Tuesday, September 4, 2007

!., BSODs, and KADD

Reluctantly, I'm back from vacation. This was a near perfect knitting vacation - sitting on the back of the houseboat knitting away while listening to a book that I loaded onto my iPod (why didn't I think of this sooner?). "The Golden Compass" by Phillip Pullman, a wonderful book. Technically a "juvenile" book, but like the Harry Potter series, totally enjoyable for those who are only juvenile mentally. It wasn't all knitting though. My daughter Rachel brought along two friends, Alex and Jasmine. They did this:

while I worked on the MS3 and a soon to be felted bag -

though the bag has been torn down and reworked. Twice. Hated the first two ideas, once they started shaping up. The last one is better, and I love the chocolate colored i-cord trim (thanks to Valerie K's good eye for the color choice). I did do some tubing, swimming, tanning, and jetsking too, but I won't subject y'all to those pictures. My thighs are not a visual treat.

When I returned I found out that my contract work is going in a new direction, one that involves the Java programming language. I've actually been looking forward to this, but the syntax is a bit different and I constantly screw up the "!." part. I forget the ! or the . or reverse the two, or forget the upper/lower case part of the syntax. It is sort of comforting to know that, like learning a new knitting skill, it seems awkward and odd at first, but with time and practice it will become second nature. Java is a memory pig however, so I spent the better part of a day driving to Costco, then Best Buy, then Fry's to purchase more memory for my desktop. Costco no longer carries memory in their stores, Best Buy ignored me for a good fifteen minutes before I was shown where the stuff was displayed - it was seriously overpriced and I was pretty cranky by then, so I left. Fry's had a great price, but I found out when I actually opened my case and blew out the spectacularly sized dust bunnies it wasn't the right type, so (totally cranky now) back I went for the proper version. Plugged it in and all was well until I stressed the system working on some month end reports for a client. Kapow - the blue screen of death. BSOD. Updated the bios, ran memory checks... nada. I'd forgotten how frustrating a flaky system can been because this current one has been stable as a rock. It is, however, about four years old which is positively ancient for a developer's computer. The processor speed is marginal for the work I'm doing now, so perhaps it is time to retire this one...

As a comfort measure (and because I suffer from Knitting Attention Deficit Disorder) I've been poking along on a shrug of my own design. Top down raglan style, in a lace pattern that increases nicely along the raglan lines. It took quite a few tries before I found a pattern that worked right and didn't end up with a chart that was forty rows long! This will be a shop sample, and the yarn is totally yummy - Berocco Ultra Alpaca. The colors are fabulous, all soft heathery goodness, and this particular color is a weakness for me - a gorgeous sage green.

I've also been lusting for a while now over the Kauni Cardigan (look under STRIKNING) that has been made wildly popular by the Yarn Harlot. I just wasn't so wild about the rainbow colorway - a bit too "circus-y" for me. I saw another version of the Kauni Cardi in the "EF" colorway, a beautiful range of greens, blues, and purples, so began hunting for the yarn. It doesn't seem to be available domestically at all and after a couple of weeks I gave up and ordered it from Astrid's Dutch Obsessions in the Netherlands (http://www.astridsdutchobsessions.com/) There was absolutely no problems with either language or currency, and given the distance involved the yarn arrived faster than I'd expected.
I over-ordered quantity wise - since this isn't a yarn I can just run out and grab another skein of - and three huge skeins arrived while I was at the lake. I tried winding the smallest hank and it became pretty clear that my standard sized ball winder wasn't up to the task - the ball actually popped off the winder, leaving me to finish the last 300-400 yards by hand. I mentioned my dilemma to Yvette at the shop and she came to the rescue by loaning me her jumbo ball winder, which was up to the task. Thank you Yvette - you're my hero!
Even so, it took nearly an hour and a half to wind the remaining two skeins, then wind and rewind my first attempt. The rewind of the first ball is necessary because of the pattern and the color sequence - I didn't want one of the three to have its color sequence reversed. Thats the sort of thing that will drive my little Libra brain crazy.
Here are the three completed balls.
I've put a set of 8" needles on top for scale. Yes, they are huge.
I've also made a solemn vow that I'll not start the Kauni until I've finished the felted bag, shrug, and MS3. Oh, and a washcloth or two, since it'd be pretty bad form to host a KAL and then not actually knit something! Oh, and continue to do the Java thing... Did I mention KADD?


junior_goddess said...



I've been lusting after some Kauni myself.

NightOwlKnits said...

OMG - I've not seen this before! Balmer is one scary/funny guy... This has to be a cautionary tale about geeks trying to be cool ;-)