Friday, February 19, 2010

No Little Progress

Just thinking about shawls always makes me want to talk like Jane Austen. In this case, understatement seems appropriate. The trilobite appears to be only slightly puffier; however, I finished all of Chart B. Only Chart C remains.
It also occurs to me that I am knitting on 24" circulars. When I bought this set of Knit Picks Options a couple of years ago, I immediately ordered some 60" cables in case I wanted to knit a lace shawl or two. How many shawls do you think I could actually get on a 60" needle?


Last night, I struggled with the middle section of Chart B on the shawlette. I evidently had misread the instructions for moving markers and had moved them in the wrong direction. I knit and tinked one row three times. That, coupled with being extra tired from school yesterday, meant that I was not able to stay awake for the entire men's figure skating performance, so I turned on the DVR. This morning, I got up at 4:45 because I was awake from having conked out early and so that I could watch the recording. It was great! I could fast-forward through the commercials and the non-competitive bits to the actual performances and scores. Then the Russian skater took the ice, did his quad-double combination beautifully, and the recording cut off! Fortunately, the results were on the CNN web site, but I still haven't found out exactly what happened, and I'll have to wait until I can sneak some sort of peek at a computer later at school since it's time to go into my morning routine, which is always a little challenging on Friday.

At school, I'm in one of those stinky bits of time when you have to plan to make everything come out even in time for the interruption of standardized testing. That is harder than it sounds when you don't know how the basketball playoffs will affect the school schedule and exactly what other interruptions are coming up. The word in the spring is FLEXIBILITY. Or ASSESS, ADAPT, and OVERCOME. That is a problem for me, temperament-wise, since I'm more of an I SCHEDULED IT, SO LEAVE ME ALONE kind of person. I get much older and grumpier at this time of year.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


The company converted my telephone line, and when I drove in from school, there was a small box sitting on the bench on my front porch containing the wireless modem/router. It installed beautifully although I did need the assistance of my DH for running some wires. Now I seem to have fast, efficient service. I am so excited, and I feel so competent! Did I mention that technical support was on the telephone? I wouldn't have needed them, though, if I hadn't been working on a Windows 7 system. Their excellent written instructions did not go past Vista. Alas, my daughter tells me she doubts that I qualify for big bucks as a network administrator, but I am at least the admin of my own little 2-computer-one-wireless-printer system. I would give my little network a cool name, but I don't know how to change the name, and I'm afraid to experiment because I just know I'll mess something up.

No knitting picture, but I did finish all the repeats of Chart A last night.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Obligatory Ugly Lace Photo

Looks something like a trilobite, doesn't it? I'm not persuaded that the variegated yarn was the "thing" for this pattern, but it does hide mistakes. I've been very careful in making sure the yarn overs and increases and decreases are in the right places, but I'm also relatively sure that I have mixed up some K2togs and SSKs. The color variation covers those sorts of mistakes very well! I am halfway through the last repeat of Chart A.

I am thoroughly enjoying the Olympics. I did take time out to watch Daytona races this weekend. The extended time spent repairing the track meant that I had plenty of time to flip back to the Olympics, though. I understand that the Long Track Speed Skating had track surface problems today. There must be some sort of track curse going around. The pairs figure skating was beautiful as always, and I have watched some skiing competitions that I don't usually get to see. I am somewhat miffed, however, that curling starts tomorrow while I am at school and then continues in the afternoon while I will have after school tutoring. I only get to watch that event every four years.

This may be my last post for a few days. I'm making some changes in my ISP, and I'm not sure exactly when this service will cut off and when I will have the modem and router and technical advice to get up and running. I can still get Internet on my Blackberry, but it's not very efficient sometimes.

Friday, February 12, 2010

My Olympic Challenge

I decided not to participate in the Ravelympics this year because the last time around I found the posting of progress and keeping up with teams to be very confusing. I am, however, participating in the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Olympics. My project is the Argus Shawlette from Wendy Knits. It is available on Ravelry. I am using a skein of wool and tencel from Susan's Spinning Bunny in the color Anshan's Biscotti. I swatched, and I went down a needle size to size 4s.

I'm not sure why I am choosing, in the spirit of the Olympics, to work on something that I do not do well--lace knitting. After all, Olympic athletes don't compete in their worst sport, but it seems to be the idea of the challenge of trying to better one's skills. Tonight, when the Opening Ceremonies begin in Vancouver, I will cast on. We'll see how long I last before becoming hopelessly confused by another lace pattern.

In case of emergency, I do have a sock already bagged for car and waiting room knitting.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Warning: A Rant

We are in the process of trying to change ISPs. The service we have been using since 1995 has rather slow speeds, and we would like to be able to watch movies and even a You Tube video in real time. We are also looking for a service that bundles in order to save some money. Unlike those of you who live in or near cities, the choices out here in the less-populated areas of flyover country are rather limited. The first is the one we already had, owned by a rural telephone company. The second is a wireless setup, owned by a company in the nearest city of size. However, since we are not in the right sight line from the top of the grain elevator (I'm not kidding) where the source is located, we can't connect that way. The third is with a regular mainstream telephone service provider.

I've shopped carefully. I have checked with a number of people, including one of those computer hardware geeks who builds his own PCs with the cases that are transparent with cooling fans with lights and stuff, who are pleased with both the repair service and the quality of the signal they have with choice number three. This week, after reworking my home computer setup to be more efficient, I called during my conference period to arrange serice. I landed in telephone hell! I was transferred from one department to another a number of times. One would think that if anyone could transfer a call without losing the connection, it would be the telephone company, but no. That first call was on Monday. The transfer of service was supposed to be on Tuesday afternoon. On Tuesday morning, I got a notice on my Blackberry that they needed more information. I called on my conference period. The day before I had set up the account using my husband's name for the listing but giving my name as the authorized person on the account. Furthermore, they had sent the notice to my Blackberry. However, now I was a security issue. I could be given no information, and they would accept none from me. However, they would have X call me back. No call. On Wednesday, I chose to ignore the entire situation. I had already devoted 1 and 1/2 hours to phone tag with these people.

Today, we have a school vacation that began at 1 o'clock. After watching the Duels in Daytona, I called the company again and talked with a very nice woman who gave me the information that my order has indeed gone through properly. The switchover should be next Tuesday, at which time they will ship the wireless modem and router to me to hook up. They promise to talk me through the procedure, and I do have children who know about these things, so I am hopeful. However, here's a clue--businesses simply should not make it this hard to sign up for a basic service. Obviously, the first few people I talked with didn't know what they were doing. I was merely trying to sign up for one of their basic advertised bundles, no fancy variations.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

It's Finished!

The Log Cabin Blanket for the youngest granddaughter. It is made from a variety of good quality acrylics and blends. I am really excited about the way it turned out. I snapped a picture before blocking. I know that when I wash it, some of these yarns will become even softer. I hope she likes the rainbow colors. I'm too tired to post more right now--long and difficult day at school. It was nice to come home to the thrill of completing a knitting project.
Edit: I have decided that the entire world should be edged in attached I-cord. In spite of the fact that it can seem to be miles around any given project, I really like the finished look that it gives. When I was a teenager, the height of being dressed "professionally" for grown-up occasions was a Sebastian (spelling?) suit. My favorite, which I wore in college for at least one Homecoming was a wool double knit with a taupey brown straight skirt and a cream jacket with a bound edge of the skirt fabric that looked much like the attached I-cord. (I think I still have that suit somewhere. I'll have to look and take a picture if I do, with the suit on a hanger, not on me. ) I've always liked that look from the '60s. Isn't it funny how people now associate that time with all of the hippy-looking fashion and not with what many of us actually wore? After all, we were trying to live up to the image of sophistication presented by women like Jacqueline Kennedy.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

"When you are old and gray and full of sleep. . . ."

William Butler Yeats by John Singer Sargent, 1908

Recently, there have been been several comments on a thread on Knitters Review about the use of a knitting needle as a murder weapon on NCIS and whether or not that would affect travel regulations regarding knitting on airplanes.

My question, however, is whether or not anyone has ever accidentally impaled herself by nodding off while knitting. A cold, foggy day between two storm systems, an extra-early awakening on a Saturday morning, a warm breakfast, and several more rows of garter stitch combined to lull me into a nap in the recliner this morning, needles in hand and afghan in lap. Actually, the coziness of the ever-larger afghan probably had something to do with it as well. I did have the presence of mind to press the record button when I started to nod a little, so I was able to eventually finish the episode of Sleuth that was weathered out by the ice storm the other night. When I came to this morning, however, another show was on that I didn't recognize, and when I laid my knitting aside to reach for the remote control, it wasn't there, but the channel kept changing. I kept wiggling experimentally, feeling for the spot under me where I was sitting on the remote, but I was unsuccessful. Finally, my grogginess dissipated enough that I noticed my darling husband sitting in a chair across the room snickering and holding the remote. Obviously, he needs a kitten and a laser pointer!

Yeats would probably not write about that as a romantic moment, but I'm glad we can still have fun together, even at my own expense.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Just Keep Knitting, Knitting, Knitting

I'm not exactly sure why I haven't posted. We were out of school last Thursday and Friday because of snow, which was pretty much still on the ground but not the streets by yesterday. Then it began raining most of the day, turning to sleet and snow by evening. Today we did have school, but we started 2 hours late. The word is that we're expecting more snow on Sunday.

Last year, we did not have even one late start day, and I seldom even wore a sweater. This sort of dual personality as far as weather goes is typical of this part of Texas.

DH and I really enjoyed the snow days last week. We hibernated, napped, watched movies, petted the chicken (subject for a different post), and I knitted. I am still working on that last log cabin blanket. I think it's going to be very nice when I get it finished. I enjoy doing log cabins, and I certainly enjoy knitting, but there is a such a thing as too much garter stitch! I had intended to start some socks when I finish this, but socks on a circular needle in stockinette are pretty much like back and forth garter stitch. I am being tempted by one of Wendy's shawlettes. I have some lovely sock yarn that I ordered a couple of years back. I used one color of it, and the socks did not hold up well at all. The yarn was much too soft, but the dye jobs are beautiful. I am thinking of using that other skein for the shawlette and following a pattern with a design in it!

School is rather frantic. First of all, there's all the adjustment for the weather. Then we are planning a Shakespeare Festival, starting extra after-school tutoring for the standardized testing, planning a writing camp tutoring for some students with an outside consultant, and studying textbooks for textbook adoption. It sounds even worse when I write it down.

The seniors ordered caps and gowns this week, so we are on our way to the end of another year.