Monday, June 30, 2008


It's too big to be a dishcloth and too small to be a dish towel. Either way, it's heading to my church as a donation to the kitchen.

Grandmother's favorite.

Yeehaw #2

M wanted a pink one. . .

Yarn: Red Heart Kids Neon Pink - 2 strands

Pattern: Happy Hooker Yeehaw Lady

Comments: folding the extra wire worked great. I feel that the hat brim isn't slouchy and gives it a nice profile. M loves it and I got some of my crappy yarn out of my stash.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Yee Haw!

I squarely identify myself as a knitter - NOT a crocheter. I have to admit that I feel a bit superior to people who say - I don't know how to knit, but I crochet. I feel guilty that I harbor this type of snobbery, but feel like I earned it. Knitting did not come easy to me. It took me literally three to four months of casting on and knitting the same silly square. I'd have too few stitches, then too many. I didn't know how to properly purl for quite some time - still have some of the items hanging around to prove it (thanks to, I figured it out). BUT, I do crochet occasionally. It's something that I've never really struggled with. (But Annie's Attic's video's certainly help when I forget how to do certain stitches)
I just finished this:

Pattern: Yeehaw Lady from Stitch n Bitch's Happy Hooker (basically, if you can single crochet, you can make this hat - it's that easy)

Yarn: Double worsted Peaches n Cream, Ecru (from a failed Garterlac rug I finally frogged).
Hook: J

Stuff I'll do differently: I initially took the floral wire and formed a double circle around the brim and eyeballed how much wire I'd need and cut it. I had a bit of a time crocheting the hat to the circle, so I ripped back, folded the wire in half, and crocheted it together. MUCH easier! BUT next time I'm going to make the wire significantly longer as I feel that the hat doesn't have the tautness I'd like (too slouchy). I can always cut back the wire, I can't really add it on easily.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Seattle Bound!

I have our plane tickets & hotel reserved for our trip to Seattle in July. I had done a terribly silly thing and didn't buy the tickets when I should have - then they doubled in price.

Thank goodness for US Airways. Over the years, I've found a good way to get good tickets is by directly buying from the airlines - BUT, you never know which airlines to check. I usually check American just because it's usually the cheapest coming out of D/FW. But when the prices seem high (over $350 a piece), then I go searching - that's how you can find who has the flights on sale. I've also found that since you're book directly with the airlines, you can find a cheaper flight directly with them as opposed to going with something like Priceline/Orbitz.

Hotels - don't do the package deals (airfare & hotel) if you have kids. They fold that extra person into the fee. Try to book on-line, but if you have a special conference and aren't seeing the rates as advertised, call the hotels directly. When I have a quick trip that I'm driving to, I do Priceline. It's been the best deal going - $25 a night stuff. I also name my price with Priceline for car rentals. Always go for the cheap ones because they go fast and you'll most likely get upgraded or be offered a great upgrade price.

We're going to Seattle for the Casual Connect conference. These are the types of games J writes and I hope it's going to be a great conference for him. He's covering it for There are definitely some killer parties scheduled.

As much as I HATE hearing about Spongebob from my 6 yo, I am looking forward to Nickelodeon's party - A Night in Bikini Bottom. Alas, I'm worried that I'm not going to be able to stay away as 9 pm my time is 11! Sure sign I'm gettin' old. . .

We're also invited to the Speaker Dinner - it's going to be at the Rock Bottom Brewery. Mmmm. I love brewery's.

Speaking of which. I feel that I'm positively a low brow. I went to a wine tasting room in Grapevine the other day and got a great glass of wine and some tasty treats. The wine description has all sorts of "hints of chocolate", "notes of huckleberry", etc. . . I have a confession - for me, wine enters into three categories. Great, passable, and no way in hell. Most wines hit in the passable category for me.

But beer, man, I can really taste the difference with beer. I am not a fan of the Blue Moon types (you know, the ones that people hang orange slices on the side of their glasses). I tend to like the amber types of beer - not thick and dark (read: Guinness), but the reds are really great. If a blond type has a good taste to it, I'll drink it. I had real trouble with a Nut Brown Ale we found in a Memphis Brewery over a decade ago. It was just TOO yummy. I was positively green the next day. I don't do that to myself anymore. Wait, is that another sign that I'm gettin' old, too?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Wii-k end

M & I went to Granbury to visit my mom & dad this weekend. M was excited because memaw and peepaw got a new Wii.

I really, really, really hate Hannah Montana now. We basically played the World Tour game just up to Tokyo - We only had one more venue to play - Malibu. I was really tuckered out because M didn't really know how to play very well. So I got to do the moves with the controllers while M "showed" me how to do them. She was pretty happy - but I am truly sick of hearing HM songs.

We went for a boat ride and swam in the lake. M also went to the neighborhood pool with M & D while I stayed back to play with my CSM - yes, I had schlepped it down to Granbury.

Remember the Jupiter photos I blogged about not too long ago? Well, Mom still has the wall hanging in question, so I took a photo of it.

Up close:

I did manage to finish a Hallowig this weekend - all in an effort to use up my stash yarn - and to make M happy. She wore this to summer school today. I've also started crocheting a cowboy hat - again, to use up stash yarn.

Friday, June 20, 2008

There's water on Mars

Well, the Mars Phoenix just found frozen water - on MARS!!

The mission posted an animation of the ice sublimating ( it dissappears like your ice does in your freezer if you keep it there too long).
How cool is that?

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Okay, I've gotten into a groove with the ribber. Still a little hesitant around it, but I have my confidence, which is really something that will make me WANT to work with my machine.

I had some Schaefer Anne yarn that's been sitting in my stash waiting on me - I wanted ribbed socks with it.

Here they are:

LOVE the colors! I have enough to make another small pair of socks. May just have to hand knit those for M as the ones I'm making on the CSM are just not working out - too big.

Last night I decided that I need another new pair of lovely ribbed socks. This time it'd be a combo of ribs. I even did a swatch tube to determine what the row gage is!

Here's the first sock - need to crank out the second one tonight at SnB.

Notice how the heel and toes are slightly different colors. That's because Jawoll comes with some reinforcing thread and I added them to the heels/toes. Finding that some of the socks I own *do* wear out in the heels (not so much with the toes yet). Cranking the machine was really difficult with the additional reinforcement thread and the socks took longer than normal as I had to go back and loop the un-knitted stitches - my thumb hurts this morning.

The other thing I did last night was to make some CSM tools. I lost my handy latch in a dowel and saw someone had made their own with a FIMO clay handle.

Joann's has FIMO clay on sale for 50%, so I bought some and made these:

Each handle took one pat of FIMO clay. Super easy, cheap, and fast.

I also got something in the mail yesterday - new CSM needles. I've eaten through my ribber needles so much that I can't work on my 36 ribber dial, so I ordered some new needles from Pat Fly of Angora Valley Fibers. I also got a complete set of large hook needles (ribbers and cylinders) as I'm finding that it'd be nice to have them for heavier yarns. I have two balls of cotton/elastic yarn that's just itchin' to be made into socks (from a long ago Secret Pal!). I'm also hoping they hug a little better and can finally make some socks for M - who is being terribly patient with me.

Today I'm getting a shipment of yarn that I bought off of ebay - 40+ cones of machine yarn. It was an impulse buy, but one I feel was a pretty good one. I'll keep the blog posted.

The last thing I want to blog about is that I am thinking about how to make alligator mittens on the CSM. Should be easy enough now that I know how to use my ribber! Just need to figure out how to knit flat.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

My budding scientist

J bought a book called Bang! The Complete History of the Universe from the Queen fan site a number of years ago - mainly because he couldn't get it from a US book shop.

Yeah, that's Queen as in, Freddy Mercury, Brian May fame.

I just love the list of Brian May's occupations on Wikipedia: Guitarist, Singer, Songwriter, Producer, Astrophysicist!!!

It's a great little book and surprisingly one of M's favorite books to flip through. The pictures are stunning, so I guess that's what is driving her interest. That, and it's a science book. Ever since we enrolled her in Mad Science last year, she, in her words, LOVES SCIENCE!!

As kids are kids, you never know what will catch their fancy. Well, it was this quark gluon plasma photo that stuck with her.

She drew one up (totally unsupervised) and took it to summer school - her version was just done with a pencil. She also took the book to show to her friends and they all sat down and colored it.

She's six.

Color me red

Yes, it's another AutoCAD entry (apologies to my knitsters out there).

I had *just* emailed someone to tell her that "I don't need no stinkin' corridors" and guess what.

I did.

The biggest thing that wasn't really intuitive was to make a surface out of the corridor - AND I didn't need to have an elaborate corridor since the contouring is really what is the most important for what I'm doing. (I just made a very simple assembly)

Here's the text copied directly from Help, with my own corrections because someone at Autodesk was too lazy to update the help from earlier versions (which I'm finding to be more the rule rather than the exception):

Create a corridor surface
When you create a corridor surface, it is added to the Surfaces collection on the Toolspace Prospector tab. You can work with a corridor surface the same way you do with any surface in the Surfaces collection, including changing its style, adding labels to it, and using it for surface analysis.

  1. In Toolspace, on the Prospector tab, Expand Corridors. Right-click the corridor you are working on. Click Properties.
  2. In the Corridor Properties dialog box, on the Surfaces tab, click Create A Corridor Surface. A new corridor surface definition is displayed in the table.

    (I made this a different color because none of the stuff from here on out will work unless you do this - it's also when you see a surface group added to your surfaces - you will still need to do the following in order for any contours to show up on your dwg)
  3. In the table row, for Name, enter Top-FG. Click the Surface Style cell.
  4. In the Pick Corridor Surface Style dialog box, click *the style you want your contours to look like* . Click OK.
  5. In the same Corridor Surface Style dialog box, just above the table in the Add Data section, for Data Type, select Links. For Specify Code, select Top. Click the big plus sign (Add Surface Item).
  6. Next, you will define the surface boundary. On the Boundaries tab, in the Name field, right-click Top-FG. Select Add Interactively. . . Then follow the prompts at the command lines. You will need to define the boundary on both sides of your corridor.
  7. Click OK to close the Corridor Properties dialog box. Press ESC to clear the selection.

It's contouring beautifully now. I love/sometimes hate Civil 3D. In my tech days I had to do contouring by hand and something like what I'm working on took DAYS to do what I just did in a matter of an hour - and that's with having to look stuff up!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Cool nerdy stuff

I had read a couple of years ago where the astronomers had postulated that one of the ways they could eliminate looking for life in barren solar systems is to basically look at stars that have slight wobbles to them - the idea being that stars that wobble do that because they have planets circling them.

Well, the European astronomers have just found a solar system with three terrestrial planets circling a star.

They're also saying that one star out of three has terrestrial type planets. Nothing that humans can necessarily live on, but the possibility of life on other planets is starting to look a little more probable (my thoughts, not theirs).

Thought it was just cool.


Look what I did this weekend!
Yeah, that's a pair of ribbed sock you're seeing!

Here are the specifics:
Leg: 35 rows of 1 x 1 rib
Pre-heel: 10 rows (next time I'll put the heel spring on it or dial the tension to be tighter.
Foot: 34 rows
Heel & toes with different yarn carried with woolly nylon.
Yarn: Knit Picks Pallet
Size: Child's 2

I tried to make a ribbed sock for me, but I dropped a lot of stitches on the top so I'm currently frogging it to start it up again.

I am glad I found out about how to adjust the timing on my ribber, though. Right after I finished the pair above and while I was setting up the ribber, I looked at the timing on ribber and this is what I saw:

For my machine, when the screw is located on the left side of the slot, the ribber timing will be completely off. I have found the following adjustment to be the best for my machine:
The screw is all the way on the right side of the slot.

Now then, what's the big deal?

When the screw is on the left, my ribber needles are pushed out too early for the yarn carrier and will lay the yarn behind the ribber needle latch - thus not knitting the stitch. Look at the photo below:

I know it's blurry, but you can see how the cylinder needle (located in the slot just to the right of the red strip) is knitting. The ribber needle located to the right of that cylinder needle is catching the yarn.

When my timing screw is located on the left side of the slot, the cylinder needle located to the right of the ribber needle (not the left like it's shown above) knits first. That's out of sequence - and thus, the ribber's timing is off. What was happening is the cylinder needles on both sides of the ribber needle were knitting before the rib needle - thus, the loop was pulling down on the ribber needle. This tilted the ribber needles and would jam my machine up quickly.

So, hopefully my pain with learning how to adjust my ribber will help someone else.

Friday, June 13, 2008

I think I figured it out

More troubleshooting my CSM ribber.

I think I have figured out the problem. It's a timing issue.
Reminder: While turning my ribber, the ribber needles will tilt and jam the tappet plate - thus stopping the crank from turning.

To help illustrate what's going on, here's another sketch from the CSM manual (Fig. 29):

There's really not a good way to show what's going on. I'll try to get a photo of it to post so you can see what's going on.

Basically, the cylinder needle closest to the yarn carrier is knitting before the ribber needle knits. What this does is puts a loop on the ribber needle and pulls down on the needle - thus tilting it and jamming the work.

So, I need to adjust the H1 screw to make sure the needles knit in sequence - hopefully this will fix my problem.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

CSM Socks

I'm still struggling with my ribber. For the past few evenings, I've been just cranking scrap yarn just so I can get a feel for using it.

There's a screw on the top of the tappet plate that sets the location of where the ribber needles will grab the yarn. I set the needles to basically grab after the cylinder needle before has been pulled down. This works great, but the problem I'm having is that the screw on the tappet plate will slide quite a lot. (Screw H-1 in the sketch below and the slot is H-2).

But the most frustrating thing is when it feels like I have everything in working order and then start to knit. All of a sudden, the ribber gets stuck.

Last night, I finally realized that the reason why it was getting stuck is because the ribber needles were tilting ever so slightly. The butts go up and the heads are slightly down.

It's hard to see because we're talking tight tolerances. I just finally noticed that simply lifting up on the ribber needle frees up the tappet/needle and the crank is ready to turn again.

One I thought I had was that the bolt (H-9) wasn't snugged up enough and allows the tappet plate to move. The other thought I have is that I may have the ribber dial set too high (with the adjustment of screw J-1).

Maybe I'll work on it some more tonight.

But I have done two more pairs of simple hem hung socks. Last Sunday I whipped up the purple ones while showing Jen how to use her AK CSM. (Jen, I had fun so don't feel like you were using up my Sunday afternoon)
One sock is for my FIL, the other for my MIL (or so M declared upon seeing both pairs of socks go into the father's day care package we're sending out in today's mail - "The purple one should go to Grandma 'cause it's sort of a girl color, mom"). Both are Trekking Natura (wool/bamboo blend).

LSP Routines (Another CAD thing)

I've upgraded to Civil 3D 2009 and need to add in all my lsp routines automatically.

I used to have to make a acad.lsp file with some code written for each.

I thought I had to do that this time, but I forgot the simple way to do it:


Then click on Startup Suite "Contents" button. Pick all the lsp routines you usually use and you are set.

Much easier than acad.lsp files. Why they still have that documented in ACAD help is beyond me.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Summer & Homestar Runner

M is home and driving me crazy. We're trying to not send her to a day care this summer - to save money, yes, but really because home is where M would rather be.

So we're trying to do some home schooling. J bought some workbooks and she's been reading for the summer book clubs.

Summer book clubs are great. We belong to two libraries, so we essentially double up on the prizes. Your local Barnes & Noble has a book club now, too. Read 8 books, get a free book.

I have to admit that M has surprised me. She's read two chapter books in two weeks and seemed to really enjoy reading them. Junie B. Jones rocks!


Since she's home so much now, her room becomes a complete and utter wreck every other day. So J & I decided to black mail her since she wasn't doing it.

If she cleaned her room really, really well, then she could have a Homestar Runner shirt.
What is Homestar Runner?

According to my six year old, the funniest website around.

J knows about it and I've browsed it a couple of times. M loves Homestar Runner and will sing the "Buttdance" and wanted a meatball sub the other day because it's Strongbad's favorite thing to eat. Instead of hearing about the funny things she saw on Spongebob (a mom can only take so much of that), she now tells me about all the funny things on Homestar Runner.

Ever hear a six year old sing a heartfelt rendition of "Trogdor"? It's quite funny. If I can get her to do it on camera, I'll try. I giggle almost every time she does it.

Well, DD did do what she was asked to do (and we did a dreaded clothes purge with minimal tears and yelling), so M got a new shirt today.

Monday, June 09, 2008


We shop at thrift stores for clothes. That's something that may bother some folks, but it doesn't bother me. Nobody knows the difference once you're wearing them. :) Strange thing coming from someone who lives in Southlake!

M loves going and picked out a pair of pink skorts for $1.

She wore them and put her hands in the pockets and found something. . . a $20 bill!

Oh, sweet Karma!


For the knitters out there, just ignore this post.

I'm posting this to my blog because it's information that I have to access every couple of months and I end up forgetting out I did that.

I found a good resource on how to convert your ESRI *.shp files to contours. I end up importing the lines only to find the line work is inserted at layer 0 - Can't make a surface from that! When I click on the line and look at the properties, the elevation info is contained within the database attached to the linework - GRRR! Note: I have to open a new drawing and import the SHP files from Map > Tools > Import - then save it and do the next stuff. I have not been able to define contours from large data sets of SHP files via the Data attachment with Task Pane. Anyone know?

But the next step is where I have to look up time and again - which takes about an hour to find each time.

Attach the contour dwg you just imported your contours into into your main dwg.

  1. Define Query of attached dwg
    a. Location (usually All)
    b. Query Mode (Draw)
    c. Alter Properties
  2. now, click Expression - navigate to Object Data
  3. Hit "Add" button - do this for each data set. Then Hit OK
  4. Hit "Execute Query"


When you are building the surface, add them as Contour Data.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Tobacco Road & AC

Well, shortly after I blogged about the AC, we started seeing temperatures in the 90's. We have computers and I just couldn't stand it any more. We have set the temp 4 degrees warmer than what we've done in the past.

We're trying to save in other ways. J noticed how hot the utility room gets when we're using the dryer. He bought a couple of clothes lines and pins.

It's amazing how quickly the clothes dry in this heat. We're also not warming up our home, which defeats the purpose of turning on the AC to begin with.

FO - Slippers

This used to be my Garterlac rug.

Now it's a pair of slippers that will be donated to John Peter Smith Hospital. Some of the ladies I go to church volunteer there and said they're in great need for slippers. The indigent patients tend to walk around with no shoes.
It's more of a need than the baby hats/booties.

FO - Dishcloth

Another stash busting project

FO - Decorative Scarf

Simple 20 stitch garter scarf

Trying to use up my stash yarn - used one whole ball of Plymouth Eros.

Edited later:

Linda asked how I made the scarf.

I cast on 20 stitches

K all rows until you can't stand it anymore. Bind off.

Simple! While the finished product is pretty, I dislike knitting with ladder yarns.