Saturday, September 30, 2006

Wheel of WIPs!

I played with my new-to-me wheel this week, with interesting results. Here's some underspun 2-ply made from overspun singles:

My second attempt produced a chunky version:I'm still having trouble with overspinning. I need to work on the feeding motion, rather then letting all that extra twist build up on the yarn.

Alright, so I gave up on the whole WIPs only diet. It was sooooo boring!! It's one thing to be so enamored of a project you just can't put it down. It's something else entirely when you're not feeling the love. I felt like I was going to scream if I couldn't cast on for something new soon. I swear my stash was taunting, "Knit me! Knit me!" the whole time. So what's the damage? This new projects (along with my excuse):It's a felted bag with Paton's Classic Merino and Bernat Bling as a carry-along yarn. I can proudly say that this knit is going to be for charity. Doesn't that mean I'm morally obligated to cast on?
I'll also need to get started on a Shetland Chunky scarf for my cousin who is emigrating to Canada (the Philippines is empty now, eh?). Again, this is for a good cause, 'cuz it ain't easy moving from the tropics to the great white north.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Too Cute

An action shot of the sheepy blanket with it's brand new owner. This is just too sweet...I think I've got a toothache!

Here endeth the knitting content for this post. Techno phobes, avert your eyes.

Now on to something less cuddly, but to my geeky eyes, still quite adorable: I got me one of these:
No, it isn't a toaster. It's a Netgear Storage Central (SC101). Once upon a time when I was working on getting tech certifications, I built a little server to practice putting hardware together and installing software and other fun stuff like that. After the exams were all taken, I used the box as an all purpose file/print/DHCP server. Sadly, my mighty little server didn't make it through our recent electrical crisis. I'm not sure whether it's just the OS partition that's bad or the whole drive or if it's something else. A day's worth of troubleshooting yielded lots of different (and conflicting!) error messages, and fickle creature that I am, I gave up on it pretty easily. I turned on the DHCP service in my router and got this little e-toaster thing for data sharing:
( front, back and inside views) The front has a weird little twist latch attaching the bezel to the case. There's even a little drawing that says to use a coin to untwist it. The back has ports for ethernet port (10/100) and power, plus a reset slot for paperclipping. On the inside, there's (just barely enough) room for 2 IDE drives. There's no fan, just passive cooling via two big heatsinks:
1. Simplicity.
2. Small footprint.
3. Low noise. You hear the drives spinning but that's about it.
4. Price. It's about $90-120, without a drive, though there are deals with bundled drives.
5. Extensive features. I haven't tried any of these, but apparently the SC101 can mirror disks, and also span volumes across disks, and even span across multiple SC101s.

1. Non-standard disk format. If this device dies, I can't just pop the disk into my desktop to retrieve data.
2. Proprietary software required. You need to install Netgear's software to get to your data. You can't just browse through network in Windows Explorer.
3. Heat. Passive cooling is silent but less effective at heat dissipation. I'm worried this might be a problem in the summer.
4. Fewer security options. From what I can tell, it's either on or off. Having a full-fledged server offered more granular security options.
Conclusions: It's good for what I'm using it for: file serving. For data backup, I'm less convinced. The non-standard format really bothers me. What if it breaks? How do I get my stuff off of there? I'm sticking to optical media for now.

Now, if I can only find a way to network an unnetworkable printer, everything will be back to normal.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Reconstruction Ramblings

I am not a tidy person. I'm a pack rat and a yarn pig and a receipt saver and a whole bunch of other things that tend to make my personal space an absolute mess. Now that the electrical problems are fixed, I'm in the midst of putting all my stuff back where it was. I would kill for the managable mess that it was before! Especially since I was extremely naughty on Ebay last month and I now need room for this:
It's a used Louet S10 (or possibly S15) that took the slow boat from Holland and arrived at my house last weekend. I'm a neophyte spinner so putting it together was an interesting little puzzle. I think I got it right...mostly. It's making all the right spinning movements without any creaks or squeaks. If anyone sees anything wrong, please tell me! Maybe next weekend, I'll have time to try it out.

I finished the Inner Truth scarf for ISE3! Here's blocking pic:
I completely forgot about my blocking wires. The thought of sticking a few dozen pins into this thing should have jogged my memory. And here's the finished pic:
Pattern: Inner Truth (Magknits Sept. '06)
Yarn: Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool, dyed with food dye
Needles: Size 8 Boye 10" straights (from my very first knitting set, Awwwww!)
I blocked it to 6" wide. It grew way more in length than I anticipated: from 48" to 58". I hope my ISE3 spoilee doesn't mind it being almost 5 feet long, especially since she said she wanted a 4 foot scarf. The pattern is a nice, fairly easy cable. I really want to knit this scarf again, maybe with an LT on one side to balance the RT on the other. Whether I tweak the pattern or now, I'm excited about any chance to use hand dyes! Yay! Speaking of which, what should I do with the leftover yarn? There was also way more of that than I anticipated - about 70g worth.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Stash Separation Therapy

My yarn is in hiding, at least until the electricians leave. I didn't realize I would miss having all those random balls and needles and projects hanging around. As promised, I have been working only on WIPs since my last post. It's all fairly dull and un-photo worthy. It's a good thing I have this beauty to show off instead:
And a peek at the back:
This is the fruit of many hours of labor on the part of the knitting group at work. It's for a former coworker who is expecting a little girl any day (minute??) now. The pattern is the Counting Sheep Blanket from Easy Baby Knits. The book calls for it to be knit in strips, but we did separate blocks instead, so as to spread the work out. I made a couple of plain block and a fuzzy sheep block. You probably can't tell from the pictures, but the sheep are sooooo cute!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Wide World of WIPs

We've had some electrical problems at the house recently (see the venting post, if you dare!), and there is an electrician coming later this week to rewire stuff and add some outlets. My computer stuff will have their own dedicated switch in the fuse box. This is really great, except that my stash is in the way of the old outlets. The next few evenings are going to involve a lot of creative stash hiding - in closets, the spare bedroom, wherever. This little home improvement thing has also shed light on my embarrasing WIP situation. So, to keep my self honest, I'll make this pledge publically: I will not to cast on for anything new until the following projects are done:
1. Inner Truth - this has a deadline, so it's at the top of the list. It's about 20" and my Scarf Exchange spoilee wants a 4 footer.
2. Icarus - this is getting kinda pathetic. I have to put this tragic figure to rest already!
3. Striped Manos/Lopi felted bag - I had forgotten about this until this weekend. It needs the straps sewn in and then it's got a date with the washing machine.
4. Felted Shibori Scarf - stalled at ball 3 of 4
5. Funky Tank Top - still no neck and arm bands! That's really all that's left to be done.
I was going to promise to do them in order, but total project monogamy, even for brief stints, is too painful to contemplate. Fickle fickle me. Don't think these are all my WIPs. I'm sure there are more waiting to be rediscovered in my stash. I could have sworn there was felted messenger bag I started who knows when....

Sunday, September 10, 2006


The International Scarf Exchange 3 swap is underway! I heard from both my spoiler and my spoilee and of course I couldn't wait to get started:
This is Inner Truth from the new Magknits. I'm using some of my dyed Fisherman's Wool. the pattern is easy and to my surprise, I actually do like the cable pattern in a variegated yarn. Here's a fuzzy close up:
There are outer cables with a triple twisted inner cable. I like it, though I'm hoping the cable might pop out a bit more with blocking.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Venting (skip if you hate techno babble)

If you've emailed me since Friday and are still looking for a response, please resend your message.

Your earlier messages probably met a sad end yesterday. I have been with this local ISP since 1995 and I've grown attached to my email addy. Even though I now get internet access through the world's most huggable cable behemoth (Comcast), I can't bear to part with the old address (well, really I just can't bear to change my email at every website I have ever registered with). Anyhoo, I lost access to my mailbox mysteriously on Saturday so I did a little troubleshooting on my own to make sure it wasn't on my end. The mail server was accepting my password but it wouldn't let me see any of the mail headers. The error looked something like this:

ERR [SYS/PERM] Unable to process From lines (envelopes), change recognition modes or check for corrupted mail drop.

After several attempts over several days (it's a small company plus it was a holiday weekend), I finally got a phone tech to see that 1. I do know how to use email, 2. it's not the password, 3. it's not the spam filter (where did that come from??) and that 3. the problem is with the box. Finally, last night a tech calls back and says the mailbox was corrupt (duh!) and they had to delete it (arghh!) and set up a new one (finally!).

And here's the best part: just as I was talking to the last tech, the power goes out in the house. The world's most huggable power company (Pepco) had shut down our power because they were trying to fix this wee little problem of water trickling into our fuse box from their line. So I'm standing in the dark, listening to the guy who just deleted four days worth of my unread email. But wait! There's more. I get off the phone (I was unfailingly calm - I save all my rage for this blog), the power comes back on and I try to boot up my desktop. No go. Unplug, replug. Nope. Unplug, replug of the UPS. Nada. Cursing. Nothing. The power cut off had apparently killed the power supply, though how that happened through the UPS is yet another mystery. Considering my recent run of luck, I will leave that mystery alone and just replace the power supply. I wonder what will break next...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Labor Day Labors

Here's one mission accomplished:
The Endless Afghan is now officially The Ended Afghan (or The Afghan Formerly Known As Endless, if you wanna be real formal). It's a couple of repeats shy of what the pattern calls for, and I've got the 3/4 of a ball of Jiffy left to prove it, but I'm just glad it's off the needles. It's big enough as it is. Now that it's done, I've recovered some Needlemaster parts: two cords and a pair of size 11 tips. Hooray, I can make more WIPs!

In other knitting news, I made a hat to match the Sassy Striped scarf:
Pretty cunning, eh? This reminds me that it's about time to get started on the winter holiday knitting. I will try to behave and treat this as an opportunity to stash dive, instead of yarn shop!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Mia Can't Count

I frogged the second Fetching because I so cleverly cast on the wrong number of stitches. My cast-on logic must have been, "If there are fewer stitches, I'll get done sooner!" It made sense at the time **head scratching**. Good thing I'm not too far along.

I'm making progress on the Funky Tank Top. The front and back are done and sewn up:
I have to do the neck and armbands now. The colors are growing on me, even the creepy puke green. I hope it looks ok to my cousin too, or Jersey Baby might never get to wear it.

The alpaca scarf is halfway there. It's just stocking stitch with a garter stitch border, so I'll spare you the new photo. I just started ball 3 of 4. The pattern only calls for 3 balls, but the scarf looks so short in the picture. Plus, I had four balls in my stash anyway, so why not go long?

For this long weekend, I have resolved to do the following:

1. Finish the Endless Afghan from (gasp!) two years ago. I've decided to call it quits with the lace part and knit the garter stitch border. It's plenty long enough as it is anyway.

2. Fix Icarus (remember Icarus??). I seem to mess up more and more the closer I get to the end.