Monday, January 30, 2012

What Part of a Family is a House?

My childhood home burned down today.  Thanks to the web I can watch it over and over in three different places if I want.  I couldn't even finish watching the first video.
Here's one:

Here's our house when I lived in it.  You can see the rock wall in the video.  My parents were the second owners.  The builder and first owner was Jake Dexheimer.  My parents bought it from his heirs.  We moved there when I was in first grade.  My father replaced the wiring and the plumbing, put in the half bath downstairs and added the room onto the back.  He planted most of the trees and shrubs.  He also built the fireplace and the stone walls.

 I lived there 19 years.  Even though I haven't lived there since 1985, I feel like I lost someone.  What part of a family is a house?  I never really wanted to move away.  There wasn't much in the way of employment there.  Jobs were either low paying with no benefits or required specialized degrees and you had to be able to do everything.  I lived briefly in the house that my mother rented in nearby Hudson after my parents divorced, but I really didn't like it there.  It was so different, so urban.  I haven't really liked anywhere I've lived since.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Toe-Up Sock Project

In 2012 I am determined to finish the knitting projects I started in 2011. 
One is the lapel vest.  I think it’ll be fine now.  I decided to knit the vest in one piece using a circular needle.  My shoulder muscles are no longer as built up as they were when I was working in an office, so I find my shoulders get tired.  However, knitting should help me strengthen them again.

The other project is my sock, knit from the toe up.  At the time I started it, the only method of knitting the toe I could understand was the figure eight, so it’s still a figure eight toe.  Last year I decided I had to alternate strands of yarn.  I have no idea why.  I tinked it back to the end of the toe and started knitting the  foot again with one strand.  It looks fine.  For the foot I’ve followed Priscilla A. Gibson-Roberts’ directions in Simple Socks Plain and Fancy
The big stumbling block up to now has been the short row heel.  I realized that I have to plan the next step.  I had come across directions to tailor the width of the leg, and that’s why I started the toe-up sock to begin with. I’ve always had trouble finding knee socks that fit.  When I was growing up, the store-bought ones always seemed to be made for more slender legs and fit sometimes too tightly.  I think my calf might start curving out farther down than other people’s.  Since I’m short that would make sense. 

My ultimate goal is custom-fit wool knee socks to wear in cold weather.  Buying decent knee socks in the stores was always hit or miss, and forget about pretty colors.   I decided a long time ago to wear bright, pretty colors because life could get depressing enough.  I wear knee highs and sweater tights as much as possible when I wear skirts, and I prefer skirts over trousers.  My jeans of course are mostly neutral colors.  I have store-bought heavy cotton and wool socks that have lost heels and toes and need to be replaced.  The wool ones seem very coarse next to the merino sock yarn I’ve been knitting.  I suspect the color selections offered are still pretty drab as well. 
I thought I’d gotten directions on tailoring the sock leg from Ravelry, but didn’t find any when I looked for them.  I’m not sure what I read.  I remember two magazine articles and possibly there might be something in a book.  A long time ago I bought a booklet of knee sock patterns from a German company but I think they were all traditional top down.  It’ll be interesting to see where I find the directions and who they’re by.

Molly finds knitting rather boring.  She tries to get my attention because she wants to play.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Cat Sweater

One of my cats is always trying to steal the heated cat bed from her sister cat who has arthritis.  This cat doesn't have a undercoat like other cats.  At one time she crept into a vest I was knitting to take a nap.  I wonder if she'd like her own sweater.

Knitting and Stress

Knitting is not always good for stress.  Sometime last year, maybe in the spring, I unraveled a vest I started knitting out of Peace Fleece's Blueberry Borscht several years ago to use for Jean Suzuki's Lapel Wrap Vest.  I like the design very much.  I think it's very feminine and stylish.  About this same time I began to feel uncomfortable in the job that I had.    I remember when I came to the lapel increase I was very confused, and that's completely unlike me.  My first sweater and first pair of socks were Irish knit! 

I've lost track of how many times I've ripped this vest back.  The first time I had trouble with the increases, the second time with the bind offs for the armholes (I decided to knit it all in one piece).  Another time I didn't like the way the decreases were looking.  This last time I decided to take it all the way back to where the increases began.  I'm glad I did because I'd done them completely wrong!  At the same time my job went from bad to worse and I lost it the middle of December. 

Another project on needles this year was a sock I was knitting out of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock yarn in the colorway Hawaii.  I used a few different instructions to create my toe-up pattern.  Sometime last year I decided I didn't like the way the color pooled so I decided to alternate strands of yarn.  I'd also put off figuring out how to knit the short row heel.  I did it successfully over 30 years ago but I had trouble last year.  The sock seemed to pivot around and around the same stitch.

This week I decided I didn't like the ridge from alternating the yarns in the sock so I pulled it out until I got to the toe where I started doing it.  I started to reknit the body last night.  After knitting a inch or so I found that there's a strange hole near the beginning.  It looks like I either created an unintentional yarnover or knit one in the row below.  Since the knitting is so easy I'll unravel it and start over. 

*Sigh*  I guess I have trouble following directions when I'm very stressed out.  I'll be very glad when I get both these projects done.