30 December 2007

Walkabout into the new year -- construction and calendar quest

I set off today with a mission. I had a Border's 20% off coupon, a knitting book to peruse (150 Knitted Trims by Lesley Stanfield) and a hope of finding some San Diego 2008 calendars.

I was also seeking mileage to make up for the fact that between colds, cats and such, I've been way more sedentary than a body should be when the goal is to be a smaller body.

Per usual, later than usual, off I went with perhaps enough time to Gaslamp and back without losing daylight. Whether the late out the door was or wasn't a subconscious avoid the pub ploy is subject to debate.

David, if you're reading this, I really did hope to see you and share a pint before you winged it back to Wilsden but the back story worked against my intentions. One of these years we'll get drunk and discuss it okay? It was lovely surprise to run into you however briefly and a good reminder to _renew_ my passport so I can get 'round that side of the pond.

Along the way, I took these "what were they thinking " shots of one of the continuous construction condo projects here in the hood. Some of the projects have just been remarkable examples of horrific architectural design (yes, I do have photographic evidence and blog entries yet to be written on that topic) others have tried to tie the new construction into existing structures.

The Egyptian on Park is one example of this trend as are the condos on Park & Robinson that housed a dry cleaners when I first moved to San Diego.

I snapped photos but never posted on this variant on the trend that includes an older home rather than a commercial building.

I wasn't a huge fan of this project on First near Robinson but I've softened my views now that I've seen the far too many facades effort of the construction on 5th & Thorn.

The First near Robinson project photos begin below.

Meanwhile, back to calendar items. The San Diego calendar thing is a fun tradition that started with my cousin Vera who could usually be relied upon to provide a Women's Institute calendar.

Over the years I would send a calendar featuring the place I was living or had visited that year to give a bit of connection. I did a similar thing with my mum, sometimes annotating the calendar with my planned whereabouts and/or notes about the location of the photo.

This year, I counted up and figured that I had about a half dozen or so former San Diegans or never been here sorts who might enjoy that calendar tradition that links us up in non-cyber virtual way. A quirky daily reminder that someone in San Diego is thinking of them throughout the year.

On my last roll through Costco before the holidays there had been a goodly stack of suitable calendars but I didn't buy and when I returned the cupboard was bare -- not a single calendar to be had.

I also needed my own cubicle and home calendars and between Borders and Calendar Club at Horton Plaza, I was sure that I would find something to make marking time more fun.

At Borders I looked at the Stanfield title but didn't see anything that I hadn't already seen in other reference books I own and there was no other compelling reason like compact size or particularly good index to make the purchase so I gave my coupon to a total stranger before heading over to Horton Plaza to continue the calendar quest.

No joy on the San Diego calendar quest and in 2008 my cubicle will not be sporting the usual sailing calendar because I just couldn't find one that I liked.

Instead the CWRU calendar will be sharing digs with views of Mount Fuji courtesy of Pomegranate publications & the British Museum. At home, we're still greeting the day with and planning daily events with Happy Bunny, while the office is watched over by a Black Cats calendar. Other 'round the place calendars have a bit of an attitude with Inner Bitch (mine's more out than in) and this little retro number.

So what was I knitting? The modules for the knitted rhombic hexecontahedron, of course.
Photos to come.

26 December 2007

Hurray for Boxing Day

sheep grazing on ArroyoDuring yesterday's ramble about, I caught a shot of this lamb statue "grazing" in front of a house on Arroyo and found it just odd enough to take the shot.

Traditionally on boxing day I'd be off enjoying either a wee dram or a pint down the pub today and that was a possibility but although I took the day off I opted not to pub it. Yes, there are issues, yes. there's a back story, no I'm not sharing.

I haven't done much knitting on the Franken mitt between Sunday and now -- too much need to pay attention to be good social knitting.

Most of the in process on the road knitting has been related to swatching with some pre-Xmas yarn purchases and the knitted rhombic hexecontahedron I'm trying to have finished by the 7th.

On the swatching front, mostly that's been about additional looks at Supple Rib (as written and as I adapted it) and also at blending Universal Yarn's Classic Worsted LLP with Wool Ease in Half Linen Stitch. Half Linen and Supple Rib (especially as I altered it) are both very respectable looks good on both right and wrong side stitch patterns.

No photos of the mad maths knitting yet but I've worked it out to be formed by 12 geometric pentagons with short rowed points. The only major issue is what combination of colours and how they connect. I'm using the Rite Aid dollar day Chinese Ack-rylic I picked up this Summer.

Other knitting stuff brings me 'round to the cousin thing. I'm the youngest of 11 first cousins in my paternal clan. The eldest is nearly a full generation (25 years) older than I am. She and I were born in December two weeks and 24 years apart and we live nearest each other but haven't seen each other in better than 25 years.

Although we are very similar in some ways, that generational difference is huge. She was something of a role model for me in that she wasn't buying into the must marry one of the buzz cut khaki and madras shirt interchangeable Ken dolls my other female cousins seemed to be Stepford wiving into.

But for all that independence she was no Bohemian and perhaps that's where the generational bit comes more into play. I wasn't terribly inclined to be a good girl but the range of what was good and what wasn't was a lot wider when I came of age.

Even if that wasn't the case, the 50's versus the 70's move to conservatism could be at work as my cousin seems to be much more concerned about my spiritual life and immortal soul than I appear to be.

Eldest cousin is rather high church Anglican with lots of investment in inspirational religious stuff which might well be another reason why, while we may live near, we don't see each other often. I can't even begin to imagine how she and late not even remotely Christian late spouse would have chalk and cheesed it. Fortunately, having grown up with elderly aunties who were fond of quoting scripture at me, I am skilled in the art of graciously saying thank you and shifting the conversation.

Cousin gifted me with a copy of her Guideposts mag, and I handed over the moebius mohair for her mother.

On Sunday, I picked her up at the Old Town station on Sunday shortly after noon. I knew that she'd be hungry so I had a couple of places in mind. I like to take people to places with a story or back story so Perry's, The Gathering, Phil's, and Georgia's were all on the list.

If you're a fan of truck stops and diners or just appreciate watching skilled short order cooks in action, you really should try Perry's at least once. You get a lot of food for very little money and step back in time as the dining rooms are pretty much vintage early 70's naugahyde. Don't go there with freshly washed hair if you don't want to be carting around eau d' greasy spoon for the rest of the day -- trust me.

Perry's parking lot was packed so we rolled up the hill to The Gathering for a slightly more upmarket breakfast/brunch menu hit the spot.

We did a bit of walk 'round Balboa Park before I risked a nose bleed by driving all the way Southeast to Spring Valley where she's spending the holiday with friends one of whom is visiting from France and another here from Kau'ai.

25 December 2007

Christmas Sunset

Christmas Sunset in San Diego
San Diego

Where it's more

Santa Ana
Santa Claus

21 December 2007

Franken Mitts -- Round Two and a cousin thing

The first version of the Franken mitts is still sitting on needles/holders so I can use it as a gauge for what to do and what not to do with the second version.

One of the things that I thought worked well but not well enough in the first version was the cables against a mitred/bias fabric. What I didn't like was the look of the three over three cable.

For the second round I decided to stick a couple of purl bumps into the centre of the cables on the back.

I'm trying to be more disciplined in noting when I turn the cable and also relating the cable turn to the start of the gusset.

I also decided to put a cable on the bottom of the palm-side where it transitions from bias/mitre to straight knitting.

The first turn, being against, the bias looked good. By the second turn, the straight knitting made the cable look more like a mess than a cable so I dropped the stitches on either side of the centre six and gave the cable above the first twist a purl stitch flanking border.

I'm going to give this a slightly shorter cuff length than the original too.

Once I get through today's fun filled work day, I'm not back into the office until the 27th so my large hand models will be out of luck on the mitten front unless I back burner this project in favour of the Borjana and Miss Jean mittens in waiting.

I got a call from my cousin about the possibility of seeing each other again after about 20 something years as she's coming down to do some holiday time with friends in San Diego.

It occurred to me that, while she can't really use a mohair moebius any more than I can, her mother back in Ohio could certainly be warmed by the beautiful orphan last seen in the 3 December 2006 blog entry.

The yarn is the same stuff I used for Cousin Vera's shawl one of the many seen at this FO portion of my web page. It's a cousin thing and I think it works as good close loop knitting.

20 December 2007

Car 404 not found

As I was heading out to work this morning, I saw a police car parked on the street. What struck me as odd/funny was that the car number was 404 as in 404 file not found. An odd variation on Car 54 where are you in the retro scheme of things.

Apparently the car was there because of some high drama in the apartment complex that I blissfully managed to miss.

My holidays may not be the Hallmark or Norman Rockwell variety in recent years but at least they aren't an occasion for arguments and or domestic abuse.

19 December 2007

Ravelry 101 or welcome to the learning curve

My Ravelry invite showed up about a week ago and I've been trying to settle in and find my way around the interface.

Right now I'm trying to figure out what is and isn't kosher to put on Flickr and whether I should mirror there some of the images I already have the web page or here on the blog.

I'm also trying to understand whether what I need to have my blog posts appear on Ravelry is patience or a tweak to my blog's template. Whatever blogger does to convert the atom feed to rss doesn't seem to compliant with rss 2.0 but I'm not sure whether that's the show stopper,

I'm keeping my exploring to a minimum right now and probably will not fall into the suck up all your time trap. If I have to choose, I'll choose the blog over the Ravelry thing and at least keep shops and events web pages as up to date as I can.

18 December 2007

Ending the group knitting right & thumbs

With one thing and another, it was down to Whistlestop or bust for the get in at least one more group knitting gig for 2007.

Even though I had this insane combo of dehydration, congestion, runny nose, sneezing and chapped lips going on, I got myself in gear and got there. The Guinness was very therapeutic.

I made a long walk out of it by dropping off a copy of current copy CityBeat at Sandy's place (aka Cape Cod Clutter) so she could read the write up on the shop. So by the time I decided to walk down and then up Upas on the way to North park, I had already logged four miles or so.

The mitred mittens and the stack of berets went along for show and tell. The mittens got a good reception despite the palm distortion but everyone agreed that it was less than ideal and not up to what folks expect of the EZ tradition.

I was continuing to work on the supple fidget variant and fiddling with my Franken-mitt.

I didn't start the thumb gusset soon enough to make a mitten that fits my small hand well, so I enlisted the aid of a couple of large hand size models. In doing this, I learned a lot about hands and angles.

My thumb connects to my hand at about a 45 degree angle, My large hand models both have thumbs that attach at a much larger than 45 degree angle. This makes for a real difference in where the thumb gusset starts and how deep/wide the hand to thumb gap needs to be for comfort.

The good news is that since I used the waste yarn thumb trick with the gusset, if this was "for real" and not for proof of concept knitting, I could still do a snip, frog and "correct" such a thumb fit issue if the problem lies with the thumb opening needing a lower starting point to accommodate a larger degree angle thumb.

Round two of Franken mitt is coming up.

17 December 2007

Knitting and maths

Yesterday I got this email through my walkabout knitter email account. Several other folks also forwarded it to me and I've forwarded it on to others.

I've done a little interactive embellishment to make it more blog friendly and let people get more details in one stop.

Here's the text of the email and the links I've added:

Interested in abstract mathematics and love to knit?

Come to the Knitting Circle, Monday, January 7, 2008 from 8:15pm to 9:45pm. in the Warner Center room of the San Diego Marriott Hotel Marina.

The Joint Mathematics Meetings (the national conference for academic mathematicians) will be in San Diego January 6th - 9th. As part of this conference, Sarah-Marie Belcastro and Carolyn Yackel, co-editors of the new book _Making Mathematics with Needlework_, will be hosting their annual Knitting Circle.

It's a gathering at which mathematical crafters sit around and knit, crochet, tat, bead, etc. Sometimes the discussion is mainly mathemati
al, and sometimes it's just about knitting. In the past, it has only been open to conference participants, but this year we're opening it up to members of the public who love mathematics.

I, of course, immediately googled the author of the email and found a wealth of knitting maths inspiration from links on her web page including some quilted items that I think I can render in knitted polygons in addition to that knitted soccer ball that's on the will do list and yes, I'm already parsing the polygon and short row modular possibilities.

The German language maths connection still hasn't funded the paypal account for the cover photo of knitted polygon so I'm guessing that I won't have that street cred to show at the January event so I guess I'll just have to knit an Archimedean solid or two bewteen now & then -- no worries.

16 December 2007

Building a better bias and supple fidgeting

Girl kitty and I have survived the bladder infection and the every 12 hours fight over antibiotics.

The med regiment had disruptions during one day's anorexic episode and another day's marathon vomiting. Still, I got enough meds down her gullet to get her over the immediate crisis and see how we're doing with the long range treatment of the disease of her demise. Clearly she is not a candidate for at home sub-Q fluids or other relies on compliance treatments.

I've been playing at different building a better bias mitten plans and have settled on a bit of a Franken-mitt. The basic idea is mitre/bias knit both sides up to a certain point and then shift gears to knit the palm side straight.

In photo you're not seeing, I've thrown in some really random cables just for fun. It's Franken-knit prototype/proof of concept so I'm not really tracking design elements at this point but I'm liking what I'm seeing so far.

The current version still gives both sides a chevron at the cuff and eliminates the complication of the bias knit for the thumb placement and the centre column distortion.

Other less successful swatches have been frogged back to hide the evidence and the current palm up photo is knit from the same Cleckheaton beige as the kiss/gnome hat and one the for the cousins' DNA scarves.

I'm doing a full on thumb gusset and since this mitt will have a right and wrong side, reverse shaping will have to happen. It will be less EZ on the knitter and more EZ to wear.

I've also given into the Fidgeting craze with, of course, a twist. The Suri Merino Paint mittens are lovely but they look a little off for my target wearer. I was already looking into the bags of Green/Grey from the stash for mitten icord trim or other co-ordinating choices when some Di.ve Autunno in a green caught my eye.

The Supple Rib stitch pattern I've been worrying with the came from Chardon alpaca/silk wasn't really giving me joy on the reversibility scale. As written, it isn't a true rib since the wrong side is a purl back. So a subtle supple fidget variant was born -- knit the knits, purl the purls and a 2x1 rib different on both sides highly reversible scarflette was born. Bad news? It needs buttons, more bad news right side and wrong side are both gorgeous so button placement is going to mean I have to choose sides.

14 December 2007

Mitered mittens musing

The hat got frogged and became a second mitten

My other veer off from EZ's pattern instructions came when I used the afterthought thumb trick instead of the "snip it, snip it good" method.

It let the yarn colour changes continue without any disruption and also gives me the option of snipping later to adjust the thumb position to the recipient.

In addition, the waste yarn provides a good marker when making the matching mitten.

The mitre (read matched bias knitting) works well with the paint. Clearly the mittens are fraternal twins but it isn't a jarring difference.

What is jarring to me is the palm side of the mitten as worn.

The pattern produces this lovely straight column and the sweet little thumb does fold nicely flat. But put an actual human hand in and the centre column shifts left or right and looks damned uncomfortable.

Maggie Righetti was right, it's the photo they don't show or what doesn't show in the photo that really tells the tale.

The mitred mitten by EZ is almost never shown palm side on a hand.

This leads me to wonder if a myriad of mitred mittens given as gifts and looking so nice in their boxes haven't been returned to the boxes when the actual wearing didn't live up to the promise.

If the intended recipient has a thumb that joins the hand at a less 45 degree angle or a very thin hand, these mittens might not have such a distortion.

I don't know very many people with that particular hand outline.

This pair will be making their way East in the hope that the distortion will not be as distracting to wearer as it is to me, but I'm putting this mitten pattern and ones based on it in the EZ to knit but not to wear bin.

In looking for an easy to knit and easy to wear alternate solution, I've started swatching for a mutant mitred mitten of one sort or another that will marry mitre and thumb gusset for a better fitting mitten.

11 December 2007

Hats and Hands & Stops and Starts

One of the planned but didn't happen things from my visit back in Cleveland was teaching my pal how to knit in the round with double points (dpns).

This planned tutorial session was the excuse for buying some dpns and soft lovely yarn from Knitting On the Square.

When it didn't happen, I brought the yarn and needles back to San Diego and promised to send them back as something wonderful.

The bag of yarn and needles has been sitting on my desk patiently waiting it's turn as legwarmers, hats, earrings, etc. got finished before them.

Since the Alpaca/Silk blend is so very soft and warm, I always had some sort of wrist warmers, muffatees or fingerless mitts planned for this yarn. The pattern was always the missing bit.

I was already digging 'round my stitch directories for a cable or twist stitch pattern to use/adapt for a more complex centre out hat when I came upon Supple Rib in my Vogue Dictionary of Knitting Stitches. It's an easy to remember simple rib with a stable stitch and row count.

I'm still trying to decide if I want to go with a fully fashioned thumb gusset or just a slit solution . While mulling that over I turned my attention to the other yarns in waiting.

Originally, I thought I'd do the Suri Merino Paint up as a hat and do co-ordinating mittens from the solid green. The theory behind the plan is that a hat doesn't need to match a coat as much as a mitten or glove should. That bit of fashion wisdom may or may not be a good rule but it's stored in my brain that way.

In any event, I knit to the wrong chart for the hat and chart and yarn were doing nothing for each other.

Instead of tearing out and working the other chart, I decided to put the hat on hold and start a mitten with the other ball. The mitten in this case, a modified version of EZ's mitered mittens. My modification involved not doing an icord start but just letting the stocking stitch roll for a few (4 rounds) before beginning the mitre.

The goal has always been to match hats with hands but mittens have been problematic for me.

The mittens to accompany Borjana's beret are still mired in a combination of gauge and yardage issues. Miss Jean's mitten is also lying in wait for either an updated hand outline or the resurfacing of the original. I also need to find Abby's paw print to make her pint sized mittens.

03 December 2007

A bunch o berets or tons o tams

When I fell down this particular hat rabbit hole, I decided to do four hats in addition to the Borjana beret to illustrate the different construction techniques.

With the exception of the beige hat, the other four yield the same end result and demonstrate why one would choose one method over the other.

The orange and the blue same yarn, different colour, same ultimate shape, different construction technique,

The traditional method, whether from ribbing up or top down, has an expanse of rows with no increases to interfere/complicate colour work, cabling or other stitch patterning.

The gotcha aspects of the tradition method include relying on blocking (not an option with some materials) to achieve the desired end shape, and knowing when to begin and end the plain knit rows -- too many makes a too large hat and too few makes it too small.

The "all the way to the diameter" method makes adding colour work or other patterning more of a challenge because there are increases and/or decreases at every point except the ribbing. There are more increases (and therefore stitches) in this technique than there are in the traditional method to get the same size hat but there's no blocking required.

I finished the orange in progress, blocked the blue and moved on to finish the Universal Yarns (aka the only acrylic of the bunch) beret.

Since I was already thinking matching mitts (fingerless or otherwise) and I wasn't keen on working the ribbing in a semi-self-patterning faux fair isle yarn, so I shopped around the stash and found some Paton's Look at Me in a co-ordinating colour for the ribbing.

As the Universal Yarn hat is a heavier gauge, larger needles, it also has a different stitch count all 'round but it is roughly the same size as all the others.

Although I've started a hat from the alpaca/merino blend I picked up while back in Cleveland, I've mostly moved on to mittens and the ever popular fingerless mitts.

By missing yesterday's Whistlestop knitting, I'm really in the solo knitting ranks.

With the ongoing every twelve hours fight over antibiotics, there's no way I'm making it to this month's Knitnite.

At this point, I can't even remember the last time I made it to one.

So I'm down to The Knit Together and one last Whistlestop for end of the year group knitting.

01 December 2007

Picture This or Catalogue Curiosities

I used to get a lot of odd catalogues in the mail. Sometimes how I got on the mailing list made sense, sometimes it was a mystery. I thankfully fell of the Sharper Image list some time back but the arrival of the "gift preview 2007" catalogue lets me know that the equally odd Hammacher Schlemmer company considers me (well, late spouse) worth the effort although there's not been a purchase in over eight years.

Still, it was worth a leaf through and one of the things that caught my eye was something called The Table Top Photo Studio and it got me thinking just maybe it was something to consider.

My apartment is pretty much a cave where a vampire would feel right at home. That's my way of saying that it doesn't get a lot of day/natural light. Natural light is, of course, good for taking of photos and that's becoming a real problem in trying to get good images of the knitting into the camera and onto the blog.

Obviously this setup wouldn't be very good for larger items and it might well be that I could kit something up myself (I already own a couple of tripods) but the question is whether I'd actually get 'round to kitting one up and if I did if the time and effort wouldn't suck up any savings that such a DIY effort might realise.

I asked a graphic artist or two who were sure I could create one myself for less, assured me that that's what they would do but couldn't offer any specifics on places and prices and had never actually kitted one up.

Google has not yielded a less expensive alternative although I already bought my birthday present for me (Silver Seasons earrings from a Circa AD outing), I'm seriously thinking about this especially since I could potentially use it in the business side of the house too. One of the many things that is getting in the way of self-publishing and even some electronic submissions is the photography issue. Gods know this is cheaper than the Nikon digital SLR I've been drooling over for the last four months.

Another not great birthday for the record books and I've fallen behind in getting my submissions packages together for my Master's. With the vet bills and such I'm not feeling quite as warm and fuzzy about trying to start the programme with an Open University effort in January.

Labels: , , ,