Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Of Tallit and Tomatoes

Dave asked for a close up of the weave structure of the tallit.

It is a basic tabby cloth -- the easiest to weave on my rigid heddle loom. I can do other weaves and have a second heddle and heddle blocks but decided (after experimentation) that one heddle was plenty for me. Eventually I will get a larger loom with more variation but, for now, my Kromski Harp does exactly what I want to do.

On the gardening front, I made my second "major" tomato harvest. (The first harvest was last week and was served up barely cooked with some yummy cured meat and pasta.)

The big one is a Patio, the yellows are yellow plums and the smaller red ones are Tiny Tims. Below, one of the tinier Tiny Tims.
Yes, it is sitting on a quarter. And would have fit on a dime. It was delicious!

Finished! Some Weaving ...

Squidette's Tallit

Started: June 14, 2008
Finished: July 30: 2008

10 epi, 3/2 Pearl Cotton and Pearl Silk

Atarah (neckband) purchased already finished

Tzitzit (fringes on corner) hand tied on the tallit by your's truly, following instructions found online

Regular fringe made of the loom "waste" and knotted over the course of 3 days.

One end had to be rehemmed because I hemmed it in the wrong direction. (Both hems are double folded to hide the raw edges.)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Squid on Wheels-- Riding in the Rain

I've been wanting to do a Coney Island ride for several weeks now and so, this week, I set my mind to do it. Saturday was the perfect summer day, relatively cool, clear blue skies, no wind ... but I had a very tired kid due to a camp overnight. So Saturday was relegated to running some local errands and doing laundry. I also did some spinning ...
Bamboo Silk top that Susan sent me about a year ago. The one on the left is actually a pale blue and is what I was spinning (and not all of it, just the last few grams). The green has been spun up for a month or so.

Sunday "dawned" with a bang -- rather a clap, of thunder -- and it poured until shortly before the kids woke up. I was determined, however, to get out for a ride, no matter what the weather people said. I listened to all of the reports and decided to believe the one that said "no more storms until late afternoon."

And off we rode. Coney Island was out, because even I am not that stupid, and instead we did a basic breakfast ride to the Red Hook Fairway's and did a spot of geocaching a pier over.Then, out to Ikea for chocolate and cinnamon buns, and then we started home.

First we encountered a motorist who felt that we should not be taking up a lane of traffic with our bikes, "you (explicative deleted) have two children with you!" he shouted at us. Please note two things: one, we are entitled to an entire lane, by law, and were only taking the right hand side of it, except when dodging potholes, and two, the squidlings are, as you know, quite accomplished and savvy in the ways of city cycling. Mike yelled back a bit and we continued on our way.

At the base of the Brooklyn Bridge, Mike asked us to "pick a bridge and a way to get there." I picked the Williamsburg Bridge and took out the map to figure out how to get there.

Please note, we were at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge which meant that it's bike entrance was only a few blocks away, as was the entrance to the Manhattan Bridge path. The Willamsburg Bridge ... we that was a mile or so away ... Yes, I was trying to stretch the ride and make it more interesting.

Interesting it was as we wended our way through Williamsburg ...

Nice quite streets.And then the thunder started. Actually it started while we were still at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge. I was still in denial and the rest of the family was willing to buy into my delusion.

As we passed under the Manhattan Bridge, it started to drizzle. As we continued North, it became a steady rain. Finally, in desperation -- the water kept blinding me -- we pulled over into the shelter of a gas station until it let up. Pedaled another mile or so, sheltered under a highway and then finally got to and crossed the Williamsburg Bridge without another drop.

20 miles. Not bad for a rainy day.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

TdF: Final Intermediate Sprint

"Hills like this were never really to my liking." (Paul Sherwin whenever asked about a mountain stage by Phil Liggett)

A few days ago I realized that I was not enjoying the pressure of "having" to finish my TdF project. So, with that in mind, I took out my wheel yesterday and went for a nice long spin. Then I balled up the first skein of Tilli Thomas Rock Star Bridgetown Brown (100% spun silk with glass beads) and started in on this shrug for Squidette.Her Bat Mitzvah dress is less modest then it should be so this shrug, designed to cover a halter top, is just what is needed. I've been resisting starting it, knowing that I have to finish my socks, but last night I just dug in and started.

During the Tour I also finished these socks for my only sockless sibling -- but they were "purse" knitting and don't count as interfering in the TdF sock progress.The real hindrance to knitting was the fact that life just took over during the daylight hours and with Little Squid in camp for 1.5 hours less then last year, and with us riding our bikes there most days, there was just less time.

Last, I was working on another project, which will be finished and revealed in all of it's glory tomorrow. parts of it have been worked on in secret from the recipient so no peaks until they see it first.
The second sock. Oh, and did I mention that I lost my squid graph and have to reconstruct it from the first sock ...

And so, I concede the race. no green jersey for me. Oh well, there is always next year.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Woven or Knit?

This is the dress.

It needs a shawl (for synagogue).

Now add the yarn (ArtYarns silk)...

Woven (plain weave) or knit? And if knit, what pattern? (Should be fairly solid)

I have 8 skeins -- about 1300 yds

Squid at the Ballpark

Earlier this week we went to the ball park. It was the kids' first ballgame and, frankly, only my second. The teams? The Brooklyn Cyclones vs. the Vermont Lake Monsters. Little Squid was rooting for the Monsters, the rest of us -- the Cyclones. Cyclones won, 2 - 0.

The Cyclones are a "short season" A team and are the Mets' local farm team. The stadium is small and cozy and no seat is far from the field. We were right behind home plate.
To our right is the Parachute Jump, a Coney Island landmark. No, it no longer functions but my parents tell tales of when it did. The lighting on it is a recent addition. Yes, it was a very over cast / foggy night. Frankly, it started pouring somewhere between the time that we entered our building and when we entered our apartment, just minutes later.

If you enlarge this photo you can see the Cyclone (the roller coaster) in the background, just past the circular ride.
It was a lovely evening at the ball park. There were fire works and our team won. We're looking at getting tickets for a Cyclones - Spinners game. Guess who'll I'll be rooting for!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

TdF: Intermediate Sprint #2

The challenge: the ride around your town and share what is special.

[Edited to add: oops, didn't read the instructions carefully enough and missed the deadline!]

The additional challenge: Um ... this is what much of Squid Knits is about. Is my post going to be subject to accusations of doping?

And, yet one more challenge: I am turning this contest entry into a contest itself. Anyone who correctly identifies all of the structures, in photographs labeled with a letter, will be entered into a drawing for some yummy yarn of my choosing and some chocolate that is native to my locale. One caveat, the prize will not be sent out until the cooler weather due to the chocolate content.

Contest closes at midnight, July 31, 2008.

And here we go ...

I live in a small island situated where a fairly famous river meets the Atlantic Ocean.
Over the last several years, my island has become more and more bike friendly and one can ride around the island with roughly half the trip being along, or really close to, the water.Near the southern tip of our island sits a small fort. This fort served as the main immigration intake center until facilities on an island to our west took over.

My grandfather came through the facilities shown below, which are, alas, not accessible by bicycle.

Several bridges connect my island with both the mainland


and another, much larger, island to our east.(D)

At least one of these bridges has been sold by aspiring entrepreneurs the world over. This particular bridge was also the site of my first date with the man who is now my loving husband.

My island was, unfortunately, the target of some horrid attacks almost 7 years ago and the damage is still evident.
But we are also home to the final resting place of a President and his wife.

This tiny island is home to both very tall and very small structures.


Some of them dress up for the holidays.(H)

But my island is home to more than just buildings, we even have areas that are somewhat natural.
And areas that serve to fulfill the most basic needs of my family.
Figured it out yet? Need one more hint? Our local newspaper is published less then a mile from our home.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Chugging up the Mountains: Tour de France Knit Along

I managed to cross the first mountain peek while Mark Cavendish was winning his third stage and started down hill while he was winning his fourth. Hey if he keeps this up, I might just finish the socks!
The second sock is looking much neater then the first. I've taken a different strategy for eliminating the blue/purple from the mix which involves actually cutting the yarn and throwing the shorter pieces in where I only need a short stretch of yarn. I've also taken to hiding some of the ends as I go. Not all, but some. Hey, every little bit counts, right?

Crazy Hair -- 2008

You may remember last year's Crazy Hair day at the Manhattan School of Music. If not, go take a quick peek, I'll wait.

Not bad? It did not, however, win her the competition. So, for this year, poor Mama got up at 5:30 a.m. and created this:
She did place much higher in the standings but lost to someone with a funny green wig with stuff in it.

Yes, it did wash out. Mostly. The color is gone but some of the silver sparklies remain, even after 2 shampooings. Hopefully they mostly shook out in her sleep.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Many, many years ago, when Mike's mom was making stained glass pieces, she expressed her interest in getting a Dremel tool. We poked around a bit and even looked at Dremel-look-a-likes. In the end, however, she decided that she didn't need it.

Since then, Mike has periodically expressed an interest in obtaining a Dremel and has always been frustrated by our lack of need for it. Then he found this project. There it was, the need.

And so, we are now the proud owners of a Dremel rotary tool with the works.
And Mike is one happy guy.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Inside

One of the colors in my contrast yarn is so close to the main color that it disappears. So, for the top of the sock I took it out.Yes, I have lots of ends to hide.

For those of you who guessed, yes the new graph is of a squid. If I remember, I will reverse the direction on the other foot. I'm now past that and just working the chain pattern for the rest of the foot. Provided that there are no complications in my life, I should make some good progress toward the toe while watching the Tour tonight.

Last summer saw Mike and I watching the Tour as it was broadcast live during the day and catching the highlights during the rebroadcast after dinner. This year, however, Squidette is hooked so we are waiting to watch it during the rebroadcast so that we all get the results together. This has the added benefit of keeping Mike from listening to sports on the car radio should we be in the car in that inbetween time.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tour Socks

Theoretically, I have been diligently working of my Tour de France socks. In reality, what was supposed to be a sprint has turned into a climb up the mountains. The mountains being real life.

Last night I sat down for a nice spate of knitting and was immediately interrupted by the phone. After 15 minutes or so with the person on the other end, I then set in on some research and studying and there went the evening. I did do a few more rows on the socks as a wind down, much later in the evening but am seriously behind where I need to be to finish both socks by the end of the tour. It's o.k., though. There are actually more important things in life and that phone call was one of them.

Meanwhile, here is what I have done.
Oops, not that! That's my "mindless" car and "waiting-for-the-kids-to-be-released-from-camp" knitting. A sock for my brother. The one who does not yet have a pair of hand knit socks. I've got a long way to go. He has big feet.

Here you go. It's a little bit further along now and I have started incorporating this graph where the moose should be.
O.k., so creating this graph also took a lot of time away from the knitting of the sock so hopefully the second one will go faster.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Getting to Know Me

This post is because I'm all about trying to win some yummy sock yarn from KnittyOtter!

Getting to Know you Contest Questionnaire:

1.) How long have you been knitting?

At least since junior year in high school, maybe longer. I really can't remember. I've been actively knitting (as in, a project always in progress) for about 9 years.

2.) How long have you been knitting socks?

About 6 years. My aunt steered me toward a toe up pattern and I've been hooked ever since.

3.) What do you do with a problem like Maria?

Marry her to Luis. (anyone get the reference?)

4.) What is your all time favorite sock yarn?

Cabin Cove. Partly because I love his colors, partly because the base yarn is so soft and partly because Dave is such a great guy!

5.) Toe Up or Cuff Down?

These days, cuff down, I've decided I prefer the fit of a flap heel and haven't found a toe up one that I like. It used to be all about the toe up around here, however. Like for the longest time I resisted cuff down.

6.) What's your favorite color (this week or for all time)? Do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?

This week it's all about pink. I think I am channeling my inner Cookie. Just bought a watch with a pink strap. Wear a pink bike helmet ... you get the idea. I like just about anything in the right combination but tend to steer clear of olivey colors.

7.) Do you have a pet(s)?

Yes, three turtles who are plotting to take over the world. One of them is a "boarder" turtle whose owner has been in Sweden for the last 3 years. Yea, like I'm returning him after all this time!

8.) Babies: Oven Roasted or Barbecued?


9.) Besides socks what is your favorite type of thing to knit?

Hats. I love to get creative with them.

10.) What's your favorite scent?

The smell you get rising from the ground just after the rain. Real ground, not sidewalk!

11.) What music are you really loving right now? Like a song or a band?

Nothing in particular. Yea, I'm boring that way.

12.) How many pairs of socks have you hand knit?

Too many to accurately count. My husband has at least a dozen.

13.) What's your favorite treat? Salty or Sweet?

Depends. I can totally go to town on salty chips and salsa or savor a single truffle.

14.) What was the most interesting thing you smelled yesterday. Not good or bad necessarily, just the thing that stuck out most so that you actually took notice of it.

Indian spices. We went to a party at my sister-in-law's and I must have spilled something on myself. When I came home I had a distinct Indian spice smell about me.

15.) Needles - DPN's: Wooden, metal or plastic?

Addi Turbos! The lace ones if I can get my hands on them. Bamboo dpns if necessary. I really like the rhythm of moving from one dpn to another but circular needles and magic loop are more practical for my needs. Not as easy to lose a needle.

16.) What is your favorite sock pattern that you've knit? What do you recommend?

Don't have one. I've made a couple of patterns twice but rarely more than that except for your basic ribbed sock -- of which I've made at least a dozen.

17.) The last Question: If you were stuck on a deserted island who would you want with you, what knitting would you want with you and would you ever want to leave?

I'd want my husband with me, a light weight wool shawl -- it can double as a blanket, and yes, probably after a few days. I need action around me, even if I don't partake.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tour de France -- Intermediate Sprint

The officials over at the Tour de France Knit Along headquarters have declared a sprint. We cyclists / knitters are supposed to make our case for either: why our project qualifies as related, our cycling history or, our love of France.

My knitting choice is actually obvious. I am knitting short socks for cycling with a bicycle motif on them. And, after my redo, I am definitely sprinting to get them done by the end of the Tour.

As for France ... well, my memories of it are not the greatest so I'll go for the second option and focus on cycling.

Long time readers of this blog might remember when we first became "Squid of Wheels" two years ago. Squidette had just moved from a mountain type kids bike to a small road bike. Little Squid was now riding Squidette's hand-me-down (gee, sounds a lot like this post).

It was then that our kids decided that they like riding, and liked riding distances. I liked seeing my kids challenge themselves and gain pride in their physical accomplishments. We are all over the mental feats around here, but the physical is often left a little on the side.

That first year each mile stone was cause for celebration. The first organized tour, the first trip across the Brooklyn Bridge, and the first loop of Central Park.

That year we rode almost 500 miles, including a season ending finale of 44 in the New York Century.

The next year we rode almost 750 miles, including a season ending 66 with rides in several states, including Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana.

This year? We are already up to 314 ...

We've ridden across the Hudson River as well as the Ohio. We've ridden in Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, West Virginia and, of course, New York.

The Brooklyn Bridge is an old friend.

Our favorite stop is for Jaques Torres chocolate though the Brooklyn Fairway's for breakfast and Brooklyn's new Ikea for lunch are in close contention.

I tend to ride at the back of the pack, the Mama Duck position as I like to think of it. From there I get to watch the kids' legs and am the first to realize when it is time to raise a seat. I get to secretly smile with pride at how well they do and revel in the simple joy of being a family doing something we all enjoy. I get to think about how lucky I am ... and then I realize that in all of my wool gathering, they've gotten three blocks ahead of me. And I sprint to catch up.

And so, for my Intermediate Sprint, I remind you all, that we are Squid on Wheels. Tune in again to see where we go!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Squid Knits Guide to the Homemade Egg Cream

The following guide is not to be taken as gospel. Everyone swears by their method of making the humble egg cream. This is how we do it.

You start with chocolate syrup. U-Bets is traditional but anything will do in a pinch.

Take a large glass, about 14 ounces and this is the shape that really works best.Squirt in about 1/4 inch (a little less then a centimeter) of chocolate syrup.
Add an inch or two (this looks like 2) of milk. Skim is fine but purists will probably insist on whole milk.

Now we come to the controversial part. May say to not stir until later -- we squid, however, like to mix our milk and chocolate together before adding the final ingredient.Add seltzer while stirring. My seltzer was a little flat -- the head should be much bigger and overflow the glass for the perfect egg cream.
Drink quickly. Egg Creams do not hold well and are to be drunk up, not sipped.

About a week ago I accidentally invented the Ginger Egg Cream when I mistook weak homemade ginger ale for seltzer. It was surprisingly good and the kids now occassionally add a squirt of ginger syrup along with the chocolate.

Little Squid also tried it with lingonberry syrup (thank you Ikea) and it was a likable addition. Not quite as refreshing as ginger, but still nice.