Sunday, November 30, 2008

Moscow Knitting News

Here's a loose translation of an article from


Moscow Knitting Class Robbed

Two residents of Moscow's Northern District have been charged under article 162 of the Criminal Code (robbery). As reported on the website of the Moscow police department, a 73-year-old retiree and her daughter robbed an organization offering knitting classes.

The retiree and her 35-year-old daughter appeared at the office at No. 1 Yamskoe Pole Street and demanded the return of 10 thousand rubles (about $400) the daughter had paid for a program because she wasn't happy with it.

A secretary, who was alone in the office, suggested the women request reimbursement in writing, which would then be passed on to the management. Instead, the retiree took out a taser and attacked the secretary. The women left, taking a purse containing 34 thousand rubles (about $1200).

The police detained both women.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Hats, Hats, Hats

I'm up to 4 and a half hats by and have 3 to show here. They are all for a friend in Montreal, a librarian who first hired me as a student back in the dark ages of print indexes and rubber modems with receivers that looked like suction cups. She is now undergoing chemo sadly, but never mind. I hope these will cheer her up.

The first is a tidy little red number in Katia Mississippi 3, a fingering weight cotton acrylic blend. This should be very practical.

This green lace hat is more glamourous. The yarn is Louisa Harding Nautical Cotton. The woman in the yarn shop said, "I wonder why they call it "nautical?" and looked at me. I didn't say anything then, but now I know. I think it has something to do with it being a bit like rope, beautiful, shiny, shapely rope, yes. But nonetheless it does have rope-like qualities. It was a bit hard on my fingers, but it was worth it in terms of the texture, unlike some cottons which just lie there afterwards looking like washed out garments from the Sally Ann, even before you've worn them once. Cotton is tricky, isn't it? The pattern is the Complimented Lace Hat.

The third hat is for fun and comfort too. Here is my 1840 Nightcap. I used Cabin Fever's Cotton Tweed, another cotton acrylic blend. A nice one. I bought it at the Guild meeting last month when the Fever Sisters were down from Orillia to tell us what's what.

I cast on 117 stitches instead of the 208 called for and used a 3.5 mm needle. I'm planning on knitting it again as a winter hat (maybe in some kind of Noro, knit in with Be Sweet mohair?) and adjusting the top so that it's slouchy and rounded. Theoretically, one could put ribbons or i-cord through the eyelets. The edging and eyelet sections shape the hat.

I'll mail them all as soon as the glamourous one dries.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Lost it

The first time I saw an email telling me about Daily Lit, I deleted it. The whole idea of reading a novel on email seems anathema, abominable, even blasphemous, doesn't it? Well, I've caved. I've signed up.

Essentially, Daily Lit is a service that sends you a few paragraphs of a book each day on email. You select the title (many are free) and tell it when and how often you want to receive installments. The default is daily. When you finish your daily bit, you can click on a link and have the next day's paragraphs sent to you immediately. 

I'd been trying to re-read The Pickwick Papers in connection with a translation I'm working on, but I wasn't not getting anywhere with it. The Pickwick Papers, that is. So I've signed up for Daily Lit and will see how it goes. No guarantees.

Unable to leave it at that, I just noticed that on Librivox, which provides free audiobooks from the public domain, read aloud by volunteers, you can now have a chapter a day sent to you. I signed up for that too. They have many options.

In knitting, I've also wandered off my set path and am now producing hats. I've lost track of the cardigans I was working on for the time being. Having finished 2 quick chemo caps and several pairs of socks, I am currently knitting Franklin Habit's 1840 Nightcap.  I had a skein of Cabin Fever Cotton Tweed (45% cotton, 55% acrylic) that I wanted to try out and know a few people who are probably just desperate enough to wear a cosy nightcap. I'll tell them they can wear it while watching Masterpiece Theater or something. Honestly, even though I'm in the last quarter of the knitting, I'm not sure how it will look. The edging is somewhat larger than Franklin's.

It's a DK weight and the pattern calls for something that knits up at 8 stitches to the inch. The edging motif is a 1 stitch repeat and once you get past that it just has to be divisible by 4 so you can pretty much figure it out through swatching.. I was getting 5.5 stitches to the inch with my Cabin Fever on 3.5 mm needles so I adjusted the pattern by casting on 117 stitches. Sorry no pictures yet.

Snow is back on the ground here in Western New York.  

Sunday, November 9, 2008

On the needles

I'm not as far along with my knitting as I thought I would be but this is not unusual. I thought I would finish the Heart and Sole socks at the conference and start another pair. I thought I would finish the cardigan fronts that I was working on and  cast on for the sleeves. No and no.

I did quite well with the cardigan fronts, finishing them off on the flight back from Charleston, but I left the printed pattern in my luggage and I couldn't remember what to do about the sleeves so I read a book, Virginia Nicholson's Singled Out: how two million women survived without men after the First World War.  This is a very interesting book, written almost entirely as a string of anecdotes. This makes it a good book to dip into and put aside. I keep flipping to the index and the notes were, fortunately, published with the book and not slung out on a web site somewhere. 

The print in my paperback copy is very tiny. I can't wait for my new glasses to come later this week. Anyway, this book is keeping my attention partly because I am so often reminded of my grandmothers and their sisters. Grandma Tina started a typing business in the 1920's or early 1930's and employed women at typing up electoral lists, advertisements, etc. The anecdotes in the book allow one to fill out some of background of the lives of one's own relatives, as least in imagination. I link to the Amazon UK site here because the reviews are more interesting than on the US or the Canadian Amazon. Also, the British edition has a slightly different subtitle. 

So here are the pieces of the cardigan so far. I am putting my trust into the anonymous designers of Twilley's of Stamford, but I do wonder whether this will fit or not. I also wonder how the colour pooling will seem when the different pieces are out together. I'm not going to worry about it nd that's that.

I didn't finish the socks either. I'm coming to the outside part of the skein of mohair and it's coming out a bit tangled. It requires occasional massage to make it come out straight and that is what has slowed me down. Looking at this picture makes me wonder if I wouldn't be better off inserting something into the center of the mohair skein to keep the thread unravelling neatly rather than pulling off in bunches.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Playing Hooky

I'm posting from the airport at Charlotte, North Carolina, on my way home from the Charleston Conference. This is the best connectivity I've had all week.

I was in Charleston for voting day, which was so exciting for everyone. I watched from my hotel room and went out into the lobby after 11 thinking it would be packed with revellers but it was dead quiet. I guess South Carolina is a red state. Anyway, I later had several exciting conversations about it with taxi drivers. People are really happy and hopeful.

To prime ourselves for our own presentation, my colleague and I went for a walk along The Battery. It was a beautiful day.

On the way back uptown, we stopped twice. First, we practically stumbled across the Unitarian churchyard.  We found it only by peering down a leafy narrow passageway and then daring to go in further. Annabel Lee of Poe's poem supposedly haunts this place...

Then we stopped at Knit on Wentworth Street. Of course we did. I finally bought volumes 1 to 3 of Nora Gaughan, some wooden needles for a sick friend and 2 skeins of...oh dear, I can't think of the name. Beautiful indigo laceweight merino though. Right. Malabrigo, that was it. They have obscenely overflowing bins of Malabrigo and Koigu. We ran into FiberLibrarian 
and had a good chat with her. Running out of battery power so I'll stop here.