30 March 2006

Mutant daffodils and odd shrubs

For the Fall 2004 "Way Beyond the Hebrides" KBTH Virtual Conference, I presented a "positively polygonal" class that centred on different ways to knit various polygons from the centre out.

The KBTH list and server where that and other resources resided went through some changes with the end result being that the KBTH list of today and the KBTH server of today are not the same.

Not all of the resources that were on the original server made the shift to the newserver. My class materials were among the didn't make the shift so it was a good thing that I decided to mirror the class on my web page. Positively polygonal is one of the most requested parts of the web page and not just from bots.

As a practical matter, my feeling is that centre out knitting is superiour to perimeter in knitting because you can just stop increasing when the item is big enough rather than casting on a whole bunch of stitches and taking the leap of faith that your decreases will result in the size you want.

As a totally impractical matter, polygons are just plan fun and a mistake or two (okay maybe three or more) along the way got me knitting stars, flowers and more.

I was particularly proud of the daffodils I designed and they have been real crowd pleasers. As it turns out, my knitted daffodils are mutants -- that's right not real daffodils since real daffodils have six petals around the trumpet section not five as mine do.

While I like my mutants, I've put creating more realistic daffodils on my list of things to do. Easy enough, the mutants are based on pentagons and the real deals will use hexagons. But I do wonder how it is that these mutants could have fooled so many people (self included) into believing that they were the real deal for so long -- insert woo-woo music here. But here's to daffs, mutants or otherwise that brighten my day and my home.

Onto odd shrubs, and no, this isn't political. On a street corner in the Middletown/Mission Hills area
of San Diego, California, there are a couple of plants that for some reason or another have always reminded me of what I can only describe as a Vegas showgirl bison.

Now maybe the idea of a bison as showgirl is my own fanciful spin on the palm emerging from behind the shrub in question but I sort of like the idea and as part of my on going weird images from the hood series, I'm sharing this little snippet of weird.

22 March 2006

Kaua'i on my mind

October 1998 last time I was there and I will always regret putting work ahead of getting back there in the Spring of 1999, but Kaua'i is always on my mind. I'm not so much in touch with friends there and/or friends from there as I would like but I know the welcome is always there.

When I heard about the flooding in Hawaii, my first thought was pal Janis on Oahu. While I was relieved that she was okay, finding out that it and the dam burst was on Kaua'l was a real adventure in trying to get more details.

Near as I can tell everything spilled down between Kilauea and Kalihiwai Bays not far from the light house so those and some other farther North photos will be part of today's posting. To start an early morning shot of Kilauea looking North/West and a shot of the light house.

A number of things I miss about Kaua'i are gone forever. I was lucky to be among those who got to experience Kahili Mountain Park before it was shut down. I'll never forget the peace and beauty of both the place and the staff. I'll always treasure my memories of Connie and her sunny spirit.

Other things are still there like Waimea Canyon and the hard to come by cabin reservations, elusive camera shots of Ni'ihau and the still haven't mastered Kalalau Trail.

Then there's the Waimea Brew pub which may have shut down its Washington operations and probably has shifted staff since I was last there.

I must say I was delighted to trip over the Pale Ale and Luau Lager (stuff I never drank there -- being a Alakai Stout fan) at Trader Joe's and it reminded me of these good times and good people. And although the uke playing lads aren't in the pictures, I will always think that the Bad Fish rendition on ukes on the lanai at the staff party we were invited to attend is way more better than the Sublime recording.

And on a knitting front, I always knit either dish/washclothes, lace bookmarks or other experiments with shapes while on Kaua'i (aka swatches with utility) and rather enjoyed the premature "auntie tutu" title that earned me.

20 March 2006

Earlier submissions mean cheaper rejections or Submissions away

I gave myself a deadline of Saturday the 18th to get my IK submission package on its way to Colorado. I missed that deadline in part because I just had to add the skater girl retro companion hat option, relabel my swatches and -- oh yeah, wait for the cable guy.

Still, I have better internet through put and a submission package that, even if not successful, is a big improvement over earlier efforts.

My slightly over the top swatch submission went out today via Fed-Ex to ensure delivery by Wednesday afternoon. Had I managed to resist the impulse to add the companion hat options and knit just one more swatch, I could have sent it earlier and cheaper to meet the deadline. After all, when you're paying to send it and providing postage to get the stuff back, rejection is cheaper when you send it early and net profit is higher if they say "we want that."

I'm learning to bank the designs and do the art early because, while I can write under pressure, I can't draw/paint under pressure and 30 years after deciding not to pursue a career in art, I am still too self-critical and overly controlling of my own art.

To that end, the Lapis Luxury file now includes a draft cover letter, a description, the actual pattern, the swatch and a piece of art that I can live with. In short, it is ready to be submitted for publication and all I have to do is decide where and when I want to send it off.

As promised in a different venue, here's a link for a place where the mourning/sympathy packages like the one I received from VCA can be viewed/purchased-- Sympathy Gifts.

17 March 2006

Flawed and discontinued saints

It just occurred to me that saints' days are usually, and maybe even always, the anniversary of their deaths rather than their births. Interesting, could that be because until they turn their lives to religion and meet their maker in the approved saintly fashion that they are basic flawed folks?

So in honour of all the flawed saints and semi-perfected sinners, here's sign that should give a smile. The vendor, who can also often be found at the Santa Fe Swap Meet (danger, danger Will Robinson) sells pretty neat saint icons.

Anyhow, it's Saint Patrick's day and a good one for me as no one tried to convince that "everyone's a bit Irish on this day" or some other twaddle or get into a debate discussion over the fact that even Saint Patrick wasn't Irish but possibly Welsh like me.

I managed to get safely home from work without meeting up with any of the amateur drunks who just get messy on this day. Mind you, I've been there, done that and have very fond memories of Saint Patrick's day excesses during law school in Cleveland.

It rained on the parade which, in true San Diego civic calendar weirdness, happened last weekend rather than this.

I'm working away on design submissions and hoping to get everything done and in the mail tomorrow.

I got the bill from VCA today -- ouch. Well, about what I expected and I would have preferred a different result but the care and effort shown by these people is just remarkable and not just to the animals in their care.

A handwritten sympathy card from the vet, a full on "pet mourning package" which is both weird and wonderful. I think the "Anger Putty" could clearly be a best seller beyond the pet mourning market.

Kali really liked the smell of either the bath salts or the tea -- she nuzzled it so much the whole box took a nose dive off the table.

Not much knitting content today and not much knitting. Mostly a bit of walkabout and while in queue working on the second Baby Ull Build A Better Baby Bonnet to check yardage required.

I feel guilty that the DNA scarves are falling to the back of the queue. Still my own knitting for me is even more off into the mists of maybe someday so I can justify.

16 March 2006

Between the ides and a rather well known saint's day, you will find the 16th of March

This is a date of some significance to me for several reasons. It is the day the only man I've ever married was born, it is also my wedding anniversary -- at least the publicly celebrated one.
We got married in the Vista courthouse in 1987, it was supposed to happen on the 16th but there was a screw up with the appointments and something about sick judges. We did the potluck as planned, went back to work the next day and actually got legal a week later.
The getting legal was a very near thing indeed, the courthouse still had more apppointments than available judges and the one we drew lacked that essential sense-o-humour.

She was so uptight and sour faced that we were convinced that if we actually did look deep into each others' eyes that we would have started laughing hysterically and the judge would have refused to marry us. Worse still, I had had way too much coffee that morning, and well, let's just say it could have been a very ugly variation on a wet and wild wedding.
For some reason or another I could never seem to remember the date and wouldn't you know the year I finally remembered was a year after he died -- pish have I got timing or what? The picture at left from a vacation in Utah more years ago than I want to think about. Since then I've lost spouse and my figure. I can get the figure back wish I could do the same with spouse.

So happy birthday Bill and happy anniversary too. We beat the odds and made a damned good run of it even if the judge didn't think we had given it enough thought.
It has been a reflective day with me waiting on a UPS delivery.

I have a new delivery driver who does not show promise but since yarn, yarn glorious yarn is the reward for patience, I'm okay with giving into the waiting game.

Thanks Takako, project build a better baby bonnet will resume this weekend at the Whistlestop knitting get together.

The photo at right shows the original not quite enough yarn bonnet and very generous cones that arrived today.

15 March 2006

The good news about last week is that I lost 11 pounds

The bad news is that 6 of them were my beloved boy cat Maka Hupo who, despite the best efforts of the great staff at VCA Animal Hospital, couldn't come out of renal failure. I'm hoping that his sister, Kali ko opo aka the hoochy kitty or she who has issues, will mellow out now that she doesn't have competition for my attention.

So as soon as I get through the design submission prep knitting, class project samples knitting, family and friend over due knitting and have a little bit of knitting for moi time, I'll revisit the long languishing Polynesian Popoki Shawl (my adaptation of the Joan Schrouder designed Kilamanjaro Kat Shawl). I may have to experiment with knitting with gloves or suddenly turn over a pampered leaf and have regular manicures to avoid the perils of cuticles that kill since the rayon ribbon snags easily.

While playing the hospital waiting game, I worked on the gilded and goth version of my knitted lilies -- mostly the goth. Somehow I find that very appropriate because Maka was a black cat who, like many a goth I've met, often presented as dangerous but was truly sweet. The lilies are an out growth of a mistake I made while knitting the samples for my virtual seminar on Knitting Centre out Polygons fpr the KBTH Fall 2004 Virtual Conference. I revisted that mistake originally in the pine paper yarn from Habu Textiles but like many things I've designed/worked with pine paper, I wanted to find a more "mass market" available yarn to make the design more marketable. I'm very happy with the results so far but I do wish that:
  • DMC Senso Cottton had a green other than the "poison green" of the goth lily stamen
  • There were more metallic gold yarns available than the Twilley's Gold Fingering and the South West Trading Company's Shimmer