Saturday, July 29, 2006

Are YOU ready for Sock Wars 2006?

My freshman year in college, guys in my dorm played a game they called "Killer." (Or maybe it was "Assassin?") Participants were given a target they had to get before they themselves were gotten -- shot with a squirt gun, poisoned by sugar or salt in a drink, throats slashed/marked with a marker, etc. Points were awarded for creativity, deducted for getting caught. I was the cause of deducted points -- an innocent bystander hit by the shrapnel of a water balloon grenade.

I wasn't interested in playing, but I am interested in Yarn Monkey's Sock Wars. Sign up before September 8, and on September 22 you'll be mailed a sock pattern and information about your target. You win by completing and mailing socks to your victim, but all the while you are someone else's target. You now take up your victim's mission, with her work in progress as your next weapon. A month later, the last one standing gets swag; everyone else gets the pair of socks that took them out of the game.

I have a knitted gift project that could interfere with my participation, but still, this sounds like a fun distraction. If I'm the one assigned to knit socks for Mel's size 13 feet, then gauge rules be damned: I'm using thick yarn.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Halfdome, Topdown

I finished the crown on my top-down version of the halfdome cap.

And I've learned something: increases do not look the same as decreases. This was probably always perfectly obvious to everyone else, but my reading of Barbara Walker's Knitting from the Top led me to believe otherwise. I can see where it sort of looks raglan-ish, but it's just not as attractive as the bottom-up version. Still, the advantages of not running out of color before finishing the top outweigh the beauty of the raglan decreases, if you ask me.

Apartment renovation update:
Molding is complete in the bathroom. Kitchen ceiling has been painted and the broken plastic light panels have been replaced. I'm sure my designated knitting contractor is correct and the whole thing needs more major repair, but it's an apartment, and up to the property managers and owners to decide how much work to do. Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 21, 2006

I can live with this

My fears of a patchwork bathroom were mounting. I mean, look at the linoleum around the sink

But the floor was put down today, and while all the pieces are indeed utterly dissimilar, there's a general neutrality to it all. I can cope.

There are a few small bits left to finish (moulding isn't complete all around the floor), and the kitchen ceiling is still damp, which is suspicious, since we haven't taken a shower here all week. I mean, that was the problem that started us off on this little renovation adventure. Hopefully soon, we can put all this behind us, and my blog can return to more details of what I'm knitting and more complaints about identity politics.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Shower Construction, Day Three

Progress on Wednesday: the linoleum is gone from the floor and repairs have started on the wood beneath. Some marble panels have been installed in the shower.

I'm starting to worry about a patchwork bathroom, with shower, sink, wall tile, paint, and floor all failing to match in any recognizable way. I'll get over it. It's just a bathroom. The marble panels in the shower really do look nice.

However, I seem to be missing a tube of Elidel cream. I can't imagine why the workers would take it, but it's not where I left it the night before.

After snapping the above photos, I took off for XY Night at the Merc. Mine were the only Y chromosomes to make an appearance however. Still, good conversation with the Y-deprived, I finished off the cap, and started some seaman-style neck-ribbing on the Obey Giant scarf.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Shower Construction, Day Two

Significant progress on our bathroom repairs Monday afternoon, when workmen ripped out the tile and replaced the mildewed wallboard behind it. They had just finished when I arrived home.

I overhead one of them say, "I'm going to call in sick tomorrow; stay out of the heat." Sure enough, nothing seemed to happen Tuesday. Mike and I are showering in a vacant unit elsewhere in the complex, which is inconvenient but a fun little adventure. Reminds me of dorm life, as I walk over to the other apartment, wearing my flip-flops and carrying a shower bucket and a towel. Mike lacks this nostalgic memory; I don't think he's finding the same enjoyment I am. (There's a weird feeling of doing something almost illicit -- slipping into another apartment and doing something as intimate as bathing).

More updates as events warrant.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

What's that smell?

This is turning out to be the summer of disagreeable odors.

About 10 days ago, Mike surprised a skunk one night when he was taking the trash out. In the darkness, he didn't notice the animal or see what it was, only that it looked like a puppy that was "moving funny." It was probably stomping in warning. He dashed off when the tail went up and he saw the white flash, but it was too late.

I'm enormously grateful for the Internet, which provided an effective recipe for musk removal. Tomato juice, all sites seem to agree, doesn't really do it; you need hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and dishwashing liquid.

I'm still finding some lingering contamination in the house (the towels Mike used after showering, the t-shirt I wore to bed that night, the small pillows we use in place of teddy bears), but generally the musk is gone from the house. Just in time for new and different bad smells.

I'm pretty sensitive to mildew. It's quite a battle in our bathroom, because a few years ago we had a leak that the landlords didn't repair -- just sealed it over, trapping moisture behind the tile. The new landlords are putting some energy into fixing the problem, but this involves extensive repair on our kitchen ceiling and a powerful, industrial fan blowing into the bathroom plumbing access panel (which happens to be on the wall by my side of the bed). Happily, Loratadine/Claritin handles my mildew allergies as well as it does hayfever. We won't be able to use our shower next week, but the inconvenience is a small price to pay for getting this problem taken care of.

Knitting reports:

I apparently dropped a stitch at the heel join in Mom's purple fib socks. That's enough of a problem area on socks even without mistakes, so I frogged back to really fix it. That pair is completed now.

One ball wasn't enough to complete the large adult halfdome cap, which isn't a surprise, but unless I make a longer contrasting brim, one ball isn't enough for me to make the regular adult size either. I finished off the top of the large cap with the black yarn I used for the brim (pictured below in green; the hat is weirdly shaped because it's too big for me, but it should fit Aubrey). I'll buy more of the blue to finish the last few rounds of the regular cap, and maybe knit a second one from the top down so it won't matter when I run out of color.

Nice picture of my bald spot, huh?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Fibonnaci again

When the socks I intended for Joe were too small, I wanted to get working on another pair quickly. Joe is a retired engineer, so I figured he might like the Finonacci sequence design. I picked up some New England Highland wool in oatmeal and teak. Working from actual measurements, I created these socks:

One pair of socks finished, four more in progress (which shows a profound lack of imagination and ambition, if you ask me). Meanwhile, I set sock work aside to begin working on some Halfdome caps in the latest issue of Knitty. These are cool, although I don't understand why the instructions have you knit them flat then sew the seam. I'm knitting them in the round by casting on two less stitches than the pattern calls for, then subtracting those stitches from the count at the beginning and end of the marker placements and decrease rounds. I've got one cap in progress to replace the lame one I made for Aubrey this spring, and when I ran out of yarn to complete the crown, I started another.

Mission: get all these socks and hats completed before the next XY Knit-In at the Merc next week.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Hat for LC2

The head hugger hat I talked about a few weeks ago did not shrink down to size. So I decided to try again.

Working with some Debbie Bliss SoHo that I bought near SoHo (at The Point in Greenwich Village), I went down a needle size and tried the alternate directions for a six-section (instead of a 12-section) crown. One section in, I decided:
  1. I didn't like how the chevron brim pattern looked with variegated yarn, and...
  2. I didn't like knitting the wraps visibly on the top
So I started again, this time knitting a plain, garter-stitch body for the hat, and working the wraps to the inside of the cap.

The result is a smaller cap that should fit Linda much better than the previous attempt. It's blocking now (turns out that the core to my old Donvier ice cream freezer is the perfect size and shape for blocking pill-box hats),

In case you're interested, here are my instructions for the six-section crown without knitting the wraps visibly. (For the rest of the pattern, buy a copy from Danny).

Row 17 K3, kw, swt
Row 19 K4, kw, kw, swt
Row 21 K6, kw, kw, swt
Row 23 K8, kw, kw, swt
Row 25 K10, kw, k1, kw, swt
Row 27 K13, kw, k1, kw, swt
Row 1 K16, kw, k1, kw, k2

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Forever free to censure the government

Last week, when I read the New York Times' report on the government's use of financial communication data to track terrorist activity, I said to Mike, "Look, the Times has just earned their Pulitzer this year." I like the theory one of Andrew Sullivan's readers proposed: the story makes the Bush administration look great. They wanted it published so they could trumpet what a brilliant job they're doing and villify the press, which always plays well to the conservative base.

Today, NY Times editor Bill Keller and LA Times editor Dean Baquet have published a reminder that telling us what our government is doing is not only the right guaranteed the press in the First Amendment, but also its primary responsibility in a democracy:
Thirty-five years ago yesterday, in the Supreme Court ruling that stopped the government from suppressing the secret Vietnam War history called the Pentagon Papers, Justice Hugo Black wrote: "The government's power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of the government and inform the people."
Censor/Censure...nicely done.