Sunday, August 21, 2005

Another small knitting breakthrough

Woo hoo -- I can do cables! It turns out that they're even easy. I need some practice reading graphs before I can decode them easily, but I can follow verbal directions perfectly fine.

Last night I took a brief break from knitting felted tote bags for the Beardie Rescue Parade and thought I'd try working on a cabled scarf in Kureyon color #134. That yarn has been calling my name from deep within the stash pile for a long time now, and finally I succumbed to its siren song and picked the thing up. The pattern comes from Noro, The World of Nature #15 and is fairly simple: two sections of 4x4 ribbing with two 6-stitch cables in the middle.

With some practice, I'd like to tackle a couple of the cabled sweaters in that book. There are some gorgeous designs in it, and the Noro yarns make them all the more spectacular.

Progress on the Musical Front

Greg has spent most of his time this week finishing up the orchestration for his Water suite. He hopes to get it off to the conductor within the next few days. Last night, he decided to add a tuba to the mix, and the resulting change in orchestral coloring is breathtaking. It's amazing how that one line just adds so much depth and dimension to the piece. He already had scored bass trombone and contrabassoon, but this latest addition created the perfect mix in the bass line, like just the right amount of pepper in a sauce.

On Thursday night, we attended the opening concert of this year's Portland Chamber Music Festival. We primarily went up to see Elliott Schwartz (a friend of Greg's from way back) and to hear his work "Tapestry," but they also performed a pleasant little throwaway piece of Rossini's and Tchaikovsky's "Souvenir de Florence." The program notes and newspaper critics tend to dump mercilessly on "Souvenir," but it isn't the horrible work everyone says it is. The instrumentation is unusual (two violins, two violas, two cellos), and the individual parts don't all tend to stand out at every moment during the piece, but it was very well played and a ball to listen to. Granted, Tchaikovsky himself never really cared for the piece, but the poor man was critical of much of his own music, and he hated The Nutcracker.

Deja Vu All Over Again

Seamus and I are repeating the Advanced Basic Obedience class, and I'm glad I decided to go back. There are only 4 or 5 dog/handler teams in the class, so we get plenty of time to repeat individual exercises. Seamus's down-stays, always the weakest part of his obedience repertoire, are getting much better. I don't know whether we'll manage the 30-minute down-stays we've been given for "homework," but we can make 10 minutes without too many problems.

When he's not busy making me proud in obedience, Seamus has been discovering buried treasure in the toy box. Before he lost his hearing, Doogie used to love toys that made noise. He has toys that squeaked, toys that played tunes, toys that sounded like animals or objects... you name it. Doogie would take one of those toys and squeak it over and over and over and over until Charlie got tired of the sound and killed the squeaker. My favorite of those toys was the yellow submarine (which, sadly, didn't play the Beatles song), but Doogie also had croaking frogs, mooing cows, an ambulance with siren, a school bus with honking horn and screaming kids, and a green alien that sounded a little like the Theremin part in "Good Vibrations."

Lately, a couple of the toys Seamus has unearthed have come back to life (mostly). The musical duck plays a tremendously silly little melody while a duck quacks along, and the tune just gets inside your head and refuses to leave. (No wonder Charlie silenced it the first time.) When Seamus found the duck and pulled it out of the toy box, it started to play the tune (though at a much reduced volume, thanks to Charlie's adjustments). The expression on Seamus's face was too funny for words: "What is this thing DOING?!". Since then, he has found the squeaky tugboat with its "boat whistle," and has been squeaking that around the house as well. Charlie probably wants to kill the squeakers all over again.

Seamus's CKC papers finally came through, after his breeder called the CKC offices to ask what the holdup was. There's only one hitch: they printed Greg's last name as Hill. We have to return the certificate to CKC with a note from us, a letter from the breeder certifying that she was the one who goofed on the spelling, and a surprisingly large amount of money ($29 Canadian) just to fix a stinkin' typo. If we're lucky, we might get the new certificate back by Christmastime. We only waited four months for the misspelled one.

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1 comment:

Jennifer Grucza said...

Who says Souvenir is horrible?? What are they thinking? Souvenir is wonderful! I love that piece (and I've played it twice). There are some gorgeous melodies in it, and the middle of the third movement is so spritely, it reminds me of the Scherzo in the Mendelssohn Octet.

Congrats on the cabling. I'm too lazy to do much of that, but I did make a cabled vest when I was a kid. Took forever, and I ran out of yarn, so you can tell more than one dye lot was used (actually I think even different brands of yarn). Plus it was too small for me to wear by the time I finished!