Category Archives: Uncategorized

Wild Barty

Wild Barty Front.jpg
I finished a pair of socks this weekend, and here is my husband modelling them for you. He and I have the same size feet, if you can believe it, and it’s hard to photograph one’s own feet, so I asked him to be the foot model.
The yarn is Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in the color Wild Cherry, and they were knit on size 2.25 KnitPicks circular needles. I used one Harmony and one Nickel which was a great way of avioding the thing that I do at least once per sock, which is to pick up the wrong needle end while knitting and then end up with a silly twisted mess. I really liked using both needles .
I used the Harmony for the top textured side, and the nickel for the bottom smooth side, and that worked nicely! Well actually, I did the first sock only on the nickel needles, but after our local Stitch ‘n Bitch Xmas party, I had a collection of the tiny sizes of Harmony needles, so I wanted to use them right away and so I did, for the second sock.
The pattern comes from Cat Bordhi’s book, New Pathways for Sock Knitters, Book one. The pattern is called Bartholemew’s Tantalizing Socks. Since my yarn was called Wild Cherry, the socks are now dubbed Wild Barty.
Wild Barty Front 1.jpg
Do you know who Jim Steinman is? He had at least one solo album that I know of, but is most famous for writing the lyrics to Meatloaf’s Bat out of Hell albums. He’s also written a number of hits, such as Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart“, Air Supply’s “Making Love out of Nothing at All“, and Celine Dion’s “It’s all Coming Back to Me Now“. When a Jim Steinman song comes on the radio, I can spot it by the end of the first verse. If you notice what these songs have in common, you’ll catch my drift.
I have friends as far back as high school (Suzanne), college (Karlanne) and real life (Bill) who can attest to my hatred of Jim Steinman songs. They all loved Bat out of Hell, and I always hated the songs. They are just… too… wordy! He (Mr. Steinman) crams too many words into his songs.
I’m no George Orwell, I appreciate good description and good narrative, but Great Maker! He uses too many words. And I’ll bet that anyone who has an opinion about Jim Steinman songs either loves or hates them, I don’t know how anyone could be indifferent.
Anyway, the reason for this little digression is to give context to the patterns in Cat Bordhi’s new book. The woman uses too many words! Socks are not that complicated. These socks are not that different than the socks we’ve all been knitting for years.
Wild Barty Back.jpg
The increases are positioned in a different place and the rate of increase is 1/3 instead of 1/2 for most socks. But following the pattern is difficult. You have to jump back and forth between several different sections of the book just to get the whole pattern. (Kinda sucks if, like me, you like to photocopy the pages you need and leave the book at home, so if you do that, be sure to read the whole pattern before walking away from the photocopier.)
She has her own language – LaLinc and LaRinc, stories about hairdressers and necklaces. It’s just silly. It’s like a combination of a children’s story (young children) and a knitting pattern. Maybe that’s what she was going for, I don’t know. It’s not what I was looking for though. Some of the socks look interesting, I just wanted to know how to make the interesting ones.
And maybe I am just taking out my general frustration on Ms. Bordhi. I am a bit tired of the whole dumbing down of the world I see around me. I am no expert – you may recall the last pair of socks I made took me 5 socks to get the pair, but I do think that we adults just don’t need to have everything spelled out for us! We are raising a generation of bubble-wrapped children with no critical thinking skills or ability to figure things out themselves, and it seems everything around us is coming down to the same level. It’s like Harrison Bergeron.
And the thing is, the very first knitting book I bought was Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles: a Manual of Elegant Knitting Techniques and Patterns and it wasn’t as wordy and strange as this new one. I haven’t looked at any of her other patterns because I didn’t think the mobius thing was interesting, although one of my fellow S’nB women did. I’ll have to ask her if those patterns were weird.
I think going forward, I will read the whole pattern, copy the relevant information onto an index card (because it would fit on an index card, really) and leave the book for reading at home, like a novel or a bedtime story.
Wild Barty Walking.jpg
The socks themselves are very comfortable, and I will likely make another pair in the same pattern “family”, called Sky. Next, I’ll try a “Fountain” sock. I’m actually thinking that 2008 will be the “Year of the Sock” for the nodster, I’ve got way too much sock yarn and this year I am going to use it. A lot of it. I had even skeined up some yarn for dyeing, but never got around to mixing up the dyes. I want to do that this year too. I guess that’s my only resolution for 2008, more socks!
Happy new year!

ETA: Link to the project on Ravelry

picking out colors

So I’ve placed all my heathered 2-ply out on the bed to try and figure out how to place the colors.
Generally I’d go for light, medium and dark colors, but sometimes it’s hard to figure out which category a color falls into.
I’d heard you can use a black and white photo to take the emotion out of the decision, to base it on the shade of the color instead of the value. My first try was pretty close:

After that, I rearranged again and came up with this:

It’s a litle disappointing that the KnitPicks yarn has only two light shades. Al the rest are more medium shades. It will be harder to make obvious fore/background combinations, but with the solids and the other colors I can fill in the blanks. Now I can get started on a swatch, or maybe a swatch of the pattern.
Meanwhile, I soaked and dried my shawl, but now I need to pin out the points and steam it to be all lovely. I’ll try and do that this week and post a photo, but it may not happen til Friday, since I have that day off from work.

Do you ever get all girly?

Hello, KittyThere are a few things that get me all girly, and one of them is Hello Kitty. What is it about her? Ever since I saw her for the first time, back in middle school, I was in love.
That’s why, when I saw this book at Kinokuniya, I had to pick it up. I flipped through, and thought, “nah, it’s crochet, and I don’t do that very well”, and I put it down. I looked through some of the knitting books, and kept returning to Ms. K. Finally, I just had to make the purchase.
It doesn’t matter that I can’t read the instructions. I just dug out some cotton (Paton’s Glace, in white) and an appropriate hook (3.5mm) and started on my very own Hello Kitty crocheted…doll? I have no idea what I’ll do with it, maybe give it to my niece, but I just had to do it.
DSC_0019.pngThe other thing I just had to do was buy myself a new toy. I’ve been thinking about it for so long, even went to the Apple store twice and chickened out on the hefty price tag, but finally, last week, I bought my first Mac. It’s the super-duper MacBookPro. It’s a beautiful thing, and I am a bit lost, having been working with some form of Windows for over 20 years, but I am making my way. (The last time I used a mac, it had a black and white screen and a floppy drive.) I am having so much fun playing with iTunes and iPhoto, I haven’t even checked out any of the other iStuff.
My mimosa shawl is coming along nicely – I have one more row of beads to place, and my math is terribly off, so I am going to try and figure out what I did wrong and make adjustments. How hard can it be, it’s just a shawl?

Mimosa in progress

a n w hug.jpgAre these two not the cutest ever? This is my niece and nephew, finally able to relax after a crazy week of touring Southern California after being awakened by the reverse 911 service in San Diego County. Mr. W lives with his yiayia in Rancho Bernardo and, along with his mom, dad, and yiayia were told to evacuate last Monday morning. They headed for Ms. A’s place in Poway. Shortly after arriving, Ms. A’s home was ordered to evacuate. By 7:30 AM, the whole clan was on the road, heading for Long Beach where yiayia’s friend has a home. I was already at work, so couldn’t offer shelter, and after a while, they ended up with another relative in Thousand Oaks for a couple days.
And all this only a month after being uprooted from his home in WA and moving in with yiayia. It must have been really confusing for the two of them. Now they are back to their homes, safe and happy, thank the great maker.
mimosa-1.JPGMeanwhile, back at the ranch… I started working on Mimosa. So far, I love it. It’s made with Euroflax Linen in a rich emerald color, and I am using green beads with a silver center. I tried for a while to find just the right iridescent frosted-glass beads, but I never did, so I chose these.
mimosa-3.JPGIt’s actually the most annoying part of working this shawl. You have to string all the beads in advance, then, as you work, push them down the yarn for a few meters at a time. It gets a bit tedious.
mimosa-4.JPGHere’s one of the balls before using it. The recipe tells you how many beads you’ll need for each ball, with the caveat that you may need more or less, depending on your knitting. I just strung all the beads and tagged each ball with it’s number so I would use them in the right order.
I am really looking forward to finishing, I am on ball 4 of 5 right now, and this crazy thing has you cast on 599 stitches, so I am working towards shorter and shorter rows. I like that. I can’t wait to see it all blocked and neat, since it’s getting bigger and more squished as I shove it into my knitting bag.
I still want to play with the palette yarns I picked up from KnitPicks, following the Seattle Feral’s ideas, and I also started on a pair of socks from Cat Bordhi’s new book but I don’t like them and will be ripping so there’s nothing to show here today on that project.

It is so not fair

… when you see this poking out of the top of your mailbox: not_fair.JPG
And think, after the day at work that you had, a little yarn porn could make your day. “Yaay!”
So you pull out the “catalogue” only to find this:
I know my stash is an investment, great maker knows I’ve been trying to convince my husband that my yarn is an investment, but I didn’t know they knew it!

Help for knitting in Japanese

I’ve been struggling for weeks with trying to translate some characters in the Blumengruss pattern from New Style of Heirloom Knitting. I was doing sort of ok with the kana because they are mostly foreign words and with some clever pronunciation, I could figure them out. (The best one so far? ra i to gu ri – light grey!)
But the kanji. The ABC’s of Knitting covers quite a bit of the kanji I might need, but not all of it. It really only covers the knitting terms. But in the book, there are more than knitting terms, there are descriptions of the knitting that aren’t covered in the ABC site.
Tonight I came across this site: The Kanji SITE – A guide for students of Japanese Kanji It’s a well organized site, and even though you have to search several pages to find the character you are looking for, once you find it there are often very good definitions, and also definitions of the character combined with another character and even sometimes a “not to be confused with” example. I’ve not come across a site with such a nice layout and so much content.
Plus it has the kana as well, with charts comparing them and explanations of the combining of symbols with the characters, such as adding the degrees-looking symbol to he makes pe, and adding the quote marks-looking symbol changes he to be. Many of the charts on the wikipedia don’t have all that. Plus there’s some nice commentary on the pages, and the author clearly has a sense of humor, which many sites don’t seem to have.
I’m thinking this will be helpful for translations of sites like Ten Old which has some beautiful Fair Isle style patterns (although I hear the author of that page speaks english if you email her) and also Pierrot which has a lot of crochet patterns available to download as .pdfs.
Anyway, I’ve still got more to figure out, but I thought I’d share this great resource.

WX Alert Radio hell

It’s damn hot in so. cal. today. I went to the gym and about died after exiting and heading home because during the hour that I was in the gym it got to be about 500F in my car and thank the great maker I was wearing longish pants because I surely would have had third degree burns when my pale white skin hit the charcoal grey leather interior of my CR-V.

So now I’m home and resisted putting on the A/C until about 3 pm when it was over 90F in my living room. I’m trying to listen to some music on my laptop while I convert a bunch of tunes I stupidly ripped in Apple Lossless(read GIGANTIC) files into much smaller AAC files.

But about every 20 minutes for the past 3 hours, the weather-alert radio goes off, and I have to run to the other end of the house and turn it off. So far we’ve had:

  • Flash flood watch for the mountains north of LA but not the Santa Monica mountains
  • Flash flood warnings for the Palmdale/Lancaster area
  • Extreme temperature warnings for the valleys and northern LA county with temps of 106F to 113F til Sunday night
  • Hailstones 5 miles north of Lancaster and Palmdale
  • Tornado Warning!!
  • Severe Weather Statement
  • Hazardous Weather Outlook that includes Long Beach
  • Excessive Heat Warning

And it’s all in that creepy robot voice that NOAA uses to announce the alerts.

We bought the radio because it had a short-wave receiver, and leave the WX on just because, why not, there may be a tsunami one day, and although we are 7 miles from the water, it might be useful to know it’s a potentiality.  And it goes off a few times a year, so no big deal.  But holy cow, they must be having some crazy weather in northern LA county today.

Passable Housekeeping* tip o’ the day

If, and I’m not saying you are, but if you are the kind of person who:

  • Makes a huge batch of spaghetti sauce in your
  • Super-exquisite French Blue Le Cruset 8 Qt French Oven and
  • At one point, the pot boils and sends molten spaghetti sauce all over your shirt, arms and counter and
  • You slam the lid on that puppy, turn the heat down and change your shirt and let it simmer down for a few hours and
  • You make a mess o’lunches for the week with the sauce and
  • You pack all of the remaining sauce in nice neat quart-size freezer bags for later and
  • You remember to remove the bags from the glass loaf pan you used to keep them upright in the freezer before they have frozen into a solid block of glass and sauce and
  • Six full days later your husband says “babe, did you know there is spaghetti sauce all over the ceiling?” and
  • As a matter of fact, you didn’t know (see molten sauce on arms, above) then

apparently, it’s perfectly safe, depending on the type of paint on your ceiling, to use your Swiffer® with a Swiffer® Wet Cloth to clean six day old spaghetti sauce off the ceiling.

Not that you, dear reader, would ever have a need, but just in case.  Just putting it out there. 

* I say passable housekeeping because a)someone else owns the name Good Housekeeping, and b)clearly Good Housekeeping would have noticed it six days earlier.

What is that???

I woke to a loud rumble. I don’t know what time it was, because our clock is so bright we keep it covered with a piece of thick cloth. You know how it is, you wake in the night and stare at the clock so you stress about how long you have til it’s time to get up, and you can’t get back to sleep because you are stressing about it, rinse, lather, repeat.

Anyway, this loud rumbling. My first thought was that we had just had and earthquake, you know, the kind that roll, and the sound was the sound of the earthquake rolling southward. Must have been up in LA or something. Then I thought, no, maybe it’s a train going too fast. Sometimes the trains leaving the Port of Long Beach, with all the goods of the country on them, can be heard when the wind is right. Then, no, maybe it was a big truck barreling away from my street. What is that?

I opened the curtain and could see my whole backyard as if it were daylight, the sky was clear and the moon bright overhead. I left the curtain open a bit because the air felt nice and cool after such a hot-and-humid day. I started to drift off again, and a flash through my eyelids caught me. Huh? Is there some kind of freak out in my backyard taking pictures through the little triangle of curtain that is exposing my sleeping face to the yard? I reached for my glasses, and a little startled, I peer out of the triangle of exposed window, ready to scream if I saw someone.

There was nothing out there, but then I heard a little rumble again. What is that?? I start to fall asleep again, and there’s another flash, and a rumble right away this time. Then it comes, the most incredible dumping of rainwater just started falling all at once, as if someone slashed the bottom of a giant ziplock of water over the backyard. It was raining so hard, and the air smelled suddenly clean and fresh, and I didn’t even mind the temporary increase in humidity.

And I do mean temporary, as it was over as soon as it started. I don’t think it rained for more than 15 minutes over my backyard. I must live on some strange climate-cusp, because more often than not, when we experience these torrential rain pours, they occur only in the backyard, but if we look out the front windows, we can see that it’s just spitting or not raining at all in the front of our house. I didn’t bother to check this morning, since it was all over so fast, but I was glad that there wasn’t some pervert snapping photos of my through my bedroom window. Somehow my husband slept through the whole thing.

The things the mind comes up with when interrupted from a good sleep…