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Forth to the Fourth on the Fourth

Perched high on the Bebbanburg ridge, we are and were the unwitting witnesses of several sources of fireworks, starting on Saturday.  We can only imagine what tonight will bring.  One of the Saturday displays went on for at least 45 minutes!  Hopefully this means that we will never again be compelled to fight crowds of people in order to take in the light shows of Independence Day.

Once I knew that Twisp of Fate Katie was also knitting the Windfeather, I was inspired and encouraged to rip out the undersized stripe and begin it anew.  All has gone well since then and I am now onto my fourth big stripe. I am knitting the largest size and expect I may live in it come winter.

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If you think the piece seems slanted, that’s good– because it is supposed to be on the bias.  I really like knitting this; I’ve memorized the lace pattern now and I can knit fairly mindlessly except for watching the change of needle sizes.  Lesson Learned!

I’m looking forward to the arrival of a great friend and knitting pal tomorrow,  and another one joining us on Friday.  Hopefully I will remember to take photos of the places we go and the yarn we resist– or not.

Meanwhile, I’m gearing up to add a cross-stitch project to the works in progress.  I hadn’t realized cross-stitch has “come back”, but when I started searching for projects thinking it would be fun to return to it (I was an avid cross-stitcher in the 80’s), it became obvious.

I’ve selected my project, ordered some fabric and after my guests have said goodbye I will embark upon it.  You’ll see.

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Non impedimente ratione cogitationis

You may have noticed my fancy Latin motto in the header of this blog.  Today it is quite relevant.  (It was used by Car Talk and I thought I would borrow it for myself):  Non impedimenti ratione cogitationis:  Not impeded by rational thought.

It’s pretty funny to me that the famous Meyers-Briggs temperament analysis always has me as a Rational (INTJ).  And for the most part, I am.  But too often I get caught up in other thoughts and forget to think about what I’m actually doing.

Take this for example.

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It’s my start on the lovely Carol Sunday design, Windfeather, in the Taos colorway.  I love the frequent color changes and the way they all flow together like facets of the ripples on a pond, reflecting something different in each wave.

This is achieved, this lace alternating with garter, by changing needles each time the color changes– size 4 for the garter, size 6 for the lace.  I finished the fourth color last night with an immense sense of self-satisfaction and eagerness to start knitting with the next color.  It has occurred to me that anticipating knitting with a color named Moth might have been frowned upon by the wool god Lanae Tuus, who determined to impress upon me his great displeasure, for I went to pick up my smaller needle and realized I had knit the entire Delft section with the wrong needle. It’s pretty obvious in the photo.  Non impediment ratione cogitationis.

Luckily, the Bebbanburg gansey has progressed a bit further, and if there are no known kerfluffles with it right now, it is because it began its life because of a kerfluffle.

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A couple of years ago I decided I simply must knit the At Sea Gansey with this Claret Frangipani.  I knit both front and back welts, overlapped and joined them and was knitting the plain portion.  About 4 rounds into it I realized I had twisted the welts and I was now knitting an unofficial moebius.  Non impedimente ratione cogitationis.

I calmly put the beginnings, such as they were, into a plastic bag and stowed it where the sun doesn’t shine. (In my knitting armoire of course).  This time around, though I’ve made up my own pattern, I was extremely careful not to twist the welts.

It remains to be seen whether I stow the Windfeather stole until the pain of remembrance has gone away or whether the feather in disgrace will be ripped out and reknit immediately.  We shall see.

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Retired!

I know you thought this blog was long abandoned. Indeed it has been on my mind a lot, but time is an endangered resource and I was forced to spend it on other things.

Yesterday I officially finished the rat race. It was of course bittersweet to leave my friends. It felt more like I was graduating, and they were not. I still plan to devote time to writing software applications, but now they will be what I want to write and not what my employer wants me to write.

What’s next? We are moving! Yes, we are moving 2700 miles away to the Blue Ridge mountains in western North Carolina. Why there? Lots of reasons. We adopted a home between Hendersonville and Brevard last July and we call it Bebbanburg. Here is a little taste of the reason why:

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I plan to update this blog more frequently but the story of our move and new home has its own place: The Chronicles of Bebbanburg. Please follow our story there!

What else is new? I took the Olds College Master Weaver Level One class in Yadkinville, NC the last week in April. (Sadly, Yadkinville is 2.5 hours from Bebbanburg, but still much closer to it than Seattle). Once I get moved and have an appropriate loom set up and ready to go, my progress in the course, along with my weaving adventures, will be documented on another blog, Thrumbelina.

Everything else– knitting, life in general, spinning, pets, etc. will remain here.

Let the future begin!

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Picture Post Wednesday

Post #3 of Plan B

Progress Achieved toward Goal: 25%

Short of time and needing to rush out the door to work, which may happen often.  Better just mostly pictures than no post at all, right?

Saint Olav, up to and past the point of last frogging:

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Dark Gray Dyer’s Wool Churro, one more bobbin spun:

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A bit more Navajo:

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And Gratuitous Kitten Photos;

Brian and Spencer Kitty:

BrianAndSpencerKittyKatie Kitty:

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As Time Goes By

it has been nearly two years since I posted on this blog, and as you may have noticed, I waved my magic wand and made all my prior posts private.  In part, this was due to not wanting to be reminded of the unpleasantness of the events of 2012, in which the C word played a major role,  in part because I could think of nothing to say, and in part because I was trying to hide from the world.

Truthfully, my thoughts have not been material and my material has been less then worthy of thought.

But lately, I have perked up and become interested in a variety of textile arts, mostly of the weaving ilk, that I thought I could blog about and if you want to read about it then we have what is commonly referred to as a mutually convenient situation.

As I sit here eating my dinner of half a flax-seed English muffin with organic peanut butter and local honey, accompanied by a glass of my favorite low-cost red wine of the year (H3 Merlot, 2011, a Columbia Valley wine produced in Washington State), I consider what to tell you first.  

How about this: I am a grandmother!  This to a sweet little girl born the first of June, given an Irish name loaded with more vowels than is legal in Scrabble.  She abides in a land far far away in the regions of the maritime Carolinas, and I shall refer to her with such monikers as seem proper at the time, including but not limited to Sweetpea, Babydoll, Sugar and the like.

As a new Grannie, my current knitting project is all about Baby.  It grows slowly in the form of many shades of pink, which I am informed is her favorite color.  Indeed, from my own entrance into the world and up until and including the present, my own favorite color has been any shade of pink.  I well remember my bedroom curtains and bedspread as a child with its three wide ruffles of successively deepening pink.  I remember them mostly because they were cotton and I was the one who had to starch and iron them.  (My baby half-sister hated them and as soon as I left for college she burned them and painted the bedroom blue.)

But I digress.  The idea is that I am using the stitch pattern from The Rainey Sister’s Surrounded afghan, reducing it to a 3″ block, and knitting these in 3 shades of pink plus a pure white (the yarn is Dalegarn Baby Ull).  These will then be arranged in nine-patch blocks so as to produce a traditional quilt arrangement called Sunshine and Shadow, thusly:

 

The knitted blocks look like this:

I have completed 7 of 9 for the first nine-patch, and am working on the last 2 simultaneously.  So I am almost 1/16th done.  Hopefully I will pick up speed and get it finished by September, when I plan to visit my magical wee girl descendant in the land of her birth

Breast Cancer · Knitting · Uncategorized

The Knitting Police

How many times have you heard someone say “there’s no such thing as the knitting police”?  Well, I’m here to tell you that there IS such a thing.  They are unpaid volunteers, heroes– brave creatures who risk their reputation as a “nice person” to tell you the truth about your knitting or to keep you out of trouble to begin with.  You may not want them to work in your universe, but in mine they are essential citizens.  They provide criticism or advice as warranted.  They are the ones whose compliments you trust because you know they will tell you the truth.  They warn you of bad design choices– sweaters that will make your Rubenesque curves look like charging hippopotami, armholes that emphasize your aging, sagging bustline,  negative ease that you should have left behind in the ’80s.

If you aren’t aware of the Laws of Knitting, these enlightened enforcers will illuminate your path so that you can obey them in the future.  They may write you a ticket for bad grafting, but at the same time teach you how to do it right or refer you to source of proper instruction.  They may give you a warning for curling button bands; they may point out the egregious nature of the stockinette you produced while drinking the fifth rum and Coke (thought you’d gotten away with that, did you?).  They may even have the nerve to tell you that you will have to rip something back fourteen inches to fix it.  They are your friends.

Not everyone loves the knitting police, and these seek to deny their existence.  Many there are who believe that in this cruel world only kind and positive things should be said.  Instead of saying words to the effect that short sleeves make you look like a sumo wrestler they say “oh, I’ll bet you’ll love those short sleeves in the spring”.  Rather than telling you that your neckline pickup is sloppy, they’ll suggest you wear a scarf over it to “pick up the color of your eyes”.  Not quite as bad as offering you aloe vera for your burns as you blaze upon the stake, but along the same lines.  In the very wise words of the song from Ishtar (sung endearingly off-key):

Telling the truth can be dangerous business.
Honest and popular don’t go hand in hand.
If you admit that you can play the accordion,
No one’ll hire you in a rock ‘n’ roll band.

Of course it is possible for our knitting police officers to cite offenders with tact and compassion.  The ratio of compassion (the “eggshell factor”) should be inversely proportional to how well the officer knows the perpetrator.  Practically strangers?  Approach with caution, use tact and euphemisms; do not scare the knitter into defensiveness.  “Maybe it’s just me, but is that cable crossed incorrectly near the bottom of the back… I could be wrong.  In fact I probably am.  Don’t worry about it,  it’s probably just the light.”   Longtime friend?  Fire at will.  “Your increases don’t match and you left out the right bust dart“.  Plain and simple, straightforward and honest.  If more knitting police would come out of hiding, knitters would (probably) be grateful.  Think of the times when you’ve had spinach stuck in your teeth.  Your companion lets you know; you are grateful.  It’s the same kind of thing.  Really.

The Knitting Police Academy does teach that habitual offenders should be left alone.  If they do not have a proper appreciation for the Laws of Knitting and fail to show interest or aptitude for such, they should be kindly tolerated.  Like the colorblind cartographer who doesn’t care if his socks match or not, these known knitting lawbreakers pose no threat to society.

One more thing:  there is corruption among the Knitting Police.  Outliers on the Force will be intentionally cruel and possibly not even well-meaning with their interpretation of knitting edicts.  They might be open to bribes in the form of delicately hand-dyed qiviut or combed merino top, but they will never help your knitting skills, so you’d best buddy up to a KP officer who is honest and perhaps curmudgeonly.

Ok, lecture over.  Here’s a photo of what my fingernails look like right now.  Cool, huh?

My left hand is worse, so I’ve got surgical tape over the first two fingernails.  The official name for this condition is “Onycholysis”  (some websites report the condition as “painless”, and by this it is obvious they have never endured it) , so I guess I’m officially an Onychoholic. Although by the grace of god I was able to put down the bottle of Taxotere and conquer my addiction to chemotherapy once and for all, I am stuck  with this hurty condition until the nails grow out.  Until that happens, I’m doomed to knit only a row now and then, but I’ve got a cushy side job.  I’m high in the ranks of the Knitting Police.

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Life is Good

Here I am– thanks for waiting!

Time snowballs recklessly and refuses to slow down, hence my recent sojourn away from the blog.  But life is good (knock on wood), very very good.

In August I accepted a job with Expedia as a data developer, and I love working there.  The enticement to join up (aside from the compensation package) was the chance to learn noSQL technologies and to apply them.  There’s always that fear that you will get a job and then your expectations will be unmet, but that fear was totally unfounded.  I have added Java to my arsenal of programming languages, and am quickly catching on to Cassandra and MongoDB, to be followed shortly by Neo4J, Hadoop and CouchDB as well as some homegrown in-memory data stores.  What fun!

The whole downtown Bellevue scene where Expedia is located is vibrant and alive, with everything within walking distance– except a yarn store.  But that could be a good thing.

Besides my work-related technology ramp-ups, I’ve also begun working with Objective-C and IOS on my very first Mac– a Mac Book Air.  The impetus behind this seeming madness was my iPad.  I love my iPad and take it with me everywhere.  I want to write some apps for it, ergo I needed a Mac.  It’s like switching to stripes after a lifetime of wearing polka dots, but not in a bad way.  Along the way I’ve also dipped my toes into Ruby, learned the Microsoft Entity Framework and Microsoft MVC.  So I’m spreading the love around.  I have to admit, though, that free professional grade open source software makes a whole lot of sense.

On the fiber front, I have completed and worn a couple of my Nihon Vogue sweaters, and when I have time I will post photos.  Currently on the needles is a V-neck cardigan for my beloved.

In October we lost our sweet Thor to kidney failure.  He was only three years old, and we miss him very much.  Fearing that Loki would be lost without a feline companion, we adopted a gray tabby kitten who had been found in an attic, starving.  How he got there and why will never be known, but the guys who lived there were allergic to cats.  After keeping him for a month and trying to locate his owners, they finally posted an ad on Craigslist at just the right time.  After an initial period of fighting with Loki, he has settled in well.  We named him Stonewall for his fierceness in battle and his comedic way of plopping down on his back when we approach him.

The winter solstice is only one week away, and the days will begin to grow longer again.  Life is good.