Found here. In celebration of the day I am cancelling my Delta AirMiles American Express card, which they sent me in 2009 when Northwest Airlines merged into Delta (I had/have a Visa card that collected NW frequent flyer miles), which I have never used, and which suddenly wants a $95 annual fee.
::sound of raspberry blown in the general direction of Atlanta::
I am thankful there are organizations like the Salvation Army out there to help those who need it -- to offer a meal, a helping hand, a job, counseling, rehab, a place to sleep, a blanket to keep warm, whatever needs to be done. On Wednesday afternoon I was proud to be able to help out in a small way.
I rang the bell to the rhythms in my head, greeted everyone who came in, thanked everyone who donated, and wished everyone a happy Thanksgiving as they left. It was a total blast. My favorites were the moms who gave each of their children some money -- pennies, a dollar bill, a handful of change -- to put into the bucket.
Please give generously to the Salvation Army. They do good work with those who most need it.
This is purportedly a knitting blog, right? So I should show you what I'm knitting, right? Right!
I am in the midst of the inner mittens of the Diaphonous Mittens. I worked on them in the car on the way to the baby shower on Saturday (1.5 hours) and on the way home to the south Minneapolis house afterward (1.5 hours) and on the drive back to Wisconsin on Sunday (2 hours; we stopped for breakfast and I knit in the restaurant).
I decided I wanted to put some colorwork on the inner mitts so they wouldn't be boring when I wasn't wearing the outer mitts. But I really had no idea of what colorwork pattern I would use; when I got to this point on Mitten #1 I stopped, put it on scrap yarn, and cast on Mitten #2.
On Monday I reached the same point on Mitten #2, and that night's bedtime reading was searching through Barbara Walker's stitch dictionaries to find The Perfect Pattern.
Perfect. (I am using only three colors, though.)
Tuesday night I started the colorwork.
and knit on it while Smokey watched The Good Wife
and it was good.
Let me explain my choices. From what I have picked up about these mittens, having a yarn with some silk in it helps them grip the steering wheel when driving; it seems counterintuitive to me, but apparently having some silk is less slippery than having pure wool. The light and dark blue-gray yarns are Knit Picks Gloss sock yarn, a 70/30 wool/silk blend that was in the stash. I had bought it on a whim, just to see what a sock knit of wool-silk yarn would be like. (Haven't made the socks yet, but I don't think I will use enough of the yarn in the mittens to short the socks.)
Stay tuned to see if the non-skid silk thing is true...
* * * * *
Minnesota and Wisconsin got hit with an ice storm Saturday night. We knew that freezing rain was in the forecast when we left for the shower/party, but what are ya gonna do? We didn't want to miss the Liberian experience.
When we walked out of the community center where the shower was held, the sidewalks were dangerously glazed with ice. I avoided the sidewalk in favor of walking on the dirt or the grass and managed to get to the car without falling.
You may remember that I have an uneasy relationship with gravity.
The side streets were also dangerously glazed, but the main streets weren't too bad; Smokey drove at a safe and sensible 10 - 15 miles per hour and we were fine. Until we came over a slight rise at University Avenue and East Hennepin and found that the slight downhill grade... was pure ice. He managed to brake and skid the car over to the snowbank at the side of the street without hitting any of the cars stopped at the light, but the next car after us was going slightly faster. That one bounced off our car (no damage, hurrah), hit the car diagonally in front of us, and glided around the corner to a safe stop. The driver, a youngish man, was very shaken by the experience. "I'm not driving any more tonight," he declared as he got out of the car and walked away.
The trouble was that the sidewalks were equally dangerous. As we drove past the fraternity and sorority houses by the University, I saw couples returning from dates, the females in high heels and absolutely unable to move. Their dates had to pull them up the tiniest incline, say, the entrance to an alley.
We thought we would be okay once we got onto the interstate to drive back to WI, the major highways probably having been salted and/or sanded as soon as the icing began. When we got to the intersection with I-35W, however, we saw that patrol cars were waving cars off the interstate; I-35W north was closed.
So we drove to the house in south Minneapolis, which took as long as it would normally take to drive back home to Wisconsin. The Minneapolis house is on a hill, and we parked heading downhill because we knew if we parked heading uphill we would never get the car out in the morning. This meant [cue menacing music] that we had to walk across the street to get to the house.
And the street was sheer ice, and, oh, did I mention it is a hill?
Knowing that I couldn't make it across the street -- even standing still in one place was not safe, I would start to slide downhill anyway -- I took off my shoes and socks and crossed that ice-glazed street in my bare feet. It may have helped slightly, but it was still an almost impossible task. And cold. Did I mention I was barefoot?
On Sunday morning the side streets were still horrendously slippery, but the freeway was open and in reasonably good condition. The drive home was uneventful until we reached our driveway, which was ice-glazed and -- of course -- downhill. When Smokey stopped the car after creeping down the driveway at what seemed like negative speed, it continued to slide toward the Aveo parked in front of the garage. Luckily, we stopped before hitting it.
And then we crept into the house and didn't leave again until Monday afternoon, amen.
Having the family together. I don't even want to think about what it says about me that this is #7 and is preceded by 6 items of food.
Leftovers. Yeah, another food thing.
* In spite of #1 - #4, I have not roasted a turkey in years, as I am the only one who likes turkey. We had ribs 'n' kraut a couple times by request from Smokey and Andrew, a ham at least once, one year Matthew and I were the only ones home so we volunteered at community turkey dinner, and this year we are having... enchiladas. And pumpkin and apple pies, amen.
I put up yesterday's post, then realized I had forgotten the biggest project that I had just finished. Tonight Smokey and I are going to a baby shower, and this is what I knit for the baby boy who will emerge next month.
Yarn: Berrocco Vintage leftovers from the multicolored socks I made last winter. Colors are Douglas Fir, Chana Dai, Tidepool, and Black Cherry. The yarn is 50% superwash wool / 50% acrylic, so it is warm AND machine washable, not to mention fuzzy and soft. All that seemed important to me in a baby garment. Needle: Addi Turbo US#6. Pattern:Baby Brights, 12 month size.
This is a great pattern for a top-down raglan; I quite like the way she used short rows at the neck. The pattern has a pattern stitch on the lower part of the sweater, but I thought the stripes were busy enough so I did it all in stockinette.
Time to catch you up on my knitting. First, a couple hats:
(left, my last hat for the homeless) Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes, Thyme, and some anonymous camel-colored wool worsted. Total 56 grams, 123 yards. Needles: Addi Turbo US#6. Pattern: Generic, worked on 96 st.
(right, for Matthew's new-ish girlfriend Alex) Yarn:Knit Picks Andean Silk, color Allspice, all but about a yard of 3 skeins (~288 yards). Needles: Knit Picks Options w/ Zephyr tips, US#8. Pattern:16-Cable Hat. The pattern gives two sizes, one for head circumference 16 - 19", and one for 18 - 22". Alex's head is 23", so I cast on 182 st to allow for one more 26-st cable repeat. My head is also 23", so I was able to try on the hat as I knit to check the sizing.
Alex had been describing the kind of hat she wanted to Matthew about a month ago on a day when Smokey happened to be present. He immediately piped up to say that he knew someone who would be delighted to knit her a hat. What he later told me she had described sounded to me like a chullo, so I found a few examples in Ravelry and sent her links. She looked at them but, in her own words, got sidetracked to the 16 Cable Hat. So 16 cables is what I knit (although my upsizing resulted in rather more than 16 cables).
Note: this is a very flattering hat. I may make one for myself. Never thought I would want a beret-ish or slouch-ish hat, but I like this one a lot.
This hat has a lot more stitches than a typical hat. But I loved the yarn so much that it was no hardship to knit the equivalent of two hats. Andean Silk is 55% fine alpaca / 23% merino / 22% silk, and knitting it is like petting a very soft kitteh.
Next on my knitting agenda is a pair of Dimorphous Mittens for myself. Right now I am swatching to determine what size needle I need to make my yarn for the inner mitten match the pattern gauge.
Inner mitten: Outer mitten, striped:
The yarn for the inner mitten is Frog Tree Pediboo, a very soft but tightly plied 80% merino / 20% bamboo light fingering weight that will feel lovely on my hands. The yarn for the outer mitt is two colorways of Noro Yuzen, a discontinued 56% wool / 34% silk / 10% mohair DK weight that I will stripe like a Noro striped scarf.
The weather forecast for the immediate future is cold with a side of frigid, so I need to knit like the wind on these.
Last week we broke, or nearly broke, all-time high temperature records. It was almost 70˚ more than once. This is mid-November, folks -- it just ain't right. Sometime in the middle of Friday night, all that changed.
Our driveway, Saturday morning, 11 a.m., when I came home from a 9 a.m. meeting:
That was pretty much where I left the car because this (below) is what was ahead of the car (and behind the photographer):
That tree fell sometime last summer but was hung up -- high up -- on other trees. The snow today was so wet and heavy that it brought that tree nearly all the way down.
Coincidentally, it fell in the only place along that stretch of driveway where it DIDN'T land on a vehicle.
Last week I covered the basics of what I am thankful for. This week I will start to get specific.
Our new, and first, county administrator. Included in his statutory duties is responsibility for the budget; it used to be the responsibility of the finance committee. We had to meet many times, for long hours, and never did nearly as good a job as he did this year. (That's why he is called "a professional".) Last night was the county board meeting where the final budget was voted upon. Last year there was a $2 million error in the budget and one head rolled. Two years ago the meeting lasted from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and we all congratulated ourselves that it didn't go longer. Several years ago this meeting had to be held in the nearby high school auditorium to provide room for all the citizens who were irate about the budget cuts. This year? The entire meeting -- including the public hearing on the budget, the budget presentation and vote, all 23 individual supervisor reports, a half-hour presentation on an entirely different subject -- took a little over two hours. This man is exactly what this county needed. Thank you, Jebus.
That the previous county board took the steps to hire an administrator.
That the supervisors on the selection committee did such a good job during their selection process, which narrowed the field of candidates from 46 to 4.
That one of their first steps was to propose hiring an administrator. There were several alternatives, but the one they chose seems to be working splendidly.
That I had the good fortune to be on the board at this time and to be able to be (a very small) part of the solution.
Matthew got himself (half of) a new winter bicycle; he went halvsies on it with a good friend who works in a bike shop.
What's a winter bicycle? You may well ask.
One with big-ass tires.
Apparently, with a conventional bicycle, the largest diameter tire that will fit within the frame and the brake pads and not interfere with the chain is 2-1/2". Anything larger requires a whole different frame designed to accommodate the aforementioned big-ass tires, which can roll over sand, mud, snow, whatever.
Europe, with a concentration on the Louvre and the Uffizi and Rome and Florence and perhaps the Prado; I have a degree in art history but have never been to any of them. (This vacation would have to involve a personal attendent to wait on me and push my wheel chair :) b/c it would be too exhausting otherwise.)
Washington DC (can you believe it? I have never been there).
Provence or Tuscany for the food and wine.
Sorry, I couldn't come up with a full ten. I could name other places that could be fun if I had to, but, really, any trip that involves a lot of downtime in a nice climate is my dream vacation.
We have all read or heard about the McDonald's hamburger that would neither mold nor rot nor decompose in any significant way, supposedly showing how little food value actually exists in one. Real food wouldn't act like that, right?
"The problem with all of these tests is that there is but a single data point, and a single data point is about as useless as a one armed man in a clapping contest. Who knows why those burgers didn't decompose?...Without experimentation, there is no science. Without science, there is no proof. Without proof, there is no truth, and without truth, well where would we be?...It seems to me that the only thing that can last longer than a McDonald's hamburger is an internet meme about them. My project for the next few weeks: design and carry out the first well-documented, scientific experiment to shed some light on whether or not there is something truly evil lurking between the buns."
In order to reach the truth he designs his own controlled experiment, comparing:
A plain McDonald's hamburger, stored on a plate at room temperature.
A homemade burger of the same weight and dimensions as a McDonald's burger. (using a store-bought bun because who bakes their own buns?)
A McDonald's hamburger patty on a store-bought bun.
A homemade patty on a McDonald's bun.
A McDonald's hamburger stored in its original packaging.
A McDonald's hamburger stored in a zipper-lock bag.
A plain Quarter Pounder.
A homemade quarter pounder.
The results are.. surprising. And, to those of us who rather like sensational results and in particualr sensational results that condemn fast food and/or Big Business, disappointing. In a nutshell, neither the McDonald's hamburgers nor the homemade one developed more than a tiny bit of mold unless they were encased in plastic to contain their moisture and thereby foster mold.
"Pretty strong evidence...: the burger doesn't rot because its small size and relatively large surface area help it to lose moisture very fast. Without moisture, there's no mold or bacterial growth. Of course, that the meat is pretty much sterile to begin with due to the high cooking temperature helps things along as well. It's not really surprising. Humans have known about this phenomenon for thousands of years. After all, how do you think beef jerky is made?"
* * * * *
A different experiment on the (sort-of) same topic (don't be put off by his long-winded introduction; it gets better):
Yarn: Trekking (XXL) in Clown Barf color 156. Toes and half of one heel reinforced with yellow Lang reinforcing thread, other heel reinforced with blue. My anal self is appalled. Needles: US#0 (foot) and US#1 (leg). Pattern:Wendy's Generic Toe-Up Socks, which is my current go-to sock pattern. I tried a little calf shaping on this pair: about one inch above the last short row of the heel I increased one stitch in the middle of the back, then increased again in that same place about every 3/4 inch until I had increased a total of four stitches. (The leg is 3x1 ribbing, so four stitches made everything work out.) The leg seems slightly more comfortable than the not-increased legs on previous socks, not that they were ever uncomfortable, but I suspect this pair may stay up better. Time will tell.
(left/bottom) Yarn: 3 skeins of Berrocco Blackstone Tweed (65% wool/25% mohair/10% angora), which is a single ply, lovely soft yarn (in spite of being tweed). Pattern: La Harlot's One-Row Handspun Scarf, worked on 36 stitches. Size: 63" x 8-1/2". Needles: US#7 Addi Turbo.
(right/top) Yarn: Brown Sheep Nature Spun Worsted, <1 skein each of scarlet and red. Pattern: Simple stripes from the book, Knit OneBelow by Elise Duvekot; worked on 19 stitches. I quite love this vertical stripe look, and it knits up very quickly. If you look carefully at the third photo you can see where I reversed the colors halfway through the scarf. This is the technique the author used in the sweater on the cover of the book, but I had enough trouble keeping the two yarn colors in the right place without switching them out every 4 or 6 rows. Once was enough, just for fun. Size: 63" x 6-1/2". Needles: US #6 Addi Turbo.
And then there were some hats.
(1) Yarn: (MC) Knit Picks Andean Silk, color Wallaby, 40 gr (.8 skein); (CC) Louet Gems Worsted left over from my kimono sweater, color Burgundy. What the picture does not show you is how soft the Andean Silk is -- knitting it was like working with soft kitteh fur. I kept stopping to pet it whilst knitting. Pattern: Generic but originally derived from this one, worked on 96 st. Size: M. Needles: US#6 Addi Turbo.
(2) Yarn: (MC)Colorado Yarns Durango in the inventively named "1"; about .8 skein (90 yds); (CC) Plymouth Boku, in the also-inventively named "6"; also about .8 skein (80 yds). Pattern: same as above, worked on 96 st. Size: XL. Needles: US#7 Addi Turbo for ribbing, US#8 Knit Picks Option circ with Zephyr tips for the body of the hat.
(3) Yarn: Paton's Soy Wool Stripes, Natural Earth, slightly less than one skein. Pattern:Clamber, v. 1.0, worked on 96 st, 4 cable crossings before the decreases. Size: S/M Needles: US#7 Addi Turbo. (I think, might have been 6s.)
(4) Yarn: Paton's Soy Wool Stripes, Natural Earth, slightly more than one skein. Pattern:Clamber, v. 1.0, worked on 96 st, 5 cable cr4ossings before the decreases. Size: L Needles: Knit Picks Options, Zephyr tips, US#8s. (I think, might have been 7s.)
The first three hats are destined for a couple hats for the homeless projects, one in Seattle and one in Minneapolis. #s 1 & 3 were originally intended for Shanti's ship hats, but after they were done I reread the requirements and found that they should have been knit from washable wool. Oh, well, the ship's crews' loss is the homeless's gain.
The fourth will be my winter hat, I think. I bought both colors of Soy Wool Stripes late last winter when I picked up a new winter coat on sale; the jacket is dark brown nylon and the hat should go well with it, as do my older Noro striped scarf and Plymouth Boku fingerless gloves (the contrasting stripes in hat #2 are the leftovers from those gloves).
Edited to add: Don't be too impressed with my output. This is 2-1/2 months of knitting. Instead, be appalled at how little I talk about knitting on this purportedly knitting blog.