Sunday, June 24, 2012

Seasonal Recap

This post is a little behind schedule.  I meant to post about the projects I managed to not screw up during hockey games after the Cup was won (or lost, if you were cheering on the side I was) but then I had computer issues so I spent the last week re-downloading two seasons of Republic of Doyle* that were lost in the crash, cooking new things, finishing projects and visiting with extended family.

Finished during the Cup run:
These two polished off the list of unfinished projects I'd given myself until the end of June to complete.  Done and dusted!

Started during the run:
3)Seagrass socks 
I cast these on and then noticed that they seemed a little small in the toe.  Read the pattern a little closer and it turned out that the Small & Large sizes where for children.  I picked the pattern out of a book I had on toe-up socks (here) and didn't even realize that this one was kids' only. I was knitting small child socks.  I shrugged and took them back a bit so that they were the large size instead.  Figured if they didn't fit, I'd give them away.  Luckily, the large was large enough for my size 7s. Finished during great and constant rains.
Yep, that's a pasty white leg, right there.
I'm of two minds on the whole toe-up vs top-down socks debate.  Both have their perks.  Toe-up means no kitchener stitch grafting to relearn every time, no picking up stitches along the heel flap, and you can make the legs as long as you have yarn for without worrying that you'll run out of yarn before you reach the toes.  Big plus if you like long socks and/or hate leftover sock yarn. However, I have not found a bind-off method for toe-up socks that's stretchy enough for my liking or leaves a nice edge.  I've tried adding extra stitches to the last round (boo!) and the tubular bind-off (close, very close, but no cigar. Also, complicated.  Muy, muy complicated. Way more than the kitchener stitch.)  Regardless, I have decided to always do my socks two-at-a time.  Tangles, be damned!

4) Guernsey-style sweater for nephew.  In the great re-organizing rampage I went on this spring, I found six balls of Baby Cashmerino.  Perfect. 
It's finished now but that's another post.
Well, I've got some reading to do.  I'm waiting desperately to discover whether my Leafs are going to pick up an albatross to mind the net next season.... There will be tears if it happens. We're talking ugly cry. 

* For those who don't get CBC, Republic of Doyle is a Canadian series about a family of private detectives set in Newfoundland.  It's a little like Magnum P.I. but instead of Hawaii, hibiscus, and helicopters, you get the Rock, fish'n'chips and a GTO, not to mention the great regional accent. It's got a dry, quirky sense of humour and can be a tad silly on occasion but it's wonderfully (painfully) Canadian.  It doesn't take itself too seriously and requires a sincere suspension of your disbelief at times but I adore it.  Russell Crowe guest stars in the Season 3 premiere. True story.  It's the kind of bizarre thing that happens in Canada...

Monday, June 18, 2012

Back-up! (and running...)

Hello, again!

I have once more a working computer at my disposal.  The hard drive was corked. It was either replace the drive on a 2007 MacBook that I have lovingly ushered through three operating program updates, two hard drive replacements (one catastrophic drive failure, one sizeable upgrade), one coffee incident, several cookie crumbs, a RAM upgrade, and one free-from-Apple-faceplate-replacement,  and propped up with add-ons for years, OR bite the bullet and say good-bye.

Over the years, I have done research, learned how to tinker and install things myself.  I have ventured in the scary realm of the terminal.  I've learned to troubleshoot when the troubleshooting guides give you bupkis. I have learned to enjoy the blue streaks from an over-friendly textbook that won't come off the no-longer-exactly-white exterior and a slightly scratched screen with wear marks from too many travel hours spent squished against the keys.  I've scoured the dreg corners of the tech stores looking for the outdated connector that goes from mini-DVI to HDMI and have a only vague idea of what those letters mean...  It's been an extra-appendage for years - my tv when I lived in Edmonton, essential for work when I moved back, indispensable for school, and I've gradually begun doing more and more on it.  My life is moving in a digital direction and I'm torn about whether I'm comfortable with that.

I knew that the new OS this summer would probably be Hamish's last. (Yes, my MacBook's name is Hamish.  We've talked about my propensity to name things...) There just comes a time when your hardware is no longer compatible with the software you ask it to run.  I was more than prepared to roll up my sleeves and wait it out.  Replace the drive (so much easier than in sounds, by the way) and see if I could get by.  I might have eked a few more years out of it. Who knows?

My family decided I was crazy.  They very kindly offered to pay for the replacement drive or, as a graduation gift, replace the whole laptop. I am incredibly fortunate and thankful.

Last night, I sat in the living room watching a movie and  transferring my backup of Hamish, to Argyll, the new laptop. While a young Jeff Bridges battled an evil program in Tron, (fitting, no?), I took the tiny screwdrivers and opened Hamish.  I slid out the failed hard drive, and reinstalled the one I'd outgrown more than a year ago.  I wiped it, and installed Snow Leopard, the last operating system we'll probably see booted from a CD.  I had a moment, watching the movie and tinkering, reflecting on how much the world has changed since the computer became a household item.

I remembered when the first kid on the block got a computer. It had a greenish black screen and a blocky, orange cursor and sat in the corner of the kitchen.  There was no such animal as a font.  You loaded the system from a floppy disk, which was actually floppy, and waited, contently, a long time for it to boot. Then you switched disks and booted for each program you wanted to run.  Playing Hangman was state of the art.  Storage drives had kilobytes of memory at their disposal. Kilobytes! Ha. Now even the most basic cellular phone has far more than that.  You have more computing power in your pocket than the best home computer of the age. Heck, a single picture taken on your phone could have overwhelmed a hard drive in the eighties. Most iPods can hold more than the original iMac could less than twenty years ago.

It no longer takes forever to get online and you don't have to stay home or give up the landline to do it. We don't keep in touch by bumping into someone in the grocery store and having coffee, or asking someone's mother about they're doing after church. (Well, I do, I guess.  I don't have Facebook. :)

I was thankful that I'd remembered to backup my hard drive regularly and had done one only two weeks ago.  And then I lamented that it was TWO WEEKS ago!  I lost two weeks worth of stuff, media downloads and photos mostly, and it's really just the photos that sting. It astonishes me that I can take hundreds of pictures in a day and delete half of them as not being any good without any care.  Two weeks used to be the time you'd wait to get twenty-four photos back from the drugstore. Thirty-six if you splurged.

Thirty-six was the number of seconds it took this photo to get from my phone to Argyll by email.

It's the same but different.

I'm wondering what to do with Hamish.  It's refurbed and what-not.  I'd feel selfish keeping it as a spare when it could still be of use to someone and yet, I'd feel kinda guilty selling it or giving it away. Call it the R2D2 factor.... Maybe it'll make a cool gift for a five-year-old nephew in a few years...? I'm sure I'll figure it out.

Anyway, I have about 5 days of internet reading and email to catch up on, two weeks of information and documents to track down, and several days of re-downloading media to endure.  But I have my health, an incredible family, a warm, dry place to sleep, and overwhelming sense of nostalgia to get my through it. I've got it pretty good.

Good night,

Oh! and backup your computer. Do it now instead of "meh, I'll do it later."

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Technical difficulties

Hi, all. I'm having hard drive issues and am therefore resorting to the dreaded restore from backup. If that doesn't work, I'm guessing I'll be installing a new hard drive.

I haven't been reading anyone the last few days so if you haven't had comments from me lately, now you know why. I've also been pretty light on the email as I prefer not to email from my phone (or post, like I am right now.)

I hope to be up and running again soon.

Much love,

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Lemons to Lemonade: Scrappy Non-Afghan Floor Pillow

You know when everything seems to be going along a little too well?

I had knit all five panels for my scrappy afghan.  The length looked to be good and I had figured that it would shrink up about 30% from cast-on to bind-off edges, and about 15% from side to side when I felted it. The measurements seemed like they would provide a decent-sized throw afghan.

This is what FOUR panels looked like:
Seemed about 5' square.  Nope.

Then I sewed the panels together.

Oops.  I'm not sure what happened - maybe the seams pulled the panels shorter than intended? Maybe the same thing caused them to expand the other way?  Who knows...  But I ended up with a knitted beast of a  piece of fabric about 9 feet long and 4 feet wide.  Yeah.  That's not a great afghan size.  Unless you need a stadium blanket for 6 people. Honestly, I had no idea until I'd sewn all the seams and stretched it out.  And then, I just about fell over with laughter.

To heck with it, I decided.  I'll felt it and worse comes to wear, I have a ton of colourful homemade felt from which to sew things.... Into the washing machine and three hot water cycles!

It felted beautifully.  Far nicer than anything I've felted before.  But it was far too thick to cut apart for a patchwork afghan, and not the right size to leave it as it.  Solution?  Floor cushion!
I made myself a template and shaved the corners down so I wouldn't get that weird pointy corner cushion thing happening.  I cut, clipped and sewed.  Let me tell you, hauling all that thick fabric through my machine wasn't super-fun.  Might have gone better if I'd remembered to reduce the foot pressure but hey, you live, you learn.  I used a knit stitch to reinforce it in case of sudden impact.  (In my neck of the woods, children love to flop on over-sized cushions.)
3/4" seam allowance.  Just to be safe.

It was sewn together for a couple of weeks while I tried to figure out what to stuff it with.  I wanted foam chips but nowhere in town had them. I wasn't going to pay to have that volume of stuffing shipped to me.  This was supposed to be a scrap project costing me exactly ZERO dollars and only leisure time.  Eventually, I bit the bullet and opted for polyfil.  I'm not a fan of the less than smooth way it distributes itself, though I tried to minimize the lumpiness by lining the inside of the cushion with a woollen quilt batt that I'd never use because it was hand-wash only.  There's about 8 lbs of stuffing in there so when it comes to a certain nephew rough-housing on it, it won't be sliding around...

Scrappy Afghan Floor Pillow
Knit from Patons Classic and Lion Brand Fisherman's wool leftovers and felted
approx 36" square, 8" high

All in all, I'm calling it a win.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Well, it's official now.  I attended the ceremony yesterday and I have received the parchment.

Now, if only I didn't have to deal with a "foreign transcripts that don't exist" issue... Ah, life.

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Been strangely distracted by a lot of running around the last week or two.

I did manage to get a little sewing done.  I finally made the Tova top that it seems everyone else that sews clothes for themselves has already tried.  I even tested out some of the fancy stitches on my sewing machine.  Dipped into my freshly organized stash and decided on some Moda Crossweave in blue.

It's a little wrinkled.  I was wearing it for most of the day before I had someone available to snap a shot or two.

That's it for today. Gotta watch what could be the last game of the playoffs, and I'm hoping to avoid a broken heart. Much love, Martin. Much love.