Saturday, February 28, 2009

My Flitter is Frogged

I unpinned the blocked butterfly that I planned to use as a blanket square. It stayed smooth for three or four days. I checked with some Ravelry groups who suggested that the blocking would hold. I checked the gauge again and made alterations to my chart to make the square more square and less rectangular. Then I knitted two of them, with the swatch square lying folded beside me on the table. The two new ones wrinkled like the swatch, but I was undaunted. Then, this afternoon, I picked up the swatch to show it to someone, and just lying folded had made the blocking disappear and the puckering come back. It is evidently a function of the amount of stockinette surrounding the garter stitch butterfly. I gave up and frogged the two new squares. I am adding a couple of colors and knitting a Moderne Log Cabin, which I know will be soft and drapey, and will not require seaming. (Notice I'm just adding to the Mason-Dixon kick I'm on.)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Meme

From my daughter's private blog.
If you want to play, consider yourself tagged, too.
1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (your first pet and your car) Skipper Trailblazer
2.YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie),Vanilla Snickerdoodle
3. YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME: (first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name),Not going to post this one because it gives my whole last name.
4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal),Blue Dog
5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born),Lynn Ft. Worth
6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first),see above
7. SUPERHERO NAME: (”The” + 2nd favorite color, favorite drink),The Yellow CokeZero
8. NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers),Joseph James
9. STRIPPER NAME: ( the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/scent, favorite candy),Charlie Divinity
10.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names ),Ellen ElRoy
11. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME: (Your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter), Bates Baltimore
12. SPY NAME: (your favorite season/holiday, flower).Autumn Rose
13. CARTOON NAME: (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now + “ie” or “y”)Banana Sweatery
14. HIPPY NAME: (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree), Eggs Elm
15. YOUR ROCKSTAR TOUR NAME: (”The” + Your fave hobby/craft, fave weather element + “Tour”),The Knitting While Listening to Audiobook Snow Tour

Saturday, February 21, 2009

In a Mason-Dixon Mood

I buy very few knitting books, on the theory that I can spend more money on yarn. I do have Elizabeth Zimmermann, and I can't go without the Yarn Harlot. I also discovered the two Mason-Dixon books. As you know, I'm working on dresses for my granddaughters from the second book. Here's my current progress on the second shrug. I thought the green apple color went well with the book of directions. My cables don't show well in the photo, but they do show up on the knitting. This pattern is very, very easy. The first few rows are a little iffy, but once you have knitted enough to "read" the knitting, you can just breeze along.

I also have a second Mason-Dixon project going. This is the beginning of a Log Cabin Blanket. The directions are in the first book. I'm making it as one of the blankets for the Victory Junction Gang Camp group on Ravelry. I began today during the Nationwide NASCAR race. The yarn is all Red Heart. I added orange to the 4 colors I used on the Lifesaver Blanket I made earlier. I even caught the yarn on sale today in Amarillo! I think I will have enough yarn from my initial purchase and today's purchase to knit this log cabin blanket and perhaps one more.

Today was a great day! I missed my granddaughters' birthday party--no, the apostrophe is not misplaced--when I was sick last weekend. We drove to Amarillo, had lunch with the family, and went to their house, where we delivered a belated birthday present. I got to see the girls' recently redecorated bedrooms--the butterfly canopy in the oldest's room, and the handpainted tree with birds and owls in the little one's room. They are very proud. The other granddaughter who had the party has her "real" birthday next week, so we should get to give her present then.

I also witnessed one of "those" moments. I was in line at JoAnn's with the Red Heart yarn skein and 2 yards of Wonder Under. The one checkout line was unbelieveably long, and most people had several items. Suddenly, a voice behind me called out in a perfect imitation of the usual loudspeaker announcement, "We need a checker at the front." Sure enough, one showed up! I ask you, how many times have you wanted to do that and not had the nerve? I still won't have the nerve, but I can't help but admire someone who did.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Busy Week, Finished Dress Top

This is the second Jane Austen Dress top from Mason Dixon. The yarn is Knit Picks Shine Sport in Sky. This time, I worked the top on a circular needle to the bottom of the armholes. It made the knitting go much, much faster and was much easier on my shoulders. It seemed that the top went very quickly. Now I just have 2 shrugs and 1 top to go before I can start sewing on skirts.
This has been a tough week at school, not because I have been working terribly hard, but because I feel pressured due to its being almost time for the ELA TAKS test. I only teach one class that takes the test, but I tutor some students who need extra help, and I'm the department chairman, so I feel responsible for some things that are entirely out of my control. In just a little over a week, it will be over for us, but math, science, and social studies still have over a month to go. The flu and a stomach virus have been hitting hard as well, both with faculty and students. We've also had more serious health problems among the faculty and faculty families--some very serious ones, as a matter of fact--a stroke, several major surgeries, and cancer. It's been a rather gloomy year so far, in spite of some very good changes that have been made in our overall situation.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


School was out early on Friday, and we don't have school on Monday. This is what is left of a 3-day break we used to have midwinter. I went directly from school to the doctor. I'd been feeling under the weather for a couple of weeks and had developed a headache and a sore throat the last couple of days.

If you want an idea how it's been going at school, the doctor's first words to me were, "You decided to come in too, huh?" I have filled in for people and been there when I should have stayed home, and now I'm missing my vacation. I have antibiotics for the sinus infection, something I'm prone to at this time of the year, and the sore throat is slowly improving, but I still feel exhausted. And guilty. I have so many things that I need to do, and don't feel like doing any of them much right now, or at least just in little increments.

I have, however, been knitting on a second Jane Austen Dress top. I hope to finish before the weekend is over. I'll post with the mods that I made--not too inventive--for knitting it in the round.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Flitter and Twitter

This color is much more intense than the real color, which is a dark rose pink.

I am swatching for a blanket that I'm making for one of my granddaughters. The yarn is Vanna's Choice, which I have not used before. When I knitted this square, it was very wavy, perhaps because of the combination of stockinette and garter stitches. I like this butterfly better, though, than the ones that are done in stockinette and reverse stockinette. I ran the swatch through the washer, and it was still wavy. Of course, it also doubled up rather badly. Pinning it out to dry seems to be working, but I certainly don't want my daughter to have to deal with that every time it is washed. A blanket for a 6-year-old is going to get frequent launderings, after all. I would welcome comments and suggestions, particularly from anyone with experience with this yarn or with garter/stockinette combos.

I am watching with interest the excitement over Twitter. I think I can possibly see the appeal of it, particularly if I were in a more isolated situation all day. However, whenever I read a list of tweets, I feel very disconnected. I've been trying to analyze my reaction, and I've decided that it is because I spend much of the day listening to tweets. I'm a teacher, and I'm constantly listening to a multitude of disconnected threads while monitoring students to make sure that they stay on task. If they were little children, it would perhaps affect me differently, but teenagers are enough like adults that I often feel bombarded with random thoughts. That's the way reading a log of someone's tweets always strikes me. In principle, I think Twitter is a neat idea, but it's not for me.

A pleasant book surprise. On my list for this summer is a plan to reread all of the Dorothy Sayers Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries. I discovered them in college. There are only ten of them, and I found them to be delightful. I also have an idea they may be hard to find. Imagine my delight when I checked the local OverDrive audiobook offerings and found that the very first book, Whose Body?, was available. I downloaded immediately, and I'm very pleased so far with the quality of the narration.

Please remember that my book reviews have moved to my Shelfari shelf in my sidebar.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Finished Blanket

This is an off-season blanket made for the Victory Junction Gang group on Ravelry. It will not enter into the competition, but I'll send it in along with my "real" competition afghans.

The yarn is Red Heart Super Saver--durability and washability are big factors for these blankets. I tried to keep to race car colors. For my striping idea, I used the Lifesaver Blanket by Beth Sweet as an inspiration. Take a look at her site; I think she does marvelous things with color.

Short post--have to take the car to the shop and get to work!

Added at work: The gauge monster bit me on this blanket. We are limited to a certain size, and I did swatch, only to discover when I thought I was about 2/3 of the way through with the blanket that my width was an acceptable length. Therefore, I could either frog the whole blanket, or make it a vertical stripe instead of horizontal as I had planned. This issue also kept me from getting in all the color rotations I had planned. On the other hand, I think that I will have enough yarn for two more blankets for the competition instead of the one that I had planned. That is a plus for the children.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

What I Had Forgotten About Being a Kindergarten Mom

This week, our almost 6-year-old grandson is staying with us while his parents are away on business. It's been 20 years since I've had a kindergarten student in the house.

  • When he says, "I have some sand in my shoes," he means about 1/2 cup per shoe, with gravel.
  • Was there a rhyme that went with making bunny ears to tie shoes, or did we just talk about poking the ear through the hole?
  • If a child that age wants to have "dinner" instead of "supper," go along with it.
  • It can be difficult to get bath water exactly the right temperature.
  • Riding the schoolbus from primary to grandmother's school is a big adventure if you never get to ride one.
  • There should be an explanation for everything. . . .

On the other hand, there is no longer a battle over having a sleepy child eat breakfast because it is provided at school.

Yesterday and today, we are going to the library after school for a Thomas the Tank Engine DVD.

Now if I can just remember to send those darn word rings back on Thursday! I never was any good at that.