Monday, October 16, 2017

Surgeon?


My husband asked me recently what kind of doctor I would be if I were a doctor. I don't know why he asked, but I immediately answered "a brain surgeon." I had given this some thought a couple of years ago when my daughter needed brain surgery and I read a lot about the topic. I've considered other activities as well:  if I were a baseball player, I would be a pitcher; if I were a professional tennis player, I would only play singles, etc.. Keeps my mind from obsessing about the possible apocalypse or about conspiracy theories.

Today I had to fix stitches in my Shelby Pattern. It's knit with fine lace yarn, and it's intricate, and when I finally had conquered the lace portion, after ripping the whole thing out twice, I messed up the border. It's supposed to be garter stitch, but on the purl side I kept purling the border stitches instead of knitting them, and so I was getting stockinette stitch. (Non- knitters may want to bail on this post.)

I set up my surgery station and started work:





I had all the correct tools: two sizes of steel crochet hooks, the Ott light, and the attached magnifier lens. After about an hour, I was able to put the first five stitches back on the needle and purl across the back to get to the last five stitches and fix those. But---ACKKK---now I had done something wrong and had too many stitches in the first lace section and I couldn't figure out how that happened. I tried; I really did.

And I ripped the whole thing out once again. 

So I have concluded that I lack the dexterity necessary to perform brain surgery. Patients are safe from me. I know it's a poor workman who blames his tools, and I can't do that, but I do think that if I were a surgeon, I would have a better surgical assistant than Baxter. He did check everything out and he approved of my set up and tools, but then he just kept getting in the way. 


I have fired him.

Monday, September 25, 2017

So...


Odds and ends from our trip:

Of course, the high point were the fjords in Norway.

From the boat tour:






From the train:






From the railway website:  http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/flamsbana-flam-railway




And because I can't help myself, I take photos of weird signs. This sign in the bathroom on the boat we took through the fjords was only in English, so apparently English-speaking people have been behaving badly. They should stop.



Photos don't do justice to the fjords, so I'll stop, but these were formed by glaciers millions and millions of years ago, and the water in this area is deeper than 1,000 feet. I can't even imagine what this must have looked like millions and millions of years ago, before the glaciers completely melted. There are only a few left in this area, just small areas on the tops of some of the mountains.

If any countries need tunnels, they should contact the powers-that-be in Norway, because they are champs at building tunnels. We went through dozens of them while travelling around, but this is my favorite. It is the longest tunnel in the world at about 15 miles long, has air filtrations systems, and these sections of blue that are supposed to simulate daylight driving, but I thought they looked like driving through a glacier (I hear they are blue).


video

Nobel had to invent dynamite! It became the best way to tunnel through the mountains in Norway, and driving was an efficient way to deliver goods (and now tourists) through the country.

More to come.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Have You Ever


seen a more beautiful lace shawl?

You have?  You've seen Faroese shawls, Estonian Lace shawls, Orenburg shawls?

Well, OK.  

But have you ever seen a more beautiful lace shawl knitted by yours truly???

No you haven't (because I haven't made any others).

Seychelles from Ravelry designed by Susannah IC



I bought the materials for this four years ago and then put it all aside thinking that it was much too difficult for me.

But I corresponded with a couple of knitters on Ravelry who had made it, and who assured me that it was easy.

And it WAS!  Amazingly easy.

Shhhh....don't tell anyone else.  OK?

Thursday, August 24, 2017

I Did It!


The pattern for Seychelles, which intimidated me for four years, turned out to be really easy, especially after two cabled sweaters I made.







Each of these sweaters has patterning on the wrong sides of the knitting as well as on the right sides. It was a lot to keep track of!

The Seychelles wrong side rows were always just purl stitches. A breeze, and there were only 41 stitches per row, and only 20 rows per repeat section. 19 repeats but still, they were easy, so easy that I could work on them while I watched the new season of Endeavour. Yay! I love Endeavour, the prequel to the dull Inspector Morse series; the main character, the older Morse, was depressed, and I suppose he was such an effective actor that he made the show .... depressing. I never finished watching the series.

Anyway, here is the beaded lace portion of the project.




Now all that remains is to pick up a million zillion! stitches along the non-beaded side of this lace and knit the stockinette part of the wrap. There are (shudder) short rows to keep track of, but I think that is as complicated as the rest of the project gets.

This will be the most delicate thing I've ever had to block, and I think that will be a bit challenging. I'll be afraid I'll break the fine thread-like yarn!


Thursday, August 17, 2017

I'm a Southerner?


Yes, I currently am, although you wouldn't think so based on the amount of wool clothing I have. Surprise! I said to myself when I needed these three bags to hold it all.


THREE trash bags contain all of my woolens, clothing as well as things I have knit.

I live in HOTlanta, Georgia, y'all.  For goodness sake.

I am paranoid about moths after losing two winter coats to them over a couple of summers, two beautiful camelhair coats.  sniff... So each summer, I put everything moths would like to eat in these bags in the car and let them ride along with me for a few days. In the driveway and in parking lots, I've gotten the heat in the car up to 132 degrees, and that is supposed to kill all stages of moths. GASP... I have to open all of the windows and run the ac for a few minutes before I can get in and touch the steering wheel.

From these bags, the clothes go into airtight plastic containers until it's cold enough to wear them. IF it's cold enough to wear them. I haven't replaced my winter coat because for the last few years, I just haven't needed one. Winter here is like winter was in Florida when I lived there; a good sweater for cool mornings was all I needed.


I have just finished my snood, and it's all set for Norway, and of course, I will break out a sweater or two to take along. It is supposed to be in the 60s while we are there, perfect weather for tourists!


hmmm.  I see that this needs to be blocked to even out the decreased stitches area. As my youngest granddaughter says: Easy peasy, nice and breezy.

Off to soak a snood in Soak.  A little alliteration!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Lately


I am currently knitting this snood to take with me to Norway in the fall. Seems as if it would be useful, plus it's an easy knit and that is nice to combine with the more complicated Seychelles that I am slowly working on.


Blue Skies Woolstok, Earth Ivy


And I made another Cherry Clafoutis, yum, half recipe since no one else in the house likes it and I get to have to eat it all by myself. Poor, poor me.



But I will NOT be making any more jam. At first I did think it tasted ok, but it really doesn't. It wouldn't jell as quickly as I thought it should (a no-pectin recipe) so I would add more lemon juice, and then I would think that it would taste too lemony and I would add more sugar, and it made for the weirdest sweet sour jam. It just doesn't taste very good. It is edible, in the sense that someone desperate for sustenance would probably eat it, but I will leave jam making up to the professionals. My attempt at blueberry jam does not compare to this:


It's so good that I ate it all! On my second batch of crumpets. But not to fear. I bought more.


Speaking of desperate for sustenance, I have finished reading The Best Land Under Heaven, by Michael Wallis, and what a terrible story. Of course cannibalism is a terrible choice to make, and some did not choose to eat cannibalized peers. I guess I had always thought of the choice as the result of sort of a reasonable conversation amongst reasonable people, but starving people aren't necessarily reasonable. Some were so starved that they hallucinated, and others truly went mad. It's no wonder that they did what they did.




However, each person did agree not to partake any of their own cannibalized family, but I'm not sure that that even held up as time went on. One young boy was seen eating a live mouse he had just caught; others ate raw organs as they were taken from the bodies. Necessary? I guess they thought so. I don't know why others survived without resorting to cannibalism.  

On a lighter note...sort of...Abraham and Mary Lincoln were good friends of one of the couples who went on the trip and these friends, the Reeds, tried to convince the Lincolns to go too. Abe was fascinated by the idea of the west coast and had indicated interest in going, but finally decided that he was more determined to have a political career. Mary had no interest in leaving her comfortable life in Springfield, Illinois in order to travel in wagons through very difficult terrain, populated with native Americans---some friendly, some not.

Imagine how different American history would be if Lincoln had gone on the journey with the Donners and Reeds.

The End!


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Sunday, July 23, 2017

It's Texas, y'all!



My daughter is at the beach in Texas. I warned her about sharks, but didn't really think there would be cows at the beach.

But hey! It's Texas, and what would be more "normal" than practicing roping cows with a plastic one, at the beach:




Yee-haw!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Cows ARE deadlier than sharks are!



And here's the link.

And they don't so much fall on people as they do attack people.

Maybe that's fair, since we do eat a lot of them. Vegetarianism might be a better idea than we knew.

(Thanks, C, for finding this article!)

Bonus Far Side cartoon:


Thursday, July 20, 2017

SHARK!!!




My older daughter, Heather, told me this morning that she and her husband are going this weekend to the beach in Corpus Christi, Texas. When she mentioned the trip to a friend, the friend protested, "There are sharks in the Gulf!"

Well, yes there are; it's where they live. Heather told her friend that being at a salt water beach is where she is happiest, and I agree, although in my case, the beach is tied with a Har-Tru tennis court. I don't have access to either one since I moved from Florida.  sigh.

Heather said that she had read that more people are killed each year by being fallen on by a cow than by being attacked by a shark. We laughed. I said I didn't know anyone fallen on by a cow, so a shark attack was even less likely.

Ooops.  I realized after the conversation that I DID know someone who was attacked by a shark and who had a really mangled wrist to prove it. I was at the hair salon, having my hair returned to its God-intended color (strawberry blonde in case you wondered), when the woman who sat down next to me had her wrist all bandaged up. The shampoo girl asked what had happened.

The woman explained that she had been on Cumberland Island, and after she and her daughter had run the circumference of the island, they lay down in very shallow water, held themselves up by putting their hands down on the sand, and kicked just to cool off after the run. Suddenly the woman's hand was in a shark's mouth.

A fast boat ride to the mainland later, the woman met her husband at the hospital. She showed us photos of her wrist and arm. When I told her that I was surprised that she had thought to take photos, she told me that she hadn't, that she was in shock at that point, and that her husband had taken them. 

Of course he had. What is wrong with men? When I broke my wrist, was covered in mud from the swamp I fell in, and was wrapped in a sheet to protect the furniture in the ER, my husband took a photo. I deleted it when I discovered it. Ugh.

Anyway, the woman's wrist and arm were put back together, and I'm sure she is fine by now. But the shampoo girl asked, "Are you sure it wasn't a whale?"

In two feet of water???  C'mon.


Anyway, Heather, here is a chart to keep in mind:
Shark's view from below the surface

Just don't go surfing, ok?

And I guess don't stand next to any cattle?


(I suppose she read the cow/shark statistic on the internet, so it must be true, right? Seems unlikely though.)

Monday, July 17, 2017

I Made Jam


Blueberry Jam!

All by myself, with help from the internets of course. So only sort of by myself.

Anyway, the recipe linked to above does not require pectin, so it's really easy. Perfect! I didn't have to go to the grocery store to make this. I hate going to the grocery store and usually buy myself some chocolate milk as a reward for grocery shopping, but it's hot out, my "outfit" would be turned down by any charity, and so even chocolate milk couldn't get me outside.

I made half of the recipe: six cups of blueberries, 2 1/2 cups of sugar and the juice and zest of one half lemon. I did not know that all of this:



 would become only a small jar and a half of jam.



It's not the best blueberry jam I've ever had, but it's not bad. It will last for two months in the refrigerator, but it probably won't last that long. (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)(who says that?)  



Saturday, July 15, 2017

ALERT!!!


This is a warning to parents of adult children.

If you notice your visiting adult children, smart phones in hand, going through old photo albums, do not be fooled. They are not fondly reminiscing about times gone by. 


They are taking photos of photos! Yes! They are!

And why?

Because they are going to post them on social media for all the world to see, WITHOUT YOUR PERMISSION, because they are evil like that. Forewarned is forearmed, y'all.  


So, now a warning to those adult children.

To the daughter who knits. You face being disinherited of all of my knitting supplies:

Double pointed needles.


Circular needles, lots and lots of circular needles. Some are even Signature needles, the Rolls Royces of needles.




And my (possibly too many) knitting bags.  

So think carefully about what you do when you next visit.


And to my daughter who doesn't knit:


I'm watching you.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Almost Forgot


The Finished Blanket



it now belongs to a sweet little one-year old girl named Serena.  

Knitting---really!



I have actually been knitting. I have two or three WIPs (works in progress):



Another Lost Banner Hat by Susan Anderson




Seychelles by Susanna IC which will eventually look like this



because I bought exactly the same yarn and beads used in the sample. And because I'm such a master knitter! 

No. I'm not. I bought the pattern and supplies four years ago and then chickened out. It just looked way too complicated. Recently I studied the finished Seychelles on Ravelry, read notes left by the knitters, and decided that I could conquer this. It might take a while but SHE PERSISTS!

And thanks to Sweet Mother of Purl, I do have one finished project!  Yay me!

It is this Anarktis:


It is off the needles and currently blocking. I played yarn chicken and won even though I was using Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Cast Off. I had only this tiny bit of yarn to finish with, but I made it.  


I recently took an internet test to see if I am OCD and according to the test, I am 100% OCD! There are people in my family who would probably say: We told you so!

HOWEVER, I beg to differ even though the test was an official Internet Test. I store my circular needles in their original packaging and when the pattern called for a size six, I pulled out my size six. See? It says size 6 in two places!

When I finished the scarf, I noticed that it was really a good bit smaller than it should have been, and some aggressive blocking has not expanded it to the measurements the pattern indicated it would be.

I checked the needle in my gauge before I put it away, which I SHOULD have done BEFORE I started knitting. It's a size four. That explains the size but I cannot explain how I put the needle in the wrong case...and where is the size six that belongs in here? So how can I be OCD? I'm clearly not.

I bet the size six needle is in the size four package. If I'm even moderately OCD, that's where it should be, right?




Monday, July 3, 2017

Ganache Gone Wrong


I get credit for trying, right?

It consists of one part heavy cream, heated to almost boiling, and one part chocolate chips.

Pour the cream over the chips, stir till melted, pour over the cooled cake.

That's what I did.

And this is what I got:



It (the ganache, haven't eaten the cake yet) tastes great.  How could it not?

But it looks wrong.

I will not be a contestant on the Great American Baking Show should anyone here decide to make an American version of the British Show. 

Sunday, July 2, 2017

I Bought Two Books!


and you might think, Big deal, Knittergran. Everyone buys books!

Hah. Yes they do, and so do I; I have bought many, many iBooks and I read them on my iPad, which allows me to change font size and background color so I can read at night without lights on. However, this time, I wanted actual hard copy books so that I could share them with a couple of people I know who will be interested in them. I have yet to master the "sharing" method Amazon offers on only some books. 

I went to an actual brick-and-mortar bookstore (Barnes and Noble, the only one left around here) and bought these two books:


One is about the Donner Party and the other is about um...probably stuff I don't understand but I can try, and I am a big fan of Neil De Grasse Tyson because he let my granddaughter interview him over Skype a few years ago. Also, I like him because he does try to make things understandable to amateurs, like me. However, he did write and narrate a series on the next big extinction, which is going on now, and that was kind of scary, really, but we are bringing it on ourselves. We need to STOP doing this.

The Donner Pass book is of course about the infamous Donner party and their attempt to reach the west during the Manifest Destiny era in the United States. I listened to an interview with the author on NPR's Fresh Air and according to the author, there are all sorts of rumors and false impressions about the trip. They did have to resort to cannibalism, unfortunately, but there is a lot more to the story.

So, hard copy books still exist and now if I can find my glasses, since I can't make the font larger, I will read two of them.  grumble grumble grumble  where are my glasses?!


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Climbers



Some of the members of my granddaughter's climbing team are here from Austin, Texas. This year, there are only four; in years past, I've lost count. Really. I stopped counting at eight.

This is what they do:

outdoors.

That small person up on the rock face is my 16-year old granddaughter. She is roped in (on belay) so that she can't free fall from the rock face, but it's still a heart-stopping sport for family members to watch. 

I would love to have been able to do this when I was a kid. I was always up in trees, but I don't know if climbing was even a sport then, and there weren't any mountains near me. I don't think that there were indoor climbing gyms either. Now there are, and the climbers come to Atlanta to practice at two gyms, one with a higher wall than they have at home gyms so that they can practice for meets with higher walls.  

Rock on! (carefully)