Sunday, July 30, 2006

In Kilter

Enya (one of my favorite artists) has a song (one of my favorites) called Wild Child. That's a link to the words. I had one of those times this afternoon. Everything was in kilter instead of out of kilter. When I Googled for the words to this song I found out there's an Enya forum. Who knew?

I had a great nap which started the whole thing. I picked up the gussets on SIL's Pastoral sock & have been knitting steadily on it ~ round 14 so far. I've got a good book by an author I like that I'm reading. Sweetie & I had a picnic in the living room on the floor eating cheese & crackers & apple slices.

My mind is usually whirling a hundred miles an hour & this afternoon & I felt calm & centered.

I finally got around to scanning in SIL's STR JayWalker in the Mesa colorway. After I finish her Pastoral sock, I'll have lots of yarn left, almost all of a skein. I had her buy 2 just in case. I am so close to the end of this skein that if I hadn't had her buy 2 I'd be in a panic. I'm thinking about making her a hat to match or maybe a pair of "footies" to use up "her" sock yarn. I know she wouldn't care if I kept the rest of it & knit a sock for me or Sweetie. Maybe for Christmas. If I do a hat I'm thinking about doing Grumpernia's Odessa without the beads. Or maybe with. I'll cogitate on that one.

Ever select the wrong pic for blogger to upload & have to start over? Well, I just did but it's the right one up there now. I don't know if you can see ALL THE BROWN I was whining about yesterday, but it's a lot to a non-brown person.

reading: For The Love Of Knitting edited by Kari Cornell &
Beware of the Dog by E X Ferrars
Cheaper Than Therapy edited by Annie Modesitt

Parting Shot: "A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort." ~ Herm Albright

Quote Source

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Dangerous Thoughts

I've lately been mulling over some sock knitting techniques I want to try. A couple I've mentioned before such as the center decrease heel from The Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook , fair isle (which I'm trying out now on my Castle socks) & doing a toe up sock. All my socks so far have been cuff down.


For the past couple of weeks I've been thinking about doing 2 socks at the same time on circs. I think that's what Cat Bordhi's book, Socks Soar on 2 Circular Needles is about but I'm not sure. I was at my LYS the other day & did not remember to check out Cat's book, which may now be a moot point (more about that later) but I did remember that I wanted to get 1000 Great Knitting Motifs, by Luise Roberts which I did. I'd picked this book up at the library & realized what a great resource it is. What with my Castle socks & all, which need to be frogged a bit as the floats are too tight to get the darn thing on.


And Tuesday night, after I ripped back 15 rounds so I could begin decreasing on SIL's Pastoral socks, I apparently forgot that I WAS decreasing because I laddered down 2 rounds later on 1 of the decreases & “fixed” it. Now, why, 4 stitches later, I didn't “fix” the 2nd decrease, I'll never know. And, 1½ rounds after that I realized what I did, I had to ladder back down to “fix” the “fix”. (shakes head).


And as these are SIL's socks, I have carefully compared the finished leg of the 1st sock to the finished leg of the 2nd sock to make sure they are the same length. (ask me why I need to do this??) They were so I have continued on with the heel flap & turned the heel. I am now ready to pick up my gusset stitches but I am not in the mood for fussy & precise work.


So I put these socks down & picked up her JayWalkers. If you don't remember (or are new here), they are in STR yarn in the Mesa colorway. As soon as they get a little farther on I'll scan them & post a pic. I am sure glad they are going to her because they have WAAY too much brown in them for me. It's only 2 small sections, only about 12 or so stitches but brown (any brown) is down around the bottom of my list of favorite colors. The colorway runs, mauve/cranberry, aqua, mauve/ cranberry, teal with splashes of purple, brown, aqua, brown & teal then it starts over. Anyway, even in yarn I don't particularly care for, JayWalkers rock & the yarn is soft & much more forgiving than the Sockotta I've been knitting with.


The reason I may not need Cat's book is that I found a link at Fuzzy Logic Knits to a tutorial on the Socknitters website for 2 socks on 2 circulars. I guess I should look thru my at hand resources before I go off & buy more knitting books. No scratch that. I should also buy Cat's book in case the on-line resource goes away. And often, it takes more than one resource to figure out a new technique by yourself. I still haven't figured out the long-tail cast-on. (sigh)


So socknitting is going well overall. Not working is GREAT! Sweetie comes home usually around 10am & he's home the rest of the day. And so far, he's not been paged in the evening. A couple of times he's had to go out to fix a really simple during the day thing so I go to ride along. He parked in the shade of a tree & I just knit for the 15 minutes it took him to fix the problem. It's like a perpetual vacation.


I've been updating my recipe files. I made meatloaf again. I'm a BIG fan of shortcuts like taking a box mix or a package or envelope & jazzin' it up. I picked up an envelope of Lawry's/Adolf's meatloaf seasoning. To their mix I added, about 1/3-½ cup each (what I had leftover)

  • chopped up red onion,
  • green bell pepper
  • red bell peppers
  • celery
I also added in about ¼-½ tspn each
  • Penzey's ground 4 peppercorn blend pepper
  • Penzey's Spanish smoked paprika
  • flaked salt (as opposed to regular table salt)
  • ½ tspn bottled minced garlic in a jar
We prefer brown gravy to tomato sauce on the top of our meatloaf so I toss the tomato sauce topping part of this package. I follow the package directions (I use milk instead of water) & bake it 70 or so minutes until the internal temp is 180°. I let it rest about 15 minutes & then dig in.


And, of course, I make envelope gravy, (no particular brand favorite) BUT I add a good sprinkle of Penzey's basil (don't know why but it makes all the difference), more 4 peppercorn blend ground pepper, toss in some minced bottled garlic or a good sprinkle of Penzey's granulated garlic along with a good shake of Penzey's granulated toasted dried onion.


And, yep, you betcha, mashed potato flakes. I don't do anything to those, OK, I add about a tblspn more butter than they call for.


As I made the meatloaf earlier today, before it got really hot, we've got good eats all weekend.


Speaking of Good Eats, did anyone catch Alton Brown's behind the scenes show this evening? Funny, funny man AND a great show!


r
eading: For The Love Of Knitting edited by Kari Cornell &
Beware of the Dog by E X Ferrars
Cheaper Than Therapy edited by Annie Modesitt


Parting Shot: "
Not for ourselves, but for the whole world were we born." ~ unknown
Quote Source

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

B O R I N G

Let's just say that the last few (OK some of you might say ALL) my posts have been stulifingly (is that a word?) boring. Cookery books & my air conditioning whines. Even I'm bored!! Hah! So I will try to be [at least] slightly less boring. But, hey, I lead a boring life & I like it that way.

It's hot again, but the central air is running. [OK, a couple more boring bits.] Found out in our on going air conditioner research that the BEST any residential air conditioner can hope to do is lower the inside temp 20 degrees below the outside temp. And, when it gets over 100 degrees, it SHOULD run constantly. So having our inside temp 80 degrees for a couple of hours is N O R M A L! Well, it beats the alternatives. Yeah, both of them!

SIL's Pastoral sock news. I should rename this pair "Frog". That would fit with the color scheme & what I've had to do to BOTH socks. (sigh). I just now frogged back 15 rounds (of 96 stitches ea) because I forgot to begin & do the fancy-schmancy back of leg decreases. 15 rounds from the end of the leg & I frog 15. Gotta love symmetry. Good thing I am a process knitter.

And in other frog news . . . I'm going to have to frog the nice crenelated border on my Fortissima Castle socks. The stitches are nice & tight & unfortunately, so are the floats. Oh, well, it's my 1st fair isle. Right now, it's just in a pile on the coffee table.

So far, no frogging (well, OK, only 1 ~ 12 rows ~ the leg back to the cuff stitches when one of the DD's strayed off course) on SIL's Jaywalker. I've spent most of my time on her Pastoral sock.

"I am a process knitter." lather rinse repeat

On the cookery side I'm revamping my word processing recipes. A long long time ago, before we got the really nice computers Sweetie & I have now, (we used to have used ones that we'd cobbled together from other used used ones that we cobbled together from . . ., etc) we thought we'd put a terminal in the kitchen (force of habit made me type kitchener there ha ha!) so I could access my recipes in the kitchen. To that end, I painstakingly created a "text" version of my "fancy" recipe file. No fancy fonts, no columns, no changing the fractions from 1/2 to the other version (which Blogger won't do without a lot of tinkering & I don't want to figure it out now) & some other things. Also, no pictures on the text version. Also, even the "fancy" version was designed to not use much hard drive space as we had old tiny hard drives back then. So I had 2 versions of each recipe. Now, with the advent of our "nice" computers & 60gb & up hard drives I don't have to be frugal with the space & only need 1 version.

True to form, I want a combination of the text & fancy version. The fancy version would be great by I don't want the ingredients in columns any more. The text version has no columns but all the fractions are longhand & I want the shorthand version. With the word processor in Open Office, getting rid of the columns is awkward. Since I prefer to work on the Linux side instead of the Windows side now I'm taking the text version (no columns) & gussying (& yes, I typed gussets initially) it up. Most of the ingredients on any recipe are not fractions & it's just a matter italicizing the name of the book or magazine where I found the recipe. Yes, I am anal there, too.

I put where I found the recipe & if there was a person's name associated with it, it's there, too. Also, if there was any nutritional info, that's on there. I also note if I tried the recipe. Obviously, if Sweetie & I both hated it, I deleted it. There are a handful of recipes that I liked & he disliked that I kept anyway. And there are a bunch more that we liked & that I made for company. Yes, once in a while we have company, usually SIL for her birthday or them over for Sweetie's birthday. Yes, I've invited SIL & BIL over for SIL birthday. More on that later.

We went sailing Monday evening. It was wonderful. We went out around 6pm. The winds were 10-12mph & we put up the working jib. It died a little around sunset, as it always does, then came back up stronger, around 15mph. We don't have an instrument telling us what the wind mph is, but I've been sailing long enough I can get pretty close by it's effect on the sails, the woolies & the boat. Also the waves, if it wasn't too dark to see them. We sailed until around 10:30. We both slept like LOGS last night.

reading: For The Love Of Knitting edited by Kari Cornell &
Tool & Die by Sarah Graves
Cheaper Than Therapy edited by Annie Modesitt

Parting Shot: "
I feel a recipe is only a theme, which an intelligent cook can play each time with a variation." ~ Madam Benoit
Quote Source

Monday, July 24, 2006

Cookery & Recipes

Since I'm not working [& don't really want to but I will have to go back at least part-time eventually] we've been eating at home A LOT & so I am cooking A LOT more than I did when I was working. And since I am cooking A LOT my interest in recipies & cooking has been re-awakened. Twenty-five plus years ago when I married Sweetie I wasn't a great cook or even a so-so cook. I didn't cook much when I was single but I knew the rudiments & could follow a recipe. I didn't have a lot of cooking implements either so it was mostly simple stuff when I did cook for myself.

I got a cookbook for a wedding gift & that was the start. I slowly began collecting cookbooks & recipes. Now I don't buy a cookbook unless there's a compelling reason for me to have this cookbook. For instance Alton Brown's cookbooks are funny & more like cooking science than cookery books. And there are bazillions of recipes on the web using whatever ingredients or techniques you can imagine. I've got over 150 cookery books, not counting pamphlets & little booklets & I've got over 3,000 recipes in a word processing database. And this is not counting probably over 100 magazines with recipes that I haven't gone thru yet. So I have a HUGE database of recipes.

Many of those are recipes that I've collected that I would never make but would love to eat. And that's how I decide what to put in my computer data base. If I would eat it. Never mind that I would never ever (most likely never ever) make it at least I have it should I change my mind.

For the last several years, I would buy cookery books (I like that term better than cookbooks) now & again, mostly celebrity chefs
whose cooking style I like such as Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa), Giada De Laurentis (Everyday Italian) or Rachel Ray (30 Minute Meals). I would copy a recipe now & again to my database from the newspaper or wherever, but I wasn't actively seeking out new recipes like I had in the past. Let's face it, when you've got such a huge collection, how many meatloaf, chicken or cookie recipes you need? After a while, a many of them don't have a lot of difference between them.

But with me cooking a lot more now & all the foodie blogs, my interest has surged up a bit. Not like before where I was always surfing for new ideas or constantly copying recipes from magazines & newspapers into the database, but higher than it's been for several years.

And since I've switched over to Linux & Open Office from Windows based Word Perfect I'm going thru my recipe database & finding new & old treasures that I want to cook.

We've talked to estimates from Sears & a local company on replacing our furnace & central air unit. That stuff is E X P E N S I V E. We're going to do a lot more research as the 2 estimates are about $2,000 apart, the local guy being cheaper. And how they price things out are very different so lots of research is in order before we upgrade what we have, which is currently working.

Knitting is going along. I'm almost half way done with the leg on SIL 2nd Pastoral sock. I've got about 3 weeks until her birthday so I may even get her JayWalker socks done.

reading: For The Love Of Knitting edited by Kari Cornell &
Tool & Die by Sarah Graves
Cheaper Than Therapy edited by Annie Modesitt

Parting Shot: "
Accidents don't just happen. They must be carelessly planned." ~ unknown
Quote Source

Friday, July 21, 2006

Ahhhhhh

The air conditioning repair man cometh. It was the starting capacitor. With parts & labor it was $160. I paid it. The repair guy's going to have one of their sales reps contact us. I found out we have a 2.5 ton unit. He told us that as they age air conditioners aren't are efficient & don't cool as well. Maybe that's why it can't keep up when it's 95 & up. He suggested going up to maybe a 3 ton. They sell Trane & Bryant. Sears sells Carrier. Hmmmmm.

When we woke this morning, at dawn, again, it was very cool outside, mid 60's but still 80 degrees in the house. Sometimes all that great insulation can work against you even with all the windows open. There was a wonderful north breeze blowing so we opened up the garage door & the connecting door to the kitchen, propped open the front glass door & opened the patio door. We opened all the closets & cabinets (they were very warm inside) & just enjoyed the cool flow of air from outside. That was great for about 30 minutes then it began to pour so we scurried around & closed everything except the front door, garage door, kitchen door & kitchen window. It was still nice.

When it quit raining after about 45 minutes we opened everything up again. I felt so cheery after my shower that I went outside to pull weeds in the wet soft earth. That makes it so much easier.

And Sweetie's been here all morning. NO calls. Everyone is happy ~ even the birds ~ that the heat spell has been broken for now.

So far, no knitting. Been catching up on my e-mail & other things while it's cool. If it's not raining later, we may even go sailing. There is still a chance of storms thru this evening so the wind is good. Tomorrow it's not looking so good wind-wise but temp-wise we're in the land of Ahhhhhhhs.

reading: For The Love Of Knitting edited by Kari Cornell &
The Nail Knot by John Galligan
Cheaper Than Therapy edited by Annie Modesitt

Parting Shot: "May the forces of evil become lost and confused on the way to your house."
Quote Source

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Beware what you blog!

No, fortunately this isn't a post about me or someone who got sued or Dooced or divorced or outed or whatever because I or "they" posted something in their blog. This is about my post Tuesday (It's just below this one. Go on & read the part about the air conditioner & about how HOT it was yesterday. I'll wait.)

Well, last night about 9pm or so I notice that it's sure feels stuffy & warm in here. I know it was really HOT & our inside thermometer hovered at 80 degrees for a couple of hours. Now it was up to 85 degrees. I figured the breaker to the air conditioner had tripped partway shutting down whatever part of the air conditioner that makes the air cool. The fan was still blowing away but not with cool air. I got Sweetie involved & we fiddled with the thermostat, reset the breaker about 10 more times, went outside with a flashlight to look at the air
conditioner about 15 times & nothing. The outside unit was not blowing air or anything.

So I jinxed myself. But Good. And today? The high? 104 with a heat index of around 115. And me? Staying at home with no air. How did I survive childhood? How did any of us?

We fell asleep around 1am. We woke up before dawn & sat outside & enjoyed the cool air. Sweetie left for work around 8 & I settled in to watch TV, knit, drink cold water under the fan & not move. I even had a bucket of water to put my feet in to keep cool. I would pat myself down with a cold wash cloth from time to time. I called the air conditioner folks who seem to have vans everywhere, pled my case politely & they said they would have someone here Friday between 9 & 11am. YEA!

Around 9 I shut the house up & closed all the windows to try & keep the cool in & the heat out as long as possible. Sweetie came home around 11 & we went for lunch in his air conditioned company van. Then we stopped by Sears & made an appt for a salesperson to stop by our house & give us a price quote for a new heating & air conditioner. They will be here Saturday evening.

OK, now the GOOD news. A cold front moved in this evening. The HIGH Friday is the same temp as the LOW was this morning. Around 80 degrees!

Sweetie & I also decided to get a new system. If the repair tomorrow is under $150 we'll have it fixed so we can take our time & interview several companies (well, at least 2 & maybe more if there is a big difference in price between the 2). I'm going to ask the repair person tomorrow to set us up an appt with someone from his company. If we elect not to get the system fixed, we'll move faster. I'm hoping we can have the new system in place within a week. As we already HAVE central air, hopefully, it'll just be a matter of removing the old heater & air conditioner unit & putting in & hooking up the new. No ducting to run or anything. If we want to get extra ducts, I figure we can do that when it gets cooler & it won't be 300 degrees in the attic. We have a slab so all the ducting is overhead.

To that end we've been compiling a list of air conditioner questions. And looking up stuff on the web now that it's cooler in here. It's now only 90 in here. The low by morning is supposed to be in the high 60's.

The only knitting I did was kitchener the toe of SIL's sock, cast on for the 2nd sock & knit about 5 rounds. I got the 1st sock all done except for kitchenering the toe before I noticed it was hot.

It was too hot to read. Holding a book & continuously wringing out a cold wash cloth & applying it to exposed skin in front of a fan is a 2-handed job. Because of that it was also difficult to nap, although I did just manage to fall into a doze when the phone rang. It was Sears calling to confirm our Saturday appt.

So, the moral of the story is. Don't blog about broken appliances or broken anything. They can hear you typing.

Off to take another cold bath. I am sweaty . . . again & I just took one before I sat down to type this. I can't type & wring & apply.

reading: For The Love Of Knitting edited by Kari Cornell &
The Nail Knot by John Galligan
Cheaper Than Therapy edited by Annie Modesitt

Parting Shot: "It's too darn hot." ~ Cole Porter from Kiss Me Kate
Quote Source

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

"It's too darn hot!"

"Hot town, summer in the city back, back of my neck getting dirty & gritty"

Yeah, those HOT songs just singin' in my brain. Today's post title is from the Broadway show Kiss Me Kate & the 2nd lyric is from the Lovin' Spoonful song Summer in the City. And then there's Irving Berlin's Heat Wave. It's HOT!

Sunday, Deck Muffin talked me into going sailing when the bank thermometer read 103. ICK! The wind was sort of OK. 7 or 8 mph up to 10-12 mph or so. It was a good sail but it would have been better 20 degrees cooler.

Otherwise, we've been staying indoors, curtains on the west side of the house closed around 2 when the sun is about to hit the windows. The air conditioner that came with the house is just barely able to keep up when it gets this hot & it runs constantly. No cooking or any other big heat producing activities like laundry or computers & monitors.

When this air conditioner goes we're going up 1 size & maybe adding additional vents in: the office (which only has 1), the library (again only 1) & maybe 2 more in our combo living room, dining room, kitchen, which for such a big space only has 4 vents, 1 one each wall.

Our bedroom, bathroom & walk-in closet area is the coolest area in the house with a total of 4 vents even tho it's on the west side of the house. Go figure. In the past we've added ceiling fans to the office & the library & they're been running constantly to move the air around. We also use little Vorando fans to move extra air from the cooler living room to the office & then move the even cooler air from our bedroom to the main living area. Thank goodness a few years ago, we had siding put on the house & replaced all the windows with triple-paned low E glass. We even enlarged & replaced the slider on the west side of the house. Expensive at the time but worth it in the long run.

Our thermostat is set is 75 during the day & 72 at night. Before the siding & windows, on days like today, it would be 85-90 degrees in the house. The warmest I've seen it was yesterday. It was 80 in here for an hour or so but didn't feel like it. The temp on the patio with my trusty instant read thermometer was 115. Someday the Burr Oak we planted 10 years ago will shade the house.

The weather is supposed to break on Friday but tomorrow is supposed to be the hottest yet. UGH!

Yes, that's SIL's Pastoral sock up there. Round 47. Her Conway sock has 60 rounds on the foot & it'll be a bit more on this one as the yarn is thinner. I've finally come to terms with what I'm doing color-wise & pattern-wise on my Fortissima Castle cotton socks. White socks with creamy yellow. I picked 2 patterns out from the 1000 Knitting Motifs book that I got from the library. The crenelated part is a five round pattern in yellow 4 rounds down from the cast on cuffs. I'll do some plain white rounds below that then do 2 or 3 bands of an 11 round Scandinavian diamond pattern then end with the crenelated pattern again. I don't know at this point whether I'll do any of those bands on the foot. As I'm not sure of the copyright, I'll wait until I have it knitted up in sock form & post the scanned pic. But as I'm only on round 11 or so, it'll be awhile. SIL's Pastoral sock & then her JayWalker have precedence.

reading: For The Love Of Knitting edited by Kari Cornell &
Death Dance by Linda Fairstein
Cheaper Than Therapy edited by Annie Modesitt

Parting shot: "It ain't the heat. It's the humility." Yogi Berra
Quote Source

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Stupid Sock Tricks

SIL's Pastoral sock was almost no more. I had Sweetie try it on & the stockinette part was waaaay to big. I saw that it was bigger than the ribbing, as I was knitting but I expected that as the ribbing draws the knitted fabric in. I figured it wouldn't be as firm on the leg/ankle but it was very loose on Sweetie.

So I frogged back the 14 heel flap stitches & ALL of the 55 or so stockinette rounds, including the crunch decreases. Then I had a issue with a couple of loose stitches or something (I don't remember exactly) & I wasn't satisfied with the fix after I laddered down 2 side-by-side stitches & hooked them back up. I ended up with a several round column of very loose stitches that looked worse than if I'd left them alone. Apparently I'm a slow learner. heh.

So I frogged all those back to round 13. This mind you after I'd put all the stitches back on the needles from the 1st visit to the frog pond. I got those all the stitches put back on the needles from my 2nd plunge into frog paradise & have been re-knitting steadily ever since. I'm back up to what would have been round 28 of the stockinette leg. It looks good.

And no crunch decreases. I took a page out of Nancy's Bush's book & am going to decrease a total of 12 stitches over several rounds in the back. Eventually I will eliminate a 6 stitch repeat at the beginning & 1 at the end of the round. I'm decreasing 1 stitch on each of the 2 repeats every 5 rounds. I've made notes so I can do the same repeat at the same spot on the mate to this sock.

Losing that much knitting hasn't set me back. I began this sock project for SIL's mid-August birthday with plenty of time to complete it. As she picked this yarn out for herself I wanted to do these first. The JayWalker socks with the Mesa in STR yarn will be a nice bonus.

While I've been re-knitting the sock last night & most of today I've been reading the archives of a fascinating blog Life of a Cop in a Cop's World. It's very well written. This guy is a natural storyteller.

It's too hot to sail & there is no wind to boot. We've had some rain the past couple of days & we went out last night to check on Spray to see if our leak fixes worked. Well, she still leaks. (sigh.) I think it's a traveling leak. Where it's coming in at has little or no relation as to where the leak originates. So we'll keep caulking & checking.

Earlier in the week, I was looking at our local want adds, in the boat section & there was the Precision 27 at our marina for sale. And for a very decent price, under $15k, considering what it cost 15 years ago. It looks like our boat only taller & wider & with wheel steering instead of a tiller. The 27 has an inboard diesel instead of an outboard, a marine head with doors & a shower with hot & cold water (a real bathroom) instead of a porta-potti under the V-berth ~ a much bigger camper.

Since we bought Spray, we've thought about how neat it would be to find & buy a used 27. They sail so well. But now that we have the opportunity & the money, we decided we really don't want it, well that one, anyway. We've put a heck of a lot of money & time into bringing Spray to where she is right now & we're still not done, although a heck of a lot closer. Just a few big things left to do on Spray:

  • installing the new deck plug & wiring the lights on the mast
  • putting in a traveler to handle the mainsail trim better
  • put an eye on the mast
  • hook up the motor inboard controls (not connected when we bought the boat)
  • buy a beefy whisker pole
  • buy a cruising spinnaker
  • replace the mainsail
  • eventually replace the 150 genoa
All that we've done & want to do to Spray, we'd have to start over again with the 27. It would take a lot more time & a lot more money. When you go to a longer boat, you increase in all 3 dimensions, not just length, but depth & width, too. This boat has not been kept up as well as ours was when we bought it. And it has no trailer. A new trailer (for a 27', 5,400 lb boat that draws 3'8") would be in the $7K range, plus the freight to get it here. It's been in the water, who knows how long, & probably needs serious bottom work. At the very least, it would need to be hauled out & the bottom cleaned & re-painted. All the lines would have to be replaced. And who knows if there are any problems with the diesel. The screens on the opening ports are shot & will be to either be replaced or gotten rid of. And it may leak, too. What do the cushions inside look like? There's a reason it's priced so low. And replacement or extra sails would be at least $1,000 more expensive than those for Spray.

Sweetie & I both decided, separately, then together, that we didn't want this boat, even if I was working. I'm sure we could sell Spray for at least $1,500-$2,500 more than what we paid for it but it would be slow & might not sell until next spring. Even if we got a quick sale, there is so much to be done on the 27 & it would be harder & longer as it's a bigger boat & not in the best condition.

reading: For The Love Of Knitting edited by Kari Cornell &
Riders Down Dean by John McEvoy
Cheaper Than Therapy edited by Annie Modesitt

Parting Shot:
"Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead." ~ Louisa May Alcott
Quote Source

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Cow socks, JayWalker socks & Castle socks

SIL's Sockotta sock is coming along well. For some reason, I keep thinking about this sock internally as the COW sock. Maybe it's the colors. Bright forest green, bright marine blue, denim green with a row of white flecks like seagulls? between the color changes. These are not farm yard colors but maybe pastoral is the word I'm looking for. Pastoral. There. Just named her socks. SIL's Pastoral socks.

OK on these Pastoral socks, I got down to where I wanted to start the heel flap & realized that, hmmm ankles are smaller than calves & going from a nice rib to stockinette 50 rounds back has made the leg, uh, bigger. As it is supposed to be a surprise I don't really want to rush over there & ask her to try it on.

So intsead of ripping back 5 or 10 rounds, I elected to do what I am calling crunch decreases. Because I don't want to rip back & I only want to knit 5 more rounds. More like ab crunches (only not painful or sweaty) than Nestle Crunches (which would taste pretty good about now). Just something I should have though about 5 or 10 or 15 rounds ago. So at the end of round 50 (the last 3 stitches) I did an SSK & the 1st 3 stitches of round 51 & did the ol' k2tog. At the end of the 1st needle I did another SSK & another K2tog at the beginning of needle 2. At the end of needle 3 & did the SSK & at the beginning of needle 4, a k2tog & then finished up the the SSK at the end of needle 4. The next round I decreased only on at the beginning of the round & the end of the round. I did 1 more round of all the increases & 3 more of just the 2 decreases. I am now down from 96 stitches to 79 stitches. I think that will be OK. As the rest of the sock, after the heel will be stockinette, the odd # (which resulted from only decreasing once on round 50) will be OK.

I also decided against the center decrease heel as I don't know what this would do to the heel sizing since I don't want her to try it on. I'll try this with one of the socks for me & see what it does.

I'm on round 4 of the leg of SIL's Mesa STR sock in the JayWalker pattern. I'm spending most of my knitting time on the Pastoral socks. I haven't gone any farther on my Castle socks since I cast on other than to get this book, 1000 Great Knitting Motifs from the library. This book has a lot of inspiration for what I want to do with my Castle socks. I've been pouring over it trying to pin down what I want to do with the colors I've got. I've got some $$ left on my birthday Borders gift card & this book is going to be an addition to my knitting library. I'm going to keep a crenelated line or 2 at the top & then branch into something else.

reading: For The Love Of Knitting edited by Kari Cornell &
Riders Down Dean by John McEvoy
Cheaper Than Therapy edited by Annie Modesitt

Parting Shot: "
Errors have been made. Others will be blamed." ~ unknown
Quote Source

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Liar! Liar! Socks on Fire!

This is an actual post but also a test to see if I can publish my STR scans from Linux. To see if it's me, Blogger or something about Slackware Linux I don't get yet. I uploaded a scanned photo in Windows to make sure it's working & now I'm back on the Linux side to see if I can figure it out. OK, it seems to work. It's just slow. I love how the color pools on the leg & then goes all stripey on the foot.

Sweetie, my pet sys admin, knows a lot about the software & how it interacts with the hardware but he doesn't do office things. So I'm figuring out on my own, how to work all the neat gizzies in Open Office & Slack in general. It's kind of fun going back to the Command Line. We have my computer boot into a (Linux) lilo menuing system where for now, the system pauses until I choose whether I want Windows or Slack as I'm doing a lot of back & forth. Eventually, I'll still choose, but we'll set the system to where it'll give me a certain # of seconds (or minutes) to choose then it will default to Linux.

I cut down an 8' tall Mr Lincoln tea rose this morning. Yes, that is 8 foot not 8 inches. Hell, it might have been 8'8" tall!!! It was up past the gutter. It was beautiful last year, in all of it's 8' glory but the winter (or something) killed most of it off. And a half dead rose bush look crappy. Plus, being half dead it was very spindly. And that thing had thorns as big as my thumb nail. And dead thorns hurt a lot more than live thorns. So after being poked full of holes, the bush is no more. Our trash pick-up day is tomorrow (Wednesday) so I cut the thorny canes into 10" or so lengths & double bagged them. I also put a sign on the front warning the poor trash folks that there be thorns so be careful how you pick it up. I've seen our trash guys wearing florescent yellow shirts & thin rubber gloves, not heavy work gloves. I don't want them to get poked & then pissed off & end up with trash all over my lawn tomorrow.

Now all I gotta do is dig the bottom of the rosebush out. So that's 3 things I gotta dig out. This rose bush, with thorns down to the very ground & the 2 stumps of the St John's wort I tore out a couple of weeks ago. This summer, it's all about the DEstruction. There is some kind of small spirea bush that has pink flowers that I also want to take out. It's not dead or even dying, but has outgrown the space. When I cut it back, like a did a few years ago, it's ugly & grows back twice as fast.

In front, we're gonna replace the St John's wort with the same plant & a white Rose of Sharon at the corner of the house. In the back where the rose bush was & the spirea is, when I divide up the day lilies, I'll just move some of them to those spots. There is also a weakling forsythia that has never grown beyond a foot or so tall in 12 years despite feeding & pampering so it's going. I'm going to put a white Rose of Sharon there, too.

I am such a liar. I swore, well, stated twice, very strongly that I. Would. Not. Do. Stockinette. on this sock & LOOK! There are 35 cuff rounds in k4, p2 & (so far) 23 leg rounds in stockinette. OK, it's not so bad. But to counteract the blah sameness of this knitting which will be highlighted by a different kind of heel (for me) I have cast on 72 stitches & began knitting on 2mm dpns with the white Fortissima cotton. This will be some kind of striped sock with a white background. If I do some crenelated stripes, I can call this my Castle sock. When I get far enough, I'll post a pic.

Because I have all this cotton & cotton blend goin' on & the STR yarn & my other hand painted hanks stare at me from their baskets, I am thinking about winding & casting on for SIL JayWalkers. When she was here (or I was there, I forget) she chose 2, Romancing the Stone & Mesa. The Romancing the Stone colorway has a lot of purple & I just got done with a semi-purple sock, so I think it's going to be Mesa.

And, as I mentioned in the edit yesterday, I've updated my side bars, new links, new blogs. The Path Not Taken links are non-knitting blogs & The Quill Is Mightier . . . links are book blog links. The rest are (I hope) self-explanatory.

reading: For The Love Of Knitting edited by Kari Cornell &
Digging James Dean by Robert Eversz
Cheaper Than Therapy edited by Annie Modesitt

Parting Shot: “Everyone is gifted. Some just open the package sooner.” ~ unknown
Quote Source

Monday, July 10, 2006

Sockotta & blog update

I'm on round 30 or so of SIL's striped Sockotta socks. It's a couple of inches long. I did stick with the k4, p2 ribbing. I don't think I'm gonna go with straight stockinette (Blech!) as it is just too boring to knit, even with stripes & little white dashes that don't line up. Scanned pics in a couple of days.

I am hoping to get these done so I can give them to her when we celebrate her birthday. They won't be part of her birthday haul but will be good surprise, I hope. Since I've been completing a pair of socks in 2 weeks or less, I should have plenty of time as her birthday is not until the middle of August.

I haven't started on my cotton socks yet. I changed my mind, AGAIN! about what pattern. I've convinced myself that the fancy lace socks deserve a better yarn. Besides, I want some color where folks will notice the knitting. So I'm back to doing a striped sock on 2mm needles. Maybe I'll try toe up on these. I got some ideas so we'll see.

I WAS (honest!) going to post scanned pics of the STR socks in the Seal Yarn colorway but the blogger photo thing is not happy so ~ next time.

I've been blog surfing & updating my favorites list (not in the blog) & finding new blogs to enjoy. I've stumbled on to a whole rack of bookish blogs. I'm going to sort thru those & put my favorites up on the side bar. I've also found some other fun stuff that I'll update the Girls Just Wanna Have Fun list with. I've also found a couple more of the FUG craft sites. They are a HOOT! There is a lotta crafty FUG out there folks. I'll make a separate list of those, too.

edited to add: side bars have been updated ~ & all the links checked to make sure they work. ENJOY!

Because I am a boring blogger & I want you to enjoy your stay.

reading: For The Love Of Knitting edited by Kari Cornell &
Digging James Dean by Robert Eversz
Cheaper Than Therapy edited by Annie Modesitt

Parting Shot: "
Even on the right track you'll surely get run over if you just sit there." ~ unknown
Quote Source

Saturday, July 8, 2006

Worse Than

What's your least favorite part of the sock to knit? Here's my list from the least favorite to my favorite (which is a tie)

casting on ~ MY LEAST FAVORITE BECAUSE

  • counting the stitches (2 counts with the same # [no matter how many seconds, hours or minutes apart] determine how many stitches really ARE on the needles.
  • making the square (dpns)
  • making sure the yarn is not twisted (invisibly)
  • picking the whole thing up & juggling that extra stitch from needle #4 to needle #1
  • making sure the yarn is not twisted (invisibly) AGAIN!
  • making sure the working yarn is not trapped inside the square so that all subsequent yarn has to come from inside the sock
  • finessing that 1st stitch (k2tog ~ see above) with needles 2 sizes smaller than what you cast on with
The 1st round after the cast on where you establish your pattern & hope to hell you have cast on enough. I can finagle 1 or 2 & 3 is tough but not impossible but 4 on up is really stretchin' it.

Knitting the cuff, leg & foot (after gussets decreases are done) are in the middle as [depending on the pattern] is mindless [for the most part] knitting. Just remember to mark down each round.

Picking up gusset stitches ~ kind of fun, but kind of a pain in the derriere, too ~ even the pretty way. And for some reason I rarely end up with the same amount of picked up stitches for each side. The sock looks OK regardless as I compensate, but I pick up what seems necessary for good sock construction. Good thing about this is that once this is done, I consider the sock half done.

Gusset decreases ~ kind of fun ~ you just have to remember to do them on BOTH sides of the top of foot stitches & to make sure you STOP when you have all the decreases you need.

Toe decreases ~ on the home stretch. Kind of hard not to rush. This moves toward the icky part if you're working with a yarn that for some reason hates to be decreased, especially with a k2tog. A Star Toe is not good thing in that circumstance.

Weaving in the ends. I really don't mind ~ unless for some reason there are a LOT. I try to find some point in the 2nd sock, usually when I'm on the mindless foot stitches & especially if I haven't done the 1st sock, to weave in all the ends. I have to be in the mood to do it. If I am, it's kind of a Zen thing. I just zone out & weave. But on some yarns, such as the Rowan wool-cotton, you have to be really careful, because your weaving could show up on the right side as little odd dashes. In that case, this one would move to just after the 1st row one because you have to keep checking the right side of the sock (& consequently rip out your weaving) to make sure that's not happening. Pure wool or even cotton doesn't seem to have that problem with me.

Heel Flap ~ This is pure fun. Do you feel like a stranded heel or a plain knit one? Only half the stitches to work with & you know the sock is almost halfway done at this point. It's also fun if you're working with a handpainted or striped yarn to see what it does.

And the tie for 1st goes to Turning the Heel & the Kitchener toe. Both need to be precise & neat.
  • I like turning the heel. I like doing short row heels. They are fun to knit. Counting & watching for the "gap". You can see quick progress with each row, even tho the knit/purl gets longer as you expand toward the end of the needle. Turning the work & k2tog & p2tog. A lot going on.
  • The other #1 is the Kitchener toe. It's so easy & looks so good. I've gone with the draw it up toe & that's OK too, but not as elegant as the Kitchener. This has led me to the naive belief that I could actually seam something. If I knit something other than socks, that is.
And something that is NOT even ON the list which since I knit socks, I don't do, is swatching. And that would go after the 1st round before kitting the cuff, leg & foot. Yes, today I've been swatching in the round with Sockotta to try to get the %##%**!! splotches of color to end up correctly on the self striping yarn. SIL has a big calf. The short little piece of yarn with the little white splotches that should end up as a single white stitch on a denim blue background all the way round, ends up on only about half the round. There is no fixing that part but I tried 3 different needles, the recommended 2.75mm, the 2.5mm & the 2mm dpns & a k4, p2 rib & just straight plain stockinette (blech!) but nothing was exactly right. Some of the stitches would be spaced OK & then there would be some now & then with the white V split between 2 stitches.

So since nothing works & [channeling the Yarn Harlot here] "It's only knitting" I had a board meeting & decided I would cast on with my usual 3mm dpns ~ 97 stitches [with the extra stitch join ~ the only one that works each & every time for me ] ~ then switch to my usual 2.5mm's for the sock. I'm going to try a different heel, a center decrease heel that I found in the Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook.

I'm also going to continue my practice (last 2 pair) of decreasing on the bottom of the foot needles, 2-3 stitches for each needle less that what the top of the foot needles have. If the top of the foot needles have 18 stitches per needle, each bottom of the foot needle will have 15 or 16 stitches. It seems to fit the foot better. I picked that up from Grumpernia's JayWalker sock. As this Sockotta yarn is 45% cotton, 40% superwash & 15% nylon I'm only going to go down to 2 stitches less per needle as this yarn won't stretch as much as the pure wool.

And so I have finally cast on all 96 stitches [counted twice, came up 96 both times]. I will finish this lovely post so I can get on with the other 6 steps in the cast on process that I dislike & get on with knitting fun stuff!!

reading: For The Love Of Knitting edited by Kari Cornell &
Digging James Dean by Robert Eversz
Cheaper Than Therapy edited by Annie Modesitt

Parting Shot: "Why is it called 'after dark' when it's really 'after light'?" ~ unknown
Quote Source

Friday, July 7, 2006

Knitting monogamy about to go out the window!

The Seal Rock STR socks are on the downhill run. I've got 15 or so rounds left on the foot & then 20 or so rounds on the toe & that goes pretty quick. And I've got plenty of yarn left so I can do SIL's larger socks with no problem. That has been a concern since some folks think there's not enough yarn for 2 pair of larger socks. I think I'll do her 1st STR sock (whenever that will be) in the Jaywalker.

I've been contemplating what to knit next — sockwise. I've got lots of choices in the wool area but I've only got 1 good summer cotton sock, the MayDay socks. Being a lovely dark green & very light mint green they don't GO with everything. And as I'll be wearing shorts, that matters, some.

Then I got to thinking about what socks I do pull out of the sock drawer & they are usually white in the summer. I have plenty of white Fortissima cotton so I'm going to do a white sock. Now the pattern. I'm thinking of trying my hand at some lace. Maybe not a wise choice
— cotton & lace but I'm game. Now which lace? I've been drawn to Nancy Bush's Child's First Sock from Knitting Vintage Socks ever since I saw it knit up on Grumpernia's blog. Hmmmm. Have to think more about that one.

Last night I took a break from the Seal Rock, & cast on with a self-patterning yarn that my SIL bought when we met for lunch about a month ago. It's the one in the 2nd pic, on the right with the blues & greens & white dashes. I've never knit with one of these yarns before so this will be interesting trying to "get gauge" so the patterning will work correctly. The "gauge" will also have to fit my SIL leg / foot so, we'll see. I cast on 96 stitches with the 2.75mm bamboo dpns then switched to 2mm dpns for the pattern. It's going to be a simple rib, k4, p2. I'll go on for a few inches & see how it looks.

This will be my mindless knitting while I try not to drive myself around the bend with cotton lace socks. The lace with a different pattern of stitches on every round can't be any worse than the diamond lozenge pattern that I did last fall for Sweetie, the Gentleman's Sock with Lozenge Pattern from Nancy's Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks. That was different on every row, too.

I picked up a tip from the Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook. If I have to change needles, I just keep going on the tube until I get the gauge I want instead of frogging then having to cast on again each time. I have 2 balls of this yarn so I have plenty of yarn to experiment with.

I also tried to get the hang of the long-tail cast on or the Continental cast on last night. I looked at books by 3 different authors but no go. Later today I'm going to find one of those on-line knitting video things & watch that, needle & yarn at the ready. Doing it the 1st way I tried, I kept get getting 2 stitches cast on instead of 1 & doing it the 2nd way, I ended up with the yarn from the ball being cast on instead of the tail yarn.

A couple of the books said it was a firm but elastic edge & the 3rd one said to make sure it's loose because it's doesn't stretch much. I'll try it on a pair of socks for me another time. So, anyway, I ended up with my tried & true cable-cast on using needles ½ size larger that what I'll knit the rest of the socks with.

I also may experiment with doing the white socks, toe up. I've always been a cuff-down sock knitter, but who knows. And I'm also intrigued by a different heel. Yes, most of this is due to the influence of the
Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook. I haven't looked at it too much until last night.

As I have so much time to knit now, I want to try new things. I've even started to look at shells or tanks to knit.

reading: For The Love Of Knitting edited by Kari Cornell &
Breach of Duty by J A Jance &
Cheaper Than Therapy edited by Annie Modesitt

Parting Shot: When you know a thing, to hold that you know it; and when you do not know a thing, to allow that you do not know it - this is knowledge. ~ Confucius
Quote Source

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Happy Independence Day

Monday was technically a workday for Sweetie, but he didn't get paged once so he was home ALL day!

As of yesterday, I am migrating all my Windows stuff over to the power of The Penguin aka Linux. I've had a dual boot system for several years now & I mostly used Windows. I was used to the feel of the Windows software & I just decided I can get used to the feel of the Linux software.

Sweetie has been running various versions of Linux for several years. Presently I'm on a Slack box (yea Patrick!). Sweetie's been running Slack since he got into Linux many many many moons ago. I still have Windows, as our lovely HP scanner doesn't play well with Linux but everything else seems to.

I've been slowly bringing over all my blogs URL's over here & this morning I moved my knitting spreadsheets. That process will continue for a while as I birng over stuff as I need it. When I get it mostly over here, I'll bring over the stuff I don't use very often in 1 clump.

Knitting is good. I'm on the heel flap of the 2nd STR Seal Rock sock. I KIP today in a place I've not before. I've knit on Spray (our 23' sailboat) before but I've never knit in the pub at the marina.

We went out late this afternoon & had a wonderful sail. The wind was about 15 mph from the NE so we could beat out of the marina. We went back in about a half an hour before sunset. We are still having running light problems & Deck Muffin wanted to work on the running lights. Before he did that, we decided to go up to the pub & have a beer. I took my knitting & we decided to sit outside as the deck / dock where they have outdoor seating was in the shade. I sat & knit on my Seal Rock sock & we sipped on our Heineken's. Sublime.

Sweetie got the running light problem fixed (we think!). I knit until it was too dark to see then we packed up & went home. We
decided not to go to our town's fireworks thingy as it's waaay too crowded.

reading: For The Love Of Knitting edited by Kari Cornell &
A Conventional Corpse by Joan Hess &
Cheaper Than Therapy edited by Annie Modesitt

Parting Shot:
Computers will never take the place of books. You can't stand on a floppy disk to reach a high shelf. ~ Sam Ewing
Quote Source

Sunday, July 2, 2006

Socks really do rock ~ FINALLY!

That lovely heel flap & heel turn of the previous post? Been frogged & redone & now the sock is done. Yeah, I found a couple of errors. One wasn't so bad, then I found another one & the more I knit the more it bugged me, so I frogged back to about 5 rounds before the heel flap & fixed a loose stitch on the top of the foot ~ yeah, it was REALLY buggin' me. I'd laddered down to it & fiddled with it twice & it still looked goofy. Worse, it was a bright yellow one on a dark olive green background so it STUCK OUT! Then I must have been not paying attention because somehow I'd screwed up 2 stitches on the edge of the heel flap where you slip 1. No clue what I did, but the colors were different & they were purls & it was screwy. I could have lived with the heel flap thing, but the bright yellow one on a dark olive green background, not so much. So of course, I waited until I had picked up the gusset stitched & gone 1½ rounds before I frogged. Well, at least I wasn't on the toe decreases!!

But, as I said the sock is done & I'm very pleased. The STR yarn is very nice to knit with. As nice, but not nicer than the Claudia hand painted I did the Jaywalker socks in. I've cast on for the 2nd sock & I didn't start at the same place in the color as I did with the 1st sock, so we'll see what happens there. I'm only on round 8, not enough yet.
I'll post a pic of both socks when the 2nd one is done.

Oh, & it was done in 6 days. I initially started to keep track just to see, but since I'm home now & obviously knit a lot more, it's kind of pointless, but I'll continue.

I think I'm going to frog the Linen sock. I've broken one of the tips of my bamboo 2mm. That yarn is tough. No give. Maybe I'll do a shell or a tank in that with bigger needles. And with only 85 yards per skein, I'll have to get more as I have only 2. I'm going to google around & look in my books to see if I can find a V-neck. I look better in a V than in a round neck.

And I've been thinking about my next sock. A cotton one. But what color(s) & what pattern? I could knit one of the ones for my SIL, or one for Sweetie. hmmmm. But I think a cotton one for me. I enjoy wearing my MayDay green socks with shorts out where they can be seen. Wearing them under a pair of pants isn't the same thing.

Poor Sweetie has had a sinus headache since Friday evening. I've been pouring sinus med's down him ever since. It seem much better today but no sailing. No loss there. Although it's been very windy here, it's also been very hot. Just under 100°. Like a blast furnace out there. So we've been staying in. Sweetie's been napping & doing some surfing & listening to shortwave. I've been doing the same, except for the shortwave. If I'm knitting, I'll listen otherwise, my nose is buried in a book.

Baked some Pillsbury oatmeal, chocolate chip cookies this afternoon. I always add more chips. Hot, fresh cookies that are warm & crunch lightly when you bite into them but are chewy with a big glass of cold sweet milk while reading a great book! B L I S S !

I've been reading
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. Very interesting. Not scary, but when I'm tryin' to sleep I don't want a page turner.

reading: For The Love Of Knitting edited by Kari Cornell &
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown &
A Meal to Die For by Joseph R Gannascoli &
Cheaper Than Therapy edited by Annie Modesitt

Parting Shot: "Iced tea is too pure and natural a creation not to have been invented as soon as tea, ice, and hot weather crossed paths." ~ John Egerton
Quote Source