Saturday, August 27, 2005


KIP = Knitting In Progress

On the off chance that someone has come here looking for knitting content, here is what I have in my knitting bag these days.

1. A pullover sweater that I started last year. I hope to finish it in time to wear this winter. The color didn't photograph well. It is a heathery sage green.

2. The first soldier sock. I need to get cracking on these, because I need them done before Christmas.

3. A sock for me. I pinched the pattern from my friend Nancy. It looks like fish scales to me, so I call it the Fish Scales Sock. The Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn is beautiful to look at and to work with. The needles are size 1. (For the benefit of non-knitters: a size 1 needle is the same diameter as your standard toothpick, but longer. These are 5 inches long.)

4. A scarf from Belisa Cashmere laceweight yarn from Australia. I purchased the yarn and pattern at Stitches Midwest from Stan, the owner of the outfit. I never could resist an Aussie accent. Lucky for me, Stan was busy when we went by his booth on Saturday, or I would have had another skein in pink.

The needles are Lantern Moon needles from Vietnam. Pricey, but so pretty.

Here is a close up of the lace pattern.

It's a simple pattern, once I figured out, with Nancy's help, that "S11" was actually "Sl1", or Slip 1 stitch. Nonetheless, I have still managed to make a small mistake, and -- Nancy to the rescue again. She was able to find and repair the bad stitch, saving me two rows of tinking. (Tink = knit backwards, or unknit stitch by stitch to get back to the stitch that needs repair.) Thanks, Nancy!

We would like to thank our spokescat Katie for her assistance with this photo shoot.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Dante's Inferno Test has sent you to Purgatory!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very High
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Moderate
Level 2 (Lustful)Low
Level 3 (Gluttonous)High
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Very Low
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very Low
Level 7 (Violent)Low
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Low
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Very Low

Take the Dante's Inferno Hell Test

Piker Jeff has us all checking out where we will land in Dante's Inferno. I bounce back and forth between Level 3 and Purgatory. Today, Purgatory won - maybe because I skipped dinner last night.

Purgatory: You have escaped damnation and made it to Purgatory, a place where the dew of repentance washes off the stain of sin and girds the spirit with humility. Through contrition, confession, and satisfaction by works of righteousness, you must make your way up the mountain. As the sins are cleansed from your soul, you will be illuminated by the Sun of Divine Grace, and you will join other souls, smiling and happy, upon the summit of this mountain. Before long you will know the joys of Paradise as you ascend to the ethereal realm of Heaven.

Level 3: In the third circle, you find yourself amidst eternal rain, maledict, cold, and heavy. The gluttons are punished here, lying in the filthy mixture of shadows and of putrid water. Because you consumed in excess, you meet your fate beneath the cold, dirty rain, amidst the other souls that there lay unhappily in the stinking mud. Cerebus, a canine monster cruel and uncouth with his three heads and red eyes, dwells in this level. He growls and tears at the damned with his teeth and claws.

An eternity of putrid water? That should inspire me to a better lifestyle right there.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Linguistic me

Your Linguistic Profile:

75% General American English

10% Dixie

10% Midwestern

5% Yankee

0% Upper Midwestern

I'm curious where the 5% Yankee came from, and also curious why I have not picked up any Upper Midwesternisms despite having lived here for decades. I think they must have been looking for some of those peculiar Michigan words. I'm proud to have hung onto some of my parent's Southernisms. Now let's go get a pop, y'all.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

In the bag

I finally *felted the Hold It All Handbag. I finished the knitting several weeks ago, but had not felted it, because I thought the handle might be too short.

Here it is after knitting, and before felting. The cd is there as a size reference.

For some reason, my bag ended up a lot longer than the one in the pattern picture. The handle looked too short, but I was resisting cutting, lengthening, and grafting it to make it longer.

Two Old Bags had a bag on display at Stitches, and the proportions were definitely different from my bag. I quietly decided to lenghten the strap as soon as I came home. I pulled the bag out this weekend, though, and it must have relaxed, because the handle looked perfect. So I took a deep breath and threw it into the washer.

*Felting (or more accurately, fulling) for non-knitters: Did you ever ruin a wool sweater by throwing it in the washer with too-hot water and agitating it for a while? It shrunk and got thick and matted. You can also do that intentionally, by knitting something at a loose gauge, and washing it to make a thicker, more durable fabric.

Here is the bag after about 15 minutes in the washer.

The Cascade 220 felted beautifully, and quickly, and the bag ended up being a perfect size. I bought a brooch from one of the vendors at the star party, and am using that as an accent on the bag. If I had it to do over, I might make the handle a couple of stitches wider, but all in all, I'm happy with the way it turned out.

I'm also happy to have one big project out of my knitting bag. Next up: finish the soldier socks before Christmas, and finish the sweater so I can wear it this winter.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Yarn Ho!

I went to Chicago this weekend with Margie and Amy for Stitches Midwest. I've been sitting on some fun money for six months now, just waiting for a shopping extravaganza. And shop I did:

Sad to say, this is not even all of it. There is a book you can't see, and a couple of patterns and some double point needles that did not make it onto the display.

It's a good thing I needed a swift (the big wooden thing at the top) and a ball winder (in the box at the bottom). We all got yarn in hanks the first day, so had a winding and swatching party at the hotel after dinner. The turquoise yarn on the box is sock yarn I wound that night. The bag to the left has a skein of Australian cashmere for a scarf. It is already on the needles, but I need to make sure I understand the pattern abbreviations before I go any further. ("S11", anyone?)

Back at home, I had a different project today. While we were in Nebraska, my friend and former cubicle neighbor Shelby sent me a picture frame so I could put Katie's picture on my desk at work. I finally got a decent picture of the little miss that could be cut down to fit the frame.

Katie, of course, is totally unimpressed. But thanks, Shelby, for your thoughtful gift.

Another good thing about this weekend - it rained, and then it cooled down. I had the windows open all day, and I will be sleeping with them open tonight. It doesn't get any better.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

August 11

Happy Birthday, Terry!

Here he is attending to the linens while we were camping. And here is our camper nestled in the woods:

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

This one is for Tejon

The Badger mascot of Valentine High School (Valentine, Nebraska). Posted by Picasa

Let the vacation photos begin!

Self-portrait with gym sock - looking down the tube of a telescope into a 20-inch mirror. First Light Optics telescope courtesy of Jim Holloway and Kevin Fox.

The sock, by the way, is protecting the secondary mirror (the small mirror at the front of the telescope.)

Here is one of the two First Light Optics telescopes at the star party - the 18 inch, I believe. I don't have any pictures that demonstrate the size of these telescopes. I'm 5'4", and I could just barely peer in the eyepiece or the front end of the telescope at this angle. If it were pointing any higher, I would need to use a step ladder.

These are beautiful, hand-built, scopes, and pretty affordable as big Dobs go. (But no, Terry, you aren't getting one for your birthday.)

Edited to add: I lied. I found a really blurry pda pic of Kevin and Jim being interviewed for local television. One of the scopes is in the background, upright, so that gives you an idea of how big it is.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

This is vacation??

It's been hot here during the day (102 F yesterday), which is far too hot when you can't even plug in a fan. We have been spending every afternoon drinking lemonade in the bar at the resort where the daytime events are held, which is not really a bad way to spend a vacation.

Evening viewing has been so-so, better if you enjoy watching storms build on the the horizon. The last two nights have been partly cloudy and partly stormy, and we have bailed out about midnight.

They are promising storms this afternoon and a cool down (into the 80s) for Thursday. We are hoping the cool front gets here soon, because T and I both need naps in the worst way.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Heart City

I'm posting from the lovely and accomodating public library in Valentine, Nebraska, which is the nearest town to where we are camping. Nearest town, in western Nebraska terms, means 35 miles away from where we are camping.

We were not able to get a campsite with electricity the first night we were there. By the next day, we we so settled in that we did not want to pull up stakes and move to an electric site. So today, while we are in town, we are going to price generators and see if there is one that fits our needs.

Last night was our first night observing at NSP. Terry bagged two Messier objects. He only has 10 left to clear the list.

Current temperature in Valentine at 11:00 AM - 82 °F / 28 °C. It is supposed to get into the 90s again today - and every day. (Kris, you will have to do the conversion on that one yourself. My laptop battery is running low.)

More later.