Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Just a couple of crazy pictures

From my Christmas tree instructions:


#s 8 and 10 seem particularly ominous. (Now WHY did I not think of putting my Christmas tree next to the bathtub???)

I had a secret pal awhile back who gave me a string of Monkey Lights. They have been incorporated into the tree, and one has been carefully beheaded. The head was repositioned atop the tree, because my star was too heavy for a 4.5 foot tree; it is the perfect tree topper, and I think it ought to count for something towards my crazy membership this year.


I love it utterly.

Taming the Gleeful Beast

Glee has turned into a beast which must be conquered, subdued, and forced to do what I want. (This is a sure sign I've been working too much on it.)

(Also, when you are driving home from your folks' after the holiday and you see some round pieces of trash by the side of the road in rural Alabama and think, "Oh, grenades!" - that is a sign you played too much Halo that weekend. Just sayin'.)

I have been working till smoke comes out my ears on Glee. I'm almost to the start of the arm shaping on arm #2; let's hope I took good notes because I was completely winging it. Before I start the shaping I need to get out some stitch markers (the padlock kind) and mark each decrease I can see on the other sleeve. (So I know I have the same amount of decreases. Otherwise, potential for disaster lurks around every turn.)

When I did them on that sleeve, I started off and did about thirty rows, then realized I had been doing all the decreases on the OUTSIDE of the sleeve. Very unique, but not for me! Rip! Reknit! (This sweater has kind of been like that. Knit everything twice.)

I finished the button bands, and let me tell you it is HARD to knit two button bands that sit across from each other and are bound off to exactly the same length. I've no idea why I had no problem with this on Twist, but I ended up having to do the bind off over again on the first side that I did because it was just too loose and floppy. It is still possible that I will rip out both bands back to a shorter length, because they still seem a bit floppy and want to fold over like a polo collar. (I really don't want that.)

Now that I have a sleeve, I love the drape and even the slouchy, comfortable fit of the sweater. I'm very encouraged. But I don't love the length/bottom ribbing. It's very unflattering, as far as I'm concerned - a 3x1 ribbing that is about 3" long, and seems to draw in instead of making things look finished. Also I think that the length is just too long - even for me, and I have a very long torso that needs long shirts or my behind looks about six feet tall (not good).

Folding the hem under does wonders for the length, but then I get concerned that the V on the front is maybe just too too deep for the body of the sweater at that length. So after I knit sleeve 2, I am going to rip back the bottom ribbing and do about 6 rows of 1x1 rib on the bottom edge. The neck and sleeves will be finished with the same ribbing (but only 3 rows) and the placket/button bands are knitted in the same stitch. So I think it will shorten the body, unify the piece, and make it look more finished and less blousy around the bottom. But there is a chance I will rip back to an inch or two before it is joined in the round and make that placket smaller. Which is just basically saying I'm going to rip half of the body back. Ugh. I don't think it will come to that. There is always blocking, and my sweater has more ease than the one on the model. I think that it will work out as-is. And I'm toying with the idea of just making it a cardigan if that happens. By steeking. Ack! Because I have a 12-stitch alley in the middle of the sweater anyway (from the placket) and a sewing machine sitting near my front door. And it would mean no reknitting.

(Ladies, "less blousy around the bottom" is almost ALWAYS a good thing for us.)

I have a photo shoot today AND I'm late, so I don't have time to post pictures. But I do give you my solemn promise that sometime in the next couple days I will take a picture of the Gleeful Beast, and share them with you. Till next time, pretties!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Scissors beat Paper

A little WWII humor for y'all today (just roll over it and let Snap do the work). More later, I promise!

Monday, November 26, 2007

My niece is a born cheerleader.

Hello, I'm back!

My family had an exciting weekend of food, football, food, xbox, food, movies, rain, and food. Hope y'all had a nice weekend too!

My niece Pixie is a born cheerleader. She's so happy and bouncy and cheery she brightens up a room just by walking into it. (More on that later.)

For the first time in a long time, I didn't knit. For like five days. And now I am just itching to pick it back up again, so I'm going to post more tomorrow, and go work on my sweater tonight. It's close! Very close.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


I've been packing. Clothes, shoes, jackets, books, food, chargers, knitting and maps are painstakingly packed and patiently waiting for me to bring them downstairs to the loveliest of rental cars. At the moment, I am burning CDs. I have The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, My Chemical Romance, Beck, Buddy Miller, The Violent Femmes, The Rolling Stones, the audio commentary to The War, Peter Bjorn & John and a biography of Einstein. I shall not, no never, be bored.

Have the happiest and warmest of Thanksgiving holidays. I'll be posting a teeny bit, but not much until Monday night. Au revoir, pretties!

Monday, November 19, 2007


I entered Fee's little Porch Princess sweater (viewable here) into Crazy Aunt Purl's cat sweater contest. She didn't win, but she is in the gallery over at her Flickr site on page 7.

I'd better get cracking on a new one, because I see my crazy membership expired on October 18, and besides, it is getting cold.

I know what my dad would say

"The Titans were playing the Broncos. The Broncos left the field, and four plays later, the Titans scored." He would have ACTUALLY said "The Lions were playing the Packers," being from Michigan and all, but you get the idea.

What a painful game, and the pain was only eased slightly by the pizza and cookies. Sigh.

I am going through the "paranoid" stage with Glee, where I'm terrified that it won't fit, it will be much too big and I'll have to rip back and knit eight zillion stitches again, the sleeves won't be long enough, I'll run out of yarn, and the button bands won't lie flat. Also the bottom hem will look dodgy, and smack in the middle of the back will be a giant loose stitch.

The only cure for this? More knitting. Tomorrow, though, I have to pack her up and take her on a trip with me. I'll also bring a sock, but I need one more "easy" project. i am thinking of Jaywalkers, since I've just gotten two new lovely skeins of Vesper - Love Stinks and Build Me Up Buttercup. Stripey goodness is hard to resist.

Then again, I could always use another hat, if only as a palate cleanser. But tonight as a knitter, I feel like I'd fit into my dad's equation. Four plays later, I'll get a touchdown. I don't know why knitting seems so uphill lately. But I am trying to hang in there.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The paint continues to dry

Glee is just not all that interesting to photograph. I'm to the elbow of the left arm, but decided it's too baggy and I'll probably rip some of it back a bit. Like maybe an inch or two, and then start some shaping. I'm totally winging the sleeves.

Pardon me while I distract you from my knitting non-progress with two pretty kitties. They were outside today in the sun. He was happier to model than she. She's almost got her full winter coat...and she thinks it makes her look fat. (No way, kitty!)

daily kitty pic

daily kitty pic

In other news, I bought a 4 1/2 ft tall Christmas tree, mostly because I'm staying here for Christmas and though it's what I want to do, it has me a little depressed. On one hand, I've never spent a Christmas here in my own apartment. On the other, it's sad to miss the nieces and nephews. There are good reasons to stay here and not go visit family, and I may yet take off the day after Christmas for Mom's. So I bought a little tree with white lights and a gold star and some gold ornaments and gold garland. I have no idea how it will look (besides gold) but I think it will be a sweet little tree. I hope it doesn't look more like a Christmas branch.

I am not, however, putting it up yet. I only bought it because if I wait till I want to put it up, there will be nothing left on the shelves except a few empty ornament hangers. A girl needs her pride.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Speaking of fried gold...

Psssst! Julia's got some yarn in-stock right this very minute! Go get some!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Another Slice of Fried Gold

It's time for a product endorsement. Hope y'all will indulge me.

At SAFF I met a perfectly delightful gal named Jackie, who has the smashingest blog name ever - Southern Fried Goodness. You've heard it before, I'll say it again - frying makes just about everything better. Think about it. You'll agree with me, maybe even against your will.

Jackie and Denise and Betty and I were sort of discreetly and independently pawing through the options in the Plain and Fancy Sheep and Wool booth when I looked up and said, "Graylagran!" and she said, "MeanGirl!" and after about two seconds of awkwardness we did exactly what y'all would do - we pawed through that beautiful yarn TOGETHER. Skein after skein was held up to our faces, like a visit to the eye doctor - This? or THIS? Etc. We all bought yarn, and wandered off to the Ravelry meetup.

Jackie had her yarn purchases in this SUPER cool bright yellow bag with flowers printed on it...I had mine in a sweaty, crinkly white plastic bag all wrapped around the skein. Y'all, you know I had to ask about the bag - because I am like that. Turns out it was a reusable shopping bag made by Envirosax. I am always getting frustrated over the number of plastic bags they hand out at the store. I am single, I don't have a dog, and I have one tiny trash can that isn't in the kitchen. And besides - they cost money and energy to make and ship. Also, not biodegradable. It just seems like a huge waste to bring them all home and never use them again. (The exception is Target bags, I use them as trashcan liners in the W.C.) I am not saying that nobody can use them ever again, but this is an area I kept finding myself wishing I could change over the past few months.

And I get so annoyed, so unbelievably unnecessarily annoyed at them giving me five bags when two would do the job. (I also hate when they tie the handles in knots.)

Labor Day weekend my folks showed me one of their fridge bags that they take with them because they often grocery shop out of town. I bought one and usually bring it with me to carry home my cold items. I really love it. (They don't always know what to do with it when I bring it in.) I tried knitting a bag out of linen, but it's only one bag and it made me even more annoyed than getting too many bags.

So y'all know I bought some Envirosax. Here's why, the real kicker: these tasty treats ROLL UP into a small 1" x 2" tube complete with a snap to hold them shut so you can carry 'em in your purse. Five come in a pouch - I keep one in my purse for small stop-ins or if I need to bring some extra stuff to/from work, and the other four in the backseat of my car. The pouch is a little bigger than a paperback book.

What really sells me on these, in other words, is ease of use. It's easy to grab them out of the back seat (I know, I've done it!). They hold an absolute ton. A 6-roll pak of TP fits in one bag vertically with plenty of room to spare on the sides. They are easy to load up, sturdy, washable, and they look cool. Apart from the $39 price tag, there's really nothing bad about them.

About that price tag...I know I could just get tote bags and buy the $2.99 bags at Kroger. But something so portable is naturally going to be less work to use, so I figure what I lost in a one-time cost I'll gain in compliance. I am maybe just dorky, but a cool, stylish bag stands a better chance of being carried by me. The company was fabulous, shipping was fast and cheap, and the quality is awesome.

I'm about the world's worst environmentalist. But I do think that if I'm not using the bags again and there's an easy alternative, then so much the better. I hope these catch on like wildfire and are as popular as pork rinds at a barbecue. It's a fairly easy way to do a really good thing and look cool doing it - and I don't know about y'all, but I always need more cool points. Thank you Jackie, for giving me a way to earn them!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

My sock mojo went on vacation

I have to confess, I did work on my orange sock a little bit last week, but then I found an error in the lace pattern on the top of the sock, about 12 rows down, and I had to rip back. Had to. So I've been using my little break to work an awful lot on Glee, and daily progress pictures would be about as fun for y'all as watching paint dry.

So instead of knitting pictures, today we have a weird one of Grady, taken indoors with the Fireworks setting on my camera:

The number one thing you should take from this picture is that tungsten light really is that colour. An example of tungsten light is a light bulb with a filament made of...tungsten! The filament glows when electricity runs through it, and is enough to light a room. It's the regular lights in your house.

All light has colour. Ever wonder why the outfit you thought looked fab in the closet looks dodgy at work? It's probably because you have a tungsten light in your closet (this is one of the things my apartment complex gets right; flourescent lights in the closet so there are no surprises when you get to the office). Flourescents are much more greenish than tungsten light, and colours look differently under it. (So does your makeup.) (When I go to the printer for a press check, I have to look at the press proofs under a special light that is colour-neutral, for this very reason.)

Daylight is the truest representation of colour. This is because your brain does a neat little trick - when you are in any kind of indoor light, it fools you into thinking you are in white light. Daylight. Think of it as a white point in your brain. Your eyes adjust to the colour of light just as they adjust to brightness.

How does this help you as a knitter? Well, take your surroundings into consideration when you take a picture - including light. You can make a lightbox to photograph your knitting, using sheets of posterboard to line a plastic bin. You can use mostly daylight for photos you want to be colour-accurate (but shadows will give you bluish light, and direct sunlight is harsh). The best trick I know is to set your knitting or your cat or whatever is your subject in front of a window that is out of direct sunlight. Windows give wonderfully diffuse light, allow the colour of daylight to be what lights your knitting, and pretty much everything looks good in it.

Happy Tuesday! If you see my sock mojo please send him back this way!

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Today I'm going to the Titans game! So not much knitting till later. Right now I've got to get ready, but here are a few photos for you.

I am about 1" from being done with the body of Glee:

Progress on Glee

This is Fee, being all philosophical about life, and also, plotting to destroy the camera at her next opportunity:


Yesterday we went to a WWII reenactment battle in Watertown, TN. Here are some of the Germans who started out occupying the town (which is eventually liberated by Americans, and everybody sits on the far side of the town square and watches it happen):

German soldiers

And the colors are looking mighty pretty here this week:

Fall Colour

Friday, November 09, 2007


Last night a ghost was captured on film at Chez I-Cord:


One of the things about taking animal pictures is that you need enough light. They move fast, and a slow shutter speed that lets in a lot of light will not give you good pictures. It will, however, give you fodder for animal-spectre websites. Use plenty of light - by a window, overheads, with a flash if you don't mind the robot-eye effect. To my mind, daylight is best when you can get it.

Slowly but surely, I'm feeling better AND catching up! I have been playing around in CS3 Premium Suite quite a bit - if ever there was a product that actually deserved $600 for an upgrade, this is it.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

What a week of "sick" knitting will do for you

I can't believe it! After slogging through the most unimaginably patience-testing knitting in the world on the yoke of Glee (about 450 stitches per round, in Silky Wool, which does not have much give), I divided for the sleeves and buckled down (while I was too sick to knit anything else) to really make progress on the body. I'm within two inches of knitting the bottom ribbing, and it just stands to reason the sleeves will go faster.

But I'm sort of afraid I'll be cutting it realllllly close on the yarn, so of course I am knitting faster. I don't know why I do that, but any time I find myself in danger of being short, I seem to increase speed.

Any other superstitions out there? (PS: Silky Wool felts. I figured this out when I hit a knot in ball 4 of the body. Save yourself those in-the-round end weavings.)

Monday, November 05, 2007

It's late, I'm wordy, but I'm starting to feel better!

We made it through all the bad weather with a minimum of fussing (which is all I can be thankful for, because YOU try to wrangle two cats who are upset and don't know what's happening and then put them into the bathroom, the closed door will make them work like crazy to get out and one-at-a-time they will and run to points unknown, which is exactly where you do not want them to be during a storm). At one point in the field my apartment faces it was raining in a sort of sideways-spiral, and we did have tornadoes or at least rotation very near where I live, which is why I barricaded myself in the bathroom with pillows and flashlights and cats. (No actual touch-downs, I don't think.) We had a couple of bone-chilling cracks of lightning, followed by what I think of as 'southern thunder' - big, booming craziness that goes on and on and is so loud and echoey you can literally feel your pulse speed up when you hear it.

No matter how long I live here I will never get used to the fact that not only do we have at least one tornado-warning every six months, almost none of the houses have basements. ("Why no, Mr Developer, we sure don't expect you to go blasting into the earth to give us a basement, that would be crazy.")

Another thing is that in all honesty I've been spending too much time in certain debate forums online. I used to be the type who never tired of this stuff, but now it makes me more than a little exhausted. I had some good discussions in there, but I am afraid that it made me neglect the blog. I'm in a place at work where I need to be good and finish up what has to be done before I get to switch to what I am really looking forward to doing this month.

And surfing around for reviews, opinions and plan details because you want an iPhone doesn't help with the time, either. :) I'm " " this close.

I woke up from a bad dream on the couch - I witnessed a murder, and the person saw me do it. Now why the HECK does this kind of mess bubble up in my head at night? Too much Law & Order, that's why. I watched a show with this exact theme just before I fell asleep in front of the football game. Next time I'll try to debrief before hitting the hay.


I'm thinking about the folly of holding two metal sticks during a lightning storm.

Maybe I'll knit later.

Saturday, November 03, 2007


I think I remember telling y'all that when I was a kid I was terrified of a tidal wave hitting Lake Michigan. (I didn't do as well as my parents would have liked in geography.) Another thing I was afraid of was quicksand. After all, the beach was COVERED with sand - who's to say it was all okay?

I watched a bit of Blazing Saddles today, and the quicksand bit brought back memories.

So, what in the wide world of sports have I been up to?

Coughing. Lots and lots and lots of boomy, echoey, painful, non-productive coughing. It would be easier if it cleared out my chest, but it doesn't. My asthma is still calming down, and thanks to Proventil the coughing isn't as bad as it could be. But it's nowhere near gone, and it's sucking the life out of me.

Ok, the ENERGY. I am so tired from all the wheezing and coughing and chest hurting. And this isn't even a bad attack anymore. So please forgive my absence. I've had deadlines, photo shoots and a million other obligations that took what little go I have had.

But today? The Vandy-Florida game is on, I have pictures, and no excuses. Pics today will be teeny because there are so many (click for bigger).


Wow, what a great time we had! I would totally do this again. I got a pound of this lovely cocoa-colored alpaca yarn:

A half-pound of alpaca-y goodness

Five skeins of Brooks Farm FourPlay in this yummy bronze colour:

Brooks Farm FourPlay

There were tons of activities to watch - spinning, weaving, sock-making on an antique machine, washboard felting...

Brooks Farm Booth:
Brooks Farm Booth

Alpaca fleece ready to spin (why are the drive belts on wheels all purple?):
Alpaca fleece ready to spin, and a drive belt

Angora bunnies:
Angora rabbits

Fleece for sale:
Fleece for sale

Some Ravelers before the meetup:
Some Ravelers at SAFF

Washboard felting:
Washboard felting at SAFF

Wheels looking for a good home:
SAFF - spinning wheels

A Huacaya alpaca llama, who liked another layer of fence between himself and people:
Peeking Alpaca

Next post will be about the meetup. And since any post is not complete without kitty pictures:

(This is her true personality sometimes.)
Blurry but Not Happy

(I think Grady is picking up a signal from the rings of Saturn here.)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Sick and boring

I am going to go try to take some pictures, but really today I'm just trying to get over being sick. Sometimes bored = good. If nothing else, I will be back Saturday. Pencil me in! :)