Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Not much progress.

In fact it may be about to be negative sock progress. The cuff & beginning of the lozenges went swimmingly. But now on a couple of them, the purl stiches are messed up to where some of the lozenges look strange. The yarn is white, so there is no contrast to easily see where the errant knits & purls are & fix them. I fiddled a bit at lunch in the sunlight, but got frustrated. And tonight, I'm tired & don't feel like it. So I will keep struggling to fix them one at a time to see if my row count was off, or something. I don't want to frog back the 3 or 4 rounds. It looks like all the errors are one 1 or 2 rows a couple of rows back.

More tomorrow.

Parting shot: "The trouble with jogging is that by the time you realize you're not in shape for it, it's too far to walk back." ~ Franklin Jones, (1853-1935)

Monday, November 28, 2005

Progress made on Husband's sock.

Last night, I was just starting on the leg, the lozenge part, the white part. Now I've gone far enough, to complete 1 lozenge, 10 rounds & it looks pretty cool. I'm going to go a little farther before I try to scan it so I have maybe 2 lozenges to show you. But still, I am impressed. I took my Seaweed socks to work to show off & thumbtacked them to the wall so I could admire them all day.

This weekend I heard from one of my sister-in-law's bud's that a hospital in the city where I work uses this wonderful AoES (Axis of Evil Software). So, the AoES funny of the day today is ~ * ~ Don't go to **** Med Center as they've got AoES, too. You'd be in the OR or the ER bleeding out & the Doc would say that he can't help you because he's hourglassing. You'd die of hourglassing. ~*~

From last week, ~*~ What is the definition of an AoES Christmas? Not only will you not get presents this year but AoES will take all your gifts from last Christmas. ~*~
Yeah, I know, keep my day job, hourglass & all.

Now, after 4 days off, it's too dark in the morning to knit at stoplights until I'm almost to work & it's definitely too dark all the way home. Once the Winter Solstice gets here it'll at least be lighter early & later every day instead of darker!

Parting Shot: "
There is no such thing as a little garlic."
~ Unknown

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Gentleman's Sock with Lozenge Pattern is on the needles.

I cast on for this sock today, sock #17 to be exact. This pair is for Husband. It's from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks book. And, of course, already, I've altered the pattern. I'm using Cascade Fixation in a marine blue for the cuffs, heels & toes & a white for the leg & foot on 3mm bamboo dpns. I've also cut the cuff down from 40 rows to 30 & I'm using 4 needles instead of 3.
I've got the cuff done & about 6 rounds on the leg. Pretty interesting pattern. The last several socks the pattern has stayed the same for at least 2 rounds. This is the 1st where it's different EVERY round. And because the lozenge is so prominent, I've got to really watch it. The pattern is mostly knitting with the lozenge being the purl stitches. Very cool. Once it's gets a little farther along, I'll see if I can't scan a photo in.

Drizzled & rained & stormed all day so we did not go sailing.

Tomorrow, we'd all arranged to wear funny hats to the Monday morning sales meeting. I wonder if anyone will remember. I'm going to wear my foil software focusing hat I made. I'm going to bring a couple of bobby pins to keep it on my head. heh! heh! heh!

Parting shot: Do the actors on Unsolved Mysteries ever get arrested because they look just like the criminal they are playing?

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Seaweed socks done!!

Yes, my Seaweed socks are both done . . . well, except for weaving in the ends on the 1st sock. I did the ends on the 2nd one & posting to my blog is my reward. Weaving in the ends & securing the dropped stitch on the 1st one will wait until tomorrow. It seems to be a thing with me now to drop at least 1 (sometimes 2) stitches on the toe or near the toe on each sock. Of course, that usually seems to happen & I don't see it when I knit & blog surf. Big deal. Hold the dropped stitch with a safety pin until I'm ready to secure it with a bit of yarn & weave in the ends. There are a lot more ends on the 1st sock. I kept getting very thin places in the yarn so I'd tink back, cut it & go again. Twice on the heel flap on sock # 1 & once on the pattern stitches on the top of the foot. Easy fix but now I don't like weaving in the ends. Oh, well. The socks are done. My reward for weaving in the ends on sock #1 will be starting a new pair tomorrow.

I'm going to make the Gentleman's Sock with Lozenge Pattern from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks for Husband with white & blue Cascade Fixation. The cuff, heel & toe will be blue & the leg & foot will be white. I made myself a pair of Cascade Fixation socks in just a plain k3, p3 ribbing & I love the way socks feel & fit. Plus, they are cotton & I can toss them in the washer & drier.

We went sailing today!!! The temp was about 65°F & it was WINDY! 15-20 mph. But it was great! Full main & working jib. A bit overpowered at 1st but then I got on track & away we went. Awesome!! Going downwind, we'd be surfing!! Today we quit sailing before we got too cold. Usually we stay out until we're popsicles! There's a 60% chance of strong storms tomorrow. Poo!

It was still early so we went to Penzey's. I got some Vietnamese Cassia Cinnamon & some Ceylon Cinnamon. The Vietnamese cinnamon is "strong, flavorful & sweet." It recommends using 2/3 of what the recipe calls for. It has a very strong cinnamonn fragrance. The Ceylon cinnamon has a "soft, complex taste with a hint of citrus ". It has a very weak cinnamon fragrance & none of the cinnamon "bite". I also got 2 large containers of cinnamon-sugar & a small one of ground ginger. I also came home with a small bag of cinnamon Cassia chunks.They smell heavenly. It's like you took a hammer to a cinnamon stick & they look like tiny brown gravel.They're gonna be great to toss a few into the coffee filter with the Maxwell house or Folgers. I thought I got, well, I picked up & walked around with then set them down somewhere, some Spanish smoked paprika & some kind of spicy paprika. I wasn't charged for them but I swear I set them on the counter. Oh, well. Another trip to Penzey's in the near future. And wouldn't you know it. My Penzey's is just around the corner from a yarn shop that has a great sock yarn selection!! Yeah, feel REAL sorry for me!

Parting shot: "If at first you DO succeed, try not to look astonished!"

Friday, November 25, 2005

I am a hermit ~ not a crab.

Luckily my husband also has hermit-like tendencies. One holiday down. One to go. I really enjoyed Thanksgiving with my sister-in-law, her hubby, his cousin & her friend & 2 of my sister-in-law's friends. All these folks are great & we all had a great time & the food was great but frankly, I would have had just as great a time at home with maybe a turkey pot pie.

Yeah, I know. I can never tell any of my family about this blog now. EVER.

The pie I baked & the bread were the best ever. I even liked the bread & I don't usually like it but everyone else raves. I added more salt this year. Other than the oven, I swear that was the only change. And, no, I did not measure much. I plopped in a dollop of honey for the yeast to feed on. I put some salt in the bowl & then a little more since I use salt flakes, which are smaller but are supposed to dissolve better & faster. I whacked up a whole stick of butter & did measure out the water. After the initial 3 cups in the processor to get things going I didn't really measure the flour, just added it in half-cup or quarter cup increments as I felt the dough kneaded. (Lame, I know.) I had to go dig this recipe out of the book that came with the food processor so I could get it right for ya'll. This is how I make the bread.

White Bread
dollop of honey = to just under 2 tblspn sugar, divided
¼ cup warm water (105-115°F.)
1 pkg Rapid-Rise active dry yeast
2 tspn salt
1 cup hot tap water
1 stick butter, cut into 16 pieces
5-7 cups unbleached bread flour
¾ cup warm water
olive oil

Divide the honey between a coffee cup & a small bowl with more going to the bowl. Add the ¼ cup warm water to the honey in the cup & stir until is dissolved then stir in the yeast. Let sit to proof. Meanwhile, add the salt to the honey in the bowl & stir in the hot tap water until the honey & salt are dissolved. Add the butter pieces to the bowl & set aside. Into the processor workbowl, place 3 cups of flour. By this time, the yeast will have proofed, or not. If it's foamy, proceed. If it's not, the yeast dead. Throw it out & begin again with fresher yeast. Pour the yeast mixture into the workbowl. Pour the warm water into yeast cup & stir to get all the leftover yeast & foam out of the cup then pour that into the workbowl. Process for several seconds until mixed. Remove cover & add the butter mixture & about a cup of flour. Process briefly. It will be very liquidy at this point. Add enough remaining flour about ½-¼ cup at a time & processing after each addition until dough is soft but not sticky. You may not need to add all the flour. Oil a large mixing bowl. Shape the dough into a smooth ball & place it in the oiled bowl, turning dough to coat all sides. Cover with a warm, damp towel & place it on a towel in a warm (80-85°) draft-free place until it doubles in bulk & an indentation made with 2 fingers stays in, about an hour. Now is the time to grease whatever you're going to bake the bread in: loaf pans, a round casserole dish, a glass tube or whatever you want the shape of the bread to be. You can also free form it on a baking sheet. Once I grease the pans I also coat them with corn meal or old-fashioned oats. Punch the dough down & turn out onto a lightly floured cutting board. Cut dough in half & roll each piece tightly, tucking in the ends so you have a loaf. Be aware that any little funny ridges will also show up on the baked bread. Place the 2 pieces, seam side down, in your prepared pans or instead of loaves form them into rounded shapes for free-form bread. If you use the round casserole use a round shape. Again, with the towels & the draft-free place for about an hour or so. Preheat oven to 350°F. This is where you can slash the tops of the bread for a decorative look or brush water on the bread tops & sprinkle sesame or poppy seeds. You can also brush the bread with an egg wash (1 whole egg beaten with 2 tblspn of water) & brush the top of the bread. You can also put the poppy or sesame seeds on after the egg wash, too. Bake 35 minutes or so until nicely browned. When you tap the bread with a wooden spoon it should sound hollow. Remove breads from pans & cool on wire racks.

I'm enjoying my day off. Husband had to work & I couldn't get the lawn mower started so I spent most of the afternoon watching 4 Xena episodes from the 1st season (Athens City Academy of the Performing Bards, A Fist Full of Dinars, Warrior...Princess & Mortal Beloved) & knitting. I'm 13 rounds from the start of the star toe. I'll have this pair done by weekend's end & with any luck will have cast on for my next pair!!

Parting Shot: "Well, you have to convince people that you're me, and I like dark." Xena from Warrior...Princess

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

So much to be thankful for but I won't bore you here with my list. Took the strusel topped pumpkin pie out of the oven a few minutes ago. It looks & smells terrific. I got a new stove a few months ago & this is the 1st pie outta that new oven. It can cook as a convection or regular oven & since I've got it I've not used the regular oven even once, except to broil. It doesn't seem to cook faster, but it sure browns more evenly & better. No more switchin' things around in the middle of the bake time anymore. Here's my pie recipe. No pasty crust. It uses a graham cracker crust, which I buy. I usually get the Honey Graham cracker crumbs & make up my own. This recipe is from Eagle Brands (like the sweetened condensed milk in this recipe).

15 oz can pumpkin

14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg, at room temperature
1¼ tspn ground cinnamon, divided
½ tspn ground ginger
½ tspn grated nutmeg
½ tspn salt
6 oz graham cracker pie crust
¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tblspn all-purpose flour
2 tblspn well-chilled unsalted butter
¾ cup chopped walnuts
whipped cream, optional

Preheat oven to 425°F. With mixer or wire whisk, beat pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, egg, ¾ tspn cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg & salt then pour into crust & bake 15 minutes. Meanwhile combine brown sugar, flour & remaining ½ tspn cinnamon, cut in butter until crumbly then stir in nuts. Remove pie from oven & reduce oven to 350°F. Sprinkle streusel mixture over pie, bake 40 minutes or until set until cool. Serve warm or at room temperature & refrigerate leftovers. Top with whipped cream if desired.

The temperatures on this recipe are for a standard oven. Mine makes a 25° downward adjustment when you choose the convection oven option. I also use black walnuts instead of the more mildly flavored English variety. And I use Penzey spices. Now I am out of cinnamon & almost out of cinnamon-sugar so off to Penzey's this weekend!! And, yes I'm an ingredient snob.

The 2 loaves of plain white bread are baking now. I've used one recipe for YEARS & it came with the Cuisinart food processor my parents-in-law gave me for Christmas, maybe 20+ years ago. I still use the processor. Damn thing won't give up & die so I can get a new one! Same with my stand mixer. I lust after a KitchenAid but mine just keeps on keepin' on.

We're going to my sister-in-law's for dinner. Yes, the sister-in-law who brought me chocolate at work yesterday! She is a terrific cook! My style of cooking I absorbed from my sister- & mother-in-law, mostly just watchin' how they did it when I 1st got married. Kinda measure sometimes, toss in & taste. After a while you don't measure because you know how much a teaspoon or tablespoon looks like.

Parting Shot: "Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all."
~ Harriet Van Horne

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Axis of evil software rant ~ Day 72

Worked a little (just over 1 round) on my 2nd Seaweed sock today. It won't be done by Thanksgiving nor will the glove cuffs I was hoping to get done for my sister-in-law. I did one of the cuffs & was not thrilled with the results. I followed the directions as interpreted by some helpful folks at Knitters Review which was the correct way, I just didn't like the way it turned out. So, I'm revamping a bit. Thank goodness I bought 2 pair of the $2 gloves & have lots of cranberry eyelash. The main change I'm going to make is to not make the knitted cuff fold over the glove cuff but to make it an extension of the glove cuff. Which means, I will knit it on the right side not the wrong side. Anyway, I have the 2nd glove of the experimental pair to try. That 1st pair is my swatch. I hope to complete the "real" set over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend as I have Friday off from work. I'll give them to her sometime next week.

Axis of software evil. There is so much to ridicule in this software. It is such a step backward that our branch manager who until recently has sung the corporate song is beginning to say out loud that this software is a step backward. Unless you use this piece of crap you cannot comprehend how utterly stupid it is.

One small example: in our old software Trend, the quote, the order & the invoice numbers were all the same number so it was easy for our customer & us to track an order from quote to invoice. With this wonderful new stuff, the quote is 1 number, when the quote becomes an order, it's called a sales order& is a different number. Our company builds white box computers & the number we stick on the back of each system is a different number. If you have 6 systems on the same sales order, each system has a different number, called a work order. The packing slip has a number. Yes, it's different, too. And, of course, the invoice number. Different than all the previous numbers. So our poor customer who only knows the quote number, gets the computer with a different # on the back & is invoiced with a completely different number. Insane.

Things we could do in 1 step now take 8 or 9 steps with a lot of hourglass time in between. Good for socknitting ~ bad for productivity. It is worse than Windows ME. It's worse than beta shareware software. We've all been give a lump of software coal for Christmas.

Parting shot: As a computer, I find your faith in technology amusing.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

No sailing but lots of seaweed

The weather here was cold & damp all weekend. We ran some errands Saturday morning waiting for the weather to warm up to it's supposed high of 50. By the time we were finished, clouds had moved in & it felt colder. The boat was still in the water so we went to the marina anyway. It was cold & the wind wasn't much. We didn't sail & they'd winterized all the waterlines so the marina bathrooms were padlocked until spring. There was, however, a new boat in the marina. A Hunter, probably 35 or 36'. It was docked between the 38' Erickson & the 35' Erickson. All the standard big boat stuff. I wonder what lake it came from.

When we had our 1st boat, Relentless, a 22' Laguna, at the lake the largest boat was a older Hinckley 35 called Magic. Most of the boats near it were larger Beneteau's, 28's & 32's with a couple of Hunters & a Precision 27 mixed in. This was over 12 years ago. Now the Erickson 38 is the largest. Magic & most of the big Beneteau's are gone.

This past summer was our 1st sailing summer in 12 years. The whole culture of the marina had changed in those 12 years. Most of the folks we knew had either sold their boat or moved on to other lakes. The marina had an owership change & a major face lift. When we sold Relentless it was a sailor's lake & the owner was a sailor. No covered slips & mostly sailboats. Now, there are 3 entirely new docks of covered slips & half of B & C dock are covered & the owner is a business woman. There are still a lot of sailboats, but there are a lot of big powerboats too. Huge houseboats & cruisers that never leave their covered slips, even on those 3 perfect days. The marina is run better & is better kept in all ways, but still, sometimes, I miss the old marina.

But we've changed, too. We're different people than we were 12 years ago. They'll probably pull the boat this coming week.

Lots of knitting done this weekend on the Seaweed socks. Friday night I was on round 50 of the 80 round leg. This evening I am picking up gusset stitches & ready for the downhill run to the star toe.

I cannot believe Thanksgiving is Thursday. Only a 3 day work week for me. Yippee!

Parting Shot: "When in doubt, let it out."

Friday, November 18, 2005

Too late for Vesper sock yarn . . . AGAIN!

One of my favorite blog reads (one of these days I'll figure out how to post my daily reads) introduced me to this sock yarn. I got an e-mail today from KPixie about new sock yarn. But by the time I got home & read the e-mail, it was all gone. This must be wonderful stuff. It's all 100% Marino wool & is hand-dyed in self striping colors. My expert* tells me that she thinks it's softer than Koigu. I've e-mailed Kpixie to see if I can't advance order. I love the Lady Bee colorway the best but they all look pretty neat. The only two I've seen knitted up are the Maura colorway
& the Knit & Tonic colorway seen here at the top of the post.

* Wendy author of the wonderful
Knit & Tonic blog

As far as I know, Spray, our 23' sailboat is still in the water. I hope it's warm enough & windy enough to go sailing this weekend. Every weekend now we think will be our last until late March.

Parting shot:
Age doesn't always bring wisdom. Sometimes age comes alone.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

A different 2nd Sock Syndrome

Picked up my Seaweed socks again. I always feel I want to hurry to finish the 2nd sock. And yet, I don't want to finish it. I dawdle. I don't enjoy it as much as the 1st sock of a pair. I guess, because I know how the pattern's going to look, all the way down the the toes & how the colors in the yarn are going to play out, all the way down to the toes. I know exactly how many rows are in the cuff/leg, the heel flap, the turning of the heel, how many for the foot & the toe. I guess the only mystery is the gusset stitches. I never pick up the same amount ever. It's different from side to side & from the 1st sock of a pair to the 2nd. Once I get past turning the heel, it'll be all down hill & a race to the toe. The closer I get the more I will want to knit to finish. I do want to finish before Thanksgiving so I can maybe wear them on Thanksgiving.

Here is a scanned photo of the 1st one. I like how the color also suggests seaweed. It's always interesting to see how the stripes are going to play out.

Parting shot:
"Two things that are essential to life are WD 40 and duct tape. If it moves and it isn't supposed to use the duct tape. If it doesn't move and it's supposed to use the WD 40."

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Flotsum & Jetsum:
Have you noticed how many men are not going by a nickname. I know 2 men named Charles but no Chuck's or Charlie's or even Chas. I used to work with a guy named William, not Bill or Will. William. A long time ago there was Robert. He was the first one I noticed that was Robert. Not Bob or Rob. I also work with David, & I don't know any Dave's. And one of his son's name is Joshua but he wants you call him Josh.

I finished one of the cuffed gloves & I don't like how it turned out. It all depends, I guess, on how you're going to wear it. If you want to wear it with the knitted cuff turned over the glove's cuff then it's OK. If you want the glove's cuff extended, then I need to knit it from the outside instead of inside out. hmmm. I think I would prefer the extended cuff. Good thing I got 2 pair of those $2 gloves. I'm going to start the 2nd trial pair tomorrow & knit it from the outside & see how that looks. I've got LOTS of the cranberry eyelash left. I can't get my scanned stuff to upload yet, not real savy yet on how to do some of this stuff. But it will come.

Axis of Evil Software ~ Day 66:
Started on The (name of evil software) Twelve Step Program today pattered after the AA Twelve Steps. I'm up to step 6. I'll post it when I'm done. I also want to do a couple of Christmas filk songs.

Parting Shot:
"Attempting to debate with a person who has abandoned reason is like giving medicine to the dead." ~ Thomas Paine

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

1st Post ~ Day 65

Worked some at work while working on sock #6. It's the Seaweed pattern that I got here I don't have a digital camera so I'll be putting up scanned photos. I'm using Blauband MaxiRingle in mostly greens with a bit of purple. Makes nice stripes. I'll see if I can get a photo up here in the next day or so. Also worked some on some glove cuffs. I got the pattern here
I bought a couple pair of those $2 s-t-r-e-t-c-h-y little gloves in black & had a skein of some cranberry eyelash. I used a tiny crochet hook to pick up stitches around the inside edge & put them on 2.5mm dpns. I then changed to 3mm dpns & have purled 5 or 6 rows. I worked on that at work while working, too.

Axis of evil software
You'll be hearing about this alot. On some days more than anything else. Since my husband has long since tired of hearing me rage about it, I'll continue here. On Sept 12 of this year, (yes, the Day 65 reference becomes clear now) our office was switched to new software. There is so much hourglass time that I have time to knit on the job & get paid. YES!!! When I'm doing particular tasks in the evil software I hold my knitting in my hand as I mouse & can usually get in 2-4 stitches & sometimes an entire needle's worth while it thinks. On a good (knitting) day I can get in at least a couple of rounds.

We've got a 23' Precision sailboat that we keep in a slip on a local lake, 11 minutes from our driveway. Sadly the season here in the Midwest is about over. The boat's still in the water, but will be hauled out in the next couple of weeks. We sailed on Sunday. The wind was more than 10mph but less than 15. We had the 155 up & for the most part, the boat was nicely controlled at a great angle of heel. Just out of the marina, we rounded up a couple of times. It always seems to take me a few of those right off before I get the hang, again, of sailing up on the edge of the jib so we don't round up. We sailed into the old marina cove a few times. Pretty easy stuff. It was cool/cold so going down wind wing & wing & warming up wasn't as boring as it sometimes can be.

Flotsum & Jetsum: I am trying to ignore the Christmas music on the radio, ALREADY! & the fact that Thanksgiving is really close, ALREADY! BTW, I am standing knee deep in a river in Egypt.

Parting shot: " After all is said and done, more is said than done."