Fingerless glove

looking for what's missing... I'm a knitting, spinning, mother of teenagers with a big dog, a small cat, minus the lovely rabbit Meliflua.

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Location: Virginia, United States

Right now I'm listening to "An Irish Country Village" by Patrick Taylor, reading "Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake" by Anna Quindlen and knitting Wisconsin Wintersocks. And casting off the lace shawl I've been working on since I last posted.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Home again, Home again

I am home from my summer internship. When I said, "I need a vacation," my family laughed. SOME people think if you enjoy what you do it doesn't count as work, but all that thinking was exhausting. I was even dreaming about nanoparticles.

Now I have to face the mountain of housework that has not been attempted in 10 weeks. Everyone covered the routine things well: food, clean clothes and feeding the animals. The little things need the attention. You could eat off the floors (and I don't mean that in a good way), the well-fed dog smells like a fish, and there are killer dust bunnies under the coffee table attacking the licorice Scottie dogs.

While I tackle that, here is a nerd fighter poem from my darling daughter: (We are not sure if nerd fighters fight nerds or are nerds who fight other people, but we think it is the latter.)

I'm a spelling nerd, I confess that I hate
When the "h" is missed in "exhilarate".

Or when the wrong "their" is used; this is a crime!
All perpetrators should be receiving a fine.

The word "until" has only ONE "L"!
I'm telling the world, learn how to spell!

I before E! Simple and true,
Easy enough, even for you.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Think globally, Eat locally

I am eating a bowl of peach yogurt as I write this. Not just any peach yogurt. I cut a fresh, ripe peach from Quaker Orchards into some lovely plain yogurt from the Keswick Creamery. I will miss the convenient little Wednesday farmers' market as much as I'll miss anything from this summer. I usually like to dowse a peach in half & half and sprinkle on the sugar but this yogurt is something else. It'll make you a believer in "Think globally. Eat locally." Maybe the Jersey cows make the difference, but it is the smoothest, mildest, richest, mostest dairy product ever to glide across my tongue. (Feeling virtuous for skipping the half & half is just a bonus.)

I have not been posting on my blog lately because all my writing skills (and some I don't have) were being used up building a poster of the research I have been doing. My internship is almost over and it has kept me busy. Summarizing it all in 36 x 48 inches was hard work, but I'm reasonably satisfied it. I struggled in the beginning -- trying to define my "audience" -- but finally realized I should write it for myself! It got easier after that. I know me and am easily entertained.

I haven't been so busy that I couldn't knit a bit; I am on clue 3 of the Mystery Stole 3 knit along, pictures forthcoming. Really. I promise. Well, maybe next week.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Always learning

I didn't expect the Mystery Stole 3 to be a drive-me-around-the-bend kind of challenge, and it is not. (Well, except for the pace. I am a dawdler. I will always be a dawdler and even though I can make stitches at a medium-fast speed, somehow I am not a medium-fast knitter.) It is strangely compelling and I find myself knitting like the Stole is a page-turner -- maybe John Grisham or Sneaky Pie Brown -- unable to put it down.

I did expect to learn a few things and in that I am never disappointed.

I decided to use lifelines. My non-knitting readers were a little baffled by these, but they are simply thin cord threaded through the row of stitches every so often. That way if you make a big flub and have to rip out, you have a safe place to rip out to. They make it easy to pick up the stitches again, and they pull right out when you're done. Important tip: Mark on your pattern WHERE you put the lifeline, otherwise if (when) you need it you might have a safe place to rip to, but you'll have no idea where you are. It is like being lost in the woods with plenty of food and water. You might be well fed, but you are still lost.

Along the same lines, when you have a left-slanting decrease and you are trying to decide between a slip-slip-knit and a slip one-knit one-pass slipped stitch over, the slip-slip-knit is much easier to tink back (unknit), should the occasion arise. (Ask me how I know. It is how I learned the lifeline thing in the previous paragraph.)

I was explaining swatches to Cass & she pointed out they are a bit like the patch allergy test for dying your hair. You are strongly advised to do it, it takes a little time and gives you useful information, but how many of us go straight for the drama and skip that bit?

Lastly I learned there is no substitute for good light and my reading glasses.

P.S. I'd show you a photo but I am only on row 61 of the 149 that Melanie has released. 6,691 people have signed up for this knitalong. Isn't that cool? At 800 yards each, that's over 3,000 miles of yarn.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Finally! Some Knitting

I am not very good at knitalongs. I start with good intentions but get easily "OBE" (overcome by events.) I doubt that this time is different. We shall see.

I am doing Melanie's Mystery Stole 3 from Pink Lemon Twist. How could I not? I stalked her at Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. (She told us on her blog what she would be wearing. Again, how could I not?) I think her stoles are genuinely imaginative and am hoping doing one as a knitalong will keep me on track; although I have to admit the second clue is coming out tomorrow and I am only 27 rows into the first clue. Does anyone besides me notice a problem with this?

I cast on yesterday (after the fireworks) in Knitpicks Shadow "Jewels" on 14" Bernat size 3 straight needles but every time I tried to put a bead on, my needle slipped ever so gently and annoyingly out of my stitches. Very annoyingly. Then I tried some nice, pointy Options size 5 circulars and yet again on size 4 circulars (which are strangely close in diameter to the original straight needles). I am banking on the 4s. (Swatch? Swatch? We don't need no stinkin' swatch!)

My beads are pretty subtle and I am hoping half way into it I will no longer be saying to myself, "Not another blasted bead row," and regretting my decision to use this option. They add weight and drama and it is a learning experience, right?

At any rate, I am really loving this project. It is a little like working a jigsaw without the picture -- so satisfying when you get it right. Which, right now, I haven't. Maybe lifelines are a good idea (she says as she locks the barn after the horse was stolen.)

I have to sign off now and fix my knitting.

P.S. Whenever anyone says to me, "No one knits anymore" as the woman on the Metro did (and she was a knitter! she should know better) I will point to this knitalong. More than 5,400 people have signed up to put a lot of work into a project, sight unseen. If you want to join, you have to hurry. Sign ups close July 6 at midnight Eastern. But if you miss it, don't worry. Melanie will publish the pattern after the knitalong is done and with this many participants there are bound to be dozens of dedicated knitters blogging every step of the way.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Independence Day

In all the years I have lived in the Washington DC area I have never gone to the National Mall to see the spectacular 4th of July fireworks, but this year I came close.

Here is the view from my dorm window, complete with the reflection of the TV screen. I was playing the PBS broadcast of the concert on the Capitol lawn as theme music for the fireworks, just as if I had been braving the crowds, soggy grass, steaming humidity, bugs and smoke.

I felt a little guilty that I did not actually go down to the Mall -- until I saw the crowds and traffic streaming away when the fireworks were over. I have to admit, I was feeling a little smug as I sipped my milkshake and watched them struggle, but wouldn't it have been mean of me not to appreciate my good fortune?
I hope you had as much fun as I did.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Crazy 'bout a Mercury

The only car I ever truly loved was my first -- a forest green1972 Audi 100LS with a wooden dashboard (handy for knocking).

The rest were just cars. Until my red Sable. She is such a sweet thing, ferrying me wherever my little heart desires but alas, she's getting a little, um (how to put this delicately?) unreliable.
Meet her replacement:

Same car, different color. What can I say? To quote Alan Jackson, "I'm crazy 'bout a Mercury."