Friday, August 31, 2007

More Mitteny Goodness

Carol Ann directed me to this picture of her 7 pairs of Mittnz.

She knits for Children in Common, too.

Way to go, Carol Ann, and thank you!

She'll be mailing to the REservation at the End of Next Month!

And how are you coming with your own Mittn knittn? (I confess that I still need to finish my last pair.)


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Little Baby Things

I finished this tiny "gansey" (not traditional at all) with overlapping shoulders (to make it easy to get on the baby).

It's made from Patons Bumblebee Baby Cotton in a color called Daffodil, definitely not a color I would normally use for baby clothes, but it's so very soft that I couldn't resist. Pattern is by Liz Lovick.

I think I'll cast on a little hat to match.


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Shot Heard 'Round the Block

Sparky got a massive shot of steroids 2 weeks ago today. The vet was attempting to see if the 2-year bout of belly chewing was allergy-related, or just a high-strung cat.

Within 24 hours the incessant biting, licking and scratching had stopped. Cold! Now, two weeks later, when she licks, it's normal grooming.

The fur on her belly and legs has started to grow back.

What an amazing transformation!

So, what this means is?? Allergy! And because it's a year-round phenomena, specificaly food allergy.

And we all know what that means, don't we?

$cience Diet Pre$cription Food. The $tinky kind. That no self-respecting cat will eat.

We will soldier on. We will ignore the yammering for "real" food. Yes, we will.

And we will not define our pets by their medical conditions.

Jean has said "enough!" These are the wonderful Mittnz that she knitted up forthe Mittnz 2007 Challenge.

Now, she's making Hatz!

Great job, Jean!

(Jean's name is in the hat for a lovely prize. Good luck!)

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

What Have We Become?

Is it just me? Or have the rest of you noticed it too?

It seems that all of the big lists that I read (and you know what they are) have become litanies of illnesses, prayer requests, etc.

A new member intro used to be a listing of where the writer lives, his/her household composition, knitting style, and possibly a listing of WIPs. Now? Not so much.

When did our illnesses become us?

And on a related note, I have a killer mouth ache. Can't pinpoint it, but it might be a fragment of food stuck under a crown. Or possibly that "iffy" filling that the dentist noticed on my last visit. Or it could be allergies and my sinuses.

Pray for me, would ya?


Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Towel I Threw

Looking now at the Santa pair. there really wasn't a lot to finish. I could have stayed up until midnight stitching and stuffing and I would have been finished in time, but, Dudes, I really needed my sleep.

I will finish them in due course, just not right now.

Instead, I broke out the Encore and cast on Trellis from Knitty.

Trust me when I say that this photo doesn't do the color justice!

It's lime green. It is, in fact, so very lime green that road construction crews all over the East Coast are jealous! It glows in the dark!

I am having a lot of fun knitting with this color! And the fact that it's a tiny sweater is making the knitting go very, very fast!

Stay tuned.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Throwing In the Towel

Debbie let me have this picture of the great Mittnz she just finished. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7.

Yep, they're all there!

(I have 1 more pair to finish myself before I show you my 7.)

Because of work-related work, I have not been able to devote as much time as I would have liked to finishing up my fair entries. ::insert pouty face::

And time and an inability to figure out how to assemble the Christmas Wreath, Other, led me to accept the advice of a qwazy qwafty blogger and resort to electric tools.

I will have you know that I burned only one of the fingers on my left hand and none of the fingers on my right hand! That's a new record!!!

It's just a little blister, but thank you for your concern.

Here's the finished wreath. The base is an 18" circle made of some sort of tannish wickery stuff.

I got it at the Tree for a buck. The ribbon is 2 buck-a-roll Wire Edged Ribbon (same source).

The flowers are Panda Woolbale (red), Brown Sheep Naturespun (green) and Elann Peruvian Highland Wool (yellow). All of these are very feltable!

The darker green (holly??) leaves are Patons Classic Wool. It takes longer to felt than any of the other yarns I used (two trips through the hot cycle v. one for everyone else).

The little red holly berries are ceramic beads (stashed for a while, but they were part of a "bucket of beads" dealie--1/2 pound of assorted, mostly plastic, but some good stuff) also from the Tree. If you know where to look and can stretch your imagining muscles, you can get quite good crafty junque there!

The idea is Nicki Epstein (Knit Simple holiday 2006) with modifications (you were expecting me to blindly follow??)

Okay, the deadline for dropping entries is 6 p.m. tomorrow. And where is that towel to which I alluded? It's the Santa pair. I just couldn't get enough minutes of concentrating time. Mrs. is done. Mr. is a pile of parts.

And Janice, I've already started on next year's entries!

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Quick Mittnz Update

Vivian made these.

Pretty, aren't they?

There's still time to get in on the 2007 Mittnz Challenge.

There's barely any time to finish fair entries.

'mkay. Bye.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Drive-by Blogging

The fair looms!

I have 69.3 hours to finish my last two entries. (In actuality, I have about 4 more hours of crafting time. That's if we eat take-out for the next several meals!) Right now, both are mere piles of pieces (eyes left).

The wreath pieces are all finished, felted, and dry. All I still need to do is figure out how to arrange them artistically and attach them to the wreath. This will not be a piece of cake!

Santa pieces are in similar shape (no need to felt, but considerable knitting still to do.

Rabbit, however, is a(n) FO!

Isn't he cute?

Pattern from Zoe Mellor (Animal Knits). Yarn is Patons Cotton DK (the beige) and Elann Sonata (everything else) knitted on size 3 (US) needles.

And now, we panic!


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Random Pot Shots

Tony Snow joined the ranks of folks who are leaving (or have left) the current administration citing "family" and "finances." Seems to me that a person making $168,000 a year (of my tax dollars) ought to be able to afford to send his kids to college. According to many sources, Snow took a pay cut to take this position. Didn't he save anything from that better paying job?

Assuming that he's on-call 24/7/365, that's $19+ an hour. If we assume a 40 hour work week and no vacation (how likely is that??) that's $80+ per hour! Heck, that's $168,000 a year!!People struggling on minimum wage ($5.15 an hour until very recently) are laughing! Middle income people with kids in college are appalled!

Yahoo, host of almost all the knitting e-lists I follow, has been bouncing my emails for over a week. I reactivate, then I have to reset my preferences from "new and improved" to "traditional" (because I like the old format better). This has been going on, as I said, for over a week. Three times a day, many days. Enough! I contacted my isp who responded very quickly with a translation of the error message: Yahoo! (Or should I say "Yahell?"). It's on their end.

Have you seen the new Viagra commercial? Middle-aged men, likely aging garage band types, jamming and singing about their limp members. How likely is that? Elvis is rolling in his grave!

There would be pictures of the felting. It's coming along. Still to go: the felting of the remaining leaves, the assembling of the wreath. The stitching and stuffing of the rabbit, the knitting, stitching and stuffing of the Clauses. Where are those tiny sheep?

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Sideshow Bob?


Constant knitting on size 11s. All day, all night. And what do I have to show?

Something that looks like a face-sucking alien beast.

Or Sideshow Bob's hairpiece.

Felting had better take care of this!

Movie Review: Little Children was nominated for awards. At least one of them should have been for extreme weirdness! Lots of plot twists. Lots of angst. In the end, redemption of sorts.

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Home Stretch?

With less than 7 days to go, I had better be on it (home stretch, that is). Yesterday, I put the finishing touches on the toy rabbit parts and made a sizeable dent in the Santa parts. Then I hunkered down to watch a movie (review below) with the Other Half and put my heart and soul into making poinsettia parts.

With Franklin's little sheep cheering me on (not Dolores, lord, please, not Dolores!), I know that I can make it! With time to spare.

See! There's parts in them there baskets!

All I need to do is sew up a rabbit, finish knitting Mr. Claus and Mrs. Claus, sew them up, finish knitting a bazillion Christmassy parts, felt them, dry them, attach them to a beribboned wreath, block everything, tag everything, get it all to the fairgrounds by 7 6 ::eep:: p.m. Friday.

Piece of cake!

The Promised Movie Review: The Darwin Awards. Hilarious! Stars Joseph Fiennes (not to be mistaken for "that Fiennes guy you like so much"--i.e. Ralph) and Winona Ryder. It's exactly what you'd expect of a movie of that title. Mindless knitting movie, nothing complex. You don't want to miss anything! Seriously!

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Friday, August 17, 2007

One Week To Go

When I woke up this morning and realized that my fair entries must be dropped off on Thursday or Friday next week and I still have eleventy-two fiddly little things to finish (many of which are not yet cast on), I did what any reasonable person in the same situation would. I cast on more stuff!

I ask you, is it uneasonable to plan to do all of the finishing work at midnight on the 23rd? See. I didn't think it was.

What you see there is the parts of the toy rabbit from Mellors Animal Knits, Aussie Jean's Santa and Mrs. Santa Computer Dolls. You can find these and other great toy patterns here.

If you don't hear from me for a couple of days, send chocolate and coffee and try not to worry.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

In Which We Fight With the Camera

Kodak and Compaq do Not Cooperate, Coordinate, or Compromise. Every photo download is a battle of wits! And I'm losing! Every download is an adventure!

I put the finishing touches on the Snowguy. His lovely hat and scarf are made from some leftover sportweight sockyarn (Emu Superwash DK).

Body for him and his lady friend are both Lion Brand Jamie Classic (worsted weight acrylic).

Pattern is in my head, but involves casting on 8 (on 4 dpns) and increasing every other row to 48 stitches for the base.

After that, it's every knitter for herself. On him, I did a 2 stitch X 3 row checkerboard for 33 rows. On her, I did that 2X2 rib thing that travels to the left every 4th row for 28 rows. I decreased 8 stitches for the "neck" then increased 4 after about 3 rounds and knit the heads in plain stockinette for about 15 rounds, then decreasing 2 stitches in 1 round (42 stitches) then EOR at 6 points until 6 stitches remain. Draw up, fasten off.

I think they look good together.

Her hat and scarf are LB Fancy Fur that I bought at the Tree for a buck a ball to make Chemo Caps for Kids back a few months. There are small bits (less than a ball) of leftovers in several colors. Watch for their appearance on this blog or in the trash can. That stuff is wicked to knit!

I could wax poetic about these little guys, but I need to get back to cleaning (almost done) and knitting (just a Santa pair, a toy, and a wreath to finish).

I have 4 days left before I go back to work. I have knitted toy, Pair of Santas, Christmas wreath to accomplish. Piece o' Cake!

Sparky the Bob-Tailed Wonder Cat has been clawing and chewing at her belly for weeks (months? years?) but recently, the chewing got so bad that I've taken to tossing (soft, lightweight) things at her just to distract her so she'll stop.

We made a visit to TED (The Evil Doctor--the guy with the cold glass thing he sticks up your butt, if you get my drift) who checked and checked and checked (this is the third time we've been through this). There Is Nothing Wrong (at least not with her body). No fleas or other parasites, no fungus among us. In fact, he told me that this is Not The Worst Case of Belly Chewing that he's seen. There' s no rash, there's no ooze, there's no blood. There's also no hair. On the belly, or on any of the appendages she can get into her mouth.

So, to rule out the slim possiblity of an allergy (and the need for a special diet), he shot her full of enough steroids to drop and elephant (or a MLB player) and suggested that I check back in 2 weeks. If the chewing has stopped, we'll assume allergy and switch her food. If it hasn't, we up her anti-depressant.

TED pointed out (and rightly so) that I should be glad that this latest episode has not caused a repeat of what got her on the pills in the first place. It involved dumping some furniture and treating many things with Nature's Miracle (if you get my drift). If I have a choice, I think I prefer chewing to marking.

Psychotic Cat From Hell rides again. I could write a book.

For your further amusement: I'm not generally inclined to play WTF Wednesday/Thursday, but, WTF? (Be sure to click through all the choices!)

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Fifteen Minute Bursts of Energy

Yes. I am still cleaning. And knitting, too. Each in 15 minute segments ala Flylady.

Very little knitting (eyes left). He's almost 4" tall. From Jean Greenhowe's Knitted Toys. Yarn is Sugar 'n' Cream (the white), Patons DK Cotton (the red and orange), and Elann Sonata (the green). Eyes are shiny (graphite) beads. Broom was purchased.

Purchase of the broom (.33) and fiberfill for the soon-to-be Santas necessitated a trip to the next town over (Spillaine's) where they are rearranging stuff and I spent an hour looking for Things They Didn't Have. ::poop::

And on a cleaning note: My window cleaner spray bottle gave up the ghost yesterday. Thinking I would get just a new bottle (since I have half a gallon of the cheap blue stuff), I checked prices. for $1.47, I can get a new bottle. For $1, I can get a new bottle of cheap blue stuff. Hmmm.

Note to self: Next time you are planning a major cleaning, buy the good stuff. And not the cheapest paper towels, either.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Progress of Sorts

The Other Half and I spent the better (and worse) part of Sunday moving big, heavy, bulky pieces of furniture from one room to the next in an effort to make our small house more liveable for the two of us.

I am pleased to announce that It's. Getting. There.


Here's our bedroom on Sunday morning (gee, I wish I had thought to get the camera out sooner).

That's a waterbed, king size. The kind with the tubes in it. The kind with the big honkin' water-filled tubes. If anyone asks, yes, I can lift 70 pounds if I need to.

And here are the armoires. They were one of the first purchases I made as a newly-formed designer.

Saw them at the New York furniture show in '72. Fell in love.

We've moved them 6 times so far. This is as far as they are going. Chop them up for kindling when I die, m'kay? 'cause no one in their right mind will want to move them again!

Remember this room? You've seen it before. It's my studio.

How could you forget that rug??

There used to be a futon in that bare space.

No more!

Two big honkin' armoires where the futon used to be.

I really like them in here. (I wish they could hold my yarn collection instead of clothes, though. (Did I say that out loud?)

And the futon?

It's found a place to call home, too. Right here in the Other Half's office.

Don't you just love the paneling? Could the builder have found anything cheaper, I wonder.

And our bedroom? Look at all that ::coff:: room!

No, seriously.

Check it out.

Sparky hasn't moved from that spot all day. Might have something to do with the air conditioner.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

Nine In a Row

Prepare yourself for a wild ride!

This is the week I traditionally take off from work to get ready for the fair. Yes, Dear Reader, I have 9 days in a row to myself!

I will marathon knit until my hands are so sore I am taking ibuprofen by the handful and I will produce (let me check) five fair entries consisting of many knitted (and some felted) articles combined into wonderous decorations (I always save the Christmas stuff for last!)

And the little lady to the left? She's 1/2 of one entry: Mr. and Mrs. Snowman Other (again, as opposed to the vile media in which some people choose to work). I will cast on her Other Half in the morrow.

How I Clean House: Once every month, whether they need it or not, I deep clean the bathrooms. That's a joke! And once every six months or so, I take a few days off and really "deep clean" the whole place.

I even have a list on Word that I print out! How's that for efficiency?? Oh, and I will "clean house" over the next nine days! This time around, I bought me a couple boxes of garbage bags and I'm about to be ruthless (Who the heck is "Ruth," anyway? She doesn't live here!) and toss and toss.

The Other Half and I talked last week about our bedroom (no, not that! Get your mind Out Of the Gutter!)

We are now alone in a three bedroom ranch. The guest quarters are in the basement, so we have 2 unoccupied bedrooms that have served as "offices" (okay, mine's a "studio") since the boys abandoned them. I took over the closet in here about 5 years ago. (Why mash 2 peoples' stuff ito 5' of closet pole when there's a perfectly good empty closet 6' away?)

The new revelation came when Himself discovered that the armoires that we have owned for 35 years are honkin' big pieces of furniture. (well, duh! The shipping weight on those puppies was 400 pounds each). So we'll be doing some shifting and as I called it at work, "reclaiming some prime real estate."

The futon in my studio is moving to his office and the armoires from our bedroom are coming in here. I will gain a couple of feet, he will lose a couple, and our bedroom will be a little "empty." (How empty can it be with the king-size bed still in there?)

Watch for progress reports.

Movie Review: The Contract is predictable. It's also acceptable mind candy that requires no deep concentration. I had no trouble completing the snowperson above while it was playing. Morgan Freeman. John Cusack. Do I need to say more?

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Ho, Ho, Ho!

I finished up a couple of entries that have been languishing, waiting for the last (sewn) finishing touches. Like the eyes. And the pompom.

In the category Mr. or Mrs. Claus-other ("other" being loosely defined as not ceramic or plastic canvas):

Eyes left, please. Santa pouch from an old Knitter's (#49, I think--the first one I ever bought on the newsstand). I've made a lot of the projects from this issue.

::sigh:: It was a great one!

Particulars: Minor modifications to gauge, needle size, and materials. Pink and red yarn is Patons Cotton DK, fluffy stuff is a strand of Bernat Club Soft and a strand of LB Fun Fur (ivory). Only the LB is still produced (I think--I got it at the Tree for a buck, so I don't know for sure). Purchased eyes and button nose (both from my incredible stash of "stuff.")

Then there's this. "He" is what became of the EZ stars (from Knitter's Almanac).

Category: Christmas Tree Ornament-Santa

Particulars: More of the pink and red Patons DK, plus a bit of an unidentified novelty yarn from an Elann "skein subscription." Purchased pompom (see above for source).

The Other Half thinks the Star Guy needs boots and mittens. I, on the other hand, prefer a minimalist approach.

Note on the DK Cotton: This is nice stuff. It's easy to knit, has a subtle sheen, blocks well. I can see why it was discontinued! (NOT!)

Movie Review: Lonely Hearts (2006) just arrived in the video stores. It stars John Travolta (who has shed his Saturday Night Fever and "sweathog" image yet again) and James Gandolfini (who will be forever trying to shed his Tony Soprano image). Salma Hayek is wonderful in her role. Inspired by true events. No spoilers from me. It's an excellent film. Don't wait for it to hit the Dollar Shelf!

Zodiac: Like blood? Like scary shit? You'll like this one!

Clearly, the other video we rented last weekend wasn't memorable. Even with prompting, I can't remember what it was.

Have I written about The Astronaut Farmer? That one made me smile.

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Today in History

From the Writer's Almanac:

It was on this day in 1974 that Richard M. Nixon resigned the office of the presidency, the first American president in history to do so. His policies as president had been rather liberal. He began arms control agreements with the Soviet Union. He eased relations with China. He established the Environmental Protection Agency, expanded Social Security and state welfare programs and tried to create a national health insurance system.

He won re-election in 1972 in a landslide, but in that same year a group of men broke into the Democratic Party headquarters at the Watergate Hotel, and in that break-in were the seeds of his downfall.

Wow! A third of a century!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


I'll admit I'm using a pattern.

I'll further admit that I am not using the suggested materials.

I promise that there will be a finished photo in a couple of days.

See the sheepies in the background? They are cheering me on

And I've updated the yarn countdown (see sidebar).

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Sunday, August 05, 2007


Anouk is finished and needs a bit of tweaking.

Elann Sonata in 4 colors. Pattern at

The Jimmy Beans sweater is finished and is fine just the way it is, though I am considering an alternate front panel, just so that the recipient can drool carrots and not destroy the whole sweater.

Here's the lacy front panel. It looked like a cable to me in the original photo.

I might make the replacement have a cable panel.

Bernat Club Soft, cotton blend. Pattern at

And here's the Non-Organic gansey.

I think this one will be a fair entry (along with Anouk if I can get it to cooperate).

Plymouth Encore yarn. Pattern at FPea's blog.

There would be movie reviews here, but the final 40 pages of Harry Potter are calling my name. Maybe tomorrow!

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Friday, August 03, 2007

Yet More Mittnz

Linda said I could post this picture of her 8 pairs of wooly warmth. She's knitting Hatz, too.

All of the Mittnz I've seen so far are really lovely! There will be a whole big bunch of kids proudly sporting their new Mittnz this winter.

It's not too late to start knittn (or crochetn). We're aaiming for mailing the end of September so that the Mittnz will blitz


This Episode Is Late

But I have the perfect excuse!

Normally, I post the UFOs on the first of the month. Didn't happen. (What, you noticed!)

Anyway, Wednesday, the first, was the day that the Other Half, after not dealing well with mouth pain (we won't talk about how long) finally had an appointment for an extraction (not enough left to bother with a Root Canal). So, you see, I had already planned my birthday dinner (that I would be cooking) to be something soft and lukewarm.

What I had not planned was the tumble (okay, bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce) I took down the cellar stairs on my way to the laundry room. It's a laugh a minute here at Casa Sheepie! We know how to par-tay!

Let's just say that standing is more comfortable than sitting. And moving from stand to sit or vice versa is problematic (and painful).

Okay, enough about me.

Let's talk about these:

What you see is the Active UFO pile. They might even be correctly called the NFO (Nearly Finished Objects) pile.

On top is the Jimmy Beans baby sweater. Moving clockwise (which term probably drives anyone under 10 crazy--who's seen a clock with hands?) in golden Encore is a Friday Free pattern. Next up is a teeny gansy from Liz Lovick in pale yellow, then a Santa ornament sitting atop Anouk (blue yarn) and last but never least, a dishcloth (car knitting).

We won't even mention this quivering batch of doubled wool sock yarn that is just too heavy and entirely too hot to even think about touching!

Maybe I'll get back to it when the current heat wave ends.

(If you tuned in late, that's the Bear Claw blankie. It's wool, and it'll be pretty big once I put it together. Even now, the blocks are big enough to cover my lap.)

It's just going to have to wait!

There might be a Mittnz update soon. I am waiting for permission to post.

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