Monday, July 30, 2007

Coasting in to Paris

Just in time, I finished the cotton sweater. It's not perfect, but it's meant to be a knock-about sweater, so it's perfect enough. The Middle Teen, who's modeling this shot, wants me to make another, same body size but smaller sleeves, for her, which really means it must be close enough to perfect.

Whew. Now I'll take a rest day and then go back to MS3 (moving into the slow bee lane, because I need to add length to both the black and the white versions) and Vog On.

Dad's here, the last gasp of gardening before shmita is being done, one kid is starting summer vacation and the other is ending it--never a dull moment.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Knitter down!

Can you spot the mistake in the last of my TdF knitalong WiPs?


If you noticed that one shoulder slope was much wider than the other, you're more observant than I.

The sweater is going for dope testing. If it tests clean, I'll knit up the missing piece and graft it on. If not--off the team with it.

Vog On has been cast on. I never did expect to finish these by the end of TdF, so I'm happy enough to have just spun the yarn and started it.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Tour de France: Elimination rounds

Before this post, two members of the team which started TdF had been eliminated: the Clapotis Cap and the Mock Croc socks, neither of which had the staying power to remain on the needles throughout the Tour.

Today another member of the team was eliminated: the stained glass toddler sweater.

I'm not entirely thrilled with this sweater. The pattern writer was trying so hard to make the pattern simple to read, but with a little more details, things like the arm holes would have been much easier. Oh, well, it's for the gift stash, so I'll just let it stew in its own juices for a while.

Still in the ride is the cotton sweater which needs sleeves and 'Vog On, whose yarn I'm almost through plying (which will mean the rainbow batt will be eliminated from the Tour de Fleece team, making room for the brown Romney to take the lead.)

MS3 Black is still riding in the team car. Clue 3 done, but since the final clue won't be out when TdF is over, there's no way it's crossing the finish line.

MS3 white is in the car, too, but in the back seat, with Clue 1 a few lines away from being finished.

Something else is getting done around here. Though the Yarn Harlot may complain about teens who want to veg all day, my teens are an industrious lot.

My garden, she is a mess. Shmitta is coming up. Dad is coming for 3 months. Teens to the rescue.

They moved a tree-let that had been languishing in the shade cast by our big willow and built it a terrace
and they hauled scavenged stones and paving bricks to create this nice little herb garden and path under my office window.

Of course there is still tons of work to do, but they're making a good start. And the TV hasn't been turned on in months!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Kntting into the Mystery (week 2)

Clue #2 is done on I am Mysterious (Black).
Unblocked lace. So pretty. Not.
I am Mysterious (White) is up to Row 80 on Chart B (Clue 1). I'll probably not catch up with that one until the Harry Potter break week.

Skein #1 for the Rainbow 'Vog On socks is done, so I'm halfway through what I wanted to accomplish on the Tour de Fleece and will definitely have the yarn to finish all my Tour de France KAL team projects.
As soon as I finished the two remaining WiPs in the hopper , I can cast on; by then I should be finished plying the second skein.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

TdF stage 2: roving to socks

The polka dot jersey crowd keeps climbing hills in the Tour de France KAL, and from the top of hill #2 I report FO #2 -- Mock Croc socks for The Spouse.
Mock Croc socks


Mock Croc Socks

Pattern from Knit Picks

Yarn: Lang Jawool Color Superwash color 82.0202

Purchased: March, 2006, in Athens, Greece

And in preparation for the hardest TdF hill (and pedaling away on Tour de Fleece), yarn for 'Vog On is nearly done. Singles have been spun, and plying has commenced.

And in non-KAL knitting, proof that I am a total masochist. I decided my Mystery Stole 3 in black was too delicate for everyday wear, so I also cast on in a sturdier white yarn, with white beads (sturdy and subtle--hey, that's what people say about me!). Here's Clue A done.

No walking tour this week. Instead we went to Jerusalem to take advantage of a credit card offer for 50% off glasses in exchange for points. Still ended up spending 760 shekel on glasses for the Middle Teen, but they are nice kallah maidel glasses. Not that I want guys to make passes at her, despite the best bets amongst her friends being that she'll be engaged this time next year, to a boy she has yet to meet...

Sunday, July 08, 2007

F'ing the O on the TdF

First mountain climbed on the Tour de France KAL. The Clapotis Cap is done. The Middle Teen doesn't love it -- says it looks too much like a hat a married woman would wear -- but she'll take it. Oh, well, they can't all be the stunning successes Skully was.
Tour de Fleece progress: another color of the rainbow spun. 2 more to go.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Shvil Yisrael, around Elad

Some sections of the Israel National Trail are beautiful, like Apollonia. Some are decidedly less beautiful, like this week's walk. We took up where we left in February (which I have yet to blog about, since we did the walk just before my mother's final illness. Must. Remember. To. Backpost.), at the town of Elad.

Elad is a religious community which has won awards for its beauty and landscaping. And just outside its fence--yuck. We parked at the outer edge of the town, just near the entrance, since our starting point was about a quarter kilometer out of town.

We started at what's a not-uncommon sight in Israel: a memorial to a mother and daughter killed in a road accident.

(One of the problems with the trail is maintenance. If the weeds in front of this rock hadn't been tramped down, we never would have found the path.)

After a short distance you get to the one pretty thing on this walk: Mazor Mausoleum National Park. (Yes, it's a National Park. Yes, it's about the size of some people's driveways. As they say, Velcome to Izreal.)
We were unsure of the mausoleum's status vis a vis a cohen and ritual impurity, so I went in, but The Spouse stayed outside.
(Remember the window in this picture. It will be important later. There will be a quiz on this.)

The inside is two rooms. In the first there are the remains of two sarcophaguses and a mahrab (Muslim prayer niche), which is part of the reason it's still standing.
The other room is difficult to get into without assistance or a stepladder. It's a columbarium. I loved the built-in stone staircase. The windows in the earlier picture belong to this room.
One of the cisterns outside the mausoleum. Wouldn't want to have to drink from this...

Here's where we leave anything pretty behind. Can you see the Trail marking on teh stone?
You spend a short while walking on the old road.
Carefully look to your left as you walk, because the turn off is not marked. See the marking on that first tree? That's as much warning as you get. You should be OK as long as you remember that this section skirts the outside fence of Elad. When the fence turns, you turn, too.

(Note: Wear closed shoes on this portion of the trail. These green things are very sharp. A certain idjit [yes, that would be me] wore sandals and regretted it immensely.
Another reason for closed shoes: there's a wadi just outside Elad. Easier to navigate the rocky bottom in something other than sandals.)

At the end of the wadi you turn, seemingly away from Elad (we'll rejoin the fence line soon). The turn is marked, but not too well--it's on one of the big rocks in the background.

Obstacle course!

When you get to the dirt road, turn left (sign is on the fence). If you make the wrong turn you'll end up back at the main road and can return to Elad.

When you get to a fork in the road, take it. Another piece of bad signage, on a tree; take the left fork, rejoining the fence line of Elad.

It's very nice of KKL to provide garbage bags when people use the woods for gatherings and cookouts. Too bad KKL never sends anyone around to collect the bags...

Here's where we ended our walk for the week. We were getting hot and cranky. Taking a summer walk in a beautiful setting is one thing; this is quite another.

Knitting: Mystery Stole 3 has the second clue out, and tomorrow night I start the Tour de Fleece and Tour de France KAL. Whole lot of needle shaking gonna happen after Shabbat.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Setting the baseline

Two big, active -alongs coming up this weekend: Tour de Fleece and the Tour de France KAL.

For the KAL, I've entered in the polka dot jersey section. I'm going to try and finish up all my WIPs aside from Mystery Stole 3, which I obviously can't until the last clue is issued.


Clockwise, from top left: Grafton Fibers rainbow bat to be spun for Tour de Fleece and then knitted into 'Vog Ons for The Youngest Teen, a Clapotis Cap for the Middle Teen to match her revamped Clapotis, mock-croc socks for The Spouse, a cotton sweater that was supposed to be for me but now will probably be shared by the female Teens, and a Toddler Stained Glass sweater for the gift stash.

Knitting into the Mystery--clue 1 complete. (Bear in mind that, as innernetz wisdom has it, unblocked lace looks like boiled Avraham Shmuel Schnidman. And yes, that's a real person's name, though I may have misspelled the surname. My nephew went to TA in Baltimore with the boy, and yes, they did make fun of the initial.) Mystery Stole, mystery yarn pulled out of a dumpster when a neighbor decided he had a whole stock of yarn unsuitable for commercial hat making, sz 4 needles from a collection given to me in Florida by a woman who collected all the needles people in her senior community had stopped using due to eyesight deterioration or due to death. Recycling at its finest:

And in the garden, my birthday gift. Yes, this year of mourning I'm not supposed to get gifts, but given what it is, I guess this is OK. (In any case, I bought it and paid for it myself, from my own salary, so it's not really a gift.)

No, it's not a Dalek in the making, though Blue Peter does have instruction for making it into one. (But really, Uncle Rusty, could that finale have been any more lame? Doctor Tweedy Bird? Doctor Jeebus?) My very own composter! Ever since I read about composting during shmitta, I've been lusting after my own solution to next year's let 'em rot problem. And it's right outside my neighbor's teen-age boys hang-out, where the delinquents of the yishuv start gathering about 11 pm every blessed night, so it may kill two birds with one plastic box.