Friday, March 23, 2012

Happy Heathen Rites of Spring!

Happy Heathen Rites of Spring!

I know that Spring started on Tuesday, and it's now Friday, and I'm more than a little late.

But, that doesn't mean that my wishes are any less heartfelt.

The cherry blossom height is usually late in April, but somebody forecast that it would be a little earlier than that, and the TV station that reported that said they thought it would be at it's best around the 15th of April.

Well, I live outside DC, which means that the cherry blossoms come out earlier in the city than here because the city leaks so much heat, and it's warmer there. But, even so, the cherry blossoms are in full, glorious bloom right NOW!


The Future of Knitting Content on this Blog

As I've mentioned before, I got involved in a knitting forum called Knitting Paradise. The link is to sign up for their newsletter. Here is a link directly to the knitting forum.

There are people from all kinds of backgrounds and skills on the forum, and they mainly discuss knitting, problems they're having with knitting, crochet, spinning and weaving. You'll get a better link if you sign up. There are also sections of the forum for photos, so you can show off your best work, a section for swaps and to sell stuff you no longer want, a section to just chat about stuff in general, and more.

Well, people keep asking questions, and I keep answering them. Oh, by the way, if you have any questions about knitting, I can probably answer them, just ask a question in the comments.

And after I've answered questions, I have had people ask me for more accurate directions (i.e., a pattern) for how to knit something.

So far, I've committed myself to writing and publishing two patterns: comfy socks pattern, and a Christmas stocking pattern. They seem to be stuck on a socks thing.

Anyway, on the subject of the comfy socks pattern, there was a general discussion of socks, and I mentioned that my daughter told me about diabetic socks. These are socks that are marketed to diabetics (who are notorious for having foot problems) because they've been engineered to avoid foot problems for people who have diabetes. A friend recommended them to her because, although she doesn't have diabetes, they were the most comfortable socks that he'd ever worn. She tried them and agreed that they were super comfortable.

Well, she described them to me, and what qualities they had that made them so comfortable, and I've been working on duplicating those qualities in hand-knit socks. I've been knitting them for a couple of years, and refining the formula little by little. They're not quite as good as the commercial socks sold for diabetics, but they're getting remarkably close.

You won't find fancy stitches and designs or lace and cables on these, but they are good, handsome socks that hug the foot where it's needed to keep from producing blisters, are loose over the toes to provide comfort and wiggle room (but still snug enough not to fold over and cause blisters), have deep enough heels that they won't slide down in your socks, have legs that won't droop and fall down, and have have a cast on at the top of the leg that's stretchy enough that it will go over your heel without a fight. These are handsome, good looking, everyday socks that will feel great on your foot. And they have a lot of techniques that you can apply to almost any other sock pattern to make them more comfortable.

I have one more thing that I want to test before I actually write up this pattern. That means I want to knit and test wear at least one more pair of socks before I even start to write this. So, you can see that this will not be out instantly. In fact, the more I think about this, the more it sounds like a small book rather than just a pattern. There's a lot of work that's already gone into this, and it's definitely going to be a pattern I feel like I have to charge for.

I read about a woman who's writing and selling books on the internet, and she's making a fortune at it because she's selling the electronic books for about $2. It doesn't take a lot of thought to realize that selling 5 books (or patterns) at $5 each isn't as good as selling 100 at $2 each. So, I'm planning to assign lower prices to my patterns to gain some volume (this doesn't apply to my printed patterns, which also cost money, up front, to print).

But this pattern will be a short book, with lots of photos of construction, and with instructions written out so that even beginning sock knitters can turn out excellent socks from the beginning. So, the pattern/instructions will still be a more robust price. I plan to keep it under $10, but I also plan to make it a treasure-trove of how to knit socks for beginners, with a pile of tips, tricks, and new ways to make socks comfy. So, you'll be getting every penny's worth!

I plan to test a different type of sock yarn, and take lots of photos while I'm doing it, then write it all out, lay it out and make a PDF. That's a lot of work, considering that I won't have the money for the new sock yarn I plan to test until the beginning of next month, and it's so hot in my apartment, that knitting is giving me heat stroke, and it's going to get much hotter in here in the next month. It's 80 degrees outside, which means it's about 90 degrees in here. It usually reaches 110 degrees in here long before they turn on the air conditioning.

As to the other pattern, I want to get some yarn and knit a stocking while taking photos of the process as it unfolds for the pattern.

I'm going to quit, now, because Blogger has stopped functioning.

I hope you have a great weekend!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

This seems to sum up Saint Patrick's Day most years for most people, so I thought it would be appropriate.

Another thing that I think is appropriate is sharing with you a recipe for a drink called an Irish Fog, invented by an SCA friend of mine, Alan Feldman/Baron Silver.

1 part Jameson's
1 part Drambuie
1 part Irish Cream

Combine, with or without crushed ice, shake, and serve. It tastes like a chocolate milkshake, positively yummy! It will make you drunkish!

I was going to give you a link to Wikipedia, where they give you a long dissertation on the history of Saint Patrick's Day, but I think this is more fun!

It's a Harry Potter Weekend!

ABC Family is having a Harry Potter weekend (again). Yes, I know they've already done it to death, but it's still fun for me, so I thought it might be fun for you, too.

Currently, they're showing Goblet of Fire, which is appropriate, because they attend the quiddich world cup in the beginning, and Ireland wins, so there's a lot of shamrock and leprechaun symbolism in it.

The New Knitty Is Out!

The Spring issue of Knitty is out, and you can see the new patterns here!

It's getting up near 90 degrees in here, and I just can't stand to sit and write any more.

I hope your whole weekend is fabulous!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

We Lost an Hour Today!

That's right, it was time to spring forward early this morning!

It comes around every year, and I'm never prepared. Loosing an hour of sleep always makes me cranky!

But, it's a little after 7 pm, and it's still daylight here! That's a good thing! It makes me feel like Spring is really on it's way.


Get in on a Review and Giveaway for Knitters!

I came across a great article about something every knitter needs today, and they're giving it away!

Check this out!

If you have hearing problems, like me, you don't really have to hear what she's saying in the video to get the gist. She's giving away a gadget that looks like the spike you stick receipts on, but it looks like it has ball bearings or some other provision to make it spin easily. You impale your ball of yarn on the spike, and it feeds off evenly and without tangles! What knitter doesn't need something like that?

Enter today! The giveaway closes at noon on Tuesday!


Since I Keep Changing Subjects So Often, I've Decided to Make it Easier

I've decided to not only put in a row of asterisks when I change subject, but to put in a title for the subject change so you can read what you want and disregard the rest.



Star Trek 2!

The other evening, I was watching Star Trek (the new, revised version with a whole new history), and loving it, just as I did the previous 5 times I watched it (it's still on my DVR so I can watch it again), and wondering, now that he's created this great, brand-new history, what is J.J. Abrams going to do with it?

Well, that question has been at least partially answered!

They started filming the next movie in January, and we can expect a brand-new extravaganza next summer! Wikipedia has more news here, and that link will probably take you to updates over time. They haven't got a release title yet (movies seldom do at this stage), so everybody just seems to be calling it Star Trek 2.

I don't know about you, but the only other science fiction news that could get me this excited is if Joss Whedon announced that he was putting Firefly back on the air!


There's a New Sookie Stackhouse Book Coming!

On the first of May, there will be a brand new book about Sookie Stackhouse out! I can hardly wait!

It's called Deadlocked , and there's no information about the story, only preordering on Amazon.

Charlane Harris has some general information about what she's up to (along with some other really great writers) on her blog here. She has, however, published Chapter 2 of Deadlocked using Flash (so you probably can't read it on a phone or tablet). I don't know why she published Chapter 2 rather than Chapter 1 (I haven't read it yet), but it's there if you, like me, can't wait.

If you're a fan of Charlane, you might want to check out Diana Gabaldon, who is the author of the series I'm currently reading, the Outlander series.

The first book in the series is Outlander , and it's about Claire Randall, who lives in England during the 1940s. On a trip to Scotland, she walks between two stones of a henge to collect a botanical specimen, and winds up in the 1700s. Her adventures are immediate and exciting, and it all takes off from there.

I'm about halfway through the second book, Dragonfly in Amber , and loving it!

Oh, Once Upon a Time is on! I have to go watch it!

Have a wonderful week!