Thursday, August 31, 2006

Commuting and Sports

I don't usually commute at the normal rush hours in NYC. Don't get me wrong, my lines are usually always busy but at least at non-normal rush hours they are not packed like sardine cans. So even while standing I often can get some simple knitting done.

To get a seat going home on the final subway line I use to get to Queens I can take the 7 train from Grand Central on the east side of Manhattan to the last stop at Times Square on the west side. That also indicates if the train is a local or express depending on the track it is on at Times Square. Since the signs on the trains are not changed at each end of the line to indicate whether the train will be traveling as a LOCAL or EXPRESS. So to those who travel that line all the time, you can tell what track you are arriving on by the location of the station wall. Sometimes the stationmaster decides to keep everyone on their toes by sending the train on the usually LOCAL track out as an EXPRESS.
The conductor does announce whether the train is LOCAL or EXPRESS but that is after the mandatory liteny of connections that can be made at the stop and if the speakers are working. Often when the doors open at a stop while the conductor may be going over the connections, the incoming passengers will be asking "Local or Express?" to those already on the train.

This is as you may know, Tennis season at the US Open. Where do the matches take place? In Queens in a stadium located at the same stop on the 7 train as Shea Stadium where the Mets play. Needless to say the favorite time of year for 7 train commuters is when Baseball season is on and there is a home game AND it is US Open season.

The transit authority will run "special" trains to end at that stop which is only a few stops from the normal end of the line in Flushing at Main Street.
So that makse it worse for normal commuters that they may not hear the announcement. Then there are all the new travelers on the 7 train. Who of course have not bothered to check on what stop they need or anything. Even if they know what stop they may naively think that the train signs mean something. So you feel sorry for them and explain that the signs don't mean anything and to listen for the announcement. Some of them are nice but some of them just whine about the train line, etc. Gets your hackles up since it is your line and you deal with the issues all the time. These people complain and they even get special treatment from the MTA with the special trains. Grrrrr!

Just imagine a subway car full of normal commuters, Mets fans in team shirts,etc. and tennis fans. An extremely odd combination.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

On A Lighter Note

During my lunch break I was listening to the Lime N' Violet podcast. These two women are obsessed with yarn and fiber. This is a hysterical podcast. I was listening to an older episode and was laughing so hard that my eyes were tearing! They have a cafepress store where you can pick up a mug or shirt or bag with some in joke sayings from the podcasts.

Note that these two might be funnier to women then men but they are funny nonetheless! At minimum you laugh at the amount of fun they are having doing the podcast.

What A Week .. So Far

This has not been my week. It started with Sunday waiting 3 hours for a car to take my Mom and myself back to Queens from Chinatown and her doctor's appointment. Monday was not much better. There were accidents at home that delayed me from leaving for work. Then the trains were worse than normal.
Tuesday I had alot of "fun" at work. When I arrived home after having trouble with the subway, I found that my cat had barfed on the living room carpet (again).
Wednesday was confusion day. Confusion at the office and then Mom confusion. She had got it in her head that we were having beef hamburgers for dinner and that the aide had put them back up into the freezer. Since she did not see them in the fridge. Probably because we were having turkey burgers that were in a zip bag that was "hiding" in that fridge. So Mom decided to help by taking the package of beef hamburgers out of the freezer and leaving it out to thaw on the kitchen counter. These miraculously completely thawed out and were warm in the hour it took me to arrive home. Needlesss to say those went into the garbage.
That night my knitting was all screwed up too. I had messed up a scarf I am trying to knit for a breast cancer drive when I was commuting. I had also attempted to cast on for a blanket I am making for a friend. I kept losing count or messing up the cast on or had a problem when attempting the first pattern row. Needless to say that got ripped out several times. I have now cast on and I am leaving it alone until I can practice the pattern on something else.

This morning I realized why there were puffs of cat hair on my carpet even though we have been vacuuming. The roller must be clogged. With Mom, myself and the cat you can imagine there might be quite alot of hair flying around. When I looked at the vacuum cleaner roller it was pathetic! There was hardly any part of the brushes still protuding. It took me quite awhile to remove all the hair and put the vacuum back together.

I hope to fix the mistakes I made on the charity scarf so I have something to keep me calmer on the commute.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Nothing is Ever Easy

I had decided to try and start a simple scarf for the Think Pink - Breast Cancer project :

AC Moore had a sale on Red Heart Soft acrylic yarn and it does seem very soft. I thought it might be soothing and the pink was very nice.

I didn't like any of the scarf patterns I had seen and decided to look at the stitch patterns in some of the books I have and try to find something interesting but not too complex to use. I really liked this moss stitch and stockinette stitch box pattern and tried it. Looks pretty nice. The pattern consists of 20 rows so that is a bit daunting to keep track of. Definitely need a counter of some kind.

Of course as medium weight yarn it needed size 8 needles. At this point I have several projects going on at the same time so I did not have any spare needles.
I had picked up a set of size 8 KNITLITE needles to try. These are the plastic needles with the lighted tips that help you knit was the light is dim. These are long but I cast on and tried them out. They are nice but I haven't had a chance to really try out the lighted tips. However since they are long it is not easy to take them with me.

I had to take my mom to a doctor's appointment and I packed all the items to keep mom busy and entertained while waiting but I did not take the knitting since I was a little afraid of breaking the needles with everything else I was carrying. So what happens? Doctor took 15 minutes to examine mom and ask her about things. He suggested doing a procedure he does once a year to test her but she opted to do it the next time we see him. I call the car service for a return trip and wait for a call back on the car assigned, etc. And wait, and wait. No knitting with me to keep me calmer and doing something useful.

I call back in 45 minutes and the problem is that no cars are responding to the broadcasted assignment, and not too many cars are working that day (a Sunday). Anyway, you can guess that I would wait, call back and wait again several times. I would have called another car service but this is paid for by her managed care plan, if I had called another car service I would have to pay out of pocket and not get reimbursed.
*sigh* I checked my wallet and I had enough to pay a car if necessary. We were now at almost 3 hours waiting. I called again using my cell phone out in the hall and as I was on hold for the dispatcher, the doctor's office assistant came out and told me that they had just called with a car number to arrive in 8 minutes.

Nothing is ever Easy.

Meanwhile I needed to be home to clean up and organize my bedroom since we had received a notice from the building management that bed bugs have been found in several apartments and the exterminators would be visiting to check the apartments in my line of the building. The notice was left on Friday for a Monday morning visit. Typical.

Of course I also had alot of the other errands I had to do for the house that I did not finish on Saturday.

This is Monday and I am waiting. I managed to clean up my bedroom quite a bit (still needs work) but everything that they need to do can be done now. I made room. :-)

I am tired and have tons of work waiting for me at my job. I called in and let them know that I will probably not be in til the afternoon. Just more to do in less time.

Nothing is Ever Easy.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

First Irish Scarf Progress

Well I am now at about 31 inches in length and still using the first skein of yarn.

The device attached to the closeup pic is a simple row counter. Not perfected. It does not prevent beads from moving onto or off the inner counting ring. The pattern is 8 rows ending with the cable row. So when taking it with me and working on it while commuting I try to complete the 8 rows or know that the next row is to be the cable row. I can't count the rows correctly from end of one pattern group to another.

I am home today since the Dental Deep Cleaning on the right side of my mouth was pretty intense yesterday. My mouth was sore and I was so uncomfortable I had trouble sleeping and felt pretty bad this morning. I slept for most of the day and awoke to hearing construction going on in the next apartment. Looks like they did a good job of cleaning the hallway when they finished for the day. I just hope the noise is not too bad while they continue.

I just joined the second blog doing a KAL for the same Irish Hiking Scarf. Pretty cool.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Resistance is Futile

A.C.Moore crafts store was having a sale on Lionbrand Wool. I figured I might as well take a look and see if it would be a better yarn to use for the Irish Hiking Scarf. It felt alot better than what I was working with at the moment (what a surprise).

Needless to say, I found other yarns for other projects and other supplies. My challenge is fitting everything in my bags and carrying it all onto crowded buses. I usually manage okay.

I got home and after dinner I couldn't help but try out the Irish Hiking Scarf pattern with one of the wool yarns I had gotten. Much better. Softer and less stiff. Here is what I did last night (watched more NCIS episodes and stayed up way too late). So I managed to knit about 7 inches. I did increase the width by adding another set of cables so there are 4 instead of the original 3.

I seem to have less looseness in the third stitch off the cable needle. Tension is still not consistently even. More practice!
I do need to finish the original scarf but I definitely like the wool scarf better.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Joined Conquering Cables Knit Along

I joined the Conquering Cables KAL (link to that blog on the side).
Here is my post on that blog on my progress:

I started this on Thursday after discovering the KAL and the pattern. The only worsted weight yarn I had at hand was Red Heart Super Saver acrylic. Using size 8 bamboo needles and a straight cable needle from Knit Pics.

I was home for the day and spent some of my knitting time watching Season 1 episodes of NCIS on dvd. (David McCallum as Ducky the doctor in charge of autopsies still looks good after all these years - loved him in Man From Uncle.)
My tension still causes me some problems as you can see in the images of this effort. I also have noticed that the last stitch on the cable needle gets stretched a bit when I knit it off the cable needle. I can't figure out how to reduce that and how to "fix" it afterwards. Probably just me and inexperience.
Anyway, I hope to get some nicer yarn to make another Irish Hiking Scarf in the future. This one is about 17 inches at the moment. I especially like the edging that the pattern has us doing. Looks nice.

Cables definitely look alot more complicated than they are. But they are cool. This one is a versy simple cable with them always going in one direction.
I might try to get some slightly better yarn today.

The weather is surprisingly "Spring like" with temps in the 70's with a nice breeze.
Good day for running around and waiting for buses.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Cables Anyone?

Found two Cable Knitting Knit-A-Longs on Blogger.
One is the Conquering Cables Blog :
Which is doing the Irish Hiking Scarf as a first project.

The second is The Irish Hiking Scarf Knitalong - A KAL that never ends

The scarf pattern is pretty and seems simple enough. As many have
said, "Just Do It!".
When you are inexperienced in a technique it seems fairly daunting
when you look at what is created. Sometimes the instructions also
seem a bit daunting as well. But once you pick up your needles, cast
on and try it, it usually works itself out with time and effort.

Anyway, I started this scarf using regular old acrylic worsted weight
yarn and size 8 needles and using the wooden cable needles I got from
I will post a pic soon. It looks okay even though my tension is not
always even. :-)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


So, not only did I start knitting but I then discovered that like other interests there are "collectible" items. In the case of knitting there are books written by knitting designers that are out of print. So therefore they command big bucks. Alice Starmore immediately would come to mind of most knitters.

Although she is still alive and producing designs, some of her prior works are out of print and hard to get for anything close to what they originally sold for.
Yes I did surcumb and spent $$$ to obtain some of these works that I won't be good enough to try for quite awhile. But I do not see them going down in price so it is better to get what you want while you can.

Needless to say I have made some people selling on Ebay very happy.

Knitting Progress

Here are some things that I have finished since I began knitting again:
scarves for the charity. The melon colored one was really the first and using the same pattern stitch I made the variegated one.

They are surprisingly even at the edges. This pattern is an easy one to do while commuting on the NYC subway. I usually don't mess it up.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Wonderful August in New York

We have been really sweltering in the heat and humidity recently but this week the humidity lessened and the heat is less as well. Nothing worse than needing another shower as soon as you leave your apartment!
I have been knitting some simple hats on circulars and dpns recently. Nothing fancy just trying to get my tension more even and creating something small that I can actually finish quickly.
I rediscovered knitting in December when I picked up a "Learn How to Knit" kit at a Michaels Arts and Crafts store nearer where I used to live. I had heard that knitting helps with stress and I had been curious if I would be able to do better than I had back in High School. Back then I would have holes in my knitting and still have the same number of stitches on the needles. I got frustrated and dropped knitting. Took up crocheting for awhile but got bored.
I had grown up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan where at that time there had been several needlecraft/yarn stores scattered in the area. Including as I remember a store called "Bell Yarn" which I thought manufactured yarn. But yarn then was the basic stuff. Nothing as soft and varied as what is available today. I did not have someone to learn how to knit or crochet from so that is probably why I lost interest and got frustrated with it all.
When I picked it up in December I seem to have done alot better right away. After awhile of practicing I finally understood some of the things being described in the books I had gotten.
My tension is still variable but it is not horrible. I knit continental with the yarn in my left hand. I don't know if I would do better "throwing" the yarn from the right hand but I just think that there is too much movement in the "throwing" method. There is so much variation in how each person holds their yarn, how close to the needles, how close the stitches are to the needle points, etc. Plenty of room for experimentation.
Knitting does seem to be relaxing as long as I have an easy pattern and don't have to count too much. Whenever I have to count I always lose track and mess up the pattern of stitches unless I pay attention. I prefer having something I don't have to concentrate on while I am watching a show or movie on television. Then I can be doing something useful at the same time by knitting.
I am part of a group at work that knits and crochets things for different charities. The yarn is donated to us by the company for the charity work. It is a good way of getting experience in creating these items while not spending alot of money. You don't keep what you are creating but someone does enjoy what you have produced. Even with mistakes! :-)