Friday, July 30, 2010

Stitches and Strings - Beautiful Lace Top for Inspiration

Oooh, I'm hooked on this blog now!  Check out the very pretty top:

Stitches and Strings

Saturday, July 24, 2010

New YouTube Video - About the Lace Edgings

I put up a video for YouTube - not much like the one with the book, which is 'way more detailed, but showing the basic idea, promoting the book, and hopefully, enough information so knitters can make scalloped lace from the Stitch World pattern.

Now Available - Enchanted Edgings Book & DVD

Here it is:

These preprogrammed stitch patterns utilize a remarkable technique for fancy lace edges with automatically shaped edges.   This technique will save you time, aggravation, and prevent errors for beautiful lace trims!  Put these edges around garment pieces instead of hems; make collars out of them; edge blankets and afghans; run them along shawls and stoles...most of them have a beading row, in case you want to gather them, and all of them use an unusual automatic method that does the increases and decreases for you.

The price is $25 for the 30-page book and the DVD.   First class US postager $3 (as usual) and international shipping available).  For multiple-item orders, we only charge for the first item's shipping.

   OR  Shop at

The book contains:
  • Detailed instructions on how to make Brother lace, and in particular, how to make these special automatic edgings
  • Scalloped Lace Scarf, using the Stitch World pattern #168
  • Enchanted Forest Scarf, using my "enchanted" stitch pattern.  This is a gorgeous, gauzy lace weight scarf with fancy edges that don't require any tracking by you - the electronic Brother or Knitking knitting machine's patterning device does all of that for you.
  • Lots of beautiful 24-stitch lace edgings suitable for either an electronic or punch card machine! The fancy lace edgings that "made it" into the book are:  Merlin's Mesh, Happy Ever After, Fairy Godmother's Lace, Una's Crown, Unicorn Bridle, Sea Serpent, Journey, Eye of Newt, King's Crown, Magic Spell, Curving Path, Tiara, Magic Fans, Little Princess, Fairy Tale, Far Far Away, Dragon's Breath, Rapunzel's Braid, and Into the Woods.  
  • Each edging pattern has a close-up photo and a chart for punching your card or programming your machine.
  • In the interests of a happy ending, the book ends with the fairy tale about the bewitched machine knitter.
  • The DVD contains detailed instructions for a non-traveling lace edging, for the simple ones where the lace carriage goes two rows and the main carriage goes two rows (but you still get lace transfers in both direcitons!), and also for the multiple transfer lace edgings like Dragon's Breath.  These are SIMPLE to do - and I've included careful detail to get busy knitting quickly.
  • The DVD also contains a video of how to do the Enchanted Forest Scarf using just the Stitch World Pattern (#168).  If you have ready-made pattern cards and charts with a travelling stitch, try my method to simplify the edge work.
  • The DVD also has a video showing how to do the lace weight Enchanted Forest Scarf using my automatic stitch pattern.
  • Are you a DAK user?  Both .stp and .pat files for all the patterns are on the DVD in a "Stitch Pattern" directory.  The DVD plays in your DVD player, but you can also put the disk in your computer to access the files.
This book was written for Brother and Knitking machines with a 24-stitch punch card capability or electronics and a lace carriage.  Instructions are not given for other makes of machines.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Enchanted Edging Photos

It's hard to put up a bunch of photos on Blogger, so here are the photos of the edgings in the new book.  I'll put the information about the book up in the next post.

Stitch World #168

This is Stitch World #168 for the Brother 965, the pattern that I used for knitting the Enchanted Forest Scarf.

Whoo-Hoo! "Enchanted Edgings" finished

I will make a detailed announcement later, but want everyone to know (because I'm thrilled) that my new book and DVD, "Enchanted Edgings" is finished. The book is 30 pages and has lots of fancy lace edgings knitted automagically on the Brother/Knitking knitting machines. The DVD has very detailed instructions.

The books are printed and the DVDs are being copied. Included on the DVD is a file with DAK stitch pattern files, both .stp and .pat, for those who can utilize them. For electronic machines, you can put the pattern in using the input keys or mylar, and for 24-stitch punchcard machines, you can punch a card, adding the two rows of holes at the top and bottom for overlapping the card and making a continuous loop.

The book/DVD combo sells for $25 and again, if you order two or more items, I only charge shipping on the first.

So why am I so excited? First of all, because I think it's my best work yet, and secondly, because I can move on to more exciting things now. I have a whole list of interesting MK ideas to chase next.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Inspiration - Shawl at Yarn Floozies:

Yarn Floozies: bike widow

Sunday Morning and Miscellaneous Updates

Hey, y'all, here's the latest if anybody's interested.

Houston seminar in August:

I'm doing a machine knitting seminar in Houston in just a couple of weeks, so am frantically getting the handouts together.  People!  This is going to be good!  We have only a small group and we could use some more folks.  That means I can give more attention to questions and so forth.

The seminar is inexpensive, and that the curriculum I'm working on is incredible. I'm working on hands-on finishing samples for participants.  Email me at diana_knits "at" sbcglobal "dot" net and I'll hook you up with Space City Knitters.  I'd love to see y'all at one of my seminars and meet you.

DFW Seminar in November

I believe they have a little more space if someone else wants to register.

There will be quite a bit of overlap between the two seminars.  What each group did, though, was take a member survey of which of my possible demos they wanted, and then compiled to results.  They are not at all alike.

Enchanted Edgings

This is going to be a great package.  I decided to do a little more filming to clarify some things, and I forced myself to put my face in the move for a little while in the intro.  That was difficult!  When I have trouble remembering all the stuff I'm supposed to say, my eyes shift around like a bad actor playing a thief.  Oh, it's painful to look at your 57-year-old face on film, but hey, are my readers and viewers a bunch of twenty-somethings?

There are two videos.  The YouTube version just compares my Stitch World method to the Enchanted method, less than 10 minutes, just to present the big idea.  The one for the book/DVD pack has an intro, detailed non-traveling edging instructions, detailed travelling edging instructions, detailed multiple-transfer traveling edging instructions, scarf overview, how to make the scarf using just a Stitch World pattern (I have my own tweak on this that's easier than the usual follow-the-chart method), and finally, the scarf using my special "enchanted" pattern.

Yesterday I finished editing the video.  Whew.  I can scarcely describe how difficult and crashy all the video editing software I have tried is!  I am currently using Adobe Premiere 7, and I suppose I might have less problems if I bought 8, but it offends my sense of decency to give them more money when their software has worked so poorly.  I stared at the video software shelf in the electronics store yesterday and then said, nope.  Here's what I learned, so far:

1.  Save the project every time you make a change.
2.  Keep a book or some handwork handy for all the time you spend rebooting and crashing.
3.  Constantly render, or you can't see enough of the video to edit it properly
4.  Sometimes it corrupts a file and you get to start all over!

When I first began making videos for beginners, I used an old camcorder and Windows Movie Maker.  The HD camcorder I'm using produces really big, difficult to handle files, but the product is so much better for knitters.

I should have it finished, and to suit me, soon.

I ran out of space on John's big computer.  This project alone is taking several gigabytes for files, let alone DVD files, so John put a new 2 TB hard drive on the computer last night, and now I'm waiting for the copy-over process.

One of the things I tried to convey in this video is how fantastic the Enchanted Forest scarf turned out.  I didn't want only edgings in the book; I wanted a special project to spark ideas about what can be done with electronics and also, what can be done with manufacturer's lace patterns.  That scarf is gauzy thin with tiny detail and very slinky and soft, an alpaca/silk blend LACE WEIGHT.  Who says we can't knit lace weight yarns?

One of these days I want to do a whole book of really luxurious lace projects, as opposed to techniques/edgings in this book.  So many ideas.  So little time!

Other Stuff

We had a new roof put on this week.  A crew stripped our old shingles and pounded it on in two days.  Rain gutters are next; the old ones were in rough shape.  John is on the search for an affordable lawn service, the old one having gone out of business.  John and I work hard, but we both avoid yard work, a remarkable thing considering that we have all kinds of family members who are talented gardeners.

Steven, our baby, is still home from college, and his friends drop in and out and often stay over.  They are wonderful young men, doing all sorts of different things, and I hope they always stay in touch with each other.  He is so fortunate to have friends who go back to elementary school.  John and I moved around growing up and don't have that.  He's going to the lake today, and I just found the #50 sunblock for him.  I hope he wears it!

Friday, July 16, 2010

What's So Big About Texas?

I'm not from Texas.  My dad was in the military, and we lived in many states, but not Texas.  Texas was this big state in the middle that was in the way when we did our annual summer road trip from wherever we were living at the time to Denver to see Mom's people and Southern California to see Dad's people.  Texas took at least two days to cross in the car, and we didn't stop and sightsee.  We sat in the hot, boring car.

My hubby John was born in Ft. Worth, and his mom is an amazing Texas cook.   I met John in California; we were married there and then lived there a long time after that.

About 16 years ago, John accepted a position with his current employer in Austin, Texas, at a terrific computer software company.  We moved.  I had checked out the schools and the culture and I was certain it would be a great place to raise our two sons.  My sons have some (very few, of course) faults, but they are friendly and polite, just like the local Texans they grew up among.

John had promised me Austin is one of the prettiest places in Texas, and he was correct.  Austin rolls over hills and creeks and a winding river.  There are a million green trees, and bluebonnets and other wildflowers bloom in the spring.

I fell in love with the people and culture here.  As far as I can tell, here's what's so big about Texas:  the hearts of the people.  (The bugs are really big, too, but let's not discuss that.)  The people here are amazingly friendly and polite.  If your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, Texas, some kind gentleman will probably give you a tow, or a push, or tire changing assistance.  My son was driving home from college once and forgot his money.  The owner of a gas station in Sweetwater gave him gasoline, which he repaid on his return trip.

People here are really nice to little kids.  I was amazed at how many adults to listened patiently to my little boys just like they were grown-ups.  In fact, a lot of people here have really terrific listening skills.

When we first came here, we forgot the time as we were shopping one evening and didn't leave a store as they were closing.  It was a big box store, too, and they simply kept it open for us.  That was routine here.

Once, when I first came here, I was in a store with a huge jumble table of sale bras.  Some women were helping each other find sizes - and they didn't even know each other!  That's how friendly they are here.

It was Christmas time, and the mall was packed.  I saw a fellow open the door politely for ladies to go in the mall.  He stood there forever, letting one lady after another into that door.  His wife had probably picked out shoes by the time he went in the mall and closed that door.

Texans love football.  It's hard to describe how much, for instance, we've been in stores and heard the UT football score announced on the P.A. system!  The women love football, too.  I often hear women chatting about football.  I hear so many football analogies used as ordinary communication that I had to brush up my football knowledge to figure out what people were telling me.  I like that people here can always talk football or weather (the weather is dramatic) and shift easily away from politics.

At first I found the politeness a little peculiar, but I've realized that it's just kindness, and the world could use a whole lot more kindness.

I make fun of Texas, but my jokes are a lost cause.  The locals don't get the joke, since this is just how things are, and the out-of-state people don't comprehend this culture, except perhaps in the stereotypical bob-wire-and-cowboy-hat way.  I know people in many parts of the country put down Southerners.  There's a general prejudice that a Southern accent goes with some sort of stupidity or ignorance.  How ridiculous - oops, I mean how ignorant!  They have wonderful schools here (look at college and high school ratings) and an incredible work ethic.  I can't get over how well-trained University of Texas accountants are.  That what lawyers tell me about Texas lawyers and engineers tell me about Texas engineers, and so on.  And the doctors!  If you have to be sick, be sick here, where the doctors are so kind and polite, yet well-trained and careful.

I had to learn to understand Texas speech.  First of all, some people really say "dad-burn-it" and "dad-gummit," and I had to stop acting startled (or giggling) when I heard that.  I thought only Hoss Cartright said "dad-burn."  Secondly, "fixin' to" do something means you're going to do it any minute, as in "I'm fixin' to try one of those cookies."  "Meanin' to do" something means you might possibly get around to it; e.g., "I meanin' to clean out some of my yarn stash."  People here also say "might could," as in "You might could put in a new sponge bar."  As far as I can tell, the "might" is an extra word that gentles down a suggestion.

Pronunciations are occasionally quite odd.  For instance, Ls on the end of words are omitted in some parts of the state; "payrow" means "payroll."  Just in case you're getting the hang of this, I've heard L's added, as well:  "ideal" substituted for "idea!"

Spanish-speaking people settled here, and Hispanics have had a marvelous impact on everything about Texas, but Spanish words are routinely mangled.  For instance, Guadalupe street in Austin is "guad-a-loop."  "Manchaca" is prounounced "man-chack."  I had to get used to that and stop using Spanish pronunciations..  In California we made at least a lame attempt at the Spanish pronunciation.  La Jolla is pronounced "La Hoya" in California, but if it were in Texas, Texans would probably call it Law Jolly.

Among the settlers of this region were a lot of Germans.  There are a tremendous number of German place names in Texas, and plenty of beer festivals as well.

Texas cooking is often heavy and delicious, a case in point - Texas Barbeque.  The general procedure is to smoke meat slowly for many hours, until it's falling apart, over a real wood fire and then serve it with very flavorful sauces and succulent side dishes like sweet creamed corn or peach cobbler.  They serve it on butcher paper with rolls of paper towels.  You will get sticky. You will want more very soon.

They will fry almost anything.  Since I've been in Texas, I have encountered fried cheese, fried green tomatoes, fried okra, fried ice cream, fried sweet potatoes, fried pie, and fried dough.  Not that these items don't taste good, but they pack an unbelievable caloric load.  And, oh, my  - they'll take a jalapeno pepper and stick a shrimp in it and fry it.  There it is on the appetizer plate, all crunchy and brown with a shrimp tail sticking out and not a clue that there's a jalapeno pepper hiding in there.  You get a big surprise when you take a bite!  Of course, a lot of Texans gobble up that hot stuff like it's bland comfort food.  Texas chili, fiery hot, is entirely too spicy for me.

I don't have the metabolism for the food and would rather not be one of the biggest things in Texas, so it's Weight Watchers for me, but hey, I've got a charming Texas group leader who scopes out the Tex-Mex menus for things we can fit into the food program.

Inspiration - Lace tam

Over at All Tangled Up, a great lace tam:

Thursday, July 15, 2010

More Knit Natters Pictures from Saturday

Barbara makes porcelain dolls, and the pouring, firing, painting, ad dressing are quite a process.  Some of Barbara's porcelain dolls, at various stages of completion, are shown here.  

First of all, the tiny baby shown on the yellow wash cloth is about 5" long, entirely porcelain and not yet dressed.  

The big doll is maybe 28".  Barbara made a soft body for him, and he's not dressed yet.

The miniature, dressed doll (my favorite, of  course, because it's finished) fits in the palm of my hand!  Barbara says she took an entire week to make all those tiny little clothes.

Sylvia's church is making patchwork lap robes for a service project, and she brought along some samples.  They are using cotton calico cut in 10" squares with 1/2" seams, so these 4 by 4 lap robes turn out 36" in size.  They're having a work day with the sewers sewing and the non-sewers cutting.  It's no surprise to me that the cutting takes longer than the sewing!

Here's another nifty thing Pat Tittizer is making.  These are washcloths, but they're shaped more like scrubbies and are made from dishcloth cotton.

Pat gave us samples to take home.  Maybe I can create an MK version...on the bulky, of course, and folding and sewing directions will be necessary.

Mildred had brought along a crocheted doily made from plastic tablecloth scraps!  It was terrific.  Mildred, Pat and Sara have knitted and woven with plastic bags before, but we loved the bright colors from the tablecloth.  I somehow didn't get a picture.  Okay, okay, I'll tell the truth - I'm not very good about remembering to take pictures.  I get too fascinated with what everyone is making, I guess.  My plan was to get little Tiffany (Barbara's little granddaughter, who lives with her, and is sharp as a tack) to take the pictures, but she was off with family.  At some point in the meeting, I started snapping pictures and got most of the other things.

I demonstrated the wavy lace stitch that is over at Trico a Maquina.  I'm putting the pattern up in a blog post, so I won't cover that here.

Barbara treated us to another pleat lesson for Passap - but this time, she went over the changes in terminology necessary to create those pleats on the Japanese macines!  I love Barbara's demos.

We had a very interesting discussion about what items sell at the craft consignment store.  Pat works there and says baby things do pretty well, and of course, small gift items with low prices.  Sylvia, who has a professional embroidery machine, has made various things for sale but is rather baffled at what might sell.  She's talking about bringing a box of her things and asking everyone for opinions and suggestions.

I admitted that I am terrible at picking out items that will sell.  I learned that the hard way when I had my shop years ago, but fortunately, my employee Gail was great at picking winners.  She chose a lot of "cute" things, or humorous things, or sports-oriented things.  And you know what?  In eight years of owning that shop, I never did develop much skill at choosing big-selling items, although my sweater patterns were quite popular.

Pat pointed out that the colors that sell aren't necessarily our individual favorite colors.  She has developed a sense of what colors sell.

Knit Natters Meeting Last Saturday - Pictures!

Here's the deal on Knit Natters show-and-tell:  you have to follow the rules!  Here are the rules:

1.  You don't have to do show-and-tell
2.  Show-and-tell does not have to be knitting
3.  Show-and-tell can be anything you are working on
4.  Show-and-tell can be whatever you want to talk about!

And of course, with rules like those, we all love Show-and-Tell!  Here are some of last Saturday's pictures:

Pat is crocheting patterns and textures on top of a simple half-double crochet grid.  See the three samples:  On left, the grid (hdc, ch1); middle, slip stitches in a spiral on the grid; right, a deep texture on the grid.  These make nice afghan squares from scraps.

The tote bag, which Pat made with a grid with Dragon-shaped coils crocheted on top, required careful chart-reading and concentration.  Pat stiffened the bag with pieces of plastic canvas inside.

Here are some larger units with different patterns.  Pat did the flat version on the left and the raised texture on the right.

The thick, textured ones are about 3/4" thick.

Pat's hand knitted fair isle tam kit that turned into a clock.

It's hard to see in the picture, but Pat stretched the knitting over a round board and installed an electric clock works.

I'm going to put the next batch of pix up on a new blog post because Blogger is being most uncooperative!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Kris' Krafter Garter Bars - Do You Need 6 mm?

Kris makes very nice new-manufacture mid-gauge and bulky garter bars, and some of the MK-70 owners have inquired about 6 mm garter bars.  MK-70s and LK160s, I think, are 6 mm instead of 6.5 mm.  I have an MK-70, and it's a cool little machine.  It folds up into a case about the size of a sewing machine.

For it to be worthwhile, Kris needs to manufacture and sell about 100 of these; therefore, she'd like to know how many people want one.

If you are looking for a 6 mm, please let Kris know at  I'm on the list!

Asking Me Questions

If you have a question for me, please  email me.  I read internet comments, but they aren't designed to allow replies except as a comment in the list below the old post, which I wouldn't expect you to revisit.

Anyway, two answers to questions:

1.  How do you do a ribber gauge swatch?  My method is to do it just as big as a regular swatch.  I use needle numbers for my 40 stitches and 60 rows.

It's going to be very stretchy, and you'll have to handle it the same way you plan to handle the garment.  As a very general rule, I do very little blocking on ribbed stitches, so I usually measure the swatch without any stretching or blocking and avoid the ribbed areas when I steam or block the garment.

2.  What is the status on the edgings book?

I thought I might finish last night!  The book is finished.  The instructional video effort for the DVD is stuck, my editing software giving me extraordinary problems and refusing to process the last few video clips.

I will probably purchase a fourth editing software and try again, which makes it difficult to predict the moment when I will be ready to have printing and duplicating done.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Renate Miller on Handwork

Something to think about.  I think most of us love the process, not only the product.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Art Machines: Топик цвета лайма

Art Machines: Топик цвета лайма

Check out the green lace shell. Cute, huh? Sounds like she did a lot of hand-transfers to do this, but it can be done using the patterning device on your machine.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Take The Garter Bar Quiz

With the garter bar lessons available on DVD, try the garter bar quiz:

See how many of the garter bar skills (which are in the new DVD garter bar course) that you already know:

1. Can you adjust the stopper, and do you understand how to use it?

2. Have you used your garter bar as a stitch holder?

3. Have you used your garter bar to decrease evenly across a row (for a hat or a cicular yoke, perhaps)? Do you know how to do the math quickly, to spread the decreases evenly?

4. Have you learned to increase evenly across a row using the garter bar (for a cuff, perhaps)?

5. Have you learned to gather a ruffle with your garter bar?

6. Can you rip out a whole row in a single tug, using only the stopper?

7. Can you put all the stitches back in the needle hooks using the garter bar?

8. Can you make a vertical dart, using the garter bar?

9. Have you turned cables with your garter bar?

10. Have you learned to use your machine's patterning device to select needles, then turn cables with the garter bar?

11. Have you done all-over eyelet lace with the garter bar?

12. How about using the patterning device and the garter bar to make lace using a machine with no lace carriage?

13. Have you used your garter bar to park half the stitches while you shape the other side of a neckline?

14. Have you tried vertical weaving with the garter bar?

15. Have you ever moved stitches from the ribber to the main bed, all at once in groups as wide as the garter bar?

16. Have you knitted a fancy woven cable with the garter bar?

17. Can you make garter stitch with a garter bar?

18. Have you ever tried Quaker stitch, using a garter bar?

19. Have you ever shaped a V neckband, using the garter bar?

Trico a Maquina Does it Again - Beautiful Stitch Pattern

Check out Trico a Maquina's Beautiful stitch pattern!

You can use a translating website to translate Irma's Portugese instructions, but you will find the translator does very weird things to knitting terminology.  Here are my instructions, translated from the Google translation to actual instructions one can follow (for instance, careers = rows; points = stitches, etc.).

This is a machine knitting stitch. Begin with a number of needles divisible by 5. Cast on and knit a few rows. Carriage on right.

The pattern is worked over groups of 5 needles. Begin by putting all needles into hold position and set the carriage so it does not knit needles in hold.

Put the first 5 needles on the carriage side into working position so they will knit. Knit 4 rows. Put the next 5 needles into working position, knit 4 rows.

*Put the next 5 needles into working position and knit 1 row from right to left. Put the first group
of 5 back into hold position. Knit 3 more rows. Repeat from * on across the work, adding a group and taking a group out of work as you go.

Keep working in this manner until only one group of needles is in work. The last group will have an extra row so the carriage can end on the left side.

Now, working from left to right: Knit 4 rows over the first group of 5; put next 5 in work, knit 4 rows; put next 5 in work, knit 1 row1 and put the first group back into hold.  Knit 3 rows, *put next 5 stitches in work, knit 1 row. Put the next group on the left into hold and knit 3 more rows.  Repeat from * across the working, adding a group and taking a group out of work as you go.

There's a direction at the end of the pattern that is a complete mystery to me, but hey, the pictures match my stitch pretty well so I'm on the right track.

I started my scarf with waste yarn, then an e-wrap cast-on and 4 rows of plain knitting, and ended with 4 rows of plain knitting and a loop-through-a-loop cast-off.  The scarf requires a bazillion rows.  Honestly, I lost track; the row counter turned over several times.  You knit until it's long enough, and I'm so glad I have a motor. I listened to an audio book (lame romance genre, lots of sword fights; all men hunky, and all women beautiful) and I watched the machine closely.  A couple times, a slub caught on a gate peg, and I had to rip out a few stitches.  I should have used smoother yarn, but isn't this pretty?

For my scarf using Irma's lovely stitch, rather than doing all that "hold" work manually, I created an electronic stitch pattern using PART buttons to do the short-rows.  You must bring the carriage outside all the needles every row if you do the automatic stitch.

I used this yarn before, and I only had a cone end then, for a ribber scarf. That scarf was pretty and chunky, but this scarf is blocked firmly and quite slinky.  I still have enough on this cone end for yet another scarf or small project, so you'll see it yet again!  Nope, I have no idea what this yarn is, since I got it from another knitter.

A commenter on Irma's site said she was making a blanket, but gee, I don't know.  It would be a cute baby blanket, but I generally avoid stitches with holes big enough for little fingers.  Any suggestions as to what else would be cute in this stitch?  You can modify the edges to make them straight instead of wavy, and I know seams will work okay on this stitch.  I do think it would make a nice stole, but remember, that will also require a bazillion rows.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Dog-Lover's Yarn: pretty in pink

Dog-Lover's Yarn: pretty in pink

Cute socks!

I think Cooper is adorable. I have loved looking at the pictures of his puppyhood.

More Dental Adventures

I had a sick tooth while on vacation, and now I've had to have it extracted.  I was hoping and half expecting it to be fixable, but it needed to come out.  I missed a day of work and got it done Thursday.  Heck, the dentist I saw Wednesday would have gotten me into an oral surgeon that afternoon if an appointment had been available..

I had a bad moment.  I thought about getting up and leaving the oral surgeon's office!  First of all, I had been sent to the wrong address and had only gotten the right address by calling the answering service, since nobody was answering the office phone and nobody at the old address seemed to know where they had gone.  Secondly, after I was in the chair, the assistant told me I wasn't going to have the doctor I was expecting.  I didn't know either doctor, since it was a referral, but I did have a tired-of-surprises-let's-blow-this-place moment.  Then I thought, "You wuss.  People used to go to some guy with pliers at a barber shop. Here's a nice, gentle doctor with Novocaine, soft music, and pain pills for later."

The gentle, gray-haired doctor was very nice, explained everything, didn't hurt me, and got that mean old molar out in one piece, and fairly quickly.

I am on the mend.  I know, it's all mental, but there are days when you are mentally strong and days when you're just tired.  I went back to work Friday, and it seemed like everything I worked on was frustrating, but today I have Knit Natters, my lovely friends, and a very interesting demo to show off.   Oh, I'm rubbing my hands!  Wait 'till you see this photo...or maybe I'll make a video.  Here's a hint:  I got this idea from Trico a Maquina, the gorgeous knitting blog from Brazil that every machine knitter ought to follow.

Matt Ridley: Down with Doom: How the World Keeps Defying the Predictions of Pessimists

This Huffington Post Article is wonderful:

Matt Ridley: Down with Doom: How the World Keeps Defying the Predictions of Pessimists

He had me in the first paragraph, "When I was a student, in the 1970s, the world was coming to an end." I was a student in the 1970s, and at my college, I heard the same horrendous predictions.

Maybe the pessimists galvanized people to make the world better, but I don't think so. Progress comes from a few heroes, like Norman Borlaug, the father of the "green revolution," but mostly, from people doing what people do with the available capital, ambition, and technology. The point isn't that everything is wonderful, but that the fear-mongers keep generating crazy predictions for questionable motives, like selling books, magazines, movies, and political agendas. How's that ice age working out? How do we tell whether to be concerned or whether we are listening to Chicken Little?

I contend that a realistic recognition of the difference human progress has made in the quality of human life will motivate our kids to go forth and do something worthwhile more than yet another wave of doomsday predictions.

I remember what the pessimists were pushing in the 1970s. The question is, what are the pessimists pushing now?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Recognize The Real Signs of Drowning and Save a Life

The possibility of someone drowning - even with people nearby who can help - is a terrifying reality. Drownings and near-drowning are horrifyingly common.

Whenever I'm at a public pool, I wonder how on earth the lifeguards can tell whether children are in trouble, so I asked one of my son Steven's friends, who was lifeguarding, about how to recognize a swimmer in distress. He told me a little about his training and experience. Problems are common, and not just drowning, but he also saw dehydration and heat exhaustion cases. Teenage girls who are on the verge of fainting because they do not eat and drink account for plenty of problems in the sun and water.

Here's an interesting article:

Recognize The Real Signs of Drowning and Save a Life

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010 - Recipe - Geo's Bbq Shrimp

We ate this at my MIL's house last weekend: - Recipe - Geo's Bbq Shrimp

Laura (John's sister) and I had been hunting recipes, trying to replicate a flavor she remembers from New Orleans street vendors' shrimp. This version was tasty, unusual, easy to do, and cooks in only a few minutes in the broiler. We also liked this recipe's common, readily-available ingredients.

The sauce is spicy and sweet. Watch out - if you let it sit a while, the shrimp get spicier.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Inspiration The Shetland Trader: A Tiny Tea Leaves...

The Shetland Trader: A Tiny Tea Leaves...

As I've been shopping, I noticed a lot of "little" sweaters, intended to go over summer dresses.  I didn't buy one, because all I could find in my size was black, and I don't have black summer dresses!  I've been thinking about knitting one ever since.

Isn't this cute?  Just love a round neckline with cables!

Inspiration: Yarn Harlot: Two Beautiful Things

Yarn Harlot: Two Beautiful Things

Great example of handknit lace shawl with fancy edgings.

Many Assorted Updates

We're back in Austin!  We crawled into our bed at about 2 a.m. We had a flight that went from Ontario, California to Las Vegas, and to our surprise, the plane went from almost empty to completely filled (and a volunteer recruited for a later flight) even though it was the 4th of July!  We saw a lot of fireworks as we landed in Austin, professional fireworks shows in many locations around the area, but from the air, even the most impressive show is amazingly miniaturized.

While we were in California, our son Steven packed and mailed all the orders so nobody would have to wait unduly.  Our policy is to mail every weekday, if we have an order.  Steve is a smart and careful young man, followed detailed instructions, and didn't want any of my customers disappointed.  If anyone had the least problem with an order this week, please let me know.

I want you all to know that I have a new eBay ID.  John and I have an ID, "jsulliva" for many, many years and many transactions, and you can check our feedback on that ID, but it was just too confusing to have any of my knitting transactions, which have to be recorded in my bookkeeping, mixed in with personal transactions, so now I have some eBay things under diana_natters.  I would prefer dianaknits, but somebody else has that one.  I also have a sales site,, which is my own domain name and has my products free of eBay and its various positive and negative attributes.

Also, please know that I greatly appreciate international orders, charge a low shipping fee, and send them USPS first class mail.  Unfortunately, they do take up to three weeks to arrive.  The international priority mail is quite costly.  If anyone wants to pay for that, email me and I'll do it.  I'm too cheap, myself, and when I buy from overseas I go with ordinary mail and wait...and wait.

While we were in California, we visited John's mom, who had her 85th birthday, and her daughter.  We saw my niece Heidi, her husband Chris, and baby Riley, who just had her first birthday.  We visited other friends in our old town.  Then we visited my sister Karen, her husband Jeff and gorgeous children Branden and Anna.  Next, we visited my sister Sharon, husband Maynard, grown daughter Christine (the real Legally Blonde), Christine's friend James, Sharon's son Thomas and Thomas' friend Lisa.  We went to Huntington Beach and met our tenant and her son - really nice people - and I had my first look at our new-to-us property there.  Then we went to the TSCPA annual meeting for two days and hung out with my lovely CPA buds, and finally back to John's mom's house.  Whew.  I hardly know what hit me!  We did all this in a little over a week, visiting San Bernardino, Highland, Moreno Valley, Simi Valley, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Costa Mesa, and San Diego.  Whew.

We had spectacular, cool weather in California.  I hear it rained here.

And, in the middle of all that, I woke up one day with a sick tooth and visited a dentist and then an endodontist.  I need dental work once I get through the antibiotics, but I felt better quickly.

We certainly ate a lot.  Now that I'm home it's back to counting Weight Watcher points for me!  It's much too important not to regain the weight I've lost.

I didn't work on "Enchanted Edgings" too much, but John and I went over it and decided to move the silly fairy tale that was an into to the end and keep the beginning completely knitting-related.  I still have one chart to add, the table of contents, and some serious video editing.  Everything takes me forever; I certainly hope the time I took is reflected in the quality of the product.

When we finally had access to the internet, how painful it was to hear of the end of Knit Words magazine!  I have been a huge fan from almost the beginning, and I really am grieving.  If you can get some back issues, please do; Mary Anne included such wonderful instructions in each edition that her magazines represented a wonderful opportunity to improve knitting skills.  I wish her the very best in her future endeavors, whatever they may be; and I fully expect her to achieve every success, knowing what a talented person she is and what quality work she does.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Huntington Beach

We're in HB today!  We spent the night at Best Western just down the street from my awesome sister Sharon's house (she is the printing expert owns Print Experience).  We had supper with her family.  She cooked for us, and John has declared her lasagna the best he's had in years,  if not ever.  He says it's so long since I've cooked any that he can't remember if mine is any good!

We went and saw our condo today.  John and I bought a condo that I had never seen!  He did the research and shopping.  I was very pleased.  It's small place by Texas standards, but it's a rough life with incredible, gorgeous weather, you smell the ocean, and you can walk down to your own private boat slip.  We have it rented to a nice family; the son likes to jog to the beach and back.

Yesterday we had been in Simi Valley visiting the other sister, and I woke up with a swollen face after a rough night with a sick tooth.  Sharon suggested I see Dr. Daniel Chung in Costa Mesa, who fit me in.  He's great; if/when we retire here, I've got my dentist staked out.  I'm taking a prescription to get it all calmed down and when I return to Texas, I should be ready to see my dentist and get down to root causes (groan).

Simi Valley is gorgeous, like a big garden.  The jacarandas are in bloom.  Karen ("baby" sister) says there was enough moisture for a beautiful spring.

Tomorrow, we head for San Diego, where I'm attending the Texas Society of CPAs annual meeting.

Our son Steven is keeping the home fires burning, spoiling the dog a little more rotten, and filling some orders for me, too.

Finn Comfort Shoes

Say, who else has tried Finn Comfort shoes?  My mother- and sister-in-law had me trying on all their Finn shoes, thinking that I would probably love them, and I went nuts.  John took me to a store with just a few styles, and I splurged and bought this sandal.  It's a backless sandal, but it stays on.  I plan to troll the Net, check the shops back in Austin, and buy more from time to time.

These are expensive, but super sturdy, comfy, padded shoes with excellent support in insoles.  The guy at the shop added a metatarsal pad for me, and I've been wearing them and not needing my orthotics!  They are great for my old feet -  which I admit are wide.

Sound Off: Do Free Beginner Videos Help or Hurt Machine Knitting?

Really hate that Knit Words won't be published any more.

But tell me the truth:  do the freebies like my free patterns and YouTube video lessons, hurt or help the machine knitting craft?  Are all these beginners turning into customers who buy machines, yarn, books, and magazines?

Let me have it, if I deserve it.  But know this:  I did this enormous amount of work to help keep MK alive, to help our craft.  Hardly anyone was teaching beginners, and no beginners means it will all be over soon.