Thursday, July 31, 2008

More Ravelympics

You are going to be tired of this even before it starts!

So, I have signed up to make three projects: the Celtic sweater, a wimple and a poncho.

The Celtic sweater's event is WIP Wrestling, and I'm doing it for Team TARDIS, Team Hopelessly Overcommitted and Team Middle Earth.

The wimple's event is the Cowl Jump, and it's for Team Hogwarts and Team Hopelessly Overcommitted.

The poncho's event is the Shawl Relay, and is for Team Browncoat and Team Hopelessly Overcommitted.

I'm not joining any more teams or committing to knit any more projects in any more events.

That's what I said earlier today, and wound up joining Team Middle Earth because I just couldn't resist!

I've been having trouble all day getting to post on Blogger. I finally have it straightened out, but I really need to go out and do some errands, so this will be a short post.

The SciFi Channel is going Dragon Crazy this weekend. They'll be showing Dragon Sword again, so here's your chance to watch it if you missed it not long ago.

Tomorrow evening, the very last episode of Doctor Who of the season will be shown. If you saw last week's episode, you'll be on the edge of your seat as the Doctor regenerates!

I don't have time to add links to all of this.

Gotta run!

Have a great Thursday evening!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ravelympics News!

Well, the discussion boards are burning up at Ravelry about the Ravelympics.

Everybody has questions or is happy to meet everyone else, and the Harry Potter fans are already starting a new House Cup KAL for the beginning of September in order to coincide with the beginning of the Hogwarts school year. 

We're still discussing both the start and end date. The general consensus is that it should start on the first of September, but there's no decision on the end date. Halloween was an important date in the books, but I was just thinking that it might be good to use the opening of Half Blood Prince (the movie) for a deadline.

So, anyway, I lost my mind over the Ravelympics. I had already joined Team TARDIS in the WIP Wrestling, but I just couldn't resist also joining Team Browncoat for the Shawl Relay. And once I had done that, how could I possibly leave Team Hogwarts out? So, I signed up with them for the Cowl Jump for which I will knit a wimple.

While trying to recover from the shock of all that, I came across Team Hopelessly Overextended, and (since you can knit a project or enter an event for more than one team) signed up all my projects with them, too.

That was all yesterday. Overnight, the thought struck me that all the projects are things for which I wrote (or am writing) the patterns. When I came across the Designers Discus event, I signed up all the projects for that, too.

If you have been able to follow all this (if I explained it well enough), you will note that although I signed up for a total of three projects, the things I signed up for after that did not increase the number of projects I'm knitting, so there are still only three.

I'm not totally crazy!

Change of topic.

On the TV front, Comcast is continuing to be a colossal disappointment. They keep messing things up for their viewers and their "customer service" is a group of people who function to make sure that they don't actually have to fix anything, they just deal with keeping the customers from bothering the repair people.

I know I've been talking about it, but I'm stepping up my search for a replacement for Comcast.

They said that they would have someone in authority, someone who could actually do something about the problems call me up today after 2 pm. It's about 6:30, and I'm still waiting.

Have a good evening!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

More Ravelympics and KAL!

I need to put together the chart for the rune bag and get back to knitting it. That's my project for today.

For the Ravelympics, I need to make some decisions real soon now. I'm thinking of making as many as two more projects for the Ravelympics.

I love that I joined Team TARDIS, and I really need to get going again on the Celtic sweater, but at the same time, I want to join Team Browncoat and Team Hogwarts!

I have yarn for a poncho, which might work for the shawl relay, but I'm not sure. I mean, it's not called the shawl relay. It would work well for Team Browncoat. The big advantage of this is that I already have yarn to do it with.

I'm also thinking that the cowl jump might be a good project for Team Hogwarts, and this would be a good, short project, but the problem with that is that I don't have yarn to do it in, or the money to buy yarn with.

Well, I take that back. I do have a batch of yarn in a faded denim color that's really pretty. I guess I could do it in that.

Now the problem is, how crazy do I want to make myself over this?

The big push is going to be on the Celtic sweater.

Do I really want to take on some more knitting?

Opinions! I need opinions!

I hope you're enjoying Eureka on SciFi today!

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Tour de Fleece Is Over!

Yesterday was the last day for the Tour de Fleece, and I finished!

In return for that, I got the spiffy little badge in the sidebar. 

You can see the beautiful yarn I produced in the previous post.

So, now that that's over what next?

Well, I'll tell you. There's a Harry Potter KAL/CAL on Ravelry that I've been meaning to join, but I keep knitting other things. You may not be able to see the page if you're not a Ravelry member.

Anyway, things are supposed to be finished by Harry's birthday, the 31st of July. That gives me until Thursday to make a project and finish it. I'm thinking about competing in the "A bag for all things" category. This will give me a chance to finish my rune bag. You know, the one that I expected to have done around the beginning of June. Yes, that one.

I've started it, but it's my own design, and I made charts for the runes, but I used square graph paper, and the knitted runes look all squashed and short.

So, I'm going to have to make new charts that will actually look OK. And then knit it. Or finish knitting it.

So, assuming that I finish that, that will give me a chance to knit some more bags before the real event begins!

The Ravelympics is about to start! Once again, if you're not a member of Ravelry, you probably won't be able to see this page. If you do fiberarts, you really need to think about joining Ravelry. It's just too much fun!

I have already signed up to compete in the WIP Wrestling for Team TARDIS. This doesn't start until the eighth of August (during the opening ceremonies), but if you are going to compete, you have to sign up now. If you are a Doctor Who fan, you really want to click the Team TARDIS link. It is just s0 funny!

The WIP I'll be wrestling with is the off white tweed Celtic sweater that I started months ago, and stalled out after knitting the hood. You can see a photo of the hood that I'm using as my profile picture, but I'll include it here.

I need to do an EZ type percentage system for picking up stitches at the base of a hood to continue with the body. So far, I haven't figured it out. But I did have a dream about it. That's where I decided I need a percentage system. I just haven't figured it out yet.

But I'll be starting a page for the Celtic Sweater with the directions. This will be a WIP itself until I finish the actual sweater, and possibly a bit after that until I get it all up there. Once I start it, I'll put a link to it in the sidebar, and I'll try to note that it's a WIP until I finish the sweater and the instructions.

For fans of the blue coat that I knitted for the knitting olympics, this will walk you though the same design process that I used on the coat.

For science fiction fans, tomorrow is a big day, at least if you like Eureka. Tomorrow seems to be Eureka day on the SciFi Channel. They will be showing reruns during the daytime rotation, followed by the season premier later. There's a lot to look forward to!

The big news for tonight on TV for SF fans is the Middleman.

My problem with this is that Comcast still hasn't fixed ABC Family so that the closed captioning works.

On the Comcast front, the repairman showed up today in the time slot he was supposed to show up in on Saturday. Well, the saying is "better late than never."

I let me know that the problem with the sound on 35 (which had grown and spread to 45 and 47 by then) could be fixed by turning on SAP.

Acording to Wikipedia, "Second[ary] audio program[ming] (SAP) is an auxiliary audio channel for analog television that can be broadcast or transmitted both over the air and by cable TV. It is often used for an alternate language..."

I guess I'm just so dumb that it never occurred to me that any cable or satellite company would possibly be obtuse enough to require having SAP enabled just to be able to hear a program.

The repairman also didn't fix the problem with closed captioning. He said that it's the network that's not broadcasting it. I pointed out that the network was broadcasting it to DirecTV, and asked why it wasn't broadcasting it to Comcast. He said he'd put in a work notice at the office and get them to check it and call me back either later today or tomorrow.

Why should I have to pay full price if they're not offering full service? I'm really unhappy with them.

I hope to be surprised by them and be able to read what's going on with Middleman this evening. Even if they don't get it turned on tonight, if they turn it on at all, I may still be able to catch tonight's episode later in the week. They run it several times over the course of the week.

I haven't gotten a chance to talk to John about yesterday and the panel at Comic Con yet. I suspect that he's busy putting up a new post at his Steve Canyon blog about it. His computer is online, but that doesn't prove that he's sitting in front of it and is actually present.

More info when it happens!

In the meantime, join the Ravelympics! And expect to see some really neat Ravelympics buttons in the sidebar soon.

And have a great Monday!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Last Day for Tour de Fleece and Comic Con!

Here are the two bobbins of singles, ready to ply.

Now there is a full bobbin of plyed yarn.

And a finished skein, ready to wash and dry! That means I met my goal for the Tour de Fleece!

OK, I realize that this is not an enormous amount of spinning, but it's more than I've done in the past year.

It turned out all soft and yummy. Well, it should, considering that I started with Merino wool. I'd have had to do something awful to it in order to mess it up.

I've been looking at the skeins that the Yarn Harlot has been churning out, and I feel like I'm going to have to do a lot of spinning to catch up to her beautiful color combinations. She really does beautiful work.

The last day of Comic Con is here, and it's the big day for John and Steve Canyon fans.

It's a long ride for him to get there, a long day, and a long ride home, so I probably won't know how it went until tomorrow.

In the meantime, G4 is not covering the con today, and although I thought I told the DVR to record days 1, 2 and 3, it only recorded 1 and 2. I couldn't find day three anywhere on their schedule, and I could've sworn it was listed earlier.

I haven't gone through and watched what I did record of Comic Con yet. From Thursday night on, there have been so many things I wanted to watch on TV that there isn't enough room on the DVR to store them. So, I've been watching all the things that I wanted to get off the disk and then removing them. 

But today isn't helping, because the SciFi Channel is running Eureka during the daytime. They'll be doing that again on Tuesday, followed by the premier of the new season. I love Eureka!

More knitting news tomorrow! This is exciting!

Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

More Comic Con Fun!

I hope you've had a chance to watch the Heroes marathon on G4 today. It's just about winding down now, but I'm so thankful to G4 for showing it!

A lot of really good TV has been on over the last 3 days. I recorded it all on my DVR, but haven't had a chance to watch all of it yet, so I'm not as informed as I'd like to be while writing this post.

The SciFi Channel keeps sending me text message bulletins about what panels will be shown in which room at Comic Con. I just wish I could be there to see it all!

I have been recording the live coverage of Comic Con on G4, and I could have sworn that there was going to be another episode of it today, but the digital TV Guide says there won't be. I can't wait to catch up on all of the SF news, but I've been too busy watching Tru Calling and Heroes and clearing them off the DVR so it will keep recording all the good stuff that's out there on TV.

On the television front, the cable repairman was supposed to show up to day and fix my connection, but never showed up. I called one of Comcast's local numbers, and finally got to talk to someone with some sense. When I told her that channel 50 wasn't displaying closed captioning, and that channel 35 didn't have sound, she said "Wait a moment. Let me check something." Then she turned on the TV at the station

Guess what? Her TV was doing the same thing mine was!

It's just what I told them it was: they're not transmitting those signals on those channels.

She said that she would send the technical people in charge of all that a message to check their settings, and what was wrong. It hasn't solved the problem yet, but it may, once they get the message and actually check it.

And for the Tour de Fleece, I still have enough to do to keep me busy this evening. I've been doing a lot of TV watching and knitting the past three days, trying to keep up with all the information generated because of and including Comic Con.

I want to get all of the blue merino at least spun so that all I have to do tomorrow is to ply it.

One of my favorite bloggers included a URL for photos of telephone sheep. You really have to see this to believe it!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Comic Con Just Keeps Rolling!

What an exciting weekend! 

Comic Con is running all this weekend, and the Tour de Fleece is finishing up. 

By Monday morning, it will all be over.

Check the listings for G4 this weekend. They don't seem to be covering Comic Con on Sunday, which is a shame, especially for Steve Canyon fans, because that's when all the news about the new DVDs will be coming out. I don't have the details yet, so I'd love to be there and get to see the panel John will be on.

Speaking of the schedule on G4 today and this weekend, there is still day 2 of Comic Con today and day 3 tomorrow, as well as a Heroes marathon on Saturday!

I really should have started at the beginning with what's happening today, but Comic Con is so exciting!

Today, the channel to watch is SciFi! They're in the middle of a Tru Calling Marathon at the moment, and this evening there will be a new Joan of Arcadia, followed by the first of the two-part finale of Doctor Who for the current season! Not to mention a new Stargate Atlantis.

A large group of people on Ravelry were raving about the trailer for the Doctor Who finale, and I hadn't seen it until this morning. There's a lot to rave about!

I watched it as a recording and slowed it down so I wouldn't miss anything. The characters I saw in it were Captain Jack Harkness, Gwen, Ianto (from Torchwood), Martha Jones, Rose Tyler, and, of course, Donna Noble and the Doctor. I suspect that last week's episode, Turn Left, is something that will help understand the grand finale. I can't wait!

And now for the second part of this weekend's excitement: The Tour de Fleece.

I've had some slow going on the spinning front, but have most of the singles done. Finishing the singles tonight and tomorrow and then plying on Sunday should get me to my goal with time to spare.

On the knitting front, I've actually blocked the Shetland lace shawl and the Christmas hood, but I plan to take photos outside, so they'll be taken either this evening or tomorrow and posted here ASAP. The shawl turned out particularly well. I just love my steamer! I hadn't blocked a lace shawl with the steamer before, and I have to say the blocking went off like a dream. knitted lace looks like a wad of tangled yarn before blocking, and then turns into the most beautiful, magical web!

John called last night to let me know that he was all right. He had some dental work done yesterday. He had a dental problem that he thought would make speaking on Sunday an ordeal, but the dentist fixed everything painlessly without having to give him novacaine or anything. He said it was the best dental experience he's ever had, and he's now willing and able to smile and talk without worrying about malfunctions.

I sounded off again about my current cable problems, and was particularly annoyed about not being able to hear The Middleman, which looks like a really fabulous show. He said I should tell you about it.

It's beyond description, but here goes: It's got a very comic book feel, and the general tone reminds me of Get Smart, with a lot of SF in-jokes and general fun. 

In the first episode, Wendy is working as a temp answering phones in an office with a big window behind her. Through the window you can see lots of technical equipment with many scientists rushing around. 

Then they start running frantically, there's an explosion, lots of smoke, and one of the lab-coated technicians gets slammed up against the window behind her and dragged away. In the meantime, Wendy is cheerfully and efficiently answering phones. 

An enormous monster gets slammed against the glass, and it starts to crack, and then suddenly breaks with explosive force, throwing her and the monster across her desk and onto the floor. Wendy says into her headset "Please hold." and then gets up to battle the monster, who has grabbed her around the waist and is trying to drag her off.

Comcast is not displaying closed captioning for this channel, though so I can see the pictures and catch part of the dialogue, but I know I'm missing a lot of it.

I called and complained to Comcast again last night, and they finally talked me into letting a repair person come out on Saturday for free. This is going to drive me crazy because he'll be here during the Heroes marathon, so I'll miss some of that, but maybe I can get him to report the problem to the office once he figures out that it's not the box or my TV. 

A TV that's delivering sound on every channel but one, and closed captioning on every channel but another one isn't malfunctioning. They're not broadcasting it.

Check out  The Middleman. The bits and pieces I can decipher are so much fun!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Comic Con is Here!

Well, Comic Con is not here, but it's happening

John went last night. He said he thought it was supposed to be for people working at the con, but it seemed like everybody was there!

He also said that there's  a panel sometime today about Stargate SG-1 with Christopher Judge, Richard Dean Anderson, Amanda Tapping, and more!

I wish I could go!

If I have John's schedule right, he won't be able to get back there until Sunday.

And thank, you John for your generous contribution to the dental fund.

Other than that, I have spent the day dealing with entropy, as I have for the past month.

The particular mess I've been trying to fix (mostly) today is ComCast Cable. They just keep creating tons of problems. I don't get what I've paid for, and they won't do anything to fix it.

In the past 24 hours, they've displayed a "weekly test" during prime time (they don't have to do it in prime time, but they'll probably do it again during prime time tonight), a weather warning that says to go to channel 21 for more information instead of channel 101, lack of closed captioning on ABC Family, and lack of sound on the USA Network (I won't be hearing Burn Notice tonight).

The problems with the weekly test have been going on all this year, the weather warnings have been that way for a year and a half (ever since I got ComCast Cable), and the closed captioning problems have been going on for more than a month. USA became silent just today.

ComCast insists the sound and closed captioning problems are the fault of the networks, even though they're broadcasting sound and closed captioning to every other TV provider.

So far today, after three complaints that brought no help from ComCast, I've also complained to USA, ABC Family, Saab (whose commercials are going out without sound) and the FCC. And then complained to ComCast again. And I plan to write down the names of all the advertisers whose commercials I can't hear during Burn Notice tonight and let them know about it, too.

ComCast wants to send out a repairman and charge me for it. My viewpoint is that I'm already paying for TV, why should I pay them because they don't just send out the signals like I'm paying them to do already?

I'm thinking about doing what one of the people at ComCast said to do on the phone: go over to their office and complain in person. Loudly. In front of other customers.

That usually works, but I have to take a bus to get to the bus that will take me to their office, and then do the whole thing in reverse to get home. It's about a four hour round trip. They're disgusting!

In fiberarts news, I spun some more last night on the bright blue merino for the Tour de Fleece, and blocked everything in the queue. The Shetland lace shawl is particularly nice. I didn't get around to taking photos before I became embroiled in the ComCast fiasco.

Fiberarts is my lifeline to sanity during all this chaos.

I hope you're having a better day than I am!


Don't forget Tru Calling on the SciFi daytime rotation tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Comic Con Sweepstakes

Most of yesterday was used up getting help for my various problems (food stamps, help affording Medicare, etc.).

I still have more papers to fill out and get in right away. The woman there said I would get food stamps, but she didn't know how much.

I have just a short section of the Christmas present hood to kitchner together, and then block it. The purple shawl has the knitting finished and has to be blocked. The lavender Shetland lace shawl is knit and needs to be blocked.

As you can probably tell, I'm not real fond of blocking. But I have a steamer, which makes the whole process a lot less painful. Actually, I have a pile of other stuff to block, too, and I should do it and get some of it up on my Etsy store.

Photos of that will happen real soon.

In the meantime, I have forms to fill out, documents to get copies of, and mail out, along with some books to pick up at the library.

This Friday, the SciFi Channel will be showing Tru Calling in their daytime rotation. There are some great episodes being shown, notably the end of the series, where the plot starts to thicken. Don't miss it!

Speaking of Friday, later in the day they will show Joan of Arcadia and the next episode of Doctor Who. I think this is the next-to-last episode of the series, so I hope you saw last week's episode, Turn Left. It's shaping up to be a fabulous finale!

And the SciFi Channel sent me a text message this morning and let me know that there's a Comic Con sweepstakes going on right now. It sounds great. I've already entered, and I don't know why I'm lowering my odds of winning by telling everybody else.

For any of you who are lucky enough to be going to Comic Con, here's the schedule for SciFi channel stuff.

My friend, John, will be there, but he'll be spending all his time on panels, etc. Being a guest at a con is fun, but it has it's limitations, too. I hope he gets to see some of the con.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Traffic Jam

I got a call from Holly yesterday, asking me to look up information about traffic on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

A big section of the West end was completely closed (both ways) yesterday evening due to an accident that I can only assume must've been really massive to close it down in both directions.

Although, you never know. I was once stuck in a traffic jam on I-95 South of here where there was an accident that closed traffic both ways. The accident was only on one side, but the other traffic direction had been closed to provide a clear spot for a chopper to land to airlift out injured motorists. I wish the accident had never happened, but watching the rescue operations (particularly the chopper) was fascinating.

And why is this relevant, you may ask?

My granddaughter, Malaia was stuck in the jam. She called her mom after being stopped long enough for other motorists to decide to get out and walk around, etc.

I was checking with Holly, and she still hadn't arrived in Baltimore as of pretty late last night. I'm assuming that she did get home, and that she is all right. Sitting in traffic, even for a few hours is so much better than having arrived at the site of the accident just in time to be in it. I am unbelievably thankful that she wasn't involved in the actual accident.

I expect to at least get the knitting on the shawl done today, but there isn't a photo yet.

Today, I gearing up for a visit to Social Services in Prince William County. I know my county was named after someone else, but it's such a trendy name at the moment.

Someone there will be helping me get some information about Medicare, and how to control some of the costs. There will also be someone examining my application for food stamps. I hope the food stamps get approved. It will defray some of the other expenses that are happening. I'm also going to ask about getting dental help, although I don't have a lot of hope about that. Don't forget the donations button in the sidebar.

I have all my information together, and will just have to deal with getting out of here early enough to catch the two buses I'll need to take to get there tomorrow.

If approved for the food stamps, what I'll actually get is an ATM card that will get my food stamp money deposited once a month. It's possible that I could get some or all of my Medicare expenses paid. I have mixed feelings about that.

I've been going to a clinic which I won't be able to go to if I get Medicare. The clinic gives really good help. The usual medical system in the US is the pits! I think of most doctors as "pharmaceutical salesmen." 

The doctor I saw at the ER is a perfect example. He looked at my ear and my throat, then listened to my chest, prescribed almost $200 worth of drugs and billed me $300! And didn't prescribe enough drugs to really get rid of the problem, only to shift it back to a chronic condition. So, for close to $1,000 (ER bill, too), he kept me from being seriously ill, but allowed me to be chronically ill. 

Around the turn of the millennium, the statistics for the previous year listed the eight highest cause of death in the United States as "doctors in hospitals."

The US medical system is terrible.

I hope you're having a great Monday!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Steve Canyon at Comic Con!

My friend John, and a bunch of other people will be at Comic Con this coming weekend, and there is more news about the Steve Canyon DVD!

Find out more about Comic Con and see it on TV on G4!

Tour de Fleece and Knitting

Here is where I'm up to on the spinning for the Tour de Fleece.

Not very encouraging.

But my enthusiasm for spinning is starting to revive. I haven't lived anywhere with enough space for a spinning wheel for more than 4 years. When I moved here, I had the space, but everything except my wheel was all packed up in boxes from when it had been in storage.

Little by little, I'm starting to find all the stuff, and the Tour de Fleece is starting to remind me how much I love spinning. I just had to have a little push to start spinning again. So, I'm actually making progress toward achieving my goal, even though I haven't actually spun very much.

I've been looking at this bag of silk that I found in a stash of fibers yesterday. It's very pretty. It's very inspiring. It's making me want to try new techniques. I may try the new techniques on some other fiber first, though. I don't want to mess up such pretty fibers.

And here is the shawl I'm working on, nearly finished. It's not going exactly the way I planned, but it should turn out nice. That's the good thing about the pattern. It's very flexible.

I'll probably finish the shawl this evening, so there may be a photo tomorrow.

I hope you've been having a great weekend!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

More Tour de Fleece

I haven't been doing much for the Tour de Fleece, but I didn't set myself a very difficult goal, either. I have been doing a bit of spinning, although not as regularly as I'd like. But I'm starting to get back into the swing of things.

After a look around today, I found a total of four regular (plastic) bobbins for my Majacraft Rose wheel. I had one, and bought one at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, and found two more today. 

I am spinning my current project on the baby bobbins, and I've discovered that I don't like the fact that the center of the bobbin is so thin. No matter how much I back off on the Scotch tension, when I first start on an empty bobbin, the choice is between tug-of-war or no intake onto the bobbin at all. Once I ply the current batch on the baby bobbins, I'm going to see if I can find something to make the center section a bit thicker. I was looking at the photo of the baby bobbins in the link I provided above, and it looks like the updated bobbins have a thicker center, so that probably won't be a problem with the new ones.

While on the Majacraft site, looking at the baby bobbins and their improvements, I found another improvement. Majacraft has out a spindle that works with their wheels, and even has a bobbin that works with it.

Photos tomorrow.

As I said, I seem to be picking up speed, volume, and interest on this spinning project for le Tour de Fleece. While finding the bobbins, I found some pretty roving, some wool (in a soft blue and other colors), some wool and Tencel (in a very soft light and very dark green), and some pastel multicolored silk (really beautiful stuff). 

I was reading over the article in the Spring issue of Spin-Off about wrapped yarn. The woman in the article uses cotton crochet thread for a core, but it strikes me that wooly nylon might be a better core, and I'm thinking about trying that. If you're not familiar with wooly nylon, the photos at that link won't give you a clue. It's nylon thread, suitable for sewing (on a sewing machine or serger) with. When under tension, it looks like regular thread. But when the tension is released, it bulks up a bit, and looks remarkably like wool (hence the name). It's strong, and has elasticity that's very similar to wool. If you're interested, check it out in a fabric store.

I'm getting down to the end on the triangular shawl I'm knitting in Knit Pick's Telemark (royal heather). The royal heather color looks darker in person than I anticipated from both the printed and on-line swatches.

After ordering this yarn and knitting with it, I realize that Knit Picks doesn't really carry any sport weight yarn. Telemark is listed as a sport weight, but I'm finding it isn't really.

If you look at the yardage for their worsted yarns, they average around 110 yards for 50 grams. Skip to their DK weight yarns, and you get more like 160 yards for 50 grams. DK is thinner than worsted, so the finer yarn yields more yardage. So, you would naturally expect the sport weight yarns to have even more yardage per 50 grams. 

Wrong. Telemark is listed at 103 yards. I thought that was a typo, and that there was actually more yardage, since it's even finer than DK. So, I ordered the amount of yarn by weight, expecting to have a generous amount of yardage, but I think that what they did was take their worsted weight yarn and just give it more twist to make it thinner (and shorter). The yardage they claim is probably correct, and the shawl is turning out kind of skimpy. It's also stiff, being over-spun/plyed, scratchier than a more softly spun yarn would be, and still really worsted weight. I usually use a size 6 needle with sport weight, and get 6 stitches per inch, but a size 6 needle was giving me something that would stop bullets with this yarn. I had to go up to a size 8, and the resulting fabric is still stiff. I'm hoping that blocking will cure it, but I'm not happy about blocking because it isn't necessary with this pattern (my simple triangular shawl pattern).

Oh, well. Photos real soon now.

Doctor Who on Friday evening was outstanding! The episode they showed was Turn Left. I hope you got to see it, but I won't discuss it in case you didn't, except to say that Rose was back, and it's starting to build up to the season finale.

My granddaughter, Malaia, is moving to Baltimore tomorrow, and I'm really excited about it. Her aunt, Heather, is very upset that she's moving away from Toledo.

Oh, and John corrected me on my post about him yesterday. He will be at the National Cartoonist's Society Booth #1307 at Comic Con, and "I'll be hanging out there off and on when I'm at the con. Laura is tagging along with a big HD camera and is going to videotape the panel and stuff for me to use on the DVDs." 

Laura is my friend from so far back it's hard to remember. She's the reason I have a computer to blog on instead of my phone. She's been at a lot of the SF Cons I've gone to, and worked on one of the movies I worked on. I cannot wait to hear about it all!

I hope you're all having a great weekend!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Comic Con Is Coming!

Next week, Comic Con will be happening!

There are always exciting things happening there, and G4 will be showing a preview (they're showing one right now and I don't think there will be another one), and live coverage starting on the first day (the 24th), and continuing throughout the Con.

Some of the guests will be: Forrest Ackerman, Ralph Bakshi, Jim Butcher, Dean Koontz, Noel Neill, J. Michael Straczynski, and Connie Willis! I was going to make the people I'm particularly interested in in bold type, but I realized that would be all of them. John will also be there part of the time at the cartoonists' booth. John, if you have the  chance to get autographs of any of these people, I will love you forever for it.

There will be more Steve Canyon disks available soon! And I'll be doing the covers/labels/slipcase for the set. I'm really excited! Keep up with the news with the Steve Canyon button in the sidebar. John will be putting up info about Comic Con real soon, now.

All my knitting is in limbo for the moment, i.e., it's all "in progress." Nothing is finished, so there's not a lot of news there.

I'm putting some knitted goods up on my Etsy shop, so if you're looking for something knitted, it'll probably be up there real soon now.

Have a great Friday, and a great weekend!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Granddaughter Arriving Soon!

My granddaughter, Malaia will be moving from Toledo to Baltimore on Sunday! I'm so glad that she'll be closer. Maybe I'll get to see her more often.

Eliza Dushku was on Ugly Betty tonight! I don't think I've seen this episisode before.

It's a big night for TV--Betty, Supernatural, and Burn Notice. Betty and Supernatural are reruns (but good), however, Burn Notice is brand new.

I finished the third Marionberry sock last night, and since I didn't get to the store yesterday, I didn't have the yarn to finish the hood. So, I took the purple yarn (Knit Picks Telemark in Royal Heather) and started knitting the shawl that I intended to knit with it. Photos soon.

I got a bill from the ER doctor in the mail today for about $300! This brings the grand total for my recent ER visit to $800! It would have been more, but I just didn't have the money for some of the medicine that was prescribed. If I had gotten that, it would have brought it all up to $900.

I'm discouraged!

Ribbed sock pattern will be up on the blog real soon now.

Hope you had a great Thursday!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Busy Day

Today will be a busy day for me. I need to go out and buy all the vitamins, minerals, medicine, and miscellaneous stuff I expect to need for the next 5 weeks.

That entails a bus trip that is 15 or 20 minutes to walk to the bus early enough to be sure to catch it and then wait. The trip itself is about a half hour, and then the same on the way home. Plus, of course, the actual shopping.

In TV news, the SciFi channel will be showing Jake 2.0 during the daytime tomorrow, and Special Unit 2 will be daytime fare for Friday.

And, of course, on Friday evening, there will be the second episode of Joan of Arcadia, a new Doctor Who, and a new Stargate Atlantis.
In knitting news, here is a photo of the beginning of the navy hood.

It looks much lighter in this photo than it actually is. The yarn is Caron's Simply Soft, and it's really navy. I think they call it "dark country blue."
OK, I apologize. It's not a natural fiber, but it was in my stash when I was looking for something to knit.
And, just for fun, here is a photo of an interesting cloud/sun formation that was in the sky about a week ago.

It looks like there should be a myth to go along with this. Something like the Fenrir wolf eating the sun or something.

Make up your own myth and let me know about it in the comments.

Have a great Wednesday!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Knitting a Hood

Doctor Who is on daytime TV on SciFi today! I want to finish this post and get back to it!

I finished up the yarn on the hood, but it's still not finished. I'll have to get out and buy some more to finish it. I thought for sure it'd only need one more skein, but then again the first skein was from stash, so it probably wasn't a full skein. I'm glad I chose no dyelot yarn! The hood I'm working on now is navy, but it'll look like this hood that I made for a friend.

The pattern is available.

So, I'm making a third sock out of the Marionberry Risata. I'll order some more as soon as I can afford it, and make three more, then I'll have three pairs of them.

I have to go. I want to get back to Doctor Who (and get some of the mess the universe has created for me straightened out).



Don't forget to record Charlie Jade tonight/tomorrow morning!

I just got an email from an astrologer that says I'm in line for 3 miracles.

About time!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Yarn Sweepstakes!

Ivy's Vine is having a sweepstakes with a very unusual premise. You'll have to check it out at

Leave a comment on her blog to win a skein of 70% merino, 30% silk yarn, enough for two socks. What are you doing still reading? Check it out! You'll get a marvelous piece of Egyptian lore even if you don't win the sock yarn.

In SF news, there is a new series  starting on Lifetime, called Devil's Diary. I really don't know much about it, but the trailer looks interesting. With any luck it'll be as good as Hex. It's on at the same time as Dragon Sword, though. If you can't watch (or record) both, Dragon Sword will be on again on the second of August at 11:00 pm (my time).

The navy blue Christmas present hood I'm making is up past the neck and the increasing/decreasing part of the hood, and now is a straight shot to the top, with only kitchnering the top, darning in ends and blocking to do until finished.

Have a relaxing and fun Sunday with what's left of it!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Dragon Sword

Sunday evening on the SciFi Channel, Dragon Sword will be on again! If you follow that link, it leads to a movie by another name, but it's the same movie.

Aside from being a great children's show, this is also wonderful for adults. It's one of those virtually unknown movies to fall in love with. And I have.

Dragon Sword will be followed by The Brothers Grimm, which is another good movie.

In the meantime, the universe continues to find more and more ways to take money away from me whether I want the things they're taking money for or not.

After fighting with IRS, and getting them to not take money out of my August payment, I get a note from Social Security saying that I'm suddenly eligible for Medicare, and they're taking about $100 out of my August payment.

So, now I have more running around and filling out forms to do.

In the long run, this may be helpful. It would've been helpful during the last month, which was filled with sickness and dental problems, which are still continuing.

I hope you're having a great weekend.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Dental Blues

I'm back from the dentist. 

He can solve all my immediate dental problems.

He promised it won't hurt, and it won't be distressing (and gave me a prescription for a heavy dose of Valium to back it up). I actually like the dentist.

And it'll only cost $1,700!

But I have to do it immediately, and I have to pay up front.

I'm in shock.

And I have no idea where to get money on a scale like that. Well, I will buy a lottery ticket tomorrow, for whatever that's worth.

I feel terrible for saying this, but don't forget the donate button in the sidebar.



For all you Joss Whedon fans, you already know about Dollhouse (I know you do because I told you), but here is new and spectacular news. I could not possibly write the info as well as Joss, so check it out here.

This is really exciting, and if you look here, all you Nathan Fillion fans can see him in a short clip. I had to run it twice to see him, but he's there (I didn't believe it at first, either).

That should brighten up your day!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Down with IRS!

I was going to write about knitting.

Really, I was.

Then the mail came.

First, it included a letter from the Hospital, charging me about $400 for visiting their emergency room. 

I don't have $400.

But the reason I got the mail so early today rather than checking it later was that I got a call from the front desk at the apartment telling me I had a certified letter I needed to come down and sign for.

My first reaction was to jump to conclusions, and think that the finance company had put their threat into action, and was attempting to get a judgement against me.

They'll probably do that eventually, being the scum that they are, but that wasn't who it was from. The certified mail was from the IRS.

Now, I spoke to them on Monday, and it looked like I probably will owe them (after they take money out of my Social Security this month) about $35.

The little note from them today says that they're levying penalties against me for not filing my 2002 return (which I did file) in the amount of just under $4,000! That's right, four thousand dollars!

They have tripped over their own feet on this one. They're mad at me because they kept sending letters to a place I haven't been in about six years, I didn't get the letters, so I didn't respond. But the only way they could've gotten that address was from my 2002 return.

Right now, I'm too upset and angry to deal with it. If I do something now, I'll probably regret it.

So, I'm going to deal with the dental problem tomorrow, and then with the IRS problem on Friday.

All the things that are happening are so overwhelming that I can't deal with them all at once. So, I'm making a list and trying to get at least one thing done every day. Two, if I can (like yesterday).

And just when I think how bad things are, I read this. It really puts my problems into perspective. Don't read that if you don't want a big dose of sadness. It contains a story of unbelievable courage, though, so in a way it is inspirational. But so sad. The story changes narration viewpoint a few times, and is about an SCA member.

SCA stands for "Society for Creative Anachronism" and is a historical reenactment group that does the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. We do everything that was done during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. I know blacksmiths, brewers, vintners, bowyers, fetchers, etc. It's fun!

Friday I'll get back to the knitting, science fiction and photography as usual.

Tomorrow is my day at the dentist, so you may not even get a post.

Just so there is a little knitting content, yesterday, I took some acrylic yarn from my stash and started knitting a hood as a Christmas present for somebody who will remain nameless (for obvious reasons). I picked up another skein of (no dye lot) yarn to match it while I was at WalMart. Mainly, I wanted a carry-around project, and a chance to really try out my new Options #8 needle.

Instead of buying the whole set, I bought one set of size eight tips, and a set of 24 inch connectors to see if I'd like the Options needles. Well, I love them! Someday, if I ever have any money, I want to buy the whole set ($60 which is why I didn't just spring for it in the first place and wanted to see if I liked them).

I had great fun knitting on the bus, and practically hypnotized one of my fellow riders with it. My hood or wimple patterns are great for mindless, take-along knitting projects. And they make very unusual presents. Most non-knitters have never seen anything like them.

My friend, John, went to Arizona for lunch. He met with the person who is working with him on the Steve Canyon project, and the step daughter of Dean Fredericks, the actor who portrayed Steve Canyon on TV. She donated photos from the TV series and from Dean's private life, and they discussed more DVDs. He alerted me to the possibility of more cover art. I can't wait!

See more on Steve Canyon here.

Have a better day than I'm having.



I read another blog which mentioned the Declaration of Independence. It details a long list of wrongs committed by King George against the colonies and declares our independence of British rule.

I was surprised how similar the situation is to our relationship with the current goverment.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Long, Hard Day

Today was a long, hard day that involved a lot of walking.

I got up early (for me), got on a bus and went to WalMart to pick up the things I went to get on Sunday with Holly, but they didn't have.

Then I just missed the bus and had to wait for the next one. I walked around the Dollar Store because it was cool in there, and they have lots of neat stuff.

Came out and caught the next bus and got off as near as I could to the Post Office, and mailed all my IRS stuff, along with all the forms for the hospital to tell them that I really can't afford to pay them $200 because I saw a doctor there a couple of weeks ago.

The stuff for IRS went certified mail so that I could prove that they got it.

I was hoping to get a chance at the free clinic, but missing that bus at WalMart made it too late.

There is a free clinic locally. You have to arrive sometime between 3:30 and 4:30 on Tuesday with proof of income and local residency. If you meet all those requirements, you get a number, and after 4:30 there is a lottery. If your number is chosen, you get a chance to see a doctor.

It sounds pretty awful, but there are too few doctors volunteering, and too many people who need help. The volunteers aren't able to see everyone.

Anyway, it was 4:30 almost exactly when I left the Post Office. Catching a bus and riding back there was not an option.

I have a long list of stuff I have to do, and I'm trying to get at least one thing done every day. And I did get some more spinning done yesterday for the Tour de Fleece.

If I had gone to the clinic and actually gotten to see a doctor, then I would have had to decide how to spend the money I borrowed from Holly. I had planned to pay my phone with it, but a clinic visit would have given me (probably) a prescription that I'd have to fill to get any use from it. And I have a tooth in the front that had a small cavity, but during my recent illness, took the opportunity to virtually explode. Now I'm desperate to get something done about it, and I don't know how I'm going to be able to do it. That money is enough to get it x-rayed, and for the dentist to tell me what can be done and how much it's going to cost. I'm hoping I don't wind up without one of my teeth in the front.

So, the hard choice is: doctor and prescription, dentist or phone?

Incidentally, there's a "donate" button on the right for anyone who feels moved to help.

Obviously, this problem wasn't caused by the IRS, but it was made much worse by them. I'd have about $250 more now to get some help with if it hadn't been for them. I did get them to release my Social Security payment in August. They said it was too late to get the collection for July released. But by the time they take a payment this month, it should make us close to even. I thought I was going to get some money back, but they told me about other charges that I wasn't previously aware of. So, I don't know how it's going to come out, but they said I could expect to hear from them sometime in September.

Incidentally, when I went in the post office, my knitting bag set off their alarms. I pulled out the #8 Options circular needles (nickel-plated) that were in the bag and stuck them through the sensor, and they set it off. That may be something to consider for those of you who are traveling by air. I was really surprised that they'd do that. Although my knitting bag set off the alarm at CVS the other day, and the knitting needles weren't in there. So, there's something else that's doing it. WalMart's sensor was perfectly happy with my knitting bag, though. So, I'm perplexed.

Running a couple of quick errands without a car is an all-day experience.

I hope all of you had a much better day than I did.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Start of the Tour de Fleece

I haven't gotten off to a really good start on the Tour de Fleece, but things have gotten underway.
So far, I have managed to get my wheel set up in the living room in a location where it can stay. This will make it so much easier to achieve my goal of doing some spinning every day (or at least almost every day). I finished filling up the bobbin to a point where it was level with the bit I had been spinning, and start on the next level of building up the bobbin. 

See how the yarn is built up level on the right? Well, I filled in that section and started on another level last night.

This is a project I started a while ago, and am continuing, so I have a photo of the first bobbin that is partially filled, and here it is:

The bobbin on the top is the one with fiber for this project, and the bag shows the rest of the fiber. There is a total of four ounces of merino wool for this color of the project.

If I finish this, I will start on a fuchsia color merino I have for the same project. I'll need two more colors of fiber, and the background will be done in  black commercial yarn.

I just checked the schedule on the SciFi Channel and discovered that SciFi hasn't totally eliminated Charlie Jade, they just moved it. It will be on tonight (actually tomorrow morning) at 3:00 am.

Lots of stuff to do today, so I gotta go.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Start of the Tour de Fleece

Here it is on the first day of the Tour de Fleece (check button in the sidebar) and I haven't spun yet.

I did, however, take a photo of the progress I'd made before starting, so all I have to do is spin a bit this evening and I'm OK.

I finished two mitts, and plan to make a third, but I've revised my opinion of what to do with the other two balls of Risata in Marionberry. I plan to make socks. Actually, it's more than a plan, since I've finished turning the heel and the gusset of the first one. I'm now on the straight-away to the toe. These socks will be plain old 2x2 rib for the leg and the top of the foot. Expect photos tomorrow and a pattern soon.

I hope you've been getting a chance to watch the Star Wars movies on Spike and the Harry Potter movies on Family this weekend.

In about an hour, Eli Stone will be on. If all goes well, that is. The pilot was scheduled for last Saturday, and it never showed. Instead, we got a documentary on NASCAR racing. What a disappointment!

I watched for the planetary alignment last night, but we've had a heavy cloud cover for the last two nights. Early this evening, the clouds started breaking up, but they still cover most of the sky, so it'll be possible that I might see it tonight, but more likely I won't.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Independence Day!

Well, I checked last night for the big, exciting planetary alignment. Ok, so I know that it isn't supposed to start happening until tonight, but I though they'd probably be close to aligned.

I couldn't see anything. It was overcast last night. And I'm worried that it will be overcast tonight, too. The sky is a uniform color, but it's not the bright blue of a clear sky. Objects are barely casting gentle shadows, so it's overcast.

I still have high hopes for tomorrow evening.

In the meantime, Family is showing some of the Harry Potter movies this weekend, starting early this evening. They'll be starting with Sorcerers Stone and going all the way through Goblet of Fire, and some of them will be repeating throughout the weekend. You can start tomorrow afternoon if you miss tonight. Check your schedules.

Have a great Fourth, and don't miss the fireworks!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Burn Notice!

Burn Notice will be on USA today during daytime hours! Catch up on Burn Notice!
If you click on the link, there's also a sweepstakes for a trip to Miami and "Burn Notice gear." They'll be repeating the two part season finale late tonight/early tomorrow morning.

A rerun of Supernatural will be on again tonight on the CW. Always worth watching.

And reruns of Ugly Betty, and Grey's Anatomy on ABC, too.

I have a ton of things to do today, so I have to go.

Have a great Thursday, and a wonderful Fourth of July weekend!



For Harry Potter fans within driving distance of Lexington, KY, check out the Anti-craft blog! Actually, you should check it out even if you can't go. It's a fun read.


Another addition:

I was just looking through the SciFi Channel's schedule, and found out that they're going to start showing Joan of Arcadia on Friday, the 11th (a week from tomorrow). This is one of those charming, sweet, thought provokers. Joan is a high school girl who starts to see God appearing to her in various guises, and has conversations with him. Joan is not irreverent in any way. It's a wonderful, heartwarming show. I loved it, and was very sorry when they took it off the air. Click the link and read the description.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Fireworks and MORE!

I managed to find this wonderful link about three planets that will appear very close to each other (and the moon) this weekend, starting on Friday the Fourth!

The article says it all. Except that Harry Potter fans will recognize the names of the Black family: Orion, and three of his children were named after stars in the Orion constellation: Sirius, Regulus, and Bellatrix. Another family member was named after a galaxy (Andromeda).

Happy Wednesday!



I just discovered the Tour de Fleece, and I'm thinking seriously about joining! The best part is that you're challenged to use something from your stash!

What to spin?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Hi! and Bye!

I have loads of things that I have to do all of a sudden, a lot of it paperwork inspired by the IRS, who are taking money away from me before I even get it, and will continue to do so until I prove to them that they shouldn't be doing that. Eventually they'll refund what they shouldn't have been taking, but it's a hardship at the moment. It's probably going to take me a week or two to get it all done.

So, for a while, there will be fairly short posts.

Like today.

I have to get moving and get some stuff done.

Have a great Tuesday!