Saturday, March 31, 2007

Spring Clean?

I love my Brittany double points.

But the little cardboard cards that they came on weren't doing their job any longer, so out they went. The needles were having a party at the bottom of the basket. Only a few of the shyer ones stayed in their little slots.

(Do you know how hard it is to toss something like that in the trash and then walk away?)


But lookie here.

I finally put the key rings to good use. All of my Brittanies are together in sets and I can actually find all four (or five) when I need them for a project.

I even treated myself to a new basket (at the Tree--I'm the last of the big spenders). Not that one! The new one is blue.

And speaking of projects, here are the March for April mailing slippers I am working on for Ship Support.

And yes, slippers and hats (especially the happy colors) are needed even in the summer for troops aboard ship and injured troops being med-evac's to hospitals for treatment. *

I'm using a modified (slightly, strictly for gauge) version of Aunt Alm's Dorm Boots andthe last of the Bouclé yarn (Jelly Beans and Lime Blue). It's two pairs, not one of each to the pair.

They are cuddly soft and warm. The colors are bright and cheerful. They should comfort a couple of men (or women).

*Special need right now is for "cool ties." My sewing skills are limited and my machine is 30+ years old. I leave the tie-making to people with more up-to-date equipment (and more skill).

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Not Just For Socks

The Baby Sweater Made From Sock Yarn is finished.

It's the 5-hour sweater, somewhat modified. I used the pattern from Cottage Creations' More Projects for the Community and Family.

Three strands of sock yarn (fingering weight) on size 10.5 (US) needles make a warm and cuddly baby sweater.

I wound up putting the buttons on the girl side and using these cute little flower-looking blue ones from the stash.

There wasn't much yarn left.

Yep. That's all. About a yard of each of the strands.

What I like about sock yarn for baby stuff:

1) it's wool; don't start about allergies, please

2) it's warm

3) it comes in lots of great colors

4) it's machine washable and dryer safe

What's not to like?

I think I'll use the other ball of Socka (light denim, remember?) to make a little pair of socks to go with the little sweater.

Or maybe I'll combine it with another color and do an encore of the 5-hour.

Penny Watch: She's looking a little wobbly and sluggish tonight. And she's been jonesing for more food since she finished her dinner (and Sparky's) earlier.

So I fed her again.

As long as it stays down, what can it hurt?

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I Ought To Be

Walking, Working on Taxes, Doing Something Productive. And I will. Later. But first, I got me one of these:

If I can figure out how, I'll be updating it regularly. 150 miles by the end of April. That's 9,000 steps (average) per day and it means I need to do less SOMA and more walking.

I am taking a Personal Day today (we get one a year) and using it to babysit the cat and clean the kitchen and do a little little knitting.

I have some Brown Sheep Wildfoote (sock yarn) that I have dyed up (right in the photo) and in this case, overdyed, because the initial color was just Three Shades of Mud and Yuck, with Blue Raspberry Kool-aid. (Is all that punctuation in the right places?)

It was going to be a pair of Jaywalkers but I thought I'd like them better in a different yarn.


I wanted to use this yarn in a baby sweater. (Because sock wool is perfect for baby things, that's why!) It still looks a bit dull to me so I thought that this yummy Stahl Socka in a washed denim color would brighten it up a bit.

I triple stranded (2 of Wildfoote, one of Socka) with my ball winder and got a reasonable substitute for worsted weight, which, coincidentally, is the exact yarn type called for in my favorite quick baby pattern.

So I cast on:

a little 5-hour sweater.

With a variation.

Instead of the k 2 tog row and the k1 m1 row that follows it, I am just knitting across on both rows which gives a little garter ridge that's much more visible in person than it is in this photo.

I'll probably finish the cuffs and the hem with a few garter ridges and I have some blue buttons that will work nicely.

Babies are popping out all over around here!

I sure do love my ball winder!

Kitty Update

I am taking my personal day/floating holiday to care for the ailing kitty.

Penny made it through the night, though she had a bit of an accident and her cozy mat is in the wash right now.

Last night before I went to bed, she managed to scramble onto the futon (always swathed in plastic because of "other Cat" issues). I tucked her in there.

This morning, she was ravenous (not unusual--she's the one who wakes me at 5 to be fed each morning). I hand fed her a little, dribbled water into her mouth, then went into the bathroom. When I came out, we played "where's Penny?"

She had dragged herself into the kitchen (maybe 30'?) and was drinking from the water dish.

I am hoping that we have turned a corner. But I'm not holding my breath.

I figured that since she was looking so much better, I'd attempt to get her Prednisone into her. What a lot of fight there is in that sick kitty! I had forgotten the fun of "pilling the cat" since Sparky is so used to pills that she sits obediently and takes them.

I've swapped out her regular litter box (the Rubbermaid bin with the high sides) for a regular litter pan (I'll vacuum up the mess later).

I've remade her bed with her pink blankie and towels (and the plastic).

Plans for the day: knit, watch Penny.

Monday, March 26, 2007

An F'ing O

I finished the bouclé blankie. It came in at 40" square and joyful as the colors are, it brings very little joy.

It's been a very rough day at Casa Sheepie. We had an emergency vet run this afternoon with the tortie (Penny) and she's in sorry shape.

The vet doesn't know. He gave her a big dose of steroids and sent her home with pills she'll start in the morning, but dudes, it's looking bleak.

He's not sure if it's inner ear or a spinal injury, or a stroke. She's leaning to the right and not getting around too well on her own.

Keep a good thought, okay?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

There Are No Pictures

Today (and yesterday, truth be told) I knitted my fingers to the nubs!

I have 2 very-nearly-finished projects and I'm not showing them until they are done. So there!

Today, the weather finally cooperated here in eastern Pennsylvania. I went out into the front yard to survey plow damage to our sloping beds of mountain pinks. (It's bad, but not irreversible.) One trunk of one of our clump birches didn't survive. It's going to have to come down when we can get Mike Mack The Tree Guy here. There are a couple more big evergreens that need his attention, too.

I picked up and whacked up a bunch of birch branches (say that fast 6 times!) and have them ready for garbage pick up. The snow drops and crocuses are up and blooming. The daffodils look like they might have survived the wacky winter weather, but we won't know for sure for another couple weeks.

The magnolia is another story. As in springs past, it was all ready to burst into bloom when the sleet/snowstorm of last weekend arrived. We've been here since 1989. I think we've had about 3 full blooms with this tree.

Back to work tomorrow. One staff member returning. This is a good thing, I hope.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Decision Is Made

I am a half-day behind on my weekend. Instead of going to the grocery store after work last night, I spoke at Shabbat at a local Reform synagogue.

The service was so relaxing (I couldn't follow or understand the Hebrew part--about half--so I just let it wash over me). They were very receptive to the message. About half of the congregation was Lutheran teens, working toward confirmation. I got there a few minutes early and was able to listen to a member of the congregation describe the symbols around the foyer and point out the similarities in the two faiths.

This was interesting to me, because I once (for many years) taught the junior high school level CCD (Sunday school which was actually held on Saturday for three very long hours once a month) class in our parish.

The green part of the Tomten is finished.

I'll start the i-cord trim tomorrow, sew up the sleeve seams, sew on the buttons, block it, and call it finished.

And speaking of blocking, I see a noticible difference n the Pinguoin sweaters that are washed and blocked and the ones that aren't! And this is a blend of wool and acrylic.

It does matter.

And then, here's the decision the title refers to. I started a mohair shawl.

Don't be disappointed if you voted for the vibrant colorway! I'll still be making it, just not first.

I decided that the judges at the fair are more likely to appreciate the softer shades, so I started with this one and will use it as 1) my "shawl-poncho-collar-scarf" entry, and 2) a Christmas present for someone special.

So far, it's not much to look at, butthat could change at any minute!

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Decisions, Decisions

Whichever color set I choose, it will blend nicely with my winter wardrobe (mostly black and gray) and my summer wardrobe (mostly black and beige).

The tall stack is the Plymouth Outback Mohair, all neatly rolled into center-pull balls.

I think this is the order I will knit it up (assuming this is the chosen one).

I debated putting the bottom ball at the top, and now, looking at the photo (photos of the colors often clarify things for me), I might switch the bottom two balls.

(I seem to have gone through a similar quandry on another multi-color project.

If I remember correctly, that one was fuzzy, too. (5/4/06)

Then, there is the other possibility.

The colorway "Weeping Woman" takes its hues from a Picasso painting. (Scroll down a wee bit.)

All of this line of Artful Yarns are named after famous paintings. All of the colors are magnificent.

Can you tell which way I'm leaning? (Of course, I could make 2!)

Meanwhile, I have more mohair to ball.

This shawl will be vacation knitting (2 weeks and 3 days, but who's counting?)

Beth asked about the Bouclé Mitered Square (as in "how much?"). I have 10 balls. I have no plans to buy more. Fact is, I think there isn't more to be had, unless perhaps 1 more of the solid.

My calculations tell me (based on how far I've gotten with the first 2 balls) that I will have plenty and not need more unless I decide it needs a border. The last one got a single round of attached i-cord. This bouclé yarn is not going to make it as i-cord! So I would need something smooth (Red Heart, Caron) in a suitable color. Ain't happening. Not Buying Yarn. Unless I need to because it looks unfinished.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Norma Said

I was whining over on Rabbitch's blog about how nobody every finds this space by Googling on weird phrases (like bunnie poop, poems about) and other equally exotic topics. Norma piped up to say that clearly, I was not engaging the right audience (okay, that's not exactly what she said--she said I need to cuss more) but dudes, several people who think I'm reasonably sane read this blog--for the knitting content, not the cussing. Really! (And I see them at work most days, too.)

For them that's here for the knitting, here's some knitting content.

This is how the Tomten looked before dinner tonight. (I've added a few rows since I took this shot).

If I can manage to get some work done on the taxes (federal, state, local) before it gets too late (in the evening, not in the filing season) tomorrow night I can probably get the rest of the way to the wrist and be ready to start the trim.

Question, though: Is this girl-side (big, white, with flowers painted on buttons ), or boy-side (white bears with blue polka dots and red bowties buttons)?

Decisions, decisions!

And something in the way of car knitting.

For Rita (and for clarity): Cast on 200. place a marker between stitch 100 and stitch 101. On each right side row, knit 2 together on each side of the marker (2 decreases every other row, in other words). This will form a square with a diagonal of decreases. (Check the 4/10/05 archived entry for a photo of a finished one.)

I'll be using 3 colors of Lion Brand Boucle on this one.

Next Project?

Note: This one's for the fair.

I've decided that I would like something in the way of a shawl for myself in a relatively plain-stitch. I'm thinking top down would be good. Something like the one shown on 9/30/06, but in real hair of the mo.

I'm planning to let the yarn speak to me for itself.

Choices are (eyes left, please) Artful Yarns Portrait (colorway: Weeping Woman) which is an incredibly yummy (70 mo/ 25 viscose / 5 polyester) with wonderfully deep and rich colors that I would use with assorted vintage and newer mo d'stashes from Louet (turquoise, purple, mauve, etc.) and some unlabeled stuff that is just, well, better than sex chocolate.

The other choice I will admit that I originally though might become Charlotte's Web (JFIGI--the shawl, not the book!) and then thought better of it.

It's Plymouth Outback Mohair (70 mo/ 26 wool/ 4 nylon).I have 4 colorways stashed that range through the purples and teals.

This stuff is also incredible. The colors are much more subdued.

And so, I must decide. Do I wish to be garish and loud, or more ladylike?

Cat is shown strictly for scale. She has no interest whatever in mohair.

Now, for those who are here strictly for trash talking and cussing:

What in the holy hell is going on with our (US) government?

Have I heard correctly that the Executive Branch (which chose first to stack the Judicial Branch, then to gut it) is now telling the Legislative Branch (that is questioning these moves) that its questioning constitutes a breach of the Separation of Powers? Checks and Balances. Did they sleep through that lecture?

And at what point did the Attorney General stop being the top lawyer for the citizens and become the President's personal barrister? You're doing a heck of a job, Al.

Is someone sniffing the rubber cement?

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Some Updating

The car knitting will not be car knitting for a day or so. That second sleeve requires more attention than I can give it, so I'll cast on something else mindless to work on at traffic signals.

This is an itty bitty sweater, about 22" around the chest. Pattern is Elizabeth Zimmermann's Tomten (available in many publications, though I happen to be working from The Opinionated Knitter). The yarn is 100% wool (superwash) Lane Borgosesia Knitaly. Well-aged.

It's a good strong green. I'll be trimming it with an equally strong blue. Buttons from the stash.

This came in the mail.

It's a spring/summer issue and they are generally "light" on things I would make.

This spring/summer issue is no exception.

Even the advice is lacking.

One example: "I consider myself an advanced beginner, but my knitting seems to grow as I keep making extra stitches at the edge." (The other three questions posed to Jil Eaton in this issue deal with frogging.)

Once upon a time, Knit Simple's predecessor (FCEK)addressed knitting skills that would allow a new knitter to advance. I don't see that any longer.

This issue is full of tank tops and beachwear. And Crochet. There's lots of crochet!

There was one pattern that I found appealing. Some cute little t-strap baby booties.

But frankly, there are versions of this pattern in some of the Debbie Bliss baby pattern books I own and several versions in Zoë Mellor's 50 Baby Bootees to Knit. So tell me, why do I need yet another one?

If I weren't a subscriber, this is not one I'd have bought on the newsstand.

Oh, and this came with it. Renewal notice.

Um, not unless the next issue is bunches better.

This issue is up for grabs.

Drop me an email (amcmanus-at-ptd-dot-net) (Make the obvious corrections) with Knit Simple in the subject line. I'll do a random draw from all "entries" received by oh, 11:59 p.m. Saturday, March 24.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007


The fair isle Dulaan is a Finished Object except for the wash and block. I figured that I would wait and do them all at the same time.

Particulars: It's about a size 4 -6 (nearly 28 " around) and made of Pinguoin yarns (wool/acrylic blend similar to Encore or Woolease), about 6 ounces total.

The stranding necessary for fair isle makes this one nice and thick and (presumably) warm.

Pattern is a variation on one from Kids to Grown-Ups Seamless Sweaters by Mary Rich Goodwin. It's available from Elann. Fair Isle patterns from The Opinionated Knitter.

There isn't much of the Pinguoin left --about enough for a little Hat Of Many Colors, perhaps. Or a couple pairs of booties.

Those are the leftovers in the green basket on the right.

On the left is a new stash-busting project. It's going to be a baby blankie--Giant Mitered Square design. Cast on 2oo. Mark the center. Knit until you go crazy, decreasing 2 stitches at the center every other row.

And in case you were wondering about the snow, according to Monty, we got about 9" in the back yard.

Monty's been measuring the snow at Casa Sheepie for a good long time.

Monty would like to call it quits for this winter, thankyouverymuch.

We agree.

Since spring officially arrives on Tuesday, I got my hair cut. Okay, I got it cut because it needed it, but anyway. . .

There was such a mob scene at Cheap Haircuts Are Us! Standing room only.

And there was this woman (I hesitate to call her a customer because she didn't stick around for a cut or a wash or buy anything) who was opening bottles of hair care products and sniffing them. I decided then and there that I would not be buying any shampoo or conditioner today.

What's up with that? What about "Do not use if the seal is broken?"

Saturday, March 17, 2007


A wise reaction to the weather we are experiencing (eyes left).

It has taken me 15 hours to (mostly) decompress from yesterday's journey home. A 25 minute drive took 97. Mostly because of road condtions, but at least 15 minutes of that can be blamed entirely on a person who could not negotiate a smallish incline.

It was dead (bad choice of words) stops like this that made me realize that I (we?) were driving on ice. Uh, oh.

But I made it home with minimal skidding and no tire spinning and would have loved to take a little nap.

Fortunately, with the addition of a gallon of milk (which we truly needed because Friday is our normal grocery shopping night), we were able to have a quite nice dinner of spaghetti with hot sausage and garlic bread. But no nap was forthcoming.

Yesterday afternoon, the front yard looked like this.

The plows were through. The driveway was clear.

Even the front walk (which had finally emerged from its frozen coating) what shoveled off.

We were ready for dinner, then to cozy down to a movie (review at the end).

While I was taking that picture from the front porch, Sparky managed to slip outside. Fortunately for her, the Other Half heard her crying to come back in, or she's be one sorry cat-sickle!

Of course, weather continued, and though this "morning after" shot doesn't look all that different than the "night before," rest assured that there is sufficient new accumulation that more plowing, more snow throwing, and more shoveling will be needed.

Oh poop!

But it looks like the sun may come out.

Please, let spring be on the way.

The body of the latest Dulaan sweater is complete down to the ribbing.

I started the sleeves last night and have decided to switch back and forth between left and right so I am sure that they match.

The decreases are six rows apart, so I can use 6-row patterns, but they will vary in width.

I start with 48 stitches, so a 2, 3, 4, 6, or 8 stitch wide pattern will work. But the next rounds will be 46 stitches, so only a 2 stitch wide pattern will work evenly. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Dulaan means "warm" in Mongolian.

Note to Amy: The increases in the yoke are incorporated every 4th round (16 stitches evenly spaced) rather than every other round on raglan lines. The increases generally fall ona solid round. I used "Cheery-O" in the Kids to Grown-Ups Seamless Sweaters booklet that I've been using for all of these blue sweaters as the basis for this one.

Movie Review: Black Dahlia. Two words: Don't bother.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Never Say

Never say that you are at full staff after being without a full complement for a long while. Someone is sure to get sick or quit or something.

Never say "spring has sprung" (at least not before April 15 at the earliest) because as soon as those words leave your lips, the weatherbug is going to predict "accumulations of 4-6" in this area."

Never say. . . well, anything you don't want coming true, because as sure as I am typing this, it will!

Okay, that out of the way, I've done a teensy bit on the current Dulaan:

I still have about 1.5" before the ribbing. And the sleeves.

So far, (knock wood and don't say. . .) the yarn's holding out well.

I have nearly a full ball of the royal blue (the neck ribbing color that also serves as the background on a lot of the bands) and about 4 ounces of the other colors (this much of the sweater, including the needles, weighs in at about 4 ounces).

I'm wishing I hadn't been such a wimp with the yoke. I'm really loving the wider bands' patterns.

And here's a "glamour" shot of the current car knitting. Guesses?

Think Zimmermann. Think elfin. Think Tomten! In about a 6-9 month size.

I am saved! The deep blue superwash that might be needed to rescue the Dulaan sweater (as ribbing) will also work for the i-cord contrast edging on this sweater! (And I have lots! Something like 2500 yards.) No need to purchase yarn.

The weekend is fast approaching, as is the latest "weather event." My noon-time service club meeting is already canceled. I just want to know, what if the snow fails to materialize?

Then I checked the "school closings" board at our local television channel's website (that channel has to be good for something besides mocking). Three closings already posted. One is a piano recital. Ok. The kids will be disappointed, but they'll also have an extra week to practice.

The other two are Meals on Wheels to the west of us and the Senior Lunch Program to the east. I'm guessing this means that people don't get hungry when it snows?? This has always troubled me. And I know there is a "blizzard bag" (that often gets consumed on the first weekend after it's dropped off) and the food is delivered by volunteers, but it seems that if one is able to reach a ripe old age, one's food supply shouldn't depend quite so much on the weather!

It's enough to make me trot down to the Turkey Hill for milk and bread.

Back when such things were important to me, it always seemed more prudent to stock up on Box Of Wine than Loaf of Bread. Because, well, you know.

Now? I figure that I can put something together with what's here in the house if I can't get to the store. I mean, they'll be plowing the roads sooner or later, won't they?

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Oh What a Beautiful Day

The weather was glorious! High above 70, clear as a bell.

I had a meeting in the state capital, which meant that I drove longer than the meeting. But it was interesting and informative and I am very glad I went! I was expected! (There was a visitor badge with my name printed on it.)

It's beginning to smell like spring in eastern Pennsylvania. Not the manure-spread smell (which I don't find objectionable), but the damp, freshly turned earth smell. Yummy!

I made some nice progress on the latest Dulaan sweater this evening. There's about 2.5" left of pattern before I start the ribbing. Then, I'll do the sleeves.

Yarn's going to be tight, but I have a backup plan in case I run out. (It involves some dark blue washable wool and the cuff and hem ribbing.)

Once this sweater is done, I am planning to pack up everything I've finished so far for Dulaan and get it into the mail.

I have officially removed the last of the Pinguoin yarn from my spread sheet and I'm below (just a hair, but still. . . ) 49 miles of yarn.

I looked briefly at Elann's newest yarn offerings (lovely, lovely Rowan washable wool) for something to jazz up the Tomten that's on the needles. Fortunately, the color I wanted most is already sold out.

::whew:: It's very, very pretty.

Next up: two baby presents.

After that: Fair entries!

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Can't Trust That Day

Daylight Savings Time has my butt whipped! I wasn't ready to go to sleep last night (apparently all night!) and I certainly wasn't ready to rise at 4 Ay-Em body time!

Remind me again who had this brilliant idea!

It turned warm and sunny today, just in time. Franklin has declared this the Crabby Season and I agree completely. Makes me want to sing "'Tis the season to be crabby. Falalalala ."
You're welcome.

But seriously, everything is gray and dirty.

On a brighter note, today I spotted the Kingfisher (been hearing him for weeks) and a male wood duck on the creek. And the Great Blue Heron flew overhead. Things are lookingup!

Had to look at yesterday's picture of Dulaan In Progress to realize exactly how much I knit on it yesterday and today. Quite a lot, it seems. Second yellow to third yellow!

I am past the point where I divide for the sleeves and can now add some deeper and more complex-looking patterns on the body. I'll go back to the narrower ones when I get to the sleeves in another few days.

Truth is, these stranded 2-color patterns aren't difficult to knit, but they do require a looser tension than plain stockinette and some concentration. I'm getting better at two kanded knitting.

Mental Health: I thought of another symptom today, but I forget what it is.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Sad State of My (Mental) Health

The weekend isn't helping! And losing an entire hour somewhere in the ether is sure to deal yet another blow to my psyche.

Errands are crammed into weekends when all I really want to do is veg out, knit, read, and watch the shows we taped because I can't stay awake past 9 during the week and still be up at 5 to be at work by 6:30.

We grabbed lunch "out" (at Arby's, big whoop) and I chipped my front tooth (yet again) on a BLT (the bread wasn't even toasted). So I'll be making an appointment with Dr. deSade on Monday.

After lunch, we hit BJ's (like Costco) and it was so crowded with brain-dead people, I wanted to stand in the middle of the aisle and scream! ::ahem:: Of course, if I did that I might get a nice long rest, but likely, they'd take away my pointy sticks.

Mental Health: Some reasons to belive I am fading fast:

I keep seeing amusing things that I'd like to comment on here, but by the time I get here I have completely forgotten what they were.

I have noticed that I can no longer type the word "that" without concentrating hard. It comes out "taht" otherwise. I don't believe that I am mis-typing any other common word on a regular basis.

For a while, I was smelling burnt toast all the time. A word to the wise: don't Google symptoms unless you want to know. I didn't want to know. It's gone away now that I know. ::whew::

The latest Dulaan sweater (the one that I was going to make into a clown sweater (just random blotches and stripes of many colors) has morphed into something slightly more traditional. (Sorry, Rabbitch.)

I have no doubt that it will be pretty, but clearly, I need some fair isle coaching.

Clown sweater would have been cute, too. I may still make one, just not right now. (See note above re: mental health. I have enough random stuff going on right now without adding to it!)

Movie Reviews: We rented 2 movies over the weekend. Flyboys was on Friday. Based on real people, real events, it was somewhat unbelievable, and yet, the most potentially fictitious part turned out to be true. Some action, some chick stuff. Decent date movie.

Then there was Running with Scissors on Saturday. Another "based on real events" movie (actually, based on the real-life life and journal of the main character). Augusten Burroughs was interviewed a bit ago on Fresh Air. The interview was recently replayed. This was a movie that I have wanted to see. The video store has it labeled "comedy." That label should be "black comedy." It is dark and troubling and very real. That Burroughs managed to survive is a story unto itself. I enjoyed it.


Saturday, March 10, 2007

Call Me Indecisive

You know, I started a cardigan (size 4) for Dulaan (using up the bits and pieces of the Pinguoin that I've been yammering about forever) and decided after about 10 rows (it was top-down) that this was Not Going To work.

All Those Ends to weave don't bother me so much as All Those Ends On The Front Edge to weave, so I frogged back to nothingness and cast on anew.

In the round. Pullover.

Even now, I'm not so sure, but I want to finish up this yarn, get the last ball off my spreadsheet, and never look back.

Bunch of hats isn't going to do it for me.

The green blob in the background is a Tomten (Elizabeth Zimmermann design) in Knitaly (superwash wool). It will likely be finished before the pullover.

Miles of soul-sucking garter stitch. Miles.

And I am yammering. Yes.

I have had overnight to chew on and digest some of the things going on at The Place Of Employment and figuring that while I am Not The Enemy, I am In Charge and it is My Butt iOn The Line, and so, while I am Not The Enemy, I am Neither The Friend.

Mind you, nothing is life threatening, or even job threatening. It's just a question of mutual goals and mutual support.

I will be knitting away today. And not thinking about it! (I feel a bit like Scarlet O'Hara.)

There will be actual pictures.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Picture I Promised

Earlier today, when I was extoling the virtues of spiders and such, I promised a photo and here it is!

This one is destined for Dulaan. That makes 5, I am pleased to say (of sweaters--I passed my 5 woolies a while back!)

Pattern: Cheery"O" from Kids to Grown-Ups Seamless Sweaters. Yarn is Pinguoin France+ and Pingofrance II. It's about a size 2.

I am almost completely out of the Pinguoin yarn despite my readers' best efforts to keep me from running out (no more, please!)

This is all that is left.

Two nearly full (1.75 ounce) balls of royal blue, a nearly full ball of sage, and odd bits of a dozen other compatible colors.

Rabbitch challenged me to make a "clown sweater" with the remaining bits. I do believe that I will!

It will take a little planning, but I'm up for it.

Work has been horrendously busy. We have three vacant slots again and are filling some with temps and one with an employee who was willing to step up and quite nearly stepped down today--who could blame her? I will be so glad when/if spring gets here! And people are back in their regular slots and all is right with the world. (And peace and a bunch of money would be nice for wishes 2 and 3. Thank you.)

And speaking of spring, what dumbass had the idea to move daylight savings time? We have just reached the point when it is starting to be a bit light when I arrive at work. So now, I get plunged back into darkness? That sucks!

And what is this fuel savings of which they speak?


Forgive the Lack of Photo

When I reached for my favorite tea mug this morning (it was right where I left it last night), there was a gignormous spider perched on the lip.

I know that my readers will forgive me for squashing (forgive this pun) the bugger rather than snapping a picture.

(Yes, I used a tissue.)

There will be pictures this evening. I promise.

But they won't be of squashed spiders.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Cheap, Cheap, Cheap

I think I've said it before: I'm nothing if not cheap.

So it should come as no surprise when I tell you that these are available at the grocery store for the same price and come wrapped in free toilet paper!

I found something that looks and works a whole lot like these at the Dollar Tree, 8 or 20 for a buck (depending on size).

So, when I saw these I knew that they looked damned familiar!

And after some noodling around at various Den O' Crap stores (Dollar General, Family Dollar, Dollar Tree), I happened upon
(eyes left) the jelly coil key rings that I remembered at the Dollar Place at the Fairgrounds Farmers Market!

For a dollar!

And I figure I can get 6-8 out of each key chain. That's 6-8 for a dollar.

I bought 4.

They had this great hot pink (I bought 2) and an intense purple (2 of those as well) and when I cut them apart, I still have these cool clips that I'm sure I can find a use for.

And lookie here.

Can you tell the difference?

My wallet can!

Please note that there was no knitting content in this post.

I did not refer to the lovely Bumblebee Baby Cotton that will probably be my next cast on. (Babies and Bears? Lillie's Little Sweater? The Knitting Pure and Simple?) Haven't decided yet.

Stay tuned.

Knit From Your Stash

I started a long standing (okay a few month) tradition of updating my stash countdown on the 5th of each month.

Please direct your eyes to the sidebar and be prepared to cheer!

There's some real progress in the stash diet.

I am "down" 21 balls of yarn this month (lotta knitting, lotta knitting!)

I am "down" over 3 pounds of yarn!

And last, but certainly not least, I am "down" a mile and a third!

I will point out that I actually knit all of that yarn!

Can I hear an "Amen?"

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Weekend's Almost Over

The Other Half found this cute little "stuffie" at the Tree last weekend.

He thought it might make a nice cat toy. I wasn't so sure.

(Background: Penny has a whole bunch of skeevy "rat" toys (Frederico Ferret is the actual name of this particular toy. She has several.) made of plastic and rabbit fur. She carries them around and "sings" to them. So far, she has ignored all other types of cat toys, no matter how much catnip they've been steeped in.)

So, imagine my surprise when I saw this earlier today.

Yes, she's grooming the damned thing!

Let the singing and crooning and arias begin!

It never ceases to amaze me, the things cats will do!

At least while she's grooming the "baby," she's not licking the sheets or the pillowcases or the bedspread on our bed!

Here's the latest Dulaan in Progress. A sweater in Pinguoin France+ and Pingofrance II. The colors are pretty true on my monitor, royal blue, caramel, salmon and goldenrod. Spread out like this, it looks nearly finished. It isn't. I need about 6" of body, then the ribbing at the waist. Then it's done.

It's about a size 2, knit from the top down. Same pattern as the other one.

There might just be enough yarn left for one more if I use up all the odd balls of leftovers in some random stripes.

I'm thinking a cardigan for that one. Probably a 12 month size.

And I polished this one off last night.

Double strands of handspun in natural colors. It still has a lot of the lanolin, but it doesn't smell sheepy.

(At least not to my stuffy nose.)

This one's very thick and should be nice and warm.

It's also for Dulaan.

And I'm thinking I should get the first box ready to ship.

Not all of my knitting has been altruistic. I finished the mitts, and wore them.

They, too, are nice and toasty.

And the next two days, the Cellar Dweller and I are "baching" since the Other Half is at a training. It's just far enough away that coming home at night made little sense. So he's sleeping in a hotel and we are indulging in Food That We Don't Eat When He's Home.

In truth, when the Cellar Dweller is "out for the evening," the Other Half and I do the same thing.

Movie Review: Babel is another one of those "what in the holy hell is going on?" movies. And I have to say, it was tedious in parts. And there are an awful lot of subtitles. Not a good movie for knitting along with.

News Flash:Spring arrives in 16 days! Unless you are on the Celtic calendar. Imbolc arrived on February 1.

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

Keeping Me Honest

I just realized that the first of the month passed (twice) without my posting my current WIPs.

That will never do!

So here they are (such as they are) for March. Top left, the current top-down sweater. This one is about a size 2 and is using up Pingouin France+ that I got from Tammy combined with assorted leftovers of Pinofrance II that you've seen before. These two yarns are virtually the same weight though France has twice as much wool. This one will be donated to Dulaan. Or the reservation.

Moving clockwise, a handspun yarn, wound double. Natural sheepy colors, very tweedy. Small hat. Again, for Dulaan. The ball winder makes double stranding a breeze! No more "two bouncing balls" attracting the attention of assorted furballs. And no tangling.

I repeat: How did I live so long without swift and winder??

And last on the needles, a pair of mitts for me! The sagey green yarn is Classic Elite Maya (llama/wool) that I won from Tammy (same Tammy as above). These are going so fast that there almost wasn't a "progress photo" shoot. I started them yesterday. I'll be casting off in about 30 minues, I think. Pattern from FCEK (magazine that has now morphed with a new title) Winter 2001. The pattern calls for sport weight. Maya is Aran. I used size 4 needles and achieved a very firm 5 stitches/inch. I love them! I will wear them to death.

The good news is that I have enough yarn left to make a Branching Out. Regular readers will remember the "issues" I had with my last attempt. It wasn't pretty and the yarn was recycled. (Or will be.)

Word to the Wise (from the not-so): Don't knit with things you don't love. Life's too short!

Oh, and Tammy (yes, the same one) is having another contest to drum up support for the Dulaan Project. Pop on over and join in the fun!

And here's a cute little recent FO.

I'll bundle this hat with the Sweater With the Ladybug Buttons.

I didn't want an actual Ladybug. One that big is certain to squig out the squeamish! Just the Sense of a Ladybug.

My embroidery skills suck.

The pattern: basic cast on 70??, knit a bit in white, switch to red. Knit a bit more. Decrease at 7 points, draw up, fasten off. Embelish.

I got an unexpected 3-day this weekend (and it's the last one I'll be seeing for a while as we've had some serious staff turnover and sick folks). The rains came and came and came and when I arrived for work at 6:30 yesterday morning, the road and lot were under water. Shortly after I got there, the nice policeman arrived and put up barricades on our street. He said, "Go home!" so I did.

I've worked at the food bank for 8+ years (oh, my lord!). I cannot remember having 3 "weather days" in an entire year. So far, in the 62 days of 2007, we've had that many. And the spring thaw hasn't happened yet!

Blame it on development! And global warming.

Movie Review(s): The Departed has lots of gratuitous violence and language. It will leave you wondering "what the hell was going on?" Don't miss it. Nicholson, Damon, Sheen, and that DiCaprio kid actually looking like an actor!

Open Season (animated) is so very funny! There's a big bunch of potty humor ("who forgot to flush?") and just plain silliness. Rent it even if you don't have a kid to watch it with!

Half-Nelson got 2 thumbs down at Casa Sheepie and from everyone the Sheepie knows that has rented it. It leaves you with the same "What the hell was going on?" but not in a nice way. We bailed out 30 minutes in and switch to TiVo'd reruns.

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Friday, March 02, 2007

Happy Birthday

Dr. Goose!

It's the birthday of the children's book author who wrote under the name Dr. Seuss, born Theodor Geisel, in Springfield, Massachusetts (1904). Seuss made a living selling cartoons to magazines, and he also drew cartoons for advertisements. He published his first book for children, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, in 1937. His next few children's books were moderately successful. Then, in 1955, an educational specialist asked him if he would write a book to help children learn how to read. Seuss was given a list of 300 words that most first-graders would know, and he used those words to write The Cat in the Hat (1957). *

And the rest, as they say, is history.

I remember seeing Ted Geisel interviewed once (probably on his birthday). He spoke about how disappointed children were when they met him because he was "just an ordinary guy."

*Thanks to Writer's Almanac.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Even the Cheap Stuff

looks good when it's wound properly.

And that, my dears, is nearly the sum total of my Red Heart-type stash.

Pathetic, isn't it?
Let me go on record. I will not be replenishing the stash of cheap ack any time soon.
When I binge, it will be on the good stuff!

And here's a bit of car knitting. Call it a(n) AFO (almost finished object).
I'll embellish it and post a picture in all its glory tomorrow.
Any guesses?
Weather Alert: We are under flood watch, and expecting 2+ inches of rain overnight.
Did I mention that I work in a flood plain?
We've moved the fragile vehicle to higher ground and are hoping for the best.

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