Saturday, February 24, 2007

Spring Tornado Frenzy

As promised, here is the progress on the Kimono Shawl, progress shot and detail. Yes, it does look like boiled ass. Thank you for noticing. This is the nature of lace before blocking. I'm through 14 repeats, and I think the pattern is for twenty-two, ending with 8 rows of garter stitch. I'm working from a copy of the chart, and I don't have the book handy, so I could be wrong. If that is the correct count I'm nearly half done, but I don't think I am that far through my yarn. If Creatures of the Reef is anything to go by, I get a little better mileage than the pattern would suggest, but a single completed lace project does not indicate a great amount of expertise on the matter. I can't tell from the size before blocking. It's from Folk Shawls, chosen for its beauty (which is not visible at this stage) its relative simplicity (it's a 23 row repeat, but the chart is only 10 stitches wide, which makes it tolerable TV knitting), and its lack of knitted-on edging. Next year there will be a shawl with a knitted-on border, but I'm not up to that yet. What I had hoped to learn from this project is how to memorize a lace pattern repeat, and how to read my place in the pattern. So far I have not memorized the pattern, but I only need to glance at the chart once at the start of the row to know how to proceed on and that's working well. I can tell now which row I am on by looking at it. The other thing I have learned is a little bit of how to fix a lace disaster. There is a catastrophic error in one motif on the fifth repeat which took me about an hour and a half to get under control. The fix is not perfect, but I can live with it and I don't think it will be noticeable to anyone who does not know where to look.
Tornado Season has started here - not on the ground, but on the news. Here in Oklahoma city we are blessed with a National Weather Service facility, and some of the best radar and prediction services in the country. Our weather radar is state of the art, and every local TV station is well equipped with competent meteorologists, storm chasers, and every kind of predicative software known to man. We live in Tornado Alley, and severe weather is a simple fact of life. In season everyone automatically notes the weather with an eye to how likely storms will be. Everyone knows the patterns to watch - humidity, quick heat up, tall clouds, still air, wall cloud, wind, thunderstorm, green sky, big hail, still air - HIDE! We have a lot of confidence in our TV meteorologists, and rightly so. The interesting nature of our weather, access to the best equipment, and general admiration of the populace (haha) make for a lot of competition for these positions. We get the best in the country. Very few lives are lost to tornadoes in this area because in addition to being pretty universally prepared, we get excellent warnings. That said, our meteorologists have been driving us mad all week. Because the predictive software has become pretty reliable, the guys have all known that we had a good chance of severe weather this weekend. Yes, we want to know this. BUT - A little while ago there was a nighttime tornado in Florida that had a terrible loss of life. The area that was hit had no tornado siren system, and everyone was sleeping. The first warning they had was that they were flying through the air or their roof was leaving. It was just awful. We had a tornado system go through a few years ago on May 3rd 1999 that produced F5 storms that killed 40 people and destroyed more than 8,000 structures in the Oklahoma City area. This loss of life was actually quite low considering the damage (click on the link, there are many unbelievable pictures) because we had almost 30 minutes warning all along the path of the storm. We also got to hear Gary England say "Oh Shit" on TV, that's when we knew we were in bad trouble! This week, based on the likelihood of storms this weekend we have been bombarded with news stories and "teasers" aimed at terrifying us into staying under our beds with a weather radio stuck to our heads. This is not totally unrealistic - we are anticipating 50 mph winds in the panhandle this afternoon and are very likely to have damaging storms. But - there has been a lot of coverage of the Florida tornadoes and suggesting that anyone who does not have a weather radio is likely to be blown away in their sleep in Oklahoma City. 1) the area most likely to have any kind of storms is on the eastern side of the state - not us. 2) we almost never get tornadoes at night in this state. They are very common in the southeast, including Florida, but our weather systems seldom produce them. Our tornadoes nearly always hit between 5:30 and 9:00 pm. This is a very consistent pattern, and there are specific scientific reasons why this is so. 3) while we do get a lot of tornadoes, most of them are small and while if it hits YOUR house it's awful, the aggregate amount of damage and injury is very small. A tornado went through Edmond Oklahoma at 7:00 pm in 1986 that completely destroyed (literally nothing left but the slab and the plumbing stubouts) about 40 houses and the only injury requiring medical attention was a sprained ankle from searching trough the debris in the dark. I want to be warned and properly prepared, but I do not want be bombarded with useless fear mongering. This is a pattern in all news reporting these days, and I am SICK OF IT. Rant over.
WAACO potluck tonight, cheese shopping this afternoon, and I'm off to the kitchen to produce a ravishing, fattening tiramisu. I'll post pics tomorrow.

No comments: