Saturday, December 30, 2006

My New Baby

Everyone, meet my new baby:

My new baby

I got it for Christmas. Good thing, too, because my old camera is still taking pictures like this:

Endpaper mitts

That is the Endpaper Mitts pattern from Eunny. The green really is green, and the contrast color is chocolate brown. At the moment I'm not sure how I feel about them. After a long nap and a few days' worth of January, I'll know more.

In other knitting news, I've been working on Hello Yarn's (Adrian's) cable twist socks. They are lovely. The pattern is lovely. I've been working it, for some unknown reason I can only refer to as "the yarn told me to," in self-striping sock yarn. I adjusted the pattern a little, but after two rather lengthy swatches I'm not sure which I like better - a k5, p3 cable worked over 8 rows, or a k6, p2 cable worked over 10 rows. Honestly I like both of them very well. I hoped to get a whole sock done before Tuesday but it's not going to happen. That doesn't matter, but I do wish I could make up my mind. I'll take some pictures tomorrow, with my new camera! Right now it's charging up.

Here's another knitworthy Christmas present:


The Jaeger is soft as butter and I'm thinking of making Grumperina's Shifting Sands scarf with it. (I like my family a LOT for taking the time to buy me this yarn.) It would be a good scarf and there is just enough of it. The sock yarn will be put to good use. It's kind of a twiggy, barky green (not nearly as green as the photo) and looks to make some very comfortable socks. However, I need a quick knit to rekindle my knitting spirit after the holidays, maybe a palate cleanser of some sort. The Endpaper Mitts are very challenging because I basically rewrote the pattern (and I'm not happy with my colorwork), the socks are probably too easy...I am looking for something in between. I have a couple skeins of Cascade Pastanza that are talking to me, but I can't quite hear what they are saying yet.

Oh yeah, New Year's Resolutions? I am not going to stop buying yarn or anything like that. My two resolutions (goals, really) are to knit a sweater this year, and to attempt a Rowan pattern from the lovely book I got for Christmas. I was talking a lady this week at the yarn shop. Her first project was a sweater! Somehow I left that conversation thinking I need to knit one. So here's hoping, but I'm not holding myself to it. My real resolution is "no resolutions." Just do what seems right, next.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, my bloggy friends! Grady is snoring away and it's time for bed. Tomorrow I am going to the Titans game. It's supposed to rain, but who cares? Tom Brady My favorite quarterback will be out there in the rain. And Vince Young! And, and, and! GO TITANS!


We apologise for the previous outburst. Those responsible have been sacked.

Grandmother's Flower Garden, or Something

During the summer after my senior year of high school was the first time in my life I ever worked two jobs. At night I was a cook at Pizza Hut, and while I never actually met my goal of getting sick of pizza, I didn't gain any weight because I rode my bike to work every day. Dad picked me and the bike up in the Bronco (silver, not white) each night so I wouldn't have to ride home in the dark. But in northern Michigan where it stays light outside - broad daylight-light - until at least 10pm for most of the summer, that is very late indeed. (When I went to visit last summer I literally could not believe that it was 9:45 and I was standing on the porch at my Grandma's house taking pictures outside WITH NO FLASH.)

Anyway, the other job I had was for some company or other which was a clothing factory, and I was a seamstress (stop laughing!). I flunked the machine test because I didn't know how to thread an industrial bobbin, but to be honest I didn't really know much about machine sewing anyway, so that was for the best. So I got put into Piecework, and for much of the summer I spent my days hand-sewing furs on wool capes. Yes, ponchos. It was the 80s, y'all. Remember how awful the 80s were for fashion?

So I had a cape and a fur that was about eight feet long and I had to sit in a sweltering sweatshop of a place with no air conditioning and IT MUST BE EIGHTY DEGREES OUTSIDE AND NINETY IN HERE (it was northern Michigan! we didn't have a/c in my house until I was 28!) and one of those big giant fans you see in the movies like what Leeloo dives out of in The Fifth Element, but it was in the ceiling. I brought my lunch and sometimes I stayed too long in the bathroom just standing around because I did not fit in with these people at all, and my thumb hurt. I had a callus in my right thumb for three months after I quit the job, a neat little dent that made everyone at college look at me weird.

Well, I learned hand-sewing. And at some point recently after looking at all the magnificent quilts on the blogs, I thought "I'd like to do that." I mentioned this to my mom, who offered to give me a lesson over Christmas on her machine (and offered to let me borrow her machine for a few months). And somehow I ended up with this half-finished quilt in my possession, on behalf of a good friend, whose grandmother started it and mother worked on it and then it just never got done and she got arthritis.

So here is the quilt, one 3' x 8' piece (in two shots) and two side pieces:

Quilt 2


Quilt again

The piecing isn't done, and there isn't anymore fabric. But isn't it kitschy-cool? The fabric all looks to be 1950s, and I think the pattern is a variation on Grandmother's Flower Garden, which would usually have not had the purple thingies in it but which seems to work well here. So my goal is to find some more fabric that goes with this and start piecing again. It's partly hand sewn, partly machine. I can do the hand sewing, maybe even some English Paper Piecing.

But look, y'all, at the way all of the blocks have the same solid color in the center. The next ring is a solid, and the next is a floral or print. Then the white. See how even in the midst of mixing blue and red and green and aqua together, it's very orderly? It has a structure. I really like that. I didn't see it till I took pictures of it, which I think is funny. I guess the two smaller pieces are meant to be edges.

I don't know what I will do when it comes time to quilt it, or if it was meant to be a sewn quilt, or tied, or what. But my friend's mom will give me lessons on what to do, and that is old skool, huh?

So let me say only that as for the machine-sewing lesson, I hated it. HATED. Too fiddly, too much preparation of piecing and cutting and pinning and very little sewing. Honestly I think I just don't like sewing very much! The machine gave me fits, and we did not make friends. I came home without it, and that's just as well. These little 1.5" hexagons aren't going to be much sewing trouble - it's more the cutting and ironing and basting that will be bad. I need to invest in a fabric marker and maybe some stabilizer and some good pins and some patience. If it takes me years to finish, ok. I'm down with that.

Friday, December 29, 2006

I'm home!

(witty posts later)

Well, after a lot of eating, knitting, driving and general family stuff, I made it back. I finished the bridge book and started the one on the Johnstown Flood. I find I like it less, because fewer pages are devoted to engineering discussions. (I told you I was a dork.) But I still like it.

My cats are clingy and glad to see me and Grady slept almost all night in the crook of my arm, petting my hair. Which he does not do. I did not sleep very well, and am considering nice ways to kick the cat out of the bed (not literally kick!).

I am going to Publix and maybe the yarn shop later. Also I am trying to decide about mascara. I keep buying this L'oreal stuff, and it keeps flaking after a month or two. As in, down my face. I really like the Bobbi Brown Everything Mascara better, but I was being cheap. I keep learning my lesson over and over about cheap makeup.

Ok, I promise, more later, including knitting. I finished a pair of felted clogs for a gift and knitted quite a bit on some Endpaper Mitts, which involved resizing and messing seriously with the chart, but once it made sense, it alll made sense. I'm just not sure if I'm going to keep it as-is or rip back and add two more stitches to make the chart symmetrical. Eunny did this, but I didn't discover it till I started the thumb gusset. More later.

Oh well, as EZ says, I'll still be knitting. :) Ha! I also started a pair of socks. Last week was the only week on record in the past year I did not have a pair of socks on the needles. I don't know what got into me!

Friday, December 22, 2006

I wrote a country song

Every Time I Come To Florida It Rains.

Yes, a country song! But it's true. I step foot in the state and hurricanes come, the first snow in 30 years happens, and then today there's a lightning storm so severe they had to land the shuttle someplace else. I will never get a Florida Suntan. Ever. My white legs will be even whiter when I get home than when I left, because I left my Neutrogena Build-a-Tan at home thinking I wouldn't need it.

Man, did I ever have a good time on the road yesterday listening to my audio book. It's the one on the Brooklyn Bridge - corruption, power, Boss Tweed, brilliance, engineering, kickbacks, caisson disease, you name it. I love the spirit that comes across in history books about the turn of the century - that America was a place where Anything Was Possible. We have done such a job of replacing inspiration with cynicism, patriotism with contempt, and the pioneer spirit with greed, haven't we? Like CS Lewis says in The Abolition of Men, it's not that all values are wrong, it's just that we are taught that some, like honor or valor or courage or patriotic devotion to your country ought to be scorned as the purveyance of lesser, stupider folk. Intellectuals fancy themselves smarter than the people who feel those cliched emotions. There is an approved list of values that those of Intellect hold, and if you depart from them it's the same as going to a Starbucks and wondering out loud why the coffee is so damn expensive. Things screech to a halt among certain listeners. It's always been this way, with certain values being considered more virtuous by the chattering classes than any others (and here is a secret - the Church does it too, what with making some sins out to be worse than others, when in point of fact what matters is that someone IS a sinner, not what particular sin he did).

But Plato taught patriotism, didn't he? (That is not a question.) Battles are fought and won in the public arena through the use of language. (Think about it.) Anyway, books like these make me feel inspired and patriotic. Yes, there's corruption, but there is a measure of corruption in anything touched by humans. I don't believe that John A Roebling was a corrupt man who built the Great Bridge out of that spirit. I think he was a visionary, and his son Washington, who carried on the project after the elder Roebling's death - after having faught at Antietam, Colliersville and Gettysburg - finished the job well for his father.

There, now you know something of why I read these books and what they mean to me. I love stories of men and women struggling with things they know are too big for them and doing it anyway. I think a certain recklessness is essential to happiness as a human. And I love the way McCullough writes.

This morning Zeke, the Great Pyrenees who forcefully and mightily in a hoping-for-cheese-way inhabits my parents' house, got into my suitcase and very carefully, without hurting anything else, took out a ziploc baggie of tea bags. He left one at the foot of my bed, one in the bedroom doorway, and one in the hall outside the bedroom. The bag was in the middle of the floor a few feet away. (Clearly he had some project going on.) I woke up and scolded him a bit. Poor Zeke, he was crushed. I am not sure what he was trying to accomplish, but I am trying to be extra nice to him and find out. He didn't even slobber on the bag. I think he really, really likes green tea and was Sending a Message.

And I can't very well admire the Pioneer Spirit in the Roeblings and then crush it in the family dog. Right?

PS - to do the nifty strike tag, just use your brackets and put the word "strike" as your opening tag and "/strike" as your close tag. That's it! Hahaha!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas at the I-Cord

Tonight, though it pains me to tell you, I had Christmas with the Kitties. The I-Cord Kitties. Grady and Fiona. During which:

1. GB called me on the way to his show and expressed his abject disappointment at being left out of Christmas with the Kitties. I explained that I have to do it this way because tomorrow I am leaving, and tomorrow they get Christmas Kitty Dinner, and you have to do presents the night before. Plus I am leaving town for a week.

2. The phrase, "I am a crazy cat lady" was uttered more than once.

3. Slightly placated GB by telling him we could have additional After Christmas with the Kitties Christmas, and slightly placated cats by telling them the same.

4. I opened the presents. This is how it goes every year. They don't get me anything, but they allow me to open their gifts in order to ease the pain of my giftlessness. They sit and watch attentively and sniff the packages and jump when I take things out of the box. Fun times! This year they got two pop-up cat cubbies (leopard print!), a crinkly Cat Activity center (currently being ignored) and some Hairball Treats (can we have a better name, please??). Fee LOVES the cat cubbies. She is sleeping in one as we speak. Grady is a teeny tiny bit too large for them. When he gets out he carries it around with him for a few steps. Kind of embarrassing for a Plus-Size Big and Tall Cat.

5. I completely forgot about packing for my trip, then I got sidetracked looking for a camera cable, then I made tea, then I ate some sugar-free jell0 and posted to a message board, then I printed out my Christmas card list, then HEY! PACKING! I set out the clothes on my bed, then I typed this.

6. I packed my knitting at 4pm today.

7. I can smell Christmas cookies.

8. Wait, this was a list of Kitties Christmas? Well, nothing else happened. They are sleeping, just like you do after you open your presents. GB is somewhere playing music in front of a lot of people, I am going to bed, and I think my camera is broken. Because it takes pictures like this:

Still life with no blue sensor

Still life with no red sensor

Although I am quite talented in Photoshop, I promise I did not alter that photo in any way except to resize.

(Translation: I am hosed. And shopping for cameras.)

See y'all Friday - ish!


So, three posts below you'll see all the information you need to know about the Hedera socks - why they are a disaster and how much of them are done.

I forgot that Grady was supposed to get his ear drops for 10 days and kept on giving them to him. They were supposed to be done Sunday. Poor kitty, all that torture.

Last night I bought two audio books for my upcoming loooong car trip. Both are by David McCullough - Johnstown Flood and The Great Bridge (that's the story of the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, and Johnstown Flood is about a dam breaking in Johnstown, PA at the turn of the last century). I never talk much about books on this blog because I don't read a lot. When I do it tends to be about social history, giant American engineering projects, natural disasters, or theology. That just seems so out of whack on a knitting blog. At the moment I'm at a standstill on Rising Tide and Hitler, two books I desperately want to read but I have a hard time reading and knitting, and I had some knitting deadlines, so no reading for a while. I will take "Hitler" with me on this trip (boy, that looked funny without the quotes).

I thought that maybe having some continuity on the trip - that is, a book going on and just rolling out mile after mile - might make the 10 hours of driving more bearable. I also plan to stop at IKEA in Atlanta, just for kicks (and some silverware and pillows). Hopefully that will help, because "6 hours from Atlanta" sounds a lot better than "9-10 hours from Nashville," huh.

The gals at Knitter's Anonymous are having a destash sale. All the profits go to Knitters Without Borders; Stephanie of Yarn Harlot fame is encouraging us to give to them over the holiday. I bought two balls of the Jaeger Matchmaker Merino in tan. For socks.

As of this afternoon I'm off work until January 2! And I'm not traveling my entire vacation, either. Yippee for holidays! Yippee for my mom's cooking! Yippee for 80-degree highs in Florida this week!

Just yippee!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Just for the record

I am sad because the sock is so pretty, and it is TOO SMALL.

It's a Crying Shame

Now do y'all know why I'm sad about my Hedera socks?

It's a crying shame


Ok, back to seriousness

Sorry about all the silliness, but we love silly at Chez I-Cord.

Jeanne in the comments was envious about my massa ge. This thing should not be! Don't envy me. I go because I have a stressful job and to not go means feeling terrible all the time. Massa ge isn't a luxury to me! I get sports massage - neuromuscular, swedish, shiatsu, lymphatic - and it doesn't feel good while I'm on the table, and today I'm sore, but tomorrow I will be A New Jen. I have fewer health problems (in fact, my acid reflux bout this year and other issues started when my old therapist quit and I didn't have anything else lined up). The lymph helps get the excess fluid out of my ears and head and helps me hear better, instead of like everything is under water. It's just a good, healthy thing to do.

But let me tell y'all today, my lats are sore. I mean, really, truly, burning-like-I-was-doing-shoulder-presses sore.

I finished A Hedera and It Is Tragic - too small. Around. At the ANKLE, that crucial juncture where the heel bone makes the foot a truly massive thing. I hit gauge AND this sock is logically big enough to fit my ankle and there is no reason that it shouldn't fit me, but it doesn't - it leaves marks in my ankle. I'm so sad about it, because i have been plugging away at these socks for a month now. I am past the heel on the second one, good thing I can frog if I want.

I could make the other and gift them to someone, but the pattern isn't the fastest in the world.

I am thinking about giving them away to someone with size 10 feet and smaller than 9" ankles...someone who would knit the rest of the second sock and happily wear them. If you know anyone like this, let me know and maybe we could swap something. The yarn is Regia 4-faedig. I would wear them if they weren't leaving lace-prints in the tops of my feet.

No promises, but I could be swayed. :)

Monday, December 18, 2006

Hilarity ensues

Because Cara did it.

I'm Jenny, and my favorite color is green!

(Best news about Cara's Georgie - no cancer!)

I am going to die laughing

Julia, girl you CRACK me up.

Y'all. Look here. Do it with your site! Mine was hi-larious. I mean, seriously.
(Warning: SALTY LANGUAGE will show up on whatever you translate.)

Relief and some notes

I got my packages mailed, all of my three deadlines have been met, and I have a massa ge at 3:30. I think I might be able to actually relax!

Notes on the border for the Moderne Baby Blanket - The instructions given in the pattern say to turn to page 75 and knit the border as instructed. Those instructions say to pick up sts on the wrong side of the work and knit 4 ridges. (I think this would leave a dotted line on the front of the blanket.) This isn't what's shown in the picture, and not what I did, either. I emailed Kay, searched around online, and what I found is that she said she knit 2 garter ridges, picked up on the right side and bound off knitwise with a crochet hook on a ws row. This worked great for me except I added one more ridge for seaming. Kay also suggested that either a crocheted border or an applied (cough cough) i-cord border would work.

So that's there for posterity, in case anybody else is out searching at midnight for what exactly is supposed to happen on this border.

I am nearly done with the body of my hat to the decreases, then hopefully tonight I will knit the lining and decrease away and have a new hat for me! (The other one was for my stepmom's birthday.) Woo!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

I can hear the angels singing

At exactly 10:30pm CDT tonight, I bound off the last stitch on the Moderne Baby Blanket. I heard the chorus of angels! Y'all think I'm kidding.

Ok, ok. It was actually part of the soundtrack of The Return of the King, which I was watching. But I can make it what I want, right?

Here is proof:

And there was much rejoicing

And this new hat I finished for my stepmom's birthday is quite possibly my most favorite item I have ever knitted. I must IMMEDIATELY cast on for another for myself. Specs:

What it really looks like

(please excuse the dark circles; I'm not feeling well and wasn't wearing concealer)

Top of hat

Outside of hat

Inside of hat

My own pattern, inspired hugely by Jared, because of the way he lined a hat that he made. 110stitches, basic 1x1 ribbing for 3.5", stockinette for another 3", then decrease (but first knit the lining and attach it), pick up around cast on edge and knit for the same amount for the lining, pick up a stitch at a time from the inside of the hat and k2tog with the lining, as I was binding off.
Yarn: Cascade Ecological Wool, about 1/5 of one skein, and Karabella Aurora 8, about 1/2 a skein for the lining
Yarn source: Threaded Bliss
Size 6 INOX Express needle for ribbing and lining, size 8 Addi Natura for the rest
Time: I cast on for this on Thursday at the doctor's office and finished at 2pm today. Quick knit.

I absolutely LOVE how you can see the brown at the bottom of the hat. It makes me so happy I can't see straight. The hat is big. It's cushy. It has a double-knit brim for cold weather. It looks good. It's comfy.

Y'all, I am so in love. Also, my new favorite band. (Listen to Volcanoes.)

Friday, December 15, 2006

Spooky Mitts

The pattern has been converted to pdf and is in the sidebar, and available here. Have fun knitting, gallies!

(Does anyone have charting software who might be willing to help me knock out a chart for this pattern? I don't have any! I can send you a really nice pencil sketch and a skein of something yummy for your trouble.) (If I can find the chart.)

Happy News!

No strep, and no infection! Maybe a viral thing or allergies (to the Christmas tree).

I took an Airborne this morning and I feel pretty good, actually. And some behind-the-counter has unclogged my ears already. No more taking the PE stuff.

Happy Friday! More later.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

How about 5:30?

My family traditions have sort of snuck in over the years and established themselves without anyone looking. One is "It's Not Thanksgiving Till Mom Cleans the Fridge." Another is the "Christmas Day Furniture Shuffle," in which my Mom always, every year, without fail, rearranges the living room furniture after we have Christmas dinner. The week after Christmas brings "It's Not Christmas Till Somebody Loses a Gift Card" in which trash cans, bags, and gift boxes are emptied and shaken to find the $75 gift card from Grandma and Grandpa that my sister swears she put with the greeting card it came in.

The other holiday tradition, the one I don't like, is the Christmas Week Sickness. All the running around and deadlines and stuff culminate in one harried visit to the doctor's office, and usually they say "the quick test said no strep but we are going to treat it like it is." This weekend I took care of my friends kids, and on Tuesday one was at the doctor's office and came home with a diagnosis of strep. Today my throat started feeling scratchy and I feel a little warm.

So I called the doctor, and they said "How about you come in today at 5:30." I hear there is a shot I can get instead of antibiotics. Sign me up.

I'm going to try to finish up my deadlines as fast as possible and get out of here. I do not want to be sick at Christmas.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

To the Real Men

Spend some time over here today.

My dad is the Mr Beach Metal-Detector Guy. But I like the Mr Jelly Donut Filler too.

Also, here's a full list. I also like Mr Hair Gel Over-Geller, and I'm so sad that Mr Civil War Battle Re-Enactor, Mr Art School Model Guy, Mr Chicago Bears Fan and Mr Guy Wearing a Poncho aren't available for listening.


I worked all night last night making cookies for a party today, so I didn't have any time to take FO pics of Fetching.

How is it that I walked in to Target to spend $12 on cookie sheets and a half-hour later I walked out with $65 in merchandise in my bag? I mean seriously people, that store is eeeevil. (Not evil, there's just a $40 minimum.)

So I bought 80,000 Christmas cards or so (4 boxes), a little something I need for another party on Friday ($7 or so), one of those little trimmer thingies (this is my second one, I know it's crazy but I swear by them to get the layer of blond hair off my face in a way that does not involve waxing, shaving or other torturous forms of hair removal), two baking sheets, a cooling rack AND THAT IS IT.

The cookies are sitting out on the stove - when you make cookies, you have to really beat the heck out of the butter/sugar/egg mixture. Like, at least two minutes. That will totally emulsify the butter and give you nice chewy cookies. I didn't beat the chocolate ones long enough, so those are kind of crispy. But there are few things in life as tasty as a good old chocolate-chip cookie, even if it's crispy, so I am hoping for a little slack.

It is December 13. Christmas is in 12 days and I have not bought any gifts. Y'all, I am going to diiiiiiiiiie. This weekend I've got to finish my shopping for family in Michigan and send those off. Florida family is less urgent, but still - I don't want everything to be sold out.

And GB? Absolutely NO IDEA what to get him. Nothing. Possibly this, but it's only $10 AND it's pink. He's not a bright colors kind of guy.

So anyway. If you click the catalog link you will see my other favorite shirt - the facial hair club for men. I like the chinstache. I have a friend who has one of those. I think he would think that was funny.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

FO coming soon

I finished the knitting part of the Fetching mitts last night - thankfully the yarn shop had another ball. I have a couple of ends to weave in and a hole or two to plug in the thumb area and then it's photo shoot time.

The Flower Basket shawl is probably never going to get finished, but it for sure won't be done by my stepmother's birthday. I talked to her about it last night, and she's fine with it but requested a hat, something warm and thick she can pull down and fold up over her ears. (Think I'll go yarn shopping.)

My dentist got killed. He and his wife were driving and they got into a bad wreck and died the Friday before Thanksgiving. I will miss his Hawaiian shirts and jeans and bright blue eyes and cheery personality. He did the best job of anyone at getting my bonded teeth to bite properly, and he was all around a nice man. I'm very sorry for what happened to them. Because until I started going there, I was really nervous at the dentist. So nervous that there have been whole, eight-year-long stretches of my life with no dental appointments at all. (He always said "you have such nice teeth. We rarely see people with all their teeth." - because I have all my wisdom teeth and no cavities.)

Rest well, Dr Graham.

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Monday, December 11, 2006


Y'all, say a little prayer for our friend TurtleGirl today; her kitty Morris passed away yesterday. Very sad. Pictures of his happy face will be missed.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Houston, we have a problem

I ran out of yarn just after the thumb on my second mitt.

Houston, we have a problem

I haven't knitted the thumb on the first one yet, so I need enough to get me through the rest of this mitt plus two thumbs. I hope the yarn shop has more!

Grady had a bath today. (Fee did too, but she is not speaking to me.) Yes, I give my cats a bath every three weeks or so. It helps my allergies and keeps them from looking so manky.

Bath day

Time to go knit like crazy on The Blanket.

Alert the Media!

I finally found a Noni pattern I want to knit AND wear: Look here.

Send some prayers and good thoughts to Scout's little girl, *Supergirl!* (I can't help it, that's always how I read it.) She has croup and breathing treatments and blech, and if there's one thing I hated when I was a kid, it was that stuff. (I hated allergy shots too, but that was later.)

I'm making a pair of mitts for a friend, in lovely lush RYC Cashsoft Aran, kind of a nut brown color. Y'all, I knitted HALF of a Fetching mitt in two hours last night. This is not a hard pattern. And thank God, because this is yet ANOTHER deadline-oriented project in my life.

Saturday, December 09, 2006


Trish made some Spooky Armwarmers! That is so happy. Y'all go check them out - they are great! She used a smaller needle and did some modifications at the top, I think they worked out very well!

Thanks, Trish! I'm so glad you knitted my pattern!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Last Person to Leave the Land of Self-Pity, Please Turn Out the Lights

Y'all, I am over my temporary depression about the cost of the car. It's ridiculous. I should be thankful that's all it was. My dad yelled at me a little tonight, told me to get a new car this year. I think he's right. The car drives really well now. At least I can tell I sunk the money into it.

I am staying with some friends' kids, the one where the little girl called me from the gate at 6am on a Sunday - 3/4 of a mile, down at the road. I found a big pile of dog food - inexplicably, like several 50 pound bags of dog food - and have barricaded us in, so that there is no possible way she can escape to wander around in the 16-degree weather tomorrow morning.

Honestly, I'll have more later this weekend but right now I have a little French Bulldog puppy curled up next to me, the house is quiet, my slippers are warm and I am ready to float off to dreamland. They have a Tempurpedic mattress in the guest room. It's as yummy as you can imagine.


There's a leak in the power steering hose, so there was no fluid. New hose + power steering flush = $202.50
Taillights work intermittently. Take apart and fix ground wire problem = $75.00
Axle boots are shot. Take apart axle including removing wheels, brakes and repacking bearings + rebuilding axle = $560.00

Total = $850.00

He did say that it's routine to do a power steering flush and the axle boots at 150,000 miles, so this is just a little early for scheduled maintenance. But ouch, that's 1800 in car repairs since September.

I told him to fix it but I am setting a goal of getting another car this year. He did say it's a good little car that will last me another year at least, but (even barring the cost) I don't want to have my car in the shop all the time.

Things I want to point out from around the web

1. Cara - prayers and good wishes for her husband G. He has a diagnosis of melanoma. Pray the sentinel node biopsy is clean, ok?

2. Anna has a darling photo show of her wedding from years ago, and a new pattern. Did you know that Sirdar Click is only about $3 a ball???

3. To date, Wendy's annual fundraiser for The Heifer Project has raised over $20,000! This is my favorite charity, y'all, and I hope you'll give. Plus, it's fun to sit down with the kids and talk over what gift you'll give. Chicks? Ducks? A goat? Etc. She is giving away lots of fab prizes, don't miss it!

4. Tea Partay! Watch those preppy fellas get down.

Other notes: My friend says she thinks my car problem - weird noises when I turn the wheel - is the axle. Uh...gulp. I hope that is not expensive serious. I hope I am not getting to the point where I have a $1000 fix every six months or so. That won't do. I'll keep y'all posted. Update: I took the car to the dealer this morning. After riding around in it with me, the guy said it could be just the power steering fluid. Let's hope!

This came yesterday:
iPod case


Doo dads

I would like everyone to know what a great experience this was. The bag is awesome - perfectly sized, just a little snug so it feels real "safe" and very quality workmanship. The little notes and buttons and doodads in the Happy Days bag were such a nice touch, and she even sent some tissue paper for Fee! (Fee loves her some tissue paper. She can't resist sitting on it.) Check out Malisonian's Etsy store if you want some of your own. This was a custom order - she's good with that.

Today I'm thankful for my Fiber Trends felted clogs. It's 17 degrees outside, but in here, my feet are toasty-warm.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

He is really, really happy right now.

Lately I have begun to suspect the vet is somehow related to Crazy Aunt Purl's gardener (Also just type in "Francisco" in her search box.). The last few times I have taken them in he's gotten out the clippers and given them very embarrassing haircuts. Fee had her tail shaved (it was dislocated but originally he thought it might be a bite), then her entire backside (kidney infection) including her legs and let me tell you in case you were wondering that CATS DO HAVE BUTTOCKS and other anatomical-sounding parts back there on display and they have NO SHAME. Grady had his tail shaved at one point (the vet was checking for arthritis and thought it might be an injury).

One of these days he is going to look me in the eye and say "I am Francisco." And shear my cat.

But thankfully that day wasn't today. Grady has some irritation in his ears that has been going on for a while. He got a shot of cortisone and some gooey ear drops I have to do once a day because it will make him love me more, and tonight he feels Good:

Power nap

Fiona was not available for comment.

That is all.


I forgot to mention knitting. I am halfway through block 10 of the blanket. I've done 9 garter ridges and I need to do 18 total. I don't know how long the border is going to take. That's only 4 ridges per side, but there is casting on and casting off to think about. Hopefully I'll be done with this in a week.

I knitted a few repeats of Hedera last night too. The lace pattern is so easy and then once you get to the foot it's smooth sailing because you only do three repeats on the top. What makes me mad is the transition between the foot and the first twisted knit stitch. It's loose as everything. I've tried moving stitches, yanking on them to make them tighter...still have problems. That k2tog decrease isn't the best one out there, either. I don't know what it should have been but it looks sloppy to the trained eye.

Fortunately nobody will be examining my socks. But what do y'all use for a nice, neat, right-leaning decrease? I'll take pictures later.

Dispatches from Crazyland

I have so many deadlines going right now I might as well have a "wash my face" deadline and an "eat chips" deadline because that is how much I have to schedule my life. Today will be another busy one, culminating in a visit to the vet for Grady because he keeps shaking his head, and cries a little when I rub his ear. Poor guy. I called the vet yesterday, and they couldn't see him till today.

The camera used to shoot pictures of Fee (who is a she) is a Fuji FinePix F700. I highly recommend Fuji cameras. I'm a little worried about mine, which is about six years old and is getting some weird screen action going on. The first law of electronics is that they wear out, right? But Fujis are good cameras. Also if you're looking so are Nikons.

In other news, my bright shiny new Columbia parka arrived on Monday! I don't remember what I told y'all about this. Suffice it to say I tried to order it from two online retailers only to be told it was backordered indefinitely. Finally I ordered it from Shyda's, who apparently wholesales to the public because I got a great deal. This jacket looks like a windbreaker! It has an iPod pocket! A lipstick pocket! And let me tell you what, it is WARM. As in, too warm to wear zipped up in the car with the heat on. It is an Outside Jacket, and it's for fairly cold weather, anything below 30s. (Stop laughing, Chris. I know we are Not Minnesota. I know that was a heat wave when I lived in Michigan.)

Due largely to the influence of Jessica (she pointed out this seller), I now have a new iPod case on the way. It's a brown cord bag with a pink zipper, cool flowery lining and a pink star on the side. I have been looking for an entire year for something to carry Henrietta (yes, I named my iPod in a fit of silliness) in. At the moment I have a sad old iPod sock, not knitted by me, and an extra Tiffany's ring bag for the headphones (they give them to you when you have your ring cleaned). Functional, if not stylish. The iPod itself I have in one of those acrylic snap-on cases that holds it tight, but I still don't want THAT case to get scratched. So this seems like a perfect solution - a bag that holds headphones and iPod, and looks really really good.

You know, I often get annoyed with people who go on and on about all their daily purchases arriving and think HOW MUCH MONEY DO YOU PEOPLE SPEND ONLINE. Truth is, I haven't been to the mall in ages. I have had a small fit of online buying lately, but I really need to go to the Gap or something. I was in a yarn shop this weekend (a darling little store with a WHOLE WALL OF LAMB'S PRIDE BULKY, which I love, you mohair-haters aside and by the way there is nothing at that website) and didn't buy anything. So...this month I would like to not order so much online stuff.

Must put on makeup, make self presentable and pretend to be sane, calm and collected today. Bye!

Monday, December 04, 2006

I have my very own little down undercoat

So, remember a few months ago, when my hairstylist told me I was getting a rather largish bald patch on the left side of my head? I had my thyroid checked out, and it turned out to not be off, and my doctor thought it was probably a lack of vitamin e. A couple weeks later I started to be disturbed by the fact that my hands, which had literally almost always, summer or winter, been ice cold, were suddenly warm. This was such a sea change for me it was actually disturbing, to be sitting at my desk and noticing over and over again that my hands are warm. The vitamins appeared to be working.

So it's about two months later and I seem to be growing hair again. While I do still have a thin patch, my hair is not now and will probably never be what anyone else would call "thin." Thin hair on me is a bald guy's Fantasy Island. My hair takes a good ten minute shot of ion-charged, turbo-shot, work-it-good blow drying to get mostly dry, then the flatiron dries it out the rest of the way. But when I had long, waist-length curly hair (it was the 90s), if I let it air dry it usually took about four hours.

I have a lot of hair.

And I have always had these little wispy baby-hair type things (see my sidebar photo for an example). I have Lots. More. of These. I have asked about wearing a fringe. Last time I was in to get my hair dyed, matter of fact.

Me: Do you think I could wear bangs? A little fringe action?
The Best Hairstylist In Nashville: Absolutely not. Never speak of that again.

I have curly hair. Bangs means I'll have tweeties on the side of my head for life. I have nightmares of my mom cutting my bangs with scotch tape when I was little, and I remember the resulting curly mess on the sides. I don't know why I asked my hairstylist about them. Probably delusional.

On the knitting front, since after all this is a knitting blog, I have finally and with much perspiration, determination and some physical pain finished block 9 of the Moderne Baby Blanket. Block 9 should be known as the butt-kicking block, the one where your commitment to The Blanket is truly tested, the one where you knit and knit until your fingers fall off only to find you have completed exactly three rows. But praise the Lord, I finished it. I am telling you, I was seriously thinking about going out for pints the last night I worked on it, but that seemed like a really bad idea when I weighed the potential consequences.

So, in a pintless fit of despair, I got up Sunday morning and knitted my arse off. I mean, I counted. I sang. I distracted myself watching TiVo'd programs I missed last week. I had 12 rows to go, and I was going to make it!

Four hours later, I did. (I am not making that up.) I got up and did the Happy Dance, then turned on some Discovery Health Channel craptacular crapfest, and completely ignored that the Titans were playing because hey, it's Indy, and WE WILL NEVER WIN.

Some time later, after I watched a girl from Haiti have a huge bone growth cut out of her face, I finally decided that even watching the Titans lose had to be better than watching an operation where someone's face gets opened "like a book" (they kept saying that over and over) and they get a titanium jawbone. (She did look a lot better and could breathe again, that was good.) It was 14-10, and I got there just in time to see the Titans' Christmas Miracle.

And I knitted. I picked up the 200 stitches for block 10 and I'm telling you, I could knit this standing on my head. I worked an hour and a half tonight - five ridges! Yeah!!! The bad knitting weather has broken. Years ago I had a real, serious, bordering-on-psychologically disturbing obsession with climbing Mount Everest. Me! Y'all, I cannot go to the store without a lipstick in my purse. It was truly delusional. But I learned so much about how that mountain is climbed. First, you take a big dose of Crazy. Then you climb up and down the mountain for about a month, going a little higher each time to get acclimated so your lungs don't explode at the top. Finally, on Summit day, you climb for about fourteen hours and really, summiting is hard but you'd better hope to heaven you have enough oxygen tanks to get back down because at that altitude there isn't a person on earth who can carry you if you can't do it yourself. Knitting block 9 was my personal descending-from-the-summit moment on this piece.

Anyway, it was a good day.

My Hedera...I've done the heels of both and haven't touched them since last Monday. I have so many deadlines that the thought of knitting lace right now has the potential to send me right over the edge - a dvd project deadline, a mag deadline, a book printing deadline, Christmas gift deadlines, project deadlines.

This is why I love knitting. Because if you have 140,000 stitches ahead of you or 14, all you can do is knit the next stitch.

I'm off to knit another row or two before bed. Hope y'all are very happy today!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The devil is handing out ice skates

Oh my goodness gracious and holy Toledo Ohio, today was the best football game in the history of the world.

Y'all, I am realistic about my team (the Titans). I know the devil must be handing out ice skates right at this very moment.

But I am SO SO SO SO HAPPY that we beat Indy today, 21-17 20-17 on a holy-long-kick-batman 60-yard fieldgoal! With 12 seconds left!

I would be lying if I said I did not LOVE the look on Peyton Manning's face at the end of the game. (I am truly sorry about that.)

Go Titans! Go Vince Young! Go Rob BIRONAS!!! In this weather that must have felt like kicking a concrete block. Y'all ROCK.

(I did some other stuff this weekend that is blogworthy, but for now I have to work on a freelance project and format the arch socks pattern into a pdf. I emailed it to everyone who asked me, but now it's in the sidebar! -> over there!)

Saturday, December 02, 2006


I am still getting requests for the arch-shaped sock pattern! Woo! But if you've written in the last couple weeks for the pattern and haven't received it yet, please let me know. Send me an email at meangirl AT comcast DOT net and I'll email it to you. I have a couple of notes from people and no email address to send it to!