August 2008


No, the Olympics have been great!  But I have made some progress on my Ravelympic project over this past week, and now I’ve decided that it’s too big.  Since I gained 10-15 pounds after finishing residency, I figured I shouldn’t always be making the XS size anymore.  The S size would have given me zero ease, which I thought would work fine for this pattern.  But I just tried it on, and it’s really too big.  Plus, I’ve used an entire skein already, and this is all I have done.

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I can’t imagine finishing it with only 4 skeins, as specified in the pattern.

So, a week’s worth of knitting, to be frogged!!  😦  I doubt I’ll be able to finish it before the Olympics are over, but I will restart with the XS size and press on anyway.

As for my little goldfinch family, I haven’t seen them all week.  I think that in the 3 days I was away from the office, the babies learned to fly, and the whole family left!  The nest has been empty.  I wish them the best, and hope they come back to make more babies next year!

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Call me crazy, but I signed up for the Ravelympics, where you start and complete a project during the Olympics.  The project I chose is the Lacy Little Top, and I’m using the recommended Allhemp3, which is fingering weight hemp.  When I swatched for the project I had difficulty getting gauge small enough, so I got advice on the Ravelry forums (and the yarn company’s website) to soak the yarn in warm water with hair conditioner before using it.  After that, I was able to get gauge with a 2.75mm needle, 2 sizes smaller than recommended.  I got a late start because I couldn’t find the darn pattern during the opening ceremonies, turns out I put it on my shelf, and just didn’t think I’d be organized enough to put it there in the first place!  So here’s what I have so far.  It’s a nice, easy lace pattern.

Lacy Little Top beginning

Yesterday, we took Tim blueberry picking at Evergreen Berry Farm.  He was really excited because he loves to eat blueberries, and he had lots of fun picking them!  Grandpa showed him what to do.

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Checking his bucket:

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Like father, like son:

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The berries were beautiful.

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And delicious!  I found that some of the best berries were down low, where not many people bother to stoop down to look.  Aren’t these perfect?

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For more pictures, here’s the Flickr set.

As a bonus, here’s another Tim creation, this time with Grandpa’s help.

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He loves to make “flowers” with his blocks, and comes up with new designs all the time!

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He loves shapes and designs, and was drawing what looked like a triangle yesterday.  But when I commented on it he corrected me, “it’s not a triangle, Mommy, it’s a parallelepiped!”

Two days ago, it was raining so I didn’t take my camera to work with me, but I witnessed the cutest thing!  I heard some especially energetic chirping, so I looked out and saw one of the baby birds jump out of the nest, flap its wings, and attempt to fly.  It ended up going mostly downwards, but at an angle, so it was able to control its direction a little bit!  Later it ended up sitting on a branch right below my window.  It would have been a perfect shot, but darn it, I didn’t have my camera!  Yesterday, it was out again, but on a branch that was further away and not easy to photograph in focus.  Here’s what I managed.

So cute!

Adorable, no?  So roly poly and cute!  Still somewhat gray and fuzzy, but with some yellow feathers on the chest.

Baby out of the nest!

So far, only one of the babies has been brave enough to leave the nest.  Hopefully I’ll get better pictures this coming week!

Another fun item this week:  I saw these Skechers shoes on Limedragon’s blog and just had to have them, and apparently they’re been all over Ravelry already, so I’m a little late.  🙂  Only $10.50, with free shipping!

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I got them in the Smoke color, just like Limedragon, and I ordered size 6.5, up from my usual 6, so there would be extra room.  They show off my CSM socks very nicely.

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Today, I went to visit Beth at her store, Broad Brook Books & Stuff, so that she could help me with my sock machine.  On the way there, my car got rear-ended in slow moving traffic near some roadwork.  I was fine, but my first thought was about my sock machine in the trunk!!  It was fine too.  Thankfully the police were already there directing traffic around the site of the roadwork, so it didn’t take too long to file the report, and it shouldn’t be a problem repairing the damage to the car (the rear bumper was dented in).  Anyway, it was all worth it because Beth helped me to get my ribber working!  Turns out that the part that was getting caught on the ribber needle butts is a moving part.  We just had to take out one of the screws that I had been to afraid to mess with, which holds together the “ribber in/out” switch.   She also noted that the knob that adjusts the length of the ribbed stitches seems to be stuck, so I now have it soaking, to see if I can get it to move again. So this is my ribbing (the top part, anyway).  Below the top part is mock rib.

Ribbing!

Can’t wait to make a ribbed sock!

Yesterday I had another visit from my little birdie friend.  I was happy to find out that he is indeed a daddy.  He tapped on my second-floor window, flew away to grab a bug, and then flew to a little nest in a nearby branch to feed some baby birds!  The nest is well concealed under some leaves, but now that I know where it is I can see the babies.  It’s hard to tell how many there are, but when I see the parents feeding them, I see at least 3 little mouths opening up.  So cute!

I haven’t been able to photograph the birds being fed, so here is Tim’s version of baby bird mouth, when he was 6 months old and just starting solids.

Tim Baby Bird Mouth

I did manage to get a good look at the babies from below the tree, but I was unable to get perfect focus on them in the photos.  They have fuzzy grey heads, and are starting to develop yellow feathers on their chests.

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It’s hard to tell from the photo, but the nest is about 3 inches across, pretty small!  The mommy is a little shy, so I haven’t caught her yet.  But today, daddy bird gave me a nice little modeling session at my window.  He stayed a good long while as I photographed him, as if he was enjoying it!  Here he is chirping at me.  You can see how small he is compared to my tissue box.

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Are you looking at me?

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The penguin pose:

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I am so charmed by this little goldfinch family outside my window.  If I could do nothing but watch them all day, I would!

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The ribber is one of the most difficult parts of the circular sock machine to learn.  I’ve fiddled with it a few times, each time learning a little bit more about how it works.  Finally, I saw this post at Sarah’s blog, and it just clicked for me.  I had fixed the timing so the needles would catch the yarn in the proper sequence, but they weren’t pulling the yarn through the previous loop to make the stitch.  Following her advice, I lowered the ribber dial a few times, until the yarn cleared the latches and made stitches.  It ended up almost touching the cylinder!

Legare CSM ribbing, for the first time!

Here you can see the needles in action.

Legare CSM ribbing, for the first time!

Now my one remaining problem is that the butt end of the needle seems too short, and it gets stuck on the tappet plate as it goes around. I have to push the needle butts out a little bit to clear the part where it gets stuck. I don’t know if getting longer needles will solve this, or if I have to adjust the tappet plate somehow. So far, that part looks pretty immobile to me. But next week I will be going over to see Beth (who has no blog, that is her Ravelry link), who is nearby and was kind enough to offer her help.

So here is the final result.  I somehow managed to drop some stitches when I transferred them back to stockinette stitches and took the ribber off.  I’ll have to figure out how not to do that next time.  The little bow-ties are where the stitches didn’t clear the latch and stayed on the needle to be knit on the next round.  You can see there are fewer of them toward the top of the cylinder, after I had lowered the ribber more and more.

Legare CSM ribbing, for the first time!

It’s so satisfying to make progress like this!

I’d also like to introduce you all to my new little friend, who has been visiting me at my office window for the past couple of weeks.

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Isn’t he adorable?  I have a pretty tree outside my window, and this little fellow hangs out there and sings when the weather is nice. Occasionally, he hops over to my window and taps on the glass. Of course, he didn’t do it when I had my camera with me… I don’t know much about birds, so I just Google’d “yellow bird with black wings” and found out that he is an American Goldfinch.  Yesterday I actually saw a similar bird with less vibrant plumage, possibly a female.  If they mate and have little baby birdies outside my window I will be thrilled!