Monday, March 31, 2014

Fair Isle Knitting -- Start the Neck

When you have knit off 40 stitches on one armhole, you start the neck.
The first part is simple;
Knit around to the other armhole, to the middle of the steeking.
Now knit off 40 stitches on the other armhole.
Now carefully knit the first stitch and try to make sure there is no gap.
Now you will need a circular needle in U.S. size 3, with a 12 inch tether, because you are creating the base of the neck.  Use it to knit up the rest of the neck stitches to the other side.

Finish picking up the other neck stitches onto the 12-inch needle in a k2/p2 rib like what you used at the bottom of the jumper, then knit around until all the stitches are on the 12-inch needle.
Do 2 rows of k2/p2 rib in the background color.
Then 2 rows of k2/p2 rib in a contrast color.  I did this in brown.
Then 2 rows of k2/p2 rib in the background color.
Now knit 2 stitches and pull the second stitch over the first stitch.
Purl one stitch and pull the last knit stitch over the purl stitch.
This is called "casting off in rib."  You will do each stitch identically to the one below it, whether knit or purl, and then  you will pull the previous stitch over it to get rid of that stitch.
When you're done you will have a neat, flexible edge to the neck of your jumper.

Next week we'll deal with the armholes.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Outdoors -- Tufted titmouse

This bird has a habit that puzzles me.  I've seen it for two winters now, and it's possible that this is the same bird coming to my feeder both winters, but I just thought I'd throw it out there and see if any other birdwatchers comment.
The majority of tufted titmouse eating at my house have used the feeder tube.
They pull out a bit of food, and then they rub or slam it against the perch they are sitting on.
The feed has millet and safflower seed in it.  I don't buy food with milo in it. 
I haven't been able to tell if it's only the safflower seed that the titmice slam or rub on the perch.
If it is, one conclusion would be that it's trying to break the safflower down to a comfortable size to eat.
But the millet is smaller, so why would the titmouse pick out something too big to eat?
Unless it absolutely hates the millet.
The other problem is that the titmouse does not then jump down on the ground to pick up the small pieces of safflower it has created.  It stays on the perch.
I don't get it.  If you do, please comment.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Friday, March 28, 2014

Fact-Checking the Torah -- The Death Penalty

Every culture has crimes that put the criminal beyond the “pale” so to speak; such a person is so dangerous the culture throws them away one way or another.  The ultimate, of course, is putting such a person to death, and so crimes ought to be the ultimate wrongs that the criminal can do in that culture.
I referred before to Mishnah Holy Things Keritot 1:1 with a list of 36 crimes.  Torah lists some of them: striking one’s parents, kidnapping a person and forcing him to become a bondsman, cursing one’s parents, (Exodus 21:15-17, Leviticus 20:9), bestiality (Exodus 22:18, Leviticus 20:15-16), desecration of the Sabbath (Exodus 31:14-15, Numbers 15:35), engaging in Molech worship (Leviticus 20:2), adultery (Leviticus 20:10), incest (Leviticus 20:11-12), men having sex with men (Leviticus 20:13), using dead or familiar spirits (Leviticus 20:27), the daughter of a priest who commits adultery (Leviticus 21:9), using the Tetragrammaton to curse (Leviticus 24:16), and seduction to idol worship, whether the seducer is a prophet, relative, or close friend. (Deuteronomy 13:1-12)  A girl married as a virgin and brought to court on an accusation that she is no virgin can suffer the death penalty if proven guilty.  (Deuteronomy 22:20-21)
In many of these cases, after listing the crime, Torah says mot yamut which, as you know, means execution after due process.
In one other case Judaism permits killing.  Everybody can kill in self-defense.  When it tries such a case, the court will investigate motive.  Exodus 21:13 says “if he did not hunt him down then Gd will appoint a place to which he may flee.” A person killing in self-defense did not hunt the dead person down but was in fact being hunted.  Explicit permission for killing in self-defense is in the Talmud.
Torah also permits killing a thief caught in the house at night in Exodus 22:1.  Jewish law defines such a thief as a potential murderer.  The thief could have waited until day and then stolen from the person or broken into the house to steal.  Nobody breaks into a house by night unless prepared to kill the homeowner.
BUT by the same token, the homeowner can only kill the thief a) at night and b) while the thief is still in the house.  If the sun comes up, the homeowner can’t kill the thief.  If the thief runs as soon as the homeowner gets up, then the homeowner locks the doors and goes back to bed.  No chasing the thief into the street, let alone running down the street after him.
Judaism has a “stand your ground” law which means exactly that.  The person who otherwise has the right to kill, does not have the right to chase down whoever made the attack or broke into the house.
Talmud also allows killing in defense of others based on Leviticus 19:16, but would prefer that a way be found to rescue the endangered person.
Finally, Judaism does not allow killing under coercion.
There are three things a Jew must not do even under threat of death.  One is committing idol-worship; forced conversions are prohibited.  One is forbidden sex acts, some of which are listed in the Leviticus verses above.  The third is killing.  If somebody says to you, “kill that woman or I will kill you,” you must allow yourself to be killed.
Now let’s go back to a verse I just mentioned and discuss the related urban legend about Torah: Exodus 21:16.  Read that and some other verses: Exodus 20:13,Deuteronomy 5:17, and Deuteronomy 24:7.  See you next week!
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Bit at a time Bible Hebrew -- Genesis 1:11

Genesis 1:11
יא וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים תַּדְשֵׁא הָאָרֶץ דֶּשֶׁא עֵשֶׂב מַזְרִיעַ זֶרַע עֵץ פְּרִי עֹשֶׂה פְּרִי לְמִינוֹ אֲשֶׁר זַרְעוֹ־בוֹ עַל־הָאָרֶץ וַיְהִי־כֵן:
Transliteration: Va-yomer elohim tadshe ha-arets deshe esev mazria zera ets p’ri oseh p’ri l’mino asher zaro-vo al-ha-arets va-y’hi khen.
Translation:    Gd said let the land sprout sprouts, plants having seed, fruit tree making fruit of its kind that its seed is in it on the earth and it was so.
Letters in this lesson: ז
Vocabulary in this lesson:
sprout (v)
sprout (n)
grass, plant, herb
making seed
seed (n)
kind, sort, type
Once again, we have here a noun and a verb from the same root.  Twice.
In the Hebrew alphabet, there is shin and there is sin and the only way you know which is which, is the dot at the top.  It’s on the right for shin and on the left for sin.  But if you don’t have the vowels, it won’t be there at all.  This is another case where you pretty much know what the word is because the other possibility, when you know its meaning, doesn’t fit the rest of the sentence.
For example in Talmud there’s a phrase shen v’ayin or “tooth and eye.”  A bondsman who was a K’naani goes free if the bondholder inflicts permanent damage on him.  He took out an exclusive services contract but he didn’t sign up for physical abuse, and anyway Torah says to circumcise those bought with your money, so he’s a convert to Judaism and his bondholder is subject to the law of battery.  See the Fact-Checking thread for that.
At any rate, there is no Hebrew word sen.  You wouldn’t know that but use a dictionary to make sure whether you’ve got a shin or a sin in a word at first.  But the shin is in the majority of Hebrew words.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Me and motherhood

I admit it.  I would have been a terrible mother.  I would have turned out the spoiledest kids you ever saw.
Luckily for the kids, it didn't happen.
How do I know this?
Because last week I used up the last of the bird food.
But I couldn't stand to think of the birds getting cut off so suddenly.
So I crumbled some of my home made, low-chemical challah and put that out, a bit at a time.
This week when the temperatures dropped and the snow fell, I went all day yesterday feeling guilty.
Finally, I went out on the excuse of making sure my car would start, since I don't drive a whole lot, and just happened to take my wallet with me.
And on the excuse that I wanted to make my mother's vaunted yellow cake with chocolate buttercream frosting, I went to the store for milk and eggs.
But I also bought bird seed.
Only five pounds.
It ought to run out soon.
If wild birds can guilt me into spending extra money at the store, imagine what crying children would do to me!
So luckily all the kids in my family were raised by my siblings who don't have backbones as weak as mine, and they have turned out very well indeed.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Outdoors -- struggling

I know I'm late; the sky is getting light and it's time for morning prayers.
We're supposed to get another swipe of snow today, possibly some inches.
Saturday I sat on my front porch and got some sun.
It was sunny all day yesterday and I tried to do the same thing, but the air was just too cold.
With the strength of the sun in March, you know that was some terribly cold air.
It's supposed to be better at the end of the week so I'm planning to get compost then, if the hauler is free.
Usually I have peas planted by now and even sprouting, but it's been so extremely cold this year -- haven't seen anything like this since 1994 and I wasn't raising peas then -- that it's safer to wait.
But my neighbor's crocuses and my grape hyacinths are blooming and the daffodils have continued to come up.  So have my star of bethlehem.
The parks authority in DC says the cherries won't be in bloom next week during the blossom festival.
We'll get through this, Gd willing.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Monday, March 24, 2014

Fair Isle Knitting -- Shoulder seams

Make sure you have knitted at least 70 rows of steeking before you do the shoulder seams.

Also make sure that the last row you knitted was an all-background row.  That's the easy way to make sure that you have a neat appearing shoulder seam.

At the middle column of the steeking on either side, turn the jumper inside out.

You will now knit off stitches on both sides of the steeking.  You will need a third needle to do this.  Make sure that it is also a U.S. #3 size needle.

Use it to pick up the end stitch on both sides of the steeking.  Then loop your yarn around the stitch on the side away from you and knit through BOTH OF THE STITCHES, transferring the new stitch to the third needle.

Do this again with the next stitch away from the steeking.  You will now have two stitches on the third needle.

Now pull the first stitch you made on the third needle, over the second stitch you made, so that there is again only one stitch on the third needle.

Repeat these 3 steps until you have knitted off 40 stitches.

I'll stop there because some of you aren't done with the 70 rounds of steeking yet. 

What I'm going to teach you next week will create the basis for the neck right on the sweater; you won't need to re-attach the yarn as with some patterns.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Sunday, March 23, 2014

DIY -- Basic Cooking V: Pizza

Now, admit it.  You were wondering when I would tell you how to make pizza. 
When pizza delivery is $20 plus tip, you really need a way to cut the price and boy do I have a way for you to cut the price.
Remember, you now know how to make bread, and one way to make pizza is to dress up some bread dough.
So next time you make a batch of bread, take out 1/3 to 1/2 of it for a medium or large pizza.  Do this at the 2nd or 3rd rising.
Shape the part you took out onto a medium or large pizza pan sprinkled with cornmeal, cover with a towel and let sit in a warm place 15 minutes.  Start your oven pre-heating to 425.
Now open your jar of pizza sauce.
Shape the dough so the crust has a raised portion around the outside, then pour the sauce in the middle.
Now slice on your mushrooms, your black olives; dice on your green bell pepper and onions; crumble on your sausage and slice on your pepperoni.  I like anchovies; some people like ham and pineapple; Germans in Germany add a fried egg on top.  You could also sprinkle on crushed pepper.  Slather on the mozzarella.
Slide this into the oven and bake 15-20 minutes until the mozzarella is melted and even turning a bit brown.
By the time this is done, your 3rd rising of bread is ready to bake.  Turn the oven down to 325 and put in the loaf(s) you still had left.
Now you can sit down and rest up with your very own freshest pizza ever, and the dough won't taste like cardboard.
You'll spend something like $8 on the pizza sauce, pepperoni, and mozzarella; 50 cents on black olives; 10 cents on onions; 60 cents on green bell pepper; 50 cents on mushrooms; total $9.70.
And you'll have veggies left over for other cooking because you can only pile them so high vertically on the dough before it won't fit in your oven.
Next time you bake bread, try this!

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Friday, March 21, 2014

Fact-Checking the Torah -- Deuteronomy 19:16-19

So I skipped something. I showed how to impeach a witness: for a bystander to show that the witness was not capable of seeing the crime. What happens to that witness?
That’s where Deuteronomy 19:16-19 comes in.
The key phrase in this section is “as he had thought to do to his brother.” There was a famous controversy about that phrase: if the accused has been convicted and executed, do you execute the false witness? I’ll put you out of your misery: the decision was, no. There are two reasons for that, or maybe three, and one of them is that if the accused has been convicted and executed, then we’re past the “thought” stage. It’s been done. Only if the convict has not yet been executed do you punish the false witness.
The second answer is more subtle and it goes to Mishnah Holy Things Keritot 1:1. This lists the 36 capital crimes in Jewish law. One of them is eating holy things when you aren’t entitled. This includes a person who has been acting as a priest but has no right to.
Why would a man have no right to act as a priest? Isn’t the only requirement being descended from Aaron? Of course, the answer is no. A priest who marries a divorcee or widow disqualifies his sons from acting as priests. The sons are eligible for the death penalty if due process is followed. Which, of course, means there have to be witnesses that the mother was a divorcee or widow.
Now, if the witness testimony is false, and the wife of the priest was neither a divorcee or a widow, the sons are acquitted of eating holy things they had no right to. What do you do to the false witness(es)?
If they are priests, you can’t do to them as they thought to do to their brother. You cannot retroactively make them sons of a priest and a divorcee or widow. Even if they are, you cannot retroactively make them eat of holy things they don’t have a right to. Maybe they never did that; maybe there are no witnesses that they did. You don’t have a time machine. You can’t do to him as he thought to do to his brother.
Jewish law had another great equalizer: flogging. Flogging means being subjected to 40 less one blows, well laid on, with a cat-of-nine-tails minus the knots at the end of the leathers. They were laid on in three goes. The flogee had to be examined by a doctor before it started, and if he was too weak to stand up to it, he was excused. He was examined after the first 13, and if he couldn’t take any more, he was excused. If he fouled himself, he was excused. If he nevertheless died from the flogging, then as an official of the court, the flogger was not charged with murder or manslaughter.
A false witness was flogged.
Now let’s back the train up. Does a person get off scot free the first two times of attempt at a capital crime? Of course not. They go to court the first time to pay whatever damages are possible. They go to trial for the capital crime the third time. In the middle, they get flogged.
One more clue. Since a flogging can end in death, the second time a person attempts to commit a capital crime, the court has to have 23 judges for the first hearing, and on up to 71 if the court can’t decide.
I’m not going to give you an assignment this week because of next week’s subject. You’ll get a bunch of verses then. Plus one more example that “thou shalt not kill” is part of Jewish law.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Bit at a time Bible Hebrew -- Genesis 1:10

Genesis 1:10
י וַיִּקְרָא אֱלֹהִים ׀ לַיַּבָּשָׁה אֶרֶץ וּלְמִקְוֵה הַמַּיִם קָרָא יַמִּים וַיַּרְא אֱלֹהִים כִּי־טוֹב:
Transliteration: Va-yiqra elohim la-yabashah erets ul’miqveh ha-mayim qara yamim vayar elohim ki-tov.
Translation:     Gd called the dry land earth and he called the gathering of waters seas and Gd saw that it was good.
Vocabulary in this lesson:
gathering, collection
If the first word of the vocabulary looks familiar, you have a good eye.  It’s a noun form of the verb you saw in the last verse.  Yes, it’s true, Hebrew builds nouns and adjectives out of three letter roots as well as verbs.
See if you can tell me the difference between the following words.
I think I said that once somebody challenged me that without the vowels, Hebrew was a free-form language.  So if the plurals above were used without the vowels, you wouldn’t be able to tell whether the text mean “seas” or “days”. 
That’s not true.  I challenge you to come up with a context in all of literature in which you could read “seas” where you should read “days,” and not get confused.  I will be very interested to see what you come up with, but right now, without going through all of literature that has ever existed in the world, I have a lot of trouble believing that you would be able to make sense out of a book that discussed ships sailing the days of the ocean, or setting a record by making a trip in two seas instead of three.
A written language is a recording of how people express themselves in their language, and with exceptions such as dadaism, the written language will use the same concepts and idioms as when people speak out loud.  Writing is not at all free-form.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Outdoors -- it's here!

Spring is here!
Not just because tonight is the vernal equinox.
Or because the 7 inches of snow that fell Monday have almost all melted.
Or because the sun will shine straight down the street that runs in front of my house -- if the clouds would only part at dawn.
But because this morning I first heard the robin's traditional spring call.
You know, the before-dawn one.
That sounds like the main sensor/viewscreen on Star Trek TOS.
That the robin will continue to make until about the end of July, which is when his nestlings will be out on their own.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Fair Isle Knitting -- "Steeking"

Steeking, as I said, lets you create armholes but still continue knitting in the round.

You should have marked the start of the rows; this will be where you joined the threads and it will also be the start of the pattern, plus it will be directly above the tail of the yarn where you made the slip knot before casting on, and where you joined the caston stitches before starting the bottom ribbing.

You should also be able to find the middle of the round; it will be half the stitches away from the start of the round.

At the last round BEFORE you cast on the steeking, put a piece of spare yarn in a darning needle and run the needle through the last 5 stitches of the row.

THEN cast on steeking stitches following the pattern described below.

THEN run the needle through the first five stitches in the next round and tie a bow in the yarn to hold those stitches. 

IF you don’t do this step the armhole is going to be too tight.

THEN cast on steeking stitches; this finishes the left underarm. 

Work around to the other underarm and once again: use a yarn holder for the start of the underarm; cast on steeking; run the yarn holder through the rest of the underarm stitches; cast on steeking, and continue around for 70 rows.

The pattern for casting on steeking follows:
1.   Background color
2.  Contrast color
3.  Background color
4.  Contrast color
5.  Background color
6.  Contrast color.

The rest of the steeking on either side goes in reverse order.  That is, the two middle rows of the steeking are both in contrast color for that row.

For the rest of the jumper top, you will work the steeking in the same colors as that row.  In my jumper, I made the castons at a row with all background color.  The next round had the yellow sparkles, so that was the contrast color in the steeking.  The third row was all background again.  The fourth row used the darkest green for contrast.  Row 5 had sage for contrast; row 6 had peridot; row 7 had brown.  And so on until the shoulders.
I am republishing this post because I found a way around the fact that the image tool on the toolbar doesn't work.  This is what the steeking on my sleeveless pullover looks like.

You work 70 rows of armholes in this jumper pattern, sticking with the motif on the body and using the contrast color from each row in the steeking for that row.

Next week I’ll tell you how to work off the shoulders.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved