Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Nothing To Lose

And even less to write about!

Unless you count the UFO that surfaced this afternoon (a butter yellow scarf I started a couple months ago). The yarn is a wool/silk/cashmere blend. Yum.

I don't know how I missed this among all the other yummy stuff I have stowed away in my stash! I'm thinking that there isn't quite enough of the yarn for the original scarf (a test knit), so I'm thinking about maybe frogging that puppy and making it into something like these little scarf necklaces .

I am warning you, don't noodle around on that site or you might be tempted to pick up a pin or three (or 4 like I did--they're gifts, I swear!) Hide the card!

I think the amber one, top left will look good on this lovely stuff. Opinions? Yes, I already have the amber one, top left, why?

Yarn ho, pin ho. What's the difference? It's not like it's booze or drugs!

Then there's the sock yarn baby sweater:

First sleeve (it's knitted cuff to cuff) and the beginning of the body is done. I'm using little short (10") straight size 1s (because I can't find my circ 1s, dammitalltohell!) and the stitches just fit. It's a bear working with these teeny needles flat and straight. Worse would be long and straight, though.

Here's how it looks folded over (the way it will be worn). I'm not so sure about this yarn. I'm not getting anything but random splotches. Plugging along, though.

I'm starting to think that hat and socks (only) might have been a better idea.

This may well be on its way to the frog pond, too! Hmm, then I could try out my new Addi steel double points. Yeh, yeh, needle ho, too!

And here's the shawl/stole, about 5/8 of my yarn used up. It's 56" long. (I'm still shooting for at least 6'.)

So, it seems, I had a bit more to show and tell than I thought.

I can't write about work. There's nothing exciting or interesting to say. It has been so incredibly busy and exhausting that I can't think straight. I just want to weep, I am so tired.

I have a week of annual leave coming (in something like 9 days). I'm hoping that will give me a chance to regain my bearings and get me into the spirit of the season (Bah, Humbug!) and get some stuff finished.


Monday, November 28, 2005

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Not yet, but coming to a blog near you.

I do not like the "holidays." I do not see a reason to wait to buy socks and underwear for loved ones. If they need them in October, buy them then, don't save them for Christmas!

That said, the Older Kid and the Daughter-In-Law are planning a holiday bash at his Reserve Unit. She's runnin' the FRG (Family Readiness Group), the unit's support for soldiers and their families. They'll be having snacks and such this coming month while packing up the boxes of goodies to ship to the deployed folks.

I was really happy to take them to my favorite junque store (the Dollar Tree, in fact) to purchase party supplies (decorations, cups, plates, napkins) to "happy up" the garage-like room that serves as Party Central.

Best Black Friday shopping I ever did! Wallet and heart are both a lot lighter!

Is there a National Guard or Reserve Unit in your hometown? Call the FRG office and ask how you can help make the holidays brighter for the ones left behind. You'll be glad you did!


Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Pick-Up Artist

EZ promised I could do it! She said (in that very book): "Hold one colour in either hand. . .knit one colour in the way you are acustomed to knit, and the other colour in the way some other people knit." I like that description. I've tried to "pick" for the past couple of years because simply everyone has said that it's so much faster. BULL! When you've been throwing for 51 years, picking is not faster. Dammit! It slows you down.

But the two color throw-drop-pick-up-throw-drop-pick-up-throw-drop-pick-up-throw-drop-pick-up-throw-drop-pick-up-throw-drop-pick-up-throw-drop-pick-up-throw-drop sure was slowing me down, too, so I decided to give it one last shot. And there it was! It was happening! Caught on pixels for all to see! Me! Picking! Okay, so I'm still a little tight. . .

So, pickin' and throwin' and so on and on and look what started to develop right under my very own hands. Yep, another hat for the troops. I used my "basic", this time, casting on 84 stitches, because I know that the stranded stuff will pull in a little. And I skipped the ribbing and just let the cuff roll.

I used several of the graphed patterns in the Opinionated Knitter, one right after the other until I was at the height I wanted, then started the decreases at seven points this time. I'm keeping the integrity of the patterns and will have a warm "wooly" hat when I am done.

I used Bernat Ragg (discontinued, long-lamented) and Cervinia Sorrento. Both are 100% ack, which means that they are washable and dryable and can take a lot of abuse.

Friday, November 25, 2005

The Blue Angel

The new Daughter In Law was fondling the odd balls in my scrap bag and came up with the leftover LB Fun Fur (sapphire, why?) that remained from a project.

It's nasty stuff to work with, but I'll give her, it's soft. very soft. And actually a quite pretty color, that sapphire. Didn't have a whole lot left. The remains of 2 balls, probably one ball total. A scarf, perhaps. Or ear cozy.

So I grabbed my size 15 16" circs and cast on 40 stitches, double stranded. Did the join thing (It's very hard to tell if you've twisted the join with this stuff!) and proceeded to knit in the round until I ran completely out of furry. That got me about 6", so I switched to double strands of ack in navy (TLC if anyone cares), did another 3 or so inches, then decreased 8 EOR until I was down to 5 stitches, drew up, fastened off (Do you detect a theme?)

Here it is with the cuff down. I guess you could wear it this way, though it looks a bit strange.

And here it is with the cuff doubled. That's better!

By Jove, I think she likes it!


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

That Darn Cat

This evening, Sparky discovered the street vendor "pashmina" that the Other Half bought for me in New York. (No, I was not invited along on "Teacher Appreciation" trip to MOMA!) It was on the back of the futon, minding its own business.

First, there was the moment of polite contemplation.

Then, there was the sniff and taste.

Then, there were several "missed photo ops."

First the one in which she attacked the shawl with real gusto, kicking it "to death," followed immediately by the one in which she fell off the futon and onto the floor, bouncing only once.

She meant to do that! Really!

And now, I invite you to see what a difference color can make. Same pattern as before (okay, cast on 72 instead of 80), but the colors! Using hot pinque as the main color and throwing in navy, lavender, and apple green, it's a totally girly girl hat.

Maybe I'll make mittens to match!

Red Heart Supersaver yarn. Formerly available at Smiley's.


Monday, November 21, 2005

Talk Radio

I was on the radio this morning. (There are no pictures, stop looking.) It was nothing like Howard Stern. There were no half-naked wimmen (including me). The studio is the size of my bathroom There was an outspoken, problematic host*, but that was the only similarity. Talk radio. Gotta love it.

There were two calls (it's an "open mic" format). One had nothing to do with what we were discussing, which confirms my belief that most callers to talk radio are not listening to the program, they're just spouting off.

I spent an hour discussing the pressing need of the poor in our area. The host seemed shocked that we distribute 5 million pounds of food a year. To me that is such a small amount. Five million pounds divided by 50,000 people served each month. That's something like 8 pounds per person per month. Not even 3 days' meals! And the need is year-long, not just at the holidays.

Shameless plug: There are needy people right in your town. Support your local emergency pantry every single month with a donation of food, money, or your time. Or even all three! Thank you.

* The host is a local "character." I truly did not know what to expect! He has been an elected official in the past. He has his following. He has been known to attack perfectly wonderful people (mostly "L"s, granted, but I think I am the Queen of the Ls, or at least a serious contender).

I was pleasantly surprised to be 1) welcomed 2) not attacked 3) supported in my work. :whew:

But no one was listening except his mother.

Sunday, November 20, 2005


I amost always have a number of projects going at once and right now is no exception.

First up, the Feather and Fan stole/shawl. This one is done in a very pretty, pale lavender, very soft mohair-merino-nylon blend. I know I've shown it before, but I really am in love. It's so soft to touch and working up so nicely.

The pattern stitch is simple enough (plain knit or purl on 3 of 4 pattern rows) that it's my current TV/TiVo project.

I have 8 balls of this yummy stuff and at 39", I've used about 40% of it. I plan to make it long and then dress it w-i-d-e.

Also on the needles is an Irish Hiking Scarf . I started this one using a Tivoli yarn (Celtic Aran Superwash) that I bought in Ireland a couple years ago. My intention was to make it for the Other Half as the yarn is what's left from his Newsboy Cap. However. . .he has pronounced it "very scratchy" (it is) so I'm thinking that since The Kid didn't think it was all that scratchy, that I might just finish this one, give it to The Kid and make another in something softer for the Other Half. Or I'll be so bored with this pattern that there won't be another.

I did actually finish something, too. It's a beanie (#6 of 7) for the Rez. I used Bernat Ragg (don't go Googling, it's all gone from Smiley's ) for the main yarn and Cervinia Sorrento (which I like quite a lot for ack-ril-ack) and Red Heart TLC (the navy).

The pattern is my basic: Cast on a multiple of 4 stitches (in this case 80) using appropriate yarn and 16" circular needle (worsted weight and 7 respectively). Join, rib (1X1, 2X2, 3X1) for about an inch to 2 inches (or up to 6" if you want a turned back cuff), switch to stockinette (knit every round) until it's long enough (I go about 6"), throwing in stripes at will. Decrease at 8 points every other row until 8-10 stitches remain. Cut the yarn, thread through the remaining stitches, draw up, fasten off. Weave in all the ends.

I've cast on #7 in some leftover hot pink Red Heart. I'll stripe it in lavender.

And I have absolutely given up on finishing 2 more pairs of slippers. Fear not for cold toes, though. To make up for it, I bought some slipper socks to send with the hats.


Saturday, November 19, 2005

Never Say Goodbye

In anticipation of visitors this coming holiday weekend, I have started sorting through and clearing out the "guest room" (formerly Older Kid's bedroom, currently my room).

Because I took no picture in progress, you will have to believe me when I say it was a disaster! Think of the pictures you see after a car bombing. That will be close!

See this sweet empty corner? Prior to the sweep, there was a 3' (that's foot) pile of knitting-related paper in that corner. Now, nothing except my Pattern a Day calendars, my blood pressure montitor (can't spell the correct term) and my mouse puppet. The Other Half is taking bets on how long it stays this way.

Part of that pile was many many Internet pattern printouts that are now neatly organized into binders.
Left to right: "Wearable accessories," "Stuff that's not technically "wearable" (toys, afghans, seasonal decorative stuff), and "Sweaters, Shawls, and scarves."

I am hoping that this will prevent the multiplicity of printouts. I had about 6 different copies of several very popular (with me) patterns like Aunt Alm's Dorm Boots. (You'd think that as often as I've made them, I'd no longer need a pattern, and I don't, yet. . .)

I filled a "Lawn and Leaf" bag with extraneous paper.

And I have thrown in the towel on this pair of socks. I love the way the first one striped up. Then I couldn't duplicate it with the second one. I tried different size needles; I counted (and recounted) my cast on, thinking I had somehow screwed that up; I tried starting at the other end of the skein. Nothing worked.

I could live with similar I could not live with good lord, woman, were your eyes closed when you put your socks on?

I'm recycling the yarn into this . I have 3 skeins, so there should be enough to make the set. I think it's a much better use of this yarn.

I suspect that the other colorway (hunter/navy) will wind up the same way. We'll see. It's Elann Sock It To Me Colori, in case you are interested.

There was more but Blogger was being pissy about photos, so that will wait.

Friday, November 18, 2005

American Dream

Am I allowed to say I'm embarrassed to be an American?

Case in point: Congress votes to cut funding for programs to help poor folks be more self-sufficient (food stamps, student loans, health care for little kids, for the sake of the FSM!).

I mean, we already have a senseless war, brought on by questionable information that is now shrouded in defenseless attacks on its critics (some of whom have actually fought in a battle or three). And it's costing us billions every month it goes on.

And we have a questionable education policy that purports to "leave no child behind." Um, huh.

And we have an effort to undercut the structure of the social welfare system as we know it, dismantling all the "safety nets" that civilized nations have in place to protect their most fragile citizens (yeh, I'm still talking about old people and little kids)!

Then, while we're at it, let's offset the spending cuts by cutting the tax "burden" of the very richest of our population.

LBJ is spinning in his grave! His War of Poverty has become a war on the poor!

The American Dream is an American nightmare!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

You've Got Mail

I had yesterday to myself. I did not blog. I knit. And I answered the phone.

It seems that someone with a name similar to ours, who happened to live in the same (multi-unit) apartment building as The Kid during their mutual senior year of college, has had her mail forwarded here by mistake for, oh, 4+ years.

None of it was personal (except the one credit card that I returned to sender 1st class). It's all credit card offers (4-6 each week). Well, it would seem that the young woman has neglected to pay her bill since about July and got 3 (count 'em) dunning calls from 3 different banks!

Call me naive, but how on earth do you get a card, with this address and never get a bill at this address? Have I missed something? I understand the part about connecting an address with a phone number. It's called "reverse look-up." I use it all the time at work to match up the long distance bill with the person who made the call. But the address thing has me stumped. Are that many people paying their bills on-line these days?

Once I got off the phone, I had me some quality time with present projects and the shawl is now at 29". I think I'm losing ground, but it will definitely be finished in time for Christmas. Only 43" to go.

I need to start other projects: couple of cabled scarves, felted bag or so, some cat toys. I need to shop in my stash for some soft wooly stuff. Maybe the Patons Classic.


Sunday, November 13, 2005

Autumn Afternoon

I issued a challenge to my friends at Native American Support back in May. Make 7 warm items, all the same type, and mail them to the "Rez" before December 1. It gets cold early in South Dakota (and stays cold a good long time). Today, while it's a chilly 62 in eastern Pennsylvania, it's 37 in Eagle Butte, and heading down to 28 tonight.

I'm pleased to report that to date, we've shipped 303 warm hats and scarves and pairs of mittens, socks, and slippers, with several more either on the needles, or waiting for a trip to the post office.

I made my 7 pairs of mittens, (and 5 pairs of slippers and a hat) and mailed them off a couple of weeks ago. Then, a member of the group (the same one that designed the sideways mittens) posted a pattern for a sideways, short-rowed cap that's made with double strands of yarn and size 11s and works up really fast! I decided that it would be a good thing to make a couple more hats to sweeten the pot. I made one of her design, then started "messin' around" and came up with my own quick and easy:

This one (note obligatory bathroom mirror shot) is two strands of worsted weight acrylic Cast on 56 stitches, holding two strands together, join and work about 3" in garter stitch (k 1 round, p 1 round). Switch to stockinette (k every round) for about 6", then decrease at 8 points every other round until 7 stitches remain. Thread through, draw up, fasten off. Weave in any ends, turn the garter stitch section up as a cuff. Thick and warm.

Here are the three hats I accomplished this weekend. Left to right: "my" version, adult size, a plain old beanie with a hem instead of ribbing, bigger child size, the sideways garter stitch beanie, toddler size. All three are knit in basic machine wash and dry yarns. The colors aren't even close to "true." My pattern is knit up in hunter green and light denim, the one in the middle is gray and navy, the little one is the light denim.

I have a "use or lose" day off tomorrow and will probably spend most of it cleaning this dump. I'm hoping to get in some serious knitting, but we'll see. I also need to finish tabulating United Way stuff and do some serious (as in I-am-paid-to-do-this) writing done. But I can do it all in my jammies, if I choose to.

The shawl is now at 20" and I've used 1/4 of my yarn. It seems that my calculations in that Virginia Beach yarn shop last April were correct and I will have enough yarn to finish this gift. Might even have a tiny bit left over, but I'm not holding my breath!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Princess Diaries

Oh, Puleeze!

The Romantic Princess

You are absolutely in love with love! Charming,
romantic, and feminine are all words that
describe you. You are a huge flirt and know how
to use your feminine wiles to get your way. You
are always on the lookout for the guy who will
sweep you off your feet.

Role Models: Isolde, Juliet

You are most likely to: Free a cursed prince from a
terrible spell with a single kiss.

What Kind of Princess are You? - Beautiful Artwork (Original Music is BACK!!!)
brought to you by Quizilla

Thursday, November 10, 2005

After Hours

We had guests today. First a committee meeting, followed by a visit from our newly-elected state representative, followed by a delegation from a M.O.M.s group (which I think means "mothers of multiples," but maybe not, I was afraid to ask) and their very small children (4 under 4 and not a twin among them). It was a zoo!

So I came home and finished these:

to go with the little sweater that I finished a couple of days ago.

And I am at about 12" on the shawl (of 56) after 4 evenings of serious knitting. There are no pictures of that. Nothing to see. Move along.

Tomorrow, I give blood!


Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Above and Beyond

Rosemary is making these drop dead gorgeous shawl pins and selling them. You can see and order them here (click on the Cloisonne Collection, and then check out the first one. Yeh, that one!). Or you can squint really hard at this picture and sort of get the idea. Oh, hell, follow the link, then come back. We need to talk.

You may recognize the yarn in the photo. Or then again, perhaps you don't. It's the laceweight mohair blend I bought in April in Virginia Beach.

I swear on the FSM that I truly tried to work with this stuff single stranded. Really! I was making something gossamer enough to, you know, pull through a wedding ring. Hah! Hah! I say!

I should have known when the shop model was double-stranded! That should have been my first, second, and third clues! So, do you recognize the pattern? "Old Shale?" "Feather and Fan?" Call it whatever you want. It's that classic Shetland lace pattern. St. Serafina Knits (pattern available at ) calls it Victoria Lace (pattern # s-5) and says (here's a giggle) "yours in a matter of hours even if you've just learned to knit." Well, folks, I've been knitting for 50+ years (yes, I really am that old! A this gauge, those hours will turn into weeks! Two solid nights (at least 4 hours' knitting--actually, closer to 6, but that sounds decadent!) into it and I have completed 8" of 54.

Dragging out the calculator, I see that I have another 12 days to go if I can keep up this pace (and not do a whole lot of--or any--other knitting). So, I guess I'm in this for the long haul.


And I caught the cat. Licking the sheets. While sitting on my pillow. Yecch!


Monday, November 07, 2005

The Male Animal

The WIC Center at the reservation has requested "boy" colors (or neutral) instead of "girly" kinds of stuff because they can be worn by baby boys or baby girls. So, do ya think this is "boy" enough?

The main color is a sort of sage-y green. The contrast is hunter. Buttons are a sort of celery with a fleck of the sage. It'll fit to about 6 months. I have enough of the Pingofrance left in these two colors to make little booties to match and perhaps a hat, too.

Today was the Day-From-Hell that followed a sleepless night. I am ready to drop over, but knowing that my body typically wakes after 6 hours' sleep, I am forcing myself to stay awake. Time to watch the TiVo. West Wing anyone?


Sunday, November 06, 2005

Through a Glass, Darkly

Warning, Rant(s) Ahead

These are some random comments to augment the wedding story I told last week. (No, I didn't get the film developed yet. Why?)

Acolytes/altar servers are an accepted part of most Christian religious services (they may well be in non-Christian services as well, but I have no experience to rave about that).

At weddings, the acolytes are often a family member who is too distant, too young, or too something to be a groomsman or bridesmaid, and too old to bear the rings or girl the flowers. Acolytes are the ones who light the candles long before the wedding party's entrance, then go sit somewhere in the general area of the front-of-the-church where they can observe the comings of the congregation.

Acolytes should be reminded of the following things:

You are not sitting behind a 2-way mirror. All those people that you can see can also see you!

Gum should be chewed discretely or (preferrably) not at all. Blowing bubbles is out of the question.

Female acolytes should keep their knees together, even if they are wearing a cassock or alb. Leg crossing is probably not a good idea for male or female acolytes.

Acolytes wearing slip-on shoes should not slip them off.

If it's not too much trouble, run a comb or brush through your hair!

And please (this is the really big one), don't pick your nose!

Speaking of 2-way mirrors and nose pickers (we were, weren't we?) people driving in their cars should also be aware that we on the outside can see what's on the inside. Please, oh, please, don't pick and drive!

That is all. For now.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Alive and Kicking

On the 5th day of my Z-pack and I will live! I feel so much better than I did on Tuesday when I started these meds! And day 5 means they are all gone, so I am officially cured.

Now I begin my search for the elusive flu shot! :sigh:

I haven't done a keep-me-honest-beginning-of-the-month WIP update and as luck would have it, except for the pick-up bits and pieces (caps and slippers, the odd mitten, afghan squares), I have only three serious projects on the needles at the moment:

1) a top down baby cardigan in some of that Pingofrance II (sport weight acrylic /wool blend)that I am trying to use up. This one is a sort of sage green that I swear looked like a light "country" blue in artificial light. Pattern here .

2) a lace shawl in a pale lavender Crystal Palace Kid Merino. I started this last night using Fiber Trends'Charlotte's Easy Lace Shawl, not to be mistaken with Charlotte's Web. This is the wrong pattern for this very yummy yarn. Back to the drawing board (and/or Gathering of Lace).

3) a use-the-damned-stuff-up baby blanket adapted from Knitter's No. 45 (Winter 1996), the Nordic to Aran issue. I am double-stranding ABM Fluffy (acrylic/Lincoln wool) in lemon and white. Yes, the balls really are that big (250 g./630 meters). I don't know what possessed me to buy this stuff in the first place. (Oh, come on, be serious! It was the price and the color!) The yellow is very yellow, but the white tones it down nicely. I have 5 balls of this stuff all together (2 white, 3 yellow) so I'll probably make a little sweater, cap and booties set to go with the blankie.

Today, I'll be putting some caps in the mail for Ship Support. All are made with basic "big box" acrylic yarns (in this case, Bernat Ragg and Cervinia Sorrento that came from Smiley's . ) They'll join the bedsocks from the tutorial I did last month (anyone else finish theirs??) and the star hat.

It's time to join the weekly battle at the grocery store. And the weekly battle with the bathroom crud and dust. I do so love the weekends.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Deer Hunter

Well, I did it! I sewed on the buttons that may well be "temporary" until I can find the pewter ones that would be perfect, or these (shed antler slices) coulld well be the permanent buttons for this sweater. If it's cool tomorrow, I might just wear my new sweater to work! (Of course it will be cool at 6 a.m. I'm thinking "at noon" when I will have to venture out.

I believe I need to learn to be patient. Blogger was slow on the upload earlier, so I 'bout gave up on having pictures. But finally, it cooperated.

I especially like the way the natural shadings of the buttons look with the creamy Icelandic wool. They are asymmetrical (being cut from actual deer antlers) and no two are the same (being cut from actual deer antlers). The sweater really needs a good wash and block to get rid of the washboard in the yoke, but that may have to wait until I've worn it.

Sparky luvs this yarn. I may wind up using the leftovers to make her a new cat mat (or maybe even felt her a cat bed). I think if I combine what's left (little bit of white, full ball plus of the light blue, full ball of the navy) with something stashy, I'll have enough.

The audit is complete and we passed with flying colors. I believe the exact words were, "there are no issues on non-compliance." Don't you just love the glowing praise?? Actually, there are 3 "scores," "compliant," "non-compliant," and "shut down with the doors locked." So I guess we "done good."

The Zithromax is working its magic. I might actually live!

And now you are caught up on my life, such as it is.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


I am fighting my way through a drug-induced fog. Finally saw my doctor about this incredible on-going sinus headache and, yes, ineedie do, it really is a sinus infection, sports fans.

So now I am on day 2 of Zithromax! Feeling a bit better already.

And in 2.5 hours, "Chicago" arrives! We are due for our every-two-years inspection by the Big Guy. Who is new this year and hopefully knows the difference between "kudos" and "kadooze."

I figure he'll either be trying to be the good guy (unlikely) or trying to make his mark (very likely).

And what's that old sayingabout "the devil you know?"

I am on the absolute home stretch with the Lopi cardigan. Once I bind off the neck and sew on the buttons, I can block it. I would like to use steam rather than than wash and wait (It's big and heavy), but it's mostly off-white, so I think a wash may be needed. We shall see.

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