To move or not to move? Our Blogging History…

I’ve had several blogs, over time.  J and I started out blogging on his (now defunct) personal website – on software hand-picked by him, with photo gallery software selected likewise.  I never did find out how to embed photos in posts, so links abounded.  I can’t remember whether the pictures would then show in pop-up windows or not.

When he closed that site, I moved to Blogger – free, easy and apparently popular.  I tried to run several blogs in parallel – sewing, knitting and personal (well before Blogger supported tags) – and we had a shared ‘house and garden’ blog, too.  That one still exists, but hasn’t been posted to in about a year, if I remember correctly.

I consolidated my three blogs into one early in 2006 – on the grounds that I certainly didn’t post often enough to justify three blogs, and also because I realised that my fave knitting blogs included posts about the author’s life, work, garden, other projects – and so on.  Then, early this year, I tried TypePad.  And I think I’m staying.  It has strengths and weakensses compared to Blogger, but on the whole, I think it’s better.

Each time I move, I have to ask myself, "Self, what shall I do with all my old posts??".  And each time, I’ve replied, "Self, don’t be so lazy!  Move them to your new blog!".  I think I’ve pared down a bit each time – gotten rid of the first obligatory post that goes something like "Hello World!  Well, this is my blog.  I think I’ve set it up right, so lets see if it works, shall we?".  I don’t remember; I may have trimmed out anything too sickly, or angsty, or with too much bad karma in the past, too.  But the fact remains, I have 246 posts over at Blogger, and since you can’t export/import them between systems (at least, I don’t think you can – anyone know better??) moving them will take some time and effort.  I can’t bring myself to just abandon them, though; to leave them dangling in cyberspace, forgotten and unloved.  I have just revisited my oldest entry from there – certainly not my first blog entry ever – and when I posted it, I was the same age my ‘baby’ brother is now.  I remember that weekend clearly; it was one of the best I’d had in ages.  Four years later, I’ve had shingles and have been living with chronic fatigue for two years, and cannot conceive of having so much energy as I did then.  It’s a goal to aim for.

So, I will be moving things over.  Slowly, because it’s not trivial, but surely.  I apologise to those of you who have an RSS feed to my blog; weird things will appear from as far back as 2003.  I’ll prefix the title each one of those posts with "FROM THE ARCHIVES:", so if you’re not interested in my previous ramblings, you can easily skip past them.  Also, many of the links in those posts will be broken, not least because the photo gallery site no longer exists.  I will fix what I can, but that won’t be fast, either.

For those that *don’t* subscribe via RSS but *do* what to make a sentimental trip into my history (you weirdos), I’ll be tagging all of my posts ‘imported’.  I’ll be importing in chronological order, as far as possible, so if you just want to keep checking back there, eventually you’ll get the lot.  And I do mean eventually; if I average one post a day, it will take eight months to move the lot…

Time for a break

I handed in my notice at work the other week.  I have no new job to go to yet.

Oddly, none of my colleagues believe me when I tell them that; they all think I have found the *best* company in the world to work for and want to keep it to myself.  How they think I can work more than one person’s worth of job is beyond me, but never mind.

But today.  Today sent an email to the recruitment agency to tell them that I am not currently *interested* in pursuing new jobs.  That I’m planning to take several *months* off work.  That I will be officially and voluntarily unemployed for the first time since I quit my PhD (a whole ‘nother story).

It feels kinda scary.

But even more scary is the thought that I haven’t had a reply from them yet.  Maybe they didn’t get it?!?  Darn.  Now I’ll have to ring them and actually speak to someone to make sure. 

In other news, J’s new camera arrived today.  It has a much faster and more accurate focussing system than his old one, which means taking photos of a certain little hound is rather easier.  Especially when she’s running towards you.  You wouldn’t believe how many photos have been deleted because "It’s a nice shot, but it’s a shame the focus is two feet behind her head".  This has resulted in much playing in the garden.

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And a tired hound.

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Bless.

Though I must say, even without the new camera, she is becoming something of an international superstar.  Go check out J’s photos on Flickr, if you don’t believe me.  (They’re much better than mine…)

Knitting at both ends

I think eight needles in one sock is something of a record for me.  This is my first Pomatomus sock, in progress.

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I wanted to make these socks as long as possible – so obviously, they need to be knit toe-up.  But I also wanted to make them toe-socks, which I have got a working formula for – but only knit cuff-down.  So, cue provisional cast-on.

Once I’d knit most of the foot, I picked up the cast on stitches and knit my usual toe-sock toe, then – onwards and upwards!

Complete with trying them on in the railway station waiting room, of course…
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Clue 1 complete!

Just a real quickie: I finished clue 1 of the mystery stole knitalong today  I’m still rather behind; the second clue was released to the waiting world on Friday, and of course some had finished it before their coffee break…  Still, I’m not racing, and I’m happy to be a Slow-Bee!  🙂

By way of proof: a real quickie photo (not particularly stretched out and certainly not pinned or anything):
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Getting started: Chart A

In two days time, the second clue for the mystery stole will be released.  And I’m only on row 36 of clue 1.  Row 36.  Out of 100.  And this portion is increasing 2 stitches every right side row, so I’m not even a third of the way through this first section yet!  In fact, my rough and ready maths suggests I’m about 15% done – less than a sixth!!  I dread to think what the ‘workload’ will be like in subsequent weeks.

Still, I have only been working on it for the last two evenings, and managed a grand total of four rows last night – two of which I had to re-do this morning as I’d ended up with an extra stitch from somewhere.  It is looking gorgeous, though:

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I didn’t increase the needle size in the end, so this is being knit on 3.75mm circulars, and I think the contrast between stockinette and YOs is about perfect.  I did indeed choose to go with the gold beads, and the effect is really very subtle: these are only size 8/0 seed beads and they nestle right into the fabric.

Melanie, the stole designer, has designed this to use a different beading method to what I’ve used before.  The beads are not pre-strung on the yarn, but when a stitch is marked ‘beaded’, you actually place the bead on the stitch you are about to knit, by taking the stitch off the left hand needle, pulling it through the bead (a very tiny crochet hook is the tool of choice here) and replacing it on the left needle before working it.  I don’t have a crochet hook that tiny, so I’m making do with a bit of wire out of a twist-tie thing – and it still isn’t fine enough!  So I’m using that to pull a piece of thread through the stitch, then using the thread to pull the stitch through the bead.

The advantages of this method are that:

  1. …you don’t have to spend ages pre-stringing beads before knitting
  2. …the beads don’t fray the yarn as you push them along all the time
  3. …the beads sit on both legs of the stitch and can’t shift around; they are visible on the front and back of the fabric and have no tendency to ‘hide’ on the purl side.

On the other hand, it means you need your beads and beading ‘tools’ with you at all times.  This is not a very portable project, and it does require quite a bit of concentration.

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Taking a break…

All skeined up and…

…ready to go!

Now, some overachievers may have finished the first clue of Mystery Stole 3, but me, I haven’t even cast on yet.  Mind you, I did have to spin the yarn beforehand…

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Here we have 201 metres (219 yards, or about 25%) of heavy laceweight/light fingering weight 2-ply.  It’s actually come out slightly heavier than the sample yarn – 24wpi as opposed to 26wpi, 3100m/kg as opposed to 3,822m/kg).  That’s actually a fairly significant difference, but I’m OK with that – the yarn feels much nicer anyway!  Less stringy; somewhat softer, but still pretty tight spun.  I’ll probably up my needle size to 4mm to compensate for the size difference, though.

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The one remaining choice is the bead colour.  The yarn is a soft ivory colour with a lot of lustre for wool (to be expected; it is a longwool blend) and I think the crystalline white beads on the far right are way too harsh.  I’m also not keen on the pinkish ones; the combination looks rather twee to me.  The champagne colour on the far left is a very good match to the yarn colour; it would provide a subtle extra shine.  BUT – I think I’m going to go for the gold.  Why not??  Not all white yarns will work with gold – but this isn’t really white, per se.  And if I’m going to go for beads, I definitely want them to be seen…

One more yarn close-up to leave you with…

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  ..I should be winding up and starting later this evening.  Fingers crossed!