Musical Compulsion

I’m compulsive about reading music.  Tonight, I was at a holiday party that had a gift exchange game.  Each person drew a number from the bag.  Mine happened to be on a slip of paper that had some music printed in the corner.  It was some time before I noticed what number I drew, because I was trying to work out what song this music fragment represented.  Was it really music, or just some artist’s idea of a pleasing graphic?  (Yes, I think it was music; no, I didn’t recognize it.)

One year Mother gave me a license plate frame for my car.  It featured a treble staff music line, and the words “Staff Car”.  When I played the music, it turned out to be “Oh, we ain’t got a barrel of money”…the first line of Side by Side.

Now, I’ve shared my compulsion.  Next time you see music wrapping paper, or note pads, or whatever, I challenge you to check out the tune.

The mind works, sometimes

I have had difficulty with naming some things, which is a form of aphasia, since having two surgeries back-to-back and receiving 6 units of blood in November.  It’s been slowly resolving, but I now understand the saying “he’s at a loss for words”.  This morning was a different experience, though.

I was up early after a restless night.  None of my blogger friends had posted something new yet, so I was  puttering at Solitaire on my computer.  Suddenly, a thought arrived full-blown in my mind:  “risen with healing in His wings”.    Where did that come from?  It persisted, so I asked DH, next door in his office “does this mean anything to you?  It sounds like a song to me.”

At his suggestion, I Googled it.  That gave me a little answer:  it’s quoting Malachi 4:2. There were several contemporary  and Gospel songs written on it, none of which I’ve heard.  I gave up with this partial answer.

Finally, coffee wasn’t even enough to keep me awake.  Minky and I drifted off to nap, and when I woke, I knew.  It’s the third verse, admittedly, but you know this Charles Wesley hymn:

Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris’n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Minky is relieved that the mystery is solved, and hopes I’ll settle down and knit now.

Premier of “the geek knits”

This is the premier of “the geek knits”.  Today, I’m  using modern technology to solve problems caused by older eyes.  I downloaded the pattern for the Celtic Cable Scarf, a free pattern from Kraemer Yarns.  It is a written, not charted, pattern;  that’s not a problem for someone who learned to knit in the 1950’s.  The size of the print is, however.  Oh, I could read it, but I would need to pay careful attention to those 16 rows of cable pattern, over and over.  Not fun.  So here is how I fixed it:

First,  I used my mouse to highlight the text of the pattern, and clicked “copy” under edit.  (Sometimes you can just highlight and right mouse click to have “copy” pop up as an option.  It didn’t work on this pdf file.)

Second, I opened a blank Word document, then right clicked my mouse on it, and selected “paste”.  Now I had a second copy of too small instructions.  Great, you say.  Just wait…

Third, go to the control bar at the top of your page and click on the number beside the font.  (Mine started out saying “Times New Roman” and “12”, in case this is new to you.)  I changed the 12 to 24.  Presto, large type, but run together a bit.  I went to the end of each row’s instructions and hit “enter”, which put a space between the knitting rows.

Forth, print.  I got my pattern on two pages, which I inserted in a plastic page protector.

I suspect that many of you knew how to do some or all of this, but hadn’t considered using the technique to enlarge a knitting pattern.  You say you’re a chart knitter?  I often do something similar, copying and pasting the chart for a sock pattern.  Once it is on the Word document, you can click on a corner of the chart and drag it down diagonally to enlarge the chart.  I like to print sock charts out on light card stock, then cut out just the chart square.  This little/big chart fits nicely in my sock knitting bag.

Weight loss reward

One of the real bummers of having been significantly overweight is that you never get to wear pretty, girlie undies.  All they make in your size is industrial-strength, “grand-maw” undies.  Yesterday, DH and I set out to make up for lost time with a trip to Victoria’s Secret.  I was so excited that I now can wear their pretties.

We found the store in a shambles. Evidently, many shoppers had hoped to find after-Christmas bargains, and had been pawing through the bins all day.  Bins of medium might yield extra small, extra large, large, and here and there a medium.  We persevered, and decided by eye-ball that a large probably equaled my size.

I finally found 5 pairs of undies that were more or less pretty, and got in the check-out line.  DH declared that he could wait out in the mall, feel free to use the credit card.  When I got to the front of the line, prudence overcame hesitation, and I asked what size my numerical undies size equaled there at Victoria’s.  The two clerks weren’t positive, but they thought a medium, rather than a large.  I put my 5 pairs back on a jumbled table, and left the store.  I didn’t have the heart to begin again.

DH was so disappointed for me — he wanted me to have a lovely experience.  His observation about the jumble was that “Victoria’s secret was out.”

We recalled that on our way into the mall we had seen a new shop, Soma  Intimates.  We knew nothing about them, but decided to pop in on our way back to the car.  What a difference:  no crowd, no jumble, helpful clerks, big sale!   Having learned from my first forray into undie shopping, I found a clerk first thing and asked about their sizing.  Medium it is.  The styles were much more to my taste — elegant femininity.  DH found a comfy chair, and I found three pairs, plus a nightshirt made of the most silky cotton knit one could imagine.  Why, yes, please put me on your mailing list.  As “Arnold” is quoted, “I’ll be back!”

Christmas report

We started our Christmas with the 10:30 services at our church.  The body of the service was the Christmas Eve service.  As we came to the close of the service Father Chad, the crucifer, and the two Eucharistic Ministers (acting as torch bearers) brought the Gospel to the midst of the congregation and read the Christmas Gospel.  It was so special!  (And yes, I was wide awake for the whole service.  And no, no hand-held candles this year, but the closing hymn was Silent Night.)

Knitting related gifts abound:  it looks like a library here!  Yippee!  I had given DH a list of books I wanted, some mystery series I read, some purely knitting.  I expected him to choose one.  Cooperatively with our first-born daughter, he got them all!  (I’ll give you Amazon links, in case a book title is new to you.)

  • Knit Two by Kate Jacobs.  I loved the Friday Night Knitting Club, can’t wait to read more about those characters.
  • Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn by Carol Sulcoski.  I’ve read Carol’s blog for ever, and am such a sock knitter.  This one was from DD.
  • Thai Die by Monica Ferris.  This mystery series is based in a needlework shop that was inherited by the “star” of the story.  Each book has featured different crafts, from needlepoint to knitting…but then, I know how to do those things, too.
  • Death Swatch by Laura Childs.  This is a scrapbooking mystery.  I haven’t taken up that craft, but the book series is set in New Orleans (and well researched).  I love Laura Childs other series, the Charleston Tea Shop Mysteries, too.

I won’t go on to list non- knitting gifts; be assured that my family pampered me, surprised me, and made me feel very special.  Now, I have even more problems:  not only do I have to decide what to knit next, I must decide what to read first.  What a delightful dilemma!

Finishing what I started

Have you ever noticed how fast a knit goes when you’re enjoying yourself?  I know you can all testify to how a project drags when you aren’t enjoying it.  Success is indeed pleasurable; having finally succeeded at stranded work sans puckering, I finished my Mirelle hat yesterday.  Its top is less geometric on my head than on my “stunt double”.

Yes, I did the gift wrapping last night.  All that remains is the tissue paper wrapping of the little bits for the little grandchildren’s stockings.

( Our family has always done this, and it makes the stockings more fun than just dumping  everything out on the rug and being done with it.)

I called it quits when my back was complaining, took some Tylenol, and settled down to knit until it worked.  Thus, the Celtic Cabled Scarf was cast on.

Today’s agenda:  potato salad, Waldorf salad, said stocking wrapping, and a nap so I can attend late Christmas Eve services.  It’s so embarassing to nod off into a hand-held candle during “Silent Night”!

New beginnings

Yesterday I had a doctor’s appointment in Baton Rouge, so I was pleased to read on Ravelry that Knits by Nana was going to be open on Monday as part of their Christmas week schedule.  I had found Mirelle (Ravelry link) by Kirsten Kapur, and wanted to try my hand at stranded knitting.  I also wanted this hat to coordinate with the blue mittens I knit in November with Lily Chin Park Avenue Printed yarn.

Finding a nice blue was easy.  First I saw a lovely periwinkle Lamb’s Pride Worsted.  However, there was no white, or ecru, or even beige to use as contrast.  I asked the clerk for help, and discovered that they stock wool mainly for felting projects.  Of course, white doesn’t felt well, so there weren’t many choices.  (Hey, what about the rest of us who knit just for knitting, not felting?)  Finally, I found two classic wools, one in winter white and one in periwinkle.

After that success, I couldn’t resist a peek into the sale room, where all the yarns were 50% off.  There, waiting for me, were 3 skeins of Elen Cashmere .  This is a DK-weight yarn, 25% cashmere, 35% wool, 5% silk, and 35% rayon.  The blend should have the best of softness, sheen, and some strength for a scarf.  I came home and went pattern trolling on Ravelry, where I found this Celtic Cable Scarf.  The pattern calls for 660 yards for a 60″ scarf.  I have 485 yards, but really only want a scarf to tuck inside the neck of my winter coat.  My trusty calculator says I should get a 40″ scarf, which should serve me well.

Now for the discipline:  I had one and a half mittens complete of the second pair my father-in-law requested.  I want you to know that after I printed out the scarf pattern, I went right back to knitting on the mittens.  By 7 pm last night I had the second mitten done, ready to ship today.  (Nothing to see here, folks.  Just a classic mitten in Wool-Ease, blue this time.  Move on.)

Then I cast on for the hat.  It has given me almost a child-like delight to finally be able to accomplish stranded work without a pucker.  Many thanks to all of my knitting friends on-line who have taught me the trick of sliding the stitches apart on the right needle.  It works, it works!  (Dancing about in the living room!)

And now, the beauty shot!

It’s a finished object!  FO dance, FO dance!

Last night I didn’t think I would make it.  The designer called for changing back to the larger needles for the last row of the ribbing of the button band, and for the bind off.  I, sheep that I am, gave it a try.  You can guess what resulted:  a ruffle!  Not what my DH envisioned for his Christmas sweater, I can tell you!  So I tinked all those stitches, re-did the buttonholes to a tidier version, reknit the rows, and bound off.  The buttons got sewn on at 2 pm, and the picture shoot was on. (I’d have finished sooner, but DH was willing to do the winter pruning on my rose bushes, and wanted me to consult on how ruthless he should be.  Show no mercy!  Prune those bushes!)

Further news was received today about my Christmas knitting.  Dear Father-in-law called to thank us for the mittens.  He had been trying to tough it out using the snowblower without gloves, because he couldn’t get his gnarled hands into a pair.  Dad said he had been ready to drive to the cities to look for some mittens, when his gift arrived in the mail.  He reported that his hands didn’t get cold with the mittens on…could I possibly knit a second pair?  Oh, yes!   (Compare that to those ungrateful recipients of knitware we’ve all read about.)  In fact, I have 100 grams of the maroon superwash left from DH’s sweater.  Cast on time!

I’m knitting, I’m knitting

Assembly of DH’s sweater went very well, and in preliminary try-on it fit very well.  I ignored the pattern instructions on how long to make the sleeves, and went instead with measurements from his favorite sweater.  (Let me tell you it is a bit strange to lurk in DH’s closet with a tape measure, measuring a sweater sleeve.)

This blog post is brief:  must finish knitting the shawl collar and button bands so there will be a FO for Christmas.  Hope you all have a lovely weekend.  Knit on!

Knitting secret revealed

We’ve all been keeping Christmas knitting secrets.  Little knitting content has been blogged here or on others blogs.  However, today I had to fess up to what I’ve been knitting.  Up to this point, I had been sitting on the sofa, knitting away.  DH is used to seeing that, and didn’t actually see what I was knitting.

Today I reached the point where all the pieces had to be blocked.  Not only is it hard to miss that as you walk through the dining room, but also he is the architect of the blocking boards.  When I need to use both blocking boards, he knows which books to pull from the bookcase to shim under the corners of the second one (it extends out onto a card table placed at the end of the dining room table.)

So this morning, I placed in his lap the unblocked pieces of the sweater he had asked for.  The pattern is the Charcoal Ribbed Cardigan by Kate Kuckro.  I knit it in elann’s superwash chunky in maroon.  DH was very specific in his cardigan wants:  a shawl collar was #1.  He had ok’d this pattern, and chosen the yarn color.  The surprise was that he didn’t know I had begun his sweater;  he thought I was slogging away on a sweater for me.

I have high hopes of actually finishing it for Christmas, despite having a music gig tomorrow night to prepair for.  That will take part of tomorrow, and, of course, no knitting tomorrow night.  At least he knows I love him a lot!

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