Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Principles of Knitting Is Coming Back!

The Principles of Knitting is the best and most complete reference book on knitting ever published! It has everything in it! It may not be a book that you could enjoy reading, but at 11 pm, when you've run into a knitting problem that you don't know how to solve, it's got the information when you can't even find it on the internet.

This book is so great, that since it's been out of print, I've seen copies of it being sold for over $200! I've heard reports of others selling copies for as much as $400! It is, without a doubt the best knitting reference book ever!

The link doesn't say when it's going to be published, but I looked it up on the internet, and the publisher says that it will be out on the first of November of this year. Just in time for Christmas! They also say that that's a rough idea, and that they're not promising it exactly on that date.

And it's only about $30! You have to understand that this is a book that would make a great doorstop! This book could anchor a battleship! It's BIG! It's got everything!

I missed it when it was originally published because I didn't have enough money to buy it at the time. I've regretted it ever since.

Now, I have a second chance! And so do you!


In more knitting news, I found a photo of a great TARDIS blanket that someone knitted! Much as I'd like to put the photo up here, I think you should see it from the original

I hope you're having a wonderful week!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cylons Flying Over Libya!

Found an article today (thanks to Doug Drexler) about Cylons flying over Libya!

Those pilots have a great sense of humor!


I don't really have a lot to say today. After being sick to one degree or another for about a month, I'm kind of in a daze. I'm really pretty much over the actual "sick" part, but I just feel wiped out and exhausted. It's almost 7 pm here, and it feels like it should be about 3 or 4 hours earlier. Part of it may be that it's light longer.

I've been making progress on the mobius sets, but they're not ready to photograph yet, although part of the patterns have been written. I have a lot to do, and no ambition at the moment.

Oh, and I forgot. My sister sent me a photo of  a license plate. All I can say is that this is someone you really don't want to cut off!

Have a great week!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Sci Fi Friday

About 10 years ago, Showtime used to have SciFriday, and that's when they showed Stargate SG-1, plus some other good stuff. Then there was someone else having Sci Fi Friday. All that's gone, although BBC in America is having Sci Fi Saturday.

What has put the Sci Fi back in Friday for me has been a get-together of science fiction and fantasy writers and fen on Twitter from 2 to 4 pm, EST, using the hashtag, #scifichat.

Today, Twitter was so overloaded that almost nobody was able to get on until about 3, but we hung out until almost 4:30. If you love science fiction, and have some free time on Friday afternoons, check it out. You can also go to Twitter and search for the hashtag and probably get it if you want to see today's discussion.

In the past week, I've gotten back to Twitter in a big way. From now on, I plan to add a button at the end of each post that will let you post a link to that post on Twitter. I plan to do it for Facebook, too, as soon as I figure out how to do that.

You can tell I'm really good with technology, can't you?

The new season of Doctor Who will be arriving on BBC in America around the middle of April! They used to show it in England, and then later on in the US, but the rumor is that they'll be showing then at the same time (or at least on the same day) this season!


I know I haven't written in a while, but I'm still getting over this thing that's been dragging on for more than a month. I'm nearly over it, or maybe I should say I'm nearly to the point that I can say that I'm not sick, or at least not any sicker than usual. But I haven't been walking any more than I have to, and I'm just plain wiped out! I'm going to have to start a regular program of walking if I have any hope of being able to walk around the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.


So, anyway, not much has been happening around here.

I am well on my way to finishing the Screaming KnitFit version of the mobius hat, cowl, scarf and mitts set. Can the pattern be far behind? Actually, yes, it can. I need to get a bust mannequin to model it for photos. That means I'll need to wait for April for a new influx of money, and then send for it and wait for it to arrive. But I can get the instructions together in that time, and once the photos are taken, it should be out soon.

In the meantime, I've finished the cuff (except for Kitchnering the ends together) for the mobius hat that has a cable, and the cable is reversible! Part of the matching cowl is done. I have to chart out another cable for the cowl, and get that in the works. Then there will be the chart, knitting and instructions for the scarf and mitts. Lots of work to do there!

While that is all going on, I plan to spend some time converting some of my current patterns to PDF format, too. So there should be lots of new patterns in the near future.


I'm still in kind of a daze from being sick, but without checking, I think there's a rerun on Supernatural tonight, but a new Fringe! And, of course, a new Merlin on Syfy.

Have the best weekend ever!

See? Here's the new button. Not that you might want to Tweet about this particular post.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Happy Heathen Rites of Spring!

Happy Heathen Rites of Spring!

Yes, it's the first day of Spring again!

It comes around every year, and I hope that yours is/was happy.

My high school class is having a reunion and they put up a website so that classmates can check in and contact each other. One of my classmates asked me a question, and I tried to answer on the site, but could only get a few words up, and then it would jam. I suspect that it's that way so that you have to keep answers short, but I can't answer in just a few words, so I'm going to answer it here and send a URL for an answer instead.

It's a very relevant story about Spring, because it's the first time I ever came across "Heathen Rites of Spring." And it's a good thing to do because John keeps mentioning that he thinks people would like to read about some of the things I've done on my blog. So, it seems this story's time has come.

Cheryl asked me:

I'd like to hear more about the lake you helped to build in Virginia. (i.e., where was it, what caused it to be built, your involvement, etc.)

 And here's the answer:

I worked for a while for a company called Lehman Scaffa Art and Photography in Silver Spring Maryland. One of the owners, Sam, wanted to have a place to go and have fun on the weekends, and a place to eventually retire to. So, he bought a large piece of property in Northern Virginia, West of Winchester, very near West Virginia.

But he didn't want to go there and be all alone. He wanted to have his friends around him, and he wanted a place where everyone could have fun. So he divided up the property into a lot of plots, and sold certain land rights to those plots. So, if you "bought" a plot, you could build a house on it, but you couldn't (for instance) build a fence around it. If you wanted to have a kitchen garden or something, you could build a fence around that. The basic idea is that if you bought the rights to a plot, to a degree, you were buying rights to the whole property, and he wanted everybody to be able to use all the property. You'll see how that worked in a bit.

He named the property The Wind in the Willows after a book he liked. The different plots had names like Mole End, etc.

The one thing that the property lacked that Sam wanted was a lake. It did have two streams that flowed onto the property, and he figure that if part of it were cleared of trees and a dam were put in that he could have the lake he wanted.

So, he got price estimates on a lot of things. One was for a professional company to clear the area and build a lake, one was just for clearing the area, one was for just the dam, and one was for the price of a bulldozer. Well he discovered that it would cost the same no matter how he did it, but if he bought a bulldozer and we did the work ourselves and then had the dam professionally built, it would cost the same, but he would still have the bulldozer after it was all done! And the bulldozer sounded like too much fun to him!

So, he bought a bulldozer and invited all his friends to come out and help him.

So, I spent quite a few weekends at The Wind in the Willows, running a bulldozer, blowing up stumps of trees we couldn't get out with the 'dozer, having picnics, and generally having a lot of fun. My daughter, Holly, who was about 4 at the time got to ride on the bulldozer and help operate it.

I wasn't the only one to go and help. Sam used to have a boyscout troop, and the Scouts were adults by now, and they pitched in, too. One of the Scouts got lost and when he finally found us, he complained to Sam because Same had told him that there would be a sign, and he didn't see one. Sam insisted there was a sign that said "Heathen Rites of Spring" with an arrow pointing to the trail.

Sam was right about the bulldozer being fun! People seem to look at me oddly when I tell them about this, but when you yank a tree stump out of the ground with one of those things, you get rid of anger and aggression you never even knew you had! It's exhilarating, and leaves you feeling light and happy. In short, it's FUN!

I wound up moving back to New Jersey about the time we were finishing up clearing out the land where the lake would be, and before the crew came in to build the dam.

Years later, when I was living in Washington, DC, I had planned to go camping with some friends, but the person who owned the farm we were going to camp on canceled on us at the last minute. I told them that I knew just the place.

I called Sam, and he said he'd love for me and my friends to come and camp at The Wind in the Willows.

So a batch of my friends gathered at my place one Saturday morning, and we all rode our motorcycles (heavily packed with camping gear) North, through Maryland, where we crossed the Potomac at White's Ferry, and took the scenic route through West Virginia. At noon, we stopped at Charlestown for lunch, and went on South and into Virginia to The Wind in the Willows.

Sam had said to come to the house (which had been built since the last time I was there). I knocked on the door, Sam opened it, and I was immediately dumbstruck. The far wall of the living room was entirely glass, and showed a fabulous view of the lake. All I could say was "It's a lake!" Sam laughed, and assured me that it was, indeed, a lake now.

He took me into another room, and one whole wall of the room was a map of the property, and he showed me where we could camp on the map. He also added that there were rowboats, canoes, and a paddleboat, as well as fishing gear that we could use, and showed me where the best beach for swimming was located.

We camped there overnight, had a campfire and told spooky stories, rode the paddleboat, and one of us went swimming, and in the middle of the afternoon on Sunday, we started the ride back home.

What fun!

I hope your weekend was fun, too.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Big Full Moon Saturday Night!

We'll be having a "perigee moon" tomorrow night! It's also called a super full moon, and it will be spectacular if clouds don't get in the way!

The picture comparison at that second link doesn't look like much, but if you watch it rise, you'll notice the difference, even if you're not expecting it to be bigger.

One of the early SCA events I went to was a coronation (March 6, 1993, Cu├ín MacDaige). After the coronation, first court was held outside late in the afternoon, and the moon rose while court was happening. It was also the first Arts and Sciences event that I entered, and I won. It was positively magical!

The photo above is probably real, and would be possible from a distance with a really long lens. It's Le Mont Saint Michel, and I've been there!

I hadn't planned a post today, but I really didn't want you to miss this!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Above is a knited Celtic knot. Well, actually, it's a Viking Saint John's cross, which is a happiness symbol, but then, I suspect that the Celts got their knots (or at least some of them) from the Vikings. Read the history of Dublin as an example.

Here's some Celtic music, because you should not go through a whole St. Paddy's Day without some Celtic music.

And some more knitted knotwork:

If you look at the cross above, you'll see that the design comes right off the surface into drawstrings that are used to change the sleeve from flared to gathered, with a ruffle.

And I'm working on a blue version of the cabled mobius hat above, with a pattern that will be for sale soon along with accompanying accessories like a scarf, cowl and maybe mitts.

I wanted to put something Celtic and decorative up here in honor of the day, and I thought this would be more fun for you knitters.

I wanted to list some Celtic movies that are on today, but there don't seem to be any except for some really bad horror leprechaun movies on Syfy. I was hoping to get to see The Quiet Man, the original Luck of the Irish,  or even Darby O'Gill and the Little People. History International has a batch of factual stuff about the Irish on tonight, though, although that's the best I could find.

I must be getting old. I can remember (within the last 10 years) when there were Irish movies on for a week before St. Paddy's Day.

Have a fabulous day! Drink some green beer!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Murphy's Law Tuesday

Today is the culmination of a few horrible weeks.

I've already detailed most of it, but the additional badness started yesterday, when I tried to deal with the TiVo people.

The TiVo people are going to do what they plan to do, and you can't talk them out of it.

Which would have been OK if they had told me what they intended to do. But they didn't, and trying to get them to do what they said they would do is like trying to talk to a brick wall.

I spent two hours on the phone to them yesterday, and they absolutely refuse to do anything useful.

They charged me at a time when I didn't expect them to (twice) and overdrew my checking account. I'm getting the feeling that they feel like since I have service, they can just help themselves to my money. Since it was through a VISA debit card, I plan to explain to my bank (and probably the local police) that the charges were fraudulent, since they were not what TiVo said they would do. Largely because I don't trust them to refund my money. They say they will, but they've said a lot of other things that they then refused to do.

So, I woke up  today feeling bad again in spite of the antibiotics, slightly dizzy again, a bit sick to my stomach, hungry, but not wanting to eat. And, because of the antibiotics, I immediately ran to the bathroom.

The toilet was running nonstop, and wouldn't flush. I opened the tank, and discovered that the flapper had broken, and was so old that not only had one side of it broken, but it was in a serious state of decomposition.

I got dressed and went downstairs to fill out a service request. They have very strict rules about everything around here. And they keep printing them up and sending them to all the tenants. One of them is that if you want something fixed, you have to appear in person at the front desk, properly dressed, and fill out one of their forms.

So, when I got down there, I was told that I didn't really have to fill out a form. I explained that it was an imminent disaster, and was told it was OK, they'd handle it.

It's not about 2 hours after normal repair hours, and nobody has shown up yet.

So, I'm left with diarrehea and a toilet that has to be hand operated and is about to break completely. Oh, joy!

In the meantime, even though I feel terrible, I now have to pack up the new TiVo and send it back. I expect the packing up to happen today, and the sending back to happen tomorrow. Then on Thursday, since TiVo hasn't really done anything they said they would, and I don't expect them to really refund the money they extorted from me, I'm going to have to deal with the bank, and possibly the police to get VISA to refund the money they took under false pretenses, probably on Thursday, and if there's enough time then, I'll file a complaint with the FTC. That may not happen until Friday, though.

I was going to make this a hilariously funny account of all the things that have happened, but I'm too sick, and too fed up with modern life to be able to muster the energy to do it, let alone get through today, tomorrow, Thursday and Friday with a sense of humor that's intact.

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

Monday, March 14, 2011

Helix Scarf

Still not feeling great, but I got this in my email today and thought you might be interested.

Knitting Daily, which is worth subscribing to, sent a link to their Helix scarf by Stephanie Gaustad. Here's the information on it. I especially like the fall foliage version of it. I haven't checked out the link they sent because I already have the pattern in my copy of Spin Off that arrived a week or so ago.

Here's the Fall Foliage version:

I hope you're having a great day!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

It's Official. I'm Old

You may have noticed that I haven't posted anything for a few days (well, more like a week), and it's because of being sick. I was diagnosed with sinusitis at the emergency room which had affected my inner ears, thus rendering me officially dizzy. Actually, beyond dizzy and into my own, private amusement park ride that I couldn't turn off.

I'm sure there are a lot of people who would respond to that by tilling me I've been dizzy for years, but that's a whole other thing.

I'm still taking the antibiotics, and will be for a while, so the bathroom has become my friend, but I'm starting to get away from some of the awful symptoms I was having. I'm off the meds for dizziness and nausea, and if I sit still and close my eyes, I still feel like the room has been moved to a decent size boat, and is gently moving just a little bit, but it's not rendering me in imminent danger of falling, as it was earlier.

The thing that makes me feel old is that I went out and bought a cane so that when I walked, if I got dizzy, I could stop and have something stable to hold onto. It's got four little feet on the bottom, and can stand on it's own, which is more than could be said for me during most of the last week.

When I saw the doctor on Thursday to check on my progress, there was a woman there with a walker that had a nice, padded seat, so she could sit down and relax if she was dizzy, and it had a compartment (bag) under the seat with space between the seat and bag that allowed her to put her yarn in it and have it feed out through the space while she crocheted. I know this dizziness will be gone soon, and I don't need a walker, but I really envied her that day.

One of the next worst things has been that my mind is just not working. I'm thankful to TiVo because I could record Stargate Universe. I watched the first half of the episode from earlier in the week at least four times so far and each time realized that I still didn't have a clue what was happening. That's probably linked to the fact that within 10 minutes of waking up, I've felt like I was ready for a nap all last week.

I'm guessing it will be about another week before I'm really up to speed as far as blogging goes, so bear with me. I have a lot of stuff that I wanted to do this past week that I need to catch up on.

I have been working on the cabled mobius hat and stuff to go with it.

I got the yarn for it a while back (last week?) and a copy of Power Cables by Lily Chin, which I thought would help. It's a fabulous book for anyone who wants to knit cables, and especially design cables, but did not really have the information in it that I wanted. I'm still glad I bought it because it has a lot of really neat stuff, and some of it isn't things that I had thought of as cables, but it's wonderful!

After some preliminary trials, I determined that I needed a larger size needle than I originally thought, and sent for a size 9 Addi lace needle from Jimmy Beans Wool, and they got it to me very quickly, and I started swatching in earnest. A needle (or needles) with a good, sharp point is really a necessity for this project.

I did more trials than I usually do, but I haven't done something quite like this before, and considering the brain fog engendered by the combination of sinus infection and meds, I think I did quite well.

Every time I knitted a swatch, I looked at it and saw something I could improve. Then I ripped it out and did it again, but different.

Here's the next-to-the-last trial:

That's a cable needle stuck in the swatch, and my penciled chart under it. The other side looks the same except that you can't see that part of the cable needle.

But that's already been ripped out, and I've eliminated some of the space on either side of the cable, between it and the applied I-cord on the side. It looks better and is more the width I actually wanted it to be. I'll be continuing the new swatch, and it'll be the cuff of the hat.

So, being sick slowed me down, but most of the delays on both versions of the mobius hat and it's accessories has been with getting the supplies and tools to work with.

So, at this point, the hat and cowl are started, and I still have to design a scarf that carries forward the mobius theme. I have ideas going around in my head for that, but so far, I don't think that any of them are actually practical in the real knitting world that involves yarn and needles. I'm also thinking about designing mitts to go with all this, but haven't decided if I will do it. The mitts that are in my head look awfully good, though, so maybe I'll do it.

As far as the plainer mobius hat and cowl are concerned, I've finished knitting them, and have the instructions for the hat mostly written. I haven't gotten back to editing and proofing the directions, and haven't done most of the instructions for the cowl yet. I need more yarn before I can do the scarf (I think--I'll have to check what's left over, but I don't think I haven enough). I'm also trying to decide if I want to write a separate pattern for mitts to go with this, or if I'll recommend that you use the mitts pattern that I've already written and will be converting to PDF.


In more knitting news, or, more accurately, spinning news, Spin Off Magazine has a free trial offer for their magazine. If you've let your subscription lapse, you can get a free issue. I just got my personal copy in the mail, and it really brightened up being sick. I haven't read the article about spinning paper yet, but it looks interesting.


Firefly is on The Science Channel again tonight. You can catch The Train Job if you missed it last week, and it's followed by Bushwhacked, which is not a fun episode because it's about the reivers. My brain is still not working, and I can't figure out how to spell that.

I hope you enjoyed the two hour return of The Event last Monday, and it'll be back tomorrow night right after the return of Chuck.

I'm about to fall over asleep at this point, and Firefly is coming on, so that's it for today.

I hope you had a great weekend, and will have a wonderful week coming up!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men. . .

I had plans for yesterday.

I was going to get a lot done.

And then I woke up yesterday, and the whole thing went down the drain!

I opened my eyes, and the whole room was spinning around.

I've heard people say that, and thought they were just a bit dizzy. I had no idea what the actual reality was like. It was like looking straight ahead, and being spun around. The room actually did seem to spin!

Which prompted some vomiting.

Then I tried to get up and so to the bathroom. I nearly fell down at least three times on the way, and it's not far away.

More vomiting.

You can insert more vomiting between each description hereafter.

I called around to: my doctor (who doesn't have office hours on Saturday), and the medical advice line at the VA Hospital in DC. The later told me to go to an emergency room, but cautioned me not to try to drive myself.

Holly came over and took me to the ER at Potomac Hospital.

They tested everything they could think of, including stroke, and decided that I have a cold or something (which I've noticed for the past two weeks or so), and sinusitus, and decided that it was probably causing the vertigo I had. They gave me some medicine while I was there for vertigo and nausea, and I left with a handful of prescriptions for vertigo, nausea, an antibiotic (for the killer post nasal drip I've had, which may have contributed to the problem) and, just for fun, Vallium!

It seems to be working. I don't feel OK, but I feel SO much better than yesterday.

But you can forget about anything useful I planned to do yesterday.


As I mentioned before, The Science Channel will be showing the whole Firefly series, starting at 9 tonight (here--check you local listings). My digital TV guide, and the schedule put up by The Science Channel don't agree. They will be showing the first, two-part episode, Serenity. After that, my digital TV guide says they'll be rerunning those two episodes. The Science Channel guide says they'll be running the first two episodes followed by the third episode, The Train Job, followed by a rerun of the first half of Serenity. Huh?

If they're going to run The Train Job, why not run the next episode, which is Bushwacked? Anyway, if you have a DVR or TiVo, you should record both of them.

I have my TV on The Science Channel, and they've already started running it, so I have to go.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Happy March and Happy Birthday, John!

If it's March, can John's birthday be far behind? The answer to that is no. John's birthday is on the second (which, coincidentally, happens to be today), so if March has just started, it's got to be near John's birthday.

Maybe I should wait until I'm really awake to finish writing this.


Happy Birthday, John!

I got on Facebook earlier to wish him a happy birthday on his Facebook Wall, and stumbled around a little bit because they're always changing things around on Facebook. I clicked on "Friends" because it was in the location where I could click on it and get a list of my friends, but instead I got a list of people that are friends of my friends, and discovered my own, private "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon."

People on the list were absolutely amazing! Here's a partial list:

The further I scrolled down, the more people Facebook kept adding. I have at least two friends in common with all of these people, and the ones with an asterisk are people I've either met or are friends.

I'm writing about all this because it amazes me!

It's really fun to be friends with John! I say that because most of them are friends with John. I also got to meet Sam Rami and a lot of other fun people because of him.


In knitting news, Knitting Daily has free knitting patterns listed! Scroll down to see the free patterns. You may have to sign up to get the patterns, but it's free.

Vogue Knitting has put up their fashion preview!


Blogger is acting wierd, and I want to get this post up before it eats the whole post.

I hope you have fun on John's birthday!