Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My husband just pointed something out...

My husband is watching Joe Biden speak at the Democratic convention. My husband says:

"It's really interesting to hear someone who has been a congressman for over 20 years tell us what a bad job the government is doing for us."


Saturday, July 26, 2008

It was hot, but it was worth it...

Our family went to a local watermelon festival today. In addition we had my daughter's two best friends with us. There was a parade, karaoke, free watermelon, and booths with crafts, food, games and gifts.

One of the booths was rented by the city library and they were selling used books. My son and I dug through the boxes to see what we could find. Here is what I came out with:
  • The Superior Person's Book of Words - this one is for my oldest daughter who likes to throw big words around. Lots of big words with humorous examples of when to use them;
  • Tips for the Lazy Gardener - hundreds of time and effort saving tips for gardening;
  • The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had - I'm going to read this one before I send it along to my oldest daughter; and,
  • River-Horse: A Voyage Across America - this one I snatched up fast because it is by William Least Heat-Moon, who wrote Blue Highways. I blogged about that book quite a while back. I didn't know he had written more books!
In addition, my son picked out four other books (one was for his younger sisters). This bag full of books was ours for the paltry sum of $2.

So, even though it was close to 100 degrees out there, I'm glad we went.

Oh, and the watermelon was good, too! :-)

Monday, June 23, 2008

A Recommendation for Mac owners

My 6-year-old iMac computer went kablooey recently. It simply would not boot up.

After trying all that I could to access the drive and get my data off of it, I finally sent the whole thing off to a company in Memphis. They diagnosed a crashed hard drive, but were able to recover all of my information from it. While they had it, I figured I might as well upgrade.

So for a little over $325 (including shipping both ways), I got a much improved Macintosh back--newer OS, bigger hard drive, and more RAM. The cost to take it to the closest "Apple approved" repair place, 80 miles away, would have been $300, just for the hard drive recovery. And the turn around was quicker than I expected: they received it on a Thursday and I got it back the following Thursday.

The company I sent it to was Operator Headgap Systems. They sell refurbished macs, do repairs and upgrades, sell parts, and have a great tech support line. There is also a pretty good tech page on their website with lots of good information on upgrades, hardware, and software.

They went above and beyond the service I expected, and I am very pleased with their work. I highly recommend them if you have a Macintosh that needs work.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Not your typical family portrait...

My oldest daughter "anime-d" our family. We have this drawing framed and hanging on the wall alongside all our family photo portraits in the living room.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Pictures as promised...

So here's my pretty lace scarf, sewed up on the long sides from each end with an open section in the middle. I can use it as a scarf, a shrug, or a hood (the open section fits nicely over my head while the ends wrap around my neck). Handy-dandy!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Baby Booties in Worsted Weight Yarn--Pattern

After searching the web for a pattern I liked and finding none, I used a pattern I already had that was written for a smaller gauge yarn and adjusted it for worsted. I didn’t like the look of the resulting bootie, so I devised my own pattern. This is a good pattern for someone learning how to knit in the round because it’s quick and it doesn't use tiny yarn and needles. Here it is:

Yarn: Any worsted weight yarn you like, I prefer wool
Needles: U.S. 5 double pointed needles, set of 5
Gauge: I don’t know. I knit kinda tight, and the booties I made look like about newborn size.

Cast on 28 st onto three needles - 9 st, 9 st, 10 st.
Join without twisting the stitches. K2 P2 for 12 rounds (or a few more if it looks good to you).
Eyelet round: K1, yo, K2tog and repeat around. End with K1.
Knit 2 rounds even.
Move the last stitch from the last needle (the one with 10 sts) to the first needle. (If you are a perfectionist, you may want to unknit that last stitch and then purl it before you move it over. But it’s not a big deal.)
Purl across first needle, then knit across needle #2 and #3.

Instep (the top of the foot part):
Work back and forth on the first needle only. Begin with a knit row and work in stockinette st for 14 rows, ending with a purl row. (tip: don’t pull the 1st stitch of each row too snug [as I have a tendency to do]. It will make the next step much easier.)
Next row, K2tog, K6, K2tog. (8st remaining)

With a new needle, pick up 7 st along the edge of the instep you just knit.

For those of you who might be new to this, I’ve written more detailed instructions:
If you look down on the edge of that long knit section, you’ll see that it looks something like this:
where the hyphens are one long thread running with the edge and the slashes are another thread or two wrapping around the edge.
You’re going to pick up stitches (along the edge closest to your working yarn) from R to L by inserting the needle point under that long thread (the hyphens) from front to back, and then go to the next long thread and pick it up from front to back and repeat this down the edge.

Now, purl those 7 st just like you would any normal stitch (it will twist so there won’t be a hole), then using the same needle purl 5 st from the next needle (12 st).
With a new needle, P4 remaining st and using the same needle P4 from the next needle (8 st).
With the next needle which has 5 st remaining on it, pick up 7 st along the side of the instep.
Purl the first 5 st plus the 7 you picked up (12 st).
P8 on the last needle.
So you now have four needles: #1 with 12 st (long side), #2 with 8 st (heel), #3 with 12 st (long side), and #4 with 8 st (toe). Back to knitting in the round:

Purl one round.
Knit 3 rounds.
Purl one round.

Knit 2 decrease rounds, knit 1 round even (no decreases), knit 1 decrease round.
Decrease round: Needle #1-knit across; needle #2- K2tog, knit to last 2 sts, K2tog; needle #3-knit across; needle #4- K2tog, knit to last 2 sts, K2tog.

You will end up with two stitches left on the heel and toe needles. Put one stitch on each of the side needles. Graft the stitches from the last two needles together.

I’ve heard a lot of people comment that they HATE grafting or Kitchener stitch. It got a lot more fun for me when I finally figured out the technique. For those who want to know:

You hold the last two needles parallel to each other, with the working yarn on the right end of the needle closest to you. Cut your yarn and leave a nice long tail to sew with using a large tapestry needle.

Put the tapestry needle thru the first st on the front needle as if to purl and pull the yarn thru.
Put the tapestry needle thru the first st on the back needle as if to knit and pull the yarn thru.

For the rest of the stitches it goes like this:
Put the needle thru the first st on the front as if to knit and pull it off the needle, then put the needle thru the second st on the front as if to purl and pull the yarn thru.
Put the needle thru the first st on the back as if to purl and pull it off the needle, then put the needle thru the second st on the back as if to knit and pull the yarn thru.

I go down the row thinking “Front-knit off-purl, back-purl off-knit, front-knit off-purl, back-purl off-knit...”

The last two stitches you simply knit off the front and purl off the back. Now is that so hard?

Make sure that you pull your stitches snug. When you’re done, it will look like you have knit the bottom in one piece. Gorgeous!

If you want to adjust the size of the bootie, change the number of st cast on (multiple of 4), the length of the ribbing, and the length of the instep. You may also want to increase the number of rounds you do between the instep and the sole. Design your own with a decorative pattern on the instep!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Finished projects

I finally finished that lace scarf/wrap that I started a couple of
months ago. I think it turned out pretty nice. But now I'm thinking
about turning it into a shrug by sewing the long edges together for
about 20 inches or so. It could still be used as a scarf that way, but
it would be nice for those days when you need long sleeves in the
morning and short sleeves in the afternoon. And it would be easier to
keep it over your arms and shoulders where you need it most.

I also decided to use that grey/blue worsted wool to make a soaker. It took a little more than one 50g skein, so I used the rest of the second skein to make a matching pair of booties. I didn't have much luck finding a pattern for booties that called for worsted weight yarn, so I had to make up my own. I'll post it later for anyone else out there who might be looking for such a thing. I'm going to sell the soaker for $6 and the booties for $4.