Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Olympics afterthought

I did not participate in the Knitting Olympics. I guess I'm not a joiner. But my maternal grandfather was an Olympic athlete in his youth. And he had a Michelle Kwan moment about 82 years ago. Read all about it here

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Weekend Update

Minor change in the template: I made a little sidebar group of Madison knitters' blogs. I hope to add to list as I stumble onto them. Sometimes when I'm following one of the webrings I realize I've found another Madison knitter. Next time that happens, I'll add the link to the sidebar right away. I hope. I think. I'll try.

Not much in the knitting news right now. I have a few stealth projects in the works. Some dormant UFOs. Nothing worth taking a picture of today.

My big accomplishment today was washing my kitchen floor. And back hall and half-bath. It's all one stretch of flooring. It was really disgusting. I can't remember the last time I washed it all. Isn't that awful? What's worse, I think that when I was a college student, living in the Party Apartment with my degenerate guy housemates, we washed the floor more often than mine gets washed these days. Ick. It was very rewarding, especially the really awful zone around the downstairs toilet. A house with three males… need I say more? I've learned in life that I can face almost anything if I can wear rubber gloves. I could have made a Spic'nSpan commercial with the before and after, except that my floor is not all that attractive when it is at its best. The vinyl was already old when we bought the house in '97 and the years of neglect haven't helped. I haven't bothered replacing it because in a few more years, come hell or high water, I plan to gut our kitchen and the back hall area and do a massive remodel, involving removing a pointless chimney, and when that happens, I'm going to get a very nice ceramic tile floor. So we live with the dinged and stained vinyl for now. But at least it's clean today!

Friday, February 24, 2006

E is for echinacea

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This is the dried seed cone from the coneflowers the swallowtails were working in my B is for Butterfly post. What a difference a few months makes...

I bet you all thought I'd do E is for Elizabeth. And I almost thought I would have to do that, but out in the yard with the camera, I had an AHA moment.

My second attempt at the Alishar hat is back to yarn status. It was coming out way too big. Not sure why, but my gauge was very different from the first effort that ended up too small. Scott suggested that I felt it, and I almost went with that idea. In fact, from the moment of suspecting trouble, I continued knitting for another couple inches. And I almost thought, well, a bag could be any size... but frogged anyway.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Garter Belt Newsletter now up!

Thanks all, for nice comments on the hat.

Sign up here for The Garter Belt newsletters. Download February newsletter here. Keep up with the latest and read Wendy B's tips on Knitting For Kids.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Alishar Hat on the way

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Just a little teaser of the next upcoming pattern. This first sample came out way too small, but I've started another. I'll be keeping the effect on top, though, because I think it's pretty cool.

Not a lot of other news to report. It's cold cold cold here. I awoke to a pleasant surprise: temperature at +10 F at 7 a.m. That's about 28 degrees warmer than it was two days ago at the same time of day.

We all seem to be recovering from our tummy bugs. Thank goodness!

Not much else to report right now. Some boring socks are almost done. They're so routine, they don't even count. Time to bring some projects out of hibernation.

Just found this little bit of fun:Make your own tartanImage hosting by Photobucket
This is my first effort. Give it a whirl!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentines Day

Image hosting by PhotobucketAnd Happy Birthday to Owen, my funny Valentine, now 11 years old. The picture at the right was taken last summer on Madeline Island. Owen is at his happiest digging in sand near water.

I don't know what I've been doing the last several days, but it sure isn't knitting. Owen was in the city spelling bee on Saturday morning. Saturday afternoon I ended up sleeping as much as I felt I could get away with. And still slept well Saturday night. I've been fighting a cold and over the weekend I felt like I easily could have spent an extra eight hours in bed if only mommies were allowed that privilege. We had Owen's birthday party on Sunday, so I had to muster the energy to clear the dining room table. This is a job I dare not delegate! The trouble with our table is that everything ends up there: junk mail, important mail, checks we got for our birthdays in November, any paper that comes home from school with either child, bills (new and old). You get the idea. Also, many forms of arts and crafts and the necessary supplies. Nope, no knitting stuff in the dining room, but everything else: kid art, kid crafts, beads big and small, paint (kid friendly and not), many kinds of glue (kid friendly and not), model boat parts, model train parts, little snips of paper, and more pens and pencils than we will use in the next decade. Toss in a few old newspapers and you have the idea. The cleaner must be careful to actually sort the detritus, stash the bills, file the financial statements, pocket the checks and spare change, put every art and craft in its proper place, purge the junk mail, and stay attentive to detail through the whole job. I was able to tackle the table through my head-cold and anti-histamine fog and get mostly down to bare wood. The children were reasonably well-mannered. Dr. Science took them all to see Wallace and Gromit at the cheap seats. No sooner did they return from the movie and the parents began to arrrive to pick them up.

Last night I was to bake a cheesecake for Birthday Boy to bring to school, but I did manage to delegate that. I had Owen find a recipe online and I bought the supplies. The rest was up to Owen and Scott. They did a good job of it, too. I was supposed to bake the cake for the family party tonight. Also buy lobster for the birthday dinner. If you look in the sidebar, you'll notice that my place of residence is Wisconsin. This is a long way from where lobsters live. Still, I obliged. It was not cheap. I didn't make the family cake: bought a little frozen Pepperidge Farm cake. We had homemade ice cream, so that kind of makes up for it. Through all this, I'm still slogging along with the head cold. I'm down to wanting an extra 2 hours of sleep, not 4 or 5, so that's better.

Besides all this, I was up late finishing a book I'm reading. I'm not sure yet what I think of it. Parable of the Sower, by Octavia Butler. It's a dystopian future kind of book, with global warming, economic collapse and environmental devastation, and all the attendant anarchy. For this kind of fiction, I think Margaret Atwood sets the standard with The Handmaid's Tale and Oryx and Crake. Still, this wasn't a bad read, and was hard to put down after the half-way point. And it does seem to cry out for a sequel or two: it reads like Part 1 of a trilogy.

So, not much knitting from me these days. I did make an Alishar Hat. I need to darn in ends and block before I show the world. And make a bigger one. I got the skeleton of the pattern written. Need to make some charts and explain the tricky stuff a little better.

The big news in my little knitting orbit is that Wendy Bernard of Knit and Tonic has joined The Garter Belt! She'll be a wonderful asset to our little store and we're happy to have her on board.

Image hosting by PhotobucketThis is a picture of the face a mother in her forties makes when a child is approaching with something in his extended hand, heading right for the sweet spot, about 4 inches out from said mother's nose. Yeah, my husband really knows how to capture his wife at her best.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

D is for Dandelion

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I took this photo last summer when I was playing with the macro feature on my camera. I call it Georgia O'Keefe Moment.

In other news, I'm most of the way through a hat to go with the Alishar sweater. I think it's coming out really well. I've got a cold and I'm feeling kind of low. I actually spent a large part of the afternoon dozing in bed, waking a bit here and there to feel guilty, but going back to sleep anyway. I'm happy I've been able to get a little knitting in this evening: I was feeling like such a cotton-head all day I didn't know if I would. I'll have to find a model with a normal size head when it's done. When I make hats in my size, they are huge for everyone else. Kind of affects my baseline perception of normal.

Owen's City Spelling Bee was today. He did make it through one round before getting knocked out. There were kids up through middle school (8th grade) age, so it was some tough competition. Nearly all the kids looked terribly nervous. I noticed that as the girls got into the teens, they seemed more insecure, whereas the boys got more indifferent. Owen's mood has been all over the map today: he woke up at 5 something, too worked up to go back to sleep. When I got up, he was watching Star Wars. After the spelling bee, he was grumpy, touchy, tired, and demanding. So, it was a bad day for mom to be having a sick day. Tomorrow is his birthday party, so we have more anxiety and anticipation about that. Yikes. Then the actual birthday on Tuesday.

Owen would like me to post a link to his first Flash movie. He's really determined to learn all he can about computer generated animation. It's one of the few things he persues for hours on end and sticks with in spite of frustrations and set backs. Most things at school are easy for him, so he hasn't had to learn how to work through frustration with that. I'm glad there's one area of his life where he goes for the challenge.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

A Sunny Day in February

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I've been writing the Hyde Park Pullover pattern for the last several days, getting scant knitting time in. The job is nearly done: I need to do another proofread and make a few corrections that I already know about and then, get decent photos. The sun is finally shining in Wisconsin today, but, wouldn't you know, now it's too bright. The pictures we took in the yard today resulted in a nice exposure on the sweater, but a blinding glare from my hands and face. I need a nice dark hat with a wide brim to cast a shadow on my face and maybe that will work!

I've sized the pattern in 7 sizes from XS to 3XL. It gave me the incentive to create an Excel template to spit out some rough numbers for every size. Using the Craft Yarn Councils Standards, and extrapolating with some help from the tables in the back of Maggie Righetti's Sweater Design in Plain English, I created a template that can take any gauge and spit out stitch and row counts for 9 sizes at most crucial fitting points. As it turns out, I didn't use the two largest sizes for this pattern, but if any 4XL or 5XL women out there want it in that size, I'll do it. Just let me know.

Later the same day
I think I may have inadvertently set my camera to overexpose everything when I was trying to do self-portraits last week. I've been having exposure frustrations since then, and had the idea at the time that I'd done something wrong. The trouble is, the full owner's manual came as a 289 page pdf. How stupid! How often do you have your computer with you when you need to look up something? I've tried sitting at the computer with the camera reading, but then I'm out somewhere and can't quite remember what I read. There are some adjustments I make often enough to have learned, but others just don't come up too often. I've begun printing out the relevant pages as I need them and assembling them in a binder so that I can have the manual with me when and where I need it. Meanwhile, I figured out how to reset all factory settings, did that, and hope I've cured the problem!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Another internet quiz...

The Librarian
You scored 71 erudition!
Congratulations! You're well above average when it comes to your knowledge of English grammar, history, and literature. You may have missed a few questions, but if you keep your studies up and stay away from genre fiction, we'll have you ready for Stanford in no time! Who knows, we just might be reading your columns in Talk of the Town a few years from now.

My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 30% on erudition
Link: The Are You Truly Erudite? Test written by okellelala on Ok Cupid,