Friday, June 27, 2008

Letting sleeping dogs, um, ...

Sam, curled up at my feet. 00432

Jacey, next to me on the sofa. 00430

It's been a lovely day off.

I had a proofreading job to do, so I stayed up late last night doing part of it, napped on the sofa for a bit, then finished the job and emailed it off this morning. Between Wednesday and Thursday nights, I picked up an extra $200 proofreading.

I napped a bit more after I sent out the email, but I didn't sleep the day away. I've been watching Sense and Sensibility on DVD while I knit a baby sweater for a coworker who's due in November.

BSJ 1. 00436

BSJ 2. 00435

The pattern is the Baby Surprise Jacket, designed by knitting wizard Elizabeth Zimmermann. Knitting a BSJ is a work of faith. You knit what appears to be a fuzzy manta ray, stitch up two minor seams, and wind up with a baby jacket. Probably.

The yarn is Omega Sinfonia, a shiny (mercerized) cotton yarn; the photos are pretty color-accurate. I'm not a particularly fast knitter, which is why I'm only 34 rows into this 114-row pattern. But it's going well, I think (you never know with this pattern), and I'm enjoying working on it. It's a nice watching-TV project. Since I don't go in tomorrow until the late shift, I can stay up tonight, knitting and watching TCM's tribute to Cyd Charisse (Singin' in the Rain, The Band Wagon, and Silk Stockings).

The remodeling project at work has been a bit messy and noisy. Things are supposed to be back to more-or-less normal for Saturday; certainly, by the time I go in at 12:30 they should have worked out whatever kinks the builders leave after their shift tonight. Then I work Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday before I get another day off. I'm off Wednesday, work Thursday, then am off Friday, the 4th. On the 4th we're having a family get-together at my parents', and the dogs are going up with me.

I sent out two packages on Monday. I know they both reached their destinations, which is reassuring. If the folks at my post office ran the whole postal service, there'd be no problems. The local folks are bright, knowledgeable, efficient, and well-mannered. I knew my packages would get out okay; I just wasn't sure about the destination-end. And on Monday I also delivered the 30th anniversary doily I made my sister and her husband. I got sort of efficient on Monday. It happens occasionally.

Back to work on the sweater...

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Flower Hotpad


I saw this pattern today and made it. It works up quickly, although I'm not thrilled with the way it finished. I may need to play around with the final folding and stitching a bit.


1. There's not much I dislike as much as stitching into individual chain stitches. Row 1 of this pattern calls for stitching 175 single-crochet stitches into 161 chains. I changed this: stitched the first 11 single-crochet stitches in each petal's loop, then stitched three single-crochet stitches into the middle chain of the 23-chain loop (to make the tip of each petal), then stitched the next 11 single-crochet stitches into the loop. This is much easier to do, and it means it's not critical if the chain gets twisted on the previous step.

2. Rather than stitch each petal to the next in the finishing stage--and create all those ends that would need weaving in--I just joined the petals as I was stitching the final round.

The instructions for folding the loops nearly drove me crazy. I figured it out and decided I'd better document the steps here so I wouldn't run into the problem again. And the photos might help someone else, too.

Step 1

In this photo, the first few petals are stretched out. The piece is right-side-up; you're looking at the front of the stitches.

Step 2

Here, that petal has been flopped over to the left. You're now looking (mostly) at the back of the petal.

You just do the same thing on all the petals. It's not nearly as confusing as it seemed to me earlier. I think the problem I had was looking at photos of finished pieces--where I could see the fronts of stitches on the petal tips--and not being able to see the fronts of the stitches when I was doing the folding. When you fold the petals, you'll see the backs of the stitches until you flip the whole thing over. What was the "right side" will become the "wrong side" of the finished piece.

Edited to add: I may rip the border and redo the folding* just for my own satisfaction, but I'm not impressed with this design. It's cute, but not very practical. Do people really need lumpy hot pads? Won't any dish placed on this hot pad wobble? A lot? I've read lots of posts about people making these as gifts; I wonder how many of those crafters have actually made the hot pad and used it themselves.

*What I did wrong: I made the folded part too horizontal. Each petal's folded part should be on more of an angle--the left side high, the right side low.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Flowers and crocheting and yarn

My father's birthday is tomorrow. I went up to the farm today to see my parents and have an early-birthday/belated-father's-day celebration. We went out for BBQ at a place where the owners know my parents by name. (They holler out from the front counter when your order is ready--and they didn't have to ask what name to holler.)

I took lots of pictures of my mother's flowers on the back deck.

DSC00382 DSC00389

(The flowers are purple--not blue. The camera isn't good with purple. And the unusual flower in the lower picture is an African daisy. Or--so says my father. But when I Google "African Daisy" I don't get anything that looks like this.)

While I was there, we had some bird visitors:


(There are more Cardinal photos--plus a Wren and a Chickadee--and lots more flower photos on Flickr.)

The family is planning a 4th of July get-together at my parents', and I actually managed to get off work on that day. (The manager often gives me Friday off--and the 4th falls on Friday.) I'm planning to take Sam and Jacey with me that day.

I finished a doily for a birthday swap with other helpers on the Ravelry site. The woman I'm swapping with likes purple, so I made a purple doily and got her purple yarn:

Fake Color 00376 10 AL Purple Fake Color 00373

The camera got the purple totally wrong, so I've faked it in Corel Paintshop to approximate the actual thread color, which is pretty accurately indicated by that color chip. I swear, I'm going to take this camera and a skein of purple yarn to Best Buy (where I bought the camera) and tell them I want the camera to get that color right. The camera is so far off--in every light, with every background color and every camera setting--and it's ridiculous. (Really, those blue flowers up there should be about the color of the color chip. And the correct color doesn't even show in the window before you snap the photo; it's obvious it's going to be wrong.)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A package in the mail...

I got a package today from SomeBunnysLove. She sent me 10 balls of size 10 crochet thread in blue (this Delft blue, I think).

10 Royale 0480 Delft 10 Traditions Green

Also included is a ball of size 40 (teeny stuff) in white, some size 10 red, and two balls of size 10 myrtle green.

And two smallish (but fat!) cones of a mauve cotton thread, very nearly this color:

10 AL Dusty Rose DSC00368

The cones have a combined weight of about 14.5 ounces; a ball of 350 yards of thread is 2 ounces, so the cones probably total ~2500 yards.

Oooo, time to go pattern hunting...

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The birthday swap survey.

  1. What is your name? Kathy
    What is your favorite color? Khaki-like greens, tomato red
  2. When is your birthdate (year optional)?
    30 November
  3. Do you have any special birthday traditions? no
  4. What is your favorite birthday memory?
    Nothing comes to mind
  5. Any allergies we should know about?
    The seasonal types: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and some perfumes
  6. What crafts do you do - knit, crochet, spin, dye, bead, quilt, etc. etc. ?
    Knit and crochet
  7. Any sorts of fibers you particularly love or hate or are dying to work with?
    No particular dislikes; looking forward to knitting up some of the lovelies in my stash
  8. What weight of yarn do you prefer?
    I seem to have lots of baby things to make, so I'm on the lookout for DK-weight cottons or linens
  9. What are your favorite knitting accessories? (i.e.: stitch markers, row counters…)
    I have lots of split-ring markers (for crochet), but not many knitting markers for fine, tiny needles.
  10. Do you subscribe to any crafty magazines? no
  11. What do collect aside from fiber-related things? greyhounds *grin*
  12. Favorite candy, chocolate (dark, white, or milk), tea, coffee, other treats?
    I'm not a tea fan...or coffee. Adore chocolate of any kind.
  13. Do you enjoy handmade soap and body products?
    Not really. Sometimes they can make me itchy.
  14. Are there any scents you love or hate?
    I'm not a fan of wearable scents (my strange body chemistry makes everything smell like melting plastic). But scented candles and sachets are fine...mostly in sweet scents like vanilla, sugar cookie, etc.
  15. What is your favorite: flavor, flower, letter, number, film, artist?
    Flavor? Hmm, too many.
    Flower? Irises (love the colors).
    Letter? F Number? 5
    Film? Love most Jane Austen films.
    Artist? I'm not a visual-arts connoisseur. But in print? Austen was a bloody genius. And I do like the looks of Monet's art...lovely colors.
  16. Anything we should *not* get for you?
    No bath products, please.
  17. Do you have a blog and or wishlist that are not linked on Ravelry or listed in the GoogleDoc?
    There's an Amazon wishlist
  18. Anything special you would like your partner to know?
    Feel free to get me something totally different from what's in my stash. You can challenge me...

Friday, June 6, 2008


00279 The tongue

Sam has been a bit better-behaved lately. He's raided the trash can, of course, and he sits and stares at me when I eat ice cream, but that's all normal.

When Oreo was the only dog I had, I bought a dog food container for her kibble. But then I acquired Sam, and we started going through 40-pound bags of kibble, which wouldn't fit in the storage bin I had. So I bought a new bin--one that holds more than 40 pounds at once--and put the old storage bin away. I've gotten it back out, though. The bin may be too small for storing dog food, but it's perfect for storing a bag of potatoes. Eat your heart out, Sam.

It's nice to have dogs that aren't thunder-phobic. I like to sit outside in a rainstorm and watch the rain, listen to the thunder. I sit in a sheltered corner of the carport and watch Nature's fireworks...and the dogs go out with me. They lie down, and Sam often falls asleep. We got to do that tonight, during a brief storm.

I've been yarn shopping, again.


That's a cotton self-striping yarn...probably going to be a baby jacket.


Those are cotton, too. Those are going to be the accent colors for a baby sweater, where the main color will be this:

Totally Fake

That's a faked, severely color-adjusted photograph that really does come close to the yarn color. (The purple yarn photographs as if it's blue.) The sweater will be for my cousin Shari's baby (her seventh). I'm not sure when Shari's due; Mother just mentioned the pregnancy in a recent phone call. Meanwhile, I'm working on other baby sweaters, but there are no photos to show. :)

I finished a doily for my sister's 30th wedding anniversary:

308 Doily


Her dining room has this color on the wall below the chair rail. The doily measures about 13" square.