Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Elvis has left the building

Well, not Elvis really. But I did get the very big project that has been occupying most of my time for the last six weeks packed up and in the mail yesterday.

So what to do with myself?

Well, there is the neglected housework (can we say dust 1/2 inch deep?). And the yard full of weeds and things gone to seed.

Need to finish seaming up that afghan, it's about 3/4 done. And the second version of Hudson has been sitting in a heap for weeks, again 3/4 done. And some mending.

I have a little purse to finish up.

And there is a kitchen towel that needs one of those toppers that let you hang it on the refrigerator door handle.

Guess I'll find ways to fill my time.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Merci Christine

It's always both humbling and gratifying to hear from someone who has knit one of my patterns and enjoyed it. So the other day, I was delighted to receive an email from Christine, who not only sent kind words about the Lace Fichu, but also enclosed a translation of the pattern into French, and offered me the use of it. As soon as I am able, I will make available a version of the pattern that includes the translation as a supplement.

In the meantime, I encourage you to visit Christine's blog In Tricot Veritas. The pictures need no translation. Her knitting is lovely, and her chat is tres charmant. (I have probably mangled the French already, but you get the idee.)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

All done being grumpy

after my little library hissy fit. I'll just say again, that most of our patrons, children and adults alike, are nice and often very interesting people. It's fun seeing what different, and sometimes unexpected, items they will request. There's the farmer with an avid interest in astronomy, and the retired farmer who now reads extensively in American history, and the accountant who just read To Kill a Mockingbird for the first time in her life and loved it, .... And the volunteers are worth their weight in gold, and all will get stars in their crowns: the grandma who likes to read to preschoolers, the young mom who takes on organizing and leading the summer reading program, the high school student who comes in and shelves books and set up a nice spreadsheet for us to track magazine subscriptions, and the woman who once a week takes a huge box of books to the bowling alley (because the senior citizens congregate there on their league day).

Much more to appreciate than to grumble about. Attitude adjusted. Back to work on Saturday with a smile.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


To: The 10% of our patrons who are boneheads

From: The Library Assistant

We are happy to take your donations of books, Often, we can add them to our collection, otherwise we save them for our every other year used book sale. But if you have just cleaned out your basement/garage/attic, don't expect us to store six cartons of of very old books for two years. Keep them yourself until the sale comes around. Or take them to the thrift store. And please, don't give us anything that is torn, or mouldy, or just disgustingly dirty. If you are one of those people who simply can't bear to throw away a book (and believe me, I understand that feeling), hand it to a friend or neighbor, and ask them to put it in the recycle bin for you.

We love children, and want them to feel welcome at the library. This doesn't mean it's OK for you to drop off pre-schoolers in the kids' area and go spend the next two hours on the computer, completely ignoring the fact that they are pulling books off the shelves ten at a time, or loudly fighting, or running behind the circulation desk every two minutes to demand from the librarian the attention you are not giving them yourselves. Oh, and when you are checking out, if your children keep grabbing at the librarian's rubber stamps, tell them to stop it. We don't expect perfect behavior, don't want perfect quiet from kids; we just don't want to be treated like babysitters.

Computer users: we give you a "heads up" ten minutes before the library closes. Log out before that ten minutes is up. Do not keep cruising the web until one (or ten) minutes after closing time. And especially do not then expect to take ten more minutes looking for a book or movie to check out. Also, do not whine if the Internet connection is slow. If it is slow for you, it is also slow at the circulation desk. We all have to put up with it, so just suck it up.

If, thanks to our generous lending policy, you have decided to check out 25 books and 5 movies for your family, please don't rush so fast to get ahead of the patron just moving toward the desk with 2 books in her hand.

Do not interrupt the library assistant with a question or request when she is clearly talking to another patron. She will give you her full, uninterrupted attention as soon as she is able to.

For our younger patrons: if your friends call the library and ask to talk to you, it had better be an emergency. If they are just calling to arrange to meet you somewhere later, the mean library staff will soon put a stop to it. If they call you on your cell phone - go out into the hall to take the call. If this means that you loose your place at the computer to someone else, so be it. Life is full of difficult choices. Come to think of it, this applies to our older patrons as well. Just turn off the d**n cell while you are in the library. That is what voice mail is for.

Do not bring sticky, drippy or crumbly food items into the library. Do not return books or videos that are covered in sticky, presumably once drippy, substances, food or otherwise. Carefully wipe them off with a damp cloth.

That book sitting on the librarians desk? The one you spotted by craning your neck and hanging halfway over the counter? No, you cannot check it out. It is there for one of several reasons, all of which limit it's availability for now. When it is available, it will be either on the shelving cart, or on the shelves. This is the same answer I gave you last week, and it is the same answer I will give you next week. So just stop asking.

P.S. to the 90% of our patrons, young and old, who are thoughtful, courteous, patient, kind, and appreciative, "Thank You!" Most days, it's a true pleasure coming to work because of you. Despite all my venting, I can't think of a better job.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I do love me some Opal

I really love Opal sock yarn, especially the Hundertwasser series. When I made my needle run to the Sow's Ear on Friday, they just happened to have the new 2008 colors. I hadn't even known there were going to be new colors, but there are, based on another series of paintings. So after some dithering back and forth over several choices I picked one called Die Nachbarn I Spiralsonne und Mondhaus. At least, I think that's what it's called. My German is a little non-existent. But that's the phrase coming right after the color number. And the painting does have a squarish spiral something or other and a haus.

The colors are definitely darker and more intense than they look in the photo, with a decidedly autumnal feel. Oh, and the purchase put me over the top on my loyalty card, $25 credit for me. So the yarn really paid for itself. I almost bought another color on the spot, but decided to wait and savor the anticipation.....

While I was taking the picture, I heard some rustling behind me.

If there's a bag available, Baxter will climb in it.


I like the Inox double points very well. Nice long tapered tips. Very smooth, but not so slick that they fall out when I toss the current sock on the chair to get up to grab the phone. Over at the Knitter's Review Forums, Calamintha has been recommending these for lace knitting, and now I can see why. The same qualities make them good for cables, which is what I'm using them for at the moment. They feel stiff compared to bamboo or plastic, but that's what I need, because some of those twists are tight. They were reasonably priced, too.

I'm also using some little 5" Brittany Birch dpns. Not for the main knitting, they would be too short for me to use for anything but fingers or thumbs. But they make just dandy cable needles.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A shift in the seasons?

When I got up this morning, the air was so cool I pulled on a pair of wool socks for the first time in months. I expect I'll need to pull them off again later, as the weather report is predicting a high of 82. Still, the light is slanting lower in the sky. Tilting toward autumn.


Last night I made a quick emergency run to The Sow's Ear for some needles. You would think that with the jumble of double points in my basket I would have at least one set of every imaginable size. But no, as a matter of fact, I did not have the size I needed to get gauge on a swatch. One size larger, yes. One size smaller, yes. Sigh! Heather didn't have a bamboo set in stock, so I decided to try Inox. Will give my impressions after I give them a whirl. Couldn't stay for Late Night Knitting, but did run into Molly Bees, so I got to see her Olympic Dishcloth. Also her really adorable crocheted alphabet baby blanket for Project Linus.


The car has been making weird clunking noises. As soon as Mr S gets back from Kentucky, I'll have him take a listen. In the meantime (it's only til Tuesday) guess I'll stick close to home.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My Pretty Ponies

Not the four legged kind, I'm afraid.

I'm using some of my Pony Pearl double pointed needles. I really like them. They are very light, warm to the touch, and smooth without being slippery-slick. And they come in such pretty colors.

The points are not especially sharp, so if I'm using particularly splitty yarn, or have a pattern with a lots of tight k2togs, I'll reach for the Crystal Palace bamboos. Because of the points, I suppose Pony Pearls might not be the best choice for a tight knitter. But since I knit loosely, and most of the time I'm not using splitty yarn, they work very well for me. Did I mention the pretty colors? Each size has it's own, which, I suppose, might be handy if I ever got several sets mixed up together - fast sorting and all. That situation has never actually come up. I just like looking at them, and I like the way they feel in my hands.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

This is the most hysterically funny thing I have seen in ages

Big thanks to my sister for pointing it out to me.

Monday, August 11, 2008


From the looks of things around here, you would think I hadn't been doing any knitting lately. Actually, I've been working my little fingers off on a multi-part project. It's one of those annoying "I can't show you anything yet" projects. But I decided that a little peek at a few of the toes wouldn't hurt. It's not as if it shows the fun parts, or anything.

Progress on the afghan assembly has been slow, mostly because the things attached to the toes take priority. But I have about half the lengthwise strips put together.

I didn't make all the blocks. They were made by an anonymous (to me) crocheter, or crocheters, and sent to the Craft Yarn Council of America for the Warm Up America program. I volunteered to help assemble, and the CYCA sent me a big box full. I expect they would do the same for anyone willing.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Thank You

to Firefly Nights (isn't that a lovely blog title), for the Brilliant Weblog Award. How nice of you to think of me!

Now I'm supposed to pass this along, but I think that instead of "tagging" people, I'm just going to mention a few blogs that aren't on my everyday list (the days aren't long enough for everything I want to read), but I keep them bookmarked because they are really worthwhile.

There's Dale-Harriet at Cats, Sticks and Books already familiar to many, but in case you haven't made her acquaintance, I recommend it. She's the one dressed in a hoop skirt, over there, knitting on a toque while draped with a cat or two. Eclectic and enthusiastic.

I first went to Katherine Misegades' Knitting, Writing and Other Joys for the good sock info. I go back for the great quotations she uses at the head of each of her posts (and her own good writing).

Golden Apples Name "of Troy", so is it Helen? She's a prolific and very knowledgeable knitter, with other fiber crafts to boot, who documents her projects thoroughly, helpfully including not only what she did, but why she chose to do it that way.

Techknitter is on summer hiatus as far as new postings are concerned, but her archives are so rich with knitting tips, tricks and sound technical advice that I haven't come anywhere near to exhausting them. If you've ever wondered why stockinette curls and garter doesn't, Techknitter explains it all. She's also particularly good on finishing tips.

Sorry no pictures today (how dull). But there are some lovely ones at Hedges Hobbykrok.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Yay Amy!

Amy Knit Think (aka Amy Rea), has written a book, and the book has been published, and my copy came from Amazon just the other day. This Minnesotan in exile is enjoying it immensely.

Now this is exactly my kind of travel guide: it lists yarn stores (yay), and it lists books stores (yay), and it lists lots and lots of good places to eat (yay,yay,yay!). Because when I travel, that really is basically what I want to know. Where's the yarn, where are the book stores and where can I eat?

However, for those with wider interests, the book covers lots of other possible activities, from ice fishing to ballooning to museums, to local festivals, to camping to..., well you get the picture. As Amy points out, Minnesota has lots to offer.

The Twin Cities get the most detailed coverage, which makes sense, since they have the most to cover; but the book's information extends across the whole state, which is a lot of territory. Sort of made me want to visit Bemedji........

Her style is felicitous, dry humor included. Did I mention that she took the pictures, too?

The only problem is that it made me homesick, and then made me realize that while a lot of things are just the same (or almost) a lot of things have changed in the many years since I lived there - which is a different kind of homesick feeling.

Still, it left me wanting more. Amy, how about a neighborhood by neighborhood guide to the Twin Cities? See, I kept thinking about more stuff that could go in it (that is, if the stuff I'm thinking of hasn't disappeared in the last 30 years, which I guess some of it has......) Some changes are for the good, though. There's now a Tai restaurant in the town I grew up in, which there sure wasn't back then, and that gives some consolation for the general gentrification.

But I digress. The main point is, "Yay Amy!" And for everyone else. Buy this book. Visit Minnesota. You'll be glad you did. Ya, you betcha.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Waaaaay back,

months and months ago, I said I was going to finish assembling the last of the Warm up America afghan squares I got from the CYCA. I started. Then I got busy with other things. Then I sort of forgot about it.

One lone little strip put together

But now I'm motivated. Because of my library work schedule, I can't make it to the Charity Knitting knit along that The Sow's Ear is hosting the fourth Monday of each month. But I can finish this up and contribute to the cause.
(Thanks for the inspiration, Molly Bees)

Spoiler Alert: Answers to to the brainteasers below

If you don't want to know, don't read any farther

Don't say you weren't warned....................................

What do the words have in common?

For each of the words on the list, you can take the first letter, move it to the end. Read backwards and you will have the original word.

What do all three pattern stitches have in common?

They all result in the pattern I used on my Vacation Socks (of course its upside down on the socks, because I worked top down). So Anonymous was on the right track in noting the identical stitch multiple. And Leslie, a graph was indeed what I used to confirm my suspicion that they were alike.

The first version comes from The Complete Needlecraft Encyclopedia, published by William J. King, Ltd., Paris, Ontario, 1973

The second comes from McCalls' knit/crochet Encyclopedia, with a list of copyright dates extending from 1963 to 1966 (obviously a compilation).

The third comes from The Harmony Guides 450 Knitting Stitches (Vol. 2), 2007 edition (first published in 1986).

One interesting thing (or at least interesting to my tech geeky side), is that none of the versions uses ssk for a left leaning decrease. King and Harmony use sl 1, k1, psso, while McCall's uses k2tog through the back. I wonder if this is a difference between Canadian/British conventions on the one hand and American on the other?

The King version uses a fairly obscure double decrease, that, in theory at least, might make a more balanced center point than the more common slip one, knit two together, pass slipped stitch over. But the yarn I was using doesn't show that much detail, so I stuck with the common one.