Thursday, August 30, 2007

Me Time

There isn't a lot of "me time" in my life right now. I'm dealing with way too many things that don't involve knitting. It seems like I only get to knit a few stitches here and there before time is up.

Today was no different. I went to work, ate lunch at my desk, left a bit early to meet with Zack's teachers, fixed dinner, and in the middle of doing dishes I decided to chuck the chores and take some pictures of my latest project. It's all about priorities, right? (This is the project I vowed not to cast on until Zack's afghan was finished. Yeah, right.)

This is the Classy Slip Up sock pattern from "Knit Socks!" by Betsy Lee McCarthy. (It's the book that's actually shaped like a sock.) The pattern is super easy pattern and not at all boring. The vertical and horizontal patterns work well with the yarn's color changes. I think the colors being about the same brightness keep the pattern from getting too busy and lost. (I think the sock would be gorgeous in the semi-solid yarn that I just read about in the Knitter's Review weekly newsletter. You should subscribe.) If you're a beginning knitter, Betsy's patterns are super easy to follow. If you've knit a pair or two of socks, you may find her patterns a bit elementary, but sometimes elementary is good...less to think about. The needles are my new size one DPNs from Knitpicks. It took me a bit to get used to them. I'm a bamboo girl. Maybe I should say I was a bamboo girl. The yarn is also from Knitpicks. It's the 100% merino wool yarn that I dyed myself...twice. I'm pretty pleased with how it's knitting up. I just had to share.
Well, back to the dishes...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Who are we?

Originally uploaded by KnittyBits

This is one of the many photos from the World War II Japanese photo album that my grandfather brought back from Guadalcanal after the war. Based on how many photos there are of this young man, I believe the man standing on the left is the owner of the album.

A New Project

My grandfather served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He was in the Construction Battalion, otherwise known as the SeaBees.

The 26th Battalion arrived on Guadalcanal on December 26, 1942, after the battles. It was their mission to clean up and establish bases on Guadalcanal and the nearby islands. My grandfather took many photographs while on the island, some of which are rather graphic. He found a Japanese photo album that he brought home after the war. He had talked about returning the album but I assume he didn't know how to go about doing so. He gave all his photographs and the album to me before he passed away. I packed the albums in a box, put them on the top shelf of the closet, and forgot about them...until last spring.

I unpacked the album and showed it to my son. He suggested that his friend's parents try to translate it. His friend is Japanese. I copied a few pages and the one name that they were able to translate was Shin-ichi Ichinose. It's a start. I created a blog about the album, so please take a moment to take a look.
This is a beautiful album. It's a treasure and needs to be returned to its family. Please help if you can.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Ham--The Other White Meat

Last weekend I went with Randy to the annual Hamfest in Huntsville, Alabama. This is going to sound shocking, but Hamfest is not a festival celebrating the endless variety of succulent pork products. I was disappointed my first year. Honey Baked Hams has a "booth" at the festival, but no free product give-aways. It's a shame, such a captive audience. My dear knitters, Hamfest is a festival for ham radio operators...and it is something to behold.

If you live near Huntsville, you should make a point to attend the annual 'Fest. The things you will see will astonish and amaze. In the world of ham radio operators, size matters. It's all about who has the longest antenna. Seriously. There were guys with antennae clipped to their ball caps. I kid you not! There were ball caps with LED inserts that scrolled and flashed messages like "Hi, my name is KI4FNU! What's yours?" There were husbands and wives with t-shirts that said, "I'm with WB6TFN" and "I'm WB6TFN." I can't make this stuff up. Everything from pink hair to no hair, from short shorts to pants pulled up a bit to high. Hamfest is a people-watchers paradise.

So why did I go? Huntsville is only a 2 hour drive from here, and the LYS is well worth the trip. Yarn Expressions is located at 8415 Whitesburg Drive, near the Post Office. It's a great shop! The owner has a good web site also. Go, touch, buy!

I bought a bag of undyed blue faced leicester roving. So soft and wonderful. And I bought a skein of sock yarn from Pagewood Farm in the Crayon colorway. YUM! I probably spent an hour in the shop touching and trying not to drool on everything. She really has a great selection and the prices seem right in line with other yarn shops. Her sock yarns were tremendous! Lots of Trekking, Tofutsies, etc. She had yarn that I can't get from my LYSs, stuff I've only read about. What a treat to fondle! She also carries spinning wheels. Yes, spinning wheels! They are pretty hard to come by in the middle Tennessee area, but she had several. I didn't inquire as to prices because "if you have to ask you can't afford it." So I settled for the lovely sock yarn and the roving. I'll get a wheel one day.

These ladies were buzzing me as I was taking photos of my yarn. Note the dry dead vine on the hook. My garden is crispy. Everything is nasty dry. Got to feed the hummers and the birds! Poor things.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Knitting for Zack

I pulled out Zack's afghan again. There's nothing like curling up under a wool afghan as the air-conditioner is stroking out trying to keep the house at 78 degrees! It may sound demented, but I need to knit for Zack right now.

School started up on Monday, and so did the stress of eighth grade, new classes, being the only one who is 12, new teachers, old and new friends, and everything else that goes with being in the eighth grade. So, as I work on his afghan I knit in how proud I am of him, my love for him, and most importantly my prayers for him. When the weather turns chilly, he's going to snuggle up under that afghan and be totally surrounded by love and prayers. So, no matter how hot it is outside, and no matter how warm I get under the afghan I'm knitting, I need to knit for Zack.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

I'm Melting!

I haven't been doing much of anything lately except trying to stay cool...and that's not been an easy thing to do. For the past, well, I don't know how long, it's been hot. Hot as in the air conditioner hasn't quit in weeks. Hot as in the dog won't even go outside. In other words, hot in the biblical hellish sense.

It's getting to the point where it's almost laughable it's so hot. And dry. It's too hot to mow the lawn, but that's ok because we haven't had any rain to make the yard grow. However, there are some fools in the neighborhood with lovely green lawns. You've got to be kidding! They're going to have to mortgage their house to pay the water bill. Plus, why would anyone water their lawn just so they can mow it when it's 100 stinkin' degrees at 7:00pm?? I kid you not, tonight it was 100 STINKIN' degrees at 7.

This doesn't mean I haven't been playing with yarn and fiber. I dyed another batch of yarn, this time in a pink/terra cotta/chestnut brown combination. It looks good. I learned a few more things, but I feel I'm getting better a better feel for the whole process. One word: Patience.

I cast on a Jaywalker sock (there's a link in a July post I think) in some of my hand-dyed purple, blue and teal. I'm using my new Knitpicks DPNs. Oh. Oh. Oh. Totally dreamy. This yarn is knitting up so much better than I anticipated. It's striping really well with no puddling (so far). Let's discuss the kitchener cast on. What a bitch! First of all, you have to cast on all at once. Do not put your work down to answer a "hey, mom!" summons. Start over. Do not drop a stitch in the first row. It's totally impossible to pick up a dropped stitch. Start over. Then I crossed my stitches at the join like a total idiot. Start over. (Hint, use bamboo DPNs, or something slow, for the kitchener cast on, then switch to the fast needles.) I can't tell you how many attempts I made, but the final result is quite nice. However, I'm starting to stress over the second sock. Will it look as good?

No photos to post because it'

Thursday, August 2, 2007

If at First You Don't Succeed...

...dye, dye again! I'm much happier with my yarn. Still not what I was planning, but it will work. I darn near ended up with purple, blue and teal dreadlocks. Great instructions on the dye...boiling water. Ok, I'm dying wool here people and wool doesn't particularly enjoy soaking in boiling water.

[Good grief! I'm stopping right here and am going to continue my typing in notepad or something. This stupid post editing window is slower than Christmas. Does anyone else have that problem??]

The colors of this new dye job are purple, sapphire and teal. Since it's an over dye the colors took differently in different places, but I made sure I dyed the sapphire in the same place on both skeins. I did it like dipping candles. My arms are still sore. The new arm workout!

Oh...Webs is having their annual summer sale! OMG! Check it out. I just got the flier in the mail. Now is the time to stock up on yarn for Christmas projects. Their prices are really great. I bought nearly all the yarn for Zack's afghan from them. I bought 1/3 from my LYS somewhat out of guilt and somewhat out of the fact that Webs didn't carry the right shade of tan. I saved a ton! I do suffer from the online vs LYS dilemma, but I also suffer from the I-don't-have-enough-money dilemma. The yarn from Webs was LESS THAN HALF the price at my LYS. What's a knitter to do? And it's not like it's fancy yarn. It's plain old reliable Encore wool blend. I love the stuff! I has enough wool content to be warm. It washes like a dream. Actually it looks better after several (gentle) washings. Good stuff. Go get some and knit with it. Now. Go. I mean it.