March 30, 2009
March 29, 2009
OK so today I set out to organize my yarn stash. I have been procrastinating because there was a great deal of wool not inside protective storage. Prime feeding for moths for sure. Here are before pictures.
Top of stash cupboard. The basket is intended to hold my WIP yarn. There was yarn in there not allocated to a project.
Random yarn on top of stash cupboard.
I really did make an attempt a couple years ago to organize but didn't stay organized as you can see.
Frog pile. These were found while sorting out the stash.
Okay so here it is...... Drum roll...... My yarn stash.
What my significant other doesn't understand is this is a very modest stash compared to many others I've heard about. All the yarn on the left side is donation blanket stash yarn. If anyone needs a little piece of any color please give me a yell. I am sure I have any color of worsted weight acrylic.
Kiki enjoyed chilling in recently emptied bag of yarn.
Poo trying to figure out how to make a new home of the empty stash cupboard.
This scarf was in the fog pile but I think I may finish it. Perhaps sell it on etsy.com?
Top of stash cupboard organized with current WIP yarn in the basket.
All the stash yarn is now in the stash cupboard. :-)
March 27, 2009
Below is a picture of the piece worked down the back to the armpit increases.
Here the provisional cast on is split into three sections. The two outer are the front neckline and the middle stitches are reserved for later when the neck edging is picked up.
Below the piece just had the body joined in the round.
This one shows off the stitches as well as the change in rib pattern for the rib design. This picture was taken this morning.
This is a little teaser of what the finished sweater will look like. I am knitting this piece in a cotton/linen blended yarn so that I can wear it this spring/summer. I love the feel of this yarn in the rib pattern.
by Wendy Bernard of Knit and Tonic
Published in Custom Knits
March 25, 2009
Don’t Believe the Hype
Looking Beyond the Surface of the Owens Deal
by Tony Bogyo
March 9, 2009
Every so often we all get a sense of Déjà vu, and for me, Saturday was one of those days. It felt much like April 26, 2003 when an NFL official stepped up to the podium in New York and said, “With the 23rd pick of the 2003 draft, the Buffalo Bills select running back Willis McGahee from Miami”. I still have a scar from where my jaw hit the ground and I reinjured it when I received a text message from the Bills at 5:45pm – “The Buffalo Bills have called a 6:15 press conference”. I knew instantly what it was about, and I couldn’t believe it. Aside from my aching jaw I felt like my head was going to explode like something out of the movie “Scanners”.
Free agency had started frustratingly slow for Buffalo last week. Fans like me were disillusioned with the way the 2008 season ended and the retention of Dick Jauron as head coach. Having decent cap money to spend even under Buffalo’s “cash to cap” system and with owner Ralph Wilson placing the blame for the Bills’ poor performance on a lack of talent, many thought the Bills were in place to make a splash in free agency.
The splash never came. The Bills hosted several free agents who left without contracts and did not entertain some of the premiere free agents Bills fans believed could shore up several positions of need. After a week of visits the Bills had signed Geoff Hangartner, a utility offensive lineman who may not have started for his former team, Drayton Florence, a cornerback coming off a poor 2008 season, and Ryan Fitzpatrick, a perennial backup quarterback. For a team with an admitted lack of talent Buffalo certainly wasn’t taking tremendous steps to address that issue.
No sooner had Terrell Owens been released from the Dallas Cowboys, than the usual suspects on fan message boards suggested the Bills acquire the malcontent receiver. Never happen, I thought. The Bills, ever the team of high character guys, would never bring in a player as flashy and controversial s Owens. Sure, Owens was arguably the best wide receiver talent available this year and the Bills needed a legitimate second option at that position, but they were busy signing Ivy League grads of questionable talent. They may not amaze you on the field with their football talent, but the Bills were not going to let anyone have a better discussion of Kafka’s The Metamorphosis in the locker room after the game.
Many have called the Owens deal bold – it is not. The deal is dramatic unexpected and shocking, but not bold. A bold deal would have been signing someone to a huge 6 year contract, putting a stake in the ground that someone out there was going to be part of the team as they build for and realize the next level of success. The Bills are more than a single year away from greatness – a bold move is putting money into solving that problem in the long term.
So why DID the Bills make such a dramatic move on Saturday by signing Owens to a 1 year, $6.5 million deal? Was it a good move? Are fans right to be euphoric about this development? To answer these questions you need to look beyond the surface of the move – once you cut through the hype the answers become quite clear.
I’m thrilled that the Bills front office finally showed some sign of life this offseason. I had feared that the team had given up and thrown in the towel, content to complain about lack of talent rather than actually do anything about it. It’s a startling move, but one that shows the Bills have some fight.
Overall, I believe signing Owens is more hype than substance. I know I’ll get blasted for that from euphoric Bills fans getting T.O. tattoos – see me in December and we’ll have a conversation.
Make no mistake about it, bringing Owens to Buffalo is a fantastic marketing move for the team. It puts Buffalo back on the NFL map – suddenly people are talking about the Bills and they should continue to see national interest in the team now that Owens is a part of the Bills. Need proof that the Bills are planning on reaping the marketing benefits of signing Owens? Within an hour of announcing the receiver as the newest Bill the team broadcast that they would be extending the hours of the ticket office the next day. Less than 24 hours after the press conference the Bills e-mailed their list of fans to let them know they could pre-order Terrell Owens jerseys, a bold move considering those jerseys have the shelf life of one season.
From a marketing perspective I like the Owens signing. If the Bills can convince people to buy tickets, jerseys, bobblehead dolls and self-help books I’m all for that – small market teams need all the revenue they can generate. The Bills lack star power on a national level that allow other teams to generate revenue – Owens allows them to tap into streams that have long been reserved for teams like New England, Washington, and the Giants.
From a football perspective I am not a huge fan of the Owens deal. How I ultimately feel about it will depend on the 2009 season – if things go poorly (and there’s ample opportunity for that) I’ll hate the deal, but even if things go very well I’m going to have a hard time loving it. There is simply too much possible downside to the Owens deal and not enough upside to make this a good football deal.
The downside risks to signing Owens are tremendous. The team lacks the coaching staff and player leadership to withstand a major flare-up of Owen’s volatile personality. If Owens decides to throw one of his legendary tantrums do you honestly think Jauron or Trent Edwards is going to force him back into line? Jauron isn’t exactly the most forceful personality to ever be a Bills head coach, and most of the players are too young and star struck to challenge his antics (its hard to step up to a guy who lead you fantasy football team to the league championship when you were in high school in 2000). With Owens’ entire contract guaranteed, if he tires of the work and wants to phone it in he won’t be losing any money.
Do I think it’s likely that Owens will become an off-field distraction or a lazy player? Not likely, but possible. Owens knows there’s a reason he’s playing for a small market team for less money that some other free agent wide receivers. He knows he has to audition for bigger things to come next season or face the possibility his paychecks and opportunities may be limited or non-existent in 2010. In theory he should be a guy trying to prove how well he can be a team guy and how much value he can be both on and off the field, but a volatile personality is just that – volatile.
Rather than focus on the possible negative, let’s look at the possible positive. Let’s look at a best case scenario for 2009. Owens proves to not be an off-field distraction and has a season on par with the best of his career – 1500 yards and 16 touchdowns. We all know that sets Owes up nicely for 2010, but what does it do for the Bills? Not enough, in my opinion. In this scenario the Bills offense is more potent and entertaining than it has been in years, but I think it is crazy to think that it translates into the four more wins the Bills need to make it to the playoffs. I don’t care how good Owens is, the Bills are too many players away from 11 wins, especially in a division where other teams either have (New England) or are building (Miami, Jets) good stores of talent.
The Bills pass rush is in need of a complete overhaul, especially if Aaron Schobel does not return to form. The secondary is counting on Florence to be as good as the departed Jabari Greer. The linebacking corps needs shoring up. The offensive line needs to maintain or improve its performance from last year and is currently lacking a left guard. Owens can be a great receiver, but he isn’t going to solve these problems and it is questionable whether the Bills can make all the necessary improvements.
I have my doubts that Owens puts up career numbers in Buffalo. I believe the jury is still out on Edwards – 2009 is going to show whether he’s Jim Kelly or JP Losman. I certainly would not yet put him in the same league as Owens’ last 3 quarterbacks – Tony Romo, Donovan McNabb and Jeff Garcia. The supporting cast around the Bills (both offensively and defensively) also isn’t as strong as it was on some of Owens’ former teams.
Don’t get me wrong – I’d love to see T.O. put up career numbers as a Bill and I’ll be cheering for him to do it, but even if it does what does it get the team beyond next season? The answer – nothing. Owens will be in high demand by A-list teams and I don’t see any way the Bills can afford to re-sign him in that scenario. I’d bet my Whammy Weenie that Owens’ contract with the Bills includes a no franchise clause, assuring that he can escape Buffalo after one year. Frankly, I don’t see how Owens would choose to stay in Buffalo when bigger, flashier teams come calling – it’s just not going to happen. Then what happens? James Hardy steps in in 2010 and puts up similar numbers leading Bills fans everywhere to say, “Terrell Who?” Is anyone that delusional?
So, while Owens is a good marketing deal, it is not the fantastic football deal that is creating fan euphoria. Does it surprise anyone that the Bills front office is run by marketing folks and not football folks? The Bills front office would like nothing better than to confuse you into believing that this deal changes everything from a football perspective, but it doesn’t. The Bills may (and I stress MAY) be able to improve upon 3 consecutive 7-9 seasons, but at the end of December we’ll be where we have been for the last decade – looking at other teams in the playoffs. Don’t be fooled or blinded by the hype – this deal embodies the current Bills front office – it’s about marketing, not football. Nothing wrong with good marketing, but don’t confuse it with good football. The sooner we realize that the easier it will be to stomach another year missing the post season. Owens will likely help the Bills off the field increasing revenue and on the field beefing up an anemic offense, but he is not going to take the Bills to the Promised Land – be thankful he is here, but please withhold from nicknaming him Moses.
March 18, 2009
March 17, 2009
March 15, 2009
March 14, 2009
In the video below we learned how exactly to perform a glucose test on a feline. Thanks Buddy!
So tomorrow Poo's vet has asked that we perform a glucose curve on Poo. This will require 11+ hours of work by Poo, Jimmy and myself. At zero hours Poo will get his shot of Insulin, which we changed today from .005 to .0075 based on the very high level reading today. Then starting 4 hours out and every 45 minutes there after we are going to test his blood glucose levels. The results will be placed into a curve chart so that we can determine his low point. It is very important that we figure out how low Poo's glucose level is actually going so we can determine his correct dose of insulin. There was a point when the doctor checked him in the office and he was at something like 70, which is way to low.
So stay tuned tomorrow, later in the day, and I will post his glucose curve.
March 8, 2009
Jimmy and I went for a walk at Homestead Park yesterday morning. It was nice to be outside without 5 layers of clothing. Here are a couple pictures taken during our walk.
Friday I received a Knitpicks yarn order. There is some Cotlin yarn to make the Slinky-Rib sweater for spring/summer from Wendy of Knit and Tonic. There is sock yarn, Essential Kettle Dyed, for four pairs of socks and some stitch markers.
Kristie asked if I wanted to knit the SKA March Mystery Sock along with her. Clue one was published last Sunday and clue two today. I cast on, not once but twice, to start these socks yesterday. My first attempt went south pretty quickly but my second try is going pretty darn well. I am using Frog Tree Alpaca yarn for these lovelies. I have seen some pictures of finished clue one and it is soooooo pretty. Here is my cuff of sock 1 with the first lace repeat complete. I think I will knit a total of two repeats for the cuff and cast on the second sock since I want to have them both through clue one before I start clue two.
Second cast on..
This morning I finally couldn't stand it any longer. I had to cast on the bedroom blanket for Jimmy. I really love Mission Falls 1824 Wool! Soooooooo soft and buttery. A pleasure to knit with for sure.
So in an attempt to regulate our Poo's glucose levels the Vet asked if we would be willing to test his blood regularly. On Friday we received his meter. Yesterday we attempted to take a reading but didn't not have success because the reading said we didn't haven enough blood. Poo was pretty pissed off at us after we stuck him 4 times to get blood. So we will try again today. I have been in contact with the Vet and she is going to contact her Vet friend who has done these tests on another kitty to get us some pointers. Here is his new meter.
March 4, 2009
Knitting 'can delay' memory loss
Knitting may help, but watching too much TV could be a problem
Engaging in a hobby like reading a book, making a patchwork quilt or even playing computer games can delay the onset of dementia, a US study suggests.
Watching TV however does not count - and indeed spending significant periods of time in front of the box may speed up memory loss, researchers found.
Nearly 200 people aged 70 to 89 with mild memory problems were compared with a group who had no impairment.
The findings are to be presented to an American Academy of Neurology meeting.
The researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota asked the volunteers about their daily activities within the past year and how mentally active they had been between the age of 50 to 65.
One million people will develop dementia in the next 10 years so there is a desperate need to find ways to prevent dementia
Those who had during middle age been busy reading, playing games or engaging in craft hobbies like patchworking or knitting were found to have a 40% reduced risk of memory impairment.
In later life, those same activities reduced the risk by between 30 and 50%.
Those who watched TV for less than 7 hours a day were also 50% less likely to develop memory loss than those who spent longer than that staring at the screen.
"This study is exciting because it demonstrates that ageing does not need to be a passive process," said study author and neuroscientist Dr Yonas Geda.
"By simply engaging in cognitive exercise, you can protect against future memory loss. Of course, the challenge with this type of research is that we are relying on past memories of the participants, therefore we need to confirm these findings with additional research."
Sarah Day, head of public health at the Alzheimer's Society said: "One million people will develop dementia in the next 10 years so there is a desperate need to find ways to prevent dementia.
"Exercising and challenging your brain - by learning new skills, doing puzzles such as crosswords, and even learning a new language - can be fun."However, more research, where people are followed up over time, is needed to understand whether these sorts of activities can reduce the risk of dementia."
Originally uploaded by bean counting knitter
I had put this project aside to work on the Komet socks. Now that they are finished I can refocus on these babies. I love this pattern and yarn marriage. The subtle color changes from the kettle dye just add to the curling smoke pattern.
March 3, 2009
Not a great picture but you can see the loss of lace stitch definition for sure.
Below is a picture of Arla wearing my blue bombshell. I am grateful it is going to be worn and enjoyed.
You can felt in a front-loader. Did you hear me? Did you read this? Yes it is true. You can CAN can felt wool in a front-loader.
Pictures coming soon.
This piece and my lovely fitted, with boob darts as Jimmy reminded me, blue bombshell partially felted last night in the hand wash setting of my front-loader.
Take heed knitters!
March 2, 2009
March 1, 2009
I am going to use size 9 needles. I swatched with size 9 and 10's. The 9 stitches are the ones on the needle and the lower stitches are from the 10. I like the look and feel of the stitches made on the 9's rather than 10.
Today I finished the first sock of the Komets. I love this sock. It is so soft. :-)