Seeing Double (Knit)

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Seeing double? Yes. This is a repost after my broken link today. But also double, because these are similar pictures of my current knitting project that has taught me two valuable lessons.

Although the pictures look the same, they are the front and back of the double knit scarf I am making. Double knit means that I am knitting both sides of the piece at the same time and it gives me finished sides no matter how it is seen. Pretty cool.

But this is my first time at double knitting and I have learned that first, I must let go of my perfectionist tendencies or I will never have a scarf, because perfect doesn’t finish. Second, I must trust the pattern, even if it takes a long time to see it working.

To the first point, I tried several cast on techniques and knit several rows of this scarf four times before I got exactly the color repeat and tension I wanted. At the point in the scarf pictured here, I have repeated the pattern three times and I have several mistakes within the first couple of rows. There are not only places where I purled when I should have knit (leaving little bumps showing when it should be smooth “Vs” of knit stitches), but there are also a few places where I have knit the wrong pattern sequence, leaving my blues and grays a bit out of alignment. The perfectionist in me wants to rip this out and start again. The part of me that is working on a “good enough” strategy that actually gets things done is going to win out on this one. (If it were a gift for someone, I would probably start again.)

Then there is the lesson of trusting the pattern. (I picked up this pattern on Ravelry but it can be found directly from Jessica’s Tumblr site  here if you don’t have a Ravelry account. She even posted a video for me to help me with a question.) Since this was my first time following a knitting chart, I wasn’t sure what I was doing. The little block of colored squares was less than informative as to how it would really work out. Sure I had seen a finished product, but I still didn’t understand how to work this pattern. Or what it would really look like once I got into it.

Since I was struggling with my cast ons and figuring out the whole knit/purl sequence of double knitting, I had no confidence that this would look like any kind of pattern. It took working through a complete cycle to see the pattern emerge and then two more to get confidence in knitting it.

So… letting something be good enough and trusting the pattern seem like pretty good lessons. And maybe they are good lessons for more than knitting. What do you think?

Stalking Lion

When Apple announced months ago that a new desktop operating system (Lion) was coming out and that it would work well with the IOS5 iPhone system AND play well with Apple’s new iCloud all for the low, low price of $29.99 for ALL of my computers, I knew I would get it.

However, from past experience I also knew how painful upgrades could be. Being on the cutting edge means you bleed. Sometimes a lot. So, I drag my feet a little longer these days.

Mostly, I wasn’t sure how Lion would affect my other computer programs. Once I read enough forum posts saying that my version of Microsoft Office (2008) would still work and my writing software Scrivener had created a update to work with Lion, I was ready.

First, I downloaded and installed it on my son’s laptop. Smooth sailing. Then mine — piece of cake. Then kid’s desktop and my desktop — brakes skidding hard. Apparently we didn’t have enough RAM to handle the system. It requires 2Gig and both desktops only had 1. So, a quick order from Other World Computing, two easy installs and I was on my way to having four Lions in my house. Yay!

All that took place this weekend, as we also upgraded our phones to the 4S and the kids got our hand-me-downs.  I haven’t had time to try out all the bells and whistles, but I do already use and love Launch Pad. With three fingers and my thumb pinching together across my touchpad, all my Applications are brought up on the screen. I LOVE being able to easily and quickly open an App that is buried in my folder. Plus, I finally am seeing the benefit of multiple desktops, or Spaces and those areas are easily accessed through Mission Control. I could explain it, but Dave Caolo at Tuaw does it better.

I’ll play with it more later, including figuring out the iCloud. But for now, I must get to work. All systems are go and so far, no major issues with my software.

Are you a Mac user? Have you made the switch to Lion? Own an iPhone and upgraded to ios5? What do you think? Are things working well or are you about to give it all up and go back to pen and paper and pay phones?

Now Read This: Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter

I love a story that draws me in and won’t let me go until I have turned the last page. Tom Franklin’s Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter is such a novel.

It is a story about two men who were failed boyhood friends due to race, prejudice, and lies. Twenty-plus years ago, Larry and Silas were young boys and friends for a brief period of time. Larry white and Silas black. This was the 1970s in Mississippi and prejudices were strong, whether against the color of one’s skin, economic standing, or the ability to fit in with the norm. These put strain on the boy’s friendship which was finally broken by tragic circumstances.

When Larry took a girl on a date and she was never seen again, he became the town pariah, even though he never confessed and no charges were filed against him. Silas moved away and worked hard to forget about his past and Larry.

Now, Silas has returned to serve as the town’s constable and another girl has disappeared. As expected, Larry is the prime suspect. But Silas is skeptical and works to solve the current crime. To do so he must examine not only the facts of the case but also his own past in order to bring to light the truth of both his and Larry’s character.

While light on suspense, the story unfolds in a way that keeps you turning pages as it doles out clues and details in perfect rhythm. Each chapter further reveals the facts and the complex relationship between Silas and Larry.

Franklin’s prose is perfectly balanced, allowing description and dialogue to anchor us firmly in small town Chabot, Mississippi. And although it doesn’t make the social statement or have the impact of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, this is an American novel in that fine tradition.

Socks and scarf

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I love self-striping yarn!

I finished my socks Monday (three days earlier than anticipated) and began knitting on my orange and black poncho. Although I had carefully marked on the pattern where I had left off (five years ago), I read the pattern wrong and knit for about 15 rounds before I figured out my error. Deciding that it would be easier to start again than to figure out where I went wrong with that fuzzy, flubby yarn, I ripped it out to start over. At a later date. I have packaged the yarn and stored it away.

So, I am working on one of my scarves. It is Bernat bamboo yarn that is wonderfully soft in my hands and I cant wait to finish it. I’ll take a picture of it and post an update of it soon.