Friday, July 29, 2011

Let There Be Light

Such a simple thing--$3.27 before tax- for a simple toggle socket—and soon a –with the addition of a shade a real pretty lamp. And I didn't even use most of the socket parts (just the inside most pieces not the shiny brass cover.

The socket (the silver tip at the top) is protected by the shade (frame) base.
see image to the right--the lamp is about 12 inches tall, the shade frame adds about another 6 inches. Not a big lamp--but stately.

I haven't decided on the frame –My thought run to a stainless steel mesh—sold in sheets in the art section of Michaels/ACMoore (one of them, or perhaps both) The thought is to cut trapezoid pieces, lap joint them and then wire them to the top of the frame.

But I have also thought of knitting a shade.. with wire—or easier—The Lion Brand Steel wire and wool yarn. The last resort will be a silvery paper shade.

Another crafty little project going on is at the pool. In the local parlance, a CABANA isn't what I think of a cabana –but is a round (48 inch) table, a few chairs and lounge. The cabana I sit at is one against the north wall. The wall is crenelated. Parts of the wall are brick; 5 foot tall and about 6 foot long. Between these section the wall is about 18 inches tall and has painted wrought iron pickets.

The wall right next to our cabana (brick) has 4 holed drilled into the mortar, with plastic toggles for screws (and rusted screws as well) Very soon these screws will be holding up a piece of scrap wood.

The wood will have a length of Velcro, and will be a mounting place for a magnetic dry erase white board. The white board will be our message board. A few dry erase markers, and some magnets will provide hours of fun! Oh the messages we can write. (Like : This is a NO COMPLAINTS ZONE--violators will be asked to leave. Or we can have a schedule: Swimming till 3PM
Scrabble till 4PM
More swimming 5PM
Snacks and good times All day

A few weeks ago we posted this sign: We put the P into Party, Not the pee into the pool. That was the entire message.

It was prompted by one of our cabana neighbors, who got drunk and announced (louder than she realized in her state) hat she was too drunk to go down the step to the bathroom and ask a friend to help her into the pool so she could pee. It was late in the day, but still disgusting. The pool peer took a vacation for almost 10 days after the sign. Almost no one but she knew the comment was directed at her--But Really! Still, the goal is to have positives messages.

A colorful pin wheel is going up on the wood too. The deck almost always has a breeze--there will be plenty of moving air to keep it whirling day and night.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Still Not Knitting

But I did get some sewing done! 2 years ago a garage sale (end of the day/end of the sale ) purchase of what I thought was fabric (lengths) turned out to be moAdd Videostly fat quarters and some bandannas.

Last summer I made a some skirts—but one never really got finished. I wore it; but I hated wearing it--it had no pockets. You might also remember I also altered some stuff--(a set of shorts (that never really fit right with a matching camp style shirt) became (and it became clear why the short never felt right, the pattern wasn't cut straight on the grain) a yoked skirt and matching camp shirt. There was also a pair of jeans that got made into a yoked bandanna skirt. And there are more denim fat quarters still. As well as some rescued/recycle light denim blue, too. There are even some lengths of fabric (some from the garage sale, and some purchased remnants)

Well the pocket less skirt now has a pocket—and a matching tube/demi halter top, and some re-cycled light demim has been made into a bag, and more of the scraps have been organized (and one new skirt cut—but not sewn, and a top cut (more bandannas used!)) but also not yet sewn.

Here is the one of the fat quarter/bandanna outfits(the newly added pocket is on the back of the skirt. ) Mind you the dress form is size 6 and I wish I was a size 16 (and not several sizes larger) but you can still get the idea.

Not too bad—since last year, I've made 5 skirts, and altered one pair of pants, and one pair of shorts—giving my wardrobe a nice boost—for very little money--and there are more skirts and tops to come--if i just get to work. Even with the added cost of zippers, and thread and other notions, my total costs are under $20!

The other not knitting in the past few days has included a small shelf, and rebuilding a lamp --which still needs a shade..but $3 replacement socket turned (or rather will turn, because I just bought the replacement socket today) a discarded, broken $100 lamp back intoone in working order!

When I moved some 10 years ago, I was almost with out a single lamp—my home had ceiling fixtures in ever room, and my kids had helped them selfs to the few table and desk lamps that existed.

My apartment has a few ceiling fixtures –bathroom, hall, kitchen and one, in the computer room . The last has been replaced with a ceiling fan/light fixture. But the living room area and both bedrooms only have switch controlled outlets for floor or table lamps. At first, I had neither.

Presently, almost ever lamp I have is re-cycled—some are beautiful—some (most!) so-so,. I also have a few accent lamps from the clearance room of Ike. One of the prettier ones (a free, recycled one) is a stained glass (cheap imitation tiffany style) that-- while very pretty—isn't really that useful (but sometime, anything is better than nothing!) and it doesn't really match my style, or my any of the colors in my apartment. Even with a 15 watt compact florescent bulb (CFB) --since the lamp is only rated for a 60 watt incandescent bulb--it's not much use—and functions more as night light than anything else.

The (very soon to be) repaired lamp is a lovely modern square stainless steel “candle stick” style (I'll get it photographed tomorrow—but I still won't have a shade for it) and just my style—a combination of classic (candle stick base) and modern (square not round, stainless steel, not black metal)

It too is rated for a 60 Watt bulb—but nice 20 watt CFB it will be a nice reading lamp/task light for the living room.

My plan it to get some of those metal mesh sheets (sold in the arts supply sections of hobby shops) and make a silvery mesh shade on the squared shade frame (the paper shade that was on the frame was also wrecked)

This fall I will be doing some re-arranging/ re organizing and refining of the basic design I started with 7 years ago-- I've let things slide, and I need to really junk the make do stuff, and put in place (I have a dozen framed botanical prints, just sitting and waiting to be hung, for example!) the detail want. Those prints all have stainless steel frames--and the stainless steel lamp will be a nice go with!

A huge part is just re-organizing extension cords/power strips. And getting the new improved selection of lamp into place. Most (over 90%) of my lighting is low voltage or low wattage (which by definition is low voltage) and I don't worry at all about filling up a the 6 outlets in a power strip with 6 different light fixtures—especial when I rarely use 2 the fixtures at time!

And even if I did light every lamp, I still wouldn't come close 5 amps on a strip rated for 15 amps--hardly a safety risk! but Oh! what a convenience to have all the cords all neat and organized. (labeled too in my some what obsessed way! )

So that's about it.. No knitting, but busy none the less. Oh-- a bit of reading; maybe a bad review tomorrow.. or maybe I'll pass.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I'm Back

Not quite bright eyed and bushy tailed, but not dripping wet and feeling wrung out either.

I have not done any knitting since Thursday, so there is nothing to report. But now that the weather is not so oppressive, i'll be back to work.

More heat this week-end, (again! ) but the few days break is helpful.

I didn't even make it to the pool yesterday (and then rain and thunderstorm ensued, and continued till late evening.)

My terrace door is looked up (and I miss the breeze) my fans are still going full time.

And that's it. Sirius still hasn't entered the night sky, but the dog days of summer are here with out him.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Tempus Fugit

Or Time Flies... like an arrow
and fruit flies like a bat..no wait, not a bat, a banana.

When I feel physically good (and not in pain) it's so easy to feel mental good. Time flies, and so do worries. Thing get accomplished-- Look a hat!

Yesterday was another scorcher.. (not into triple digits, not a record breaker) and today the weathermen are predicting will be worse. Yesterday, I got to the pool early (3:30) and was in the water by 3:31. I got out at 7:00—as wrinkled as a prune but feeling great.

By bed time, I was all hot and sweaty--again—the temperature didn't fall much—but there were 12 mile an hour breezes (not really cool ones, but any breeze is better than none) But a cold shower helped, too.

I am partially responsible for my bad day on Wednesday. My 'fast food dinners' -fast and easy as they are, are responsible- As a child, I hated tomatoes. And this dislike continued well into my adulthood and then suddenly they were OK. Soon after, they were good, and now, when I can least afford to eat them, I genuinely enjoy them.

I know, that my brand of arthritis is one the is nightshade family sensitive. A diet rich in tomatoes, or potatoes or eggplant is one that causes flair ups and pain. So tonight I ate a less healthy but more comfortable dinner.

For the first time in days, I cooked; a quick grilled burger, with a double dose of onion. A few slices suateed in the pan with the burger (quick caramelized –and almost cooked till burnt) and more slices raw on the bun with the lettuce (and no tomato)

To go with—store bought macaroni salad with an earth shattering high level of sodium—but at the rate I have been sweating—I could drink sea water without a worry of too much salt in my diet.

I am not salt sensitive—I know because I have a home blood pressure machine, and I know my BP doesn't rise after a salty meal. And (it's reasonably low—for my age and weight –in the AM before I rise, I am near dead with 85/58 –and standard “resting” (a 5 minute rest) averages (the machine does the math) 120/83. It fluctuates from 115/78 to a high of 130/87. I have a slow pulse too, 60 to 68. And yes, I know, I could have a thyroid problem—but it's been tested in the past—several times, (my BP was about the same, 20 years ago, when I was heavier and a smoker!) and it was low all through my pregnancies 30 years ago, too It's a family trait.

So the blue hat is finished, and the violet one cast on. No wait it's not –a check on the label and I see it's not violet (I never thought of this color as violet!) it's called Viola. A periwinkle sort of purple. OK, that works—another hat, Voila! Life is Good!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I Lie

I present a cheerful face here on the blog. It's often a lie (of omission).

I worry; I worry a lot. I worry about money, I worry about my health, I worry about the state of the world.

And while I am truly grateful that I have some money (and I am not near to being homeless) and I am truly grateful I have generally good health (aside from arthritis (not a small concern), and I am getting older)); I worry because I am one of the thousands of people with out health insurance. I could buy some—but—the cost of it, would have me homeless in a year or two.

Every once in a while, I get really worried. I have a bad day.

And it's not just worry that I lie about. I am really just not that cheerful. I think by nature I am negative –For certain, depression (real clinical depression, and the 'normal' blues) has been a part of my life since I was a child. I work hard at being up—not for you--(well maybe a little bit for you, my reader)--but for me. I want to be happy, I work at being happy. If I put half the effort I into being thin as I do to being happy, I'd be as thin as a rail (and not a big as house). I value happiness more--and it shows!

Yesterday—I didn't post. My efforts to be cheerful and upbeat were stymied by heat, and pain, and lack of sleep.

Thank you, dear Virgina, for your concern—I have not one, but TWO shopping malls near by. I have been known to loiter in Sears, or Marshall's and Bed, Bath and Beyond on hot, hot day. Relaxing in there A/C for a few hours(for the past 10 years). Now my options extend to Kohl, Century 21, and (a favorite) Panera's where I can treat myself to a coffee and a danish and loiter for hours, in cool comfort (and have done so a few times this summer with friends.) I recently acquired a $25 gift card—so it's a special treat (free!)

What I haven't done in the past 48 hours is knit. Its partly the heat, that drains all my energy. I know, and I am thankful, (and feel for) all my friends (real and cyber friends) how much worse it is in the mid west.

90° is awful (NYC)-- 99° and triple digit temperatures in places like Minneapolis and Chicago are worse.

Yesterday I contributed to the heat—and was running a low fever (101°) and ached all over—every joint in my body was in pain. The pool helped a bit (but then I got chills!) and sleep finally came and that helped a lot, and here I am, feeling better, all most cheerful, and nothing to report about knitting.
Oh, but I do have some (phone) photos of the pool—I hope the clear blue water makes you feel a bit cooler.

I took these Tuesday, a few minutes after the pool closed. There is a 15 minute grace period- when the pool (water) is closed but the pool deck is still open. I always think a pool look best with out people--the cool, still water beckons all the more.

In the back of the first image, is Gino--the pool manager. (A bit of a hunk) The white shed like structures enclose roof top A/C units for the space (below the deck ) which is commercial units.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Progress?

Well not much—It's been hot—here, there, everywhere.

I know, not so hot in NYC as there—since technically we haven't had a heat wave (defined-(everything is defined now days) as 3 days in a row of plus 90° (circa 32°+) days. Yesterday it was only 89—and at times cloudy. But today will be hotter, and worse the humidity is rising every day. And the very worst—It doesn't cool down much at night but remain well over 75° -(that's 25.5° c. for my metric readers).

Zippi asked yesterday if I was at the pool, and the answer is yes, yes, yes! Not till after the heat (and burning power of the sun has passed)—but unless its raining—come 4 PM (till 7PM) most days you can find me neck deep in the pool.

For “green” reasons (mostly—also a bit because NYC vies for the top spot in energy costs) I don't have any A/C and make do with cross ventilation and fans. The pool is my place to cool down and relax. The pool is surrounded by tall buildings—but almost till closing time, is sunny. The deck get much more shade and the whole place is elevated (just 20 feet or so) and gets wonderful breezes--(both yesterday and Sunday, gust of winds toppled a weighted umbrella and table).

Its a wonderful way to while away an afternoon (every afternoon!) I'll bring my camera today, and take some photos—it's not a very fancy pool—and there is nothing special about it.But it's a pleasant get away. In the meanwhile a google eye view. (Be sure to check out the wild roof on a shopping center 2 blocks west and 1 block north--it's a bit of pop art!)

View Larger Map
As to the progress—well the side of the hat is taking shape—but it's not done yet. A few more rounds of lace are needed before I can start the hat band. At this rate, I'll be finishing up hat 8 or 9 (since I think I am going to do the black and violet versions 2 at time as I did the terracotta and white ones) at the family re-union—and not before.

And then, once the hats are finished--an sort break from scheduled knitting for some Squares. A way to use up the skeins of Red Heart (that seems to appear from nowhere!) and to participate in a art project. What to join in too? Read all about it here.

This is the third (or is it the fourth?) time I have helped Robyn on a project. I love it. I think of myself as creative and artistic—but I never see my self as an artist. But I love being part of art project.

It's an interesting distinction. Artist often design beautiful projects—but craftmen (or in this case, crafts women) do most of the grunt work to bring the project to fruition-(though, in Robyn's case, she always does more than 50% of the grunt work, as well as all the conceptual work, and bulk of the installation work, too.

There is great pleasure in being part of the creative process. And a lot of flexability too. Knit, or crochet, plain or fancy, any color you want! What's not to like!?

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Lazy Hazy Days of Summer

I got'em. Great week end, lots of things done, --but nothing to show! Pool, (and pool, and pool) and some socializing, (and some informal knitting instructions) and some knitting (not MY knitting) and some reading—Re-reading actually, and it's better the second time around—The Life of Pi. (more Pool!)


Today is going to hot and humid again—but it's back to knitting today—and the pool, too.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Fast Food, and Slow Knitting

I try and get to the pool every day in the summer—and most days I do at least 20 (often 40) minutes of water aerobics—climbing 30 flights of imaginary stairs, cross country skiing a mile, hundred of jumping jacks with my flotation 'weights', bicycling around--up right, and on my side, to work obliques, too.

I also spend some time, most days, just lolling about in the water, yakking with friends. Instead of a cool down, I have a warm up—and get my 15 minutes of vitamin D building sun shine in fading rays of the setting sun. (I have a little color—I look normal instead of my real normal of pasty white!)

It's not a huge work out, but working out in cold water, (as science has just documented) leave me ravenous. My solution is fast food. No, I don't undo my efforts (which are really efforts to keep fit and to keep my joints limber, not to loose weight) by eating junk food—just fast to prepare food.

These past 2 nights? The same supper. Start with a very large salad bowl. Take one 12 oz bag of prepared salad greens (I like the mix with carrots and cabbage, best, but I do change it up) –This bag claims to be 4 servings (and I guess it could make 4 side salads). Put the entire bag in salad bowl. Then add:
1 small to medium beefsteak tomato coarsely diced
1 red pepper (or maybe just ½ pepper, if its very big)also diced
2 thick slices of onion (Vadalias) (or 2 thin slices of any other onion), finely diced
some protein (Crumbled bacon is my first choice, but tuna, or chicken or cheese work) not to much though
Croutons (for a bit of starch/fast acting carbs)

Toss and add some dressing –Sometimes, if I have planned ahead, this is a homemade vinaigrette with balsamic vinegar, most often, its just a bottled dressing.

The whole thing can be made in 3 minutes (fast food!) But it takes me a half hour to eat it. And as I chomp away on the greens, I slowly fill my belly. Most nights, it's almost enough food. Sometimes (an hour later) I suppliment the salad with some hummus and crackers, and I almost never deny my sweet tooth something—but I try to keep it light (fruit) but chocolate pudding is another frequent option. Not exactly a low cal dessert, but so what!

As for the slow knitting? Well I started a single hat on 14th (Thursday) after I finished July's socks—and haven't made too much progress. The Hat (what else but my G Class Star Hat!) has 3 parts, the crown (cast on to 96 stitches--my magic number most often for hats), the sides (no increases, just lace) the brim (more increases and hem) .

As of today, I've just reached the side (R 1 of the side pattern has been work) I'm making the blue one—and in spite of plans to add beads (even to the point of having bought the beads to add) I am not.

Next weekend, there is a family get together—and one of the hats will be a birthday gift to a sister, and a second hat will be offered (if she likes it) to the family matriarch—a second cousin who is, one of my biggest fans. She and my father are the only remnants of the previous generation.

At 86, she has slowed down a lot, but she still get up and dresses (formally) for mass every morning, and she always wears a hat, not a scarf or bit of lace. She'll make good use of summer hat. I've made her a winter hat some years ago (this one —which was on the small side) and she thanks me again, every winter—always after she's received a compliment—and the hat fits her well, and matches her winter coat, so she is always getting compliments.


Maybe I'll make some progress today on the hat--I better! I still plan to knit 2 more in the next 7 days!
For sure, I will be working out, (and eating some more fast food!) today—the weather man tells me it will be hotter today than yesterday.

Friday, July 15, 2011

All Scooped Up

Done and all finished last night. Warm colors, cool idea, these socks turned out better than expected. For a while, before I started them, I had been obsessing about what stitch and what texture, and in the end I went with the simplest of stitches, and simplest of textures, and let the colors predominate. I did the same with the heel and a bit with the toe (which ended up being a round toe).

Most of the yarns in these socks are left overs—some are left over from the Roy G Biv socks. The red,(cherry) was also used in the puffy stripe socks, and the yellow was used in the Passionately Purple socks, and in the Halloween Stripe socks. There are more left overs--(the red is nearly used up, but a little remains there is more of the yellow, orange and raspberry) and these (or some of these) will be used in the Crazy 8 socks later this year.

There is a good deal of brown left—the 100 gm skein was divided, into 2 50 gm balls and about 20 gm were used for these socks. (that is 20 gm from each 50 gm ball. 30 gm is not enough on its own to make a pair of socks, but... there are so many ideas for using up the partial balls.

I could do a nice deep stranded color work cuff (with a mostly plain leg and foot) something like these--(only I, think not with white as a contrasting color) –Or I could do a turkish style socks..and use the brown with a bunch of other colors. (left over blue from the Beaded Blue Beauties to start!)


Then again, I could do stripes—alternate some hand painted type yarns with the solid brown—That is an idea on my list (the PLAN) Or the brown could be used for another pair of puffy socks--I don't think I have that many shade of brown (the way I did grey). But I could just do puffy stripes of different colors—marigold yellow, and grass green, and light lavender, and end up with a brown foot. It would be a very different puffy sock—but I think it could work.

That one problem I am always facing—I designed these socks to use up partial balls (and did reduce the partial balls signifcantly) but I also created, in brown, a new (large) partial ball!

I've done a number of socks with left over colors—I often think of these as free be's. These socks are half free—since the brown is a new (if only partially used skein) and the next pair of sock knit with the remaining brown yarn will be half free too. (2 full pairs of sock out of 1 full ball? A bargain!)

It's not like I don't have skeins and skeins of sock yarn—but I love mixing up my own color and patterns and stripes-Then again, I love self striping yarn (and super easy sock with no ends to weave in!)

Contrary to the bone!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Finished –But Not Done!

I took the time last night to weave in all the ends --Well there will be the final tail to weave in when the toe is done; but...Most of the finishing is done! This way, when I am done with the knitting, I will also be just about finished with the socks.. I haven't decided on a flat (aka French toe) or a round one, or some other toe. But it really doesn't matter, every toe I can think off end with a tapestry needle, and the last tail to weave in will be a fast and easy one.

At this point, there is just about 6 inches of foot—I'll need another inch before I can start the toe shaping. But the chocolate brown is now, not a small stripe, but a significant part of the sock--and visible progress has been made.

Just in time too—I need to get 2 more G Class Star hats knits by next weekend, (Since I have promised one to my sister for her birthday) and there is another bottle sock to knit, and... July is a close to being half gone—Where does the time go?!

There is always time for summer fun! I left the pool early last night (Early: before I was given the bum's rush of the deck, with the announcement of “The pool is now closed!” ) and got home moments before a quick summer shower bustled through—A gust of wind, a clap of thunder, a fine mist of rain (about 1/10th of an inch) that left behind, as a bonus—a double rainbow! I caught just a part of it from my window—(by the time I got down stairs..it was gone!) but other tell me it was a full double-- spanning the sky. What a treat!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Summer Doldrums

Come in with heat waves.

And the result (around here) are no knitting! Not a stitch. My Italian ice socks, are pooled masses of color in my knitting bag, untouched (I carried them with me, INTENDING to knit.. but didn't)

But the thermal inversion has been pushed off shore, and 97° (circa 37°/body temp), with humidity in the upper 70's is gone for the moment—for the next few days—at least, warm but not hot days, with big fluffy clouds, and lower humidity will be the order of the day and and the night? Cooler still—down to the low 60's (mid/high teens)

Last night at 11 PM it was still 86° (30°!) which is todays expected high --there is a possibility that the high of today will be the temp last night at midnight!

I chose for a variety of reasons (some GREEN, some not) to not have an air conditioning—since in my apartment they would all be window units. Every year, there are a dozen days (and nights) when I miss A/C. The past few days have were 3 of the dozen. Sure I get a nice breeze most nights, and I have fans, but hot heavy air, no matter how much it is blown around, does not a cooling breeze make!

But the air is clearer, and cooler this morning, and tonight will be cooler still, and with a good nights sleep, I'll be back to my chipper self.

Now? Off to a late breakfast of yogurt and fruit--(should it be melon? Or strawberries? Or both?!)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Flavorful!


Cherry and heels are complete, Chocolate (actually, its root beer brown, Lion Brands, Sock Ease—all the other colors are Kroy) started. I've worked a stripes worth of twists—and I'll do a few more rounds with twists and then switch over to simple ribbing, (and just before the toe, stocking knit)

I'd write more, but heat and morning activities have left me exhausted.

And now, a special message for Nyer's. If you ever need a tow, I can recommend InterCounty Auto, 718 961-2002. I got put in touch with them via Geico (I have a service rider on my insurance—about $10 for the year) and my dead car (with supposedly a starter problem?) Well the tow truck driver—instead of towing suggested he push and I drive and to jump start my car (I drive stick, so this is an option) and it worked! I drove to the mechanics (there is something wrong—once I stopped (parked) there, it wouldn't start again. But it was so great to be able to drive there.

I started my car saga this morning at 9 am with the call for service.. (and here it is, 1PM before I got home!) and now I am off to take a quick nap before heading to the pool (after the mid day sun!)

Monday, July 11, 2011

When Last Seen

My Italian Ices socks where heel-less and I was talking about flaps, and turns and gussets.

Since then, they have acquired heels—Of the short row variety! At the last minute, I had a change of heart (and thinking!)

Progress will be a bit slow today, too. I haven't yet divided the brown yarn into 2 skeins—so at some point, I have to stop knitting and prepare skeins. But-I'm past the heel—and once that happens, well its seems the rest of the sock zips along. Besides, once I start the brown, no more color changes, and soon after the brown, no more twists, just plain ribbing, on top, and stocking knit below—that will make things go faster, too!

But for now—there is not much progress to show—that's because it was a beautiful week end—hot (near 90°/over 40°) and sunny—and hours were spent at the pool. Most of the time in the water, some of the time under the umbrella, but instead of knitting, there were games of scrabble, and bananagrams, and dominoes.

There was music--a joint effort—I brought the player, and helped get the extension cord (more effort than is sounds like—it involved 2 flights of steps), Debbie brought the actually CD's. My CD collection has some party music, but much more folk music, classical, and 50's and 60's music. I have a very small (4? 5?) collection of more contemporary music—and what I do have is rock.

Lunch at the pool was al fresco—fruit (melon, peaches, nectarines) and salads, including home made hummas and flat breads. Dessert was Haag Das ice cream mini's a treat from Jayson (who mother had joined playing games.) There was a bit of wine (red), the I skipped. Several bottles of cold water managed to disappear in the afternoon, too.

There was also normal bit of whine that is so much part of the social climate of the pool. Last year was 7th grade all over again, I resolved to not get caught up in the constant little spats with the various crowds—and I haven't! I am still socializing—but I am limiting myself too.

So that's my weekend—a bit of sun and fun, a bit of knitting. And bit of sad news too—my car is a bit sick—seems like the starter motor has seized—and I no longer live on a hill with the hope of jump starting it (it's stick, and it could be done) so I have to get it towed to the service station. It's a double whammy of no car, and the money!

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Pile Them On!

Orange is done and red raspberry , too. Now on to the cherry red! These socks are quickly becoming one tall order of ices!

The socks are getting tall—I wanted deep stripes, not wimpy ones. So the leg is now just a bit over 6.5 inches tall. I am thinking, there are 2 choices—a taller than average sock—or a heel and gusset of cherry red.
And I have already decided: it will be the latter. I like the idea of bringing the stripes into the instep of the sock. Then, after the gussets are done, I'll finish the foot and toe with chocolate brown. What do you think? For sure, we can agree, they look so much better on the LEGS than they do flat!

These are fun, happy socks—Simple ones as socks go—but I do tend to alternate fancy –color work, or lace or beads, with simple patterns that are almost thoughtless—especially socks were the self striping pattern does most of the work. This twisted ribs take a little thought, and a little effort but mostly they are pretty simple to knit. The other big effort is weaving in the ends—and I've started that already. White to yellow, and yellow to orange tails as well as the cast on tail are all woven in already. Not every tail, but enough so finishing (and the rest of the ends ) won't be oppressive.

These socks are sort of free-be's—all the yarns are left overs-Except for the brown to come. And there is still left over yellow, and left over orange and left over raspberry. And there will be left overs of the cherry red, too. I think the single skein of brown, divided, will be more than enough for the less than half a foot, and will generate left overs of brown, too.

Some of these left overs (and others) will become the Crazy 8 socks—No I haven't forgotten about them. But I know there will be left overs still, even after the Crazy 8 socks. Enough in some cases for a pair of socks with a contrasting hem, heel and toe. Or maybe enough for a diagrammed sock or two. Or a pair of spiral knit socks—I know I have them on my list of sock ideas, too. (so far, I've made 5 of the 13 pairs I planned back in January--Not bad!)

I keep waiting to get bored with sock knitting. but its almost impossible! There are so many details that can be altered—so many stitch patterns, so many great sock yarns.

I look at my bags of home made sock club kits—and at my stash of sock yarn and I want there to be twice as hours in each day, and twice the days in a month, and to knit two dozen or more socks each year! (and I want 2 sets of feet! To wear and show off my socks!)

Already, I am thinking about what pair will be next—and have already decided that my pumpkin pie socks will September's choice—that way I'll have them finished in time to enjoy them and pet them before they get worn in November. Octobers socks, will be something simple, and August? Lace I think—but a simple one. Crazy 8's maybe the last pair for the year.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Bad Publicity

Is there such a thing? Publicist always say NO—And insist you just need to put a spin on it.

Well before I continue-let me give you some background. I am a perfectly normal, sligthty obsessive, person. Some where along the way I learned to channel my OCD tendencies into useful hobbies (and to be obsesses with cast ons, and not compulsively washing my hands, or checking the door lock).

Since I started blogging, I have been a bit obsessive behind the scenes. I use site meter to track visitors and detail about the visistor—WHERE is one obsess detail—Where isn't very specific It's just city/state (or city/country)--but I love seeing the extent. This morning someone in Inchon South Korea visited my blog! Amazing!

Even more than WHERE, I obsess about REFERRALS. How did they find there way to my blog?

Most of all, I obsess about the numbers. HOW many today? Compared to yesterday, compared to last week, compared to last month and compared to last year?

So—when I find a bunch of hits (more than normal, boosting my daily total!) I try to track them down. SiteMeter helps--it show (when possible) referrals.

On the forums section of this site, about Etiquette, (in a thread specifically about how supportive you should be towards family members artistic efforts) I found this comment (made by poster WillyNilly)
I am not sure who WillyNilly is, or how they are related to me, but that doesn't really matter. (I could have joined the site to get more information—but really, that borders on stalking—sure I am obsessive at times, but I do know where and when to draw the line!)

In light of the recent posts about support, I have to chime in. I have a few family members who are textile artists. I don't particularly care for much of their stuff. But I support them by talking them up to others who do like the genre.

For example my family member's knitting blog (http://golden-apples.blogspot.com). I find it unreadably boring. But its quite popular, so I recommend it to knitters regularly. As a non-knitter I just can't do it, even though I obviously have plenty of time to tool about on the interwebs daily as evidenced by my posting on this site. You'd think, "hey I love this person, and I want to support her, whats 5 minutes of reading out of my life" but try as I might I can't get through a blog post.


There was a time in my life, when all I would see in those two paragraphs are the words unreadably boring. But I have grown wiser. (OK, its taken ages, but it has happened!) and what I see now is: 12 hits already today, and close to 30 yesterday! Call me boring from now till doomsday, so long as you include a link!

Sure, I like good reviews and I am thrilled beyond belief to have 91 faithful followers—but Oh how happy it makes me to get all those page hits, in the normal summer doldrums!

(Meanwhile, the orange stripe is not completed and there is nothing else new on the knitting front)

Thursday, July 07, 2011

2 scoops!

When I was a kid, Italian ices were sold by the scoop—with a 2 scoop minimum (and most often the maximum too!) There were ice vendors with hand push carts (there still are in my neighborhood) and pizza parlors always had ices, too. 10 cents bought an little paper cup heaped with ice. The ice chests—most often—had 6 flavors—Lemon, orange, cherry and chocolate were given—EVERY ONE had those flavors. The other 2 flavors? Raspberry (blue raspberry most often) and Rainbow (red (cherry); white (lemon); and blue (raspberry); was always popular, but sometimes there were other flavors, grape, or the exotic pineapple (or the more exotic mango) some times a neon green lime would be in the mix.

Ices were the taste of summer—and every once in a while—there was an indulgent 3rd scoop (another nickel!)

I lived in a distinctly Irish neighborhood (Our Lady of Mercy parish)--our priests were born in Ireland (some) and spoke with brogues (I never realize how many of the adults in my childhood did) or were first generation Irish Americans. For the first 10 years we lived in the Bronx we lived on 187th street.

3 very short blocks west-- 187th Street (google zip 10458) changed character—5 blocks west—was Arthur Avenue. And there is hardly a person in the US who doesn't know Arthur Avenue was the MAIN Street of the Bronx's little Italy. It's been featured in movies from the Godfather to A Bronx Tale. For me, it was just the neighborhood a few blocks west.

Oh, yeah, the bus route in A Bronx Tale? That bus route was on 187th Street—going past the lovely Mount St Carmel church—where many of the priest were Italian or first generation Italian Americans-- my last visit to the area—some 5 years ago--There were still many people on the street (from young children to grandmothers) still speaking Italian--(though, there is also now a mix of Spanish speaking families, too)

As a child, Arther Avenue was a different world. We mostly shopped on Fordham Road—a major thoroughfare with many stores—Alexanders was one of the anchor stores on the corner of Fordham and the Grand Concourse and Boulevard. But there was a Kresge's, and a Woolworths, and many chain stores. (Models) All very modern. And we bought most of our groceries at the local A & P. My dad worked for the A & P and Friday night (pay day) he would bring home heavy goods—like laundry detergent and bleach—and the 10lb bag of potatoes—but my mother still went once a week with what is now called a granny cart (a folding grocery cart) for most of the weeks shopping.

But Arthur Avenue was nothing like that. On Arthur Avenue, there was a indoor Market with small stalls and a staggering array of (to me--) exotic good—cheeses (Oh so aromatic!) and sausages, and spices—And fabrics—that's were my mother most often headed.

Most of the stores—and on Arthur Avenue, there were such different stores-- had good spilling out onto outdoor displays, too. There were pasta shops that sold fresh pasta, and ravioli, shops too. There were butchers, (we had butchers, too) and also pork stores—that sold everything from suckling pigs to a thousand kinds of sausage!

There were deli's that sold all sorts of imported food—and other stuff—that nowday is considered gourmet—but was common in these markets—duck eggs and goose eggs, and tiny little quail eggs too. With heaps of dried fruits, and barrels of olives--dozens of different kinds, and gallon cans of olive oil, too.

Outside the fishmongers, there were tables and chairs, and frequently, old men slurping down live oysters. There was a live poultry market too. (I could watch the prepping of chickens—from from live bird to dressed meat in about 3 minutes for hours if left to my own devices.--which I rarely was.)

South on Arthur Avenue—there was a small garment factory-and we walked there late every summer to pick up our school uniforms. Further south—there were 2 big hospitals--one Catholic one, one Jewish one—You've seen the second if you saw the movie Awakenings. And there was also the Bronx main office of the Board of Health—I remember first going there for a small pox inoculation –my second one (in 1960 this was required if you were traveling out side of US—I got my 3rd booster there 10 years later before heading off to a 8 week ($5 a day!) tour of Europe. Between these 2 visits—I was there again—To get working papers; a BoH employee would first check the city records for your birth certificate—and check to see that you where of age (15!)

Well—that's a nice walk down memory lane! Right now, my Italian ice socks are at 2 scoops—a heaping scoop of white lemon ice, and a second scoop of pineapple. Next, orange..

And my view--and yes, you are right jellydonut, it is a wonderful view—I frequently joke I bought a great view and they threw the 2 bedroom apartment in for free—is now obscured—by (still incomplete) scaffolding and black nylon safety cloth! Soon the lattice like railing will be removed, the surface of the terrace re-finished, and new railing will be installed. I am sure, once completed it will be lovely--but now? Yuck!

This is looking almost north-the tall building behind the stairs is the one seen (in darkness) in the left photo (the 'whiter' structures in background are a the top level of a multi-tiered parking garage, and second multi tiered garage (and new shopping center. )

The eagle-eyed will see I-495 (the Long Island Expressway) in the upper left, and in the far background, upper Manhattan.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Where Do I Start?!

Well, I guess the old news should be first—One feature of my apartment I've loved from the start is the view. I have a great view of the NYC skyline—I can see a good 10 miles of Manhattan's 13 miles. On the south end, my view starts below 14th Street, (since I can clearly see the Con Edison tower with its lantern top at 14th Street and a bit more south of that) to above 125th Street. (I can see all three spans of the Triboro Bridge) For the first few years I lived here, I had a great view of the Macy's 4th of July fireworks show in the East River (which isn't a river at all, but is a tidal straight).

The past 2 years, Macy's has moved the show to the North River (aka Hudson—but in side of NYC limits its proper name is the North River) and while I can see some of the show, a lot is obscured by the building. This year however, Mother Nature put on a sky show of her own—with a beautiful sunset.. Here are just a few images of the sky show.








Next up—bottle sock 2 (blue) done and off to its new home (sans a photo of the FO). I was thinking: next would be bottle sock 3—but other sock yarn was handy (and nagging) and so now the cuff of the Italian Ices striped socks are knit.. First up –white (lemon ice)--in another few rounds; yellow (pineapple) then orange (d'oh, orange!) followed by a pinkish red (red (vs blue) raspberry), the real red, (cherry) finishing off with a chocolate brown foot.

I've been hemming and hawing about a stitch pattern—but settle for a simple 2 stitch twisted cable—a natural extention of the 2 X 2 ribbing (with a Open/Closed-aka Estonian cast on)

This cast on is both decorative and stretchy—and is a simple variation of a basic LONG TAIL cast on (You can find a video tutorial to this cast on my web page--there link to the my web page in left column--and below) Can you see? the twists are paired--One sock has right twists, the other left twists.

Finally—Another Cast On for the collection! Yet another long tail variation—Thanks to Dizzymama (on Ravelry)--this variation is also a twisted long tail but unlike the basic Twisted (aka Norwegian or German twisted) this cast on twists what I some often call “ROW ZERO”--the stitches made with the index finger yarn of the long tail cast on.

It's called an Austrian cast on—and its very suitable for the increasingly common Austrian style twisted cables—the kind that are often made from a single knit stitch (or rather sets of single knit stitches that travel and cable) that is twisted, and worked on a reverse stocking knit back ground.

This cast on is also (because of the change in tension of the twisted stitches) is SLIGHTLY less likely to roll at the edge. (for more info on why stocking knit rolls--see TechKnitter's tutorials) You can find the video here-link below-- (or listed on the updated list of cast on's (now up to 51!) on my web page tutorial on Cast On's (part 1) .

(You can check out the incomplete (text, but almost no links yet) pages on Bind offs, too, with some info on selvages stitches, while you are there, too!)

Monday, July 04, 2011

July Fourth

Marks a birthday of sorts for the US-- And the real beginning of summer. The weekend closest to the fourth is holiday weekend. Here in NYC its been a broken one—Friday (and many start the week end by taking Friday off was OK. Saturday was predicted to be warm and sunny—well it was warm, but the sun played hide and seek behind big fluffy clouds—that got bigger, darker and denser as the day went on. Sunday I woke to the sounds of thunder—followed rapid by the sounds of rain.

The initial storm moved on, but like the rain continued on and off all day.
This AM the sky's are bright—but not a patch of blue to be found. The weather reports promise clear sky's in time for tonights firework—I hope so!

I hope things a bit clearer in a few hours—Saturday there was a wine and cheese party at the pool—yesterday schedule was for races and games (perhaps some will be held today) and today is supposed to be an all American cook out. Burgers and franks, sun and fun.

Meanwhile—I've been knitting. Not much—but bottle sock 1 (actually number 3—I knit 2 last year!) is done, and sock 2 (in blue) is half way done--it might be done tonight and gone!

My friend Debbie—who last year started to knit with a spool knitter—and by September was knitting simple blocks for the YarnBombing project at the Makers Faire (in NYC) is now struggling with socks.
Oh, what socks they will be. She is far from a perfectionist! It's fun to see her laissez fair attitude.

But, to get back to the point—the blue bottle sock will be for her mother—who has reached that certain age, when a myriad of small problems –each one manageable on there own—have conspired to leave her a bit worse for wear. The drugs for the heart and blood pressure work fine—but the don't play well with the drugs used for the chemo and radiations (which seem to be working) but leave her exhausted.

Now more than ever, keeping hydrated is an issue, and like me, she like cold water. Frozen bottle of water are too cold to touch—Tepid ones ones, are less likely to be drunk.

A bottle sock will provide comfort at first—and keep the water colder (by slowing down the rate of melt). Which is exactly why I like them! So it's half way done now (10AM more or less) and with any luck, will be completed today and sent home with Debbie tonight. (Just in time for the beginning of the work week and 4 days of sunshine and hot weather!)

There will be another one (bottle sock) and then some real socks, and then some sun hats. And who knows what after that?!

Friday, July 01, 2011

It's Summer Time!

Memorial Day, at the end of May heralds summer—but real summer time is bracketed by the July 4th weekend at the beginning, and Labor Day weekend at the end.

And this year July has co-operated and started on a Friday making this a real holiday weekend.

So hats are finished for now—and the first bottle sock is 3 inches tall.

I had sort of planned to knit them 2 at a time... but I wanted to get started—and I just did.

While in theory, any left of sock yarn will do—In reality I often like to keep nice bits (solids especially) for trim on other socks—so for bottle sock I am sticking to rejects.

This sock yarn (what was I thinking?) is ho hum. (As are the socks made from it, back in February.)

The colors are somewhat drab, the spiral pattern, boring. I think I have (I KNOW I HAVE) better left overs—but this yarn was the handiest. And it will do.

The pattern is simple enough—cast on 10, increase (10 every other round) till 70 stitches (it look to be the right size!) a few round of reverse stocking knit as a 'turn' and then 2 more stitches for an even 72.

Now its just rounds and rounds for 5 X 1 ribbing (Ribbing—the solution to a perfect and adjustable fit!)

I'll root around and find another pair of partial balls—or maybe a pair of pairs—and be ready to start again with more bottle socks ASAP!