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Brewer Burns

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Stephen's New Socks

The only bad thing Stephen had to say about these socks is that one of them has an odd pucker on one side. I have no idea what I did to cause the pucker, especially since the other sock does not have the same problem. Maybe it's his feet? I will have him switch feet and let me know if the problem persists, or moves to the other sock.

In work news, a wall is being built in my office (to make it two offices) and as offices are the only things that can be acquired by seniority I will shortly be moving office. My new office will be actually, hilariously small, but I kind of like it already. I'm not a very big person and I think it kind of fits me anyway. (My new office used to be the room where attorneys would interview clients that were in custody via teleconference. There was only enough room for one person and a television because that's all that was necessary.)

My in-laws recently sent us some more stuff. Specifically, a box full of DVD's and Stephen's old music books. Tucked in among the books was a program from Stephen's high school production of "South Pacific" in which he played Luther Billis. Hilarious. I cannot even speak to his hair cut or glasses. Words cannot suffice. If I can get him to agree to it I will scan the picture in. But probably not. You will probably have to settle for my dorky high school pictures, someday (I had a really hideous perm in 9th grade. And I was cheerleader: nylons, granny panties and a kicky skirt: what's not to love?)

Monday, February 26, 2007

I Survived Monday

That's It. I survived. And I worked a few rows of the Dolphin Lace Scarf. But mostly, I survived.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Sunday Update

Okay, first and foremost I have to get something off my chest. I have to do something tomorrow that terrifies me. It's totally freaking me out.

Alright. Now that I've established my state of mind (frozen in anxiety) let's move on to the knitting. I finished Roza's Socks. I even took a craptastic photo of them.

This brings the total number of pairs of handknit socks in the house to ten (four pairs for Stephen and six for me. I'm the knitter. I get more socks.) I enjoyed making these socks. They are fantastically simple knitting, really. As long as you read the pattern notes. When I swatched the pattern stitch (the brioche stitch) I started out by bring the yarn forward when I slipped the middle purl stitch purlwise. This made it pretty much impossible to then purl the next stitch. I read the pattern notes and slapped my forehead. Duh. Of course you slip the stitch with the yarn in back. Anyway, once I figured that out these socks flew by. The result is a sock that is both intricate and simple. I have to admit that once I had established the pattern (you repeat the same two rows down the leg and on the top of the foot) I didn't even glance at the pattern again. Possibly, I missed something different about the toe shaping or heel turn or what have you, but I'm okay with that.

I enjoyed working with the Opal solid sock yarn. I like Opal sock yarn a lot and use it frequently. It seems to be harder wearing than Lorna's Laces (a plus when I'm making Stephen's socks) and it comes in an array of non-girly colors. I made these socks on size 1 bamboo dpn's. It seems like my size one's have become my go-to sock knitting needles, replacing my size 2's in that capacity. Perhaps I've become a looser knitter over time?

Before I can tell you what my next project is, I should first tell you that I did a little yarn shopping yesterday. I went to the shop just down the street and lo and behold! They had several skeins of JaggerSpun Zephyr Wool-Silk. I was floored. And then promptly bought three skeins of it: one in the cinnabar (red) color, and two in the violet color. I bought it because I had read on lots of blogs and on message boards how much other knitters like this yarn for lace knitting, and I had been planning to order some from Fiddlesticks Knitting for a long time, but had never actually done it.

Now, I know that I said in my last post that I couldn't wait to start on the Bayerische socks, and that is still pretty much true. However, after finishing my third pair of socks in the space of a month I decided that I needed a break from sock knitting and the Zephyr was calling to me. So instead I cast on for the Dolphin Lace scarf from Victorian Lace Today (page 106.)

This scarf is going to be gift for my mom. It's in red, which is her color and she has hinted that she might like something done in lace. So far I have mainly been confused by this pattern. This is a reversible (done in garter stitch) double-bordered scarf, and it violates all of the lace knitting rules that I have ever known. First the border patterns are staggered. What I mean by that is the left-hand side border is one row ahead of the right-hand side border. This also means that you have two right sides and two wrong sides. When you are on the right side for the righ-hand side border you are on the wrong side for the left-hand side border. It's making me a little crazy. Especially since the pattern doesn't explain this. No, I found this out by googling the scarf and finding a Victorian Lace Today knit along page. Now, eventually I would have figured this out because the pattern wouldn't work otherwise, but I wouldn't have figured it out until much later and painful frogging would have ensued. On the other hand, and to my credit, I did take the time to write out the charts this time. As Grumperina mentioned, the charts are just too small in the book, even for someone with perfect eyesight.

Stephen successfully replaced the faucet yesterday and the villagers (me) rejoiced. I ran two miles on the treadmill today and my heart rejoiced. I came home and made pizza and my fat cells rejoiced. Oh! And I also watched several hours of a series of shows on the History channel about illegal drugs. Fascinating. Do you know who first synthesized and patented heroin in the mid to late 1800's? Bayer. Yes, that Bayer. The Bayer that makes the aspirin. It was marketed as a pain reliever, cough suppresant, sleep inducer, and generl cure-all. You could get it mail order through the Sears and Roebuck catalog, complete with a syringe. And Merck invented Ecstasy (MDMA.)

Saturday, February 24, 2007

There Are 1.4 million + People With the First Name Jennifer in the United States

LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

The Kitchen Sink

My kitchen sink is broken. Specifically, the faucet is broken. It started squirting water out of the base last night. So Stephen is fixing it. To be more specific, he is swearing profusely while trying to install the kit he bought that replaces all of the seals in the faucet mechanism. So it's been a great morning so far. Especially since this is solely a one-person job and requires that the cold water for the house be turned off. That means: no shower, no teeth brushing, no flushing the toilet. Sounds fabulous here at Chez Burns doesn't it? Maybe I could brush my teeth and then swish with leftover cold coffee?

I finished the first sock for Stephen this morning and he tried it on. It fits although there is a wierd pull on the right hand side of the sock. I'm not sure what's creating it but I suspect that it will be fine once it's blocked and worn a bit. It seems to work that way with most of the socks that I make. I cast on immediately for the second sock and I am working away on it. I have to admit that Eunny Jang's Bayerische socks are really calling out to me right now. I really want to start them. I love the twisted stitches. Love them. I also like the ribbed cables. Genius. I have to stop writing about this right now because I really, really want to throw aside this second sock to start on the Bayerische socks immediately. It's a bit of a problem.

This morning I talked with a friend of mine who is also a public defender. It was great. Even though we are at opposite sides of the country, we deal with a lot of the same issues. It's good to know that the plight of the public defender is very much the same wherever you go.

Since I started writing this post Stephen had to leave again because he broke one of the little doohickies that goes inside the faucet and now he has to try to buy a new one. So, I may not get to brush my teeth today. Don't you wish you could come over? Also, in response to Moni's question about the picture of my latvian mittens: no, I was not in Riverside State Park. I was across the street from the park. So, close enough.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

I Went to a Union Meeting Last Night

And I nearly finished turning the heel on the first of Stephen's socks by the end.

I settled on the Roza's sock pattern from the Spring 2007 IK by Grumperina. I think this is a fantastic pattern. It's really simple, really easy to memorize and yet interesting enough to keep me from wanting to suffer some kind of knitting related injury so that I don't have to knit it anymore. This is how far I got today:

It's coming. Slowly. I'm just exhausted when I get home. I'm still knitting at night but not as quickly and not as long as I usually do. I have had another request to teach someone how to use dpn's though. That should be fun.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Really, I Made Two

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Sunday Update

Latvian Mitten Project stats:
Pattern: Chart No. 53 from Latvian Mittens
Yarn: Drops Alpaca in cream and pink (I used about 3/4 of each ball)
Needles: Size 1 dpn's
Mods: Omitted the fringe on the cuff because I hate fringe and substituted a full braid for the half braid on the cuff, to prevent rolling.

This mitten went pretty well, with a couple of exceptions. I would like to take this opportunity to add to my Latvian Mittens directions:

5. Center your chart pattern on the back of the hand.

if you're planning to do two full repeats of the chart then this may not be necessary, but still, it can't hurt to check. I did one thing with this pair of mittens that proved to be a very good idea. If you read the patterns in the book then you will learn that the author recommends that you work the top decreases on the mitten and the thumb with alternating colors. In other words when you work the decreases you: knit two togetherwith the contrasting color, knit one with the main color, then knit two together through the back loop with the contrasting color. There are many advantages to this technique. First, you are alternating colors at a point in the mitten where some wonky gaps can tend to develop. The alternation of the colors helps pull these three stitches together and correct that. Eventually you're going to end up working the decreases around a dpn join. Alternating the colors makes this easier and less likely to pull together unattractively. Third, it looks pretty, and like you planned it that way. I also succeeded in continuing the pattern around the top decreases, a definite aesthetic plus. And next time I plan to make one more improvement to my mitten-kung-fu. I will place the beginning of the round (the part that always looks like ass) at the side of the mitten instead of the middle of the palm. It occurred to me while I was knitting this pair that, really, no one looks at the side of a mitten, unless its to admire hte way you alternated the colors on the top decreases. All in all I'm ridiculously pleased with the mittens. And it's a good thing too since I was starting to think about poking my own eyes out with my dpn's. I was really, really ready to be finished with these mittens.

Which brings me to another observation. I'm working hard enough at my job that I have a lot less energy for knitting (and other things) when I get home. It's an interesting sensation. And a good one.

One of the reasons that I wanted to finish up the mittens so badly is that I have had two other projects on my mind. Really, I have had two other yarns on my mind. At my last expedition to Holy Threads I picked up two skeins of solid colored sock yarn, one for me and one for Stephen. This is my first solid sock yarn purchase. This is my first solid sock yarn purchase because this is the first time that solid sock yarn has been available to me locally. I know that I can buy it on the internet, but I would really need to plan ahead, find an online seller that I trusted and that had what I wanted and then purchase. And then wait for it to come in the mail. Anyway, I haven't done that yet. Instead, I bought two skeins of Opal sock yarn solids, one in navy blue (for Stephen) and one in dusty pink (for me.)

I didn't have any particular plan for the navy blue, other than to make socks for Stephen. I did, however, have a specific plan for the pink. Namely, Eunny Jang's Bayerische sock (which can be found here: http://www.eunnyjang.com/knit/2006/09/bayerische_sock_part_ii.html.) I love this sock! I generally salivate whenever Eunny puts something up on her blog, but this sock is really amazing, and even better, the pattern is free! I love this sock but it's obvious that knitting it in a multi-colored sock yarn would be worse than a waste of my time. It would be an insult to Eunny's brilliant pattern. So, I had decided to wait until I could find the right yarn to make it. The Opal seemed like the perfect fit. It's a fantastic sock yarn in a solid color. I swatched up the pattern last night and this morning and as soon as I finish Stephen's new socks, that's going to be my next project.

And Stephen's socks? Finding men's sock patterns are always a bit of a challenge because I don't have that many and I don't like making the same pattern over and over again (although this would make him perfectly happy.) I swatched Roza's socks from the new IK. I also have some other ideas. I like Roza's socks because they are a simple pattern, with a twist. These are the brain child of Grumperina (www.grumperina.com/knitblog,) and are basically a 3x3 rib with a brioche stitch thrown in. They're nice and not too feminine, I think. I haven't completely made up my mind yet but I will probably do so today.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Latvian Mitten Saga, Part 3

Goal: Two Latvian Mittens
Mitten #1:
Cast On: Right Color, Right number of stitches: +2
1st Braid:Executed Correctly: +1, Bonus Point: executed without wanting to eat own hair: +1
1st Pattern Motif: Executed Correctly: +1, Picked up an extra stitch mysteriously: -1
Thru Main Motif: Correct: +3 points. Realize that extra stitch is better than original plan:+1
Main Pattern Motif through R. 4: Correct. +1. Failed to place thumb gore on this round: -4
Main Pattern Motif through R. 8: Correct +1. Realize that thumb gore should have been placed on R. 4: +1. Failed to frog back to R. 4 and place thumb gore where it should be: -1
Through R. 27: Correct: +1. Realize that pattern not centered: +1. Frog back 27 rows: +27
Reknit Main Pattern Motif: +27
Knit top decreases correctly, with alternating colors schemes: +18
Knit thumb correctly, with althernating color scheme at teh top decreaess, with pattern going up and down the thumb, respectively: +30
Total Score for Mitten #1: 100 points
And isn't it pretty?

Mitten #2:
Knit mitten correctly up to the main pattern motif: +5, Bonus point for casting on an extra stitch: +1
Knit first 4 rounds of main pattern motif: Correct. +4
Forget thumb gore until round 8: -4
Extra penalty for making the same mistake twice: -4
Tinking back immediately upon discovery: +8
Preliminary score: 10

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Scorpion and The Toad

The scorpion, in the course of a long journey, encounters a river. The scorpion cannot swim and so he is momentarily stymied until he spies the toad, on the opposite river bank. "Toad!" the scorpion calls out, "will you please let me ride on your back to the other side of the river because, you see, I cannot swim." "No way," replied the toad, "if I let you ride on my back you will sting me!" To which the scorpion replied, "But if I am riding on your back and I sting you then we will both die because I cannot swim." After thinking on it for a moment or two the toad agrees, swims over to the opposite bank of the river where the scorpion jumps onto his back and he turns to swim to the other side. When the toad, with the scorpion riding on his back, gets to the middle of the river, the scorpion stings him. "Scorpion!" Exclaimed the toad, "Why did you sting me? Now we both die."

"Because it is in my nature." Was the scorpion's response.

This is a folk tale, a parable. Basically, it stands for the proposition that we have to expect people to act in a way that is true to their nature. A person is not going to act in a way that is contrary to their basic nature, even if they fully intend to act differently in any particular circumstance. It's something to remember.

I did not knit a single stitch yesterday. I was too dead tired. And the records called out to be perused. I will be knitting tonight though.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Things That Come in the Mail

My in-laws sent us all of their old records. By records, I mean vinyl. Included in the four 50+-lb.-each-boxes was this:

That is a "Meet the Beatles" record, with the original price tag still affixed to the cover. Pretty cool. There are also several Peter, Paul and Mary records, and a couple of those are signed. While we're on the subject, my MIL recently sent me a beautiful set of china. It has 12 place settings (which begs the question: when will I have a house big enough to accomodate 12 people eating at the same time?) and it has blue flowers and is beautiful. I love it.

I'm continuing to enjoy my job. My busiest court day is on Mondays. There are some disadvantages to this: it's Monday, and Monday is Monday. There are also some advantages: the hardest part of my week is done Monday afternoon. That's a good thing.

On the knitting front, I finished the first latvian mitten on Sunday and started the second. I'm glad that I ripped those 27 rows to center the pattern on the back of the hand. It's quite lovely.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

27 Rows

This is where I was this morning:

Twenty-seven rows into the main pattern. Only four rows from the start of the top decreases. Unfortunately, there was to be a bit of a detour before I could move on. I realized several rows ago that I had failed to take into account one crucial detail when I drew my charts and started knitting my pattern: was the main pattern centered on the back of my hand? No. It wasn't. This morning I decided that a non-centered pattern would not do. So:

First, I pulled out the needles. Then:

I frogged furiously. That one stitch marker off to the left? It marked the row that I needed to frog down to. In just a few minutes, I was back to where I was three or four days ago. Sigh.

Several good things will come from this sacrifice though: the pattern is now centered over the back of the hand, and I placed the thumb gore a few rows lower than I had originally which means that I should be able to arrange the top decreases so that the mitten is finished at the same tim as the main pattern. Symmetry.

Work was exhausting this week. I spent a good part of my Thursday afternoon trying to hunt up a judge to sign a couple of orders. Unfortunately, I seemed to have picked the absolute worst time to attempt it. Several judges were in meetings, several were on the bench, and still others were already gone (there was a judicial conference in Seattle that started Friday.) It was a little panic inducing.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Filler Until My Brain Rests

What Historic Woman Are You?


Queen Medb
Queen Medb was an Irish queen, and what a queen! She ruled HER WAY or the HIGHWAY. When arguing with her husband over who had the greater fortune, she got so mad that she called a war on a neighboring kingdom to capture a bull so that she'd be wealthier than her husband. She was impulsive, temperamental, and passionate, just like you. But try and be a little calmer. Read more about this fascinating woman: http://www.angelfire.com/de/arkhamhaus/medb.html
Take The Quiz Now!Quizzes by myYearbook.com

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Latvian Mitten, Part III

Knitting a Latvian Mitten is a process. Really, it's a serious project. It starts when you first get the burning desire to knit a Latvian Mitten. Once that happens, you're in for it. From there, there are several steps that you need to execute:

1. Pick a pattern (and chart.) I chose Chart 53.

2. Pick your colors and buy your yarn. Try to make sure that the colors don't look like ass together. I'm using Drops Alpaca.

3. Swatch. This step is so important when it comes to making this kind of two-color project that you cannot skip it. Make a two color swatch. I usually pick a portion of the project chart and knit a few rows of it. In this case, stitch gauge is important and row gauge is decidedly less so (unless you're really anal retentive.) This is my swatch:

4. Block your swatch.

5. While your swatch is blocking, make your charts. The charts in the book Latvian Mittens by Lizbeth Upitis are not complete (they only show the back of the hand while the pictures of the mittens all show the palm,) they are in black and white so that all of the black stitches run together, and they are small. You also have to determine how many stitches wide each chart motif is. This will help you in determining how many stitches to cast on. These are my charts:

6. Consider your roll-prevention options. When I knit Stephen's mittens, I followed the chart and knit a half-braid at the bottom of the cuff. That was insufficient to keep the cuff from rolling. I blocked the cuffs down on his mittens, but even now they are a little roll-y. As a result I knit a full braid on the bottom cuff of my mittens (and omitted the fringe. I hate fringe.)

7. Measure your gauge swatch and figure out your gauge. Then measure your hand. This is what I do:I measure my hand, fingers held together and straight out, right below the thumb. That meanst that my measurement does not include the thumb. Then I add an inch to the measurement.

8. Once you have calculated how many stitches to cast on, you can cast on and knit.

I picked my pattern on Saturday, bought my yarn Saturday morning, swatched Saturday night, started my charts on Saturday night, worked on them all day Sunday and finally cast on Sunday night for my mitten. This is what I've got so far:

I've knit past the first chart, and have started chart two. The other thing that I might mention is that I am not a perfectionist when it comes to decreasing in the pattern for the top decreases, or for making sure that I have enough stitches to have complete pattern repeats. My hands are small, and the main pattern in this mitten is 48 stitches wide. I only cast on 75 stitches. Two full pattern repeats: 96 stitches, would be way, way too big for me and one pattern repeat wouldn't fit over my hand. As a result, I've opted to have a wonky, non-symmetrical join in the middle of the palm of the mitten. That's fine by me. If you know that it will bother you, then you should pick patterns where you can get full pattern repeats and still fit your hand.

I'm really enjoying knitting these, by the way. And my new co-workers? Super talented people, many of whom are crafty. I've already had one request for a dpn lesson and the person who shares my office has hemmed two of my suit jackets (the sleeves were too long. As usual.)

Monday, February 05, 2007

Wide Bordered Scarf

Okay, well, I know that I'm actually a project past the wide bordered scarf but I also realized that I hadn't done a proper write up of the pattern, etc. Plus, I don't want to take pictures of my current project yet.

Wide Bordered Scarf Project Stats:

Pattern: Victorian Lace Today, Wide Bordered Scarf, Page 96.
Yarn: Handmaiden Sea Silk, in green
Needles: Size 7 Straights
Mods: Different yarn, removed a pattern repeat

First, I substituted a yarn in this pattern (the pattern sample was made from hand spun silk.) And I didn't have quite as many yards as the pattern called for. This meant that ultimately, I made the border five repeats wide instead of eight, and only worked one repeat of the center panel to compensate. The resulting scarf is very long. I looked at it on me again on Friday in front of the mirror. It's probably close to 120" long (twice as long as I am tall.) I love it. I actually like my scarves very long.

The yarn: this is my first sea silk purchase. It is very soft. It is also on the heavy side for a lace weight yarn. In fact, it's about on par with Lorna's Laces Shepherd's Sock (a fingering weight yarn.) I really like the way it feels and the sheen of it. It's really beautiful.

Except for one small glitch, the pattern was perfect. You do have to flip to the back to read the instructions for the cast off and the knitted on border, but the instructions make sense and are easy to follow. My one suggestion for anyone knitting from this book is that you might wan to draw out your own chart for the lace. There's nothing wrong with the chart in the book, but it rather small. I kept having to lean over and count little squares (how many knit stitches in a row?) I would also recommend putting a stitch marker between the two separate halves of the border (one half being a garter stitch diamond stitch, and the other half being a stockinette trellis stitch.) This will help you keep track of where you are in the chart.

Might I just say that I really like the effect of the wide border? The center panel stitch is very pretty, and the border itself sort of ruffles and flows really well because it is wider than the scarf itself. The best thing is that this scarf requires less than 450 yards of yarn. In fact, if you bought a skein of sea silk you could conceivably make two 60" scarves. That's pretty economical.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

How About Them Bears?

Okay, really I'm not watching the Superbowl because I'm up here blogging instead. Stephen and I went and saw Pan's Labyrinth today. There are only things you should know about this movie:

1. You should go see it.

2. It is not kid friendly.

3. You should go see it.

4. It is very violent.

5. You should go see it.

6. Ofelia's stepfather is a nazi. Literally. It took me about a half an hour before I figured that out.

7. You should go see it.

8. This movie is basically the bastard child of Schindler's List and Lord of the Rings.

9. It is the brainchild of Guillermo Del Toro.

10. You should go see it.

I also finished my Kew socks and they fit perfectly.

I love them and I wore them to the movies today. My next project? Latvian Mittens. For me. In Drops Alpaca, white and pink, Chart 53 in Latvian Mittens by Lizbeth Upitis. I swatched last night and am currently transferring the chart to graph paper so that I can figure out the math.

Friday, February 02, 2007

I Survived My First Week

And it was fun. Really. And interesting. And engaging. And I no longer feel like a large man is sitting on my heart. That last one has got to be a good thing, right? Ask me after Monday afternoon though. I'm going to do the Monday afternoon docket by myself. I'm certain that I will fuck up at least once. If not more.

You know what else I did? I also took pretty pictures of my wide bordered scarf.

In this one you can see the leaf pattern in the center panel. In this one:

You can see that it's quite long. Well over my 60 inches. Maybe 72? It's very long, and quite wide. I love it and have been wearing it to work most of the week.

I made some progress on the second sock last night while watching Jesus Christ Superstar, which by the way, is hilarious. I'm starting to jones a little for the yarn buying experience. I haven't bought yarn since December. Maybe early January? It's been a few weeks and I'm feeling it. I want to buy yarn for my new pair of Latvian mittens, I want to buy yarn to start in on my Dulaan knitting. I want to buy yarn to knit Stephen more socks since he loves them so much. I just plain want to buy yarn. Unfortunately, I just found out today that both of the head gaskets in my car are bad and need to be replaced. That is going to be expensive.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Break A Leg

I have survived my fourth day of work at the new job. Today, the prosecutor gave me her offers on the files that are coming up on pre-trial conferences and show cause hearings next week. Also, I was allowed to touch the files. My computer is a little bonkers and the network seems to have some issues. I can use my phone, but the voice mail is still assigned to the last person who had the phone. Apparently there is only one guy who deals with the phones in the whole network. I am not high on his priority list.

I am (loving this job) hoping to break a leg on my way in tomorrow.

I started the second Kew sock last night. I finished the first last night. I must tell you that I sized them perfectly:

Size 1 needles
60 stitches.

Perfect. I like my socks pretty tight and I have small feet so I usually have to decrease the pattern width and length to make socks fit properly. Sometimes I forget this and it comes back to bite me in the ass. Pictures soon. I promise.

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