What’s New?

Love the boozy trombones in his arrangement.  They had some good singers back in the old days — singers who had expressive voices, who could carry a melody and do things with it, and ol’ blue eyes is a case in point.  Songs had melodies, and luscious arrangements.  Although my generation has had one or two . . .

My favorite quote of the week is by Elon Musk: “I want to die on Mars, just not on impact.”  Tells you all you need to know about the man.

The seasons, they are a-changin’, although my AC is still coming on now and again.  Been drinking Stash Tea’s Chai Spice hot with a liberal blop of Coffee Mate Caramel Macchiato creamer in it.  Major nums.

When I said in the previous post that I got this humongous Jumbo skein of yarn, this is what I meant.  It’s supposed to be 3 “normal” pull skeins’ worth of yarn.  I’ve already got a hat and a pattern started using the star beads.  The pattern has a yo, k1 sequence where you drop the yo on the next row to give the k1 enough slack to pull the stitch through the bead with the crochet hook and then slip the stitch to the right needle without puckering the work.  The beads go onto a 3-stitch stockinette band that’s in a spiral pattern.  The stars are silver, gold, pink, blue, and green.  It’s fun, a little silly and a tad over the top, but there are times when you are facing down a life-threatening illness like breast cancer when you need “fun, silly and over the top” just to keep your sanity.

The Malguri Morning shawls are finished, the yarn ends are woven in and they are boxed up, addressed and ready to take down to the post office.  My local post office has a deal where you can buy postage from a machine in the lobby with a credit card 24/7, and don’t have to actually go during post office business hours to get postage. The machine has a scale and rulers and all that stuff, and they provide a nice big hopper to drop it in when it’s ready to go.

I played yarn chicken there at the last, and had about a golf-ball-sized ball of yarn left over when I finished this second one.  Otherwise, I’d have had to rip out two rows, because the shawl pattern has a two-row repeat and it has to be bound off after a particular row in the pattern repeats.  Actually, this yarn is so thick that I doubt there’s more than a yard or two left in that little ball —  nowhere near enough to do two more rows and a bind-off.  So, whew!  I’ve already started another one for me.  because this shawl starts at the point, the rows get wider and wider the further up you go, and the stripes in the “self striping” variegated yarn get narrower and narrower as a result.  Here’s both of them:

I don’t know why they look blotchy in the photos.  It may just be the way Charisma joins their color changes.  I’m making me one totally out of the blue self-striping, without any solid blue stripes.  When you use the bulky yarn, they’re thick, and snuggly* warm.  However, you can get creative with your yarn choices and needle sizes and end up with a lacy DK or sock-weight shawl, or a worsted weight shawl.  Also, the pattern is dead easy.  TV knitting at its finest, just perfect for binge watching.

 

*The spellchecker doesn't like "snuggly" with two 'G's, but there is a big difference in meaning between snugging (snugly, adverb) and snuggling (snuggly, adjective).
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Tears and Memories

Woke up thinking about my baby girl, who I lost in May of 2015 to renal disease at the all-too-young age of 11.  She was the only survivor of an abandoned litter and was hand raised by a shelter lady.  Consequently, she was a lot more snugly than cats, especially female cats, usually are.  She was Stormalinda Phogg-Phoote, the name was bigger than the cat.  Stormie was never very big, always slender and graceful, agile, gracile, and quick.  She was a climber, and could leap highest of any cat I’ve had.  Sometimes, the (cat) boys would let her up on the bed at night and she would creep into the hollow between my stomach and my body pillow, curl up and sleep there.  I remember how privileged I felt when she did that, and tears slide down my face.  I’m down to one now, the fat(cat)boy, and I wonder how long I’ll be able to keep him before time and the world steal him away from me.   He turned 10 this August.

You may or may not have noticed the Mary Oliver quotation from her poem, “Starlings in Winter”  on the sidebar at right.  Doodlemum is participating in “Inktober” a drawing challenge to post a drawing every day in October, and the picture above was her post for today.  It resonated with me on umpteen levels.  There are days. . . there are days. . . .

In addition to being “Inktober” it’s also “Pinktober,” breast cancer awareness month.  I’m already very aware of it.  Four of the ladies in my knitting group are survivors, all of them have had mastectomies, one of them has had her third recurrence and it is in her bones now.  She’s done a third round of chemo, and now she’s doing radiation therapy to the lesions in the bone.  Three of them have gotten the monster to leave them alone for now.  One of them is still being stalked.  Some of us knit because it keeps us from screaming. . . .

Also in the knitting news, I finished a Little Twisted Hat in fuchsia glitter yarn in honor of Pinktober, and I’m futzing with a mistake in a Carrie Fisher Memorial PussyHat which I have put aside until I simmer down.  I’ve revised the Little Twisted Hat pattern to do the decreases differently, and I like the way it “points” the cables better.

Last night when I got groceries, I got a Super Saver Jumbo skein of Red Heart PINK yarn to make some more pink hats for “Pinktober.”  I went looking for clear glass beads at Michael’s but didn’t find any.  Did find colored star-shaped beads, though and in a way that’s even better.  I have plans for a pink hat with star beads.  There will be a pattern published on my knitting patterns blog . . . eventually.  I’ll have to find one of my small crochet hooks to put them on with.

I’m going to finish that one Malguri Morning shawl today if it harelips the governor, and get both of them in the mail to Spokane ASAP.  I also need to wash a load of clothes. The first item will get done.  The second item may get done.  What I should do is go sit and knit on it in the living room where I can hear the washer and dryer*, start a load of clothes, and knit while I wait for it to be time to put the clothes in the dryer, and then time take them out of the dryer and hang them up.  I should eat something also, so I can have a personal pie** for dessert.  I got two apple ones and two cherry ones when I shopped groceries last night.  Decanted into a dish and zotted in the microwave. . . but apple or cherry? . . . decisions, decisions. . .

 

* The living room is beside the dining "area"; and at one end of the dining area is the kitchen, and at the other end is the laundry room.
** A two crust fruit pie made in a 5-inch aluminum foil pie tin.

A Nippy Monday Morning

We’ve had a front come through and it has dialed the temperatures down about 10 F.  So far, it has been nice.  It’s  39 F (3.8 C) at the moment, heading to a high of 71 F (21.6 C).  The thermometer on the clock on top of my computer tower says the temperature in the hottest spot in the house is 75 F (23.8 C).  The humidity right now is 78%, which is way high for us (Stop laughing, Shoreacres!).

That was lunch (above left) — stuff on crackers, with the stuff being Muenster cheese and sliced ham on my favorite Red Oval Farms Stoned Wheat Thin crackers.  Total nums.

In the dark at the edge of the frame is the last Dazzle yarn hat, a kitten hat of blue and brown.  I’ll have yarn left, but not enough to do anything with, except maybe put a stripe in something.  I’ve just finished it.   I’ve seen patterns for kitten hats (saw one that called it a “Hennepin hat”??) that are knitted flat from one side to the other, folded over, and sewn up the edges, and I’ve seen patterns that are knitted on a circular needle from the bottom up and the top closed with a 3-needle bind-off.  These patterns must have been written by the same people who love knitting socks from the top down and then Kitchner stitching the toe closed.  Turkish cast on ain’t that hard, guys!  And if you use a 32-inch circular needle and the Magic Loop method, you get a seamless kitten hat knitted all in one piece.  Can you spot where the Turkish cast on is?  No, you can’t.  It’s seamless.

I had 5 skeins of Dazzle yarn: Two skeins of brown, a skein of dark orange, a skein of light orange and a skein of blue.  From that I got 8 hats.  This is all that’s left. Not a bad yield.

The hats are now in the washer getting washed in 2-in-1 (hair) shampoo+ conditioner which will hopefully soften them.  (I stopped using separate shampoo and conditioner preparations in lieu of the 2-in-1 concoction.  One less bottle to buy; one less empty bottle in the landfill.)  After that, they will go in the dryer with a dryer sheet.  That ought to do the trick.

Connections

Reading through Twisted Sifter’s blog posts this afternoon and was blindsided by this one, a video of an acoustic version of a song “Take On Me” by a Norwegian group called A-Ha. It first came out in 1984, during the flowering of MTV and had a very clever, well done music video that was in heavy rotation for a while.  It was a nice song, and I liked it.

What blindsided me about this video of the “unplugged” version was not the performers, or how different this version of the song was from the original, but the audience. Watch for the shots of the audience.  Look at the expressions on their faces. This song came out over 30 years ago, but they still know all the lyrics.

I think music, not language, is what makes us human.

About Time To Switch Over

Last night and Tuesday night, I slept with the proto-lap-robe* on the bed, and woke up to temps in the low 70’s F (20+ C) on my HVAC thermostat.  When it’s 71 F (21.1 C) in my office, which for unknown reasons is the hottest room in the house, that means the weather’s turning a mite cool.  I’ve already turned off the floor fans in both the office and the living room.  I checked the 10-day forecast and Thursday, Friday and Saturday will have highs in the 80’s (27-30 C), but Sunday the high is predicted to be 66 F (18.8 C) and we’ll have highs in the mid 60’s F to high 70’s F (18.8-26.1 C) after that.

I’ve already started thinking about putting socks on (I don’t wear shoes in the house.  When the AC is on, I go barefoot.)  I think Sunday, I’m switching from AC to heat in anticipation of that yearly milestone, First Use Heater Stink. Yeah, I know.  They’ve already had snow in Colorado, but I remind my readers yet again that the town where I live is at the same latitude as Casablanca, Morocco, and for us, 70 F (21.1 C) is a smidge on the nippy side.

I see by the clock that I need to bag the kitten hat I’m working on and put on some fit-to-be-seen-in-public clothes.  My mom’s coming by at 1 p.m. to pick me up and we are going to enjoy one of life’s little luxuries — a pedicure.

In the knitting news, I believe I can eke one more hat out of the Dazzle yarn, and then it’s into the washer with the lot of them to be washed with hair conditioner in the fabric softener hopper of the washing machine.  That’s supposed to soften scratchy yarn.  We’ll see.  Then I’m taking the whole bagful to the cancer center to be donated to those who have lost all their hair because of undergoing chemotherapy.

I finished this Monmouth hat (at left) the other day, and last night I finished this kitten hat (at right), which is the first kitten hat I’ve made that wasn’t pink.  I think I will make a pink Coriolis hat next, and maybe a pink Little Twisted Hat as well in honor of Pinktober.

I think I need to bump some priorities.  The reader’s shrug for one, for reading in bed — a light one and a heavier one.  I was reading in bed the other day, and my arms got downright chilly.  Yeah.  I know.  Life is hard.

*A single-bed size microfleece blanket I’ve been meaning to turn into a lap robe for, literally, years.

Happy Ada Lovelace Day

Augusta Ada King-Noel, Countess of Lovelace (née Byron; 10 December 1815 – 27 November 1852) was the only legitimate child of the poet George Gordon, Lord Byron, and his wife Anne Isabella Milbanke, Lady Wentworth.

Her mother had her educated from childhood in science and mathematics in an attempt to counteract any “poetical” tendencies (read: “insanity”) she may have inherited from her father.  In an age when it was thought that women’s brains were not capable of understanding the difficult subjects of science and mathematics, she mastered differential calculus while still in her teens.  At the age of 12, she began to think about how she would design a steam-powered flying machine.  After studying the anatomy of birds to help her understand the mechanics of flight, she recognized the necessity that the wings be in proportion to the size of the body and where the steam engine should be located to provide power. Her design anticipated many of the mechanical and technical problems, and preceded the aerial steam carriage, patented by William Henson and John Stringfellow in 1842, by 15 years.

Two of her tutors were Augustus De Morgan, a mathematician at the forefront of the emerging field of symbolic logic, and Mary Somerville, the Scottish astronomer and mathematician who had become famous in 1831 when she published The Mechanism of the Heavens, a translation of the five volume Mécanique Céleste by Pierre-Simon Laplace.

In 1833 Mary Somerville introduced Ada to another mathematician, Charles Babbage. Ada was 17 and Babbage was 42. It was a friendship that would change Ada’s life.

Known as the father of the computer, he invented the Difference Engine, which was meant to perform mathematical calculations. Ada got a chance to look at the machine before it was finished, and was captivated by it. Babbage also created plans for another device known as the Analytical Engine, designed to handle more complex calculations.

Ada was later asked to translate an article on Babbage’s Analytical Engine that had been written by Italian engineer Luigi Federico Menabrea for a Swiss journal. She not only translated the original French text into English, but also added her own thoughts and ideas on the machine. Her notes ended up being three times longer than the original article. Her work was published in 1843, in an English science journal. Ada used only the initials “A.A.L.,” for Augusta Ada Lovelace, in the publication.

In her notes, Ada described how codes could be created for the device to handle letters and symbols along with numbers. She also theorized a method for the engine to repeat a series of instructions, a process known as looping that computer programs use today. Ada also offered up other forward-thinking concepts in the article. For her work, Ada is often considered to be the first computer programmer.

So, for all those obnoxiously misogynist computer geek/nerd/trolls out there.  Guess what?  Computers have had girl cooties all over them from the very beginning.   Girl Cooties!!

Kept Awake by a Book

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan, to be exact.  Not because of anything in the book — or at least not anything so far.  I’m only about halfway through it.  It’s a delightful little book peopled by an interesting cast of characters.  No.  It’s what’s on the book. The stylized design of books on shelves on the cover fluoresces a bright highlighter yellow in the dark! I read a chapter or two, put the book on my bedside table, turned out the light and … whoa!  It glowed so brightly I had to put the book in my “office” so I could get to sleep.

It’s Pinktober, breast cancer awareness month, and I’ve started another Carrie Fisher Memorial PussyHat in honor of it. I’ll probably do a couple more pink hats of various styles, but I need to finish the Monmouth hat and whatever other style of hat I decide to make out of the last of the Dazzle yarn I was gifted with by the lady who donated a large portion of her late mother’s yarn stash to the group, so I can wash them all at the same time and treat them with hair conditioner to soften them up.

I finished another Coriolis chemo hat, and played yarn chicken through the whole hat.  I did have enough yarn to finish it, with a ball about an inch in diameter left over.   The pattern makes a really nice had for being no more complicated than it is.  The yarn is that Red Heart Unforgettable in the colorway “Dragonfly.

Here it is finished from the side and from the top.  So swirly.

The lady who donated the Dazzle yarn also donated an assorted bunch of knitting needles, from which I got several incomplete double pointed sets.  The double pointed needles usually come in sets of 5, but if you can get four, that’s enough to work with.

These were US size 10’s (6.0 mm) and they’re the long DPNs.  I did get some 6-inch ones — some US size 7’s (4.5 mm) and 8’s (5.0 mm), and a couple of straight needle sets (a point on one end and a button on the other) to round out my collection.   That’s the Monmouth hat beside it.  It’s worked on a US size 10 (6.0 mm) 16-inch circular needle.  You have to do a provisional cast on, and then “hem” the bottom of the cap, which is why I had the DPN needle out. Soon as I finish this hat (for the picture) I’ll post that pattern on my knitting patterns blog.

Last week, one of my paternal cousins had her second hip replacement surgery in two weeks. (They did one hip and then two weeks later did the other one).  It was a “same day surgery” — which is to say, they let her go home the day of the surgery.  It’s a new thing.  In order to be able to have this procedure, you have to be otherwise in good health and a low surgical risk.  You have to do “pre-hab” before surgery, and learn all the rehab exercises you’ll do following surgery, and in order to go home, you have to get up, walk, and be able to walk and climb a short flight of stairs. She’s been doing really well.  The thing is, she’s about 14 years younger than I am.  Still, if your joints are in such bad shape, especially your hips, that a doctor recommends joint replacement surgery, you probably should have it done.   Hopefully, we’re going to get to see her later this month