirsten's camp of No Yarn For You...at least for a while. I've got yarn everywhere. Literally. Some of it must be knitted up first.

But I am going to buy a needle - specifically a #6 with a 40" cord, so I can make Thuja. Thuja!!!!

Isn't that just fun to say?? (I think the name comes from the fact that the designer is a homeopathic dude, and it seems to mean "red cedar." Cool!)

However, these socks will be dark gray.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Henry has two legs

But I'm too lazy to photograph him. Tomorrow, I promise!

I sort of accidentally showed him to one of the specialists today at work and he wanted me to leave him one-legged. He also wanted me to knit him a peg-leg. (This fellow has a delightful sculpture in his office of some of the Calvin and Hobbes Snowman Art. Which, incidentally, is classic.)

I am *&$#ed at Borders. Or Amazon. Because tonight I bought Nancy Bush's book Knitting Vintage Socks at Borders for around $22. And came home, searched Amazon, and found it for $14.

I will keep the copy of the book I purchased, but NEXT TIME I am going to use Amazon.

Also I found the cutest, cutest book. These aren't just holiday patterns, and I'm going to make stockings for my whole family. And the baby booties. And the pillow cover. And the hat. And the...

(loud thud)

We apologise for the previous interruption. Those responsible have been sacked.

(shrieking, loud thud)

Ahem. And thanks to Angela I'm now obsessed with Amiyumigi. No, Amigiyumi. AMIGURUMI. I think. How cool is that cat??


This looks really happy! Comes highly recommended by a KnitLister as a yarn on the order of Malabrigo...

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

An open letter of apology to Henry

apologies to Henry

Dear Henry,
After languishing in my knitting bag during all of Christmas break, your delight was obvious when I picked you up again tonight. The dismay on your face was equally obvious - and may I say painful to see - when I told you I could not finish knitting your right leg. I beg of you, dear Bear, to stop staring at me with your perfectly cherubic brown eyes. Of course the reason I failed to knit your leg tonight was that your face had to be completely redone, and I confess that it is my fault for sewing it on crookedly to begin with. You may rest easily tonight, however, as I will pick you up again tomorrow, and most ardently promise to complete your missing leg.

Please forgive me, but it is nearly midnight, and without sleep I become very cross.


Dear Jennifer,
I shall accept your most sincere and heartfelt apology and eagerly expect completion of my leg tomorrow. Please remember that no matter how cross you may become for lack of sleep, my temper suffers ever more greatly at the absence of my limb.


P.S. Also after gazing in the mirror for some time, it has become apparent to me that my right ear is slightly crooked. If you wouldn't mind straightening it out for me, I will be eternally at your service. - H

Oh wow!

Knotty Girls' "potential" award about my blog is pretty cool. Thanks gallies and a shout out to the Knotty Girls!

In sadder news, a colleague - a girl I was always happy to see round the office - was killed in a really horrible and sad driving accident the Friday before Christmas. A man who was nearly 80 lost control of his car and killed her. She was 31 and a girl after God's own heart. Rest in peace, dearie. I'm a little jealous that you got there first.

Monday, January 02, 2006

I'm knitting like crazy!

Tonight I finished sock 1 of Jaywalker footies. There is no excuse whatsoever for my taking 2 months to finish one sock. I have just not been that into socks lately. But for some reason tonight I missed the sock. So I finished it.

Pattern / yarn notes:
The yarn is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Pioneer, knit on a #2 40" Inox using magic loop. The yarn feels a bit scratchy, but it knits up very nicely. I am hoping it blocks even better because, for no possible reason that I can discern, there are some holes in this sock. The pattern across the instep contains two kfb's in a row, and those seem a little loose to me. But who is ever going to look at my handknitted socks up close? The big rib down the middle on the top view is what I'm talking about.

I did a traditional heel, but picked up the stitches for turning the twisted, Grumperina "pretty" way. I honestly couldn't tell much difference using this method on Guitar Boy's socks, but I can really tell with this yarn. It's pretty.

I'm getting better at grafting but still wish the toe was a bit tighter. Also I've got to figure out how to hide the end better, because I think it's still visible.

Behold, I present Grumperina's Pioneer Jaywalker Footie. As always, click for a larger image.

Jaywalker heel

Jaywalker from the top

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Turns out

Turns out the cats were on a hunger strike and had the cat sitter worried. And they must have saved up the dooky for the day I came back.

Anyway, this:
Mistake Rib Scarf

is what became of the two skeins of Lamb's Pride Bulky. It's really pretty. Pattern follows since I made it up, and it's super simple. I apologize for the less than spectacular photos, my camera is dead at the moment. Click the photo and it will show you a bigger one.

Mistake Rib Scarf
8" wide by however long you like
2 skeins Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky (or 3 if you would like the scarf to hang to about mid-thigh)
size 10.5 US needles
one DVD case (for measuring fringe)
crochet hook

This stitch pattern works over a multiple of 4 sts + 3. The yarn I used knits up at 3 sts/in, and I knew the pattern would draw in a bit, so I went for 27 stitches as my cast on number. This gave me 14 ridges (front and back) for fringe. I used 3 strands at each ridge. So before you begin, wrap the yarn around the DVD case widthwise 84 times. Cut it ONCE so you have pieces that are about 10" long. Now you can knit the scarf until the yarn runs out. Skip this step if you don't want fringe.

Note about mistake rib - at first glance this looks like 2 x 2 ribbing, but because you end every row with p1 and begin every row with k2, the ribbing does not line up. So you have a k rib, a seed stitch, a p rib, a seed stitch going across. To stay on track with the pattern so you don't count yourself to death, keep in mind that the first k of the k2 will always fall as the first stitch of the k rib. I kept myself on track that way. It's surprisingly easy to lapse into knitting the knits or knitting the purls, when in reality you will knit a knit stitch, knit a purl stitch, purl a purl stitch and purl a knit stitch all the way across. Don't let it make you crazy.

CO 27 sts using long-tail cast on.
All rows: k2, p2 across, end p1.
Bind off all sts in pattern.

Attach fringe: group fringe yarn into threes, pull through rib stitches only with crochet hook. Pull yarn halfway through and even up the ends so you have a loop on one side and all the ends on the other. Put the ends through the loop and tighten.

Weave in ends and block.

I love the hand of this yarn but it sheds a lot because of the 15% mohair content. The yarn is a single-ply fiber so it's going to be uneven and a little homespun looking coming off the ball, though it is beautiful and knits (and blocks) wonderfully. Don't be alarmed when you are knitting it up.

Also it bleeds tremendously when you block it. I filled the bathroom sink with warmish water and shampoo and gave it a soak for about five minutes, then squeezed, rinsed and wound up in a towel and stamped on it to blot. The water in the sink was about the color the water turns when I dye my hair. It was a watery dark brown. Don't be alarmed - it holds its color. When you lay it out to dry you will notice how it draws in by nature. That's the ribbing. Block it out - stretch it widthwise - and it will cooperate better.

I wasn't all that happy with the stitch pattern for the first few rows. I knew I wanted to knit something using this stitch pattern but I was skeptical of how it looked at first. Well, it's lovely. Because of the mohair content and the spin and sheen of the yarn, it absolutely glows. The stitches are dense and lofty and super soft. If I had known this ahead of time I would have double-stranded it with kidsilk haze or something in a nice copper colour. I have a feeling that would be a truly gorgeous undertaking.

Have fun knitting!