Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Originally uploaded by zinlizzie
This is the first of the new daylilies I added this past year. Only two of the five are putting up scapes. I suppose I'll have to wait at least another year for the other three.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

These blocks for the Taste of Aran Afghan are ones that I enjoyed doing - potato chip style. They were quick and fun. This first one is the Triangle Lace Cables pattern, a single cable twist with a lace V.
block6 The second one is Smocked Cables - a clever idea on someone's part. Just as with smocking woven cloth, one has to keep an even regular tension on the smocking part, but it really is fun.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Post script to previous post: K has now been reminded that if she lets go of the book for a total of approximately 3.5 hours, her mother will finish it, thereby allowing her to now discuss matters that arise as she gets to them, as long as it's not in her brother's hearing. She is both satisfied and pouting about this development.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

K is learning that being the first to read a much desired book (Deathly Hallows, of course) means that you're not allowed to discuss any of the interesting details when you get to them.

Spinning guild was yesterday. 25 people showed up. Of those 25, six were among the 7000-odd people world wide who have signed up for MS3. We were trying to figure out what that meant. Aside from the fact that we need to have a fashion show in October, of course.

This next square is an example of what I like best about Aran knitting - cables. This is the Chain Link Cable - all cables, all the time. I could see having this on a sweater of mine.

And this fourth square is an example of what I like least - bobbles! I don't care whether they are termed bobbles or knots, I don't care if they are executed in knit or crochet, I have yet to meet a bobble I like to execute, or really, one that I would like to wear. This is Briar Rose, and in this photo, it looks like nothing much of anything. In person, it's a clever little pattern with knots for rosebuds, but I disliked knitting it (both times!) and would never willingly use it for anything. Having to re-knit this square was one of the major drawbacks to reworking my original concept for this afghan, and one of the reasons why the project sat untouched for two years while the memory of the horror faded enough to allow me to try again.

ETA: This square proves that one's parents advice about "doing something you don't like because it's good for your character" is true. At least, if it isn't good for my character, it did teach me something. I tend to do things without examining how I do them or why I do them, until something brings it to my attention. I never have had difficulty in understanding charts or reading them, and I don't usually pay any attention to complaints about differences in convention between one designer and another. When I pick up a chart, I look to see what each symbol means, and then I'm on my merry way.

One convention that is often followed, whatever the exact symbol used, is that the same symbol is used for knit and purl stitches and the knitter theoretically interprets the symbol differently depending on whether a right or wrong side row is being knit. I say theoretically, because what I discovered about myself on this particular square, is that I don't interpret the symbol differently depending on right or wrong side. The symbol always means the same thing to me: - means purl and means knit in this chart. Instead, I mentally rotate my knitting so that I am always visualizing the right side of the knitting, whether I am knitting a right side or a wrong side row. Rather than redefine the symbol each time, I just always "look" at the right side of my knitting and perform whatever knitting stitch is necessary to make the right side of the knitting match the chart.

Ok, so my weird mental processes might best be left unexamined, even by me, but here's the gotcha on this pattern: All patterning is done on wrong side rows. The cable crossings and the knots are all presented in the chart as they look on the wrong side, but I'm busy mentally swinging around to look at the right side for all plain knit or purl stitches. Honestly, when I do this, it's like watching a little 3D visualization of my knitting rotating back and forth and frankly, it was making me dizzy. If I'd been home when I was working for this, I think I would simply have recharted this puppy to show all wrong side rows as they would look from the right side, but as it was I was in the car on the road with no paper or pencil, and I simply had to memorize the pattern as quickly as possible so that I quit having to look at the chart.

When I work up the mental strength to think about it, I am going to rechart this pattern a couple of different ways and see if it makes any difference to the ease of knitting. I'm still not entirely positive I understand why the patterning has to be done on the wrong side rows.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Coming to terms with my second childhood

When I was young, I adored being read to. I wanted to listen to someone reading on all occasions. When I was four, I learned to read and then had the magic for myself. By the time I was in second grade (about 7), I was coming to the realization that I could read some books as fast or faster than someone could read them to me, and by the time I was in fourth grade, I was reading over my mother's shoulder, skimming ahead of where she was reading and being obnoxious about wanting to turn the page when she was only half way through the first side. This was not well received on her part and I gave up on being read to. I wanted to hurry through the story, getting to the good parts.

For many years, I was told that when I got older (pick a time - when I got in middle school, when I got into high school, when I got into college...) I wouldn't be able to read as much, I wouldn't have the time. But, while it was true that I didn't have as much time to read, my reading stayed constant or even increased, because I simply forced myself to read faster. By the time I got to college, I had hit my own natural limit for reading faster, but that was still fast enough to allow me plenty of time to read.

I had plenty of time to read throughout my early working career, and even into early married life. Then... I had children. For the first time in my life, I truly didn't have enough time to read, and the amount of reading I have done has slackened off over the past ten years. The type of reading I have done has changed, and I have picked up hobbies that don't lend themselves to reading at the same time. While I can knit and read, I can't do much more than stockinette.

A couple of years ago, my sister recommended books on tape, with a particular author and narrator. I had read the books already and enjoyed them, but the narrator was said to be a good one, so I tried one. And then I tried another. Barbara Rosenblatt reading the Amelia Peabody stories by Elizabeth Peters is wonderful. And... I can knit at the same time!

This has been a wonderful revelation - with a few minor caveats. 1. The narrator has to be really good. 2. The narration can't be rushed. 3. The book has to be one that I've read before and know well. I still have to know how it turns out, or I want to dash to the end of the book, shoving the narrator out of the way so that I can turn the page sooner.

And so, here I am in my second childhood, listening happily to someone reading to me while I doodle, this time in yarn.

Cousin Kate by Georgette Heyer, narrated by Sian Phillips. Most excellent.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I'm always a little sad to see the first of the Oriental lilies to start blooming. Somehow, it signifies the beginning of the end. The Asiatics bloom first, then the daylilies start, and then the Orientals and then... they're done. This is of course, being much too gloomy as some of the daylilies are barely putting their scapes up and the Tangos aren't quite done yet, but still... This yellow beauty is first out of the starting gate, but only by a day or two. There's another that may open tomorrow, and that's one I just planted last year so I'm anxious to see it.
C, I'm glad you like the Aran afghan, but I left it at my parents-in-law earlier this week, so I'm not getting anything done on it. I had to rip back about 8 rows of Hyrna, and have just gotten back to the point that I had been. I started a cotton scarf when I needed some mindless knitting and, having dropped a stitch about 5 rows before I noticed it, I need to rip that back as well. All in all, this has been a dud week for knitting chez nous.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Taking pictures of this project has been problematic but I've finally got the solution I think (at least for the first go-round of pictures). These are the squares from the Taste of Aran Afghan , done in Daletta, charcoal grey. Finding some combination of lighting and position that would let me show at least a little of the texture has been and interesting problem.
I have about 11 or 12 squares done, out of 20, and I have developed definite opinions about some of them.
This first one is one of my favorites. Grillwork Cable:

And this second is definitely one of my un-favorites. Star Stitch, presented as an alternative to Trinity Stitch, is a pain in the finger joints. I suspect it may also be a pain in blocking, judging from the skew of the unblocked square.

More of apricot daylilies have opened up, slightly less skewed than their predecessor bloom.
And the lemon daylilies have started blooming as well. The bees are crazy over these and I often find two or three bees in the bloom arguing over who gets to get the nectar first.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

When I first moved into this house (3 summers ago?) I started a bed of lilies. In the front of the bed were the asiatics pictured previously (in yellow, pale orange and dark orange). In the back were daylilies which are now starting to open. Well, the stella d'oro have already been and gone, but the rest of them are now starting. These were a mixed bag and I've no idea which is which. Someday I may have time to peruse through catalogs and put names to them. (This picture looks warped to me, as though taken with a fisheye lens or something, but it's untouched. The bloom just looks a bit warped in person, that's all.) And as you can see, Hyrna has moved into the chart B phase. It's not a new observation that it is difficult to photograph lace in progress on a circular needle, but there you go. I like the chart B section. As with chart A, there is a mathematical placidity about the pattern that is pleasing, and there're only two rows to alternate between; extremely easy lace.
I need to find where I put Sylvia's notes about expanding HH - she worked it all out and I'd rather not muddle through the process again. Having expanded the first section (which I noted on my copy ) I think I also want to expand the second section to keep the proportions of the original the same. This I didn't note on my copy because I didn't get that far on my first stab at this pattern. Time to rummage through the stack o' paper.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I finished another couple of new (to me) books this week - Salt a World History, and In a Sunburned Country and thoroughly enjoyed them. It struck me as noteworthy while I was reading each of them that they had tie-ins to other books I've read recently, and then it dawned on me that if one is going to read books that talk about history, it doesn't really matter whether it is geological history or anthropological history, they are probably going to touch on some of the same topics. (duh!) (I know, there's probably some head thunks going on right there. I'm sorry.)
Of course, the book I'm reading now A Short History of Everything actually references not the same historical time but the same (other) book I'm reading, Annals of the Former World. And this leads me to the next book I'm planning on requesting from the library, A Guide to the End of the World. What fun!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Skein number 5 of the Beast. Only two more to go. Maybe. I think I'm ready to be done with it. So... I'm easily amused. A little history: The ladder ordinarily leans against the wall in the garage and the white cat climbs it, perches for a while, and climbs down. The tiger cat has never climbed the ladder before that we know of. The ladder was brought into the house (for dusting purposes [the house, not the ladder]) and the Snowball ran up the steps, perched for a while, then ran down the steps. Tiger observed this and decided he could do this too. While he perched, the Snowball tried again and was most disconcerted to find her perch taken.
Snowball having abandoned the field in disgust, Tiger then amused himself chasing his tail...
and then discovered he really didn't know how to get down. Oops!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Tango lilies: Capuchino
Dot Com
and Olina.
These pictured are all in their second year here, although I've babies of several colors.