Tuesday, August 30, 2005

I keep telling myself it's no use fretting, but I'm sensitive. When Hurricane Katrina made landfall, all I could think about was how a cyberacquaintance, Ray Whiting, was doing with his chihuahua Hazel in New Orleans. Today the news was New Orleans was being evacuated because the levees were breaking from the floodwaters. Of course there's no way to communicate with him either through cyberspace or otherwise. His daughter was to come either today or tomorrow to fetch him from there. How she will get through the mess is anyone's guess. My prayers go out to him and hope he is all right. In the meantime, I'm working on the Peace Blanket border. I'm now on border #4, ready to cast off the one end and start working in the other direction. Then the assembly at last!! This Sunday I started another project, opting to forego the Feather & Fan Scarf for the silent auction to a scarf in GGH Soft Kid. I got a scarf kit from Knit For Her Cure which had two balls of Soft Kid. Lisa at Unraveled had more Soft Kid on sale, so I picked out four other colors to complement the KFHC Soft Kid to make a striped scarf of my own design. Pictures later; it's late. The knitting is helping ease my anxiety. I'll be okay. Time heals. Now if it would only take away these friggin' hot flashes. . .

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Peace Blanket's top border panel is coming along well. The blue is the provisional cast on I'm using to change direction when the four repeats of the pattern are done. To make the pattern fit, I split the leaf pattern in half and utilized the upper half to make a center medallion.

Monday, August 22, 2005

This is the love of my life, my dream baby. He is the Bright Red Bug. Now I'd show you my real dream baby but it's better that you see the one I created on VW's website. I really do have a red New Beetle; those who know me know my Red.

Now what does this have to do with fiber? Well I found this and thought that if I'm ever laid up for one reason or another I have something to knit.

Mary loves her Hallowig but she's camera shy so you'll just have to look at Miss Margaret.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

The Hallowig is done! I tweaked the top decreases so that it would lie flat by doing one row of K2, K2tog, then followed with a row of K2tog all around. I then did the 3 needle bind off and it shaped it very nicely.

For those who don't know this lady, this is my mannequin Miss Margaret. She came to me as a trade for showing someone how to make plaster of paris moldings of faces and body parts (she was trying to restore and preserve a collection of mannequins). Miss Margaret models many of my knitting projects so you'll see her fairly often. The scarf is one I made of Elsebeth Lavold's Cable Cotton.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Where are we going and why am I in this handbasket? Certainly not to the vets! Sammy and Maisie had to though. Their teeth were in a state and needed a good cleaning. When the day was over Maisie had lost 4 teeth and Sammy 1. Hard lesson on taking care of my kids' teeth and I'm remorseful for having let them get to that point. They're both recovering well from the ordeal. Maisie never liked going to the vet; this pretty much confirms it in her mind that the vet is an evil S.O.B. and any trip in the car is a trip that's going to end with pointy things poking in various places, strangers touching her, and awful smells. She told me all about it the whole long way home. In the meantime I fit in my myriad projects wherever I can. I finished Side 2 of the Peace Blanket border and am now working on the top border, which I had to figure out. It has a provisional cast on as I'm working on it from the middle to the end. There isn't much at this time to show the detail, so you're just gonna have to wait. In the meantime, I'm working on a Hallowig in wool and mohair. This is for an old frield of mine from work who found out she has breast cancer and is having a lumpectomy. She has regaled us for years about her nutty relatives. But when she told us that her niece and sister were upset at her because she wasn't going to be losing her hair in the treatment (they wanted to buy her a wig), I had to send her the link to the Hallowig. She loved it so much she said she had to have one. "Purple," Mary said."Bright purple, and fuzzy. So I can wear it and drive them nuts. The wigs they wanted to buy me were hideous." So she's getting one in purrrrrple. I had some handdyed mohair I had purchased from a gal in Astoria Or leftover from the many projects that had the right bright purple in it as well as blue (very nummy stuff). I found the matching purple wool yarn Thursday during class. After doing my gauge swatch, I found that it was bulkier than I expected, so I cast on 62 stitches on #8 needles and will be casting on 20 for the bangs. Another project I'm working on is a scarf in GGH TajMahal (wool/silk/ cashmere). This is for a silent auction to be held September 24th at the Confluence Chorus 5th Anniversary concert. If you're in Salem Oregon that day, come hear us sing; we'll be at the Salem Unitarian Universalist Congregation 5090 Center St NE. The silent auction starts at 6:30 pm; the concert is at 7:30 pm. I've also been trying to get the time and place to do pictures of my favorite provisional cast-on, the crochet cast-on that you do directly onto the needle. When I was shown that cast-on, I was very pleased for it fit into my "less work for more results" philosophy. I saw it illustrated somewhere else but I can't for the life of me remember where. It was in a book I had obtained recently, so if you know of where this is illustrated, please share with the rest. It takes a step out of the usual crochet cast-on, which is crochet a chain then thread the needle through the chain. The cast-on I do has you holding the needle in your left hand as you crochet around it. It's particularly nice for projects that require a flexible cast-on and have a lot of stitches to cast on, like end to end scarves/stoles and shawls. Can you believe it's only a month until fall? My favorite season! Whee!!

Friday, August 12, 2005

If I create enough patterns, does it make me an engineer? Lisa at Unraveled Fine Yarns likes to call me a knitting engineer. Could it be because I redesigned the Peace Blanket pattern, creating my own layout of the words and composing my own borders? I did grow up in a family of engineers so yeah some of that creativity carried over. But an engineer? Debbie New, Lily Chin, and Alice Starmore are engineers. I'm just an experimenter. Maybe in a few years I'll get to the engineer level of skill, but I'm not there yet. Heck I've only done one sweater! The border is blocked! In the meantime, I'm looking at lace patterns to make a scarf for a silent auction coming up in September. I'm putting my chartmaking skills to the test as I try to make charts on Excel. I know there is a font out there you can buy that has all the symbols for making charts, but I'd rather try to come up with ones of my own on Excel so that I don't have to download fonts on every computer I use. The symbols I would need for cables are my current stumper, but I've got something in mind (merging cells is milling around the depths of my depraved little mind). Speaking of depravity, I've started going through the hormone swings of pre-menopause. I was prepared for the psychobitch that usually shows up once a month (thanks to modern medicine, she has been a very rare occurrence). I was ready for hot flashes. I've accepted my greying hair. However, no one said anything about the nymphomania rearing its inconvenient little head........ Boy the house is clean.... Current projects: Border for the Peace Blanket; top-down socks with afterthought heels done in Idena "Crazy" Current book: Shroud For a Nightingale by P D James Watching: The Civil War by Ken Burns; "Delicatessen" by Jeunet & Caro.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Creating something positive in a world full of negativity. The one thing I get out of my knitting the Peace Blanket is the serenity of the moment and the joy of completing another piece. After struggling with designing the border to the way I want it for at least 3 weeks, I finally finished one of the side border panels. The biggest pain was trying to find a pattern with just a leaf. Not branches, not panels of leaves, just one leaf. I finally found one and did up a chart, adding a cable and garter stitch borders. If you think it's pretty now, wait until I block it! The nose in the upper right hand corner belongs to the Queen Bee of the house, Miss Maisie, 10 years old and 12 pounds of attitude. Then there are her housemates: Mister Buster, two years old and always plotting...... And Sammy, aka Sammola-mola-rocketola, who will say nothing about her housemates, for when you're at the bottom of the totem pole you don't push your luck, even if you are nine.

Friday, August 05, 2005

The Cosy is finished and now residing on the teapot. It doesn't look like it would be seen on any proper teatrays but Kathy loves it and can't wait to see the sleeves I'm making for her teacups. The Asian style teacups are very pretty but once you put in the tea they are hot! So I got to practice a little bit of twisted knit stitch. The sleeve and tea cosy are made of Dale Hauk, so if you have a drippy teapot or manic tea drinkers, any stains can be easily removed because Hauk is made with Teflon in the yarn (it was originally designed for outer garments). The sleeve is done in the round by knitting one row, then knitting in the back of the stitch on the next row, and alternating between the two. It gives a nice texture to complement the cup, like a basketweave. I'm feeling "don'tsy" because it's hot, I'm tired, and I have music to collate, staple and file for Sunday's choir gathering. Tomorrow is another jaunt to Woodland Woolworks to have Charlie take a look at my jumbo winder because it's not working properly (and drool over more yarn), then an afternoon at Unraveled to answer questions of my students who attended my project workshop class last night. Maybe if I just collate and staple tonight and file tomorrow night..... Current project: Peace Blanket border Current book: Atlas Shrugged Watching: Ken Burns' "The Civil War"

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Give blood and save a life. They had the bimonthly blood drive at the office. I'm O negative and have big veins so the Red Cross nurses just drool when I show up. Just another pint to add to the 3 plus gallons I've donated over the years. As a consequence of the donations, I have a bit of scarring over the veins in my inner elbows so it's a little more painful to give than it was before. This time the nurse tried to poke me further up on my right arm to avoid the previous donation locations; the needle either had pushed some iodine on the tip or it went past another structure (nerve, tendon, who knows?) because it hurt a heckuva lot more than usual. They got the needle out, then the nurse nervously asked, "Are you okay? Would you like to try in your other arm?" I said yes and got a pint out (a different nurse did the poke, which is standard procedure). The first nurse was so apologetic it got to be funny for me. I wound up wearing two pressure bandages, one on each arm, so I was a real Red Cross poster child: "Don't just donate once; do it twice!!" If I've grossed you out too much to go donate, get over it; they have to go through so many volunteers to get enough clean blood for the nation's supply and when they can't get it, people's surgeries are put on hold until enough blood is available. I've decided that a leaf pattern would be nice to go along the edge of the Peace Blanket without using too much of the yarn I have left. I'm swatching tonight while staying out of the heat (I have central AC) and watching the idiot box. MythBusters tonight (hooray!!). Tomorrow is the first of my Project Workshop classes at Unraveled Yarns. Hope I don't melt in the shop. That wouldn't be pretty.... Kathy's bringing the teapot tomorrow. The cosy's almost done. The rosebuds and leaves I made to attach to the cosy make a nice touch; pix later!

Monday, August 01, 2005

Crabby..... I nearly had a Lucy Van Pelt moment with the chatterboxes at the office today. Then I get home all ready to finish up copying music for the chorus's next concert and my printer decides to get cantankerous. I had already put in a new print head and fresh ink the day before. More fussing to get the friggin' thing going. Rowrrowrrowrrowrrowrrrrrr........ Enough of that. The tea cosy is ending up liner less because the liner is not working out. When I tested it on the teapot, the teapot looked like a chicken. So I'm tweaking one corner so that it doesn't look so wattlelike over the spout, knitting up flowers and leaves to attach to it, and giving it my special touches. Kathy's all excited; she got a Moebius scarf from me last year when I was her Secret Santa. This is Buster, the youngest of the cat tribe. There are so many captions that could fit this: "Mom, this one complements my eyes." "This one goes better than the one Maisie picked." "You want to knit with this?" "Someday I'll be a designer with Rowan. Then you'll be sorry!" Sigh. My studboy.....