potterdc's blog

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Putting on the Ritz, or, Rehab Happens

Hello! I'm happy to announce that the Best Beloved had his cast removed last week and now wears two shoes and walks with a cane (sort of - I mean, he sort of walks. He mostly meanders slowly). And, there has been enough bone growth that the doctor and physical therapist have both approved starting to drive, which he will do at the end of this upcoming week.

His recovery from the shattered leg has been a long one and the doctor says it will be December now before we're back to normal. And they tell him he'll never run (he never did, so he's a bit relieved!). Still, he can now empty the dishwasher, drive, AND walk with a cane. I'm eagerly awaiting the top hat and tap dancing!

The past four months have involved a lot of Netflix and a whole lotta knitting on my part. We've finished two seasons of Battlestar Gallactica, the first season of the new Dr. Who, and lots of movies. On my part, I have restocked my stash, knitted a couple of vests (one of which I need to redo), some socks, a baby blanket for the new grand niece, dish rags (never done that before - mindless yet fun), and continued work on B. Walker's Learn to Knit afghan.

This summer we will swim, walk slowly, and I think I'm going to try my hand at knitting the linen curtains from Mason*Dixon Knitting.

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Dream Come True: a LYS opens!

Hello everyone,

So, I live just 25 feet out of Washington DC, but 25 feet in the opposite direction of almost everything booming and fabulous. The housing boom has hit every adjacent county and neighborhood to DC but ours. While we live in an area with great green spaces and big back yards (and affordable houses!), our retail is basically limited to nail salons and the four dollar stores within walking distance to my house.

Sunday was a cold, rainy day. We had just driven 25 minutes to the nearest Petco only to discover that what I needed wasn't there. We drove back down Route 1 to a favorite Mexican dive for chicken mole and pulled up to a red light. On the left was an empty lot; on the right, among boarded up buildings and store front churches announcing revivals, in the lobby of an old bank building...A BRAND NEW YARN STORE - FIVE MINUTES FROM MY HOUSE!!!

We stopped. We went in. Unbelievable! The new owners were there; cakes and chips were offered, we got a tour (the Best Beloved on crutches - when he hobbled in, the owner's husband laughed cheerfully and said "Here's a fellow who won't be happy to hear that we were grandfathered in and don't have a ramp!"). They stock everything from dishcloth cotton to high end hand painted yarn.

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Website for design-your-own patterns: Spincraft Patterns

Hello Gentlemen, and greetings from (argh) snowy Washington DC.

I've been combing the web looking for men's patterns, and really, it is amazing what a dearth exists. I was looking for a simple (free!) vest pattern, and after several google searches, found maybe 2 or 3, but nothing I really wanted to knit.

Then I found www.spincraftpatterns.com, a unique website that offers affordable (most around $4.00 US) downloadable patterns that are written out using ONLY calculations and percentages, so you can use any yarn, any size needles, any stitch pattern, etc. As long as you know the gauge and the measurements of the finished product, and don't mind sitting down before you start knitting with a gauge sample, a measuring tape, and a calculator, you're good to go. What really caught my eye is the uniqueness of the patterns: side to side sweaters and vests, entrelac hats, two needle socks, as well as some more common ones.

A word of warning: not only am I not associated with this website, I haven't even finished the side to side vest I'm working on, so I can't vouch for the patterns - but I'll let you know when I do finish!

Off to glaze and load the kiln. By the way, I've been listening to Linda Dayne's podcast Cast-On in the studio these days. If you haven't heard it yet, it's a hoot!

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OT: what is it about those cherry blossoms?

This morning, bright and early, I drove the Best Beloved down to the surgeon's office where he got his plaster cast removed (tra la!) and a removable pneumatic cast put on. His right leg now looks like something out of Star Wars. Since we were in downtown DC, we celebrated this by driving down to see the cherry blossoms.

Now, I am not really all that romantic, but as we turned towards the Tidal Basin, the blue sky reflecting in the water which is rimmed as far as the eye can see by the flowering cherry trees, my eyes just brimmed. So amazing. Clear blue water, cloudless blue sky, pink blossoms. It's really quite something. Almost like a dream world.

My best to all of you!

Jonathan in DC

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Stash!

Can you believe it? I'm fricking out of stash!!! Hours and hours of sitting around with the Best Beloved with his leg in a cast...catching up on our Netflix list...and only enough yarn for one project. I'm not sure how this came about. What self respecting knitting would let himself run out of stash? I feel like I should turn in my Knitter's ID card or something.

So my project this weekend is to create stash. I'm combing through eBay and trolling the net looking for good deals. I don't really have anything in mind, but I know I'd feel a lot better about the Best Beloved's expected six month recovery if I knew I could be knitting the entire time.

I'm open to suggestions: please guys, help me feed my addiction. I have a lot of time on my hands!

Jonathan in DC

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A Turn of Events

This was going to be a blog about socks, and it still will be, but within a context that last week I wasn't imagining! On Saturday, the Best Beloved and I went and picked up our Best Friend and off we went to the skating rink on the National Mall. After 20 minutes of skating, a small child fell on the ice. The Best Beloved, trying to avoid the child, stopped suddenly and fell over. When I got to him, he was a sort of peculiar green color. He looked up, said "I f####d up my leg."

Sure enough - two nasty compound breaks, two inches above the ankle, requiring surgery and a rod. The worst part (for me!) was having to help the ER doctor set the leg. Gratefully, the Best Friend is a bit more butch than I and was able to hold the leg while I held the Best Beloved in an embrace. I'm convinced that no one should have to go through that much pain unless you're getting something like a baby out of it!

He comes home today. It will be a 6 month recovery, so I'm busy getting workmen in to rebuild the banister (which we took out to replace but never got around to) and hiring a housekeeper etc. etc. etc.

And in all of this, I'm very happy to report that I finished my very first pair of toe up socks during his surgery! The nurses, young women from Malaysia, were very impressed. These socks are really phenomenally easy. I'm not sure how much I like the heel done in garter stitch per the directions, but that's easy enough to change. What's really great about this is that I had only two balls of yarn, and no more - so it was easy to knit and not worry about whether or not I'd have enough yarn. As it turns out, I did have enough: one skein per sock (the socks are a Nori DK weight silk/wool blend, so I wasn't sure about the yardage).

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Granny's Fun Fur Stole

I think I've finally figured out this posting pics thing - so here's a pic of the FunFur project that I've dupped The Nightmare Before Christmas on Granny, who told me that her smile was for all "your knitting men friends." There's a blog entry earlier on about the horrors of knitting with FunFur if you want details.

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The Unexpected Laptop Cover

In May, both my niece and my nephew's wife are expecting babies, so I thought this fine warm winter that we're having here on the East Coast would be perfect baby blanket knitting weather for babies being gestated in the icey, snowy Midwest (all of my family members in Oklahoma report having power today, but they're all stuck at home because of the ice).

I got out my Elizabeth Zimmerman book, The Knitter's Almanac, took up the BEAUTIFUL needles kindly sent to me by my thoughtful MWK Secret Santa (thank you Weeniezoom!), took up some cheap acrylic yarn that I had laying around, and began to work on the Double Knitting Blanket, simply to remind myself how to do this (this blanket is knitted back and forth on straight needles, but when you're done, you've actually formed two pieces of fabric, joined at the bottom and sides, that you can slip a baby into). I've made a couple of these in the past, but it's been a while. I cast on and began working, and realized, right after I'd formed the bottom garter ribbing, that I had a swatch that was the exact size to slide my new MacBook into! I love functional swatches!

So now my laptop can slip into this handknit cover before being placed into my briefcase, and I'm very pleased with it. I will try my best to upload a pic of it, but I have not had much success with that in the past - we'll see. Now to get started on those baby blankets!

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Oh What a Week!

TGIF. Started the week with a great New Year's party at friends' house in downtown DC. Took my knitting and sat and knit all evening, occassionally getting up to dance to various hits of the 70's and 80's (the big bonus was that the hostess, a woman from Iran, had The Very Best of Country Gold CD, so we got to listen to Donna Fargo belt out "The Happiest Girl in the Whole USA").

Went home, woke up with a slightly sore throat, and spent New Years catching up on reruns of the new Battleship Gallactica with a fire in the fire place. By Tuesday though, I had NO VOICE. Not just a scratchy, deep, Lauren Bacall, sultry sort of no voice, but really NO voice. Then, I opened up the kiln and what to my wandering eyes should appear but some strange and unwanted (read: ugly) variation on a trusted glaze that I had used dozens of times - for a HUGE order that was due mid-December (I won't go into the kiln disaster and the successful and very butch experience of rewiring the whole d**m thing that made the order late in the first place).

So Wednesday, still with no voice, I drove out to the burbs to the clay supply store to pick up a commercial clear glaze (ack) and then mixed up a simple low fire clear glaze in my shed just to be on the safe side. throw the glaze on a couple of pots and stuck them in the kiln to test fire.

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The Not-So-Fun Fun Fur Project

When I found out Granny would be coming with the in laws for the holidays, I decided it was time to knit her something. This would be Christmas #2 without Granddad, and the Best Beloved and I wanted it to be special. Granny is a bit of a hoot - not the traditional grandma, she was always more comfortable dealing cards than baking cookies. Upon getting her first hearing aids, she remarked, loudly and in a crowd, that she had no idea it made so much noise when she pee-ed.

I decided that Fun Fur stole would be just the thing (the "Chinchilla Stole" on the Lion Yarn website). This was before I had ever knitted with Fun Fur.

Now, I have been knitting for 20 years or so. I spin most of my own yarn. I long ago memorized Elizabeth Zimmerman's percentage system and have given up on patterns. I am as comfortable knitting with the right hand as with the left hand. I am not a great knitter, but I am as comfortable with yarn and needles as I ever expect to get - but I met my match with Fun Fur!!!

The first challenge was dropping a stitch. Generally, not much of a challenge, but between the lashes of this eye lash yarn and the slipperyness of the polyester - I ended up having to rip the whole thing out and start over 1/3 of the way through.

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