Tuesday, September 26, 2006

O Happy Day!!!!

Have you ever waited for a package? Really, truly waited? Perhaps back in the old days, when '6-8 weeks shipping and handling' was standard on all orders? I have been waiting for a package. Since June. The estimated shipping date was the last of August, so the first week of September on the calendar acquired a rosy glow.

But the first week of September passed. And so did the second. And in like manner, so did the third. But at the end of that third week, I got a call. And a tracking number. And yesterday, at the start of the fourth week of September, (after, of course, we left for the doctor's appointment which was to consume 6 hours of our day) a box arrived.

It was not, as you can see, a small box. It was a luciously large box. And my son asked if he could have it to practice jumping into several cubic feet of packing peanuts. But he was actually interested in the real contents of the box as well. As was I.

So we unpacked it. And unpacked it. There was tape to cut. There were seams to find. There were packing peanuts to remove (those leaf bags come in handy!). There were several sheets of styrofoam. And then - having too much fun to find the camera, which was buried under packing peanuts, tape, and sheets of styrofoam - we hauled out a large object wrapped in foam sheets. Lots of foam sheets. That were taped at almost every conceivable seam.

Unwrapping things is so much fun, isn't it?

We unwrapped, and unwrapped, and unwrapped, and about 12 foam sheets later, we found ....
I didn't get any knitting done yesterday, outside of a doctor's office. Still, it was a good day.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

When cameras have batteries

Take photographs!

To the left, you see the Lady Eleanor Stole, from Scarf Style. I altered the pattern slightly, adding several tiers and widening it by one square. The yarn is Noro Silk Garden, color 239 Lot A - I used 11 balls on Size 10 US needles, and am expecting to be able to fringe it with the miscellaneous pieces I have from trying to match color changes.

Size? The stole is being blocked on two bath towels - not the gigantic beach towels, but nice, standard bath towels. It's however wide those are, and roughly 72 inches long. That's a 24" quilting ruler you see to the lower right of the picture.

Apart from knots (which were one per skein for the first 6 skeins, and none thereafter), the thing I found most awkward about Noro was the fact that each ball starts with a different color, and ends with yet another color. As I came close to the end of each skein, I'd start frittering away valuable knitting time by examining my remaining skeins, trying to figure out which color each started with, and which would be the best match to continue knitting in. A few times, I'd make my selection, only to discover that there were 5 yards or so of yarn BEFORE the desired color showed up ... so I wound off those chunks, and put them aside for later finaglings. Only once in the Entire Shawl did I have to end in one color, and start up with another hue. It was at the beginning of a block, so you don't notice it unless you reeeeeeeally look for it. There is onedrastic color change in the middle of a block, but that was Entirely The Yarn's Fault. Believe me, I looked and looked for knots, but there were none. The yarn just switched color over the distance of 1 inch. You can see that if you look for it too, but I'd prefer you didn't unless you're bored.

Later today, I'll be fringing the shawl. Mom and I have decided to try a 10" knotted fringe instead of the 20" fringe suggested in the book.

I've also been knitting socks. Not too much lately, but I'm behind on sock photos, so here are some. The threesome are in KnitPicks yarn - Gumballs (sport weight), and two colors of Dancing. The sock in progress is Ladybug. I really don't knit with the needles that way, but that's how the project came out of my sock bag for photos.

The heel is a close-up of my standard work-as-you-go heel. I've done a few afterthought heels for this style of yarn, but as I really enjoy being done with a sock when I cast off, and find picking up the stitches a bit fussy for road projects, I tried working them my normal way. I liked how the colors worked out, and haven't gone back to afterthoughts.

My workbasket currently looks like the blue mass. There's some leftover Noro, and the beginnings of the Trellis Scarf. I am beginning to reconcile myself to the K7tog-yo-K7tog-yo-K7tog stitch (same 7 stitches each time), although I wonder if this is the excuse I've been looking for to try KP Options. Anyone know if the Options are pointier than a well-used needle from a 1985 Boye Needlemaster kit?

Two miscellaneous photos:
Here is a picture of the basement excavations. A few weeks ago, the whole area was gravel ... no window well, no ladder, no conveyor belt, and certainly no 6x6' hole cut into a 22" thick foundation. Contruction proceeds as time allows now ... the main thing is to get into an insulatable state. One does not particularly want to send one's children to the basement to build snowmen all winter. Our heater probably wouldn't like being covered in snow, either.

And, to show that Rosemary isn't the only one who can make useful things from K'Nex, I'd like to introduce the Trampoline Tower Shawl Pin. Directions available upon request. This pin is GUARANTEED not to sever delicate lace threads, or cause damaging snags to your knits.

And in a special addendum for Penny, here's the fringe.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Еще сушествую

Which, being translated, means, "I still exist." Really and truly, I do. I just have not had much incentive to blog. You already know what socks look like, and my camera batteries have been hijacked by my son to fuel his remote control SnapRover. There are more batteries in the world, and I even bought some of them - 30, I believe - on Monday, but I haven't yet seen fit to take the time to open the package, remove two batteries, and carry them over to my camera for installation.

Since I have no pictures, this is an excellent time to look back to the beginning of summer and see how I did on my list.
  • Finishing a second Elderberry sock in Wildfoote
    (done, 6/28)
  • Work on the remaining 30 rows of the Faroese Shawl (done, 6/28)
  • Read David Copperfield (did)
  • Read Merchant of Venice (did, and even discussed!)
  • Read lots of Genesis and other accompaniments to Precept's Genesis 4 study (did)
  • Forge valiantly onwards into Greek Verbs. (did. But not for too long. I got as far as present, future, imperfect, and passive/middle before bailing out of Mounce. I *am* going to finish Elementary Greek 3. This month. Before midnight on the 30th.)
  • Practice harping away. On a harp. (did)
  • Garden/housekeep/cook/laundry/pay bills/etc (I still have power, don't I?)
  • Classical Writing stuff (did. And doing)
  • Plan for the upcoming school year (somewhat)
  • Other craft stuff (such as finishing A's quilt) (note to self: avoid specific examples)
  • (starting mid-July) Euclid! (not)
I have finished reading John Adams, and am looking forward to delving more into the lives of the Founding Fathers when I have cleared off some space on my calendar. McCullough's biography of Adams is an excellent read, and I'm glad my mom has it already so I don't have to even think about buying a copy. My current studious read is Pride and Prejudice, and I'm looking forward to reading it a second time, copybook in hand. I'm trying hard to resist the lure of Pendemonium, at least until closer to Christmas. But it would be soooo fun with a copybook!

The knitting portion of Lady Sandra is completed. And the weaving in the ends portion is completed. And the crochet (shudder) portion is completed. Tomorrow, mom and I will determine what sort of fringe, if any, to put on it. Then it will be blocked, fringed, and done done done done. I've started swatching for one Christmas present, and plan to cast on the Trellis Scarf from IK (Spring or Fall 2006) with some Alpaca Cloud later this evening. The socks I was working on when I last blogged are finished, and I've a pair in Ladybug on the needle.

School is moving along, more smoothly every week.

And to top off all these delights, I'm expecting two packages tomorrow, and another should be heading out to me in the next few days.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

It was a packagy week

A packagy week, and a busy week. Every day that the post office was open this week, a yellow slip was found in our mailbox. The UPS guy brought a package or two. And the furniture store had a VERY large package for us.

What was in the packages? Books to edit, music books to play, knitting to admire, and a chest of drawers. Bet you can guess which one came from the furniture store.

It has been an activity-filled week. As you may surmise, I have been busy editing, playing music, and admiring knitting. There went 25-30 hours of my week. And moving the chest of drawers took a while as well. I was wise and enlisted two college students to carry it upstairs. There was no way I and a boy in single digits was going to be able to CARRY the thing up stairs, and navigate the turn at the top.

Saturday was full of activity. Between a dump truck backing into our garage and a torn bicep, 40% of our basement was excavated by hand shovels, put into buckets, carried to a conveyor belt, poured onto a conveyor belt (which was originally set up so that it only conveyed items INTO the basement), and shovelled into the front of a dump truck. My son has acquired the name 'bucket boy.' Guess what his job was?

School also started this week. Things went rather smoothly for a first week after a long break. We're doing Singapore Math, Oerberg's Lingua Latina, Runkle's Geography, and Classical Writing for our core subjects. Lurking on the fringes is Fallacy Detective, Logo, and all sorts of other fun things.

One fun thing lurking on the fringes is fall. The weather has turned cooler, and I made up a batch of homemade hot chocolate mix. Although it's not really hot chocolate. According to a book I've got, Americans have made the terms hot cocoa and hot chocolate interchangeable, and they're not. I'll find out what the difference is when I try one of the recipes in the book. Most of them call for at least 3 ounces of chocolate (semisweet in the recipe I plan to try) for a 6 ounce serving, and use whole milk and possibly heavy cream as well. I'm thinking that true hot chocolate is going to be something to savour.

The sock that wouldn't get worked on is Finished (which finishes that pair)! As is the next sock, and the remaining sock of that pair is more than halfway done. Lady Sandra is moving along. If I were knitting to gauge, I'd be about 4 hours from finishing it. As I'm not, I figure I'm somewhere between halfway and two thirds done. It moves along nicely when I work on it, and complacently occupies my knitting basket when I don't.

My reading partner and I are getting ready to discuss Pride and Prejudice. One thing I'm going to do this coming week is see what I can learn about writing a character sketch. And I hope to finish John Adams as well, so I can get that returned to the library. And somewhere in there, I need to work through some Greek lessons as well.