Thursday, January 26, 2012

Strange Day

Today is a funny day.  I’m really tired.  I think I got 4 hours of sleep.  So to amuse myself and hopefully, I am going to use all sorts of typeface styles.  Pathetic, no?  I guess when I get in this state, I’m easily amused.   (Tahoma, font size 11 points)

I’m feeling rather underappreciated at work.  I’m definitely underutilized. I get very little feedback about the job I’m doing, except when I do something perceived as “wrong” even though it is in full compliance with company policies.  It’s different than how they used to do it, but this is a new company, they got taken over, the winner wants it done their way.  Of course, I had to train myself on the different practices and was left to figure out what was meant by some of the instructions.  And unfortunately the director has a bias to one group, but that seems to be common across the industry.  I just tell myself, you’re a contractor, keep your mouth shut, this too will pass and you’ll be off to the next assignment.  (Palatino, 11 points)

I have an idea floating around for a sweater.  I see the shape as pretty basic, round or scoop neck, set in sleeves, some waist shaping and ending at the high hip. I think it would be best done in pieces rather than in the round.  The main fabric will have texture from an overall stitch pattern, but there will be vertical bands of not so open lacework to break up the pattern.  Perhaps knit from side to side to change the look of the patterns.  I really don’t want to go into Barbara Walker’s Treasuries and pick out a pattern for his.  I want to come up with something on my own.  I won’t hold my breath that I can actually do that.  But I can maybe use an obscure one. (Helvetica, 11 points)

 It isn’t like I have nothing on my needles right now with nothing waiting.  I owe 2 sets of fingerless gloves after I finish the pair of socks I have going right now.  Then there are the three blocks for the block a week KAL for Jan and several WIPs that I have to decide if I’ll finish or frog them.  But I really am tired of my wardrobe but can’t find what I want in readymade.  My cubical is so cold; right now I have three layers on.  I need some warm tops that aren’t too bulky so I can layer as needed.  I’ve added about 3 cardigans to my collection.   I did a Calvert, a Manu and a Tissue cardigan over the last 13 months.  They will augment the couple of machine made ones from Talbots and Marshalls/ TJ Maxx as well as some older hand knits.  I did lose some sweaters to moths or another critter when I was taking care of Dad that last year.  I never got the chance to give them a good cleaning at the end of season and put them away as I normally do.  I lost probably 10 sweaters to the moths.  I can fix a few but others are too far gone and way too small a gauge to fix.  They have become dust cloths, cashmere dust cloths.  UGH!  I did get my money’s worth out of them though.  They were close to 10 yrs old so I can’t complain too much.  I really liked them and they worked so well in my wardrobe that I miss them and their cuddly warmth.  (Georgia, 11 points)

I was lucky that the little buggers did not get into my stash.  I did find two skeins that may have has some issues.  But these were wool from at least 30 yrs ago.  It could have happened in any of the 9 places my stash has been over that time.  I found that out when I was caking them up to use in Chris Bylsma class, Stashology 201.  I didn’t find any signs of dead bodies but you never know. I am making an effort to use some of my stash up this year.  I am cutting back on stash collection.  I do get something if there isn’t anything in the stash that will work, but am trying not to buy.  I will be doing Sock Madness this year again so I did get a few solid sock yarns for that because I have so few and they are mainly dark colors.  Dark colors are not good for speed knitting, too hard on the eyes and don’t show the patterning well for the photos.  But I am determined to get the stash down.  I am working on some blocks that will go into charity blankets.  It’s a block a week KAL.  I’m using my mother’s stash for that as well as my own.  I have to set up a place where I can photograph my stash and then get it listed on Ravelry so I know what I really have.  That will help me figure out what I can do with it.  I wish I never found Webs, Elann and DBNY (Discontinued Brand New Yarn) on-line.  I probably could have paid cash outright for the new car.  Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration but I could have bought A new car in cash if I didn’t have this stash just not the Audi I got, maybe a Hyundai, definitely a Kia. (Courier New, 11 points)

I’ll let you know how the design comes along.  I should be able to write up directions in a couple of sizes after taking Ysolda’s class on grading patterns.  I should have picked out a yarn and worked on swatches by the time I write the next installment.  Oh boy, I’ll get to use the Intertwined charting program I bought and maybe even draw a schematic.  Heck, I may actually get the hang of designing for someone other than myself.  Woo Hoo!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Last Old Post

Here's the last of the unposted entries.  This one was written in June 2011.

It’s a Wonder….

That anything gets accomplished at my job.  I have never worked in a place with a lesser sense of urgency as this one has.  The project I’m working on has been ongoing since late 2009.  Right now we are 18 months from running out of three key materials and the basic information on the replacement materials is not in-house.  There are no specs from the manufacturer and no in-house specs.  I brought this up at least two weeks ago, maybe a month and there has been no movement.  It’s very hard to write something without the source documents.  But ultimately it’s not my problem.  I’m just a contractor who’s come to the project at the end.  I have no authority to make things happen and when I bring it up to those who do, it’s glossed over.  And I won’t go into the other contractor they brought in on the project.  He supposedly has experience in the field, well you couldn’t prove it by me.  He has no grasp on how big industry works.  He spends most of his day talking to relatives or friends on the company phone.  Will he be surprised if or when one of our bosses comes down with the phone bill.  He doesn’t seem to be able to grasp a lot of the training or discussions of the project.  I  know I’m smart, but I had to explain something to him four times and he still didn’t understand the concept.  I’ve had to organize the work load for the two of us because he is either unwilling or unable to do those types of tasks.  I also think he’s been working on a business venture of his own.  I can’t say I’ve been an angel since we haven’t been very busy, but I do my side business things at home on my own time.  And mine are not in the same area of business, so there’s no conflict of interest.  His are, I think.   He keeps talking about all these people he knows who have started companies in India and how much money they’ve made.  I think he’s trying to do the same.  I know he’s been trolling company information sites that have nothing to do with our project. (He had to call me over to figure out what he did on  the computer to cause it to lock up and I saw all sorts of places he’s gone to on the company intranet.  I’m staying out of it, that’s all I can say.)

I have been trying to catch up and finish the shawl I had started making.  It has turned out to be fairly large.  I just have to join the two ends of the edging, secure the ends and give it a wash then it’s off to Scotland.  I think Kirsten will like it.  I do have to get a picture for Leo, since it is his design and I think I’m the first to finish it.  Others have started it, but most are in time-out since there were two errors in the pattern.  I figured out what needed to be changed, did it and then let Leo know about the problem and my solution.  After all, we are his test knitters and that comes with the territory.  You get patterns no one else has seen but there may be problems with the pattern.  I haven’t measured it but I expect it’s about 5 to 6 ft in diameter without stretching.  It’s acrylic so it won’t stretch out much.  She wanted acrylic so she can use it for breastfeeding.  It can go in the wash and not have to have special care.  It should have been in Scotland by now, but life got in the way.  The AC went on the fritz and I needed to go car shopping.   I was also participating in Ravelry’s Sock Madness and that cut into my knitting time on the shawl.    Sock Madness is a speed competition between groups of sock knitters.  It has seven rounds and I made it through five of them.  I was foiled in making it though the sixth round by work.  I had to go there and it was Memorial day in Canada, so a Canadian who was at home for a three day weekend finished before I could.  The sixth round had only one person from each team going to the finals.  So I made it to the semifinals.  Not bad for my first time entering.   But now it’s back to the Guild Wars on AMKG.  I was knitting the shawl for a challenge there, but didn’t finish it in time.  It was too big to take to the Yankee games with me so I lost valuable time there.  But I wasn’t going to miss any of the games.  I even stayed through the whole game last Saturday in the cold wind and mist.  I watched more of the game with my glasses off than on I think.  I took them off because I got tired of wiping them clear of all the water.  At least they won. 
Baseball is back.  My Yankees are doing reasonably well so far.  But it is the first week and it is a long season.  Except for the fans in Boston.  They say New York fans are quick to jump on a loosing team, denigrating the players and coaches.  Well, Boston fans are even worse.  The Red Sox are 0-6 and the fans are all over the team.  They’re wonder what’s wrong with the team, why aren’t all their high-priced new acquisitions not performing, and in general, what has happened?  The answer is, it’s baseball.  Being successful 30% of the time is a GOOD thing in this game.  The Red Sox’s are a good team (that was painful to admit) who just aren’t outperforming their opponent.  A loss by one run is the same as a blow out, they’re both losses.  Boston has been playing all their games on the road so far.  Being on the road is different than being at home, or even being at spring training.  Even in spring training, a road game is only a few hour’s drive away and you get to spend the night in your own bed.  Boston’s been at Texas and Cleveland.  I don’t know if it was cold in Texas but it is in Cleveland this time of year.  These early games are strange.  The players have been playing in warm weather for the most part and then they go to places that may have SNOW in late March and early April.  That is a big shock to anyone’s system.  They play in some domes, but not all the cold weather area teams have a dome.  There isn’t one in Cleveland or Colorado, where a game was held in the snow recently.  But perhaps the ghost of the curse is in the heads of the Boston fans.  All those years of not winning a championship, or even getting into the champion round, has ingrained in eventual failure to the Yankees.  Not that I mind.  It’s something to tease my friends who are Red Sox fans about.  I’m actually thinking about betting which team will have the better record at the All-Star break with one of those friends.  I think the bet will be the loser has to wear something from the winner’s team, like a t-shirt or hat, out in public, around people they know.  That way the humiliation is complete, they have to spend money and their friends know they lost a bet.  And this friend is a bit tight when it comes to money.  I’m not sure what’s he saving it for, unless he has some secret vice, like internet gambling or strip joints that I don’t know about.  Last year we bet dinner on some games and I lost and paid my debt.  I’m not expecting to see him in person this year, but still want to make a friendly bet.  I have some things in mind for my vacation time this year and a trip to Cape Cod is not on the list.  I’m not sure what exactly is, but it isn’t.  I think I may want to go to Ireland or Iceland or perhaps a week on a beach somewhere warm.  Or maybe to knitting camp!  I could try for Meg Swansen’s  knitting camp in Wisconsin.  I’m sure Sock Summit is already full, but I don’t think they opened up enrollment for Meg’s camp yet.  Getting in is like getting a skein of WolleMeise  from their site, almost impossible, but worth a shot.  And after taking a class with Meg at Vogue Live, I understand the rush.  I miss unlimited knitting time.  This work thing just cuts into my fun time so much, but it helps pay the bills.

Written May 2011, way too late for Meg's camp.  That opens in Feb and fills up right away.

Catching Up

Another post written last year and never posted at the time.  This is from April 2011.

The Boys of Spring

Today is opening day for baseball.  If you’ve been reading my blog, you will know I’m a rabid Yankee fan and a fan of baseball in general.  So having to work today is killing me, especially after not working for 5 years.  In that time I have watched every Yankee opening day with my father or Robert.  And  for the last 2 years, it hits me that both of them are gone.  Watching and going to baseball games was one of the daddy-daughter things my father and I did.  We continued to do that until his death, mainly watching and talking as Dad din't feel up to going to a game.   Robert watched and/or played almost every sport there is. Hockey and baseball were his favorites.  He was finally the person who got me watching hockey and understanding most of what went on in a game.  I still think some of the rules of hockey are dumb, like icing.  After all it is played on ice,  why call it icing and not off-sides like they do in other sports. Duh. 

I will say that while I’m meeting some very nice people at work, it really cuts into the time I have for my other interests.  I’m not knitting up a storm like I did before, and my reading time is cut way short.   My internet trolling is down as is the time I spend on Ravelry and Yahoo groups.  I feel disconnected from the people who helped me get through some tough times.  I try my best to keep up, but there is only just so much time in the evenings.  I haven’t been able to teat knit as much as I want.  I’m not talking about paid test knitting, but the things I do for MMario and some people on Ravelry.   But the job I have is pretty cool.  I like it a lot.  And it helps people eventually get the medicines they need for a better life. 

I did join Sock Madness on Ravelry this year.  For those of you not on Ravelry (why aren’t you??) or just haven’t been swept up by it, it’s a competitive knitting contest.  The first round, everyone who joins  is given a relatively easy sock pattern and 2 weeks to make a pair of socks with at least a 7 inch foot (before the toe).  Those who complete the socks in that time frame go through to the next round.  I made it through with about 4 hours to spare.  I know, me who boasts of being a fast knitter, took the whole 2 weeks!  Well, that was because I signed up late and didn’t check to see if I got in right away.  When I did check and saw that I was in the competition, a week had past.  Actually 9 days had past.  So I was left with 5 days to get yarn and make a pair of striped, offsetting ribbed socks.  Not totally mindless because the ribbing was offset for each stripe, but not overly hard.  I made these which I need to undo the toe and shorten the foot.  I did not get row gauge even though I got stitch gauge.  So they came out big.  And they are reverse twins, which is different for me.  I only was able to snag 1 skein each color of Wildfoote for  the pair and knew I didn’t have enough of the light yellow to make a matching pair.  I was surprised I liked them when I finished.  That not me, I like matchy-matchy socks.  But I’m keeping these the way they are and not hunting for more yellow Wildfoote.  I was better prepared for the second sock challenge.  This one was a combo brioche / slip stitch pattern.   The suggested yarn was either variegated or semi-solid, although almost anything has looked good in this sock.  The pattern stitch of one brioche knit surrounded by two slipped stitches and a purl between the slipped stitches breaks up the pooling that may occur with variegated or hand painted sock yarns.  Not that pooling is bad, just sometimes it’s not wanted.  This pattern wasn’t hard but seemed awfully slow.  Even the fast  Scandinavian knitters were slow with this sock.  It took the fastest person  about 30% more time to do this pair, 17 hours versus 13 for the first pair.  I think I had about 20-22 hours of knitting in this pair and was in the first 10 finishers in my group.  This time, the group was broken into 4 teams of 48 people.  The first 37 knitters for each group will go onto round 3.  So I’m through to round three and waiting for the rest of the field to finish.  I’m in the slow and/or newbie group.  The groups are broken down by experience and speed.  I think I would have made it through even on the fastest team, but definitely would not have been in the first 10 there.  I’ve been using the time in-between rounds to finish up a few WIPs and rip out the sweaters that don’t fit anymore.  I’m back working on the beaded border of my Samhain shawl.  I think that was Renee’s Mystery 14 shawl.  She’s up to 22(?) now.  I think I started the shawl in the fall of 2008.  I kept up with the knit along until the last clue.  I got the end of the shawl done in fine time, even with all the beading.  But the edging has been my bane.  There are three beads to every four rows of the edge and that slows me down to the extreme.  I never seem to be able to get a rhythm going when I have to bead.  I’m using a lace weight yarn from Zen Yarn Gardens and placing the beads on by the crochet hook method.  The yarn is a bit too fragile to string the beads on and then pull up one where it’s needed.  Plus it wouldn’t sit as the designer intended if I beaded it that way.  So I’m just plugging along.  There are 48 repeats of the edge pattern on this shawl and I have about 30 done.  The end is in sight but not that close.  Finishing or frogging this shawl was something I wanted to accomplish this year.    I really want that set of Addi Lace needles available for something else, even though I treated myself to a set of Addi Lace Clicks (their interchangeable) while at Stitches last October.    I also got a set  of the KA interchangeable bamboo needles.  They go down to a size 1 US (2.25 mm).  And they have the 1.5 and 2.5 US tips available.  I used the 1’s on the first sock of Sock Madness and have put a slight bend into the tips.  But that always happens to my 2.0 and 2.25 bamboo double points so I really didn’t expect anything different from the KA’s.   What has surprised me is how well the tips stay on despite them being screw on tips.  I have used the Boye interchangeable set and the tips are always loosening while I knit.  I think it has to do with my actions knitting continental.   So far, I did one pair of socks and started a second with them loosening only once on the second set .  And I didn’t use any grip aids to tighten them, just did it by hand.  The loosening of the Boye needles discouraged me from the Knit Picks interchangeable set along with some other things.  I figure if they have what appears to be a lot of people calling about broken tips and joins, they must have a quality issue.  I don’t care how inexpensive they are, if they are going to break a lot I don’t want to invest in them.  I’d rather save up for the Addi’s or Dykraft’s wood interchangeable.   They have gotten good reviews and appear to have good quality for the money.  Even the Denise plastic needles don’t seem to have the issues that Knit Picks have.  I just occasionally spray mine with Armor All and wipe them off.  It helps with keeping the finish  a bit slicker.  I also do the cords.  The silicone seems to help. 

Amazing use of auto product.  I actually found this out when I was crocheting a market bag out of a plastic yarn called Gummy.  They suggested spraying the hook (a size P and plastic) with Armour All to keep the yarn from sticking, and it worked like a charm.  I would make sure that you wipe the needle or cord well.  You want only the lightest of film left so it won't stain the yarn.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Blog Jam

This ia anoter posting I wrote and never posted.  It was written Jan 29 2011.

It’s been a long time since I last blogged.  There’s been too much going to and fro to sit down and take stock.  But I should try to catch you up with all that’s going on, especially since I am going back to work on next Monday.  I will be a contractor for Pfizer in their regulatory department.  I will be writing submissions for re-registering the Wyeth products under the Pfizer name.  I can write like a lawyer and summarize things very well.  Fortunately or maybe unfortunately for you, I don’t use that skill here.  I figure you want all the messy juicy language

I last left you with my Rhinebeck experience.  I then went to Stitches East with two knitting friends, Cindy and Cheryl.  They are part of the group that gets together at my LYS (well the one I frequent the most) for open knitting.  We didn’t have classes together but it was nice to have someone to have meals with as we were staying in the same hotel.  I then went on from Hartford to Cape Cod to see my high school boyfriend.  I was nervous seeing him again after 42 years.  Funny thing, I recognized him right away.  I’m not sure what he thought since I’m twice the size I was in high school.  But he was too much of a gentleman to say anything.  He did try to start up where we had left things but I’m a bit too old for making out now.  And I’m still not ready for someone to replace Robert.  I’d like to have a companion for my old age, but that isn't him.   We did catch up and do talk every now and then.  I’m glad I got back in touch with him and the old college boyfriend/fiancée.  I found that one is still the nice guy I remembered and the other is still the adolescent, head turned by big boobs and accessibility.  I’m no slouch in the boob area, been a D or E cup since 30.  But I wasn’t always around so he went for the closest thing around.  And unfortunately for him, he’s still in that mode so he’s had three wives and is probably married to #4.  And he’s married the same type every time, insecure, jealous and looking for a pay day.  I wanted to send a wedding gift to his fiancée and she questioned the hell out of me.  I explained I had no interest other than friendship with him and that it was just a gift to wish them happiness in their life together.  She turned all belle (a NC native) and turned the gift down.   I’m not sure who did it, but I was un-friended on Facebook which really pissed me off.  He claimed it was a problem with his computer, but Facebook doesn’t just drop one person as a friend and not everyone else.  And even if it did, he didn’t do anything to remedy the problem and re-friend me.   So I found out that he is still the stupid jerk he was 37 years ago when we broke up. 

I have been having a hard time with transferring programs from my old computer to this new one.  The one I’m really having a problem with is the Intertwined charting program.  So either I am going to spend the big bucks and get Knit or Stitch Illustrator and Photoshop or re-purchase the Intertwined program.  Or figure out how to make Excel work the way I want for charts.   I do like charts but also want to give written directions for my stuff.  And that ain’t happening with some kind of program.  I hope Photoshop is somewhat intuitive and that I’ll be able to use it.  I’ve heard it can be hard, but that was a while back. 
I found out Photoshop is still hard but it may be worth the price.  Illustrator seems to be the program most designers use.  I will be looking into that one as well.  Sometimes the old saying is true, you get what you pay for.  I'm not putting the Intertwined program down, just that it has limits on what it can do.  If all I wanted was to put out a chart, it would be great.  However, I want to do more and it isn't designed to do full patterns.  I would have to cobble the chart into another document and hope it comes out readable.  I can do that but if another program can do it all, why wouldn't I so that.  It's all boils down to how serious am I about designing and publishing patterns.  There is interest out there so it just may be worth the money. 

Catching Up

Again a post I wrote off line and am posting to catch up.

Log Jam (Written April 5, 2011)

Right now I have a log jam in my head.  I’m seeing designs that I just can’t translate to make the fabric.  I’m seeing some socks and lace but when I put them to my needles, it isn’t working.  I either hate the yarn I thought would be perfect for the design or I can’t execute the design.  I started on a lace and cable sock, the yarn was obscuring all the lacework.  I was using Tousles but a solid color; well really a marl and it just didn’t show.  I have a shawl swirling in my head but I don’t seem to be able to get it down on paper, let alone knit it.  It’s all crammed in my brain without a proper outlet.  I have my little idea book that I keep with me, but I’m a lousy artist.  I tend to make geometric shapes when left to my own devices.  They should translate nicely to lace patterns but it’s not happening.  I feel perplexed by the whole thing.  I’ve not has a problem with sweater design.  That always seems to work itself out of my brain and into fabric.  The problem there is I don’t know how to grade a sweater up or down to get a pattern that useable for others I have lots of patterns for a 45 in D to DD cup, which is a 50-51 in chest with bust shaping that I can put out for use.  If you aren’t that I could write it to your exact measurements but not to a typical 38 inch bust measurement because there is no “typical” person out there to measure.  That’s where knowledge of pattern grading comes in.  While we probably can all add an inch or three to a bust, how much do you add for an arm circumference, or a shoulder or armhole depth to get the next three sizes?  I imagine that’s why someone who can grade a pattern is so valuable on Seventh Ave.  Pattern graders and pattern cutters are the highest paid employees in the garment trade for the most part.  They can affect profits by how well they know their materials and the design.   It has to fit the majority of people in that size range but not have too much ease and waste.   I have been buying books on the subject.  It’s quite an exercise in special geometry. 

I believe that women look better in clothes that have some structure.  Drop shoulder designs are a friend to very few.  They are easily designed but look extremely sloppy.  People like me who don’t have a strong shoulder line look awful in them.  I sometimes can get away with a modified drop shoulder, but only on casual clothes.  I look best in a set in sleeve with a saddle shoulder as a second best look.  I can wear a raglan sometimes, but I have a bit of a sloped shoulder, so it isn’t my best look.  So if I go for my best look, it usually means seams and finishing work which many people hate to do.  I think it’s because they don’t get taught the different ways to finish an item early on.  So they develop the idea that finishing is hard to do.  It isn’t any harder to do than learning how to knit is.  It’s just a matter of learning the different ways to sew up the pieces and which are the most appropriate for the particular seam.    Mattress stitch is the most popular for sewing long side and sleeve seams.  It leaves an almost invisible seam from the public side of the garment.  However, a backstitch can be used for a side seam successfully.   Backstitch is commonly used for shoulders seams although short rows and a three needle bind off are becoming more popular.  Some claim that this does not make a stable seam like sewing does while others claim just the opposite.  I think this may be a directional thing.    If you bind off towards the shoulder, the seam may stretch that way.  If you bind off towards the neck, it may not stretch as much.  Do I have proof? No, it’s just a conjecture based on the anatomy of a stitch in the bindoff.   
That was some ideas I was wresting with at that time.  I have since gotten a few books on pattern design and taken a class on pattern grading from Ysolda Teague while at VK Live NY a week ago.  I think I have a better idea on what to do and may be able to get some of these designs out of my brain.