Saturday, April 30, 2016

Shawl Knitting Update

As I mentioned the other day, I started knitting the Puncia shawl, and it's going well! Here is a progress shot from earlier today.
I know, not much to look at yet, but I'm enjoying it so far, once I got past those first bumps. And there may be more bumps, but for now, I will enjoy it. I've done one other thing that is helping me quite a lot: color-coded the decreases, since there are two types in the right-side rows and two in the wrong-side rows, and I kept having to look at the key to check which was which. Colors make it much more clear.
I know that doesn't look at all clear, not literally, but I didn't want to put up the pattern where it could be read, since it isn't a free pattern. I guess you have to take my word for it that the colors are helping me immensely. And the yarn feels good, too.

Today's weather was much nicer than I thought it was going to be, in the low 60s and sunny, though it was still the kind of day that, when the breeze picked up, felt quite chilly in the shade. Still, decent. I was out shopping in the afternoon, and only needing a t-shirt, no long sleeves or jacket required, was very nice. Tomorrow I'll be outdoors part of the day, so when I report back on that expedition, I'll tell you about the weather, too!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Knit Obstacles, Overcome (I think)

Last night my Other Knitting Group was  meeting, and I had decided to start knitting the Puncia shawl (yarn wound, pattern copied*), so after work I looked over the details to make sure I had what I needed, and cast on, so that I didn't have to spend the first part of the meeting counting to 108, since that isn't terribly social. This pattern may not in fact end up being social knitting, but the cast-on is kind of obviously not.
*Did I mention that my mother sent me the book? She rocks. I photocopied the pattern so I don't have to carry the whole book around.

There was one pattern stitch that seemed difficult to me, not in the sense of doing it, but in the sense of what it wanted me to do, but I had a guess. At the meeting, I first got the latest purse sock around the heel, then picked up the shawl and started knitting. And when I got to that stitch in the pattern for the first time, it was clear that my guess was wrong (it messed up the count). Huh.

I put the project aside and, aside from a brief discussion of what in the world it could mean, went on with the sock, and when I got home, sent the designer a message on Ravelry asking for clarification. She replied almost at once, which was awesome! And yes, my guess had been totally wrong. It's an interesting insight into pattern writing, which like any explanatory writing can suffer if the writer thinks she is being clear because she knows what she's talking about already, and it isn't necessarily clear to someone reading it cold.

At lunchtime today, I took the time to finish that row, and it all worked out now that I knew what the ssptbl meant. I glanced at the instructions to see what was going to come next, and promptly got myself confused over something else.

The pattern is printed over three pages, which includes some photos, written instructions, charts, and other notes. The second page is actually where you pick up the start point, and after casting on and knitting a few rows, you are sent to the Frost Flowers and Leaves lace section. There is a section named that on the first page, under Stitches and Techniques, which gives written instructions for 8 rows. The pattern start says to do row 1 of that, do row 2 of that, and then "Continue in pattern working Edging Chart..." Now, there is a chart on that page that is labeled Puncia Edging, but why, I ask, are we not continuing on with the Frost Flowers and Leaves?

So I looked closer at the Puncia Edging chart, which I see is also 8 rows, and ... wait. Are they the same thing? But named differently? Oh, no! Confusion alert!

Now, don't get me wrong, for a pattern to provide both written and charted instructions is pretty cool, since there are knitters on both sides who feel very strongly about using one but not the other. But you can't call them two different names! That's just ... man, I am not an inexperienced knitter, and I have knit lace before, and that just strikes me as All Wrong. Any other knitters want to weigh in?

At the very least, next to the written instructions, say something like "or use the chart on page 88." But I still think the names should match.

Big Bad Blog is still discussing the possibility the Bruins will get a high draft pick (hey, a 1% chance is still a chance), and I just loved this part:
The Bruins have a 1.1 percent chance of getting the second overall pick and a 1.3 percent chance of picking third. The other possibility is that they end up with the 14th overall pick (96.6 percent chance), but that’s no fun.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Feeling Blearghy

The weather lately has really been getting me down, and trust me, even I think that's ridiculous, given how much less terrible this winter was than last winter. But this spring, such as it is, has been only briefly lovely between long bouts of yuck, and that stupid snow earlier this month killed off some of the beautiful tree blossoms, and today it was maaaayyyyybe 40 (at one point I looked at it and it said it was 38 but felt like 30, which, I just don't know), and much of the day it was raining--or, for those not that far north of here, snowing (at least I am spared that, at the damned end of April). I feel snappish and stretched thin a lot of the time, and I think the weather is a major factor.

For instance, I was so happy last Friday, when it was in the 70s, and I had multiple windows open and rejoiced in the lovely air coming in*; but we've had much more 40s and 50s than 60s and 70s lately, and more grey and gloomy than bright and sunny, and it's getting me down. I am at the stage where I am sick of layering up, sick of every long-sleeved item of clothing I own, and so, so ready for it to be nicer, really nicer. The highest temp in the 10-day forecast is 62, and that's ten days out, and will come with rain.
*While trying really hard not to be preemptively sad that it wouldn't last.

Sigh. And it's in the 80s in Florida. And in North Carolina, not that I'm sorry I moved back here, spring started in February.

Now, the trees are slowly greening here, and on Saturday I saw tulips blooming for the first time around here (after all the daffs started, I appreciated them, too, but I like tulips better), and that made me so happy. But it's so slow! I was thinking of going to the sheepshearing festival at Gore Place this weekend, but I'm really not interested in paying $20 to freeze my ass off, even for sheep and yarn.

I watched some hockey on Sunday, since there were games on all afternoon, and it's really restful to watch and not be worried about who wins. Do I have some mild preferences? Sure, in some of the match-ups, but nothing very strong. I will admit to being pleased that Chicago was bounced out last night, after what they've done to my Bruins in recent years, but I wouldn't have been upset if they had moved on. I'm sorry that Jagr is out, but hopeful that some team will bring him back next year for another try. I'm pleased for former Bruin Johnny Boychuk to be moving on. (I still think the Bruins' troubles of the last two seasons started when they traded Boychuk, but don't get me started on that.)

As for the Bruins, they didn't fire Claude Julien, which I think is the right choice, but they haven't done anything else yet, either, so I am reserving judgement on them for now. I hope they can right the ship this summer; I don't know what they need to do to achieve that, but worryingly, I don't think they do, either. Hoping it straightens itself out doesn't seem to be working for them, but I don't want to be prematurely pessimistic.

Speaking of optimism, I loved this on a Bruins blog recently:
The NHL draft lottery will be held Saturday night, and is preparing you for the one percent chance that the Bruins will win the first overall pick.
(Seriously. We have nothing better to do.)

Monday, April 25, 2016

Well, In That Case

"Yes, technically you could get up to use the computer. But I advise against it."

Sunday, April 24, 2016

A Little More Kitten, and Knitting Woes Dealt With

I was debating another blitz of kitten pictures, since an hour with her yesterday gave me another three dozen photos, but there's something else to focus on, so I will just do this quick pair to show her growth.

And April:
That's the best shot I got of her this week with the koala for perspective. Unless you count this action shot:
All right, I'll stop. I want to talk knitting, anyway.

I've been working away on the Annis shawl, after having tinked back enough to find where I went wrong (as I mentioned recently), and as I got close to the end, I started to eye the remaining yarn with a little uncertainty. And sure, enough, I had this much left before starting to bind off:
Which ran out with thirty stitches left. Argh!

I had a passing thought that someone on Ravelry might have a wee bit left in their stash from a project, but it turns out that I am the one and only person on Ravelry who has this yarn (Abstract Fiber Mighty Sock) in this colorway. Gracious! That's the peril of trying something new/small, I guess. I'm certainly not interested in buying an entire skein when I need such a small amount, even if I could find one, so I went to my own leftovers to see what I might make do.

The shawl is like this:
So you might wonder at me when I pulled this ball of Regia out.
But when I unrolled past the green and before the blue, I have this.
Which is actually quite a decent color match.
For the small amount I need, the fact that it doesn't have the same sheen as the original won't be too obvious. I mean, I'll always know it's there (sigh), but it shouldn't stand out at a glance.

Hopefully, We'll see.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Kitten Update--Not Mine!

Remember when I met my friend's kitten, back in January? Well, I got to hang out with her again today, and she is bigger but just as cute. Do I have pictures? Are you really asking?

Many of the pictures blurred, of course, as she is very wiggly. But there was a serious moment here and there.
Or, if not serious, a pause in fighting her tail.
She also showed why they're called ragdolls.
Relax a little, would you?
She took a nap next to their computer at one point.
When I tried to get closer, she woke up, of course.
And let me apologize with some petting and a lap.
I still love the blue eyes.
Mwah-ha-ha, now you are in my power! 
Or perhaps I shall nap again.
What? I'm awake!
Bath time. Slurp!
Keeping this much fluff pristine is exhausting.
In conclusion, I would like to point out that her dark toes are outlined in lighter fur.
This has been your kitten update. I have to go, His Lordship is meowing for me now.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

I'm Back, Kind Of

I have a bit of a headache tonight; I'm hoping that having gone to the chiropractor to ameliorate the effects of the weekend's driving, and a good night's sleep, will help with that, but for now I'm a bit foggy. Reentry to the real world is always hard after being away, isn't it?

So here are a couple of images from said weekend. For instance, I was smitten with the key to the front door at my aunt's house. Isn't it cool?
And with the flowers that she picked from the yard.
I was amused by this sign, in a store window.
And I was amazed that this restaurant, where we had a wonderful meal on Sunday, could stay open when we were almost the only people there.
Spread the word, if you go to Syracuse, or know anyone who does, The Inn of the Seasons is great!

I may not make it here tomorrow night, as tomorrow is a busy day, but sometime...

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Before I Go Silent

I'm off shortly to pick up my mother, yay, and based on past trips, I doubt I'll be blogging much, if at all, while she's here (and then we're there), but I wanted to leave you with some recent movie ratings, for your amusement.

Or at least for mine. I mean, wasted lives?
Narcissism? And is bad sex specifically to be warned against?
This one's kind of sweet: "old images, new ideas."
I don't know which I like better as a warning in this one, the general "boys being boys" or the more specific "some baseball." Look out!
I think this is the best of this group, though. Goofy, discrete, AND vertiginous?
That has to be the winner, right?

The winner in another category, Big Paws, would be Himself.
"What did you say about my paws?" 
Just that they're beautiful, buddy, And stack nicely.

Monday, April 11, 2016

He Waits

Carlos was very clearly sitting there at me.

I'm not sure what it is that he wants from me, but clearly I am letting him down.


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Briefly in Bullets

  • The Bruins are out of the playoffs. Deservedly so, as they played an absolute stinker yesterday, while Philly won their game. We shall see what happens next. As this morning's Globe said, "The Bruins coach could lose his job if his employers are trying to issue blame instead of solving problems." And as the Globe also said:
This is not the time for Neely and Jacobs to be emotional and start chucking coaches and players into the drink. People make bad decisions when they’re angry. They will be best served backing away from the trigger, surveying the big picture, and resolving to solve problems. It’s their responsibility to supply Julien and the roster core with better players by putting their picks and prospects in play for adult defensemen.
But the front office operates in an environment of blame. In such cultures, punishment is the textbook move. That usually starts with the coach.
  • I found the movie to be very enjoyable, even on top of just being glad to be out of the house on such an unhappy hockey day. We had a delicious early dinner at Emma’s; we were there when the doors opened at 5, which I highly recommend, as it's small, and when we left the waiting area was crammed full. Then while my fiends watched their tense movie, I was watching a steampunk animated film with a talking cat. And happily so.
  • Before the movie started, two young men near me were talking, and I wasn’t really listening, but I had to stifle giggles when one of them said, “I just want to graduate, get a real job, and support a wife with very expensive tastes.” Do you suppose he had that wife already, or he was planning ahead?
  • I also laughed when, as a character in the movie said “merde,” the subtitle said “dang it.” I wasn’t the only one who laughed, either. That … is not an exact translation. (What, didn’t you learn the swear words first, when you studied a foreign language?)
  • As my mother arrives this week, I have been tidying up today; nothing drastic, and I do it for myself more than for her. All the times I see something that needs doing and think, “Oh, I should do X,” and then I don’t … when someone else is going to be here, then I do. Simple.
  • But tiring.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Hockey, Movies, Stuff

Last night, I was watching the Bruins game, enjoying how they came out flying (for once, good lord), and they were up 3-0 in the second period when I thought, "I should blog tonight, but I can't say anything about the game, it could jinx them," and just at that moment the Red Wings got a crazy-stupid deflected goal and it was 3-1, and I was all:
Because these are desperate times, the playoffs are in jeopardy, and I ain't jinxing them. I am only moderately superstitious, but that really did seem like a sign. No blogging for me last night. And they did not implode, they held on to win 5-2 and overall played one of their most solid games of the year, and now here I am again. Hi!

Just to finish the hockey theme, they play their last game of the regular season tomorrow afternoon, and IF they win, and IF certain other teams don't (in a variety of possibilities that I have not even attempted to memorize*), they will make the playoffs. And if not, not, which will be about what they deserve, but then the coach would probably be fired and I don't want that to happen, this all certainly isn't HIS fault.
*It's true that I am the biggest Bruins fan a lot of people know, but I am really not The Biggest Fan out there. Believe me, there are people who have this all down, and are debating it in a bar or on a message board somewhere tonight.

So the Bruins will play, and if they lose, they're out. If they win, it depends: other teams play later Saturday, and there's a game on Sunday that may factor in, and then, finally, we will know. Ugh.

Enough hockey. Happily, I have dinner-and-movies plans tomorrow night, to keep my mind off it. And I do mean movies, plural, as my friends are going to see Eye in the Sky, which even watching the trailer for stressed me out, so I'll be seeing April and the Extraordinary World, instead (it's good to have friends who don't mind when you pull this kind of thing on them).

[I was looking at the theater's website (for a plebeian parking question), and found this in their FAQ: "Why are there so many films with subtitles?" And while I sympathize, if you're asking that question, you are at the wrong theater.]

Wednesday, April 06, 2016


Please excuse me tonight; I had dinner with a friend, and now want to get back to a good book. Knitters, I am very much enjoying the latest from Clara Parkes, Knitlandia!

Monday, April 04, 2016

Oh, Snow

Did I mention that in addition to the dusting we got overnight Saturday, it was going to snow again today? Yeah...


I recently made my resume viewable on Monster, as part of my "plan" to Be Ready for the Unexpected; I have no reason to think I'm going to be laid off, but I didn't the last two times, either, so readiness seems like a good idea. And I must say, I am not impressed by all the people who have contacted me. I mean, don't send me an email with the subject line "we have reviewed your resume" when you obviously haven't, or you would know that I am neither interested in nor qualified for a position as a financial adviser. I am also not interested in life insurance or sales.

At least the ones who are talking about medical writer positions are closer. Still wrong, but closer.


And now I have to go clear the white stuff off my car. In April. Oh joy.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Wait, Where Did the Weekend Go?

Yeah, so it's Sunday night and almost time to get ready for bed, leaving me not enough time here for the amount I wanted to cover. Humph. Well, at least I finally got the dishes done. Woo. How satisfying.

Mind you, if I hadn't watched the Bruins game this afternoon, I would have a few hours back, and given how it went, that would have been preferable. Honestly, they went into Friday's game with no chance, and beat St Louis--a team that had allowed one goal in their previous five games combined--by 6-5! And then today they let Chicago get the first six goals? Getting the next four makes it less of a humiliation, but you don't get points for that, and it doesn't change the bottom line, which is that the playoffs look less and less likely, or desirable for that matter, given how they're playing. I simply don't understand this level of inconsistency.

Sigh. Anyway. Some pictures.

This was Carlos when the game started. A good example of not letting it get to me.
Although I'm sorry that I've messed up something on this shawl, and am working backward to try to find where I went wrong, it's pretty, isn't it?
I'm making progress on the latest sock.
And I also knit a little something for Grandma.
Cute little bird, right? It's a clever pattern; Mary Ellen found it, and I copied her.

All right. Off I go. Diving into another week.