Monday, January 31, 2005


For those of you who are following this soap opera that is my life.

Yes, I am going.

My older son is driving 4 hours after work to be there. The other half is getting someone to cover his classes.

Younger son also.

We will be represented.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Looking For Love

We bailed out of our long weekend a day early. Wintery weather was threatening, and indeed, Washington is still digging, er, chipping, out after ice storms from the south blew through Saturday night and into Sunday. The I-95 corridor got hit hard, and of course, that would have been our route!

Erma Bombeck called it "pulling a Cinncinati," referring to the time she and her family bailed out of the world's worst motel in the middle of the night. Sometimes you cut your losses!

I got in some prime knitting over the weekend. Booties for the baby:

and a sweater for the bear:

They'll be going in the mail this week.

I finished another alien repeat (second of 6) and made nice progress on a scarf I started for the trip, but neither makes a particularly complling picture, so I didn't bother.

The week is shaping up to be pretty awful. Press conference, taping for a video, a funeral, and blood drive. Woo hoo! Week from hell!

Friday, January 28, 2005

Younger Generation

I am officially no longer part of same. The last member of the older generation, my aunt, my mother's younger sister, died yesterday.

An era has ended, I guess, and I'm not quite sure how I feel about it.

My mother died when I was 13. I was raised by this aunt and her husband from that point until I entered college at 18, or until I got married at 21, depending on your point of view.

It was not a happy time. Which probably explains a lot about why I am the way I am.

And I think the less said in a semi-public forum, the better. Suffice it to say, Toxic Parents was extremely helpful in getting me past this part of my life.

The funeral is Tuesday. I don't know if I will attend.

There's no knitting content to speak of. We are heading out of town for the weekend. I'm taking lots of yarn and many small projects including:

the secret stuff
the alien scarf
another scarf
a Pingouin bootie

Should be enough to keep me out of trouble!

There's half a chance that there will be some yarn crawl time!

Thursday, January 27, 2005


I'm working on a bunch of mind-numbing boring stuff, and some top-secret giftie stuff, so there are no pictures of knitting this morning.

Today is the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. I admit to a long-time ongoing interest in the Holcaust, fueled at least in part by a 4th grade teacher who read a book called Twenty and Ten to our class. I admit that I spent weeks, no, months, no, years reading everything that was in the library on that era. Many of the books I read would not be considered "suitable for children" these days, but my mother was an enlightened woman. And a reader. She did not censor my reading. Thank heaven!

So this morning on the way to work, I was moved to tears to hear Debra Fisher tell her father, Oscar's, story. The audio will be available after 10 a.m. ET. Listen. And reflect.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005


Remember the kid that didn't want the sweater??

He got me this for Christmas, and though it's not a book I would have bought for myself (I looked at it and put it back, in fact), something in the title "spoke" to him. You don't suppose the title reminded him of his mother, do you?

That's what made me decide that a striped scarf ala Debbie Stoller

might be just the thing to make for him!

Especially since it has a little secret:

He likes it! Mikey likes it!

Monday, January 24, 2005

Noises Off

It's very cold here (-1). The plumbing is making funny noises. I don't know which would be worse: no water or no sewer.

I don't even want to consider the possibilities!

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Snow Day

Did I mention that winter has finally set in on the East Coast? I thought I did. Well, it has! Sixteen degrees and blowy here in Northeastern Pennsylvania (NE PA as we locals call it). A "severe alert" is in effect until 8 p.m. tonight and the wind chill is estimated at something like minus 15. Damn, that's cold!

We got snow, though it's hard to say exactly how much. The blowing wind has moved this light fluffy stuff into piles in places, leaving bare spots in others.

The other half is running the snow blower on the driveway, but the walk and the porch will need at least a glancing blow from the shoveler (that would be me) or the newspaper will be out on the street tomorrow morning. Our carrier's footprints from this morning's delivery left the beginning of a path. I suspect she'll be less thrilled with snow in her boots tomorrow morning!

Looking out the front door :

And the back:

Some of us are snugger than others:

Sparky's been hot to go out for 2 days, but her sweater was MIA and the wind chill was in the minus digits, so, no go! Last night, I found her sweater. She waited patiently while I put it on her this morning (no, she doesn't hiss and scratch), stood by the door until I opened it, put 3 paws into the snow and scooted right back inside. Smart cat! If she had a tail, it would be cold enough to freeze it off!

This is the kind of weather that just screams for barley soup in the crockpot. Unfortunately, the crockpot has met with an untimely premature death.

The younger kid plays in a darts league. It was his turn to bring dinner and he did, sloppy Joe in the crockpot. I warned him to transport carefully. I said, "if you drop it, at least wait until after you've eaten." So he did. Wait. Dropped the lid in the driveway, getting out of the car. After darts. After dinner.

It was old. It was on life-support. Leaving it on "high" for any length of time was putting dinner at risk. My mother in law gave it to us before the kids (27 and nearly 26) were born. It served us well. I've already ordered a replacement. With a timer. Programmable.

On a knitting note, I finished another easy toddler sweater on the Bond. This one is a light blue. I am not bothering with a picture. Just scroll to the cranberry one and think "sky" instead of "red wine."

Saturday, January 22, 2005

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

It's finished!

The green cabled baby sweater is all done. And it's really lovely if I do say so myself! And here it is, modeled by Walter (as in "My Uncle Walter goes waltzing with bears. . ." which was the younger kid's favorite song and the inspriration for his best bear's name). Walter could use a trip through the washer, but he was just the right size to wear the sweater.

You can't see them in this picture, but the sleeves have a cunning horizontal cable panel between the ribbing and the seed stitch.

It's snowing here. Has been most of the day. Sparky has been whining all day to go out, but damn, it's cold and I couldn't find her sweater. Brainstorm: Where do we keep everybody's winter coats?? There it was! And tomorrow she can put it on and play in the snow. Film at 11.

Friday, January 21, 2005


(and side)

A quick post with pictures of the newsboy cap, finished.

The crown and brim (visor) are strategically tacked. It's on its way to a test drive.

We shall see!

In the meantime, I ordered more yarn (KnitPicks new stuff) to make another. And another.

That's the Andean Silk Twist (alpaca, silk, merino) in Dapper on the left and Wool of the Andes (100% wool) in Snickerdoodle on the right. I dunno. What seemed like a good deal. . .Well, these are awfully small skeins. The proof will be in the knitting, I guess. And the prices were excellent.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Avalanche Express

Winter has finally arrived in Pennsylvania!

I left the office this morning at 8 to overcast skies. Ninety minutes later I was at my destination and powdery snow was starting to fall. At 3, I left to come home. Four and a half hours later (you do the math) I arrived!

Multiple tractor trailer accidents littered both sides of the highway the whole way home. SUVs were ditched in ditches. Crashes everywhere.

I am safe, warm and secure.

Did I mention that winter is not in my top three favorite seasons?

Monday, January 17, 2005

Good To Go

I had today off, so I spent a little (very little) time cleaning and a lot of time knitting. Finished both fronts on the green baby sweater (no picture, don't bother looking).

I have a few pairs of adorable baby/toddler sweat pants that I wanted to match up with some tops. I have more than a few skeins of yarn that I have earmarked for baby/toddler sweaters, hats, mittens, booties, blankies. So with no one around to hear me swear (should it come to that), I dipped into the "charity" stash and came up with a couple skeins of TLC in Claret (Cranberry for you non-winos, Friends of Bill W, and all-around teetotalers).

A couple of hours (and several bad words) later, I had:

It's a size 2 and will go nicely with:

The claret is an exact match to the bellies of the yellow dragons. Don't you just love those dragons??

It's a dry run for an easy fitting pullover for moi!

Tomorrow is a back to work day. Meetings all week, and the opening of a new emergency pantry. I need to get some sleep!

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Any Given Sunday

I decided to bite the bullet (so to speak) and work somewhat non-stop on the green baby UFO sweater. It's a sweet pattern (icky yarn, though) and moving very quickly now that I am finished with the back and working on the left front panel (29 stitches wide).

I really like this pattern and have given fleeting thought to upsizing it to my size. Of course, I think it's the gauge I like (baby weight yarn), as much as the pattern (4-stitch cables twisted every 6 rows, and panels of moss stitch). Upsize that gauge, and it's just another sweater.

Right from the get-go, I was concerned about a strange bump in the back. Right above the ribbing and before the patterning, there's a weird reverse stockinette row that looks a bit funky. When I got to the front, I found out why. There's a mistake in the pattern. Be aware that the directions for the back are missing a critical "knit 1 row" sentence between the twisted ribbing a the "begin cable pattern." Yep, there it is in the directions for the front. There it is not in the directions for the back. I checked!

Applying the galloping horse test, I think I can get away with this. I certainly am not ripping out the entire back to correct this error!

I wish the colors were truer. It's definitely kelly green. Not some watered down version.

Tomorrow is Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday (observed). The agency is closed. So we lift our glass to MLK in thanks for the lessons he taught and the day to recover from inventory.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Count Your Blessings

January is inventory month (in more ways than one). Thursday and Friday, we took inventory. My right hand will spend most of Tuesday reconciling and adjusting. Thursday, I report to the board.

Having temps work with us has advantages and disadvantages. It gives us a chance to try them out and them a chance to try us on for size. It also means (usually) that we don't do an interview ahead of time. A lot of the time, we get good workers (and we have hired several in the past year). Other times, we get a clunker. We've had a couple clunkers recently, and as a result, there wll be many inventory adjustments.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005


. . .and back and sides.

I guess four times was the charm, because I'm off to a decent start on the newsboy cap, and I'm already getting that "is it finished yet?" query every 10 minutes or so. So, I took a picture of the hat with the blue waste yarn in the background:

and he said, "hey, that's my hat!" so I slipped it onto a longer circ and let him try it on. (There is no picture.) He pronounced it a perfect fit and commented that he can't remember being this excited about one of my knitting projects in a l-o-n-g time!

Well! Half a dozen dynamite sweaters, socks up the wazoo, scarves to die for be damned-- all of them!

I am on the hunt for a good wool ragg yarn to make the next one (this being only a prototype).

I leave you with a picture of the cat alien:

Scary, huh?

Monday, January 10, 2005


The other half had a great winter cap that I bought him several years ago from Lands' End. It was knit in a water repellant ragg wool (cream and gray, if I remember correctly). He loved it. Then lost it. I've been looking for a replacement ever since.

A few days ago, I followed a promising link to a pattern for a similar cap. I have started the newsboy cap three (or is it 4?) times since yesterday, using some Tivoli Celtic Aran yarn that I bought it Ireland a couple of years ago. It's become a challege I will overcome.

First time out, I underestimated the stitch gauge (4 stitches to the inch, not 5), then there was the issue with getting the hem applied correctly. Then I decided that the hem wasn't deep enough. Thank the lord that wool yarn is forgiving!

There are no pictures for obvious reasons. The yarn is lying in a puddle. I will cast on again tonight.

Yesterday we (okay, the other half) ran the vacuum cleaner. In the process, he rounded up a bunch of the usual suspects:

Looks like a Mouse-acre!

Think she has too many toys? You don't know the half of it!

What's scary is waking up to find them in a neat little column advancing on the bed. We live in a very Stephen King-esque house!

Thursday, January 06, 2005


I took the patterning from one of the sweater patterns from here:

to create another hat:

For those of you with the calendar, it's the March 4 entry, a kid's sweater. I like the fair isle patterning and am using up the odd bits of several colors of Cervinia Sorrento. So far there's (from the ribbing) light gray heather, charcoal, denim heather, charcoal, black, and burgundy. I'll do another repeat with denim, then finish the crown with the light gray.

I have sworn that I will start "something bigger" before I cast on any more little things, but the mindless part of these hats (the ribbing) is perfect for knitting while on the exercise bike. Thirty minutes a day! Oh, my!

I think my "something bigger" might be the other half's lopi. He's requested a drop shoulder rather than the traditional yoke (and I have a pattern and the yarn). Yep. that's what I'll start. Or a sweater for me. . .

Or another hat.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

The Cable Guy

Finished the swatch hat that leads into Elizabeth Zimmermann's hand-to-hand sweater (and I'm still not sure whether I'll make the sweater).

Here it is:

It's actually a sof shade of denim blue, not the gray that it appears. Sized for a pre-teen, I think.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

The Challenge

Take a lovely yarn just perfect for making slippers:

70% wool, 30% acrylic, 2.75 st/in on size 11 (US)/8mm needles. Fast, thick, cozy, and machine washable!

Socks and slippers need to be tightly knit (for wear), so I started on size 9's. Big mistake! Broke out the 11's (like knitting on broomsticks!

Size 7 in the foreground for contrast.

Zipping along on my trusty Clover 16" circular and Bry-flex (the US made ones that are sort of, but not exactly, like the NZ Bryspuns that are no longer made). Finish the foot, start the cuff. Try garter stitch (to match the sole). Too loose. Rip back. Try a 2X2 rib (as recommeded in the pattern). Nope. Still too loose.


Yep, switch to thinner yarn, smaller needles. That's Cervinia Sorrento in a complementary color, but any worsted/Aran weight on size 10's would have worked just as well.

For the record, with this very fat yarn (Four Seasons Susanna), I used the smallest size cast on in the Aunt Alm's dorm boots pattern, but with needles (11's) suitable for the weight of the yarn. The finished boot will be 11.5" from toe to heel.

Now to make another.

Oh, and the knitting of the pair on yesterday's blog is finished. I just need to sew them up.

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