Cryptology

If you reveal your secrets to the wind,
you should not blame the wind for
revealing them to the trees.
Kahlil Gibran

When my sister and I were little, we tried to teach ourselves hand signs for the alphabet with an eye toward secretly communicating with each other. She can still remember a couple of words. Later, I taught myself Braille but never mastered the ability to read the characters by touch. Still later I studied the Cherokee syllabary with fascination. Symbols substitute for each of the syllables in the Cherokee language. I’ve extended my interest in codes and cyphers to my current reading list. Here are three books that I’ve enjoyed the most. (Note: I actually listen to these as audio books since I am a knitter and I listen while I knit.)

The Zimmerman Telegram

The Zimmerman TelegramBy Barbara W. Tuchman
I’ve read and listened to this book several times. It amazes me and it’s author is one of my favorites. Here is an excerpt from the publisher’s summary:

In the dark winter of 1917, as World War I was deadlocked, Britain knew that Europe could be saved only if the United States joined the war. But President Wilson remained unshakable in his neutrality. Then, with a single stroke, the tool to propel America into the war came into a quiet British office. One of countless messages intercepted by the crack team of British decoders, the Zimmermann telegram was a top-secret message from Berlin inviting Mexico to join Japan in an invasion of the United States. Mexico would recover her lost American territories while keeping the U.S. occupied on her side of the Atlantic.

How Britain managed to inform America of Germany’s plan without revealing that the German codes had been broken makes for an incredible, true story of espionage, intrigue, and international politics, as only Barbara W. Tuchman could tell it.

The Woman Who Smashed Codes

The Woman Who Smashed CodesBy Jason Fagone
The subtitle is A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine who Outwitted America’s Enemies. The woman at the center of the story grew up close to where I live—she was a farm girl who went to college when most women didn’t. Her story is charming and amazing. The Zimmerman telegram is mentioned in this story. The publisher’s summary states:

In 1912, at the height of World War I, brilliant Shakespeare expert Elizebeth Smith went to work for an eccentric tycoon on his estate outside Chicago. The tycoon had close ties to the US government, and he soon asked Elizebeth to apply her language skills to an exciting new venture: code breaking. There she met the man who would become her husband, groundbreaking cryptologist William Friedman. Though she and Friedman are in many ways the Adam and Eve of the NSA, Elizebeth’s story, incredibly, has never been told.

In The Woman Who Smashed Codes, Jason Fagone chronicles the life of this extraordinary woman, who played an integral role in our nation’s history for 40 years. After World War I, Smith used her talents to catch gangsters and smugglers during Prohibition, then accepted a covert mission to discover and expose Nazi spy rings that were spreading like wildfire across South America, advancing ever closer to the United States. As World War II raged, Elizabeth fought a highly classified battle of wits against Hitler’s Reich, cracking multiple versions of the Enigma machine used by German spies. Meanwhile, inside an army vault in Washington, William worked furiously to break Purple, the Japanese version of Enigma – and eventually succeeded, at a terrible cost to his personal life.

Code Girls

Code GirlsBy Liza Mundy
The subtitle is The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II. This book mentions both William and Elizabeth Friedman. Of interest to me was the discussion of the Navy WAVES who helped construct the bombes (machines used to decrypt messages) at National Cash Register Company in Dayton, Ohio. Also, since my aunt was a Navy WAVE cartographer during World War II in Washington DC and I was a Navy nurse 20 years later,  I was fascinated by the personal descriptions of life and working conditions. The publisher’s summary adds:

Recruited by the US Army and Navy from small towns and elite colleges, more than 10,000 women served as codebreakers during World War II. While their brothers and boyfriends took up arms, these women moved to Washington and learned the meticulous work of codebreaking. Their efforts shortened the war, saved countless lives, and gave them access to careers previously denied to them. A strict vow of secrecy nearly erased their efforts from history; now, through dazzling research and interviews with surviving code girls, best-selling author Liza Mundy brings to life this riveting and vital story of American courage, service, and scientific accomplishment.

Next, I plan to read Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures.

Three Pines

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Three Pines is a state of mind.
When we choose tolerance over hate,
kindness over cruelty,
goodness over bullying,
when we choose to be hopeful not cynical,
then we live in Three Pines.

[Louise Penny]

Louise Penny, a mystery writer from Québec, Canada, is one of my favorite authors. Three Pines is the imaginary village that is home to many of the characters in her enthralling stories.

As the unofficial Christmas stocking knitter in my extended family, an honor I inherited from my mama, I usually knit colorful designs. I’ve long dreamed of doing one in a cream color with the pattern in texture stitches instead of color. Here it is. This is my tribute to Louise Penny, her books, and her imaginary village.

The pattern [DOWNLOAD PDF HERE] includes written directions for shaping and charts for the texture design.

Gauge: 8 Rows/inch (2.5 cm) and 6 Stitches/inch (2.5 cm). The sock can be enlarged or reduces in size by selecting heavier or lighter weight yarn and needles.

Yarn: Aran or cream colored worsted weight such as Brown Sheep Nature Spun or Cascade 220, 100 grams.

Needles: Double-pointed sock set or short circular in a size to render the gauge—about US #4 (3.5 mm) or #5 (3.75 mm).

Select these links for further information about Louise Penny and her books.
Louise Penny Website 
Gamache Book Series 
Brome Lake Books 

atimetoknit.com

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Knit on with confidence and hope
through all crises.
[Elizabeth Zimmermann]

kmm_shetland

I’ve activated my new website: atimetoknit.com. One of the many good things about publishing online is that a Website is endlessly expandable. Currently, the site only offers free patterns, premium patterns and my two books, but I have plans.

More Premium Patterns

I have a list of seventy three designs that are in varying stages of development. My main challenge in getting these ready to sell is doing the math. In order to offer sweater patterns in at least three sizes, I need to calculate.

The patterns that excite me the most are my Great Lakes Chill Chaser Collection. These patterns will be my focus for the rest of the year. The premium patterns are currently sold through Ravelry.com. Although it is a membership site, non-members can access the pattern store. These are also sold through participating yarn shops.

Classes, Workshops and Seminars

I’ve taught a number of classes and workshops over the years. This is an activity that brings me as much joy as knitting. A number of the seventy three patterns I mentioned were developed to enable knitters to hone skills. I plan to add a section to the Website that will describe each class I offer with photos of the class projects.

Technique Videos

It has long been a dream of mine to offer simple videos that show how to execute various knitting techniques. I want the videos to be clear, concise and easy to replay.

Links

Starting this month, I’ll compile a list of my favorite knitting links.

Those plans should keep me out of trouble for awhile. Of course, I’ll have to take knitting breaks. For some folks, comfort congers up a vision of favorite food or an easy chair. For me, I maintain my mental health with a set of knitting needles and a lovely ball of fiber. It also helps that I have no TV or cell phone.

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Photographer, Jim Miller

Photographer, Jim Miller

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master, grant that
I may not so much seek to be consoled
as to console;

to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
[The prayer of St.Francis]

November 1

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To be interested in the changing seasons
is a happier state of mind than to be
hopelessly in love with spring.

[George Santayana]

Autumn in Fort Wayne

I wage a constant battle with my attitude about autumn and winter. This year, I might be winning. Of course, starting November in northern Indiana with 76 degree temperatures helps. I remember 10 inches of snow on this date in 1966.

I’ve been busy working on my new Website and have decided it is like cleaning house. The more that I do, the more that I see that needs to be done. I especially am attending to broken links. I’ll have a grand opening soon.

Meanwhile I had the first cataract surgery. I’m scheduled for the second next week. This is a blessing. I already see so much better and can tell what color changes I need to make in my work.

Did I mention I invested in a snow blower? It is peculiar what excites some folks, isn’t it?

Dew Catcher

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It is one of those summer days when everything perspires
including my brow and my glass of iced tea.
There’s even dew on the roses.

Dew Catcher

This is a fun porch-sitting project and a useful way to use up leftover sock yarn. Enjoy.

Abbreviation Key:

k: knit
kb: knit in back of stitch
sl: slip as to purl
ytf: yarn to front
ytb: yarn to back

Supplies:

U.S. Size 2 needle and sock-weight yarn.

Instructions:

Cast on 36 sts. (Using a waste-yarn cast on will make closing the seam easier when finished.)

  1. **Knit across. [odd numbers are right-side rows]
  2. K 8, ytf, sl 1, ytb, k26, ytf, sl 1.
  3. Kb, k34.
  4. Ytf, sl 1, ytb, k6, ytf, sl 1, ytb, k26, ytf, sl 1.
  5. Kb, k33.
  6. Ytf, sl 1, ytb, k5, ytf, sl 1, ytb, k26, ytf, sl 1.
  7. Kb, k32.
  8. Ytf, sl 1, ytb, k4, ytf, sl 1, ytb, k26, ytf, sl 1.
  9. Kb, k31.
  10. Ytf, sl 1, ytb, k3, ytf, sl 1, ytb, k26, ytf, sl 1.
  11. Kb, k30.
  12. Ytf, sl 1, ytb, k2, ytf, sl 1, ytb, k26, ytf, sl 1.
  13. Kb, k29.
  14. Ytf, sl 1, ytb, k1, ytf, sl 1, ytb, k26, ytf, sl 1.
  15. Kb, k28.
  16. Ytf, sl 2, ytb, k26, ytf, sl 1.**

Work from ** to ** a total of 8 times.

Join seam between first and last rows. If you used a waste-yarn cast on, remove the waste yarn while putting the live stitches on another needle. Join either using a three-needle bind off, or kitchner stitch.

(designed by Katherine Misegades, A Time to Knit Publications, LLC)

Thank you, Mr. President

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[Two hundred forty years ago], our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all [people] are created equal.
Abraham Lincoln (edited in brackets)

Dear Mr. President,

Thank you for serving us these eight years. Thank you for maintaining your dignity and thereby our national dignity in the face of severe conflict, for exercising restraint, for forging ahead against the odds, and for setting the highest example of American citizenship. You are a man of true courage. On this Independence Day, folks like you make me proud to be an American.

With Gratitude,
Katherine

Reading, Writing and Arithmetic

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Emotional truths can sometimes
be conveyed more effectively,
more compellingly, through fiction.
[Diana Ossana]

Journey to MunichI’m a reader. I read volumes of non-fiction—history and wars in which the United States has participated. But mostly, I read fiction. Mysteries are my favorite.

Jacqueline Winspear, one of my favorite authors, developed a character, Maisie Dobbs, who weathers hardships and tragedies by using life events as learning experiences. For me, the books about Maisie are examples of how truth can be effectively represented in fiction. It is like the difference between illustration and photography. Scientific illustrators tell us that illustration can often represent a specimen more accurately than a photo would.

Ms Winspear’s website includes the following about her most recent Maisie Dobbs novel (which I thoroughly enjoyed):

Journey to Munich
12th Maisie Dobbs Novel

Traveling into the heart of Nazi Germany, Maisie encounters unexpected dangers—and finds herself questioning whether it’s time to return to the work she loved. But the Secret Service may have other ideas.

VestsI am a writer. I mainly do technical writing and have been working on my knitting pattern collections. The image at the left shows six of more than a dozen vest patterns I am working on. The one on the dress form is the latest and was knit using silk and marino yarn that my daughter spun. I am also immersed in producing patterns for a textured knitting collection that I call Great Lakes Chill Chasers.

The greatest challenge for me in writing patterns is assuring accuracy. I have over seventy designs for which I could produce patterns, but assuring accuracy slows me down … which brings me to my last point.

Calculator I am not so good with arithmetic. There is a lot of calculating involved in writing patterns in different sizes. The best helper I’ve found is a calculator app for my iPad.

MyScript© Calculator is magic for sure. It was free! How does Vision Objects© do that? Also it works well and is fun to use. Write numerals and function symbols (+, -, =, etc.) with a finger on a touchscreen and then watch your writing change into real equations with the correct answer. It even charmed my five-year old grandson. When I used it in a knitting class to help people figure their stitches and rows from their gauge, it was fast and accurate. Some students even downloaded the app for their smart phones during class.

Love Renews

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The spiritual meaning of love is measured by what it can do.
Love is meant to heal.
Love is meant to renew.
Love is meant to bring us closer to God.

[Author Unknown]

Easter 2016
I celebrate the gift of Easter. Other folks celebrate different days of commemoration. I celebrate each person’s right to celebrate what ever renews the spirit in love.

Each day enriches my life and yesterday was especially enriching. My daughter sent me a box of delightful gifts among which was the skein of yarn in the photo. She spun the yarn using a blend of marino wool and silk. It is delicious and is like a magnet to my hands and a pair of knitting needles. The bouquet in the watering can was a gift from my sister, also one of a cluster of gifts from her. My heart is full of gratitude. My spirit is renewed.

Civility

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All the great things are simple,
and many can be expressed in a single word:
freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.
[Winston Churchill]

I try to avoid controversial topics on my blog, but I feel compelled to digress for this post. I study a lot of history and have noticed that people do not behave any better nor any worse now than they ever did. All nations have blots of bad behavior on their historical record. Also, there seem to be very few incisive thinkers in this world—many folks run their mouths without engaging their brains.

In the USA, we have been besieged by political campaigns for too many months. Very little of what has been said is accurate, true, or useful. Most of it has been a smoke screen to cover the fact that these politicians have no idea how to address the real problems in this country or the world. The whole experience has been generally ugly, abusive and useless. Some have behaved in such a horrid manner that I am appalled anyone would support them.

There are many primary elections across our country today. I ask my fellow citizens to remember their responsibility to support and serve our constitution to the end that all people can know freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope. I ask for civility.

Civility means a great deal more than just being nice to one another. It is complex and encompasses learning how to connect successfully and live well with others, developing thoughtfulness, and fostering effective self-expression and communication. Civility includes courtesy, politeness, mutual respect, fairness, good manners, as well as a matter of good health.– Pier Massimo Forni, Civility Project at Johns Hopkins University