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.

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.

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

 

Rainy Wednesday

***In case you didn’t know, Puerto Rico is a U.S. Territory, and Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens.  Help the Red Cross help our own.   Donate to Red Cross hurricane relief here.  Also, the Red Cross always needs blood. ***

Actually, it started raining Sunday and has been raining off and on since then — like, an hour or so of just bucketing down, followed by hours of light sprinkling or mizzling followed by a couple of hours of glowering clouds, and so forth. It’s supposed to be like this all week.  It’s not unexpected.  It “always” rains here during the South Plains Fair, so that the dirt parking lots and dirt fairgrounds can become a goopy mess.  Also they’re gearing up to start stripping cotton, which they can’t do till the fields (and cotton) dries out. One good thing, though; the rain has washed all the ragweed pollen out of the air.

This is the flatlands, remember, so when it rains, water fills the slightest depression till it overflows.  It’ll rain like the dickens for about an hour, water will collect in all the street gutters and at the intersections to about 12-18 inches deep (which means the lanes of traffic closest to the curb/kerb are virtually unusable due to standing water covering most of the lane), and the pickups will just go barreling along at 40 mph like they always do, rooster-tailing great splashes of water when they hit puddles, deluging the cars on either side to the point that you can’t see out your windshield/windscreen for several seconds.  Then, an hour or two later, the water has run off through the storm drains into the numerous playa lakes in the various parks scattered about the city, and the streets are pretty clear of standing water again.   Of course, any underpasses where the roadway is below ground level quickly become impassible.

I had a checkup at the dentist’s Monday (during an interlude of raining cats and dogs), and everything looks OK.  I’m on my last day of antibiotics. I was down to 500 mg of acetaminophen four times a day on Sunday, and stopped taking it completely yesterday and haven’t needed any since.  I should get the crown — the actual tooth part — some time in January.

In the knitting news, I reworked the decreases part of the pattern for “A Little Twisted Hat” and I like it much better. 

You really can’t see the changes too well.  The picture on the left is the old way, and the one on the right is the new way, but you can’t really see the changed part in the picture. — I ran out of the dark orange and had to finish with the light orange, and it doesn’t show up well.  I stopped the twisted cables three rows sooner, and did the decrease from the center of the cable, not decreasing the purl stitches til the very end so that the cable comes to a point with purls on either side.  Looks much better.  I need to make another one in a yarn I’ve got enough of to finish the hat with and take a better picture to put on the pattern.

Also, I’m down to the last ball of yarn on CJ’s shawl.  Soon as I finish it and weave in the ends, both shawls are going to be packed up ready to be mailed to Spokane, WA.  I hear the weather is starting to get cool up there and it’s finally raining some. They are knee deep in a kitchen remodel so I will probably hold off for a couple of weeks until things settle down.  I’ve already got a fair start on one for me.

Adventures in Dentistry and a Short Trip to Atlantis

“The land that lies between ‘Factual’ and ‘True’ is the undiscovered country wherein tales are found. One of the most delightful discoveries one can make in this uncharted land is that a story does not have to be factual to be true.” thus sayeth WOL.

I need a sign that says, “Let Sleeping Dust Lie.”

OK.  So off to this morning’s adventure in dentistry wherein I had to get up at ridiculous o’clock because I had forgotten to get any Ensure or acetaminophen 500 mg tablets, because instead of grocery shopping Sunday morning as I had planned, instead, I drove my mom to the ER because she got waylaid by the norovirus du jour currently making the rounds, had had most of the usual symptoms for four days (mercifully no vomiting), and she and I were both concerned that she was getting dehydrated.  Four Cotton-Picking Hours Later we had a brief glimpse of a doctor who told us these “stomach bugs” are usually self limiting, that for electrolyte replacement, she should have been drinking Pedialyte instead of Gatorade (which is loaded with sugar and only aggravates the diarrhea — which I could have told her without making her wait for four hours).  Totally derailed both our plans for Sunday.  I ended up not going shopping until Monday morning and had to wade through large crowds (including screaming preschool age children) to do so.

Anyway, I had to stop off at Walmart to get Ensure and acetaminophen on my way to my 9 o’clock dentist appointment, and then on my way home had to stop off at Walgreen’s to get $23 worth of antibiotics.

As I mentioned in other posts, after I got that lower molar ‘extracted’, the hole it left was bone grafted.  The graft “took,” and this morning I had the post for the tooth implant put in, which required that the gum be incised so that he could get to the bone, and then stitched back up afterward.  I’m supposed to baby the area and watch what I eat.  Naturally, since I can’t have them, I’m craving these really crunchy crackers I like.  This time, unlike when he “extracted” the tooth (read: drill out the root canal part of the tooth to get it out), his nitrous oxide dohickey was working, so I wandered off to the ozone listening to Kevin Kendle’s “Journey to Atlantis” and didn’t much mind that he was drilling a peg into my jawbone.

Of course, immediately I got home, I popped an antibiotic capsule and two 500 mg acetaminophen, and knocked back an Ensure high protein formula, and did what anybody would do — I took a nap.  The key to pain control is to take pain meds before you need them, so by the time the numbing wore off I had enough acetaminophen on board that when I laid me down to nap, I was comfortable enough to sleep for four hours.

In the meantime, the knitting fairie struck and I had two little outfits to give to the dentist’ s receptionist, who is due in November.  There were a couple of minor blips in that process, however;  one was that I had to rewrite the hat pattern to be knitted in the round.

There are some people who hate knitting on double pointed needles so much that they will knit a hat flat and then sew it up.  And then there are people like me who are unfazed by double pointed needles, but hate to sew knitting.

It seems that there is this whole school of thought that approaches knitting from a sewing standpoint.  In sewing you cut out pieces of cloth and then sew them together to make a garment, so they write knitting patterns like sewing patterns.  You knit the garment in pieces and then sew the pieces together.  No, thank you. I would much rather work out a way to knit the garment as a single seamless piece.

The other blip was that I made a boo-boo in the little pink sweater and didn’t catch it until I was about three inches beyond it.  For about 20 stitches on this one row, I purled where I should have knitted.  Even though this little sweater was knitted flat, I was using double pointed circular needles.  That made it easier to fix.

Allow me to digress into technicalities.  Some people would have ripped the whole thing out back to the mistake and reknitted everything, which would have entailed a lot of time, work, pejoratives and scatological language.  I just ripped out the bit that needed fixing and reknitted just those stitches.

Let me show you what I mean.  Recently I made a booboo in a hat I was working on, and k1, p1, when i should have p1, k1.  it was only 8 stitches, but I had knitted about 4 inches beyond the mistake before I caught it.  Rather than rip out all that work,

I just ripped out those stitches that I messed up — ALL the way back to the mistake. You can see how far I would have had to rip out, if I had ripped the whole thing back to where I flubbed up.  Instead, this way, I just had to reknit 8 stitches for four inches rather than 90 stitches for four inches.

I got out my trusty straight double pointed needles in the same size as the 16-inch circular double pointed needles I was using to knit the hat.  (I have a set of double pointed needles in each size that I have 16-inch circular needles, for doing the decrease to close up the top of the hat.)

I picked up the stitches on a double pointed needle.  Ripping out just those stitches leaves a “ladder” of threads, one thread per row.  I then use a second double pointed needle to  knit each “ladder rung” of thread across the 8 stitches I need to fix, being careful to take the rungs in order working my way back up, rung by rung.

Because the needles have a point at each end, when I got to the end of one row, I just went back to the right end of the needle and started on the next row. And with a little bit of patience and attention, there’s the goof all fixed!  This is one of my Toboggans with the internal ribbing on the hem.  The white bit at the bottom is the cotton yarn I used for the provisional cast on.  This whole little episode speaks to something I do not always do, which is stop frequently and check over the work to catch any errors before I get too far past them. If I hadn’t caught that error before I’d turned the hem, I would have had to rip out clear past the hem, and it would truly have been a big, loud PITA.

In other knitting news, I finished the twisted cable hat. I like the way it turned out.  I need to post it and the rewritten baby hat pattern on my knitting blog.  But not today.  I think I hear some chicken noodle soup calling my name. . . and I need to take my antibiotic dose and a couple of acetaminophen with something in my tum.