Monday, September 7, 2009

A Little Bit about Damson and Piping, Too

It's been a long time since I've update my blog. I've been busy with the pipe band on the weekends. We went to the Quad Cities for their Highland Games two weeks ago. Were were one of 3 bands that played throughout the day in small groups, solo, and then together in a "Battle of the Bands". The small groups were fun as it was like being wandering minstrel's/pipers. Between our gigs we roamed around the fairgrounds and sat in our little encampment, trying to stay out of the sun. It was a beautiful day with perfect temperatures in the low 70's but most of us ended up with a suntan line across our foreheads where our Glengarry (hats) end. The Glengarry is great for staying on the head during a stiff wind (Scotland) but not so great for keeping the summer sun out of the face (Illinois).

Last weekend I played a charity benefit for an off-duty policeman who was killed while helping a stranded motorist. I piped a color guard in at a golf course and then played Amazing Grace.

This weekend (Saturday) the band traveled to Waukesha Wisconsin to compete in the Highland Games. This competition was the last of the season. We placed 2ND (again) but it is probably the best we've played in competition this year. The 3 bands at our level were fairly closely matched. And aren't these two little guys adorable in their kilts. They are so happy to be just like their papa, who is a piper in our band. We hope they will be pipers in our band someday. Somewhere between these two piping events I hosted a bus of folks to Chicago to meeting Tami Longaberger and Bernie Kosar. Yes, I've been busy.

Today I've been preparing for the Official Visit for my P.E.O. Chapter. This event happens periodically when a state officer comes to observe our chapter and make sure we know what we are doing. Our visit is going to be September 14 but I have a lot going on in the days prior so I have to get everything done ahead of time. This afternoon I finished all the paperwork and weeded out our files. Now all I have to do is prepare an agenda, which is what I normally do for a meeting. So I feel pretty good about getting all that done.

A few days ago I couldn't resist casting on another project. Ysolda Teague's Damson Shawl is #1 on the Ravelry pattern list of new patterns and it is practically irresistible. It uses one skein of sock yarn and I just happened to have the exact yarn called for in the pattern, Malabrigo Sock. That happens so rarely that it seemed destined. At first I wasn't sure how the variegated wool would look in the shawl but it is turning out beautifully. Ysolda is such a talented young designer and she is cranking out the patterns faster than I can knit them. There is always something in a pattern that I have not seen before. In Damson the clever way of starting the shawl is a method totally new to me. If she came up with this idea, all I have to say is one word: GENIUS. If she didn't invent it then, kudos to whoever did. I can see myself making several Damsons for gifts and for myself. Put in your order now, Fam.

One caveat if you knit Damson: Pay close attention to the stitch count in the garter section. That may seem obvious to many; however, I didn't look closely enough at what was coming up. (Reading the pattern completely is a concept I apparently have not grasped in 35 years of knitting.) The chart of rows/stitch counts is very handy but only if you use it. When I finished the garter stitch section I was sadly off by several stitches and never did figure out where to put them in properly. It took me the better part of Sunday afternoon to get the stockinette section started correctly, after a bit of number fudging.

I am trying a new recipe for Oatmeal Raisin Cookies out of The New Best Recipe Cookbook. There will be a report on these after my Official Cookie Tester returns home from teaching tonight about 9 PM. Yes, at this university classes are in session on Labor Day, and that includes evening classes. I'm sure he'll be happy to do a little more grading when he gets home and it might take several tries before he can make a decision as to whether this recipe gets an A or a B. I can tell you it won't be any lower than that!


nicole said...

How funny - we were in Waukesha this weekend, too (sis lives there.) They didn't tell us there was a "battle of the bands" going on!

nicole said...

Oops, make that a "Highland Games"!

KPiep said...

Very interesting about the piping! Sounds like a lot of fun!

Good luck with your chapter visit. We won't have ours for another year or so - after I've passed along the reigns to the next pres. Our organizer for the last visit was fantastic, though, and the visit was actually quite nice.

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