Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Black Hole

Jim and I have a deal.  He spins the yarn he wants and I then knit him something out of it.  Lately he has been spinning very nice sock yarn.  3 ply heavy fingering or sportweight yarn as he likes warm warm dense socks.  That means the socks are knit on US1's with about 70 stitches.

The current yarn consists of 2 plies of natural cormo with a ply of blueface/silk that he asked me to dye a certain color of green.   I thought it would look like pea soup but the green is full of life and pretty.
Mixed with the cormo, however, the result looks dull and something like khaki.  Certainly not MY colors.  But Jim really really likes it and the socks will be on his feet so........

My problem with this yarn is it does not change color very much.  I like to see colors move into other colors.  That keeps me amused (OK I am easily amused) while knitting 7 trillion stitches in a plain sock.

Oh and this  pair of socks are meant to be this month's present item.  Yes, Jim is seeing them being knit but he knows he will not actually get them until Christmas or his birthday.  And his birthday is one day after Christmas so that doesn't help him get them on his feet any sooner.

Both socks have the heels completed.  I made myself a deal that I could not start a more fun color of socks until one, only one, sock of this color was completed.
So I have been knitting on this sock for what seems like 6 years and am not getting very far.  I do know that not knitting on a sock won't get me anywhere but I am knitting.      A    lot.

The other day there were 3.25 inches of cuff.  Then last night I measured it at 4.  This afternoon it is not even 5.  Sheesh.

Every project has its black hole.  At least for me every project has a place where I can knit and knit and knit and not seem to get much further.  From long experience I do know that if I persist this hole will magically go away and all of a sudden many inches will have been completed.  I don't know if the knit fairy comes in the night and does some wand waving or what, but it does happen regularly.

So I am leaving out cookies tonight, just in case.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pretty in Pink

Most of the knitting I have been doing lately is design work which cannot be shared until accepted by whichever pattern place I have submitted it to.  Alas that keeps me rather quiet on here.
However I did knit a Citron recently.  This is an extremely popular pattern by Hilary Smith Callis, published in Knitty in the Winter of 2009, as 6654 knitters have added this project to their lists on Ravelry and 6241 have it in their queues.

Two of the women in my Knit Knite are making or have made this shawlette.  It's simple to follow, easy to take along and a very social knit.  I decided to make mine from hand spun sitting in my basket.  Every once in a while I think the stash in there is too much so make myself use some.  This time it was a pink and white and purply turquoisey alpaca, merino & silk.  Of course I just cannot follow a pattern. I do start off that way but I think I am incapable of doing that for the whole thing.  I tweak here and change a bit there.  However it still feels like following to me so is very relaxing.

For this one I added a different yarn for the ruched (like ruffles but held in at both ends) areas.  I just happened to have some purple angora sitting in the basket that went nicely with the main color.

The other thing I added was a row of *k2tog, yo* before and after the purple ruched sections.  I did this because I felt the fabric was too solid and with the added warmth of angora could use some air holes.

What else have I been doing?  Well, Fiber Fair Season is coming upon us.  We will be at the Rochester Museum and Science Center, April 30 and May 1 with the Artistry in Thread Fair.

I've been dyeing and dyeing and prepping. 

Jim has been turning and designing. 
He has been making more spindles 
His veryown spinning wheel will be debuted at this event.
Yup, after 2 years of thinking and redoing and thinking and making and turning, 
a cherry and walnut beauty will be ready for demonstrations and ordering.

Hope to see you very soon.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

What's going on with the gas prices?

So in with this month's propane bill and statement was a three fold brochure explaining a few things.  Maybe you already know this but I sure didn't.

Dear Customer,
Like you, we are very concerned about rising fuel prices.  When prices go up, some customers think we make more money.  In fact, it just increased our costs and makes it harder for our customers to pay their bills.

The fundamentals of supply and demand normally drive prices.  But there are other forces at work keeping prices higher than they should be.  It's important that you know what's happening and what we can do about it together.  Because nothing would make us happier than to see prices drop.
In the last 3 months of 2010 crude oil prices increased by more than 18%.  You have seen that increase reflected in prices for gasoline, heating oil, propane, diesel fuel and other energy costs.  But why are crude prices rising when:

A - Supply is strong -- Crude oil inventories are above their 5-year averages.  Strong supply typically means lower oil prices.

B - Demand is weak -- Demand is only up 1% from last year's weak economic numbers and the economy is still struggling.   Weak demand typically means lower oil prices.

C - The US Dollar, while still weak, has strengthened against other currencies during the same time period.  A stronger dollar typically means lower oil prices.

It doesn't add up.
All the fundamentals say that prices should be lower.  But in this equation, "one plus one" does not equal two.  

The reason?  For starters, the excessive speculation by huge banks and hedge funds, who can make giant profits by driving up the price of oil and increasing price swings.  They do this by exploiting loopholes in the way that crude oil trades are regulated.
It is estimated that as much as 20 times more crude oil is traded every day than is actually consumed worldwide.

What We Need To Do
Last year new legislation was passed that would make it harder for excessive speculation to occur.  BUT the regulations enforcing the new law are still being fought over.

Wall Street is doing everything it can to water them down. 

 You can keep pressure on the government by:
1- Writing your senators and congresspeople and urging them to keep the energy speculation loophole closed.  Visit to find your reps.

2- Contacting the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and urging them to do the same.  Visit  or you can call them at 202-418-5000.

Over the long run, energy prices will also be helped by increasing domestic production, improving conservation and strengthening the US Dollar.   But together, we can work on the problem of speculation right now.

If we don't stand up and be counted soon, this may happen:

Friday, April 8, 2011

Big Daddy Gets Away with a Fortune

"If these corporations paid their taxes, we could Un-Cut the federal budget by over $20 billion. Check it out for yourself and SHARE! "

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Kitchener Stitch - A Guest Posting by Jim Johnson

Lady Eloise Cochrane was a member of Queen Victoria’s Spinning, Knitting, Tat and Chat Circle.  She was a young woman of no special beauty, but she had one charm that made her especially desirable to young English gentlemen; a very large dowry.  Eventually Sir Harold Kitchener, the second son of Baron Ronald Kitchener, won her hand and the associated prize.  As he was a second son he thought he needed to do something to increase his position in the world, so he took a portion of the dowry and bought a commission as Cornell in a regiment stationed in India.  Perhaps, he thought, he could not only add to his stature but to his finances in India.  Unfortunately for the pair of them this did mean at least a temporary sojourn to that distant place.
            After arriving in Bombay, Sir Harold discovered to his and Lady Eloise’s distress why he was able to purchase this commission.  His regiment was stationed in NORTHERN Punjab and was active in the fighting there.  Alas, this meant separation for the newlyweds, since the North of Punjab was no place for a gentlewoman from England.  So Lady Eloise took up residency in the English quarter of Bombay and prepared to wait for her husband's return.
            Lady Eloise took it upon herself to personally knit scarves, gloves and socks for Sir Harold’s journey to the wild and wooly frontier of British India.  

Unfortunately she had no idea how to close the toes of his socks or the fingers of his gloves, so she simply left them open (fingerless gloves, toeless socks).  As it turned out the fingerless gloves were a lifesaver the first time Sir Harold’s regiment was in a close battle and he had to fire and reload his own pistol.  The cold feet that winter were not such a blessing.
            Not to insult his lady wife by acquiring other socks Sir Harold ordered his orderly to sew closed the front of his socks.  This was slightly uncomfortable, but much warmer.  His toes now staying above frostbite level, Sir Harold began to wonder why the socks his dear wife knit for him were so inferior to the ones worn by the mere commoners in his regiment. Good English wool knit by a proper English Lady should not be inferior in any way to stockings made by the common women for the riff raff he commanded.
            With this thought firmly in mind he told Corporal O’Hara, his orderly, to discover the difference in the style of knitting and to refurbish all of the stockings Lady Eloise had made for him.  Corporal O’Hara privately raged at this request as he thought it was below his status to do any knitting.  So the good corporal took aside one of the married Irish troopers and ordered him to have his wife fix the stockings and show him how this was done.   O’Hara planned to write the process down and get credit with Sir Harold.
            Three days later he proudly presented the now completed stockings and the procedure description to Sir Harold.  This was greeted with no particular expression of thanks from the great man, but Sir Harold did remember to keep a copy of the description for closing the toes of his socks.
            As far as corporal O’Hara and the private soldier were concerned this is where the entire thing ended.  But, two weeks later Lady Eloise received her latest missive from her absent husband. In it was a clear description, written in his own, hand of the procedure for closing the toes of stockings.
            Lady Eloise carefully followed this description for Sir Harold’s next pair of stockings. When he received them Sir Harold proudly showed his major and captains the fine footwear his dear wife had knit for him.  This prompted them to send letters to their wives asking them to do the same.  Lady Eloise proudly showed the other wives the method of closing the toes and other objects that her dear husband had “invented”.

            Two and one half years later Sir Harold received devastating news, both his father and elder brother had been killed in a horrid accident when the horses pulling their carriage bolted upon hearing a steam whistle and ran onto the tracks of an approaching train.  As sad as this was it also meant that Sir Harold was now Baron Kitchener.  The Baron found a buyer for his commission so Baron and Lady Kitchener quickly returned to England.  Once again in London, Lady Kitchener rejoined the Spinning, Knitting, Tat and Chat Circle.  She showed all her peers the clever way that Baron Kitchener had derived for finishing knitted items.  From then it was but a short time until Baron Kitchener’s name became immortalized in the Kitchener stitch.

from Susan-- I think this should be retitled -  How Another Dead White Male Took Credit For A Woman's Idea.