Saturday, April 28, 2007

Some Xena talk

We're on the home stretch of the night work for Sweetie. Thursday afternoon, Sweetie's company sent another tech to do service calls during days so Sweetie could get some much needed rest. Since Monday he's averaged only 3-4 hours of sleep each 24 hour period. And usually that was broken up into two or three smaller segments because of service calls. That tech went home Saturday morning but should be back Sunday evening to cover for Sweetie during Monday so Sweetie can get back on a day schedule.

Saturday night and then Sunday night are his last nights. Although the big contract company is not doing any processing this evening (Saturday) Sweetie still has to go in. He's going to do a "PM" (Preventative Maintenance) which he normally does once a month. The two machines have had only minor problems during this peak time. He's going to check them out so there won't be any unseen problems crop up. It takes several hours to do each machine and he thinks that unless something comes up, he'll be home around 2 or 3 am instead of 6 or 7 am. Sunday is the last day and Sunday night is the last night that his company has to have a tech there while they are processing.

The big contract company has also withdrawn it's 20/7 demand (from my last post). Wonder what happened. Hmmmm

The Cabled Cashmere hat is slogging along. I found an error and had to frog back but it's doing.

As I mentioned in my last post I'm watching a lot of Xena DVD's. I would normally only watch them when Sweetie had a service call in the evening as a treat. As there have been a lot of nothing on TV in the evenings thank goodness I had Xena. I really enjoyed all interviews and commentaries included with the DVD's. Beware there will be spoilers below.

The Quill is Mightier ~ Episode 10 ~ Season 3
This is where I picked up the series again. Kind of a silly episode but I liked it. My favorite part is when Gabrielle writes in the enchanted scroll, "And War lost all it's power" and Ares comes crashing down from the sky, yelling. Then she writes that the force that enchanted the scroll loses it power and Aphrodite comes down landing on top of Ares. Another cool part is where
Gabrielle and Ares start to connect, realize it and back away.

Maternal Instincts ~ Episode 11 ~ Season 3
Back to the dark episodes ~ not my favorite ones but they do advance the storyline. Callisto is back, my favorite villain. Hate how this one ends. But I did like Hudson Lieck's interview and take on the story.

The Bitter Suite ~
Episode 12 ~ Season 3
One of my favorites back in the day and still high on my list. I even have the CD for this one. Someone back in the Xenaverse list days even wrote out all the lyrics once they got to Illusia and I still have them. So much meaning packed into one episode. And the infamous Gab Drag. WoW! Talk about inciting the fan base back then. My favorite song is the last song, the one that Xena sings, The Love of Your Love. I
especially like the melody and the first verse. I also liked the Melt Into Me tango between Ares and Xena. And of course, the "make-up duet, Hearts are Hurting, part II between Xena and Gabrielle. Very powerful stuff.

One Against an Army
~ Episode 13 ~ Season 3
This one was also powerful. It also has one of my favorite Xena quotes, "Even in death, Gabrielle, I will never leave you." And the camera focuses on the intertwining of their fingers. And of course, "sweaty Xena." The other wonderful quote from this episode is one that Xena says near the end of the battle to the remaining Persians, "Go home, there are thousands more like me!"

Forgiven ~
Episode 14 ~ Season 3
This is one with Tara. Didn't like her at all in this episode.

King Con ~
Episode 15 ~ Season 3
OK episode but not one of my favorites.

When in Rome ~
Episode 16 ~ Season 3
Another darkish episode. In this one
Gabrielle has to make a life or death choice. Seems that for once Xena didn't let her emotions rule when around Caesar. I will always see Karl Urban as Caesar. Every time I hear that voice it's Caesar and not Cupid or Mael from Altered States in Season One or even √Čomer in Lord of the Rings. Although √Čomer was slightly easier as I hadn't seen any Caesar in a while. But now that's all been blown to Hades.

Forget Me Not
~ Episode 17 ~ Season 3
A clip episode but one very nicely done. Also pretty good for a Xena-lite one.

Fins, Fems & Gems
~ Episode 18 ~ Season 3
Didn't like this one much either. Way too much of everything.

Tsunami ~
Episode 19 ~ Season 3
A pretty good episode. This one had another great Xena quote, "From you, nothing. From me, nothing less."

Vanishing Act ~
Episode 20 ~ Season 3
Not one of my favorites. I did like the character Xena played. She reminded me of Jo Anne Worley.

Sacrifice and Sacrifice II ~
Episodes 21 & 22 ~ Season 3
A shocker of a ending for Season 3. I remember the talk though the Xenaverse list that summer was that Renee DID sign up for the next season. Interesting how the writers had to free Callisto from where Hercules had put her in his show. I like the way TPTB used Callisto to forward things in both shows and how they remembered where she was for each show. They even reference things that happened in Hercules such as Callisto killing Strife with the hind's blood dagger.

So many things to like about these episodes. Callisto having fun throwing fire and "helping". The tension with the fates, Xena's life thread (I prefer to think of it was Xena's life quivet) and the scissors closing down. The look Gabrielle gives Xena just before she and Hope go into the lava. The whole Callisto death scene with again another favorite Xena quote, "No more living for you." I like not so much what Xena says but how she says this.

In the interview Hudson Lieck mentions that Callisto is not the smartest god. She's always getting buried by a rock slide. I enjoyed Hudson's take on this episode. I like this episode a lot more now than when I first saw it.

OK enough Xena for now. I'll finish in a later post. Tonight's viewing pleasure starts with Paradise Found.

blogging to: December Morning by Tim Janis

reading: The Apprentice Adept series by Piers Anthony. I'm on book two, Blue Adept. This is one of the few series in my home library. I really like this series.

Parting Shot: "Oh, well, back to basics." Callisto to Xena in Sacrifice, Part I

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A Rave and A Rant

The Rave
I've been cabling away on my Cabled
Cashmere hat. It's just under 7" long and I'm on round 67. I'm over halfway through my 3rd skein of yarn. It's now long enough that when I try it on, I can just pull it down over my ears and it covers most of my head. As I mentioned before the edge rolls just a bit. There is so much going on cable-wise on this hat and the bit of rolled edge in front looks OK. I think a rolled edge looks better on this hat than a folded edge because of the inside and outside texture of the cables.

When I try it on, I leave it on the needles. I do it on a knit instead of a cable round so the needle edge will stretch more. I knit half a needle that I have five needles in the hat instead of four. Also I s - t - r - e - t - c - h out all the stitches on each needle. That way there's less chance of breaking a needle as I force the needles down over the crown of my head.

I'm making good use of my favorite cable needle. It's a navy blue seagull-style needle. As you have to put five stitches on the needle then knit five then knit the five from the cable needle, I experimented a bit with a couple of different types in the early stages of this hat.

The wooden cable needle I have is too big and the stitches don't slide easily from one end to the other. In fact, you have to really work 'em. That means my stitches will NEVER fall off that needle as they occasionally do on the sea-gull needle. This particular yarn holds the stitches really well when there is no needle so now and then when the cable needle does slip out, it's no biggie.

The other cable needle I have is the J-type. It was OK, but the sea gull-style just worked better in this instance There are enough stitches (five) on it to keep it fairly stable most of the time.

One of my FO's is a cabled sweater. It has a cable where you put one stitch on the cable needle then knit four then knit the one. Holding that one stitch was ideal for the J-type needle. It held that one stitch just a hangin' there until I could knit the four. And it was beefy enough and had enough length that I could get a good hold on the needle and really tug that one stitch to stretch over the four. It was a battle sometimes. I'd pull gently but firmly on the stitch as far as I could then relax the stitch then go again. The first pull loosened up the yarn enough that I could get it with the second try.

The Rant
Sweetie is soldiering along on nights. The folks that work there are SO lazy that this extra duty is to be extended 2 or more extra days/nights. It was originally scheduled so that this Friday night was to be the last night. Now, it's going to be Sunday night and may go into the middle of next week or beyond. After Sunday they are going to go on a day by day basis and are even considering keeping the 20/7 thing (2 techs ~ 10 hours each) which was only supposed to be ten 20 hour days. Prior to this, their coverage was weekdays only with a two hour response time.

This company, has seven of these data centers nationwide. Only three of the locations are running 20/7. The other four only run 10 hours a day, seven days a week during this supposed peak time. The three 20/7 locations are the ones they are considering running that way full time — starting — maybe now.

The big contract company submitted this request to Sweetie's company this past Monday when it became evident that the work would not be finished by early Saturday morning. Bosses at Sweetie's company are considering how much to charge by the 20 hour day. They have some very stressed and very tired techs. They techs who do the night shift also cover any calls during the day and the day techs cover any night calls.

The biggest problem the techs have is boredom. They have a 15 minute response time and spend their time at a desk, less than a minute away. They can't bring in any books or magazines so all "reading" has to be on-line or as an audio-book with headphones. They just have to be there "in case" there is a problem with one of the two machines.

So far there has only been two small problems with the machines at the location Sweetie services. Both problems took less than 30 minutes to fix. One of them the person running the machine broke something by bashing a part of the machine with a stapler when it jammed. The day tech was right outside the door to the room where the machines are when it happened. The machine operator claimed that he was under a deadline and didn't have time to walk 30 feet, open the door and request assistance. So he smashed it with a stapler. If he had called the tech like he was supposed to it was a 30 second job fix the jam. And he broke the stapler, too.

As to the full time 20 /7 for the three locations, when the big contract company submitted the request, they noted that if they all couldn't agree on financial terms with this new request they would consider it a breech of contract and sue. Even though THEY are the ones that changed the terms of the original agreement. So, I guess, if they don't like what Sweetie's company wants to charge them for this vastly increased "all of a sudden" coverage they will sue. Even if that happens and Sweetie's company wins, there is the time and all the legal fees and meanwhile, who takes care of the machines? They would have to hire at least three full time techs just to service this one company full time (2 10 hour shifts, seven days a week) for each location. That would be an additional 10+ people and the big contract company will only consider a one year contract at a time. And because this company handles government contracts each of those additional folks would have to pass an FBI background check.

I guess I wouldn't be so irate if Sweetie had gotten more than three hours sleep each day this week. All night baby-sitting and then running serving calls all day with maybe no end in sight. The good thing is that if worst comes to worst Sweetie and I have good reason to believe that his company would tell the big contract company to "stick it" as far as the 20 / 7 full time coverage that starts now if it came right down to it. His company would fulfill the terms of the original contract with a 2 day extension. I'm sure if the big contract company threw open the one year contract again under these new 20/7 terms, Sweetie's company wouldn't be bidding on it.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


I've been watching a LOT of Xena: Warrior Princess DVD's. A post of what I've been watching, coming soon.

blogging to: classical music on the radio

reading: Split Infinity by Piers Anthony

Parting Shot: "No more living for you." Xena: Warrior Princess to Callisto at the end of Sacrifice II, last episode of the third season.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Cabled Cashmere

As the Cabled Cashmere hat is well on it's cabled cashmere way, I relented and took a picture of it's progress. That's 4½" of cabled cashmere. I'm on round 50 and almost to the end of my 2nd 25 gr skein. These first two skeins were the "used" yarn from the ribbed watch cap that I frogged so they may not have been a full 25 gr. But I would say they were probably fairly close. These next two skeins have never been used.

There is a slight rolling on the cast on edge. I did 2 rounds of a very subtle rib, k4, p1 instead of plain knitting as the patten called for so it wouldn't roll as much or show up as a rib. I think with blocking, it won't roll at all. I usually don't block my hats but with all these cables I think it'll do better blocked. Anyway, I'm quite pleased with it at this point.

Sweetie is sleeping. He had a service call this morning. He got home and ate and got to sleep about 12:30pm and he has to be back up at 5pm for his 7th night. Another "night" with only 4 hours of sleep. I hope they quit early like they did last Friday so he can be home early. It took him almost all day Saturday to recover. If he gets calls tomorrow during the day I hope the company will fly the guy that covered for him this weekend back for a few days so Sweetie can get some rest. Last week he was extremely lucky in that he didn't get any daytime calls until Friday. After tonight, only 4 more nights.

We are both anxious to get back to working on Spray so we can get her in the water. New anti-fouling paint on the bottom is our biggest challenge now. We're changing color from black to navy blue. Previously, we haven't worried about painting under the bunks where the boat sits on the trailer because it was ALL black. Now we have to figure out how to lower the bunks a few inches, one side at a time, so we can get a paint brush in there. We have some ideas, just no time to try them right now. The good thing is that this coming weekend after Sweetie has rested up, we can get the bulk of the bottom painted, if it doesn't rain. We can come out each evening and work on the area under the bunks and maybe in two — two and a half weeks can have her splashed.

I still have some cockpit polishing to do but I can be doing that while Sweetie is painting the bottom. We also have to lower the mast and install our new spinnaker halyard but that should only take about an hour or so. We are so close. If we hadn't had that two week spell of COLD weather (or this night working) she would already be in by now.

I put our humming bird feeder up about a week ago and still no sign of them. They may be late coming up this year because of the cold snap we had. Looks like we have 2 pair of martins this year.

blogging to: the sweet sound of purple martins, robins, house finch and cardinals

reading: A Savage Place by Robert B Parker

Parting Shot: "Success is a matter of holding on, while others let go." ~ Anonymous
Quote Source

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Cables, Cables and More Cables

Finally!! Some good news on the knitted hat front but no news (at all) on the Mermaid sock.

I've got the cabled hat on the run!! HA!. When we last left my intrepid hat, she was off the needles and about to be unraveled or something equally serious. I frogged back to just above the beginning of the "BAD" cables which was the 2nd set of cables, the cable held to the back. Then I put the whole thing back on the needles and tinked back to the ICKY part. I fixed them but noticed there was ONE wonky cable (maybe) on the first round of cables, the cable held to the front. But it wasn't really noticeable and I've come to believe (since I can't find it now) that the whole hat was in shock from the repeated knitting and frogged of the same yarn over and over.
I'm on round 33 and the hat is 3" long. Since it looks like this is actually going to work here is a photo of the pattern. It's from my 365 Knitting Stitches a Year calendar. I've always loved cables and this one in particular fascinates me. When I get farther along on the hat I'll take a photo.

As the huge 10 stitch cables draw in so much I figure they act a bit like ribbing.
I had to cast on 150 stitches just to be able to get the hat on my head. This hat is also going to use all 4 skiens of the yarn, too — or at least that's my plan.

And the poor Mermaid sock is STILL off the needles.

Sweetie has just awakened from his 6th night. He's off this weekend (YEA!! Only five more nights starting Monday night) and we're off to play in the daylight!!

blogging to: the sound of purple martins in our martin house

reading: A Dilly of A Death by Susan Wittig Albert

Parting Shot: "Fish don't just catch themselves." Xena: Warrior Princess from Fins, Femmes and Gems, season 3.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Temporary Insanity

I will be SO glad when this night job is over for Sweetie. Only seven more. He goes in tonight (Thursday) and tomorrow. He has the weekend off. His company is flying someone in to do Saturday and Sunday night. Then he has Monday night through Friday night next week and then he's done with the nights. I'll say one thing. We are saving money since we're not going out to eat or do anything else in the evening that requires money — other than gas and he's reimbursed for that.

Knitting is NOT going well. I took the the cashmere watch cap off the needles to try and save it. The cables on the "front" are looking GRAND! but somehow the cables on the "back" YUCK. I don't know what happened. They don't cross. They kind of do this drunken meander thing. I did wrong and KEPT doing it. AAAUUGH!! I'm going to try to fix the drunk weaving thing in "back". Failing that I will try frogging down to the last good cable and go from there. When then pattern works, (in "front") it looks fabulous.

I picked up the Mermaid sock and now THAT has a problem. It's also off the needles to frog down to a good spot. ICK!

Yesterday afternoon,
I re-did the front garden in preparation for new foundation plantings. Sometime last summer, the St John's wort plants in that bed had lots of tiny bag worms. I dug them all out and put in some temporary plants as all the local garden centers were out of St Johns wort. We like them because they are low growing and have these wonderful yellow flowers that the big bumblebee's just love. Across the front of the house, we'll have this lovely low hedge of blooming St John's wort in the spring.

I scraped out all the old cedar mulch and old rotten weed prevention fabric. I put down two layers of this super weed prevention stuff that looks and feels like black plastic trash bags with thousand of tiny holes punched in it. I have the garden on the south side of the house and the back garden yet to do. They are both larger than the front garden and are also up against the house.

The south side of our house has no windows so it's a big expanse of slate blue vinyl siding (with white trim). To soften it, we planted three Wichita Blue Junipers. That's all that's in that bed. They're a soft blue-gray color and have a wonderful scent in the humid summer air.

At a corner on the back of the house, I have a tiny forsythia that Sweetie's mother had given me years ago. It must hate that spot because it never grew despite fertilizer and special care. She gave me two and the other one, planted on other side of the house in back (with absolutely no care, is HUGE!! So I'm giving up the ghost on this one and I'll put something else there.

Along the same row I have several scented day lily clumps that someday will all grow together. I'll post photos when they bloom but I WISH I could post the fragrance!! I don't much care what color the flower is but they MUST be scented.

I have a Mr Lincoln tea rose that a couple of years ago was seven foot tall. I cut it down last summer to the ground but this summer I'm afraid it's going to threaten the gutters again. So it's going. I think I'm going to put in some kind of a pink florabunda rose in it's place. I had one several years ago but it died. Except for the amazon Mr Lincoln, all my previous roses have died.

I have a pink spirea bush right by the patio that's about half dead so it's going.

I think I'll find some more scented day lilies and put where I'm takin stuff out in the back. I like low stuff next to the house so we can see out the windows.

I'm going to try again this year with a purple lilac and a white spirea. I LOVE the scent of the white spirea and the lilac. Like forsythia, I think the spirea looks best untrimmed and just flowing. I don't know where I'm going to put them yet, but I have a lot of open space in the yard. And what's one more thing to mow around anyway.

blogging to: Well . . . nothing as Sweetie is sleeping ten feet from me.

reading: Back Story by Robert B Parker

Parting Shot: "A garden is never so good as it will be next year." ~ Thomas Cooper
Quote Source

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Cashmere Hat = 3 | Warrior Knitter = 0

Sweetie is on NIGHT 3 of his nights at the the Big Contract place. He gets so bored. Today, the desk that he and the day shift guy share finally got a phone line so at least now he can surf. This afternoon I downloaded a bunch of e-books from Project Gutenberg. They have an amazing amount of material. I burned it all on a CD. He can take his laptop in with his parts manuals on CD's but they can't take books or magazines.

I also burned a bunch of the photos I'd taken of Spray and the lake onto another CD. Photos take up an amazing amount of room!! Monday night he took in a portable battery operated CD player and ear phones so at least he had some tunes. And all the CD's are labeled like they are parts manuals.

I've gotten a fair amount of knitting done and nothing to show for it — except a twice (well thrice, actually) frogged and re-wound cashmere hat. I ended up NOT using the mock-cable pattern I spent so much time finding the other day. Instead, I'm using a completely different one with major real cable action going on. I've always liked this pattern and now maybe I can use it in something. If I can get it to go, on this fourth round, it will look really neat. And show off my knittin' chops. As soon as I get it to where it looks like something, I'll show and tell.

Not much else happenin' here. I'm quiet during the day so Sweetie can sleep. I do household things that make noise in the evening like laundry and load and unload the dishwasher.

This photo shows how lush and green our lawn was before the freeze about a week ago. It got down to around 18°F. here which also froze all the new leaves on all the trees and bushes. Now the lawn is turning brown and all the trees are covered with dead new foliage. Now the lawn looks more like scorched late August than rainy April. I know the grass (and weeds) will rebound but I hope the trees will.

blogging to: classical music on the radio

reading: Still as Death by Sarah Stewart Taylor

Parting Shot: "Perennial: Any plant which, had it lived, would have bloomed year and year."
Taken from gar-den-ing 1. n. the art of killing weeds and bugs to grow flowers and crops for the birds to eat. ~ A dictionary for weedpullers, slugcrushers & backyard botanists by Henry Beard and Roy McKie

Saturday, April 14, 2007

And the Winner Is . . . .

Sometimes having too many choices IS almost too much. That's the trouble I had today trying to choose a stitch pattern for my cashmere hat. I decided NOT to go to my LYS and get a set of 3.5mm dpns. I will in the future as I really DO want to make Grumpernia's Odessa sometime.

So, although I'm not making a sock I started by hauling out my favorite sock books and and two stitch dictionaries looking at suitable ribbing for my hat. By the time I'd gone though all I wanted to go through, I had 15 possible patterns in three books marked with those narrow sticky page flags. Some, upon a second look were great patterns and I liked them but for one reason or another they were discarded. I narrowed it down to two and then one.

The Mock-Cable rib on March 11 from the 365 Knitting Stitches a Year calendar looks like it's going to be the one. It's a rib which will help keep the hat on and in place and ribbing draws the knit fabric together and makes it warmer. Every row is different so I won't be bored like I was the first time I knit this hat in a k3, p3 pattern

It has no easy-peasy all knit or all purl rounds but I'll just take my time with this hat as by the time we get Spray in the water this year I doubt I'll need it much until fall anyway.

Now with the math (groan). The pattern is a multiple of 7 stitches + 2. For the all the hats I've ever made I've cast on 96 stitches and it's magically worked out. For this one, I think I'll make it a bit narrower by casting on 84 + 2.
Instead of swatching, I'll just cast on later this evening and see what happens. Yes, this is the blog of an adventurous knit-a-watch-cap-by-the-seat-of-my-pants knitter.

As the sun came out today I was able to take a couple of good photos of the recently completed Charcoal Cashmere Watch Cap for Sweetie.

We are in the process this weekend of turning night into day. Starting Sunday night Sweetie will be on nights from 7:30pm to 5:30am for two weeks. During that two weeks, Sweetie's company is flying in another tech to cover the day shift which runs from 7:30am to 5:30pm. During this peak time, this big contract company has a 15 minute response time which is why someone has to be on-site during that time. During this time, if there is a service call during the day Sweetie has to run it ~ during the time he's supposed to be sleeping. Luckily for the weekend, Sweetie's company is flying someone for his shifts in so he can catch up and rest.

Friday night we stayed up very late, 2am for me and around 3am for Sweetie, and we both had long naps today. We're going to stay up as late as possible again this evening so long naps again Sunday. I know I don't have to switch and I'm not entirely, but I want to be awake and alert when he gets home in morning and then when we gets up in the late afternoon to get ready to go to work.

This is going to a stressful two weeks. Luckily, it's only two weeks and then it'll be over and life will go on normally . . . whatever that is. Meanwhile, we'll keep our mind's eye focused on the end of the two weeks when we can finish the few things on Spray that are temperature and weather sensitive (such as bottom paint and polishing) and then launch her.

I'll be doing a lot of quiet during the day knitting and blog surfing and gardening as it's supposed to be warmer and drier in the coming weeks. I'm going to tend to stay home during the day to catch any phone calls and door bell rings. I'm also going to answer Sweetie's pager cell phone so I'll only have to wake him up if it IS a service call and not someone just calling for information about something. As he'll leave the house a little after 6pm there will be plenty of time in the early evening to do any errands that need doing.

blogging to: The Retro Cocktail Hour

reading: Still as Death by Sarah Stewart Taylor

Parting Shot: "Ships are the nearest things to dreams that hands have ever made, for somewhere deep in their oaken hearts the soul of a song is laid." ~ Robert N. Rose
Quote Source

Friday, April 13, 2007

Knit in Haste, Frog at Leisure

The Charcoal Cashmere hat is done. Even though I held the yarn doubled it's a lightweight hat. But then I bought the yarn intending to use it to make a pair of socks. The wonderful thing about hats . . . is you only have to knit one to have a complete set.

Unless, of course, you completely frogged this hat this morning. Then you kinda-sorta have to knit a mate. That was MY cashmere hat that was knit so poorly that I was ashamed to show it off. If you click and enlarge it you can see some boo-boos. Not great and grand ones but just enough that when I wore it I hoped no one noticed it or commented on it. It was just sloppy and hurried knitting and I didn't take the time to ladder down and fix stuff.

Well, now it's back to 2 skeins of yarn. I have a total of 4 skeins for this project. I WAS going to do Grunpernia's Oddessa but I don't have the right size dpns or circs to start. So now I am debating whether to get a set of 3.5mm dpns (which I need for the 1" ribbed border) or just do something else. The closest needles I have are 3mm or 4mm. The ribbing is knit on 3.5mm needles then you switch to 4mm needles which I do have.

Grumpernia's pretty particular about things fitting properly so I trust her pattern in that you need the 3.5mm ribbing. Now the question is do I want to get out in stuff tomorrow and go see if my LYS has the needles I want to knit something else and do the Odessa another time?

I COULD knit on my Mermaid socks . . . but I jes don wanna. I got all fired up to knit on my pink/gray cashmere and now I can't and so I am pouting.

The first watch cap I ever knit I used Reynolds Alpaca and held it doubled. It must be a worsted because the hat weighs 4.5 oz / 127 gr. The one I just finished (watch cap #5) weighs in at 1.5 oz / 44 gr. A huge difference. And yet they are the same size.

Sweetie likes the lightweight nature of the Charcoal hat I just finished. If needed, it can be used as a liner for the alpaca hat.

No photos as it doesn't photograph well in the dismal gray light we've had all day. The weather folks are now saying we'll get 3-4" of snow tonight and another 1-2" tomorrow morning. Then it will change to rain as the day warms. I supposed most of it will melt in the rain.

Since this cold snap began a couple of weeks ago, we've done NOTHING on the boat. We got our new navy blue sail cover delivered via UPS today. Since Sweetie's going to be working nights for the next few weeks (more on that in a later post) we won't be doing any work on the boat for a few more weeks. Which means Spray won't be going in the water for at least 2+ weeks. We're thinking about taking the sailcover to a monogram or embroidery place to have the name Spray stitched on it. I'm going to trail around tomorrow or Monday and see if I can get some estimates on that.

I think I'll go have some chocolate and hot tea and cogitate on the pink cashmere hat problem.

blogging to: Watercolors on XM satellite

reading: S is for Silence by Sue Grafton

Parting Shot: "Take a rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop." ~ Orvid
Taken from Good Advice complied by William Safire and Leonard Safir

Thursday, April 12, 2007

If I Only Had a Shawl

The sun is shining (finally!) and the birds are singing (yea!) and it's almost the middle of April (Boo! Taxes!) and we're supposed to get 3" of snow Friday night (EEEKKK!). It could be worse. I could live in Goodland, KS where they are to get 12" of snow. In April. The MIDDLE of April. Well, they don't call it Friday the Thirteenth for nothin'.

Can you tell I've been outside playin' with the camera again!!?? For this I just set the camera on the ground in the grass set on automatic and gently pressed the shutter button. I love my camera. Instead of a knitting book in the bathroom, the manual to the camera has replaced it. (I know. Sorry. Too. Much. Information.)

I'm still knitting away on the Charcoal Watch Cap (Thanks for the color name, Roxie). This will be the fifth watch cap I've knit. I've got 6½" done and 2
½" or so until I start the the top of the head decreases. So no new photos of the hat. It looks the same as the photo on the last post, except there is more of it.

Sweetie went back to the doctor today. Last week he went and got meds for his sinus infection which seems to be gone now. He had been using Nasonex which worked well for him but the doctor he saw last week suggested he try over the counter Clariten and Benedryl. He told the doc that they hadn't worked for him previously but as it's been several years since he tried them she wanted him to try again. Well, we did for a week and we went back today and got a prescription with renewals for a year for Nasonex. Just like last year. So that battle is over.

We have a little tiny pond in our backyard just off our patio. It's whiskey barrel sized. There are no fish or plants. We just like the sound of the water. This is what it looked like the other day when it got down below 20°F.

I classify myself as a knitter to the muggles of the world. To other knitters, I'm mostly a socknitter. But lately, as you know, I've been wanting to knit outside my socknitting box. I've got a couple of ideas for sweaters. To that end I've purchased a copy of Cotton Knitting: Over 30 Exclusive Patterns from Top Designers edited by Sally Harding. I checked it out from the library and it's got lots of wonderful looking sweaters that I want to knit. I'll keep you posted on that end. And, no, I haven't forgotten about this one from Modern Classics by Louisa Harding. Hmmm, I wonder if she's related to Sally Harding??

I've also been thinking very recently about knitting a shawl. Several times this winter I've folded one of our thinner small lap afghans in half triangle-wise and draped it shawl-fashion around my shoulders while I sat and knit or read. It was great. Sooo, that got me thinking that maybe I could be a shawl person if I only had a shawl. To that end I've been looking at various patterns. Right now, I'm thinking more warmth rather than exquisite, delicate lace with lace weight yarn. I'm going to search on-line for some freebe patterns and look at book at the library and see what I come up with.

CIL got the socks. They FIT! And she loves 'em. OK. That chapter is closed.

blogging to: Dancing on the Water by Bob James

reading: S is for Silence by Sue Grafton

Parting Shot: "You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who'll decide where you'll go." ~ Theodor Suess Geisel aka Dr Suess from Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Knitting on Gray on the Inside and Raining Grey on the Outside

The cashmere watch cap and I are getting on famously. It's about 3" long now (25 rounds). It's neat how the hue or tone or the color changes with the light — and now I think it's a good thing because it's STILL gray. Whether it has purple low lights or not — it's still grey. There's enough knit now that it seems to catch and change and reflect back the light depending on whether it's a knit column of stitches which stands up or a purl column which recedes.

I'm also liking how the Broken Rib pattern looks. It's definitely a rib but the purl columns of stitches have this extra thing, which is a knit row every other round. Makes the ribbing look more interesting, somehow. As a knitter you want to look closer to see what it is. Is it the yarn or the stitch or the light?

There are some very subtle color variations throughout the yarn where I think the dye took better in some places than in others. There are no light spots but there are some very dark spots. With the knitting, very subtle. Again, is it the knitting, the light or the color in the yarn?

Oh, and the cashmere is so very soft to knit. The texture of this yarn is wonderful. It holds the shape of the knitting very well.

I experimented with the photo. I used the tripod (for once) and set it up at the patio door (inside) as it was raining. I set the hat and the yarn on a sail bag on a chair and played with different settings on the camera. The white balance is still off, I think. But with this yarn, who can tell? The sail bag color looks right, though.

I mailed off CIL's Tiger Blue socks today.

I'm thinking when I get Sweetie's hat done, that I will frog the pink/gray cashmere watch cap I knit for myself last year. It's not knit very well as I was in a tearing hurry to finish it. I got bored with the pattern and so it's not very well done. I'm a better knitter than that and I want to be able to show it off, not be half ashamed of it, which I am. I have a lot of that yarn so I'm going to look into doing maybe Grumpernia's Odessa without the beads. I like how the top swirls. We'll see what I'm in the mood for when the time comes.

blogging to: Blackbird by the Shelly Berg Trio

reading: Nervous Water by William G Tapply

Parting Shot: "The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything." ~ William Connor Magee
Taken from The Best of Success complied by Wynn Davis, page 12

Monday, April 9, 2007

Easter Monday

I hope everyone had a Hoppy Easter!! It was a cool Easter here, about 40°F. which is darned cold for the (almost) middle of April. The sun was shining and the birds were singing. As long as you didn't look closely you wouldn't notice all the wilting bright green foliage. Since it froze (down to below 20°F. the other night) all the new foliage is lookin' rather sorry and bedraggled. I don't know whether it's all going to die or perk up again.

CIL was ill and wasn't able to come to Easter dinner at SIL's house so I am mailing her Tiger Blue socks to her. Will this EVER be OVER!!?? Just kidding (sorta). So I still don't know if they fit. (sigh).

But there was a surprise guest. A Knitter!! She's a teacher friend of SIL. It was wonderful to have a knitter to talk with. I tried not to be all knitting all the time but it was great! I gave her my knitting car magnet.

I am on to my next project. I WAS going to do a pair of socks for Sweetie with these 2 hanks of dark Mongolian Cashmere yarn from Jade Sapphire that I got in Atlanta this past December. Sweetie was going to be in Suwanee which is just north of Atlanta for two weeks for some training. Since I wasn't working, I went along. One of the days, I went to Lawrenceville to the Yarn Garden Knit Shop and got the yarn. You can read all about it here. It looked dark gray in the store and at the motel but at home under my Ott light and outside, it has a definite purple cast. But we shall ALWAYS refer to it as DARK GRAY since it's now going to be a watch cap for Sweetie. As a watch cap it will be out there in front of everyone so it's DARK GRAY people!!! Maybe even DARK GREY.

Anyway when I told Sweetie that I researching patterns for socks requested a watch cap to wear when it's cold and we're sailing. He has an alpaca watch cap. Very heavy with 2 strands and very warm but being alapca — even very soft alpaca
it's still slightly itchy. So one DARK GRAY cashmere watch cap coming up.

I've chosen a broken rib pattern so I'm not knitting the same boring stitch row after boring row. The first row is k2, p2 and the second row is all knitting. Easy enough to watch TV and blog with but with the ribbing on one row to help me not lose or add stitches and make sure the vertical rows knit stitches stay all nice and lined up and all knitting every other round so it seems to go very quickly.

I cast on 96 stitches with my 5mm rosewood dpns using the cable cast on (my favorite cast on) then switched to 4mm dpns for the pattern. That way my cast on edge is nice and loose. As the cashmere is sock weight yarn I'm holding 2 strands together and it's turning out rather nicely. I have about an 1½" done. As it IS very dark yarn, it's going to be difficult to photograph and still get stitch definition but I'm going to work on that so you can see. I wish you could feel it. It is SO soft.

So it seems my poor neglected Mermaid socks are going to be neglected a bit more. Here's where they are now. It's not a very good photo. I was in a hurry and didn't want to take the time to set up the tripod. If you click to enlarge you can see it's not in perfect focus but sometimes, it's better that way. Anyway, you can see the colors and the pattern. It's a Lucy Neaty pattern from her Cool Socks Warm Feet book. The yarn is Koigu in various shades of pink and purple. I am doing these socks mainly so I can figure out how to do the heel. I love the way the heel looks. It's not a heel flap heel.

blogging to: The Crime Scene ~ UltraLounge ~ Spies, Thighs and Private Eyes

reading: Nervous Water by William G Tapply

Parting Shot: "Teaching Sunday School is hard
especially when a 6-year-old says to you, 'Okay, if Jesus was so cool, why didn't he wear Reeboks instead of those cheap-looking sandals?'" ~ unknown
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Saturday, April 7, 2007

Blue Tigers and Pelicans

Yes, the Tiger Blue socks are done. These are the longest and largest socks I have EVER knit. They are a bit longer than Sweetie's and I know that SIL's socks are a little shorter than Sweetie's socks.

All these people wear about a 9-9½ shoe. I wear a 5½. I am also short — just over 5' tall. So I have short legs and short feet and I knit small socks for me. For the Others, I knit long socks because they have long legs and long feet. Pygmy marries into the Amazon family. My whole family is on the short side with me being the shortest. And Sweetie is the tallest in his family at 6'. Go figure.


ANYWAY . . . .

The photo was taken on Spray's anchor locker. That blue line (there are no ropes on a boat) is one of our dock lines. It was 34°F. when I took the picture. Brrrrr. I'll give the socks to CIL Sunday at Easter Dinner at SIL's house. She has no idea that they are finished. I like to surprise people like this.

Now I can
— maybe even this evening get back to my much neglected Koigu Mermaid socks. Here is a link to the last photo of it, which is actually a scan. It was pre-camera. I'll take a photo of the current state of the Mermaid for the next post.

Since the Mermaid is a complicated sock, YO's and k2tog's and it made me crazy when I worked on it before I'm going to want some simple knitting to turn to. When we were in Atlanta this past December I picked up some dark gray cashmere sock yarn with the intention of knitting a pair of socks for Sweetie. I think I'll find a simple rib and have that as my calm and relaxing and BORING knit. Because although this yarn is very soft, Sweetie wants a very conservative sock. Let's see what I come up with.

I've been taking a lot of cool photos. I'll post them in the coming days so I don't gum up the works of the dial-up folks too much.

This pelican was just paddling along not too far from the shore as we turned the corner to look at the lake before we left.

blogging to: The Retro Cocktail Hour

reading: Open and Shut by David Rosenfelt

Parting Shot: "I must be crazy. You're beginning to make sense." ~ Xena to Ares from The Furies, first episode in season 3, episode 47
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Friday, April 6, 2007

Even More Banshee Knitting

I've been knitting and knitting and knitting and purling and laddering down to fix things and a little tinking and thank goodness no frogging of any kind. And yes, I have probably just jinxed myself to a vast amount of frogging sometime in the near future. But! I figure the frogging gods owe me for all the MAJOR amount of frogging these last FIVE MONTHS for 4 lousy pair a' socks. With all the re-doing and the complete unraveling of wrong sizes and too short and too tight I figure I knit a total of maybe 8 socks instead of the final tally of merely almost four socks.

Yes, it's still almost four. It's more like 3 3/4 and a half plus maybe an eighth. I'm on round 67 of 95 rounds of the foot [only 28 left!!]. And then there are the 22 toe decreases rounds [which get shorter each and every deceased round ~ can I get an AMEN?!] and a kitchenered toe of 12 stitches on each needle [which goes quickly]. AND all the other ends are woven in on both socks!! So I will only have that ONE end to weave in. Cue George Frideric Handel to be ready.

There is still a very good chance that I will finish the sock COMPLETELY by the time I get to SIL's house at 2pm on Sunday for Easter dinner. I don't have to bring any food so I'm good to go there.

It's also waaay to cold to do any work on the boat. Good Heavens people, it's supposed to get down to 18°F tonight. The high the past couple of days has been in the mid 30's. Did we just skip summer and fall (since there were no leaves to . . . ah . . . fall, anyway) and go right back to winter? Global warming my foot!

Well, back to knitting on the Tiger Blue socks. Go! Speed Knitter, Go!

blogging to: classical music on the radio

reading: Open and Shut by David Rosenfelt

Parting Shot: "Zeus does not bring all men's plans to fulfillment." ~ Homer (800 BC - 700 BC), from The Iliad
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Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Six, Five, Four, Three, Two, One Half

Half a sock left to go on the Incredible Knitted Journey of the Socks For Other People. I think I've mentioned on this blog before that I started this whole process by casting on for the first CIL sock back on November 3, 2006. FIVE MONTHS and FIVE SOCKS ago!

And now I am down to a foot and a toe (7½" to the end of the foot) and then I will be done (hopefully) with all THAT kind of knitting.
I got a nice card from the recipient of the Redux in Blue socks — SIL's principal. They fit and she loves them. Yippee!!

I kitchnered the toe today on the completed Tiger Blue sock and have started the 7½" journey on the remaining sock. At this point having them done by the time we get to SIL's for Easter dinner on Sunday at 2pm is a real possibility.

It's too cold to paint or work on the boat until maybe Saturday afternoon so I can spend all that time workin' the needles. CIL has no idea she may get a completed pair.

bloggin' to: American / English by Accoustic Alchemy

reading: Cold Service by Robert B Parker

Parting Shot: "One cannot look at the sea without wishing for the wings of a swallow." ~ Sir Richard Burton
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Monday, April 2, 2007

No Film at Eleven

Where've I been?

  • Outside taking pictures
  • Working on the boat
  • Knitting
  • Putting off mowing the grass for the first time this year
Yeah, that last one's my favorite, too.

I've been snap, snap, snapping away at all the wonderful trees in bloom in our area. The ones taken in my own back yard seem to come out the best for some reason. Maybe because I'm on my own home turf and somehow I'm more comfortable or less rushed. Anyway, I'm having fun not using any film and getting to know my camera better.
This last weekend we worked on polishing up Spray. Over the last two years we've rubbing compounded most of the boat so this year it's mostly about just putting on the polish and making it shine. There were (note past tense) some small areas on the very top of the cabin and a few areas in the cockpit that did need to be compounded that the orbital polisher can't get to that I did this year. So finally everything on the boat has been hit with rubbing compound. Next year, all we have to do is polish.

Sweetie polished the sides and the back of the boat with the polisher while I worked on the smooth areas between the non-skid on top by hand. I've just got a bit on the sides of the cabin around the windows to do then everything forward of the cockpit will be done. Most of the cockpit I can do with the polisher while Sweetie works on other things. The gelkote hadn't been polished for the 18 years the previous owner had the boat. All the surfaces were very chalky and dull. Now, when they're polished the surfaces have a soft glow in the sunlight. It's not the shiny new of brand new boat but I find that I like the soft glow better instead of the hard shine.. Kind like a satin finish over a glossy one.

We've got our bottom paint in hand and we're ready to go on that when the weather cooperates. The ambient temperature has to be above 55-60° F. for at least 16 hours after application or it won't adhere properly. And it's not looking good for the next week or so.

We're changing the color or our bottom paint this year as well as the type. This boat has always had Interlux products from day one. The two years we've had Spray, we used Interlux CSC in black, an ablative paint which up until this year has come the closest to matching the trim on the boat which is dark blue.

WARNING: SCIENCE CONTENT
In bottom paint, ablation means that as you move though the water or the water moves by you in a tidal area or a river, a microscopic film of the paint comes off and with it the algae growth leaving you a relatively clean bottom. As we sail and are docked in a lake, a thin layer of slime builds up on the bottom which is not entirely removed by sailing. Most of this algae slime is from the water line down to about three foot below the water line. The lower you go the less slime because there is less light for the algae to grow. If you rub on the bottom with a sponge to remove the slime you remove many layers of the very expensive bottom paint.

This year we found a better paint in a better color. It's Interlux Micron Extra with Biolux in Navy Blue. Interlux CSC is a pretty good paint but we still had algae slime on the bottom of the boat even with a new coat every spring. With this new stuff we shouldn't have any slime — according to the can. The price, $225 a gallon is in line with the anti-fouling paint we had been using.

And it comes in Navy Blue! The cove and boot stripe along with the Precision logo is all dark blue. We're also getting a new navy blue sail cover made.
And the knitting. I've got about 75 rounds done on the foot of the Tiger Blue sock. Looks like I've got another 2½" or so until the toe decreases. As with the Redux in Blue sock I'm using the sock I sent for the fitting to measure my progress. From where I stopped, CIL indicated that it was 6
½" to the beginning of her toes and then another inch until the end of her toes.

As CIL has narrow feet I decreased a little more on the gussets than I normally would have. We'll see how that works out when she tries it on Easter Sunday. I've already e-mailed her with the plan, man. As with the previous non-fitting CIL socks, this is one looong sock. A loong leg and now a loong foot.

I really was going to mow the grass this morning, but when Sweetie went out into the garage at 7am this morning to load up Itsock (our gray Century Buick) he noticed that Mathilda (my forest green little Mazda pick-up) had sprung a leak. She had no brakes. And we made it home Sunday evening from working on Spray with no problems. Whew! The car repair place says that a brake line failed. That's $500 I can't spend on yarn. Ouch! Oh, well. She's is 9 years old and this is her first problem.

Anyway, getting that squared away took away my morning. But there is always tomorrow and meanwhile the grass just keeps on growing. Damn that fertilizer. The first green grasses of spring always look greener, fresher.

blogging to: A Posteriori by Enigma

reading: Silver Wedding by Maeve Binchy

Parting Shot: “Noah was a brave man to sail in a wooden boat with two termites.” ~ unknown
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