Sunday, August 27, 2006

Sunday Scribbling - "The Monster..."

This post is in response to a Sunday Scribblings writing prompt.

The monster crouched in the dark, yellow eyes glowing. Two little girls clung together, nervously calling out to the creature.

"Hello? Mr. Monster? You aren't going to chase us, are you?"

The monster's silence frightened them more than any growl. The sisters crept cautiously along the side of the house, their eyes locked with the monster's yellow orbs. When they reached the corner of the building, they turned and ran screaming, certain that the monster was inches behind them. If they ran faster, they would be more likely to trip on an unseen obstacle, perhaps a root of one of the large tree near second corner of the house. If they fell, the monster would surely catch them.

Rounding the second corner, they picked up speed in a clear stretch of yard. There was more light here. The adults were on the other side of those windows. The girls would be safe there, if they could just reach the door.

Gasping past the third corner, they stumbled into the pool of light by the door and collapsed on the carpet inside, giddy over their escape. The adults smiled at the children and continued their conversation.

As I recall, the game of "Monster" didn't really have much in the way of rules. My sister and I just had to make it all the way around the perimeter of our grandparents' house in the dark without the monster catching us. We knew the the monster with the glowing yellow eyes was really our uncle, holding two flashlights and hiding in the shadows. We knew it was him, but what if we were wrong? That doubt, that belief in the possibility of monsters, made the adventure so thrilling. We had conquered the dark! We could do anything!

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Sunday, August 13, 2006

Sunday Scribbling - "Who Else Can I Still Be?"

This post is in response to a writing prompt at Sunday Scribblings.

I didn't respond to the "Who else might I have been?" prompt last week, even though it suited my thoughts quite well. I've often wondered where different choices would have taken me. I've even thought of ways I could have ended up in the same place via a different path.

However, looking towards alternate pasts, however interesting, does not have much impact on my current life. This week's prompt, "Who else can I still be?", is a bit more forward-looking. So, who else can I still be?

In the near future, "Who can I be?" is nearly the same question as "Who am I?". Any large course changes will be made over time. Right now, I am a woman in my late twenties, married nearly two years, programming computer simulations at work, knitting all the time, growing my hair towards my waist. Who else can I still be?

I can be a weaver. My husband and I have been fixing up an old floor loom, so soon I'll have yet another fiber-related activity to occupy my time. Who else can I still be?

I can be a pet owner. Now that we own our own house, we could get a cat or a dog without having to worry about what the landlord thinks. Who else can I still be?

I can be a writer. I don't work with words as often as I could, but I like to think this blog helps with that a bit. I sometimes have things to say that need a little fermenting time before they can be expressed. I'm going to try NaNoWriMo in November to see if I can actually write a coherent story in a month. Who else can I still be?

I can be a designer. I can create, both in fiber and in code. I can make garments to wear. I can make tools to use. I can make things come into being that never existed before. Who else can I still be?

I can be an old woman, seated at my loom, grey braided hair falling towards the floor, while a grandchild plays on the floor with the cat. Who else can I still be?

I can be a memory. I can be a voice in my children's heads. I can be a photograph on the wall. I can be a story told to future generations. Who else can I still be?

I can be the best me I can be, striving towards my future self without neglecting my present or forgetting my past. I am, and can still be, me. Who else?

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Sunday, August 06, 2006

Notes on Widdershins heel

I promised to make some notes on adapting the reversed round heel shaping from Widdershins for a different number of stitches. (This still counts as the weekend, right?)

Here are my original heel shaping instructions, before they were edited for Knitty. Note that I didn't specify what sort of increases or short row method to use. In my original socks, I actually used paired increased, but thought that might be a bit too picky for something that will usually be hidden inside my shoe. For the short rows, I've been using the yarnover method lately. So, if m1 increases and w&t short rows aren't working for you, feel free to try another technique. The socks don't depend on those particular methods.
Heel Gussets:
On the following rounds, continue to work instep in pattern while increasing on stitch from beginning and end of sole stitches every other round until there are 47 sole stitches.

Turn Heel:
The sole stitches now consist of 14 sts for right gusset, 19 heel sts, 14 sts for left gusset. Work across right gusset. You will now be turning the heel on the 19 heel sts. The heel is shaped with a combination of short rows and increases. It is your choice how to handle the turning stitches.
Row 1: k to 2 sts before end of heel sts, inc1, k1, turn
Row 2: p to 2 sts before end of heel sts, inc1, p1, turn
Row 3: k to 4 sts before gap, inc1, k1, turn
Row 4: p to 4 sts before gap, inc1, p1, turn
Rep rows 3 and 4 until there are 27 heel sts

Work 1 round even to smooth out the short rows, ending in center of heel sts.

Heel Flap:
You will now work in rows across heel sts, joining the gusset sts.

Row 1: k to last heel st, ssk last heel st and 1 st from left gusset
Row 2: sl st, p to last heel st, p2tog last heel st and 1 st from right gusset
Row 3: *sl st, k1* across heel, ssk last heel st and 1 st from left gusset

Rep rows 2 and 3 until left gusset sts are gone. (There will be 1 unworked st left on the right gusset that will be picked up on the next round)

Work across instep sts. K2tog final gusset st and first heel st. Continue instep pattern across heel sts.
So, where did the numbers come from? I based my numbers on a top-down round heel and then reversed the shaping. The number of gusset increases is based on the size of the two gussets plus the heel below the turning. In a top-down heel, you knit a heel flap on half the stitches (usually for about as many rows as stitches), then turn the heel with short rows, working decreases along the way. There is often a line in the instructions like "knit to one stitch before the gap, ssk, k1, turn" and similar purl shaping. After the turning rows, stitches are picked up along the heel flap (usually about one stitch for every two rows) and the gusset stitches are decreased away on subsequent rounds until we are back to the original number of stitches. So, for my 54 stitch sock, I would work the heel over 27 stitches, the flap would be 28 rows long (I need an even number here and it's better to have a slightly deeper heel than one that is too shallow.), the turning rows would decrease from 27 down to 19 stitches, and I would pick up 14 stitches on either side of the heel flap.

For the reversed round heel we have to do a little advance thinking to figure out how many gusset increases we need, work the turning rows with increases as shown above until you have increased the heel stitches to their full width, then decrease away the gussets until you are back you the original number of stitches and work the cuff.

I'm a big geek, so I actually came up with an equation to figure out the approximate number of heel stitches. For a round heel with a flap n stitches wide, the number of stitches below the heel turning is h(n) where h(k) = k for k<n/3 and 4+h(k-6) otherwise. (I also wrote a small Python script to compute that, rather than coming up with a closed form solution. I'm a lazy geek.) Of course, the easiest thing to do is use the numbers from a preexisting top-down round-heeled sock.

I hope this helped. I'm glad so many of you like my pattern and are interested in adapting it.
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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Widdershins update

I've had multiple people contact me about adapting the heel shaping of Widdershins for a different number of stitches, so I'll write up some general instructions this weekend.
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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Test post from Writely

I just got a Writely account. It's an online word processing tool that Google bought a while ago. They are still in beta, so it isn't open to the public. I submitted my email address weeks ago, and got an invitation today. So far, it looks rather pretty. I haven't tried out the collaboration features yet. This post is a test of the blogging feature. If it works, I might consider using this sometimes instead of posting directly from Blogger.

Well, there was a little trouble getting it to post to the correct blog, and the post title was lost along the way, but otherwise it worked.

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