Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thoughts on UFO's

Now that I have your attention, I've got one thing to say:
No.  It's not a UFO.  It's just...it's just...(waaaaahhhhh!)...the new lights from Highway 30, slated to open some time in December, after more than three years in the making, and over thirty in the planning.  I actually meant to walk the length of the highway this past weekend before it opens to traffic, just for the heck of it.  Now that the lights are on, I'd better put it on my to-do list for this coming weekend or forfeit my chance forever.

I was worried about those high light standards, and well, all I can say is they're there, and they're lit.  Impressed I ain't.  Cue more crying...waaahhhhhhhhh!

Because my photography skillz are virtually nonexistent, (exposure? aperture? huh?), I wasn't able to capture the shot as it views to the naked eye, but the peak of our barn falls square in the middle of the above photo.  I liked looking out of the window into darkness, but that's a thing of the past now.

While I embrace the progress that is NA30, I have mixed feelings about the encroaching urban environment.  I don't want to end up the crazy old bitch who ends up padlocking herself to a barn while bulldozers move in to build yet another Walmart, but que sera, sera. Hopefully, I've got a few decades to plan my exit.  Who knows how things will end up?  Maybe the new infrastructure will direct new development away from us?  Given our crumbling infrastructure, the "30 in 30 (years)" is a welcome change on the horizon.  It's just too bad it had to change our view.

Not to let you down, I've got a UFO of a different kind to show you:
Yes, a knitterly UFO, hopefully soon to be a FO, or finished object.  UFO of course stands for unfinished object, every knitter's nemesis.  This blanket fell from grace months ago, yet with colder temperatures heading our way, I thought it would be nice to get it back on the front burner, pun wholly intended.  As with every project, there's always something to procrastinate about, and the crochet steek was my hurdle.  I downloaded Kate Davies' overly-explicit instructions, printed everything up, and pored over the material as though studying for an exam.  I crocheted.  I cut.  Simple as pie.  Why in dog's name did I procrastinate about this?  I'll never know.  The question that now begs to be asked is why am I procrastinating about picking up the 780 edge stitches?   I suppose because it's 780 edge stitches.  Why oh why do I do this to myself?  Why? Anyone?

Actually, the above photo does serve a purpose, besides showing my wonderfully manicured digits.  What it shows is the crochet steek with the central knit stitch exposed.  This is my cut line.  On the left hand side, you can clearly see the dark brown edge (half covered by crochet), where I piled my darks one atop the next, in a precise vertical line.  This is not my first steeked project, but it is my first with 5 steek stitches.  I started out with clear vertical light/dark/light/dark/light lines.  Then neurosis struck, and I checked other Rams and Yowes projects on line.  Seems many people chose to do a checker-board pattern in their steek, and being the proper sheep (punny me), I changed my modus operandi to the checkerboard pattern.  WRONG.  Wrong on so many levels, I don't even know where to start.  Those clear light/dark lines are perfect for crocheting into, and the checkerboard pattern...well...not so much.

While a nice checkerboard pattern might give the uninitiated the impression you know what the hell you're doing, you need a freaking magnifying glass and those mega-watt light-standards from highway 30 to do a nice job.

In doing clear vertical lines where you haven't staggered the colors, observe the nice proper easy-to-follow lines:
When you crochet steek, you're crocheting into one half of EACH light and dark stitch.  The central light stitch will get cut open.  Crochet into half of light stitch, and half of dark stitch.  Do same thing on OTHER side of cut stitch.  You will have 2 rows of crochet, and you will then cut between these 2 rows.  Just trust me, the light/dark/light/dark/light striping method will be much easier to crochet steek and cut.

There you have it.  The truth about UFO's.  I'm so glad we had this little talk.

Now excuse me while I find another distraction to keep me from picking up those 780 edge stitches.


eagergridlessbeaver said...

..yeah, encroachment sucks..I am going to be read sad when the area I am in finally finishes getting developed

Shim Farm said...

Ya know Beav, sometimes I wonder what we're trying to do here, literally and figuratively. We're putting a LOT of sweat-equity into a house and barn and land, and for what? On one hand, we're sitting on a gold mine, on the other, we're sitting on a time bomb. I guess it depends if your glass is half empty or half full.

Tonight I'm staring at the lights again and I'm not sure I like what I see.

Ron said...

I have a lot of UFOs around here. :)

I sure wish things wouldn't change around here... but they are. I always tell Mel that if it gets too ridiculous, we'll cash out and move down to Guatemala or something.

Miriam said...

Lights change everything, don't they? Once you become used to real dark and real night skies it's hard to go back to urban-lit environments. Hopefully these particular lights will settle into the background quickly.

Speaking of lights, thanks for your prodding about the Aladdin! I think I can get over the no-experience-think-they're-dangerous thing, especially with Paula's suggestion about a metal base rather than a glass one. But what about the mantle vs. wick thing? I have vivid memories of my dad swearing over mantles with Coleman lamps when we were camping. Are they as fussy as I remember?

Shim Farm said...

Hi Ron, LOL...our place is a UFO hot-bed! And we never seem to learn our lesson, jumping from one project to another with reckless disregard.

I hope our place doesn't end up getting too over-developed. Our municipality has a pretty decent track record for preserving agricultural land, but now we're located at an interesting juncture. Things are going to get weird when the highway and bridge finally open.

I had meant to write about the bridge, as it's pretty impressive, spanning high over the Saint-Lawrence seaway. Hopefully this weekend I'll make good on my threat to take a long walk. Maybe I'll even remember to bring my camera...

I hear you about Guatemala LOL. Let's hope things don't get that bad!

Shim Farm said...

Hi Miriam. Today, Eric was working on the culvert with one of our neighbours who mentioned they're sad about the lights, too. They have cows, and they said it was strange, walking out to the barn to milk and see lights off in the distance. It will take some getting used to.

Our Aladdin lamps have both a wick and a mantle. We're both neurotic where fire hazards are concerned, but these lamps are safe. I wouldn't go walking around the house with them, but once set on a safe, flat surface away from Cooper's sweeping tail, there's nothing to fear but fear itself.

I found this YouTube video that explains the lighting process nicely:


This one's good too, because it shows the lighting of the Aladdin Loxon mantle being lit for the first time:


It's kind of impressive to see how the mantle combusts when it's lit for the very first time. (I'm probably not helping right now LOL!)

We really enjoy the lamp, and would wholly recommend you add one to your homestead!

Anonymous said...

This is going to be so gorgeous! Don't procrastinate any more. Thanks for the tips on steeking; I am still trying to gear up to a steeked project, but in 2013 I will be brave. Now, take a deep breath, and pick up all those stitches. You know you want to!

Shim Farm said...

I picked them up, I picked them up! Busy bashing away! I'm about to start my 4th colour of 9 on the edge, which sounds like I'm half way there, but Kate insists, as Kate is wont to do, that the edge be doubled so when it's sewn back, the steek and picked-up edges will be hidden. Kate most certainly know how to write a pattern, she's nothing short of brilliant. Plus, there is an i-cord edge done over the 924 edge stitches, so I still have my work cut out for me!

But I will persevere. The blanket, while wholly perverse to tote around, follows me everywhere, and every chance I have to sit down, out it comes!

Our knit group meets again on the 20th of December. So help me, that blanket will cause furor!

I am in love with the J&S Shetland, and can't wait to get my hands on some more. There's a Sheep Heid and a Peerie Flooers in my future.

Oh, do try a steeked project! I started with Lopi, and it's super-easy, either machine-sewn or crocheted. Sometimes I wish the internet wouldn't be so dramatic! *sigh*

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