A few switching-to-Mac resources, a bit of knitting, and a dog

Knitting: nice subtlety

Let's start with the knitting. I'm making the vest from Ann McCauley's new book—the one that I mentioned being tempted by. Ann's version is in white Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride (85% wool/15% mohair). Mine is the same yarn, which I'm quite fond of, in color M-02 Brown Heather.

When I wrote the post about the book, I mentioned enjoying Ann's sense of detail and the pleasant surprises I find in her patterns.

Here's a surprising detail from the vest pattern.

From the front side, along the top edge of the ribbing it looks like nothing special is going on:

Outside_1996

From the back side, though, you can see an interesting row of stitches that doesn't follow the ribbing pattern:

Inside_1997

That row is not just reverse stockinette, either. That wrong-side row involves a carefully planned sequence of knits and purls, set up to offer just a touch of waistline stabilization and, in places, extra pattern definition at the transition from the ribbing at the lower edge to the more diverse patterning in the main body. That single row also subtly counteracts what might be a rolling-in tendency of the ribbing that continues up the vest's front edges.

Nice.

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Mac: Surface changes

Here's what my new MacBook looks like now:

Gelaskin_1995

I indulged in a Gelaskin for it.

Gelaskins are protective covers for the top of the computer. There are all sorts of protective cases and covers for MacBooks (Gelaskins can also be obtained for PCs). Several of them would have increased both weight and external dimensions enough that one of my primary reasons for choosing this machine—portability—would have been compromised. Even though folks I know love their cases. I also like to have something on my notebook that helps me remember to return it to the backpack when I go through airport security. I've used bumper stickers in the past, and considered that again, but the Gelaskins do two jobs in one, without measurably increasing weight or girth. Less expensive than a hard case, too. For another situation, the full case would be the right answer.

This is the one I got. It's even more enjoyable in person—some of the amusing details require a magnifying glass to discover. Others are more obvious. I was pretty tempted by this one, too. Intriguing to me that both are by the same artist.

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Mac: More switching-to-Mac resources

I'm still working on getting to know this new computer. Friends have sent links and suggestions. I'll list a few here.

Apple has its own "switching to the Mac" information:

From Donna Druchunas, here are more links to basic move-to-Mac commentary:

And a "best practices" link:

  • Tao of Mac, which I found the most interesting of all

Here's a useful link on figuring out which Mac to buy—I don't remember whether I found it myself or was referred to it (the input blurs) [added comment: I found it through a link from the Tao of Mac page]:

That's in addition to Apple's help system for determining which Mac is right.

Mac software progress?

Corey told me about Caffeine, which keeps the screen from going into energy-saver mode if you don't give it input for a minute. Sometimes it's very handy to be able to control that. (She also told me about Journler, which I've already mentioned, and which is one of those programs that can do so much that the first step is a doozy. I keep poking it, looking for my way in.)

I'm still working on figuring out keychain (the password keeper). Best practices is what I want. There's some info in the Tao of Mac article above. I'll get there.

I'll be processing the photos for this post on the PC, because I don't have Photoshop or the GIMP over here on the Mac yet, and iPhoto looks great for organizing and general photo work, but I don't see ways to do the things I like to do to my photos before posting them. . . .

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Meanwhile, back in the PC world. . . .

Some programs run on PC only. That includes the software that manages the publishing inventory and royalties. (The Mac can run PC programs, but after the troubles I want to keep the Mac isolated from PC-land, if possible.) This week, that program lost its inventory counts, which means . . . well, more troubleshooting. I think I've almost got the fix, although I've needed to dig back into the records and find end-of-2007 inventory and valuation numbers, including counts of books that were at consignment houses. I think I've got the data. Now I need to enter it and see if the reports look right.

I'm still working on getting Ethnic Knitting Exploration on press (supposed to have been released in October 2008). There's no way, at this point, that it will be out before early 2009, because once it's on press there's a four-week production turnaround (for North American printers, and that's who we use). And it's not quite on press yet, although it keeps getting closer. It was supposed to go on press in early August. I was on the phone with tech support.

2008 has not been my favorite year in several regards, although it had several high points (family and travel) as well as lots of annoyances (many of them electronic).

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Other works-in-progress

1. We're getting ready to make the projects from Donna Druchunas' Ethnic Knitting Discovery (the first book in the EK series) available as downloadable PDFs. These won't contain all of the information in the book, but they will have the worksheets and sample patterns. They'll be a good standalone introduction to the methods of the projects, and handy printable worksheet versions. They need to be re-edited for this new format, and I'm re-doing the layout to make economical use of standard letter-sized paper. We'll have them as sets (by country) and singles. The Netherlands will be up first, with Denmark not far behind. I'm still working on Norway and The Andes.

2. I'm starting to work with a new accountant who has ideas about rearranging the way we track our financial information. In the long run, this is excellent (which is why I'm doing it). In the short run. . . . I try to think about only one piece of it at a time, so my brain doesn't threaten to explode.

3. The major project I'm working on that involves large quantities of wool and learning more about the world of rare-breed sheep again continues apace. I can talk about it more later. Quite a bit later.

Oh. The freelance work.

4. I've been doing or negotiating
a whole lot of freelance work, which keeps this boat afloat.
Fortunately, it's been interesting stuff to work on lately.

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And finally. . . .

It's a rough life for a red dog in winter.

Tussah_1994

She stole the blanket from me. I've got it back now.

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7 Responses

  1. Dina

    Nice blanket! You made it?

    My brain would be exploding with all that you’re doing. I’m amazed you have the energy to do all that you do. Darn, girl, what’s your secret?

  2. Deborah Robson

    The blanket was made by a dear friend in 1970. It’s still trucking!

    My secret: ADD, perhaps? The tension between the need to do creative and meaningful work and the necessity of paying bills, both interpreted through the filter of my contrarian nature? That last qualifier is probably the kicker. Other people manage that balance with less of a tightrope effect. I don’t know how they do it.

    I endeavor to do one thing at a time. It sometimes works.

  3. Linda Cunningham

    You blanket-stealer you! 🙂

    Know what you mean about trying to keep all the chainsaws up in the air: I’ve been working on a major proposal for the last month and it sometimes feels that I spend 95% of my waking moments on it.

    Not sure how I’ve managed to accomplish anything else in this stretch, but I’ve bound one book, about to finish two more, and even been out to one party and a romantic dinner.

    What’s that old expression about giving projects to busy people because they will get them done?

  4. Donna Druchunas

    iPhoto has some basic image editing stuff. Open a photo, and then click Adjust. Sometimes the adjustment palette opens way in the corner of my screen and I think it’s not working. The effects lets you do some basic color correction. Just try all of the tools. Nothing fancy but it’s good enough for blog images. I am still waiting to get Photoshop on my Mac. My company is buying me a CS4 suite, but I don’t know which one. I have PS CS3 on my desktop PC.

    When you export it, you can resize the exported copy.

  5. Ann McCauley

    Love the color of the yarn that you’re using in the vest! It’s going to be beautiful in that color and I hope it’s for you. You articulated what that row does better than I could say it myself!

  6. LynnH

    Wow, what a seriously full post! Sweater progress, Mac learning curve, publishing things, accounting things… and a clever and resourceful dog.

    The dog made me laugh out loud. Gad you got the blanket back.

  7. bibliotecaria

    I was just listening to the KnitPicks podcast that interviewed Donna Druchunas. Just in case she didn’t mention it to you, Kelly was extremely complimentary to the actual layout and font and printing of the book, which was all your work. Nice to know your work is appreciated.

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