Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Knitting: If a Plane Leaves Miami...

I'm still going on the Brown Bridgewater Shawl.  The garter stitch center square has taken me so long, and appears to have no end in sight, I decided to do some calculating to find out just how much time I've put into this thing.  I was not up to the task.

I asked a group of fellow Ravelry members (and True Blood fanatics) for help.  My friend did some astounding math for me, and figured that if my widest row took me ten minutes to complete (I'd timed myself) then by the time I get to the last stitch, I will have worked on the shawl for approximately 33 hours.

Here's the kicker... as you can see from the link, there's a six or eight inch lace border.  I would imagine by the time I'm done this will be a 60 hour shawl.  LACE ISN'T EASY.  It might even be 80 hours.  More if the pattern ends up being persnickety and I have to rip back.

This yarn, though, is gorgeous.  It is the exact reddish brown of a beloved teddy bear I had as a child, and far softer than that acrylic bear ever was.  Amazingly, it does not itch at all.  I may have found my new go-to yarn for lace weight projects with a slight halo (fuzziness) needed.  Goodbye mohair blends!!

Plus, the Alpaca is the greenest animal.

Monday, February 20, 2012

AoA: Way to go, Sherlock

Husband had been insisting that I watch the BBC production of "Sherlock".  The new one, created by Doctor Who show runner Stephen Moffatt.  Naturally I was intrigued; I love whodunnits and Sherlock Holmes is one of the greatest, most admired fictional characters in history.  The reasons I hesitated are a) the instant Barry recommends something to me, I don't want to see/read/watch it.  Marital rebellion?  I don't know, but I immediately get my back up.  Ask him what happened when he insisted I read "Papillion".  I ordered it, but in French.  b) British television series have VERY short runs.  Full seasons containing only six episodes (compared to US seasons that average 20 to 22 episodes) are not uncommon.  Sherlock runs a miniscule THREE episodes per season.

However, since it was easily accessible on Netflix's Watch it Now service, I finally broke down and watched.  And watched.  And then tracked down season three since Netflix didn't have it yet.  Yes, it's good.

Moffatt's Sherlock is portrayed as having Asperger's syndrome.  It's never spoken of directly, except once in a line by John Watson, and it's said so quickly that you might miss it.  Sherlock is always on the verge of being profoundly bored.  He solves cases not to be of service to the public, but because he canNOT stand boredom.

I think our family is like this.

We are constantly on the lookout for puzzles and games, television and movies, anything that will stave off boredom.  The last time we took a trip to my grandmother's house, I loaded up my laptop with no less than twelve games, brought supplies for four different knitting projects, and of course a Nook e-reader with as many books as I could fit on the SD card.  I did manage to finish two knitting projects and make serious inroads on a third.

I think Sherlock's boredom stems from the fact that he sees so much, and already knows so much, that a mere glance can take in everything about a situation in a fraction of the time.  He doesn't have to converse with someone to get to know them, he sees it all in an instant.

Even though my husband, daughter and I all have Asperger's traits, we are not quite at that level, but our brains run at the same fast-paced speed.  We have trouble sleeping, because our minds are chewing through data.  I got distracted while making lunch today because I was building a new photography background support system in my head, and wondering if I could create a prototype and draw up the plans well enough to get a patent.  Assuming it's a new approach, which I think it is.

You'll have to ask Barry and CC to find out what data they're milling around.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday Fun: Once again, it's MDO

I posted this in a group on Ravelry for a friend, and I decided that, yes, I don't talk about this enough.  Here it is, extracted from the group:

Let me once again extoll the virtues of my own, made up day called “Mom’s Day Off”.

We chose Fridays because hubby gets every other Friday off mandatory (something to do with work hours and overtime), but whatever day would work for you, go for it.

First and foremost, MOM DOES NOT COOK ON MOM’S DAY OFF. So dads must plan accordingly. It cannot be pizza every Friday, because frankly, who can afford that? It also cannot be Ramen noodles, or soup from a can. If he’s desperate, a broasted chicken with salad greens in a bag will do. NO FAST FOOD. If you can cook six days a week, he can manage one day.

Second, MOM DOES NOT GET THE KID ON THE BUS ON MOM’S DAY OFF. Mom gets to sleep in, or that was the plan. Unfortunately hubby is deaf as a post from the Navy, so I will wake up long enough to get him moving, but that is it. Since you stay at home and homeschool, you might be better off picking a Saturday or telling hubby to take the kids somewhere educational on a field trip on one of his days off, if he gets one. Like the museum. Or a waterslide park as long as he talks about fluid dynamics, gravity, or other sciencey stuff.

Third, MOM DOES NOT GET ASKED TO REFEREE ON MOM’S DAY OFF. No, there will be no “Mom, she started it!”. Hold up your hand and say “Take this to your father.” I do not have to deal with this one, but I’m sure you do, and I will tell you that it is essential to a successful MDO.
I also recommend having plans for your “Mom” time, such as a manicure, long luxurious bath with a LOCKED DOOR, or something similar that will make you feel human (or undead if you’re a vampire) again.

Just like with oxygen masks on a crashing airplane, you CANNOT take care of your family unless you take care of yourself first. You’re no good to them if you go bonkers or fall over from exhaustion, or snap from lack of privacy.

Sorry for the shouty bits, but believe me, MDO has saved my life and my marriage. Probably sanity too.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Knitting: It's not subtle...

I *did* manage to finish my "Petunia" Erquy before Valentine's Day, imagine that.  Even with forgetting to do decreases seven or eight times (because I refused to use stitch markers for some strange reason) and having to rip back five or six rows by the time I noticed the mistakes.  This was all in one day.  I believe I actually broke down in tears at one point, because it was four rows forward, three rows back one entire day.  I should have taken the hint and tried a different project till I got my mojo back, but I was being stubborn.

Now perhaps my online friends will believe me when I tell them I have NO BOOBS.  Seriously.  All body fat has and always will be somewhere from the waist down.  I got seriously shafted in the genetics department.  Ask my sister Destiny... I believe she took my share.  :P

I'm now in one of those annoying "can't decide what I'm working on" project frenzies.  I started and frogged about five things since finishing the Erquy.  I'd cast on a basic shawl with some leftover Noro Silk Garden, hate the texture, and start a crochet cotton scarf, planning to add some flowers or something to the plain netting background, then get bored with doing the netting.  Got some lovely flowers done though.

It's not like I don't have three projects languishing in bags already.  Oh no.

See the problem is, since I decided to start trying selling finished knitting on my shop, I feel guilty if I'm knitting something that's for me.  I'm doing a twin sweater set IN LACE WEIGHT YARN.  It's a vintage pattern, absolutely lovely, but the shell and cardigan will take lifetimes to knit.  I'm using Knit Picks Shadow in Midnight on double 0 Addi Turbo needles.  I don't know if I wanted a challenge, or I just wanted to use up the eleven skeins of laceweight I had, but I am determined to carry it through.  It's just a LOT of knitting.

The other two projects that have been sitting for a while are an Estonian lace scarf I had planned to give to my sister, and the Bridgewater shawl by Jared Flood.  Right now the Bridgewater is still in the garter-stitch center panel stage.  It's boring, and I'm getting tired of counting all those stitches to see if I'm DONE YET and can start decreasing.  Since the increases are on both ends, I can't mark off chunks of stitches so I can speed up my counting the next time through.   Well, I could, but the stitch markers would move, so I'd have to figure out where the center is, mark off say 100 in that section, and just count the ends.  Meh.

The Estonian lace scarf is complex, and I love it, but I worked on it for two days and have about four inches of scarf.  It's not just that it's in a fine yarn, but all those bobbles seriously slow me down.  That, and I think there HAS to be a mistake in the chart.  Some of the yarn-overs are not lining up properly.  When I looked up the errata, there WAS a revised chart, but the highlighted changes look exactly the same as the chart in my book, and do NOT fix the problem I have.

So I'm a little pissed off at that one.

Anyway, all this adds up to it being a complete mystery as to WHAT is going to be finished on next week's blog.  If anything.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Knitting: Like Candy Stripes

Okay, so the Wool Peddler's Shawl is completed.  I ordered and received (yesterday) the biggest one-piece but still compact blocking mat I could find, and it still outstretches it by a foot on either side.

Good thing I didn't throw away those puzzle-piece mats like I'd planned.  I am VERY disappointed with Knit Picks once again, as the wash water for this turned a bright pink in seconds.  I rescued it by adding hot water and vinegar, but I hate it when my stuff smells like pickles, for god's sake.

Instead of starting right away on another item for my shop, I decided to do a little something for myself when this little pattern caught my eye.  I still haven't received an explanation for what an "Erquy" is, but I assume it's an outpost in World of Warcraft.  Just kidding.  I think.

Since I already had a crap-ton of sport, DK, and sock weight cotton yarn, this was a no-brainer.  I think I could knit four or five of these with just what I have in my stash.  More if I decide to dip into my color-coordinated pairs of sock yarn.  Here is my Valentine themed one.  If I finish it in time, I will be amazed since cotton yarn seems to suck the very life out of my hands, but it will be soft and comfy.

I am, however, very pissed off about this pattern in one respect.  They have placed a "cannot sell items knitted from this pattern" restriction on it.  I wasn't planning on making things to sell from it, because I hate the idea of trying to make sizes to fit a billion different people, but at a $6 price point for what is basically a super-sized Jaywalker sock with some very basic feather and fan stitch on the bottom, and the lace pattern from a Mason-Dixon book that I already own, I expect to at least be warned about that restriction BEFORE purchasing.  It has certainly made me reconsider buying more patterns from this individual.  I also did not like that I had to go to the knit-along thread on Ravelry just to find out what actual bust sizes the "finished circumference" measurements fit.  If they'd told me there was two or four inches of negative ease, I could do the math.  But no, not there.  The pattern page says for more information to go to their website.  Not there either.  That's getting pretty obscure, especially for a measurement you need to know before you even start.

ETA:  Since I put a (slightly more polite) comment on the pattern, the pattern listing page has been updated to list the bust sizes.  Fabulous fix!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Knitting: Wool Peddler

I'm a day late with this one, mostly because I was nearing the end of the garter stitch section, and getting close to the fun lace part and was trying to hurry.  That, and I forgot it was Wednesday.  :D

It's only taken me a couple of days to do this much.  That is the beauty (and the curse) of garter stitch.  It's fast.  Unfortunately, anyone with one iota of knitting experience knows it's the laziest knitting stitch there is.  It does make a squishy, cozy fabric though.

A finished, modeled picture of the smart gloves:

Unfortunately I may have to revisit them to re-do the pop-top finger tips.  They want to stay popped, which is not good when you're just walking to your destination.  I toyed with the ideas of tiny buttons or velcro, but I think it's just a matter of the knitter trying to finish up in a hurry and making them too short.  What else is new?  At least the fingers turned out halfway decent, although I still had to fight with holes at the bases of the fingers.  And I feel the middle fingers are still way too fat for my particular hands.  I could easily take two stitches out of each finger and be just fine.