Monday, September 28, 2009

Autumn, Swing, Snakes, Crochet, & Music

Unless the meteorologists on all the local news shows have colluded to play an elaborate (and unspeakably cruel) prank on us (hey, it could happen), we are poised on the precipice of sweet, blessed relief from heat and humidity. Yes, tomorrow it will finally feel like autumn!! Highs in the low 80s instead of at or near 90! Humidity plummeting down to 30-50% (in the afternoon, at least)! I'm almost getting choked up just thinking about it! ;o)

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Donald put most of the swing together over the weekend. There are only a couple of things left to do before it's ready to hang. We're putting it by the kitchen door, on the covered patio. I'll post a photo or two once it's in place.

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Saturday, I found yet another snake (this one a barely living corn snake) caught in the caulk around one of our windows (the bay window seems to be the most popular), and while Donald sprayed it with water to release it, he found a very, very dead one (type undetermined) that I didn't know about. That makes two living and three dead (that we know of...).

I've tried googling it with no results, but surely we can't be the only ones to have this happen. Whatever caulk they used around the exterior edges of our windows-- something clear-- silicone?-- gets very sticky on hot summer days, and I guess the little snake slithers up along the sides of the windows (either to use the friction of the brick edging or to keep hidden), where it then gets stuck along the whole length of its body. However or why ever it's happening, it's creepy and yucky, and I'd be happier if I didn't keep coming across dead snakes glued to our house-- even if they are small.

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A while ago, in an effort to re-acquaint myself with basic crochet, I crocheted several dishcloths. I still haven't woven in the ends and given them a whirl in the sink, but making them did the trick of getting me interested in crochet, again.

I spent part of the weekend (ok, way too much of the weekend) looking through free patterns online (and hoarding them away for future use), and I found a few that looked especially interesting. Now I just have to match the yarn in my stash to the patterns. Oh, and figure out how to translate the patterns into finished objects. My crochet know-how is still very limited, but the only way I'll learn new stitches is to try them.

I think I'm going to start with this scarf-- or this one, which is basically the same thing-- but that's only if I can figure out the "love knot" (aka "lover's knot" or "Solomon's knot"). I gave it a quick try last night, but I didn't quite get it. What I saw before me on my hook didn't resemble the illustrations in the pattern. However, after finding a video and that second pattern, which has more detailed instructions and photos instead of drawings, I feel more confident. I'm going to give it another try, tonight.

I hope I can get it to work. It looks like a fun, quick project, and it would be nice to get some instant gratification, after spending so much time researching patterns.

This is the yarn I'm thinking of using-- Yarn Bee's Sweet Delight Pomp in the Ladybug colorway:

Baby Bee -- Sweet Delight Pomp -- Ladybug

That's the closest I got to representing the colors faithfully (on this monitor, at least). It's a mixture of pale pink, watermelon pink, powder blue, and dark grey.

I'm hoping I'll be able to see soon whether or not this yarn suits the pattern. I get the feeling that variegated yarn has limited uses, since so much of it doesn't look great in crochet (from what I've seen so far). Too much variation just distracts from the pattern. At least if this combination isn't satisfactory, I have an even simpler pattern I can try with it.

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Musical musings that came up over our weekend:
  • I think it's odd when a song that, melodically speaking, sounds charming and lilting has incongruously violent lyrics. Example: "Arthur McBride". This Irish folk song starts out with a couple of cousins taking a walk on Christmas morning. According to the song (sung in the first person), they come upon some members of the English military, which ends badly, with the bashing in of heads and so forth. It's just a very strange combination of gentle melody and shocking words.
  • Donald introduced me to "The Elephant Song", which is in one of his Swedish books of guitar sheet music. (I suspect this was more popular in Europe than in the U.S. At least, I didn't recognize it. A word of warning, if you haven't already clicked and listened: It has a certain degree of earworminess.) I'm amazed by how many people seem to take this song seriously, considering the ridiculousness of some of the lyrics. For instance: "People kill without regret / Although they fly by jumbo-jet"-- and "Gentle is the elephant /Pulling loads and everything". It feels like it was written by a kid, but then again, a lot of lyrics look silly when you take away their melodies.
  • Wooster's version of "Puttin' on the Ritz" is always good for a laugh. (For optimum amusement, you should first know how the song is supposed to sound. Ok, or like this. (g))