Monday, December 19, 2011

Curious Christmas Revisited

Back in December 2009 I posted a picture of one of my favorite 'junking' finds, a stein meant as a holiday piece. I found it in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

At the time I wondered "Who was A.E. Hemke?" I believe that today I've found the answer to that question and satisfied my curiosity.

I decorated a small tree and put out some of my other Christmas decorations over the weekend and took a picture of my small pencil tree. The stein was in the picture and reminded me that I'd never been able to track down the name. So this evening I googled "A.E. Hemke" and found a Google Books result. It appears that A. E. Hemke was a liquor dealer in Detroit in 1904 according to this record I found from the Journal of the Common Council of Detroit:

Monday, December 5, 2011

Shared by a Facebook Knitting Friend

A Facebook knitting friend shared this video link with me when I mentioned eliminating the 'hole' where the gusset joins on the sock.

The video is very well photographed and the explanation is clear. He makes it look very easy. Have to try his method which is simpler than what I'd figured out, but my way works too. I just add one or two extra stitches when picking up the stitches, and then decrease that many stitches back to what the pattern calls for.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Censorship Rears Its Head

Watch the video and then read this Lifehacker article that further explains the bill and what you can do to make your voice heard. We need to to defeat the attitude "We're from the government and we know what's best for you." The Internet has worked pretty well without interference from government. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Works in Progress

I have these two works in progress along with an afghan that it is getting chilly enough to get back to...but I don't have enough hands! My fingers are itching to get the projects done because I have a long list of others I want to try.

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The progress on the hat (knitting it in Knitpicks City Tweed in Jacquard) found in Vogue Knitting Holiday 2011 issue was interrupted last night when I finally updated the ios on my Ipad2. Despite the fact that I synced my device, and backed everything up before updating the ios, when everything was updated and restored, the Vogue Knitting issue was not there, and in fact, the app itself wouldn't function. After a moment of panic, I searched and found the support link and emailed the app help address given, but there was no more knitting last night. Thankfully this morning I had a response and following the instructions restored the app and access to my purchased e-issue of the magazine. Whew!

Paper has a lot going for it, in my opinion. No electronic gremlins when you purchase the paper form.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


According to Wikipedia, serendipity is when someone finds something that they weren't expecting to find. It's one of those small pleasures that can just make your day a little brighter.

My serendipitous moment this week came in the form of an article in my Facebook news feed titled "Margaret Atwood on Knitting a Great Auk in the Arctic." As an English major, librarian, birdwatcher, and knitter, you know I had to read the article just because of the juxtaposition of such unlikely terms.

It turns out that Margaret Atwood is an avid believer in the preservation of bird species and had been asked to contribute an artwork to an exhibit highlighting birds that have become extinct. Most of the hundred plus artists contributing to the exhibit did their art in paintings, drawings, and prints. Since she is also an avid knitter, she wanted to use wool as her art medium. And there, buried in the middle of the article was the method she used to get a graph of the auk she needed to craft her knitted piece. Just a tiny little mention of a tiny little program available free online to turn your image into a graph suitable for knitting or cross stitching. Whoa! That snapped me to attention!

And here's why:

I'd knit a table runner or wall hanging canvas (I hadn't yet decided which) a couple of years ago. A friend had provided me with a photograph of a lighthouse that I wanted to turn into a graph and stitch onto the canvas I'd knit. But I needed to find a good way to do that. I didn't want to buy an expensive program to do it. I tried various options that seemed possibilities but none really did the job I wanted it to do, so I put the project aside and moved on to other things.

The free online Web2.0 app she used for her graph is Knitpro and I found it with a simple Google search. There are a few easily adjustable settings for you to get the size and direction you want for your graph.

This is the lighthouse I needed to get a graph of for my planned project:

This is a screenshot of the graph generated by Knitpro that I saved as a jpeg and cropped so I could show you what Knitpro did with the image. What Knitpro generates for your use is a pdf that you can then print. What's great about it is that the lines on the graph are numbered to make it easy to follow.

And this is the blank canvas I knit with the plan to stitch a lighthouse on it, painted with stitches, so to speak.

Now thanks to the serendipitous discovery of this little gem of a program, I am now prepared to finish my own artwork using cotton yarn on my knitted canvas.

Knitting Socks

I used fd's Flickr toys to make this mosaic of some of the socks I've knit over the past year. I've knit 45 pairs of socks, but the mosaic only has part of them. I used my Facebook album Knitting Socks to generate the mosaic.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Gift for a Lifetime

I found this quiz in a newsletter that I get regularly promoting their products. Just for grins, I took it because I'm curious about this topic. I wasn't that surprised that the greatest percentage of those taking the quiz learned how to knit from a parent or grandparent.

I learned to knit a long time ago (I think I was about 8 years old) from my paternal grandmother Donelda, or "Dee" as she was known to her friends. She was always knitting, sometimes alone, sometimes with friends and seemed to enjoy it so much that it seemed interesting. I loved the mittens, hats, slippers and sweaters that she made from the balls and skeins of colorful, various textured yarn and wanted to know how to do it too. How did these things get made from just needles and string anyway?

Knowing how to knit has brought much pleasure to my life throughout the years. In college it was a respite from study and allowed creativity to flourish. I knit afghans and slippers mostly then, easy enough projects that allowed relaxation and not much thought. As life has gone on I've moved on to other types of projects and built my stash of yarn. Seeing the vibrant colors and various textures gives me visual pleasure as does the thought of turning it into various projects that people will use. I've been making socks as small gifts for friends and co-workers, hats for friends who are getting treatment for cancer, slippers for friends to give to a parent. Knitting is a peaceful way to while away long winter nights. There's satisfaction in seeing a project you like and learning how to make it on your needles.

My grandmother told me she was taught to knit by her mother. She passed on that learning to me and I think about that transfer of learning through generations often. Though she's been gone for many years, I hope my Grandma Dee knows how much pleasure that the craft she taught me so long ago has brought to my life through the years and how much I appreciate the patience it took to teach me to knit. I think of her with love every time I pick up my needles.
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Sunday, August 21, 2011

A New Kind of Puzzle

I've always loved puzzles of any kind. Recently I've been doing lots of knitting and when a friend found out that I can knit socks, he brought me this sample slipper and asked if I might be able to make one like it. A knitting puzzle seemed a challenge that might be satisfying to attempt.

I looked the slipper over and seeing that it is similar in many respects to the socks I've been knitting (42 pair of socks knit since last October) told him I thought I might be able to do that. I asked him if I could keep the slipper as a point of reference, and he reluctantly let me keep it after I promised to take very good care of it. (It's old with a lot of sentimental value attached to it.) Searching for a pattern online proved fruitless, so I sat down with the slipper making notes about how I might go about replicating it. How many stitches? What kind of yarn? What size needle? What kind of heel? What is that toe style? These were just a few of the pieces of the puzzle. After much trial and error and a LOT of ripping or frogging, making notes as I went, I finally came up with a reasonable facsimile:

And here they are together.

Now I need to word process up the pattern, make a few little tweaks by knitting it again once or twice. (Pairs, of course, so the time won't be wasted.) I want to get the depth of the foot just a tiny bit narrower. I should be able to accomplish that by either dropping a needle size, or by knitting a couple of stitches together to decrease the number of rows around.

Along the way to solving the puzzle to make my friend some slippers for his mother like the ones made by his grandmother, I learned how to turn a Dutch heel and to finish a modified French toe. There was a lot of satisfaction in solving this slipper knitting puzzle as well as more than a little learning.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Health Care?

Seven months after our health insurance plan changed, we got the paper work required for it (not including the forms we now have to file for reimbursement ourselves)-- a little more than two pounds of paperwork! I think this will give paper pushers employment, but all it does for our stress level at work is increase it. All this paperwork is part of the problem that needs fixing and why health care is so expensive.

Aspirin, anyone, for the headache ahead as we have to read all this before signing it? And for the headache rerun when we have to do it all over again in January?

Monday, July 18, 2011

The State of the Internet - an Infographic

Online Schools has put together an interactive infographic on the state of the internet. It's hard to comprehend the immensity of it all, but this helps.

State of the Internet 2011
Created by: Online Schools
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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Summer Fun with Pets

This video has the best recipe for a skunk rinse for pets should your pet have an unfortunate encounter with the black and white striped critters. We've had occasion to use it in the past and it works very well, much better than the tomato juice that seems to be a common solution to the problem.

If you don't want to watch the video, the recipe is: 1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda, 2 teaspoons Dawn dish washing liquid. Mix the ingredients in a one quart pail and apply to the dry pet from the collar back, avoiding the eyes as the peroxide will sting. If you need to use it in the face, use a sponge to carefully apply. Lather the pet and let it stay on until you notice the smell is abating. Rinse and repeat if necessary up to three times. The sooner after the skunk has sprayed that you can apply it, the better. It's good to have the ingredients on hand in your cupboard.
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Friday, June 24, 2011

Learning in a MOOC

The Center for Online Learning, Research and Service at the University of Illinois Springfield welcomes you to a Massive Open Online Class (MOOC) on “Online Learning Today...and Tomorrow.” It will begin June 27, 2011 and run for eight weeks. It is totally open, free, and collaborative. It can be totally asynchronous, or those attending can join in weekly panel discussions with experts in various aspects of the topic. This is an active and growing resource and networking center on the topic of "Online Learning Today, and Tomorrow." You will have the opportunity to meet many people around the world who share your interest in this topic.

You are invited to register at with only your name and email address so you can be given access to all materials, panels and discussions. You can begin building your own personal learning network on the topic. We will use this information to register you in a Google Group (edumooc) which will allow you to enter into discussions and - if you so designate - to receive a listserv of postings. We will not use this information for advertising or promotion of any kind.

Eight topics have been chosen - one for each week. You will see the schedule for those topics below. A Web page is linked below and in the left navigation column for each topic - those pages include details about the topic for each week, including links to about 20 timely resources including articles, Websites, Twitter hashtags, blogs, wikis and more that are relevant to the topic of the week. On Thursday of each of the weeks a live one hour Webinar panel discussion will be held with experts on the topic of the week. The session URL will be available to all who register, and Webinar panel sessions will be open to the first one hundred participants who may ask questions; the session will be recorded and be made available online for those who wish to view later.

Google Group
Those registering for the course - see the short form in the right column above - will be enrolled in Google Group "Edumooc" where threaded discussions will be held. This is where networking will begin among those attending the MOOC. If you choose, you will be able to receive updates via email through the group settings.

We will use the #edumooc hashtag for tweets regarding the MOOC. You will see those displayed in the gadget on this page. We encourage tweeting and Twitter discussions.

Contribute Resources to This Site
You are encouraged to browse those sites and to add sites in Diigo. We will transfer the new Diigo sites to the appropriate list on a daily basis. Please use the "edumooc" tag if you would like your selected sites to be transferred to the topic Webpage.
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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Follow the Owls

Intriguing! as well as another example of effective marketing. Interactive and participatory rather than the passive TV/movie viewing experience.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Effective Marketing

I've never been an Apple fan, but this is very effective marketing. So good, in fact, that I finally broke down and ordered an Ipad. It's the apps! No one else is even close.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Using Calibre on the Nook

Here's a short little video showing how to use Windows Explorer and Calibre software to add content to your Nook:

Friday, May 27, 2011

A New Cast On Method to Try

I'm excited to give this cast on a try. It looks perfect for knitting top down socks. It just came to me in my Berrocco Knit Bits newsletter.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Eli Pariser: Beware online "filter bubbles"

About this talk: As web companies strive to tailor their services (including news and search results) to our personal tastes, there's a dangerous unintended consequence: We get trapped in a "filter bubble" and don't get exposed to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview. Eli Pariser argues powerfully that this will ultimately prove to be bad for us and bad for democracy.

This is a subject that has worried me greatly since I realized the implications of getting information tailored to my interests. Another thing I worry about is that the lack of exposure to new things will stifle creativity.

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Watch "Arthur Unravels"

Cute video...knitting is for everyone...maybe I need to start watching some cartoons again.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Darn It!

Since I've been on my sock knitting binge since October and have knit more than 30 pairs of socks, this video which I found on the Knitpicks web site and Youtube Channel is probably something I will have need of sometime.

The Knitpicks site looks like it has some good information and tutorials for beginning knitters as well.

Monday, April 11, 2011

It's a Book

Maybe the fact that I've been immersed in e-readers and e-books lately makes me appreciate this more...especially since some e-readers don't lend themselves to children's picture books.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Smart People Use Smart Libraries

I hope you enjoy this quite clever video. Makes one proud to be of Irish descent.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tips from Kids on Commenting

I thought this video with several tips on commenting on blogs by kids was really cute.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Favorite Sock Knitting Tip I Found

I've got to try this technique and see if it works to make the hole where the gusset joins the heel corner invisible. It's so annoying. Sometime I can make it almost invisible and sometimes it's just there. I can't seem to do the same thing twice.

Sock Tips - Gusset Techniques