A Change of Pace

That loud grinding noise you heard a while ago was me changing gears from knitting to crochet. (Yes, I am ambicraftous.)  My mom belongs to this Sekret Klub, and every year in early December they have a fund-raising auction.  The members bring things to auction off, pay inflated prices for each other’s stuff, and the money goes into a college scholarship fund of some sort.  Last year, I made her four buttoned cowls.  This year, I’m making her three sets of five crocheted snowflakes. I’m also making several sets of three for hostess gifts.

Tuesday after knitting group, I need to dash over to Michael’s and get some stiff stuff, some opalescent embossing powder, a container of sewing pins, and a paint brush.   I’m pretty sure I already have enough crochet thread in my thread stash.  In order to turn the snowflakes into tree ornaments, which is the goal of the exercise, they have to be blocked (stretched and pinned into shape), then soaked in the stiff stuff and sprinkled with opalescent embossing powder to give them just the right amount of sparkle. When that side is dry, you flip them over and repeat the process.  Once they’re thoroughly dry, you hot glue a little loop of the narrowest white satin ribbon they make to one “point” so an ornament hook can be attached for hanging it on the tree.

One down, many to go.

I googled crocheted snowflakes and found this website that has a whole slew of free patterns for them.  More than enough for the 15 I’m making for my mom.  I’ll choose the 15 I like best, and do them.

I was searching for “Russian waltzes” on YouTube yesterday (because I couldn’t remember whether this one waltz was written by Prokofiev or Khachaturian)(It was Khachaturian.) and found this serendooglously*.

And yes! It’s from a Russian film.  And yes! An English language version is available on Amazon, . . . And yes! It’s been shipped!  (It’s dubbed in English.  I wish it had been in Russian with English subtitles, but I may just turn the sound off and gorge on the video.)

Here’s the Russian language trailer.

Matvey Lykov, who plays the guy she really loves (spoiler alert:  Not the blond guy.), is yummy.  And that wedding ensemble she’s wearing in the boat is just fabulous.

 

*serendoogle — something you find serendipitously while googling for something else.  I made this word up by mashing “serendipity” and “google” together.

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Now and Again, My Brain Is Nice To Me

This little gem of a Satie waltz has been my earworm for most of the day.  Kind of like my brain is trying to be extra sweet to me because of the sturm, drang and brouhaha of the Firefox Quantum debacle of the past two days.  (Instead of “Firefox,” I typed “Firepox” — I think my Freudian slip is showing.)  My savage breast hath been greatly in need of soothing of late.  Yeth, it hath.

Everything Old Is New Again

The only way  the members of my parents’ generation would have ever heard Lil Hardin Armstrong‘s song “Oriental Swing” was if it was covered by a white band — It was “race” music and it was considered too “primitive” and “degenerate” for whites to listen to, especially in the South.   How ironic that the roots of some of the most iconic American music — jazz, blues, and rock and roll — are firmly embedded in such “race” music.

A pinch of sampling, a dash of modern technology,  and  a half tsp of change of tempo, and you get:

I do have to say the second one has a catchier tempo. . . .

And she dates herself by adding, “I give it a 90, Dick, because it’s got a good beat and you can dance to it . . .

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).

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.

As the Wheel of the Year Turns

We’ve had the Autumnal Equinox already, last Friday.  It’s been chilly and rainy all week.  Last night, I actually thought about putting a blanket on my bed or, actually, just getting that little twin blanket I still haven’t made into a lap robe off the rocker and spreading it over my side of the bed.  Would have done, too, but I’d have had to get out into the cold to do it.

I’m actually thinking that a carafe-full of hot Moroccan Mint Tea might be just the thing.  And I’ve got hot dogs and buns in the freezer and if I take them out now they would be thawed by tomorrow, and there’s cans of Wolf Brand Chili in the cabinet, and I could have chili dogs with chopped onions, a big glop of chili and sprinkle cheese melted on top. (I take one of those wide, shallow soup bowls, open the bun out flat, cut the wiener in half longways and put half on each side of the bun, then load that sucker up and eat it with a knife and fork.) I’ve also got spaghetti, and I could break it into thirds before I cook it, and mix it into a can of Wolf Brand Chili, add some chopped onions and eat it with a generous amount of sprinkle cheese on top and zotted in the microwave.  Serious nums.

But what I think I’m going to do is have two slices of liverwurst on Red Oval Farms Stoned Wheat crackers with a garnish of chopped black onions, because it has a sell by or freeze date of 2 Oct, and it’ll take me three days to eat the 6-slice package.  But I could make a carafe of spiced chai and put some almond milk into it to have with . . . .

I just checked the 10-day forecast, and the hottest predicted high is 84 F (28.8 C) for Monday, with the lowest being 65 F (18.3 C).  Lows are going to be around 60 F (15.5 C) with the lowest low of 50 F (10 C) on Monday week.  We’re getting into that transitional, easy-on-the-wallet-utilities-bill part of the year where it’s not hot enough for the AC or cold enough for the heater.  It’s not quite late enough in the year to switch from AC to heater yet, though.  It’ll be time to do that when I start thinking I should get up and put some socks on.  Oh, just a little light jazz for a Saturday afternoon. . . .

Not much happening in the knitting news, the reason being that since Thursday, I’ve read two and a bit books, a stand alone (Summer in Orcus by T. Kingfisher), and the first and part of the second book in a trilogy (The Curse of Chalion and The Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold, The Hallowed Hunt being book 3), which is the setting world for a later quintet of novellas.  All of them are quite inexpensively had in e-book form from Amazon, which is where I acquired them from.

What I am doing knitting wise is working on the Ruffles and Flourishes hat pattern, which is proving to be a bit complicated. The hat pattern is a piece of cake, but I’ve ripped the first ruffle out and started over about four times now.  If I can ever get that ruffle pattern worked out, I’m home free.  I’m about to let it sit and stew for a bit and finish the Coriolis Chemo hat which is ready to start on the decreases.

However, I don’t get to do any of that right at the moment because it’s bill paying night.  Once I get that onerous chore out of the way, I will get up and get some supper and maybe read some more on The Paladin of Souls.

Art, Both High and Domestic

The lovely little piece to the right is “The Madonna of the Yarnwinder” — It’s called that because “The Madonna of the Niddy Noddy” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.  That little dohicky the Christ Child is holding is called a niddy noddy.  They’re used by people who spin yarn to wind their yarn into skeins, and measure the length of yarn in the skein, typically 80 yards.  It’s a very low-tech little gizmo — I’ve seen them made from PVC pipe.   The high-tech version is called a “spinner’s weasel” — The wheel is 2 yards in circumference, and 40 turns of the wheel equals an 80 yard skein.  Where the “tech” comes in is that some of them have a little clockwork mechanism with gears that turn a counter which will then make a clicking or popping noise when the wheel has turned 40 times.  — Yep.  You got it.  Pop goes the weasel.

In the knitting news, I’ve already finished a Simple Pleasures Hat with a ribbed brim out of the donated Dazzle yarn. Instead of just joining on a different color and carrying on knitting to make the stripes, I used a mosaic knitting technique of k1, sl1 (knit one, slip one).  If you pay attention to whether you k1 or sl1 as the first stitch when you start the stripe, and do the opposite when you join the background color after finishing the stripe, you get this zig-zag effect which I quite like.  I got almost 2 skeins of the pale orange, two skeins of the dark brown, and a skein plus a little golf ball size ball of the dark orange, as well as a skein of dark blue and four or five skeins of white as my cut of the donated yarn.  I don’t think I’ll be using the white for hats.  Maybe I’ll make another baby afghan for KC’s church group.

I’ve started another Simple Pleasures hat out of the dark brown and need to get the brim hemmed before I go to bed.  We’re having the eclipse tomorrow and I’m going to my mom’s to watch the important bits of it, and I can sit and knit while we visit.  Tomorrow would have been my dad’s 95th birthday.  Today when I shopped groceries, I got a big piece of carrot cake which i’ll bring to split with my mom.

I’m pretty put out with Napster/Rhapsody.  You can’t download music to your PC or to an MP3 player any more.  They say it’s because Microsoft removed the support for WMDRM tracks and offline playback.  I can still stream to my PC and to my Kindle and tablet.  I may need to check my internet radios to see if I can still use the Napster app on them.

I thought my $150 plus electric bill was higher than giraffe’s ears last month.  Guess what.  It was even higher this month.  Almost $170.  The thermostat is going back up to 80 F (16.6 C) and I’ll just sit around in my unmentionables with fans on.  I’ve been in these digs a year now.  I might can check with the electric company to see if I can go on average billing. (They total your usage for the past year and divide it by 11, and you pay that amount January through November.  In December, you make up the difference.)  I gotta do something.  It’s shooting my book budget in the foot.