Sorry About The Geek-Out

As you might have noticed if you’ve hung out in this space for any length of time, knitting is my jam. Figuring out knitting patterns sparks joy in the tinkerer lobe of my brain, the part that likes to combine elements into new and interesting configurations and see what happens. I realize not everybody is willing to follow me down some of the rabbit holes I am likely to dive down at odd moments as a result, and that’s cool. To each one’s own jam.

I stopped by my mom’s house Saturday with a bouquet of snazzy two-tone roses and, as a little Mother’s Day surprise, I got her a slice of strawberry topped cheese cake. (What’s the point of living to be 96 years old if you can’t indulge in a slice of cheese cake now and again?)

I had to cut my visit short, though, because my mom had a “date!” She really enjoys attending the concerts of our local symphony orchestra, and the soloist Saturday night was a local boy who had made good singing in the big city. Mom had really wanted to go hear him but she couldn’t get anybody to go with and it was going to be in the newly-completed concert venue, and she’d never been there before. But then she lucked out. A couple she’s friends with were going, but then the wife’s bad back flared up unexpectedly late last week and at the last minute she was unable to attend the concert. She called my mom and asked her if she wanted to go in her place. The husband would pick Mom up and make sure she got in and out safely (The couple have a handicapped sticker for their car because of the wife’s bad back, so they could park close and mom wouldn’t have to hike across a parking lot.) So that was an unexpected Mother’s Day treat.

While I was visiting my mom, she mentioned that her oldest sister’s boy was driving in from New Mexico to visit Wednesday of next week, would spend the night, and wanted to take her and me out to eat that night. We both are looking forward to that.

I’ve been pretty obsessed with the “Waves on a Wine Dark Sea” shawl and have worked on it a lot, carrying it and its bowl from room to room (it’s on my computer desk right now). As I mentioned previously, the color repeats are pretty short on this yarn, and as the “work face” of the shawl lengthens, the stripes get shorter and shorter. Eventually, a stripe won’t make it all the way across, and I’ll be interested to see what that looks like. So far, I like it.

Earlier today, I realized this new pattern is unfortunately biased toward continental knitters and flickers. If you are an American/English style wrapper, all the seed stitch (p1, k1) in this pattern is going to wear you out!

Each time I get to the end of the skein on the Short, Sweet, and Nubby shawl, I’ve got to make sure the new skein I add on is at the right point of the color sequence. I’d been lucky so far, but with the last skein I added on, I ended up having to

cut off about a 2-inch diameter ball’s worth of yarn in order to get to the right point in the color sequence. No problem. I’m fringing the shawl, so that cut off bit will end up as fringe.

I decided to try out this new shampoo and conditioner with tea tree oil and peppermint in to see if it would help with split ends, itchy scalp, hair growth and hair loss. Since I do not blow dry my hair but let it dry in the air after I wash it, I put it in a towel turban for about half an hour to soak up as much water as possible. With the previous shampoo and conditioner, it had been taking about 10 minutes to very carefully comb it out

from the bottom up with a wide-tooth comb. Today, however, my hair was nowhere near as tangled when I combed it out, which I like.

I know “ball” winders are cool and save time, but center-pull cakes are still pull skeins, and pull skeins not only barf yarn, but get these long loops that keep getting wound around the strand of working yarn and snarl things up. Pull skeins are tools of the Devil, y’all.

Thinky Thoughts on Writing Knitting Patterns

I really like how the Sweet Irene shawl turned out. I like the shape, the drape, the thickness of the fabric that sock yarn on a US6 (4.0 mm) produces, and the lace borders.

I had seen the Paris Toujours pattern by Isabell Kraemer, gotten it, and started it in this Premier Serenity Sock Yarn (colorway Violas). But it’s a variegated yarn with a relatively short color repeat and that yarn with that pattern just did not spark joy. So, I frogged it and went with Berroco’s Modern Cotton DK yarn in a solid color (blue) instead and like it much better.

But I kept thinking about that poor Premier Serenity Sock yarn, its colorway discontinued, its hopes of being something dashed, languishing all forlorn and alone in stash and I decided to write another pattern for it based on the Sweet Irene shawl. For starters, I wanted to modify the lace borders to incorporate that nifty new sl1 wyif (slip 1 with yarn in front) detail I had learned from the Paris Toujours pattern, and I liked the fabric that the seed stitch produces on the Short, Sweet and Nubby shawl and wanted to use that instead of garter stitch in the body of the shawl.

I learned on Short, Sweet and Nubby that the key to making seed stitch WOL-proof was to work it over an uneven number of stitches. That way you don’t have to keep track of whether you started the previous row with a knit or a purl. You can start every row with the same stitch (p1 in this case) and it automatically comes out right. So there would need to be an uneven number of stitches in the body of the new pattern.

The Sweet Irene shawl has a short (2-row) pattern repeat, which is easy to memorize, with the two different border patterns worked on alternating rows. Both border patterns are worked over the same number of stitches (the last 6 stitches of every row), which again makes the pattern easy to memorize. I wanted to carry that simplicity over into the new pattern.

In the Sweet Irene shawl, the increases were all on one side of the work (above left), giving it an asymmetrical shape, which I liked. I wanted the new shawl to have the same shape. On Sweet Irene, the lace border with the increases is worked: (kfb x3), p1, ssk. Those three kfb’s give you an increase of +3 stitches. The ssk is a decrease (-1). +3 -1 equals a net increase of +2 stitches every other row. The sl1 wyif detail is worked over 2 stitches, so I’d have to add stitches for that. But that would make the increase border worked over 8 stitches, and I don’t like the number 8. By eliminating the p1, I could get it down to 7 stitches: (kfb x3), ssk, sl1 wyif, k1. OK. Got that bit.

To get that asymmetrical shape, the other lace border (above right) needed to have a net increase of 0. This means the increases and decreases have to exactly cancel each other out. That border was worked: kfb, yo, k2tog, p1, ssk. (You have increases of +1 from the kfb and +1 from the yo, and a decrease of -1 from the k2tog and -1 from the ssk, for a net increase of 0.) But again, adding the two stitches for the sl1 wyif edging ups the number of stitches to 8. I fiddled and finagled and finally got it down to 7 stitches: kfb, yo, sssk, k1, sliwyif, k1. Because I left out the ssk, I changed the k2tog to an sssk (slip 3 stitches and knit them together through the back loop) to get rid of that extra stitch and get the net increase back to 0. Ok. Got that bit.

What took me the lion’s share of the 8+ hours (plus a good deal of swearing and frogging) that it took to get the pattern to the final version was working out how to get from “cast on n stitches” to the 17 stitches it takes to establish the pattern (7 stitches for the left border plus an odd number (3) of stitches for the seed stitch body, plus 7 stitches for the right border). That row and the row that works the edging on the other side are the “rows x and y” that you repeat until the piece is the size you want. The starting point is not quite as curly as Sweet Irene’s but judging by what I’ve done so far, Waves on a Wine Dark Sea is going to be another winner.

Again, I’ll be able to carry that right border around the corner and use it as a knitted on border to finish off the long edge of the shawl by changing the kfb to k2fb. And, this point is going to have a tassel.

Oops! I Did It Again!

Wrote another shawl pattern based on the Sweet Irene shawl pattern, but incorporating that nifty edge thing from the Paris Toujours shawl by Isabell Kraemer. Only took about 8 hours and about 15 false starts to get the numbers to come out right. (I have a “renmant” ball of scrap yarn I use for pattern testing. When the end of it gets too frayed from being frogged and reknit too many times, I just cut it off and throw it away. Once I’ve got the pattern how I like it, I switch to the yarn I intend to use for it.)

That poor variegated mulberry sock yarn was so disappointed when I frogged out the Paris Toujours start I did using it, and I felt so sorry for it. (And if you believe that, I can get you a great deal on this low-mileage, one-owner bridge in New York . . .). Anyway, I’m giving the new pattern a real artsy-fartsy name with a classical Greek reference — “Waves in a Wine Dark Sea”. It has that nifty edge detail on both sides, not just on the one side like the Paris Toujours

I’m moving right along on the Short, Sweet and Nubby shawl. I’ve decided to put a “self” triple knotted fringe on each end. I have two more regular pull skeins of that yarn, as well as a “super skein,”so I ought to have plenty of yarn for it

I think that kind of fring will look nice on it. I’ll have to find something of appropriate diameter to knot the fringe around to insure all the knots are uniform. That’ll be a fun project when I get to that point.

Today was one of those days when I wish I had magical powers like Samantha on “Bewitched.” Just wriggle my nose, bwika-bwika-bwika! and have it all done.

While I was at the computer working on the above shawl pattern, I looked over at my clock and the clock’s thermometer showed it was 82 F (27.7 C) in my office. Shortly after that, the AC came on, which means it was 80 F (26.6 C) in the hallway by the AC thermostat. I’ve already got one of my pedestal fans set to blow across my bed. Guess I’ll have to go get one of the other ones out and set it to blow across the chair at my computer desk. Stand by for electric bills that are higher than giraffe’s ears again. At least we made it to May before we started to get consistently hot weather.

Well., I’m tired and I’m going to bed. Although all I’ve done all day was sit and knit, my poor little grey cells have gotten quite a workout.

Yeas, Nays, and Nope!

I went to the grocery store without a mask yesterday (I’ve had both my COVaccinations), and it felt weird to be out and about without a mask, especially when the grocery store employees are required to wear them. Happily, many of the customers were wearing them, too. Not all the folk with naked faces were oldies but moldies like me, unfortunately. Guess this is the “new normal.”

Trouble is, the old normal was nice. I liked it. Unfortunately, the world seems bent on arbitrarily and inopportunely replacing it at random intervals with a “new normal” which never seems to be as good as, nor quite the same as what was just fine to begin with. I find it disgruntling. In fact, it’s getting to the point where I’ve been disgruntled for so long I’ve forgotten what gruntled feels like anymore, which is sad, really. Sigh.

I mentioned that Mohonk yarn that was begging to be a shawl. After a false start (above left) and a pattern rethink/rewrite (middle) it is well on its way (above right). It’s sock yarn, and I’m using a US 3 (3.25 mm) needle so this will be a WIP for awhile. Its pattern reminded me of the rune* which at various times and places was used for “Z” (Algiz, “elk”), “K” (Kalc, “chalice”) and “Y” (Huyri), and which symbolizes protection from enemies and defense of that which one loves. Protection and defense. I like that in a shawl.

Then, I was innocently working on the Huyri Shawl and watching Episode 34 of the “Needles at the Ready” podcast (I’m looking at you, Kevin), and saw this.

At first I thought I’d use this Premier Serenity Sock yarn (above left), but I struggled and struggled and finally, I frogged it. Between the pattern and the color variegation, it was just too busy. So then I tried the Berroco Modern Cotton DK in the colorway 6685 Waterman Pond, and it was Goldilocks. I have to be vigilant about keeping my stitches “clean,” though, as this yarn can split very easily. It’s 60% Pima cotton and 40% modal Rayon, and it has a very soft hand. The pattern is written for either DK weight on a US8 (5 mm) needle, or fingering/sock weight on a US5 (3.75 mm) needle, but I’m going with a US3 (3.25 mm) because I like the fabric I get with that size needle. The DK version on a US8 calls for 750 yards (690 m), and the fingering version on a US5 calls for 900 yards (840 m). The Modern Cotton DK comes in 335 yard (306 m) skeins, and I have 7 skeins. Even on a US 3 needle, I’d be surprised if it takes more than 5 skeins.

This pattern has an interesting edge along the left side of the shawl that’s worked with the last two stitches on the right-side row as sl1 wyif, k1, and the wrong side row starts with sl1 wyif, k1. I like it. I’m already thinking about how I can use it. That’s the problem. I get a new idea and my mind wants to run with it. I want all the yarn so I can knit all the things. Sigh.

I’m kinda/sorta following the pattern, or at least the part that tells you how to do the lace and the garter bits. (Frequent readers will have noticed I have a tendency to go off piste.)

*Why, yes. I am a geek.

Having a Ball

Now that I have my knitting mojo back, I’ve noticed that I’ve fallen behind in my reading (my average so far this year is 42 books for the year to date). If I could learn to read while I knit — or would it be knit while I read? — but I haven’t mastered that particular trick yet. I’m a pretty single-minded reader. My eyes attach to the first word at beginning of the page and pretty much suck in the text like a vacuum pump, release at the end of the page, and reattach to the first word at the top of the next page without me having to think about it. If it’s a really good book, I can start the first page, suddenly run out of story, look up and discover that it’s hours later.

I’ve been a good citizen and stimulated the economy on the three occasions that the government has encouraged me to do so. (I have been blessedly fortunate to be in a situation where COVID had no effect on my income.) Several of my purchases have been what is known in the parlance as “snob yarn” — i.e., any yarn not purchased at a large retail chain (Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, Walmart, Joanne’s, etc.), that is either not acrylic or not “washcloth cotton,” and is typically produced by small, independent, typically female-owned small

businesses or cooperatives that typically knowtheir wool producers by name because they’ve raised them from lambs. I’m including Malabrigo, Berroco, and Schachenmeyr in this category because even though they are large companies, their yarns are all made from natural fibers, and they don’t sell any other retail merchandise besides yarn and the accoutrements you need to make things out of it.

Late in 2019, I was finally able to allocate funds to acquire a swift and a ball winder because I had earlier acquired the Malabrigo 100% Merino sock yarn that would become the Sweet Irene shawl. I had five hanks of it. Hanks are harder to wind into balls than those pull skeins (which are tools of the Devil!) that most acrylic yarn comes in. That’s where a “ball” winder comes in.

These don’t wind yarn into balls, incidentally; they wind yarn into what are called “cakes.” (see left.) I’ve been caking my yarn purchases here lately. I was able to score some Berroco “Modern Cotton” yarn in both worsted and DK weight on sale through Yarnspirations. I scored some Ragg-Time yarn from The Green Mountain Spinnery, which is what my Infinity wrap is being knitted from. And I’ve picked up a couple of skeins here , here, and there on sale. All of this yarn is in hanks.

While I have been merrily winding yarn, I have been considering. I had decided that instead of Kitchnering my infinity wrap together into one big circle that I would have to wrestle myself into, I would close it with buttons. Wooden buttons. But — how many buttons? and which color buttons? I’m thinking three dark ones, because five looks too busy. I started the infinity wrap with a provisional cast on, thinking I would Kitchner it, but I could just as easily pick up those stitches and do a button band.

So now I have all this beautiful new yarn, and I can’t stand it. I’ve dropped everything to work on a pattern for a wide-winged triangular shawl with a knitted on edging that can be crossed over the chest and tied behind, and there’s this Mohonk yarn in the colorway “wet bluestone” that’s been begging me to become this thing. . .

I have also been listening a lot to Venice Classic Radio, an internet radio station based in Venice, Italy (oddly enough), which I can listen to through Winamp on my PC, an internet radio app on my Fire tablet, and an internet radio app on my iPhone. If you like European classical music from the 18th and 19th century, this is the radio station for you.

Unsweetened Dreams

I suppose I may have had nightmares, but I was never aware of them. I don’t ever remember having a frightening dream. My dreams are typically neither happy, nor sad, nor scary. In terms of emotional overlay they’re all kind of ‘meh’ bland. The worst they would ever get is when I’m looking for something I can’t find (like where I parked my car or or a destination I’m trying to reach) and feel either low-grade frustration or low-grade anxiety from time pressure.

There was a time when I had a lot of dreams about walking in a straight line and when I came to a house, I would walk into it through the front door, through it, out the back door, through the back yard, the back gate and into the back yard of the next house, etc., in a long line of houses, one after the other. There was never any sense of destination, only walking in a straight line through a succession of different houses at night.

Sometimes my dreams will have characters and a coherent (and actually a rather good) plot, but most of the time they’re rather random and amorphous. Sometimes I’m “first person” — the point-of-view character to which the dream is happening — and sometimes I’m “third person” watching myself within the dream. But I only very, very rarely had a dream I was glad to wake up from.

However, in the last couple of years, my dreams have taken a “nonpleasant” turn. The subject matter has become darker. Thank goodness the emotional intensity – or lack of same – has remained the same. But the dream content tends to leave a bad taste in the mouth.

Night before last, I was having a dream about being in a big box store like Home Depot and people outside started shooting. I knew they had automatic weapons and that we had better get on the floor because they were going to rake the building with weapons fire. I wasn’t frightened, but was in that hypercalm, focused frame of mind that is fortunately my reaction to a crisis situation. I managed to get out of the building, but it was night and foggy, and I was trying to find police officers to tell them what the situation was, that there were active shooters in the area and people in danger in the store. Couldn’t find any police, although I felt certain somebody must have called them. Then the real-life phone rang and woke me up.

It was my mom. She’s always so chipper on the phone, like Stevenson’s birdie with the yellow bill, wanting to know if I was eating lunch. (I wasn’t. I’d been sound asleep.) The reason she called was she was still feeling aftershocks from the email crisis that erupted when AT&T gave Mozilla Thunderbird the cut direct and she’d had to revert to the Yahoo website to deal with her email. With emotions still running high over that, she had gone a whole half a day without having gotten any emails (it was just after noon). She was convinced something was wonky with the Yahoo website and she wanted me to go send her an email to test if Yahoo was working. I told her I would have to go boot up my computer.

Now, you have to understand that my mom and I have a major philosophical difference. We march to two very different drummers. She gets up at the crack of dawn, boots up her computer on her way to the front door to get the morning paper and have breakfast, and checks her email about 10 times during the day. The idea that anybody would want to sleep in the daytime is inconceivable to her. Why, something might happen, and they would miss it! I, on the other hand, am allergic to mornings, spent nearly 30 years working nights, loved the peace and quiet of it, and would continue to be a night owl if I had my druthers.

I had gone to bed after midnight, couldn’t get warm (the low was 38 F 3.3 C and the place I live in has no insulation to speak of). I finally got up at 3:30 in the morning and took a hot shower, and finally warmed up enough to go to sleep. Come noon and I wasn’t done sleeping yet. What I was done with was that dream.

But here’s the take-away from all this. There are prescription drugs which have the side-effect of causing nightmares, and I’m on two of them: Cetirizine (antihistamine) and metoprolol (blood pressure and heart rhythm disturbances). I’m pretty sure because of the chronicity that it’s the metoprolol, either by itself or in addition to the cetirizine, that is the culprit. So far, these nonpleasant dreams I’ve been having are not unsettling enough to ask my cardiologist if I might be able to switch from metoprolol to atenolol, which does essentially the same thing but with a lower incidence of that particular side-effect. I guess if I can put up with the constant ringing in my ears from the aspirin, I can put up with these dreams . . .

To end this post on a more pleasant note, I thought I’d leave you with my current earworm:

The lyrics to this one are haunting. . .

It’s a FO!

The Sweet Irene Shawl is finished! (Well, I still have to weave in the 2 ends, but technicalities.)

I could block it and get the ruffle effect out of the lower edge, but Mr. Rogers and I like it just the way it is and I’m leaving it in. This is Malabrigo sock yarn which is 100% Merino superwash, so it’s very soft and very light. I like the curl on the ends. It’s the perfect weight for the liminal weather on either side of summer. It’s mindless, relatively portable, just need something to do with your hands knitting — 98% garter stitch with only two little 6-stitch borders to memorize.

I like the asymmetry with that long tail on one end to throw over your shoulder. (Have you any idea how tricky it is to take a picture of yourself in a mirror with a stupid iPhone?) I think it’s safe to say I’ve got my knitting mojo back. I want to do another asymmetrical shawl with panels longways like this one.

But then again, I want to do a symmetrical triangular bottom-up shawl that is wide but not so deep, maybe with a knitted on edging. But then again, I need to go on a big FO-it or FROG-it tear through my UFOs. But then again, I’ve got shawl WIPs til the world looks level. I have such a bad case of ‘wanna knit all the things.’ And I’ve been such a bad girl and bought more yarn because I want to do this shawl.

My friend KC and I have gotten together twice now, once at her house, once at my mom’s house (my mom’s such a people person and this isolation business has been really hard on her). (I miss my late friend LB so much — she was so much fun to sit and knit with! ) If the weather will warm up a little bit, we could take lawn chairs to a park . . . mine is what you might call a chez lawn. . . .

My knitting mojo seems to have come back in spades. I have been jonesing to knit on this yet another Foreigner shawl pattern I had been working on before my zeal for knitting went on the fritz. I can’t decide if I really like the edging and I may yet frog it all and rewrite the pattern to do the edging differently. Or maybe just frog it and fagidaboutit. Haven’t decided. I have this wide, skinny triangular shawl idea that’s just driving me nuts to commit it to paper and yarn and I may get out the swift and ball a bunch of yarn.

My poor mom. She’s running a computer with Windows 7. Windows Live Mail quit working a while ago so she had to switch to Mozilla Thunderbird and fool with it, which she hated. Then her stupid internet provider ATT decided that it didn’t want to play with Mozilla Thunderbird anymore and it quit working. So now she has to use the AT&T Yahoo website to get her mail because she’s had the same email address for probably 20 years now and doesn’t want to change it. But then, when you hit “reply to” an email she’d sent, it couldn’t be delivered because the reply to email address was entered in the Yahoo website wrong somehow. Took me four hours and a phone call to ATT to fix that. Stupid Yahoo email site is about as user-friendly as a boatload of berzerker Vikings. Reminding you that mom’ll be 97 this year and can’t the durn millennials keep their little mitts off the technology for just fifteen minutes, for crying out loud?

It occurs to me that in addition to setting the sewing machine up on my little table, I could also use it to set up my swift and ball winder (Pop goozy weasel!) which I had been doing very gingerly on my dining room table with tea-towel padding because of furniture finishes. The sewing table has a plug strip mounted into it with the plugs on top which makes it dandy for setting up the sewing machine.

I think what’s keeping me from getting my yarn stash sorted is that I’m going to find all this yummy yarn I’d forgotten I had and want to do stuff with it, and that will make my already bad case of the “wanna knit all the things” so much worse. Sounds good, anyway. Think I’ll go with that.

Within Feet of a FO

I’m within about two feet of being finished FINISHED! with the Sweet Irene Shawl. It’s on a 40-inch circular needle, which is just fine when you’re working on the humpty gazillion stitches you end up with in the body but now that I’m working on the knitted-on edging, which only has seven stitches, it’s a bit much. I stoppered the aft end of the circular needle and got one of my US6 (4.0) 6-inch DPNs so I can just use one end of the circular needle and the DPN, and I don’t have to wrestle the whole body of the shawl just to work back and forth over those seven stitches of edging. You’ll notice I’m also playing yarn chicken. Thrilling times! I started this project in June of last year. Slowly, slowly up Mount Fuji . .

I have managed to get the yard raked. It took me three separate sessions with days in between to finally pull it off, but I got it done. It only took about 8 trash bags this time instead of the 14 it took the first time I did it the year after I moved in. The first time, I managed to do it all in one day. (This was before I had two stents, chemo, four hospitalizations, pneumonia and a knee replacement all within two years’ time.)

I have also gotten my new sewing table, which is currently leaning up against the wall in my kitchen doorway, so there’s that. I am now in the process of washing all the blankets I intend to make lap robes out of (some of which I’ve been intending to make lap robes out of for literally years and still haven’t yet). I need to get up and put the last load into the dryer now. Then, I get to decide where I want the sewing to take place and see if I have appropriate sewing notions. I have made no progress on my yarn stash sorting out or major house cleaning. Let’s not get carried away, shall we?

Some people (my mother) seem to have gotten the idea from jocular comments made herein (usually involving trained chimpanzees) that I’m intimating that my mom’s intelligence is less than stellar. This is not the case. Let me set the record straight. My mom was a legal secretary for half a million years to one of the partners of a very prestigious local law firm. She’s been retired for a number of years now, but she was, and still is, legendary at that firm for her organizational skills, her clerical competence, her people skills, her meticulous attention to detail, and her elephantine memory of cases.

Considering that she came from a time when cultural norms and societal constraints made career opportunities for women problematic, to say the least, and considering where she started and what few opportunities were available to her, she came a long way, baby. I’ve often wondered if she had been born in this century instead of last, and got a halfway decent shot at a college education, where she would end up. Board room? Cabinet post? Who knows? I do know, though, that whatever she ended up doing, she’d be really good at it.

That said, when it comes to contraptions of any kind, she’s a visual learner. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just the type of learner she is. Give her the thing and the instructions, and no matter how simple or self-evident the device, she will be thoroughly frustrated within a very short time, throw up her hands and give up. Show her how the thing works, and she gets it right off.

A YouTube Channel to Check out.

I love this guy’s channel. The videos are short, usually about knitting, always about life, light and chatty. His work room is next door to a brontosaurus hangout, and just around the corner from Mr. Rogers. He reminds me so much of a dear friend, JT, who has moved to another state, and who I miss being able to visit with.

The other day I received the DVDs (to replace my VHS version) of the 1995 Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle version of Pride and Prejudice, which is a miniseries, and I got to thinking about how many dramatizations of this novel there had been over the years. (I prefer my P&P in accurate period costume, reasonably faithful to the novel, and without the zombies, thank you very much.) It’s kind of like Doctor Who. Immediately two Doctor Who fans discover their mutual Whovianity, the next question inevitably is, “Who is your Doctor?” (David Tennant) Your answer helps plot you along the time and relative dimension in series. When two fans of Pride and Prejudice meet, the corresponding inevitable question is, of course, “Who is your Darcy? Need you ask? Firth forever!

I Hate Bradford Pear Trees

The Bradford pear trees are in bloom again and they’re literally all over town. I shudder to think how unhappy my sinuses would be if I was not taking a daily dose of cetirizine (generic Zyrtec). Even so, I haul off and sneeze at frequent and random intervals during the day. So annoying.

May I just say again how much I hate the new WordPress block(head) editor? It’s supposed to make using WordPress easier, they say. Easier compared to what? Trying to do a blog post while being simultaneously hit upside the head repeately with a board and being made to listen to K-P0p with the volume turned up to 11? It’s not the least bit intuitive to anybody who was born before the year 2000. AAARRRGGGHHH!!! It drives me nuts.

The Smiley Face bush on St. Paddy’s Day. . .

Update on Stuff I need to do:

Rake my back yard and put the rakings in the dumpster. — I’ve started on it. Got the roses in the front bed pruned, and one trash bag filled on Tuesday, but the City had not emptied the dumpsters, which were all full, and I blew it off today. Tomorrow afternoon I have stuff to do (see below) all afternoon. By Friday, the dumpsters will probably all be full again.

Do a major sort out on my yarn stash, with a rearrange of storage units, a sort through and weed out of yarn, do a realistic frog-it-or-finish-it sort, and frog the stuff I know I won’t finish. The spirit has yet to move me.

Block a bunch of knitted shawls and send them to their new homes, which entails getting out the folding banquet table, the steam iron, and blocking mat. No spiritual movement on this one either.

Make two lap robes. I have the blankets.  I just need to haul out the sewing machine, the banquet table, and sew the lap robes. I’ve bought a little foldable sewing table. It’s probably been held up in the Suez Canal, so no movement on this one yet either.

I talked to mom on the phone the other day, and at the end of the conversation, I got one of those, “Oh, by the way’s.” Now you have to understand my 96-year-old mom is old school when it comes to hair styles. Really old school. Like 1950’s old school. Like go to the beauty saloon once a week, have it backcombed into a bouffant, glued down with hairspray and sleep on a silk pillowcase to make it last, old school. She hasn’t fixed (or washed) her own hair in probably sixty years.

Moving Right Along on the Short Sweet and Nubby Shawl

Basically, her “oh, by the way” problem is that showers are built “one size fits all” and the pipe the shower head goes on is set at a height that will accommodate a man over six feet tall. My mom has shrunk over the years from 5’7″ to about 5’4″, so she can’t get the shower head angled right to keep from getting her hair wet, and shower caps mash her bouffant. (Ça ne se fait pas!) The old shower head dribbled rather than sprayed, and she had to get right up against the wall to get wet. The new shower head I put on to fix that problem sprays too forcefully, splatters all up into her face, gets her hair wet, and practically beats her up. The camper is not happy.

Moi? I’m 5’4″ myself, but I wash my hair in the shower when I wash the rest of me. The standard shower pipe height is at the wrong angle for me, too. I got me one of these little gizmos and have it angled out so my shower head is positioned right over my head. Turns out my little gizmo is the answer to her problem, too, and I got her a shower head with an adjustable stream. Hopefully,it’ll have a setting that won’t hit her like a firehose. I need to get with her to see if I can put it in for her while I’m out and about tomorrow. I got the parts, the wrenches, and the Teflon tape in a paper bag all ready to go. Once I get it installed, I’ll have to get the trained chimpanzee to show her how to adjust the flow on the shower head . . .

I’ve reached the point on the Sweet Irene shawl where I needed to make the knit-as-you-go edging turn the corner and become a knitted on edging to finish off that edge of the shawl. Took some figuring out, and involved two little changes to the edging pattern: changing a kfb to a k2togfb and adding a sl1p wyif*, but I worked it out. I’m very pleased with the way it looks. It’s hard to photograph, but the edging looks like it was crocheted on using a row of double crochets followed by a row of single crochets. It’s pretty slick if I say so myself. The pattern is up on Knits From The Owl Undergroundc.

The knit as you go edging is worked (kfb, yo, k2tog, p1, ssk) over the last six stitches of the right-side row and (k6) on the first six stitches on the wrong side rows.

The knitted on edging is worked (k2togfb, yo, k2tog, p1, ssk, turn work) over the last 7 stitches on the right with a (k6, sl1p wyif, turn work). You don’t have to do anything to make it turn the corner. You just go straight from one to the other. It turns the corner by itself.

I’ve been getting in the mood for a knit-together, and mentioned it to a friend. Both of us have been COVaccinated. (But I still wear my mask.) So I’m going to her house tomorrow afternoon with knitting in tow. It’ll be my turn to have it at my house next time, which means I have a week or so to clean house, bash my stash and finish the yard.

Nothing like a deadline to provoke the spirit to get out and push . . .

* k2togfb - knit two together front and back; sl1p wyif - slip one purlwise with yarn in front

Books Read in 2021

41.    *Charmed and Dangerous: Ten Tales of Gay Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy
40.    *In Other Lands, Brennan, Sarah Rees
39.    Where Shadows Dance: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery, Harris, C. S. (xre-read)
38.    What Remains of Heaven: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery, Harris, C. S. (xre-read)
37.    Where Serpents Sleep: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery, Harris, C. S. (xre-read)
36.    Unicorn Vet, Chant, Zoe
35.    Why Mermaids Sing:  A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery, Harris, C. S. (xre-read)
34.    When Gods Die: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery, Harris, C. S. (xre-read)
33.    What Angels Fear: Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery 1, Harris, C. S. (xre-read)
32.    A Liaden Universe Constellation, Volume 4, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
31.    A Liaden Universe Constellation, Volume 3, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
30.    A Liaden Universe Constellation, Volume 2, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
29.    A Liaden Universe Constellation, Volume 1, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
28.    Fortune’s Favors, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (novella) (re-read)
27.    Shout of Honor, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (novella) (re-read)
26.    Trader’s Leap, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
25     *Vixen Ecology, Carriger, G. L. (Novelette)
24.    *In Other Lands, Brennan, Sara Rees
23.    Accepting the Lance, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
22.    *Neogenesis, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
21.    The Gathering Edge, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
20.    Alliance of Equals, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
19.    Dragon in Exile, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
18.    Necessity’s Child, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
17.    Dragon Ship, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
16.    Ghost Ship, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
15.    Saltation, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
14.    Fledgling, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
13.    Mouse and Dragon, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
12.    I Dare, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
11.    Local Custom, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
10.    Plan B, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
9.      Carpe Diem, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
8.      Agent of Change, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
7.      Conflict of Honors, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
6.      Crystal Dragon, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
5.      *Goblin Fruit, Lake, Celia
4.      *Masquerade in Lodi, Bujold, Lois McMaster (Novella)
3.      *Time Variance of Snow, Yu, E. Lilly
2.      *When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain, Vo, Nghi (Novelette)
1.      Crystal Soldier, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve  (re-read)

*ebook