Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The $20 St. Vincent's Chair

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It's kind of plain and a little dingy on the arms. But very comfy and inoffensive. And eventually will get a nice new look. But for now, it's just fine. Wouldn't it look spiffy in a nice rich leather? Oh well, I don't have that kind of money to sink into a $20 chair.

Monday, June 27, 2005

I got that chair

I went back to St. V. de P. this morning, with both monsters in tow, and got the chair. It's kind of plain, but so basic I think it will work with any of a number of cover options. I wish I could afford to have it reupholstered in leather by a professional, but one quick phone call showed me that was probably not realistic. I'm thinking about buying a hide from a leather place online and doing it myself... Probably not a good beginner project. I have total confidence in my ability to reupholster it with fabric. Or just make a nice slip cover, so I guess I'll start with that. It might not get done until fall, though. Ah, dreaming of the fall...

The weather continues to be beastly. We are just hunkered down in the air conditioning and hoping for it to break. The lawn needs mowing, the weeds need pulling, the gutters need cleaning, but no one can face working outdoors in the sauna.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

A pretty good Saturday

Today I donated blood first thing, then went right to the knitting group I'm trying to start. The blood donation went really well. I had a few bad experiences the last several times, so this just about changes my mind about the process. I got to the coffee shop at about 10:10, a little late, but no one was there. I guess I should have send reminders to folks. I stayed and did a little knitting, read the paper, and enjoyed the quiet until 11. In the afternoon I went out shopping alone. And not food shopping either. Hit both St. Vincent's and a Goodwill, in addition to some boring Shopko things. I almost bought a chair at St. Vincent's: in fact, I'm talking myself into going back for it on Monday. Although the weather is still very heavy, it was not quite as hot today. Tomorrow will be yucky again, but if the storms hold off, maybe we can take a family trip to Devil's Lake with the canoe.

The tingling in my left hand is getting better. I'm working on the Beatrix Cardigan again. If I am able to do some regular stretches of knitting, I should be able to get the knitting done in short order. Then writing the pattern, which won't be too difficult. Time consuming part will be making a little steek tutorial for the uninitiated. It makes me very grumpy when my hand is acting up, not only because of the short-term restriction of knitting, but because of my fear of being permanently unable to knit. To that end, I probably need to type less and maybe post photos instead.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

a long summer already...

We haven't been back from Madeline Island even a week and already I feel like the summer is too long!!! Next summer, both boys will be forced into some horrible boot camp from sun up to sun down, and I don't care how much they protest.

I haven't been able to do any knitting because of the tingling digits on my left hand. I've been living on ibuprofen and putting ice on the wrist, and it is starting to feel better. A few days ago, I had to carry Colin to his room while he was in a tantrum and that really aggravated it. He's very strong and weighs about 55 pounds and hauling him while he's in full protest makes my hand and wrist act up for several weeks after.

Today is HOT HOT HOT. All the grass is brown and dry already and we aren't even out of June. I only hope we get a an all-day soaker soon! I've been just dragging for the last week. I'm not sure if it's post-vacation fall-out or the heat, or just that my beastly children depress me, but I sure would love to have an all day nap.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Obligatory vacation pictures

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Just a quick post to say that we are home. It rained heavily the first two nights on Madeline Island, but cleared up on Wednesday. I think we all agree that we would like to go back. Scott took these photos.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Just a quick post tonight to let everyone know that I will be out of touch for the coming week. If you have any problems downloading a paid pattern from The Garter Belt, please contact Wendy (at) Thegarterbelt (dot) com. If you have any questions or problems interpreting one of my patterns, please be patient. I promise I'll reply as soon as I get back.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

I just spent the better part of the evening reading the humongo (280 some pages) pdf manual for our digital camera. I need to print out some of the most useful parts to carry with me until I have it memorized. Still, I had many AHA moments, thinking "That's how you do that..." I now know how to adjust the flash intensity and use the timer. I understand why some of my attempts in the macro mode worked and others didn't. I found out where the white balance is. I had previously figured out how to manually select aperture, if I wanted to. Now I figured out how to manually focus. I need to reread the part on selecting shutter speed. I wish it had just come with a printed manual: I would think for all the money it cost, a manual wouldn't have been too much to ask.

Earlier today I worked on the Beatrix Cardigan. I will warn everyone: I'm doing it in the round and there's a steek! When I write out the directions, I suppose you'll have the option to work back and forth if you want. But I think you'll want to cut that steek when you see how fun it is! And I'll use the macro setting on the camera and make a nice tutorial to talk you through it.

I also decided not to pursue the zig zag garter texture right now. It works okay in a smoother yarn, but it's not great. I decided on a more defined rib-like stitch from Barbara Walker. Can't remember which book. Anyhow, it has strong vertical lines and shows up much more clearly on the more rustic yarn.

Unfortunately, my left hand has been giving me warnings to back off the knitting for a few days. Grrrr. I took a bunch of ibuprofen and will continue with that for a few days until symptoms subside.

It's hot and muggy and going to stay that way for several days. I'm excited about heading north to the cold waters of Lake Superior. Here, I just want to hunker down indoors in the airconditioning. Colin wants to bike around the block and bike to distant playgrounds. He doesn't seem to feel extremes of temperature as much as adults do!

Must get some sleep. The school year ends at 10 a.m tomorrow and I better be ready!!!

Saturday, June 04, 2005

An S'n'B kinda day

Today was largely devoted to socializing with knitters in coffee shops. I'm not sure how I pulled that one off, but now that networking is part of building my business, Scott seems more inclined to tolerate being left home with his progeny for hours on end. At least that's what I tell him. I went with my neighbor's mother to the established Sip'n'Knit that is starting a Sat. meeting. It was in a very new coffee shop on the far east side of town. It was a nice mix and the coffee shop had done a nice job with their space. Strip mall architecture really has come a LONG way since the nadir of the 60's. There's no reason that a modern strip mall can't be made just as appealing as a traditional main street, if the developer and the citizens just demand that.

Later in the day, I went for coffee with Fathom at The Sow's Ear in Verona. I just love that place! We got caught up on her life on the road with parents and all. Home in time to order Chinese take out for dinner.

All in all, it's just about a perfect day for a coffee-drinking knitter!

BTW, for all of you who have asked: Chris of the Adirondack Pullover is not my husband. I just borrowed him for the pics because I thought that he would do a good job. Which he did. Thanks to Maggie for the loan.

The weather is sultry and threatening today. This is the first day this season I've had the impulse to turn on the A.C. in the house. No, it isn't all that hot, but it is heavy. Fortunately, the basement is pleasantly cool, so I think I might retire there after this post to play in yarn.

Update on last post's texture conundrum: although all the knitters agree that the effect isn't working out great, the consensus seems to lean toward pressing on. Fathom suggested blocking what I've done to see if that helps. However, I keep finding that I have started to reverse my zig zags at the wrong spot in the pattern and have to tink back a few rows to fix it. This is making me wonder if I shouldn't take the hint and do something else. Either that, or not try to knit and talk. I never was a very good multi-tasker.

Must go sing to my son: he's old enough to watch the Lord of the Rings, but still wants Lullaby at bedtime. Then to the cool basement to begin Beatrix: The Cardigan.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Designing frustrations

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Here's a pic of a texture I'm playing with. This is from recycled yarn from a thrift shop lambswool sweater. It's really kind of a loden green, with a heathered grey cast to it. The yarn has a rustic fuzziness to it that obscures the texture. I can't decide if I should move on to the rest of the garment or go back to the drawing board. This is for a men's sweatervest I'm envisioning with traditional leather buttons. Kind of like a comfort garment with a bit of a modern update. Anyhow, I'm thinking that the texture will work, but needs a smoother yarn and that this yarn needs to get a more pronounced texture to make it look interesting. Scott likes it because it's subtle, but I wonder if it is so subtle that it's pointless? Feedback?

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Meddling with the template...

One of the things that many bloggers seem to obsess about is having a non-stock template. No one wants to look like everyone else. I figured, it didn't matter that much to me what the template looked like. I just wanted to get going and found one that's basic and doesn't have a personality of its own. Now, I decided that the black ground with white text looks pretty cool, but is a little hard to read. So, tinkering with template, I'm going to try this nice grey instead. Let me know if it's easier on the eyes than black. Who knows? Maybe I'll have to make a personalized header soon.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Open at last!

The Garter Belt is open for business! Go take a look! It's hard to believe the day is here.

I want to publicly thank Wendy for all her work on this. If I had had to pay someone for the time and skill she gave to this project, it would be a heap of money! I'm so grateful to her for including me in this and see it as a wonderful opportunity for me to put my designs in the public eye.

Anyway, now I have to keep on knitting and writing. Next up will be the cardigan to match the Beatrix Hat. And a tweedy academic men's sweatervest soon after that.

Stay tuned...