Tuesday, January 26, 2010

NOT as much fun as knitting. . .

but a relief nevertheless. I now have a functioning printer at home again. Right now it is sitting about 3 feet from the computer and connecting wirelessly, but come tomorrow afternoon, it will be sitting out in the other room, connected to the phone line, and, I hope, also functioning as a fax and a scanner. If it works half as well as my old HP All-in-one, it will be quite satisfactory. One of the criticisms of this model is that it is a bit noisy, but that suits me just fine because that way I can hear if it is printing in the other room without having to make a run to go see. Unfortunately, installation messed up my knitting time for the evening, but I'll make it up soon.
One complaint--The installation poster and other instructions referred to parts by name, "printer head," "wireless setup cable," etc. All the parts were neatly bagged, but labeled only with numbers. A little consistency would have been helpful.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Success, I Think

Mayzie liked the blanket. I am not flattering myself that it's because it is beautifully (not) knitted. It is because:

  • It is a soft and drapey blanket, suitable for stripping to underwear and wrapping in and walking around the living room.

  • It is BLUE!

  • It has stwipes.

A bit of wisdom from my personal experience that you are free to disagree with--For younger children, the log cabin or moderne log cabin patterns are excellent choices because everything is knitted together. There are no seams. Therefore, the blanket is stretchy and drapey in all directions. If you seam a blanket for a small child, it will stretch in some places, but not at the seams and will inevitably start to wear and pop seams with just normal use and stretching. I am considering that it would be possible to counteract this tendency by knitting blocks or strips togeether with a 3-needle bindoff, but I haven't experimented with it yet. This is also why I like a knitted-on edge like I-cord or a garter stitch edge. The same principle holds true for men, who tend to tuck the blanket under their feet and push and stretch. I have noticed that some people are leaving live stitches to pick up on log cabins instead of binding off and picking up. I wonder if that would be even better in the stretchiness factor.

Hint: Since I don't have any larger DPNs, I use just the ends of my Knit Picks Options with no cables to knit the I-cord edge. I work it so that I am knitting off the screw socket end with the pointy end. This doesn't work as well with the Harmony needles because of the seam between the wood and the metal socket, but it does still work. I know there's a method of doing I-cord using the entire circ, but this seems much faster, particularly with the weight of an afghan in my lap.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Progress Pic

Thanks to a DVRd documentary and a coujple of episodes of Hamish Macbeth on DVD--great sweaters--I've made a little more progress on the log cabin. At least the warm/cool pattern is showing up a little better.
This afternoon I am off to my daughter's house for the birthday party for my granddaughter Mayzie. I'm delivering the blue log cabin as a present for a girl who likes blue. Of course, I'm not a complete knitting freak, so a Strawberry Shortcake doll will be packaged with it. I'm sure we'll all have a very good time. Then I'll have to drive back home and grade essays and post grades. I dallied around about getting my gradebook set up for the new semester, but 3 weeks grades will go out on Monday, so I need to get everything posted. It is nice, though, to be able to access the gradebook from home and not have to drive back to school to an empty classroom and dark building to work.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Alas, but at least it's Friday!

The "fix" for the printer didn't work. Actually, I think the fix for the wireless adapter probably worked fine, but it turns out that my OLD printer is not compatible with Windows 7, even with a workaround. A new one is on order, and I am looking for a home for this one since it still works just fine.

This was the end of a good week at school. One never quite knows if one can get across anything worthwhile about poetry of the Romantic period to an average bunch of seniors. I try to choose poems and assignments that stress the connection between certain Romantic characteristics and the world the students live in today, but that is sometimes a difficult task. I only had one day this week when I unexpectedly lost an entire class to an unannounced meeting.

I'm still making progress, albeit slowly, on the log cabin blanket. Tonight should be a movie and knitting night, so there is hope.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Limited Knitting

I'm still in the throes of computer changeover. Last year, when I bought a laptop, I was able to convert my HP all-in-one scanner, printer, fax to wireless by buying an upgrade kit. I think I saved about $100 by doing that instead of getting a new printer, plus I felt that it was the environmentally responsible thing to do. There was also the idea that I had a printer I liked and that was dependable and used relatively inexpensive cartridges, so I did not want to change. Well, since I have upgraded to Windows 7, the printer is not working. I finally found on-line some directions for a workaround to make my printer work with Windows 7. There is also the slight possibility that my printer is not going to work because of a power surge that hit town a couple of weeks ago. It was slight enough not to disrupt digital clocks, but it ruined a couple of flat-screens and caused computer problems. At our house, those items were protected, but a piece of store equipment (thankfully almost obsolete) was ruined. It was plugged into the same outlet as my printer. I think I'll fire up my old computer which is directly connected to the printer and see if I can make it work that way before trying the workaround.

Some knitting progress on the last log cabin blanket.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A New Beginning

The center of the blanket for my youngest granddaughter. It will be warm colors on one diagonal and cool on the other.
DH and I watched Sandy Bottom Orchestra, a really nice film.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Blanket for Mayzie

A completed blanket for a girl who likes blue and things that are "stwipey."

Now for grandchild blanket number 4. As planned I assembled some colorful yarns and photographed them, changing the picture to black and white in Photoshop Elements. Since there was more than one kind of black and white and they were all different, I had difficulty deciding if the values were close enough until I realized that two of the choices gave the same results:

Therefore, I decided on the following colors for a Joseph's Blanket kind of Log Cabin. These are all good quality acrylics or acrylic blends that I had in my stash.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Knitting Report in a Hectic Week

We lost a student this week in a car accident. Actually, she was a middle school student, but the other two students in the vehicle were ours, and the community is so small that we're pretty much one school. The funeral is today. Helping young people deal with tragedy is always a challenge.

My home computer is still messed up but improving. I just haven't had an evening to spend on the phone with technical support. I'm waiting for the weekend. I must say that I find Windows 7 to be a big improvement over Vista, but then most things would be. I have not yet played with many of the features because I haven't had time.

On the knitting front, last night I finished the blue log cabin blanket, at least the log cabin part. I hope to whip out the I-cord after school and tonight. My two totes of acrylic have been brought into the warm living room so that I can immediately choose colors for the next blanket. I am planning, I think, warm and cool colors of medium values. I am going to try a trick I read about on Knitters Review and set out my colors and photograph them. Then I will photoshop them to grayscale to check the value of the colors to make sure they will all blend together. I'll post a picture of the finished blanket as soon as I can make one.

Tomorrow, thanks to the efforts of a teacher in our building, we are having a special speaker, Gary Soto, the young adult and children's writer. I hope having this Hispanic writer will connect well with our students. He is doing a number of very special things at the primary and elementary today. Under a grant we have, all the primary children are getting hardcover, autographed picture books. Another grant will provide paperbacks for elementary and primary children. I'm not sure about middle school.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

This Is a Test

I'm just checking to see if I can blog from my Blackberry.

A Nice Day

Today was a "pajama day." DH cooked breakfast while I knitted. I am on the last round of stripes on the log cabin blanket for a granddaughter. We had picked up a pizza yesterday from Papa Murphy's, which is one of those places where you can order a pizza and take it home to cook. It was actually very good. We had some left for lunches for the coming week.

After lunch, I started knitting while watching a movie in front of a warm fire. Sure enough, knitting turned into napping, but I have made significant progress--I have about 1 1/2 stripes to go. Then an I-cord edging. Two of the grandchildren came to spend some time with us, so I am just now headed back into the living room for some knitting and tv time.

DH baked banana bread, and I did get the both the pulled pork and the chili made to go in meal-size freezer containers.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Good Saturday

After a few weeks of the blahs, except for Christmas, and including a computer crash and a hot water heater replacement, my spirits are looking up.

Today we drove out of town and ran some errands--"special" grocery shopping and a new haircut for me--both of which cheered me up considerably. The haircut was badly needed, and there's this one grocery store that I find incredibly restful and soothing to shop in. For me, that's saying something because I am not by nature a person who enjoys shopping. I grew up in a family involved in retail sales, and DH and I have continued that, but I don't like to shop. But this one grocery has an atmosphere I like.

Then we got together with both of our children and the grandchildren for lunch at Cheddar's. The pot pie was really good, and we had a wonderful time visiting. Our DSIL was there also, but DDIL had to work.

Now we are home, and I'm getting ready to do some "weekend-so-we'll-have-something-to-eat-ready-in- the-freezer" cooking. First will be a Boston butt turned into pulled pork in the crockpot. Then a recipe of pressure cooker chili to go into containers. I also bought a meal kit for shrimp and sausage gumbo. I know many of you would shudder at buying a kit, but with just the two of us, buying even the small size of all the individual ingredients in gumbo results in waaaaay too much! One of these kits will feed both of us for two meals with enough left over for me to take a container for lunch one day. That's for $5.99. I think that's an ok compromise! And it's great to have a backup meal in the freezer ready to go for one of those evenings when nothing else sounds good.

We also have a recorded episode of Medium to watch and a couple of Netflix selections--good knitting time for that blanket project.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Friday, January 08, 2010

You Know You're a Knitter When ....

you have a Farmville farm on Facebook with 16 virtual reindeer left over from the Christmas celebration and instead of selling them, you just built a pen to keep them in so that you can get virtual fiber when you brush them!
And yes, I do have a nice flock of virtual sheep, both white and black, and some baby lambs.

Just a Note

Just a quick progress note before I get ready for work--In fact, getting ready for work is progress. This has been my work week so far--

Monday--normal work day

Tuesday--normal work day except for being out an hour to attend a funeral

Wednesday--knee out--ice, ibuprophen, walker, in bed all morning, knitting all afternoon on the log cabin blanket with ice on my knee

Thursday--knee still wonky and very sore, but better, much better by lunchtime, lots of knitting progress and afternoon by warm fire on extremely cold day.

Friday--back to work and real sentences and punctuation. One assembly that I really don't want to attend and a lunchtime meeting that will be pleasant.

I haven't exactly overtaxed myself, but I did stay busy. Somewhere in the at home time, I managed to schedule the meeting at work, take care of some family business with my daughter (Blackberries are wonderful!) and upgrade the RAM on this laptop.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Midwinter Blues

In the best of ways--The progress I've made so far on the log cabin afghan for my granddaughter and lovely new sock yarn from my daughter's family for a Christmas present. This is Claudia Handpainted in Winter Sky, purchased from the Loopy Ewe.

Beautiful pictures of the sea and the sky--My mailbox today contained the new issue of National Geographic with a beautiful photo-heavy article on the Hebrides. One caption on a picture of the isle of Lewis includes a quotation from an island resident, Alice Starmore.

Friday, January 01, 2010

New Gadget for a New Year

However, the brain is still old. Those "intuitive" movements are not so intuitive.
This is my new Blackberry Curve 8330 which has replaced my really, really crummy (technical term) cell phone. The battery cover on the old phone fell off all the time, but I didn't like the choices at my carrier, so I didn't want to sign up for a new contract. At the insistence of my DS and
DDIL, I have made the move to a new carrier and a new "smart" phone.

So far, I have spent an unbelieveable amount of time customizing, and I can assure you that I talked them into doing everything that I could. It is so nice, though, to have a QWERTY keyboard, to be able to send/receive e-mails, and to have the phone remain intact in my hands. I think I will also enjoy the internet access and the television access once I become more comfortable with them.

Yesterday, I took care of some of the "tranquilizer" benefits of the device. I can already tell that I will still prefer my tiny lightweight Sansa Clips for listening to audio books because they clip to my clothing, including robes and nighties. I can't do that with a Blackberry--too heavy. However, just in case I have an urgent need for an audio book, I now have access to my audible library, and I can download a book in a flash. I have also installed the Barnes and Noble ereader, so I have Little Women and Pride and Prejudice all loaded up and ready to go. I'm having a little trouble getting the operating button sequence down for that one, but I'm sure it will come with time. Now if this thing would just hold a small knitting project for those other waiting room moments, I would be in great shape.

I also know that I want to slide the device back into its vinyl sheath with the magnet because that conserves battery life and keeps lint from messing up the track ball, but I would really like to make a slightly larger felted and lined pouch with an outer pocket for an earbud since this phone is too big to fit the handy dandy cell pocket in my purse. I'll have to "think on" it for a while to come up with a design.
Are there any "must have" knitting applications for this thing?
I also found this post from a fellow knitting blogger to be inspirational for the new year. I hope you enjoy it as well.

A New Year

Happy New Year everyone!

I was blessed to spend some time on New Year's Eve with both my son and my daughter and with three of the four grandchildren. And, of course, with my wonderful husband, who gets better every day (He insists that it's just better-looking every day.) What a wonderful way to end a somewhat rocky year and to look forward to launching a new decade.