Monday, January 28, 2008

Work Stuff

I'm spending the last few days of chilly January cuddled up to a cold-pack. A German Shepherd pulled me off my feet yesterday at work. I twisted as I fell to avoid landing on my hands (great way to break an arm). I intended to land on my well-padded butt, but my back connected with the corner of the door frame before my butt hit the floor. (Contact was along the ribs, just south of my shoulder blade.) Nothing broke, and I'm just having muscle pain. Sorta like a crick in your neck when you move wrong, but this "cricks" when I bend over or pick up a dog--things I do fairly often in my line of work. I filed an accident report, so that I'm covered if this doesn't get better. The Medcor nurse said large muscle injuries can take a week before they feel better. Yay. (But I was able to answer "no" to the nurse's big questions: Sharp pain? Difficulty breathing? Walking funny?)

Friday, January 25, 2008


I must be a serious typist. This laptop is less than 18 months old, and paint is coming off some keys. The D has a chip out of it. And the Shift key...oh my!

Well fingered keyboard

Finished the hat:

New Hat

I was going to crop it differently, but what the heck...that really is my chin.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Idiom of the day

I bought the edition of Interweave Crochet that had the hat pattern I liked. I bought it on my day off (Tuesday), when I was out running errands that included recycling, Home Depot, grocery shopping, and the post office. (I was errand-running from 11:30 am to 4:30 pm--a marathon of 60 miles and 7 stops. Some day off.) The magazine, purchased from a yarn store 20 miles away, cost $7.99 and had only one pattern that I really liked--the hat.

So imagine my displeasure when I discovered last night that the milk that leaked in the trunk on Tuesday had damaged the magazine. By the time I discovered the damage, the milk had dried, leaving pages stuck together and un-pry-apart-able. (Yeah, I tried. Half the instructions from one page are stuck to the facing page.) The milk also hit the yarn, which, thank heavens, is washable. I washed the yarn last night (it's still in a skein, which makes it easy to wash), and it's hanging to dry. (By the way, I've forgiven Sam for showing an inordinate interest in my bag of yarn...and the milky magazine.)

The magazine is useless. I'm not inclined to buy another copy, and I don't think the local library has a copy I could make a photocopy from. So--I'll just make a different hat. There's a pattern I've done before, very easy, and I probably can knock it out pretty fast. This pattern is in a Leisure Arts book I already own: Caps, Hats and Helmets to knit and crochet--32 patterns for $2.50.

Yeah, you can see the idiom coming at you: No use crying over spilt milk.

And a side note: I probably will not buy another Interweave magazine. This was the first one I'd bought, and nothing impresses me nearly as much as the inflated price. The photography isn't even useful. Imagine a lovely shawl on the front cover--photographed from the back of the model--and the inside photo of the shawl also is a back view. There's no view of the front of the shawl, and unless the wearer plans to walk around backwards (or just wear the shawl that way), she probably wants to know how the thing looks from the front!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


I frogged that hat. P2, K2, forever. Can you say boring? Besides, I found a neat crochet pattern after someone in the crochet community posted on LJ. She was using the same yarn--even same color--as the hat I was making, and I love the way hers looks. So I guess I'm going to crochet a hat.

Watch Cap In Progress (The hat I frogged)

I got more Kraemer Sterling Silk & Silver in black (I had one skein of it, shown below) to use for a cabled scarf. I also bought some in white to use for the Charlotte's Web scarf.

Sterling Black 2 (Silk & Silver)

Several Ravelry Helpers proposed doing a knit-along for a lace scarf pattern called Tiger Eye. I've been plugging away a little almost every day since 15 January, but several of the other Ravelers have abandoned the project. The pattern is just a 16-row repeat. Sometimes it goes like clockwork. More often, though, I wind up frogging the repeat and redoing it. And re-redoing it. I've finally finished the 13th repeat (10 repeats are shown in the photo, with lots of lifelines), and the unblocked scarf measures about 6" x 24". I'm aiming for 6" x 60" unblocked, which probably will block to 72", but I may wind up going shorter for the sake of my sanity.

Tiger Eye In Progress (Tiger Eye Scarf in Lisa Souza's Pumpkin fingering)

I bought a set of Addi Turbo Lace circular needles, 47-inch size 3 needles, from another Raveler. Along with the needles, she sent a bottle of coffee syrup and a skein of lovely sock yarn.

The dogs are fine. So is the family. Mother wants me to come help her clean out her basement, where she has too much yarn stored. I can help with that. ;)

A miracle greyhound

Her name is Genie.

If the link doesn't work, search the site for "old greyhound".

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Knitting lesson two: Know when to quit.

Holy smokes. I frogged the hat and reknitted. And did it again. I ripped the whole hat and started again with different (more cooperative) yarn and lifelines every four rows.

Today, finished with row 12, I looked carefully at what I had: A cable twisting the wrong way back on row 10. And one overlooked wrong-way twist back on row 1!

After almost a week of knitting on that blasted pattern, I had four decent rows of ribbing...and nothing else right.


I frogged it and neatly rewound the yarn (yay, ballwinder). I got out some sport weight yarn and a totally different hat pattern (k2/p2 around and around to infinity). I've got two inches of ribbing done--and done right.

I'll get more cable practice later, preferably on something with sane cables. I think I might make Fetching, which has two kinds of cable stitches (not four) and looks sensible. There's a cable vest I want to make (from the same book as the accursed hat), but it's rated "easy" (rather than the hat's rating of "intermediate") and has the same C4B and C4F that Fetching has. If I can survive Fetching, I'll have some encouragement to attempt the vest.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A knitting lesson

Knitting is done with two points--or more. They can be individual needles or one big circular needle. The point in knitting is to keep all of one row of stitches on the needle(s) at one time.

Crocheting is done with one hook. Generally, you keep one stitch on the hook at a time.

This becomes a critical difference if you have to undo a part of your work because you've spotted an error. It's easy to remove your crochet hook from your work and just rip back to one particular, precise point, stick the hook back into your stitch, and start up again.

Knitting? Not so much. You have to get all those fiddly stitches back on the needle(s), preferably in the right order and with the right twist. You can try to "tink" your work (that's "knit" backwards--basically you unpick one stitch at a time and hook it back on the other point), but it's time-consuming and, if you're knitting cables, it's a nightmare since the whole point of cable stitches is to work the stitches out of order. If you're knitting a four-stitch cable, you don't knit (or purl) 1-2-3-4; you knit (or purl--or both) 3-4-1-2. Fun.

So if you anticipate problems with your knitting, you run a lifeline. At some point in your knitting, when you're sure you've got a "good" row, you run a bit of yarn or thread through all the stitches. Then you keep knitting, knowing that if you have an error you can just unravel your work back to the lifeline, run the needle through the stitches along the line, and pick up your work at that point.

But there's a desire not to run a lifeline. Running a lifeline is an admission that you expect to screw up somewhere, and I didn't run a lifeline on the cabled hat I'm knitting.

The cable pattern is 20 rows long, then you work a repeat of the first 10 rows. I made it successfully through row 20, screwed up row 21, and only spotted my problem when I was on row 25. I spent hours tinking on Sunday night, carefully backing up stitch by stitch and row by row. Supposedly, I only needed to back up a few rows, but when I got to the point where the problem had occurred, I was missing a stitch, and every time I tinked back a row or two more, I wound up short a stitch, or with twisted stitches, or with an unexplained hole. I had run a lifeline after the ribbing, before I started the cables, so I finally just ripped the cables out completely--clear back to the lifeline.

So I've got a new rule if I'm knitting cables: Run a lifeline every fourth row. And leave the lifeline in place until the piece is nearly finished, and periodically examine the cables carefully to make sure they all twist properly. (I have some crochet thread that's too fuzzy for me to use on a doily--I'd get no stitch definition--and it makes for an inexpensive lifeline that doesn't leave yarn fuzzies behind on my knitting.)

I've gotten back through row 18. After all these hours of tinking and reknitting, I'm still not to the point I had reached early Sunday morning. But I will finish this hat, and I will get the cables right.

Yeah. Run a lifeline every fourth row.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

All kinds of stuff...

I need to catch up on craft stuff:

Caro's Doily 30 x 17

This is the doily I made for my sister's mother-in-law for Christmas. It blocked to 17" x 30", so I'm sort of thinking of it on the dresser in her bedroom. The thread was size 10 in ecru.

Blue Variegated Doily

This is another doily I've finished. I had this "Ocean" colorway of variegated thread, and I wanted to find a doily pattern that wouldn't fight with the color pattern. The doily pattern is called "Extraordinary," and it's designed by Mary Werst, who did the doily pattern I made last summer for Daniel and Ashley.

Cabled Armwarmer

And I made these armwarmers--the first time I've knitted cables. The yarn is Red Heart's Farmland colorway (worsted weight yarn), so they're machine washable/dryable. I like the pattern, but I think I might try again on smaller needles. I knit very loosely, and these could be less "chunky" looking.

First Knitted Socks

And I've finally knitted a pair of socks (third try). These are supremely boring (ribbed cuffs, stockinette foot), but I now can call myself a "sock knitter." The next pair will be something more exciting...and will not be in this yarn (Elann Esprit), which is pretty but is stretchy (cotton + Lycra). Since you need to pull stitches snuggly between DPNs when you knit socks, stretchy yarn is a nuisance because you can't pull it snug enough without stretching it too much. Next time? Conventional yarn, even if I use an icky acrylic.

For Christmas, I got 8 pattern books--lots of doily patterns. Woo hoo! Right now, though, I'm knitting myself a hat. Sitting with the hood up on my sweatshirt isn't always comfortable, but it's been cold around here. (Winter finally found Georgia. For a few days.) I've found a pattern with cables on it, and this is a good way to practice cables without committing myself to a huge sweater. On the other hand, this pattern uses some unconventional abbreviations for cable stitches (the pattern is in a book by Bernat, which is a Canadian company), so I'm having to pay close attention to what I'm doing. I've been knitting while my laptop reads me the Bleak House audio book.