26 February 2009

Felted purse or felted hat? You decide

Dear Mandella,

You have to run right over to USAToday and see this hat.

It’s only a small picture, but I’m sure that’s Lamb’s Pride bulky in Chestnut and felted to within an inch of its life before adding the handles and the bottom band.

Did you read the little paragraph entitled “Quirky Caps?”  This little gem especially:

“Anna Sui’s feather-festooned ski caps.”

Why didn’t I think of that?  Oh, I’d have been the talk of the town all winter if only I’d have knit in feathers to my caps (patterns below).

*sigh* I’m so behind the times when it comes to fashion.  Well, I suppose it’s because I have neither the wallet nor the size 2 body for it.



Adobe.com is the New Satan

I work with Adobe Creative Suite at my full-time job.  I started having problems with it (when it was running on Windows XP) in mid-November 2008.  The problem I started having (same as below in the Friday list, # 3) was supposedly fixed, then I started having the second problem (see Wednesday’s list) that the program would open for a few seconds, then close.  It was deemed that I didn’t have enough RAM on my computer.  So, 3 months later, I finally have a new computer and I’m loading up Adobe Creative Suite again (this time on Windows Vista, but I doubt that makes a difference here.)


Friday, 20 February 2009:

1.      I installed the software.  When it came time to activate the product, I couldn’t get an Internet connection, so I did it over the phone.  I input the activation code I was given and all seemed to be fine.

2.      When I clicked on a photo to open it, an older version of Photoshop opened (Adobe CS is an upgrade from an upgrade – long story short, I have Photoshop 6.0 and Photoshop 5.5 installed, too).

3.      When I tried to open Photoshop CS, I got a pop up window that said I didn’t have authorization to activate this software.

4.      When I tried to get on the Internet to get to Adobe.com for a phone number, I got an access denied message.

5.      Mark N, a programmer in my office, showed me where to put in the appropriate proxy/socket info so that I could get the Internet working again.

6.      I went to the Adobe.com web site, found the customer service number and dialed it.

7.      After 4 minutes, I was cut off.

8.      I dialed the number again.

9.      I was cut off again.

10.  I dialed the number for Technical Support.

11.  Upon being answered by a snot-nosed technical support child, I was informed that (1) Adobe no longer provides support for the basic Creative Suite Program, (2) the registration/activation problem wouldn’t be addressed, (3) no, I couldn’t speak to the snot-nosed technical support child’s supervisor, (4) this is a policy problem, not a software problem (according to the snot-nosed technical support child at Adobe).

12.  Adobe.com’s technical and customer support service s^cks.

13.  I headed out the door for the day.  Friends close to me prayed that I didn’t commit heinous acts while driving.


Monday, 23 February 2009:

A talented young man came into my office and solved Friday’s problem, which was that Adobe has a “services” file that needed to be adjusted.  Everything was good.  I was ready to knit that young man a pair of socks and invite him home for Thanksgiving dinner.


Wednesday, 25 February 2009:

1.      I started Photoshop.

2.      I waited a few seconds.

3.      Photoshop closed of its own volition.

4.      A check of the Task Manager showed that the application was not running, but the process was.

5.      We searched the Internet for solutions.  Apparently people have been having the problem with all sorts of Photoshop versions.

6.      We can't get to the web sites where some of the possible solutions are posted because those sites are blocked by my employer.

7.      One solution was to delete the Photoshop preferences file.  We did that.  It didn't fix the problem.

8.      Another solution was to reinstall the software.  We did that.  It didn't fix the problem.

9.      Yet another solution was to completely uninstall Creative Suite and reinstall it.  We did that.  It didn't fix the problem.

10.  Adobe doesn't provide telephone technical support for this version any longer (see #11 above).


Can you say, "hosed" boys and girls?


(I just heard a clap of thunder -- I'm in deep doo-doo now with the Adobe satan.)




24 February 2009

Dear Judith

Yes, it's me, your absentee blog-pal. You know, the one you spoil with care packages, phone calls and Valentines Cards that actually appear on the appointed day. The one who rewards you by never posting and hanging out at "the other place". Well, here I am, shame-faced and thankful that you have never, publicly or privately, castigated me for being missing.

This is just a quickie whilst I eat my breakfast before trudging off for another weary and challenging day at work (at least with 2 jobs you get a bit of variety). The bunny is jumping around my feet, Dave is in the shower, because if he's not ready by the time I go to work his left foot stays cold because I have to put his sock on still.

Your quilts are beautiful. I wish I had somewhere to put my sewing machine, but that will come in the fullness of time. In the meantime I trudge onwards with the everlasting baby shawl. Tonight Dave and I are going over to Mum's where she will gloat as hers is finished, bar the sewing up.

We have the builders in replacing the leaking utility room roof, which is (ick alert) sodden, mouldy and smelly. It's a good job it's going. Oh well, the work was on the list, we are just having it done earlier than planned. Dave will be off work for at least another 3 weeks, but he's doing much better. He doesn't use his crutches any more around the house, only when he goes out for his walks and physiotherapy starts next week.

All in all life isn't bad, and it's all the better for having friends.



12 February 2009

25 Things from my Stash

Dear Mandella,

Apparently I have missed out on the big “25 Things” event that has been running across blogdom for the past week or more. I even have a Facebook account and I haven’t done a list. Well, that’s because I’ve been crazy busy or sick or God-knows-what-else and therefore unable to devote hours and hours of time to posting on the Internet. So, here it is at last, my “25 Things” meme, but I’m limiting it to 25 things in my stash right now:

1. Striped pullover for one of my nieces. If I’m lucky I’ll get it done before she grows out of it.

2. Pair of red socks started for my SIL Deb. I have only one sock started and it’s vaguely near to the heel flap part.

3. Ab-Fab throw. I’ve gotten through the first iteration of the 58-row color pattern and barely started on the second.

4. A simple shawl started from a lovely skein of Oceana (was the 1300-yard skein very big in England?) that is in time-out because I’m not please with it.

5. The kimono scarf – an adaptation of the kimono shawl in the Folk Shawls book – it’s 3/5 done.

6. A ball of merino yarn from Lisa Souza that’s dyed in the gendarme colorway. It’s meant to be a pair of socks. For me.

7. A ball of Socks That Rock (StR) Heavyweight in the Grandma’s Flower Garden color way that’s meant to be a pair of mittens.

8. A skein of Mountain Colors sock yarn in bubblegum pink that’s meant to be a pair of socks for one of my nieces.

9. A scarf knit with two shades of Manos del Uruguay wool/silk yarn. It’s about halfway done, maybe less.

10. Sock yarn from Claudia Handpaints in the “Oops!” colorway that I’m dying to knit for myself but I’m having too much fun just enjoying the colors are they appear on the skein.

11. A pullover started from odd balls of Cascade 220. I’m sort of halfway up the back.

12. A beautiful pullover from Louet Gems sportweight that I dyed *red* and that I’m designing for myself. I’m not very far up the back on that one.

13. A pair of socks in a variation of the waffle pattern. It’s knit from some Louet Gems sportweight that I splatter dyed with all sorts of colors. I’m not quite half way to the heel flap on the first sock yet.

14. A pair of socks – knitting two at a time on circulars from the toe up (the very first of their kind for me) – that I’m knitting from a lovely sock blank that I dyed.

15. A simple 1 x 1 rib scarf in grey KFI Cashmerino that is 2/3 done. *DONE* And given to a great neighbor across the street who helped to clear the driveway of snow.

***This list is getting to be depressing! But, I soldier on***

16. A blue and white pillow cover that proclaims “Go Jays!!!” for a Creighton University student. I don’t know who it is, yet. It’s a sample for String of Purls. It’s nearly done. Just 3.75” of knitting and I can block it, then make it up. *DONE*

17. Yarn enough for four more of those KFI Cashmerino scarves.

18. Jojoland Melody in the green/violet/navy colorway for knitting yet another hat.

19. Gorgeous olive green dyed silk yarn from Lisa Souza that I want to knit into a scarf for one of my sisters.

20. Odd skeins of Lambs’ Pride bulky that I keep promising myself I will knit into a blanket.

21. Several skeins of Galway that I got to knit into a felted tote bag.

22. A pair of mittens from KnitPicks Swish in a blue-green color that’s going to be for one of my nephews. He’s only six, so they should go fast, but I’ve barely started on the cuff of the first one.

23. Yarn in Iowa Hawkeyes team colors to knit an scarf and hat for a nephew who will be enrolled at the University of Iowa this fall.

24. Two skeins of the “Raven Clan” StR mediumweight that I haven’t even wound into balls yet.

25. Some Schaefer Marjaana yarn that I will eventually knit for me, but I don’t know if it will be a shawl or a pullover yet.

I know. I’m going straight to hell for all of this! If I can get two of these finished each month I’ll have them nearly done before the year is out. But don’t bet on it. J


11 February 2009

An Invitation to Tea and Thankfulness

Picking up this idea from Lady Euphoria . . .

You are cordially invited
for tea and thankfulness
Sunday, February 22, 2009
All Day
Your Place or Mine
Be prepared to make a list
of things you are thankful for.
I shall be spending my day of Tea and Thankfulness at my mom's. I'm going to work on bringing over her sister Mary (who lives fairly near me) to visit.

07 February 2009

Dark Chocolate

For all of you who have eschewed romance in favor of reality, here are some Bitter Sweets for your enjoyment.

06 February 2009

Me and Mr. Rogers

You Are a Cardigan

You are traditional, old-fashioned, and even a little conservative.

More than anything else, you are a creature of habit. You haven't changed much over the years.

You shy away from flashy ideas, people, fashion, and foods.

You have simple tastes. You go for established quality and longevity every time.

Blog Tag

I've been tagged by Lady Euphoria and must now tell you all six quirky yet boring and unspectacular details about myself:

1. I have a 4" scar on my neck. (I almost stayed a fish -- long story.)

2. I don't exactly whistle. It's more of a low hooting sound.

3. I have "the heartbreak of psoriasis" but I've never had dandruff.

4. I can introduce myself properly in Japanese.

5. I can write my first and last names with the Korean alphabet.

6. I have stood on my sister Jodie's farmhouse porch and made cow noises until the dogs in the neighboring farms started barking.

The six bloggers I am tagging are Alcariel, Dragon Mad Knitter, KT, AbandonedByWolves, Knitting in Color, and Karoline.

03 February 2009

Turbine Hat Pattern

I call this hat a Turbine because the crown (where all of the decreases happen) comes out looking sort of like the blades of a turbine when you look at it from the top. If you just stand it up, though, and push down the top a bit, the whole thing looks rather like one of those fancy Jell-O molds. Oh well . . .

There are ribs all around this hat which make its size deceptive. When it’s collapsed (as in the photos) it looks thinner all around than it really is. The nice thing is that it will stay that way to fit a smaller head, but it expands beautifully to fit a larger head. As always, this pattern will work best with wool or a wool blend. I don’t recommend cotton, linen, or other such yarns because they really don’t have the stretch necessary to keep the hat hugging your head.

Materials — Jojoland hats:

US 3 circular needle, 16” long

Extra US 3 circular (for “magic loop”) or set of US 3 dpns to use when there are too few sts to work on one circular.

2 balls Jojoland Melody (each ball is 50g, 220 yards superwash variegated wool) of the same colorway (samples were done with MS26 and MS27)

Materials — Cascade 220 Hat

US 4 circular needle, 16” long

Extra US 4 circular (for “magic loop”) or set of US 4 dpns to use when there are too few sts to work on one circular

1 ball Cascade 220 Superwash (100g, 220 yards superwash wool)

Optional scraps of 2 other colors to knit 2 rounds each.

Gauge: About 6 stitches per inch. Don’t be fussed if it isn’t exact. The ribs in this design make the hat very flexible.

Cast On:

Jojoland Cast-On: Holding both strands together, knit cast on 108 sts. Join into a circle (being careful not to twist) and work 2 x 2 rib (K2, P2) for 18-24 rounds or until brim is about 2” – 2.5” long.

Cascade 220 Cast-On: If using the optional contrasting colors, start with a scrap of a contrasting color, knit cast on 108 sts. Join into a circle (being careful not to twist) and work 2 x 2 rib (K2, P2) for 18-24 rounds or until brim is about 2” – 2.5” long. If you’re using the contrasting colors on the Cascade 220 hat, work one 2 x 2 rib round in the first contrasting color, then work 2 rounds in the other contrasting color, then change to the main color.

OK, now all of the directions are for both hats:

Increase Round: *K8, Kfb* repeat all around. 120 sts total.

Knit the Hat: *K8, P2* repeat all around until work measures 7” from increase round.

*K6, K2tog, P2* repeat. 108 sts total. Work 2 rounds *K7, P2* repeat.
*K5, K2tog, P2* repeat. 96 sts total. Work 2 rounds *K6, P2* repeat.
*K4, K2tog, P2* repeat. 84 sts total. Work 2 rounds *K5, P2* repeat.
*K3, K2tog, P2* repeat. 72 sts total. Work 1 round *K4, P2* repeat.
*K2, K2tog, P2* repeat. 60 sts total. Work 1 round *K3, P2* repeat.
*K1, K2tog, P2* repeat. 48 sts total.
*K2 tog, P2* repeat. 36 sts total.
*P2tog, P1* repeat. 24 sts total.
*P2tog* repeat. 12 sts total.
*P2tog* repeat. 6 sts total.

Finishing: Cut yarn, leaving a tail. Thread tail on needle. Draw threaded needle through rem sts and pull tightly. Secure the cinch. Bury ends.


Kfb Knit into the front and back of one stitch (increases 1)
K2tog Knit two stitches together (decreases 1)
P2tog Purl two stitches together (decreases 1)

02 February 2009

An Original Poem

Pretty Polly Hums and Longs*

for Bob

Last night I woke in a song
humming long,
swelling low in my bones.
Ridged and bare,
the floor spread beneath me,
knees scrubbed
sore in the earth,
dew-damp as early spring.
I couldn't hide
the moon, rein in the tides
breaking my spine
into single syllables of light.
Then, drawing ember and ash
through blood, I breathed
my woman's-magic into flame,
seared the sharp-silver night
with my tongue.

*The title is a line from the play Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas.

Silent Poetry Reading

Sure on this shining night
Of starmade shadows round,
Kindness must watch for me
This side the ground.

The late year lies down the north.
All is healed, all is health.
High summer holds the earth.
Hearts all whole.

Sure on this shining night
I weep for wonder
wandering far alone
Of shadows on the stars.

— James Agee (1909-1955)
excerpt of "Description of Elysium" from Permit Me Voyage

Click to hear the version set to music by Samuel Barber.

Three Hats and a Scarf

This is basically what I've been doing. OK, this and sewing at mom's house nearly every Saturday.

The photo collage that starts the post is just something fun to show detail. I especially like how the colors change in the second two. Those are the two color-fusion hats knit with Jojoland Melody (2 strands of the same colorway held together). The matching hat and scarf are knit with Cascade 220 superwash (1 ball each of royal blue, lime green, and variegated blue/green).

I'll post the patterns tomorrow. I have to get supper out of the oven before it burns!