Saturday, July 31, 2010

I Wimped Out

I didn't go to the game last Saturday.  It was just too hot.  So I stayed home in the A/C and watched the game on TV.  I could hear the A/C coming on very often during the game.  A friend went and said it was quite unbearable.  All in all, I think I made the right decision.  I would have been very uncomfortable at the game.  I don't like wearing shorts to the game.  I don't like how I look in shorts.  I have very heavy legs.  I don't know where they came from.  Both my parents had thin legs and so did my maternal grandparents and paternal grandfather.  I didn't know my paternal grandmother.  She died when I was about 2 years old.  But from the few pictures I have, she didn't look like she had heavy legs.  I blame it  on starting dance lessons at the age of 4 and continuing until age 13.  My legs are always the last place that slims down when I loose weight.  My shape is a cross between a pear and hourglass.  I have a rather large bust, a thinner waist and then larger hips and thighs.  When I buy slacks, I always have to either take in the waist or tightly belt them.  Lately, I have been eating better (with occasional splurges) and am slowly loosing weight.  The jeans I bought in early May can now be pulled off without unbuttoning them. (Okay, the fat does push in when I do that, but they slide down really low if I have my keys in the pockets.  They almost came down while I was out shopping.)

On the knitting front, I bought the charting program Intertwined Pattern Studio the other day.  It doesn't have a demo, but for $44 it isn't that much to invest in a charting program.  I do have the demo of Knitware Basics to try along with the Intertwined Pattern Studio.  I have seen a lot of beginning designers using the Intertwined program.  I haven't heard too much about Knitware Basics, but thought trying the demo couldn't hurt.  I have several designs I would like to put on the blog but want to have charts as well as written directions.  Personally, I like using charts.  I guess it's from all the cross stitching I did, or maybe the Fair Isle and intarsia knitting.  However, I know that some out there can't use charts for a variety of reasons.  That's why I want to give you both.  So I will spend some time playing with both of these programs and let you know what I think. I have finally finished knitting the seed stitch top.  I have yet to do all the finishing.  Bad of me, I know.  I could use another summer top.  But I got distracted by BadCat Designs Summer Swatch Me KAL.  I spent the whole week catching up to the group on the sampler.  I also decided to make it wider and longer than the original.  I can knit stockinette and lace fast.  Especially when there are no beads to add.  I normally use the crochet hook method of adding beads to knitting.  I've tried the dental floss leader method and am more comfortable with the hook.  But I found a curved beading needle when I was shopping at Michael's for some inexpensive worsted weight wool for the Level 1 Master Knitting swatches.  I haven't checked them for flexibility but if the curve flexes enough to go back on itself, I may have a new way to slip beads on stitches.  I'll let you know how it works.

I have to confess, I am not a monogamous knitter.  I cannot have just one project going.  I think I have 8 or 9 projects on needles right now and the one top to finish.  Five are not for me, an afghan for my nephew, a pair of socks for a friend and three baby things for charity.  The others are KALs that I've joined and got bogged down in (usually by beads) or lost interest.  I eventually do go back to them and get them done.  I get sidetracked by the next KAL or it's time to get the charity knitting out or something lures me away.  I get them together and go through them.  I tend to finish the seamless projects right away.  (Duh)  But don't think I hate finishing, I don't.  I need to be in the mood to finishing and I do it well.  If I'm not in the mood, I do an okay, but not great, job of it.  I think the finishing can take a garment from "home made" to "hand made" or "custom made".  Sort of the same difference between ready to wear and couture.  You really don't want your work to scream HOME MADE.  You want them to have a custom made look.  Your finishing skills can make all the difference.  So practice your seaming and blocking to get that professional look.  Bye.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Do I stay or do I go?

No, not the song, but to the Yankee game?  I'm watching the game now trying to decide if I go to the game tomorrow.  I'm having a hard time deciding because we are having another hot spell.  It is supposed to be in the mid 90's tomorrow with a heat index of 103-105.  I'm not sure if I want to sit in the stadium tomorrow in that kind of heat.  Last weekend when I was there it was hot but not that hot.  It was in the low 90's and with the heat index, high 90's.  I went through 4 bottles of liquids during the 6 hours I was at the game.  Plus some ice cream.  I did have a little breeze and was in the shade, so it wasn't that bad.  But I'm not looking forward to 100+ temperatures at the stadium.  The only reason I would go is to see if A-Rod hits his 600th home run.  He got 599 on Thursday against Kansas City.  He has gotten a lot of milestone home runs against KC, his first, 250th and 500th.  So I'm waiting to see what happens tonight.  Already, Jorge Posada has gotten his 1000th run batted in so there's one reason not to go.  But 600 home runs is a big deal.  Only 6 others have gotten that many.  Yes, I know a lot of the players that have over 600 home runs used performance enhancing drugs, including A-Rod.   But unlike Jason Giambi, A-Rod hasn't had the dramatic drop-off in hits and home runs after going off the drugs.  It has been longer between 500 ans 600 than any other 100 run segment, but he is also getting older.  So I will watch the game tonight (like I wouldn't otherwise, NO WAY) and then make my decision.

I have started a pair of socks for a friend.  They are from the Knitters Brewing Co, their June KAL on Ravelry, and called the Pink Ribbon Socks.  I am doing them in teal for my knitting friend, Angie.  Angie has just completed chemo for fallopian tube cancer.  If you don't know the colors of Awareness ribbons, teal is the color for reproductive cancer.  Angie is doing well, all the treatments worked and she is getting back her hair.  So if I go to the game, I may take the socks to work on.  I did take knitting last week to the stadium and it wasn't a problem.  The hearts and ribbons pattern on the sock may be something I can't do without watching, especially since it's on 2.0 mm needles, US size 0.  It's a bit tough to see, so I may have to start something mindless to bring with me.  Maybe I should start another baby sleep sack or blanket for charity.  They are mindless and require no attention from me.  And the needles are big enough for me to feel the stitches as  they come up to the needle tip.  Everything I have on needles now require charts and I really don't want to take a chart that I will have to keep looking at.   I guess I will start a sack on large circulars,  US 11's or 13's.  The sack is done with heavy chunky wool or double worsted weight.   I made a few for Cooper last year and should do some more.  They help babies secure while sleeping and quieter.  They swaddle the baby.     I guess I now have a plan.  So next break, I'm off to see what I have that I can combine to make the sleep sack and find my 16" circulars in size 11 and 13 and do a swatch to see how I like the combo.  So I'm off.  Bye.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What happened to the time?

OK.  I promised I would be blogging from the TKGA/CGOA event in New Hampshire TWO weeks ago.  So you may be wondering what happened.  I did take my laptop to the show.  I figured out how to access the free wifi at the hotel.   I even went online to see how it would all work.  And did I blog?  NO!  I was alternating dying from the heat.  Manchester, NH was no cooler than New York City after July 4th.  OK, maybe 5 degrees cooler, so what's 99 with high humidity compared to 103 and high humidity.  No difference in my opinion.  Then I was freezing in the class rooms and my hotel room.  The classrooms, I had little control over the temperature; my room, I battled the maids.  I would set the room at 74-75 when I came in.  The temperature would be reset to 68 after the maid was done.  It would take some time to warm up.  Add on that I could not direct where the A/C blew, and, of corse, it blew directly on the head of the bed.  I came down with a terrible cramp/ strain/whatever of the muscle going over my left scapula.  You know, that wing shaped bone on the bottom of the shoulder.  I went out for some pain killers.  Got some generic Aleve at the local drug store because I wanted the longer relief but it didn't work as well as the ibuprofen I had in my bag.  So I braved the heat again to get some ibuprofen.  This happened on the second day of classes.  I made it through my classes and some friendly knitting in the lounge.  I then hoped that sleeping in my own bed and at the normal temperature I keep my house at would help heal the shoulder.  No such luck.  It still hurt and it was taking 600 mg of ibuprofen four times a day to keep it in check.  I decided that typing was not a priority until the shoulder felt better.  Even knitting was not a priority, so I did not finish the top for the ColourMart challenge.  In fact I finished the sleeves today, a full day after the challenge ended.  I still have to block the pieces, sew it together and run in the ends.  I did finish one entry, a lace shawl, but I doubt I will win any prizes.  I did not accumulate enough points for a first place in any category.

The classes at the conference were great.   I would say all of them were the quality you get at Stitches.  In fact they probably are the same as those given at Stitches since many of the teachers will be at Stitches.  The cost for classes were less than Stitches especially if you are a TKGA or CGOA member.  And if you're interested in crochet, there are may classes to learn or hone your skills.  It isn't as crowded as Stitches so you can really see what's in the market or get the attention you need in class.    The market isn't as  big as that at Stitches, it still gets enough of a choice and had everything you needed for the classes, in case you forgot something.  I saw Lion Brand and Dale of Norway there as well as some yarn shops from as far away as Virginia and Canada.  I started the TKGA  Masters program several years ago, but have been scared to send in my swatches for evaluation.  I went to an additional program specifically on the program.  It definitely helped me get over my nerves on submitting my book.  They had the books of previous Master candidates with their evaluation letters.  I could see what was acceptable and what was not.  So while I did see that I has some work to do and needed to replace some of my swatches, I gained confidence that I could get through it now without redoing any of my swatches.  I also learned that the program was being revamped with a greater emphasis on gauge, one of my pet peeves.  I noted that there was very little mention of gauge and how to obtain it in the Level 1 program.  I think it is a basic of knitting and the understanding of gauge, how it's measures and ways to obtain it should be in the Level 1 tests.  The committee agreed with me and are changing the program to do just that.  So now I have to wait until the end of the month to get the new program, redo some of the swatches, rewrite a report and submit my book.  Wish me luck.

I want to let you know about an independent fiber artist who is supporting wildlife rescue efforts in the Gulf.  As you know, the Gulf is rich in wildlife and they are in trouble with the oil leak there.  Susan of Susan's Spinning Bunny has made a special colorway called No More Oil Spill whose profits will go to help with Gulf wildlife.  Here's a link to her palette where you can see a picture of the yarn and a project made with the yarn, .  I picked up some for socks and mitts.  I know knitters are compassionate people and animal lovers at heart.  After all, we love the fibers and yarns that those animals provide.  Bye now.  

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Holiday Weekend

I was in the Bronx  today as it was one of my Saturdays for a game.  It was a warm, beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky.  I was quite comfortable because my seat is under an overhang and not in the direct sunlight.  It was brutal if you were sitting in the sun.  Many men had wet handkerchiefs on their heads trying to keep cool.  I saw many a sunburn walking around the park.  In fact, I picked up a slight burn on my decolletage.  Not sure if I got it while driving over in the convertible or at the game.  I did put on a 45 or 60 SPF product about a half hour before taking the top down on the car.  It isn't bad, just a little pink.  I did get to see more decolletage at the game, more than I wanted.  The man in the seat in front of mine was a David Wells look alike.  He has either  lost a bunch of weight and hasn't replaced his wardrobe yet because he has more to go or wears his pants under his stomach without a belt.  Either way, there was a lot of butt cleavage showing, and not good butt cleavage, hairy butt cleavage, almost all the way down to the anus butt cleavage.   It was not a pretty site and I made sure to look away whenever he stood up or sat down.  It was shown during the 6th inning playing of YMCA and again at the 7th inning stretch.  He finally pulled up his pants and underwear a bit, they were boxers by the way, after the stretch.  I wanted to tell his wife or girlfriend to get him some shorts that fit or a belt, but that would have been presumptuous of me.

On the knitting front, I appear to have gotten my taste for seed stitch back.  I finished the back and started the front.  I have most of the front designed already from the back.  I still have to work out the neckline.  I was thinking about a deep U neck or a deep V neck.  The cardigan that will go with the top will have a V neck and some lace panels.  The V neck makes more sense, it will echo the cardigan.  But I want to wear the top on its own as well as with the cardigan.  I do have a lot of knitting to do before I have to decide.  I'm also working on the Moonfleet Shawl.   I've finished one edging and picked up for the body of the shawl.  I'm behind the others working on this KAL.  Most of the others working on this are more than half way done, probably three quarters of the way through.  I am enjoying it and it is a break from the seed stitch.

I am going to TKGA later in the week.  I will be posting from there.  I'm taking courses on Orenburg lace, a refresher actually.  I'm also taking a class on photographing your work and pattern drafting.   There's a couple more classes in the agenda as well.  I'll keep an eye out for any new things being exhibited at the show.  I am also planning a side trip to Webs on the way back from the conference.   I'll let you know about my finds in their back room, well actually their back warehouse.  Last time I was there, I got some Noro for about $5 a ball.  I wonder what surprises I will find this time.  Bye