Thursday, May 17, 2007

I Had A Moment

You know the kind, when a solution just falls out of the sky and you look like a complete fucking genius? When your co-workers start kissing your feet and bringing you chocolate and flowers?

Yeah, one of those.

Several of my users at work have been having a particularly maddening problem with their Mail application on their Intel-based Macs. Very long hangs when replying to e-mails with formatted text (why people insist on pink text in e-mail is beyond me) or when attaching files. Aggravating beyond belief.

At first I thought it was just one machine, and I suspected that the e-mail client was having trouble with the fact that this person probably has seven years worth of e-mails archived. Then it happened to another user. And another. And another.

What the fuck?

I’d been Googling all over the place, trying to track something down, and I was also trying random solutions as they occurred to me. Cleaned all the system caches, reinstalled the system software, sacrificed a chicken, indulged in stream-of-consciousness profanity. Nothin’.

I was beginning to feel like an idiot.

This afternoon I finally put together what all of these users have in common: They’re all running Parallels Desktop for Mac, which is a virtualization program which allows Mac users to run Windowze without having to reboot.

So I started poking around in the network preferences, and found a couple of Parallels settings. Even though they were at the bottom of the list (meaning they were checked last) they were still being polled by the e-mail client in these cases. Turn those off and, hey-presto, suddenly Mail is a halfway useful e-mail client again.

I honestly feel like the answer just dropped out of the sky and landed on my head.

I left work an hour early; there was no way I was gonna top that, so why even try.

Sometimes I’m a fucking genius.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Jerry Falwell...

He died yesterday. I wanted to go out and buy a case of champagne, but I had to stay at work. So I had to content myself with reading what other people were saying.

My favorite is this Salon piece by Alan Wolfe (free daypass required). He says it so much better than I ever could.

The man gave Christians and Christianity a bad name, and I'm not sorry to see him go.

What To Do?

The Knitting Help Forum is down for an upgrade... I’m going into withdrawal.

So, how do I entertain myself as I drink my coffee this morning? I mean other than folding the laundry... ‘cause that’s boring.

I’ve been spending money lately. It seemed like all the cool kids had a set of KnitPicks Options, and I finally managed to convince myself that I couldn’t live without them. Considering how long ago these needles were released, I feel I should be commended for my restraint!

I have a digital camera and I’m not afraid to use it!

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I like them, they're everything people have been saying. Flexible cables, nice & smooth and slick... I'm in lust!

While I was dithering over which accessories I might need for my Options (some looooong cables for magic loop? Size ID Tags? Maybe some DPN’s?) a few hanks of Gloss fell into my cart. Beware the yarn pixies, especially when they spy purple yarn!

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A friend of mine has opened an Etsy store, a perfect yarn, so she can indulge her inner child by playing with dyes. I spotted a hank of sock yarn there was no way I could live without. See how pretty?

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It’s superwash, and it’s so amazingly soft it makes me want to rub it all over my face and neck and... well, you know! She’s got lovely stuff, and she promises the arrival of worsted & DK weight soon. Oh hey, look at that one!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Grafting Challenge

What do you do when you’ve knit a pair of socks using the Princess Foot (reverse stockinette) on the sole and the toes, and all of your instruction books have instructions for Kitchener Stitch in stockinette stitch?

Well, first I Googled, but I should know better than to try that before I’ve had enough coffee. I couldn’t frame the query right and didn’t find what I was looking for. So, what the heck. If all the instructions I have are for stockinette, I figured I’d just turn the socks inside out.

Here’s what the toes looked like when I started:
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I slipped the stitches onto a lifeline (dental tape is great for this by the way).
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Note to self: I need to find a smaller darning needle before I knit any socks on the 000’s I have.

Then I put the stitches back on the needles:
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Grafted the toes:
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And tried the socks on:
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Then I remembered to turn them right side out!
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I did a big ole victory lap around the house, singing, “They fit, they fit, they fit, they fit!” Sorry, no pictures of that, my hubby’s out of town!

Yarn: Regia Color, 5440
Needles: Size 0 Clover Bamboo
Pattern found in: Sensational Knitted Socks. Stansfield #10 and Princess Foot

Time to start looking for the next pair!

Friday, May 4, 2007

More about me...

Quite often lately I find myself more at home at a keyboard than just about anywhere else. It’s odd, I didn’t set out to be a computer person, it honestly just happened.

I got a job working at a computer lab while I was in community college, and I carried on with it when I transferred to university. I was studying History and French, planning on grad school and a life in academe. Computers were just something I did, they weren’t what I was.

At some point I realized that going to grad school probably wasn’t in the cards. I like being a student, but some of the political shit just made me want to explode. I didn’t think I wanted to put up with 4-6 more years of it as a grad student. Not to mention the impossible job market for associate professors of history straight out of grad school.

There was still this computer thing though. I had a new supervisor who turned into a mentor. He started showing me more about how the systems worked, about the underlying logics and rules. Before I knew it, I was hooked.

I still study history; I still read Albert Camus, Assia Djebar, Marguerite Duras and Marguerite Yourcenar. It’s a big part of my life, and I’m thinking about taking some night classes just to keep my French skills from completely disappearing. But apparently I’m a computer person now, and I like it.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Have To Start Somewhere

OK, I’ve got a blog…

Now what?

A little about me, I suppose. I love to read, I love to bake, I love to knit. And I do mean love… in the most obsessive way. Stalking the mailman, dreaming about yarn, getting up in the middle of the night to browse patterns, try stitches, cast on projects, read my technique books.

It’s a sickness… I don’t care.

Let me tell you the story of the black sweater…

My aunt used to knit quite a bit when I was a wee small lass. I thought it looked cool, and sometimes I’d play with her yarn. I didn’t think it was cool enough to actually learn it though. I was more interested in trying to keep up with my brother while he climbed trees and rode his motorcycle. I didn’t learn to knit from my aunt.

Fast forward several years and my aunt had taken up knitting again after stopping for a few years. She asked me one year what I’d like to have for Christmas. I told her I’d like to have a hand knit sweater. A black one. I think I got jewelry that year. The next year I probably got CD’s, and then books.

Getting the picture? It took me a long time, years and years and years, but I finally figured it out. My aunt was never going to knit me a black sweater. It took me a few more years before I figured out that if I wanted handknit sweaters, black or any other color, I should learn how to make them myself.

I was starting to look at yarn and needles and books, trying to figure out how I was going to teach myself to knit. A friend of mine told me that there was an ad in the local alternative weekly that a student group was offering to teach people to knit; they’d provide all the materials.

Off I went.

I was the worst knitter on the face of the planet. It took me 10 minutes to cast on 20 stitches. And then they were so tight that I couldn’t knit into one of them without pulling three of them off at a time. In two hours I never managed to knit an entire row, never mind turning and working back. The poor kids who were trying to teach me felt awful. I was philosophical. Somebody had to be the worst knitter in the world. That day was my turn, and with any luck at all it would be somebody else’s turn the next day.

I didn’t give up. I bought a book; I bought some Red Heart and some plastic needles. I knit garter stitch trapezoids in sage green. I bought better needles. I knit garter stitch trapezoids in sage green. I read my book again. I knit garter stitch squares in sage green. I learned how to purl. I knit stockinet trapezoids in sage green. They curled... a lot. I learned to knit. I may never touch sage green yarn again.

Eventually my projects got more ambitious. I made a purple and blue teddy bear sweater, which my teddy bear is very proud of. I made a lace scarf out of double-stranded sock yarn. It’s taller than I am and it weighs a ton. I made a slip-stitch baby blanket for a friend who was having a baby, and I even managed to get it done before the birth. I’ve become addicted to sock yarn, but let’s save that for another post.

I found a wonderful website, Knitting Help. There are videos and a forum where you can post questions and show off your work. It’s a great place, and I’ve made some amazing friends there.

When the Winter 06 Interweave Knits came out, I fell in love with the Refined Raglan. I just happened to have a great bunch of Berocco Softwist I’d bought from a friend. It’s black. Pretty soon I’m going to have my black sweater…