Sunday, August 16, 2009

Space Shuttles and Santa

The Space Shuttle Discovery is scheduled to launch tonight in a few more hours. I turned on the news as they were showing the Discovery on the launch pad. No matter how many times I see prelaunch photos and videos I'm always impressed. What the photos don't adequately portray is the magnitude of all that equipment.

In August 2001, I hit the shuttle jackpot and scored a VIP tour that took us to the base of the launch pad the night before takeoff. It was a rare opportunity even in the days prior to 9/11, and I doubt any civilians have been that close to a shuttle since.

It is important that I mention that the Commander for tonight's flight, Rick Sturckow, and the Mission Specialist, Patrick Forrester, were part of the crew for the STS-105 Discovery mission in 2001. How cool is that?

Reader(s), I proudly present a few of my personal STS-105 Discovery photos:

Definitely one of the coolest things I've experienced.

Here's a quick glimpse of the stocking I'm knitting for the intarsia class I'm teaching at Haus of Yarn. As many knitters will say as they begin to tell you about the pattern--I have made some changes.

I didn't really care for the beard in the pattern. It was too symetrical and perfect. C'mon folks, Santa is a busy man. He doesn't have time to coif the beard. I recharted it and added some wayward locks. Much better.

The next stumbling block was the heel. The pattern calls for a basic heel flap, turned heel, picked up stitches and gusset. Picking up the stitches along the heel just wasn't working for me. I knit it that way twice. I ripped it out twice. It was not giving me great joy. I was knitting yesterday while sitting at the ball pack so I didn't have any pattern books with me. I couldn't decide what to do for the heel and didn't have anything at hand for a reference. Then I remembered something I read by the Yarn Harlot about Elizabeth Zimmerman...and the afterthought heel. (Go read it.) I didn't do it exactly like she explains it. Again, I made some changes. Only one change actually. Instead of snipping the actual sock yarn, I used a bit of scrap yarn to mark the spot for the heel. That way, when I come back to work the heel I just have to pull out the scrap yarn and put the live stitches back on my DPNs. Pretty much the same way you work a thumb in a mitten---knit a tube, add another tube.

The heel and toe decreases will match, and the sock "should" have a good balance to it. I think I can get this done by tonight. Maybe more photos tomorrow.


Randy said...

Got any of those STS-105 photos with you in front of the shuttle? That adds a personal flavor to the series.

Chris said...

Nope! No photos of me on my blog. No no no.