Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Since Guido asked for guidance

Last night I read Guido's post about his lost knitting tool bag, so here for edification is a picture of my tool bag (overstuffed) and several pictures of the contents. I got the bag at (I believe) the 5th anniversay Granite State Knit-In (no they don't have a website, let me know if you want info) so that's about 10 years ago, and I think it's a bank deposit bag, printed with the logo. Incredibly durable, tough, made to last. I think the outside is vinyl with a woven interior glued to it.

And here are the contents dumped out. Not much different than how it looks when I open it up. Most of what's here doesn't get used very often, the rest gets a lot of use. Would I take it out? No, because I'm one of those people who overpacks with a purpose - I really think I might need it.

Shown here are the mostly flat bits. I have 3 cards from the old Patternworks (one is a duplicate that was a giveaway) for calculating how much yardage for a project (bulky to sport weight only), how many skeins are needed for how many yards if there are so many yards in a skein (pick quantity on left side, quantity on right and see where the line between the two points intersects the scale line in the middle. The cards have other useful bits of info on them - universal care symbols, metric/us needle sizes. There's my calculator (get solar and the battery won't go dead on you from something constantly turning it on in the bag), a Susan Bates classic needle hole gauage and 2" window swatch measurer, 1/4 inch wide metal tape meaures (won't stretch, get the 10 foot length rather than the 3 foot and it's guaranteed to measure just about anyone) and cutsie post-its (no, that really predates Dolores. I got that at Jordan Marsh, folks.) On the right are a pair of the fingerless hand support gloves in size 3.

Here we have mostly long thin things and things that cut. Crochet hooks are slowly being replaced. I have a friend who "used to crochet" who was going through a stressful time with doctor appointments for herself and her invalid husband more than a year ago, so I got together all the hooks I had, some varieties of yarn and suggested she try keeping her hands busy. She hasn't looked back and recently took up knitting. I'm slowly replacing the hooks, mainly as I need a particular size for a project. There are also writing implements (I should throw out the ones that don't work), a giveaway ruler, and cutting implements. The string is perle cotton in size 3 -- the thin type. This is one of the handiest things in the bag. It can be tied in a small bow on the right side of material to be a marker, it can be cut long to be a stitch holder for an entire sweater for trying on purposes, etc. I still have the blue in there for some reason, but I've switched to the white in recent years on the theory that white perle cotton has very little danger of transfering dye to a light color yarn.

This picture shows a fairly random grouping. Point protectors and needle guards, cable needles (I seem to prefer the flying bird style), some buttons I have no idea why I'm carrying them around, machine washable labels for sewing into gifts that I can't find anymore of. (If you know of a store carrying them, let me know, please!) Yarn needles -- why do I have 5 in there? Counters I haven't used in ages.
Stitch holders. Why so many? No idea. Different sizes for different purposes (the tiny ones are great for kid mitten thumb stitches). Again, the only excuse is that my tools are acquired over many years and much gets put in and little gets removed.

As usual, at the bottom of the bag, stitch markers. Quite the collection, eh? Not much else to say about them. Colors help for some purposes, size does matter. And how come, despite the quantity, the size and color you're looking for is never to be found?

One last thing -- for absolute bare-essentials toolwise, I keep these in each purse-like object I have. Measureing you can usually kludge or guess, but how often do you need something to kitchener with? I keep a yarn needle and a fingernail clipper on a piece of perle cotton. I can cut and I can deal with ends/finish toes whereever I am., which was important when the commuter knitting was the perpetual sock. Best thing going.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Getting to know the Gov'ner

Not much knitting over the past few days. The sixth iteration of the Baby Surprise Jacket Commuter project was finished and the seventh has been started.

Yesterday I met with the trainer for Minimed at my endo's practice so one of her nurses could sit in on the training, and get to Gov'ner initiated. A friend sent me this really good article from the NY Times about the reporter's experience wearing one. It's definitely first generation, but then again, look at how far fingerstick testing has come since it was first introduced, and what a leap forward for management it has been over urine testing.

Once we got done with that, Himself and I spent the surprisingly not rainy afternoon wandering around the east regions of Boston hunting cows for about 2 1/2 hours, while trying to figure out what the Gov'ner was reading at that point (highly variable with the fingersticks doesn't begin to sum it up).

Surprisingly enough, the idea that I was a thing under study was enough to keep me from buying at Mike's Pastries when we were in the North End. Knowing that I was running slightly high then, and it was all being recorded, was a stopping point. Other times I would have had a pastry and done my best to not have it show at the next test point.

Last night we had the Boston Knit-Out Organizational meeting at Borders. We need volunteers and items for the fashion show! Really! Don't be shy!

And then the commuting fairies really let us down on the ride home. On the other hand, it looks like Lucy, Anna and Courtney (on the other side of the door from me) recruited a knitter/crocheter for the day in the time waiting for the very crowded train to move.

If I get a move-on tonight, there will be felting tomorrow.

Friday, August 25, 2006

August 25th

is four months til Christmas. Just sayin'.

Which also makes it 1 month minus 1 day til the Boston Knit-Out.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Butterfly shawl pictures

I started blocking this on a spare bed at Himself's house a couple weekends back, but it wasn't dry before he left on his roadtrip so it had to wait until this weekend to get picked up. I'm always amazed at how big they get, especially when the yarn is wet and stretchy.

It's a gift for the wife of a friend of Himself, who got a cancer diagnosis earlier this year. When we last saw her in June, she was just getting ready to start chemo and they were coming to grips with the changes to daily habits they were facing -- what she'll need to be protected from, and how they need to protect their cats who like to drink out of the porcelain fixtures.

The pattern is the Butterfly Shawl from Fibertrends, with the modification of being worked as 2 quarters of a square (i.e., triangle) as opposed to the original square. Doing a square shape from the inside out would require purling every other round to produce the garter lace that the butterflies are based in. Working the half shape made for knit rows back. The pattern is easy to follow, so it would make a good one for someone looking to explore lace without a lot of complications. The butterflies are formed on 3 successive right side rows and line up in between each other on successive repetitions, so it would be good training for looking at what they're doing and seeing if it looks right.

I used two strands of Jaggerspun Zephyr held together -- one daffodil, one ice blue, in the form of one pound cones from Webs. I liked the effect. You see simultaneously yellow and blue and the overall impression is a light green. Very nice effect and I'll think about other color combos for future projects.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

This book made me laugh

Porter Square Books has a shipment of Stitchy McYarnpant's book, The Museum of Kitschy Stitches.
I've been on the lookout for it for awhile, ever since she announced it was shipping. My copy will be coming with me to Mind's Eye Wednesday night group, along with more knitting videos for Guido if I remember them. Yes, there will be passing around, but if you like it you can get your own across the parking lot -- they had several.

I meant to be using the last of the full moon to make progress on something in the pile, but this was better.

Soon it will be time to think about what to knit on vacation next week. The Gov'ner (real time glucose monitor) gets started at 9 a.m. on Monday at the Kenmore practice and I'm taking a week off work to have time to learn what's really going on with this metabolism and what will make the Gov'ner go bing at me. Other than that, Himself has plans of repainting 3 porches/deck/steps of varying sizes leading to his house which I'll be helping with. We're thinking about taking in a minor league baseball game or two (wonder if the Lowell Spinners would be up for Stitch n Pitch next year, since Fenway has no need of promotions to fill seats?). Stuff. What projects am I up for?

Danielle's comment (angsting) about her doubts of her project remind me of a conversation I had with my co-worker Vicki earlier. Vicki has been a crocheter for years and recently took up knitting when her mother in California was having such fun with it at her Senior Center. Vicki, too, was angsting over her just-finished sweater and could she bring herself to try it on and see if it fit. She was relieved when I told her she was not alone in that feeling. It's an act of courage to see if it did come out as planned and be willing to face the consequences if you don't like it.

Children you can't send back, knitting you can usually rework and redo, felting..... there are animal shelters that can use cage cozies. But when it comes to our knitting, how many people are really ready to face that it might not come out right the first, second or third time(s)? It's one way of separating the scarf dweebs from the real workers.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Not sure where I've been but I think I'm back

Setting up the new laptop reminds me of the stories of early automobiles and the supplies one kept in case of breakdown on the road. Weekend of much misunderstanding, frustration, and a high suspicion that Himself's wireless network ain't working at top efficiency.

In any case, I think I'm up and working now.

Waiting for Audible's website to load and download gave me time to sew in ends on daffodils. I sewed buttons on 4 Baby Surprizes last night between 8 and 10 p.m., working out to approximately 6 minutes per button taking elapsed time and dividing by total buttons. The 6th iteration of the Baby Surprize Jacket Commuter project is about to reach the do something at 158 stitches part.

A friend's long-ongoing saga is speeding up and keeping track of the grusome details is getting interesting. Today we learned (from a college friend of mine in the business), in general, comic books from 1980's and more recent are most likely worth about 50 cents a pound, no matter what the present value of the amount spent over a decade is.

The new moon is in two days (the 23rd) and I'm not sure if I'm starting anything or not. I may fiddle the custom and claim if the project has sat untouched for however long, it's like starting a new project, and therefore can be worked on during the new moon. Especially if it takes a while to figure out where one left off. Himself deserves to get his sweater finished, given that the yarn was ordered sometime between last Thanksgiving and Christmas and took until late March to arrive. (Watch out when you tell the shop owner and the world in general that, "I don't need this anytime soon." The factory might hear you.)

The Knit-Out has reached the point of organizational meetings every Monday (excepting Labor Day) between now and the event. Which reminds me, I need to buy my T-shirt and bag, don't I?

Friday, August 18, 2006

How I spent my tax-free weekend.

And no, that is not Franklin's Dolores on top of the basket, it's Maizey who followed me home from Newport last year.

PCs for Everyone has been recommended by several friends over the years and when I was ready to order, I went there. It's an HP business model, fairly basic, but I'm not doing anything fancy.

We started loading things last night, but now I need to find media for my other things since I'm (once again) headed to Lexington for the weekend, away from my space where everything is located.

Time to pack.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Seams sewn, but not buttons on

Work has been long hours this week, especially last night, so I didn't get to the Wednesday night knitting group and welcome Lucy back. On the other hand, the Red Sox provided games over the last couple nights to sew shoulder seams of the buildup of unfinished BSJCP sweaters .

Stangely though, when you grab the remote and go flippity through the channels with one hand, your production rate slumps. This may explain why it took two evenings to accomplish what I did.

There were 4 of them piled up, mostly of the recent red/orange series. It's interesting to look at them collectively, noticing how some stripes are very wide, others quite narrow and then reflect on the vaguarities of "I do this every day" and how much variety unfolds. Clearly I don't do the same thing every day, but maybe it's just that similar things happen daily.

Something else I need to think about is what side to put the buttons on. Do Afghani refugees (or whichever other group gets these) care whether they are putting their infant in a Western-defined "boy" or "girl" sweater based on how the buttons do up?

Buttons will be put on soon enough. Himself has returned from his trip to his folks, and I will return his basil and rosemary to him tonight. I water way more than he does, and I think the basil has improved for it. It's looking much perkier than it does at his house.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Every so often, move the marker

I wouldn't have thought I made much progress over the weekend, until I realized I had moved the marker (see yellow circle) up to the current middle stitch when I picked this up again on Friday night, and here's how much was accomplished until Sunday.

It's the Shapely Shawlette, experimenting with Lucy's new superwash merino handdyed yarn. I'd link to the Etsy store, but she's been cleared out while she's been on retreat and really needs to get back to the dye-pot. Let's hope the weather cools enough for her to be able to stand a steamy kitchen soon.

The 6th iteration of the Baby Surprize Jacket Commuter project made some progress, but only because I had a meeting last night. It's somewhere in the part of 22 decreases to hit 90 stitches.
The commuting fairies have had it in for me this summer. And now, the PA announcements in the stations say that their number one priority is safety, so clearly moving people from station to station and having trains actually move through the tunnels on a foreseeable schedule isn't a priority anymore.

On the other hand, here's how much of the orange red is left -- about half of what I started with. My thought had been to do the orange-red sweaters until it was all gone, but I may break that streak and do another of the random cooler color sweaters just to break it up. It will be awhile before these head off to Afghans for Afghans, since A4A is currently in a drive for school-age children's woolen garments. Or I may find somewhere else looking for wool baby garments.

Wednesday will be iffy for getting to knitting group. Forecast says there's potential that several work projects will run long that night. If it doesn't, I'm bringing the previous 4 BSJCPs for sewing seams and buttons, along with the daffodils that need their ends sewn in.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

And how could I have forgotten?

Verizon customer non-service notwithstanding (why should the wait to renew a standard contract and pick up a new phone be more than an hour?) not much got done at Wednesday night knitting last night, because I didn't get there until after 8, and then yapped my gums about the excruciating wait, without seating, at the Verizon store. Eh.

I have a camera phone. I can't promise I'll learn to work the thing.

In any case, as soon as I was on the Red Line yesterday (the no knitting, no seating, no space for standing, lots of waiting subway) I remembered there were two projects only slightly buried in the kultch that's my study. There's the pink/blue/purple superwash merino from Lucy's Etsy shop that will be a shapely shawlette (Judy Pascale's pattern), and, of course, the sweater for Himself.

Okay. Now I have more variety ahead of me and something I can take to work on at the concert this Saturday in Lowell.

The anticipation of upcoming dentistry seems to be coloring my mood. Hopefully it will improve in the course of the day.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Full moons are for finishing

The full moon occurred a few minutes ago, so I have until the new moon of August 23rd to work on finishing things up.

On tap and visible: 3 Baby Surprize jackets that have been knitted, but need seams sewn and buttons put on; that felted daffodil project (4 stems in varying stages of progress so far; the blocking of the butterfly shawl; felting of hedgehogs, hopefully to be combined with the flowers.

Unseen: who knows what lurks. Pickup up the Baby Surprizes revealed an unfinished sock that has lost its zeros.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Profile of a second hedgehog not found in nature

The Fiber Trends Huggable Hedgehog pattern doesn't take much time, but it does take some effort and concentration. Most of the back is done as a succession of increasing/decreasing short rows with wraps and turns. Keeping your place, for me, is largely a matter of counting out loud (twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three), which was done last night to a counterpoint of PBS pledging (four nine two, one one one one).

You use a circular needle to work back and forth on the back, not for rounds, but just to have the flexibility with the extreme curve of the piece (straight needles would stretch things too much along the length of the back from one hip to the next by way of the head). I just find for large size needles that I really feel the spring with shorter length circulars and vaguely have to fight it. I'm also not a big fan of eyelash yarn, rarely using it, but for this it helps make the cute effect.

We had a fairly productive meeting last night for the Boston Knit-Out even with Lucy away, recognizing that due to the Rosh Hashanah holiday attendance and volunteering will be down this year. Getting home 2 hours late every other Monday for 5 months of the year, with every Monday for the last month and a half before the event, to say nothing of time doing things between meetings (not much for me at this point, but other folks on the organizing Board are really putting in the hours over these months) and then having day-of volunteers saying they'd really love to participate but couldn't we change the date.

Come join earlier in the process, folks. We can use your participation earlier in the year, too.
Last Sundays in September are going to fall where they will over the years.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Himself does keep me honest

Having finished the knitting of one hedgehog on Saturday, and showed up at his place on Sunday with a second in progress, Himself asks:

"So what about the flowers (unsaid - you were going to work on finishing)?"

I assured him there's a full moon coming this week (8th) and full moons are for finishing. Until new moons come around (23rd this month), which are for starting new projects. The second hedgehog was started in the very last of the new moon.

Check back next week when we discuss how thin one can slice pie without bringing logic into the picture.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Consulting the internet for insightful suggestions

I was having cognitive problems with the Fibertrends Hedgehog pattern yesterday morning. Consulting Google for the term errata hedgehog in hopes the problem really wasn't mine brought up a number of discussion groups, some of which had links leading to blogs with pictures of hedgehogs in progress.

And I realized that when it says to pick up 12 stitches along the long edge of the arm/leg on each limb, I was stuck thinking the circle in pink, while the rest of the world was moving right along picking up along the edge outlined in blue.

After that things went much faster. So much so that I finished the knitting of one and moved into a second, only partially motivated by needing an illustrative example of where I went wrong. The color of the yarn of the new one is wrong in the bright sunshine. It's a darker brown/gray, less yellow. This hedgehog still won't be one found in nature -- its back fur will be Idena's Happy Multi in color 102 (a red/blue/purple fun fur).

On the right is a profile view, with the creature posed on a wide-mouth liter Nalgene bottle. I can spot the face/snout. I'm not sure about the lumpy bits between the arms -- are these expressions of femininity, or just bits of ease that when felted will allow for a more rounded tummy?

The pattern is pretty straightforward and, once I got over my confusion on the edge issue, moved pretty smoothly. The back has long rows of wraps and turns in succession, but that's what's makes the rounded back. Just be sure to know where you left off if you need to put it down.

I'm going to hold off on felting for awhile. It seems sinful to do so in the heat with all the energy shortages threatened. Maybe sometime closer to Labor Day I'll have several projects (these and flowers) to do in one load in the dryer, so it won't be so wasteful.

The store was somewhat busy yesterday, more than I would have thought for August. It seems that pregnancies are being announced and folks are getting supplies ready for projects.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Minding the store today!

I'm out of long rows/small attention projects so it feels strange to have just quickly-moving, somewhat fussy things to work on, which makes the Baby Surprize commuter projects seem relatively mindless. The butterfly shawl was finished Tuesday night, but I need to find time and space to block it. Pictures once blocked.

With Lucy away, she's called on a bunch of us to take turns minding the store for her. It will be from 10 - 6, so, given that I'm in project ADD at the moment, I'm bringing several things to work on. I'm not sure how much traffic there will be on a Saturday in August, even if the weather is pleasanter than it has been.

From the top left we have the 5th iteration of the Baby Surprize commuter project -- having finished the 10 ridges on center 90, I'm in the process of getting it all back together into one long row. On the right we have several daffodils in progress. The fourth one needs 5 more petals done, then they all need to have their ends sewn in, and then the interior petals can be done. Or I could start more stems for future flowers rather than sew in ends. Bottom left is the hedgehog in progress. I need to stare at the instructions to make sure I'm interpreting them correctly. Then again, I'm the one who's always asking people if they are comfortable with the idea of ripping out if it turns out their decision was wrong.

We'll see what gets done. I'm also bringing a book -- Faithful by Stephen King and Stewart O'Nan. I've never heard of O'Nan and I don't handle horror, so the only King I've read was his autobiographical essay in Mid-Life Confidential, which each of the authors in the Rock Bottom Remainders contributed to. It will be a departure for me, but then again, the familiar can be boring.

Yes the hedgehog is blue. I found a store in Florida that has had class after class making them in all kinds of colors, so when I asked them for the kit and they said what color, I told them to surprize me. Again with the departing from the staid and familiar.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Several long days with knitting later

The fourth iteration of the Baby Surprize Commuter project was finished (okay, not the finishing, but you know what I mean) Friday, when we had long rides back and forth from Lexington to Newport, RI, where the New England offices of my company was having the annual picnic. Note the large red stripe on the outside of the sweater and compare to the much thinner stripes of normal commuter knitting. Hmmmm. And I didn't even work on it at the picnic, just in the drive.

On the way back we stopped at Sakonnet Purls since I've been driven past for years and never been able to stop. It's a relatively large store, taking up the bottom floor of a house, 2 large rooms and two smaller rooms/corridors for knitting, and another room on the end for needlework. To give you an idea -- we pulled in and Himself was listening to something on WGBH about a chamber piece where they use 100 non-electric metronomes, get them started and listen to them phase in and out with each other as they wind down. He came in after it was done. He went out again after awhile. He came back in a while later and started giving me traffic and severe weather bulletins. I made my purchase (10 skeins of Sockotta in this color in hopes of a small-gauge sweater for me) and we got going. Why yes, traffic was rather backed up on 128. And about 10 minutes after we got home, the heavens opened and poured buckets.
The fifth iteration of the Baby Surprize Commuter project was started Saturday (gray) on the way to the Lowell Folk Festival. It was a fun day, a bit much with the heat, but we got to see Le Vent Du Nord again and they're always fun. I gave up by evening, since I was just too tired and out of sorts (why do they have to set the amplifiers on stun?) and it was difficult to work with the stick-to-itself wool in the heat and humidity. And then you realize what Lowell was founded on and you feel for those people who worked in those conditions.

The red is Sunday's knitting, which was just running errands, watching pork chops broil and hanging out in the A/C'd TV room. Then there's the thin band of brown that represents how little can be done during a crowded commute these days. It's in the portion of increasing to 152 stitches before the next time to pay attention.

Last evening I started working the border of the Butterfly Shawl.
It's farther along than I would have thought, over the half-way point. Not sure if I'll get to finish it tonight..... The photo on the left is unblocked, but the butterflies and blossoms are showing up already.

Wednesday I'll have off for pump training. Real-time glucose monitor kit will be delivered as well tomorrow -- who knew the sensors need to be refridgerated? Training for that should not be combined with the other, so we'll schedule that for later in the month. I'm taking the last week of the month as vacation, so that would be a good time to initiate and get used to its functions before being in a work environment not in my control.

I've been using the guardrails metaphor, but that's not really accurate. Guard rails imply that you have fencing to keep you from running off the road, when in reality it just goes bing to say you've left your BG target area. The RTGM will be more of a rumble strip.
Still very useful.

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