Thursday, July 28, 2005

Mock Cable Eyelet Sox

Another pair of socks made with Elann's SITM yarn. Again, my own design, just playing with a mock cable. I used the twisted german cast-on for the cuffs, and I've decided I detest it! For a reputedly stretchy cast-on, it has almost NO give. Perhaps I'm doing it wrong, ugh.

I brought a couple of skeins of sock yarn to work on my second day, after I realized that the last few hours of the help desk's shift consist of monitoring the phones & servers against catastrophe, but otherwise a lot of dead time. When my co-worker (who was training me) started giving me tips about the best sites to download solitaire games, I quickly realized that there would be no objections if I knitted during the slow times. Heck, if the on-call guys are in the back playing EverQuest, no one's going to care if I have a sock in my lap, as long as the Nextel is turned on.

One of the student workers is fascinated by my knitting, not in a "Hey, can you teach me" way... he simply seems to be agog that someone can do such a thing with sticks & string. He comes by every few days to check on the progress of the socks. Today, as I was starting the toe shaping, he stood by my desk & watched me knit for a solid fifteen minutes, mesmerized by the movement of my fingers. I don't know if I remind him of his dear old granny or if he is just very susceptible to hypnosis.

The Postman Brings Goodies

Lookie what was in the post today! Five skeins of Nature Spun -- four of Brick & one of Sunburst. A virtual kewpie doll will be awarded to the first person who can tell me what I'm making. ;-)

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Alien Encounter

I finished Hunter's scarf, the Alien Illusion pattern from Stitch 'n Bitch. It turned out great! I used Brown Sheep's Nature Spun in Spring Green & Pepper, the recommended yarn; but I modified the pattern a bit -- I knit it doubled, in the round, to hide the wrong side & to make it even warmer. This is intended to be a dead-of-winter scarf.

Nature Spun is a joy to knit, a nice springy wool that softens beautifully with blocking. I've decided it's my new favorite wool. :-)

The alien pattern is cool! Illusion patterns are made by alternating knits & purl stitches in the alternating colors, and it only shows if you look at it obliquely. I had to stand on a chair to get the photo. LOL

Tip of the Day for working with a charted pattern, like Alien: Put a stitch marker at whatever point corresponds to the heavy line on the grid. (Alien is published on a 10x10 grid pattern, so I used a marker every 10th stitch.) This made it way easier to keep track of where I was on the chart.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

It's like Magic!

So the kids have a talent show coming up at their day-camp place (and that was the best thing I did all summer was to put them in there, they were so bored without it.) Ali is going to do a cheer routine with some of her friends that have also done some cheer, so she's all set. Hunter, on the other hand, was stumped as to what he could do for the show. Most of his ideas were along the lines of setting up a giant ramp and doing Evel Kneivel-type jumps on his bike or skateboard or something. Needless to say, this was somewhat discouraged. I finally had a brain twitch & taught him a magic trick involving a ring & a piece of twine: you loop the twine over your volunteer's thumbs in such a way that the ring "magically" falls off. Not very complicated, no expensive equipment & mildly entertaining. Hunter loved it. He has been walking around practicing his patter for the trick -- "Abracadabra! Behold my magic wizard power!" Now I just need to dig up a simple card trick or two & he'll have an act all put together.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Tick, Tick....

Mike got back from the dome site while I happened to be home for lunch (isn't it great to work less than a mile from home?) They lifted the last panel into place today; check out the links section if you haven't seen the dome blog for a bit.

Anyway, he got ready to hop in the shower, but then called me before he did. He had managed to pick up not one, but two ticks! And guess whose job it is it to pull the nasty things off. If there's anything more disgustingly useless than a tick, I don't want to know what it is. I hate 'em. This is supposed to be a bad tick year, since there was no freeze last winter to kill 'em off, so I have a hunch I haven't seen my last bloodsucker. Yuck.

In knitting news, I haven't finished anything lately! I am getting desparate to finish something, I have two projects that are both in the home stretch (the SnB Alien scarf, and another pair of socks that I took to work for the slooooow times.) Hopefully I can show some completed projects soon.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Got the Amazon delivery yesterday around noon... I won't discuss the book, since I don't want to throw out spoilers, but I just want to go on record that I finished it about 11:30 last night. My arms actually ache from lying on the bed propped on my elbows (my favorite reading position) for almost twelve hours straight. Uff da.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

County Fair

We went to the Johnson County Fair today, which was a bit cheesy, actually. The carnival, which was supposed to open at noon, never got underway. The only thing going on was the kiddie tractor pull, which Hunter competed in, and won a nice ribbon. But nothing else was even open. So we bailed & went to see Fantastic Four, which was also cheesy, but more entertaining.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

New Job

I started my new job yesterday, as Help Desk Specialist at the university. It's actually pretty slow during the summer months, so it's a perfect time to start; I can learn the ropes in relative peace. I'm told it can get quite hectic come September.

In knitting news, I dug out my oldest UFO -- the Summer Sweater from Sally Melville's first Knitting Experience book -- and finally finished the damn thing off. (I credit this book with my knitting renaissance; I have knitted for 30+ years but never really learned finishing techniques, or thought about them much, until I picked up Sally's books.) Anyway, I cast on the sweater more than a year ago, but grew bored with the pattern & the color I had chosen... a dull taupe... and after a while it kept getting put aside for newer projects. I tried to keep coming back to it, but it eventually languished for six months or so. It was all done except for half a sleeve, too. Anyway, I forced myself to put aside my newest socks & picked it up again last week, determined to get it out of the way for good & all.

Sometimes you get a real burst of pride when you finally finish a long-neglected project; this was more of a sense of relief. ("Well, that's finally done.")

The yarn is Paton's Grace, a nice, well-mannered (but boring) cotton; I knit it with size 6 & 11 needles. It's an easy pattern to knit -- maybe a little too easy after I had already done the Einstein sweater last year. A big garter-stitch sweater is a perfect learner's project, but don't do two of them, unless you just loooo-o-o-o-ve garter stitch.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Independence Day festivities

Since it is the City of Warrensburg's Sesquicentennial Celebration, the festivities marking our nation's birthday are going on all weekend. Today was the parade. This is our first year viewing that peculiarly American phenomenon, the Small-Town Parade.

It looked like half the town turned out along the six or so blocks of the main drag downtown. The parade started just on the other side of the railroad depot and ended in front of the courthouse.

Once the parade started, there was the obligatory antique fire engines,

horse drawn wagons,

kids goofing off with cameras,

Shriners in silly cars, and all the usual parade stuff.

Afterwards, there were the usual booths selling kettle corn and lemonade and whatnot, as well as an assortment of bounce houses.

All this, and it's only Day One of the weekend's festivities.