30 January 2010

The Saturday List

Because I emcountered not one, but two of these today, I present today's list: Pet Peeves.

1. Walking into the bathroom and discovering that my hairbrush is not sitting next to the sink. That's where I leave it. Always. If it's missing it means that Daughter has absconded with it and who knows where it might be. This has caused me to have a new appreciation for how my Dad felt when Brother "borrowed" his tools and didn't put them back where he got them from.

2. Our kitchen sink has two compartments. They are both the same size, the one on the left has a disposal and the one on the right has the standard drain basket. If there are no dishes in the left side of the sink, there is NO REASON why I should walk into the kitchen and find the right compartment basket full of smelly food bits. There is a disposal 6 inches away people. 6 inches.

3. Getting this far on a sock:

and finding this:

4. People who say, "Whatever." In fact, this is outlawed in our house. If I'm talking and someone says, "Whatever" I get to slap the back of their hand. And vice-versa.

5. On Thursdays I wash all of the clothes for Husband, Daughter, and Myself. There are routinely 4 big loads of laundry for the three of us. It makes me very irritated when I start the sorting and discover that someone has put towels in with the clothing. Almost as annoying is when I find something in Daughter's hamper that I know she hasn't actually worn, it just fell off a shelf in her closet.

6. Sitting down to use my laptop and discovering that both the screen and the keyboard have a coating of something greasy/sticky/slimy. Or finding that the keys make crunching noises because of the crumbs that have fallen in.

7. It is my contention that the person who needs to be most comfortable in any vehicle is the person driving it. It therefore follows that the person who should be in charge of all controls, including but not limited to radio, heating and cooling is the operator of the vehicle. Front seat passengers should not arbitrarily change anything without at least asking first.

8. This one I've seen twice in the last week. I start to pull into the parking space next to the shopping cart corral, and there is a cart in the parking space, causing me to have to back up and find a new space. How lazy does one have to be to leave the cart NEXT TO the cart return?

For your amusement: While we were driving home from lunch today Daughter was talking to Husband about his cell phone. She was asking if there were any new downloads, and he told her that there was a new version of Yahtzee that had 6 dice instead of 5. He told her it would be 20% more fun. Daughter then asked if it was 20% more fun over all, or 20% more fun than the first Nazi?

26 January 2010

What I Discovered

First, I need to assert that I like Cat Bordhi and her mind. She has some very creative ways of looking at the knitting world, and has created many fine patterns. I have 3 of her books and admire her greatly. That being said...

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I recently got Cat Bordhi's newest book, Personal Footprints. This is part of what she says on the back cover: "... I set myself the challenge of developing a sock-knitting process that would be as simple as humanly possible without sacrificing anything." Using my current method, I need a ball of yarn, a set of needles, and, if I'm using a new yarn, a tape measure, so to be easier than that is going to be a difficult feat.

Before you try one of the patterns in the book, she instructs you to knit a pair of Discovery Socks so that you can create the aforementioned Personal Footprint (a cardboard replica of your foot used for fitting purposes.) I can sometimes follow directions, so I did indeed make a Discovery Sock. This is what I discovered.

1. Things might be a little strange if you have to trace your footprint onto cardboard. Things are definitely a little strange when you need to have Daughter draw lines on your leg.

Yes, this is really a step in the instructions. If you don't believe me, check out page 22. Something about this doesn't seem to fall into the "simple as humanly possible" category.

2. These socks are built without a leg, at least initially.

That's a tube that's closed completely on the right side, and almost closed on the left side. The part between the white strings will be cut and removed later to put the leg in.

3. Even if it's only one stitch, and necessary for making the sock, I still really hate cutting into perfectly good knitting.

4. This "simple as humanly possible" method leaves a lot of ends to weave in when you're done.

Have I mentioned that finishing is my least favorite part of knitting? Weaving in 6 ends for one sock makes me grumpy.

5. To make the heel of the sock, you need to find the number of toe stitches you started with as well as the number of sole increases you made. These instructions take up 7 pages in the book. Even though I followed all sizing and fitting instructions as written, the heels on these guys are baggy and the leg is too narrow.

6. The finished sock looks good on.

But not so good off.

And finally, I discovered that I don't know that I actually want to make the matching sock. I'm am sorely tempted to make some of my usual socks, using the Yarn Harlot's basic sock recipe. But then I'd have to pull out all 6 ends and rip out both pieces of this socks. I think I may discover that this decision will be put on that back burner for a while.

23 January 2010

The Saturday List

I have done some traveling in my life. Not as much as I would like to, but a pretty good amount for someone who grew up in a pretty remote part of the country. I have a lot of places I'd still like to see, but that can be a list for another Saturday. For today I present:

Places I'm glad I've been

1. The Dead River Basin, Ishpeming & Negaunee, Michigan. Dad built a 2 room cabin on the basin in the mid 60's. Brother and I spent nearly every weekend there every summer while we were growing up. It is, without question, my favorite place on earth.

2. South Dakota. A couple of years ago we went on vacation with my in-laws, including Brother and Sister-In-Law and Nephew. We went to South Dakota in September to watch as the buffalo were brought in from the plains for the winter. We saw a lot of stuff in the week we were there, including Bear Country, Wind Cave, the Reptile Garden, and, of course, Mount Rushmore.

3. Singapore. When I worked for Arthur Andersen (remember when that was a company?) I did a bit of traveling to do training classes. One of the trips was to Singapore, and we spent a couple of days during the trip seeing the sights. I have photos of the trip, but you'll have to come over to the house to see them since they are actual photos, and my scanner doesn't do a good job on real photos. We saw a lot of cool stuff, and ate some really good food, but the coolest part (and most touristy, to be fair) is a place called Sentosa island. There are all kinds of things to do and see. Sort of like Disney without all the rides. The mascot of the place is the Merlion, which is a couple of stories tall, with stairs so that you can climb up and look out of his mouth into Singapore harbor.

4. Courthouse Mountain, Colorado. The in-laws live in Montrose, Colorado. Their house is in town, but town is in the middle of the San Juan mountains, so it's still a pretty nice place to be. One year when we were visiting we went hiking up Courthouse Mountain. It's called that because, well, it looks like a courthouse. In the photo it's the peak on the right. Once you get to the top, it's very flat and offers a very cool view. Again, I have no photos as that trip was pre-digital camera, but I borrowed this one from another website.

5. Any campsite. We've been going camping the last couple of years, and we haven't yet been in a really terrible place. True, there was one year that we had the only campsite in the area with NO shade, but we just hung out at our friends' site next door, which was fully shady. Just the fact that we're sleeping in a tent under the stars makes it great.

20 January 2010

Deja Vu

As I predicted, the popularity of the scarf I made last week led to this:

So my fifth FO for the year is nearly exactly the same thing as the fourth one. Hers is a couple of rows shorter than mine for the very logical reason that I ran out of yarn. I took a couple of before blocking pictures to show the difference between unblocked scarf and blocked scarf.

The blocked scarf is on the top. It's longer and a little less wide than the unblocked version on the bottom. And in the next photo, the blocked lace points are on the right, and the unblocked points are on the left.

After finishing the same scarf twice, it was time to move on to something new. For Christmas I got a couple of Amazon.com gift cards, and one of the things I got using them was Cat Bordhi's new book, Personal Footprints. She's come up with a new method for making socks which is a little convoluted at first glance. You have to trace your foot onto cardboard, measure things by trying the sock on your foot at several junctures, and make a football shaped thing that you then cut open and put the ankle portion of the sock on. I'm always up for a new challenge, so I started a pair of "discovery socks" using some of the Socks that Rock I picked up at Stitches last year. This is what they look like so far:

And now I must go, for Daughter found out that the Lindt store in the mall is closing and everything is 50% off. We need to get there before all the good stuff is gone.

16 January 2010

The Saturday List

This week I bring you Foods for You where I list the foods that I am generously passing up on so that the rest of the world can have more. These are all things that I have actually eaten at some point in my life. I'm not including things that I assume I wouldn't like (like head cheese) because you never know until you try. At least that's what I tell Daughter all the time.

1. Onions. I will keep my onion powder, and even the onion flakes (because I can strain them out of the pot roast juice when I make the gravy) but you are welcome to my portion of raw onions in any form.
2. Tomatoes. But only the raw ones. Once they've been smashed and had some other ingredients added they're OK.
3. Caramel Custard, and by association, Flan. I apologize to my mother, but she knows what this is about.
4. Squashes. There's nothing redeeming about anything in this family.
5. Oranges that have been peeled by someone other than me. I can't explain this one. It's just one of those weird quirks. Hand me the orange and let me peel it myself, fine. You peel it for me, no thanks. It's not a germ thing, or a "I don't know where your hands have been" thing, I just lose any interest once someone else has peeled my fruit.
6. Coffee. I will give you that it smells great, but there's no way I can drink the stuff unless I have added a hugely unhealthy amount of sugar, and then it's just passable.
7. Liver. I was forced to eat liver maybe once a year when I was a kid. I haven't had any in at least 20 years. With luck I won't be having any for the rest of my life. Unless it's in Braunschweiger, then I'm in.
8. Cooked peppers. I'm a big fan of green peppers, red peppers, banana peppers, etc. The only caveat is that they have to be raw. Once a pepper is cooked, I lose all interest.
9. Prawns. This one is a matter of scale for some reason. I really like the tiny little salad shrimp. I like cocktail sized shrimp. I'm vaguely OK with jumbo shrimp. I have no desire to eat a prawn. For some reason, the bigger they are, the less I like them.
10. Avocados, and the related guacamole. It looks good, it sounds good, but it's not.

15 January 2010

Fee Four FO Fum

I finished my fourth O for the year. I made a Whipped (link for Ravelers) scarf from some yarn I picked up at Stitches Midwest. It's Happy Feet merino, which is my current favorite breed of sheep.

Before washing and blocking:

And after:

As you can see, Daughter had decided that it's perfect for her. I foresee a custody hearing sometime in the near future, or a duplicate scarf so that we can both wear the perfect jeans scarf. That way we can both wear one the next time we go sledding on the day when it's 9 degrees Farenheit (that's -12 for my decimalific friends) without the wind chill factor from the gusting winds.

09 January 2010

The Saturday List

This year, for no particular reason other than that it will give me something to write about each week, I will be making a list on Saturday. That's my only resolution. You'll have to forgive me for missing last week, but I hadn't had my brilliant idea then. So today I begin my first installment.

Authors I Need to Read
1. Stephen King. One of the few people who's books I buy in hardcover. Every one of them, as soon as it's available.
2. Dean Koontz. The other author that I buy in hardcover.
3. Clive Cussler. Makes me revisit the dream I briefly had in high school of being a marine biologist so I, too, could save the world every month or two.
4. Harper Lee. Well, yes, she did just write the one book, but it was a heck of a book.
5. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I read all of the Sherlock Holmes stories at least once every year and I love them, therefore, I refuse to go see the movie.
6. Agatha Christie. I especially like Hercule Poirot. Dame Agatha's books are good for listening to in the car on the drive to Parents' house which takes 7 hours. Nothing that small ears can't listen to.
7. Vincent Bugliosi. I learned more about our criminal justice system from Helter Skelter than I did in my high school government class.
8. Barbara Walker. If you want to try a new knitting stitch, it'll be in one of her 4 books.
9. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. Never heard of knitting humor? Don't see how such a thing is possible? Try her blog: The Yarn Harlot. If you like knitting at all you'll soon have all her books on order.
10. Erik Larson. The Devil in the White City and Thunderstruck are both excellent. Not just interesting historical subjects, but well written.

07 January 2010

Sick of Socks?

I'm not. Not yet anyway.

Third FO for the year. Socks for Daughter made from Silkie Socks that Rock. They're a little too big for now, but at the rate her feet are growing they'll fit just right in no time flat.

04 January 2010

Number Two

And the second FO for the year is:

A pair of socks for me. They're made from Serenity Sock Weight, just like yesterday's pair. It's one of my favorite sock yarns. Not only is it nice and comfy on the feet, I can get it a Hobby Lobby for relatively cheap. The fact that I finished them today is not as impressive as you might think. I finished the first sock in November. One of the unfortunate side effects of knitting them this far apart is that my gauge changed between then and now, and one sock is slightly larger than the other. It's a problem that I can live with.

And some cuteness from this afternoon:

Dog doesn't like it when he's on the wrong side of the door.

03 January 2010

Hot off the Needles

Introducing the first FO (that's Finished Object for you non knitters) of 2010.

A new pair of socks for Daughter.

She can wear them to school tomorrow, which will be the day that I celebrate the new year.

Oh, and a little cuteness from Christmas: