Thursday, July 06, 2006

Chilled Out

It’s cloudy today and much cooler than it has been. This is kind of a mixed blessing: I still have to water my plants but I also have to close up the greenhouse to keep the heat in. A big advantage is being able to sleep with all the covers on. I like heavy covers. I don’t sleep well under just a sheet.

I just realized that I forgot to mention that Monday was our 35th wedding anniversary. Even though it was a stat holiday (for Saturday’s Canada Day) T-Man had to work. (He got Tuesday off instead.) We had a lovely evening out. We walked downtown along the edge of Chinatown and went to Tinseltown to see the X-Men III movie. It was very well done for the comic book movie genre. (I admit I have always had a thing for Wolverine! Or maybe it’s Hugh Jackson I have a thing for? Nah, I was reading the X-Men comics when they first came out and Logan was just ink on paper. Snickt!) After that we walked to Yaletown and went to a very pricey restaurant called Blue Water (mains in the $30+ range) and had a yummy seafood dinner, with equally-pricey drinks, wine and dessert. Ya just gotta splurge once in awhile, eh? (Though that nearly-$200 could have bought a lot of yarn! Or glass!) Then we walked home. Yes, we could still have afforded a cab (barely) but it was a nice evening. And we needed to wear off some of the chocolate dessert.

I’ve been studying knitting symbols. I’m looking for The Definitive Version but I can’t seem to find one. Every publication or author has their own ideas. For instance, the knit stitch can be just a blank square (or rectangle) or a vertical line. A purl stitch can be a dot, a horizontal line, or a dark square. There’s a bunch of different symbols for decreases too: diagonal lines, angles, triangles, and upside-down Y’s — though a yarn over is pretty much always an O. And on it goes for every move you can make with your pointy sticks and string. There’s even 2 kinds of charts: one type for stitches (lace, cables etc.) and one for colour patterns (fairisle, intarsia, duplicate stitch). No wonder knitters need a key to each and every chart.

I usually draw my charts (or any kind of graph) with a program I’ve had since the very first version, Pattern Maker by Hobbyware. I use the Pro version because it can make proportional graphs (i.e. not square) and has other handy features, like exporting as a JPEG. I’m holding off testing the latest version 4 until I have time to play with the evaluation program which is only good for 4 days. I’m not sure I need it, but it might be better — won’t know until I try it, will I? Along with Pattern Maker Pro, I use a knitting symbol font from here. It’s pretty comprehensive but you need to use it in a spreadsheet or something to make the grid. If you need to have the grid built in to it, the other knitting symbol font that’s available is from David Xenakis (the first X in XRX publishers) here. It’s a little harder to get some of the symbols since his key chart doesn’t really relate to Microsoft reality and the characters don’t look that great on-screen. (He’s a Mac-head, what can I say? I’m sure the Mac fonts work just fine.) There are actually 2 fonts available, one that might be more useful for the second kind of chart, the colour one. Currently I’m trying to map it out on my computer in order to make a better cheat-sheet. It’s a challenge! However, I can see where this type of symbol font could be useful just to type a quick chart into a Word file or something without having to open yet another program.

Getting the symbols on paper is one thing, but knowing what symbols to use for what knitting move is another! That’s what brought me to start looking at knitting charts in many publications. It turns out that as long as you have a key somewhere, you can make it mean anything you want. It is true that some symbols are more reminiscent of the actual effect than others. I like it to be as pictorial as possible so that I don’t have to look at the key constantly. I’ll be playing with this some more in the future. These kind of things just fascinate me. Yes, I’m weird — but you knew that.

There are several new issues of online fibre publications up: Spindlicity (love the articles from kids), Knitty (with patterns for socks — including one from my friend Sivia — hats, and gloves), the second issue of For The Love Of Yarn, and the very first (and rather good) issue of Fiber Femmes. Go, get a cup of tea or coffee, come back, and read them! I’ve now got 2 new buttons for my sidebar:

Next, my buddy Mel has asked in a Comment about Mu Ni, my beaded art doll and how big she is. She’s about 4 inches tall and her skirt is about 4 inches wide. I can’t tell how thick she is, though it’s something like 1-3/4 inches through the puffiest part of her skirt. Her face is just over an inch across. Does that help? Happy gardening, hon’!

Update on my hearing aids: I’m getting much more used to them and have been wearing them for most of today. Some things still sound too loud and I can hear my bones creaking! But I’m more able to deal with the odd stuff. Like when I move around sometimes there’s a little sound like jingle bells? I think it’s my hair or my glasses moving slightly near the pick-ups. The parts that go in my ears aren’t tickling as much today. I really think this is going to be a piece of cake getting used to them. But I’d better not say that yet! Just in case.

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