Thursday, September 25, 2008

unusually warm weather

September has been a warmer month than usual around here. Here it is almost the end of the month and we haven't had a hard frost yet. I can tell there's been a hint of light frost by the droop of the rhubarb and zucchini leaves but it is practically unheard of to find roses blooming at this date. These beauties are brightening up the front yard flower bed.
The ash trees are always the last trees to get leaves in the spring and the first to lose them in the fall. The cooler nights have signaled the leaves to turn color. If you look closely you can see the roses in the shadows at the front of the picture. Having both the roses and the golden leaves in the same picture is a rare event. I'm sure I'll look back at this pic in future years and marvel at the wonder of it.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

it's been a busy few days

Warning to those on dial-up: picture heavy post today.

I had a very busy few days. First off, on Wednesday evening we were extremely fortunate to get tickets to one of the two shows to see Elton John in concert here in Regina. When I blogged about seeing the Rolling Stones in concert here a couple of years ago, I stated that I wasn't a good candidate to be in attendance at a rock concert. I have eaten those words with a vengeance after seeing Sir Elton! The concert was absolutely amazing and I thoroughly enjoyed every single minute of it! I would go again tomorrow if I had the chance. I've always been a fan of Elton's music and this concert certainly reinforced my admiration for him as an artist and as a person!

There was no opening act. At 8:00 sharp, the lights dimmed, the spot lights were directed to the grand piano on the stage, and Sir Elton walked onto the stage. He played solidly for 2 1/2 hours without a break. He returned to the stage in response to the thunderous ovation, signed autographs to those who were lucky enough to be near the stage, and then performed two more songs before ending the concert just shy of 3 hours. He made sure to humbly acknowledge fans in every corner of the stadium. I couldn't believe how long he performed. I can't think of any other performers of his caliber who would offer that much of himself to his audience.

We were up in the stands to the side of the stage where we had a great view of Elton and his band and the screen that showed us the close-ups the musicians, especially of Elton's hands at the keyboard. He had much more opportunity to demonstrate his skill as a pianist during the concert than we had heard on his recordings and his musical talent blew me away. The experience was somewhat surreal: I kept thinking, "Oh my, that's really Elton John in the same building as me. How awesome is that?" I never felt that way about Mick Jagger and the Stones. I guess I wasn't much of a hard rocker in my youth. Elton John was much more my speed.

One other perk was that most of the audience was about our age so there weren't any maniacs making the experience unpleasant for us. We comfortably sat through most of the concert except for the ovations. The concert was indoors and I didn't detect any scent of the marijuana wafting in the air and didn't notice anyone drunk to the point of being a public nuisance. It was great!

Our tickets stated that there would be no cameras or recording devices allowed during the concert so I didn't take my camera. Turns out I could have. Security wasn't an issue at all. So, unfortunately, all I have are crappy cell phone pics to show you.

This shows you our view of the stage before the concert started.

During the concert - you can see the piano keyboard on the screen.

And the best pic I got of an Elton John close-up on the big screen as he performed.

Then, as if the week wasn't already exciting enough, Bentley was entered in the dog show this weekend in Balgonie, a town close to Regina. I entered more in support of the dog club as they had not financially been able to hold the show the last couple of years and I was happy they were back. I didn't think that B had a chance to beat his campaigned sister Chloe but he surprised me by taking Best of Breed the first day. Chloe took the breed 3 times (if I remember correctly) and got a Group 4th placement in the last show today in an extremely competitive Hound Group so that was exciting!

Here Bentley and Chloe on the grooming table getting groomed for the shows. You can certainly tell that they are litter mates, can't you?

This show had an unusually large Weimaraner entry. Most people know about the breed through the photo art of Wiliam Wegman. I was trying to get some pics of this lovely puppy to share with you. Lovely puppy had no intention whatsoever in co-operating with my plan. He was moving so fast that the camera was completely missing parts of his body that were moving the most.

Lacking a leg...

a body with a blurry head...

just a blur...

And finally, a good picture of the puppy's body with only the head a little blurry.
And a pretty puppy head shot.

And here's something you don't see every day - a long-coated Weimaraner (sorry for the blurry shot). Not only does this dog have coat, he has a tail too! Very cool.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

PDF link for Comfy Soled Socks pattern

When I first put the Multi-Sized Comfy Soled Socks pattern on my blog I couldn't find a way to make a PDF link for you without a hosting website. Now Ravelry is offering pattern PDF hosting to designers so here is the link for you. You do not need to be a Ravelry member to access it. But, seriously, why aren't you? It's free and has a massive database for patterns, yarns, and projects.

So here is the PDF link for you now, thanks to the genius of Casey and friends at Ravelry.

Multi-Sized Comfy Soled Socks

Friday, September 12, 2008

another twist

I got an email from Lynne F. suggesting I order the colors according to value (light and dark). So I used my photo software to make the pics black and white to show the yarn color values.

Something that I should have mentioned yesterday is that the trim will be knit with the turquoise yarn. I think that it will frame the colors nicely in the finished cardigan.

Here are the yarns in the same order as in the previous post. This one has the lights and darks mixed pretty evenly. It is the one that most people like best so far.
(left to right: fuschia, pink, orange, yellow, green, turquoise, lt. turquoise, purple)

This one is preferred the least so far.
(left to right: pink, purple, lt. turquoise, orange, green, yellow, fuschia, turquoise)

Most people's second choice.
(left to right: pink, purple, fuschia, orange, yellow, green, turquoise, lt. turquoise)

Using the values, I tried a couple of more arrangements. I didn't get a chance to take these pictures in natural daylight as I did yesterday so the colors may look a bit different under the kitchen lights.

This one is roughly lightest value to darkest value. It doesn't appeal to me.

And finally, very similar to the first arrangement on the previous post but with a couple of changes to mix up the values even further. It's okay but I think I still like the first photo best.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Color Me Happy

I could use some help.

I pulled out the dyes yesterday. My sister was interested in learning to dye yarn so she came over and we messed around with them. I decided to dye some yarn to make a Tulip Cardigan for my god-daughter's baby daughter. I had lots of Knit Picks Bare Superwash Wool to use. I used the colors from some of the yarn and fiber that I dyed to sell when I had my Etsy shop.

Now I have to decide in which order to place the colors so took the skeins to the sunroom to try out different arrangements. I narrowed my options to these three.

This is my approximation of the color order in the original pattern.

Then I arranged them from light to more intense.
And finally, I ordered them as they would sit on a color wheel. Well, the center six skeins are ordered that way. The two end colors are lighter versions of the turquoise and fuschia.

I'd love to hear your opinion before I decide which order to knit the colors!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

be one with the yarn

This lovely sock yarn is Arequipa, 65% superwash merino, 20% alpaca, and 15% nylon. It is very soft but twists up like crazy when knitting k1, p1 ribbing and is a wee bit splitty. That makes it sound like I don't really like it but I do. It was just one of those smack-you-upside-the-head experiences. I persisted with the rib then started Wendy's Eyelet Rib Socks pattern which is really pretty and a no-brainer to knit. My sock is not looking like Wendy's sock at all. The pattern stitch is not as defined as it should be.

It finally occurred to me that I was trying to make the yarn fit the pattern instead of listening to what the yarn wants to be. The alpaca gives the yarn a bit of a halo which is very pretty but it doesn't lend itself to stitch definition. I forgot the cardinal rule of knitting: be one with the yarn. This yarn wants to be luxurious and comfy plain vanilla socks where the yarn, not the pattern, is the star of the show. So I will frog this sock and obey the yarn. I'm quite sure that I won't have to dangle the sock from the needles to unkink the yarn nearly as often if I stick to stockinette.