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.
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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.

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.

Aftermaths, Dentistry, and a Baby

Please, donate to the Red Cross.  Nobody is immune to natural disasters, and what goes around, comes around, folks.

Heard from my friend JT who lives in Key West.  They evacuated Thursday afternoon and were holed up in a hotel in Orlando for the duration.  I don’t think they thought Irma was going to track as far east as it did, and Orlando did take a hit, but not a direct hit like the Keys did.  They have the hotel room booked until Saturday.  They should be able to get back by then.  Hopefully, they will have something left to go back to.  I’ve seen footage of the damage in Key West, and it’s pretty bad.  The main thing, though, is that they’re alive and unharmed.

I got a CT of my jaw done this past Monday to see if the bone graft took where I had that lower molar pulled, and the graft has taken.  That means that on the 21st, a large gob of money will be given to my dentist to implant a peg into my jawbone.  Three months after that, he will be given an even bigger gob to put a tooth onto that peg.  I also learned that the dentist’s receptionist/clerk is pregnant with a little girl due possibly at around the first of the year by the look of her, so there will be baby things in the knitting news.

However, currently in the knitting news is that I have finished three hats and a shawl.  The shawl pattern is Malguri Morning, one of two I’m doing for friends in Washington State.  It’s done in Loops & Threads Charisma yarn, “Northern Lights” and “Electric Blue” colorways.  The other one has about a ball and a half of yarn left to go and has been bumped back in the queue again due to the fact that their kitchen is in the process of being remodeled, and BABY STUFF KNITTING!

I finished two ribbed toboggans and a Simple Pleasures hat, and I am working on a new pattern I’m calling a Little Twisted Hat (at right).  I’ll post that pattern when I’ve figured out how many cable crosses are needed before the decreases can start.

 

 

 

 

The toboggans are the ones above (camo chemo!) and the Simple Pleasures one is to the right.  I’ve got five other hats started, but two are stalled, one has to be half ripped out and rethought, and the remaining two just have to be finished.  They will be on hold, however, until I get baby stuff out of the way.  I’m going to see how many baby things I can knit between now and the 21st. They already know it’s going to be a little girl, and I have pink yarn and lavender yarn, and yellow yarn . . . I’ve also got a ChiaoGoo size US 11 (8.o mm) 60-inch circular needle on order and two big balls of a nice yellow yarn, so there may be a baby afghan at some point.  We’ll see.

Another Friend in Harm’s Way

Please, donate to the Red Cross.  Nobody is immune to natural disasters, and what goes around, comes around, folks.

I was watching the Weather Channel on TV (again), and watching a hurricane (Irma) barrel down on the US (again), with South Florida in its sights.  It seems like after Irma side-swiped Cuba, that caused it to veer to the west.  I have a dear friend, JT, in Key West, which is now pretty much dead center in the storm track.  They’re talking 10-15 foot (3.o-4.5 m) storm surges along Florida’s west coast.

According to the Weather Underground website, “. . . Late Saturday, Irma was aimed toward the west of Key West, which would put the the city on the storm’s more dangerous right-hand side. However, Irma is beginning to angle rightward, and this will most likely bring its core somewhere near or just east of Key West between around 2 and 8 am Sunday. Winds of 120 mph (193 kph) or more can be expected just east of the eye, and storm surge is predicted to range from 5 to 10 feet (1.5-3.0 m).”

I don’t know his status.  I’ve refrained from trying to contact him because I don’t want to tie up his phone or deplete his phone battery when he has few if any opportunities to recharge it.  My main hope is that they were able to get out to someplace safe where they can ride this thing out, but I’m also hoping there will be something left for them to come back to once they can.  Knowing him, though, where ever he is, he will be helping others.

 

What 9 Trillion Gallons of Water Looks Like.

houston-modis-post-harvey

MODIS image from NASA’s Terra satellite on August 31, 2017, showing flooding in the Houston, Texas area and sediment plumes in the Gulf of Mexico from Hurricane Harvey. Image credit: NASA

Before and After pictures from the Washington Post.

The relatives we’ve heard from were very lucky.  So very many more were not.  Please donate to the American Red Cross.