Friday, April 27, 2007

Voltina, the crow daemon

The Golden Compass movie website has a section where you can get your own daemon, and it even lets you set up a temporary profile to see whether others agree. Mine is supposedly Voltina, a crow, because I'm a responsible leader, but modest, shy, and solitary.

You can visit my daemon profile page and say whether you agree. Hurry, in 12 days my daemon will settle on its final form.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Golden Jello Calf

Thus saith Cecil B. Demille:
And the people rose up to play and did eat and drink. They were as the children of fools and cast off their clothes. The wicked were like a troubled sea whose waters cast up mire and dirt. They sank from evil to evil and were viler than the earth. And there was rioting and drunkeness for they had become servants of sin. And there was manifest of all manner of ungodliness and works of the flesh, even adultery and lasciviousness, uncleanness, idolatry and rioting, vanity and wrath. And they were filled with iniquity and vile affections.
Or, well, you know, there was a lot of laughing. And a Golden Calf rendered in Jello, courtesy of our visiting friend Juliana. We didn't indulge in the full Ten Commandments Experience -- only viewing some of our selected, favorite scenes and the very funny 10 Things I Hate About Commandments. But a good and tasty time was had by all.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

What is the job, exactly?

As Congress and the only president we've got head to a showdown over supplemental war funding, I'm getting increasingly annoyed by the war-monger rhetoric:
  • We can't win the war in six months, but we can lose it in six months.
  • The troops have a job to do, and we shouldn't leave until the job is done.
  • Setting a time table for withdrawal would insure defeat.
I'm sick of these manipulative arguments that are emotional and unreasonable. Exactly what is "the job?" There's a lot of talk about "defeat" because it pushes buttons, but no one has explained what victory looks like.

I suspect it's because they can't. If they try to set clear objectives, then any idiot can see that they're not achievable, that "victory" so defined is impossible.

And this just leads me to the conclusion that the "War on Terror" is one that the architects have no interest in winning; it's just the fighting that they care about, and the fighting never stops.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Working the new pattern

Not much excitement around here. Work, eat, knit, watch TV, read, sleep, repeat. But I have been testing out the new sock formula, and I'm pleased. These green ones will be for me when they're finished, but I've set them aside to finish gifts.

The blue ones are for Debbie, who likes her socks shorter. The yarn is "Tiny Toes," a tightly spun merino, much like Koigu. After an evening of knitting, I had a dark line across my index finger where the dye rubbed off the yarn.

The dark yellow/light brown socks are Koigu, the pattern adapted from Knitting Vintage Socks. The lace and variegated yarn are probably a little too busy together, but I think the recipient will be pleased.

I'm also working on a tweedy gray pair of lace socks, using Trekking yarn and the "Feather & Fan" pattern from Socks Socks Socks.

Meanwhile, the gansey has sat untouched for weeks.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

"You're Still Putting Me On" Socks

I've found it -- a new perfect sock pattern. Ironically, it's the first sock pattern that I fell in love with and used over and over: Judy Gibson's "You're Putting Me On" Socks.

My new perfect pattern is actually a mash-up of YPMO and Brooke Chenoweth Creel's Widdershins. Widdershins is only for one size, while YPMO is charted to adapt to various circumferences and has a handy guide for when to start the gusset increases. The only problem with YPMO is the ridge that forms beneath the heel, but there is no such ridge in Widdershins. So here is my Widdershins-inspired revision of the "You're Putting Me On" heel. Stitch markers make it very easy. The numbers for [K], [P], and [A] are from the YPMO chart.

Set-up and Turn Heel
After finishing the gussets, knit around to the center of the sole stitches. Place heel markers [K] ____ stitches away on either side of the center to mark the area for the heel.

Row 1: Knit to 2 stitches before heel marker. Lift the stitch below the stitch to the left and knit it, k1, wrap and turn.

Row 2: Purl 3, place turning marker, purl up to 2 stitches before the end of heel stitches. Lift the stitch below the stitch to the left and purl it, p1, wrap and turn.

Row 3: Knit 3, place another turning marker, knit to other turning marker and remove it temporarily. Lift the stitch below the stitch to the left and knit it, k1, wrap and turn.

Row 4: Purl 3, place turning marker, purl to other turning marker and remove it temporarily. Lift the stitch below the stitch to the left and purl it, p1, wrap and turn.

Repeat rows 3 & 4 until you have increased to [P] ____ stitches for the heel (between the heel markers, ignoring the turning markers you use in rows 3 & 4).

Knit one complete round, making sure to knit the wraps with the stitches that they are wrapping.

Heel Flap
Knit to end of heel stitches, combining the last heel stitch with the next stitch using SSK. Turn, slip the first stitch, and purl across heel stitches, combining the last heel stitch with the next stitch using P2tog. Repeat until you are back to your original sock circumference, or [A] ____ stitches.

The YPMO sock pattern doesn't call for it, but if you like the reinforced heel stitch you can work the knit side with a sl1-k1 repeat. I also think it's helpful during your first round after completing the heel flap to pick up stitches on either side of the flap. This closes the gap that forms at the top of the heel flap.