Saturday, January 10, 2009

Steppin' Out --

...and COUNTDOWN! Yes, ladies and gentleman, it's January 10th; that means that in ten days it'll be January 20th. (I'm terrible at Ugly Maths, but I can manage remedial). And what that means is - just about enough time to clear out the sofa, lay in some necessary appropriate munchies, gather at least two knitting projects to have at hand, make sure there's a new VHS, wait. By then I'll have time to find out what kind of DVD I can record on, and I'm thinking that might be more practical. And then -- when the hour is right, when the program starts -- when the Inauguration broadcast begins, don't call me. Don't even talk to me (well, I guess unless you're Mr Dearling I probably wouldn't hear you anyway, but you know what I mean).

I may invite some peeps to join me, or I may not. The truth is, I intend to have, as well as everything else around me, a sizeable box of tissues. (Can I say "Puffs" without putting a little "r" in a circle or wossname? 'Cause I do like Puffs. Sometime I'll tell you why I had to leave Canada because none of the stores carried Puffs.)

HOWEVER! What I'm saying is, besides munching and knitting and recording, I know myself well enough to know that I'll be delicately weeping ...... bawling, maybe even doing the Ugly Cry. As much as the whole nomination and election thing got to me, the actual Inauguration will be an ecstatic culmination.

Will I write afterward? Yes, in fact -- perhaps even *during*, but we'll see. I'm going to try to capture some images from the teevee - and sort through everything I feel because I want to record my reactions. Someday the "eyewitness"-ness of it may be of interest to someone.

Now then - although it's taken this long, I finally have gotten back in the Swing of things.

I took a couple more pictures of the Dr. Who scarf in preparation for delivering it to the recipient (I need to figure out how to get these to my Ravelry deal - that should be a Resolution, figure out how to do all that.) As you can see, the scarf wound up being almost as long as my living room; including the fringe, it comes in at just about 13' even. And for all the moaning and groaning and stitchin' and bitchin' and that the chapter is closing, I'm experiencing a little "dropping-off-the-baby-at-school" syndrome.

Of course,nothing can leave this house without which it's been examined thoroughly by the FQC* team, so I called in the local representative. They're experts, you know, and I have to say -- not that I tried this or anything, but they can't be bribed or persuaded to overlook failings, rest on scratchy wool or tolerate gross inferiority.

*Feline Quality Control - Agent Evangeline on the job

It passed muster, I'm proud to say. Now then - the scarf was commissioned by my former colleague at the Museum, Rick - a.k.a. "Dr. Cryptosis". He has an indy teevee program hosting horror films, &c, and he's very good at it. In fact, since leaving the museum he's taken it up more seriously and nothing for it, he may one day be a nationally-known figure and I can say "I made his Dr. Who scarf!" (He's said, in fact, that he's going to wear it on some future programs, and he'll send me a DVD of it!)

I think it looks quite dashing, if I do say so myself. He was very pleased with it indeed and admired the width, the length, the colors.

Now, a 13' scarf of that nature, 65 stitches wide, is a Project, but it is NOT the equivalent of anything that can be called "fancy" or "elegant" knitting. This is no Orenburg. This is nothing to equal Franklin's baby shawl for his niece, what with the prayer knitted in around the edges. This is no sweater with Viking runes and celtic knotwork cabling. This project required determination, perseverance, but nothing unusual in ability or quality or skill. I don't undervalue the evenness of the edges, the regularity of the tension, but I'm now I'm done with it I'm going to plan out some projects with which to improve my techniques. Just sayin'.

Now then, I mentioned the hot-pink-and-black mittens requested by our Dawn, and showed you Lovely Daughter's contribution on the needles. Well! After a couple of false starts and frogging, I found a pattern with thumbs I could understand at our favorite LYS, The Sow's Ear , of course. I thought to myself how nice it would be to have mittens with a good long cuff:

so I made this. I started one that was just stripes, but they were too thin so I went with the two strands held together. You'll notice that the thumb is--shall we say "incomplete". The truth is, the top of the mitten above the thumb was too short. And the cuff was...well....too long. "Long cuff to stay inside jacket sleeve" is one thing. "Elbow-length mittens"? Ridiculous. So I just plain hung it up. I didn't frog it, ladies and and gennulmens, I threw it away! No,no, of course I wouldn't have if it were cashmere, or merino, or silk -- for heaven's sake whaddya take me for??

However, I WILL say this: it's Caron's "Simply Soft" ("Brites", no less); the pink isn't a color I'd likely use for myself, but as an acrylic yarn I will say, it's deliciously soft, easy to work with, smooth and has a nice drape to it when knitted up. I'm keeping it in mind for future projects because I like it.

This was actually taken a couple of days ago and the mittens are now finished. They're LOVELY! And the matching cap (which IS stripey) is almost half-done. I'll post pictures of the set when I've finished. NOTE: The stripiness is a little thin for the cap too, and I may frog it and use the same double-strands for the cap. It'll be thicker and is soft enough to work well doubled.

I realize one looks pointy and one nice and round; they're the same when you put 'em on. And the *thumb* from that pattern is lovely enough that I can now finish the fingerless mitts I have started. My immediate knitterly plans include a pair of Reggia fingerless mitts to replace the ones I've almost worn out and a few other pairs, some socks,a scarf or two -- all will be told in the fullness of time.

And now for Something Completely Different, for no particular reason at all: I'm going to mention something of which I'm very fond. It's a dish, some comfort food that I've made for my kids when they were little and have recently rediscovered:

This is home-made cream-chipped beef. I serve it in those lovely puff pastry shells which give it an elegant flair. In our family this is known as "Cousin Andrew's Favorite Lunch", because it WAS! My dear nephew Andrew is just a few months younger than my #1 Son, and the first time I made this for my kids (we ate it on toast points in our younger, poorer days) I said to them, "This is your cousin Andrew's favorite lunch." OH YES, I hear you over there, snickering in the corner, and yes, I DO know that it has some -- shall we say, "sobriquets". Yes, this is what everyone calls S.O.S. in college. Keep it to yerseff, please. I like it and enjoy it so there anyway.

And last (but NOT least) -- the aforementioned product discovered, purchased and much-touted by Mr. Dearling. This is something which can make a GREAT DEAL of difference to those of us Advancing in Age getting through these Upper Midwestern winter days:

This is something called "YakTrax Walker", and nope, we're not getting any big endorsement monies or anything, but I think knowing about these things may make a LOT o' people's lot in life easier. What they are is these coiled-spring things in a rubber foot-shaped frame-type deal. They go over your boots or shoes and provide traction for walking on ice!

We had one of those times where it got up to about 38 degrees, a lot of the snow melted, and then (as it is wont to do) the temperature plummeted, inconveniently coating all sidewalks, streets, and paths in the Arboretum to glare ice.

I didn't have to go out, but Mr Dearling did, so he got out his set. He had to walk on both streets and paths in the Arboretum (he's a Steward, I think I'd mentioned, and he patrols on his daily constitutionals sometimes).

Because the frame is flexible, these are available in two sizes which will fit any size shoes. I think they're about the cleverest thing I've seen in quite some time, and I am here to tell you - Mr Dearling's experiment revealed that in his case these things worked really well! He tried tromping along on iced sidewalks and streets, and found that he could just plain tromp like a normal person on a normal surface.

For my part, I don't have any of my own yet because I don't walk outside very much as a rule, other than just to the garage (a few feet) or like - around the Museum where the sidewalks are plowed, scraped, salted and sanded. Still - for anyone living somewhere that gets bad icy, I think these could be anywhere from a convenience to a life-saver, and so I'm mentioning them. He got them at one of those outdoorsy places that has climbing gear, hiking gear, kayaks - that sort of thing, and they were around twenty bucks. That's my unsolicited product review for the year, and they're not even knitterly.

Now I'm going to work on the hot-pink-and-black cap. Photographic documentation to follow.

Correction to previous post: (and I make this mistake every time I mention it) The beautiful pattern that my Lovely Daughter is knitting into the mitten-matching scarf is houndstooth. It is NOT "herringbone", in spite of the fact that I call it that a lot. Ooops!
---Dale-Harriet, apologetically


CTJen said...

DH, the scarf is gorgeous--very well done. :-) My mom used to make that chipped beef on toast, too. But we didn't call it that at our house, my mother has a filthy mouth, you see. ;-)

yarndork said...

And here I thought all that hoopla you were talking about on the 20th was for my oldest boy's birthday! Bless your heart. Don't worry though, we're having his backwards party on the 17th. In case you want to drive down to Kansas for the weekend...

Glad to hear your holidays were filled with family and fun and food.

kmkat said...

The scarf is a testament to your perseverance and the extreme lengths (heh -- I made a joke!) to which you will go for a friend. Well done, you.

I am ashamed to say that at first I thought your January 20th references were to the Superbowl, and I kept thinking about how I didn't think you were really much of a football fan. Duh. To my dubious credit, I eventually figured it out.

I think chipped beef on toast -- or on garlic mashed potatoes! -- sounds like yummy comfort food. My mom used to make it occasionally, so my memories of it are positive, not, um, colorful.

Yay for Yak Trax! Mine came in the mail yesterday. When our (uphill both ways) driveway is too slippery for a car, I have to walk it. These may well save me from a broken hip someday. I ordered a pair after Annie Modesitt blogged about them last month. It was especially nice to discover they come in their own little ziploc bag so I can carry them with me all winter.

I concur with your evaluation of Caron Simply Soft. Quite pleasant stuff for ack.

Cathy-Cate said...

I have the YakTrax but haven't put 'em on yet. It's been dark in the morning and dark at night. Soon to change, though!

I didn't hear S.O.S. till later on, my father called that dish "Creamed Crud" with affection. We had it a fair amount when I was growing up -- on toast, naturally.

Alwen said...

Better on the TV than in person for an introvert like me. When they start talking about crowds of 4 million people, I wouldn't go if Mr. Obama himself knocked on my door and asked me to be there. I'd say, "I'm so sorry, but you're talking the population of nearly half my whole state!"

Randi said...

Wow! You added fringe to a 13 foot scarf?? But it sure does look impressive, I must say.

I'm trying to figure out how I can watch the inauguration at work...sigh.

Mittens + cold = Very good.

Re: food--looks tasty. I hate cooking but love to eat.

And finally, LOVE my Yak Trax. Get some! They have saved various bones of mine plus a large, well-padded backside that is still liable to injury in spite of said padding. We Older Folks can't live without the Yak Trax. Only thing is you have to take them off when going into stores with linoleum floors or it's like walking on ice without 'em. Not a good thing.

Lee said...

A creamed dried beef story - Several years ago the 20-something man next door was battling non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. He had a bone marrow transplant and everything he ate during that time had to be thoroughly cooked. His wife mentioned he had a craving for CDB but she didn't know how to make it. I love CDB, I told her, and I like to make it. So I sterlized all the equipment I used, cooked it all thoroughly and she took it to him at the hospital in a cooler with hot packs. It was just what he wanted. Unfortunately the cancer got the best of him about a month later. I smile when people talk about CDB because it makes me remember Scott. (He was, by the way, a Dr. Who fan as well.)