Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Cat Chaser

Well, it finally happened to me! Blogger ate my post.

And it was at least deserving of a Pulitzer!

I whined about my rough first day back after a long weekend and everything! I cannot recreate the pathos. It was a perfect whine for a nice, full-bodied cheese and cracker (make mine Carr's) accompaniment.

Actually, I did my first seriously physical work in a long time today (5 hours of sorting canned goods, lifting and bending), made the mistake of sitting at my desk for a couple of hours afterwards. Then, I couldn't move!

Heat and ibuprofen later and I am almost human! I am getting too old for this! (Or I need to do it more often.)

But the big story is that I am still creating masterpieces with donated squares and blocks. I will admit that I was very nearly stumped by the ones I tackled yesterday. Big and pretty, but only three in number. And none of the other blocks that I tried seemed to click.

So I got out that gawdawful pinque Bernat Breeze and created rectangles of thick stockinette stitch that I pieced together with these three great blocks:

I'm picking up a garter stitch border to control the curl. I think about 3" on each side should do it.

It wil make some tiny person on Cheyenne River a nice warm blankie.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Rain or Shine

We're back again! Did you miss me?

We went to Washington (DC, not State) for Thanksgiving and to meet the soon-to-be in-laws. Yes, the bigger kid is, though they are saying it isn't official yet. What could make it more official? They decided, they're planning. Kids!

It rained the whole way down. But the weather turned nice and we had a grand time.

The big kid turned 27 on Thanksgiving. Hard to imagine, isn't it? His SO (soon to be wife) cooked a wonderful non-turkey meal of Cuban pork and all the traditional accompaniments. It was delicious!

I worked a lot on (BBB big, brown and boring) in the car and while talking with the other 'rents. They are very nice, by the way. I just hope they don't think I'm too rude!

We saw the houses that the kids are hoping to buy (one of). Housing prices in Arlington are outrageous, but wages are a lot higher, so I guess it balances.

Here's the progress on the younger kid's Christmas sweater:

Almost ready for the ribbing. Or a rolled hem. Must look on gap.com and decide.

I look around me at the mess in this room. Oh, come on, be honest, the whole house is a wreck! I really should be doing something other than knitting or blogging!

So I started by boxing up all the treasures I've been accumulating for the reservation.

I'll take them to the post office in the morning. The other half is running the vacuum right now. As soon as he's finished in the kitchen, I'll attack the floor in there. That will help a little. Then the kitchen counter and the pile-o-bills.

I don't think I'll be knitting anytime soon!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


With a little more than a month to go before Christmas, it is clearly time to step into high gear! There are lots of little things I'd like to make: hats, mittens, cell phone covers (no, wait! just because you can doesn't mean that you should!)

Fortunately, the two biggest items on my to-do list (the two lopi sweaters) are finished and ready to wrap (as soon as I find the care labels I need to sew inside). I'm guessing that the kids will spend Christmas with her parents since they were with us in 2003, but nothing has been said out loud yet. In any event, they are finished and can be lovingly wrapped for under the tree or mailed. I'm thinking that their "couples gift" will be gift cards. Bed, Bath and Beyond, or Home Depot. There's always something for everyone at those two stores!

I'm making some progress on big-and-boring:

I have about 3 more rounds before I divide for sleeves. Then it's autopilot to the bottom ribbing, pick up the sleeves, finish the neck. Wash. Block.

My stash whispers in the night. But so do several on-line purveyors of fine (and cheap, let's be honest) yarn.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Warm December

I've been stocking up on all sorts of goodies for the elders at Cheyenne River. This is the time of year that the group (Native American Suport) tries to put a special emphasis on treating the "old folks" (those that use the Elderly Nutrition Services) to something special.

I've purchased lots of warm scarves, socks, and gloves, added in some sugar free candy and sweetener (diabetes runs rampant at Cheyenne River and on many reservations), and some hand cream and lip balm.

I've also started putting together the squares I've had for moths, into warm and cheerful afghans and laprobes.

One batch really had me stumped, though. The squares were big and colorful, and all the same pattern, but they were obviously made up of leftovers (not a bad thing) colors didn't quite coordinate. Black didn't look right as an edge. Ya know?

Then I found this "aubergine" (eggplant) yarn in my stash. Perfect!

I think that the borders tie the whole thing together:

It's about 38" square right now. A nice border will make it about 40" square. Okay for shoulders or lap.

Sunday, November 21, 2004


I have been moaning for months about edging and joining these squares-I-collected to make afghans for the Cheyenne River elders. Winter is upon us [hello!] and they are needed now not sometime next year. (My excuse all summer was that it was 90 degrees at night. No need for a warm laprobe then.)

Well, time's up for lord's sake. Time to get cracking.

Problem is, though I know how to crochet, i really don't enjoy doing it. I find it tedious and time consuming for me mostly due to lack of practice, I'm sure. Note: this is not me throwing down the gauntlet. I am not interested in speeding up my crochet, because in addition to not enjoying the process, I find it painful as I have arthritic fingers.

So, I was very pleased with the weekend's breakthrough:

Yep, picked up along the edge with my trusty Addi Turbo and am knitting the damned borders!

And though I know it actually takes longer to knit 6 rounds than it does to double crochet 1, when I am knitting, I am on autopilot. I can read, or surf the web or watch TV and still knit. If I crochet, 100% of my attention must be on the yarn and my fingers.

And as a result, yesterday, I managed to edge 6.5 (of 9) of the squares that will go into this laprobe. See?

I still need to figure out how to make 9 squares big enough, but I'm thinking that a "log cabin" type border will fill the bill nicely. I have some more yarn that will coordinate with the edging yarn. I'll use that.

Movie note: We watched the Stepford Wives last night. Funny! And absolutely no knitting was shown. Stepford wives apparently do not knit. But they do bake. And clean. I don't want to be a Stepford wife.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Nothing But the Best

for my "baby." (Yeh, he's nearly 26, but. . .)

I've had some nice stuff (several kinds of nice stuff) put aside to make a sweater for the younger kid. It finally dawned on my that he meant it when he said "no" to stripes, Icelandic, cables, and all manner of embellishments. If he's going to wear the sweater I make, it damned well better be what he wants. To hell with what I want to make! I can make that sweater for myself!

So, I spent considerable time this evening going through my considerable pattern stash, and concluded that this sweater (Neckdown Pullover for Men from Knitting Pure & Simple) in this yarn (Brown Sheep Naturespun in Stone, a medium gray-brown worsted weight wool) was the way to go.

I cast on and got this far:

It has everything the kid could want, it's plain, the color is neutral, it's plain, it's a crewneck pullover with long sleeves, and it will bore his mother to tears. Perfect on all counts!

And here are the last couple of pictures from our trip:

Kylemore Abbey, built by humans150 years ago. (Yep, the public parts are open to the public--wouldn't you know, one of our unruly traveling companions managed to get into the "private" areas!)


the Cliffs of Moher, built by nature, rising 700 feet above the Atlantic Ocean. (Nope. You are not allowed to get close. It scares me to think how close we were 20-something years ago, before they built the fence!)

Two diverse but equally spectacular views of a beautiful vacation spot!

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

The Quiet Man

(As if there were such)

More pictures from the trip.

Many years ago (1952 to be exact), John Wayne made a movie (The Quiet Man, duh) in the village of Cong. Maureen O'Hara was his co-star (she still lives a bit down the road). THe other half likes to watch that one. I can take it or leave it, except fort he scenery. (I'm not a fan of "the Duke.")

Yeh, that's us. Aren't we a handsome couple. I am wearing my ancient lopi sweater (one of the first I ever made. Still have a couple odd-ball leftovers from that one. Price was $2.20 a BIG ball!) The other half is wearing a textured sweater made of Ballybrae that I made several years ago as well. When in Rome (or Ireland), wear wool!

Anyway, we saw a replic of the house from the film:

and the bridge from which Himself took the tumble:

On a knitterly note, I frogged the slipper in progress. The shape was just too strange.

But here's a parting shot of the 12 Bens:

Friday, November 12, 2004

When Tomorrow Comes

I'll start a new project or three.

I have at least 2 sweaters that I'd like to finish before Christmas (that aren't even started yet--hell, one of them, I still need to pick a pattern for).

I have yarn in mind for both, an oatmeal Gjestal Naturgarn1 with some jewel tone accents for the other half to make a sort of textured, drop shoulder pullover, and Berella Country Garden DK in Anchor Grey for the still-in-the-planning-stage one for younger son. And it would be way cool if I could at least start one of the sweaters I have in mind for myself. . .the lopi cardigan? the side-to-side cardigan? the wallaby variation that I sketched at a sweater shop in Ireland? But those will come. Lord knows, the yarn ain't goin' nowhere!

In a fit of {chortle} selflessness, I realized that it's below freezing in Eagle Butte. The elders need slippers and the babies need socks and booties, so once again, I shopped my stash and found some suitable yarn (it's Al-Pa-Ka from Lion Brand--now discontinued and largely unavailable). And I discovered that there are some decent slipper patterns here:

and that the yarn I have on hand is probably just enough to make one pair of each of these:

And to make my readers oh so green with envy (in keeping with the Irish theme, of course), I leave you with a picture of where-we-wish-we-came-from:

Bunratty Castle


the Golden Vale of County Kerry (as viewed through a bus window at about 50 mph).

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Back Home

I was gone for 5 days. Did you miss me?

We left from JFK on Friday, arriving in Shannon Airport on Saturday before the dawn had cracked! Twenty-nine hardy souls met up with Bernie (Bernadette to her family) and Tom and started off on an adventure that would take us from the rocky Burren of the poor west to the prosperous Golden Vale in the center of the country, along the Cliffs of Moher 700 feet above the Atlantic, and finally to Blarney Castle and Waterford. Except for the incredibly hard beds (and I thought only the Japaneses used blocks of wood for pillows), the teens sowing their wild oats (drinking age is 18 in Ireland!), the woman who kept watching me knit and wondered aloud why I wasn't using something "glitzier," the cranky poet laureate (I didn't know people still wrote odes to the tune of Jingle Bells!).

Oh, hell, we had a good time! And we'll have stories to share for months!

I bought a new sheep. It was hard deciding. And some very greasy, very sheepy yarn from Kerry Woolen Mill (1200g of medium Jacob, a natural brown):

Yes, he's wearing plaid pants and a tee shirt. That's my new yarn he's standing on.

Here's what it looks like in the west of Ireland, the area that's called the Burren. It's solid rock folks!

And here's a very overcast shot from Kerry, the more prosporous area to the south of the Burren:

And a final shot, I spent today getting over jet-lag and finishing the lopi:

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Night of the Following Day

I was going to post before we left, but Blogger was having fits, so I abandoned the blogging in favor of packing. More important than the "big" suitcase, is the carry-on. One must carry snacks in case the airline food is inedible. I forgot snacks for the flight over. Did not forget for the flight home! One carries water because, despite the airlines' admonishions against dehydration, water (and soft drinks, tea and all other beverages) is doled out with an eyedropper (to aleviate strain on the potties, no doubt)! One carries something to read, and one (if one is me) carries her knitting.

The other half teaches at a post secondary "career school" where they offer a travel and tourism curriculum. Each fall, the head of that program leads an "opportunity" to somewhere wonderful. We went in 2002 and again this year to Ireland for a "long weekend."

Had a good time, though not a grand one. (Long story involving unruly teens, cranky old people, hard, narrow beds, harder pillows.)

15 hours on the planes and way more hours than I want to calculate on the bus allowed me to produce:

5 hats and a pair of bedsocks (all for Ship Support) plus two more bear sweaters (pictures later, as promised earlier).

I did a little work on the green baby sweater, but the Irish are a bit more strict about metal needles on planes than the Americans, so it rode home in my checked bag.

The very long flight back to JFK was delayed, then there was a head wind, then we circled Long Island for a while. I ran out of reading material, then yarn, then water. Fortunately we landed before I ran out of chocolate, or it might have gotten ugly!

Happy to be home. More pictures and commentary later today.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The Day After

No, really. Is it over?

A comment I saw: Don't know whether to get drunk, pack for Canada, or put my head in the oven.

Three strikes: Don't drink. Leaving for Ireland Friday. Have an electric stove.

Off tomorrow. To do laundry, change beds, pack, knit.

Will post pictures then.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004


It's all over but the counting. Except in precincts where there was still a 4 hour wait to vote when the polls closed! Yes, really. In parts of Pennsylvania (and probably other states). Population growth and inept planning added to the nightmare this election season has become.

And even though it's way past my bedtime, I promised to stay up "until Peter Jennings calls Florida for Al Gore. Then I'll go to bed."

No, wait. That was last time!

The good news is, I got a lot of crafting done. Finished a granny square afghan. (Remind me again why I am joining these squares. . .)

And even though each round takes 15 minutes, I made some progress on the lopi:

Wide expanses of gray stockinette stitch are nearly as boring to knit as they are to look at!

Oh, and I worked on another bear sweater.

Productive night! Now let's see some election results!

Monday, November 01, 2004

Dawn of the Dead

First workday without daylight savings time. I staggered in to work this morning only to be accosted by a truck driver who should-not-be-on-the-road! He complained bitterly about "the bush" that marks the edge of our ditch (the one people used to drive in to all the time before we let that sucker get big enough for them to see and avoid).

Then he complained about having to move his already parked rig into a different bay door, saying that backing up is a problem. Hey, there's a woman who drives for one of our donors that has no trouble backing her 53' trailer into the same amount of space. And she doesn't destroy the garden in the process! Moron!

I have made significant progress on the lopi (the gray one). The sleeves are joined to the body and (after much weeping and gnashing of teeth) the yoke is established.

It's an XL, so there are 240 stitches in one round right now. Big sweater! Hot on the lap!

I'm closing in on the finish of one of the laprobes (the one I showed you last week--or was it the week before?) and will have pictures soon.

No bears were clothed last night.

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