Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Nocturnal Destruction

Biomechanical Robotic Exploration and Nocturnal Destruction Android

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

November Guild Meeting Report

First things first! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. And congrats to Brooke on her new nephew!

Now, on to the guild meeting report. I am an official member of the guild because I got this when I arrived.

This month's topic was casting on. I got a hand with written directions for 13 different cast ons and their uses. If you've ever tried to learn a new cast on from written directions, you probably know how difficult it is to figure out written directions so the instructor walked us through four of the most common cast ons: the double stitch cast on, the loop cast on, the alternate loop cast on, and the knotted cast on.

The first cast on, the double stitch cast on, creates the same edge as a long-tail cast on, without the long tail. However, it's a lot more fussy.

You put a loop over your thumb, reach up through the loop with the needle, and pull the yarn back though the loop. I know, that doesn't make much sense. And that's not even the tricky part. The tricky part is pulling the stitch tight on the needle and getting all the stitches even. You can watch a video at Knitting Help. (Select the second video.) The method show here is a little different than the way I learned it and, I think, I a little more difficult.

The second method we learned was the loop cast on. I thought I was doing a loop cast on most of the time, but I'm actually doing a backward loop cast on. The difference is very slight, the edge looks very similar, and they are both fun. I'll try to explain them both.

Here is how you do the backward loop cast on:

Wrap the yarn around your finger clockwise.

Put the loop on the needle.

And here is how you do the loop cast on:

Wrap the yarn around your finger counter-clockwise.

Put the loop on the needle.

The pictures aren't the best, but if you look at them carefully, you can see the difference. I took the time to take pictures because the third cast on we learned is the alternating cast on.

This one was also difficult to take a picture of. It looks like two stitches come out of one cast on. Here's how you do it: cast on one stitch with the loop method then one stitch with the backward loop method. Repeat. Try it! You'll like it!

The last cast on we learned is the knotted cast on. This is the cast on that Brooke used for her knitted gansey. This one was definitely my favorite. It's very similar to a picot cast on. Basically you cast on two and bind off one.

It makes a niffy knotted edge. Hence the name.

I know that my descriptions probably aren't the best, but you can probably find good directions somewhere on the internet.

Tomorrow: Project Update.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Knitting Party Time

Tonight is another meeting of the Memphis Knitting Guild. The program tonight is about casting on! Oh, how I love casting on. I'll tell you what I learned tomorrow. I'm taking the i-cord scarf to work on. I don't want to talk about the Isis wrap.

I've spent the whole day cleaning the house. I didn't have any work again so I figured this was a good way to spend my time since James's parents are arriving tonight. And this morning I dreamed that Brooke and Joy showed up for a surprise knitting party and the house was a mess. Maybe if I clean it, they will come.



Monday, November 21, 2005

More Stupidness

I did it! I put the Isis Wrap back on the needles this weekend. And proceeded to completely screw it up. I didn't write down which pattern row on which I had stopped so I counted and counted and counted and counted and finally was sure I knew which row I had stopped on. About six rows later, I knew I was wrong. So I had to rip it back and in the processes I dropped a couple of stitches. I was so mad I almost ripped out the whole thing and started over. I contained my rage and it is currently sitting in a disgraceful pile in the corner.

The scarf is coming along nicely. At least I've got that going for me.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Scarf Update!

The scarf is coming along beautifully. Of course I got tired of plain ribbing.

So I added cables. Much to my delight I discovered that, because I'm making cables out of ribs, the cables show up on the reverse side as well. They aren't centered on the back but I'm going to pretend that I meant them to be that way.

I wanted to try crossing the different colors, but I don't have enough yarn to try that this time. I have just enough of the purple to finish this scarf. I'll try crossing colors on the next one. I think we all know that means that I'll start another scarf and this one will never get finished.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

How stupid am I?

I finished the Isis wrap!

Doesn't it look pretty? The stitch pattern along the decrease edge is perfect. All the pieces are almost the exact same size. I can't find any anomalies in the stitch pattern. I can't even tell where I had to tink back.

So what could possibly be wrong? Remember when I said I thought it looked a little small? Yes. Maybe that should have been a clue. I was making the medium size wrap. The pattern says "knit until the entire piece measure 11 1/2 (12 3/4, 14) inches." So which measurement do I knit to? 11 1/2 of course. All three pieces. Because I remembered that I knit the first piece to 11 1/2 so that's what I knit all the pieces to.

I think we can all agree that I am an idiot.

So, did I put the pieces back on the needles and finish them? No. I started a new project. I don't know how anyone could expect me to keep working on a project I had just totally messed up.

I saw this scarf in a catalog and I thought it looked nifty. You can't really tell in this picture, but it looks like 12 i-c0rds sewn together.

My version doesn't look quite the same, but it's a lot of fun. I got to dig through my stash and find yarn that matches and is the same weight. I got to knit 8,000 i-cords while watching home decorating shows. I got to put together the i-cords and starting ribbing the scarf. I got to figure out how much yarn I need to save at the end to make more i-cords.

What's that? I could have fixed the wrap and pieced it together in the time that it took me to do all that? I don't know what you are talking about. I'm not knitting a wrap. I'm knitting a scarf.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Dreaming Crazy Dreams

Last night at dinner James was kind of quiet.

"Why did you hit me last night?" he finally asked. I had no idea what he was talking about.

Apparently, he woke up in the middle of the night because I had punched him in the stomach. He was laying there unsure of what had happened when I punched him again. Harder. I was about the punch him again and he pushed me away, hard enough that I almost fell off the bed. At this point, I made some sort of screeching noise at him and lay down, apparently fast asleep.

I remember none of this. I had a lot of trouble convincing James of that. Once he finally believed that I had been acting out a dream, he wanted to know why I had been punching him in my dream. I told him that it probably hadn't been him in my dream, he'd simply had the misfortune to be in bed with me while I was living out my fight club dreams.

This morning I had a wonderful dream. Brooke, I think you'll especially appreciate this one.

In my dream James and I had bought a big, beautiful house. The house had the usual living spaces: kitchen, living room, dining room, master bedroom as well as a block of spare bedroom. We had moved into the basic living space. We were all unpacked and living very comfortably. I now needed to choose one of the spare bedrooms to turn into an office. I walked into the guest room hallway and saw 4 or 5 doors leading to guest rooms. I couldn’t believe it! I didn't remember the house being this big.

There was a staircase at either end of the hallway. I went up both and they both went the same place. Upstairs was a good sized study and a sanctuary. I then realized that we hadn’t bought a house but an old church. The downstairs had been the pastor’s living quarters and Sunday school rooms. The previous owner had converted the sunday school rooms to bedroom but had stopped there. That’s why we got it so cheap. I didn’t need to make one of the bedrooms my office, I could use the pastor’s office.

I walked into the sanctuary. It still had the pews and the pulpit. It looked like it was ready for a church service.

I couldn't imagine what we would do with this room other than make it into a ball room for all the big parties we never have.

Then I knew what we could do. I saw it so clearly, my heart skipped a beat. It would be the library. It was so beautiful it almost made me cry. The walls covered with floor to ceiling bookshelves. Couches and chairs for reading. A grand piano under the window. The platform converted into a reading nook. I had to find James. I had to tell James! I was so excited I couldn’t even see straight. I ran to the first man I saw and asked if he was James. I had to tell James.

It's not very surprising that I'm dreaming about a library because James and I have 10+ boxes of books and no where to put them. The church part isn't even that surprising. Who hasn't thought about how cool it would be to live in a church? Or maybe that's just me. And Vampires. Don't vampires live in old churches sometimes? I wasn't a vampire in my dream.

Monday, November 14, 2005

A Random Post

James and I have reached a new level in our relationship. I cut his hair yesterday.

Sure it's just a buzz cut. But this is big step. We both agreed that it's better than some haircuts he's paid for.


I'm working away on the Isis wrap. The left side is halfway done. No pictures. It looks exactly like the right side. I'm getting a bad feeling that it will be too small. It just doesn't look big enough.


And now, the long awaited BRENDA NEEDS. Ok, nobody has been waiting for this, I've just been meaning to post it for a long while.

You all know how this works: Type "[your name] needs" in a search engine and see what you REALLY need.

Brenda needs the help of the public especially her Mexican people.
Brenda needs to get some therapy to help with her addiction.
Brenda needs to stop flying over the Cuckoos' nest.
Brenda needs to let go of her paranoia.
Brenda needs money and is willing to charge for her sexual services.
Brenda needs to go back to her old profession where she tried to make a carreer out of being a topless waitress in the early 1970s.
Brenda needs you to massage her bottom, so she can start to relax.
Brenda needs to be brought back to Tucson for further treatment to save the visionin her right eye and to obtain a correctly fitted prosthetic eye.
Brenda needs to get Ed and Joey to a real hospital so she steals Mandel’s car and heads for the border.
Brenda needs to be jerked back down to earth.
Brenda needs to get a life and put the damn duck issue behind her.
Brenda needs an adoptive family experienced with teens and teen behavior.
Brenda needs to cut off ties with her mother, and how.
Brenda needs many boyfriends.
Brenda needs to keep her hands off Sonny.
Brenda needs a new friend so that poor prostitute friend of hers can spend her time doing ANYTHING other than listening to Brenda rant on & on.
Brenda needs to be put out of her misery.
Brenda needs to know how General Goethals might have pronounced his name.
Brenda needs to be spectacular.
Brenda needs to be in capital letters.
Brenda needs to excuse herself.
Brenda needs to de-carb.
Brenda needs to save furbabies!
Brenda needs to return to work.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Picture Pages! Picture Pages!

The visit with the family was wonderful. My dad kept very busy fixing all the furniture that got broken in the move and cleaning the deck. Mom and Amy and I had an easier time. We worked out in the yard. We unpacked all my boxes of breakable items and did some decorating.

And we managed to get the dining room from this

To this

My parents brought the dining room chairs with them. Mom and dad made these for us as a wedding gift. On Saturday we picked out the material and my dad finished covering the seats. We found this material in the remnants section at Hancock fabrics. It cost us $7 to finish all six chairs. How great is that?

On Friday Angela and her son Nicholas came down to visit and on Monday James dad stopped by to pick up Maggie. We had a very full house! But on Tuesday everyone left and now the house is very big and empty. Le sigh.

To cheer myself up I've been wearing these for the past two days. Oh the wonderful things we find when we unpack.

And I've had plenty of time to knit. I finished the back of the sweater. I think I messed up the lace pattern on the right side. I say "I think" because I can't really tell if I did or not. I think that might mean I didn't mess up.

I've almost finished the right front piece. The directions for the front are written out in about 3 paragraphs with sentences like "Decrease at the beginning of every 4th row. At the same time increase at the beginning of every wrong side row 8 times, then cast on 2 stitches for 4 rows . . . " Add to this the problem of the pattern repeat and I had no choice but to write out every row of the pattern.

The stitch pattern is an 8-stitch repeat. As I was increasing for the back, I would add another pattern repeat when I had 8 more stitches. Unfortunately this created a stair-step affect on the back. I didn't want that on the front so I figured out how to abbreviate the first pattern repeat on every right side row. I don't know that I can really explain it because it involved a lot of Brenda Logic, but I think it worked.

Yes, six pages of hand-written directions is a little ridiculous, but it's working. Though I still have the stair step on the other side. Le sigh. I have two more inches before I cast off and then I just have to get through the other side of the sweater.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

I watch too much Law and Order

You know what would really suck about being in prison?

No knitting.



And here are pictures!

Here we have the white baby sweater. I've looked at it for so long that I'm starting to think it looks fine. Or maybe I just keep moving the sleeves out further.

Here we have the Isis wrap.

And here we have my progress so far. I'm going to move it to a circular needle. It's getting a little crowded.

The parents are coming! The parents are coming!

My parents are coming to visit this weekend. I am very excited about this. There's one problem though, this morning I found out that they are coming a day earlier than I expected and staying a day later than I expected. Which is fine except I have one less day to do all the laundry, clean the guest bath, clean the kitchen, move the boxes out of the dining room, get one of the cars into the garage, and clear space for an air mattress in the game room.

That leaves plenty of time for knitting (and blogging).

I'm still working on the white baby sweater. Shut up! I had to redo the button band three times. That's very discouraging. And now that all the pieces are done and I'm ready to sew in the arms and I think the sleeves look too short. I'm going to ask my mom this weekend. James said it was fine, but James wants me to be happy, so he says everything is wonderful. I'd post pictures and ask your opinion, but the camera batteries died.

I'd made myself promise not to start a new project until I finished one project that was in my knitting bag. I figure that almost-finishing-and-finding-out-that-maybe-the-sleeves-are-too-short counts too. So I started on the Isis Wrap from the Summer issue of interweave knits. (Dead camera, no pictures)

I found some yarn in my stash that I think will work. Of course it has no labels so I have no idea if I have enough. I weighed it and by weight I have enough, but that really doesn't mean much around here. So if I run out of yarn, that's pretty much par for the course. But right now, I'm having a lot of fun.

First I knit swatches. I felt so grown up. I'm actually planning before I start knitting. The pattern calls for 9s but I had to go all the way down to 6s before the stitch pattern looked decent.

You can't really tell in this picture but the largest swatch looks like a fishing net. The size 8s still looked sloppy. I went down to 7s and it looked pretty good, but of course then I wondered what it would look like on 6s. The 6s were magic.

Now the problem of gauge. The swatch is supposed to be 4"x4". Mine is 3.5"x3.5". I did some calculating and figure if I make the next size up it should work out to the right size. We can all laugh about this later when it works out to be some wacky size.

Right now I'm almost done with the back and I have like 8,000 stitches on the needles. Only 3 more inches till I can start casting off. I'll post pictures once the camera batteries are recharged.

And finally, a picture of Maggie. She was laying here snoring while I was knitting. Yes, snoring. Maggie is leaving us this Sunday. We'll miss her very much.