Saturday, January 26, 2008

Currently on the needles

subtitled: I'm having so much fun with my new mittens I want to share them with you during a quick hot cocoa break.
And my traveling project, the Swallolwtail shawl ..

What my needles have been doing

A small cable stash hat. Pattern comes from the Knitting 2008 Pattern-a-Day calendar.

Another stash hat - the Inga Hat. A wee bit long, as you can see, but it can be folded under nicely to keep the ears toasty. On my next hat, I'll start up several rows. It uses about 4 yards more than one skein of dark blue Merino Style, and less than a skein of cream.

The next balaclava. Handy for Minnesota, when you don't want your cheeks and nose to freeze. Stash project using up leftover legwarmer and husband's balaclava Shamrock yarn.

Happy Filia in finally finished cardigan. Drops 88-4, I think, with 8 skeins of Swish DK. Happy me is glad to be done knitting a cardigan.

Latvian Mittens. They're finished now, and I thought I had a finished picture, but I can't find it, and the mittens are currently at my LYS for a photo session.

My needles are now working on the Swallowtail shawl (9 repeats of the bud pattern done) and dreaming of starting the Rovaniemi Mittens.

I've finished the January book for the Puritan Reading Challenge. And I'm taking advantage of my new computer's faster speed (from 800 Mhz to 2.6 Ghz) to download lectures and the like. Some people watch TV while they knit, I like to listen to things. And now that my computer has speakers, I will!

New computers are fun. But does anyone have an idea why, or better yet, how to fix, the glitch that is causing ctrl+p to CLOSE MS Word (97) rather than open a Print dialog box? Even if I select it from the menu, the program closes. The print button works fine, though, as does ctrl+P in Excel and Works.

Annoying, but for the speed, I think I can live with it. Blogger can even keep up with my typing now! It had a rate of 10 wpm or so, and I am a bit faster.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Many Thoughts

My first thought was that I'd have a blog entry last Wednesday, with charming photos of the pink and blue Latvian mittens I made, with charming information of the trials of their decreases and thumb placements. It didn't happen. And, due to a slight log jam in the quantity of things I hope to do in the next 3.5 hours, there won't be photos of the mittens today either. Photos may be at Ravelry, or not ... I forget. But the mittens are done, blocked, and in a nice little mitten pile, waiting for display.

Another thought I had was that I'd be blogging once or twice a week about the Puritan Reading Challenge. As you will have noticed, that has not come to pass either. However, and more importantly, I have been doing the reading. And thinking about it. And yesterday -- oh, the joys that were at the post office yesterday -- I got a real, live, printed book (25 of them, actually), two of which were this month's book, The Bruised Reed. I can now curl up with a blanket, tea, fountain pen, notebook, and a REAL BOOK and continue on with the reading. I'm on chapter 14 today.

Given that this is an election year, permit me to share with you a paragraph from the book that took me the better part of my reading time one day to decipher. Insolent behavior toward miserable persons, if humbled, is unseemly in any who look for mercy themselves. Misery should be a lodestone of mercy, not a footstool for pride to trample on. Sometimes it falls out that those who are under the government of others are most injurious by wayward and harsh censures, herein disparaging and discouraging the endeavours of superiors for the public good. In so great weakness of man's nature, and especially in this crazy age of the world, we ought to take in good part any moderate happiness we enjoy by government, and not be altogether as a nail in the wound, exasperating things by misconstruction. Here love should have a mantle to cast upon lesser errors of those above us. Oftentimes the poor man is the oppressor by unjust clamors. We should labor to give the best interpretation to the actions of governors that the nature of the actions will possibly bear. Stop. Consider that. (First, decode what his beautiful use of mostly abandoned English sentence structure obscures from the mind that may not be used to such gymnastics.) Then go one further, and think what you may need to change in your own conduct as a result of this exhortation. If you don't like it, think about why you don't. Are your reasons sound?

Oh, it will be such fun to continue on in this challenge, now that I have BOOKS! (12 for me, 12 for mom, and two that aren't here yet.)

The observant among you will have noticed that twice twelve is not 25. 'Tis true. I got another book in the mail yesterday. To be precise, not a book, but a magazine. But what a magazine! I'd wave it before your eyes, but that doesn't fit in to my log jam of things to do. The January/February 2008 Piecework arrived at my mailbox yesterday. I, driving through the blustery winds zipping down from Canada and through South Dakato to our lonely 2-lane highway before chilling Wisconsin, wisely had my daughter turn to the appropriate page and feasted my eyes on the long-awaited pattern for just a half-second. The cover of the magazine proclaims Exclusive! Ancient Arctic Technique Revealed p. 12. Be still my heart.

Really. I am sooooo excited to finally have this technique set out before me. I haven't cast on yet, because I want to have time to savor the project ... not tuck it into stolen moments between churchnewsletterchurchwebsiteroyaltiestaxessettingupnewcomputer- knittingevaluationhomeschoolinglaundryanddidImentioncooking. But believe me, I have read over the article, and carefully studied the one little bit that has been puzzling me since I saw the technique on Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's blog. I understand it (happy dance!) and am ready to put that understanding into practice. Hopefully I'll settle down enough to read the whole article with a bit more depth first.

And these are my bloggy thoughts for the day.

Accountability thoughts:
  • Stash 2008 - going well. One skein of Shadow is working up into a Swallowtail, and 3 hanks of Swish Superwash have found a baby to be a blanket for. I get to do the center, Filia gets to do 120 inches of edging. I get to sew it on.
  • Mittens 2008 - goal for January met.
  • Scarlet Pimpernel - plodding along

Final thoughts: Go read!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A Post For Denise

Yes, Denise. This post's for you. The mysteries of my knitting box are about to be revealed to your tender mind.

My knitting box was a Christmas present to me from my mom a few years back. The box has a few dents in it, but has held up well. Incredibly well, since it gets daily use and a not insignificant amount of travel. From here to Ohio to Minneapolis to Omaha to Des Moines, it has accompanied me on many a trip. Every so often - like the last ladies' craft day - I wonder why I'm lugging this big box around, and decide to take a small tote instead. But then when I try to put in everything I'll need for my project, and everything my mom will need for hers but doesn't bring since she just uses a Chubs box, and everything I'll need to help out with unknown knitting problems, and a spare yarn catalog or two ... I dump the tote in the box and make sure it can shut.

First revealed to your gaze is the tray. The tray contains a variety of tools, including jump rings, interchangeable needle tighteners and other small hardware, coilless safety pins, hand lotion, circular needles, pencils, pens, a measuring tape, stitch markers, a row counter bracelet, yarn cutter pendant, cable needle, crochet hook, and several sets of dpns.

The small pocket in the lid contains circular needles, various notations on whose foot is which size, and the Handy Guide To Yarn Requirements. Plus whatever I've stuck in there that hasn't gotten re-filed. That pocket can hold a lot of goodies, but many goodies doesn't mesh well with closing the lid firmly.

Under the tray you see the guts of the box. This is the state of the box after it's been to a craft day. Normally, I don't carry around a bolero, but mom was interested in seeing how CotLin worked up (and she took the two balls that were in there). There's my grandmother's set of crochet hooks, my Endpaper Mitts, spare Brown Sheep Sportweight (one-ply ... any guesses as to how old it is?), and Harmony Sock Needles. Gotta love 'em. Also in there is a second set of crochet needles, and my beloved Boye Needlemaster set ... 23 years old last Christmas. In the lower left corner is my emergency ration. There may be two or three in there. It also contains Filia's Cardigan in Progress, waiting for more yarn to arrive from KnitPicks. There's an entire cardigan in there, minus 1/2 sleeve and a rolled collar.

To the right of the knitting box is the rug my knitting chair sits on, and a few mittens draped over a wooden bowl I found at the local thrift store. One of the mittens you've seen before, and the other ... will be the subject of another post. In the bowl is ... more yarn. The bit of blue peeking out between the mittens is my project notebook. Project notebooks are handy things to have if you are planning on baking a mitten, melting it, and reknitting it on the same size needles a few months later. The bowl also has Latvian Mittens, spare skeins of yarn, and the directions for the cardigan marinating in the bottom of the box. Plus miscellaneous jump rings that have not found their way back home.

The Puritan Reading Challenge 2008 is going along well. I haven't gotten my books yet, but I found the first book on the web and have been reading. Some of what Richard Sibbes writes even applies to knitting!

Things of greatest perfection are longest in coming to their growth. Man, the most perfect creature, comes to his perfection by little and little; worthless things, as mushrooms and the like, like Jonah's gourd, soon spring up and soon vanish."

I completely agree with him and his original intent. But it also applies nicely if you delete the part about Man, and just consider chunky scarves and heirloom lace. And the mittens I kick out in two days as well.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Year begins

Here it is, Tuesday, and we're back into the swing of school. Saxon has been dumped in favor of Singapore, and the scholars are rejoicing. I think I know why it is that asking Filia to do three problems involving exponents results in three bad guesses, while asking her to do thirty of them results in 29 correct answers. Her brain was made dizzy by the Spirals of Saxon. I didn't enjoy having two children with 'math brains' (ie, they come up with accurate ways to solve problems that I, who tested into Calc III for college, have to wrinkle my brow to contemplate) getting less than 50% on weekly quizzes. We switched, and all is going well.

The knitting proceedeth apace. I am out of yarn for Filia's cardigan, and have ordered more. One half of a sleeve and a neck treatment are all that remain. Work has begun on the second Endpaper Mitt, but I've been spending more time staring at a monitor than knitting. I found a site that teaches HTML basics, and was caught at a weak moment (having spent some time trying to paste code into my blog for the 2008 Puritan Reading Challenge). After the schoolwork was done, I unleashed my children on it. Filius is happily designing a Dayton Flyer Unofficial Fan Page, and Filia has made some lovely buttons with the names of all her friends as options. Me, I'm still working on that image thing. (You can see how it's going with the photos on this post. It should be scary for a while, but I have hopes I'll be able to do a bit with them. Then again, they don't show up. Argh. Is it possible to simply paste an img src="http:..." into Blogger with < and > and have it work? If not, why not? Obviously, an hour of HTML is not helping enough.)

Endpaper Mitts
I've been asked to teach a class in 'advanced mittens with colorwork' for a local knitting store. Whee!!! But ... I've never taken a knitting class. If anyone has been in a class and has advice on what to do, or what not to do, please chime in.

And a closing quote from my new Book of Quotations:
Men's evil manners live in brass; their virtues
We write in water.

Henry VIII (1613) act 4, sc. 2, 1.58