Saturday, June 30, 2007

Fixation Socks

Fixation Socks

Pattern: Socks
Yarn: 1 50g/100 yd ball Cascade Fixation (98.3% cotton/1.7% elastic) in #9464. One ball actually made three socks, the two shown here and a *cough* rather smaller one. It was a swatch sock. Really.
Needles: 3.0mm (US 3)
Gauge: 7.5 sts = 1"
Knitting Time and Date Completed: Four hours each, completed 06/30/07
Notes: Although Boo's first socks were beautiful, they weren't exactly a success in the knittability and wearability departments. Knitting anything at 12 stitches to the inch is asking for a nervous breakdown, and after they were done Boo said the socks were "itchy." She loved them when she saw them, she really did, but she only wore them once before refusing to wear them again (cf. "itchy").

So, for my second attempt, I went with cotton, and I went with bigger yarn. Much bigger yarn. I used Cascade Fixation, which is cotton with a deceptively small amount of elastic blended in. It says 1.7%, but that 1.7% goes a long, long way. It's a very pleasant yarn to work with, soft and springy, but it took me a while to get the hang of what tension to use (for the record, really, really loose). It's very easy to have a lot of tension on the yarn without noticing, and I had to make a special effort to make sure that there was plenty of yarn pulled free and that I wasn't just stretching the same three inches of yarn over more and more stitches. But the results were very nice, and Boo loves them and declares them non-itchy. That's good enough for me.

Fixation Socks

Detail of heel flap

I happened to be starting my heel flap at the same moment that I was sitting next to someone working from Charlene Schurch's Sensational Knitted Socks, and I decided to try the garter-stitch border for the heel flap. It worked up quite nicely, and I liked both the effect of the border and how nicely the stitches picked up.

Fixation Socks

So, about the"ruffle"; at the top. This is not a ruffle, per se, it's actually just your everyday 2x2 ribbing that didn't rib because of the elastic. Presumably. But it looked nice, so I decided that it was a feature instead of a bug and carried on.

Fixation Socks

Poor Greebo. I really have no idea why he doesn't just run, run for his life every time he sees Boo coming. And yet, he will seek her out. Go figure.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Boo's Trip to the Bicentennial Mall

I took approximately three billion pictures during Boo's field trip to the Bicentennial Mall and Farmer's Market yesterday. For those of you not native to Nashville, there's a huge mall in front of the state capitol. It was constructed in 1996 to celebrate Tennessee's bicentennial, and includes a 1,400-foot wall of history, a ninety-five bell carillion (one for each of the counties in the state), an amphitheater, a nine-ton floating marble globe of the world as it was during World War II, and a plaza with thirty-one fountains (to represent each of the rivers that flow through Tennessee). The fountains are pretty much designed to be played in, and the kids had a fantastic time:

Bicentennial Mall

Bicentennial Mall

There's something about turning the fountains off and on with one's bottom that's a universal toddler pleasure.

Bicentennial Mall

Another feature of the mall is a map plaza in front of the fountains. It has an enormous to-scale map of Tennessee. Boo is crushing our house under her mighty croc.

Bicentennial Mall

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

So, About The Lawn Mower...

I don't think I was alone in thinking that the saga of the lawn mower was over. Yesterday, though, as I was pulling out of my garage, I noticed this:

Wherefore Art Thou, Lawn Mower?

Or rather, I noticed that I didn't have to be careful about running over the lawn mower because it wasn't there. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, our brand-new lawn mower had been stolen.

Operating on the dual assumption that your average lawn mower thief a) probably couldn't get far and b) isn't likely to be all that smart, Albert made a brief tour of our street that evening and, in fact, spotted our mower sitting in a yard about a mile away. Armed with the serial number from the delivery form and a cell phone, he called the police and filed a report. He gave up on the cops around midnight (understandably, there seemed to be more urgent matters afoot than a stolen lawn mower), but returned to his post and phoned again this morning.

The residents of the house denied all knowledge of the mower, but since the serial numbers matched we were allowed to bring the mower back.

Lawn Mower

Sadly, though, not undamaged.

Lawn Mower

On the plus side, Albert saw some people returning to the house with a gas can, and there appears to be at least two or three gallons of gas in the mower. Eight or nine bucks worth of gas is nothing to sneeze at.

On our to-do list for the weekend: Buy a yard shed.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Two Weeks Later...

Harry Potter Scarves

The final tally: 9 scarves, 3 hats. Not bad for two weeks work. :)

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Now We Have a Lawn Mower, Ho Ho Ho

Lawn Mower

The lawn mower repair folks delivered our shiny new lawn mower this morning. They also installed the mulch kit, no charge. So, while losing an entire lawn tractor = not so good, replacing it with a brand new one definitely counts as a save in a customer service department. Plus, it's been so darn dry around here that we haven't even needed to mow for something like three weeks, so not having a mower hasn't even been much of an inconvenience.

In Hypericon news, I'm washing my pile o' Potter scarves in preparation for tasselling this afternoon. I have two ear flaps left to knit on my fourth Jayne hat, and I'm fairly certain I have enough yarn for a fifth, which I feel confident that I can finish during the con. I used Elann's Highland Wool, and it's actually not a bad yarn, especially for a project that's supposed to look rustic. And, when I mentioned here that I was waiting for yarn, the yarn was, in fact, sitting on my front porch at that very moment, so I was able to get started a couple of days earlier than I'd hoped. Cheap yarn delivered fast. :)

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Jinjifore's Fourth Law of Knitting

Knitting Machine

The pile of scarves is bigger, but the bucket of yarn appears no emptier. Is this some kind of new knitting physics?

I've run off eight scarves on the machine now, two for each house. I'm making a third Gryffindor scarf because I ended up with one old-style scarf and one new for each of the houses except Gryffindor, and I'd like to keep the symmetry. Besides, the first scarf I did has all the expected flaws of a prototype, and I'd like to have two non-crappy scarves for each house.

I've ordered yarn to make some Jayne hats, but I have no idea if it will arrive in a timely enough fashion. In any case, I've met my minimum Harry Potter production goal, so that's something. :)

Six days to Hypericon!

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Monday, June 04, 2007

Harry Potter and the Knitting Machine

Allow me to present my life for the next two weeks:


Hypericon is weekend after next, and my plan is to turn the contents of the big green bucket into scarves and hats before then. I've run off five so far, and number six is on the machine. (Actually, I'm making this post because my daughter complained that the machine was too loud. :))

So far, I've made two Gryffindor scarves, one Hufflepuff, two Slytherins, and am mid-way through a Ravenclaw. Unfortunately, I used up all the Slytherin green I had, so if I want to make any more Slytherin stuff I'm going to have to re-scour JoAnn's and Michaels and other cheap yarn venues for dark green yarn. In retrospect, it might not have been my smartest move ever to make one of the nearly-all-green scarves from the third and fourth movies. But it is very pretty.

Slytherin Scarf

Well, it'll be pretty once it's seamed up. :)

My plan is to make at least two scarves for each house, and hopefully I'll be able to make some others based on the third movie design. It takes me about two hours to run off one scarf on my machine, and two to three more hours to do the seaming up. The seaming, though, can be done in spare moments, whereas getting blocks of time to use the machine are more of a challenge.

Greebo is a big help with this:

Knitting Machine With Greebo

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Boo at the Zoo

Playschool Zoo Trip May 2007

Boo's playschool class went to the zoo last week. A dozen 4-year-olds were set loose in the wilds of the Nashville Zoo, with the following results (some numbers estimated):

Number of children per adult: 1.5
Escapes: None successful
Rest stops in two-hour period: 6
Bottles of water consumed: 60
Organized pee breaks: 2
Emergency pee breaks: 47
Animals seen: 10
Meltdowns for reasons of fear: 2
Meltdowns for reasons of hunger: 23
Meltdowns of unknown origins: 3
Children lost: 0
Parents lost: 2
Moment most likely to be remembered: The peeing giraffe

More pictures here

Since Boo and I met up with the rest of the playschool on our own, we were able to stay a bit after the others left. We continued on from the Unseen Adventures building (this is where they have fish, snakes, insects, and other smaller critters) and set off to see tigers. The tigers were sleeping in the far corner of their enclosure, but we did get to glimpse them, so it was all good. Being there with the rest of the class was fun, but I really enjoyed the one-on-one time with Boo afterwards.

Friday, June 01, 2007

How Do You Lose a Lawn Mower?

We have an update on the lawn mower saga.

Apparently, the shop has lost our mower. Their best guess is that it was mistakenly shipped off to one of our many local home improvement stores, because they do a lot of contract repair work for them.

Albert finally found this out by talking to the owner of the shop, and also found out that Ms. Customer Service was the one who failed to tag the mowers when they came in. This makes her annoyance with myself and Albert all the more special.

The good news, though, is that the owner of the shop has promised to make it good, one way or another. If he can't find our mower (and he's not too optimistic), they'll replace it with a new one.

I'm okay with that. :)

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