Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Spooky Cabled Armwarmers

Here's a free pattern for y'all. These are super warm, super thick and super soft. This yarn might just be my new favorite. If you knit them, please let me know! Send pictures! (I am calling them Spooky because it's Halloween, because the cabling looks like a gnarly tree, and because I am like that. When you knit them say "Wooo" and yours will be spooky too.)

Cabled armwarmer

Spooky Cabled Armwarmers

Size: One, about 10" long and 8" around. This will fit a forearm/wrist/hand anywhere between 7" and 13.5" around - the ribbing is very stretchy.

2 balls Plymouth Suri Merino (3 if you are going to knit these all the way to the elbow); 50g, 110 yards, color 282.
3.5mm circular needle (for magic loop, make sure your cord is at least 32" long) OR 2 3.5mm circular needles (any length) OR one set of 3.5mm dpns
cable needle
row counter

Palm view

Detail view

Folded cuff is comfy and stylish, too.
Looks good folded up

Photos coming soon!

Again, sorry for switching to short feeds, but if Bitacle wasn't ripping people off I'd post the long ones.

I am nearly finished with the prototype for the cabled armwarmers, and hey! did you know that if you are working a cabled project in the round, and decide to work back-and-forth for 12 rows or so to make the thumb opening, and somehow you make a mistake according to your own chart and your cable ends up on a ws row, you can just work the same cable, but purl all the stitches AND IT WILL WORK. I don't know how a C3F can be the same cable going in two different directions on two different sides of the work, but that is apparently one of the mysteries of the universe that we won't know the answer to until we get to heaven someday.


Sunday, October 29, 2006

As promised

New yarn, clockwise from top: Frog Tree Merino, Suri Merino, Vintage 2006 Alpaca. The Suri is currently being used as a guinea pig in an armwarmer pattern I'm sort of making up as I go. It has cables! ribs! It's been frogged about a thousand times today!

New Yarn

I finished My So-Called Scarf today. I used exactly one ball of Malabrigo and #11 Denise needles. I was scared of this pattern a year ago. But really, it's easy if you just pretend the pattern isn't crazy and do what it says. And after trying it on, I can honestly say it's even prettier and more flattering worn than it is in this picture. I wasn't sure about it until I tried it on, but it's amazing. At the moment I'm trying to decide if I want to put fringe on it - I have another ball of yarn just sitting here. Not that it would take a whole ball.

My So-Called Scarf

And two pictures of my no-good, food stealing sweeties. The picture of Fee captures her personality exactly - she is present but not involved, and studiously ignoring everyone while she looks pretty. And Grady is just pretty. He is getting more silvery.



Update: Because of Bitacle's recent splogging (read Chris's summary) I will no longer be posting full posts in my rss feed. Just want everyone to know I am not doing this to try to up my hit counts or anything stupid - I want y'all to read me! But copyright infringement (or even blurring) is a serious matter to me. Apologies.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

A nice haul

Pictures tomorrow. I went to a yarn shop today and bought - 2 skeins of Frog Tree Merino, 2 skeins of Suri Merino, and one skein of Vintage 2006 100% alpaca DK weight. That yarn I was absolutely powerless to resist. It jumped into my arms and all resistance faded. The Suri is to make a requested pair of wristwarmers for my best gal friend (since you can't find THAT yarn anywhere lately) and I really have to applaud the staff at The Knaughty Knitter for being patient with me.

My best gal friend is Japanese with gorgeous dark hair and golden skin, and my skin can best be described as "red, doesn't tan" or "burns, then burns again, then finally starts to look kind of slightly colored but it might be wishful thinking." I am ruddy and red and pale and the exact opposite of her skin, so there was a salesperson at this store who was more golden-y and I used her to pick a color that would flatter my friend. I followed her around with so many different colors of yarn that the last time she saw me she just stuck out her hand for me to compare it without my asking. (I am a Yarn Stalker. Do not mess with me!)

The Alpaca DK is probably going to become some outlandish spiral-rib wristwarmers. Outlandish because I really want them to come up to mid bicep, which is just ridiculous but okay. They will at least be over the elbow.

The Frog Tree? I don't know. It was a total impulse buy.

I got lost in my old college town today. Very sad! I drove around in a lot of circles. But since it is small I found my way out pretty well.

It runs in the family

To distract you from the lack of knitting content, I bring you a niecie/neph picture that shows their true personalities.

Goofy kids

Friday, October 27, 2006

In which a couple of ladies sunbathe in their unmentionables

It being Spooky Season and all, I have been thinking a lot lately about something Laurie said in a recent blog post. It wasn't the point of the post, so I've lost it, but basically what she said was that a cardinal sign of being southern is that you live in a house that is haunted, or are related to someone who does, or know somebody who did.

And I got to thinking, in my Yankee way, that I know lots of haunted house stories and almost none of them are about southern people. So, with a respectful nod to Faulkner and O'Connor, I'll tell y'all my ghost stories and we can decide together. Does this mean I'm actually southern? Do Yankee ghosts count?

See, when I was growing up in the woods of northern Michigan, a "Yankee" was someone who lived out east. New England, specifically. To the southerner, Yankees are anyone not from the South (including, say, California, but never including Texas). Yankees are most especially from the states that fought (and won) the Civil War. A Yankee is someone who comes to visit, and a damn Yankee is someone who stays. Just so y'all know.

So I have never actually thought of myself as a Yankee, or thought any terrible thoughts about Southerners, and I find the story about the Kentucky granny holed up at home during WWII who shot and killed some Germans who escaped a detention camp and then cried - she shot them because she "thought they were Yankees" - terribly funny in a horrible-of-me kind of way.

Anyway. My paternal grandfather was born in 1883. (Yes, grandfather.) He was born so long ago that in all of the pictures I have of him with my father he is already getting on in years. Around 1951 or so, he passed away. (He was nearly 70.) Because of some other family issues Dad went to live with his sister Carol and her husband Roy.

Aunt Carol and Uncle Roy have a lot of stories best described as "colorful," like about the two ladies who lived in their street who sunned themselves outside in their regulation Sears & Roebuck undergarments, or the family who was remodeling their house so they put a washtub out on the porch and had their boys bathe out there for several weeks. (They were not young boys.) They lived in a twisty-turny kind of house with a steep staircase and two doors to the outside along the side of their house - one from the kitchen, and one from the living room. Nobody ever used the living room door except at Christmas, when Santa entered and exited from it. But if ever there was a house that looked haunted (at least to a 9-year-old me) that was it.

Aunt Carol and Uncle Roy had a ghost named Ethel who used to smoke in their house after they were asleep. They could smell it. Aunt Carol would smell cigarettes, wake up and yell "go back to BED, Ethel!" and it would stop. True story.

And one time when Dad was living with them at a pretty young age, he woke up one morning to put coal on the fire downstairs, wondered why he was naked and found his underwear in the coal bin. (True story.)

My maternal grandfather, the one married to my Norwegian grandmother, had A Penchant for all things UFO. He believed in the Holy Trinity of Bigfoot, Area 51, and The Loch Ness Monster. He had stacks of those old newsprint-paranoia magazines from the 70s, things that would make the National Enquirer blush. He believed in every theory of conspiracy, alien life and government craziness ever invented. Aliens shot John Kennedy. Etc. He believed that every year, the exact same frost pattern showed up on the upstairs hallway window. He had pictures.

And of course, here in Tennessee we have the Bell Witch, and this haunted house in Murfreesboro that is guilty of the single greatest publicity stunt in the history of the world, or telling the truth.

But y'all, I am warning you, people here are a special brand of crazy (or "particular") that defies explanation once you travel more than three hundred miles north. We once had a Metro councilman who wanted to use city funds to build a UFO landing strip. We have a candidate for the Senate who is nominally a Democrat and comes from a family so corrupt they ought to be called a syndicate; his father has gotten away with so much over the years he must be actually covered in oil and scales to get away with it all. And yet, he's a serious contender for the Senate! Because y'all, people don't care if you come from corrupt, dirty and crazy in the South. Oh, and this is the home of the Yellow-Dog Democrat, people who would vote for a yellow dog before they would vote Republican. I really do know a lady whose father once told her he'd have made sure she was never born if he known she'd grow up to vote Republican.

So, not many of us need Halloween costumes, because we are all manner of eccentric and weird and getting away with stuff anyway and I'm not sure it matters what area of the country you're from, because every town has its own little pocket of weird and crazy stuff.

I do love a good ghost story.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

A sign I'm feeling better

I woke up singing tunes from The Muppet Movie. (I know that dates me, but so what? Embrace your past!)

I am about 3/4 of the way done with the foot on my first Mean Girl sock. (In keeping with MG's personality, there are plenty of twisted stitches on the sock, since I worked so hard on Pomatomus and got totally hooked on them, thanks Cookie!) Mama-E says she is dyeing up a big batch of yarn to send off to a shop, and will include some of the MG colorway. I don't know if it will still be called Mean Girl or something else, but I think you will be able to find it if you want to!

(Can you believe all that yarn??)

Another thing is that thanks to our Socktoberfest hostess Lolly, I have found Mona Schmidt's blog! That is, the designer of the Embossed Leaves socks. I truly love her designs, so I'm sharing the link with you - link.

Last but not least go check out Angela's knitted Halloween costume for her dog Lulu. I promise you won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Every knitter should read these two pieces

Y'all, our girl Carol of Black Bunny Fibers is awesome. (Go look at her yarn and dare to disagree with me.)

Carol has written two pieces about yarn and price-fixing and also someone named Milli. (Try, and I promise you will guess at least one of the players in this drama.) If you never thought the world of yarn could be brimming with intrigue, read these posts!

They are located here and here. And also you can read Jenna's take on the situation here, especially if you are dying to know who Milli and Yolanda are.

This public service announcement was brought to you by Publix All-Natural Creamy Peanut Butter (contents: peanuts and salt), a pumpkin named George, and the number 3.

Yes! Yes!

Finally someone who understands my passionate obsession with Friday Night Lights.

I hope it doesn't get cancelled.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Y'all know, how when you get some yarn through mail-order you think, "huh" but it doesn't really grab you, but then later you find yourself waking up at midnight thinking of the colorway? This yarn is like that. It's a custom-dyed Mean Girl colorway from Mama-E. And it looked kind of monochromatic to me in the skein, but wound, knitted - it's stunning.

I am doing a simple sock - twisted 1x1 rib cuff, stockinette, twisted heel flap and twisted toe. This yarn loooooooves twisted rib. It's so gorgeous I went to sleep last night thinking about my SOCK!

Mean Girl

(If it was not already called Mean Girl, I'd call it Pink Suede, what do you think?)

Give Mama-E some bloggy love today!

My Saturday sky photo, a bit late but nevertheless, check out the TREE!


Happy SOCKTOBER! I am starting to feel better and going back to work today.

Monday, October 23, 2006

My post disappeared!

1. I stayed home today.
2. I am making a scarf out of Malabrigo. Yumminess.
3. I finished a hat.
4. I hate dpns.
5. I am lazy and good for nothing.
6. I needed to stay home.


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Today I met the Geekiness

The Geekiness that was Me in High School.

Because, see, sometimes when you grow up and become Miss Important Art Director (not that I am) and you do photo shoots with famous people in New York and L.A. and lots of other cool stuff, you forget. You forget that you played the tenor sax for the production of Grease your senior year and on dress rehearsal night you really, really messed up the solo you had at the beginning - so badly you could hear one of your classmates sighing in the audience. (But you did great on opening night.)

You forget that every year for six years running, every single Friday night from September to December, you strapped on a drum and marched around a football field and thought you were cool. Because, the announcer saying "The Manistee High School MARCHING BAND" and the sight of people standing and cheering for you somehow got the old adrenaline flowing and y'all did those cadences that people clapped along with and people used to stand up and cheer for your band. Because it was 1986, and y'all rocked.

Drummers work harder than anyone else in a marching band, by the way. They play all the time, the drums are heavy, you can't drop your rhythm but you can drop a stick, and they are expected to be the loudest people on the field. And those uniforms are sweaty.

So then you grow up and get a semi-big-time job and you have to tell people that you were a Total Band Geek, marching band and concert band and pep band, and yes you were good enough that when you auditioned for college you didn't even get asked to play scales, they just handed you the envelope. And because you made it that easily? You never even showed up for one of those practices, and you never played with the band. Because, high school band was ok, but college band? Never.

Today I went to the Music City Invitational, a marching band competition just like the ones I competed in year after year in school. It was the first time I ever watched one I wasn't competing in. These were tiny bands - only about 60 people. Some were old school with horn raises and double-time, others were more showy and dancy. We stayed for three bands, long enough to see An Important Niece kick it with a really really great old-school big-show band.

But I swear I could smell the green pleather bus seats going to band festival and feel my Walkman in my ears again playing Sly Foxx - "Let's Go All the Way" because I listened to that song over and over and over. And there was this creepy guy named Anthony who always wanted to sit with me, and my band friends and I were at the back of the bus and it was cool. And my friend Michelle who turned out to be kind of a hussy got sent home from the one in junior high for drinking. (I didn't have the foresight to plan my outfits in junior high, let alone pull off a drinking heist.)

I could feel the sweaty cowboy hat on my head, and the plasticky polyester uniform, and see the blue and gold bike tape on my sticks. I could feel that place on my left thumb I hit one too many times on the drum and how nowadays when I bump it wrong, it tingles. That stupid feather in the hat. The frosty, football-game air and the kids under the bleachers getting away with God-knows-what. The announcer that made my blood boil ready to give these people A Show.

A couple of years ago I went back to see my cousin's kid playing in a football game - a teeny, tiny team, I guess, at my hometown school because he played offense AND defense. We were sitting in this ridiculously huge new metal stadium, me and my dad, 17 zillion people related to me sitting around me, and I remembered being a very little kid and sitting with Dad in the bleachers at the old high school stadium, the one I later marched in, with a blanket on my lap and Dad sitting next to me and this kid named David who was a year older, maybe six and would later grow up to be my Homecoming date, and then dump me. And then the band came out.

The teeny, tiny, 1/4 of the size it once was, not nearly loud enough in such a big place, marching out from their place in the end zone next to the Victory Bell. Different uniforms, but probably children of some of the people I went to school with. It was sad that it was so small. But I remember snugging up close to Dad and thinking about being a little kid and being happy anyway, because sometimes nothing is better than a cold fall night with your poppa sitting there next to you.

There is just nothing like a flashback. And y'all thought I was cool, didn't you?

Friday, October 20, 2006

I give up!

Turns out it was NOT migraines last week! I just returned from the doctor because I couldn't take the headaches anymore. I have a DOUBLE ear infection AND a sinus infection. I have Biaxin for 10 days! Mucinex! Dayquil! Claritin!

I have been told to REST! Drink FLUID! And KNIT!

(Ok, I made that last part up, but wouldn't you??)

I owe you all an explanation.

First...The thing that has always bothered me about this entire issue is why did the yarn get tested in the first place.

Last night when I was going to sleep I thought of a possible reason - deconstructing your competitors' products to be able to make a comparable one. Also, since cashmere content can vary +-3%, maybe they were just looking to see if it ran more to 15 or to 9.

Maybe they found it unintentionally. And because of that possibility, I am willing to give Cascade the benefit of the doubt.

Additionally I'm quite sure that Debbie Bliss and Noro wanted to know if the content of their yarn wasn't matching up. The story originally rubbed me the wrong way, but I'm feeling much more live-and-let-live today.

The other thing...well, I'll come clean. Jo thought I was ranting about Knit Picks! So, I've been mad at them in the past for ridiculously thinking that people would confuse them with Knit Pixie, so I called them "the store that shall not be named."

Um, that was sarcasm. Not anger. I actually order a decent amount from both companies, and while I have to say that KPixie has much, much better shipping and customer services, they both have their place. Wool of the Andes is great yarn, as is Gloss. I wouldn't use Palette for much, but Shine has a nice hand and feels good to use. And is durable. And I absolutely LURVE my chart keeper. I mean, why doesn't everybody offer this??

So I confess - I'm a customer. Not a frequent one, but I do buy from them. Maybe $20 every six months. But as cheaper priced yarn goes, there aren't a lot of options. Y'all know, the only 3 kinds of yarn I will buy from craft stores are Sugar n' Cream, Wool-Ease and Paton's wool. Otherwise I won't buy anything they have. So maybe it's better to think of me as FOR the local yarn shop, FOR the internet distributors, and AGAINST the overpriced box stores.

(That's not sarcasm. :) )

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Ok, that's it

I found out the name of the company who "helpfully" tested KFI's yarn and "helpfully" informed yarn-store owners of its findings.

I also found out they are coming out with a competetive yarn containing cashmere. How very interesting.

I think it is safe to say I am no longer going to buy yarn from the "helpful" company. I find their actions reprehensible. I never bought the others because they contained cashmere anyway, so I'll continue to buy their yarns.


(Yes, I edited. Yes, I went too far. Ok then. I am having a good Southern lunch - white bean soup and jalapeno cornbread. WOOO.)


Y'all, I know you think this is crazy but Fee doesn't fight me at all putting the sweater on. She doesn't even run away. Some of you have seen the big big scar on my left hand from her - so she is capable of doing damage. But she doesn't, and she seems to want to wear it.

Grady, on the other hand, spits and claws when I put it on him. (shrug)

Ok then

I got my little IngenuiTEA pot yesterday and so far I love the green pekoe, love the hojicha, don't love the sencha so much. It has a slight soapy taste that I'm not grooving on, or maybe it's following my cereal-and-soy-milk breakfast that is the problem. Either way, so far this tea is GOOD. The teapot is PRECIOUS. I am loving this and planning to get it for everyone for Christmas. Ha!

Kirsten figured out a handy-dandy way to keep track of those decreases on the arch-shaped sock pattern. Y'all, I puzzled and puzzled over this, and she just worked it out! Put a marker AFTER the first (k2tog) shaping decrease, and another marker BEFORE the second (skpo) shaping decrease. When you knit the decrease round, you knit to 2 sts before marker, k2tog, sm, do the make ones and knits and then knit to the 2nd marker, slip the marker and skpo the next 2 stitches.

Kirsten is BRILLIANT.

Now, y'all, I hope you read Crazy Aunt Purl? Go read today's entry. Because I was at MTSU, the same college, when this happened, and I remember it happening, and y'all...well, go read the story. This is a blast from my college past that has brought me endless delight this morning.

Or maybe it is the tea.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

My Crazy membership is paid for the YEAR!

Here's the Porch Princess sweater, y'all, modeled by Fee herself:

Aerial View

Looking a bit silly, yet warm

She seems to like wearing it. On my next incarnation I'll make the neck a bit longer and bigger around (I knitted the ribbing flat and then didn't seam it up, hence the edging. It makes her look a little Vegas because she's so fluffy.) The light wasn't very good outside so the photos are blurry. (Sorry. But it's a cat sweater!) It's very easy to get on her, and absurdly easy to get off - just pull the back over her head and she walks right out of it.



Porch Princess Sweater for cats
Pattern: My own, based on a few cat measurements
Yarn: Paton's Classic Wool, dyed with Wilton's cake dyes, about 75 yards, and KP Wool of the Andes in Pumpkin, crocheted on for trim
Needles: US 7 bamboo circular
Time to completion: 2 days

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Caveat Emptor, right?

By now the knitting blogosphere is swirling with controversy about a certain brand of yarn marketed as carrying cashmere that actually doesn't. (Or it will be, maybe it's too early yet.)

This to me is no big deal because I've used it for several projects and y'all, if there is cashmere in that yarn it is the shortest-short-staple fiber ever to be used in yarn, because it pills like crazy. I mean, Gnarls-Barkley-crazy-hello-pilly-goodness. Except it's not good.

But I do feel badly for a company being put under by a "helpful" competitor (whose actions should be immediately suspect) that had the yarn content analyzed - and because the distributor didn't conduct its own counter-analysis...well, if you were a yarn shop owner, what would you do? You have to listen to somebody, and the loudest voice in the room gets attention, never mind accuracy. (I think it's questionable when your competitor does its own "expert analysis.")

Anyway, read about that here and here.

A little bloodthirsty on the part of the competitor, if you ask me. But like I said - for me personally the yarn wasn't all that great anyway, so it's hard to get too upset.

Except that my friend asked for a pair of Fetching for Christmas...so...I'm thinking Jo Sharp Silk Road Aran. Possibly might have to get some today.

I am all over the map with mojo now! I started a hat on Saturday with some Manos, and last night I knit 3/4 of a little bitty sweater for you-know-who, the Porch Princess (sounds real trashy, hey?). If you don't remember, last year I was crazy enough to buy Fiona a coat, because she wants to be outdoors in 20 degrees or 90 degrees...but when it's 20 she plays this little game called "In and out kitty". So I bought her this funny little dog coat, but she never could walk in it right. Real low to the ground and slinky, and I could tell she wasn't feeling the love so it went to the Good Will.

This year I went to Old Navy and was going to buy her a pretty little faux-shearling number, but I stood in line and watched one clerk walk away, a customer at another clerk return AN ENTIRE BAG of clothing, and the customer in front of me return items from TWO DIFFERENT sales receipts. Y'all, I live in one of the richest counties in America, and definitely the wealthiest in Tennessee, but that was just plain trashy. So after ten minutes of fiddle-faddle by the clerk in my line, I walked up to the counter, put the coat down and said "I wanted to buy this but the wait was too long." And little miss I'm-folding-clothes-now-instead-of-helping-people-buy-stuff looked up and was mildly alarmed to see me leaving, but did nothing. Service, people! And who needs a $25 dog jacket for their cat ANYWAY?!

So, I took Fee's measurements and, inspired by that Knitter's Almanac spirit of fearlessness, cast on! I knit a few inches of ribbing flat, joined it in the round to form a split V collar, counted off a few stitches for her armholes and bound off, then cast back on and knitted a few more inches. Now I'm to the final ribbing, which I am making a bit longer than the neck ribbing, and I should finish tonight.

I'm inspired by this, just a little bit...

Billy Bag did in fact send me a replacement bag! I'm happy to report that, but unfortunately although I emailed the person back who helped me to stress that I wanted another shopper style bag, they sent me a different style bag with the same fabric pattern as mine. (In their defense, they warned me that they might not be able to find an exact replicate, hence my email to them about style over color.) I tried using the new bag, but it isn't really usable for actual shopping (it's one of those where the top folds down and very hard to get into). It's more of a cute-date-bag. So I found a brown corduroy bag just like mine on eBay UK and bought it. For too much money, probably, and can you say "cat hair magnet" but I didn't have the $400+ to get a leather one.

So I am hoping that that turns out to be a good thing, and will probably list the other bag on eBay soon. I'll post pictures here, though, on the off-off-off chance somebody might want to buy it.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Weird dreams

Last year when I was in the throes of the fall asthma extravaganza, I dreamed over and over and over that I was kung-fu fighting and getting flat-foot kicked in the chest. This year, however, the nighttime-asthma-attack dream of choice has been Choking On Food. As in, I'm in a restaurant telling the hostess very calmly that I'm choking and can she please do something for me because I can feel the food stuck RIGHT THERE, and she tells me to lean my head back and let gravity work for me. (This is all because I am using the heat at night, and my lungs don't like it.)

I stopped taking my Singulair again, because I think it makes me irritable and annoyed and generally crabby, but then after these dreams and a long stint cleaning the apartment today (dusty) and breathing in all manner of junk and crap, I decided I would rather breathe and be crabby than dream for the next sixteen nights that I am choking in a second-rate restaurant and the highschool hostesses won't help me. Also I am faintly suspicious that the recent migraine stuff has been related to the asthma meds. (I never did get an actual migraine, thank goodness.) It was a stupid decision to stop taking it because my asthma hadn't been bad (hey! maybe the meds were working!) so I went back on it as of this weekend. I think the migraines were maybe from stopping the asthma medicines. Or maybe allergy-triggered. But good grief, lately I need some duct tape to hold me together! The good thing is, I don't feel bad. I just can't sleep.

So. Tonight I knitted the rest of the leg on Pomatomus #1, plus the heel flap, plus turned the heel, plus picked up some very dodgy gusset stitches and I really am trying to concentrate on knitting some more. But then I came in here to check email and I realized I still have not put the clean sheets on my bed from today. (I washed the blanket with the sheets, and the cat blanket that is in the window seat in the dining room, and I got approximately enough cat hair to build a 6-week old kitten from the lint screen. You know, how it comes out magically in the dryer?)

And oh yeah, I ordered one of these on a total whim, because I heard they are the cat's meow.

What does that mean, anyway? Because in this house, "meow" means "feed me, dangit" or maybe "I stunk up the bathroom, can you clean the box, please?" - and I'm pretty sure that ain't what they mean by "cat's meow." Har.

Under the wire

But still before dawn, Sunday. :)

Saturday Sky

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Getting closer

I finished the body of the mitten last night! I am not sure I did the decreases properly, though. It just sort of says "decrease" and somehow the count ended up a little off so I had to tink or compensate. But overall I am happy. It needs a severe blocking after the thumb is knitted in. And to be honest, I was so worried about it being gigantic, but maybe it's a hair short! Funny. (Blocking.) Now I need to make the thumb and make another to match it.

So anyway, here it is so far! Click for a bigger view.

Top of the Mitten to you, sir!

And the rest of the mitt to you

Friday, October 13, 2006


Paraphrase of a song I heard the other night: "It's people like me that give people like me a bad name." I can't get the song out of my head! I am learning fast - country music songwriting is its own animal. It's like math class where you know everyone in the class is smarter than you? Yeah.

Dinner last night at a lovely little Italian place, but it was absolutely freezing because we are all absolutely in denial that it is October 13 (y'all!) and the high was like 48 degrees. We had SLEET! (It was on the news. You know you live in the South when sleet makes the news, just so y'all know.) The owner of this little Italian/Mediterranean place did not want to turn the heat on because he was in denial with the rest of us, but walking around in a pullover and cords with hot tea or something. Finally he did, about the same time the food came in very hot plates. Y'all know that smell you get when you turn the heater on the first time of the year? That was the smell. And that's how my apartment smells this morning, BECAUSE IT IS THIRTY-FOUR DEGREES. In Nashville. In October. (Something is very wrong, and I'd like to talk to all those smarty-pants global warming people about it.)

There are going to be little kid popsicles on Halloween if this keeps up. I mean, they are going to freeze out there!

I knit three rows of the flower basket shawl last night, about twenty rounds of my second arch-shaped sock (email if you want the pattern! It's ok! Thanks to everyone who has already! I want pictures!) and...(drum roll)...I am on about row 12 of the second lace repeat of my first-ever Socktoberfest project! Pomatomus! They are Pomatomy. I was irrationally scared of this pattern because of the "piquant" label over at Knitty but I have decided that "mellow" means "barely conscious" or "something you can knit without looking" and "piquant" means "look down every few stitches." Because it is Not. Hard.

Did anyone watch Six Degrees last night? How happy were you to see Roy get his arse busted? Yeah baby!

Thursday, October 12, 2006


That is the sound of a migraine taking shape. For two days my head has been trying to rebel, and I've been giving it all the Excedrin migraine / brain freeze I've got. Seriously, I think it's my neck out of whack. Next week my massage therapist returns. Well, no. She hired a new assistant. So that will help a ton. I know it sounds extravagant and crazy but a once-a-month does more to keep me healthy than anything else I've ever done.

Mom awoke at 5 this morning; someone in a police chase hit a telephone pole outside their house (about 50 yards away). The ambulance left with its lights off...so...

I'm off to put my neck warmer thing in the microwave. I like everything about it except the case. Do you think I should knit one?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Knitter's Almanac

Last night I was at the bookstore to pick up a book for you-know-who, and I finally found a copy of The Knitter's Almanac. Y'all, you must bask in the brilliant simplicity that is Elizabeth Zimmermann. I curled up with the book last night on the couch, and I could hear her patient, Very British voice in my head discussing knitting, and it felt like having coffee with my gran. You remember me talking about my grandmother, right? Her name was Margaret, she was from Stavanger, Norway, and she was a very good knitter and crochet-er, with a lovely Scandanavian sing-song accent and a northern European practicality that was passed down to my mother and to me (in some respects, though obviously it has not affected my attitude toward purses and lipsticks).

Anyway, reading EZ is like I remember sitting in my gran's kitchen with a cup of coffee that was mostly milk and listening to her and my mother talking. Comforting, sensible, and simple.

One of my favorite concepts in life is that things can be very simple without necessarily being easy. Christianity is like that - very simple, but not easy. It's one of the reasons why most Christians try to add to what it actually says. "Love each other as I have loved you" is very simple. But easy? No. So we come up with a lot of ideas and notions about how we are actually really doing that, when maybe we aren't. We complicate things.

That's John 15:12, in case you're wondering. I've been a christian for about 13 years now and I have absolutely no idea how exactly to do that, so I just keep trying to muddle through. Knit the next stitch, so to speak.

It's rainy - I guess I'm introspective. Happy October 11! Hee hee.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Fee answers your questions

Question:Lulu would like to know how you combine being the prettiest cat in the house with your duties as Overlord.

Fee: Let me tell you, Lulu, it's not easy! I have to keep a busy schedule of grooming, sleeping and working out to keep myself tip-top. In order to balance my authoritarian dictatorship with my fine feline looks, I have to work smarter. I find that attitude is the key to working smarter. When I had front claws I used to bash Grady in the face until he bled. Now I find that a well-timed hiss or a jump straight into the air when he's around keep him on his toes and following my orders. Clawing my way to the top cat position in my house hasn't been easy, but it has been very worthwhile.

Grady: Pfft. Keep dreaming, small cat. You remain alive only because I permit it.

Question: Fee, Chaos would like to know your best tips for preventing humans taking your picture.

Fee: Chaos, thanks so much for your question. The key here is movement. Your success will be in sudden, untimed twitches, jumps and jerks. Typically a human will frame the shot and then inhale to steady the camera. Make your move just as you hear her breathe; she'll either have to wait longer for the shot, or she'll snap it anyway with you in motion, and the result will be a blurred, partial or otherwise ruined shot of you. Grooming works well to deter your human from picking up the camera at all, but if she's following you around with it, try not to sit still in one place for any length of time. If she makes you sit down, I find that pressing your ears back against your head make an effective deterrent. Pay close attention over the next few weeks and you'll learn exactly what frustrates your human the most. Chances are that instead of simply letting you get comfortable and sneaking up on you, she'll follow you around for several minutes trying to get the shot. You'll have ample opportunity to wreak havoc with the well-timed move.

Monday, October 09, 2006

It's a go, then!

The lovely and talented Kirsten is test-knitting the arch-shaped socks pattern.

If you would like the pattern in the meantime, email me with the understanding that it's being tested, and I'll be sure to email you with any corrections we come up with. Ok? :)

meangirl AT comcast DOT net (do the usual)

Fee is BUSY, y'all!

Fee would like you to know she is extremely busy with hunting animals across the yard, but is taking questions if you have them. Just give her time to answer.

Fee is Very Busy

Grady is going to obedience school to learn to STOP WALKING ALL OVER MY HAIR WHILE I AM SLEEPING. (Ahem. Don't you wish?)

I started a sock for Socktoberfest, and started this:

Round 2 of Selbu

I have a lot more done though. I would just like to say that these mittens will be gigantic. I was worried they would be too small - they will be roomy. Which is good, because tight winter clothes make you cold.

I cleaned out my closet yesterday - 2 50-gallon tubs are set for Good Will, and five large bags of trash went to the dumpster. It's not clean yet, but I have something to work with now. Next weekend we start a Laundry Overhaul.

I have a test shoot today involving lots of mud. I'm packed and ready to go but running late as usual. Happy Monday!

Friday, October 06, 2006

For those of you who know me...

This isn't a slam against anyone who is in counseling AT ALL, it's a commentary on my personality. Who knew Mad TV would have so much insight? Because this is the kind of counselor I would love to visit!

Watch this YouTube: Stop It!

Pattern posting for arch-shaped socks coming SOON! I'm working on the last of it tonight, I think. Then...SOCKTOBERFEST!!!!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

If you can, go eat at Dotson's

Specifically for Laurie, because she posted the picture of my Knitting Spot!

(If you don't know what Dotson's is, look here. It is YUMMY.)

(If I could just get my Newsgator down to around 2 posts per person instead of 8, I'd get my camera out and take pictures of something, anything, cats, yarn or possibly the parking lot. As it is, I have exactly 106 knitting blog posts in the queue to read, but I really and truly promise that I do read y'all's blogs, it's just I made a deal with myself to always have around 50 lined up to read, don't read more than that, because I waste a lot of time at work reading knitting stuff and also because who knows when I might be lonely and need to live my knitting life vicariously through you? So no pictures yet. Tomorrow morning. I have to read 8 Knitters Anonymous posts first.)

Editorializing knitwear

There is something odd about the need to editorialize knitting in publications. Rowan does this, and VK really does this. You know, make up a story to go with the knitting that is somehow supposed to contextualize it. "Modern English." These are supposed to be leisure shots of a certain type of woman - English, quirky, stylish. In stark contrast to the "Gray's Anatomy" spread in the same magazine - that woman is modern all the way. She doesn't dye her hair, she owns tons of black, she's a city dweller.

So, does it mean that a small-town girl can't knit a Gray's Anatomy sweater, or that a city gal can't wear Modern English? Of course not. But what works for normal, fashion editorial shoots may not always work for knitting patterns.

Fashion shoots have a cartoon, larger-than-life quality to them. Stiff poses, unlikely contexts and the heavy use of irony (think: a model exaggeratedly eats sushi at a table placed neatly over train tracks) contribute to this unreality. Models are too big for the locations they're in - arms and legs are in danger of going off the page. Bodies pose at exaggerated angles. People stare off into space. Situations that are blatantly not real life are used to up the drama level. Generally, the more realistic the shot, the less drama it contains. (Photographers spend their whole lives creating drama, in a sense. A beautiful image is more than just recording what is physically there.) Drama is one of the hallmarks of fashion photography. Even runway styling reflects this.

So why apply this theory to knitting? Why make the shots over the top? Well, VK doesn't, not really, in the sense of making way over the top, high-fashion spreads that would run in regular Vogue. But they do do it. I think it's partially to lend an air of luxury to knitted items, and in that respect I think it's successful. It's boring to turn page after page of functional but dramaless pictures (devoting my life to magazine art direction is proof that I believe it needs to be done). But in other respects?

Well, what's the number one complaint y'all hear about Vogue Knitting? That's right. Awkward Poses (also known as I Can't See The Sweater I'm Knitting). Knitters may love the look of something, but the plain truth is, we need reality in shots of knitwear. We need to see how the fabric drapes in a normal pose, or how exactly the seams fit together. More importantly, we need a sense of the model's figure left unaltered by contortionism. Because most of us knit things we see on models that we think would fit us the same way. In this sense, the concept of Interweave Knits using a portrait photographer to shoot the knitwear is pretty inspired. Say what you will about the aesthetics (and I could do a whole nother post on their cover design), but you can generally see what you're supposed to knit.

Update/Edit: I removed my initial praise of the Simple Knitted Bodice photos after Turtlegirl's excellent catch - you can see she's pinned in the back. Having not actually knitted the pattern, I am So Busted. Please, if you have a pattern example that mixes fun and function, post the reference to the site so we can see it too!

Some pattern houses go too far in the direction of realism. Most are mom-and-pop shops that probably don't even use photographers to shoot the work. A little bit of drama never hurt anyone. But drama is like salt - there is a fine line between a nice flavor and saltiness overpowering the dish.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Here's something to do

Lolly's quiz for Socktoberfest.

When did you start making socks? Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class? Kirsten taught me the basics of Magic Loop and sock knitting during July 2005. I'd attempted one sock before that, but didn't feel the love.

What was your first pair? How have they "held up" over time? A pair in LL's shepherd sport "Vera". The pattern was PGR's Dream Socks pattern. Yes, you read that correctly - I knitted a short-row heel on my first pair of socks. After that I put socks away for a while, and turned my first heel flap heel on a pair of Jaywalkers - that I never finished. They have held up well, but honestly I haven't worn them a lot. They are heavy!

What would you have done differently? Nothing, it was fun!

What yarns have you particularly enjoyed? My favorite sock yarn to knit with, wear, and look at is hands-down All Things Heather sock yarn. She is an absolute genius with color - it has so much depth and dimension. The yarn is slinky and slightly slippery and feels fantastic to knit as well as wear. Vesper sock yarn is a very, very close second. I love the way Julia combines colors, and the socks feel great on my feet. Other top favorites include Mama-E's sock yarn (thick and cushy, beautiful colors!), Sundara (ditto!) and of course Koigu. You won't go wrong with a skein or six of any of these.

Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method? Magic Loop

Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?) My favorite heel is a toe-up short-rowed heel that has a gusset but no heel flap. I wear my socks around the house or with clogs so I don't need the flap. The heel is easy, fast, and looks fantastic.

How many pairs have you made?15 or 16, I think.

Still nothing

Holding pattern today. Much to be excited about at work, but no knitting, for a third record-breaking day. (I'm about to fix that and give a dishcloth some knitty love.) Lost season premiere - mostly just confusing...but it feels like some of the air has gone out of the show. It's gotten awfully clever, anyway.

My Billy bag isn't here yet and won't be for a while, likely. Neither is the yarn I ordered, and I did a swap with a girl over a month ago and the items she was supposed to send me haven't arrived. She said she posted it but it came back and she resent. That was a week ago. I'm depressed about that.

But, you know, tonight I actually folded up all the pants and sweaters that were laying on various pieces of furniture in my bedroom. There were at least 10 pairs of pants and 10 sweaters. I desperately need to take a spin through the Martha Stewart Living section at Kmart and find some closet organizers.

(Do y'all's moms say THE Kmart? Mine does!)

Do y'all know about iOffer? Like eBay, but nicer.

I need to go knit, before I spontaneously combust. I've been swinging my arms like crazy when I walk at night, and they are starting to firm up! I can even feel my triceps. I have never really had 'fit' arms. I am loving it!

Nothing else of note to report. This rambling post was brought to you by the letter G and the number 4.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I don't think it was Shel, either

I filed a request on Book Stumper last night: Monsters cause trouble in the house. We'll see what they come up with. Dad doesn't think it was Edward Gorey. He remembers a monster called a Mugwump, and one that lived under the stairs.

Last June when I went to Michigan I drove to Chicago and picked up my nephew there and we took a road trip to Grandpa and Grandma's. On the way back, my BIL gave me a "shortcut" to take to get out of Metro Chicago with no traffic. Well, there was no traffic! 120 miles in three hours of no traffic.

I admit I got a little impatient. The officer who busted me in Metropolis, IL was about as hard and mean a man as I've ever seen in my life (but I deserved the ticket). My mom usually gets out of tickets because she wears her work (medical) nametag everywhere. They aren't going to bust someone who might end up with the power to adjust their morphine drip someday, right?

Alas, no special privilege for art directors. So last night I spent a pleasant four hours in the company of an online, animated traffic school. It was a bit 'toony, but not so bad. Very informative. I learned about Physics and Three Seconds Plus and some other stuff, y'all. (Just kidding, I took Physics in high school and love it even though I am completely uninspired with math.)

My debt to society is paid. I paid $41.25 and four hours of no-knitting time and ate dinner at my computer. I hope to take the lesson away from this that eventually speeding will cut into my knitting time, and is not worth it. (Just kidding again, I don't like speeding much and really detest people who go UNDER the speed limit, can't we all just get along?)

Anyway. Must go dry my hair. Scary amounts of it fell out this morning, but that is probably because the last time I bothered to wash it was Saturday. (Ugh.)

Monday, October 02, 2006

I think

That possibly that book was called Monster Den and illustrated by Edward Gorey. Or possibly it was called "There's a Nightmare in My Closet". (I've been searching the Library of Congress today.)

Does anyone have them? Do they have finks in sinks in them?

Here you are

Go watch a train wreck.

Mission accomplished

Do y'all ever have words that fall in and out of fashion with you? Lately I do not want to say "frogging" anymore. I think it's because I read a quote from Eliz. Zimm. where she mentioned "unraveling." I thought, "That sounds much more dignified."

But you know, when you sit down to pull out all that knitting and it's arms flying everywhere and yarn slipping off the ball-winder and possibly tangles, maybe frogging is a better word.

I frogged the sock. (I did get gauge, but couldn't stand the feel of the yarn on my feet. Also they felt too wide and too short at the same time. Slippery.)

I frogged the scarf. I'm not going to overdye it. I'm going to chalk it up to a lesson learned - Wilton's dyes and I are no longer on speaking terms.

I frogged the messy, terrible hat with the stupid mistakes.

I just feel so much better after I get something that wasn't working out of my sight and back into tidy little cakes of yarn. I don't have the project hanging over my head anymore. I have closure!

Saturday I went to Kentucky Down Under, an Australian wild animal park near Mammoth Cave. Y'all, I petted a joey! A real live 7-month-old kangaroo. He rides in a fabric pouch with his human caretaker for months 5-10 of his life so he's used to humans and well-socialized. He was so happy. He had a branch of some plant in there with him and everything. Sleeping and snacking. He was lovely.

Also they have a cave in the park. I didn't catch the name but it was maybe two hundred yards long to walk through and while I didn't mind so much doing the tour I really do not like caves. Slippery steps, lots of things to dodge, creepy-crawlies, water dripping on my head. And they always have to turn out all the lights for an interminable period of time. "Isn't that neat? Look at how DARK it is! You can't see your hand in front of your face, can you?" Well, no.

Does anyone remember a children's book of rhymes (possibly about little monsters) with one about a Fink? "Who put the fink/in mother's sink?/I don't know/but he's got to go"?? (I already googled.)

Yesterday I went to an art fair in Centennial Park, where we have a full-scale model of The Parthenon. It was hot. I got sunburned a little. It was fun, apart from the people who couldn't control their dogs (or didn't seem to want to). Last night I caught up on tv, and did the frogging.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Two Losers

I finished the Cabled Footie from One Skein last night - definitely a Loser.

It sorta fits, just not well and the yarn I used has lots of thicks and thins in it, and you can feel Every Single Stitch in the bottom of your foot (or I can). Definitely scheduled for a full unraveling. I may decide to reknit in different wool, or I may just leave this pattern behind. I liked knitting it, but it isn't stretchy enough for my taste.

The other is My So-Called Scarf. I used some yarn I dyed for it. It's looking a little too Rainbow Bright for me. In this case the fault is also the yarn. Full unraveling and yarn will be redyed. Possibly in a dark color like brown or red, to see if I'll get some nice tonal layering going on.

Two losers

And two winners, just for fun. I never posted pics of Shedir because of the whole camera cable fiasco, but here it is:


And this is a rosebush near one of the bridges in my hometown.

Bridge and flowers