Wednesday, January 31, 2007

First time for everything

I'm sitting here, doing my regular evening thing. Reading blogs and sometimes knitting and sometimes not. As it happens, the 2nd sleeve is in the other room. I feel lazy and tired this evening after scraping the driveway earlier today and I don't want to get up, but the Redux in Blue sock is right here.

So I pick it up, glance at my project notes while my fingers automatically begin to align the sock in my hands for knitting. I put down the sock and then pick up the notes and look more closely. It's been so long since I knit on this thing that I don't remember what the pattern is. What in blinking blue blazes was I knitting? I see from my notes that it must be a 4 round pattern repeat because I've got a slash every 4 rounds. Hmmmp. No. Idea.

OK, pick up the sock & examine it. Hmmm. Vertical lines of big knit stitches. Ahh Ha! Those are slipped stitches. BINGO! Let's see, I think the pattern's in this pile over here. I still can't remember the pattern but at least I know where it is. It's at the bottom! OK! Got it! Looking at the pattern it's like I've never seen it before. Well, it's kinda familiar but I don't have it down like I did before I put the sock down to focus on my Heavenly sweater lo those many weeks ago.

I have never completely forgotten something like this. I expected to glance at my notes to see what round/row I'm on they just pick up & begin knitting. WoW! Looks like from my blog archives that the last time I picked up the Redux in Blue sock was on January 6th or 7th. Since it's been about 3½ weeks since I worked on it I guess I can be forgiven some absentmindedness. I have been so intent on my sweater. And now I'm typing on my blog so we'll see what happens later.

Oh,the suspense! But I'm uploading 2 photos so I will get a round or 2 in while that's going on unless I keep typing. I think I've got some good bird feeder snow pictures that I took during today's snow but I'm too lazy to download them (see above). Maybe tomorrow. Instead here are 2 photos of the marina cove, with & without snow. Ah, shoot!. My internet connection timed out & redialed. Anytime it does that the Blogger photo thing loses everything so I gotta start the upload again.

GAAH! ~ These size 2.5mm dpns are TINY! after the US 11 needles! Looking at the sock pattern it looks like all the gusset decreases are done. I'm on round 33 on the foot. Now I'm watching Mythbusters (the whirlpool and snow plow myth episode) and knitting on the Redux in Blue sock. I was getting kind of tired of the sweater pattern so even tho I'm almost done with the sweater I'm enjoying this mini-break from p3tog & sparkly cranberry mohair!

reading: The Cornbread Killer by Lou Jane Temple

Parting Shot: "Give wind and tide a chance to change." ~ Richard E Byrd
taken from The Best of Success, compiled by Wynn Davis, page 77

Monday, January 29, 2007

One Armed . . . Man? . . . Bandit? . . . What?

Finally! A "real" Heavenly sweater update, with pictures to boot. Well, one picture. Unless you want the same picture but different, less arty, angles.

I strung the live stitches onto another piece of lovely green acrylic waste yarn & then basted the sleeve into one of the armholes. Then I basted down the length of the sleeve. Good thing I ran outta yarn when I did. The sleeve is the perfect length. Just a tad too long, about an 1" past my wrist but I'm going to stick with it. I like the extra length. I'm a sleeve roller-upper anyway.

I'm on row 35 of the 2nd sleeve. There are 81 rows on the "finished" sleeve so I'm just under halfway there.

Man, this is one fluffy sweater. I feel a sheep with it on. Must be the mohair.

We have some more icky weather coming our way that should be here on Wednesday. Another stock-up trip to the store on Tuesday. I'm trying to decide if I should do a BBQ brisket in the oven so we can have 2-4 ready-made meals or just do a bunch of small meals. I'm hungry for Chinese food so that's probably playing a big role here. Meanwhile, while I wait for Blogger to load my ONE picture, I'll keep scrolling through my recipe files & print the ones that look good. Note to self: Next time don't do this when you're hungry.

I finished cataloging the Broadway show / movie / TV soundtrack part of our music CD's today. We only have 35 CD's in this genre. Next up will be the Classical CD's.

reading: The Cornbread Killer by Lou Jane Temple

Parting Shot: "Everywhere you look there is sunshine and warmth. It’s like living in the french fry bin at McDonalds." ~ unknown
Quote Source

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Scattered, Smothered, Covered & Chunked

Sweetie finally got to spend some time at home. Thursday we got home about when I figured (10:30pm) from our trip to the airport to pick up parts.

The good thing is that there is a Waffle House restaurant a few miles from the airport. We picked up the part & drove up there & had dinner. We both had our favorite, hash brown potatoes. They have the BEST hash browns on the planet. Our favorite Waffle House way is Scattered (on the grill), Smothered (with onions), Covered (with cheese) & Chunked (with ham). I usually get mine double covered — 2 slices of cheese. I love diner lingo!! Scattered, Smothered, doubled Covered & Chunked. Yum! I could go for some right now with a chicken melt. Sweetie almost always has a pecan waffle.

Friday, Sweetie was out of the house by 5:45am so he could meet up with the tech & be at the site by 7am. They got everything running by the time they had to leave but Sweetie got another call from the same company as Wednesday night. Come to find out that the insides of the machine where the circuit boards are & the circuit boards themselves were so packed with dust & dirt they couldn't function properly. They've been having intermittent problems for weeks.

So Saturday morning, Sweetie donned old clothes, grabbed a handful of dust masks & vacuumed & cleaned the inside of the machine. He thinks that will be the end of most of their problems.

We've been stayin' in out of the cold. Winter has finally arrived here. A photo of the marina taken Thursday. See the geese flying along at the top of the picture. Not planned at all.

Haven't done much knitting the last day or so. I've been re-thinking my next sweater choice — well the style, anyway. I love the colors of this Nautical Sweater but I think that's what I like. The colors. Not necessarily the style, especially the neckline. I like & look better in a shawl collar, V neck or turtleneck. A round, scoop or boat neck top doesn't look so good on me.

I'm pretty good taking off from a base but not so good in coming up with the base. I'm going to combine patterns from my 2 newest books, The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns by Ann Budd & Modern Classics by Louisa Harding. The colors & yarn I'll take from the Nautical Sweater which is from Modern Classics & the pattern from Ann Budd's book.

The way Ann Budd has her patterns arranged is wonderful. I never knew the difference between all the shoulders. That's how she's got the book arranged, by how the sleeves join the body of the sweater. She goes into a detailed explanation with photos of different necklines for each sleeve type. So now I know what ya'll are talkin' about on your blogs when you talk about a drop-shoulder sweater (which is what my Heavenly sweater is) or a raglan sleeve.

I want to craft a sweater that looks like the Nautical Sweater but that has a more flattering neckline for me. What that is right now, I don't know. Probably not a shawl collar but most likely a V neck.

But first I need to finish my Heavenly sweater, the Redux in Blue socks for SIL's principal, frog & re-knit CIL's socks & my gray cabled sweater, somewhat in that order. Oh & then there's my Mermaid socks & the cashmere socks for Sweetie & maybe a vest & then . . . . . .

reading: The Cornbread Killer by Lou Jane Temple

Parting Shot: "Success means only doing what you do well, letting someone else do the rest." ~ Goldstein's Truism
taken from The Best of Success, compiled by Wynn Davis, page 294

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Grumble grumble grumble

Knitting has in fact been going on here. But I have no photos of knitting. I have photos of the ice on the lake where we sail Spray when it's not frozen.

I took the camera out today & took lots of pictures at the lake. Most aren't worth keeping but it was fun. Gotta love digital. I just had to be careful where I drove, parked & walked as I didn't want to get stuck or fall. The roads down to the actual boat ramps & some of the parking areas weren't cleared & are still icy, even with the melting.

Wednesday afternoon I finished the 1st sleeve . . . well . . . mostly. I knit until I finished the 1½ skeins I'd allotted for each sleeve. I put the live stitches on a smaller needle & cast on for the 2nd sleeve. I'm on the last row of the 1st pattern repeat, or row 8, sleeve #2.

When I get time (read feel like it & feel up to it) I'll transfer the live stitches on the smaller needle from the 1st sleeve to some waste yarn & baste the sleeve to the armhole of the still basted together front & back of my Heavenly sweater & try it on again. Holding the sleeve on the needles up to where I think I remember it should go, it looks like it's the correct length. But actually basting the sleeve into the armhole & trying it on again will tell me the real deal. And that may take place Friday. I've had lots of time to myself this week.

My poor Sweetie has been run ragged on service calls. One of their big contracts has a machine down. The machine location is anywhere from 60-90 minutes travel time (depending on traffic) from our house. His company flew in another tech Wednesday night to help.

Sweetie had a 12 hour day Wednesday & today's going to be even longer. We're driving to the airport to pick up some parts for the dead machine that are being shipped "next flight." The flight won't get in until almost 9 this evening so we probably won't get home until after 10:30. He left this morning at 6:30am to meet the tech & discuss strategy over breakfast. They had parts arriving at the dead machine location today around 8am. Friday they are meeting at 7am (because we're picking up the parts tonight) & hopefully fix this thing before days end & the tech can fly back home for the weekend & Sweetie can come home & sleep.

To complicate matters, Sweetie got another service call from a different company that's about 1½ hours' drive from the big contract machine. They can't stay at the big contract company past 4pm. So at 4 he called to say that's he's headed for the other service call. Hopefully it's something quick & easy to fix so he can come home & nap for a few hours before we have to leave for the airport. And yes, we're an hour from the airport, too, so we have to leave around 8.

Here's the grumble part:
Since Sweetie had this 2nd service call I don't know why the other tech can't go get the parts. Since the tech had to leave at 4pm also, he could go back to his hotel & nap for a few hours & be on the road in his rental to the airport by 8:30, the very same airport he flew into. He'd be back in his room by 9:30 or so. He's only about 30 minutes from the airport. And Sweetie could come home from the 2nd call & go to sleep. But that's not happening.

If it was me, it'd be fine. But because it's not me, it's Sweetie, it's not fine. But then he'd be where I am now.

I'm sure I had more to post about, but I can't think of anything else right now.

reading: The Spotted Cats by William G Tapply

Parting Shot: "We can't all be heroes because someone has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by." ~ Will Rogers
Quote Source

Monday, January 22, 2007

Fit to be worn

Yes, it does. My Heavenly sweater fits. Last night I reeled off a yard or so of ucky green acrylic waste yarn & basted the front & back (or the back & front) of my sweater together. I stuck the 2 right sides together then took one of my fancy-pants bent tip tapestry needles & wove the waste yarn through the side & shoulder seams in big honkin' stitches. They're on the inside so they didn't show & this was just for tryin' on anyway. I'll rip 'em out when I ready to do the "real" seaming.

I tried it on with my chemise & even a cotton turtleneck (not at the same time). As I am not svelte & the yarn is fluffy, it makes me look even less svelte. But it's really warm!!. It's not a pattern or yarn I would have chosen for myself for those reasons but it'll be OK.

While it was on I measured the sleeve again & instead of 21" in length it should only be 20". I put place markers on the sleeve where we measured & I only have 4" to go. When I get close, I'll try the sweater on again to measure the sleeve length. I used up the first of the remaining 3 skeins. I split one of the remaining skeins in half & will go as far as I can with the half a skein. That will tell me if I will run out. If I don't it will be darned close.

If I do, I'll just order another skein. I have no hope of matching the dye lots but I'll fling myself off that bridge when I come to it. I do have a plan, however. If the colors from the odd skein look "off" I'll frog part of the first sleeve so I can alternate the new skein with the old skein — knit a couple of rows from each skein & carry the other skein up the seam then give the other sleeve the exact same treatment. No problem since it can't be that much. We'll see.

I did learn something else trying it on at this stage. I'm going to close up the neck more. The pattern wants you to leave am 11" opening for your head. For my physique, that makes the neck too wide. I can close it up some, maybe as much as an 1½" or so on each side & still get my head through the neck opening.

And of course, Z E R O progress on anything else.

I took some more birds in flight at the bird feeder photos but you don't want to see the same ol' stuff. And the sweater looks like 1 fluffier rectangle instead of 2 fluffy rectangles at this point. At least the sleeve is not so scarfy anymore. For those who know, it actually does look like a sleeve. Otherwise, it's kind of a short, wonky scarf that is getting wider on 1 end. (sigh)

Anyway, the photo up there is again from our first day with the new camera. This was taken at our marina. There was no wind & the water in the back of the cove where this boat is docked was absolutely calm. Not even a ripple. Sweetie & I are really looking forward to the nice weather so we can get Spray ready for launch.

As will see below, I finished Blacklist by Sara Partesky & am reading another book. As usual it was a very good read & exciting at the end. Toward the very end I finally figured out who done it. Normally, I don't even try, but this time it just flashed into my mind. It made sense & I was right. She is one of my favorite authors. I like strong female characters like V.I.

reading: South Beach Shakedown by Don Bruns

Parting Shot: "Nobody succeeds beyond their wildest expectations unless he or she begins with some wild expectations." ~ Ralph Charell
taken from The Best of Success, compiled by Wynn Davis, page 110

Saturday, January 20, 2007

I'm knitting a . . . . . scarf???

Well. That's what it looks & knits like. I can't seem to take a photo I like of it this evening. Tomorrow I may be able to channel Wendy from Knit and Tonic. Anyway, it's actually the first sleeve of my Heavenly sweater. Right now, it's about 6½" long & about 7½" wide. Looks like . . . . . a . . . . . scarf. Artful Yarns Heavenly yarn is very similar to Trendsetters Dune — all sparkly with a bit of mohair for that authentic mohair halo — it looks appropriately scarfy.

Last night I did the increase math necessary to go from a 12" ¾ sleeve to a 21" full length sleeve. The pattern says to cast on 35 stitches for the ¾ sleeves & you begin increasing almost immediately. Playing with the bottom cast on edge of the front (or maybe the back) of my sweater, 23 stitches seem to be a good fit around my wrist & can still get my hand through the opening. I added 2 selvage edge stitches & 2 stitches, well, just because. I'd rather have it a little too big than a bit too tight. I'm going to be wearing a long sleeved black chemise thing under this so a little more, I think, may be better. So that gets me to 27 cast on stitches.

I knit for 4½" before I began my increases. My increases are spaced like the pattern. I feel pretty confident about this whole thing.

It's snowing pretty good here. Sorry, no photos of that either. We are to get 2-4" by morning.

Sweetie had a dentist appointment this morning to get a small cavity filled. I sat & knit on my scarf sleeve. We got home a few hours before it began to snow.

I worked on cataloging more of our CD collection. I finished with the New Age earlier in the week & Jazz CD's this afternoon. We have just over 100 Jazz CD's & just under 100 "New Age" CD's. The rest is an eclectic mix of current popular music, Broadway show tunes, movie & TV soundtracks, Ultra Lounge, Classical, Bossa Nova, International (Asian, Middle Eastern, Reggae, Celtic, Brazilian, Caribbean & "African") Blues, 30's & 40's popular music, Christian & Christmas music. Yeah. Diverse.

I made Conrad's Beef Stew this afternoon. The recipe is here. I made it exactly the same way & again, it was delicious. Just right for a snowy Saturday.

If you want an entertaining 2 hours watch the current Pirate episode of MythBusters on the Discovery Channel. It's one of their best & very funny!

reading: Blacklist by Sara Partesky

Parting Shot: "Don't believe in miracles — depend on them." ~ Lawrence J Peter
taken from The Best of Success, compiled by Wynn Davis, page 125

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Thrilling ~ Galvanizing ~ Glamorous

That's me! The very picture of exciting & wonderful knitting. Two rectangles that look different sizes but are actually the same.

The front & back or maybe the back & front of my Heavenly sweater are done. The one on the right was the first one knit & is a little stretched from being hauled around the house & the rows of clumped p3tog stitches counted numerous times to make double sure that both pieces have the same number of rows. The top of the sweater is actually at the bottom of the frame. Oops!

I haven't tried it on yet. I want to knit on in ignorance & bliss that when complete It. Will. Fit. I'll worry about that tomorrow. Besides I'm cold right now.

I've already cast on for the right (or maybe the left) sleeve. I debated about doing both at once. I remember what a hassle it was keeping straight which sleeve I was knitting on when I was doing my gray cable sweater. So one at a time for me this time.

The ice is melting. The sun shone & it got above freezing. We scraped our driveway & sidewalk. To celebrate Sweetie & I went to Borders this afternoon. We had gift cards left over from Christmas, $7-$8 to spend from our Borders Holiday bonus thing & a personal shopping day which is 10% off your purchase. We combined it all to get The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns by Ann Budd & some music CD's.

First off, some kind soul had completely gone thru the craft section & reorganized it. All the knitting books were in 1 place & filed by author. Which means that all the copies of the same book were all together. WoW! They'd either gotten more books in or I'd missed this one. Paging through it at the book store I got it for the same reason I got Modern Classics a few weeks ago. Some good patterns with lots of variations. This latest book had some different necklines & shoulders than Modern Classics; so a good choice for me.

I like the way the sweaters are arranged on the front cover. They remind me of Nancy Bush's sock books. Maybe that's why I was drawn to the cover. The sweaters look like socks folded over.

Tomorrow I get my hair trimmed, again. Didn't I just do this?? I'm still in my grow-it-out mode. So just a trim. It IS getting longer. It's almost all the same length now. Why in heavens name did I make an 8:30am appointment.

reading: Blacklist by Sara Partesky

Parting Shot: "The choice is yours. You hold the tiller. You can steer the course you choose in the direction of where you want to be — today, tomorrow, or in a distant time to come." ~ W Clement Stone
taken from The Best of Success, compiled by Wynn Davis, page 14

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

lost & FOUND!

SIL e-mailed today to let me know that she FOUND the lost mates to her socks. Hallelujah! I promptly rounded them up & mailed them off to her.

In case you're new or don't remember, at Christmas she told me that she'd taken 1 sock of each of the 4 surviving pairs I've knit for her with her to a weekend needlepoint camp to show off. I was flabbergasted & absurdly pleased that she would do this.

But that is her. She down plays her own fabulous needlework & makes much of mine. Next time I visit I'm going to take some photos of her framed & freestanding needlepoint projects with my new camera & post some here.

Anyway, when she got back she couldn't locate the mates anywhere. She thought she'd dropped them somewhere between her room at the hotel & the car when she was leaving. She was really disappointed & hated to tell me, fearing I'd be upset.

I was too bowled over by the fact that she travels around with them to show off to be upset. Besides, "It's only knitting", as the Harlot says. At Christmas I took the 4 singles home to re-knit mates for them.

Now I don't have to! So since my post yesterday, my "list to knit" has shrunk by 4 socks. Whew!

And while we were out mailing the socks, we stopped in at Best Buy & got a 1gb memory card for our camera. (So I didn't get off completely scott-free.) We upgraded to a 512mb when we bought the camera. The 1gb cards were on sale & with the $10 rebate that bought the cost down to $26. The 2gb sticks were $90. I still cannot imagine taking over 1,000 photos (using up the 512 & the 1gb card) in one go. But I can see how on a good sailing weekend with lots of boats out that we could take a lot of pictures & might not get to downloading them right away.

We also got a lightweight but fairly sturdy tripod. Eventually, I'll take the camera off automatic
& learn how to do some fancy night shots. For now, another bird photo taken from our patio door.

Well, I don't have any new knitting photos to show as the back (front) of the Heavenly sweater is the same as the front (back) of the sweater. I am within about 1 pattern repeat of the neckline. After that I do 9 rows of purl garter stitch then bind off. Easy Peasy. Then it's on to the Sleeves. Oh, boy!

reading: Blacklist by Sara Partesky

Parting Shot: Where do knitters keep their armies? . . . . Up their sleevies.
Sorry, that was really bad!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

More stuff on the needles than you can shake a pointed stick at

Blogger kept bombing out on the scanned photo so I took a picture of the sweater & cropped out the non-sweater parts. Geeees! What ya gotta go through somedays.

Anyway, that's the sweater I want to knit next. It's from Modern Classics by Louisa Harding. The sweater is called Nautical Stripe Sweater & it uses Nautical Cotton which according to the book is 100% mercerized cotton. Hmmmm. I would need around 18 balls total. The body is knit on US7 / 4½ mm needles & US 5 / 3¾ mm for the red cuffs, hem & neck. It's got that French Navy look. And it's Nautical! The downside is the cotton. Ick. But 4½ mm needles aren't that small either. So, that's what's in my sights.

I WILL finish the Heavenly & the gray cabled sweaters first. And maybe a couple of pairs of socks in there. Speaking of the Heavenly sweater. I am more than ¾ done with the front (back). By week's end I hope to be on the sleeves. The p3tog is a necessary evil. Why don't we see these things when we look at the pattern!

I like the way the book, Modern Classics (linked above) has several necklines & other details for each sweater pattern. I even like the turtleneck on the cover. That's always a plus for me.

As before no progress on the Redux in Blue socks or my poor forlorn Mermaid socks. And don't even go near my Fortissima cotton Castle socks. They've languished since . . . July! Oh, dear. So yeah, 2 sweaters on the needles & 3 socks. That doesn't even count the 4 single socks I need to knit for SIL & the frogging & re-knitting of CIL's STRIPES!!! socks. Sigh. And then there's the cashmere yarn I got in Atlanta which are to be socks for Sweetie. All in good time, my pretties. All in good time.

We got a few swirls of snow Sunday morning in the sun but mostly what we got here was sleet off & on Friday & Saturday. I got a couple of good bird pictures & some decent ice encrusted grass photos Sunday. Here's the best of the bird photos. I haven't had this camera more than a couple of weeks & what I'm able to do with it is awesome.

We didn't go farther than the mailbox from Thursday evening to mid-afternoon today when we ran out of milk & had to make a run to the grocery store. We stopped in at the hardware store while we were out so we're all stocked up again.

Sweetie's got both bathrooms where we /I ripped the old towel racks off the wall mudded & sanded. He's primed the mudded / sanded areas but I want to prime / seal the areas around the shower & bathtub with that paint, too. So that's my / our task for tomorrow.

reading: Blacklist by Sara Partesky

Parting Shot: "In the end, the only people who fail are those who do not try." ~ David Viscott
taken from The Best of Success, compiled by Wynn Davis, page 244

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Oh, baby it's cold outside

That's what we've been doing the past day or so. Sitting by the fire. It's very cold outside (in the mid-teens) & grey & it's been spitting sleet & fine dry snow on & off since Friday morning. Sunday we're supposed to get between 3 & 6 inches of snow. No reason for us to have to get out. That's the best kind of snow & bad weather.

When we need another chunk of wood for the fire, one of us goes outside to get it. During the day we make the trek to the woodpile at the back of the yard. We're leaving the wood in the tarp on the patio for wood forays after dark. We're not heating with the wood. A wood fire, especially on a grey day, makes our house feel warmer. The ambiance of a wood fire on a cold grey day.

I did the pot roast in foil today & it turned out wonderful — very tender & flavorful. I threw in some carrots, potatoes & onions. I seasoned the meat with several grinds of Penzey's Four Peppercorn blend & some granulated garlic. Then I poured a can of beef broth over it & topped the veggies with some of the same pepper & garlic. The roast was just over 2½ lbs (there's only 2 of us) so I set the oven temperature at 350°F. (325°F. in our convection oven) & let it roast for just over 3 hours.

Sometimes, I follow the recipe & mix cream of celery soup (you can use mushroom instead) with Lipton's beefy onion soup & spread that over the seasoned roast in the pan then add the vegetables around the sides. If I do it this way I pour about ½ cup water over the veggies before sealing it up in foil. But I forgot to get the soups Thursday when I went to the store. Oh, well. It was still delicious.

I'm hungry for something sweet so a little later I'll either bake a cake or cookies. Sweetie just voted for cookies.

Last night by the fire, I finished the 1st skein on the back (front) of the Heavenly sweater. That puts me on row 30. So the back (front) is just over 1/3 done. Yea! The pattern is a pleasure to knit, except for maybe the p3tog. Ugh! It's not difficult but about half the time I can't get it on the first try.

I haven't touched the Redux in Blue sock since I got so hot to finish my sweater.

I THINK I've already got my next sweater picked out. I'll scan the photo & tell you about it next time.

I've set myself another computer organizing task. No, I'm not finished with doing my recipes. I'm cataloging our CD collection. Noting on a spreadsheet the title of the CD, each cut/track, the artist & genre. Most of what we have is New Age, then Jazz is the 2nd largest category. I'm also doing a 2nd spreadsheet with just the CD title, artist & genre.

Sweetie slapped some mud on the towel bar holes Thursday & sometime this weekend we'll sand & maybe slap on a little more mud. Things are progressing.

reading: Cover Your Assets by Patricia Smiley

Parting Shot: "Nothing external to you has any power over you." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
taken from The Best of Success, compiled by Wynn Davis, page 67

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The front (or maybe the back) is done

Short of showing a square piece of knitting draped artistically on a Jag or a large expensive sailboat there is no good way to show a square piece of knitting, unless you're Wendy of Knit & Tonic fame. And since I'm not Wendy & have neither a Jag (I have a green Mazda pick-up aka Mathilda) nor a large expensive sailboat (we have a small cheap sailboat aka Spray) I chose to take an arty photo instead.

I took the piece & fastened it to the window with the afternoon sun coming in through the loops & used the super-macro function on the camera. The photos I look of the knitting, where the knitting filled the whole frame from a little farther away are slightly out of focus but the window screen which you can see through the loops in the slightly out of focus knitting is in great focus. So I didn't upload that one.

The front (or back, they're both knit the same) of my Heavenly sweater is done. Yeah, after my last post I know you're dying for more statistics. It took almost 3 skeins & 10 pattern repeats. I THINK I may have enough yarn to finish, even with the longer length & full length sleeves.

When I got ready to cast on for the next piece I debated whether to do a sleeve or the back (or front) of the sweater. I decided that when I'm done with the 2nd piece, I'd rather have 2 smaller pieces to do than a small & a large piece. Also, by the time the back (or front) is done I'll be able to tell if it's going to fit. If it does (crosses fingers) I'll just have the sleeves to do. I've got 1 pattern repeat done for side 2.

It's really hard to tell if something's going to fit when you only have the front (or the back). When I hold it up to myself, it looks OK, but well, we'll see when the back (or front) is done.

And I'm so pleased with myself. I thought I broke our new big ass camera (as Claudia of Claudia's Blog
fame succinctly puts it. Even though I don't have the same camera, it's big like hers). I turned it on & the LCD screen on the back was blank. I thought that it was set to look through the view-finder but no that wasn't it. Maybe the batteries are low or dead. Nope, not that. Is the memory card in it? I didn't know where the memory card was on the camera to check that it was there (I know now) but it wasn't in the card reader so I figured it was probably in the camera. I read through the manual — no help there. I picked it up & fiddled with it from time to time this morning & somewhere along the line I realized the lens cap was on. Ooops! Over the weekend when we played with it a lot, handing it back & forth without the cap on, I just expected not to be on there, I guess. Well, I fixed the camera. It works great now.

We're replacing the cheap towel bars in both our bathrooms with nickel finished double towel bars. We're also going to paint. And no, I'm not finished with the living/dining room trim, but well. The screws holding these cheap towel bars into the drywall are at least 3" long. There's some kind of anchor on the end so you just can't yank the screw outta there. AND you have to hold onto the little piece the cheap towel bar fits onto to keep the anchor thingy up against the dry wall so the screw will actually unscrew from it. Sweetie & I did 1 towel bar over the weekend & I did the other 3 today.

We also had a "chair-rail" wall-paper border in the "green"/guest bathroom. It was one of those pre-stick ones where you just had to wet it & put it up. It's been up 10-12 years. It peeled right off. Cool. After we get the holes mudded & sanded, we're going to paint with white sealer paint. We've never painted the bathrooms, so the sealer paint is going to get sucked up big time. I still want to do our bathroom in a dark blue with white trim & white towels but Sweetie thinks it'll be too dark. Hmmmm. At least I talked him out of the light, light blue.

Once the bathrooms are sealed & painted we can put the new towel bars up. Yes, all this work for new towel bars. Why did you decided to paint the bathrooms? So we could put new towel bars up. Yep, makes sense to me, too.

Sweetie actually had to go to work today. He had 2 calls. He left home around 6:30am & didn't get home until just after 6pm. Tomorrow morning he has 1 more then has to go into the city to get finger-printed. The good thing is that so far with this new company, none of his customers has a contract that goes past 5pm. This is the first job he's had in well over ten years that he's not been on call either all night or until midnight. I hope this part NEVER changes!

There is a good chance for freezing rain Friday AM & then various mixtures of ice & snow the rest of the day & for the weekend. I'm going to make a good grocery run tomorrow & bring some more wood down for a fire over the weekend. This may be a pot-roast weekend!

reading: The Laughing Policeman by Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö

Parting Shot: "It's the job that's never started as takes longer to finish" ~ J R R Tolkein
taken from The Best of Success, compiled by Wynn Davis, page 198

Monday, January 8, 2007

Broken Rules

Remember back when I said that my Heavenly sweater was only a living room chair sweater. Well, not anymore. I'm so excited about it that I want to knit & knit & knit on it. I've got a pretty good handle on the pattern so I don't have to keep fishing around for it when I finish a row. I've got 17" done on the front or back (they're both the same). The pattern calls for 12½" to the armhole from the bottom, mark the beginning of the armhole then 7" more in pattern (I've got 4½") & then purl every row for an 1½" until the armhole measures 8½". I'll get the length just short of where I want it then do the purl rows.

I'm on the third of 9 skeins. I'll wait until I'm done with the front, that'll give me more of an idea if I'm going to run out of yarn or not. I got 7½" with the first skein. That has the cast on tail, the cast on & 2 rows of purl before the pattern kicks in — 34 rows. The second skein, all in pattern, was also 7½" but only 30 rows. Since this is such a blocky sweater, not fitted at all, I'm not too worried about gauge. And it seems to be OK side to side, too.

The pattern has 2 rows of k1, p1, k1 into 1 stitch every other stitch all the way across the row. I go from 61 stitches to 120. You have 2 rows of knitting, purling all those stitches & 2 rows of p3tog every other stitch. That brings you back down to 61 stitches & 2 rows of purling them. So out of an 8 row pattern, there are only 2 rows that use 61 stitches. All the rest are either 120 stitches or ramping up to or down from 120 stitches on the needles.

Sweetie & I went for a walk today & took the camera. Didn't find a darn thing worth takin' a picture of. Tomorrow we'll have to walk somewhere more exciting!

I got the socks back from CIL in the mail today. I'm going to leave them be for a while. I want to get to the toe decreases on the Redux in Blue sock before I do anything to CIL's sock. I'm a bit down about that. I think that's why I don't want to work on the Redux in Blue sock. Between the 4 singles I need to knit for SIL to replace the ones she lost & CIL's complete redo & redoing the principal sock & feel like I'm not getting anywhere, socknitting-wise.

reading: The Laughing Policeman by Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö

Parting Shot: "The proof of gold is fire . . ." ~ Benjamin Franklin
taken from The Best of Success, compiled by Wynn Davis, page 162

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Say Cheese!

Well, we did it! Bought a digital camera today. Remember yesterday? All the closet cleaning? We have a large plastic file tub filled with miscellaneous sailing photos taken over the years, mostly by other people. We looked all through it looking for a photo of Relentless' cockpit so we could see how we'd set up her traveler. We remember pretty well, we think. But a photo would have been helpful.

Last night we realized with that just how many photos we didn't & haven't taken. Film is not cheap & getting the prints developed is not cheap. And with that resolve, we headed out after Sweetie's dentist appointment this morning. We bought a lot more camera than what I would have thought we'd get. But it has to do a lot. Take pictures of sailboats near & far. Take pictures of knitting, mostly near.

We purchased a FujiFilm FinePix S6000fd. Yeah, say that five times fast! It's a 6 mega pixel camera with a manual zoom. That makes it look more like a film camera & it's easier to hold onto, which is important in the cockpit of a sailboat. It's got rings/grooves in front so you can screw on filters. It also has a pop up flash. And it has lots of buttons that do lots of things & takes 4 AA batteries.

Right off the bat we got a 512mb memory card that will hold 160 pictures. Roaming around out at the lake, I took over 100 pictures. When we bought the camera we were thinking how could we EVER take more than 160 photos at any one time. Well, it's easy. ~ click click click ~ I can see us getting another memory card. One of the things that came with the camera was a little pouch to hold your memory cards. Well, I thought that was just a waste of time . . . but now I see how you could have a whole pouch of memory cards.

First you get to learn how to deal with the camera, then you get to have even more joy learning how to deal with the software so you can play with the pictures once you get them off the camera. I love how you can take lots of pictures then with not even so much as a presto-chango POOF! they're gone! All the crappy shots & no one need ever know!

So far I know how to take macro photos (2 settings for this) & use the zoom. I can also delete all the photos or just one ~ even the ones you WANT to keep. I can force the flash or suppress it & control red eye. Oh, & I know how to look at the photos I've taken while they're still in the camera! Fun Stuff! This camera makes me, a pretty ho-hum picture-taker look pretty good.

We also got a card reader. Sweetie now knows how to get the photos out of the camera & onto the computer via either the camera or the card reader. I'm learning how to manipulate them using The Gimp. There is software with the camera & PhotoFinale software that also came with the camera that can also do this. We have coupons for a free digital photo seminar & a PhotoFinale class. So those might be interesting. If we're going to do it, we or I need to do it before Spray goes into the water.

So great times ahead. I'll be able to take photos of half finished socks on my foot & photos of sweaters & other WIP. I'll be able to show you the before boo-boos & the after fixes.

Speaking of knitting . . . I'm onto the foot rounds with the first Redux in Blue sock. I'm going to get to the toe decreases & stop ~ size 7½ foot ~ how long is that, I wonder? I'm going to cast on again for CIL's sock & do her a new sock with a heel. When it gets to the toe decreases, I'll stop on that one, too. Then I'll line up the principal & CIL for fittings & go from there. And no, I have no idea what pattern for CIL's socks. It will still be stripy, just don't know what ribbing. Maybe what's on my Yoga Daughter sock. That's pretty stretchy & it's Cascade Fixation. It's k3, p1, k1, p1. hmmmm.

With all the camera excitement & out at the lake with the spinnaker I haven't done any knitting on my Heavenly sweater. Maybe tomorrow.

reading: The Jinx by Jennifer Sturman

Parting Shot: "A good photograph is knowing where to stand." ~ Ansel Adams
Quote Source

Friday, January 5, 2007

Let's set the chute!

I've been making good progress on both the Redux in Blue sock & on my Heavenly sweater.

In my last post I told you that I had to frog 30 rounds of the Redux in Blue sock. Yesterday I got them all re-knit & was back to where I started by days end. Now I've got the heel flap started & it's going well. I did 64 leg rounds & I'm on row 17 of the heel flap. Normally my heel flaps are about 25-30 rows. Since the principal is short like me I'm going to make her heel flap the same size as mine.

It feels nice doing a heel flap. It's my 2nd favorite part of the sock — I think it's because you can do the rows so quickly. You're only knitting on half the stitches. Next up is the mysterious but fascinating turning of the heel — my very favorite part of the sock. Some day I will turn enough heels & one day, I will understand how heel flap works.

I've also made wonderful progress on my Heavenly sweater. I've knit a few inches past where the pattern called for the marker for the beginning of the underarm. I wanted to sweater to be a little longer. But now I am there. Since I don't have to do anything other than place a marker, the knitting in pattern will continue apace. About 8½" according to the pattern. But I'll measure when I get there & see.

I got up from knitting on my sweater early this afternoon to get a marker for the armhole & got VERY sidetracked. The end result is 2 cleaned out closets, a re-arranged CD organizer, a pile of cardboard boxes for recycle, a pile of stuff for GoodWill & 3 bags of foam inserts from the empty broken down cardboard boxes.

While writing the previous sentence I remembered what started it. I also wanted to put on a CD & I hadn't yet re-filed the ones we took on our trip to Georgia. So I did that. Then I noticed that Sweetie had put away the large tub we keep all the Christmas wrapping paper in. But the 2 bags holding the shopping bags & gift bags were still out. So I decided to put those away. Well it went down or maybe uphill from there. I didn't pitch much from that closet (other than 2 shoe boxes full of CD's recorded onto cassette tapes. Now that we had CD players in each vehicle we don't need cassette tapes.) but I reorganized & moved stuff around so now it's better.

I moved a pile of comforters & blankets from the closet above to our bedroom closet. Our bedroom closet is a walk-in. We've always keep the boxes from electronics & such while they're under warranty so we can ship them back if we need to. Once they're out of warranty, I usually pitch the boxes. I haven't done that in a while. So I made a bunch of room in our closet by breaking down, a 19" computer monitor box, a 27" TV box, a laser printer box, a scanner box & all the boxes from the Berndes pans we got last year. I left the box that Sweetie's computer came in. It's out of warranty but if we ever need to ship it back to be repaired we'd never find a box for it. I also kept our laptop box & the ham radio box for the same reasons.

So a lot of boxes got moved out. Now I have more room for more stash! While I was cleaning out I found a basket that I used to keep Sweetie's dress socks in. Now I have my sweater with all the skeins of yarn in it & my Mermaid sock. The Redux in Blue sock is right next to me. All in all a very productive afternoon.

And we got a UPS delivery. I don't think I've mentioned this. Sweetie's been wanting a spinnaker for Spray for quite a while. Almost since the day we bought her. We had both a cruising & a poled spinnaker for Relentless, our 22' Laguna sailboat.

Those photos above are of Relentless. The 1st photo where looks like we're parked at a dock (we are) is the poled spinnaker. Relentless was being shown at an on-the-water boat show. The wind was just right so we "set the chute" (pronounced like the last syllable of parachute or shoot). You can see from the water how calm the wind really was but it was enough to fill the sail beautifully. The material is 3/4 oz rip-stop nylon. Parachute & hot air balloon material. We bought the sail used from a local dealer.

The 2nd photo is Relentless under sail with the cruising spinnaker flying. This also was a used sail purchased from a guy that was moving up in boat size & this spinnaker was too small for his new boat.

Our new sail is like the 2nd photo, except the colors are red, white & blue. A cruising or asymmetric spinnaker is attached to the boat by the halyard (rope used to raise the sail) & at the bottom. A regular jib sail is attached to the halyard & all along the forestay (cable that extends down from the front of the mast & attaches to the bow). Both sides of the cruising spinnaker are loose. The end of the sail that's not attached to the boat has a sheet (rope) attached that runs back to the cockpit. That's how you control & adjust the sail. It can't be flown in front of the boat because one side of the sail is attached to the forestay.
Also (very important) a spinnaker is usually flown with the wind coming from behind the boat — downwind.

A poled spinnaker on the other hand, can be flown in front of the boat or in front & to the side a bit. It's
attached at the top with the halyard, at one side (the side opposite the boom) to the spinnaker pole & on the other side with a sheet (see the photo in the link above). With a cruising spinnaker you can only adjust the one side, as the other side of the sail is attached to the forestay. With a poled spinnaker you can put that sail anywhere you have the balls to do it. It's attached to the boat with STRING!! You can also let the halyard out a bit (the line at the top of the sail) & loosen the sheets on each side & fly the chute waaay in front of the boat. Ask me how I know this?!

It's also worth noting that both a cruising & a poled spinnaker usually doubles & in some cases triples your regular sail area (mainsail + working jib). So you can have a hell of a lot of fun or end up in a hell of a lot of trouble. We've never got into trouble. Never broke anything. Never hurt anyone. But we had some MAJOR good times.

When we were learning how to fly chutes on Relentless we would go out on an absolutely flat calm day, rig the sail, put the engine in reverse & motor backwards. That way you had control of the wind direction. By motoring backwards the wind could only come from the back of the boat to the front & fill the sail. And how much wind by how fast you motored backwards. We plan to do that with this new cruising spinnaker as it's been almost 15 years since we flew one. YIKES!

We were also cautious when we flew the chutes. If it was very windy (over say 12mph or whitecaps), we usually didn't unless we had extra crew on board. Most of the time Sweetie & I flew the chutes by ourselves. The cruising spinnaker was the easiest because there was only 1 sheet (line) to trim (control) once it was up.

With the poled spinnaker, it was trickier because Sweetie not only had to raise the sail, but connect the pole to one side of the sail & then connect the other end of the pole to a fitting on the mast. Meanwhile, I'm in the cockpit, steering, with the tiller between my knees, keeping the sail full & in control, making sure the mainsail is OK (the mainsheet lying on the seat next to me) & holding a line in each hand. One line controlled the pole side of the chute & the other line controlled the other side of the chute. Yes, for a few minutes, I was a very busy girl. Once Sweetie had the pole set & trimmed to his satisfaction (there are lines attached to the pole that meet in the middle of it so you can control how high or low the pole is (& consequently the end of the sail that's attached to the pole)) & once he was done admiring his spinnaker set he would amble back to the cockpit to "help" me. He would take the spinnaker sheets & I would steer & take care of the mainsail trim.

Steering was THE most important job at this point. Too high (with the wind coming not from the back any more but from the side of the boat where the pole is & the boat could broach which means the spinnaker could pull the boat really really far over to where water would come into the cockpit — normally an extremely difficult thing to do. Once the wind has spilled out of the spinnaker (about the time the water's pouring into the cockpit) the boat would stand upright again. If the wind caught the spinnaker again, over you'd go again! FUN in very controlled circumstances but dangerous, if unexpected. So keep the wind behind you. If you got too far off the wind (the wind coming around the other side of the boat) the sail would collapse.

We really enjoyed both sails. It was rainy & drizzly today so tomorrow or the next day when the grass has dried, we're going to take it out to the lake & hoist it, just to see. We're also going to lay it out full length & width on the grass in one of the picnic areas. I'll take some photos both times. You may have to wait a bit for these photos as they will be on a disposable camera.

reading: The Jinx by Jennifer Sturman

Parting Shot: "There's no thrill in easy sailing when the skies are clear and blue. There's no joy in merely doing things which any one can do, but there is some satisfaction that is might sweet to take, when you reach a destination that you thought you'd never make." ~ Spirella
Quote Source

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Listen to what your knitting tells you

In my last post I went on & on (& on & on) about how things were going swimmingly because I was paying such close attention to each stitch & what I was knitting. Blah blah blah! Yeah yeah yeah! I should listen to myself. Seriously.

And then there's that other piece of advice from Maggie Righetti in her book Knitting in Plain English that I also ignored. Look at your work. Admire your work frequently.

When you do that errors (if there are any) pop out like corn. Not only do you get the positive feedback from your own fabulous work; you get the opportunity to inspect the piece & see any glaring errors before you have to frog back 30 rounds to fix it. Yeah, really.

I picked up the Redux in Blue sock this morning to knit 1 more pattern repeat before I started on the heel flap. About 30 rounds back there was a dent in the sock, all the way around. Yeah, I looked at it while I knit a couple of rounds trying to decide a) what to do about it (ignore or fix) & b) how did that get there?

How it got there is I knit 3 purl rows instead of 2. I paid more attention to my notes on what round I was on rather that what the knitting told me. Yes, if you pay attention & listen to your knitting it will tell you what round or row you're on. And that is probably the best advice of all. Obviously, if you're doing a pattern that's the same every round/row that handy philosophy won't work. But it does in the case of this pattern.

In fact, I did listen (eventually) after I'd frogged & was putting the stitches back on the needles willy-nilly. Counting up from the bottom I decided I stopped on row xx, which was round 1 of the pattern. However all the time I was knitting the next round the knitting kept saying something else. But I was busy knitting & wasn't listening until near the end of last needle of the round. I finally got it. Despite what the count & my notes said, the knitting said that my next round was actually round 1, not round 3. I'd actually stopped with round 3 on the needles not round 1. (Confused yet?)

Instead of tinking that last round (which may or may not have actually been faster) I changed each stitch to what it would have been had I knit it correctly before I knit the stitch for round 1. A lot of fiddin' with the crochet hook & my bamboo 2mm needle but things are OK with the sock now. I've even admired it greatly & at length before I moved on.

So lesson learned . . . AGAIN! I've always had a problem with not listening closely enough.

CIL finally e-mailed last night that she tried her socks on Saturday & they are too small. She writes that she can barely get them over her heel. Hmmm. Seems like we had this issue when she was trying them on at Thanksgiving. (See, not listening again.) Well, I'm going to have her mail them back & I'll frog & re-do them. Another pattern or 2 repeat & a more forgiving rib, perhaps? I think we'll also go with a heel this time. I can change the stripe pattern to one less stripey while I'm at it. I wish she could wear wool because I am loving this denim-y Socketta.

Good thing I'm a process knitter & not a project knitter, huh?

reading: This Dame for Hire by Sandra Scoppettone

Parting Shot: "Somewhere there is a map of how it can be done." ~ Ben Stein
taken from The Best of Success complied by Wynn Davis, page 249

Monday, January 1, 2007

Pay Attention!

I guess some of the time when I knit I'm off in ever-ever-knit-land. I'll "come to" & find that I've messed up. If I'm lucky it's the same row I'm on & I can tink back & get it. If I'm extremely lucky, I can "fix" it next time around. But, sometimes, I'm extremely unlucky & I have to frog rounds & rounds & in some cases frog it right back down to the ground.

Frogging to me is taking the work completely off the needles & rippin' either one row at a time, keeping track until you get to the error of your ways so you can fix it & then put it back on or rippin' it back right down to the ground. The key is "taking the work off the needles."

Tinking to me is slowly & delicately slipping each completed stitch off the working needle, gently pulling the yarn out of the loop then slipping that loop ever so tenderly back onto the non-working needle. Sometimes if I have a lot to tink or if I'm putting the work back on the needles from a major frog-fest, I'll just stick the loop on the the non-working needle willy-nilly & situate it properly on the needle when I get ready to knit (or purl) it.

Sometimes it's like a Zen thing. I have a 2mm bamboo needle that I use to grab the loop & coax it back onto the non-working needle. And its soothing to be able to unpick the error, soothe the yarn & restore it to the non-working needle, ready to be knit or purled again.

Luckily, so far, I haven't had to frog anything on the Redux in Blue sock or my Heavenly sweater. I've had to tink a few times but nothing major. On the sock except for a couple of loose stitches & a purl that should have been a knit on the cuff of the sock (too far down to fix it & I'm the only one who knows & even I have to look patiently for it because I know it's there) the sock is technically correct. And the Heavenly sweater is absolutely correct.

Why is this such a breakthrough? Normally, unless it's glaring there are little jury-rig fix-it's in most of my stuff. I'll try to fix whatever it is in the round that I'm on instead of fixing it correctly. An extra stitch? If it doesn't show, k2tog. Lose a stitch somewhere? Add a stitch where & in such a way that it won't be noticeable. Sometimes I can fix it & sometimes I can't. If I can't then I have to decide how important or glaring the error is & who the sock is for. I'm more likely to fix it correctly, if it's going to someone else. If it's for me, it most likely will get a jury-rig fix. Most of the time it's stuff that only someone who painstakingly looked over every stitch would find but I know it's there.

Also, I think the reason I make these little errors is that the knitting on that particular pattern has become . . . not boring . . . but the knitting has become complacent. I'm knitting & not paying attention to each stitch. My mind wanders. I'm seeing what I'm knitting but I'm not SEEING each stitch that I'm knitting. A forest for the trees, kind of thing. I love knitting like that. When I slow down & actually knit each stitch in the moment, it's like a meditation. I focus on each stitch. A wonderful side benefit to that is no errors. No mis-counts.

Both of the projects that I'm working on now require a lot of purl stitches. I can zoom along & zone out when knitting knit stitches but when most of the knitting is purl stitches it forces me to tune in & stay centered on the stitch. Consequently, I think I'm going to get a better garment out of each project.

I've got 3½" done on the Redux in Blue sock & a whopping 7½" on my Heavenly sweater. I'm into the 2nd skein (2 of 9) on the sweater. The "pattern" says to knit until the pieces measures 12½" then mark for the armholes. Since I don't have to change anything stitch or pattern-wise until the piece measures 19½" I'll place a marker at 12½" & then decide at 19½" just where I want the sweater to fall, lengthwise.

This sweater is knit exactly the same front & back. [From the pattern] "Sew shoulder seams, leaving 11" opening at the center for neck. Sew sleeves between armhole markers. Sew side & sleeve seams." As there are no special provisions, other than a few rows of purl garter stitch at the neckline (about an 1½" according to the pattern to finish out the armhole) I should be able to easily adjust the length.

By the time I have both the front & back knit (& the length question settled) I'll know if I need to get more yarn as I'm changing the pattern from 3/4 length sleeves to full length sleeves. I bought every skein in this color the shop had so I know the new yarn will be in a different dye lot. If they'd had a skein or 2 more I'd of bought them. If I have to get more yarn, I'll knit a half a pattern repeat (4 rows) in 1 then the remaining 4 rows in the original dye lot starting at the bottom. Should be OK. There is a picture of the pattern on my Dec 28 blog post.

Well, that's my plan & (since I'm not there yet) I'm stickin' to it.

reading: This Dame for Hire by Sandra Scoppettone

Parting Shot: Your belief that you can do the thing gives your thought forces their power." ~ Robert Collier ~ / ~ taken from The Best of Success complied by Wynn Davis, page 17