Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas 2008

I finally finished the cardigan for my mom. It was one day late -- mainly because I ran out of yarn while working on the last sleeve. I ended up undoing part of a finished sleeve to get sleeves the same length -- a 3/4 sleeve length -- which is ok since she has short arms just as I do. The pockets turned out well -- if I do say so myself -- , and I like the rib pattern -- also, if I do say so myself. I started out with plans to make the February Lady Sweater. Then I changed the garter stitch for the yoke to plain stockinette. Then I changed the rib pattern to a less lacy one and added pockets. It's made with Wool-Ease wheat and size 8 needles (except for the pockets, which are made with size 7 needles).

We had snow, lots of snow, in the weeks preceding Christmas. Here are DS2 and kitty standing in front of the mail box in front of our house. The city helped with the height of the snow around the mailbox.

And here are a couple of flower arrangements my sister made while she stayed here to take care of mom while we were in England. I think she could have a calling in that field.

The bare sticks in the table arrangement sprouted leaves a couple of days ago. It reminds me of Sweden -- when we would get sticks from the store around Easter time and wait for them to sprout.

Finally, here is a picture of the bottom of our Christmas tree with the two best presents of all -- our 2 kitties.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas lights (and snow)

Well, it's snowing here. The man who sold us our snowblower said it didn't snow around here until the end of December. This is at least our third snow. The snow is now up to the bottom of our mailbox (and there are piles of snow, courtesy of the city, that are higher than the mail box).

So, what better time to blog.....

and to post some pictures of London ....




We visited London last week for my DD's graduation ceremony, for a Master's degree. We had lots of fun visiting with her and Chris and seeing the sights of London again.

Here are some of the Christmas lights around the town:

The first is Parliament with the London Eye in the background.

The next is Regent Street with its floating stars.

The next is obviously Carnaby Street with its floating snowmen.

Then comes Trafalgar Square.

And finally, one of our hometowns, GX, with the lighted trees angled out from the sides of the buildings on the high street.

And, yes, we did go to the British Museum, one of my favorite places. We also went to the Natural History Museum to see the Darwin exhibit. The Darwin exhibit had some of the actual animals that Darwin collected on the voyage.

Casablanca, at last

Casablanca is finally finished!!!! I've probably knit it enough to have made 2 shawls -- with all the frogging, major and minor. I frogged it once (when about halfway done because I decided to add beads). I frogged it again (when about 3/4 done because I decided it was too long for me). I probably wouldn't have had to frog so many times if I had just started the shawl using lace weight, as recommended, instead of fingering weight yarn. I also frogged and redid the fancy bind-off edge because I wanted it to extend the entire width of the shawl.

So, here's my final version -- all blocked -- KP palette and size 6 needles. I had to change some of the motifs around because of my decision to use a different weight yarn. (I added a wine glass in honor of Rick's.) I love the zigzag lines and especially the center back (not visible here) where all the zigzags meet. I also love the edgings.

I've also been finishing up dishcloths. I decided that this would be the year that I make all 24 dishcloths offered by the monthly dishcloth Yahoo! group. Here's the lot of them. The last one for the year is currently on the needles.

The only other items currently on the needles are Hippo Birdies and a cardigan I'm making for my mom. I'm hoping to get the cardigan done in time for Christmas.

I'm working on and redesigning a potholder for a crochet tutorial I volunteered to do. The tutorial is fun but a lot of work. Now and again, I wish I could get hold of the lady in charge of the blog to see if I should continue.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

November

It seems as if I'm just getting around to one post per month now. Here's the summary for November.

Before my DD went back to London, we (my DH, DD, DS2, and I) went to see the latest James Bond film. I was amazed. The movie didn't follow the glamorous spy themes of the other James Bond movies I'd seen. (I hadn't seen the previous one.) It had a compelling storyline and was much more realistic than the other ones I'd seen. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie.

I sent back a scarf with her plus a hat I test knitted for Amy plus a pair of socks I test knit for Chrissy. Here is a picture of the scarf.

I also went to the trouble of adding the scarf pattern to Ravelry. This is about the only scarf pattern I make -- basically because I like it so much. It really looks good in Patons Classic Wool Merino Palais (and size 8 needles) -- if I do say so myself.

My DD is really good at getting me to finish projects before starting new ones.

I've restarted Casablanca again. Actually, I frogged down to about the 10th row -- after finishing over 3/4 of the shawl. It decided it was too long for me. Of course, I had been working it in a fingering weight yarn instead of a lace weight one. So, that may have been part, if not most, of the problem. I'm just over half done now.

I've finished one sleeve of the sweater for DS2. I'm getting more time to work on it now that the cat that had been using it as a blanket has moved on to a different part of the living room. He tried it on the last time he was home from university. I was surprised at how good it looked. I had used the yarn initially as a throw/shawl. I didn't like the looks of it.

So, after the announcement that SGA had been cancelled, I frogged the whole thing and started on a pullover for DS2. I started it out the first time with a v neck -- which didn't look good on him. Then I tried a regular crew neck. That was better but still not quite right. Finally, I ended up with a tight crew neck -- which does look good on him. It's made from Lion Brand Homespun Prairie and size 10 needles. He's going to try it on when he comes home for Thanksgiving to check the sleeve length.

I'm starting work on a cardigan for my mom -- loosely based on the February Lady Sweater. The cardigan she wears most of the time is on its last legs. ... I just have to figure out how to add pockets to the cardigan. I'm making it with Wool-Ease Wheat and size 8 needles (and no buttons).

I'm working on a MMario design, Hippo Birdies -- in KP Palette Fawn (which I mistakenly bought when I wanted KP Palette Nutmeg to finish up Casablanca).

I'm also looking forward to a new KAL from one of my favorite shawl designers, Moni, who is starting a KAL on Christmas Eve. -- as a "Christmas present".

Lastly, I've decided to move my crochet tutorial from the Bits and Bobs blog to a new blog, one that I have some control over. I was the only one contributing to the blog for several months now, but I didn't have any administrative authority over the blog. It will take a while. Until then, I'll still be posting to the Bits and Bobs blog.

I almost forgot to add the most exciting news of all. I'm going to get one of my sock patterns published!!!!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Ohio visit

Before October is over, I thought I'd include a couple or three pics from our visit to Ohio. We went to Ohio to attend a friend's wedding. We stayed with a couple dear friends of our while there. (My DS came out from Oregon to take care of our mom here in Illinois while we were gone.) The wedding was one of the nicest I've ever been to. It was held in the Franklin Park Conservatory. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera to the wedding, and so I don't have any pictures from there or from downtown Columbus.

But, here is a picture of our old house. Whoever is living there is taking really good care of the place. (We like to look at our old houses. Last time we were in the UK, we drove by the house we rented in GX plus some more of our old haunts.) The big tree in the middle of the picture was planted by DS2. It was given out at school for Arbor Day.

A trip to the area wouldn't be complete for me without a visit to Leatherlips. Here's the statue. And below that is a picture of the Scioto River that the statue overlooks.

We went past the Columbus Zoo as well. It's really changed. It now has taken over the Wyandot Park area as well. It always amazes us how much the zoo has improved over the years and continues to improve.

aol again

Just when I thought I was caught up, aol announces that it is closing its picture section. So, it looks as if I have more work to do, moving things around.

On the knitting front, my DD, who is visiting, is having a positive effect on me. I've finished the socks I was knitting as well as a scarf. Plus I'm making progress on the sweater I'm making for DS2. (The cat who likes to nap on the unfinished sweater is now spending much of her time with my DD.)

And lastly, but not least, here's a picture from a Blackhawks (vs Edmonton) hockey game we (including my DD and her BF) went to last week. It was a really good game . They played what I consider real hockey and played it well. This was the first NHL game my DD's BF had seen. He enjoyed it immensely as did we all.

Monday, October 27, 2008

the end of October

I feel I'm ahead of the game now. My aol journal is transferred before the deadline of October 31st. But, in addition, we've already given the Trick-or-Treaters their candy. We had 204 come by yesterday (Sunday, between 1:00 and 4:00, as dictated by the city). And we've voted. (Illinois has early voting.)

It looks as though I shouldn't have panicked so much about aol closing its journal and home page sections at the end of October. AOL ended up having a deal with blogspot to transfer journal entries directly to blogspot blogs. Now I have a couple more blogspot blogs, another one on knitting and one for recipes (if I ever keep that one up). The only entry from my home page that I thought was worth transferring was a walk-through for Sim City 4. (I occasionally really get into Sim City.)

The transfer wasn't perfect. A lot of pictures didn't transfer. So, I had to reload them. The spacing between words is iffy. But, it's still readable. Then there are the links. I hope that I've gotten most of them changed now.

I've deleted entries that I duplicated here. I've also added a few patterns from my old aol blog to Ravelry. It was interesting writing them up in "final" form. Oddly enough, I started the aol journal way-back-when as a way to share patterns. (I started this blog to join the Cinxia KAL and then later to talk about this, that, and the other.)

I'm still behind on knitting. There were so many great projects this year! In fact, I have enough projects to keep me busy for years.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Widdershins heel

Here is another entry moved from my aol journal, which thanks to blogger and aol and a little bit on my part is now here. The original entry was heels and toes. I'm expanding the entry and limiting this part to just heels......

One of my favorite heels for a toe-up sock is the Widdershins heel – which looks almost exactly like a cuff-down heel flap heel. My other favorite heel for a toe-up sock is Fleegle's – which looks almost like a short-row heel but isn't. By the way, widdershins means backwards, "in the opposite direction".

Here is a paraphrasing of the directions for the Widdershins heel:

Gusset increases: The first question in making the heel is when to start making gusset increases (to mirror gusset decreases for the usual cuff-down heel flap). The answer is:
  1. Figure out how long you want the heel flap. For an average cuff-down heel flap, one picks up 15 sts on each side of the heel flap – which means the heel flap itself has 30 rows.
  2. Start making gusset increases this number of rows before the end of the sock. So, for a 30-row heel flap, you'd start making gusset increases on every other round starting at 30 rows less than the total length of the sock.
Next determine how many gusset increases to make:
  1. Divide the number of sole stitches by 9. Round down.
  2. Add 1.
  3. Double the result.
  4. Subtract this number from the number of rows for the heel flap.

For a sock with 62 sts around (31 instep sts and 31 sole sts), you would divide 31 by 9 and round down. The result is 3. Add 1 to get 4. Double it to get 8. Then subtract this from 30 to get 22. So, you'd make 11 pairs of gusset increases to arrive at 53 sole sts. ( 53 = 31 + 22)

Finish the bottom of the heel: After finishing the gusset increases, place markers to mark the sides of the heel flap. For this example of a 30 row heel flap, place markers 15 sts in from either side, leaving 23 sts between markers. The stitches between markers are called heel sts. The sts outside the markers are called gusset sts. Then, working only on the heel sts:
  • Row 1: k to 2 sts before marker, inc1, k1, turn
  • Row 2: s1, p to 2 sts before marker, inc1, p1, turn
  • Row 3: s1, k to 2 sts before gap, inc1, k1, turn
  • Row 4: s1, p to 2 sts before gap, inc1, p1, turn
Rep rows 3 and 4 until the number of sts between markers is the same as the original number of sole sts – for the example, 31.

Note: For a more rounded heel, replace “2 sts” in Rows 3 and 4 with “3 sts”. For an even more rounded heel, change it to “4 sts” or maybe even “5 sts” for the last repeat of the two rows.

Note: For a squarer heel, repeat Rows 1 and 2 until the number of sts between markers is the same as the original number of sole sts. (Do not do rows 3 and 4.)

Heel flap: Then start making the heel flap:
  • Row 1: s1, k to last heel st, ssk last heel st and 1 st from left gusset, turn
  • Row 2: s1, p to last heel st, p2tog last heel st and 1 st from right gusset, turn
Repeat Rows 1 – 2 until there is only 1 st to be picked up, a right gusset st. You'll be ending with a Row 1. Do not turn. Start working in the round. When you reach the sole sts again, start with a k2tog to get rid of the last gusset st.
The heel is now finished.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

aol journals

Aol Journals is closing down at the end of October. So, I'm taking the opportunity to write up some of the entries as patterns to post to Ravelry and to transfer other entries here. That was my blog for patterns, etc.

I started this blog because I wanted to join a Cinxia KAL. Since I needed to join blogger to take part, I thought I might as well start a blog here as well. This blog is much more personal than the aol one. It has progress reports on different projects, including all the frogging I've done and will continue to do, plus quite a few non-knitting-related pictures, including some sea gulls in the backyard of the house in Kent we used to live in.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Casablanca w beads

I've restarted Casablanca again. I was looking for beads for Mystery Stole 4 and saw some beads that I thought would look really good with the yarn I had picked out. When I got home, I decided that they'd look even better with the yarn for Casablanca. So, I frogged it back to where the first bead would be placed. And since I was frogging anyway, I decided to redo the pattern again a bit. The major change is to make the hour glasses at the beginning look like hour glasses (instead of vines, as in my first attempt). Then I also added a wine glass for Rick's.

It looks a lot better with beads (glass seed beads, size 6/0, Kirschberg turquoise/green mix). However, I discovered that Knit Picks isn't selling the color yarn I need for the stole any more -- Palette Nutmeg. So, I'm trying out buying yarn from someone on Ravelry. (I need 2 skeins -- for a total of 6.) The yarn is going to be shipped today.

In another vein, when we lived in NJ, we stained our mailbox a brownish cedar color. Then we ended up painting our house to match the mailbox. We recently got some new furniture for our living room. It matches our cats.

Now, getting back to knitting..... I'm again trying to make lace curtains -- this time for over the kitchen sink. I'm using the pattern from Secret of the Stole 3 -- starting at row 87. (I had started on some lace curtains for my DD's room with a different yarn. But, that was before we moved.)

I'm also making a pullover for DS2 using Homespun (that had previously been made into a shawl that looked more like a blanket and so was frogged). The pullover looks nice so far. In fact, I've gotten some compliments on the yarn. -- I had to frog and start over twice in order to get the neck as snug as he liked. To get it snug but yet able to fit over the head, I cast on 50 sts using a knitted cast on and then did 6 rounds of k1p1 ribbing -- using size 10 needles. (DS2 is taller than I am.)

By the way, I read online (Yahoo! Sockamaniac group, I think) that size 10 mercerized cotton can be used for socks. .... sounds interesting ....

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Casablanca

I haven't been doing much knitting other than shawl and sock knitting recently. I'm anxiously waiting for the start of Secret of the Stole iii and Mystery Stole 4. Meanwhile I'm halfway through Casablanca with some minor changes -- since I decided to knit it with fingering weight yarn and make it narrower. I really like the zig-zag lines and the overlapping squares and, of course, the cat paw prints. Here is a picture of the shawl just up to the overlapping squares -- this time, lightly blocked. KP Palette blocks well. (The photo shows the yarn as a different color than it actually is.)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Socks, socks, socks

Here's a list of the socks I've made since my first sock back in January of 2006 -- with links to blog entries.

my patterns:
  • The first pair I ever knitted are here and here. They're also the best fitting pair.
  • A pair of feather lace socks, done toe-up, are here, here, and here.
Sockamaniac patterns from the Sockamaniac Yahoo! group:
  • Ribbed socks w a twist, using a couple Sockamaniac mystery patterns by Gail Dennis, are pictured here and here.
  • Fire on the Mountain, a Sockamaniac pattern by Char, is here.
  • Orbit socks, another Sockamaniac pattern by Char, is one that must have been posted somewhere other than this blog. So, here's a picture to the right.
Cookie's patterns:
MintyFresh patterns:
Other patterns:
And last, but not least, some patterns I test knitted. I didn't blog about the socks while knitting for obvious reasons. The links below are links to purchase.

Chrissy Gardiner patterns:

Saturday, July 26, 2008

July summary

I got quite a bit finished in the last week. And, so, there are a lot of pictures this time.

First of all comes Casablanca. Sometimes, I make more work for myself than necessary. I start with an idea -- the idea in this case being that I had some KP Palette that I wanted to use and this would be a nice project for it. But, the project was designed for lace weight yarn, and so I decided to do the shawl over fewer stitches. That wasn't too hard to figure out. Then I decided that the second motif in the pattern looked like a spider web, and so I left it off and made the first motif bigger. So, here's a pic of an altered Casablanca, Clues 1 & 3.

Both dishcloths this month are lovely. To the left is the mid-month one, Summer Breeze, in Peaches & Creme fairy tale and size 7 needles. I did one more pattern repeat that called for in order to make it more nearly square.

Here is the first dishcloth of the month from the monthly dishcloth KAL in Peaches & Creme teal and size 6 needles.

The summer sweater, Lacy Rib, in KP Cotlin is finished. I'm glad that I redid it. It's so much nicer to wear now.

I have another sweater on the needles. I'm starting a sweater that has an i-cord cast on, and I wasn't completely happy with what I found on-line. And so I made up another way to do an i-cord cast on. It works great, if I do say so myself. It still needs work on the last stitch to be cast on to make the edges look similar.

Finally, the internet is great! The pilot light on our hot water heater went out. Finally, after about half a day, we decided to look online. There was a video on how to light a pilot light.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Summer Sweater

Believe it or not .... I haven't worked on any lace shawl projects for a while now. In fact, at this moment, I have only one project on the needles -- the sweater at the right. It's made of KP CotLin on size 5 circs. It's from one of Chrissy Gardiner's patterns, Lacy Rib. I'm making it from the top down because of gauge problems mentioned in my last post. (It was worth redoing. I love CotLin, the color Moroccan Red and also the lace borders.)

The main reason I'm knitting it from the top down is that I like to knit from the top down. Plus, I wear a petite sizing and so have to adjust most every sweater pattern I try. Starting from the top down is the easiest way for me to accomplish the adjustments.

Of course, the "only one thing on the needles" is about to change. The Monthly Dishcloth group is starting its July KAL.

This is why I don't get many socks finished. I started this pattern (my own pattern) about a year ago. Several friends thought it looked more like a pattern for a men's sock. So, I let it sit for awhile. I really like the pattern, but it is more of a man's pattern. Now I'm going to frog the sock, use the yarn to make a different sock (to be determined later), and use some gray KP Essential yarn to make a pair of socks in this pattern for my DH.

By the way, I'm still planning on casting on for Casablanca, but I haven't re watched the movie yet. Plus I'd like to knit it with KP Palette but am not sure if I want a shawl that big.

Finally, here is the result of my latest crochet project, Pleiades by Jennifer Benson. It's also available on Ravelry. I test-crocheted the shawl. .... I chose this picture to post more because of the cute cat than the shawl. But, you can see how nicely it drapes and how comfortable it is. ;)

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Fisherman's Wife

I'm so happy to have finally finished the Fisherman's Wife. It's a beautiful pattern. (I used KP Shadow Vineyard and size 4 needles.) And I think the yarn is happy as well (and I hope the yarn doesn't mind being anthropomorphized ;) ). I first used the yarn on another shawl pattern. It just didn't look right. So, I frogged it. Then I thought it might look good with this pattern. It did and does. But, I had to buy a couple more skeins -- because this Faroese shawl is large. Well, I ended up having to frog a couple rows at the end because I didn't have enough yarn to bind off. It was interesting putting over 800 sts back on the needles but surprisingly doable. What I finally did was to put the pearls in early by lopping off the bottoms of the waves.

I've also found that I like the k2tog (without yarn in back) bind off when ending a shawl with garter stitch. I like what I call the yo bind off when ending a shawl with lace. That's what this shawl has as its bind off since the last 3 rows were k across (WS), k3, *yo, ssk* across, k2 (RS), k across (WS). I had to get the pearls in somehow, and this seemed the best way to get them in without major frogging.

I accidentally felted a wool sweater (in Paton's worsted weight wool). It looks nice and still fits (since it was short sleeve to begin with). But, the lower edge of the sweater is a little higher than I'd like.

I haven't cast on for Casablanca yet since I'm waiting to watch the movie again before casting on. In the meantime, I going to make a short sleeve sweater in CotLin Moroccan Red. I actually knit and finished the sweater last year and have worn it a couple of times. But, it's a little wider than I like. So, I frogged the entire thing and am going to start over. For some reason, I get a strange gauge with CotLin (4 sts and 7 rows per inch with size 5 needles) -- a ratio of sts to rows a lot different from most yarns I knit with.

I've also decided to make my k2tog's differently -- at least for the time being. With yarns that ssk's look better with just the first st repositioned, I'm going to reposition the first st on the left-hand needle before making a k2tog. That way k2tog and ssk match -- with the top st straight and the bottom twisted. (When knitting with cotton, I make ssk's the "proper" way. When knitting with a wool blend or acrylic, I reposition just the first st.)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Mystic Light

Mystic Light is now finished. This is the first shawl I've made with fingering weight yarn. I really like it. It's much more substantial than the ones with lace weight yarn. I used KP Palette apricot with size 7 needles. It grew a lot when blocked. But, the stitch definition is still there. And, I find that I like triangular shawls.

Now, I'm going to take a break from shawls until the first clue for Casablanca comes just before the weekend. Casablanca is one of my favorite movies. So, I'm going to watch it while starting the shawl.

My DD got on my case for having too many UFOs. And she was right. So, I've finished Bad Nauheim and Mystic Light. I'm getting to the finish line with the pair of knit socks I've been working on for a while -- from the Sockamaniac Yahoo group. The second sock goes much faster than the first. And knitting the second sock gives me a chance to write up and check directions for the sock. (The stitch pattern comes from the Yahoo group. We were to use the pattern to create a sock. There are also complete sock patterns in the group pages.) And I'm keeping up with the Monthly dishcloths.

I've also finally finished weaving in ends for a sweater that I'm making for my DH for his birthday. (I hate weaving in ends. I finished the sweater except for weaving in over a month ago.) It's one of Chrissy Gardiner's designs. I didn't know whether I'd like a sweater knit in cotton (Araucania Nature Cotton), but it came out nicely. And the unevenness of the yarn added to the sweater. Mine is in green, but I won't be posting a pic until after his birthday.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Palm Tree

This is the latest installment from the Monthly Dishcloth KAL (done in Peaches & Creme #55 with size 7 needles). (I'm glad that I ordered the bags of Peaches & Creme made up especially for the Monthly Dishcloth KAL.) I think the pattern is lovely -- although not blocked too well on my part. It's one of my favorites.

My DD thinks I have too many WIPs, and so I've been gradually trying to get them finished. I've finished Bad Nauheim. However, the Fisherman's Wife still needs me to find the box that the final skein of yarn was packed in. I've almost finished the crochet projects I was working on -- a pair of socks and a shawl. And I've finished one of a pair of socks I've been working on for a while. (I'm going to cast on for the second of the pair tomorrow.)

I'm making great progress on Mystic Light. I'm starting on the last clue. The picture is through the end of the next to last clue. I'm knitting it in KP Palette Apricot with size 7 needles. I should have it done by the time Casablanca starts.

When I'm done with blocking the shawl, I'm going to decide whether Palette would make good curtain material. The windows in the house we bought have blinds on them (and I hate blinds -- mostly because they're so hard to keep clean).

I forgot to say last time that we have a new wash machine. I really like it. The one that came with the house broke. (It just wouldn't spin or agitate anymore.) We went to Lowes and picked out a new washer. It was delivered the next day. I'd never had a wash machine like it before. It has no agitator in the middle like most top loaders. But that means I can easily put pillows in it. (I like to wash pillows once a year.)

And, today's my birthday. That's why I like Friday, the thirteenth, and also Flag Day. (I am superstitious about Friday, the twelfth, though. ;) )

Monday, June 02, 2008

Mystic Light started

Since I've finished one shawl and finished one of a pair of socks, I've allowed myself to start another shawl, Mystic Light. It's the first shawl I've tried in fingering weight rather than lace weight yarn. I'm using KP Palette apricot and size 7 needles. This is a pic through the end of Clue 1.

There are so many wonderful shawls to consider this year! I've also joined another Yahoo shawl group, MMario, which has a very interesting collection of shawls in various stages of development.

There is also more to crochet. I'm test crocheting a circular shawl in DK weight yarn -- which looks really pretty and which gives me an opportunity to get rid of some yarn that just didn't work for anything else I'd tried it with. There's also a CAL for a lace-weight crocheted shawl at Trinkets By Tracey. The first clue was published on May 30th. There is also a Ravelry group for the same CAL.

Finally, I got to watch the International Space Station go overhead a few night ago. It was neat. I hadn't done anything like that in many, many years. The last time I remember watching an artificial satellite go overhead was way back when I was living in Colorado. Sky and Telescope has an article about tracking satellites with a clickable Java-script type thing to calculate when and where to see the International Space Station or Hubble or the space shuttle go past.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Bad Nauheim finished

Bad Nauheim is finally finished -- with a few changes from the original. (I feel uncomfortable when making something for myself or a family member if I don't make some changes.) For the border, I scooted the design over about 15 sts and changed the motifs to be over an even rather than an odd number of sts (in order to line up with the pattern on the rest of the shawl). For the center of the crystals (in the rnds with yo's), I did k2tog, yo, ssk in one row. In the next rnd, I kfb'ed into the yo in order to keep the same stitch count. The other major change was to reflect more of the motifs into the corners. It's made with size 6 needles and KP Shadow Campfire.

I've also essentially finished the sock I'd been working on. Here are the details from a previous post. I added a stitch on either side of the pattern at the back basically when the mood struck -- well, every 9th round to start out with, then every 3rd round, and then finally with no increases. The last 2 rounds are k around, followed by (p8, p2tog) around, followed by a yo bind off. This will probably change after I finish the second sock and figure out how much yarn I have to work with -- and also think about it some more. Even with the p2tog's, the sock seems to flare out. But, I don't want to change the bind off since I like its springiness.

By the way, I'm finally registered to vote in this state. I don't know what went wrong when I tried to register via the DMV (even though I had my passport and Social Security card with me there). But, the application that I later submitted at the library went through.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

a visit from Ohio

May has been a busy month. This past weekend we got a visit from some friends of ours from Ohio. It was really nice seeing them again. Their visit also gave us the impetus to get the house straightened out -- at least, for the ground floor.

The visit also worked out much, much better than I feared animal-wise. We have 2 cats who are fairly territorial. They have an English bulldog. We put a child-guard on the steps so that the cats would have a safe place. But, the dog basically ignored them, and they occasionally got brave enough to sit on the back of the sofa and try to figure out the stranger to their house.

I've gotten some work done on my shawls. I decided to wait until finding my last skein of yarn for the Fishermen's Wife -- instead of trying to figure out a way to finish it off with 1 fewer skein than the directions call for. I'm also progressing on Bad Nauheim. I got a 60" cord from KnitPicks and am now knitting the border. This is a picture through the end of Clue 5. (I scooted the border design over a bit.)

I frogged the sock I was knitting back one pattern repeat in order to fit it over my calf a bit better. I should have a finished pic for my next post. And, I'm keeping up on the Monthly Dishcloth KAL.

This past month, I did quite a bit of crocheting for some people in the Crochet Liberation Front (a Ravelry group) -- and while checking for an external link, volunteered to do some more test crocheting. Here is a pic of a sock I test crocheted. It's amazing to me how different crocheted items can look from each other. I test crocheted for 3 people and ended up with 3 completely different looking items.

And, I got a special treat Tuesday evening. A friend was traveling cross country on Amtrak. She had a layover in Chicago, and so we got together. It was the first time I'd taken the Metra into Chicago. (The trains I took were basically on time.) We ate at a Greek restaurant (Athena) in the Greek restaurant area near the train station and generally had a great time.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mother's Day

I had a fine Mother's Day. I got to talk with both my DS1 and DD who live in different time zones from us and from each other. They sent me the flowers at the right. Unfortunately, the balloon that my DS1 sent isn't visible in the pic. DS2 went out with me and my DH to get a few flowers for the garden the day before. He also gave me a ceramic snail for the garden plus candy and tea and a Star Wars book by our favorite Star Wars author, Zahn.

There are a few plants that I always want to have in the garden no matter where we are: butterfly weed (attracts Monarchs), parsley (attracts Swallowtails and is good to eat -- at least, I like to eat it fresh), columbine (the state flower of Colorado), and bleeding heart (my DD likes it and so do I). I also like black-eyed Susans. I had a collection of different varieties growing near the back fence of the first house we owned -- back in NC. If we don't already have some growing here, I'd like to get some irises. My mom used to grow the nicest ones. And, if they would grow here, I'd like to get a bay tree and English lavender. We had them in Kent. The place we moved into is already landscaped. So, I don't know what kind of plants I'll be able to add to the mix. -- I almost forgot. I'd like to have some kind of fruit tree. I brought a blueberry bush from NJ (which has made the transition -- even though or maybe because I dug it up and replanted it in the dead of winter). But, I'd also like an apple tree. We're probably going to be staying here long enough for it to bear.

The end of the week, we had a short visit from my nephew, pictured at the right. He was interviewing at a local university. It was good to see and visit with him. He's also tall. I'd forgotten just how tall he is.

Friday, May 02, 2008

almost finished

I'm finally in the home stretch as regards to the shawls I'm making. I've finally finished Clue 6 of the Fisherman's Wife and am now about to start the border. It's a beautiful design. I can't wait to see what it will look like off the needles and blocked.

I'm not posting a picture of Bad Nauheim because it looks weird with only part of it blocked.

The number of WIPs I have is starting to bother me. So, I'm making a concerted effort to finish up the small projects. I started the May dishcloth KAL on May 1st and plan to keep up with the daily additions. (I know that that isn't a WIP, but in my mind it would be.) And I'm working seriously on finishing socks.

This is how far I've gotten on a mystery pattern from the Sockamaniac Sockalong. The front of the sock is the March/April 2008 mystery sock challenge. The back of the sock leg includes the pattern from the February 2007 mystery sock challenge. The sock is KP Essential Riverbed Multi in size 1 needles. The heel is from Fleegle's No Flap No Hassle sock pattern. The only other design element is k1p1 ribbing -- to provide enough width for the sock -- and for the center back of the leg -- so the back isn't just the 2007 pattern.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Illinois doesn't like me

Illinois must not like me. When my DH and I went in to the DMV to get our driver's licenses, the clerk asked if we'd like to register to vote as well. We said "yes" as that would save us from searching for a voter's registration office. Well, my DH got a voter registration confirmation. I got a rejection notice.

At the right is a picture of the latest dishcloth from the Monthly Dishcloth KAL. This was really fun to make. It's called "Dots within Stripes", but I call it "Asterisks" because the dots look like asterisks to me. I was going to put off making it, but my cat (the short hair one in the next picture) sat on top of the shawl I wanted to work on and essentially forced me to work on this -- if I were to work on anything.

In other knitting news, I'm almost done with Clue 6 for the Fisherman's Wife. It's now 807 sts across. I've finished the second time through for Clue 3 for Bad Nauheim. I've gotten to the leg of the knit sock I'm working on. And, I've finished the sweater I was test knitting except for weaving in loose ends. I've also finished my first crocheted sock but may make it longer.

This is really the year of lace. There is another lace shawl group starting at Yahoo, the goddess knits mystery shawl. This is going to be a round shawl. Whenever I get around to starting it (There are a few other shawls in the queue ahead of it.), I'm going to use Fleegle's way to cast on for a circular shawl.

My DD came for a visit this past month. It was great seeing her again. She chided me that she had been in the house for a total of less than 2 weeks and had her room completely unpacked while I still had boxes waiting to be unpacked for almost every other room of the house. (We moved in in mid January.) The pic is of my DD and DS2 and our two cats.

The long haired one made a remarkable improvement while my DD was visiting. She had a nosebleed that lasted almost an entire evening. But, now her breathing is much better, and she's even started to eat moist food again. I've also seen her play fight with the other kitty -- which she hadn't done since before we moved. Both cats (littermates) will turn 17 this weekend.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Misc Update

The thing that I enjoy almost as much as knitting lace shawls is test knitting. I'm test knitting a sweater for Chrissy. (When I need a break from the sweater, I work on my shawls.)

This week I also volunteered to test crochet a pair of socks. I'd never crocheted socks before. It's interesting how similar but different sock crocheting is from sock knitting. (edited Friday--) I bought a couple of crochet hooks in order to make the socks since the ones I had were either too big or too small. They're a light-weight aluminum, I think. I can see why some people say crocheting hurts their hand. I really dislike using them. (I hadn't bought any crochet hooks in the US in years if not decades. I even have crochet hooks that are older than I am.)

The Fisherman's Wife is getting down to the homestretch. I've started on the last clue before the lower border of the shawl. I've finished the first repeat of Clues 1 - 4 of Bad Nauheim. I haven't started Mystic Light yet, but I do have the yarn for it. A couple of weeks ago, I joined the Mystery Lace KAL. (Sign ups are closing soon for Mystery Lace.) This week I joined another lace shawl KAL, Casablanca. I'm also signed up for Slow Bee and Slow Bee 2. It looks as though I'll have enough shawl projects to keep me occupied for years.

I'm also working on the latest dishcloth from the Monthly Dishcloth Yahoo! group. I enjoy the mid-month dishcloths the most. One gets to try something perhaps new and different. This mid-month's dishcloth is knitted in 2 colors.

And, I work on the sock I was knitting when I get a chance. Socks are nice to tote around. I took them to the DMV last Saturday when my DH and I went to get our driver's licenses. However, I didn't get a chance to knit. Illinois had us take written tests. So, we spent the time waiting for our numbers to be called studying. (I had to take a written test for my first license, of course. But, North Carolina and New Jersey don't require us to take a written test. However, Ohio did. So, maybe it's a Midwest thing. -- And as my DH said, we've each now gotten driving licenses in 1/10 of the States.)

Blogger isn't cooperating with posting photos. So, I guess this post will be pictureless.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Shawls again

I've joined another shawl KAL, the Mystery Lace Yahoo group. I don't know when I'll have time to work on everything. But, since I know that there is no way I'll be able to keep up, I'm content to proceed at my own pace.

The 2 shawls I'm making from Moni's patterns are getting longer. It now takes me about 30 minutes to work a row for the Fisherman's Wife Faroese shawl. But, I still like the yarn and the pattern. Here's a picture of it through the end of Clue 4. I'm on my 3rd skein of KP Shadow Vineyard now. -- I'm definitely not going to make the optional extension.

Here is Bad Nauheim through the end of Clue 2. It's in KP Shadow Campfire. While waiting for Clue 2 to appear, I took the opportunity to unzip sts from the provisional cast on and put them on a spare cable. (The KP interchangeable needles are great for something like this. I don't know how I ever got along without them.) I even made sure the stitches were facing the right way. So, now I don't have to worry anymore about whether I'll be able to unzip sts successfully. They're unzipped and ready to be knitted.

The sock from the January mystery pattern in Sockamania Sockalong group is going nicely. It's a great pattern -- made even better for me because I love puzzles.

I haven't started on the April dishcloth for the Monthly Dishcloth Yahoo group. But, I did order some yarn packaged especially for the KAL.

Finally, Chrissy, the lady I test knit for, is doing a series about designing. The first post in the installment came out April 1st. It's worth looking at just to admire the cables.

As to the weather here, we got an April Fool's surprise. We had snow flurries just before noon on April 1st!!! But, the snow is almost all melted from the previous snow falls, and bulbs, probably daffodils, are started to peek up from the ground.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Two shawls

I must really like Moni's patterns. I made Chrysopolis last fall. Now I'm in the midst of two of her other patterns, Bad Nauheim and the Fisherman's Wife.

The Bad Nauheim KAL is just beginning. (Sign-ups are closed, but sign ups are still open for another of her KAL's, Slow Bee, which is set to begin this summer, I think.) I'm using KnitPicks Shadow Campfire and size 4 needles. The pattern begins with a provisional cast on.

I wish I had thought to look at Fleegle's blog before casting on. She has a wonderful provisional cast on that leaves the provisional part on a circular ready to knit. Instead I used a crochet provisional cast on. (Notice the red part -- red crochet thread -- at the bottom of the picture.) I'm worrying about not dropping the knit sts when I unzip the crochet sts. The last time I used a provisional cast on like this was for a toe-up sock toe for a Sherman sock. I ended up redoing the toe after dropping a few sts while unzipping the crochet sts. I finally decided to start with a single cast on instead of a provisional one. I hope I have better luck this time.

Here is a picture of the Fisherman's Wife through the end of Clue 2 -- or rather a picture of a couple of panels from the shawl. It's a Faroese design. I'm up to the point that it takes more than 20 minutes for me to do a row of knitting. And there are many, many more increases to come. But, I like the design, and I like the yarn (KP Shadow Vineyard).

I'm almost ready to cast on for a pair of socks, the current mystery sock pattern from the Sockamaniac Sockalong group. You're given a stitch pattern, and it's up to you to design a sock around the pattern. This one is basically a ribbed sock with some twists. I'm going to work it toe up since I haven't figure out how I want to do the back of the leg.

We went driving on Sunday, to the north. We were driving along, trying to figure out if we were headed homeward or not. (It's more fun driving without a GPS system.) We commented to ourselves that the roads looked in a lot better shape than the roads around where we live. Then we drove by a post office and discovered that we were in Wisconsin. ;)
By the way, we got 11" of snow this past Friday. The sun is hot enough that it's almost melted away now.

Monday, March 17, 2008

It's green.

Since today is St. Patrick's Day and since Chicago had its parade on Saturday and dyed the Chicago River on Saturday, we decided to go to downtown Chicago yesterday - Sunday - (my first time there since our move). The river is actually green -- and not the green that comes from algae.

We didn't just look at the river. We drove around Chicago for a little bit. We saw the Theater District and, of course, the downtown area and the library (which looks scary) and the lake.

Then since my husband is a Cubs fan, we drove to Wrigley Field. Surprisingly to me, we weren't the only ones there. There were a fair number of people who had taken the opportunity to drive down to the area and walk around the ballpark -- even though the temperature was just a few degrees above freezing. But, when we were visiting Madrid, one of our must sees was the Bernabéu Stadium. (Our DS1 likes to look at football stadiums and also go to the games.) So, I guess it wasn't that strange.

On the knitting front, I've started work on dem Fischer sin Fru -- since I completed the socks and sweater I'd been working on since December or before. Here is my completed short-sleeved raglan with a v neck -- done from the top down. It's CotLin on size 5 needles. CotLin is a pleasure to work with. So, now I have my first summer sweater done. The picture shows it before blocking.

I had almost finished it on Saturday, but it wasn't clear to me whether or not one sleeve was shorter than the other. So, I decided to look at it again the next day. One sleeve was shorter by a row (which makes a difference for a short-sleeve garment). The center 9 sts are a wishbone pattern, then comes a 1-st wide garter pattern, then a 4-st wide braid, a 7-st wide ladder, and finally another 4-st wide braid. All the panels were separated by p2's.

It bled very slightly when put in water prior to blocking. I wouldn't have noticed the bleeding if I hadn't been looking for it.