Healthy what?

So I’m settling in for a Friday evening and need to check my email which has gone largely neglected during the day.
I see a message is available from one of my (too many) doctors at UT Southwestern.
I think. Uh Oh, another bill.
I go to check the message and find that it’s titled Healthy Eating During The Holidays.
Are you kidding me?? I’m sitting in front of one of Susan’s patented Margaritas, queso, guacamole and chips that will probably stop my heart in the next hour.
Healthy eating got tossed to the curb an hour ago.


Jacky Donahue

I have never before felt the need to stand up and speak after someone’s death. For Jacky I find that I do.  I’m sure I won’t be alone in that feeling and you’re going to find dozens of stories about her and the impact she made in so many lives.

I met Jacky on the first day of workshops for Scarborough Faire in 1989.  She did two things that weekend which would have long-lasting impacts on my life.  The first was that she took a nerdy guy in a white lab coat and, for a reason only she will ever know, chose me as part of her group that year. The second thing was that at one point during the weekend she grabbed a girl named Susan, pushed her toward me and said “This is Michael. Corrupt him.”

Prior to that time I’d had very little interest in dance, being much more interested in computer programming and other less athletic pursuits unless they involved lasers, flashing lights and chasing people in dark mazes.

I had great fun learning from Jacky and performing with her.  Playing at Pyramus and Thisbe (or Pyramid and Frisbee as some of us liked to call it), talking, walking from event to event, dancing hither and yon (even in the Holly Oven) at dinner at Golden Corral and after with the group in the pool and hot tub at the Econo Lodge.

She had a big warm heart that opened easily and was fiercely protective of those she cared about.  There’s this small red statue that some of you may remember…

Dance is now a core part of my life.  I spend hours learning new dances, teaching, calling dances, playing roadie at events and so on.  I might not be doing any of that if it weren’t for Jacky pulling me in and taking me on the first few steps along that road.

My corruption was successful.  I’d say I’m fairly irredeemable at this point.

That girl Susan that I mentioned?  We married each other.

It took a few months for her to catch me but once she did I was hogtied for life and I couldn’t be happier about it.  She’s the best thing that ever happened to me and while she says she saw me that first day and thought I was cute, if Jacky hadn’t pushed us together, our lives might have taken very different paths.  I’m glad they didn’t.

Thank you Jacky.  My world is definitely a better place because you were in it.

Halloween 2012, Fright Night

I had to abandon the monitor mentioned in the first post due to some software issues.  I’d have had to make the images pixel by pixel by hand using a hex table and decided my time would be better spent coming up with other ways to frighten the pee out of the miniature humans.

Continue reading Halloween 2012, Fright Night

Double Knitting Teeth Gnashing

When one of my knitting group’s organizers suggested the heart hot pad as a knit along for February, I thought “how adorable” and “that looks quick and easy.”  For an insane moment I thought I could knock one out in a day for a Valentine’s Day present.  Proud of my one-and-only past accomplishment of double knitting the Rectangly Hat, I thought this would by a cinch.  Hubris pie, anyone?

Cutting to the chase, here’s what I’ve learned so far.

  1. The pattern looks simple, but the directions have confused better knitters than I.
  2. Double knitting in the round means never having to flip a chart in your head.  This ain’t that.
  3. Holding red and white yarn together for a long-tail cast on makes a pepperminty jumble.  It’s easier, and it’s a valid design choice but not my preference.  After some false starts, the Happy Seamstress’ directions made a nice single color cast on edge.
  4. The side edges in the original pattern match the crushed peppermint look of the two-strands-at-once cast on.  Being persnickety, I followed lissaplus3’s video instead.
    • On the final 2 stitches (1 of each color), hold both colors of working yarn in back, and slip the penultimate stitch purlwise.  Move the working yarn of the same color as the last stitch to the front, then slip that last stitch purlwise.  (Call this color B.)  Turn the work.  Knit the now-first stitch (color B) with its matching color, which is already in back.  Move that working yarn to the front, where the other color (A) of working yarn has been  hanging out, then use color A to purl this stitch.
  5. I double knit really loosely and should have gone down two more needle sizes.
  6. The original chart had an error on row 25 (extra red square, removed from charts below), and it showed 29 stitches across, even though the written instructions said to CO 30.  Make it 31, and you’ll have a 2-stitch border on either side.

Here’s the best part — a corrected chart showing 31 stitches across plus row / column numbers and a second chart with the colors flipped.  Hats off to clear-headed knitters who can invert colors in their heads, but I needed a second chart.  I’m using the white background one for the odd rows and the red background for the even.  I hope these help other knitters.  Now, as someone else mentioned about double knitting, take a deep yoga breath and get busy!

white background Double knit heart hotpad 01

Feb. 23, 2012 update:  Finished, unless I decide to add a crochet border as reinforcement.  The side edges came out cleanly in color, although the slipped stitches look loose and wonky.  I bound off by grafting / kitchenering the ends together, which avoids the crushed peppermint look but doesn’t provide structure. Maybe a normal bind off, doing a k2tog on each pair of stitches, would have been the better choice.  Anyhoo, this has been a learning experience, and I hope my thrashings help you avoid similar convolutions!