Monday, December 15, 2014

Value of a Book

Having watched a number of my friends publish books, it was amazing to note how much work went into the project of getting a book into print.  Content, designs, photos, proofreading, etc, etc., etc.

P.C. - Pre-Computers

Can you imagine what it took to get a book published prior to the days of computers and digital images and e-mail?  That's what went through my mind when I found this little historical gem at my local flea market.

In addition to all the historical information Mrs. Lowes must have gathered, she would have also needed to gather a number of photographs or objects that could be photographed.

The display above shows that each illustration/photograph is covered with a tissue.  This one even has words printed on the tissue, but most others don't.  But you'll also note (if you look closely) that this book was printed in 1908...over a hundred years ago.  The printing, binding and finishing process must have been a lot of work as well.  You'll note below that some of the pages hadn't been completely cut during the finishing process, and not ONE of the readers of this book in the last 100 years found it important enough to cut this page open.

Given the importance of this book, I can fully understand why the author and publisher and all the contributors would have gone to such great lengths to get it to the readers.  I'll leave you with the first page of Mrs. Lowes' conclusions on Old Lace and Needlework.

Current Knitting

I did another few inches of work on Cascade Scarf #4 over the weekend.

I only have about 12 more inches to work on this scarf/wrap, so I anticipate I should finish it by the end of the week.  In fact, I might have finished it already, had I not started on a new test-hat project for my niece.

 This is the headband section of a hat by Stephen West called Westward.  Both the Latvian braids at the top and bottom and the chevrons both pint Westward.  I'll hope to finish the top of the hat sometime this week as well.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Everyone Should Have a Thaddeus

My husband is really quite amazing in a number of ways, but researching and learning on the internet is something he does better than most.

From Shopping to Computer Upgrades

Whether it's finding the perfect shirt to give as a gift to our brother-in-law, or teaching himself to upgrade the memory and hard drive in my lap top...Thaddeus is most impressive.

Recently, he noticed how slow my Mac Book Pro worked.  It's worked this slowly since we bought it in 2011, but since I do a lot of my computer work on my work lap top, it wasn't a big deal to me.  But it was completely unacceptable to Thaddeus.  He immediately set out to find out whether a RAM upgrade would fix the performance issue and how to find out how much RAM I actually had, and how much of it was being used.

He ended up doubling my ram from 4 to 8 gig and also replacing my hard drive with a solid state hard drive.  Even though he's never done this before, he was able to order the correct parts, determine he had all the tools necessary and install the new parts in my lap top.  The installation took about 20 was quite surprising.

The result is, my computer runs like new...well...better than's about 10 times as fast as it used to be.

And, he used the RAM he took out of my laptop, to add more to his iMac.  Like I said, amazing.

Current Knitting/Spinning

Zipping along on my current scarf/wrap project and thinking I may need to start a new project soon.

I've added about 15 inches since the last photo and I'm still enjoying working on this project.  My niece has asked me to knit her a hat, so I may add that in as a new project shortly.

I also started back spinning the mohair/romney blend I got from Mindy at Puff the Magic Rabbit.

I saw some brioche stitch knitting by Nancy Marchant on Facebook that I think would be a perfect use of this handspun yarn, so now I'm even more inspired to get some yarn made.

Readers' Comments/Questions

Selma writes, "Joe, you might really enjoy knitting the patterns of Hanne Falkenberg. Lots of color changes, fascinating engineering, and, often, totally garter stitch."

Actually, I used to love Hanne's designs when I was working in the yarn current project kind of reminds me of her designs in a much simpler way.  I hated that you had to buy a kit to get her designs.  I thought they were too expensive for what you got.   Also, most of the women I knit for wouldn't have looked very good in her designs, so I never ended up doing any of them.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Stressless Knitting

Some folks tell me how peaceful it must be knitting and I usually tell them that I'm a pretty frenetic knitting and it's not peaceful or meditative for me at all.

This Project is Different

My current project is quite different.  Kind of.

Since it's all garter stitch, and requires very little shaping or color changes, my current Cascade Scarf #4 project is incredibly peaceful and meditative for me.

Don't get me wrong, I still aggressively work to get to the next color block and I want this all my move along quickly.

But the actual knitting has been incredibly calming...I finally understand the Zen of knitting.

Current Knitting

I have gotten to the first block of the red color in the scarf, and I'm liking it more and more.

Just to give you a sense of scale, the center column is about 30 inches so far (and will eventually be about 72 inches.  The drape of the scarf is just beautiful and the fabric is soft and silky.

It's going to be a great scarf when it's finished.

Friday, December 05, 2014

More Blog Swag

See?!?!  It pays to be a hit-whore when it comes to blogging!

Another Reason to Love Australia

Cleckheaton has started putting out a new line of Superfine Merino from Australia, and they were kind enough to send me a hat kit with their new yarn.

Their yarn is the same base fiber as the yarn from KPC Yarns, with a few differences.  First of all, this is identified as 8 ply or what I'd probably call DK weight yarn (approximately).  Second, Cleckheaton thought it would be a good idea to send a "kit" which spotlighted their yarn, and I think that was a smart way to market a yarn gift.  Finally, Cleckheaton writes a lot about how much care they take with their relationship to the farms that raise their sheep, making sure to mention that they don't use any farms the use mulesing to protect their Merino sheep from flystrike.

This is definitely a company I would purchase yarn from because of their care.

Plus, the yarn is some of the softest I've ever touched and I like the colors they and conservative perhaps, but beautiful.

Current Knitting

Worked a lot on my current Cascade Scarf #4 so I could get to the stripe where I introduce the third (and last color) into the design.

I kind of took the advice of "Anonymous Too", who suggested that before the scarf got too big, take it to my local yarn store and look at my options.  Actually, I pulled out all my DK weight yarn  where I had enough for this design (which is almost like going to a yarn store it turns out) and chose my favorite color combination.

I'll really look forward to getting to the solid red section of the scarf to see how I really like it...and confirm I have enough to finish the design as specified in the pattern (with my adaptations).

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Hand Knit Gifts

Over the years, I've given a number of my hand knits as gifts and I've decided that giving hand knits as gifts at Christmas is fine, but not for birthdays.

Here's Why

I always think that a birthday celebration should be about the person with the birthday, and not be hijacked by someone because their gift is fabulous.

I have made some exceptions to this rule, but not many (there was one time I went to a surprise birthday party for an acquaintance, and it was held by two extremely wealthy men...our gift to the birthday guy was a spectacular bonzai tree...a miniature maple tree that totally impressed the hosts, which was all we really cared about).

A number of times, before I had this rule, a birthday gift recipient would open up a fabulous hand knit and the rest of the time it was all about me, the knitter rather than the person who should be getting the attention. 

Ever since, even if someone has asked me for a birthday gift of something hand knit, I usually give them the gift, but not as a birthday gift. 

Current Knitting

With the completion of a few works in progress, I thought it might be a good time to start a new project.  One of my on-line knitting groups was considering a Knit-a-long, and I really liked the project he chose, so I decided to start my own version of it.

The pattern is Cascade Scarf #4 by Brian Smith

I decided to do a more muted version in dark gray and camel, and also do a finer gauge version in DK weight instead of worsted.  I also made the scarf/now wrap about twice as wide, although I'll probably go with approximately the same length of 72"

 I need to start a third color soon...any suggestions on what I should add in to make this scarf as beautiful as the original (or at least beautiful)?

Readers' Comments/Questions

Regarding my last pair of socks I completed, Hayes writes, "So if you were using up all the yarn you had for them, how'd you measure-out the yarn to get them both the same size?"

In a really stupid way.  I should have just written that I knit both socks at the same from the inside strand of a center-pull ball and one from the outside...which is what I started doing.  I just got tired of constantly untangling the yarns and after I got both socks up past the heel, I re-wound the ball into a two-strand ball (pulling one strand from the inside and one from the outside) and then I broke the yarn at the end.  Then I re-wound each yarn-length into separate center-pull balls, untangling the mess I made frequently.  It's a good think I like knitting.