Friday, April 30, 2010

I want! I want! I want!

I want to be a kid again. With parents who have money. And I want it now. I was blog surfing; that's what you do when you are too weak to do much else even knitting and you find a blog out of the blue, and as you scroll down the page you find a reference to having acquired the last of the Anker (anchor in English) building sets. Castles, churches, bridges, each built from custom built stones made from chalk, quartz sand, pigment, and linseed oil leading back to the early 1800s. Loved by grown ups and kids alike. I suspect, the hobby is a little bit like model trains. Dads buy them for their children because they never had one. Like many German manufactured items, they are overbuilt and each set of building stones comes in its own wooden box. The bad thing is they are available in the US, even endorsed by former President Bill Clinton.

Starter Set
With added purchases you can build the next buildings or use your imagination and design your own buildings. Even Einstein played with them.

I looked at the prices and, darn it, they are still too expensive for me, unless I close my eyes and not pay my taxes, get my septic tank looked after, my roof fixed and my car brought back to good running conditions. But there is no way I can bring myself to do that. The responsibility genes are too well developed in me. Could the superego just once disappear? I want to play. No chance.
For those who want to have a look at this play paradise and may be get any grand children you have hooked on them, here is the original German site. The site can be read in any language you desire. The second site is one of the US sites I found where you can buy the sets. I put "Anker Building block" in Google to come up with all kinds of links.

Go and play some.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

What a drag!

I have been sick for almost two weeks. Bronchitis! I'm almost too sick to knit. Two or three rows and I need to rest. That really is the pits. And since I have trouble knitting, I am also bored and have developed "startitis." With each new project I start, I think that's it, that's going to make me feel better, and then I am back to knitting three rows and having to rest. Dang it anyway! And day after tomorrow is the big 70 for me. I command my body to feel better.

For the rest of you, knit on merrily.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day 2010...

...and another reason why we need to plant more trees. Unfortunately, my doggie would not wait in line so patiently. Thank you Pat for this visual image.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

While waiting for more beads... finish the Snow Queen Pi shawl, I whipped up this little bit of nothing. I hope by now you are rolling your eyes and shaking your head. But I am in an expansive mood today: I finished and filed my taxes a whole day early. My normal routine the past few years has been to file for an extension at the last minute. My ritual before computers was to pile in my car and drive around 8 p.m. to the Main Post Office in Grand Rapids, Mich., where a nice and courteous Postal employee would take my envelope as the cars snaked by in long lines. I always had a smile for the employee and said thank you. A twenty dollar bill and a bottle of good Scotch would probably have been more appropriate in retrospect, but I assume these were honest Government workers and would not be amenable to bribes.

This shawl was a Knit-along last year and is part of Monika Eckert's Windsbraeute (Brides of the Wind) series. Spitzbergen (German spelling; otherwise spelled Spitsbergen) is a Norwegian island, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. Since I don't have the money to visit, I thought a shawl by the same name would be fine.

I used Tofutsie sock yarn, a mixture of wool, soy silk, cotton and Chiltin (fiber made from crab shells and shrimp, I believe). The yarn makes a very drapable fabric. In my opinion it is not necessarily suited for socks. The shawl used just under 2 balls, 186 grams to be exact which comes out to 864.5 yards, according to Ravelry.

Actually, this photo represents the color of the shawl best.

That's all folks for today, another shawl is soaking ready to be pinned out and shown off in a couple of days.

Knit on merrily!

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Snow Queen is almost finished.

The snow is finally gone, and I hope that Michigan weather does not surprise us with another snow storm this Spring. My "Snow Queen who had a bit too much of the Grape" is also finished, except for blocking. But that has to wait a wee bit. I want to make sure that the muscles in my back have had enough time to heal completely. You see being only 18 days away from being 70 and crawling under my abode to see if I could fix something left me literally flat on my back for three weeks. Blocking a shawl this size leaves my back hurting even under normal conditions, so I am not going to aggravate the situation right now.

The shawl took just under 4 skeins, at 440 yds. each, of Knit Picks Shadow Lace Yarn. Color was Grapevine. The color is no longer available. The beads used are Delicatas, size 8/0, metallic raspberry. I cannot give the no. of beads or grams used, since I had to order from several sources. The source from which I ordered a sample package has this particular bead on back order now. In ordering beads, I found that each seller packaged them in different weights, e.g. 5 grams, 8 grams.

This shows the edging of the shawl before it is blocked into points. This photo also shows the color as near as possible of the yarn. At least it does so on my computer.

A view of the increase round with nupps.

The shawl came off the needles at exactly 11:48 a.m. this morning. Even without blocking it covers my outdoor table with an overhang of about 2" on all sides, suggesting that it should block out to a good 60" or perhaps more. Andre of Bad Cat Designs has done a super job of designing the shawl. The design is now available for purchase either through Ravelry or her Blog. This is the best design of a pie shawl that I have encountered. The individual sections are well thought out and integrated to make a cohesive whole,
This is also the first time that I have used beads in my knitting. I believe my hesitation of knitting with beads was more psychological than technical up to now. It's a little bit like those egg tosses at company picnics that I used to have to endure: Wasteful! Not necessary! showing off in some way! Funny, how our upbringing rears its head in the most unforeseen places. But the deed is done. It turned out beautiful and now on to other things.
I have two Monika Eckert triangular shawls finished. All is left is the putting yarn ends away, washing and blocking them. All of which was delayed by my above reported foolishness.
So knit on merrily!