Still chugging along

I was wondering what I could post this week since I’m just knitting away like a mad woman on my shawl. And then this arrived in my mailbox from Blue Moon Fiber Arts! If only it were all mine. Only three skeins get to stay here. Aren’t they pretty?


I was thinking about making Endpaper Mitts with the purple and green, but then the green/yellow looks beautiful with the purple, too, and some of the projects I’ve seen with variegated yarn are nice. Opinions?

And here’s something fun thanks to the Rockin’ Sock Club blog:


Of Lifelines and Options

I’m knitting my first shawl. Nothing can make you feel like a beginning knitter like lace. I was calling this my first lace project, but that’s not entirely true. My first socks (Rav Link) had a lace pattern, and I made Ice Queen for my mother-in-law. This is, however, my first shawl and by far the biggest and most intricate lace project I’ve undertaken.

And with that comes problems. The stitches are so tiny, I think I’m accidentally knitting two at a time every now and then. I don’t realize it until I get to the end of the row and am short stitches. I’ve been able to catch a few mistakes on the fly, but at least twice now, I’ve had to rip out several rows and go back to start over. One stitch here or there I can adjust for and it won’t be noticeable. Three stitches missing, whoops! That’s a do-over.

Lace isn’t easy to rip out and then pick back up again because of those tiny, intricate stitches. That’s where the lifeline comes in. Every few rows (I’m doing at the end of each pattern repeat, every 5 right-side rows), you run a piece of smooth waste yarn or unwaxed dental floss through your live stitches. This way, when you have to rip back — as I’ve done twice now — you have a safety net to catch your stitches. You the follow the floss and put those stitches back on your needle and can pick up from that row. It really should be explained at the beginning of every lace pattern to make knitters’ lives better.

The needles I’m using right now are a god-send (thank you, Kate!!!). I began this project on Addi Natura circs, but the join isn’t smooth enough. I kept getting stitches caught on the metal fastener between the cord and needle. It slowed me down so much, I put out a call for help on Ravelry. A nearby knitter offered me her Addi Turbo circs AND her KnitPicks Options. (She even delivered them to my house!) The metal Addis were much better than the bamboo, but I’m in love with the KnitPicks Options! The join is ultra smooth, the needles stayed screwed on (unlike the cheap craft store version), the points are super pointy, and the cord is very flexible. They’re my new favorite circular needles! (And I thought Clover Takumi would always be first in my heart.)

Thank goodness for lifelines — the floss kind and the friend kind! They make life and lace much easier!

"It's a big blue watery road"

This is what my street looks like right now! Even worse, there’s a storm drain right behind that silver car that doesn’t seem to be draining. Neither is the one across the street … or either of the other four drains within my view. There’s a lot of water out there! It’s at the level we found marked in our yard after Hurricane Ike!

Our neighbor’s car they park on the street. We knocked on their door, but they’re not home. Yup, it’s up to the bottom of the door!

A view farther up the road:

Stealing is (almost) always wrong

Once upon a time, I lived in an apartment complex near a Houston landmark, surrounded by hundreds of med students and international families. There were a dozen WiFi networks around me, several of which were unsecured. I had my own service, though, and kept my network locked until the fateful day I had to unplug a lot of things. Apparently I unsecured my network somehow without realizing it during my technology shuffle. Within a few weeks, I noticed my internet lagging. It took much longer to do things than before. Sometimes a screen would come up on my computer warning about heavy traffic on my line, but I dumbly ignored it for a few weeks.

I finally checked my security settings. I could actually see the names of the computers logged into my network through one app I used. I could see their web traffic. I have no doubt that if I were a better techie, I could have sussed out some identities and maybe even seen sensitive information, possibly even hacking into their computers.

I was livid. These trolls logged into my network without my permission and ruined the quality of service I was PAYING for.

Someone on Facebook recently admitted they were canceling their Internet in favor of cable and hoping a neighbor had unsecured Internet. This really upset me. I don’t think this person would sneak over and tap into their neighbor’s cable service to get free cable, so why would they hope they could do the same for Internet? They bragged on Friday that they did find an unsecure network to use. And the responses were mixed: some think it’s OK, some think it’s bad, no one else was as angry as me. When did it become OK to use someone else’s stuff without permission.

Everyone on the planet with a laptop or cell phone has probably searched for an unsecure network for use on the fly. Five minutes of checking e-mail is one thing, continually relying on your neighbor to unknowingly pay for a service you intend to use is blatantly unfair. I did some research online and found reference to some state laws and one federal law that was iffy (it said using a network without permission is illegal, but was targeted towards hacking). The newest article I could find was dated 2007. Mind you, I did find several mentions of how dangerous it is: how some unsecure networks are traps for hackers, how others can view your private data, etc.

I’d like to hear other opinions on the matter. I don’t assume I’m always right, this just seems so cut-and-dried to me, though. If you know you need a service and you intend to use it regularly, it’s only fair to pay for it. Otherwise, go to the library and use the Internet your taxes pay for. I totally think Internet has gotten important enough that maybe it should be a government-supported utility like water, but it’s not yet. So play by the rules!

A busy week consists of:

  1. A birthday.
  2. Watching your toilet get reinstalled after almost a year!
  3. Finishing a pair of socks (pictures to come once they’re taken).
  4. 20 hours of work at one job, 14 at the other (holiday time there).
  5. Dyeing more boiled eggs than I’ve ever seen in my life with friends!
  6. A full day of garage sale prep.
  7. A half day of garage sale management, then clean up (thank you to ICM for taking some of the leftovers – we were going to drive the TV and computer monitors to an e-waste recycling center when we remembered that they’d take these along with all the clothes we were already donating).
  8. Baking a cheesecake and topping from scratch.
  9. All the other things combined into the business of living – cleaning, cooking, shopping, etc. And all the other stuff I’ve already forgotten.

I am one exhausted person tonight. I have to stay up for a little longer while the cheesecake cools so I can put it in the fridge. Then I’m looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow and going over to a friend’s big Easter shindig! We’re going to pock/pacque/knock/break eggs — thus those dozens and dozens and dozens of eggs we dyed. I’m not lying, there are probably about 100 eggs!