I’m Ready For Some TV Knitting (and Watching!)

Well, the pattern is modified and the slippers are knitted and on my little tootsies.  The math involved makes my brain hurt, even when I’ve got a calculator.   My three remaining working brain cells are knackered, and I’m ready for a little mindless TV knitting.

They worked up nicely, but you have to sew up the sole and the back of the heel portion . . . grumble . . . grumble.  I strenuously avoid knitting patterns you make in pieces and then have to sew together.  If I wanted to sew, I’d get out my sewing machine.

The pattern is sized for a foot 9-10 inches (23-25.5 cm) long from big toe to the edge of the heel, which would accommodate an (American) 8 to a 10 ladies size shoe.

Yesterday was Veterans’ day, and I just couldn’t.   The picture of my dad in his dress Marine uniform at the start of WWII, the exact one (which is still in the exact frame) that his father had at his bedside while he was dying of cancer and hoping his 3rd son would make it home from China in time to say one last goodbye is just too fraught with memories.

My mom is an anniversary marker — she knows the birthdays and the date of death of each of her 12 siblings, her mother,  my dad, and my brother’s late first wife, and she never fails to remark on each event and how many years it has been since.  And she put that picture of my dad up on her Facebook page for Veterans’ Day.  That’s all well and good, but, we shouldn’t just remember veterans on Veterans’ Day; we should remember them every day.  They don’t just protect and defend us on Veterans’ Day.  They risked and continue to risk life and limb in our service every minute of every day.

And besides, my dad’s not the only veteran in the family.  Both he and my mother had brothers in the armed services during WWII, and they had a child who proudly served as well.

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Nothing Is Ever Simple

After banging my head against that shawl pattern I was writing yesterday, (which I was trying to knit one of to test the pattern and kept messing up — I’ve frogged* that puppy back to the slip knot 5 cotton-picking times!) I though, I’ll just do a pair of slippers today.  Easy, fast, straightforward, simple. Right?

Oh, I should have known the minute I saw the pattern’s author had a Japanese first and last name, and the words “Ladies: Size M.”   I hadn’t gotten four rows into the sole pattern when I realized, Houston, we have a problem.   So now I have to rewrite the pattern to make it an inch and a half longer to fit my size 8-1/2 American tootsies.   But, hey.  I like the pattern.  They’re the very kind of thing I want to wear around the house in cold weather.  Once I’ve waded through all the math and gotten one made, I just have to make the other one.   Piece of cake, right?

Sometime here soon, I’m also going to have to go on a conspiracy hunt — find and decide on all my UFOs**.  Am I ever going to finish them?  If not, froggy time; recycle the yarn and free up the needles.

I also need to go “cold sheep”*** big time.  My yarn stash is about to take me over.

I really should have known I wouldn’t have smooth sailing today. First thing, I wasn’t able to download my email.   I tried going to the Suddenlink website and couldn’t get on it.  I thought it was probably trouble with their website as I had TV, phone and could get on other internet sites.   Just for good measure,  I rebooted my modem.  When in doubt, reboot the modem.  Made no difference.

Before I even picked up the phone to call Suddenlink to find out what the deal was, I could feel my blood pressure going up.  Their phone tree is designed to deal with people who don’t have the sense God gave a doorknob. All I needed was 1 minute of a tech support person’s time answering a simple yes or no question, Is the Suddenlink website down?  To get that, I have to wade through the whole spiel, starting with proving it’s really  me by giving the SEEKRIT KOD.  Then I have to pick one of THEIR choices (my choice wasn’t one of them).  When you finally get to where you choose “tech support” then you have to wade through all the restart the modem song and dance.  Of course, by then, I’m yelling at the phone and my blood pressure is probably higher than giraffe’s ears.  When I FINALLY got to speak to the technician, I told her everything works, except I can’t download email or get on the Suddenlink website.  She checked to see if their website was down and sure enough.  Once I was actually speaking to a real live person, It took less than a minute to actually find out what I needed to know, and took a great deal of aggravation, hassle and major buzzkill to get to that point.  Their website’s still down, BTW, and has been down for about 8 hours now  All my services except email are still working.   Getting my email would be nice, though.

 

*What knitters do to a piece of knitting they've messed up:  rip-it, rip-it.
 **UFO - UnFinished Object.
 *** like going "cold turkey" except for knitters.  Not buying any more yarn until one's yarn stash is (greatly) reduced, either by getting rid of yarn or making something with it, or both.

It Fooled Around and Got Cold On Us

Tonight, my heater came on for the first time I was aware of  since I switched my thermostat over from AC to heat last week before we went to Pearland.  That’s because it got down to 32 F (0 C) last night, and its only 36F (2.22 C) right now.

I really need to be working on my reader’s shrug for reading in bed (my arms get cold), so naturally, I’ve started writing a shawl pattern —  it’s a modification of  a scarf pattern (see scarf at left)for a scarf which has an edging of Hilton lace.  The body of the scarf was done in seed stitch and had no border on the neck edge.  It had an increase/decrease of 1 stitch every 4 rows and is not very wide.   I like the look of it, and thought I would like it even better if it was a shawl.  So, I took the Hilton lace part, and combined it with what I call a “cobblestone stitch*” (because I haven’t been able to find out what it’s actually called) for the body, with a 3-stitch garter stitch inner edging and a 1 stitch increase every other row to make the body shawl-width instead of scarf-width.

It’s been a booger to sort out — the lace has a 16-row repeat, and since it’s knitted flat, the piece has right side and wrong side rows, which I had to figure out for the scarf body, and whether that bit goes at the beginning (right side) or end (wrong side) of the row.

I’ve had to write one “beginning increase” pattern repeat you just do once, because the body of the shawl starts from 1 stitch,  and then an increase pattern repeat that you repeat x number of times.  When you get to the halfway point, you start a decreasing pattern repeat, the last iteration of which had to be written separately as it takes the shawl body decrease back down to 1 stitch, after which you bind off.  However many times I’ll repeat the decrease pattern repeat depends on how many times I repeat the increase pattern repeat.  Since I’m knitting as I write, to test the pattern for accuracy, I won’t know until I’ve worked the increase pattern repeat the appropriate number of times.  Once I’ve actually knit one, I’ll be able to publish the pattern.

I’m doing it in knitting worsted weight (Medium:4) yarn on a ChiaoGoo Red Lace size US 10 (5.00) 32-inch circular needle, which ought to be wide enough.  The ChiaoGoo Red Lace needles have a nice long taper on the tip that makes them ideal for lace knitting.  I like the ChiaoGoo Red Lace needles so much I use them all the time.  I’m starting to get quite a collection of them.  I especially like the way they do the connecting cord between the needles.  Those needles that use nylon or plastic to connect the needles are like trying to knit with a spring.  They keep wanting to coil back up.  The ChiaoGoo’s are very flexible and have no “memory” — I store mine coiled up in the package they come in, and when I take them out, they uncoil and are very flaccid and flexible, with no “coiling tendencies” whatever.

Lately, I’ve been reading Lois McMaster Bujold’s Penric and Desdemona novellas (there’s 6 of them so far), which I am enjoying.  I have two left.  They are set in the same (fantasy) “world of the 5 gods” as her Chalion books (The Curse of Chalion, Paladin of Souls,  and The Hallowed Hunt) and occur chronologically between the time period of The Hallowed Hunt, which is “historically” earlier than the Penric novellas, and the time period of the other two Chalion books, which are “historically” later.  So, if you want to read them in chronological order, read The Hallowed Hunt first, then the 6 Penric novellas, then The Curse of Chalion and Paladin of Souls.  They can each be read as a stand-alone, but they do fall into groups based on plot (Curse and Paladin) and main characters (Penric and Desdemona) .   The Hallowed Hunt is the outlier, as the only thing it shares with the rest of them is the world.

I was reading Bujold’s Vorkosigan books, which are space opera, but I got really tired of Miles Vorkosigan and his story arc.  What got me into the series was the Aral and Cordelia story arc, (which is Shards of Honor and Barrayar). but I bailed out about three books into Miles’ shenanigans. I found the Aral and Cordelia characters compelling and appealing, but I couldn’t get with Miles.  I completely enjoyed Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, which is more of Cordelia’s arc, and I wish she’d write more about the menage Bujold touches briefly on in that.   (Bujold’s “Schrödinger’s cat carrier” where she keeps ideas she can’t decide whether to use or not is not only brilliant, but it cracks me up so much!)

I’ve also got the latest Steve Brust Vlad Taltos novel in the To Be Read pile, although I may have to read up onto it by rereading some of the previous books in the series to refresh my memory.  I’ve also got two Dorothy Gilman novels, the two about Madam Karitska  (The Clairvoyant Countess and Kaleidoscope) on the pile as well as some other books, so I’m all set for some good reading weather.

 

* Row 1: knit, Row 2, k1, p1, repeat rows 1-2 ad lib.

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).

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.

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.