Wednesday, February 22, 2017

I Found Them...

...the buttons, I mean. Jeeze. In my other knitting bag. Well, now I have enough to knit a LOT of baby sweaters!


The afghan is FINISHED. It looks really good; even though this happened at the end. I hate knots. I hate that sometimes there's no way to hide them...But I think I did ok with this one. It's buried in the middle of a row. I know you can't prevent them all the time, but why is it that they happen in gifts? 

Anyway, this is a very bulky, but yet light afghan. I like the way the colors blended together and I didn't have too much trouble with anything puddling. There are areas where the green stands out and there are areas where the cream stands out. It's nicely balanced. I think they'll like it; and it won't matter the gender because it'll go with anything. 

I have no idea of the decor of the nursery. They told my mom that they may not paint the room at all; right now it's a deep blue, and used to be my nephew's office. hint whether it's a boy or girl, and I don't care. This sage will go with anything. 

So here's the thing with "plain knitting." As you can see, it's a big block. Bordered by straight knit. And you really do have to have decent tension, but the gauge doesn't really matter a whole lot. 

I will tell you that my grandma was a stickler for tension. She would make me rip out and rip out. Till my tension was just the way she liked it. I got used to being able to read my tension and see where I'd maybe been a little "stressed" or maybe a little too loose. It's not gauge. It's tension and it's important with a whole whack of plain stockinette stitch. 

This blanket actually came together relatively quickly. So, in my world, even though it was an 8-hour afghan pattern, it took me most of 3 weeks, knitting on it just about every other day. Not too bad. I think this would be pretty in brighter colors, and maybe the next one will be something really splashy. I'm thinking a bright blue with red, or black with yellow? It could work. 

It would depend on the sweater set though. And that's what I started last night. It's in Universal Yarns superwash wool, an equivalent to Cascade 220. The color is called "Greenery." Original, right? 

Anyway, not sure what buttons, but it's my usual - the "New Arrival Cardigan," and of course, as I started it, I kind of panicked, thinking, "It's going to be too small..." But as we go on, I know it'll bulk out. 

Unfortunately, I can't find my one pattern with the notes on it. I have to look for it; for right now, I'm working off the original book. I know I had some specific notes, but I don't know what I did with them. I thought that they were in the red and black bag where the yarn for the sweaters is kept, but somehow the notes aren't there. It figures. Wonder if they're in another bag with more buttons?

I'm using Kollage Square needles with the soft cable. They're nice to work with and they really do make the stitches pop. Of course the yarn helps! But it seems like my tension (that word again!) is better with these needles. And the soft cable really works well - no boiling to make it un-kink. Right out of the package, it's good to go. 

After the sweater, it's the hat and booties. And then, maybe. If nobody else announces a baby, I can get back to knitting socks!

A girl can hope... 

It Was a Dark & Foggy Morning...

This was my view outside my window in the office. I couldn't see the top of the steeple at the old St. Mary Carmelite Church. That's the steeple, and the building in front is the public library.

Much of our downtown is made of local limestone - at least a good bit of it, if they'd stop tearing down the old stuff and putting up concrete cubes. Right out of the 70s, for sure!

Anyway, St. Mary Carmelite is an 1882 Gothic-revival church that's in hideous disrepair because the Diocese can't get its act together. The last "project" was in 2015 - where someone was supposed to renovate the structure for senior housing. But the lawyer next door objected, apparently. 

And now? It's falling apart. It used to be a vibrant church, and when the downtown area was thriving, the rectory next to it was full, and the community was alive. The photo to the right is what it used to look like before it really did deteriorate. I remember going there when I first worked downtown; Ash Wednesday services at noon were very popular. And it had a hopping "Shepherd's Table" in the church basement. 

But as downtown went the way of many downtown areas...the church has languished. 

This photo is of the nave. Note the stained glass over the area where the altar would have been. Note the arches. Note the pillars. 

As a singer, I can tell you that the sound hung there like Michael Jordan on a jump shot. This church was beautiful. 

And now it's near death. It's going to cost more to tear it down. All because nobody knows what to do with it. 

Joliet went through a phase of "tear it down, tear it down," and we lost a lot of landmark buildings. We have a courthouse that's in disarray because (of course) they tore down the lovely limestone edifice and put up a concrete paneled monstrosity that looks like it was upside down. 

My uncle, the one-time County Engineer, took one look at those plans and said, "If you go forward with this, I'm noting my objection now. The design is awful and you'll be out of room in a few years." He was right on both counts. 

St. Mary's ... it's a sad story. I've been hoping that Joliet officials will see some sort of sense. But it's not looking good. With the state's reputation as it is (no budget for 2 years, several governors in jail...) - it's not surprising that nobody wants to build or invest.

We supposedly have a new transportation center coming, and they've renovated the train depot in stages. But it's taking forever, because ... well, budgetary restrictions.  

What's sort of saving us are the intermodal facilities just outside of downtown. But then you have the trucks coming through downtown on streets not wide enough to handle a couple SUVs and a bus... Maybe once we see the new junior college building start to hold classes. Maybe when the Rialto Theatre gets its act together. Maybe the University of St. Francis campus will start to bring the kids back. There are good things. 

But to allow a building with that kind of history to decay? It's shameful. 

Random Picture...

This is Alex. Alex is a graduate student at the university where Tippi and I do our therapy work. Alex told me straight up that he was a German Shepherd kind of guy. He told me that he was going to have one when he was able to get back to Israel and start teaching at Bethlehem University, or as he calls it, "THE Bethlehem." 

Well. Then he met Tippi. Who gave him her best Elk-Clown grin, and proceeded to sit in his lap. He laughed. 

I'm told he hadn't had much to laugh about lately, from people who've worked with him. And I'm sure that with him being from Israel, he's got a lot on his mind. He's graduating in May. He's from a place where war is an everyday thing. I'm sure he's thinking about what it's like at home, and what the current administration in the US might -- or might not -- do with the relations between our two countries. 

Last night, we had another therapy visit. And Alex was there. And Tippi did her thing. They took many selfies. He showed me a picture of his friend's German Shepherd dog. And then he asked a lot of questions about Elkhounds. 

He's decided that Tippi is "the perfect size." He learned about their care and habits, and he learned that they can adapt to just about any climate. He's thinking...and I think he's thinking that an Elkhound in Israel is a distinct possibility. 

As usual, Tippi does her magic. 

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