Sunday, July 27, 2008

Big Apple knitting

The Knitternall clan is off to NYC for a last family trip before school begins (way too darned early on August 11. Hello . . . it's the South. Summer ain't cool.) It's business for T and fun for us. He's a good sport. On the other hand, he's likely not really keen on some of the fun stuff the kids have chosen for this trip. AG and I are going to try Rush tix for a matinee, A wants to live at Nintendo Power and Sony Wonder, and we're going to do the Central Park Zoo. The kids are seasoned travelers, able to walk long distances, and open to new experiences. This is like "golden age" of the Knitternall family timeline, when we all enjoy being with each other and share many interests.

For example, we love NYC. We love the crowds, the alternate reality of life there, the languages, the energy. And New Yorkers are so darned nice. Yes, that's right. Strangers on trains and passersby on the street have stopped and helped us with directions and suggestions for meals with cheer and pride.

I'm taking the Central Park Hoodie (appropriate, isn't it?) and a few dishcloths to work on during our trip. With thunderstorms predicted here in Atlanta and in NYC this afternoon, we'll likely have lots of time on the ground. The kids have books and their DS's, I have some magazines and a book of my home (plus the knitting). We'll handle it.

Have a great week. Back on Friday!

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Snopes Litmus Test

Where would I be without Snopes? I get a kazillion emails a day, forwarded by friends and family who "just received this from (fill in the blank friend/aunt/cousin/co-worker) so it has to be TRUE." I always do a Snopes-test to see if the major/mind-boggling/unbelievable/heart-tugging news has any validity.

Snopes must stay very, very busy.

My latest favorites have been:

The Case of the Misspelled Wal-Mart Cake (sent just last week as if it happened to a neighbor, but this started back in 1992!!!!).

Poor CPT Jeffrey S. Porter, reporting to family about a visit by Barack Obama to Afghanistan, with purported snubbing, etc. Didn't happen. This one came from a friend who got it from another friend, etc. etc.

And, of course, there's the chronically lost girl, Ashley Flores, who parents are pleading for help finding her via email. I get this one about every few months.

Believe me, I'm not smug about this. I've been caught in my share of urban legends. It's so embarrassing to be taken in. But that's the insidious nature of email. Before you know it, you've contributed to the story and given it even longer life.

Weird, huh.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

bpt is kaput

Bpt is toast. I was trying to get the total count of stitches at the point where there would be 46 to the middle of the second cable.


My choices were to have the correct number of total stitches but far fewer stitches to the second cable or to knit on and on and on until I had the correct number at the second cable. All of this sound like gobbledygook?

Because it is.

The increase directions are murky, the math is funky, and the investment in sheer frustration just not worth it.

So I frogged two and a half skeins worth of knitting and tossed the pattern in the trash.

I'm doing the Central Park Hoodie, a far less temperamental pattern judging by the multiple projects on Ravelry. I should have started there, but was stubborn about making Bpt work.

Casting on! Pink Wool of the Andes by Knit Picks, size 6 circulars, and my daughter's hoodie may be finished in time for Fall.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

It's always something.

Got a haircut. Way too short.

I needed a haircut. It had gotten to that "are you growing it out, or loving the shaggy-bad-hair-day-look?" stage and I had a scant 30 minute window between work and camp pick-up. So I flew into Azima, my favorite instant-gratification-no-appointment-necessary cuttery and took a chance on someone other than Nonna or Azi.

Oh, well.

A friend has had scheduled ankle surgery for most of the summer. In the week before her hospitalization, she managed to arrange both kids' schedules to the minute, prepare the house for her incapacitation (at least two weeks off her feet), arrange for a freelancer to pick up some of her graphics work backlog, and sundry other things only a mom can anticipate.

Only, the car broke down on the way back from a short weekend beach trip. (AAA totally stinks, by the way. I don't know why any of us pay them a dime. They sit in their tele-center in Florida, absentmindedly call for aid, tell you the thousand things they CAN'T do for you, and create lasting memories of sheer frustration.) They got into town at FIVE AM the day she had to meet with the anesthesiologist and sign all the dire warnings of death, dismemberment, and disability the insurance companies force us to read.

Oh, well.

I like to plan ahead because most of life can't be predicted. That's likely a good thing, since who would want the crappy things that fill the hours day in, day out?

It's always something.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Knitting grandmothers?

Sarah Jessica Parker evidently wants to create a new reality show called American Artists.

"As with any of these shows, casting will be a huge factor, but unlike Runway, where the single criteria was “able to make clothes,” American Artist could potentially include artists of all mediums, including painters, photographers, sculptors, and knitting grandmothers."

Here are a few "grandmotherly types" for her to consider.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Dunwoody firsts

Who will be the first mayor?
First City Council?
First police officers?
First to answer the phone, "Hello, Dunwoody City Hall"?
First to get a speeding ticket issued by a Dunwoody officer?
First office staff?
First zoning inspector?
First city manager?

It's fun to speculate.

T and I were having our weekly Friday morning breakfast at Olde Hickory House and joined the buzz about the election, the coming campaign, who we think will run for mayor, council, etc., etc., etc. It was a tasty conversation, reminiscent of our early married days when we were regularly engaged in campaigning and civic roles in T's home town. I like the feeling of anticipation, framed by a very pragmatic understanding of just how challenging the next few years will be. Great choices will be made. So will great mistakes. Ultimately, it's up to us, the new citizens of Dunwoody, Georgia, to play an active role in shaping our new city.

Everyone is playing "what if" . . .

  • What if Dunwoody could become a truly walkable city, with sidewalks on every major road, adequate pedestrian crosswalks, and bike lanes?
  • What if Dunwoody became one of the first truly wireless communities, with every residence and business connected with City Hall, public services, schools, and each other?
  • What if Dunwoody created our own school district? Maybe then we could have a Labor Day to June schedule (okay, that's my pet peeve).
  • What if our recycling and regular garbage was picked up by an automated truck? We had this in Greensboro and it was fabulous. We paid a fee for two gigantic garbage bins, one for recycling and one for regular stuff. You rolled them out to the curb, recyling one day and regular stuff another, one guy in a garbage truck drove by, a robot arm swung out and picked up the can, dumped it, and returned it. Awesome.
  • What if we had a streetcleaning truck and crew that drove regularly through the city, keeping curbs and drains clear of debris? Maybe then our sewers wouldn't back up so regularly. On snow days, it would turn into our own snow mover.
  • What if our town meetings had the lively air of those in New England, where every speaks up on every issue?
  • What if the city office maintained a website and blog that functioned as an EFFECTIVE, interactive communications tool? (That means someone is maintaining it and the council is actually consulting it.)
There's more. So much more. Because wishes can become policy. It'll be fun to see our city grow over the next decade.

What if Dunwoody became so desirable a place to live that "for sale" signs never stayed up more than a few days?

Oh, yeah.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Blasted Persnickety Torment (aka bpt)

I am working on bpt, and it's a completely exasperating design. The directions for the increases are so murky that I've had to frog the cardigan three times.

"Beginning with row 2 of the cable patterns, work Set Up Row [WS] as follows:
Sl 1, p1, CB, p4[5, 7, 8], CF, place marker, p4[6, 6, 6], CB, place
marker, p6[8, 9, 10], DC, p6[8, 9, 10], CF, place marker, p4[6, 6, 6], CB, place marker, p4[5, 7, 8], CF, p2.

Inc row [RS]: Sl 1, *work in patt to 1 st before first marker, k1 into st below, k1, sl marker, work cable sts in patt, k1, k1 into st below, rep from * 3 times more. [inc 8 sts each round.]

All following WS rows: Sl 1, then work all sts as they appear.

Work these two rows [the Inc Row and the WS row] 28[30, 33, 36] times more, ending on a WS row, removing the second and fourth markers on the last row -- 327[353, 383, 411] sts. If you have just completed row 4, work 2 rounds in patt without increasing."


So I stopped, started writing row by row directions, and found a PATTERN to the increases. At last.

Turns out there's actually a very clear "formula" hidden in the ridiculously terse increase directions.

Every odd-numbered round, increase as follows: at each marker - increase, K1, slip marker, cable, k1, inc. So you'll do one increase just before the stitch before the marker, then another increase after the first cable + K1.

Makes sense. Finally.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dunwoody YES! YES! YES!

Dunwoody YES! I'm so glad the vote went to cityhood. I told the kids this morning that we're present at the advent of a new city . . . how amazing is that? It might seem a bit pollyanna-ish, but I'm really excited about the possibilities and the challenges ahead. I feel a direct connection to those Founding Fathers who appreciated the need for a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people."

One of the more intriguing reactions to the cityhood movement was that it seemed odd for moderate Republicans like me to be in favor of "adding" a layer of government. I don't see cityhood that way. Instead, a City of Dunwoody means more direct government, a closer relationship between voters and elected officials, a direct correlation between taxes and services, and a mandate for greater community involvement.

Now that's what I call representative government.

Monday, July 14, 2008

There's a word for that . . .

"Knitastrophe" - what happens when you're knitting a Seaman's Cap in black wool in the dimly lit cacophany of The Fun Spot's arcade in Orlando. I dropped a stitch nearly every round of knit 1 purl 2 and finally just frogged the blasted thing.

"Knitguise" - how to camouflage metal double-points to get them through security check-in. I rubberbanded them tightly, tossed them into a bag with a pen, notepad, and needle gauge, and crossed my fingers. Either the checker is a knitter (God bless her) or actually had read the TSA advisory.

"Needle neck" - the craning, longing looks of other people as we waited through four interminable hours of delays thanks to synchronized thunderstorms in Atlanta and Orlando. I had my Seaman's Cap. They had a must-read book club recommendation that just didn't hit the spot.

"Kid magnet" - when a kid is totally bored with every nook and cranny of the boarding area (four hours will do that), anyone who knits becomes the most engrossing entertainment of all time. I had an audience of thumbsuckers, pants-tuggers, dress-lifters, and jiggle-jagglers nearly the entire time.

"Yarn exchange" - a mental calculation of just how much luscious yarn I could have bought for the cost of a single ticket to Epcot, Universal Studios, and Islands of Adventure. Combined.

"Lucky" - With Atlanta's airport shut down for four hours or so on Sunday, flights stacked from here to kingdom come, multiple cancellations, and a plane full of citizens of Ireland, England, Belgium, and more, all wanting to make connections in Atlanta and JUST GET THE HECK HOME . . . the pilot's welcome upon arrival in Atlanta - "we're all lucky to be here" - was certainly heartfelt and appreciated.

Honestly, the Knitternall Clan had a wonderful time in Orlando. We made new memories, walked about 20 miles in 2 and a half days, and are thankful for every moment together.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Dunwoody YES!

I LOVE early voting! I stopped in at Brook Run Park to cast my vote for Dunwoody cityhood. So easy. So important.

The sky-is-falling crowd is out in force, trying at the last minute to turn the tide. Eek! Taxes might go up! Forecasts might be off! Change is scary!

Hello. Self-determination. That's really what it's all about.

When an elected official wants to file a lawsuit because the election is racist (Dunwoody isn't diverse enough for his taste? Walk the halls of Peachtree Charter Middle School. We have the most diverse public school in the county, bar none, and superlative academic achievements.), I just sigh.

When business groups say DeKalb County takes better care of them than Dunwoody would, I have to wonder at their naivete.

When writers to our local Dunwoody Crier fret about increased taxes, I shrug. Ten years from now, either we'll be paying DeKalb County or the City of Dunwoody. At least now there will be a direct correlation between taxes paid and services rendered.

I'm not wearing rose-colored glasses. I expect there will be challenges ahead. But they'll be OUR challenges.

Dunwoody? Yes!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Plane knitting

Normally, the Knitternall clan is not much into spontaneity. We have issues. There's the "gotta plan it" mentality of the parents, the busy-ness of the girl child's summer schedule of camps, friends, and pool time, and the everpresent Crohn's flare-ups and AP World History assignments for the teen.


T and I decided on Tuesday that it's time to go to Orlando. We haven't been back since the dreadful trip five years ago, when A was in such excruciating pain and we couldn't figure out what was happening to him. A few short months later, diagnosis, perforations, surgeries, septic shock, etc. etc. etc. Now we'd like to replace those days with some happy memories, especially since A has been somewhat stable lately.

Decided Tuesday, booked tickets and hotel last evening, packed today, and we're flying off in the morning.


We'll spend four days hitting the parks and having a blast. AG saw a castle last visit and asked if we could ever stay there. Eureka! Room available and booked. Epcot, DisneyQuest, Islands of Adventure . . . since we're hopping from Mouseland to Universal Mayhem, staying off-property makes good sense. We're packing light and rarin' to go.

On the needles for the trip: Seaman's Cap in black wool for A and a baby hat for one of the bloomin' youngin's coming this November. Easy knits for tight quarters on the plane and sure to keep me from thinking about takeoffs, landings, bumpy air, maintenance hiccups, weather delays, overbooked flights, crazy people trying to shove their entire wardrobes into the overhead bins, and all the other fun of flying.

Whoo-hoo! Can't wait to play!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The fruits of knitting labor

Few things in life feel better than the afterglow of hard work. Maybe the physical labor is thanks to a hobby or volunteer project. Maybe it's a matter of paying the bills. In any case, a long shower, good meal, and deep sleep are never better than when you're deeply exhausted, the job is done, and there's nothing to do for the next few hours - or days.

My kicking back from community special eventing has involved much knitting. I cast on and finished the Bold and Bulky Mini-Cardi from Fitted Knits, finished my Baby Surprise Jacket and Boxed handbag (a new custom design I'll share soon), and gathered materials for a bpt for my daughter. I'm on a roll - several things are in the queue and I'm thinking Christmas gifts at this stage.

Baby Surprise Sweater: Araucania Multi with size 4 needles
Bold and Bulky Mini-Cardi: 3 skeins charcoal and 2 skeins black Lion Wool Ease Thick & Quick
bpt: 10 skeins Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in a light pink

Friday, July 4, 2008

God bless

Why is the after of a special event even more work than the before? Maybe because it's easier to pull things together than to put them back. We've spent the week restoring the Nature Center to "normal," in the midst of float prep, accounting, one summer camp session, and considerable weariness. But we're back . . .

Today is the 4th of July. Our flag is flying here at home and in our hearts. Soon, the family will head to St. Luke's Presbyterian Church to staff the water table during the Dunwoody Parade, keeping 100+ entries hydrated as they wind down Mt. Vernon Road to the Village. Tonight is fireworks in Chamblee's Keswick Park, the most awesome, old-fashioned celebration we've enjoyed since moving to Atlanta.

God bless America and thank you, thank you, thank you to our amazing people in uniform stationed here and abroad.