Sunday, June 29, 2008

I have no idea if this will work

Or if I'm going to keep this post up once I've tried it out.

Let's see what we have here.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

SP Question of the Week #3

What would you consider the perfect amount of stash?

Well, that's a tough one. As soon as I want to make something and don't have the right yarn for it, I don't have the right amount of stash. I suppose for me content is more important than quantity...sort of. I guess the perfect stash would be enough to make a sweater out of everything ... so that I could make a bunch of smaller items with the leftovers. Right now I find myself wishing I had more solid colors, because I'm playing with my Japanese knitting books, and cables and lace seem to show up (show off?) better on solids than variegateds.

On the other hand, define stash? I think for me it's more than just the yarn. It's the books/patterns/sources of assistance as well as the tools. I'd consider my Ravelry account to be a kind of stash, since it's a stash of everything from organization to inspiration. The yarn stash is too much with nothing to make from it. And it's too little - or just wrong - if it doesn't lend itself to being made into something.

So I suppose I don't think there's such a thing as a perfect amount of stash. I think it's a perpetual work in progress. And like anything else tightly tied to an attempt to foresee the future, occasionally you have to go through it and decide if it's something you want to keep, use, or find a new home for.

Maybe the next question will be a little easier? Nah. I think too much.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thank You Secret Pal!

I'm showing this package in two parts. First the fun stuff:

That's a Japanese box for small stuff, a notepad and some cute buttons, a very cute postcard, a kitty cat bell, airplane-safe scissors (I could've used those last week!), a pair of charmed needle-holders, a multi-yarn separator, and a reminder to use my bookmooch account! More of that stuff is Japanese than I mentioned - and she told me where I could get more! Oh, that's tempting.

But there was more in the box. There were to balls of Bernat Matrix in a nice silver/black combination. And a well-filled-out bag. A Sephora bag? That's a very luxurious bag, about the right size to hold a sock project. So I peeked inside and was surprised to find a pair of balls of Patons Kroy! And what a nice color combination!

What a great package! Thank you Secret Pal!

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Game

Click on the photo to get to the photo credits.

This photo meme is called, "The Game".

The concept:

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker.

The Questions:

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name.

I decided not to give the answers to the questions. The questions are really just a way to narrow the selection of photos. My flikr name was the most interesting one - I had only two photos to choose from (and a mosaic, which wouldn't import into the mosaic.)

Please tag yourself if you like this meme. Thanks to earthchicknits for interesting me in this one.

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The SP12 Question of the Week

So, the question of the week is: As a kid, what did you look forward to most about summer vacation/break/holiday?

Endless hours reading, bicycling and programming on my father's TRS-80.

It's funny, during the period that I'm thinking of, I wasn't knitting much. Actually, I never knitted much as a kid, but I did go through phases when I'd knit stockinette squares and tubes. I didn't actually make anything until my late teens.

But I remember my grandmother worrying that I'd ruin my eyes from all that reading.

At my grandparent's house, where I actually spent most of my time, I didn't have a bicycle, so I did a lot of reading. Their house is now mine, and I still don't do any bicycling to speak of - my grandfather built his house near the top of a rather steep hill. So did my father, but we were located on a fairly flat part and there was a small, sparsely-populated block with a slight rise where I would go back and forth for hours. I never much liked exercise, but I'd put up with pedaling uphill so that I could turn around and coast back down it.

But on rainy days, when I was with my parents and not my grandparents, I'd spend hours in front of the computer, writing programs in TRS-80 Basic level 1 and then later level 2. One year I even got to go to computer camp. I was never so happy as I was that year with all those other kids (you know, they were mostly boys?) who were as addicted and even more addicted to making the computer do stuff than I was. It was really great.

It was kind of like last week.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

I Can't Believe I Got Anything Working

Zowee. Today was the first day of a Master Class we signed up for.

I have done a wee itsy bitsy bit of programming in Perl since I took the introductory and advanced classes from Stonehenge back in ... 2001. That's right. We returned from Oregon the Sunday before 9/11. No kidding.

First of all, I brought my own personal tutor. Secondly, I've spent the week attending workshops where the presenter essentially read Perl code to me. Thirdly, I've gotten Perl working on my own computer (hah, wrong version) and gotten a couple of little (beginner) programs working.

But the amazing thing is that I'm actually doing ok. Not great, but ok. I'll work really hard to get some version of perl 5.10 working on my computer and get the last of the Catalyst examples working before I go to sleep tonight.

And I'm not getting any knitting done. Fortunately, I'm not falling asleep, either.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Unfortunate Knitting Content

I am having a great time here at YAPC. I'm learning quite a bit (that I don't have anyplace to implement, of course) and I'm getting insights to ways to solve problems - mostly because my brain is in neutral with regards to my work, so answers to existing problems are just presenting themselves as people show models that solve vaguely similar but totally unrelated problems.

But I'm falling asleep.

This is, of course, because I got a cold. I'm not sure if I picked it up last week-end in DC, or if I got it from my sweetheart, who seems to have blown through a very similar cold in two days just before I started displaying symptoms. But between the after-lunch sleepiness and the cold, I've been nodding off in the middle of sessions.

Except when I've been knitting.

Which is unfortunate, because when I knit enough to stay awake, I pay attention enough to the presenters to screw up my knitting. I have managed so far to knit my two socks together once, and have had to tink back several rows three times so far.

And I got to lunch with a knitter today. One of the things we discussed was Rails vs Catalyst. Why would I mention that here? She explained to me that Rails is behind Ravelry. Catalyst is marketed as an alternative to Rails, and I'm here to learn about Catalyst.

Not that I'll probably have any use for it. Right now I'm trying to learn Zope and Plone in my spare time. But instead of learning, I seem to be sleeping. When I'm not knitting.

Very unfortunate.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Notes To Self

In case I manage to lose both copies of the pattern, the sock I'm making is using pattern #154 from the 250 Knitting Patterns book.

I need to find an open source or free SmallTalk distro. One is called GemStone? Also investigate SeaSide.

We could always use perl2exe to free up our perl distro for upgrades. On the other hand, it's not like they do anything that's going to stop working ... until we hit perl6. I think.

My programming instincts were just identified as good practices. Great. And all the places where I didn't pay attention to my instincts in practice are predictably causing exactly the problems the gurus say they will. Whoopee.



Go through notes for other stuff to investigate.

Most importantly: In the future, if we're going to bother to check one bag, we might as just check anything we don't need to carry on. Leaving a sweater home (because it wouldn't fit in my carry-on) has led me to be the person in the conference wearing my towel around my shoulders. What's really scary are the ones who don't realize I got the idea from the Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Well, actually it was a combination of that and having nothing but a towel to huddle under on a freezing Connecticut Limo ride once several years ago.

Yeah - so now I'm the one wearing a towel and knitting a sock. Oddly enough, I fit right in.

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

I'm too lazy to do this right

I got my act a wee bit in order. Not in order enough to put this where it belongs - in the sidebar. Later. After I come back from my vacation during which I will try to re-learn enough Perl to keep up with everyone else and make sense of the master class we're attending after the main conference has ended. (I'm going to YAPC. I'll be the idiot knitting. You won't be able to miss me.)

Anyhow, "this" is my Amazon SP Wish List. I now have more than one wish list - I used to have one in which I mixed up books people had recommended to me with books I really wanted but didn't want so very much that I had run out and gotten them yet, so I really wasn't so keen on publishing it for my pal to shop from.

Speaking of things I really wanted and ran right out and got them, I'll post a full library of Japanese knitting pattern books that I've splurged on. Later. When I get back. Or you can check out my LibraryThing list in the sidebar.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Favorite Summertime Drink

Well, Secret Pal 12 is off to a bang, to say the least. We've got our matches and we've got our first question - what is your favorite summertime drink?

If there is one thing I do, it's over-analyze. Does this mean alcoholic? We don't really drink anything special in the summer. What do I drink the most of anyhow?

In truth, I guess the answer really has to be water. I prefer carbonated water, but still, it's water. My favorite all-time drink is coffee, but in the summertime when I'm thirsty I'll go for water. I like it with no ice, and maybe some lime, lemon, or a dash of something else for flavor. We've flavored it with extracts imported from Sainsbury's (yes, a grocery store in England), with such exotic combinations as lime and ginger. But it's important that it not be overly-flavored and even more important that it not be too sweet. If I'm going to satisfy a thirst, the plainer the better.

How dull, eh?

[I edited this post because the first time I published it, I let the spell checker trick me into calling the grocery store, "Salisbury's." Oops.]


Sunday, June 08, 2008

Washington DC Travel Advice

I have just spent three nights in Washington, DC. I have some travel advice for anyone who is going to DC. I am not going to spend much time telling you what went wrong because the stuff that went right was so very good to know.

If you are driving, do not drive into DC if you can help it. Parking is expensive, if you can find it. Last time we went to DC we witnessed some on-street "touch" parking, and were amazed that the nearest parking businesses near our hotel (it had 17 full spaces in the back) charged $10/day and you had no access to your vehicle for 8-10 hours each day.

This time, we decided to find out what commuters do. The Metro website is absolutely what you need. Click on a stop on the map and mid-way down the page is a link to Google. Zoom out once and you can easily drag your way around to nearby metro stations. Search for hotels on this map and get one close to a Metro station. If you have an AAA card, see if the hotel you've chosen offers that discount - it's usually good for about $10/night savings.

Park at one of the stations that has a car on the Metro map. Leave your car there for your entire trip. Let me explain how that works. They will charge you to leave the parking lot on week-days. The one we parked at was $4.95. We thought, Ok, we arrive Thursday and leave Sunday - that's going to be two weekdays at the very least. Wrong. If you park on Monday and leave on Thursday you pay ... Thursday. If you park on Wednesday and leave on Sunday you pay ... nothing. They charge you to leave the parking lot on week-days. So if you always plan your stay to leave the parking lot on a Saturday or Sunday, your entire parking experience is free.

That was such a wonderful surprise! Thank you, Washington DC!

On the down side, we were near the White House. Very few businesses are open in the area outside regular office business hours. We had to find the Starbucks and McDonald's in the neighborhood to be able to breakfast on Sunday for less than the hotel $14.95 breakfast buffet! This is not the case all over DC. But this time, we had a hard time finding food!

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Monday, June 02, 2008

SP 12 Questionnarie

Possibly more important than the answers to the questionnaire may be a bit about my personality.

- I like to play with yarn. If I got a couple of balls of yarn every so often I'd be quite happy. One ball of yarn is usually not quite enough to do anything with, even though I bought that One Skein book.

- I like gadgets. Don't assume I have them all. Those little inexpensive extras, like those blunt plastic needles to darn in the ends, are the things I misplace.

- I do not need things to be brand new. I participate in freecycle. I like used books, CDs, DVDs, etc. I was CHARMED when my sweetheart bought me clearance chocolates after Valentines Day for my birthday (three days later). An email with a link to your top-ten favorite free internet patterns will MAKE my day.

I hope that helps. Here's the questionnaire.

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

It depends on what I'm making, but basically I prefer stuff I can throw in the wash. That said, I really like the feel of real wool. Man-made fibers are ok, as long as they're not the standard Red Heart acrylic or similar.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?

I've got a nice circular needle holder, and the rest are in ... drawers and a pencil holder.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

I learned young - by the age of 10, I'm sure. My grandmother taught me to knit continental, as she was from Germany. I consider myself intermediate - but that's patchy. I'm having difficulty putting a sweater together and I'm knitting fancy lace patterns out of my Japanese knitting books. So I knit scarves and socks mostly.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

My Amazon wish list is a bit odd - it's full of stuff that other people recommended to me and I haven't gotten around to. In fact, much of it I may end up borrowing from the library. I'll go on there and put up a knitting-related wish list and post a link to it from my blog. I'll also get my rear in gear and update my librarything list with all the knitting books that I already have.

5. What's your favorite scent?

Rosemary, Mint, Lavender, Rose, Cinnamon.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?

I will admit to really liking SweeTarts. And chocolate.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?

One of these days I will learn to spin. I garden, but not well. If I'm trying to unwind and I'm not knitting, I'm reading.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

I've recently started hanging out at where my username is procrastinatus. I would like some recommendations of artists to check out. I started out listening mostly to Neil Gaiman's radio, most of which I like, but I've branched out to playing similar artists streams. I've recently enjoyed similar artists to: Snow Patrol, Jonathan Coulton, James Blunt, Coldplay, Dido. I was thrilled to find the Arrogant Worms are available on their site.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?

I do not get along with orange or coral, unless is as a complimentary color in a mix. If I have a huge pallet of colors to choose from, I will avoid brown and red, as well. I actually am quite fond of black, as well as blue and green and violet and even sometimes yellow. I really like lemon yellow. Mmmmm, lemons.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

I am currently without pets. I have been considering rabbits and/or chickens. I think I will spend quite a bit more time thinking before I do anything. I may take up vermicomposting again - that's essentially raising earthworms.

I am engaged, which is quite a surprise, as I had decided that I cared too much for this guy to marry him when we moved in together fourteen years ago. A friend of mine informed me just today that the main character in a television show (I've never seen it) called Foyle's War bears an uncanny resemblance in humor and mannerisms my sweetheart. I don't know if that's true, but if so, I'm sure I'd like the show!

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

Scarves - sometimes. Hats - all winter. Mittens - rarely. Fingerless gloves are cool. Ponchos - never.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

Socks. Each time I go to a new section of the sock, I'm sick of the last one. It's perfect for my short attention span.

13. What are you knitting right now?

Socks. I'm about to frog the Mystery shawl back to my last lifeline and get on with it. And a scarf. The scarf is so I can play with a pattern out of my Japanese pattern book.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?


15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

I was in love with my Addi Turbo circulars until I got my hands on the Knitpicks circulars. They've got pointier ends. It turns out, I'm a circular needle person. People who used to know me would be shocked.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

Actually, Yes!

17. How old is your oldest UFO?

Two years? Three years? It's a purse - I've got to block it and sew it together.

18. What is your favorite holiday?

I don't think I'm particularly partial to any of them, really. We're actually attempting to create a new one, though. Beagle day. It's a bon-voyage party to be held for the H.M.S. Beagle, which left port on December 27.

19. Is there anything that you collect?


20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

I subscribe to Vogue Knitting, Interweave Knits and Cast On (the knitting guild one). I just let my subscription to Piecework expire.

I will admit I've been eyeing the Harmony circulars at KnitPicks. A long circular somewhere in the range of 0-4 would be really nice.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?

Yeah - finishing. How Garment Shaping Really Works. I also don't like the DNA pattern on the classic DNA scarf, so I keep failing to develop a DNA pattern that I do like. So I keep knitting swatches (scarves and socks) to get a better idea of exactly how all these stitch combinations work. I can't seem to get my brain around what I'm trying to do ... someday.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?

foot length - 9.5"
ball circumference - 9.5"

23. When is your birthday?

February 17.

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID?

heh heh...I'm procrastinatus. Whiningprocrastinator was too long.

If you scroll down to the bottom of my blog - under the weatherpixie (which may or may not work anymore) on the right hand side here - I have links to my answers to SP8 and SP9. I'll eventually get around to moving them higher - and I'll see if I have another set of answers - I thought I participated in SP11, too. And I'll update my wishlist and put a link there.

But right now I'm going to bed.

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Sunday, June 01, 2008

2 FOs

Well, let's see...really, this post is mostly about ripping.

I'm in the middle of the foot of a pair of socks and I realized I have to frog because the twist in the yarn changed and it looks hideous.

I finally picked up my Mystery Stole 3 and realized, after figuring out where I was and putting in another lifeline, that I need to frog back to my last lifeline. So instead of being at the beginning of clue 4 I will be back at the beginning of clue 3.

While looking for my camera I unearthed, again, the sweater I have to take apart so that I can finish putting it back together.

But my dear sweetheart spotted my camera and I have photos. I put them up on Flikr to show him how nifty Ravelry is. After showing him how easy it is to add a photo to a project, I discovered that at the moment there's a bug that's making it impossible to use stash yarns on a project. Even so, he did wander off a bit overwhelmed by the amount of programming that's gone on over there.

If his point of view seems odd, I might add that we'll be at YAPC this year.

But I do have two finished objects to show you. Let's see if I can figure out how to do the Flickr photo thing here.

Fingerless gloves in Schaefer Anne:


Socks in Regia Silk (I only made one sock blocker for photos):


A close-up of pattern #76 from my Japanese 300 knitting patterns book:


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