Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's a Sock

There, I've said it. My stealth knitting is a sock. I'm the February sock for the Knitting Central Sock Club.
However all details about the sock—yarn, color, pattern, etc.—are supposed to be a surprise, so I can't tell you anything more than that.
I'm only telling you that much because I've got nothing else. Really hard to have a knitting blog when you can't talk about your knitting project.
And the pups haven't done anything either cute or obnoxious lately.
Apparently I really need to get new batteries already, so I can at least throw a random picture up.
See, I've been so good about updating lately that I don't want to loose my momentum.
Ok, we've wasted enough time. See you tomorrow!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Seaming Sunday

Hey, maybe I'll start a new trend!
Nah, I don't have enough readers yet.
Oh well, at least I'm still benefiting.
Yes, I spent some quality time with Sundae on Sunday morning sewing on the trim.
It's slow going. Corners stink. I made it down one front and onto the bottom. The bottom stinks as well since I'm sewing into the cast on edge. Didn't think of that at the time. I'm still whip stitching from the wrong side. I tried a few stitches in mattress stitch from the right side while I was going down the front, but oddly it didn't look as good.
I think the bottom edge should look fine, as long as I can manage to be consistent. And, of course, no one should be that close to my butt to see any wonkiness. There is a concern about the bottom trim flipping up from the natural curl of the fabric. If I'm lucky (ha!) the trim with be enough weight to hold the curl down.
All this painstaking, microscopic seaming makes me wonder what I was thinking making a top with 4-ply yarn on US1 needles. Really, I have to stick with worsted weight when I make sweaters.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Las Vegas Highlights

Shall I finally tell you about my trip to Las Vegas back in June? I didn't blog about it at the time since I didn't have internet access and then when I got home other stuff was going on to prevent me.
Shall I make it easy on us and just hit the highlights?
We were staying at the Hilton at the Convention Center, which was very convenient because it was:
1) Across the street from the convention location.
2) The hotel where the Star Trek Experience is was located.
Oh my gosh! I was going to link to the website and it's gone. The website and the Experience! I found a website from June saying it closed down in early September. Boy, am I glad I was able to go back in June. I've wanted to go since it opened, but never had the opportunity until I had to go to Vegas for this business trip.
Of course, this means poor Hubby won't ever get to go.
(Oh, phew, I did save my ticket stub).
Well, anyway, it used to be a Star Trek Deep Space Nine themed restaurant, Quarks, and two of those full immersion virtual reality rides, Klingon Encounter and Borg Invasion. And, of course, an extensive gift shop.
Leading up to the trip I talked about the rides extensively trying to drum up interest, but no one bit so I had to go by myself.
They were so fun. I did the Borg Invasion one night. The group was herded into a shuttle bay and the Doctor from Voyager explained we all had DNA that might make up resistant to the Borg nanoprobes, so we were being brought to a space station for testing. But the Borg attacked and the room shook and the lights flashed and we had to evacuate to a shuttle. So we hustled down a hall and around a corner to the right, and you could see a hall extending to the left with damage and injured crewmen. Then another crew member was briefing us, but a Borg Drone came in! and started accessing a computer terminal. Since he didn't perceive us as a threat he ignored us. So we turned and ran the other way and finally into a shuttle.
Which is where the traditional part of the virtual reality ride was. Big, 3-D screen in front of us, the room shook and moved—and implements in the chair poked us and wind blew on us(!), the Borg Queen and Captain Janeway put in appearances. It was all very exciting. And actually left me a little dizzy, so I had to go back to my room.
The next afternoon, which was our last full day in town, I ran over and did the Klingon Encounter. This one started out as a traditional ride with the saftey lecture, but then the room when pitch black, lights flashed, there was a gust of wind, and when the lights came back on we were on a transporter pad on the Enterprise from Next Generation. Really, all the walls were gone and the floor was different, it was cool.
Then we were all herded onto the enterprise bridge. Cmd. Riker appeared on the monitor and explained that some Klingons tried to capture us and brought us into the future because one of us was an ancestor of Captian Picard. Jordy made an appearance too. Then we all got on a turbo lift so we could go to a shuttle pod and be evacuated. Well, this ride was a bit crowded and I was at the end of the group, so where they all got a piece of wall me and two other people were out in the open. And then the ship was attacked and the turbolift when into freefall and was shaking all over the place—it was hard to keep my footing.
When we got to the shuttle pod (and again, the corridors when off to the sides and were elaborate, I don't know where they fit all this stuff) the traditional part of the ride started. You could tell it was older because the seats were hard plastic and the ceiling was much close, which kind of added to the stomach churning effect of the swooping photography.
It was very exciting as well. And I just remembered that Cpt. Picard told us not to tell anyone so we didn't mess up the timeline. Drat.
I thought the rides were way cool and told anyone at the convention who would sit still all about them. I hope they reopen it in another location. If they do, I don't think I ruined anything for you, my description isn't a fun as being there.

Of course I also had to eat in the restaurant. Since they don't feed you on airplanes anymore, when the Other Associate Editor and I tumbled into town we were rather hungry. Boss Man had flown in the day before, so he was a little more adjusted to the time zone. After showing us the lay of the land he agreed to each lunch with us.
Silly people let me choose the place. You would think they would have seen it coming.
Of course, it was all normal food, it just had silly names. I had a Capt. Janeway's Salad, which was a cobb salad with a nice presentation. The Other AE had a Starfleet Salad, which was a more traditional tossed salad, but molded into a triangle shape reminiscent of a communicator. Boss Man suddenly claimed he wasn't hungry and just got an iced tea.
There was a Klingon wandering around harassing dinners and later I saw a Ferengi and a Borg as well.
And the really cool souvenir for Hubby I kept referencing are travel mugs with stainless steel interiors. I got him a blue one with the Star Fleet emblem and me a red one with the emblem of the Klingon Empire. It fits in my purse really well when I'm on the train!
Well, that about wraps up the trip to Vegas. It was June, so it was around 100 degrees out each day and we were all dying of thirst the entire time.
Oh! forgot one other cool thing.
Hitachi gave out free video iPod Nanos at their press conference. It was a really well attended press conference. In my experience, the only thing that gets an editor's attention faster than free food is free gadgets. I had already RSVP'd when they e-mailed that announcement a week or so before the trip. Luckily I ended up near the counter where they were handing them out because I was able to just turn around and snag one. It's silver and says "Hitachi Inspire the Next" on the back. But what do I care? It was free! Oh, and loaded with their press releases, etc., which was clever.
This was way cool because I did not own an iPod. I had bought Hubby a refurbished Nano for Christmas, but having two seemed frivolous. Since being on the train I'd been considering swiping his, but now I don't have to. Oh, iPod, how I adore thee.
Ok, I think that's it.
Wow, I hadn't intended this post to be so long, but I was so stunned to see the Star Trek Experience was gone that I got carried away!
My stealth knitting is progressing nicely, thanks for asking.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Do You Know What That Is?

Arrgyle side That is a sock that is never going to fit.
Or at least that is what I thought Friday night. I couldn't understand why it wouldn't fit—28 stitch in the instep and 28 for the sole for 56 total, which would be the correct amount if I was working in the round.
I got really annoyed, pulled out my Knitter's Almanac by Elizabeth Zimmerman, and read up on her refootable Moccasin sock. However it would have required me to rip out the entire instep as well as the gusset and heel flap (her gusset decreases are worked at the edges of the instep and the heel is totally different), which didn't make me happy.
Arrgyle top I also found it strange that the instep reached all the way to my toes just about to the point where I should start the toe decreases. That didn't look quite right compared to other pictures I'd seen.
Fortunately, rather than doing anything hasty, I went to bed.
Saturday morning (before the hike and the cabin fever set in) I did a half-, um, hearted job of sewing the sides shut. Lo and behold, it fit.
Of course it did.
And the instep reached about halfway down my foot rather than all the way to my toes. Making it a normal sock after all. (Yeah, no pictures of that bit. I would refer you to previous comments regarding dead batteries and absconding Husbands.)

Gusset Goes Down
I did end up pulling out the gusset decreases. The recipe I was following from the Moth Heaven blog says to decrease at the start of every row.
When I work in the round I decrease the gusset every other row. Now I know it should probably be the same rate of decrease (one stitch every row compared to two stitches every other row) but it was bugging me a bit. So I reworked it, decreasing just on the right side rows.
Then I sewed the instep to the sole as I worked the sole so I could ensure I had the correct number of rows. (I'm using mattress stitch, btw.)
Of course one side came out spot on but the other came out short, which was weird, so I had to resew the short side.
At this point I can start working in the round heading for the toe shaping.
However, the poor Arrygles have once again been cast aside—this time for the stealth project.
As for Sundae. Shoot, it was 50 degrees Fahrenheit this morning. I won't be wearing a lacy camisole any time soon so the pressure is totally off to finish it.
Although I do need to rescue my mini darning needle and my US1 dpns I was using to knit the trim.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Look What We Found!

Waterfall 2 920It's a waterfall! Or so they tell me.
On Saturday we trooped back to the hike we did the other weekend and headed straight for the waterfall.
I scoffed at it when we got there, but Hubby was a little more forgiving, considering how close we still were to civilization. He thought I should go easy on it. I thought it would have been more impressive if it had rained recently.
It probably also didn't help that we were at the top. We weren't sure how to get to the bottom and by then I had wrenched my knee (but was in "not princess" mode so I didn't say anything) so wasn't terribly interested in finding it. (My knee felt better by Monday and I did end up complaining about it later during the hike.)
Samson wet hike 920 The pups, of course, were terribly excited about the entire situation. I must say they did much better with the leashes this time. Maybe they remembered from last time, but it was much less of a struggle. Until we reached the river and they started dragging us through the river bed. Maybe it was good it hadn't rained. (That's Samson on the right after he'd been wallowing in a deep part.)
(That's Baru on the left, wallowing in another deep part.) We saw other hikers at the bottom of the falls and they came up to our level on the far bank. We're not sure how they got there.
Actually, the only trouble we had with the pups was when we encountered those same people on a different part of the trail a little later. Of course the pups wanted to go make friends but, mean parents that we are, we dragged the pups off the trail and let the people pass without having to pay a puppy toll.
The trail to the waterfall was much more strenuous than the trail we did the other week. There was one very steep and treacherous part. Hubby, being smarter than the average bear, sent me down first then released the hounds one at a time. They came hurtling down the mountain like furry little missiles (loving every minute of it).
Baru, bless him, came straight to me and let me grab his leash.
Samson, of course, shot right by me and went two or three feet before he reluctantly came back. I'm sure if he could talk he would have claimed he couldn't stop, or was just scouting ahead. Cheeky thing. Samson tall hike 920 (Here's Samson standing up to tell his daddy how fun it is to run down the mountain and play in the stream.)
So that was the fun weekend. We were out there about an hour, there is also an overlook, which had a bit more of a view since the leaves are starting to thin a wee bit. The pups had time to dry out before we got back in the car, so we didn't have to deal with wet dog odor on the ride home. phew!
I'm glad we got our act together and found the waterfall (Hubby started the morning talking about yard work and grocery shopping, but I had a bad case of cabin fever and didn't give in) with the weather starting to turn we probably won't make it out there again this season. We might surprise me, but I know how our weekends usually go.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What's the Point?

Really, between no pictures from the weekend and working on a stealth projects, there isn't much to say.
However, Hubby told me this morning he brought the camera home last night so I can rescue my pictures, so I should be back on track tomorrow. (Wouldn't have mattered if he told me last night, I had a raging headache and was in bed by 9:30. I'm feeling much better now. Although my harmless head cold from last week seems to have slipped down to my chest. cough.)

Politics, again
The only other thing I have to say is I saw on interview on CNN.com with Chris Dodd where he is quoted as saying, "I'm not going to write this at the end of the day [and] watch a handful of chief executives walk away with multimillion-dollar contracts."
So even though he hasn't responded to my e-mail from the other day, he's in line with what I want.
Still no actual responses though.

And have I pointed out lately that my puppies are adorable? This is an old picture, but I still like it. Just trying to distract you. crazy puppies no red eye
Hubby has announced the noble goal of not turning on the heat until at least October. Both pups are spending more of the night on the bed with us. I guess they get chilly too.

Monday, September 22, 2008

And So It Begins

Hubby has run off with the camera, again. Dispatching it into the wilds of suburbia with a Yearbook Student.
It's a shame, we had a nice weekend, you would have enjoyed it.
Now, some people might say since I didn't follow through on downloading the pictures Saturday or Sunday night it is my own fault I can't share with you.
Obviously those people don't live on the same planet I do.
Hubby got permission to buy a camera last year (I think there are probably other school cameras floating around but I guess he can monopolize those) but it was either too late in the season to matter, or we kept forgetting to act on it until it was too late. Either way, here's a new school year, and you can bet I'll be jumping right on this situation this time.
And, yes, I did warn him that he'll need new batteries.
That's all I have to say today. My other stories will be much better with pictures. Hopefully the camera will float back into my sphere of influence soon.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Ahoy! Maties

Arrgyle side"We are knitters and crocheters of action, this frogging does not become us."—The Dread Crafter Roberts.
With it bein' International Talk Like a Pirate Day, I be thinkin' the easiest pirate to talk like would be the Dread Pirate Roberts. arrrg.
Who really had quite a refined and educated accent when you think about it.
But that's not bein' as much fun as talking like an uneducated pirate, bless me eyes.
And the Flikr still needs to be walkin' the plank for not pullin' pictures over the way I want.
Arrgyle Front
I found that if I turn the camera off, the batteries catch their breath and I can fire off a few more pictures. (or cannons, as the case may be, arrg!)
So here are the Arrgyle Pirate Socks, back in action (oh, I have to update my Ravelry projects, get them in the sidebar). I finished the decreases on the train this morning, which took all of 5 rows, if that, shiver me timbers. And then I had to sit there and do nothing (really, I don't know how people stand it) because I can't decide how far onto the instep I should continue the diamond pattern.
On my chart I have almost the entire pink diamond, not all of it, and I can't remember why not. As you might be able to see in the photo, I've worked it to half-way through the diamond, which seems a good stopping point, but I'm not sure it's traditional.
Traditional!? I'll keel haul any scurvy dog who tries to get me to hold with tradition!
Arrgyle Back
(the strange little purple tail above the heel flap is from where I sewed the back seam. Ends, weaving, ick.)
So I need to scroll Ravelry for argyle socks to compare, and maybe go back to the source blog Moth Heaven for this pattern to see what that knitter does. And it looks like I've taken mine farther than she does. arrg. (and I also swiped that cute Arrgyle Button from her blog while I was there. Hey, it was up for grabs!) And it looks like the Sock Knitters online lesson has a full diamond on the instep. So I guess I'm on me own. On the high seas.
Well, I'd best sort it out before it's time to go home or I'll be sticking my knitting needles in my eyes out of bordem. arrg!
(and I bet if I looked at my HTML practice I could figure out how to get the text to stop bumping the pictures, but I should really do some work now or no grog for me.)

Thursday, September 18, 2008


I've been slacking on the pictures lately because of the battery situation.
But I thought I'd get my act together for a brief moment.
solo rainbow swirl
So here is the solo Rainbow Swirl Sock before I manage to get it in the mail, which will probably be Saturday.
puppy throwdown 1
And here is a picture of the puppies having a throwdown in the upstairs hallway. They were struggling for control of a stuffed dolphin (or it was stuffed until Samson gutted it. Now is is a dolphin skin). Baru is on the left. Samson is in back with his head on the ground.
I actually took six pictures of this wrestling match trying to get a good shot of both of them. Didn't get one, then the batteries died. So I gave up.

Political Rant Update
I checked my e-mail and was all excited because I had a response from Lieberman. He usually responds (I went through a phase where I was e-mail my representatives frequently). And by "respond" I mean one if his staff members generates a form letter vaguely related to my topic (this time I chose "other" from the drop down menu).
I thought it was a pretty good turn around for a response, and I was right. The e-mail was just acknowledging I had contacted him and he would get back to me after researching the matter.
Shays is good about responding too. Although the other day I received a letter from him, which actually restated my original concerns and kind of addressed them, from an e-mail I had sent in July! It was good they told me what I was upset about in July because I had forgotten.
I don't think I've ever heard back from Dodd. That will be a shame in this case because judging by a news clip I saw the other day, my annoyance over the take-overs and payouts should be right up his alley.

You Think Kitchener Stitch Sucks?

Well, have you un-kitchenered anything lately?
Not fun. But I suppose that is what I get for trying to quickly and surreptitiously finish my toe here at work.
A portion of yesterday's train ride home was indeed spent on feeling sorry for myself. Fortunately the headache never grew up, so I was functional when I got home. But I didn't end up doing much knitting last night—all efforts were focused on getting my chores done so I could go to bed early.
This morning I missed the train, sigh, so no help for the sock toe there.
But now I've spent most of the morning reviewing documents for a conference call this afternoon, allowing me to belt out the last few rows while I stared at my monitor.
And can I just pause to say they sent us (i.e., the press) the report so we could review it before the call and across every page they stamped in huge translucent grey letters "Embargoed until 1:30 PM EDT on 9/18/08". It's making it really hard to read. Will this magically go away at 1:30? Will they send us a new copy? It's just all too exciting.
Then I took the bold step of kitchenering too quickly. You would think the fact the back needle had three stitches when the front only had one would have set off alarm bells. But nooo, I finished it anyway and then realized I missed the second half of one stitch.
And another thing. Would someone please tell my why my mini darning needle isn't in the case? Forcing me to use a full size darning needle?
Oh, yeah, it is in Sundae waiting to finish attaching the trim. drat.
Now it is lunch time, so I spread my sandwich out on my desk and got to work. (Boss Man recognizes that I can knit and read at the same time—hands are moving eyes are occupied elsewhere. But even I can't claim to be focusing on anything but the sock when I'm kitchenering.)
Anyway, undoing a toe is a slow, complicated process involving two knitting needles and the darning needle. I carefully pick up the next stitch in line, then use the darning needle to pull the sewing strand out. Following the path of the strand is important to keep track of which stitch to stick your needle in next. I did manage to drop one, but it didn't get far. And the needles flop around, are either sticking out too much or not enough, it's just a mess.
Of course I can't ever just go back to where the mistake is, I have to pull out the whole toe (so glad I only leave 20 sts). I find I can't figure out where I am if I try to resume half way through (am I K taking off, P leaving on? Front, Back? Ack!). And, of course, all the stitches on at least one needle are usually twisted. Sure am glad I figured out how to recognize that situation as soon as I learned to knit! So you have to untwist them.
Then I finally kitchenered it back shut again. Phew! It's not quite done. I have three ends to weave in (there was a break in the yarn. What can I say, leftovers.), so I guess I won't get it in the mail until Saturday after all.
Oh well, at least I'm positioned to work on my Arrgyles now. I can spend tonight remembering what was going on and tomorrow knitting! yipee!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Back on Topic

A lady on the train this morning complemented my Rainbow Swirl Sock and asked about the "orange sock" I was working on. She must have been referring to my Joy of Charlene Socks and I said I finished those a month ago.
She asked how long a pair usually takes, and I said about two weeks.
She asked, "Do you make these as beautiful gifts for people?"
I answered, "No. I don't love anyone that much."
And we all had a good laugh. Although I did add I make them for Hubby.
The conductor has been watching my sock with interest and commented I'm almost done. Which is true, I'm closing in on the toe shaping and might even finish on the ride home tonight. Provided my head doesn't explode in the mean time which would prevent me from focusing on knitting.
We (her, me and the guy next to her) had a brief, but lively, conversation about knitting and the loveliness of handmade afghans.
I'll be glad when the sock is done, because then I'll be able to get it in the mail. Not that I haven't enjoyed knitting it. It's a simple pattern, but fun to watch develop. I like the way the ridge marches across the top of the instep and the demarcation between the patterned instep and the stockinette stitch sole.
Still, Friday is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. With my Rainbow Swirl Sock out of the way, I'll be free to work on my Arrgyle Pirate Socks, which seems appropriate.

Vent: Not To Get All Political

Ok, this totally has nothing to do with knitting, crochet, or puppies, but I'm soooo annoyed I'm crosseyed, and I just have to get it out.
What really pisses me off about the current crisis on Wall Street is that all the old, rich, white guys who drove these companies into the ground are probably going to receive million or billion dollar severance packages, even though they obviously didn't do their jobs properly. I mean, besides say professional baseball, in what other situation can someone perform so very poorly and still make tons of money?
A New York Times article about the AIG situation says:
Under the terms of his employment contract with A.I.G., Mr. Willumstad could receive an exit package worth as much as $8.7 million if his removal is determined to be “without cause,” according to an analysis by James F. Reda and Associates.
Well, somebody had better find a "cause." In fact, although it might not help, I'm going to go send my congressman an e-mail.
After all, I own 80% of AIG now, I should get a say in how its budget is applied.

Ok, here's the letter I wrote. Maybe not terribly eloquent, but I think it gets my point across.
Feel free to borrow it, adjust with your own thoughts:
Dear Senator/Congressman [fill in their name]:
I understand the financial markets are very complex and the government is doing its best to stabilize Wall Street through the recent bail outs of Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and now AIG.
However I'm very concerned by the potential for the former leaders of these companies to receive million dollar severance packages despite their obvious failure to properly perform their jobs.
Considering my tax dollars are now at risk, and it will probably be my tax dollars lining their pockets, I don't believe these severance packages are justified.
Please look into making sure these people are terminated "with cause" under the terms of their contracts so they are not rewarded for their mistakes. We are already cleaning up their mess, we shouldn't have to pay for their vacation as well.
Thank you.
You can find the contact forms for your Senators and Congressmen by following the appropriate links off this usa.gov page.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Welcome Back!

The Ambrosia version of my Top Down Fingerless Mitts have returned from their star turn. Ambrosia mitts finished
This is the pattern that was accepted for inclusion in the new Luxury Yarn One-Skein Wonders book edited by Judith Durant and published by Storey Publishing.
This picture is the one I took when I finished them. I stuck them on champagne flutes. HA! I found that taking a picture of your own hand is about as hard as taking a picture of your own feet. I'll try to get Hubby to take a better picture tonight. I have to imagine the picture in the book is going to be considerably better!
Submission requirements were for a completed item and the full pattern. So after they were accepted months ago, my mitts got to hang out in Massachusetts for their photo shoot. Now that they are back, I have to image the arrival of the book is imminent. It is supposed to have a mid-October publication date. So I'll be checking the mail with eager anticipation for the next few weeks waiting for my copy.
Don't worry, I'm sure Cynthia is going to carry it at Knitting Central, (if only because we've carried the other titles in the series)(giggle). I also believe I've heard tell that a former staff member has a vest in the book as well (she is only "former" staff because she was a recent college graduate and moved on to a design job in NYC. She stopped in the other day, I think I saw her restocking.)
It's cool to have them back. They feel thicker than I remember, but the yarn is just as yummy. They also have more spring to them than the prototype Taj Mahal pair, which are all broken in now from regular office use.
I probably shouldn't admit this, but I was looking at the
right hand one and thought "Huh, I don't remember that much ribbing at the base of the palm." So I looked at the left one and the original pair. Yeah, I left off the last cable cross. There are supposed to be five crosses, not four. Oops. Don't worry, I'm sure the pattern is correct. I did all five on the other three mitts!

Monday, September 15, 2008

90% Still

swirl socks
My health and my knitting that is.
I am much perkier today and actually came to work. I guess the increased flow of oxygen to my brain is having an effect.
As for knitting, my solo Rainbow Swirl Sock is zipping along. But then when I wasn't sleeping during the last three days I was working on it, so it makes sense that I was able to turn the heel on the train this morning. It also doesn't hurt that I'm making the smallest size (50 sts, yahoo!).
I wrote the pattern, which is for sale at Knitting Central and on Ravelry, with stitch counts for three different sizes. Rather than accomplishing size changes through changing needles and/or gauge. See how I look out for you? (The above picture shows a large sock on the left and a small sock on the right, which is why they appear to both be and not be a pair.)
As for the other projects...what other projects? I don't know what you're talking about.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Breathing is under-rated. I mean, you don't really appreciate it until you can't do it well. Ask me why I've had that sudden revelation.
Yep, home again today. If anything I woke up feeling a little more miserable today. Really, the cold season is not off to a good start if one of us has already gotten sick this early. I'm trying to avoid passing it to Hubby—no kissing, no cup sharing. sigh. Still I feel bad about running around the house with my germy little fingers, and my hands are all dry from washing them a lot (gee, if I had washed them more on the other end maybe I wouldn't be in this situation).

Sick Days are Good for Knitting
Yesterday I worked a bit on attaching the trim to Sundae. It isn't going as smoothly as the other trim did. And at first I was concerned about the bumps in the trim not matching up, but I've let that go.
I've flipped through my Barbara Walker books again looking for a different knit cuff for the Peacock Sock. And what did I find? A pattern for plaid. The stripe sequence was wrong for my tartan, but I spent a lot of time staring at the page and wondering it. Of course that will make really thick socks, since it's done in two colors with floats. I might have to stick with the argyles.
Oh, I found two stitch patterns that had potential for the cuff. Again, I don't think they are going to be as flamboyant as the crochet cuff, but they are 4+1 and 6+1 which is more in line with the stitch count for the socks.

Adding to the WIP pile
Since I am the queen of discarded projects lately, the other day I resurrected my Arrgyle Pirate Socks. Had to remember where I was, but didn't get further than putting the instep back on a needle.
And I've immediately abandoned them in favor of casting on another of my own Rainbow Swirl Socks. I don't think I'll discuss why until I know whether something will come of it. In fact I probably shouldn't have mentioned it at all, but I'm hopped up on cold medicine and can't be bothered to use the delete key.
All this despite the spiffy "Finishing Friday" button that Major Knitter sent me. See it in the side bar, below my Ravelry projects? Isn't it adorable? Maybe it will be more effective next week when I'm not sleeping so much.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Did You Remember?

I wasn't thinking about it when I woke up this morning. I was focused on my sore throat and feeling whiny, then the newscaster mentioned it was September 11 and I was like "oh, right that's today," because the date hadn't occurred to me.
So I'm home sick. Couldn't fall back asleep, so I was on the couch channel surfing. Hit the live coverage of the ceremony at Ground Zero of the people reading off all the names. Of course that teared me right up.
I moved on quickly because crying when your nose is already stuffed up and your throat hurts is a bad combination.
What did I switch to? The History Channel. First playing "Countdown to Ground Zero," which was survivors telling their stories along with reenactments. Then "The Day the Towers Fell," which was eyewitnesses and photographers talking about the day while still photos and videos were shown.

And Where Were You?
We had just gotten married and moved to New Hampshire that July. But we had been living in Northern New Jersey just before that.
My mom works for Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, but in one of their New Jersey offices. She called us (and woke us up) when the first plane hit. Of course, you remember at that point nobody knew what was happening and thought it was some horrible plane accident.
So we ran to the living room and turned on the TV and were just riveted. And we were still standing there staring when the second plane hit.
At some point Hubby had to start getting ready for school. I had just started at the weekly newspaper, that was my first week, but I was part-time, so I was able to continue staring.
I remember us saying how surreal and unbelievable it was. One of the first things I covered, one of my first articles, was a memorial service.
Hubby was living in Montclair when we were dating. For one of our first dates he got together a picnic dinner and we went up to this park on a hill and when the sun went down you could see the Manhattan Skyline and it was so lovely with all the lights. We were like, wow, that's gone.
When Hubby got across campus (we were at a boarding school) I think classes had started, but they got canceled and they brought all the students to one location. At the paper, they had heard about it and had a little bitty TV they were watching.
We have family that works in NYC. And an uncle is a volunteer fire chief just over the border on Long Island, so I figured he'd be heading in. At first I was able to call my mom, but then of course, all the phone lines were jammed and no one was on e-mail. I think it was late that night, if not the next day, when we finally heard all the family was ok.
The school had a lot of students from NY and the NYC area. I remember one student was so freaked out that he actually left campus and started walking and hitchhiking to NYC. We're talking a four hour drive and he was walking. (I will have to see if Hubby remembers how far he got.)
And, of course, all the people at the Pentagon and on the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania.
And there we were, all safe, if not cozy, in New Hampshire.
And the footage still seems unreal.
So now that I've brought you down, too. I'm going to go hide under the covers and a puppy. Because my throat hurts.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I'm 90% Annoyed

By all the WIPs (works in progress) I have that are 90% complete.
What is wrong with me? I need to pull myself together and finish them already.
Of course, that hasn't stopped me from tossing Sundae on the incomplete pile. I haven't felt like seaming and I don't imagine trying to seam on the train would be very fun.
So I've returned to my Peacock Socks.
Sock #2 has caught up to Sock #1 in length, prompting a return to the crocheted cuff. I pleased to report I zipped through the cuff with no wrist pain in evidence. I made the adjustment of double crochet instead of treble crochet stitches and it does bring the depth of the motifs more in line. However, the entire thing is curling or drawing down. At first this was annoying me and I was considering more tweaks, but then it started to grow on me. It could potentially be good because it might help keep the cuff in place and hug the leg.
I still have to measure how much yardage it took, and then make the larger size to calculate that yardage as well.
Now I'm working on a knit cuff. The pattern seems to have potential, but it isn't quite as flamboyant as the crochet one. Actually, I didn't see many knit options that looked like they would echo the crochet pineapples. Another concern is this knitting pattern is a multiple of 12+1, which doesn't give me much flexibility, so I might have to reconsider it in general.
Yeah, no pictures. Still haven't sorted out the battery situation. I saw a set of rechargable batteries in the store the other day. They were $10, which seemed fairly reasonable, by I had other things on my mind and didn't get them.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Best Sock Club Ever!

Ok, I admit I'm biased because the sock club is run by the local yarn store I work at, so I get to be one of the designers.
And I haven't actually ever belonged to a sock club, so it's not like I have concrete information to compare it to. But I know Cynthia did a ton of research before she designed our club.
So it's pretty brassy of me to call The Knitting Central Sock Club the Best Sock Club Ever, but everyone exaggerates sometimes.
The main difference, from what I've seen, is that sock clubs are usually run by people who spin, dye, or do both to yarn. So you always get their yarn, which means you had better like it.
Since we're a yarn store we have access to a wider variety of yarn, so our hook is you know that you are pretty likely to get yarn you know and love, because they've been sold in the store at some point. Which yarn you receive is still a surprise, but the anxiety of whether you will like it is reduced.rainbow swirl done

For instance, last year's yarns included Koigu, Bearfoot, and Jitterbug. Although we did introduce some new ones through the club, like Alchemy's Temple. We hadn't carried that before and it's delicious.
The majority of the staff love making socks, and we've slowly groomed our customer base to think like we do. All the patterns for the club are designed by either a staff member or a teacher.
Making another attraction, at least for our local customers, the fact that they are familiar with us, our abilities, and in many cases our designs already. Yet another safety net!
We also set up a private Yahoo Group for club members to post questions, discuss the yarn and pattern, and share pictures of their progress. That month's designer was right there with them to make sure everything was ok.
Since a focus of our club was on enhancing abilities, each package included a letter from the designer about the yarn or technique used for the sock design. (Mine was a discussion of negative ease that was very well received, if I do say so myself.) And there was always a little gift as well.
The club was well received last year, so we've decided to do it again. There are some changes. This year we're going to focus more on the techniques in the design, so there will be more solid and semi-solid yarn (last year we did all variegated). And the club is going to run for 6 months instead of a full-year (there will possibly be another 6-month club next year). Among the feed back we received when we launched the club last year was that a year was a long commitment, or people were in other clubs and didn't want to over commit. So this address that issue.
Oh, I forgot one of the best parts! Since Cynthia orders the yarn special for the club people can tell us what color(s) they don't want, so they didn't have to worry about receiving something they wouldn't like. (I was surprised at the number of people who didn't want red.) And we did our best to ensure people still received a variety of colors.
It's just something to thing about. Many of the staff/designers and club members are on Raverly, so you can check out last year's socks that way, and we're going to put pictures of them on the store website, www.knittingcentral.com.
Details are on the store website. Sign-ups close Sept 30, you can do it over the phone. The first package goes out in October, so don't delay!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Variety Is the Spice of Crafting

Which is a darn good thing as it gives us an excuse to endlessly start projects without finishing our current project. And if someone is foolish enough to confront us on the matter, we can easily respond, "Oh, I need multiple active projects in order to avoid repetitive motion injuries in my hands and wrists."
I must pause here to mention that Hubby has never been foolish enough to comment—or more accurately question—on the number of projects I have going at once. He only occasionally comments if I have been working on something for a long time and then suddenly switch, which can be put down to curiosity. And the only time he has protested a mid-project switch was when I was making his Yankee Socks, then he campaigned for them to be finished.
Which is all a round about way of saying, are you as tired of hearing about this endless Sundae trim as I am of knitting it? I'm closing in on the end. I'm now at a length were I have to start attaching it to determine whether I have enough yet. Which is going to make it far less portable.

The Hat to the Rescue
Fortunately, I have P's crocheted hat to fall back on.
I was able to get gauge with the LionBrand HomeSpun and a size L crochet hook. But I wouldn't recommend it—the fabric is rather floppy.
My hooks are, apparently, scattered throughout the house for some reason. I had to troop up the the attic to find the L and I'm sure I own and N but couldn't tell you were it is, and there is an, uh, J in the dining room credenza with some more HomeSpun that I was planning to use to make a baby blanket for my cousin's new baby (who will be a year old in February). Not quite sure I was thinking, allowing all these hooks to wander.
Anyway, the hat was making me feel pretty useless last night as I couldn't get one of the increase rows to work out. It's using basically the same progression I used for my Crochet Guinness Dog Toy and other circular crochet items I've made, so I don't know what the problem was. Whether I followed or ignored the pattern, my stitch count was off.
I blame the HomeSpun, I couldn't see what I was doing. And the Giants game prevented me from counting properly.
So I packed some Cascade 220 and an H hook for the ride this morning—and beat that increase row into submission! The pattern is correct, it's the crocheter that is defective.
I'm going to be extremely bad and work the rest of the hat in the Cascade 220. This will allow me to confirm the numbers but not the size. So I'll have to rework it in the HomeSpun to check measurements.
My kingdom (queendom?) for a smooth, chunky yarn!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

By the Way

Summer of Socks ended on Monday. September 1 at 10 p.m. eastern was the official cut off, I believe.
You can tell how far out of it I was at the end there that it has taken me three days to post about it.
Still, it's bitter sweet. :-) Of course, it was the Ravelympics that knocked me off track. Note to self: don't commit to two deadline oriented knitting/crochet activities at once.
I managed to knit three pairs of socks, which is far less then the nine I was anticipating. I think it was nine—one pair for each two week time period. Whatever the number was, I didn't hit it.
On the bright side (let's think positive!):

  1. I finally made the Alchemy Girlfriend Cable Socks. I had been lusting over the yarn and pattern from the time it came into the store, waited months and months to buy, then never got around to making it. (I have also only worn them once, as I'm afraid of damaging them, which is silly since I believe the stuff I make should be used.)
  2. I finally used the Sol Joy Yarn I had bought over a Christmas trip to Lake Placid and just had to have at the time, but left languishing in my stash.
  3. While using the Sol Joy, I designed a new pair of socks and mastered the Cuban/Sexy Heel we learned when Charlene Schurch was at the store.
  4. I used my Purple Jitterbug Yarn, which was hanging out waiting to sacrifice itself so the leftovers could be combined with the leftover Blue Jitterbug Yarn. So there was minor stash reduction.
  5. It was the kick in the butt to get serious about designing my Peacock Socks using the Bearfoot Yarn. Of course I put them aside to work on my Ravelympic projects and it has been so long since I worked on them I fear I've forgotten the pattern stitch. (Fear not! I have good notes.) Actually, I was having palpitations last night because I couldn't find my notes. They were still tucked into the doily book, which was on top of the dining room credenza instead of inside it—where knitting stuff belongs.

So I can look back in satisfaction and say I participated in something fun and got a cool button for my blog.

Projects New and Old
The trim for Sundae will be the death of me. I vaguely measured the perimeter of the camisole and came up with 230cm. So I trimmed away. When it looked longish, I measured it and got 150cm. I matched it up vaguely to the camisole and it was almost long enough.
Obviously they were very vague measurements.
At the time it looked like I had 40 repeats to go. But I'm not going to be fooled. I had thought the other trim was long enough as well, but when I sewed it on it shrank or something and I had to knit more. Luckily I was smart enough not to cast off and cut before I started sewing, so it was an easy matter to lengthen it. Aside from the weight of the camisole and the awkwardness of being attached. That should make this new trim even more fun.
This morning I finally started swatching for the crocheted hat I'm supposed to be test crocheting for P at the store. It is in chunky yarn and sized from baby to adult, so it's a fairly quick and flexible pattern. She used Malbrigo Chunky, which is scarce these days. I dug some HomeSpun out of the attic because it is supposed to have the same gauge. I only brought a K hook with me on the train this morning, and my gauge was too big. Calls for 10 dc and I got 13. So I need...oh wait, no, my gauge is too small. I need to go up a hook. Regardless, I don't have either a J or an N with me, so looks like I'll be trimming on the ride home tonight.
Ok, I think that is quite enough for one lunch hour. Really, I have to stop being so long winded!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

New Yarn? What New Yarn?

baby ull for tartan socksI don't know what you are talking about.

I'm on a yarn diet, remember? Which means that I'm not buying yarn. And the only way new yarn will come into the house is if someone gives it to me. And as people I know don't tend to give me yarn, no new yarn for me.

Oh, that yarn.

Well, that yarn has been in my stash for...oh, at least 48 hours, so it hardly counts as new now. Wouldn't you agree?

s, Hubby got to buy two new CDs over the weekend, so now we're even.

And, this is for a project that I've had in mind and we were running out of this yarn at the store so I had to get it on Saturday or I might have missed my opportunity.

Based on a Tartan?
Remember how I said I wanted to make socks based on the family tartan? Well I really have been thinking about this for a while. I decided I should act on it since my yarn buying prospects were looking a bit dim and we really are almost out of these colors (I bought the last black) and aren't they just perfect?

Now, I had been trying to think in my head (that doesn't sound good) about a way to do them to really mimic the tartan. I figure they would have to be knit flat and it would involve intarsia.

Of course, I also remembered the red as more dominant and two cross striped instead of three.

The other staff members and I tossed the idea around during slow times, we even considered using eye of partridge to try to imitate the light sections of the black (which probably highlights the difference between weaving and knitting).

But then they talked me down (or talked some sense into me) and I'm going to go with traditional argyles with yellow as the main color, black diamonds, and red for the little accent stripe. I'm thinking I might use red for the cuff and heel as well, to dilute the impact on the yellow. I'll cross that bridge when it's time to cast on, which could be a while. I should finish my Arrgyle pirate socks first.

Wedding Tangent
It's a little unclear whether this actually is the family tartan.
(It occurs to me that posting about the family tartan violates my personal rules about posting too much identifiable personal information on the blog that would allow someone to track me down, but I kind of crossed that line when I started selling patterns on Ravelry. And talking about the store I work in. Anyway. I'm still going to keep it vague. You will have to know about tartans, really want to know my name, and then do some digging to figure it out. And even then, this is the Clan tartan and we are one of the Septs so, ha! Anyway.)

This is the "of Lewis" dress tartan. The hunting tartan is greens and blues and not bad, but I like the dress one better.

Back when I was planning the wedding I was kind of stuck on colors. Then I bought a halter dress and my Uncle the Priest was like "You are not having bare shoulders in church." This is the same man who wasn't bothered by Hubby, our dads, and the groomsmen wearing kilts (that was Hubby's idea). Although the kilt question did get run all the way up to the Bishop (who said it was alright as long as we weren't in the main cathedral in NYC. Everyone along the way acknowledged kilts are traditional male attire, but it's not the Orthodox church for nothing.)

So here we are planning this traditional Russian Orthodox wedding (it's a Christian religion, similar to Catholicism, but better. :-) You know anyone who is Greek Orthodox? Same thing, different language) with the men in the party in kilts and a bagpiper.

At some point I'd been poking around online and found a custom in Scottish weddings is for the groom to give the bride a scarf of her new tartan. So when my Uncle the Priest declared that I had to cover my shoulders, it made sense to get a little scarf and have Hubby present it to me at the door before the ceremony started in earnest (we start at the front door, no marching down the isle for us). Problem solved.

And, since I liked all these colors anyway, it was an easy jump to let the tartan inform the wedding colors. My flowers, the decorations, the icing on the cake, my bridesmaids had black halter dresses and two had red shawls and two had yellow. Everything was sort of yellow and red.

Imagine my surprise then when, a week after the wedding, my father-in-law turns around and says, "By the way, we're not of Lewis we're of Skye."


I have since chosen to ignore that fact. I couldn't find a tartan for "of Skye" anyway. (Actually, I did an internet search again over the weekend. A mug came up, but it looked awfully similar to the "of Harris" hunting tartan.) And the stuff he has around the house has this tartan on it, so I figure I'm good.

Back to the Tartan Socks
So the yarn for the Tartan Socks has been unceremoniously shoved into the dining room credenza with my other active projects. I can probably base them on the pattern for the Arrygles. I have to finish the Arrgyles first. The chart does need to be tweaked a little, which will be easier to do after I've got the fit and where the design is off confirmed.
Samon riding home after our hike
I will leave you with this picture of Samson on the ride
home yesterday. Look how huge is tongue is! I forgot to include it in the post about the hike. Samson is actually in the picture with Hubby, but he's in shadow so you can't see him. Baru's back is in the foreground.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Walking, We're Walking

Phew. I'm tired. The pups and the husband are tired, too.
The lovely weather made us feel ambitious, so we tossed the pups in the car and went for a hike.
There is an extensive trail system in our town of which we don't take enough advantage.
We did one last year that was relatively flat and very long. We didn't take the pups on that one as we wanted to scope it out first.
The one we did today is fairly close to the house, was rated moderate on the webpage, and was supposed to have a waterfall.
We never found the waterfall, probably because we hadn't printed out the trail map. I did as soon as we got home.
It would appear that we were in the general vicinity of the waterfall, but the blazes weren't clear. We agreed we'll have to try again in a week or two (we have some busy weekends coming up) and head straight for the waterfall.

It's a Leash, get used to it.
Remember how I said the other day the pups don't walk on leashes? Well, it made the whole thing that much more of an adventure. Baru slipped out of his collar twice (but didn't go anywhere and didn't fight when I slipped it back). And Samson was fixin' to strangle himself he was pulling against Hubby so hard when we started out.
Samson caught on pretty quickly, because he's smart as a whip. Baru (at right) stopped pulling, but I think that was more from fatigue than anything else. He did ok, but I had to let him have his head, he wouldn't walk next to me.
After we'd been out there a while (it was at least 2 hours all told) Samson started whining. It was late in the game to be from excitement, so we figure he was complaining that he was tired and his feet hurt and he wanted to go home.

Aside from a ton of trees, fallen leaves, and rocks. We saw some cows. We were closer than they look here, but it was at the start of the hike and Baru was ready to move on. Samson was barking at the cows. I don't think he's seen a cow before. The cows were totally unimpressed. Baru growled a bit, but I was very happy he didn't head for the hills when he saw them.
We also some some very mean no trespassing signs—really, "you will be shot" and everything. Made us wonder why the landowner was so cranky. He had a fence up, sheesh.
Other stuff
The tables tutorial in the library book was not what I was expecting and kind of boring. The frames tutorial looks good, but is calling for some freeware which I'm not sure about since the book is for Windows users.
And it looks like if I plan to continue my assault on the blog template I might have to learn CSS as well. So I might not be making any more changes any time soon. grrr, foiled.
Knitting has been confined to the trim. The endless trim. I should measure it.

I Step On the Blog!

"Blue, Blue, Electric Blue./That's the color of my room/Where I will live."—David Bowie
You might notice that I've redecorated a bit. Yes, I'm getting pretty dangerous with that library book.
I've actually been wanting to change the colors for a while. I tried to do it one by hunt and peck, but since I didn't know what I was looking at, all I managed to do was change this white background where the text is. That wasn't what I was after at all. But now that I know a little something...I still had to hunt around a bit for the correct section of code to change, but I manged it.
Of course, since the other template that Blogger provided was built by someone who really knew what they were doing, as opposed to me who only sort of knows what she's doing, I've lost some details—like the shadow down the sides of the white section to make it floaty. But I'm working on it!
I have confirmed that a blue background is not available with this template layout, so I'm unique to a degree and haven't unnecessarily taken the hard road like I did with that list the other day.
The next goal is to get sidebar stuff down either side of the main text. hehehe. I'm sure I've seen it on other blogs, but I don't see it in the template options. Well, I bet once I get to the tables tutorial I'll be unstoppable! Also, there are a few other things to clean up, like the boarder on my profile and the bullet points on the Labels List, but they will come in time.


Oh, right, you come here for a reason. My office closed early on Friday, so once I got home I ended up seaming Sundae. It moved along pretty quickly. Then I move on to painstakingly attaching the trim I had to date. Ugh, talk about a pain. The trim is quickly loosing it's charm.
I took it to the store Saturday to get opinions on the ribbon. The closure is a ribbon threaded through the trim that will go up the front.
I was scoping out our lengths of silk ribbon last week so already knew the yellows we had wouldn't work (too orange). I had been thinking green, but we had this nice washed out tan/beige one that everyone agreed was the best. It blends in rather well, but had a touch of contrast. It took a while to select the correct one due to color variations—some of them where too brown. But I'm rather pleased now.
This picture isn't the best. I took it early Sunday morning, but the sun wasn't hitting the deck yet, so it's in shadows. Oh well, the top will be done soon (after I knit another mile of trim for the front and bottom!) and then it will be shown in all it's glory.
But now it's time for breakfast and more HTML!