Archive for June, 2011

Time Out for the Project Gnome

June 30, 2011

I put my Stricken sock  in Time Out last week.  Naughty sock!! I don’t know if it was the yarn, the pattern, or me, but the dastardly project gnome attacked and nothing was going right. It happens every once in a while, even with a simple pattern.   Suddenly it’s all silly mistakes.   Stupid mistakes.   Novice mistakes.   Getting through chart D for the leg of the sock, I was tinking more than I was knitting, and several dropped stitches were picked up any which way. When it took me an hour and a half to successfully finish half a round (at 40 stitches that’s over 2 minutes per stitch!!!), I put it aside in frustration. And this wasn’t even the “dreaded” complicated heel chart E!

Well, I took it out of Time Out last night, and managed to sail through a few rounds with no problems. Let’s hope the Gnome has disappeared. What a relief!

The striping has gotten very strange.  After the stripes all around the cuff and first part of the leg,  the stripe colours have all pooled on one half of the sock.

It’s much harder to read the knitting – and indeed, to even see the pattern – with all this going on.  This leaves the other half a solid colour.

I think I’ll use the solid pattern for the front of the sock, and the colours for the back.    And who knows what will happen once I reach the foot.

I’m still a little disappointed, because I wanted to finish at least one sock for this KAL before the end of the month, but never mind. Hopefully I’ll at least finish the leg.  I’ve had very little knitting time. And this may be one project that I should not do in a moving vehicle while trying to balance the chart on my knees.

One very good thing out of this experience is that I am now much more proficient at reading cable charts.  With charts A-C, I was constantly referring to the key to make sure I’d got it right.  This pattern has ten different cables!!   By now I don’t need to.  Which is certainly a time-saver.  (And re-reading some of the tips in the “Understanding Cables” section of Lily Chin’s book Power Cables sure helped as well!)

I was a little worried about my sock mojo for a while there, but it seems it just needed a little break, and is back and strong.  Begone, gnome.


Zombie Alert

June 28, 2011

We all know those electronic signs used to warn drivers of construction ahead, traffic conditions, weather conditions, etc, right?

This week one sign near St. John’s / Windsor Lake in Canada had quite a different message.

(Cecil Haire/CBC)

Hard to tell how many drivers reacted…

(Cecil Haire/CBC)

The sign was supposed to be warning drivers about construction in the area.

(Cecil Haire/CBC)

I notice there are fewer cars by this time, maybe the drivers were paying attention…

(Cecil Haire/CBC)

(This last message refers to a line from the 2009 Woody Harrelson comedy Zombieland.)

I don’t know how long it took a city crew to get there, but they arrived eventually, turned the sign off and hauled it away.   I haven’t seen anything yet to indicate that any more action has been taken, or will be.

Compared with the War of the Worlds panic in 1938  among Canada’s neighbours to the South, this was quite small potatoes.  I guess Martians are more frightening than zombies?  Or more believable?   Are we in the modern world more likely to go with the flow and not panic?   Or do we just assume that it’s Candid Camera?

So in case you missed the big news, zombies invaded Eastern Canada this week.   Let’s hope most folks managed to save themselves.   (~_^)

I think someone on the Canada road crew has a warped sense of humour, is bored in their job,  and has too much time on their hands…   But … actually, I thought it was pretty funny.  (And what does that say about me?)

What would you have done if you had seen this sign?  Ignore it?  Laugh and keep driving?  Immediately call your loved ones?  Search for hidden cameras?  Or…?

Pride and Doom

June 26, 2011

The Doom first.  Indigodragonfly’s Summer Knitalong of Doom has begun!  It officially began at the stroke of midnight to open June 23rd.  Midnight wherever you are, which meant that for once I had an advantage.  Which I used to mercilessly tease everyone else in the group who was hanging out on the forum threads.   I dubbed this picture “Waiting for Algonquin”, as I got ready to cast on –

I’m now past the first border and into the body of the scarf.  This yarn is so lovely to work with, the cashmere makes it so soft.

Another package is finally on its way, so I will have another project to follow the Algonquin in the knitalong.  And I’m pondering a couple of wee projects with the leftover Minion sock yarn.

Still working on the first Stricken sock for the Cookie A KAL.  I think I picked a doozy of a pattern to start out with.  But I’m determined to finish it!  It has helped me enormously in reading cable charts, that’s for sure!

And on to Pride.  Haifa’s Pride Parade, to be exact.  I couldn’t march – and besides, I wasn’t home from work in time – but I went to the park for the celebrations after the march.    Kidlet got permission to come from boarding school for the afternoon.  (Partner wasn’t there – she  doesn’t like crowds.)

Lots of people, lots of festivity!

Political speeches and moving stories

That’s Nitzan Horowitz, our very out member of Parliament…

Parents and children, young and old together

(The sign says “Against homophobia and racism”)

Lots and lots and lots of rainbows

On flags and feathers

On ties, blankets, belts, kippot

On hats and day planners

Lots of entertainment – from drag singers

to pop stars

I was pretty well exhausted by the end, and I still had to drive kidlet to a birthday party in the Galilee, all this after a long day at work and having gone to sleep after midnight waiting to cast on for the KAL.

But it was so worth it!

Happy Pride Month, wherever you are!

And now, right here on this stage, a sock…

June 20, 2011

The first Cookie A Stricken sock is sailing along.  Well, maybe more like plodding, the cables are very fiddly.  I like the soft stripey yarn.  I love the pattern – even as it’s driving me  crazy with the cables.  But I’m not so sure I like the two together.  The intricate pattern is getting lost in the stripes.

On the other hand, the stripes make it much harder to spot my mistakes features like when I mixed up a ktbl and a purl in a cable and didn’t notice until a couple of rounds later….

In any case, I’m certainly not going to frog them.  I’ll love the socks as they are, just like a good parent…  😀

Did you know that this is the date that the Ed Sullivan Show premiered?  Ed Sullivan’s show “Toast of the Town” premiered on June 20,1948.   On September 17, 1955, the name was changed to The Ed Sullivan Show. One of the longest-running variety shows in TV history, the show finally ended on June 6, 1971.

Sullivan began his career as a boxer, then became a sportswriter.  He began reporting on entertainment, both in newspapers and on the radio.  In 1948, the CBS network hired Sullivan to do a weekly Sunday night TV variety show.  Television critics gave the new show and its host very poor reviews.   Harriet Van Horne alleged that “he got where he is not by having a personality, but by having no personality.” (The host wrote to the critic, “Dear Miss Van Horne:  You bitch.  Sincerely, Ed Sullivan.”)

But the show succeeded past any other variety program.  Sullivan had an instinct for what the public wanted, and programmed his variety hours with remarkable balance.  A typical show would feature a vaudeville act (acrobats, jugglers, magicians, etc.), one or two popular comedians, a singing star, a hot jukebox favorite, a figure from the legitimate theater, and a visit with puppet Topo Gigio, the little Italian mouse.  (I loved Topo Gigio.)

He was known as a starmaker, and many entertainers began their careers on his show.  (Sorry, his “rilly big shew”.)   In February 1964, he presented the first live American appearance of The Beatles, the most-watched program in TV history to that point and still one of the most-watched programs of all time.

He also defied public and network pressure to exclude African American musicians from appearing on his show.  He gave a voice to the Supremes, the Jackson Five,  and more.

I always watched the show together with my parents, and whatever friends were over visiting.  It was just what was done.  Everybody in school could mimic him.

Despite his not being an “entertainer” himself, he has a star on Hollywood Blvd.    I’d say after hosting one of the most popular shows on television for 23 years, he deserved it.   Thanks, Ed.

Do I glow in the dark now?

June 18, 2011

Had a bone scan and SPECT  this week.  Interesting experience.   One is injected (usually into a vein in the arm or hand, but not always) with a small amount of radioactive material and then scanned with a gamma camera, a device sensitive to the radiation emitted by the injected material. Got to the hospital in late morning, as directed.   They didn’t tell me exactly where to go, unfortunately, so I hobbled all over the place until I found the department for nuclear medicine.   Checked in, they snapped a bracelet on my arm and told me to wait in the waiting room.  OK.  Sat down on one of the few empty seats and pulled out my knitting.

At 1:00 they called my name for my injection.  But when I got to the room, they checked my chart and saw that I was to have a three phase bone scan, which requires scanning twice, during the injection and later.  The machine was busy, so they told me to go back and wait again.  This time I only waited about a half an hour before they called me in again.  Had to lie down on the sliding bed thingy, they positioned the scanner over my hip, injected the stuff, and told me not to move.  After about 20 minutes they turned it off, told me to go and drink as much as possible (and pee as much as possible), and –  if I could  – to eat something.   And to come back at 4:00.

Made my way to the hospital cafeteria and ordered a good lunch.  And drank lots.  Read some.  And knitted some more.  At 4:00 I made my way back, kept filling my water bottle and drinking.  (I’m usually pretty good about following doctor’s orders.  Not always, but usually…)  Pulled out the knitting once again.  At 5:00 they called my name, told me go empty my bladder and come in.  This time the scan was much longer.  Full body scan as well as 360º scanning of the hip.  And I wasn’t allowed to move.  They pushed me all the way under the scanner this time.  Then the machine began to move, and the screen started to lower itself…  As it got closer and closer to my face, the markings on it blurred and I went  crosseyed and it seemed like it was going to hit my nose any second.  Just when I was about to say “um…hello?”  it stopped.  And the scan started.  The bed moved out sooo slowly, it’s hard to tell that you’re moving at all.  At least once your head is clear, you can mark your progress by the different markings and vents on the ceiling inching by.  Then they repositioned me, and scanned the hip, with two screens rotating around me.  And of course, as soon as they told me I couldn’t move, things started itching and I wanted to shift my foot, or arm…

Results should be ready in about a week or two.  Meanwhile, I really hope I got all the radioactive junk out of my system.  If I discover that I can now knit by the light of my fingertips, I’ll let you know.

At least it was a good knitting day!  Got lots done on my super secret project with the new Chiaogoo needles.  Which are great, by the way.  I’m using some of my aade long yarn, with the long colourways.

I only have a few more rows to go, but they’re very long rows…..  With some very funky lace.  I’m a bit worried about finishing, since it has a crochet bind off.  But I’m determined to try.

The Summer Mystery is now blocking.  Very little pooling, which makes me happy.

Still waiting to cast on for the Indigodragonfly Summer KAL of Doom – one more week to go to start the Algonquin.  And the new package project, when it gets here.  When the Canada Post strike is over.

I decided I liked knitting the Tiara socks so much that I really should knit some more patterned socks.  So I found a Rav group that is knitting its way through Cookie A’s newest book  Knit. Sock. Love.  19 different sock patterns,  with charts and drawings and explanations – I wish all patterns were this clear!

(It’s available as an ebook or in print.)

The group has a KAL every month for one of the patterns, each KAL lasts two months.  There are also bonus KALs, sponsors and prizes, and lots of support in the forum.  I have cast on for the June-July KAL, the Stricken socks.

I didn’t have much sock yarn to choose from, most of the sock yarn I have is wildly variegated, or self-patterning – which is the only quality sock yarn available at the LYSs.  Which I guess makes sense, it makes simple vanilla (stockinette) socks more interesting with no extra effort.  But I did pull this from my stash, some Premier Yarn Serenity Sock I received in a swap.  It does have some striping action going on, which I hope doesn’t detract too much from the pattern!

This was actually the second cast on.  I had cast on, finished the cuff and was beginning the leg. Had some time before leaving for work and decided to knit a round or two…when the circular cable broke away from the needle and half my stitches fell off. I tried to pick them all up, but with the cable pattern and my carpal tunnel, not to mention the fact that it was 5:30 am, I made a pretty awful mess. So I said “piffle”,  frogged the whole thing, and cast on again. (Raise your hand if you think that was really the word I used…)  At least it’s going much more smoothly the second time.  So far.  Shhhhhh.

I definitely need some good solid or semi-solid sock yarn.  Maybe I can win some in the KAL!  Or invest at some point.  Cookie A’s Monkey socks are good with variegated, so I may use my Socks That Rock yarn for those.  Sometime down the line.

Actually, now that I think about it, knitting by the light of my fingertips would be quite handy …

Move the #^@! Clouds!!

June 15, 2011

A total lunar eclipse tonight.  Was really looking forward to it!

Instead, we’ve got a blanket of clouds covering the sky, making moon gazing impossible.

A couple of times the clouds parted for a few seconds, allowing a quick glimpse.

But they soon drifted back, obscuring everything.  Even this view was brief.


I’d like to register a very strong complaint.

Any idea to whom I should send it?

Happy Knitting in Public!

June 12, 2011

World Wide Knit in Public Day has arrived once again!  It’s the largest knitter run event in the world.   This year it lasts a little over a week, to accommodate knitters in different locations and traditions.  It began yesterday, June 11th, and continues until Sunday the 19th.

There are different events all over Israel.  In Haifa we kicked off our summer Stitch-n-Beach on Saturday, moving to a café by the shore to knit and gab and show off new stash and projects.  I continued by knitting at a mall café later, while waiting to meet partner and kidlet for a shopping trip.  (Of course, I knit in public all the time, but I’m making a special effort this week.)  Yesterday  I used the time to finish the Summer Mystery shawlette!   Here it is unblocked:

Can’t wait to block it!   (With my blocking wires!)

Now I’m working on my secret project with the Chiaogoo needles. And getting ready for my next Indigodragonfly Smart-Ass Knitter’s World Domination package this month!

It will arrive just in time, too.  Indigodragonfly is holding a Summer Knitalong of Doom, with lots of different categories and prizes.  The only requirement is that the projects are knit with Indigodragonfly yarn.   I can’t compete in the WIP category, as I don’t have any projects with Kim’s yarn on the needles, but I’ve signed up for the Club Blitz, since the Algonquin scarf from the club is still waiting patiently in my queue, and of course,  the new package will have a project.  Kim is also releasing a new pattern this month, the Cliffs of Insanity scarf, which sounds right up my alley.

Cast-on is scheduled for June 23rd, so I have almost 2 weeks to finish any other projects.  Piece of cake.  Yeah, right….

Better step up my public (and private?) knitting…..

Where is the strangest public place you ever knitted?

Lots of yarny goodness

June 8, 2011

Kidlet is home for the Shavuot holiday.  She came bearing a gift…as her house at the boarding school was going through old cupboards and throwing odds and ends away, she spied a lone ball of yarn.  Purple yarn.  Being the good daughter she is, she grabbed it and yesterday brought it to me.   (I typed  the sentence “I’ve trained her well”….but she saw that and yelled “how dare you!”…so I deleted it.  Heehee.)

Feels like wool, or a wool blend.  Soft.  A nice stash addition.

My Cuppa Tea “Starts with a T” swap package arrived from Gerry in Massachusetts! 

Lots-n-lots of yummy yarn, including some ultra-soft (purple) alpaca/silk, and some natural Texas merino. An adorable Knit Happy notions bag for my knitting Tools, and a Knit Happy wallet of very useful post-it notes. Patterns for Towels and other kitchen accessories, with yarn to knit them. A magnetic note pad. A fantastic handmade bookmark (Gerry is a librarian!) with a Tea charm.

And an amazing Table Topper cloth, since she has a new sewing machine and is having fun playing. Check out some of the detail on the reverse side – purple flowers with tea cups and tea bags:

A great package! 

The Chiaogoo red lace needles have also arrived.  I’ve cast on for a secret project – secret because its a gift.  So far I’m really liking the stainless steel needles, especially since the yarn is very dark and it shows up plainly on the needles.  

But the real plus is the circular cable – very flexible, and it has no memory!  No kinks or curls, no need to use hot water to straighten it out.  Yes!

Only one new swap – the alphabet swap.  I have to put together a package and figure out how to get it to Canada despite their mail strike.  Hm.  Maybe the strike will be over by the time the package is ready to mail.  We can only hope.


Project Madness

June 6, 2011

Finished the shawl for kidlet’s friend, it’s blocking now.  With my blocking wires being used for the very first time!!!   (The wires were a surprise gift from a swapping partner, who sent them separately since they were outside the budget limit of the swap…what a sweetie!  Thanks, Irene!!)

I made the shawl bigger by adding pattern repeats, which threw my stitch count way off when I went to do the border.  The chart just did not work out with the larger number of stitches.  (Or maybe it was me – had trouble getting my head around the transition from the shawl body to the border, which is odd since this isn’t the first time I’ve knitted this pattern…)  I figured I would have to add a whole bunch of rows, or tink back to the right number of stitches to add the border as written.  Well, not exactly as written, I had to pick up the border on the second row of the chart.  After tinking back about….800 stitches or so.  I was not a happy camper.

I’m using an old mattress instead of the new blocking mats I bought through my pal Galia, since the blocking mats are a lot bigger, and I didn’t have room to put them all together.  The mattress works fine.  Besides, I’m going to need all the blocking mats to finally block my circle vest, when I get around to it.  Blocking a big circle is better as a group effort, I may need to recruit some volunteers.  And move some things around so I can get a big enough space.

So now I’m back to the Summer Mystery shawlette, almost done with the third chart (for the first time, still two more repeats of the chart to do).  At least for this project the rows are getting shorter all the time.

And I’ve passed the halfway mark on the criss cross scarf.  This is really such luscious yarn!

I’m waiting for a package to arrive to start the next project on my list.  I have heard many good things about Chiaogoo lace needles, so I ordered a lace circular in the right size for the project and will check it out.  I love my addi lace circs, and my KP Harmony interchangeables,  but hey, it’s always fun to try different tools!

Lots of evidence that I’m loving my kindle over on my reading page…and there are lots of new deals for summer reading.   Especially enjoying Deb Baker’s Yooper series, and Karen Cantwell’s Take the Monkeys and Run, although so far all the books have been great, haven’t run into anything less than 4 stars yet!  And I’m still 22% ahead of schedule for my reading challenge.

I need more hours in the day.  As usual.

Seeing eye sheep… and pickles

June 3, 2011

Just to let us know that sheep and goats are far more than providers of fibre for us yarn enthusiasts, this in from Reuters:

Michelle Feldstein was prepared to provide special accommodations for the blind horse she recently added to the flightless ducks, clawless cats and homeless llamas inhabiting her animal shelter in Montana.

But nothing could prepare her for the 40-legged, seeing-eye entourage that accompanied “Sissy,” a sightless, 15-year-old quarter horse.

“Sissy came with five goats and five sheep — and they take care of her,” said Feldstein, the force behind Deer Haven Ranch, a private rescue facility she runs with her husband, Al, on 300 acres north of Yellowstone National Park.

The seeing-eye sheep and guard goats are never far from the white mare, and they never lead her astray. They shepherd Sissy to food and water, and angle the horse into her stall amid blowing snows or driving rains.

“They round her up at feeding time and then move aside to make sure she gets to the hay,” Feldstein said. “They show her where the water is and stand between her and the fence to let her know the fence is there.”

The full published story is here.    But there are more questions to ask.  Instinct?  Training?  History?

Any theories?

And, in an abrupt change of subject, something to share from Opal and Earl in Brian Crane’s Pickles:


Have a good weekend…