Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ravelympics Training

So we're on our way to the big box home improvement store and I say to Mr. Truck that I need to go to the sporting goods store next door. And after he stopped laughing, he wanted to know why. Well, I'm in training for the Ravelympics and I have to wind my yarn and to do that I have to measure it and somewhere I read that fishing line measuring thingys will also measure yarn. And I have 2400 yards of this lace yarn and I only need about 600 for my Swallowtail Shawl. So I need something to measure it.

And after he got done laughing again we went to the Sports Authority and although they have all sorts of fishing things, we couldn't find a measuring device. "Well, what does it look like?" I have no idea. "OK, then, what's it called?" I have no idea. "All right, who makes it?" You mean a manufacturer? So we tried Walmart, but they didn't know what I was talking about. Well, neither did I. And then Mr. Truck had "a stroke of genius" and took me to Efinger's. They have everything including an official fishing line measuring thingy. The man there knew exactly what I wanted but he wasn't sure if my yarn would fit in. But when I said lace weight, he nodded and said it would work fine. (A remarkable man.) And here it is. I'll let you know if it works.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

O is for Oregano

I grow it.

I dry it.

I grind it.

And I store it.

And then I make lots of spaghetti sauce with it. I think it's my favorite herb.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Saving the Planet One Market Bag At a Time (or how I'm going to make my family green)

Mr Truck and I make quite an effort to be green. We actually discuss the ways we are green and what we can do to improve. We compost, recycle, hang out our clothes, changed all our lightbulbs to CFL's, I could go on. But one of the things that really concerns me is plastic bags. So as I mentioned before, I've knit some market bags. I like this one best because of the knitted on icord handles. It's Elisa's Nest Tote and I've made it from Peaches & Creme Cotton with size 10 needles for the body and size 5 for the icord, and whatever crochet hook I own. The handles aren't stretchy at all and that's the part I like.

Our grocery store actually gives us five cents back for every bag we bring ourselves. And, in case you didn't know, Ikea is charging for plastic bags. We save all our bags and bring them back to the grocery store recycling bin but not everybody does this. And there are way too many bags everywhere. Have you seen this:

Plastic bags consumed this year:

So I've decided to make some of these for my not so green family this Christmas and I'm going to nag encourage them to use them. If it kills us.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Water Has Boiled, Finally

Well, here they are. I have never knit socks so slowly. I think it's the heat, it's day 5, or is it 6, of temperatures over 90 and it's too hot to do much. Especially with wool. I took these pictures on the front porch very early in the morning and I was sweating to death after just a few minutes. But I like the socks. Spring Forward in Opal on size 1 DPN's.

Try not to notice the cat hair, I was too sweaty to pick it off.

It's crazy what we knitters will do for a picture of socks.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Waiting for Water to Boil

I have nothing to talk about, well not about knitting anyway. I'm knitting socks and while I like knitting socks, watching it is like waiting for water to boil or watching paint dry; not too exciting. I do have these pictures of Reese wearing Katja from Knitty. I made it in Cotton Fine and did it in the round to save me from a seam. It was very fast, I liked that, and it looks so cute on her.

I had to get the picture in with the sunglasses, it makes us all laugh to see them. She likes them I guess, she fusses when they slide off her nose.

And here are the socks. Spring Forward from Knitty in Opal on size one needles. Very easy pattern to memorize. My third pair for Socks of Summer 2008.

I'll probably get them done before the deadline but I won't get them on line in time for the contest. Oh well, next time. And I just noticed they almost match my tangled yoke cardigan.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

N is for Needles

So I was at a complete loss for N. I couldn't think of a thing. Neither could Cherry Pie. Then she emailed me: Needles, duh! And why didn't I think of that? Needles, I have so much to say about needles and I could show my pretty needle holder again.

How I found bamboo and never looked back at metal until I found Addi's and I still like bamboo better. This could be a way to list all my needles and hunt for the missing ones, take stock. And then we had fireworks and a huge thunderstorm at the same time. Have I mentioned my giant dog Duffy who is afraid of thunder and fireworks? How he hides anywhere he can? Like in the shower?

Or under the bed where he can't get out and we have to lift the bed up? And he knocks over my knitting basket and this is what the result is?

And now I have only four size one DPN's not five and the Monkey Socks are really easier on five. So I could knit them on four and wait until I can get to a store that sells size ones or...didn't Elizabeth Zimmerman say something about this in one of her books? How gauge wouldn't be affected by one different needle? So I'm using one size two DPN and 4 size one DPN's for the second sock and I swear there's no difference in them at all.

I notice the bigger needle in my fingers but the sock doesn't show it at all. How strange.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I've Discovered Macro

Well this may not be news to anyone but me (and Mr. Truck) but my camera has something called macro. Who knew? I've been trying to figure out how other people take such beautiful pictures of their knitting and so I've been browsing around Ravelry looking for threads on photography. In my travels, can't really remember where, I found out that Jared Flood aka brooklyntweed was going to be interviewed on the podcast sticksandstrings. Now I love brooklyntweeds pictures, probably even more than his knitting so I listened to the podcast and I discovered macro. Now I have no idea what exactly it is or why it's called macro but I found it on my camera and it helps with the close ups and look how much better my pictures look.

These are my monkey socks and it was just a quick shot as soon as I figured out where that macro was. I will get better at this but can't talk too much now, I'm off to adjust the white on my camera.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

First Pair Done, Not Looking Good for Winning the Most Knit

I started knitting the first pair of socks for Summer of Socks 2008 on June 21. I thought this would be breeze but I never counted on the fact that I was knitting manly-man socks. They are SO BIG! On July 3 this is what I had done.

The entries for the first two weeks closed at 10:00 PM July 4. That morning this is what I had.

Not looking very promising. But by the deadline, with a little time to spare I did it!

Mr. Truck now thinks he's a foot model and is demanding pay for future shots, but the socks are for the BIL, Swimming Man. They're done in Trekking pro natura, and I loved the yarn, on size 2 needles. 72 stitches around, I thought I'd never get done. I've since started Monkey socks for me. It's going much quicker. And just for the fun of it, I wanted to show you Reese's new sunglasses.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

M Is for Michael

One of my hobbies is genealogy. I've been working on and off on my family tree for a long time now. My great-grandfather Michael (or as he wrote it Michele) Latronico is my favorite ancestor. He died long before I was born but he wrote a letter about his life that I believe was meant for me. My Grandpa Alexander translated it and eventually I found it. Great-grandpa Michael and Great-grandma Anna Branca arrived in America from Italy on May 18, 1884 on the ship Burgundia. There's a picture of it below. I doubt I would have been brave enough to get on that boat especially since Anna was very pregnant at the time. Their first child Antoinette (Annie) was born in Delaware less than one month after they landed, on June 12, 1884. They stayed Delaware for the birth of their first three children and then moved to Manhattan. Michael worked on the railroad in Delaware and he was a garbage man for the City of New York, but the next to youngest child, my Grandpa Alexander, graduated from Manhattan college and became a teacher. He's the little boy standing all the way on the right. Imagine that, when I found Michael on the ship's manifest he is listed as a peasant and his son graduates from college.

I knew all of Michael's children except Annie who died in the Flu Epidemic of 1918, and I loved them all, especially Grandpa. But it was Michael who brought us all here and I'm so happy he did.

Here's the letter Michael wrote.

To My Dear Children:

I should like to write this in English but since fortune has not so favored me, I shall have to do it in Italian.

As you all know, your father was born in Italy in the village of Olevano sul Tusciano ,in the province of Salerno, April 5, 1855, of Andrea [Latronico] and Carmina Messano.

It was my misfortune to lose my mother on the third day after my birth, thereby leaving me in the custody of my father, a widowed landowner.
For my upbringing and nutrition, he placed my in the care of a fine woman, Maddalena De Somanto, by name, in whose care I remained for a period of seven months. Thereafter, I returned to the home of my father where I remained with my paternal grandmother.

I attended school from the age of six until the age of fourteen, then returned to my father’s farm where I replaced one of the workmen. This was of financial benefit for we could use the extra salary for other things. Thus, I continued in that capacity until my twentieth birthday when tragedy struck home again. Father died suddenly leaving me without mother or father.

I now had to return to the home of my step-mother whom my father had married some ten months after the death of my mother. For the following two years I remained there working the land under the direction of a brother-in-law. However, things did not work out to my satisfaction so I quit. Meanwhile, my brother who had been in the military service returned. He advised me to enlist which I did and was accepted in the Department of Public Security for a six year stint, with a monthly salary of twelve dollars. You can imagine what a time I had to make ends meet. Since there were no parents to help me and no other boys, I had to manage, and I did, hoping constantly against hope that one day I would receive some good news.

After five and one half years, with six more months to go, I received several letters from my brother. He asked me to resign at once and to return home for he was in dire need of help to work the farm. At this time I was in the city of Florence. I submitted my resignation and worked my way back to my home town to the family farm. It was not long, however, that I came to realize that it was his intention to have me work as a farm boy, a child of the family so to speak, and to carry on without thoughts of getting married. Not being happy about this, I left, to his great disappointment.

Finding myself once more in my native village and not wanting to remain there idle, I applied for work with the railroad department where I was employed at the salary of 42 cents per day. In a short period, however, I saved enough money to pay for my wedding and that is when I married your mother [Anna Branca].

In the meantime, I had written to my brother-in-law who was in America, asking him to send me passage fare for myself and my wife. By the way, we were married in the same parish in Olevano, where we had both been baptized, on the 26th of March 1883. Within thirteen months after our wedding, we arrived in America on May 18, 1884 and settled in a little town called Stanton, Delaware.

Soon thereafter, I paid off my debt to my brother-in-law and then your mother and I devoted our lives to rearing all of you, my firm purpose was to keep us all together so that, although we might never become millionaires, we would be independent and never obligated to anyone.

Michele Latronico