Wednesday, May 31, 2006

What I Am Doing On My Summer Vacation

  1. Diagramming sentences
  2. Proofing books
  3. Knitting
  4. Reading
  5. Reading Euclid
  6. Reading the Declaration of Independence
  7. Thinking about the Declaration of Independence, with the aim of gathering 10 coherent ideas about it.
  8. Finding out if I really, truly, want a Celtic Harp
  9. Training my children
  10. Learning Logo in August
  11. Gardening
  12. Going about my usual other activities
  13. Reading Greek

Perchance this is why I'm feeling a bit swamped. However, if I approach this list with a FlyLady mentality x 2 -- "You can do anything for 30 minutes at a pop" I'm sure it will all get done quite nicely.

Despite the fact that I feel as if nothing has gotten done recently. If nothing gets finished, I must not be doing anything, right? (Wrong)

I have been knitting, and have finished one pair of socks (the purple multicolored ones) and am just about finished with the first sock of a second pair (made from the near ball). I'm also around row 30 or so of the Faroese Shawl from A Gathering of Lace It's the one on the cover, but in laceweight yarn on size 4 needles rather than a plate of wool on size 11, so it will be a good chunk smaller.

I finished reading a Thomas Jefferson Education, have read Ravi Zacharias' autobiography, and am starting in on a second read of TJ to do some more digesting of it. After that will come another read of Ravi's book, this time with commonplace book in hand, so I can jot down some of the gems hiding in there.

So much to study and learn, so little time!

Did I mention 'planning for the upcoming school year' on my list? That should be there too, I suppose.

Monday, May 22, 2006

What do Hardanger, Rabbits, and Cotton Have in Common?

They're all in my blog this week, that's what!

First, the hardanger. This is a photo of my mom's first attempt at hardanger embroidery. It's a bread cloth, mofidifed from a pattern in a Burda book. All she has to do is mend some blanket stitches at the edge, and it will be finished. Mend, mom, Mend!

Next comes the Rabbits. Here you see an angora .... something. It starts with a g, or so the recipient informs me, but the rest of the word is lost. The tie goes under the chin, the rest of it over the ears and head .... anyone know what it's called?

And last comes the cotton. Here's a cotton doily - my Very First Knit Cotton Doily. (I've knit two lace doily swatches before, for level III of my Master Knitting course. This one is from Marianne Kinzel's First Book of Modern Lace Knitting) I rather like it. It need re-blocking - but at least now I know that 1 tsp cornstarch to 2/3 cups of water does stiffen a doily sufficiently.

My OTN project is a sock. Sock number 2 of a pair, and it's at the heel. I also acquired two skeins of sock yarn today to make two pairs of socks for my mom. And I'm pretty much decided on knitting the Icarus Shawl from the latest Interweave Knits. Gotta have something to do work on while we're travelling to Ohio!

I received my Entrelac swatch back in the mail today ... what a fast turnaround time! Last Monday I sent it off, and this Monday I get it back. Along with a 'Congratulations!' letter. Dum da dee dee dum... I think I'll memorize the letter. I'd be better off memorizing the first letter, with the list of improvements I can work on, however.

I'm reading A Thomas Jefferson Education now. Fascinating book. I've talked my mom into reading it as well so I will have someonewith whom to discuss the ideas therein. There's a list of 'books to read' piling up on the bookmark in it as well -- and all this just at the beginning of our summer break! How fortuitous.

Now, if I can only stick with the reading, and not have things go in one ear and out the other.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

The Box Came Back

The Box came back on Wedneday. Not an ordinary box, mind you, but a Priority Mail box from the west coast. It contained a sweater, a hat, eighteen swatches, and enough pattern directions to start a small encylopedia (so long as it was truly very small), and a very nice letter. The bottom line is ... I have a swatch to redo.

Actually, I had a swatch to redo. The New and Improved version
is blocking at the moment. The white and tan swatch is the Old and Needs Reworking swatch. The blue threads point out the Awful Parts. The grey and purple swatch is the Improved version. I sat myself down yesterday, book in lap, yarn in basket, needles on table, and proceeded to knit. And experiment (with acrylic, none the less). And after not too much analysis, I discovered that 100% of those blue threads were caused by ssks. No p2togs rated a blue thread. So I addressed myself to improving the ssk.

An ssk is a left-leaning single
decrease. It is formed by slipping one stitch knitwise, the another, then knitting them together by either transferring them (without twisting) back onto the left-hand needle and knitting through the back loops, or else not transferring them and inserting the left-hand needle into the loops and knit them together. It's supposed to be a perfect mirror of a k2tog. The problem is, it's easy to stretch a stitch or two out of shape and end up with a cracked mirror - in this case, mis-shapen stitches. The usual solution is to work on the tips of your needles so as not to stretch the stitches.

Working the stitches on the tips of the needles didn't improve the situation. Working the stitches on size 0 needles didn't improve the situation. BUT the alternative left-leaning decrease, the "slip one, knit one, pass slipped stitch over knit stitch" (s1 k1 psso) behaved itself beautifully. And so, a new swatch was born. First in acrylic, then a sample in alpaca/silk leftovers (which did not behave at all), and finally, in plain ol' wool. I also did some experimentation with wrapped stitches and made some improvements in the first and last row of the swatch. It was a lovely learning experience. I'm not sure I will ever love entrelac, but I do plan on making at least one entrelac sock, so I will a) know how to do it, and b) know if I ever want to do it again.

The Moebius is finished. Multiple headbands got finished.

And some lace got started.

In my non-knitting life, I'm studying II Thessalonians, editing, and juggling end-of-the-year school with medical appointments. Next on my 'to read' list is Grace Abounding, John Bunyan's autobiography.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

It's soft, it's fuzzy, it's pink ...

and it's FINISHED! The fuzzy pink wrap which, last week at this time was languishing at Hobby Lobby in unloved balls, is now finished and wrapped.

For dd, it's time for beginning a new project. Here she is hard at work on the first round of a poncho. I'm not sure if it is her first first round, or her second first round. After a successful, untwisted beginning, she set down her knitting to get some sleep (one of those things parents insist on at least once a day). When she picked it up again, it somehow got twisted, and stayed that way for 5 rounds.

Here is the rest of the yarn for the poncho, along with the Yarn Guardian. Every knitter should have one.

And here, a picture of the view from one of our schoolroom windows. The bleeding heart (lower left) are in bloom now, and the lily of the valley (lower right) look to follow them shortly.

My knitting project for this week is to Finish the Moebius. It's been hanging around in my travelling bag for too long, and as such needs to be removed. Since I don't permit UFOs to hang around the house, the removal will be accomplished by completing it. The last Moebius I made took me two days to knit. Amazing what a difference using laceweight yarn instead of worsted will make. Part of the problem is also the Norwegian Sweater, Faux Russian Stole, Frost Flowers and Leaves Shawl, socks, brioche scarf, capelet, 12 headbands, and pink diamond stole I've made since starting it. Its time has come.