I have several different topics on my mind today... and I suppose I could do a series of posts (and if this gets too out of control, I likely will), but I'd rather do a sort of scatter-shot approach and see what we come up with.
1. The Divine Miss Elizabeth the Blogless has finished Swallowtail. I'd like to think that this is her picture of herself prostrate before me in gratitude for all of my help, but a more realistic view is probably that this was the best way she could come up with to get a decent shot of the shawl:
Here's a close up of the lace, all blocked and pretty
2. My lace shawl is suffering from user errors galore.
First, there was the putting beads in on the wrong stitch ... that meant that for the next row, I' had to knit to the bead stitch, carefully remove the bead, manipulate myself to the right stitch, and put the bead on there. This was a planning error, and I'm glad I moved them, but it was a PITA. Just goes to show ya: plotting the beads on the chart is all very well and good, but NOTHING beats an advance swatch for correct placement. I did not swatch... I paid the price. I almost took the time to photograph it for you, but was too lazy (and was sort of hoping I'd finish fast enough that I wouldn't have to admit it).
Then, there was the putting the beads in the wrong row. Fixing that involved knitting to the stitch, removing the bead, dropping the stitch a row or two, replacing the bead, and picking the stitch back up. This was also a planning error, but one I kind of knew would work out the way it did. Again with the laziness, no pics.
Even with that foolishness, Icarus would have been on the blocking bed right now. Would have been, but for stupid extra yo's not discovered until four rows later when just dropping them would have left horrible messy blobs. Trust me, I tried.
Instead, last night's "knitting" involved tinking back those four rows (including a bead row).
But, hey the beads that are in place are looking quite nice if I do say so myself:
I think Icarus mishaps are just one more sign of the times. Things are trying very hard to fall apart around here.
3. C's hamster died Friday night. Patsu was too young to die. When we got Patsu (after Buttons died) we'd gone out and carefully chosen a YOUNG hamster so that she'd have him for a year or more. Buttons, the previous hamster, was well and truly and adult when she came to live with us, so her dying after a shortish time was readily attributable to old age. We've no clue what happened to poor Patsu. He seemed happy and healthy and energetic. ... and was undoubtedly less than a year old.
C is mourning, and has declared that there will be no more hamsters. She wants a longer lived pet. She pondered a bird. I'm grateful that such pondering was brief, and that it was her choice not to get one. Between the bird vocalizing, the the current feline residents in the house responding, I'd have gone nuts. Now, she's talking cats. We have two already. DH is allergic... this may not work.
4. The car is dead, long live the car.
Okay, that's an exaggeration. But the Caravan is on it's last legs with us. She's given us 104,000 of her 111,000 miles, toured the North-Eastern states six times, and hauled us all the way to ski country in the West, but she's tiring. Her transmission is starting to slip here and there, and while it's possible that simply flushing it would fix that (~$200.00), it's also possible that doing so would make things worse, and we'd have to get a new transmission (so expensive I don't even want to know).
More disturbing is that her strut plates are bad. Okay, I say, how much can it cost to fix that? And didn't we just do that a year ago? Evidently, we did that 15 months ago, so the warranty is done. And as for the cost, well, ordinarily, three hundred dollars or so (say, 1/2 a weekend retreat with BlueMoon Fiber Arts, about which I'm telling you only because I know I can't afford to go, so I'm not risking losing my place by spreading the word).
But that would be ordinarily. In our case, we seem to have a rust problem. Evidently, the place into which one secures a strut plate is rusting badly in our car. It is, I think, the only place in our car that is rusting, but it's significant because they fear that if they remove the bad strut plates, the structure from which it would be removed may ... well... crumble apart. In other words, it's entirely possible that my bad strut plates are what's holding that part together. And on that part, rests the whole front end of the car.
Fine, I cringe... how much would it cost to replace that part? oh, about $3000.00 in body work.... plus the strut plates of course.
Time for a new car. (or at least new to us)
I started car shopping. I can get a year old Caravan for a decent price. But my car guy says don't buy another Caravan. Tomorrow I will call him to ask for details on WHY not to buy another Caravan. I mean that would be simple.... but my life seems not to be about simple
So... we wandered into the Saturn dealer... tested a gently used Relay. I wasn't impressed, really, but it was okay. Then we tried a gently used Passat Wagon under the theory that we could get buy w/o the larger car. It was okay. Onward to a used Vue.
Then I yielded to temptation and drove a brand spanking new Outlook. I'm trying very hard not to like this car. Really. I am trying.
What is an Outlook, you ask? It's a nifty sort of cross between an SUV and a minivan... and it is bit bigger than we need, but it has all these cool features -- like a second moon roof over the back seats (the girls LOVED that). I'm sure the rest of the cool toys can be found on all sorts of other cars -- like the powered rear hatch opener, and the heated windshield washer fluid, and the jack to play my iPod through the stereo -- but they're new to me, since I've avoided dealerships successfully for eight years. The rear seats are comfortable, even for grown ups. Even the rear bench works for adult seating.
I'm having car lust. Monday, I will try to get to drive a nice, moderately priced 2006 Caravan with 20,000 miles on it. I will try to persuade my car lusting self that it will be wonderful and we don't need the Outlook, even if it does come in this amazing deep midnight blue with heated seats (seat back too mind you, not just the buns, and separately controlled), or that there are headphone jacks for the kids in the back...
I will remind myself that the cup holders in the drivers zone are not very versatile, and won't hold the coffee cup that usually winds up in the car with me.
I will not recall the fun things like the fact that you can check your tire pressure (on each tire) from the drivers seat. OR the fact that it knows how long til you need to change your oil. Or that it has dual heating zones for driver and passenger AND a heating zone for the back seat (that they can control so they don't whine at me all the time)
There is, of course, The Ugly. But I'm not ready to blog about the Ugly yet. And with any luck at all, Thursday's tests will prove that the Ugly isn't ugly after all, and I can write a humorous bit about The Relief instead.
Instead, we'll return to nice "safe" knitting, and the .
I Told You So: or Hubris comes back to bite me
So I'm sneaking in these wrist warmers to match the ear warmer that my daughter made. I used up the second ball we bought in case she needed it, and feeling as though I had plenty to spare, I excised the yucky brown that did not really go with the lovely purples and reds in the rest of the color bands. (Evidently, Patons used a tip from Noro's dyeing handbook for these. I HATE that extra stripe of a "contrasting" color they always put in. It's jarring -- and I always think those colors are just UGLY -- until I get them gathered away from their original yarn, and look at them alone .... they're always fine, just not in combination with the yarn they were dyed with). Anyway, I finished up my ball, and then glommed onto the remainders of C's ball. I was sure that would be enough for a pair of wrist warmers. Really.
But alas, no. Excising the ugly bits left both mitts here:
About two inches short on the fingers... and well, with this for a thumb:
Yep, just stitches being held. There's not enough yarn left to bind off even. And both mitts are right there. (And no, I'm not frogging back to a stopping place to bind off, cause then they'll be way too short).
What am I going to do with the rest of the ball I just bought to finish these "leftovers" mitts? Perhaps I'll just cave and make full bore mittens instead of fingerless mitts.... or gloves? Or pop-up paws?