Monday, June 29, 2015

Sugar = Poison

I typically hate such broad statements like this one...especially since not all sugar is poison.  But I think that for me, refined sugar is not a good thing.

Years Ago

I remember years ago, when I was running a lot and I was very active, it was fat that would kill you and make you fat, so I avoided it like the plague (I've honestly never really actively avoided the plague, but I have avoided fat in my diet).

So every week, I would buy about 7 or 8 pounds of non-fat candy and eat about a pound a day.  Thaddeus can verify this, but Brach's put out a jellied candy called Fruit Bunches (I think) and I could eat them like potato chips.

At one point, someone suggest that sugar was bad for me, so I stopped eating all sugar one day, and that night, I felt headachey and ill, so I figured it was the wrong time to stop eating sugar, and started again.

Little did I realize that I was actually experiencing withdrawal, but I soon figured it out and stopped eating quite so much sugar.

Eventually I did give up most sugar and today, I eat very little of it.  I feel much better as a result.  Every once in a while when I indulge in sweets, I still get a bit of a hangover from sugar.

Current Crocheting

I've made some slow and steady progress on the Rowan LDK crochet blanket.



If you compare the bottom photo with the last photo of the blanket, you'll note I've added about 10 color stripes (each one is two rows), so I've added 20 rows to the blanket.  I know it doesn't look like it, but it is gradually growing.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Finishing Up

The gratification of not just finishing a project, but documenting it well enough that others can knit it is always extremely gratifying.  But it always leaves me with choices of what to work on next.

Failed Attempts and Back to Older Project

I tried a couple of new designs and they just weren't panning out, so I opted to go back an work on current works in progress.

I certainly have enough in my queue to choose from.

Current Crochet

I decided to pick up the Rowan Multicolor Crochet Blanket and see if I could make some progress on this.



Given that this project doesn't travel well (changing color every 2 rows requires carrying around a lot of different color yarn), it's a good thing I'm not traveling much these days.  The downside is the blanket is rather heavy for Summer crocheting, but mostly I'm working on it in air conditioning anyway.

Let's see how much progress I make on it.

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Joy of Opening

No one makes opening their products more exciting than Apple.

Late To the Game - But Still Excited

I've been using an iPhone 4S for a few years now, and it's been an incredibly good phone for me.  Even when IOS 8 came out (which I couldn't load on my old phone), I didn't care much, as I didn't really need the new functionality.

But then my phone started getting really slow and I couldn't load as much music as I liked and certain apps started acting funky.  I was planning on just suffering with it, until my carrier (Verizon) offered me $200 off a new iPhone. 


So I am now back in the current world.

And I have to say, I couldn't be more pleased with my new phone.

Current Knitting

I was able to finish the Niece Blanket...AND...I even wrote up the pattern and test-knitted it (glad I did...it had quite a few errors in the first draft).


 
The resulting blanket is very soft and squishy and warm in a very cozy way.  As I've mentioned, the blanket looks the same on both sides...even the cable is completely reversible.  And I also have to say, I would gladly work with Seasons by Ella Rae again any time...it's soft, durable and I quite love the colors.
 
For anyone looking for the pattern, it's available on my Ravelry store...I did put a $3.50 price on it, just to try an re-coup the time needed to write up and test-knit the pattern.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Feeling Like a Traitor

I have always been a huge fan and supporter of fine yarns...both commercial and independent dyers...Black Bunny Fibers, Koigu, Puff the Magic Rabbit, MJ Yarns, Briar Rose Fibers, etc., etc.

Beautiful, Soft Synthetic Blend

Falling in love with a synthetic blend yarn seems like traitorous behavior to me.

My current project is using a yarn called Seasons by Ella Rae.


It's a bulky yarn that is very soft and has a braided-like ply to it that makes it very durable and easy to knit with.  The colors are really quite fine and I'm loving mixing some of the more ombre-like colors with the brighter colorways.

I highly recommend knitting this on a bigger needle than the recommended US 8 (5 mm)...I'm using a US 10.75 (7 mm) needle and with the brioche rib, it's coming out very soft and squishy.

I will never give up my fine yarns...but I am loving this project.

I will also probably end up writing up this project as a design...it'll be a two-fer design...one for the adult size afghan and one for a baby-size afghan...both will be completely reversible (with no "wrong side").

Current Knitting

Working diligently to try and not be distracted by a new project, I am focusing all my efforts on the Niece Blanket.



I've completed about 54 inches so far and have about 6 more inches to go before I bind off.  Hope my niece loves it as much as I do.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

LED Bulbs - Brilliant in Every Way

We've replaced most of the lights in and around our house with LED bulbs...here's my top 10 reasons why you should too.  A light-emitting diode, or LED, is a type of solid-state lighting that uses a semiconductor to convert electricity into light.

Top 10 Reasons for LED Bulbs

  1. Energy Savings - estimates are that you save 50-60% of energy over incandescent bulbs.
  2. Cost Savings - in addition to saving on energy, many of these bulbs last a lifetime.
  3. No Bugs - We replaced our outdoor bulbs with LED bulbs and eliminated almost ALL bugs...at least the bugs attracted to UV light.  I used to go out the front door in the morning and walk through a swarm of moths, bugs and spider webs...all that's gone now.  Warmer color LED bulbs eliminate more bugs, since bugs are still attracted to blue light, but for me, this was the best benefit of LED bulbs.
  4. No mercury in the making of the bulb - like your new compact fluorescent bulbs, which is better for the environment.
  5. Less heat - very little heat produced by these bulbs...better energy efficiency and no problems with bulbs burning you, your pets or other things, like shades, etc.
  6. Light Color/Quality - latest technology has made amazing improvements in the color and quality of the light emitted by LED bulbs.
  7. Less Breakable - No where near as fragile as incandescent or compact fluorescent bulbs
  8. Beautiful designs - some lighting fixtures require decorative bulbs or show the full bulb...like the photo above, some of the bulbs are just beautiful.
  9. Cost of LED bulbs has been constantly decreasing.
  10. All kinds of bulbs can be purchased - dimmable, three-way, directional, ambient, tinted, globe, candle flame, etc.
There are still some issues you need to make sure of, like making sure a dimmer will work, or that your bulb can go inside an enclosed fixture, but overall, these issues are tiny compared to all the benefits.

Current Knitting

Progress proceeds on the niece blanket


It was bright enough to take a couple of decent photos of the blanket in progress.  Looks like I have about one more week of knitting on this blanket before finishing.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Another QueerJoe Confession

After all my raging against people the text and drive, I have to admit, lately I have been a very distracted driver.

Texting While Driving

Not me...but watching out for others doing it.

Road rage for me used to be screaming at people that refused to get out of the left lane when they weren't passing or going faster than the traffic to their right.

Today, it's raging at the ass-hats looking down at their phones...the drivers that can't monitor their speed, or can't stay in their own lane, or who can't use a turn signal because their hands are full.  My confession is that I've become so obsessed with looking for these jerks who disobey the law, that I've almost gotten in accidents myself because I was so distracted.

I have learned my lesson...distracted driving is distracted driving no matter what the reason for the distraction.

Current Knitting
I"m about 2/3rds finished with the niece blanket, and it's turning out to be my favorite blanket design in a long time.



I even love the yarn despite it's less-than-natural content.  I love the softness, I love the feel and I definitely love the colors.   The blanket is warm, soft and spongy.  I love everything about it.


Monday, June 01, 2015

It's June and I Feel a Sweater Coming On

When sweaters are trending on my Pinterest board, I know it's time I started a sweater project.

What's Next

I have a lot of ideas for sweaters, but I'm not sure quite where I'll land.

Lars gave a great workshop at the Men's Knitting Retreat on designing a yoke sweater, so I might do that.  I've been thinking about doing a very lightweight, clingy, non-structured design.  I've also wanted to do some experimentation with color.

If you look at my Pinterest board for knitting, and have any thoughts on which direction you think I should head, I'd be glad for the feedback.

Current Knitting

In addition to adding a few repeats to the current blanket, I also started a new Koigu scarf/shawl design (maybe).

God! Koigu's colors are amazing...I know this photo is really just a teaser, since you can only see the Koigu colorway, and I could have just as easily shown that to you in the hank of yarn.  More to come soon.

Readers' Comments/Questions

Jo (via e-mail) and Kay T mentioned that the links to the vendors who help promote the Men's Spring Knitting Retreat weren't working in my last post.  I have fixed them, so feel free to try again if you tried and they were broken.

Jo also noted that the expression "infinitesimally large" is another example of just how large my ignorance can be...the word "infinitesimally" means immeasurable or incalculably small.  See??...infinite opportunity for growth and learning...thank you for pointing that out.