Saturday, July 28, 2007

Earlier Deadline for Red Scarf Project

This is just a quick "get the word out post". The wonderful Red Scarf Project has moved the deadline for 2008 back to September-October (instead of February). This is a seriously good reason to go out and buy yarn. Their website has details, (and free patterns).

Go yarn shopping now, go yarn shopping now, Go yarn shopping now.

Friday, July 27, 2007

First off, thanks to everyone who left comments. I love comments and appreciate the feedback/encouragement and the computer hints. I've been making some phone calls. It seems that "for a small fee" we can get someone else to do the file transfers. Hey, I'm willing to pay someone else to do my plumbing, though with enough time an effort I might be able to do it myself. I feel the same way about the computer. So the first part of next week we'll be off to Madison for a new machine. In the meantime, I'm working on deleting old files that I don't want to keep (how did there get to be so many?)

So here's another question. I expect they will try to sell us on Vista as an operating system. Do I resist? Or do I resign myself? Do I even have a choice? Any and all input welcome.


On the knitting front, I am making a hat with the Classic Elite "Waterlily" I picked up on sale last month. It is lovely, lovely yarn. Soft, a bit springy and I really like the color. The picture shows it pretty accurately, though you will have to click to enlarge if you want the check out the fairly subtle color variation.

"Why," you may ask, "is she knitting that hat flat?" Well, on this one I set out specifically to design a pattern for those knitters who prefer to work this way. This may include beginners, and this is definitely an easy knit. But I have also met experienced knitters who would rather work back and forth than round and round. Before I'm done I'll write up directions for working it circularly, too. It's going to be my "Have it Both Ways" hat.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I really don't know why

all the entries I think about posting don't just magically appear. Which is to say, I apologize for new content being rather sparse lately. It has been a combination of pushing hard to meet a design deadline, and lately some computer problems.

But I have finally finished the design work, and the last item is almost dry. It will all go in the mail tomorrow. I probably shouldn't show much here, but a couple of "sneak peeks" of details are below.

The computer is mostly having an overheating problem, I think, but in the larger scheme of things it indicates that it's finally time to bite the bullet and go for a new one. It isn't the expense that bothers me so much as the prospect of transferring files, bookmarks, email.... not to mention deciding what operating system to go with. It doesn't help that I'm a near complete computer idiot. So I'm hoping the Geek Squad will come to the rescue.


One of the entries I thought about posting was "You Don't Need a Pattern to Turn a Sock Heel". But Clara at "Knitters Review" has beaten me to the punch, and has done such a fine job of explaining the procedure that I will just refer you to her article, which is actually a complete sock tutorial and a nice one, too.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Under the Stars

Every summer, we treat ourselves to a night at the American Players Theater in Spring Green, and last Thursday was our night.

It's a lovely drive up on back roads, especially the stretch from Dodgeville to Spring Green, over the Wisconsin River, past the entrance to the goofy House on the Rock, and the not as goofy Frank Lloyd Wright visitor center and on to the theater grounds. Dear Daughter and my Mom met us there (they were coming the other direction from Madison), and we all hiked up the hill past the last of the picnicers gathering up their belongings, through the woods and past the prairie meadow and, just in time, into the theater proper.

It was a lovely night, clear and cool and no mosquitoes. The play was Much Ado About Nothing,
and it was a delight.

Mom brought me a little tin of Blue Sky Alpacas "Knitters Little Helper" hand balm. This is nice stuff, has the consistency of really thick whipped cream, a nice herbal scent, and it's very soothing to the cuticles. Mom was at dinner at a friend's apartment and got to talking with another guest and it turned out that the guest's daughter had started with one alpaca and went on to develop a company.... Had I heard of them? Well, yes, I had. The word from Mom is that the Blue Sky organic cotton is very soft and lovely to the touch (she had a chance to feel it for herself). I'm wondering if I should order some. And I'm wondering even more if I should have Mom guest blogging, because for someone who hasn't knit in years she seems to be making connection.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Well, I am indeed going to go to the mini reunion. And there will be a knitting connection. One of my classmates, Gayle, is a knitting designer/artist (you can see her work here and here). She's pretty awesome.

My KnitPicks book order arrived a few days ago.

I love, love, love knitting books, and there are items on my shelf that I've poured over multiple times, daydreaming, plotting and picking up information. So far, I've just skimmed this lot, but I'm looking forward to more careful and more intense perusal in the near future.

The Wiseman Knitters Book of Finishing Techniques is a nice little primer, spiral bound, which is handy and of a good size for throwing into a knitting bag. After a quick look, I don't expect to find much that is new to me here, but I think it will be a good quick reference and possibly a good teaching resource.

I bought Lace Style partly for eye candy, partly just because I love that cover jacket so much and partly to study how other designers incorporate lace into garments (both from an aesthetic and a technical standpoint). I don't knit a lot of other people's patterns (though I wish I had time to do more), but boy do I study them. I'm not interested in knitting the dress with the handkerchief hem. It's too goofy (or too fashion forward, depending on your point of view) for me to wear. But I am interested in looking at how it was accomplished.

The Selbuvotter book has a little history (I would have liked more, but that's just me), and a lot of mitten charts, including a couple that are intriguingly different from any I've seen elsewhere, so that's satisfying. And I like the way the charts are laid out, with with the left palm and the right palm on either side of the back, which means no mentally flipping the thumb placement for the second mitten. One of those brilliant ideas that never occurred to me, though once I saw it I couldn't figure how I has missed such an obvious approach.

Janet Szabo's Aran Sweater Design is the one I have looked at least so far, because it is the one that looks like it will most repay truly careful study. I want to set myself down with that baby and really pour over it. So not even an interim report yet, but I'll get there.

Friday, July 13, 2007

A voice from the past

The phone rang the other evening. When I picked up, the voice on the other end was an old college friend I hadn't talked to in twenty years. She's planning a get together at her lake house the first weekend in August, would I come? Two other old friends will be there: one I had lost touch with, the other I had only exchanged Christmas cards with for a number of years. Of course, I'm going; and I'm looking forward to it. But it feels, I don't know, wistful.

In my mind's eye, they are all still the young women (girls almost) I once knew; and, maybe more importantly, so am I. So there's the draw of being with a group of women who can still see in their mind's eyes the person I once was (and really still am, really, in some way, if only on the inside). And then there is the big gap between what we were and what we are, all the twists and changes, some good and some not so good, some that might have been predicted others not. Most significantly, there are all those years, in each of our lives, that are gone. Where have they gone? Where have they gone?

Well, these were good young women to know: smart, funny, creative. Odds are in favor of it being a rewarding weekend. I'm grateful to Kathy for calling.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Home again, home again, jiggety jog

Mr S is back from his travels, and I must say it's nice to have him rattling around the house again. He travels light, one backpack for an entire month, but he did tuck into it little "I'm thinking of you" gifts along the way.

I love blue and white china/pottery, so from Delft there is a little heart shaped box.

From Scotland, a very wee Heeland Cu (that's Highland Cow to us.) Lapel pin included for scale.

Now though I've never been in Scotland, I have been close to real Highland cattle (some folks around here raise them), and they are absolutely charming looking shaggy little beasts - seeming almost more toy-like than the toy.

And from England:

A little edition of a book that Jane Austen wrote for her family when she was fifteen. The opening line of the first entry reads: "Henry the 4th ascended the throne of England much to his own satisfaction in the year 1399..." Wonderful Jane, characteristically herself at 15.

When Mr S asked at the knitting shop whether they had anything I wouldn't be able to find for myself here, the owner said they probably didn't. So he decided on the knitting spool because the ladies in the shop started reminiscing about how they played with these as girls, only the spools had been ones their Dad's made. The story is as sweet to me as the gift, Mr S seeking out a yarn merchant, and then having a little chat with the patrons.

As I was trying to take the pictures, Ms Gato most insistently kept getting in the way.
I had just finished a sandwich, and I think she smelled ham on my fingers.

Ham now, if you please.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

An unlikely conjunction

These two don't usually spend too much time hanging around together. When he is feeling feisty, Baxter will chase poor old Gato around the house. At supper time, Gato will shoulder Baxter away from his dish. But on the whole, they go their separate ways.

But yesterday afternoon this seemed to be the coolest spot available (not that I didn't invite them in....)

Friday, July 06, 2007

Well wadda ya know?

When I opened the door to let the cats out just now, a mystery box was sitting on the step. What on earth could it be? The only order I've placed recently is the one with Knit Picks., and this isn't from them.

Aha, the 2008 Knitting Pattern a day calendar.

with (Whoo Hoo!) my Zig Zag lace scarf pattern in it (Tues, May 20).

More Whoo Hoo, it even showed up on the back of the box. I was so excited to get pictures that I haven't given the rest of the calendar a thorough look yet. Nikki, I did see your funky fingerless mitts. Anyone else? I'll find you eventually, but leave your date and I'll find you faster. Oh I do shamelessly love to see my name in knit-related print!

On the home front, the Pumpkin Vine that Ate Blanchardville has bloomed.

This was a couple of days ago. There is now a little green pumpkin developing at the spot of that top blossom, about five feet off the ground.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Oh boy, just missed it

Aargh. I placed a book order with Knit Picks just three days before they posted a huge sale. All in stock books are 40% off. Now do I go see if there is anything else I want? Maybe. I've been putting in about double my usual hours at the library the last couple of weeks. Could be it's "reward myself" time.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Independance Day

Today, in honor and defense of the liberties we will be celebrating tomorrow, I'm putting a check in the mail to the ACLU.That group has sometimes defended the rights of groups I find, abhorrent, like the KKK. But the ACLU's point in doing so is right. A threat to the civil liberties of one group or individual is a threat the rights of us all. These days they have more to do than ever, what with some of the vile provisions of the so called "Patriot Act." So I'm send a few bucks their way.

And tomorrow I might or might not put out the flag (mostly depending on whether I can figure out where Mr S put it after Memorial Day), but I'll be wearing my Bill of Rights tee shirt for sure, and humming my favorite verse (the second) of "America the Beautiful".

The word "patriotism" has become so debased in our culture that it doesn't seem to mean much more than wrapping up in the flag (often literally), chanting "U.S.A, U.S.A." (often while drunk), and accepting/supporting without question the policies of the current yahoos in power, or blindly assuming that whatever our country does is the best possible way to do things and that we have nothing to learn from the rest of the world. I don't do any of those things, so call me not a patriot, that's fine by me.

But I am a citizen, and I treasure my rights and take seriously my responsibilities. As a citizen, my first loyalty is not to any party or administration. My first loyalty is to the Constitution. My first responsibility is to support that Constitution, and this includes speaking out when I see it threatened. Good citizenship means questioning the government, and challenging it if necessary. That's one of the main points of democracy.

I'm a citizen, dammit, don't tread on me. And here's to the ACLU.

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!
- Katharine Lee Bates, 1904

Sunday, July 01, 2007


I am feeling much happier after a live phone call from Mr S and Ms A this morning (yesterday's contact was just a message on the machine when I got home from work.) Something about actually being able to talk to them helped put things in perspective. Thanks Kat and Elizabeth for the empathy and encouragement - it means a lot.


On my way home from Last Saturday Knitting, I stopped by the Sow's Ear just to check what was on sale. Not a lot that interested me, but I did pick up two balls of Classic Elite "Waterlily" at 50% off. 100% merino, it's sooo soft. The color is just a bit more rust than it appears in the picture. I have plans for a hat.


I'm going to treat myself to the new Selbuvotter book by Terri Shea. Elizabeth kindly brought her copy to knitting group so I could take a look first hand, and I liked what I saw. A nice section on history and lots of mitten charts.