Sunday, August 31, 2008

Quiet Sunday, and the End of the Month


I started the hat for the whole blue multi set. It seems that I'd rather add short (less than a whole ball) bits of yarn in the scarf rather than the mitts. I'm probably not going  to be able to avoid using more than a skein of yarn for the hat.

So, anyway, I want to do the mitts before I get too far into the scarf. So, naturally, I cast on the hat (my plain watch cap pattern from the sidebar), and have gotten the ribbed edging done and about 4.5 or 5 inches of the hat. There's not much more to go before it's done. Mitts are next.

I have 8 balls of yarn and I don't think that the hat and mitts are going to take more than 4 balls. Since I've knitted a whole ball into the scarf, I know that it makes about 22 inches of length for the scarf. If there's yarn left over from the had and mitts, I'll add it to the scarf for a really long one. 

I like really long scarves. I used to have a navy maxi coat, and Mom once said (looking at Tom Baker on TV) "No wonder you like Doctor Who. He dresses like you." Oh, and I like hats with big, floppy brims, too.

I have been goofing off on the form filling out, but I have been getting a steady stream of forms filled out and mailed. The big problem with this is that almost every time I pick up my mail, there's another form or two to fill out. So, I'm hoping to get all the current ones out in the mail later today.

And get my library books returned. And stop by Safeway to take advantage of one of their sales (if they have anything to buy). Usually, when they have a sale, there's a limited amount or selection available to get on sale. It's very frustrating.

What a quiet end of the month day.

Have fun this weekend!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Knitting and My Amazon Store

There's science fiction info at the end of this post, for you SF fans, skip to the end.

The yarn arrived yesterday, and here's what it looks like:


It's Moda Dea  Sassy Stripes and the color is Swish. You can see how it's working up into a scarf.


I thought it would make a good accent with the sweater, and I think it looks beautiful with it. I want to make mitts and a hat, too. I was hoping to make mitts and a scarf, but I may have enough for a hat, too.

I originally swatched this in stockinet stitch and ribs as well as garter stitch. The stockinet looks so neat and orderly, so precise. It looks like a beautifully knit fair isle pattern. But the garter stitch looks so much more random and disorderly that I like it much better for this. You'll get to see how it looks in ribs when I do the mitts and hat.

Oh, and I tried a new cast-on for this to get a bumpy, almost picot effect. This is also a good cast-on for places where you want an edge that stretches as well as being decorative.

Figure out how many stitches you need to cast on. Double that number, and add a stitch (or, if you are going to knit in the round, it should be an even number). Cast on the doubled number with a long tail cast-on. On the next row, K1 *Sl 1, K2tog, PSSO, K1* across. You'll wind up with something that looks like the edge of a picot hem, but there won't be a hem involved.

Now I have to figure out how to make a matching bind off.

I had a comment from a reader yesterday about yarn available (but not available) through my Amazon store. Here's what she (and you) need to know about that.

Things in the yarn section come and go quickly. Very quickly sometimes. Within the last two days, that yarn was available in my store. Now it's not. Tomorrow it may be available again. Or not available at all. Anywhere.

I leave certain things in my store, even though it says "Not available in this store" or even "currently unavailable" because even though I won't get a commission for it, it's something that CAN be bought, and I want you to be able to find certain difficult-to-find items and get them.

For example, there are a lot of the ball winders available with red trim. If I put one of those in my store and someone buys it, I'll get a commission. But, there are exposed gears on the underside, and the winder will eat your yarn. I had one, and it ate a lot of my yarn, although, at the time, it was the only ball winder available anywhere, and I loved it because it was the only one, and ball winders are awesome.

I don't want you to buy something like that, even if I get a commission for it. The ones with the blue trim are still available (new or used) even though if you click on it you get a page that says "currently unavailable." These have enclosed gears and will not chew up your yarn. 

By the way, everyone that used to carry them  is slowly selling out of them, and I suspect that they're no longer being made, so if you want one, grab it now. You may not get another chance.

So, if you want to wait a few days on the chance that I'll get a commission, fine. But in a few days, the yarn you're looking for may not be available at all. Anywhere.

If you want it, go buy it. Now!

And don't feel guilty, just tell others about my store.

One thing that people on Ravelry have been searching for is an item that Lily Chin talks about in her book, Knit and Crochet with Beads. She calls it an American Beadle, and uses it to place beads while knitting. 

I found an item that seems to fit her verbal description, and looks just like the item pictured in her book. This item is available in my store (although it went away for a day), and may be the answer for all those people who are going crazy looking for it. It's called a "Kantan Couture Bead Embroidery Tool" and it has a replacement hook so you don't have to replace the whole tool in case of accidents.

I have some various sized latch hook tools that I use all the time when knitting, and I love them. This looks like it may be a good size for fingering yarn for you sock knitters. I haven't tried it yet, so I can't really endorse it, but it looks like it would work well.

There are lots of unusual tools in the Fiberarts Needles and Tools section of the store.

For instance, there are some things (like socks and skeins of yarn) that I prefer to hand wash. I'd rather hand wash them even if I had a washer and dryer and didn't have to go out to do laundry. But I sure miss that spin dry at the end of the cycle. So, a salad spinner is the perfect answer. Don't leave it in your kitchen, though. I wouldn't want to use it to spin salad after I'd spun my socks dry in it.

For dyers, there are two scales, and a pH meter. The meter is inexpensive and far more long-lasting than pH paper. And it works even after you've added the dye. Paper doesn't.

And I use a rather unorthodox tool for dying and felting. Certain kinds of potato mashers are perfect for this. If you look at them in profile, they have a hook shape, so you can fish your skein out of a simmering pot safely. You can also provide needed agitation for wet felting with it. If you plan to provide really vigorous agitation for felting, try to find the kind with a rubber grip. It will help keep it from sliding if it gets wet, and provide a bit of cushioning for your hand while felting. I love mine. 

So, for the most part, items in my store are either things I've used and love, or things I've heard other artists praising. Recently, I tried to find some silk yarn to make rune bags from and had a hard time finding it. So, that's up in my store, even though I won't get a commission on it.

Now, on to the science fiction portion of the post.

Chuck is back in reruns on NBC at 8 pm, and will be available on DVD on the 16th of September. Adam Baldwin is wonderful in this!

Tomorrow, there  will be a Primeval marathon on BBC in America. They will be showing all the episodes that have been aired so far in order, in case you missed some.

Tomorrow, for all you fans of bad science fiction and fantasy, the SciFi Channel with be once again torturing us with Grendel. This is one of the all-time worst movies ever made. You have to understand that this is derived from an ancient Icelandic saga, which is so good it's practically eternal. To give you an idea about the quality of the movie, though, you should understand that they equipped Grendel with what some viewers have called "scud missiles." I've had numerous reports from others about how they fell off their sofas and nearly choked on their popcorn because of how unbelievably bad this movie is.

There's also a movie scheduled for tomorrow on SciFi that I haven't seen before. It has two of my favorite actors, Corin Nemec and Musetta Vander. It's called Mansquito, and according to the description in the digital TV guide, it has a lot of latitude to be a truly bad movie. I'm going to watch it to see Corin Nemec (who we wanted to get when I was still involved in Fade Out, and who starred for a while in Stargate SG-1), and Musetta Vander, who also appeared in a couple of episodes of SG-1, and Secret Agent, but whom I remember chiefly for her role in Oblivion, a campy movie that is a gem.

And for those fantasy fans, there will be a movie on Hallmark tomorrow that I would classify as PG--good to watch with the kids, but won't send you into a diabetic coma: The Good Witch.

As always, check your local listings. Times may vary.

And have a great Labor Day weekend!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Getting Up-To-Date

Last night, I got to the bottom of the body of the Celtic sweater. It now has a picot edge on it.


I looked around at the amount of yarn that's left, and there's about two skeins. And I still have to do the sleeves.

I originally bought 12 skeins, and then later bought two more in the same dye lot. Those were in-case skeins, and I-can-make-a-hat-out-of-it-if-it's-left-over skeins. That should have been more than enough.

I suspect that those two skeins are still in their original bag somewhere, and that I didn't put them with the main stash of yarn, so I may have plenty to finish with. But it's possible that I'll have to unravel the bottom and start the edging with less space between it and the knots on the side. And it might have to be narrower. 

I'm not even going to think about the pocket linings until I finish everything else. They can be finished with a different dye lot of the same yarn and color without making it a disaster.

On the knitting front, I saw the neatest pattern. SCA fans will love this. Check it out at Wicked Woolens blog. You'll love it!

On the science fiction (or, rather, fantasy) front, there's a new "autumn fantasy drama" coming out on the BBC, and I can only think that they'll be doing something really stupid if they don't also show it on BBC in America, and probably fairly soon. It's a 13-part series called Merlin, and, not surprisingly, it's the Arthurian legend retold. I can't wait for it to come to the US!

For Joss Whedon and J.J. Abrams fans, the website for Dollhouse is up, and has lots of information. For those that missed out, Dollhouse is about a group of people who are kept as slaves, with their minds wiped of memories. As assignments come in for them, they are given false memories and appropriate skills to carry out the tasks they are hired for. But one of them is starting to remember a little each time. It has the possibility for greatness! Especially with those two creators (plus Eliza Dusku). Check it out.

If you'd like to see some photos of Stonehenge, check out this post from pink_hebe. Be sure to scroll down for more henge photos at the end of the post. She just went to visit it recently. Wish I could go.

And for a couple of funny photos, check out this. One of them is science fiction related.

Around here, it's overcast and rainy again, with a reasonable indoor temperature of 73 degrees. I should really get out and return my library books and try to find a place to buy postage stamps so I can mail out all these forms I'm filling out.

Have a great Labor Day weekend!

***********************

Oh, by the way, there's a count-down timer to Christmas, and another to the next Harry Potter movie at the bottom of the blog (in case you don't usually scroll down).

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Rainy Day

It's quiet and rainy around here. I have the light turned on over the computer, and I don't usually have to do that.

I desperately need postage stamps, and I'm hoping that there's someplace to buy them around here without having to go to the Post Office. The Post Office is a dollar ride round trip on the bus, and a walk that's longer than I want to make in the rain.

Yes, I know, it's possible to buy stamps on-line. But you have to have a username, password and other information in case you forget your password, which is very likely, because they, like so many other online services, have such outrageous and exacting criteria for passwords that there's no chance in the world that you'll be able to remember them.

So, I choose all the information, and it kicks it back, saying that I don't have enough characters in my password. Next, the password has to have at least one capital letter and one number. They didn't tell me that at first, or even the second time. Then, it doesn't like the extra information I entered. The city I was born (Philadelphia) isn't satisfactory. After about ten tries, it finally decides that my password and other information is OK, and THEN, it tells me that the username is already in use, and it's probably mine. So, I enter the username and tell it I've forgotten my password, and it says there is no such account.

That's where it lost me.

I hate the Post Office! At least I hate their website.

I used to dislike those little private post office type stores, but I wish there were one in the Tacketts Mill Shopping Center so I wouldn't have to deal with the Post Office.

I tried to find out over the internet if Safeway carries Stamps (I know Giant does), but their site won't tell me anything. I also tried the same thing for CVS with no results.

Knitting news on the sweater is boring. I've gotten about an inch past the bottom of the side knots, and ended the cable that goes down the front, and I'm in the first inch of adding a two or three inch garter stitch border around the bottom. 

It looks very boring, even though I've added about 4 inches of length yesterday. It's now about fingertip length, and will probably wind up with a back length of nearly 40 inches. Then, all that will be left are the sleeves and finishing. I'm not sure how I want to do the sleeves.

We are now at the point that most of the TV channels seem to think we'll all be going somewhere for Labor Day weekend, so they've decided to skip their regular (interesting) programming and put on junk that nobody will watch even if they're home.

About the only SF on tonight is Supernatural, and it's a rerun.

I've added some new knitting and fiberarts toys to my Amazon store. Check it out.

And if people are bothering you because they want you to knit them stuff for Christmas and you don't want to do it, give them my URL. I'll be glad to make custom commissioned pieces for Christmas. Or they can pick something from my Etsy store (see the sidebar). I'm about to swing into motion on Christmas stockings real soon, now.

Have a better Thursday than I'm having!

**************************

Addition:

Holly called last night and told me that Malaia and John had found an apartment in Ellicott City, and they'll be moving in this weekend! She said it's a two bedroom apartment, and I said that's good, because she'll need the space when we all come to camp at her place during the Sheep and Wool festival.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ho Hum Wednesday

First of all, I want to correct something that I said in my last post.

There will be two hours of Bones on Fox Network tonight, but it will not be the season opener. By the way, please click on where it says "Fox Network." There's an ad for Fringe in the upper right corner. Make sure you mouse over it. By the way, Fringe will be premiering on 9 September.

Bones is not science fiction, but it's a really good program, so I just threw it into the post.

I have finally given up on the knot on the side and finished it.


The loop of the knot that starts at the top also ends with a loop at the bottom. There is only one other loop.

It's not quite as wonderful as I'd hoped, but not as bad as I'd been afraid it would be. Considering that the bottom of it was ad lib, it's not bad.

I'm going to have to start writing down what I want to say, because I know that I thought of ten things I want to say since the last post, and I won't remember them until this post is done.

In the meantime, I've written the letter to go with the appeal I'm sending to the IRS. I wanted to take a break and do something else before printing the letter so that I could read it again.

Actually, everything that made the appeal necessary was caused by the IRS, and is just a thinly-veiled way of saying that the economy is going down the tubes and that they want more money because they're suffering just like the rest of us. I want to make that clear in the letter without saying something like "You idiots! I'd make a mistake, too, if I thought that you'd pay me $4,000 for doing it!" 

And, by the way, they're still sending these things to the wrong address after six written versions they've gotten and at least five times that I've given them the address over the phone. I wish I could be as well paid for being totally inept.

Anyway, have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ravelympics: The Sequel

It turns out that I also got a medal for the Design Discus, since I entered the wimple in that event, too. I just didn't get it until yesterday.


I'm really going to be impressed when I finish the sweater, which, despite lots of knitting, hasn't gotten much longer, so there's not much to see.

On the home front, I got an email from Holly saying "I'm sorry."

It turns out that Robin got up early on Sunday morning, and managed to get her up and awake while he was doing it. Then Malaia called and asked "Are you sure you don't want to go to the Renfair today?"

Well, she went, and a good time was had by all.

She and Malaia were particularly impressed with a new shop at the fair: Grichels. They each bought a handbag, and Holly also got a checkbook cover. From what I can see on the website, I suspect it's a little like the wallet with teeth that Hagrid gave Harry in the Harry Potter books.

In the meantime, I'm still knitting and still filling out forms.

There's a new episode of Eureka on the SciFi Channel tonight, along with some reruns: one from last season, and one that was new last week in case you missed it.

This isn't science fiction, but there's the two hour season premier of Bones on Fox tomorrow night.

In the meantime, I'm still filling out forms and knitting.

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, August 25, 2008

And the Celtic Sweater Goes On and On...

So, here we are, the day after the Ravelympics has ended, and I'm still not done!

Here's where I am:


To your left, the cable down the front of the sweater is just out of view. To the left (in the picture) is the pocket opening, and along the right side of the photo is the sleeve opening (at the top, the cable on the side, and the increase shaping at the bottom.

I don't like short sweaters or jackets, but if a sweater or jacket is the same diameter as the bust further down, it bunches up when you sit or move, so I wanted the bottom to be a little bigger, hence the shaping, and the space for a knot. 

The knot inside the shaping was started using the knot from Arans & Celtics, but I changed it a bit, and started to add more after the instructions ran out. At this point, there are no patterns, charts or instructions. I'm just winging it. We'll see what happens.

The Middleman will be on tonight with an all-new episode on ABC Family. I looked at the site yesterday, and they had an article up about the last episode, but it's not there now. They said that they had a choice between two episodes, and putting all their budget into one episode. So, we're going to see one episode less than if they had chosen the other option, but they insist that it will be fabulous! I don't know if tonight's episode will be the last one.

Some of the things they mentioned about the last episode are:

They will stumble into an alternate universe where good and bad are reversed a la Mirror, Mirror, the Star Trek episode. To further emphasize that connection, all the people in the evil universe will have goatees, like the alternate Spock. 

They also plan to have Ida be incredibly sexy. Are we talking about the same Ida?

I have lots of forms to fill out, so I'm going to run.

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Ravelympics Is Over

Well, I did finish one event in the Ravelympics. They had this to say about the winners:

Congratulations on a successful challenge accomplished with effortless grace! Please accept this Ravatar bouquet from the beautiful Bobicii Nereids for a job well done,
and this medal from the head of the International Ravelympic Committee, Adonis Dionysius Bobicus Maximus.


And now please rise for the Ravelry International Anthem.
dum…dedumdum..de…dummmdedumdidoh…..(crescendo)…Dah!!!

Raucous applause and cheering erupts from the stands and mmm chocolate bars are thrown to the Ravlympians, and a cacophony of various Ravelry Anthems are heard across the stands…!

They did post all this almost precisely 10 hours before the end of  the Olympics closing ceremony, though. I can only guess that they wanted to get a head start on it.

And, once again, here is the photo of the finished wimple:


I'm missing Lord of the Rings on TNT by posting this, so I'm going to get back to it.

I hope you've been having a good weekend!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Hopelessly Overcommitted!

The Ravelympics ends sometime tomorrow (I've got to look up the time), and I'm not anywhere near finishing the Celtic sweater. I'm beginning to think that the end of the month might be doable, but tomorrow is just not going to happen.

I have made a bit of progress, i.e., a lot of knitting.



This is the side of the sweater. The top shows the opening for the sleeve, and on the right you can see the front of the pocket on the right side. There will be more on the knots on either side.

It's going to be beautiful when it's finished, but it won't be in time for the Ravelympics.

I did, however finish the wimple in the Cowl Jump and Designer Discus for Team Hogwarts, Team Middle Earth, and, appropriately, Team Hopelessly Overcommitted. I put a picot bind-off on the top edge of this.


And while I was blocking that, I took the opportunity to block the shawl that's been sitting here waiting to be blocked for about a month.


Finally, another finished object! This is a bit smaller than I had planned, but I really like the picot edging. This shawl is what renewed my love for that kind of bind-off.

For all the Harry Potter fans out there, don't forget that Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire will be on today on ABC Family.

The entire Lord of the Rings trilogy will be on TNT tomorrow. Some of it will be on today, but if you follow this schedule, you can see it all!

As far as the Renfair is concerned, Malaia and Johnny will be going on Sunday, but they'll be going alone since Holly declined to go.

Don't forget about my Amazon Store if you're looking for super yarn. I've found some really great stuff to put in it, including the yarn I'm using for my Celtic sweater.

I have to get back to knitting. Just because I don't have a chance to finish on time doesn't mean that I should give up.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Progress Is Slow

Well, I'm below the waist on the Celtic Sweater, but haven't done the sleeves yet. If I had been able to finish the sleeves and get just a little further, it would be a race to the finish, but I haven't and it isn't.

I finished the front part of the pocket on the right hand side. 


As you can see, the pocket opening will be at an angle. I think that looks good on most people, and it seems to help keep things in the pocket rather than spilling out onto the floor.

There is a simple, narrow cable forming the edge of the pocket. On the right, you can see just a bit of the cable for the front.

I am finding more and more reasons to love the Options needle I have. I've bought a set of size 8 points, and several lengths of cable, and they are wonderful!

The two front sections each get knit in a separate piece, and the back, sides, and pocket linings get sewn in another piece. Normally, I would put each pocket lining on a piece of yarn to hold it, but with the Options needle, all I have to do is take off the needle tips, and replace them with stoppers, and don't have to thread them onto the yarn, and later have to pick them up again. I love them.

I've shifted the points to the other project, the wimple. I want to finish at least one of the projects I started for the Ravelympics, so I want to get this done. And I want the 24 inch cable from it for the other front pocket piece. You can expect a photo of the wimple tomorrow.

In the meantime, the SciFi Channel has run out of current Doctor Who episodes, which has downgraded their Friday evening offerings.

There is still Joan of Arcadia, which is wonderful, and Stargate Atlantis, though.

Somewhere, yesterday, I read that SciFi has canceled Stargate Atlantis. Ah, yes. It was on Joss Whedon's blog? Yes, it was!

I'm not happy about the cancellation, but not as upset as I was about the cancellation of Stargate SG-1.

Not much else happening around here except for more and more forms to fill out (and the universe finding more and more ways to separate me from my money) and lots of knitting to do.

Don't forget that I now have yarn and lots of knitting stuff in addition to books in my Amazon Store. The various yarns have been selling out quickly, and you need to grab the bargains when you see them because they may be gone soon. There's lots of wool, including the wool I'm using for the Celtic sweater, and lots of silk.

Have a great Friday, and a great weekend!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Time to Get Serious about the Ravelympics

It's time to get serious about the Ravelympics!

Sunday is the last day, and that ends a bit after 8 am here, so there's not much time and I still have a lot to do on the Celtic Sweater.

I promised you a photo of the cable on the side, under the arm, and here it is.


You can see the two ribs from the cable at the top of the shoulder that went down the front and back of the shoulder coming in from either side of the underarm increasing at the top of the photo.

From there, a loop winds into a cable, and the two ribs separate at about the waist. Those two ribs will get further and further apart as I add more stitches for the below waist area on either side. There will be another knot in the space below that.

I've gotten past the waist, and am doing the shaping for one of the pockets. The pockets will be angled, like kangaroo pockets with a narrow cable for the edging. I don't have enough of that done to show yet.

There's still a lot to do.

The people at Burn Notice sent me an email today reminding me that there's a new episode on this evening, and that there will be piracy on the high seas, or something like that.


On Sunday, TNT will be showing the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Check your schedules for times.

Holly texted me the other day and said that Malaia wants to go to the Renfair on Sunday, and I texted back that it sounds good.

I got an exasperated call from Holly last night. She would apparently like to schedule one of our trips to the Renfair later in the season. She's convinced that it will be jammed with people this weekend.

I said "OK, what ever you want is fine with me." Clarified by explaining that I love the Renfair and would like to go anytime. Since I don't have a car and my schedule is completely open (except for the Fall Fiber Fest) that anytime she was willing to take me would make me very happy.

She planned to talk to Malaia about scheduling it for Labor Day.

I have to get back to knitting!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Great Garter Stitch!

There's a new book out called Great Garter Stitch. The cover is pretty and interesting, and it sounds like a book I would love. Unfortunately, I can't get any information about the projects in the book, and am wondering if I really want to buy it. Or whether I can afford to buy it.

It makes the perfect expletive for a knitter, though. Just imagine a particularly surprising event. You can shout "Great garter stitch!" I really love the name.

I went to Borders today because their website said it was available from Borders. But it's not in their stores, so I can't actually see the book. I suspect it's a POD book, and that there are no printed copies until they're ordered. I'm amazed that the publisher hasn't got pictures of the contents on their website.

I'm down to the waist on the Celtic sweater. Photos of the underarm area will be coming up real soon, now.

In the meantime, I'm so drowned by forms to fill out, and lack of money that I'm really starting to be depressed. I've had anywhere from $125 to $97 removed from my Social Security each month for the months of May, June, July, and today, August. And they're going to keep doing it.

There's a woman that works at the apartment place I live in that helps people with forms and programs that are available. She keeps telling me that Medicare Part B is free. But they're taking $97 out of my Social Security, so I don't see how it's free. I keep telling her that if somebody can't show me some way that it's going to be cheaper (a whole lot cheaper) than $97, I'm going to cancel it. She's horrified. I haven't had health insurance for the vast majority of my life because it just wasn't available. It's inconceivable to her that anyone can live without health insurance.

Part B is the part that pays for you to see a doctor.

Some government agency has contacted me and let me know that they will cover the cost of my Part D, which is a prescription plan. And I'm wondering if I should let them waste their money on that. The only prescription drug I take isn't covered.

I've gone to great lengths to eliminate all prescription drugs from regular use, and it's improved my health tremendously.

But now Congress is doing their best to make truly helpful things that are available over the counter illegal. Instead, if they have their way, the things that actually promote good health will be banned, and the only thing that will be available to help with some problems I have will be things that will raise dramatically my risks for heart attack, stroke, cancer and blood clots.

There are more and more things to hate about our government every day.

And I'm constantly amazed by the things that other people say. Someone yesterday was lamenting the economy, and how bad it is. Then she said "But it'll be over soon, because people will start buying things again." I challenged this idea, and she explained that people want things and they'll start buying them again soon because they want them. Which makes no sense to me. I mean, there are lots of things that I want, and would like to buy, but with no money, I certainly can't buy them. I can't even get my tooth fixed. I foresee a lot of pain in my near future.

I'm going to quit now, and get back to you tomorrow with some photos (at least one), and a more cheerful attitude.

Have a good evening.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Knitting Furiously!

Well the Celtic sweater has reached that point where I knit and knit and it stays the same.

Actually, it achieved about an extra 1.5 inches in length yesterday, if you want to be technical. 

Have I mentioned that there are a lot of stitches on the needle? I do remember saying that it had more than twice as many stitches on the needle than it did when it was just the back I was knitting.

I hate to sew seams. When I'm done knitting this, I'll have lots of ends to darn in, but no seams to sew. Otherwise it would never be done. But this is the downside of it. Knitting and knitting and knitting, and nothing happens.

I was planning to have some pretty photos for you today, but 1.5 inches of progress is almost impossible to see in a photo, so it's not really worth taking them.

Other than that, my life has been filled with paperwork. That translates to forms. Forms for things I haven't imagined. The universe has dedicated itself to ways that it can get money away from me, and the only way I can prevent that is by filling out tons of forms. I'm drowning in them.

I had planned to get them all filled out and in the mail on Monday, but I didn't even have most of the forms to fill out. I printed some from the internet, and found someone today (who I had to go see in person) who found some of the more abstruse ones that I filled out, and there are still more that I haven't had time to do sitting there waiting.

I've decided that I will spend normal working hours working on it, and spend evenings, etc. doing my own thing. Translation: knitting.

If there's something I can be knitting for you, make a donation, and get in touch. I'll start at the end of the Ravelympics.

Oh, and I've signed up for a Harry Potter KAL that starts on September the first, so if I can knit some Harry Potter stuff for you, let me know. It will fit right in.

Oh, and Designs Toscano is having a sale: Save up to 70% on Design Toscano Clearance items
Have a great evening!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Ravelympics Progress!

Progress seems to have slowed dramatically now that there are more than twice as many stitches on my needle. It would have been much easier if the other size cables for my Options needles had arrived on Saturday instead of today.

I'm almost at the end of the cross on the back, and it looks good! Changing the "frame" around it made all the difference.


The cables on the shoulders will have two of the strands of the cable continue onto the top of the sleeve, go into a small loop and connect with each other into one single strand. The two other strands from the shoulder cable will go down the front and back of the shoulder edge on each side.

When those strands get to the bottom of the shoulder opening, they will converge and be joined by two other strands and create a small cable where the side seams would usually be.

You may be able to see that in this very confusing photo. One strand comes from the left top corner and one from the right top corner of the photo. You can see the other, new strand that has been added. This will be much clearer in a day or so, and I promise another photo when it's actually apparent what's happening.

Tonight, a new episode of The Middleman will be on! I hope everybody had a chance to see Kevin Sorbo on the show last week. Check the schedule for ABC Family.

I hope you've been having a great Monday!

**************

Don't forget Eureka tonight!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Help!

I'm currently undergoing a crisis.

Three actually.

Well, four crises and a lizard.

But there is one that you might be able to help me with, and, as with a lot of crises, it involves money.

I currently need $2,000 to $3,000 worth of dental work desperately, and immediately, with no way to raise the money without help. The universe is currently finding lots of ways to get money away from me without providing any way to get money coming in.

If you wish to help, there is a donate money button in the sidebar. Every little bit helps, even just $5.

But I've thought of some more creative ways to earn some money for me while doing something helpful or useful for people generous enough to donate.

The first is: if you plan to buy something through Amazon, I have an Amazon store, and it might be available through my store. If you want something that's not in the store, let me know and I'll put it there. This will  not change your purchase price, but a small amount will go to me and help with the cause.

I am a fiberartist. I make things out of fiber, including, but not limited to: Hats, mitts, scarves, wimples, hoods, sweaters, shawls, vests, afghans, lap robes, and lots more. Think Christmas presents. 

Items will be done in the order  the requests and payment come in, so order soon for Christmas delivery. Or order a coupon to give at Christmas so that the recipient can design a project of their own. The sooner you order, the sooner you'll get it, though.

I've had custom-made clothing most of my life. My mom made professional grade clothing for my sister and me while we were growing up. Then I learned to sew and made my own clothing.

Then I learned to knit and crochet and made even more clothing.

I realized only a few years ago that most people nowadays have never had something made for them, specifically to their design and specifically to fit them. 

So, here are some ideas for things you might like.

Scadians

Wimples, hoods, mitts, shawls, felted belt pouches.


Here's a hood I made for a friend. It's made of Spelsau wool, which is a sheep breed that was around before the Middle Ages and is still bred today. The wool is very authentic, especially for Viking personas.

I know about Medieval clothing and about fibers and I can make something authentic for you, or something that's practical and can be thrown in the washing machine.

Fans of the Celts and Vikings

I like Celtic Knotwork and can do incredible things with it. I'm currently designing and knitting a sweater for the Ravelympics that has a Saint John's cross (a Viking symbol for happiness) on the back, along with a lot of other knotwork in borders, runes and stand-alone motifs.

Here's a photo of the top of the hood:


Here's a photo of the partially-finished cross on the back. Keep in mind that these samples have not been blocked yet. Once they are, they will look much more professional and finished.


Magic Yarn for the Superstitious

Every culture has had myths and legends about magic yarn. It's spun in the opposite direction than yarn is usually spun, and then plied in the opposite direction. While it's being spun, the spinner concentrates on the magic that is wanted: happy thoughts, good wishes, fertility, abundance, etc. I can make magic yarn, and even knit it into items with almost any symbol you might want.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Fans

The number of knitted items straight out of SF is limited only by your imagination.

In one of the Harry Potter books, Harry gets a blue sweater with a snitch on the front of it. I made one up, and it's available for sale, although I haven't gotten a photo up on Etsy yet. Here's a photo of the snitch on the front.


But the fun doesn't have to stop there. Would you like a copy of Rose's Slouch hat (seen in a publicity photo) with a matching pair of the mitts/wrist warmers that she wore in Doomsday? Or a Doctor Who scarf?

Almost any SF story has something knitted in it somewhere. Always wanted it? Here's your chance!

For Everybody

Here's an afghan that's already up for sale on Etsy. The photo doesn't do it justice. The yarns used in this were chosen not only for their visual effect, but also for the way they feel. Every single yarn in this afghan will cuddle up to you and caress your skin in a different, but luscious way from the others. I hand picked the yarns and knitted the afghan over the space of a year with loving care.


People with Allergies

I can get 100% cotton yarn in colors (a very limited palette) that has not been dyed. 

Think you're allergic to wool? So did I until I found wool that hadn't been dyed or processed. 

It turns out that I'm violently allergic to the mordants they use to dye wool with natural dyes. I can dye wool or other animal fiber for your project with KoolAid (if you're not allergic to it).  I can almost guarantee that I can find something to which you will not be allergic to make into the clothing of your dreams.

Pet Owners

Have a pet with a lot of fur? I can probably spin it into yarn and make a garment for you out of it. This will have to be a small project because I'm allergic to cats and dogs, but I could certainly survive making something small. Or I could make a larger project with your pet's yarn as trim.

Or how about something for your pet? I made a small blanket for a friend's cat last Christmas.

Limitless Ideas

The possibilities are only limited by your imagination, but I can give you more ideas if you're interested.

***************************

I've gotten down past the armholes on the Celtic sweater, and am almost to the bottom of the cross. I suddenly got the inspiration to make a small cable on each side below the sleeve and above the waist. Wait until you see it!

It's going much slower now because I've added both fronts to the back plus extra stitches under the armhole, so there's more than twice as many stitches on each row. But it's pretty!

There will be more photos soon.

I hope you're having a great weekend.

***************************

Addition! Yarn now available!

I have added some new stuff for knitters and crocheters to my Amazon store.

There is now YARN!

You can find the yarn I'm using for the Celtic sweater in my shop, along with the 100% silk yarn I wish I'd been able to find for the rune bags I'm making. There's even some beaded yarn available. Wool, silk, alpaca, and other luxury yarns are there.

I also have more knitting accessory stuff up: swifts, ball winders, and much more. And there's a separate page of kits for kids and beginners.

Enjoy!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Occoquan

Holly and I went to Occoquan today, walked around a bit and had a great time.

Here's what the River looked like today:


Occoquan is kind of like going on a long vacation trip, but it's right around the corner.

Well, if you have a car. It's probably over a mile from the bus stop, almost all severely downhill on the way there, and mountain climbing on the way back if you walk.

Here is the new construction that's been going on.

Yes, you, too, can have your own townhouse on the waterfront with your own private boat slip. These particular ones are not right on the water, but there are ones behind them and ones being built that are, and do have their own docking privileges.


We walked around a beautiful small town and in and out of small boutiques and just generally enjoyed the place.

We stopped at a restaurant that is supposed to be haunted by an indian who died on the site (before the restaurant was built, I think).

We were seated in front of this mirror:


Holly looked at it and said, "Yeah, this looks like the right place for us." Holly's last name is LaHart, and she collects heart jewelry, and my symbol is stars.

The menu was fabulous! We each found four or five things that we really wanted. I ordered from the small appetite menu, and got what would have been a generous portion anywhere else. Holly ordered the chicken and biscuits and got enough to feed a third world nation!

Unfortunately, Holly wasn't feeling well, and wanted to get home, so we ended kind of quickly.

It was really fun, though.

Eclipse on my Birthday!

Don't forget the eclipse tonight!

The full eclipse will be seen pretty far North, and there may not be much to see in civilized latitudes, and might be completely invisible due to weather conditions, but it will be happening.

Well last night, I ripped out most of the top of the back on the Celtic sweater, and reknit it. So, at the end of last night, I was at the same spot I was the night before. One whole day down the drain.

All I really accomplished was changing the "frame" around the Saint John's cross.

But I'm almost at the bottom of the armholes, and I'll be joining the fronts to the back with some extra stitches invisibly cast on at the bottom of the armhole.

I have to go, now. Holly and I will be going to Occoquan today. It's a beautiful little town right near here with a lot of little specialty and art stores, right on the Occoquan River (which is about the size of the creek I grew up with).

Well, at least I hope it's still pretty. About two years ago, most of the waterfront properties were torn down, and they've built something there. I could see the destruction from the bridge, but I haven't been down there since. They've also expanded and raised the bridge at the one end of town, so I'm not sure how that's affected it all. I guess I'll find out today.

I'll tell you more tomorrow.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Old Friends

Today, I got a comment on my other blog from my ex-husband, Steve!

I was really glad to hear from him since it's been a while, and he's fun. I didn't really want to lose touch.

He's starting a blog at http://www.xanga.com/etienne56. There's not much there yet except the standard "Hi, this is my first blog post, what do I do now?" kind of thing. But check it in a few days.
He's involved in SCA and lives in Chicago. It could develop into a fun blog.

Here is the URL for the trailer for Faintheart that I told you about yesterday. Some people had trouble seeing it on the other blog.

I really want to see this movie, but even if I never do, the trailer is priceless!

Back to the Ravelympics and knitting!

I got nearly 10 inches of the top back done last night. Almost to the bottom of the armholes. Here's what it looks like:



I'm currently thinking about ripping out the top of the back. The cross is just too small. I put a sort of "frame" around it because I thought it would be small, but it's smaller than I thought it would be.

Although I love Viking Patterns for Knitting, I really don't like the way the cables and motifs are charted. The system used doesn't correspond to any charting system I've ever seen, and there is no legend to say what the symbols mean. I can almost figure out how to do them just by looking at the photos of the finished work, but I want to redo the charts so they're easier to read.

In this case, though, I'm going to have to redo the chart just because I want to make it bigger.

You would think that being a graphic artist, I would have no trouble with charting, but I'm beginning to realize that I hate it!

If I ever manage to get together all the charts for this, I think I'm going to sell the pattern. For a lot of money!

Back to the subject!

Last night, I switched back to knitting the wimple for the Ravelympics while I think about the sweater and what I really want to do with it.

If I redo the back, that will mean that I have to work out the whole chart before I can start reknitting. That's a lot of work and will make it much harder to finish in time. It will definitely mean that I will almost certainly not be able to finish the poncho in time for the deadline.

Who am I kidding? It will make it impossible to finish the poncho in time. Period. And it will mean that there's a good chance that I won't even get the sweater finished by the deadline.

But then, if I don't redo it, I'll always wish I had, and every time someone complements me on it (and it will be complement-worthy, even with the smaller cross), I'll think about how wonderful it could have been.

At this point, I think I'm going to leave the back and continue knitting the wimple while I spend some time charting. If I can get the chart done in the new size, I'll rip it and redo. If I can't possibly manage to get the chart working at all, I'll continue with what I have.

I'm really hoping I can get the chart to work.

I've seen some other really nice Celtic knots that I'd like to have charts for. I was going to say that I'd like to chart, but that really isn't true. I just want to knit them, not chart them.

As they say: back to the drawing board.

Joan of Arcadia will be on tonight on SciFi, along with a new Stargate Atlantis.

There will also be new episodes of Psych and Monk on USA.

There will also be some old Doctor Whos and a new Primeval on BBC in America tomorrow. If you missed the pilot of Primeval last week, they'll be rerunning it before the new episode tomorrow.

Primeval is interesting, and could develop into a good show. We'll see. 

Anyway, it's based on the premise that an anomaly/wormhole/something odd has opened up in the Forest of Dean in England and is linking that point with a time when there were dinosaurs, and some of them are getting through. The main character's wife disappeared a while before this, and he thinks she might have gone through the anomaly, and he's hunting for her.

Well, I have lots to do today, and not much time to do it in, so have a great weekend.

Oh, and birthday presents will be gratefully accepted. See the donate button in the sidebar.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Faintheart

I was just checking out the blogs that I usually read and came across the most delightful thing!

This is a movie, or more accurately, the trailer for a movie, and it's totally outrageous!

I don't trust my computer skills in relation to this, and I don't want to mess up copyright stuff, so let me give you the URL

I thought this was some kind of joke at first, and very funny, too, but I looked it up, and IMdB thinks it's a real movie. According to them, it's expected out in September in the UK. There's no mention of it being released in the US. I'm disappointed about that.<

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Here's where I am at the moment on the Celtic sweater: this is the back almost down to the bottom of the armholes.

The bottom of the hood is at the top of the photo with the cables on the shoulders on either side, and part of the Saint John's cross a bit lower. I haven't gotten to the halfway point in the cross. 

It doesn't look like much here because it's all crinkled up, and there's only part of the cross. But I think it'll be amazing when the whole sweater is done.


I'll get to the bottom of the armholes before I get to the bottom of the cross. At the bottom of the armholes, I'll have to cast on at each arm opening, and then continue down, finishing the cross on the way. When I get to the point where the cross is completely finished, I'll do the sleeves. I hope I have a size 8 needle that's 16 inches. I'll need it for the sleeves.

There's a new Burn Notice coming on tonight.

And my birthday is in two days! Saturday!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Celtic Sweater Progress Update

Not much has been going on except knitting the sweater.

I finished the two fronts down to the bottom of the armholes, and have started on the back.


The photo shows a smidge of the hood right at the top of the photo, with the two rib band just below it, and the loop that one of the ribs slides off into right at the middle of the back.

Not much further until I start the Saint John's cross!

I'm trying to decide at this point whether I want to put sort of a frame around it or not.

I stopped by the library yesterday and picked up the books I had ordered. There were two knitting books, one about beads by Lily Chin: Knit and Crochet with Beads, and The Knitters Handy Book of Patterns, plus The Bromeliad Trilogy.

I finished reading The Warrior's Apprentice, and The Mountains of Mourning, and was interrupted by Murder at the War (which I haven't finished) before going on to The Vor Game and Brothers in Arms.

But Brothers in Arms has been reserved by someone else, and I have to take it back today.

So, I'll finish Murder at the War, and go on to The Bromeliad Trilogy afterward. We are still in the traditional time frame for Pennsic, and I intend to mentally celebrate it right up through my birthday, which is Saturday (birthday presents will cheerfully be accepted through the donate link on the sidebar) and I'm looking forward to reading something by Terry Pratchett that I haven't read before.

So, there's a lot of good reading and knitting coming up.

On the subject of knitting and science fiction, I saw The War of the Worlds, the one with Tom Cruise, the other night, and I was struck by the knitted garments that Dakota Fanning was wearing. She had a shirt and mitts knit in multicolored hues of mostly yellow with a bit of orange and other colors. Over that she had a solid yellow-orange vest with cables.

Those are not my colors, but it really looked good! I was thinking about knitting something like that for myself in other shades.

And I'm thinking of knitting some other pieces to go with the Celtic sweater out of Moda Dea Sassy Stripes in Swish (that's the name of the color). I think the sweater could use long mitts and at least a scarf, maybe a hat, too out of the blue multicolor yarn. And I'm thinking that this sweater might look really good with the whole thing, too. But it needs to be a bit longer, and it needs pockets.

I'm starting to get really excited about this! What an outfit!

Well, the sweater is calling me...

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Ravelympics Update!


After spending a day and a half on ripping out the band around the bottom of the hood and knitting it again, I finally finished it. Here you can see the end of the band, which includes a buttonloop. The top rib of the band was knitted with shaping and kitchnered to the lower rib.

Note, try to get the buttonloop the right size. This will probably mean it'll be a little big. At least it always winds up that way for me. Remember, you have to adjust in increments of the height of one stitch. And it's hard to estimate without the completed buttonhole to put the button through.

So, when you get it a smidge big, use the yarn tail from the kitchner row and do a little overcast reinforcing at the point where the two ends of the buttonloop join the body. Slide the button through. See how it fits. Do you need more overcasting a  little higher to make the loop smaller?

Remember, your goal is to have the loop expand a bit to get the button through, but not make it so small that you have to fight with it to get the button through. We're looking for snug, not tight here.

The buttonloops down the front will be a little different.


In the photo above, you see the saddle shoulder. Note that the rib from the band around the bottom of the hood runs off the edge and forms two of the cable segments.

I think I did something pretty slick here.

Two strands of the cable will run onto the sleeve and make a loop. The other two strands of the cable will do the same thing as the bottom hood band and run onto the edge of the shoulder and down the front and back (see photo below).


This is the saddle at the top of the shoulder, and the left front has been knit down to the bottom of the sleeve opening. Note that the shoulder band has one of it's strands running down the edge of the sleeve opening.

Since taking that photo, I have started on the right front, and am to the beginning of the first buttonloop. Once I get it finished, I'll pick up stitches across the back of one saddle strap, the bottom of the back of the hood and the other saddle strap. The back of the band at the bottom of the hood has the cable run off the edge, and it will make another small loop on the back. 

Then, I'll work down the back for a short distance and start the Saint John's cross for the back. You can see the finished cross as a swatch in Viking Patterns for Knitting. It will be spectacular!

Partway through the cross, I'll get to the bottom of the sleeve opening and add extra stitches for the underarm shaping (which will join the fronts and back), and then probably continue until the cross is done.

Then, I'll pick up stitches around the armhole for a sleeve, knit that, do the other, and then finish down the front of the sweater.

The end of this description is just to give you an overview of what is planned.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Pennsic Aftermath and Ravelympics

Today is the day I really don't envy people who had a chance to go to Pennsic!

Today is laundry day for them, and there's generally SO much laundry that the only thing to do is go to a laundromat and get it over with. There are mundane clothes, garb, and textile camping stuff, not to mention bedding. And they've all been out in the ragweed for a week or more, gathering up all sorts of other potential allergens in addition to the ragweed and grass pollen.

I don't miss that part at all.

Celtic sweater update: I spent all day yesterday and this morning trying to get the band around the neckline knitted. I've ripped it out so many times that I've lost count.

At this point, it seems as though it's going to be all right. I just have an inch to go, and the buttonloop, but I tried on the hood, and I think it's going to be good.

Because the neck opening is lower in front, it means that the hood fits fairly closely around the face, but blouses out nicely over the shoulders and around the back. It doesn't look like a sweatshirt hood, it looks like a hood on a cloak. The kind you see in Medieval movies.

I've run the rib off the band at the shoulders and the back. The shoulder break will go into the cable on the saddle shoulder band, and the back break will go into a loop at the back neck on the back of the sweater. That last wasn't needed, but I can, so I did.

Right now, it doesn't look like anything. Once I knit the shoulder cables, it will start to look recognizable.

Tonight there's a new Middleman! And I've figured out how to get to see the closed captioning, even though Comcast is not sending out the signal correctly. I'd be happier with them if they could just send it out correctly, but NO, they just don't care.

So, the first episode of Middleman I've seen with the sound available was last week. It's so much funnier than it is without sound!

I need to get back to the band around the bottom of the hood so that I can get it finished, start on the top of the fronts, and maybe even get started on the top of the back today. If I can do all that, I have a shot at finishing it for the Ravelympics.

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Pennsic is Over, but the Ravelympics Goes On...

Well, Pennsic is officially over. There's just enough time today to pack stuff into the vehicle and get on the road before you have to be off the site.

And the trip home isn't always fun.

One year, we were so disorganized, that it took us most of the day to get ourselves packed and on the road. After a week out in the ragweed (to witch I'm allergic), I carried/moved/dragged a lot more stuff then I should have that day, and went to sleep in the back of the van.

Steve woke me up and told me that I would have to drive home because he was tired. Then he climbed into the back of the van, leaving me half asleep, disoriented, and whining "But where are we?" in the middle of a snow/sleet storm.

Well we were somewhere near Breezewood, but all I could do was drive out of the parking lot he had stopped in (after I tried to clear the snow/sleet off the windows) and keep driving until I saw enough road signs that I could guess where I was and figure out how to get home. There wasn't much visibility with the precipitation, and it was almost dark when we left Pennsic, so it wasn't really easy. 

So, this is the one day of Pennsic where I can feel smug because I don't have to drag an entire encampment home in a six or seven hour trip. Especially when I look out the window at what the weather's doing. It's not overcast. Overcast is bright and cheerful compared to the day outside my window. It's raining, and it looks like it's going to develop into a storm any time, now.

Ooooh! Lightening! Yep, a storm for sure.

Well, so much for my plans to go to the grocery store.

But the Ravelympics is really just getting under way.

The wimple is up to a point where all the shoulder decreasing is done. I have pulled the needle tips off the Options needles in the wimple, and put stoppers on the cable. I'm going to have to go somewhere on the bus sometime this week, and it'll be a good project to take with me for the half hour ride (each way) to anywhere nearby.

In the meantime, I've picked up stitches around the bottom of the hood, and I'm knitting a band around it which will eventually have a button at one end and (when I get to the other end) will have a button loop knit into it.


Here is the hood with the stitches picked up.

This is something I should've swatched for, but couldn't really without reknitting the whole hood, which isn't something I was willing to do. 

So, I've ripped out the band twice, and I'm about to have a third try at it.

If I get too frustrated, I may go back to the wimple for a bit.

There are going to be two ribs from a 2x2 rib running around the bottom of the hood, and one rib is going to circle back and continue into the other rib at the end, making a buttonloop.

I bought some really beautiful buttons, but I've lost some of them since then. I have found some more on the internet, and I plan to buy them, but it's possible that when the Ravelympics deadline arrives, the buttons may not have. So, the sweater may not have all it's buttons at the end.

You can see the buttons here.

All the buttons down the front will be the same size, but I think the one that's going to be right at my neck may do better with one of the slightly smaller ones I bought at the same time. I'm glad I thought to buy some smaller ones. And I'm glad I was able to find them on the internet. They look so pretty with the yarn! 

I'm starting to love everything about this sweater!

Tomorrow and Tuesday, around 5 or 6 in the afternoon/evening, there will be the two-part episode of Stargate SG-1 called Mobius on the SciFi Channel. It's very good. And if you look at the schedule, you may notice that Charlie Jade is on every Monday night (actually, Tuesday morning).

The Sarah Connor Chronicles is back in reruns on Monday night, too!

I need to get back to another stab at the band around the bottom of the hood, so wish me luck!

Have a great evening!

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