Sunday, December 14, 2014

Latvian Braid and other adventures

Sometimes I find Audiobooks a struggle. I love the Great Courses but there are so few on non-Western history. I like the courses because they are generally long and I can listen to them through a weekend as I knit, tidy, and generally space out. Subconsciously ruminating on what to listen to next, The Forsyte Saga suddenly popped into my mind on the way home Friday. I’d read the books when I was 17 or 18 and had a vague recollection of them being hard going. The reviews on Audible were glowing. It took me about an hour to get used to the narrator but he really does capture not just the characters but also the tone of the underlying themes of the books.

Last week I perused Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts 2013 featuring a hat with Latvian Braid. In my continual stash busting, I’d bought some KP Telemark yarn when it was being discontinued to make gloves. Needing another pair of fingerless convertibles, (they really are SO useful in the winter). I decided to conquer Latvian Braid. A five-minute You Tube video and I was off and knitting. It really is so easy and creates such a stunning effect. I used Ann Budd’s The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns for the gauge cast on numbers and the thumb gusset.
Gloves with Latvian Braid knit to match jacket
Toupie had a fit of litter rejection this week. How do I explain that his normal litter was not in stock and the litter I bought was the only one available in a size I could carry from the store. After scooping it out of the box a few times only to see it swept up and returned, he got the message.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Deaths and Taxes

A great many words will be written and spoken about the “march” today in Washington, Not much about last night’s powerful and poignant silent protest. A little background. Since the grand jury verdicts on police involved deaths, there have been daily peaceful protests in Washington. Some organized with large numbers of participants. Some with just a handful people. I happen to see these because they are occurring near where I work.
Friday night during rush hour, a silent vigil with candles and signs the length of 16th street (which runs some 8 miles from Lafayette Square at the back of the White House to the Maryland DC line and beyond.) There were no speeches or chanting. Just people standing singly or in groups, some with signs, most with candles, torches, or oil lamps. Luminarias lined the pavements north of where I live. It belied the cheer of the holiday season lights twinkling from windows, balconies and house fronts and accompanied by drivers honking their support and the ringing of bells from supporting houses of worship.

On January 1st, a new EU VAT regulation will go into effect from small digital service and content providers. This law will require them to collect, pay, and retain transaction records for all sales to EU countries regardless of local sales or VAT regulation. For example, if I sell to an EU country, I would be required to collect and pay the tax required in that country. This will affect all small traders selling digital products like patterns, e-books and e-courses as well as small web hosting businesses.


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Quiet Week

It’s been a quiet week as I worked on the second Gansey Leg Warmer. This and the She’s Electric skirt are the first projects where I really understand the rhythm or music of the knitting. 

My goal is to finish the legwarmers this week and to start knitting the second glove. Speaking of goals, I’m way behind on my yardage knit goal for the year. 

Toupie has recovered from the excitement of the new neighbors moving in. But the barking jags of various dogs in the building keep him intrigued when he’s not escaping into the hallway to see people.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Grazing and Knitting

Thanksgiving has thankfully come and didn’t get a chance to properly go before the start of the Black Friday and the holiday shopping madness.

This is really one of my favorite times of year. Yes, it gets dark earlier, and the weather can be from brisk to freezing. That makes it all the easier to cuddle up with a mug of something hot to read a good book, get lost in the complexity of symphony, or knit something. Gone is the allure of sunset at 9pm or a sunlight-bathed world to seduce us to forget ourselves and go outside.

I had to recognize that although I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving—as in getting together with family or friends to have meal—I do have a Thanksgiving tradition. About 25 years ago, I discovered a prepared food shop had several different kinds of stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy and traditional vegetables available. Since then I treat myself to a cornucopia of whatever stuffings are on offer cranberry sauce and gravy. Over the years, I started preparing the veg myself. This means I can graze all day without a mountain of leftovers and hours of preparation.

I used to drive my mother mad in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. I never liked turkey, but could/can eat stuffing forever. My mother would do a mix of commercially bought stuffing and bread ends that she froze, thawed, baked until they were toast and mixed with the commercial stuffing and spices. The problem was I would eat those cubes of commercial stuffing (she usually bought what she was going to cook before Halloween). Often the Saturday before she when she was checking ingredients before the final holiday shop, I would have gone through most if not all of the stuffing. Total exasperation and a lecture was the result.

Therefore, this Thanksgiving, I spent the day grazing and knitting the Gansey Leg Warmers in between a few naps and a few chores.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Return of the Fox

Three of my favorite knitting newsletters hit my inbox today. Knitter’s Review by Clara Parkes, Patternfish Newsletter and the Schoolhouse Press newsletter. These are must-reads as the content is always interesting and useful. I have somehow been unable to receive the Wendy’s Knits newsletters since October 19. They aren’t in my spam folder and the newsletter email address is not in my junk list. Sigh. I miss piccy’s of Loki.

The fox is back; truly a sign the Fall has arrived. He screamed for longer on Wednesday night than Thursday; but each Fall after the clocks change, I wait to hear that he/she is back. There was unusual howling Friday night. Couldn’t identify the critter from the sound. It’s so nice in a brick and concrete city, to know that just beyond the fence that separates my building from the park, there are foxes, coyotes, deer and very rarely a cougar or bear. 

On the needles, the September Fingerless, the She’s Electric skirt, and the Gansey Legwarmers.

Gansey Legwarmers; Knit Picks Palette; Cornmeal colorway

I WAS napping.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Glove Love

Knitting has made me a mitten maven. Mittens, even flip-top mittens, keep fingers and hands warmer. Flip-top mittens allow you to free your fingers when needed. Moreover, fingerless gloves can keep off the chill and be a fashion statement at the same time.

A couple of weeks ago, I reread Deborah Newton’s article the December 1987/January 1988 issue of Threads on knitting gloves. That inspired me to knit another pair of gloves. Applying the KISS principle, I went to Ann Budd’s The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns and her basic glove pattern. No, I didn’t swatch (shame, shame). Using a skein of Knit Picks overspun Wool of the Andes and size 2.5mm needles I cast on 56 stitches. I paid very close attention to the thumb increases, marking each one with a coiless pin. In knitting the fingers, I switched to 4” dpns leaving the waiting stitches on the six-inch dpns and only moved the stitches in waiting to thread now that I’m knitting the last two fingers.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Baby, It's Cold Outside

This is just funny, especially in a week where the local football franchise’s tickets are reselling for as low as $11.00. I had a convo with a co-worker who is going to tomorrow’s game (she’s not happy about the cold weather). The antipathy towards the local NFL franchise has two loci: the owner and the consistently poor performance of the team in recent decades. I can remember the days—before the Super Bowl rich 1980’s—when we may not have been winners, but we were contenders. In the last 20 years, we only seem slowly to descend the ladder of also-rans.

Knitting has been fun this week. I’ve finished the first glove of the September Fingerless Gloves using Knit Picks Telemark in the Cork colorway. What a fun, well-written pattern. My only despair is that it is too cold outside to go fingerless.

Yes, we have freezing temps. The outlook for the coming week doesn’t bode well for those who don’t like the cold. I wore the Little Things hat yesterday and it was toasty.

On the needles are the second September Fingerless, the She’s Electric Skirt and a pair of gloves from Ann Budd’s The Knitter’s Book of Patterns in Knit Picks Wool of the Andes overspun yarn sport-weight yarn in the Forest Heather colorway.

Another mad Friday night with Toupie. I really should try to capture on video the look of wild determination on his face when he sprints from one end of the apartment to the other. There was lots of that last night and some wild playing with a ball by the front door. When I made up the bed and turned on the electric blanket, he curled up, head on pillow and didn’t budge till this morning.
Too cold for the tweet tweets