Just a few random things I thought I'd share today.
I'm doing the pattern for Yarn4Socks February Sock Club and I like to go ahead and get the chart written in the computer before I knit the sample so I can work from it and catch any errors. Back in March or April of 2009 I switched from a PC to a Mac (love it) and I also purchased Knit Visualizer to make my charts. I had previously used either a spreadsheet program or Stitch and Motif Maker because I thought it did better cable symbols than the free font programs. There were some limitations to using both of those so I did some research on what other knitting programs were out there and what would be available for a Mac, before I switched over. What I found was Knit Visualizer. My earlier software, while it did what I wanted it to for the most part, didn't have anywhere near the customizable options Knit Visualizer has (and currently, Stitch and Motif Maker is not available for Macs, but the company is starting to release Mac software). This gives me a lot more flexibility but there's also more to learn in order to use the program. It's not particularly difficult to use and the instruction manual seems pretty well written, but it does take time to figure out how to make it do what I want it to do. Over the weekend, I sat down with Finn and we figured out how to make a custom stitch for one of the charts for the sock design. It's not the kind of discovery that will change the face of civilization as we know it, but I felt pretty proud of myself by the time we finished. (Finn had fallen asleep by then.) I need to keep messing around with Knit Visualizer so I can not only get a better sense of how to use it, but also to make it easier and faster to get it to do things I need it to do. I don't know how helpful it would be for someone who doesn't write knitting patterns and only makes charts to get written out stitch patterns into a chart format to make them easier to knit. Since I seem to keep designing knitting patterns, it's nice to have all the bells and whistles though.
I was also aimlessly wandering around Ravelry this weekend and while perusing patterns, yarn and crocheted hexagons, I ended up wandering into the Internets and discovered the blog Attic 24. (I didn't exactly discover it, I mean you can see from the number of comments she gets that clearly I'm pretty late to the party, but since I really only recently figured out which end of a crochet hook is the useful one, I'm not really beating myself up over this.) I did some wandering and reading and I must say that I absolutely adore the colors she uses. I mean just look at the pictures - that color! Pinks and limes and periwinkles and yellows and lavenders and sages and just WOW! Rowan seems to be one of her favorite companies for yarns (she is in England after all) so even the brightest of colors are subtly muted just the tiniest bit. Maybe it's been so cold here lately that I needed the hit of color to thaw out my brain, but I could look at her photos for hours.
Finally, we got a new mattress this past Fall (which we desperately needed) and the new mattress is taller than the old mattress. (The new box spring might also be taller - I don't know.) Anyway, this means that the quilt that used to cover the old mattress just fine, doesn't cover things as well now. It's like the bed's slip is showing. (Does anyone still wear slips or have we all just switched to Spankx?) So I realized that I would need to make some new quilts for the bed. This was not a new condition as I had seen some signs of wear on the quilts before, but had successfully ignored it so far. Fortunately, I used to quilt - a lot. I even worked at a quilt store for a while. When I was a quilter, I was just learning to knit and would only buy yarn for my current project. I know, scarey right? Well, the funny thing about quilters is that they tend to have quilts in various stages of completion at any given time. This hasn't really changed for me so I went stash diving (in my quilt stash) and found fabric for a couple of king size quilt tops as well as a quilt top in progress that shouldn't take too long to finish.
This is a log cabin quilt (in progress) and I've completed the blocks and have sewn them into rows (and conveniently labeled each row with it's row number). Now I need to sew the rows together and add borders. Then it's off to be quilted once I pick a backing and some batting for it. I plan on making this big enough to fit over the new giant mattress AND cover the box springs AND cover the top sheet AND have enough left over to tuck it in under the mattress at the foot of the bed to keep our feet warm. I will have to add some pretty serious borders, but I still have enough fabric that I should be able to do that without adding something new to the top. This feels like a Fall and Winter type quilt to me, so I'll probably back it in flannel and put a good weight of cotton batt in it, but I thought I'd show you guys what's going on so no one would have a heart attack when a quilt shows up on this blog and also so I'd have some motivation to get it finished. Of course this also means that I'll have to do a more Spring or Summer type quilt too, but I have a idea for that.