Friday, February 26, 2016

Time For a New Car?

I've owned my trusty Honda Accord for 12 years now and it looks like I need to replace it.

Change is Good

I don't often say this, but I'm actually happy for this change.

My old car finally came upon a repair I wasn't willing to make (power steering fluid leak), and I have been ready for a new car for a while now anyway.  After trying to work through the Costco auto purchase plan and a salesperson that was trying to get me to come into to test drive a car they didn't have, I finally looked at other non-Costco approved dealerships and ended up getting the exact car I wanted for less than the Costco negotiated price.

Okay, so my old car was a gray, Honda Accord, and my new car is a gray, Honda Accord...okay, I'm the most boring person on the planet...I'm okay with that...but I LOVE my new car.

It's a 2016 Accord, Touring model which has everything they offer including, the Honda Sensing feature which has sight-assisting cameras in the front, back and passenger side of the car that help me stay in my own lane and brakes for me if I'm about to hit someone in front of me.  It's also got full navigation and smartphone connectivity including Apple CarPlay.

I drove it home last night and the LED headlights were amazing for an old man like me, although I'm not overly fond of the automatic high-beam feature...I think I blinded a few people driving ahead of me until I figure out how to disable it.

The eagle-eyed among you will note the car has only 39 miles on it so far...and I've driven 33 of them.

New cars can bring such joy!

Current Knitting

Almost to the sleeve-top shaping...just a few more inches to go before it starts to go faster, rather than slower (as the sleeve is still getting wider).

I"m hopeful to finish the sleeves this weekend and sew them up.  Then it's just a button band and collar, and Bob's you're Uncle, it'll be finished!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


I am truly shocked at the number of people that are hateful, ignorant (either willfully or not) and angry.

Don't Discuss Religion or Politics

I always thought it  was a stupid suggestion to not discuss politics or religion in polite company.

Now I know why.

If an acquaintance of mine started to discuss why Trump was the right man for the White House, that would be the end of any polite conversation I might have with that person.  On a bad day, I'd tell the person what a fucking moron they were...on a good day, I'd walk away politely and never initiate contact with that person again.

I'm a patriot...a true patriot that cares what happens to this country and it sickens me that this bully-clown has turned the nomination for Republican Presidential candidate into a reality show.

It sickens me even more that there are so many people in this country who are taken in by his bullshit. 

I have to believe that every sane, level-headed, patriotic American will come out to vote against this bloviating bully, and more than that, vote out as many Republican Senators and Representatives in November to make sure that if he is elected, we can protect this country from the morons.

Current Knitting

The nephew cardigan continues to move along, albeit slowly.

The Shaker Rib stitch pattern takes a bit of work to get any length, especially as the sleeves get wider and wider.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Vengeance Is Mine

A couple of recent events have had me again questioning my own character and whether I've lost perspective.

Death and Imprisonment

The death of Antonin Scalia and the imprisonment of Kathryn Knott were the two specific instances which made me question my own values.

On hearing about both, my first reaction was one of being glad.

In my opinion, both of these people did harm to the LGBTQ community, but I still feel my initial reaction to their death or jailing seemed harsh and unfeeling and my reaction felt more vengeful than relieved.  While I can't change the way I react to hearing news, I can take my reaction as an opportunity to examine my own conscience and values to see if they're consistent with who I consider myself to be.

In the case of Justice Scalia, I have found his actions, writings and quotes about the LGBTQ community to be reprehensible.  I also think that his ideals were quite hypocritical when it came to his own claims of being an "originalist" about how he decided on cases before the Supreme Court.  Especially when the original intent of the founding fathers seemed to be opposed to his Catholic views.

With Kathryn Knott, she physically attacked and yelled homophobic slurs at a gay couple in Philadelphia as part of a larger group of her friends, and left this couple with broken bones, scars and bleeding in an alleyway and then calmly went off to enjoy their evening.  She and her group took away any sense of safety LGBTQ citizens of Philadelphia might have had.  She seemed unrepentant throughout her trial and took no responsibility for any of the acts of violence until after she was found guilty.

Do I think my reactions to each situation were consistent with who I believe myself to be?

No and yes.

No for Justice Scalia - Finding joy in someone's death is not who I am.  Life is valuable to me and to take any level of happiness from someone that lost that, feels wrong to me.

Yes for Kathryn Knott - When I take the vengeance aspect out of my reaction, I was glad that justice seems to have been done in her case.  I've followed this case closely and from all I know, I'm satisfied my reaction was consistent with my values.

Current Knitting

Continuing to work exclusively on the Nephew Cardigan.

The sleeves have grown both longer and wider and I'm glad to say both stitch gauge and row gauge seem to be working out to get me two sleeves that will be perfect.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Complexities of Vision

And yes, I'm talking about my actual I've just completed a vision exam, now I have to decide on what glasses to get...who would have thought the decision would be quite so overwhelming.

Lenses and Coatings and Frames, Oh My!

My far-vision requires a little bit of assistance at night or in a movie theater, but not critical.
My close-vision requires a bit more help for reading, knitting and other close up tasks, like clipping my nails.

I currently have single-vision lenses that correct my far vision extremely well, but when I'm wearing them, I can't see my computer or GPS or iPhone very well.

First off, I have to figure out what kind of lenses I want.

Do I want single-vision,  bi-focals or progressives?  Should I stick with my single-vision glasses for far-vision and just use cheaters for close-up tasks? Should I get bi-vision lenses that let me see far and close?  Should I get bi-vision lenses that let me see far and mid-range close?

Then there are coatings.  Should I get my lenses coated for scratch resistance, UV rays, anti-glare, anti-fog and/or self-darkening/lightening?

And then of course the decision on frames.  Do I get cheap, insurance-covered frames or expensive designer frames?  Should they make a statement or just compliment my face and appearance?

Here's what I'm currently thinking:

Bi-vision, progressive lenses for far-distance and close-up work, with scratch resistance and anti-glare coating, in designer frames that compliment my face without making a statement.

Sounds like a $1,000 pair of glasses....I'll post a photo when I finally decide and get the glasses.

Current Knitting

Despite my not-so-great close-up vision, I have been able to finish the pocket lining on the nephew cardigan and start the sleeves.

Slow, but steady progress will be the goal, and I'm hoping that sticking with this one project exclusively will get me through the sleeves faster.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Losing Sight

Constant looking to our phones, pads and computers for connection to life is just the latest version of people losing sight of what's important.

Time To Remember

I love social networking...I love blogging...I love how easy phones make it to keep in touch with those I enjoy and/or love.

But I try to remember what's important, and to not let the tools of connection become the goal...instead of the connection itself.

In my day, people got caught up in power and money and materialistic ideals.  They let money become the goal, instead of the goal being the joy that money could help to facilitate.  When I find myself constantly worrying how the stock market is doing, I remind myself that if having money is going to make me miserable, I've already lost sight of the goal.

Similarly, each time I post a photo of my morning latte art, or my meal at the local Thai restaurant, I try to remember how joyous I am to have created beauty with steamed milk, or how excited I am to share a brilliant lunch with the people that read my posts.  Whenever I post a blog entry about a vacation trip or a heinous act being carried out by our government, I try to remember to do it with the intention of sharing something that has enriched my life in a way that others might get some enrichment as well.  In other words, remembering that it's the connection to others that's important.

When posting becomes so routine that it's just for the purpose of posting, it's time to remember and come back to living with joy and enthusiasm and hopefully share that joy and enthusiasm in a way that's alive and special.

Time to go give Thaddeus a kiss and revel in my love for him.

Current Knitting

It is with great joy, that I announce that the body of the nephew cardigan is complete and all I need to finish is the sleeves.

Okay, not exactly great joy, and really not totally complete as I have to finish the pocket lining on the left-front (about halfway finished) and I guess you'd consider the button band and collar as part of the body.

But it was still nice to reach this little milestone on the project.

Monday, February 15, 2016

If I Die

Which one of my knitter friends will work with Thaddeus to make sure all my fiber stuff goes into good hands?

A Knitter's Yard Sale

Could you imagine having a yard sale just for knitters/spinners/crocheters, etc.?

I certainly have enough stuff to have at least a two day garage sale of all my things.  Yarn...LOTS of yarn, spinning fiber, two spinning wheels, drum carder, three flat bed knitting machines, two rigid heddle looms, hundreds of knitting needles, hundreds of crochet hooks, a vast library of books and magazines, an antique circular knitting machine (and a Barbie knitting machine or two), and more notions than you could possible imagine.

I take that back, some of you could clearly imagine it.

If I die and Thaddeus decides to sell off all my stuff...I figure there could just be a little memorial table where you could also pay your respects.

And the local yarn store might want to have a memorial sale, because if any knitter traveled a little distance to get to the yard sale, they may want to check out the local yarn store (which is fantastic - Twist Knitting and Spinning in Lahaska, PA).

I'm not planning on dying any time soon, but you can never be too prepared...especially when it comes to my legacy.

Current Knitting

Continuous, focused work on the nephew cardigan has resulted in great results so far.

Finished the front-right (including the pocket lining being finished and sewn in) and started the front-left. 

I'm afraid the sleeves will be quite boring to knit without any pocket-hole shaping, but I'll look forward to knitting the button band and collar.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Persistence Pays Off

Most non-knitters seem to think that patience is the main skill set required to knit...patience is perhaps the main skill set required to learn to knit, but persistence is the skill set that makes someone a successful knitter.

Same With Blogging

Feedspot is a website that rates blogs in various categories.  I have no idea how they rate the blogs, but I am pleased to say that in the category of "Top 100 Knitting Blogs for Knitters and Crocheters", came in fourth!

I am quite pleased with that, since the first three are Ravelry, Craftsy and Yarn Harlot.

I think just by consistently blogging for over ten years, I have worn down the competition and defaulted myself into fourth place.

Perhaps like "genius", blogging is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.

Current Knitting

Sticking with the theme of persistence, I have stuck steadfastly to the nephew cardigan and have completed half of the front of the sweater.

Well, almost.  I haven't quite finished the pocket lining.  With the slanted pocket design, I've been playing with short-rows to try and get it to line up.

The third attempt seems to be working, so hopefully I'll have finished the front/left of the cardigan soon and begin working on the front/right.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Carol Sulcoski

In a brilliant literary move, Carol has taken on the mantle of knitting expert has deservedly put herself in the annals of knitting history with her latest book.

A Place In History

Much like "Principles of Knitting" has taken a place in knitting history, so will Carol's latest book "Knitting Ephemera," which is an incredibly well-done compilation of factoids, quotes, points of interest and fun read...all about the broadly popular topic of knitting.

The photo of the book above is without its dust cover for two reasons...first, it's beautiful, but second, it's how I imagine finding a copy of this gem at an antique book store years from now.  Go here if you are one of the few who haven't seen the book in all its dust-cover glory

Carol will also now be the go-to expert on knitting for any interviewer wanting a depth of knowledge on the subject.  And I couldn't have wanted a more knowledgeable and well-spoken advocate for our craft.

I've written this before about a knitting book, but this book is a must-have in any knitter's library...if you're a knitter or if you know a knitter, this book is the ideal gift (or self-gift).

I couldn't be more pleased to own a copy.

Current Knitting

More work on the nephew cardigan, and I've decided to try something new for me.

A slanted pocket!

Yes, I'm working in slanted pockets into this cardigan and I think it will be quite cool...I've actually been dreaming about how I'll create these pocket openings and the pocket band and the inside pocket liner for a while now.  If they turn out how I've envisioned, they will be useful and nice looking.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Help Beat the Koch Brothers

Here in the U.S., two extremely rich brothers, Charles and David Koch (CEO and EVP of Koch Industries) have used their billions of dollars of inherited wealth to purchase our government.

Take It Back!

Back in 2012, I got to meet Cecelia Tkaczyk, a sheep farmer in Upstate NY who also happened to be running for NY State Senate in a heavily gerrymandered district.  It wasn't likely she was going to win against the incumbent.  I couldn't vote for her, but I could contribute money towards her campaign, so I did.  It wasn't much, but I figured it was enough to purchase a few of those lawn signs getting the woman with the unpronounceable last name, a little name recognition.

It turns out that Cece was elected that 18 votes.  I truly felt I had made a positive difference.

I'm hopeful to do that again.  A friend of mine Chad Putman is running for NY State senate this year against an incumbent who has been in office for over 40 years.  He will be very difficult to unseat based on how they've carved out the district, but if anyone can, it's Chad.

Please help support Chad for NY State would be great to see such a wonderful upset to someone that clearly doesn't care about term limits:

And thank you for any support you can throw his way.

Current Knitting

Now that the Suke-Suke scarf experiment is completed, I have been focusing only on the cardigan for my nephew.

The back is finished (29 inches) and I've just barely started the front-right section.  Cascade Rustic in a Shaker rib is very soft and fluffy.  It's also very light and warm.  It's a great fabric for a nice casual cardigan.

Monday, February 01, 2016


Lately, on a lot of television shows, the culmination of the show is "the reveal" and I've grown to enjoy the anticipation of this type of show summary for a while now.

One of Many Examples

Thaddeus and I enjoy watching "The Dead Files"...a paranormal show where Amy tours the house speaking to the dead and Steve, an ex-homicide detective, interviews the house's occupants and investigates the history of the house.  And then at the end, they synch up their stories at "the reveal."

I find the concept of the show mildly interest, but my interest is definitely multiplied by the concept of the final review of all both Amy and Steve have found out and how close they match.

So, today, I reveal the mystery stitch I was working on last week.

Current Knitting

Last week, you'll remember I was working on a new stitch, but I wasn't sure how it would come out.  I was thinking much like my two other Koigu scarf designs, (Cross Stitch Scarf and Interlocking Crochet Scarf), this design might look fantastic in two or more colorways of Koigu KPPPM yarn.

Here's the result of my reverse-engineering of the pattern stitch.

The scarf is based on a pattern stitch I found on Pinterest and then Ravelry called Suke-Suke by Olga Buraya-Kefelian, and I loved how it looked (I even liked the back of the stitch, which is important for a scarf).  I haven't purchased Olga's pattern...I was able to figure out the stitch pattern without buying it (I think).  I've decided I won't be writing up this scarf pattern for publication for a couple of reasons...mainly because I'd feel like I was copying someone else's design work, but also, because it would be a pain to write up, and it's already written.

For those interested in knitting it, I will ask you to buy the Suke-Suke pattern and let you know that my scarf was knit on US4 (3.5 mm) needles, using fingering/sock weight yarn (I recommend using a smooth yarn...either superwash wool or tightly spun yarn, like Koigu KPPPM), I cast on 215 stitches, did 7 repeats (or really 3 and a half repeats) and ended up with a scarf that, after blocking is about 9.5 inches wide and about 54 inches long.

I can't wait to try working this pattern using Koigu.