Sunday, April 29, 2012

Monday Plans

Well, believe it or not, I’ve had a quite restful day in spite of the fact that I squeezed in my fill-in grocery buying trip for the week after this morning’s church service.  I tried a new recipe I learned from eating at my daughter’s house a week or two ago for lunch, and this afternoon I napped, web surfed, and watched a little television. 

Tomorrow, however, will be another matter.  I need to get some serious detrashing done in the future craft and sewing room, cook lunch, and do laundry.  I am also starting another sock.  Those lovely lace socks that I have been knitting—actually one sock—will be frogged.  I ordinarily knit socks for myself on 64 stitches on a size 1 1/2 needle (2.5 mm).  I’ve only had that formula fail me once before, and I think it was because the yarn was much thinner than I usually use.  In my experience, which is not vast, lace socks are usually looser than the plain jane version anyway.  Well, after I got past the gusset and after I joined the Ravelry group for knitting Knitty socks, I discovered that this pattern had  the reputation for being tight.  Since I was knitting Magic Loop, I tried on the sock.  Oh, my!  The cast on, which was 66 stitches instead of 64 was tight.  I think I figured out a way to fix that, but in truth, the leg and heel area of the sock were uncomfortable.  I followed the pattern exactly, but the heel, instead of being worked on half the stitches was worked on just 30.  The flap was shorter than I usually make.  Furthermore, the lace felt bulky and heavy rather than light and airy like I wanted for warmer weather socks.  Tomorrow I’m starting a second sock following the Sheri’s Lace pattern by Sockbug that I used a few months ago.  I am going to ignore her heel and knit the one that I know fits me, and go from there.  If I’m satisfied with the new sock, I’ll frog the other one and reknit it. 

This is what I did on Saturday:

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Two of those lovely dancers are my granddaughters.  The oldest girl also performed, absolutely beaming with excitement and satisfaction, but I don’t have a picture of her yet.  This was the annual recital program of the Dance Ministry of the church where they take ballet.  The program, which used scripture and modern Christian music, focused on the celebration of God’s world and its creation.  Dancers ranged from the 2-3s to advanced teenagers.  There were the usual cute performances by the little bitties and some impressive and moving performances by the older girls.  And, as you know, if you get to wear a swirly dress with sparkles and “FOUR. STRAPS. ON. ONE. SHOULDER., Grandma,” the whole day is extraordinary.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Gusset

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sock Blob

The lace part of these socks acts just like a lace shawl—they look like a blob until they are blocked.  At least you can get an idea of all the pretty colors in this yarn:

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The picture is a tiny bit lighter than the actual colors, but the shades are right.  It really feels good going through my fingers.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Catch-Up Wednesday

First, a knitting project from back when:

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This is a second version of the Botanical Cowl.  Just like the first one, it uses a 152- stitch cast-on in order to make it more scarf-like.  The yarn is the Wollmeise that was used on my Lady of Bath Socks.  The cowl is slightly narrower than the pattern because I wanted to be sure I had adequate yarn for the edging.  This scarf is a gift for my daughter.  I’ve really enjoyed the one I made for myself, and I’ve had a number of compliments on it.  It’s amazing the difference something so simple can make to an outfit, and the nice thing is that it doesn’t require adjustment and pinning like a regular scarf. 

Last Friday, I snapped some pictures at the granddaughters’ play day activity at the park.  The camera is on my iPhone 4S, using the Camera + program.  I edited in Photoshop Elements.  The zoom feature on the camera was not quite adequate for the distance from which I was shooting:

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duck, duck goose

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Sack Races; Duck, Duck, Goose; Beanbag Toss

I am also back in knitting mode after a little break.  I got in an extended period of sock knitting yesterday.  For me, knitting is an amazingly calming activity;  I’ve been really jittery for a week or two—with cause—and I needed the meditative nature of feeling the yarn and following the pattern to restore calm.  Today’s to-do list is long, but I’m going to be sure to include a knitting break or two, as well as my evening television knit time.  Even if I am pausing frequently to Draw Something!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Quiet Sunday

I’m planning a rather hectic week trying to get some major projects completed here at home.

Today was really, really quiet.  I spent most of the day napping or reading, and I am pleased to note that I just finished up on that backlog of ebooks that I had inadvertently created for myself.  I just checked in the last one, a few days before it was actually due.  My holds list now contains only one ebook, and I intend to limit myself to a list of one or two so that I don’t have to do express reading sessions.  I don’t really have the time for that, and it tends to make what is designed to be a leisure activity into work.

On the knitting front, none today, but I did start the socks from the Claudia Handpainted Oops! that I took with me this past week.  The leg of the first sock is progressing nicely, and I’m rather excited about the yarn.  When it is knitted, the variety of colors shows up much better than in the skein or in the wound ball.  It is really lovely yarn.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Beautiful Day

On Thursday, my daughter invited me to go along when she took all three of the granddaughters to a local nursery for a springtime visit.  It was a gorgeous afternoon—the temperature was just right, the breeze was light, and it was a great time to be out looking at flowers and fountains.  The nursery is Coulter Gardens in Amarillo.  Out in the back there is a goldfish pond.  After running, examining every display fountain, and finding stray ladybugs, the girls thoroughly enjoyed exploring the joys of the water, the fish, and the resident lion:

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fish watching

Mayzie

gravel crunching

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considering—and rejecting—a risky move

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Packing and Reviewing

I’m planning my packing to be away for an indefinite period of up to two weeks.  I will have laundry facilities.  Here’s what I have on my list so far:

  • Sansa Clip and charger—also a car charger so that I can listen to books when driving or knitting.  I need to finish the book I have on it now and load it up as well. 
  • Knitting project—Socks from Claudia Handpainted that I got as a Christmas gift.  I have a small project bag.  I’m planning the Spring Forward socks from the Summer 2008 Knitty because the lace pattern looks very easy.  However, just in case, I’m taking along a copy of the Sheri’s Lace pattern.  It’s more complicated, but I just used it a couple of months ago, so it’s familiar.  AND, I’ve just been informed that I need to take some needles and yarn suitable for teaching someone to knit.  I think the small project bag just became the smaller of my Namaste bags!
  • Nook Color and charger—I considered taking both my Color and the Simple Touch that I prefer to use for day time reading and for the small portability factor.  However, I think that I will be better off with just one device and charger, so I’m taking the bigger one.  I just discovered that I can get the Smithsonian Channel on it since the upgrade, so I plan to do a little more exploring with it.

Now for a review:  I think I like my Nook Color.  It is a refurb that I got at a good price from the Barnes and Noble site on eBay.  I know the warranty is good because there was something wrong with the original device, so I got to check out the replacement process.  It was relatively painless.  I am just now exploring possibilities.  There is a way to turn this into a small tablet for not much more money, but I am not sure that I want to do that.  As it is, I have expandable memory via a microSD slot, wifi, internet access, a number of apps, reading capability, and I can watch movies on my Netflix account and now Smithsonian programs on that channel. I can also access tutorials that I might want for sewing and knitting.  I primarily want to use this as a reader, not for playing games or doing computing, so I’m going to pass on the tablet capability for awhile.

That’s a brief opinion on the reader.  Now for details on the case.  IMHO, the “real” Nook cases tend to be way too expensive for the protection they provide.  I was looking, however, for a sturdy cover that had the capability of being propped as a stand and that would not have a flap flopping around in my way all the time.  This is what I found on eBay for $7.99, including shipping:

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Closed cover, showing the corrugated area.  Both sides of the cover are stiff enough to protect the screen from bumps in a purse or tote.

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Open, with cover folded behind so that device is compact to hold.  You can see that there is room to reach the N button and that there is an opening for the SD slot, although I truly think you would need to slide the device out to access it.

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Propped up in one of a number of reading positions.  The little stand fits into the corrugated area.  It does not work well in all the positions, but it fits into enough different ones to be adjustable.

Cons:  If you are a purist who insists on real leather, this isn’t for you.  It’s pure chemical and petroleum product, but it is sturdy and will be easy to keep clean.  I can also replace it 4 or 5 times before I’ve paid as much as I would have for a real cover.  HOWEVER, there is one problem.  There are no holes on the back to allow the sound to come out of the speaker.  I can make some, but I listened to the difference between the sound muffled and the sound from the naked device, and frankly, neither is loud enough to be adequate for listening while sewing.  For the time being, I will probably just hook up to the headphone jack before I get experimental.  There is also no pocket to slip anything into.  I find that many of the stand-type covers don’t have one.

Note:  I have a synthetic leather stand case for my Kindle from Tuff Luv, a British company.  I did pay a little more for it, but I got it on close out.  It has been such a perfect product that I would have repeated the purchase for the Nook if it had been available. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Probably Pointless, Rather Random Post

I almost never share one of those Facebook posts that asks or tells you to pass a message on “if you _______.”  For one thing, I don’t want to post that many messages, and for another, I don’t like the implication that if I don’t post, I don’t love Jesus, or my daughter, or my country, etc.  They strike me as being something like chain letters.  If you like doing these, please don’t be offended because this is just my quirk.  I’m just saying that’s the way they make me feel personally.

This one is, however, driving me absolutely crazy!

raised

Obviously, this item is meant to refer to past generations, and I can hear the voice of every grandmother, great-aunt, 1950s elementary teacher, and girdled, hatted, and gloved community woman’s club president of those earlier generations intoning, “Dear, children are NOT raised.  Animals and crops are raised.  Children are REARED!”  Yes, I know that language usage changes with time and region and that I sometimes use “raise” with this meaning myself (feeling guilty when I do it, just like I feel the spirit of my Home Ec teacher looking over my shoulder when I use a dry ingredient measuring cup for liquids), but that was the way it was in this corner of Texas in the middle years of the twentieth century.  (I think I just channeled a little bit from Our Town. Apologies.)  I’m also deliberately ignoring the errors in parallelism, and the fact that where I came from and living in my family, using the word “butt” would have been a sign that the child had not been reared properly. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Overplanning!

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My second try for a functioning Nook Color arrived this afternoon.  It is charged, updated, downloaded, and seems to be working just fine.  (Yes, it is posing in my project basket.)

However, I do have something of a problem.  For several months, I’ve been flying through audio book downloads from the public libraries.  I listen while driving on the highway, while cooking, while not watching the tv program my DH is watching, while folding laundry, and, of course, while knitting.  In order to do this, I’ve kept the holds list on both library sites—a total of 12 holds—loaded.  Now that I’ve committed to more eyes-on reading, I promptly did the same thing.  Oops!  Ebooks don’t multitask quite as well.  Even though I am committed to reading in bed every night, it still doesn’t add up to the time I can spend listening.  Guess what?  I’m getting behind.  I am going to make a really concerted effort to catch up on the library ebooks that I’ve downloaded and to hold the rest of my downloads until the next couple of weeks.  During that time, I will be away from my computer, but I will have socks to be knitted and ereaders along with me, so as long as I don’t forget my charging cords, I’ll be able to do some catching up, I hope.

Tomorrow I have Bible Study at noon, but I will be doing some real work in the future craft room in the morning—with headphones so that I can finish the mystery I’m listening to!

Sunday, April 08, 2012

risen

Thursday, April 05, 2012

What I Have/Have Not Been Doing

  • I haven’t been knitting.
  • I have moved my sewing machine into the new craft area that I’m working on.  This is a big achievement because it is in a big cabinet that I’m very fortunate to have except when it has to be moved.  I even sewed a little, doing alterations on a granddaughter’s Easter dress.
  • I have slept—a lot—the new allergy meds the doctor gave me last week take two weeks to become fully effective.  Therefore, I’ve been filling in with some over-the-counter stuff which makes me very relaxed.  This is one reason I haven’t been trying to knit lace.
  • I have managed to get the shelves back into my kitchen cabinets from the plumbing disruption.
  • I have been reading.  I go through numbers of books, mostly for entertainment reading and for reading good fiction, with an occasional foray into nonfiction that interests me.  In the last two or three years, however, I’ve become very dependent on audiobooks because I can multitask.  I found myself picking up a Kindle copy or a dead tree copy only when the audio was not available.  That’s fine for some reading and really good for some, but there are some works that need to be read eyes-on so that the reader can go back and reread and think and savor a phrase or a sentence.  I even found myself retiring at night with headphones on.  (Not only is that hard on the ears, but it wears out a lot of headphones as well.)  In my effort to break the habit, I started a few weeks ago deliberately taking some time each day to read on the page.  I love reading on my Kindle 2.  I like eink.  However, the K2 does not have wifi—it has AT&T 3G.  We live in a tiny AT&T dead spot.  If I download a book from Amazon, I have to go outside because of our metal roof and wait sometimes for a long time for a weak signal through Edge.  The other alternative is to plan for when I know we’re going out of town and take the K2 for a drive, sort of like trying to get a fussy baby to go to sleep.  Therefore, I decided to get another ereader that would be more convenient.  After thinking that a backlighted reader would be nice for reading in bed, I decided to look at the Nook Color.  Since I’m basically cheap, I took advantage of a deal last week and ordered a Certified Preowned Nook Color from the Barnes and Noble eBay store.  It was a really good price and for $20 I could get the Nook Simple Touch with it.  That would give me a small wifi eink reader to carry with me and a backlighted Color that would also display knitting patterns and do a few other things.  Well, the readers came in day before yesterday.  Alas, there is a problem with the Color.  When it goes to sleep, it doesn’t wake up again without being plugged into the wall and perhaps having to be rebooted and restored to factory settings and reregistered.  I spent time yesterday morning on the computer chat with tech support and finally last night on the phone with tech support.  They are sending me a new device and taking this one back.  One advantage that I will have with having the two Nooks registered to the same account is that I can continue reading with either device.  That will give me a tiny portable eink reader and a fancier, heavier one that I don’t necessarily want to tote around. 

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The Simple Touch in its case, showing the detailed cover illustration of a book.

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The case, with shadow.  IPearl MCover in Red.  I bought it from Amazon, on the recommendation of someone from the Ravelry Nifty Nook group.  The groove you see on the front has a fitted elastic cord which holds the cover closed in your purse and can be used to hold it folded back for reading. There is an inside pocket for small items.  I don’t like this as well as my Kindle case, but that company does not make a case for this model.  I did learn from my Kindle that having a black case is not as handy as a color when you are trying to locate it in your tote or purse.  I looked at the official cases at B & N, and frankly, I think they are overpriced for what I need. 

I realize I’ve written about this reader purchase in an irritatingly detailed fashion, but if someone else is considering a purchase, I wanted to be as helpful as possible.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Commenting on a Facebook Post

Today, one of my friends posted this on Facebook.  Ordinarily, I would just have shared it with my other friends from there, but this particular photo was in an album.  I have found out that sharing one photo from an album sometimes shares the entire collection, and I don’t like that idea, so I saved this photo to my computer and want to comment here.

introvert

My comment:  First of all introvert and extrovert are not absolutes; they are opposite ends of a continuum.  Almost all people have some characteristics of both depending on circumstances.  However, it seems that we are in a society that is pushing more toward the practice of constant extroverted behavior in which people have to be socially connected 24-7, electronically if not face to face.  The poster above is phrased somewhat unfortunately, because absolutes are not always possible to carry out, but when read as suggestions of ways to deal with the more introverted among us, the suggestions could be helpful.  “Introverted” is a word with negative connotations today.  There are, however, real advantages to being a person who is comfortable enough with himself to be alone without freaking out.  There are jobs which are best done alone rather than as a member of a “team.”  Very creative people often require a certain amount of solitude to fulfill potential. 

What set me off to comment about this?  It was another comment which suggested that following any of these suggestions was like “coddling” a drug addict and implied that this kind of personality was a choice and a negative choice at that.  While I realize there is probably an extreme end of the spectrum that needs real help in learning to function at all in or with society, I can’t help but feel that there is room for people who observe and plan carefully before rushing in, who give thoughtful opinions rather than the first tweet out of their head, who value a few good friends and long-lasting friendships, and who regard privacy as a virtue instead of just letting everything “hang out” on public display.