Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Practical Knitting

Later on this morning: The progress on my knit alongs. I'm on the Dem-Fischer-Sin-Fru (the fisherman's wife) and Secret of the Stole 2.

But for now, it is what I do what I am not knitting along. I have been doing what I would call practical knitting. It's been freezing cold here and the men have cold toes. I grabbed some of my thicker yarn from the stash. Ok, not really stash but two large garbage bags full of yarn. In a weekend I had two sets of slippers made.

On the left is my Husband's pair. I know, they don't match. The problem was that I ran out of yarn after knitting the first one. My only excuse is that they were needed immediately. My husband was not concerned with looks, he just needed warm feet.

I learned my lesson with my son's socks. (On the Right)
I had even less of the cool colored wool and much of the gray stuff, so I knitted the color in the cuffs, heels and toes and left the middle to be plain. His hit his feet about as fast as Dave's did and they've not been off since. I need to wash them.

Mine are not on my feet. (left) These were knitted at my In-Laws' about a month ago. I was not happy because they were supposed to be just normal socks. They were knitted on too large of kneedles to be comfortable. Then, I had an inspiration and threw them in the wash. That worked! I think I'll try that again.
Each of these were knitted from the same pattern: A general sock pattern knitted on size 10 needles. I cast on 40 stitches, knitted about 2" of k2p2 ribbing, then 8 knited rows. The heel is the slip one, knit one on the knitted side, then slip one, purl one on the purl side. The heel was a V-Shaped heel. The rest was knitted and tried on until I got to the end where it was k2 together at the beginning and end of each row at the toes, then bind off and crochet the toes together.

My Mother's socks were finished also. (On the Right) They were knitted on size 3 bamboo DPN's with my handspun. As usual, I was afraid I was running out of yarn so I grabbed some pink and did some 'shadow' knitting on the feet. It was knit one row of the colored, then knit one row of the pink.
My reasoning was that the feet weren't going to be seen anyways, they could be a bit less flashy. I'm just happy that they are done.

Monday, January 21, 2008


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A Letter To Mr. Coffee

Dear Mr. Coffee,

I am blogging this instead of writing a direct complaint letter because in order to do so, I have to fill out your form letter. This is probably so that you can dispose of those who complain faster. For Christmas this year, my husband gave me a Model ECM160 Espresso and Cappucino maker. It was a replacement for my Melita Espresso maker. My Melita was still functioning, but had build-ups of lime that were impossible to remove.
I've used this Mr. Coffee espresso maker now for almost a month and let me say that it is the most useless one I've had! I've been utilizing espresso makers for over 7 years now, and probably have had a Mr. Coffee espresso maker before without complaint. What is wrong with yours? Well let me tell you:

This is what happened this morning, which was the final straw. That coffee basket is not put in properly again. That would be the first time that it's brewed crap all over my counter, but not my first issue with the coffee basket. About 4 times in the last month I've attempted to slide it into position only to have it flip out of my hands and spill coffee grounds all over my counter.
I've puzzled over why this specific maker has given me issues with it. My Melita is stashed and waiting to be used at the in-law's so I pulled it out and took a look.

The issue is that to slide in the coffee basket in the Mr. Coffee, you have to position your hand to the left and slide to the center. In the Melita one, you position to the center and slide to the right. I see two problems with the Mr. Coffee one: 1. The coffe basket handle is sticking out quite a bit out the front of the maker, which is a safety hazard (which is probably the reason for that hideously short electrical cord. I'll get into that in a second) 2. The movement from the left to the middle is un-natural. To align the coffee basket correctly you have to position it and 'feel' for the slot. In the Melita, you just align the handle to be perpendicuar to the body and then slide to the right. In my opinion this is the poorest design of the Mr. Coffee maker.

Let's now discuss the cord length: Please excuse the use of a messy sink, but it was a spur-of-the moment shot.
Please note that the Melita cord is on top and the Mr. Coffee cord is on bottom. Please also note that the end of the Melita cord is under the silverware part of the dish drainer. The Mr. Coffee cord is at max 10" long. I can barely get it to plug in with the coffee maker flush against the backsplash of my counter. Never mind sliding the coffee maker forward to facilitate the now uber-tedious process of sliding in the coffee basket. I mean, would another 6" in length be that difficult? I am sure some person in your office has the mentality that this is for safety and to prevent lawsuits from some idiot dumping the coffeemaker into a sink full of water but....come on!
Ok, I'm almost done. The next issue is one that just speaks of Mr. Coffee's cheapness:

Would it have killed you to add the stainless steel frothing pitcher? Apparently YES! I have used the one from my Melita Espresso machine. Also, whatever that brown attachment you provided for the milk frother was supposed to do, It's not. I've taken it off and thrown it out. The frother starts out too forcefully and then just gets weaker and weaker. That is not a good sign either.

Just to show you that I can actually use your espresso maker without being an idiot, let me show you my second effort: I do appreciate your time in looking through this blog for the issues I have with this espresso machine. I think you should issue an apology to my husband for making him apologize for your crap to me. He was hoping to give me a great Christmas Present, instead he gets to listen to me swear at your machine daily. I do think that despite the issue with the lime deposits in the Melita, I will use that and just tank this one.
Brenda Brauner

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Can you hear that? It's quiet!

Last week was not fun. Our phone and internet were buzzing with chatter from family about the untimely death of my husband's ex-wife. Dave was married for over 20 years to that woman, and they have two sons. There is animosity between the 'boys' and their father due to the divorce and remarriage. In fact, Dave hasn't talked to his youngest son in almost 10 years at his son's request.

We've lived with these restrictions and said nothing to anyone. Now, there has been talk to one of the sons. Perhaps there is hope.

My Mother and Father in-law were down for the memorial service, as well as Dave's Daughter-in-law and granddaughter. We had them stay the evening here after the memorial service and they returned home the morning after. It was like chaos here; finding beds for all, and food, and entertaining a 4 year old.

Knitting? Not really. No time, nor any motivation. Spinning? Only during the time Dave was at the Memorial Service. It kept me calm, and from worrying.

Now that we're through that bit of drama, it's back to normal life. Of course, that means I have caught another cold. Great, woo hoo.

Monday, January 7, 2008

The holidays were hectic: too much driving around seeing family serving TONS of food that I didn't need. But there is perspective, down below.

Knitted presents were received and there was not much oohing and ahhhing over them. Mystic Waters.........I have a picture of it, Honest!............was termed an 'old grandma' shawl. SOTS will be utilized as a table runner, and the skull hat was overshadowed by a kewler, store boughten one. But there is perspective, down below.

My computer was acting hinky: To slow to turn on, not finding the sound card, etc. Dave cleaned out the whole thing this weekend. He reformatted the hard drive, installed the old programs, and set up the network. His problem was with the network. He took about 3 hours to get that thing to work. But there is perspective, down below.

Ok, to the perspective. This morning I see the answering machine blink. Someone must've called last night. It was Dave's daughter in law, Amy. She needed to talk to Dave NOW.....which was like this morning at 3 am. I called Dave's work and told them to give him the message to call her when he got there. I proceeded to drop the kid off and go to the mall to walk with my Mom and Dad. Borrowing Dad's phone I call Dave to get the message.

Dave's Ex-Wife was killed in a car crash on I-90 yesterday afternoon.

That's the perspective. Dave doesn't talk to his sons since the divorce, but I can just sense that he'd love to be with them right now. But they don't want it. But I know they could use it. That's what family does for each other.

Being from a huge family myself, I know there are relatives I'd rather not speak to unless I'm drunk. During those times of grief though, they are some how comforting. Kinda like the memory of plucking feathers off of freshly slaughtered chickens at my Grandma's. Sure, the smell of hot, wet feathers and the greasy feel of them was wierd, but it is a memory of a time when I was with my family. How is that for a wierd explanation?