Wednesday, July 24, 2013

This n' That - TKGA, Socks, Canning, and Heart

Well, nuts. Either technology has failed or my Crappy Red Camera has died. I don't think the camera has died. It turns on. I think technology, or my Geek (a/k/a Hubby) has failed. I was having some problems with Adobe and he fixed them, but in the meantime, now I can't get pictures off the Crappy Red Camera, and yes, I also popped the card out. It (the computer) isn't reading that either... Which makes me wonder if the Canon software got deleted. 


Anyway, I did want to catch everyone up so here goes, sans some of the better pics. Those will be later. 

The TKGA/CGOA show in Indianapolis was really nice! The Sheraton has one of the nicest rooms...and I loved the mattress and actually conked out on feather pillows! TKGA = The Knitting Guild of America. CGOA = Crochet Guild of America.

We only stayed Wed - Fri, and we all took classes on Thursday. Mardi decided that a day-long Aran Sweater Class (even though the sweater was teddy-bear sized) was a bit of a brain fry. Karen loved her Crocheted Beaded half-day class. And while I loved the Magic Loop 1/2-day morning class, I wasn't as in love with the afternoon's Continental Knitting class. Perhaps a bit of brain-fry myself in learning two really different skills "under the gun" so to speak. 

I will use Magic Loop, but I honestly can't see using the Continental stuff, at least for purling, and Heaven forbid for socks!! Not gonna happen. 

Got home Friday after taking the scenic route. Who knew the Arsenal Road construction wasn't finished yet? Luckily, Karen's husband alerted us and we were able to get off on the Wilmington exit and take the route through town. Got everyone home safe and sound, only I wasn't exactly. Well, I was safe, but not so sound... My heart decided to misbehave, and I had Hubby check it. 

Yep, flipping a beat or two every minute or so. Not enough for a trip to the ER, but enough to make me really anxious. Then, nothing Saturday, but then again Sunday afternoon, and now again today. I'm headed to the cardiologist's office at 2:30 today for a heart monitor - only 24 hours. We want everything spiffy for our big trip to Europe in August. I don't want to go into arrythmia on the plane...

So. I had a blissful weekend. Well, mostly blissful. More than I've had in a long time. I didn't have to work, so I could sleep in (well, 6:30 a.m....) on Saturday. I worked on the sock, got to the heel turning. I'd show you, but the Crappy Red Camera.... 

Oh, I do have pics from the Crappy Windows Camera. Hey, the new Nokia is coming out in April, so have patience, people... 

Magic Loop Variation
Anyhow, here's a shot of some of what I did in class. The Magic Loop thing was really very interesting. I could totally do a toe-up sock in that, or what our instructor billed as "the smallest pouch for an i-device known..." Either way, I can see that her class will be useful to me in the future. I may do a phone case, since there's nothing I'm happy with that fits the Windows Nokia I have. 

The Continental class was something else. Yes, I learned more than I did the LAST time I tried it, and I've decided that it's really faster for knitting. Purling? Even the instructor said, "Purling in Continental SUCKS." Well. This woman writes books and produces DVDs. If she says it sucks, who am I to argue? Frankly, I can't remember why I had the yarn looped in my right hand. Look at the "Holding Yarn" picture and you'll get a better idea. 

Continental Something...
I knit like the wind. Well, like a lazy breeze in August. But I got that. Purling, not so much. She was very helpful and told us to "abandon whatever you're knitting now and do a scarf in Continental." Her theory is if you do that, you'll have that memory in your hands and you'll "never go back" to the other way of knitting. Hmmmmmmmm. Not sure about that. 

I wanted to learn just so I was somewhat familiar if I ever had to switch. Having said that, you also know you can't switch mid-stream. It messes with your gauge. 

The swatch I produced is something that our ancient canary could've produced. I haven't produced a piece of knitting that bad since I learned when I was 8 years old. 

That being said, I get the whole practice thing. You can't just learn something one time and expect it to stick. Perhaps there's a scarf somewhere in my brain. She said to do it with sections: straight knit; straight purl; then do gradually increasing ribbing like K1 P1, then K2 P2, and she also said that this style of knitting was "made for" Moss Stitch. Which it would be. The yarn flips where you need it to be for that stitch, whether that was your intention or not. 
Holding yarn

I'll have to stash-dive for something decent, but which I won't be sad about if I rip it out 16 dozen times. I'm sure I have some of my Granny's acrylic that would work. What I used for the class was some "hand-me-over" that I used for a provisional cast-on for something else anyway. 

So we decided the market was ok. Much nicer than Stitches because it was smaller and you weren't overwhelmed. I got the stuff on my list (blocking wires and some additional Kollage needles) and a Namaste cross-body mini-messenger bag for our trip to Europe. It's small enough to pass as a purse for carry-on purposes, and roomy enough to stash a small project for the times we'll be driving or the times we'll be relaxing. 

No. Hubby doesn't know about that purchase, but he knows I've added to stash. 

I haven't had time to photograph the new additions, except for what you'll see shortly. I did stop in Stephen B's booth. My, my, my... flamboyant is a rather mild term for him. His booth was sloppy-chic, and I stopped in but didn't purchase. Saw some things, but nothing leaped out and stood in my way demanding to come home with me. 
Koigu Shawl

The Friday, we figured we'd stop by The Knit Stop. This was an exhibitor who's about a mile away. The shop was a little denuded because so much was at the show, but there was still enough left. Mardi bought a Herdy pillow kit. Karen, though wool-shy, bought some superwash in the perfect pumpkin color for a baby hat. I bought the Koigu Kersti. There's a shawl that will be beautiful. Mardi helped me pick out colors, because if I had done it myself, it would have been mostly monochrome. Top to bottom, this is basically how the shawl will lay out, though I may start at the bottom. However the shawl will have the colors in this order. It's a cute little triangle shawl, without fringe. 

Ghahhhhhhhhhhh - I don't like fringe!! Anyway, it's got a nice picot edge, and I suppose that if I don't want it, I can skip it. 

Mardi invited Karen and I to a wool fest in Wisconsin, and we made a pledge to knit SOMETHING from what we purchased before that outing in September. Knit and FINISH... And that doesn't count my socks. Mardi said she'd drive; we'd stay in her family's vacation house. I'll cook and Karen will bring sweets. We polished off a bag of See's Bridge Mix while in traffic on the way home... 

When I got home, this was the blissful part: I had the weekend relatively to myself. I skipped church. I had nothing planned. Hubby went on a 7-hour rescue transport on Sunday and I stayed home. 

Of course, with the heart fluttering stuff, I really just wanted to chill anyway. I filled bird feeders. I tried to get our solar fountain in the bird bath working (failed). I was able to go out and buy some bras that actually fit (!). And I canned. 
Pickle Relish

Our pickling cucumber plants are starting to produce. I had 8 of them, so it was time to make relish. I've actually got a ton of pickles left, so this will be The Summer of Relish. I used red and yellow peppers in this one. It's a sweet relish, but I put some cracked black peppercorns in there. The peppers are sweet, too, and I figured it might need a little bite. 

This is all hand-cut. I am food-processor-impaired. And anyway, I kind of like using the original food processor: a knife and cutting board! It's the recipe out of the Ball Blue Book. A nice standard. I have some in the back of that stack that are a little light on pickle relish, but Kid #2 says that the brining liquid is great for marinades or salad dressing. I'm good with that. It'll all be eaten. 

Anyway, after all that, even though the weather had cooled off from our heat wave, you can imagine how warm it was in the kitchen. Even with the A/C running. Even with the stove fan on over the water-bath pot. It was a little steamy. 

I was able to hear the very satisfying "plink" sound from each of those 10 jars of relish. Which was great. I washed the jars down, made the labels and stuck 'em on the lids. 

Heat wave!
Next up will be relish with red and green peppers, and maybe the time after that, relish with banana peppers or something else. Just not overly hot. I won't eat any of this because I have a problem with both onions and peppers. But the kids like it and so do the extended family. If we have a grill-fest, I have to bring this. Everyone loads it on their burgers and dogs. 

Anyway, the heat. Here's how Tippi preferred to handle it. She's sprawled out about 4 feet from the tower fan which sits just aside from the living room's A/C vent. That girl knows how to live! 

Now if we could only stop her from licking her shaved foot... 

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