Sunday, September 30, 2007

Darn I Missed It!

We were sitting in the park on Friday night, waiting for the Pep Band, and Homecoming Court to arrive. 10 minutes after the appointed hour, they hadn't arrived. 15 minutes and they hadn't arrived..... It's only two blocks from the school to the park, (though the procession generally wends its way down to Main Street, and back, for a total of about 7 blocks.) So what was the delay? Turns out there was a bit of an accident at the head of Main Street, involving a squad car and a tractor pulling a wagon load of manure. (Not part of the procession, mind you.) And I missed it! Darn, darn, darn, darn, darn! Still the fireworks show after the pep rally (new this year), was satisfyingly impressive.

We were out of town on Saturday, so completely missed (in Mr S's view, avoided) the Homecoming parade and game. We drove to a suburb north of Chicago to attend the memorial service for a good friend's mother. We overestimated the amount of time needed to get there, and ended up with about 45 minutes to kill, so stopped in at the local library. I was blown away. They had a coffee shop at the front entrance. The fiction room has a large reading area with gas fireplace. There is an entire room of music and videos. Many foreign language items in all categories. Our entire little Blanchardville library could fit into the reception/checkout areas alone. I headed upstairs to nonfiction to check out the knitting selection. About 4 shelves, including not one, but two copies of The Principles of Knitting. Oh yeah, and the Alice Starmore Fair Isle Book. Ai, yi, yi.

No new knitting pictures. I finished off and blocked the Red Scarf today, then worked on more swatches of a stitch combination that is almost but not quite doing what I want it to.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Another New Trick

I generally don't mind working with a cable needle, but I've been swatching a stitch combination for a sock. Since I'm an unreconstructed dpn user, that leads to close quarters with a lot of needles ends already. I didn't feel that I wanted to introduce still another. So I decided it was time to learn a new skill - cabling without a cable needle.

I spent some time with Grumperina's tutorial. It took quite a few pattern repeats of blind following before the logic of it sunk in. Now I can do it pretty smoothly, though it isn't quite automatic yet. It does seem quicker than picking up and putting down (and then searching for) the cable needle. So having semi-mastered a 2 over 2 Left Twist, my next challenge is to progress to a Right Twist.


My tulip bulbs arrived yesterday, along with some crocus. Planting bulbs is my annual "faith that spring will come" ritual.

This lot includes some purple, some orange and a bunch of mixed color Darwins.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Reading Virginia W

Prowling the house for some bedtime reading last week, I came across my old copy of To the Lighthouse. I had forgotten how much I like this book. I'm what Virginia Woolf herself would call a "Common Reader", so I can't give a literary analysis. The best I can do is to say that it's about memory and change, the fleetingness of time and impressions, and the persistence of feeling. It's elegiac and lyrical and beautiful.

So I've ordered some other things from the library. The first I've started on is a collection of her complete short fiction, arranged in chronological order. This is very interesting, because the opening stories "show promise", as they say, but are a little trivial or a little flat, compared to the novel, which only makes sense. She was a beginning writer. But some of interests are there already: exploring what the past might have felt like when it was the present, examining the lives of women who are bound by traditional roles and imagining women who push those boundaries. I think I'm going to enjoy watching her develop. After that, I will move on to Mrs. Dalloway.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Finished Objects

"Rainy Day on Dear Waves"

Opal Socks

Friday, September 21, 2007

This 'n That

Ravelry. It sounds terrific, so why haven't I signed up? Scared of the amount of time I would end up spending there, mostly. Something tells me I may be leaving myself out of an important loop, though. So if anyone is on board, what feature(s) to do like best/use the most? Are there features you don't use at all?

Vista/Windows 2007: Given that Word is the most basic application that I (and I suspect most people) use, you would think that they would have made the transition in this area absolutely seamless. Unless, of course, this is a deliberate part of the evil Microsoft world domination plot.

I can open my old documents in the new system, but it messes with the formatting a bit, which is a pain when the document I want to open is a knitting pattern that I want to print out for sale. Not a big mess up, just cutting off the footer where I've included copyright and contact info. I can deal with it, I just don't want to have to deal with it.

Of more concern is the question of emailing documents created in the new program to anyone in the vast majority who are still on XP (lucky devils). I can save in "compatibility mode", but the instructions come with the caveat that this could affect formatting as well. This won't be an issue for patterns I sell online, as they are all converted to PDF. But I can imagine other cases where it could be a pain.

Let's just call this "Clip Art Friday" and leave it at that.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Red Scarf Project Pattern

Well, I thought I might as well write up what I'm doing for the Red Scarf Project. I chose a reversible stitch pattern The New Knitting Stitch Library (Lesley Stanfield, Lark Books), and worked two repeats with a garter border. While the 16 row repeat may look daunting, this is a very logical, easily learned pattern. The sequence of stitches remains the same. It just shifts to the right for the first eight rows, then to the left for the next eight rows.

You can click this picture to make it larger.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the pattern is a rib variation and draws in while working; but when done in 100% wool blocks flat very nicely. The pattern stitch was originally given in charted format only. I've translated to line by line directions, but there's also a chart at the end.

Approximate Size: 8 x 59 inches


200 gms/440 yds of worsted weight wool (I used Cascade Quattro)
Size 8 (5 mm) knitting needles or size needed to obtain gauge


16 sts = 4 inches in pattern stitch after blocking

Pattern Stitch

Row 1: k6, (k4, p1, k1, p4, k1, p1) twice, k6.

Row 2: k5, pl, (k1, p1, k4, p1, k1, p4) twice, p1, k5.

Row 3: k6, (k3, p1, k1, p4, k1, p1, k1) twice, k6.

Row 4: k5, p1, (p1, k1, pl, k4, p1, k1, p3) twice, p1, k5.

Row 5: k6, (k2, p1, k1, p4, k1, p1, k2) twice, k6.

Row 6: k5, p1, (p2, k1, p1, k4, p1, k1, p2) twice, p1, k5.

Row 7: k6, (k1, p1, k1, p4, k1, p1, k3) twice, k6.

Row 8: k5, p1, (p3, k1, p1, k4, p1, k1, p1) twice, p1, k5.

Row 9: k6, (p1, k1, p4, k1, p1, k4) twice, k6.

Row 10: k5, p1, (p4, k1, p1, k4, p1, k1) twice, p1, k5.

Row 11: k6, (k1, p1, k1, p4, k1, p1, k3) twice, k6.

Row 12: k5, p1, (p3, k1, p1, k4, p1, k1, p1) twice, p1, k5.

Row 13: k6, (k2, p1, k1, p4, k1, p1, k2) twice, k6.

Row 14: k5, p1, (p2, k1, p1, k4, p1, k1, p2) twice, p1, k5.

Row 15: k6, (k3, p1, k1, p4, k1, p1, k1) twice, k6.

Row 16: k5, p1, (p1, k1, p1, k4, p1, k1, p3) twice, p1, k5.


Cast on 36 stitches.
Knit 10 rows.
Repeat Rows 1 - 16 of Pattern Stitch until scarf measures approximately 58 inches, ending by working either Row 8 or Row 16.
Knit 10 rows.
Bind off.

For those who prefer a chart, here it is. The stitches between the red lines are worked twice on every row.

Blank squares are knit on the odd numbered rows and purled on the even numbered rows.
Squares with a dot are purled on the odd numbered rows and knit on the even numbered rows.

I this can also be enlarged by clicking on it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Now What?

At a certain point, the question of toes arises.

I had thought out an Inventive Toe, that I hoped would make the stripes do interesting things. It didn't really, and it was oddly lumpy. So I ripped it out (without taking a picture.) Now I am back to a pretty much standard wedge toe.

I did move the chevron increases outward from the center a few times before starting the toe decreases. This was to ease the transition between the bias fabric of the foot and the straight fabric of the toe. If you look closely, you can see where this is happening in that top orange stripe.

Now I'm thinking about spirals....

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Suddenly it's Fall. After a day of gentle, steady rain on Monday the air turned clear and crisp and windy. As it's now not too hot, wet or buggy, I've spent most of my time out in the yard trying to catch up on two months of deferred yard work: pruning, grubbing up weeds, edging (driveway, sidewalk, around trees and flowerbeds).

The flagstone walk between the back door and Mr S's work shed had been almost completely obliterated by grass. Voila!
After removing buckets of grass, Creeping Charlie and oxalis I found that the Hollyhocks have reseeded themselves. Hooray! They need some thinning. As soon as I clear another spot I will try transplanting a few.

I ordered crocus and tulip bulbs yesterday, so I'm clearing out a place to put them.

There's a lot of work left to be done before the snow flies, which won't be so very long now.


Yesterday was the blood drive. I made brownies to take up there (our Woman's Club helps supply the after-donation treats). It looked like a good turn out, I counted at least ten other donors during the time I was there, and that was just the first hour.

One of the things I like about giving blood is that I always bump into at least one person I haven't seen in a while. So the event is one of those things that helps tie a community together. And I like that it takes place in the High School cafeteria area, because the kids walk through and by and are exposed to the example of community members engaged in volunteer service as a sort of routine, expected thing. It's good role modeling. And I like that some of the kids themselves volunteer as helpers and some of the ones who are old enough donate blood. And I really, really like that Kathleen Hermanson (a rather legendary baker) always brings big trays of a variety of cookies and bars. They put my brownies to shame. I don't care. I just enjoy.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Hooray for The Road to Socialism!

My Opal sock yarn order arrived, and the colors of "The Road to Socialism" are just as nice as they looked on the computer screen. OK, I confess I ordered two colorways.... well three (but the third is on back order.) The one on the right is "Singing Steamer".
I've been making progress on the "Rainy Day on Dear Waves" pair. I decided not to do an afterthought heel, so I "unvented" a sort of shape that looks pretty much like a heel.

Actually, after I finished it, I realized that it'a pretty similar in construction (though not exactly identical) to the "Shaped Common Heel" in Nancy Bush's Folk Socks. Mine didn't involve any grafting, but does have a couple of little "dog ears" where the gusset pick ups start and end. They flatten out it wear, though. It fits pretty well, and I think I will just go ahead and do the second one to match.

Sometimes everyone has to get in on the act.

Sock With Two Cats and a Shoe


The portion of the Red Scaft that I blocked did flatten out very nicely, so now it's full steam ahead to finish it in time for the deadline.


The basement is almost completely dry!! Thank goodness for sunny weather. There are still some issues to be dealt with for the long run, like we really do need a sump pump. So we'll be calling around.

It does appear that some of the water was coming from the water softener, just assumed it was part of the general flood. So that puppy is shut down for now.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

I haven't really dropped off the face of the earth. I just got diverted. Mostly, I've spent the last week out in the yard pruneing back overgrown foundation plantings, "re-grading" around the house with spade and rake in an attempt to ensure that surface water doesn't pool around the house, caulking some cracks around the front step, fighting off mosquitoes..... I'm determined to get this wet basement thing licked. If this doesn't do it we'll have to bring in the contractors.


I'm really pleased and excited to have been accepted as an "Aspiring Associate" member of the Association of Knitwear Designers (AKD).


The only actual knitting I have done recently is on the Red Scarf. The pattern is pulling in more than I had anticipated (having forgotten the old rule of thumb that says the longer your ribbing is, the more it pulls in).

I'm wishful-thinking it will block out, but just to be sure I'm going to block what I have "on needle" before I go much further with it. This is what it looks like smooshed flat, a nice zig-zag of alternating stockinette and reverse stockinette with a single knit and purl between.