Thursday, August 19, 2010

What Up?

I cast on on this evening for a pair of Cookie A's Monkey Socks for my SIL. I'm using Chrystal Palace Panda Silk in the cranberry tones colorway. I've knit with the Panda cotton the Tiger Blue Socks for my CIL in the first quarter of 2007 but this is the first time I've used the Panda Silk. I picked up FOUR skeins of the Panda Silk about a year ago with an eye to knitting my SIL a pair of Monkey Socks. This pattern uses a lot of yarn as it tends to draw in.

I knit a pair of these for myself. I cast on around Thanksgiving 2008 and finished in October 2009. I had to frog my first attempt after I'd knit the cuff and and a half a dozen or so pattern rounds. I'd messed something up and when the needles were out I tried them on. They were tight so I re-did them with an extra stitch repeat.

I've cast on hers in a size that would normally be a little big but should be fine in this pattern. I'll see once I get the 15 round cuff and a pattern repeat knit. This is going to be my knitting priority as I want her to be able to try them on this or next weekend. I want to get them to here by Christmas so she can wear them this coming winter.

As foreseen by the first sock I've run out of yarn on the second Spring Flower Sock. This time I made it only to round 55 — a couple of rounds shy of the first sock. I had typed how strange it was as I picked up a few less gusset stitches on this one then I remembered I didn't decrease down as far. I still have 80 rounds on the foot and I think the first one had 78 maybe. Not much, but over over 50+ rounds, it makes a difference. I'm not going to make them match. I've been carrying around the forest green Fortissima cotton yarn ready for this moment. It does mean that the end is nigh. I've about 15 more foot rounds then around 30 toe decrease rounds. The toe decreases go quickly as every other round there are four less stitches to knit.

We are cool cats again. The new air conditioner has been installed and it's wonderful.

Lenscrafters called during the AC install and after they left we drove in to have the new lenses put in his new frames. I was surprised when they handed us the temporary lenses. I figured they recycled them but no. So now he has an extra pair of lenses with his new prescription. Cool beans.

blogging to: a quiet and COOL house

reading: Shroud for a Nightingale by P D James (an Adam Dalgliesh mystery)
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

It's Summertime Summertime Sum Sum Summertime*

The air conditioner has died for the second time this summer. The first time was about two months ago, a warm mid-June Saturday afternoon when it stopped cooling. The air conditioning folks were able get to us late Monday afternoon and put in 3 lbs of refrigerant. The time before that was in mid-July, 2006. It was the starting capacitor.

This time it died last Friday afternoon with temps in the 103° range and heat indices in the 115° range. As the house was cool most of the day it wasn't too bad and a cold front with rain moved in about 6pm which also helped.

Saturday, there was no help. It was brutal and very hot. Sunday was wonderful with temps in the mid 80's. Monday was warmer but OK and Tuesday we had a high in the low 70's with heavy cloud cover and rain in the early morning.

Bright and early Monday I phoned the air conditioner folks and they were there by 9:30 or so. We had three choices;
  • refill it with refrigerant and that would "probably" get us through the rest of the hot / warm weather
  • have the evaporator coil repaired (which was the problem)
  • or spring for a new system.
It's 17 years old and the cheapest unit that met specs the builder could install. We don't want to be nickle and dimed for the next several years or have it quit mid-winter with temps below freezing—which would be worse than the 105° we had on Saturday. So we're getting a new one installed Thursday, a bit larger and a lot more efficient. So until sometime on Thursday, no AC.

Also Friday, I stepped on Mr WK's glasses which Mr WK was able to fix but how long that would hold was anyone's guess. We'd planned to get him to the eye doctor in a few weeks with new frames and lenses and all that entailed. I just speeded it up.

So Saturday after closing up the house we were up and out early to the Lenscrafters in KC shortly after 10am. We got right in to the eye doctor. We both dislike having our eyes dilated but they don't have to do that anymore. As you're in a dark / dim room to start with your eyes are already somewhat naturally dilated. The technician shines a bright light into your pupils and takes a quick digital photo and the doctor looks at the photo which shows all the blood vessels at the back of your eye.

After that we went over and he chose new frames. His old glasses are Varilux (no line) trifocals and Lenscrafters doesn't do those in 'about an hour' along with the anti-glare coating. They take a week. However, they did make him up a pair of lenses in his new frames with the new prescription and the old way of doing trifocals to get him by. They'll replace these temporary lenses with the new ones when they're ready.

While we were waiting for the "about an hour" thing for the temporary lenses we wandered around the mall. It's been at least ten years since we've been in this mall and more likely fifteen years. Not many vacancies and every space that could possibly hold a kiosk had one. Years ago, they were usually temporary things and only between Thanksgiving and Christmas like Hickory Farms or a Christmas-themed one selling snow globes or "gifts". Now along with the ubiquitous cell phones and ear piercing jewelery booths, there are candy, coffee and smoothie ones, massage chairs, spa items and just about anything you can sell in a brick and mortar store there is probably someone with a mall aisle kiosk trying to sell it and accosting folks as they stroll by ... lookin' for good cover.

Also the mall was very crowded, weekend-before-Christmas crowded with cars parked all the way out to the edges. Mr WK was more uncomfortable than I was as he dislikes crowds and shopping malls in particular. As we strolled around waiting for the "about an hour", our heads were on swivels and we were both in condition medium yellow. As we moved about the mall we talked about where we'd go for cover and what we'd do. We were both glad to get outta there.

After that we stopped for lunch and checked out a public range in Parkville, MO. The range is and building are owned by the Missouri Department of Conservation. Since it's a government building, no guns are allowed in the building, even CCW. Kind of strange for a gun range to have no guns allowed but as it's not privately owned they don't have a choice in the matter. I'm glad we don't "have" to shoot there.

Things are progressing knit-wise. The foot on the second Spring Flower Sock is half finished. Another 20 rounds or so and I'll run out of yarn on this one, too. Then I'll switch to the forest green cotton Fortissima yarn to finish the ten or so rounds on the foot then do the toe decreases.

The Flemish Braid Red Lace Scarf is also inching along. Another pattern repeat under the needles. Slowly. Slowly.

The White Caps Afghan is moving along. All the knitting I tinked has been re-knit and then some. It's just under 300 rows long now. It's going to be wonderful, heavy and warm when it's done.

This afternoon Mr WK and I went to the indoor range to shoot pistols. I shot up the last of my nice and soft .45 handloads so I switched to the fireball ammo. That's my S&W 1911 .45 with 6.2 gn of Universal Clay's. Oh yeah!

I've lost that grip and am working on trying to lose another bad habit
when taking multiple shots, taking my finger completely off the trigger between shots instead of only releasing my finger enough to reset the trigger. That one is proving to be a toughie. If I don't consciously think about it on every shot, my finger comes all the way off. But I'll keep workin' on it.

* taken from Summertime Summertime sung by The Jamies

blogging to: the drone of a fan

reading:Shroud for a Nightingale by P D James (an Adam Dalgliesh mystery)
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot:

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tink. Tink. Tink.

Even as I typed it I knew it was wrong and would come back to haunt me. I noted in my last post that all was well with the Flemish Braid Red Scarf; that I hadn't needed to frog more than a few rows. HA!

Anyway, I tinked back around two rows on, . . . not the 59 stitch per row Red Scarf. Oh no! The 300 stitches in a row White Caps Afghan. Yesireebob! So there I am knittin' on the right side and, unbeknownst to me at the time, throwin' in a rouge YO. That's a planned hole (YO = Yarn Over) to the non-knitting readers. Yes, especially when you're knitting lace or an afghan (an afghan has holes and blanket doesn't) you want holes—planned holes in a particular pattern. This one didn't fit any known pattern. Granted in a 300 stitches wide afghan that's going to be 70" long even I wouldn't notice an extra hole. And to be perfectly truthful there are probably already a couple of rouge holes already there.

But I know this one is there and it bothered me when I found it and when I tried to knit past it ... I got about 20 stitches further along, looked at the hole again, said a bad word and began to tink.
Tink is knit spelled backwards and that's sort of what tinking is. I take one stitch off the working needle, pull the loop in the yarn out of the loop knit I it into and put that loop back on the resting needle. One at a time, carefully and slowly.

I decided not to frog, which means the needles get pulled out of the work, stitches before the mistake and the mistake pulled out then the whole thing put back on the needles. True this was a 600+ stitch tink but I'd have about the same amount of hassle. If I frog this project back to the garter stitches areas, it's easier to put it back on the needles as every stitch is the same. This was the last row of the fancy stitches before several rows of garter stitches so I would have lost quite a bit of work. It only took about an hour or so to painstakingly tink back and I did it in three sessions. The next time I pick it up I'll be able to re-knit what I tinked.

blogging to: Memories 89

reading: Rizzo's War by Lou Manfredo (a Joe Rizzo & Mike McQueen mystery)
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot: Ann Coulter vs Joy Behar

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I Wanna Rock

Mr WK and I finally hit the indoor range last week to get some much needed pistol time. Two pistols that have been out of service have now been repaired and tested. On the Taurus revolver [M617 ~ .357 snubby], the cylinder wobbled just a bit in every dimension. The forward bearing surface was worn down by .013". We ordered a bushing from Taurus which they sent right away and for no cost. Mr WK filed down the height of the bushing a couple of scrapes across a file at a time to make the barrel to cylinder gap ideal for this particular gun. It still worked but there was the consideration of the gap getting worse and eventually causing a HUGE problem.

I'd forgotton how much fun this gun is to shoot. I'm more of a semi-auto kinda gal but an occasional session with a wheel gun is fun. Although it IS a .357 it's had a steady diet of soft .38 Specials for 99% of it's life. Just because a gun is a .357 I don't think most of them can take the abuse of a regular diet of .357's. I just like how a .357 makes shooting .38 Specials more fun. If there is less whack I can shoot more.

I'd lost one of the grip screws on my Sig P238 and the other on the same side was stripped . It was holding on only by strength of will. It still functioned but I'd taken the grip off that one side and it felt strange in my hand the few times I did carry it that way. Sig sent replacement screws right away and for no cost. By the way, we couldn't find these screws anywhere. All the grip screws are now held tightly with Lock-Tite. It's such a pleasure to be able shoot and carry this gun again. I'd forgotten how much I like shooting it. And a whole handful of six round magazines fit in the pocket of my cargo shorts.

As I mentioned in my last post we've been reloading like busy beavers. We'd let our pistol ammo stash drop a bit and the empty boxes were threatening to burst out of their storage area. Along with a 30 round AR mag, I buy a few each time we're out. Now I'm happy to say we no longer have that little problem. Somehow full boxes seem to stack more neatly than empty ones.

Thanks to an IDPA buddy I have a new load for my 9mms. My "old" load was 4.7 gn HP38 with a 115gn plated bullet. My "new" load is a 147gn fmj bullet with 3.4 gn Tite Group. It's less whack, more of a push so I can get back on target more quickly and it's more accurate. So a bit more expensive bullet but less powder and I'm good to go.

As we'd not been to the indoor range in a long time except for IDPA matches it felt good just to shoot to shoot; well I was drilling the whole time but that's my shoot to shoot. I'd put five or ten rounds in a mag (to capacity if I was shooting my .45 1911) and whale away. I worked on strong hand, weak hand drills and spent some time banging away with the target 20 yards away, practicing for the next IDPA classifier, whenever that will be. As I'm right handed, left eye dominant, my weak hand shots are more accurate than my strong hand shots.

On the knitting front, I've been working steadily on the Flemish Braid Red Lace Scarf. Based on a finished row count of 560 rows (which still seems to work) the knitting on the scarf is 60% complete with 336 rows below the needles, which works out to just over 4' of unblocked lace. I haven't had any huge problems that I've had to frog a lot of rows, just the occasional frogging of two or three rows back to the lifeline.

On the weather front, we're supposed to get some long term (more than a few hours or a day) relief after Saturday; at least the temps on the long range forecast are in the upper 80's instead of mid to upper 90's. I hope that also includes some humidity relief. On the other hand laundry hung out to dry do so very quickly!

blogging to: Memories 89

reading: The Second Mouse by Archer Mayor (a Joe Gunther mystery)
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot:

Monday, August 2, 2010

Stayin' In & Stayin' Cool

OK. It's still hot. But it IS summer in Kansas. At least, for now all we have is the heat. And for now it's a baking heat. The humidity is lower but now temps are near 100º'; "officially". We still have heat indices in the 110º+ range but if you sit in the shade and don't do anything, have a nice cold drink and there is a breeze it is very bearable. Whereas in the high humidity with temps in the low 90's it was unbearable just being outside in the shade with a breeze. And after Wednesday the weather is to break and temps are supposed to be 10º+ cooler. I hope we also get a inch or two of rain over several hours instead of 27 drops and a few clouds.

We haven't been shooting indoors or out. We have been reloading. It's nice to see the ammo stash expanding but not so nice to see the component stash shrinking. I do think it's better to have the large loaded ammo stash rather than the large component stash and low ammo stash. Of course, I'd rather have high stashes of both items.

I couldn't sleep the other night and came up with several CoF's for our IDPA matches. I noted the gist of each down and e-mailed them to our Match Directors. They were all green-lighted so now I've got to flesh them out a bit, come up with a non-threat and threat count, list of props, and a sketch of where everything should be for each CoF. That should be fun.

I'm back to knitting and reading again. I'm making great progress on the Red Lace Flemish Braid Scarf for my SIL's friend, who doesn't know she's getting it. At 312 rows it's over half finished based on a 560 row finished length. I've knit 312 rows and I'm quite pleased by the progress. If I really pushed I could have it finished by the end of August, but I think a hard deadline of Thanksgiving (provided I don't get off track again) is reasonable. Every 80 rows the 10 row side panels end at the same row as the 16 row center panel. At the end of the next center panel will be the fourth one. No biggie knit-wise but it's always something to look forward to as you slog along. Although each knit row in each panel is different, it does get a bit redundant after completing 19 center panels and 30 end panels. As I knit or purl each row I look forward to reading a chapter.

But the yarn is soft and I still like the plain barn red color I chose. At just over the halfway point, I don't think I'll be breaking into the second hank of this yarn. I only wound the one hank and split it into two wound balls as I'm holding it double as I knit. I won't have any problem finding something else to knit with it. My SIL looks good in this red shade also, so maybe a hat or a more simple scarf is in her future.

I'm still working on the White Caps Afghan but the progress is a lot more slow. I only work on it when I'm watching TV with Mr WK (which is usually gun shows). If I'm on my own and doing my usual housework during commercials, I've been knitting on the Red Lace Flemish Braid Scarf. Also, each row on the afghan is 300 stitches long so it takes a while to finish a row. I also try to knit more slowly as when I'm watching a show, I don't take very many breaks.

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: A Taste for Death by P D James (an Adam Dalgliesh mystery)
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot: "The Federal Government can do most anything in this country.” ~ California Democrat Rep. Pete Stark