Archive for July, 2014

Anatomy of the Flag

MD Flag banners

Vexilogical note: The Maryland flag is the (heraldrically correct) fusion of two English family banners.  The banners themselves date to pre-colonial times, and Maryland’s original Governor (George Calvert, 1st Baron of Baltimore) had the rights to use both.  The Calvert was used by Maryland since it became a state, and confederate sympathizers adopted the Crossland banner during the civil war.

The current flag, which includes both, was first adopted by Maryland veterans from both side, as a gesture of reconciliation.

Calvert Chart

Well, I think the charting is done now.  As you can see, I ended up going with gray grid lines (because otherwise the black was lost), and both thicker and darker indices every five stitches.

Since the chart is 37 38 stitches across, and the socks are 84 stitches around, there is a border between the front and back repeat of the chart.  At first I thought I’d just stripe the two colors, which was way too busy.  The next thought was to use just one color for the field.  This would be doable for the Calvert, but Crossland would be totally lost.  So now I’m going to play with one color, textured background.

Only had to frog back four and a half rounds this time…  For those who are keeping count, the frogging part was done with much less sighing and invection than the graphic design part.


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Well, the tomato hat seems to be a success (hopefully I’ll get a picture of the child wearing it), and the tomato heels turned beautifully. Back to sock design.

I’d forgotten what my graphics arts ‘process’ is. Apparently it involves a lot of sighing and gibbering, and telling the computer to do what I want it to do. No, seriously, I have to send my family out of the room so they don’t keep asking if I’m all right, and suggesting that I have a nice cup of tea and a sit down.

I ended up downloading a macro for GIMP which let me put a grid over an image.  I layered it upon each of the banners, then copied grid sized squares from the underlying image, and pasting them to make a more pixilated image.  Exported the whole thing to .png file, imported it into a spreadsheet to add numbering… and it just occurs to me that I need to add heavier lines to mark off every fifth space (for ease of use).  Yeah, it’s enough trouble to fiddle with that I should really consider making it available for purchase when done.  Fortunately, Open Office exports to .pdf, so I could do the whole thing as a Ravelry download (fiddly charts and all).

Unfortunately, I miscalculated the number of stitches in the flag chart.  I had noted it as 37, but it works out to 38, so there should be 84 stitches in a round rather than 82 (given decisions I’d made earlier).  This is actually a *much* better number to design with, especially when it comes to the Sweet Tomato heel, but it left my actual socks a couple of stitches off.  Easy enough to fix, and the final pattern will be much friendlier.

No pictures this time, but I think I’m more or less on track.

In other news, I’m thinking of entering the Carina shawl in the Howard County fair.  Need to decide pretty soon, since the deadline is the end of July!

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Well, I’m beginning to build momentum on the Maryland State Flag socks.  I had to rip out the toes and start from scratch, because I used too few stitches the first time.  I’ve been trying to document everything (because if these turn out as great as I think they will, I might try to sell the pattern on Ravelry).

I’ve finally gotten to the point of turning the heel.  Because I never can make myself do the same thing twice, I’m using Cat Bohrdi’s Sweet Tomato Heel this time.  It’s actually pretty intuitive once you’ve got it going.

Unlike my try at short row heels on the After Summer Merrily socks, this technique isn’t too ‘visible’, even on the wrong side.

Tomato Heel

See?  A nice, even, minimal line of teeny-tiny holes.  Yay!

I wasn’t too sure about memorizing how to close the short row turns, but it’s pretty easy once you remember that there is one of those ‘gaps’ to be closed on each side between the first (instep) and second (heel) needles.  So you woogie the stitch before the gap when you start out, close all the gaps until the first needle, knit the instep, then woogie the stitch after the gap until you’ve worked to the middle of the sole needle, then knit around twice and go for the next wedge.  Simple enough.

I think I’m going to need a break once the heels are turned, just to get my charts straightened out and my head pulled together.  Fortunately, my daughter has asked me to knit a baby hat for her boss’s son’s first birthday.  She has an internship at the University of Delaware’s farm, and has her heart set on a cute tomato hat.

I’m torn between going for the cutest one I can find and something more botanically correct.  In either case I can’t imagine it will be more than a couple of days interlude.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win the Harrisville Design yarn giveaway.  No new giveaways this time around.

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While walking in my neighborhood a couple of days ago, I spotted a very large bird, scavenging something off of the closely cropped lawn.

I immediately pulled out my iPhone and began taking pictures. I would snap one, take a few steps forward, and then take the next.

At some point, the bird began to become nervous at my approach. He picked up his meal and dragged it a few steps away, but he (or she) never flew off. In the end it worked out very well for me, because he ended up dragging the rabbit carcass out of the shadow.

I got very close indeed.

I’m pretty sure this is a Black Vulture.  They are evidently common birds (though I haven’t seen many around), and their habitat is expanding.  I’m not much of a bird watcher, but it’s nice to document one now and then.

Childsafe 4th

childsafe_4th_mediumWe had a lovely Fourth of July out at my in-law’s homestead.  They have a delightful little place with chickens and horses and my almost two year old niece.  Unfortunately neither horses nor two year olds mix well with fireworks.  Fortunately, cheezombie (on Ravelry) has a yarn version of firecrackers and sparklers.  I made a few from odds and ends of (mostly) acrylic, and they were very much appreciated.



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