Monday, November 09, 2009

Programming Makes Me Fat

I'm convinced that programming is bad for the waistline. Besides sitting on your butt most of the day, it makes me want to eat.

I am in the second semester of Java programming, so I don't know a whole lot yet. It's really frustrating. It takes me a week or two to get through some of this homework. Especially when all the examples are for int arrays and we are working on String arrays. Besides the fact that I'm trying to make a object and the examples are shown in procedural programming. Have your eyes glazed over yet? Mine did. That's probably why it takes me so long to figure it out. If I don't have coffee before class I want to go to sleep. I've caught the guys next to me napping behind their screens too.

So, if this is so incredibly boring, why do I want to do it? Maybe I'm just weird. I like to figure things out. I like puzzles. I like a challenge. Maybe that's why I picked up knitting, why I'm currently into lace. I guess next it will be entrelac, but I'm not really crazy about the look of the finished product so it will have to be something really pretty.

Ehh, skip entrelac. I just got EZ's Opinionated Knitter and there are some gorgeous Fair Isle sweaters I'd like to try. I haven't attempted Fair Isle yet. I've dabbled in Intarsia. I really need to get into some color work.

Currently on the needles: 1 CounterPoint Scarf (Almost done, but it's taking forever because I only work on it once every two weeks during the video at Bible Study.)

2 Clandestine Socks. I have about 4 inches left to complete. I've made the leg and turned the heel. I'm currently working on the feet, two at a time on 3 needles. Three because for some reason I have one long needle and two short ones. It was easier to turn the heel with the short ones and keep the long one for the top of the foot. Hmm. These are taking a while too. Probably because of the Java homework. Sigh.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

GaryVee in Pasadena

I just came back from the most inspiring talk. Gary Vaynerchuck of Wine Library TV is currently on a book signing tour for Crush It! Pardon all the links, but Gary's got what it takes in getting the word out, and I don't mind being a part of it. When we first started watching Wine Library we thought he was a little wacky. He talks about wine smelling like Twizzlers and tasting like sheet rock among other bizarre descriptions. The thing is though, he really nails it business-wise. He took his dad's liquor store and built it up into a multimillion dollar business. And he will tell you that it didn't happen overnight. He says, "You've got to work your face off." He also says, "Just be you. You are a snowflake." I like that. I asked a question specifically about this knitting blog and the fact that there are so many others out there. He said "Just do it. It will work because you love it." That's the truth. I haven't gotten in nearly enough knitting time this week. I've been studying for a midterm. (I think I got an A.) I've got another one next week, so things have been a little hectic around here. Plus, our daughter and granddaughter came over on Sunday for DD's birthday. We had the family over. DGD is getting big! 6 months now and so cute. I really need to start some baby things....

I was able to work on my illusion scarf today at Bible Study. I'm almost finished with it. The Clandestine socks that I started at HSB are still on the needles. I've done 3 repeats of the leg pattern. I need to get a picture of it. There is one part of the pattern that stumped me during the first go round. It's marked like a double decrease on the chart, but the key says, "sk2p" which I read as, "slip, knit 2, pass slipped stitch over." That leaves an extra stitch, though. I decided that it really should be slip, k2tog, pass. It works much better that way...

I will be blogging more about the knitting now that I got a kick in the pants from Gary V. I'll also be seeing a bunch of you guys on your blogs to see what you're up to and I promise not to lurk anymore! ;) Off to read the rest of Crush It! BTW, buy the book! It's great!

Cheryl :)

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Our Hardly Strictly Adventure

I spotted this amazing jacket as we were leaving the airport on Friday to go to the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in San Francisco. I want to make it. The lady was kind enough to let me take pictures. She calls it her Sherpa Jacket. If I write the pattern I might just share....

Back to the weekend.

The Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival is an amazing FREE concert. It is three days long with 6 different stages going all at the same time. Our wonderful benefactor is Warren Helman, who just does it for the love of the music. And it's crazy, but it is FREE to the public. He books these amazing acts every year. Of course we couldn't see them all, but those we did see were outstanding. We got a surprise guest appearance by Robert Plant. He played with Buddy Miller on Friday night at the Great American Concert Hall, so we were hoping he would show up at the festival. I heart Robert! sigh...

There was a sock monkey sighting right in front of us. Aren't they cute?!!!

The girl made them. They are only about 5 inches tall.They got to watch the concerts too. I think they are boyfriend and girlfriend.

Saturday evening we hopped on the party bus. I hope no one's mom was watching. I haven't laughed so hard in years. We did the wave on the bus. I think we scared some lady. She got off in a hurry.


My project for the weekend was Cookie A's Clandestine sock from Knitty's Fall 09 issue. Unfortunately I didn't see the link for the chart when I printed the pattern out, so I was stuck after the cuff. I had to wait until we got back to the hotel and I could get the link on DH's IPhone. Then I took a picture and used that for Sunday's knitting. Some lady behind us said, "Oh, you brought your crocheting?" I said, "No, it's knitting." "Oh, little baby knitting," she said. I said, "...Uhhhh....Yeah..." Never mind. She had already scored negative points with us when we were just setting up and she and her boyfriend come up behind us after we already had our place and she whines that shes not going to be able to see because our chairs are too tall and they have little bitty chairs. "Do you want to trade?" she says. DH says, "No." We kept hearing her complain about how she couldn't see. Then they left for half the time. When they came back their huge dog howled every time a certain pitch was hit. Uggghhhh. Thankfully they left early.
This is Emmy Lou Harris getting her honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music. Linda Ronstadt was there presenting as well. Unfortunately they didn't sing together and my camera battery went dead right before Emmy Lou performed. 

What a great, amazing weekend in a gorgeous setting. This is just the crowd at the Banjo Stage on Sunday, looking back from where we were sitting. I can only imagine how many people were there. Everyone was amazingly well behaved too.

Well, back to work....

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Firmaments is Finished!

I am finally done with my tablecloth. I think it ties the room together. ;) Lebowski, anyone? I did choose the color because one of our pictures has a lot of this blue in it. The blocking took nearly all day. Apparently my gauge was off by a couple of inches. I tried to stretch it to the pattern's dimensions, but the pins kept popping. At first I had it on the bed, but couldn't get it to stretch enough, so then I laid it out on the floor. I bent my lace blocking wires all to heck by putting them around the edges, but I don't care. I think it looks beautiful. It seems to fit the table nicely too, and I think 4 more inches would have been too much for this table. I wonder how you are really supposed to block a circular knitted piece?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fritter and Waste the Hours...

I didn't get much done today and it all started because I just had to start the edging on my Firmaments Lace Shawl. It set me back on starting the day because I knit in bed before I even get up. Probably the first mistake, but if I didn't, I might not get to the knitting. Such a dilemma. So just as I was about to get going, DH needed to talk about something work related. By the time we got done with that I decided it was too late to go out and run, so I just ate breakfast and figured I could do a little Pilates instead. What happened to that? Well, never mind, I need to get some work done. As soon as I sat down at my desk I realized that my computer had rebooted itself and gotten stuck. Reboot the reboot. Finally got some stuff done. Anyway, here's the latest pics of Firmaments. I love how this is coming out.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

You Should Be Knitting, Yeah!

Fountain Lace
Knitting is so good for what ails the soul. The rhythmic click of the needles, the concentration on a lace pattern, counting stitches. It relieves my mind of things that are wrong with the world even as I am listening to the news or reading Twitter. The situation in Iran is especially upsetting. I watched a video of students who had been shot and beaten the other day and I sobbed. I can't watch any more. Just knowing that is going on and hearing the voices like the woman who called CNN yesterday and begged the US for help is heartwrenching. I feel powerless and yet I want to do something. It seems all I can do is pray. Keeping me occupied lately are the Firmaments Lace Shawl and the Montavilla Market Tote from Knit Picks. This is how the shawl looked a couple of days ago. I have about 4 1/2 repeats of the Fountain lace pattern done today, so the pattern shows up much better.
Center of shawlStarlight Lace Pattern
I love lace. It keeps my mind occupied. It is one of the first things I do when I wake up in the morning. According to my DH, I should make it my occupation since it is what I am obsessed by. That makes sense since knitting is one of the first things I think about in the morning and one of the last things I do before bed. I haven't quite figured out how to make money at it yet. It seems I only spend money on it! I did have a look at and discovered that folks are selling hand knit garments. I wish there was a way to tell how many sold. In any case, my big dream is to design. I started on a fingerless glove several months back but it is currently hibernating. I think it will be a case of carving out specific times that I can work on design rather than simply knitting other's designs. I learn a ton from other people's work. The Firmaments Lace Shawl is one example of discovering how to make wonderful lace. It is almost a sampler. I don't quite get how the movement of the stitch markers doesn't throw the symmetry off. It just works. I want to use some of these lace patterns in other garments. One of my friends has a sweater she got from Mervyn's that has a lace pattern in the yolk. I have been trying to figure that one out for months and the Fountain Lace pattern is pretty close to her sweater. I will try some modifications and see if I can't figure out what is going on. I think I am closer now for having worked on the shawl. I was particularly inspired by Cookie A's new book, Sock Innovation.
She talks about the design process and particularly about how socks can be the "perfect first step toward learning to design." I think I could probably do the same kind of thing on an even smaller scale with gloves and mittens. Off to lunch with DH now. I'll talk at ya later! I just found out that you can look at the number of sales a shop has on Etsy. Off to do some research...

Saturday, April 11, 2009

She's Come Undone

I'm almost finished with my Herringbone socks from Interweave Knits Winter 2008! Yeah! A couple more modifications and I'll be done. This has taken me a while to finish. Mostly because I had my new grandbaby's blanket to finish. She's almost here too! If DD doesn't go into labor by Sunday evening they are going to induce. Not quite sure why this is necessary, she was 10 days late herself. I guess the Dr. doesn't want an overdone baby, heh heh. Ok, back to the socks. In this post I told you about the modification I made on the heel. I didn't like the way the stripey goodness broke because of the short row heel. So I ripped back and inserted a heel of chocolate brown. I like it. Now at the top, I went up a needle size, 3s, to make sure my ribbing would stretch enough. Instead of using the multi colored yarn I made a contrast with the brown again. I'm loving this. (They fit well too.) Here's a riddle. How do you knit a toe up sock and finish at the toe? I decided to unravel the toe and make them brown too. I love knitting. It's the first craft in which I feel I can be truly creative. I don't know if anyone actually reads this blog especially since I update it so sporadically. Last night we went to see Anivl at the NuArt Theatre in LA.

What a compelling story! They are the real Spinal Tap. If you live in Southern California, the show will be playing there for a couple of weeks. If not, go see it when it comes to you. Buy the DVD. It's funny and touching and REAL. Lips and Robb were at the theatre to answer questions after the show. Here's a review of the movie. I hope it is huge for them. Sacha Gervasi who wrote the screen play for The Terminal is the director of this amazing documentary. I felt tempted to laugh at times and then I realized that these are real guys and this is their life.
I don't know why, but you really fall for these guys. They are just normal family guys, - following their childhood dream. I don't even like the genre of music. I thought hair bands were silly. My (70s) music was much better! ;) I had never heard of them before last night. Now I'm a fan. I hope they get what they're after. It seems really promising. Gervasi says: “The only way you can fail is if you give up.” I have to agree.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Today's Sweater is a Wrap - "Literally"

Apologies to Brenda Dayne and Saturday Night Live for that title. A while back I wrote about some lovely yarn that I acquired at my LYS. I had my eye on a wrap that one of the girls was wearing and noticed how lovely it was draped across her shoulders. I couldn't stand it so I bought the yarn. I know, I'm weak. Who could resist this? The yarn is Schaefer Laurel in the Susan Sontag colorway. I noted at the time that the colors reminded me of the beach. I also noted that when I got home and started working on the pattern that they wrote out for me, my brain decided that it couldn't be right. My memory kept thinking that the ribs were thicker and there was more substance to it. It kept looking like a shopping bag to me. Actually, this would be a great stitch pattern for a shopping bag. I think the yarn might be overkill for a market bag though. Anyway, it was driving me crazy. I went to the web to look for stitch patterns. I found Lacy Diagonals and that was better, but still not giving me the thicker ribs I was looking for. I modified that and came up with the pattern below. Actually, this is the first pattern that I have written out. I named it Sky Wrap because it reminds me of clouds in the sky.

By the way, I was wrong. I went back to the store and compared my wrap to theirs. Stephanie's wrap was exactly as she had written it. She liked what I did though. My ends slant, hers were straight. My memory thought that her ends were slanted. What a brain fart! Anyway, mine's an original and I love it! I wore it all over Amsterdam in September.
At some point I'm going to post the pattern, but until I remind myself of what I actually did, I'll have to leave it off. Remind me to remind myself to refigure it out.......

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Confession Time

Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. In church last Sunday the lady in front of me was wearing a sweater that distracted me so much I couldn't concentrate on the sermon. I spent most of the time looking on my Ipod for a fern leaf knitting pattern. She got the sweater at Mervyn's. I want to make one. It was a wrap type sweater with the leaf pattern on the yolk front and back. The bodice was plain stockinette and had a few pleats at the center back. Probably on the front panels too. I don't remember. I spent all day yesterday trying to work out the pattern. I found something here: There were only 4 "leaves" on each stem and it had a clover like pattern in between the leaf. It's driving me nuts!

Monday, February 16, 2009

I just finished Josie's baby blanket.
I bound off using a size 7 needle and the 6th bind off on this page:
I want to keep this handy because I keep referring back to it. I hope someday I'll remember how to do this automatically. The easiest thing is to just use larger needles.
My daughter didn't want traditional pink or yellow. She chose purple for her new little girl. This yarn has a pearly white strand running through it that adds a bit of "glitz." I think she'll like it.
I finally got the invitations to the shower mailed.
I had forgotten that Monday was a postman's holiday. Hopefully everyone will forgive me that I asked them to RSVP so quickly. It's ok, in all we have invited about 60 guests. If the laws of invites hold true, 75% of them will come and that leaves us with about 45. Now to figure out the food. Do I make it myself or buy pre-made? I'm being a little Martha Stewart-y about all this. I have to count tables and chairs and tea cups. I'll probably end up buying paper ones. I wish they were shaped like tea cups rather than coffee cups. Other than that I hope it doesn't rain. It would be nice to do this in the backyard. Martha would have a conniption about my back yard though. Maybe she would get up early in the morning to plant petunias!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Update on the Knitting

On the needles right now are Herringbone Rib Socks from IK last issue (Winter I think.) It all started with a plane ride to San Antonio. Here I am casting on and watching a podcast of LetsKnit2gether.

As I was working these I noticed that the color was pooling into diagonal stripes. The cool thing was that I seemed to have cast on in a slightly different spot for each toe and now the stripes look like they are moving from one sock to the other:
After working the heel this didn't happen anymore. To continue the coolness I decided to make the heel out of a complimentary color and WALA!
We're back in business! Dang! I just realized that I probably didn't need to go out and buy another skein. I have virtually the same brown in a different yarn. It's just as well though. The socks I made out of that yarn have since felted. The yarn for these socks is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in the colorway Roadside Gerry. I didn't even think of going back to the stash for the heels because I originally wanted a color to match the orange. They didn't have that but they did have the lovely brown in Shepherd Sock, so at least the fabric is consistent. Josie's Blanket
Underneath the socks is a baby blanket I'm working on for my future granddaughter. She's due on April 4. I've got to get crackin' on the invitations for DD's shower. Here's what they look like and where you can get them too:

Gina Jane's "Little Cards" Pansy Garden Tea Cup Card

The cutting is a B-word since I sprained my wrist on our snowboarding trip last week. But I think the card is so cute!
Here's the blanket so far:
I've done this one before in blue. I liked the yarn much better for that one. This one's Bernat Baby Coordinates. I should have used bamboo needles for it because my Knit Picks keep catching on the fiber and snagging it. I'm stubborn though, so I haven't changed yet. Happy Birthday to me! Yesterday was my birthday. Before I whine I should say that I'm too old to whine about a birthday. It was no one's fault, but I can't help but feel, um, whiny. There. Hey, it's my birthday and I can whine if I want to! DH put his back out last weekend and had an impossible deadline for work, so we didn't get to go out like he said we would. I had to take my mom to the doctor and it was pouring down rain. At the parking kiosk, the window wouldn't return to it's full upright and locked position, so I had about an inch open with rain coming in. Thank God it didn't stick all the way down. My attitude was so bad He could have made it do that. When we got back to her place I was able to pull it up manually. DD called to wish me a happy birthday and asked what we were doing for it. Um, nothing. Well, we got Chinese food and that was ok with me. I had actually decided I'd rather do that before DH suggested that it was too late to go out. The killer for me was when this comedian, Andrew Dice Clay came on TV. I don't like him. Now I remember why. DH snickered at some of the jokes and I asked him to turn it off. He went back to work and I went to bed. The end. My mom wanted to buy me a card right there in the store with me standing there since she hadn't had a chance to earlier. (I'm her means of transportation.) I wouldn't let her. Too embarrasing. MIL just called to wish me a happy belated birthday. She said she didn't get a chance to go out and get a card yesterday because it was pouring down rain. I said, "I know." DS 1 & 2 didn't call. Probably overlooked it. Can I get a WHAAAAAAAAA!?!?!?!?!?!? or maybe just some WINE!

I'm A Broody Broad.

Here I am again. I've become inspired to update my blog while reading other's. One post that really rocked my world this morning was Christine Kane's blog. I stumbled on it from Cast-On. I'm new to Brenda's site, but I've been listening to her podcasts for quite a while now. I started with #1 and am finally up to #69. Anyway, now I'm a Christine Kane fan. You've got to watch the videos on her site, especially the one called "There's No Such Thing As A Girl Like That." It just cracked me up. Here, in case you just want to see that one:

The reason Christine's post spoke to me this morning is because I've been feeling really broody lately. More than lately, I'm a broody broad. They used to say that about me when I was 5 or so. I don't suppose it could be that I'm naturally shy and my parents were always fighting and I probably saw and heard more than a small child should. In my 40's I've learned not to be so moody. Dennis Prager helped with that. His Happiness Hour on Fridays is always a must listen for me. I keep digressing. I have been feeling like I don't know what to do with my life. I've been drifting. See, DH and I have had our own business for 25 years. I haven't had a "real" job (meaning corporate) for that long. I've made it up as I went, using the skills a 20 something had learned from Accounting I and working as a clerk in an insurance company. I learned to be good at customer service, (the customer is always.....?) I learned how to do craft services (we had a video company), I'm a real good go-fer, (I really resent that one, but who else would do it?) receptionist, (don't call me if you're a telemarketer!) dabbled in marketing, shipping clerk, and of course CFO. I was a boss once. I wasn't good at it. Not a good delegator. We closed the video-for-hire side of our business probably about 10 years ago and were left with our product line of instructional videos. About 5 years ago, that started to fail. This was also about the time that our children were ready to fly on their own. God is good! He sustained us for all those years, got us through raising 3 kids and then He said it's time for something new. Only we didn't listen right away. We kept slogging along until our lease on the building was up and we decided to move the business home. Now our offices are in the bedrooms our kids used to occupy. There's still an empty room which is becoming a catch all. It has been available for the rebounders, but I think they are finally done with that. The garage is packed with outdated video gear, and tape, remnants of a past life. DH never was that interested in the instructional video stuff we did. We did another couple of videos and then he decided that he needed to get a job. He now works for the company that we did the videos for. The videos are on their software product. He seems to like what he's doing most of the time. It's like production for him again. Me, I'm just dealing with the remnants of this company, shipping orders when they come in and getting depressed when they don't. My days have become less about business and more about wasting time. My thought process is why promote a business that doesn't put out new product? It's not evergreen. The stuff is getting old. We should just stop, but I haven't wanted to let go either. If I get a sale or two why stop? Probably dumb. I guess I like self flaggelation. It really would take the two of us getting our heads together and saying, "This is it. We're done. It's over." Oh, that makes me want to cry. I'm tearing up right now. So I've got to move on. I've been brooding about this for too long. It's time to move. One of the things I learned along the way is how to make a web site. I've been doing that since somewhere around 1994. Unfortunately, I really only know how to hand code stuff. That takes a long time, but I love it. I also know that I need to get up to speed on the newest ways to do stuff. I used to try WYSIWYG programs but they always messed up my shopping cart. I haven't tried one in years. Lately, I,ve been working on a site for R-Ranch, which we are members of. When they ask me to update the pictures it it tedious and painful. The guy who started the site used some template that I am unaware of and I got into it and figured out how to add a few pics. Last time there were 50 or more and I decided that there has got to be a better way. I know that I could learn from the internet or reading books, but I have tried and I'm not very diciplined. I always want to jump ahead. So I decided that I will go back to school. There's some more brooding attached to that. I'm old now. I know some stuff. Will I be wasting my time? Do I really need to get a degree? I'd like one but it's a big time investment. I need to get a job. I need to pay for my knitting habit. On and on and on.... Last week I had a dream about this that said I should sign up for 2 classes, one online and one on campus. So I did. It's only 4 units. Maybe I should sign up for more. The classes are filling up. On and on and on..... Nope, stick to the 2 and see how it goes. Then next semester you will be in and can get the times and classes you want. Ramp it up, girl. Dip your toe in the water and see if you like it. Big sigh. Ok. If anyone is actually reading this I hope you don't mind all the ranting. It's hard to let my underwear show, but I guess I need this. This blog was only supposed to be about knitting, but I need to let off a little steam now and then. I'd love to have a job where I knit all day, but that's not likely to happen. ;)