Sunday, July 31, 2005


Never try to shop at a new grocery on a Saturday afternoon.

We decided to do the full week shop at a place where heretofor we have only picked up the occasional jar of (Orville Redenbacker) popcorn.

Saturday's there are a zoo!

Will (maybe) return on a mid week late morning jaunt. But not any time soon!

Friday, July 29, 2005

Cat People

Sparky and Penny had a joint appointment with"ted" (the evil doctor) this afternoon. Since I was carting them on my own, it took a lot of pre-planning, with me finally harnessing Penny (the little peanut) and putting Sparky (the moose) into the carrier. Needless to say, this was not a good plan, just the plan I chose to follow. Sparky sang along with Pete Seeger the whole way to the vet! On the way home, I jammed them both into the carrier. Crowding be damned! And do you know, neither one made a peep the whole way home! (Note: these are the same cats that will not occupy the same 200 square foot room at the same time!)

Regular readers may surmise that we are cat people in this house. Now, don't get me wrong, we don't hate dogs (or "chick magnets" as the younger members of the family call them) we just prefer cats.

So you'll understand why, when I got to the vets' office with "the girls" today, I was less than thrilled to see the waiting room filled with dogs. Big dogs and little dogs and a couple of puppies that will be the size of ponies by Christmas. Lotsa dogs. Not another cat in sight. Which really is beside the point. We weren't there to socialize.

We had a new vet. Not our regular, or even one of the others that we see from time to time. But he was incredibly thorough and very patient.

It would seem (at least in his opinion, and in the absence of anything to indicate any other cause, and lord knows, he checked enough things!) that both of the cats are suffering from the same problem: food sensitivity.

Sparky's belly licking and fur chewing, the dogs next door, and a change of diet (to a diet cat food) all occured at exactly the same time! :hello!:

Penny has always had a delicate stomach, probably the result of poor kitten nutrition and being semi-feral for 18 months before she was rescued. Her advancing age (Hey! She's the same age in cat years as I am, no, nevermind!) only exacerbated the problem and led to the trip to ted.

So Penny got new food (do not ask how much it costs!) and Sparky's back to her old food (which is a heck of a lot cheaper than the stuff we were buying for her). I guess it balances out.

Everyone's happily back home and I am here to report that Miss Penny ate all her dinner.

I've started another odd ball project. It doesn't look like much right now, but just wait!


Thursday, July 28, 2005

Chicken Run 2

As promised!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Chicken Run

Warning: Little Knit Content Today.

We have chickens at the food bank. Rhode Island Reds, to be exact. We had a dozen (12 chickens X 1 egg each per day = 7 dozen eggs a week), but one of them became "egg bound" (don't ask) and died. (Actually, the kids from Juvenile Probation who take care of them get the eggs. Win-win in my book!)

These are working girls. They are part of a state-wide West Nile Virus project. As I understand it, the WNV carrier mosquito generally bites "avian species" (birds), transmitting the virus from one species to the next, crows being particularly vulnerable. Chickens have a natural immunity to WNV, so they are perfect test animals. Plus, they don't fly, so keeping them penned up isn't as much of an issue. At least not right now.

Once a week, someone comes from the health department to "bleed" the chickies (he pulls about a quarter teaspoon of blood from a vein in the armpit -- if chickens had arms -- of each one and sends it for testing). It needs to be done every week because of that immunity. The blood will titer for the virus if the chicken has been bitten within the last week or so, but not for much longer. The idea is to locate and localize breeding areas so that they can be destroyed (the breeding areas, not the chickens).

And now, I know more about chickens and WNV than I wanted to.

And here's what I can share: You can help fight WNV (which can be fatal in fragile humans) by not allowing standing water (breeding ground for the mosquitos that carry the virus) in your yard. Don't leave wading pools or tires or recycling bins or anything else that holds water to collect and hold water. Pools with circulating pumps are okay. Change the water in the bird bath at least every other day. Don't "forget" your ice cream dish on the patio. It can collect rain water and become a breeding place.

If I remember to take the camera to work, I will post chix pix tomorrow.

I'm making good progress on the Clauses

but I need to perfect (hell, just get it to look half-right) something called a "loop stitch" that has me baffled for the moment. (You want me to put that needle WHERE??)

So I did what any other normal person with chronic startitis does.

Yep, the snowpeople.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Dark Side of the Sun

It was just a little thing. About a year ago, I got the notion to try wire and bead knitting (jewelry, mostly) and bought all the supplies. Look around, folks, do you see pictures of marvelous beaded bracelets, knit from wire? Nope, didn't think so.

Then, a few months ago, I found some "buckets" of mixed beads at "the Tree" (Dollar Tree) in the next town over. They were bright and shiny and oh, so pretty. About 1/2 of the contents of each 1 pound bucket was plastic "pony" beads (those things we used at camp to make all sorts of crap that we brought home to adoring parental units. Note to self: dig out the pony bead crap and salvage the beads!). Actually, I gave the pony beads away, only because I have two huge bags of them in white and glow-in-the-dark :ahem: that I plan to knit into some acrylic mittens and caps. See 'em? Nah, not those either. But you will. Before winter. Promise.

By the time I was done at the Tree, at the Big Box Store, and at Spillaine's (the last remaining honest to gawd 5 & 10 that's close by), I had, once again, totally embarassed myself.


Can you say it with me? Sure you can: "ho, ho, ho, ho, ho, ho, ho"

But they sure are purty! And some of the glass ones are actually quite nice, too!

So, yesterday, what could I do but go to Big Box Store and buy some of these:

I am such a. . . But I'm gonna have a whole buncha stitch markers!

Lest you think that all I did last night was fondle beads:

'nother 9" block. If you'd like to make one yourself, find the graph here .


Sunday, July 24, 2005


There's been some discussion on one of my e-lists about LC's fall from the top as fastest crocheter in the world to this woman , which led to discussion about just how fast people knit.

UK Kandkitting has the low-down on speedy hand knitting and crocheting. Interesting reading!

This, of course, prompted me to time myself. Though I have been a "thrower" for the past 50 years (all attemps to do continental "picking" have ended in frustration), I still clock in at a respectable 35 stitches/minuute with worsted weight and size 7's. I am faster with wool and slower with acrylic (drag factor?). Once, back when I briefly knit for hire, I clocked myself at 40 yards (or yarn) per hour on plain stockinette.

Which leads to a discussion of "why knit fast?" When I need to finish a project in a hurry, I haul out the (recently packed away) Bond. You cannot beat a machine for producing yards and yards of plain ol' knit fabric. Even the hand manipulation required to Actually-Make-Something on the Bond is not as time consuming as knitting by hand. And there is a certain pleasure in turning out small, reasonably pretty garments:

fairly quickly. Indeed, on both of these, the hand finishing (seaming) took as long as the knitting (or very near).

Ship Support is one of those places that I send my hand- and machine knits (mostly the stockinette portion of the dorm boots--the cuffs and soles I do by hand). With the need growing exponentially, the machine comes in handy. (Note to self: time to haul it back out. Second note to self: finish the fair entries, then haul it out!)

I think that nearly everything I have ever made on the Bond was Big Box Store acrylic with the exception of some very plain alpaca blend scarves I made last Christmas (miles and miles of stockinette).

But for pure pleasure, nothing beats knitting by hand with precious fibers: really good wool (or even inexpensive wool in really good colors), Lopi (Icelandic wool), alpaca, silk. And watching a pattern develop (like the stocking I just finished) just isn't the same on the machine. And slow and steady wins the race.


Welcome new reader! I discovered not too long ago that I have (at least ) one non-knitting reader! (We've known each other since high school, lost touch. "Found" each other again as he's planning our [mumble, mumble] class reunion. ) Hi, WS!


And now a word from our sponsor:

This stuff is very very good!


Saturday, July 23, 2005

Lost Weekend

Sometimes I wish I still drank!

This past week (heck, the whole month) has been one enormous blur.

To start with, we work on a July-June fiscal year, so July 1, we started anew. Happy New Year to us! Take inventory (count all half-million or so pounds, why dontcha?), close the books, all in the middle of an early heat wave that threatened to wipe us all out.

Then, when you are done with that, secure bids on a half-dozen or more projects that really need to be completed, oh, about by April (last). Oh, and get three bids each for all of them. Damn!

Top it off with injuries (physical and emotional) at home and at work, throw in a wedding and two ill cats.

And, well. . .

Sparky's belly fur issue has not only not responded to increased anti-depressants, it seems to be getting worse. Do they make Valium in a kitty doseage? And Penny's chronic gastro-intestinal disturbance has worsened in the last couple of weeks.

So, it's off to the vet with both of them. Alone. In the car. Oh, my!

I mailed my fair entry this morning. Only a couple of the things I plan to enter are still in the planning stages, so I think I am way ahead of last year by at least a month.

I still need to weave in the ends on my sweater and sew on the buttons, finish the Clauses, create a pair of snow people, a child's cap, and two Christmas ornaments. Piece of cake!

This afternoon, the Other Half and I trotted off to the Big Box Store where one can find miscellaneous crafts supplies because I discovered that the ten pound box of fiberfill I bought, oh, 15 years ago, was all gone after the first Clause was stuffed. Ten pounds of fiberfill will stuff a lot of bears and rabbits and dolls, but sadly, just a few less than I hoped.

I grabbed up a 22 ounce bag, some yellow perle cotton (for a minor repair) and a pack of earring wires. I toyed briefly with spending many buckos on jewelry findings and plunging headlong into beaded stitch markering, but I restrained myself (Other Half, ya know?).

I couldn't leave without checking out the clearance table though and discovered a pile of these

for a mere $5 (marked down from $29.95!)

For that price, I brought it home without checking inside.

Okay, so there are always surprises, including things that will never be on my needles:

and others that I could pop right onto the needles (in a different color, of course):

and still others with some possibilities:

(Longer, lots longer, and lose the ruffles!)

So, back to work. Or nap?

Dinner, I think.


Thursday, July 21, 2005

Promise Her Anything

. . .but be sure to deliver!

Ta dah!

Thanks to Hockey Mom, Jaya, Joy and Diane! Funky toe is done. Stocking is done.

And after a 13.5 hour workday, I. am done, as well.

I will have much blog-fodder on the weekend. Promise!


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Year of the Quiet Sun

Happy blog-iversary to me!

Yep, a whole year of posts under my belt.

I need to thank the Renegades and Hockey Mom who all offered to come to my rescue. Diane bailed me out and the toe is nearly finished. You folks are the best!

I should get this thing finished before the weekend.

Film at 11. Promise!

IK is still MIA.


Look Who's Laughing

Not me! I cannot find my copy of Interweave Summer '02! I have torn apart the whole house (or at least everywhere I've been since Friday--the last time I can confirm I had it according to this blog). It's nowhere to be found!! And I am ready to start the toe decreases on my stocking :eep:


Personal to the Other Half: Happy birthday, Baby!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

In the Heat of the Night

It's hot. Or as Robin Williams said in Good Morning, Vietnam, "damned hot!"

I know that when winter rears its ugly head, I'll be wishing for the warmth, but right now, Not! It's 79 degrees andthe humidity is 89% with intermitent rain, thunder and lightning. Sparky is under the bed (she doesn't like the noise). More of the same is predicted for the rest of the week.

And in knitting news:

I've knitted all the Santa couple parts except their embellishments (her skirt and hat, his beard and hat) and should stuff them tonight. I'm thinking about using "beanies" in their butts so they will stay put where they're put. I'm not ignoring your comment, Leah. I'm nearly finished and kicking myself for not balling the doubles long before I got this far. I usually do that and often suggest it to other knitters.

I've made some progress on the stocking:

I especially like the heel. To me, it looks like a tile. If it were blue, I'd call it delft.

And on a knitting-related note, I made the mistake of expressing my opinion on crafters' terminology.

I saw hand made dishcloths and washcloths refered to as rags once too often. Sorry, folks, but the word "rag" evokes images of torn, tattered undershirts, not a hand crafted piece that I might give as a gift.

And while we're on that subject, I said, let's start using the term "handmade" rather than "homemade," which (again) to me tends to be somewhat derogatory when used to describe knitted goods.

Of course, I have my detractors. But I'm becoming very used to that.

The most recent comment was that "home" made implies that it comes form the heart. Shall we wait until the holidays to hear about how the "carefully crafted" gifts were not given their due by the recipients?


Friday, July 15, 2005

Two of a Kind

Painful. That's the best way to describe making these $%!*&^ Santas! Two strands of worsted weight acrylic on US 5's and I can barely finish a row! But I have finished one body and I'm s-l-o-w-l-y working my painful way through the second:

In theory, I could finish this weekend--in theory. The biggest issue facing me is that I am too cheap to buy 2 skeins of yarn for this double-stranding which means that I face

Yarn Barf

from stranding from both ends of the skein fairly often, which slows me down even more.

Looking at my list, I still need to make a pair of snowpeople, a Christmas ornament, and one more garment. Plus, of course, finish the Clauses, my sweater, and the stocking.

It's so hot that it's hard to imagine that Christmas will ever come, but it will. Way too soon. And the fair is just 6 weeks away :ack:


Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Acting On Impulse

I know I said I'm getting rid of ack-real-ick! I know I am phasing out anything that doesn't have at least some natural fiber. But today I stopped at the Second Chance Shoppe. (I am not making this name up! I'll have pictures eventually.) On impulse.

They were having a Bag Sale (all you can stuff in a grocery sack: $4!). I made a bee-line for the kids' clothes (for Cheyenne River) and found 18 brand new t-shirts! That was my bagful, though it wasn't even half full. I couldn't find any other clothing I wanted! But I also found several brand new stuffed animals, and a nearly finished baby blanket (with the needles still in it)

There wasn't any more yarn! and the white Pound Of Love (which it seemed to be) that I have is a different dyelot! The other thing is, the original knitter had real gauge issues. This is worsted weight. Four stitches to the inch. On size 11's (those are they in the foreground). Once I wrestled the stitches off the needle, I frogged several rows and added a border to match the cast on edge, using 10.5's and got a similar gauge. Normally, I'd use nothing larger than about an 8 (and preferably a 7) with yarn like this.

It's a small blankie. 125 stitches across and 3 skeins long. I unknotted the joins and wove the ends in. After a trip through the washer and dryer so it would lose the used stuff store smell, it's a pretty acceptable blanket to wrap an infant up.

I also found:

Lion sport weight (names I don't recognize) and what looks like Red Heart. Probably from the same knitter. Those balls are wound so tight they bounce! I'm rewinding them so that they can relax before I start knitting them into slippers.

I put aside the stocking for the evening so that I could get started on

from Jean Greenhowe's Knitted Toys . They are 12" tall and roughly rugby ball shaped, perfect for perching on a shelf or playing with. I expect that they will be virtually indestructable (2 strands worsted weight on size 5's). Bulletproof is more like it.

Back to the grind, then a 3-day weekend. Woo hoo!


Life or Something Like It

I'm talking vacation days, here! Wednesday and Friday. Yep, I know there's a workday in the middle. Shut up!

I plan to do a little gardening (as little as possible) and a little cleaning (once a month in that bathroom whether it needs it or not!) and a lot of knitting.

I've made progress on the stocking:

Yep, down to the heel, which is worked flat, then grafted. There's no gusset on this stocking that I can see. I will follow the pattern blindly. That should keep me out of trouble!

And ripped from the headlines:

Several months ago, 4 local men (including a soldier on leave from the Sandbox) were killed in an accident, late at night, by a drunk driver, who survived the crash. The community rallied. The driver is being prosecuted. Turns out that the driver who died may also have been drunk. And was driving without headlights. Not to excuse. But to explain.

City police officer dies while participating in SWAT training. Very little makes the papers. Grand jury is convened. Shortly before testimony starts, someone breaks into police files, going through the file on the dead officer. And now, the police union is suggesting that the city should pay for the dead officer's funeral.

I'm just sayin'


Saturday, July 09, 2005

Drugstore Cowboy

If you read my rant about formula, and if you were wondering why you can't stockpile OTC cold and allergy stuff in one trip to the pharmacy, read this.

The pharmacist is no longer allowed to care that all 6 members of your family are sick as dogs and need serious medication in large quantities. Nope, you can buy only in small amounts and make numerous trips, because someone, somewhere figured out how to "cook" meth from your Sudafed!

And though I shipped off my 9 9" squares to the person who will be joining them, I am hooked! I started 2 more. This one:

It's center out on size 8's (those are the old style Bryspuns) using Red Heart Supersaver. TheLilac is considerably thicker than the Bright Pink, which in turn, feels a whole bunch softer. Go figure. I can't decide if this colorway says "little girl" or "old lady."

The other one is just plain pink. And boring. It's a seed stitch edged stockinette. I planned to put a cabled heart in the center, but I mis-read the chart from here:

You see, I thought (silly me) that the bold lines in the graph delineated 10 stitches. Well, two of them do, but the third (reading left to right) is only 8 stitches wide.

Made sense to someone, I guess. I don't roll well with the punches when I am miles from home and have no other project with me and the Other Half has chosen a more, shall we say, "scenic" route to BJ's?

Let's just say that I don't travel through this part of the city by choice. Keeping my head down and tendin' to my knittin', I was, and in no mood to attempt to rechart anything on the fly!

I'll use the cable. It's a very pretty raised heart. It just won't be in this square! And I have lots of other charted hearts I'll be using in future squares.


Thursday, July 07, 2005

Milk Money

Have you noticed that infant formula is not available on the shelves of many supermarkets these days?

That's because it's among the most shoplifted items. It's small, it's portable, and it's very, very expensive!

Now, don't get all weepy on me here. We're probably not talking about poor mothers stealing to feed their bambinos. An awful lot of that stolen formula isn't getting into the tummies of hungry babies. Some of the powdered formula is resold, and some is used in the manufacture of street drugs!

Then, there's this old news article from

"LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS. Police arrested a man for allegedly using bogus electronic bar codes to buy expensive infant formula for a cut-rate price, and then, apparently, resold the the formula for a profit.

The suspect was caught by a store detective putting forged bar codes on cans of formula and paying a fraction of the original price at checkout.

A search of the man's truck turned up more than 1,000 cans of infant formula valued at more than $14,000, sales slips for formula from stores in Kentucky and Tennessee and a supply of bar code stickers. "

And this one about women "borrowing" infants to make it possible to smuggle drugs.


Ensure and turkeys (frozen edible birds) have street value as well. At least around here, they can be traded for cash.

Hmmm. Am I in the wrong line of work?


London Melody

It's been a rough day for the Brits. Notice that their fearless leader dropped what he was doing (more important than reading a picture book) and returned to the capital. 'nuff said.

I'm making some progress on the Christmas stocking. Could that be because I have no other WIPs currently on the needles?

Here's the cuff and the first repeat (mostly) of the leg:

The eyelet round is where the hem gets turned. I need 9.5 repeats of the leg pattern, then I can do a funky new heel.

I do believe that I will finish everything without having a massive full-court press the last week in August. Which is a good thing. There's a wedding that weekend!


Tuesday, July 05, 2005


Blogger has eaten a post! But not a work-in-progress, a completed and posted post. It was called "A Taste of Honey" and featured this:

A honeycomb mitten pair (my third of 7 in my personal challenge).

If you see it wandering around, please send it home!


Monday, July 04, 2005

Independence Day

Happy 4th to one and all! Do they have a 4th of July in the UK? Of course they do! And a 3rd and a 5th! D'oh!

Company has gone home, which is botha bad thing and a good thing. They arrived safely and are, no doubt, watching the fireworks on the Mall. We cannot watch the fireworks here, but we sure can hear them. Whatever happened to "cracking down?"

I made a bit of progress on the Christmas stocking:

The dark green on bright white is going to look a lot different than the soft sage on cream that the pattern calls for. I decided to leave off the Latvian braid, too. I was about 7 rows into the pattern (140 stitches) when I realized that I had forgotten it. If no one says anything, I'm pretty sure it won't be missed.


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