Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Winter Solstice!

The Winter Solstice happened very early this morning, right after midnight. Things can only get brighter for the next six months, although it will probably get colder before it starts to get warmer.


From my viewpoint, both of these things can only be good. It hasn't gotten really cold yet, and in spite of having my windows wide open, it's been around 80 degrees in my apartment all day.

I'm about to make myself sound old, but I really am old enough to have seen a change in climate, and I can see that things are getting warmer.

OK, when I was a kid, I lived in, and later right outside Philadelphia, and now I live near Washington DC, but there shouldn't be that much difference in Winter temperatures. By the beginning of December, we would have had at least one snowfall, and it would be cold enough for us to ice skate almost anywhere there was water, except in the channel of the Pennsauken Creek, where there was running water and it didn't freeze. At this point, I still need to keep my windows open in my sauna (which my apartment building manager euphemistically calls "my apartment") to stave off heat stroke.

When I looked for photos of the Winter Solstice on the internet, all I got was photos of snowy landscapes. But if you look out my window, it really doesn't look like that at all.

It rained today! It was all drizzly and warm (not for Summer, but definately for this time of year). Something is seriously out of whack with our weather!

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I hope you've finished getting/making all your Christmas presents! I, personally, am so far behind that I've given up completely, and explained to everyone that this Christmas is such a disaster that only a few people will be getting Christmas presents, and it has nothing to do with how I feel about each individual, it's based on whose present I happened to make first, and I hope I'll do better next year.

I finished up all the stockings I've been making on commission, and delivered the last three today only to discover that there's a dispute about the date on one of the stockings. Although I put the date I was told to put on it, it may not be the right one. I can fix it, but I'm waiting on confirmation of the date before I do that.

So, the stockings aren't completely done.

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If you're up for it, you can track Santa and what he's up to via NORAD!

I just realized that my former Christmas countdown at the bottom of the page is no longer working, and have replaced it with a temporary countdown timer. I'll get a better one in there soon, but in the meantime, at least you can see how much time is left.

And to get you in the Christmas spirit, here's something that's been wandering around the internet so long that nobody can remember where it came from, but it's a lot of fun:

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all around me
Was unfinished knitting not under the tree.
The stockings weren’t hung by the chimney with care
’cause the heels and the toes had not a stitch there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds
but I had not finished the caps for their heads.
Dad was asleep; he was no help at all,
And the sweater for him was six inches too small.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I put down my needles to see what was the matter.
Away to the window, I flew like a flash,
Tripped over my yarn and fell down with a crash.

The tangle of yarn that lay deep as the snow
Reminded me how much I still had to go.
Out on my lawn, I heard such a noise,
I thought it would wake both dad and the boys.

And though I was tired, my brain was a bit thick,
I knew in a moment, it must be Saint Nick.
But what I heard then left me perplexed-ed,
For not a name I heard was what I had expected
“move, Ashford; move, Lopi; move, Addie and Clover
Move, Reynolds; move, Starmore; move, Fraylic–move over”
“Paton, don’t circle round; stand in line.

Come now, you sheep wool work just fine!
I know this is hard semi, it’s just your first year,
I’d hate to go back to eight tiny reindeer.”
I peered over the sill; what I saw was amazing,
Eight woolly sheep on my lawn all a’grazing.


And then,in a twinkle, I heard at the door
Santa’s feet coming across the porch floor.
I rose from my knees and got back on my feet,
And as I turned round, Saint Nick, I did meet.

He was dressed all in wool from his head to his toe
And his clothes were handknit from above to below.
A bright Fairisle sweater he wore on his back,
and his toys were all stuffed in an Aran knit sack.
His cap was a wonder of bobbles and lace,
A beautiful frame for his rosy red face.

The scarf round his neck could have stretched for a
mile,
And the socks peeking over his boots were Argyle.
The back of his mittens bore an intricate cable,
And suddenly on one I spied a small label.
SC was duplicate stitched on the cuff,
and I asked “Hey Nick, did you knit all this stuff?”

He proudly replied “Ho-ho-ho, yes I did,
I learned how to knit when I was a kid.”
He was chubby and plump, a quite well-dressed old man,
And I laughed to myself for I’d thought up a plan.

I flashed him a grin and jumped up in the air,
And the next thing he knew he was tied to a chair.
He spoke not a word, but looked in his lap
Where I’d laid my needles and yarn for a cap.

He quickly began knitting, first one cap then two;
For the first time I thought I’d really get through.
He put heels on the stockings and toes in some socks
While I sat back drinking Scotch on the rocks!!

So quickly like magic, his needles they flew,
That he was all finished by quarter to two.
He sprang for his sleigh when I let him go free,
And over his shoulder he looked back at me.
And I heard him exclaim as he sailed past the moon
“Next year start your knitting sometime around June.”

-Author Unknown

And here's a little something for Christmas. Check out how to put a twisted fringe on the side or in the middle of something you're knitting here ! This is really cool!



If I don't get a chance to blog before then, have the best Christmas ever!



Saturday, December 10, 2011

Today's Lunar Eclipse

I had intended to blog about this before the event, but didn't realize it was this morning instead of tonight. But since it was best viewed from Asia, most people one the East coast wouldn't get a great view of it anyway.

You can see some spectacular photos of the event here, along with information about the eclipse including links to other sites. NASA's Lunar Eclipse page has more information about this and other eclipses as well as general eclipse information.


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Most of my time has been taken up lately by two things: Finishing the last three Christmas stockings for the commission I'm working on, and finishing the cover of the third Steve Canyon on DVD, plus the slipcover for all three DVDs for people who bought all three. You can see the art, and simulations of the art at the link.

But. I have been doing a little knitting for a new design. I showed this photo in my last post.


I have since finished the whole scarf, and even darned in the myriad ends, but haven't taken a photo yet. It turned out beautifully, though, and I'm reknitting it in a better yarn with a few small modifications, mostly in relationships of sizes and spaces of various parts of the scarf. It has a braided section near each end, making it look rich and gloriously understated. This cries out for cashmere or mohair for a luxurious scarf. It's not what you usually think of as a Celtic Braid, but it really is. And, being a scarf, it's reversible! I hate it when scarves aren't reversible!

And I finally got together the money for a newer computer, which is a nice little laptop iBook (G4). It's not new, but is a big upgrade from the computer I have. I also obtained the software I need to lay out and make PDF files of knitting patterns, so this pattern may be available soon. It's possible I'll also redo my free patterns as PDFs, too.

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Some people have been bemoaning the fact that the Home and Garden and the DIY Networks have pretty much stopped showing craft shows and are only showing home improvement. I can understand it for HGTV, but for DIY, it's inexcusable!

I recently discovered that one of the local PBS stations has more than their original UHF broadcast station and on one of the new, HD stations they broadcast, they show Knitting Daily and Beads, Baubles and Jewels.

A lot of Knitting Daily is stuff I already know, but there are some unexpected gems thrown in there, even for experienced, skilled knitters. One of those gems taught me to do a twisted German cast-on, which is a much stretchier cast on, and almost makes a small rolled edge that I think is very pretty, and so I'm using it for a lot of things. If you want to learn that, you'll have to record all the shows until it comes around again, and then play that part of the show, back and forth until you catch on to what they're doing. At least I did.

The other show, Beads, Baubles and Jewels, has reawakened my desire to make silver jewelry. I used to have a business (Maxwell's Silver Hammer) and made a meager living making silver jewelry. The show is great because although it shows the usual beading techniques, it also shows some very advanced and sophisticated silver work involving torches and other advanced equipment!

I want to buy some silver and a torch!

I've been restraining myself, but I have bought some jewelry pliers and some charms to make stitch markers from. They've been mailed to me and should arrive any day now. In fact, they could be downstairs waiting for me to pick them up on Monday. Packages can be delivered to my apartment building, but we can't pick them up except during office hours.

Anyway, I bought some good quality jewelry pliers at a highly discounted price. They're especially engineered to be ergonomic, and especially designed to fit women's hands, although I think they'd work fine for guys, too. The handles are longer to give you more leverage (like the really expensive ones), and therefore stress your hands less, and the handles are shaped to make the business end at a more ergonomic, comfortable angle to work with. And, on top of that, they're even pretty! I love good tools! They can make or break your work.

Here are photos of three that I ordered: First the round nose pliers .


And needlenose pliers . These also have a cutter in them!

And a pair of longnose pliers .


And if these turn out as great as I hope they do, I want to order the three-in-one pliers . This looks like it would be very handy. Sort of an improvement on rosary pliers.

They also have two different cutters that I can't decide between.

Supplies are important, and they wind up being the finished product, so if you skimp on them, you don't have as good a project as you otherwise might, but tools are forever. You'll use them over and over again and they have the power to make your projects shine, or make them look like they were made by someone who didn't know what they were doing.

I also ordered some charms, and some knitters I know may get some stitch markers for Christmas. If I can part with any of them. I'm even thinking about checking out the jewelry making magazines.

Well, all this hasn't even arrived yet, so there will be a lot more to write about.

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In the meantime, The Holiday is on, and it may be my favorite Christmas movie. I'm recording it, but I have so much to do that I haven't been doing that I need to stop writing and get something done so I can watch it again. It will be on again between now and Christmas if you want to catch it. Just check your local listings, and the 21st keeps running through my head as a date that it will be on. No guarantees, but you could start looking there.

Only 15 days until Christmas!

If you're making presents, better get moving!

Have a wonderful weekend!



Friday, December 2, 2011

Happy December!

Happy December!

Here's a reminder: If you scroll down, there's a countdown to Christmas at the bottom of this page.You can find out how much time you have before those presents have to be ready.

I finally have a photo of a knitting project that I can actually post! In other words, it's not a Christmas present that the person it's for can see it and ruin the surprise, and it's not another Christmas stocking that's exactly like all the others except for the name and date on it.

This struck me as a good idea, and I've been knitting it in between all the other things I'm doing. The photo shows a project that still has ends to darn in, but I think you'll get the idea that it's going to be a really neat scarf.


In case you're curious, that scarf is actually braided.

I plan to write a pattern for it, and also for a hat and a set of mitts/mittens to match.

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I know I haven't been writing much lately, but that should improve a bit with the new year.

I've been working on a commission for Christmas stockings like the ones I did a few years ago. It's getting down to the wire on Christmas things and there's a lot to knit on them. They're all colorwork, and there are SO many ends to darn in! Not to mention having to consult a chart every few stitches! So, they're really slow going!

In addition to that, we're getting to the end of the Steve Canyon on TV DVDs, and there's suddenly the slipcase to do, and the third cover to finish. A lot of the work on the third cover was done a while ago, but I have a photo to colorize for it, and all the finishing touches (at this point) for the slipcase.

And now I have to get back to work on it all.

Have a great week!



Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!


I hope your Thanksgiving is the best one ever!

If you haven't checked out the Panopticon, do so now! Franklin is always fun!

I've been thinking about all the things I have to be thankful for. I'm going to leave out a lot of them, because they sound too much like complaints, not thanksgiving.

But here are some things I can be unreservedly thankful for:

  • New, 19 inch LCD TV this year!
  • I got a Samsung Galaxy Tab this year!
  • It looks like I'm going to be finished with the Steve Canyon on DVD covers and slipcase before the end of the year! It was fun to do, but I'll be glad when it's finished.
  • I have a commission to knit Christmas stockings, and it looks like I'm going to have another commission to knit more stockings, which could earn me enough money to get a refurbished Mac laptop! This seems to be the year of technology.
  • After three years of Social Security that hasn't gone up at all, while prices of the things I need soared, SS has decided to give me an increase of $4 per month. The thing that's good about that is that they made it retroactive to 2007, and they're giving me all the extra that I should have been getting in a lump sum of $240 in January along with my regular payment!
  • I'm reasonably healthy, as long as I take care of myself, and can still walk around, even if it does hurt.
  • I discovered a local yarn store in my area (Yarn Cloud), which had been there for a while, but I didn't know it. They have great stuff!
  • I discovered Chiaogoo lace needles, the best ones in the world, and bought a batch of them!

I'm sure I'll think of more things to be thankful for!

I have to go. I want to finish up the current batch of stockings for tomorrow so that I can get paid for them!

Have a great weekend!





Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Veteran's Day!

 Happy Veteran's Day!



I hope you've been having a happy Veteran's Day! I intended to post something for it earlier in the day, but I've been so exhausted the past few weeks and especially yesterday.

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Since I live in HUD subsidized housing for senior citizens and disabled people, November is time for our yearly inspections.

Since I have some environmental allergies, I asked about air conditioning before signing my lease, and they lied, or at least made it sound like the apartment's environmental conditions were completely different than they actually are.

The result is that I was sick for about 50% of the first year I was here and the time I've spent sick has been longer every year. About a month ago, after four courses of antibiotics (this year), and an emergency room visit (which cost Medicare about $3,000!) I finally got to be reasonably well, about two weeks before they shut off the air conditioning again. I've had some high temperatures in my apartment and my choice was between heat stroke with the windows shut (it's been 110 degrees in my apartment with the windows open) or an allergic reaction that's likely to give me severe sinus congestion with a high probability of another infection that could have me taking antibiotics again for another year or more.

There are no good answers here, except getting a portable air conditioner, which the manager strictly forbids, no matter how sick it makes tenants.

So, I'm coming up on nearly two years of feeling like I have flu almost nonstop.

The result is that my apartment is not as neat as I would like it to be, so I've been cleaning.

Inspection was on Thursday, early in the morning (when I'm usually so sick I'm still asleep). I was really, really afraid that they'd evict me, but, to my great relief, I passed the inspection.

I don't want to talk about this anymore, though, because it's just too depressing.

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In the meantime, I'm doing some minor art to be printed for a friend who is actually going to pay me for it later in the month! And, as if that weren't good enough news, I also have a commission to knit some Christmas stockings, plus they're adding on a few extra, which will boost the total amount I get for that.

So, I've been pretty busy.

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Tuesday, I ached all over from my exposure to ragweed, but I went out and voted anyway. I felt like somebody had beaten me up by the time I got home! The bus stop I used is right next to a thrift store, and I went in because I had a long wait until the next bus.

One of the neat things they had was a small wing-back chair. Now that I know I'm not going to be evicted (at least not for another year), I plan to go back tomorrow to see if it's still there. I really hope so. It's comfy, and the arm rests don't bash my elbows like my current chair. I really hope nobody else has bought it before I get the chance!

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As far as knitting stuff is concerned, I've been knitting Christmas stockings on commission, and Christmas presents, which I can't show here. So, I'm very boring as far as knitting goes, and probably will be for a while.

But I hope you've been doing some great knitting and I wish you a fabulous weekend!



Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!



Boo!

You can't just knit a mitten and slap two eyes on it. It has to be looser than most mittens, and the part around the bottom has to flair out and be bigger.

But he's cute! Everybody who saw him today laughed.

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Yesterday, I went to the new yarn store that I just found. It's called Yarn Cloud, and it's nearby. Being nearby doesn't mean that it's easy to get there on the bus.

They have Chiaogoo lace needles, which are the best needles I've ever used! I like them even better than the Addi lace needles! The points are nicer, and they're stainless steel instead of the smelly, oxidizing brass. I got an assortment, and I'll be back for more on Friday.



Sunday, October 16, 2011

I'm Back

I'll bet you thought you'd gotten rid of me, but no such luck.

I've been attempting to do some housecleaning, with very little luck. What I've learned from this little exercise is that I'm really good at finding other things to do rather than doing what I should be doing.

I may skip around to a few different subjects while I catch up on what I didn't write.

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If you're reading this and it's still today, turn on the TV and tune in to AMC! They're having a Walking Dead marathon on today, ending with the last episode of last season, and following that with the first episode of the new Fall season! Do it now!

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This is really about socks, so keep reading, even if it doesn't sound like it at first. Or, if you're not a knitter, you can skip this part.

I watched the Graham Norton show on BBC in America the other night. I don't usually watch it, but he had David Tenent and Catherine Tate, so I watched it.

There was a big discussion about weird things that people do, and bizarre habits people have. Some of the guests revealed their strange likes and habits.

They eventually got around to David Tenent, and asked him if he had any odd habits. He said that he wears all-black socks, and because they're all the same color and dark, he can never find a pair. He opens the windows and turns on the lights and spreads socks out on the bed, and holds prospective pairs up to see if the ribbing matches, etc.

But he's found a solution to the problem! He pulled off his shoe, and revealed that his proper black socks had heels and toes that are PINK! He color-codes pairs of socks for easy match-up later!

Personally, I hate to lose one sock of a pair, and always make at least four pairs alike (from the same yarn in the same pattern) so I can still wear them if I lose one.

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In more knitting news, I have a commission to make five Christmas stockings. A couple of years ago, I did this for one member of a family. They had a relative who made Christmas stockings for each member of the family, but she's gone now, and they want matching socks for the newer members of the family (which they keep churning out), so two years ago, I made some stockings for them. This time, a different family member has asked for five more.

Here's what they look like:


Those are ones that I made in the last batch. I have an order in for the yarn, and new knitting needles because I can't find the ones I used before.

The part about the knitting needles will be interesting if you're a knitter.

I've been reading some knitting forums about different brands and types of knitting needles, and I'm trying something new this time. According to one review, the points on the Chiaogoo lace needles is almost exactly the same as the stiletto points on the Signature needles. So, I ordered two pair of circular needles in size 4. They should be here soon, and I can hardly wait to try them out.

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I'm going to go watch what's left of Walking Dead now, and I'll post again soon!

I hope you've been having a wonderful weekend!





Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy Autumn!

Happy Autumn!

www.teacherfiles.com


That's right, it's the first day of Fall, again!

I hope you've been knitting scarves, mitts and hats for the cooler weather that's coming!

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Fall also means new shows on TV!

Tonight, there is a new show called A Gifted Man. It's about a guy who is visited by his dead wife, who is now a ghost. I don't know a lot about it because it's just come on, and I haven't seen it yet. Sounds good, though!

I'm attracted to it in the first place because of the supernatural aspect, but, from what I read on the site I provided a link to, it's also about what's happening to the poor people in this country. And there are more poor people than ever before in this country.

I supported myself all my life, until the economy tanked, I lost my job (office politics) and can't find another one. I used to be middle class, now my income is below the poverty line.

That wouldn't be too bad if it was just me, but there are a lot of other people in the same boat. I, and many other people are now facing hard choices. I'm having to stay in an apartment building where the management doesn't care that the conditions here are making me sick and making it more difficult to even exist. But I'm stuck, because there's no place else I can afford, and no money to move even if I had a place to move to.

With any luck, it'll be a great series, and will raise some conciousness.

I'm going to stop writing now, because I really do want to watch it.

Have a wonderful weekend!



Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ghost Story!

I finished reading the newest book in the Dresden Files series, Ghost Story , last night and and loved it! When I got to the end, I wanted to jump up and shout "Yes!"


This is the book I wanted the last time around and was disappointed.

I really want to tell you what it's all about, but don't want to spoil it for you.

What you'll find out at the beginning of the book is: Harry's back, and he's a ghost! Three of his friends will die if he doesn't find out who killed him. So, he's working on the case of his life: finding his own murderer!

Jim Butcher is one of the few authors who can write a thriller that has all the excitement and suspense it should, but also makes me laugh at the same time, and this one is no exception, in fact, it shines in this respect. Late in the book, Harry gets into Molly's mind while he's trying to save her, and it's a wonderful place!

Oh, I want to go on and on, but as River Song says, "Spoilers!"

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I may be doing some knitting for profit soon. When I say "profit" in relationship to knitting, you know it's a joke, don't you? It's more like I may be knitting some things on commission.

I have been contacted about knitting more Christmas stockings, and it would entail a lot of knitting, but a good piece of change at the end. My hands are going to hurt!

The other thing is someone has asked me to design and knit some baby hats in various sizes. I'll get a little for the hats themselves and will retain the rights to the design, so I can write up the directions and sell the patterns. That should be more lucrative in the long run, but it'll take a while for the money to trickle in in dribs and drabs. This will be more of an ongoing thing, and will require less of my time at any one point, but might require more over the long haul.

The stockings, on the other hand, will be a lot of intense knitting at a point in time when I wanted to spend my knitting time on Christmas presents that I intend to give. They require following a chart, and a lot of colorwork, which means lots of ends to weave in, and a big, tangled mess to sort out over and over again while I'm knitting. But there will be money, and I've been pretty short on that for a while.

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Some of the new shows for the Fall season have been starting this week, and more will start next week. the new season of The Big Bang Theory will start in five minutes (as I'm writing this). At the same time, the new Charlies Angels will come back to TV.

Holly is always down on me because she disapproves of Charlie's Angels and I don't. She feels it's anti-feminist, and I think it's one of the best things that ever happened to feminism. Sure, a lot of guys tuned in for the jiggle factor, but they got to see women doing things that only men had done before that, and they did it not only competently, but with flair and style. Week after week, they tuned in to watch women who were intelligent, strong, and independent doing things that women had never been shown doing before. They rode motorcycles, blew up things, used firearms, and caught the bad guys. And the guys who watched were completely unaware that they were being brainwashed each week.

I can't stand this. I have to go catch The Big Bang Theory!

Have a great evening!



Saturday, September 10, 2011

Knit Jargon

Not too long ago, I joined an online knitting group called Knitting Paradise. They have an online forum, and it's the first knitting one I've really gotten involved in, largely because they send me an email every day with a link.

There was recently a link to a thread about knitting jargon, and I thought it was so funny that I'm going to try to organize it a bit here so you can all enjoy it.

If I find more jargon, I'll just add it here, so you may want to come back sometime in the future to check it.

  • CAL: Crochet A Long. I know it should be crochet along, but the acroynym doesn't work that way.
  • CIP: Crochet In Progress.
  • Frog: The rip-it, rip-it stitch.
  • KAL: Knit A Long. I know it should be Knit along, but the acronym doesn't work that way.
  • KIP: Knit In Progress.
  • Lifeline: A contrasting smooth yarn that's threaded through a row on complicated patterns so that later you can frog back to it if you make a mistake.
  • LYS: Local Yarn Store.
  • OTK : On The (Knitting)Needles, aka WIP.
  • PIGS: Projects In Grocery Sacks.
  • SABLE: Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy. We have Stephanie Pearl McPhee to thank for that one.
  • SEX: Stash enrichment expedition.
  • SKANK: funny way of saying skein of yarn (skein+hank=skank) 
  • TINK: To unknit. TINK is KNIT spelled backward.
  • TOAD: Trashed Object Abandoned in Disgust 
  • WIP: Work in Progress.
  • Yarn barf: When you try to pull yarn from the center of the ball and can't find the end, it creates yarn barf.

Just a little update for you knitters who may not have heard all the latest expressions. PIGS, TOAD and SEX were new to me, but I love them!

Have a great weekend, in spite of it being the anniversary of 911, and all the grief that's going to stir up!



Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Return of the Knitting Blog!

I've been writing about other things for a while, but I'm back on the subject of knitting!

I read The Yarn Harlot's Blog earlier this week (last week?), and she was going nuts over a pattern called Catkin. I checked it out on Ravelry, and it was already in my favorites. The link to the blog goes to the particular post where she began to speak about  it, and it has a link to the pattern. The Ravelry link to the pattern is here, and I can't seem to find it anywhere but Ravelry. You need to join Ravelry to get the pattern (apparently), but joining is free, and very fun! There's no place else that I can find a discussing of the latest Doctor Who episode by all knitters!

Do click a link and see the photos of the shawl/scarf! It can be worn so many ways, and it's so pretty!

Anyway, as with Stephanie, after seeing this pattern, it drove me nuts. So, I bought the pattern and knitted the swatch. Knitting the swatch was important because I don't have a needle that's long enough for the whole thing, and if I'm going to have to order one, it might as well be an Addi lace needle. And they're expensive enough that I don't want to have to order one that's the wrong size!

Anyway, here's the swatch:


I just happened to have some Knit Picks Palette yarn on hand, so I used it to do the swatch. I have lots of the pale grey color (mist) and I ordered more a few minutes ago for the contrasting colors to make three different versions, one for Holly (it's a Christmas present, but she already knows about it; she even picked the colors), myself, and another Christmas present for a recipient who is not to be named at this time.

Actually, I didn't get the color Holly picked. They've added some new colors since she picked it last week, and I got one that looks almost identical on the screen, but is a heathered color, which I think will look much better than a solid color in the scarf/shawl.

In fact, all three of the colors I ordered are heathered. Here's the one for Holly:



It's called Blue Note Heather, and I think it's going to look so much better than a solid color!

Here's the one for me. It's called Mineral Heather.



And for the mystery person, we have Huckleberry Heather.



I think these are going to be three really beautiful scarves! I might have to knit another one or two. It's not quick and easy knitting, though. Except for the section around the neck, the whole thing is charted, and it's complicated enough that it's got to be a problem to memorize, although some rows do repeat. I should finish the first one before I decide to make too many more.

Now, I have to wait for the yarn to arrive!

In the meantime, I might knit a practice shawl from the Bluebell color, which is the blue in the swatch, that I also have a lot of and some of the Mist that I've got stockpiled.

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I need to go out and do errands, but they just put down carpet in the lobby and the whole first floor of my apartment building, and nobody is allowed to walk on it, so everybody is either stuck in their apartments or can't get into their apartments. It's going to be my turn soon (although I don't know when yet). They originally said that we wouldn't be able to walk on the floor for a day, but now it's the second day, and it might be another one.

I went to the library yesterday (and got a copy of Ghost Story!), but it took me about 20 minutes to get out of the building. There was a sign diverting me from using the front elevator to get off on the first floor and directing me to the freight elevator. But the freight elevator wasn't working, which took me almost
15 minutes to realize.

I kept thinking that since it was making little noises like it had just arrived at a different floor that it was working. In reality, the little dinging noises were a distress call from an elevator that was stuck, but knew it should go to the floor where someone pressed the button.

I finally took the stairs down, passing a woman who was about 85, carrying up a heavy load of laundry from the basement. I'm surprised she didn't die on the spot. She had already carried it up 5 floors, and might have as much as two more to go.

I hope you're having a better week than the residents of this apartment building are!



Sunday, September 4, 2011

True Confessions of a Rock 'n Roll Groupie!

Yes, It's true. Back in the early '80s, I was a groupie for a rock 'n roll band called Truc of America. I can't spell it properly on the 'net, because, depending on your computer, it'll come out looking like it does in the comics when someone uses bad language.

Truc (when spelled right) has a horizontal line over the U. It's French, and means a neat trick or a gadget. Or look it up here.

At the end of the '70s, I moved from the Washington, DC area back to New Jersey. Shortly afterward, a friend of mine, Tony, moved back down to where he used to live in Florida. Not too long after that, I got a letter from him inviting me so stay with the band he was doing lighting for in Cape May, NJ, where they were going to be playing for two weeks.

It was actually a bit more than two weeks, because it included three weekends, the last of which was Memorial Day Weekend. I had a blast, and so did all of us, and I got invited back many times. For several years, for the two weeks plus before Memorial Day, and the two weeks plus after Labor day I spent my "summer vacation" staying at the band house of the bar, Gloria's, where they played.


That's them doing Outta Control. And that's fairly representative of what they used to play. Except for the stuff they wrote themselves, which was past outta control, and into outrageous.

The band consisted of Norm McDonald, who did most of the vocals; Mark Fett, who did keyboard, some vocals and most of the announcing; Andy Begin, the drummer; Russ Reiser, who played guitar and did some of the vocals; and Mark Lilly, who did some vocals and guitar. They also had Tony, who was doing the lighting and Eric, who did the sound. Mark Lilly was usually called Pad by the band members because it got too confusing with two Marks in the band. Frequently, Mark Fett's girlfriend, Dinah came along, and sang a few numbers with them. And I came along with Tony.

They were really an extraordinary band because once you got into Gloria's or any other place they were playing, you just didn't leave. It was impossible to walk out on that band. It was just too much fun!

Here's Norm, playing Polly Hardon doing a song that I think he wrote. He's being introduced by Mark Fett, and you can see a few views of Russ, Pad and Andy.



That was a short version of the song.

There's more of their work up on You Tube, and I'll let you discover that for yourself.

The song they did that was my favorite was Easy Mark by Mark Fett.

Truc was even more fun to party with. Each night that they played at Gloria's, we'd come back after 2 am, and party for a couple of hours. As rockers go, they did like their parties, but really didn't do much in the way of anything illegal, which was part of why it was fun to party with them. Usually, the very worst thing they did was make too much noise.

Things they did that were illegal included setting off fireworks. Each year, they'd drive up from Florida to play at Gloria's, stay at the band house, and then continue North and West to the middle of the summer, then reverse it all and go back the same way, playing the same places on the return trip, ending up back at Gloria's, and then going back to Florida.

On their way North, they went through a bunch of states that had tons of fireworks on sale (where it was legal), and Truc would stock up.

I remember one night when they set off a fabulous show of fireworks, and then all trooped indoors for the party. The police eventually showed up, and found us all in the kitchen, quietly playing computer games!

Every single time I was there for two weeks, there was some point when one of the local police stood in the middle of the living room and had a loud nervous breakdown! Or screaming fit, depending on your viewpoint. The band never managed to do something that was actually illegal when there were police around, but they came very close to it. They definitely were a big nuisance!

In fairness, some of our parties were very quiet. They'd bring along videotapes of movies, and we'd all sit around and watch them on numerous occasions. That's where I saw Life Of Brian the first time.

I've been looking for all these people on the internet, and can't find much about them except for Norm, and I don't understand it. I've looked for other people before, and couldn't find anything on them. I'm mystified! If you look my name up, you'll find pages of stuff about me. Where did they go wrong?

Well, before I finish this post, I want to thank Leah Cruz, who posted something about Weird Al Yankovick on Facebook today and reminded me of Truc. The reason it reminded me was because Truc opened for Weird Al on several occasions.

Anyway, I hope you're having a wonderful Labor Day Weekend! You won't be hearing from me tomorrow because I'm planning to go to the Maryland Renaissance Festival tomorrow!


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bye Bye, TiVo!

It was nice for the year that I had TiVo, but it was also a real trial attempting to deal with the customer "service" there.

I bought a refurbished TiVo HD at the beginning of July last year. It had a warranty. That warranty is still good.

But after about 11 months, the TiVo didn't work. They were very nice and sent me a "new" refurbished HD Model. That one lasted almost a month to the day from when it went into service.

In spite of the fact that they sent me a replacement that was almost ready to die, and in spite of the fact that it's still under warranty, if I want another one, it's going to cost me $50. For another refurbished one that's (for all I know) about to die in a month.They were very firm on the price for a replacement.

There are no more new ones of this model available, and haven't been for over a year. Aside from the fact that I really can't afford $50, I question whether that's a smart use of money. If I'm going to spend money on a TiVo, it might be better to spend $100 and get a brand-new one with updated software, as opposed to used-to-death-and-then-refurbished.

There's also the consideration of having to actually deal with the TiVo people about billing and other issues. They were at least as bad as Comcast customer "service" but Comcast has improved things, and now TiVo is far worse. I'm not sure I want to voluntarily sign up to be mistreated this way.

There's also the consideration that I would have to sign up for at least a year, maybe two for TiVo, and we may be switching from Comcast to Fios, and that would raise the question of compatibility, with me possibly stuck with a contract requiring me to pay $20 per month for a year and a half or so for a service that I might not be able to use.

So, it looks like I'll be continuing to use the Comcast DVR that I got to temporarily replace the TiVo. If I'm going to spend money on something, I know a place that regularly has sales on 2 terabyte SATA drives that I could plug into the DVR and be able to keep recordings when (for some reason) I have to switch DVRs again! Then I could just unplug the drive and plug it into the new DVR or TiVo, and just keep truckin'.

This is making me really depressed.

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Did any of you see the kickoff episode of the new Doctor Who season Let's Kill Hitler on Saturday? If not, you missed one of the best Who episodes I've ever seen!

I know, I know. That title is a real turn-off! I've seen a bunch of time travel stories where someone goes back in time to kill Hitler and stop the carnage, but it all goes terribly wrong, and they don't accomplish anything.

As it turns out, Hitler is just a peripheral character, and gets locked in a closet early on. I was looking at a rehash of the story on Ravelry (Who Knits), and halfway through, somebody timidly asks if Hitler ever got out of the closet. It's really not about Hitler at all. It is about the Doctor, Rory, Amy, and Rory and Amy's childhood friend, Mels. I want so much to talk about it, but as River says, "Spoilers!"

If you don't care about spoilers or have already seen it, click on the Who Knits link above (if you're also in Ravelry) and you'll get plenty of spoilers and a chance to discuss the episode if you've seen it.

Regardless of anything else, I love the beginning of it! It took me a few seconds to figure out what Amy and Rory were doing. First, that they were trying to contact the Doctor, and second, how they were going about it! It's very funny! Then they get the tables turned on them! I really love the opening sequence!

I have to go and actually do something constructive now, so I'll be back again soon.

Have a much better week than I had around here last week!



Sunday, August 28, 2011

Goodnight, Irene



This is a farewell to the whole of the last 7 days (including today), which, in this area contained: a 5.9 earthquake, many tornado warnings, lots of flash flood warnings, and hurricane Irene. Oh, that's Doctor John, above, playing Goodnight Irene.

It's also a heartfelt wish for no earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes (the drink is exempted from this wish), flash floods, mudslides (the drink is exempted from this wish), forest fires, volcanic eruptions or tsunamis for at least the next month or two!

For me, it also included an allergy scratch test which is aptly named, because it still itches. It gave me the unfortunate information that although ragweed makes my nose and sinuses go berserk, I'm not actually allergic to them. So, the sinus problems in the Fall are now a complete mystery.

This would be good news because it means that if I could raise the money, I could now actually go to Pennsic with no ill effects from ragweed.

In theory.

Real life is totally different.

I am still allergic (according to the tests) to some tree pollen, and the doctor did write a note, but I don't know yet if it'll be enough to help me get a portable air conditioner to keep me from getting sick during the ragweed that I'm not allergic to.

It was, all in all, kind of a disaster of a week.

If you're in an area that is still battling Irene, I wish you the best of luck. And I wish everybody a good weekend, and the best possible week coming up.

A week entirely free of all disaster!



Friday, August 26, 2011

Roadmap to Winning the Darwin Awards

For any of you who may not know, the Darwin Awards are given to people who manage to kill themselves in the most stupid possible way. It can also be awarded if the idiot in question just manages to remove his or her ability to procreate in a spectacularly stupid fashion.

For a better idea of what is meant, click the link above, and scroll down to the examples section. It would be hilarious if it wasn't so sad.

Once, long ago, I read a book which was based on the idea that someone had the capability to make everyone in an area decide to do the same thing at the same time with disastrous results. in the book, everyone in New York City decided to go to the beach at the same time. Then I lost the book before I could finish reading it, but I never forgot the beginning of  it.

That exact scenario is playing out all along the east coast this weekend. It's an instant replay of one aspect of the earthquake from earlier in the week, where cell and other phone circuits were overloaded because everyone decided to call everyone else at the same time.


Anyway, with hurricane Irene on the way, I woke up today to find a sheet of instructions in my door on how to cope with the impending gale force winds (and rain). And after reading it through, I have come to the the conclusion that following the instructions could get me nominated for a Darwin Award.

I have to admit that some of what I was given was intended for before hurricane season, and as a last-minute instruction is pretty useless (like: Review your insurance policy). And some of it is not helpful because it doesn't apply, such as: decide where to move your boat, and fuel and service family vehicles. They also keep telling me I need a radio (which I can't hear). After a bit of analysis, though, I think what I really need in lieu of a radio is my tablet, which won't do me any good if the local towers are down, but at least I won't need another person to let me know what it says. Along with the radio, they recommend checking your flashlights and having lots of batteries, which is a wonderful idea! I have a lot of batteries and plan to check my flashlights immediately.

But one of the lists I consulted advocated getting lots of canned food. Well, that's something that will only be needed if the electricity goes out, in which case, I will also lose the ability to heat it, and most canned food needs heating. What you really need is food that will keep without refrigeration, and will not need to be heated. Those little pots of applesauce, pudding cups that don't need refrigeration, apples, etc. Canned soups and other foods won't help unless you have a camp stove and a safe place to use it.

The best ideas I've found for preparing are here .

Oh, and if you have to leave (or don't) remember something to knit and some books to read!

If you're on the East Coast, I wish you the safest, most comfortable weekend possible!

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Addition:

No matter where you are, even if you're on the East Coast, bracing for Irene, don't miss the return of the new season of Doctor Who on BBC in America!



Thursday, August 25, 2011

DC and Virginia's Excellent Adventure

I'd be willing to guess that on Tuesday morning, probably 90% of the people in the local area had never experienced an earthquake. I could be wrong if there were more tourists than I thought there were.

But no one who was here Tuesday afternoon can say that now!






As anyone who has seen the news in the last two days can tell you, most of the East Coast had an earthquake on Tuesday afternoon.

For the maximum excitement of the people involved without causing serious damage, this one couldn't be beat! I haven't heard any reports of anyone being killed or even seriously injured. Which was shear, dumb luck!

You can help researchers learn more about this event by entering your experiences here.

In Maryland, one wall of a masonry building collapsed, sending rubble down on three doomed cars. If people had been where the cars were, they (presumably) would have had the sense to get out of the way when the ground started shaking. The cars, however, being parked, were stuck with supporting a pile of cinder blocks and becoming statistics.

I saw photos of another building in Maryland that had the top of it moved about an inch to the side, right along the line of a course of bricks part way up.

There were some local area schools that noticed some damage to their buildings, and local kids got a day off while the building inspectors came to see if they were still safe.


The National Cathedral and the Washington Monument both sustained damage, which makes me very sad. They are among my favorite buildings in DC. The photos above and below are of the cathedral.


But for someone who had never been in an earthquake before (while awake), it was about as exciting as such a non-destructive earthquake could get. I found I could start a conversation with anyone by just asking about their experience.

In further news that's sort of connected to this, there are areas of Maryland that are under a tornado warning tonight, and the whole area is expecting Hurricane Irene on or about Sunday.

Robin asked on Facebook if we were going to get volcanic eruptions next week.

This is the first time I've ever had a blog post that included the tags: earthquake, tornado, hurricane. All in one post, mind you!

I hope you're having a better week than this area is!



Monday, August 15, 2011

Sorry!

I actually intended to blog most days of last month, but was still trying to recover from the antibiotic I took for most of the previous two weeks, and had the whole infection come right back and land on my like a ton of bricks!

The antibiotic itself made me feel bad, but the problems that went away were a real eye opener! All the muscle, joint and bone pain went away, too! So, they're obviously connected to the sinus/ear infection.

I'm going to see the ENT doctor on Wednesday. Hopefully, that will help.

In the meantime, I've been having lots of meetings, appointments and things I have to do. Most of them involve taking the bus and doing lots of walking. By the time I get home from one of these, I'm in so much pain, just from walklng that it's all I can do to keep from crying.

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Holly took me out last weekend, and one of the places we went was JoAnn Fabrics. I was looking for some sock yarn, but they didn't have any colors I liked. What I did find was some yarn that was on sale in two beautiful colorways.

They're both Deborah Norville Everyday yarn, and the first color is called Beach.




The first photo is of the ball, then the knit side, and the purl side of stockinette stitch. I've gotten to love self-patterning yarn, but I especially love the colors in this.

The other yarn is the same brand of yarn, but in a color called Winding River, and I think I like the colors in this even better! I haven't knitted a big sample of it yet, so there'se just the small sample and the ball to see.


The colors are almost the same as the first one, but much stronger.

I'm making a vest with Beach, and it's stockinette, so it just wants to curl up, but so far it looks like when it gets blocked it'll be really nice! I'm hoping to have enough to make a hat and mitts, too.

I was able to get more of the Winding River color, so if the first vest turns out well, I'll probably make another, but I can probably get a hat, mitts, and something else out of it.

I'm still feeling punchy, sick and stupid from my encounter with the antibiotics, so, I'll try to keep posting on my blog, but don't expect much.

I hope you're feeling much better than I am!

Have a great evening, and a wonderful week!



Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hi! I'm Still Alive!

Just barely.

Sorry for not blogging more. I certainly intended to blog.

But this sinus infection that's been going on for more than a year now was treated with a new antibiotic. The doctor said this one was much stronger, and, judging by the results, it was. It's been a bumpy ride.

First of all, the infection had really become systemic, with aches all over, sort of like flu. The antibiotic got rid of a lot of symptoms that I hadn't even connected with the infection. My bones ached all the time, but worse after some walking or other exercise. When I got near the end of the antibiotics, all that went away! Of course, it also caused digestive problems, which to some extent, I expected, but what I didn't expect was the stomachache, and more, that lasted a few days. I know my digestive system has problems, but this stuck me more as something I might have expected from drinking Draino.

I went to the library, and then over to Safeway yesterday, and I was surprised how weak I felt, and was shaking from fatigue and overwork by the time I got to the library, which is not really very far away.

And now that I'm (mostly) recovered from the antibiotic, most of my symptoms from the infection are back!

I hate this!

On to more pleasant things!

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Vogue Knitting has published a preview of their Fall issue! You can see it here.

I love the hood (scroll down) shown in red! I think I'd like to make it with a seam instead of the buttons, but then I can't seem to ever just make anything the way the pattern is written. I'd change some of the cable design, too. And it's so loose around the neck that I'd want a scarf to go with it, too. And, of course some mitts, and I'm thinking of writing a pattern for short mittens to go over my already existing mitts pattern, and that seems like a good addition to the set.

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We're halfway through the first week of Pennsic at this point. This is the "lounge around and have a vacation" portion of the festivities. This weekend and the upcoming week will be the part devoted to actuall events that affect the war score, and also University classes.

In the spirit of the University classes, I'm going to try to put up a fiber-related how-to on most days of the week. Theoretically, that should start no later than Saturday, but Holly and I will be going out to see (finally) the second half of Deathly Hallows, and I don't really expect to get anything up then. I'll also be busy the rest of this week, and it's unlikely that I'll get to do much with the blog. Sorry! In the meantime, I'm going to try to repost the most interesting stuff from Twitter about Pennsic, so it'll show up in the sidebar, and you can get an instant update even if I don't post something.

Which leads me to my next topic:

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My TiVo (remember, the thing that malfunctioned badly, and left me without for almost a month?) is malfunctioning badly!

If you'll remember, I got a Comcast DVR to replace it temporalily, and returned it. They replaced it, and now, less than six weeks later, I'm having another problem all over again.

This time, it decides it needs to be restarted, and proceeds to do that. It kept restarting all day Monday, but by Tuesday, it would begin to restart, and then try to restart again, and effectively turn itself off.

I just tried to watch the Doctor Who episode, The Doctor's Daughter, starting at 5:00. It turned itself off at 5:02, 5:14, 5:33, 5:38, 5:50, and 5:54. Since the start-up sequence takes 5 minutes to complete, I didn't really get to see much of Doctor Who!

All the programs I wanted to see last night wound up as collections of program parts in their own separate folders, some in as many as four or five pieces!

This is really not acceptable! I've spent a lot of Monday, Tuesday, and today on the phone with TiVo support, and they don't seem to be able to do anything about the problem. I wasn't really enthused with the idea that the TiVo they sent me didn't even last a year, but I'm even less enthralled with it not lasting even two months!

So, this is part of what's going to keep me so busy for the next couple of days. Tomorrow, I'm going to go over to Comcast (a 2 to 4 hour trip each way, and a full day of time-wasting) and get a DVR so that I can at least watch TV. Then, I still have to take the TiVo over to UPS on Friday, which is not quite as long a trip, but still a lot after the exertion of the day before.

When a TiVo box is working, it's a dream! I really love TiVo boxes!

But customer service is a nightmare with them, and the hardware seems to be very undependable! So the question is: Is it worth all the aggravation and the extra expense?

That's a question I'm having a hard time answering at the moment.

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Back on the topic of health, I found this internet article interesting. There doesn't seem to be a reliable test for Lyme Disease, so the state government of New Hampshire has voted in a law that frees doctors from having to rely heavily on tests to diagnose Lyme Disease. This has a lot of legal implications, some of which are quite interesting about how they affect the way other diseases are treated. I'm glad to see a state taking an interest in the health and welfare of it's citizens, and I wish more states would follow New Hampshire's example!

I'm wiped out, and have to go.

Have a wonderful remainder of the week!



Friday, July 22, 2011

Not at Comic Con

If you're reading this, you're not at Comic Con.

If you were at Comic Con, you'd have much better things to do (unless you're standing in line waiting for a panel).

But for those of you, like me, who aren't at Comic Con, there's a Not At Comic Con Giveaway sponsored by Tor Books. There will be a lot of SF swag not available at CC, including a batch of books.

So, go on over there and post a comment to enter.

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Every time I get on Twitter, I get the spinning beachball of death for half the time I'm on. Everybody's trying to tweet!

I searched for #SDCC earlier today, read a few Tweets, and discovered there were 200 new Tweets. I clicked the button to download them, and by the time they'd loaded, there were 20 more Tweets!

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John Ellis will be at Comic Con on Saturday, and I've asked him to do a lot of tweeting. If he does it, I'll be retweeting here. He always finds fun people to talk to, and may or may not be able to send photos this year.

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I intended to write all sorts of funny stuff here, but I'm finishing up a course of antibiotics for a sinus/ear infection I've had for a while. Wednesday, I felt a lot better than I have in a while, but yesterday, my sinuses tried to drown me again, and some of the symptoms are worse. Ditto today. I just can't get it together to write some more. At least most of the body aches are gone. And now I know that those aches are from the infection!

So, have a wonderful evening, and, hopefully, I'll be in shape to write something truly witty tomorrow.




Thursday, July 21, 2011

San Diego Comic Con Is Already in Full Swing

I'm finding Tweets and photos from SDCC and tweeting or retweeting them (mostly retweets) so all of you who, like me, want to be at Comic Con, but aren't.

If you're a knitter, keep an eye on the tweets and retweets in the sidebar, because there are some free knitting patterns I'm tweeting about!

In the same vein, there will be a new cartoon show about a mythical Gene Roddenberry when he was a child. You can read more about it at the link. Be sure to scroll down. There's a cartoon at the end that I like.

I've been hampered in posting this by Comcast, which is running so slow that I've spent as much (maybe more) time waiting for stuff to load as I have actually reading or blogging stuff! It's either that or every website on the internet is running slow. I could understand it if it was only Twitter or only some other site, but it's everything!

Later addition: I waited a while, hoping that Comcast would finally start to work, but it's still glacially fast. I'll continue to try to update things on Twitter, but I'm giving up on posting for now.

Have a great evening!




Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Moon Day!

Happy Moon Day!

Forty two (an auspicious number) years ago, a human being set foot on the moon for the first time!

For you older people, you probably remember where  you were and what you were doing at the time. For you younger people, it was an amazing event!


You can find more information on the Moon Landing here. In case you weren't paying attention, that was two links.

So, my opinion on all this is that I should do something loony today to celebrate! Actually, the most loony thing I can think of to do is to buy some of the moon. I can't afford it, but you might be able to.

Yeah, I know it's not expensive, but I'm broke.

Maybe next month for my birthday.

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If you like the Harry Potter scarf from yesterday, you can make a matching watch cap (if you use the same colors) with the instructions here. The link is also in the sidebar, so you can find it any time.

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Coming Attractions!

There are a couple of things coming up that I'd really like to go to, but won't be able to due to budget constraints and health reasons.

Can't get to San Diego Comic Con? Neither can I, and I'm all broken up about that. It's probably the biggest comic, science fiction and fantasy con around these days and it's happening this weekend! Actually, there's a preview night tonight, and one of my friends will be there tomorrow evening.

Another friend (John) will be there sometime over the weekend. So it's possible I'll get some first-hand accounts up here.

So, I propose a rerun of last year, wherein I collect the best of the best of Tweets about SDCC, and retweet them. If you don't have a Twitter account, you can follow them right here in the sidebar. See, over there, on the right, where it talks about Twitter?

It's not much, but it's a tiny taste of the con, and if it is the same as last year, there'll be lots of links to see photos taken there.

While you're checking Comic Con here, you might want to check G4, which will be broadcasting live from Comic Con at various times over the weekend (and then rebroadcasting the live shows later, if you miss them).

The other thing that's really breaking my heart to miss is Pennsic! If you click the link, you'll find out that it's a Medieval wargame held in Western Pennsylvania for two months in August. Actually, they've moved the dates up, and it now starts at the end of July, specifically July 29th this year.

Actually, Pennsic is far more than just a wargame. There is that, and a lot of Pennsic is built around that, but there's much, much more. To begin with, it's over 10,000 people getting together and living essentially the way people lived in the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

SCA also has University classes, where they teach just about anything that was done during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and not just in Europe, but in the Middle and Far East. There are classes in blacksmithing, bellydancing, carding, combing and spinning wool and other fibers, period names and naming, period recipes and cooking, jewelry making, leather crafting, shoemaking, fletching, and much, much more. Just because I haven't mentioned it, doesn't mean they don't teach it.

I'll be doing the same thing with retweeting the most interesting stuff from Twitter, but I'm also going to try to blog almost every day, and include something that you would encounter in University classes if you were there. Since I do a lot of fiberarts, that's mostly what you'll be getting. If I can work up to real ambition, I might even show how to lucet some cord. I have a bone lucet that I bought a while ago and haven't used yet. This would be a good time to break it out. There were cords all over Medieval clothing, so this was a useful thing to know.

About the every day thing, I already know that at least two days (probably in a row) will be taken up with personal, time-consuming stuff, and I don't expect to be able to blog on the third or fourth of August, although I'll try.

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I have lots of stuff to do, so I have to get going.

Have a great evening!



Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Harry Potter Scarf

I clicked on an email yesterday from Knitting Paradise. This is a group with a forum. On the forum were a lot of questions about how to make a Harry Potter scarf.

I was amazed to see that most people couldn't figure out how to do it, so I thought I'd publish instructions that I've never written down before, but that let me make a batch of Harry Potter scarves. This is set up to make the kind of scarf that is closest to the ones in the movie in the easiest possible way.

Harry Potter Scarf

Yarn needed:  Choose a yarn that's about a DK or light worsted weight in the school colors of your choice. I'll discuss colors at the end of the instructions. For a wide-stripe scarf (like in the first two movies) about 220 yards of each color. For wide and narrow-striped scarves (like in the third and remaining movies) you'll need about 420 yards of the main color, and 120 yards of the contrasting color. This can be acrylic, wool, or a combination of the two. You might want to give some consideration to the washability of the scarf if it's for a child.

Tools and notions needed: 
  • One 16 inch circular needle in the size you use for DK or light worsted. I'd choose a size 7 or 8, but you need to choose a size that gives you a nice, supple fabric. Not too tight or too loose.
  • At least one stitch marker (occasionally, these pop off. You only need one, but I would want to have some extras in case of loss).
  • Scissors
  • A hardback book (any of the Harry Potter hardback editions are perfect).
  • A garment steamer or steam iron (if you don't have either of these, you could wet block it if you know how to do that, or look it up on the internet).
  • An insulated cooking mit (silicone works best). This is optional, but may be helpful if you're steam blocking.
  • Crochet hook that's an appropriate size for the yarn. The size is not important because you won't be crocheting with it, but you'll be pulling the fringe through, so it has to be big enough. You can use a latch hook instead of a crochet hook, and that might even be easier.

Instructions:

Using main color, cast on 80 stitches. Place a marker, and knit in rounds for the length of the scarf following directions for type of scarf.

Wide Stripe scarf:  Knit with MC for 4 inches, then switch to CC for 4 inches, and repeat for length of scarf, ending with a MC stripe. Change colors at the marker, knotting yarn together with a square knot, and leave ends inside the tube, trimming ends to about 4 inches. You don't have to darn these ends in. When the scarf is about 72 inches, ending with a MC stripe, bind off. You can make the scarf shorter for a small child. It can be tried on to see if it's so long the child will trip on it.

Wide and Narrow Stripe scarf:  Knit with MC for 6 inches, then switch to CC for 4 rows, switch to MC for 6 rows, and back to CC for 4 rows. Repeat this sequence for length of scarf, ending with a wide MC stripe. Change colors at the marker, knotting yarn together with a square knot, and leave ends inside the tube, trimming ends to about 4 inches. You don't have to darn these ends in. When the scarf is about 72 inches, ending with a wide MC stripe, bind off. You can make the scarf shorter for a small child. It can be tried on to see if it's so long the child will trip on it.

Finishing:  Lay the scarf out on an ironing board or other steam-resistant surface, making sure that the jogs for the color changes are on one side edge. If the yarn you used is overtwisted, the jogs may not line up, but twist and flatten the scarf with your hands so that they do line up along the edge. Steam the scarf with a steamer or steam from a steam iron. Do not press down with the iron. You can pat it into shape using a mitt type pot holder over your hand (silicone ones work great at keeping your hand safe from the steam). Let the scarf sit until it's dry and cool. The scarf should now look professional, and the ends should lie flat. If they don't, though, don't worry. We're going to fix that with the fringe.

Choose the MC, and wrap it around a hardback book 7 or 9 times. Do count the number of wraps and make them consistent throughout. The number of wraps is less important than consistency. If it looks like you're short on remaining yarn, you could go down to 5 wraps for each fringe. Once the proper number of wraps has been made, cut the loops on the side of the book that opens. There will be a natural indentation where the pages are so you can get your scissors in there.

Insert your hook (crochet hook or latch hook) through both thicknesses of the scarf on the end, about a quarter inch in from the side, catch the middle of the loop of yarns (fringe) you just made, pull through the scarf, and pull the ends of the fringe through the loop. Pull the ends of the fringe gently to tighten up the lark's head knot you just made. Make another clump of fringe on the other side of that end, about a quarter of an inch from the edge. Then make another MC fringe in the center of the end. You can fold the end in half to see where the center is. Make another MC fringe equally spaced between the center fringe and one edge fringe (fold again to see where that is), then do the same thing between the center fringe, and the one on the other side. Switch to CC, and make a fringe between each of the other fringes. This will space them out equally and give you the same number of fringes that alternate in color.

Fringe the other end the same way. Place the scarf on a table, with the fringe at the edge of the table so that just the uneven ends of the fringe stick out over the edge. Trim off the ends of fringe that are too long by cutting along the edge of the table.

Wear and enjoy!

House Colors

Griffindor: MC is burgundy, CC is gold.

Ravenclaw: Book colors are: MC is a medium blue, CC is bronze, which is between gold and copper. Movie colors are: MC is navy, CC is silver grey.

Hufflepuff: MC is yellow, CC is black.

Sitherin: MC is Green and CC is silver.

That's it! Good luck on making your very own Harry Potter scarf!



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