Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Progress of the Knit Kind

I've been knitting away on the Nurmilintu shawl I mentioned, and have finished the first lace section.
Though the lace isn't really stretched out fully there, I like the way it looks even as is, so three cheers for that. Especially since this yarn does NOT lend itself to ripping out*, so other than a hopefully infrequent "tink back the current row to fix a mistake," I do not plan to rip this pattern out at all. The yarn holds onto itself most tenaciously, so I will make peace with any mistakes as I notice them.
*As I found when I frogged the little samples I had made, or tried to

The fabric is lovely and soft, and it drapes well. It does give off a bit of a fuzzy halo, and will not suit being worn over anything dark, but I can be at peace with that, as well.

Though don't ask me how I like it just as I sneeze when a stray fiber goes up my nose. Nothing's perfect.

Monday, August 13, 2018

A Single (If Parenthetical) Sentence

Today wasn't perfect (it's a work day, after all, which means getting up early, for one thing), but I had a pleasant dip in the pool, and after dinner Mum and I walked around the block (just one block, and I wore shoes; my feet are fine [this time]), and I read a good book (The Penderwicks At Last, a satisfying end to the series), and that will do; how about you?

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Yeah, It Was Good

I didn't mean to leave you hanging about the concert; it's just that it was, although fun, quite exhausting compared to my usual life. I mean, since I moved down here, I'm usually in bed between 8 and 9, rarely after 10, and we got back Thursday night, well, on Friday morning, after 1:30! Just nuts. Lots of driving, lots of being outside in the Florida-in-summer heat, lots of loud music and people everywhere.

But yeah, we had fun.

We were about this far from the stage:
There were screens behind the bank that went between live shots of the band members or the crowd:
And video images:
A few times, confetti flew out:
But happily, not usually on us (see above, re: summer-in-Florida heat, and imagine the sweating, and the paper sticking).

And Mom's head behaved pretty well, and the storm front didn't blow through until the band was just about done anyway, so other than trying to get out of the amphitheater with 19,000 others ... not too bad. Could have been worse, anyway, though that part was pretty chaotic.

I'm still tired, though. Glad it's Saturday night, not Sunday.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Preparing for Tomorrow

I'm taking vacation days Thursday and Friday, so my weekend starts now, which is very pleasant. And the reason I'm taking them is a fun one: my mother and I are driving over to the east coast tomorrow to see Imagine Dragons in concert. I like them, but my mother LOVES them, and when I proposed that we could go, she decided that yes, as long as I was willing to do the prep work, she would love to do that.

As the time has gotten closer, she has been letting more and more excitement show, and I just hope the show is a good one--as it should be! In addition to listening to the new album, she's been watching live performances via YouTube, so she can get an idea what it will be like. However, I think when she finds herself actually there, and in the second row, at that, it will blow her mind. I look forward to it, and I'm bringing my camera.

It would be awfully nice if the fates would throw her a less-than-usual headache day; with her chronic daily headaches, it's no use wishing for a no-headache day, but if it could just be less bad, we'd settle for that. Light a candle, would you?

And I'll report back, sometime after we return and start to recover.

Monday, August 06, 2018

Started

After going back and forth and back and forth and back and forth about what to knit next, I finally snapped out of it today.

I don't usually channel Michael Jackson, but this just popped into my head:
Anyway, I went with the Nurmilintu shawl, using the probably-Diadem-DK yarn, planning to switch to the gold definitely-Diadem-DK yarn for the lace section(s), and possibly the copper as well, depending on how big it gets, and how I like it as it goes.

From here:
To here, tonight.
So silky soft, like petting a kitten.

Onward.

Sunday, August 05, 2018

Sunday with Kittens

This morning, I went for a dip in the pool after I read the papers, and floated around looking at the palm trees and marveling at where I was.

Later, it poured rain (must be summer in Florida, we tell ourselves).

It cleared by the time I went to see the kittens again (though it's rumbling, again, as I write this).

"I'm not sure about this ... but it feels nice."
"What is that thing??" (The camera.)
"Was that a noise?"
Nap time.
"Well, we can pose nicely!"

Friday, August 03, 2018

Knitting Indecision

I finished knitting the baby blanket (yay!), so you know what that means: I finally get to start something else! (I was holding myself back from doing so, to make sure I really got the baby blanket done in time.) So many ideas, but now it's time to decide: what's next?

I swatched the Fresco yarn, and I like the fabric I came up with*, so that seems promising for some sort of tank (no skinny straps, though; cover the bra straps, please) or sleeveless top. But which pattern? I initially looked at the Drops pattern called 161-14 Ava, and used it for guesstimating how much yarn to buy, but not feeling certain of it, I kept on looking at patterns. I also like the Drops pattern 94-19 Sleeveless jumper, despite the somewhat odd photo**, but ... I'm still not sure. I wish more people had made it, and that the Ava had photos of people of larger size having made it.
*I don't want it to be something I have to wear over a layer, so it needs to not be too loose/lacy/see-through
**I mean, it does look a bit like she's pulling her trousers off...it's an unfortunate belt-flapping-angle thing

Perhaps I will keep looking at patterns; there are so many, even specifying for sport weight yarn, it's hard to believe I can't find one I feel more sure about. I was looking at which patterns are popular on Ravelry right now, and I quite like the look of this sweater, but since it has dropped shoulders, making it sleeveless wouldn't be as easy as just not knitting the sleeves, so I don't know about that one. Maybe Iris? Or perhaps MAiryLin? (You don't have to go look at all of these, I'm just wanting all my ideas in one place. But if you do go look, let me know what you think, or if you have other ideas.)

There's also the free yarn Mom brought me, the Schachenmayr select Tahiti, which is a light fingering, so I looked for patterns in that. Perhaps Marie, if I can figure out if the pattern is available outside Scandinavia. Or ... I'll keep looking, I guess.

Then there's the it-may-all-be-Diadem-DK yarn, which as I mentioned, I am thinking of trying the Nurmilintu shawl with. (I have not [yet, anyway] ordered Diadem fingering, even for purposes of scientific comparison.) Perhaps I should start that, while I am pondering the other ones? Of course, that pattern is meant to be for fingering, so it might take some tweaking to work in DK; less so in  a shawl than a fitted garment*, though, so maybe that's not a concern.
*Fear of Fit, someone at knitting called it last night, and yeah, I have that.

Or ... maybe Project Next will be none of these, but something else altogether.

Decisions, decisions! Good problems to have.

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Heavier Reading (in at least one sense of the word)

Today I would like to provide a light review of a book that was literally very heavy, and content-wise somewhat heavy, but that I still recommend.

Back in February, I first heard about Christopher de Hamel via Boing Boing, which shared a video of him with the header: "This medieval manuscript archivist is working his dream job and it shows"; and it certainly does! I was interested enough to get the book out of the library, at a time when I was reading less and less as I prepared for the big move.

The book is a brick, heavy and chock-full of illustrations.
I looked through it and read just enough to see that I would be interested to read the whole thing, in that mythical future time when I had time, so I added it to my list and returned it to the library. Last month, I got it out of the library here, and although my interest in these manuscripts is miles below his, and I did skim a bit here and there, I read most of it, for his sense of humor and perspective as much as for the topic itself.

For instance, when he was planning a trip to Russia to see one manuscript, and he was applying for his travel visa, he considered, since the book in this case was a treatise on armaments and warfare, giving his purpose as "gaining access to government department to inspect manual on armaments and military strategy," but in the end, went with "tourism" instead.

I could also wince for his pain when he took home a pair of cotton gloves given to him at one of the libraries to wear during his examination, treasuring that they were covered in the actual dust and dirt from this actual ancient manuscript, only to have his wife come across them and throw them into the laundry.

Speaking as an editor, I was touched to see, in illustration of a manuscript that was corrected (not recently, but long ago), a note that the corrector had mistakenly not erased, which said, "corrected as far as this" in Latin. Brother! You did that then, too, eh? (I try very hard not to leave in comments I have made to myself on a document. The writer isn't going to understand why there is a comment that simply says, "to here.")

At all events, it isn't something that everyone wants to read, I totally understand that, but if you're at all interested, I encourage you to see if your library carries it.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

I Did Not Know That

A few things I've come across recently that I didn't know.

The design of the peace symbol is based on the letter N and D, for nuclear disarmament, in semaphore. I had never even thought about why the symbol is the way it is...it just is, you know?

How Wednesday Addams got her name; so simple, but very cool.

The inventor of cruise control was blind! He was a mechanical engineer, and when riding with a driver whose slow-down/speed-up driving made him feel sick, inspiration hit.



Bless him. I've ridden with people whose driving has made me feel a bit queasy, too.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Musings for 2019 Knit Traveling

Now that I'm not going to be spending so much* of my vacation time coming to Florida, I spent some down time today thinking about other ways I may want to use that time. I mean, I'll go up to Boston and see friends there, and I'll see my relatives in NY once or twice a year, but other than that? So many possibilities.
*Well, not any, really

One category of possible travel that I was specifically thinking of is to go to yarn-related events, such as Rhinebeck (no longer within driving distance, but still something I'll want to do at least in some years), and other fiber festivals, retreats, and the like. I mean, I'm not sure a knitting cruise* is in my budget for 2019, but a short trip or two, within the country, to go to something I've heard about but not seen, is certainly possible. I'll be keeping my eyes open for anything nearby, too; there was one in June, not close enough for me to handle getting to in my immediate post-move fragility, but I'm watching to see what else they do.
*Yes, there are knitting cruises

Rhinebeck is the only big, national knit event I've been to. In terms of small festivals, there was the Fiber Revival that I went to a few times, but while very pleasant, it isn't something I would travel this far for. Back in 2014, though, I went to the Interweave Knitting Lab in New Hampshire, and enjoyed that quite a lot. That kind of thing might be worth traveling for. (I have to get used to the distances in Florida; in MA, nothing in-state could be more than 2-3 hours away, whereas here, it could be a 5-6 hour drive, a very different animal.)

I'm not sure about classes; I have to think about who I might want to take a class with*, or what kind of technique I might be interested in. Lectures probably appeal to me more than classes, though. I know I'm interested in a good marketplace, too, especially if they have a selection of local, or at least not available everywhere, yarns.
*There's the Yarn Harlot, maybe Franklin Habit ... who else?

Other possibles:

  • Maryland Sheep and Wool, which is in May, and is not far from Baltimore, so maybe I could also visit a friend in DC on the same trip
  • Stitches West, or other Stitches location, but Santa Clara is near enough to Oakland that I could potentially see my brother on the same trip
  • SAFF, which is in October, so I wouldn't do it in a Rhinebeck year; it's near Asheville, NC, so I could potentially see a friend who lives there

Any thoughts? I would value any input, understanding the topic is of course very subjective.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Office Walls

I've been in Florida for two months now, and like so many things in life, it feels both longer and shorter than that. Time is so weird that way.

I'm not the sort to put up pictures and declare the walls "done"; things change, are added, and sometimes removed. It's fluid. Still, it feels good to say that the office walls are in a good place, even if they don't get the "finished" rubber stamp.

A few more things here.
A few more there.
Over here as well.
Even tucked in there.
Including some of the bottles I had atop the kitchen cabinets in the condo. Not quite a full-blown collection, but they make me happy.
Which is what counts.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Ups and Downs; Mostly Ups

It's been a busy weekend, more good than not, although it didn't start well. On Friday night, I decided to take a walk around the block, barefoot, to try to get my feet a little toughened up; I've always been a tenderfoot, but as a kid I could go from wincing barefoot at the start of the summer to toughened up by the end, so I figured I can make it work.

Apparently, though, I went too far for the first stage. Just a two-block walk*, barely over a mile, on sidewalks that felt warm but not painful, and by the end of it I was hobbling. In the morning, I looked at the large blisters on the soles of my feet in disbelief. How could that simple walk cook my feet like that?
*Clearly, I should have stopped after one block.

Well, it did. My mother looked it up online, then helped me with petroleum jelly and bandages, and I'm happy to say that though still tender, they are much better today.

Although today, my calves hurt from the funny way I was walking yesterday (and still am today, actually)...I really am a delicate flower.

It was a nice walk for three-quarters of the way, at least. There was the sunset:
A tree root laughing at a chain-link fence.
"I send my roots where I want to."

Pretty flowers.
And fabulous-smelling flowers. Possibly gardenia? Smelled wonderful, anyway.
Despite my hobbles, we had a good day yesterday, going into town to take the little boat ride with a friend of my mother's, and then going to lunch at a wonderful French restaurant that's in a strip mall, you would never believe it was so high-end, but there it was. On the way back, we did some errands, and then when we got home I sat with my feet up, reading. As one does. In fact, if you like mysteries, I can recommend Spencer Kope's books, Collecting the Dead and Whispers of the Dead. I hope he writes more.

Today included some not-fun, like balancing the checkbook; some slightly more fun, getting a few things at the grocery store; and some fun, namely with kittens. As I mentioned last week, I'm volunteering at the local cat shelter, if by "volunteering" you understand that I mean playing with kitties and calling it socializing them.

It's a tough job, but someone has to do it.





Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Ahh, but ow

Mom and I went down and walked on the beach after dinner. It was beautiful, and much of the time there was a nice breeze, but it's hot here (summer in south Florida, duh), and now I'm all sweaty, and my feet are a bit sandy, and they're also sore because they are wimpy feet.

It was worth it, though. Camera, next time.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Yarn: Acquiring and Planning and Experiments, Various

As you saw when I was sorting it, I still have a fair bit of yarn, even with the huge amounts I got rid of before moving. (And it looked so good once it was sorted out.) (It still looks that good; don't be misled by the past tense there.)

I've also mentioned a few yarn acquisitions made since moving:
  1. yarn for a baby blanket (now half done), 
  2. yarn bought when Classic Elite yarns were 30% off at my LYS (and 2a, where I ordered a couple more skeins of the blue from Webs, which had it deeply discounted as well, so that I could make a bigger shawl, which is what I imagine it will become)
  3. yarns that my mother brought home, that had been donated where she volunteers
I also bought a skein of sock yarn at the same time as #2 above, which I don't seem to have blogged about? Man, I really am not into the blogging groove completely yet, am I? It's Delicious Yarns Frosting Fingering, in Currant (which, to me, should be more a red than purple, but I guess they were thinking more of a blackcurrant).
It's definitely purple.
I love the nutrition facts on the back of the tag.
Another that I hadn't blogged yet was from when I was at the knitting group last week, and the Classic Elite was down to 50% off, and I ended up buying some more. Not more Chateau, this time, but Fresco. You know me: it's so soft!
I did a little poking around online, and decided that three skeins of each color should be enough to make a sleeveless top (maybe this one), so that's what I got.

Back to that mystery white yarn from the thrift shop. I mentioned that I had asked on Ravelry for help identifying it, and one of the suggestions was Knit Picks Diadem, which is available in a fingering weight but was once also made in DK. The more I looked at it, the less I thought that what I had was fingering, so I went back to Ravelry, found a couple of people who had the DK in their stash, and after sending messages and waiting (impatiently), finally heard back from one person who was willing to sell. Yay!

I got two skeins, one in gold and one in copper, and they arrived yesterday (she only sent them Friday, so chalk up a win for the post office, NY to FL in that time). They definitely looked like a possible match.
But how to be certain?
I wound the gold.
Still looking good!
When I first got the white, I knit a tiny swatch, just to be sure I liked working with it, which I did.
So I then did some pattern-browsing, and thought I liked the idea of the Nurmilintu shawl, so I cast on the start of that as another wee swatch.
Therefore, with gold in hand, I did the same thing. I wasn't positive that it was a yarn match until it reached the same point as the white had, but it looked good then.
And in fact, white on top of gold shows:
Same size! They look and feel similar; the gold might feel a touch thicker, but if they knit up to the same gauge, I don't see it as a problem. If the white isn't really Diadem DK, well, it's close enough for me.
Although maybe I should order a skein of the fingering, just to be sure? For science!

Anyway, I really need to be working on the baby blanket, not getting deeper into this right now, but it is so tempting, startitis, isn't it? There's nothing wrong with the baby blanket, but ... it isn't new and exciting right now.
I still like the way it's going, at least. It's just the deadline that's making me feel stubborn.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Still Settling

It's coming up on two months since my move here, and I'm still making adjustments and setting up routines--which is, I think, perfectly normal for this time frame, although sometimes I'm just ready to be adjusted and settled already. But it happens as it happens. One routine not yet fully established is clearly blogging, since often after work, I want to go sit out on the lanai, and even if I brought the laptop out there with me, typing at any length on it there isn't the most comfortable thing. It will work out, in time.

I mentioned that I was going to knit night at the yarn store last week, which I did, and had a good time. It was a small group, but the others were very pleasant, and didn't make me feel odd man out. It was nice just to sit and knit for a while, and I got the first sock of the pair done, and started the second. I'll plan to keep going, most weeks anyway, and see how it goes.

The store may be relocating soon, and it was so funny: the owner mentioned that she was putting in a proposal for a larger space down the street, and that it has a small patio space behind where she could put a table out. And one of the others exclaimed, we could sit out there in winter! Let me tell you, I love having moved to a place where sitting outside in winter is a pleasant idea.

Another thing I'm going to be doing is volunteering at a cat shelter that happily is only ten minutes away. Gosh, aren't I nice, volunteering? Well, "socializing the cats and kittens" means going to play with them for an hour every week, something I think I can fit into my busy schedule! I definitely want to get a cat myself, but (see above, re adjusting) I'm not quite ready yet, so in the meantime, I will get a bit of fuzz therapy this way. And for a good cause: win-win.

Yesterday, we went up to go to the theater with a friend of my mother's, and then to dinner. We saw a really admirable amateur production of The Bad Seed; some of the acting was a little hesitant, but the actors who played the mother, Christine, and the daughter, Rhoda, were both really good--in fact, the child was just as creepy as the character had to be, so good for her. It was quite impressive, and a pleasant day overall.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

It's Going to Be Different

The nearest yarn store to me has a knit night on Thursdays, and I'm planning to go tomorrow for the first time. And I'm not nervous about going, it isn't that; I figure I can always find something to talk to knitters about, no problem. But it does remind me of something I haven't been letting myself think much about, which is how much I miss my knitting friends.

Now, let me say, I miss all my friends. And one of my friends has just been diagnosed with breast cancer, and while I would feel helpless if I still lived up north, being this far away and wanting to help is no fun either. (The good news is that she has been told it is treatable, but still.) She's been having a rotten year, and I'd like to take her out to lunch and let her vent, or whatever would help her right now.

But this is specifically about knitting friends. It's been a little hole, not having my knitters here to show what I'm doing, see what they're doing, talk about what we might do next, all that. My mother is very knit-supportive, but she'll understand when I say that I miss talking the craft with others who do it.

Which means that going to this knit night is good, and hopefully will lead to friendships of some sort, but it will also make me miss "my" knitters up north.

Monday, July 16, 2018

A Few Monday Thoughts

I'm not saying that the report I'm working on is bad, but I'm pretty sure I was stupider at the end of the day than I was this morning.

On the other hand, after work I managed to go pick up my new Florida license plate, and get a beach parking permit, so I'm not completely flattened.

And on the third hand, I messaged a couple of people on Ravelry recently about buying some yarn, and I haven't heard back from either of them*, and I know I might not**, but the waiting is driving me a little bit crazy, too. I'm like Bugs Bunny, dropping a letter in the mail to Acme and then tapping his toes as he waits for the mail truck to deliver what he ordered.
*Four days ago, and two days ago. Not long at all, objectively.
**Although at least they both had it listed as "Will trade or sell," so I'm unlikely to get back one of those weird offended 'how dare you' messages about the request.

On the final hand, I don't think it's going to be a late night. There's only so much correcting mistakes like "despite of" (20 times) that I can take.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Sock, on a Friday Night

My knitting friends know that I have sometimes, at stitch and bitch, been known to try on my sock in progress, under the table in the pub, to see if it's time to start the toe decreases.

Last night, I was in one of the few places where I couldn't do that. It was here:
But since I was getting a pedicure, there was no trying on happening! Not on wet feet. I knit for a bit more, then put it aside. I  tried it on tonight, and yeah, about time for the toe.
This is the first of the pair, and I have several sock yarns I'm really curious to work with, so it remains to be seen whether I will cast on for the second sock in this yarn, or give in to impulse and put it aside for now.Not deciding now.

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Comic and Yarns

It's hard to come up with a good title for really unrelated things, but other than going with "Items From Today," I'm kind of at a loss. So here are a few things that happened today!

I've mentioned before that my mother volunteers at a thrift store, so she brings home all sorts of things. Today, she brought me this:
"If you want it; I can always take it back." IF I want it? Like there's a question?

The colorful stuff is called Schachenmayr select Tahiti, and it's 99% cotton, light fingering weight, so another good hot-weather-knitting-experiment yarn. I'm trying to decide if I have enough to make a sleeveless shirt with it. I should probably swatch and see how it looks knit up, anyway.

The white is mystery yarn, no labels. It's a heavier weight, maybe DK? It's got a sort of halo, sort of sheen, that makes me think silk might be involved, and/or perhaps some mohair, or alpaca, or ... I really don't know. I put the question up in a Ravelry forum to see if anyone there can ID it from the picture, and someone suggested it could be Knit Picks Diadem, which is half silk and half alpaca, and looks promising! (I might just have to order a skein, in a good contrasting color of course, to check. For science.) It's nice and soft, and I imagine it would have a nice drape, maybe in a little shawl...

Also today, I looked into a comic that Mary Ellen told me about, Wallace the Brave, and it's great fun, so two thumbs up on that.

Also also today, I went to the library to pick up some holds, and continue to be far too amused/impressed that with their self-checkout machine, you don't have to scan each book individually; you put the stack in, and it beeps as it checks them all off for you. Technology is cool when it works.

While I was there, I heard someone call my name, to my considerable surprise. But I turned around and it was the librarian, holding up one of the books I had just returned, and asking, "Was it good?" Book people rock.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Wow, Really?

Since I've been down here for a while, I'm assessing my footwear, what I have and what I may want to get, and when I got an email from DSW, I decided to go to their website and see what they had listed under slides.

I was not expecting to see anything like this.
Fifi Slide Sandal
My mother and I decided that it looks like it was made either for, or out of, a muppet.

I think it looks slightly less muppety in black. But it doesn't look better for that. In my opinion.
Fifi Slide Sandal
Which is just my opinion.