Thursday, March 31, 2011

Because It Made Me Cry...

I'm trying to learn this song on the guitar. So to help me, I pulled up the Bette Midler YouTube.

And it made me cry. Because of all that's going on.

So play this; listen to the words, and watch her face as she sings this. Take its message to heart. She does it so much more beautifully than anyone I can imagine.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Tie Project, and Getting Things Off My Chest

OK, for everyone out there, it's NEW-klee-er. Nuclear, that is. Please, please, PLEASE pronounce it correctly. It's easy once you try.

Whew. I feel better now.

Go Buy This Book!!
So I've started Kid #2's tie. He said he wanted something "the kids could poke fun at" because often new teachers get razzed about something and he figured a hand-knit tie was it. Thanks.... I found a great pattern in one of the One-Skein books, this one:

My LYS owner has a pattern in there, and while I haven't jumped into what she designed, I did choose the "Mojito Tie" pattern, which is a great seed stitch pattern tie. I bought Cascade's Lana D'Oro Paints yarn in a great colorway and I started off.

It was fairly straightforward, and I got nicely along in the pattern. I was on the decreases, actually.

But then I saw them. Two mistakes. OK, I thought. I can live with this.

Kept knitting. But I kept seeing those things. Glaring at me with the equivalent of the knitting "stink-eye" and I knew that if Kid #2 wore that tie daily for the rest of his working life, all I would ever see would be the two mistakes. So I frogged the whole thing and started over. It's still working up nicely. And he'll likely have it for May graduation.

Here's what the yarn looks like. The colorway is 9926 and the yarn is 50% superfine Alpaca and 50% wool. It works up at 5 stitches per inch, and I'm using size 7 straight needles.

You can tell that it's a really nice red, shading to navy blue, and there are hints of burgundy and grey in it. As I go forward with the pattern, it spreads the navy blue out nicely. No pooling or awkward shifts of color. I think that 90% of that is because of the seed stitch pattern. It pops nicely on this yarn and after I had done almost 10 inches on the tie (yeah, I was over a foot done and then I frogged it all out), you could see the overall tweediness of the yarn.

It looked quite sophisticated.

Tie and yarn
And now I've started over. And that's life. Some days you frog a lot. Some days you can live with your mistakes.

I even had Hubby ask if I would make one for him! I can see these becoming as addictive as socks, because they look gorgeous in the luxury yarns, the colorways fall out in a great pattern, and they're relatively mindless as long as you're not increasing or decreasing.

The pattern was so easy to start; and then at the decreases, it's at every 1.5" or so - giving you a ver nice taper.

I hope he likes it. And I hope he wears it to graduation. Which is 2 months away!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday Musings...

1.  I couldn't be a talk show host. This guy just went in circles around the host, who kept trying to just get one-word-in-edgewise. Yeesh! I'd have to holler, "STOP IT!"

2.  Libya? Can we really be in a third war? Evil dictators do need to go, and the mass slaughter of peaceful demonstrators --- those are things that need to change. But do WE need to do that?

Organ Pipes Pattern
3.  I've decided on the name:  "5 Times Prayer Shawl" -- because I've started this thing 5 times and I really need to do a couple of things: Get it done; and listen to what the yarn wants to do. This yarn obviously didn't want to be lace!

4.  Tilt your head sideways to look at the picture. I have 4 balls of yarn to do this - about 1100 yards. I will do 1 ball of the Organ Pipes pattern on each end, and the middle will be in Stockinette Stitch.

5.  Full moons affect dogs!! Tippi was a bit nuts at training Sunday, but so was every other dog in PetSmart!

6.  Puppy pictures can make a really rotten day seem a little lighter. Not the cutesy ones you get in chain e-mails, but the ones friends send you.

7.  I found a tear in my favorite blue chair! Yikes, now I have to find someone to fix it! It's right on the seat, and it's a Laz-Y-Boy Queen Anne style recliner chair. My feet hit the floor in this chair, and they don't hit the floor on the couch!

8.  I went to a fancy-dress event on Saturday and saw TWO WOMEN in the exact top I almost bought.

9.   And saw one of my own friends in the dress I dithered about buying, and ended up not buying after all. Fashion faux-pas avoided!

10.  If you pray, pray for the people of Japan. If you don't pray, do something to acknowledge the disaster they are dealing with. No matter how much we plan or try to build, nothing - absolutely nothing - will stop Mother Nature when she's having a fit. This was nobody's fault and it was nobody's "payback."

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Things I've Been Thinking About...

1.  The earthquake in Japan was NOT... repeat N-O-T because they're "not a Christian nation." That's pure xenophobia. Get over yourself if you think that.

2.  The earthquake in Japan was NOT... repeat N-O-T "retribution" for Pearl Harbor.

3.  Three words: Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

4.  Two atom bombs which flattened large areas and killed millions of civilians kind of evened that score.

5.  I realize that in Japan, "face" is everything, but since you're pretty much on the brink of a global nuclear disaster, please put national pride aside and give the authorities the true measure of the damages. I'm hearing disturbing reports that Japanese officials are not actually 'fessing up to the extent of the damage in the reactor. Let's get real and understand that nobody will condemn you (or at least they shouldn't) if you tell the truth. Only by telling the truth about the extent of the damage can other nations help or prepare their own countries.

6.  Earily enough, today I have a seminar at work on process safety....

7.  If you believe that Japan "deserved" what it got, I suggest you get rid of your Japanese-made TV/stereo, your Japanese-made cell phone, microwave, most of the other appliances in your house, and your car.

8.  It's a small planet. We're all going to be affected by this.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

A Day Late...But Still Fired Up

So I'm a day late for the 100th Anniversary of International Women's Day. You can find out about it at this website:

And if you don't know already, here's a newsflash. There are still areas in this world where women are treated as less-than-livestock. Check out CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women). And please note who hasn't signed onto this document, which is known as "the international bill of rights for women."

I am absolutely ashamed to say that the US has not signed this. Nope. Believe it or not, it's been around for over 30 years, and the US has apparently decided (so far) that it's not necessary that we sign onto this. Really?

How can we go into another country on any kind of human rights mission and hold our head up? How can we say to Afghanistan, for example, "You have to treat your women better" when we haven't seen fit to endorse something as simple as this legislation which calls for women to be treated equally to men.

Notice, I said "equally" --- pay parity, access to education, health care and the other "benefits" of living that men take for granted.

My state senator, Dick Durbin, is trying hard to get this treaty passed. See this clip:

See the lovely company the US is in?? Really - we're right in there with Sudan and Iraq in our reluctance to sign this treaty. And as Durbin said, this is hardly a new issue, since CEDAW has been around for at least 30 years.

Anyway, back to International Women's Day. We celebrated at my Zonta club last night (see for more information) and indicated that we were going to help Afghan women, via donations, to attend school. How wonderful that we can bring Zonta's mission, Advancing the Status of Women Worldwide, to an immediate situation such as this. Helping women in a war-torn country go to school so that they can support their families - I can't tell you how happy this made me when we voted to begin this project.

Think about the women in your life. Don't they deserve equality in their own lives? My oldest son has a t-shirt -which I did not buy for him, and I'm proud that he wears it proudly.

It says: Feminism is the radical notion that women are people, too.

Couldn't have said it any better myself. I'll have to find out where he got that shirt!

Monday, March 07, 2011

Monday Musings...

Well, I don't have a cohesive commentary today. So here we go with a few random thoughts.

1.  My garnet prayer shawl is now on its FOURTH reincarnation. You know when you have something you're working with and it just keeps fighting you?? Well, I really really wanted to do this shawl in a lace pattern. But I literally ripped it out 3 times and couldn't get the lace pattern to work. I got tired of fighting the yarn, so I have re-started. At least I can bring this one to my Election Judge duties...the pattern is very textured, but it's one that I can't screw up easily. I hope.

2.  The new pattern is called "Pipe Organ" - which is fitting, since the recipient is an organist.

3.  May I say I love Senator Bernie Sanders?? His outspoken common-sense opinions are a breath of fresh air.

4.  And the Vermont governor is the ONLY governor in the US who's stood up with unions. At least someone realizes that unions aren't all the demonized evils they've been portrayed as on the TV. Besides, name me a top corporation without corruption?? Didn't think so.

5.  My new contacts are taking forever (in my opinion) to get used to. I forget to blink. My eyes are dry. I'm trying the "monovision" thing where one eye is close and one eye is far; my brain's still trying to catch on to that...

6.  Do NOT train your dog in the same class with your husband. And your dog's daughter in the class. Hubby picked up some bad habits from his favorite trainer (who has since left); and Tippi got all bent out of shape when Quinn decided to make friends with Shallot. To the point where, when we had to act as "distractions" to the other dogs, Quinn would heel all the way over on the other side since she apparently got Tippi's message of "don't mess with Shallot."

7.  Yes, I should've put on the tinted moisturizer today; my face feels blotchy. No eye make-up yet, if ever...I do have my limits!

8.  I'm wearing a really nifty silk scarf I got from Smithsonian: It's got a motif of license plates where, if you read them aloud, they are the preface to the Constitution. It's amazing to see the lights go on when people "get" what it says!

9.  P.D. James is one awesome writer; I could re-read her stuff forever!

10. isn't as easy as it looks. I'm trying to do the family tree for my dad's side. Nobody's left who knows all the details, though my mom knows some. It's not as easy as "enter the name and you get a leaf." It's interesting, and I hope to have it ready for my family by Christmas, but it's gonna be a long slog!

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Plain Brown Socks...

So if you read Yarn Harlot, you will see that SHE has finished her brown socks.

So have I. Of course, hers are quite a bit more complex, and they're done in a lovely yarn. I like the bark color, and I believe Hubby would wear those.

Worsted weight socks
Mine, however are still the "simple sock" pattern. And I'm ok with that. I've decided to purchase DPNs in the smaller sizes, and I do have stashed sock yarn. One of these days, I'll look up a simple sock pattern - maybe out of my "Visual" book - and get working on them.

You really do need to do several pairs of socks. I still have 2 balls of the worsted: in black and in tan. I can still take care of making those up before I start on the next few projects, and finish at least 2 WIPs.

To finish: The yellow shell... I think we miscalculated and I need another skein of the Sierra. I don't know why I'm freaking out about doing the neck and shoulder shaping. This isn't my first rodeo. (OK, it's actually my SECOND garment, but I'm trying to be calm about it.)

Oh joy. Just glanced out the window and it's snowing again. You have to understand today: I got to work about 7:10 a.m. (did I mention how much I dislike working all day Saturdays???) and I saw almost a dozen robins pigging out on the worms in the field next to me. "Ahhhh, spring is coming!" Bah!!!  Next thing, I get a "flood warning" over the computer for the 2 rivers close to me.

Then, about mid-morning, it starts to snow. We have a 40% chance of drizzle/snow and it's back to snowing. I'll put the Icy Melt away in April.

Back to the WIPs. I have that tee shirt in Sunapee. I may rip that out and start again, since I know a bit more about actually building a knitted garment. I started that tee shirt in sheer ignorance, so I'm sure the waist decreases will now look totally inappropriate.

Oh, and the boys have asked for more hats.  "Not that we've LOST the ones you made...we just want a few in reserve." So I've got about 4 to 5-ish balls of the superwash wool. I'm just about done with a lovely tan with red & brown stripes. I can probably do at least 3 hats out of what I have, because I altered the pattern because, "We'd like them a little longer, so they cover our ears." OK, the pattern really is for more of a beanie - it does cover the top of your ears, but when, as Kid #2 says, you park "in Siberia" at the campus, you really do need a little more coverage.

And in the new issue of PieceWork there's a pattern for simple mens socks. Hubby likes them, "as long as they're not too thick." (siiiiiiiiighhhhhhhhhhhh)

Let's see:

Einstein Coat
Mohair Scarf
"Lace" wrap (WIP)
Pink vest
White shrug
Black Booga Bag
Prayer Shawl (WIP)
Sock yarn scarf (WIP)
Juggling balls
Christmas tree skirt
Bandanas for dogs
---Not to mention about 6 dozen counted-cross stitch patterns....Including my mother's angel. Which she'd like "before I turn into an angel myself and you display it at my funeral." No pressure there.

I did buy the Einstein yarn. It's purple "tweed." I determined, after thinking about it for a while that, in this climate, I'd realistically wear the Einstein in Spring, Fall and maybe early Winter. So I didn't need to make it a "formal" coat color. I could have some fun with it. I'll have to post some pictures of that as it progresses. If it progresses in this lifetime!

We have an election coming up in April, and I'm an election judge. We aren't sure of the turnout but it's a great place to bring mindless knitting. Maybe I should set the hats aside for now and leave that for election day...

When I sit back and think about it, I do have enough projects to keep me busy till I'm 500 years old. Maybe I'd better stop thinking and start knitting!