Saturday, June 30, 2007

There are the cool kids, then there's me.

I do not, sadly, have a new iPh*ne burning a hole in my pocket. I will, but I don't think it will be until they hook up the 3G network. Everybody in the world who owns this new phone is cooler than I am today, even the suburban mom walking out with her daughter and 2 friends who all had new iPh*nes last night. ($2400 in phones walking by, most of it entrusted to 16-year olds!) We went over to the mall to people-watch last night. There were about 300 people queued up for it, and the whole operation seemed incredibly well-run. But hah! News teams out for a new phone! Apple sure does know how to run a marketing campaign.

For the skeptics, this is the internet on a phone that actually looks like the internet. Not the scratch-and-dent internet that's available through most mobile services. Plus, I like gadgets.

For now I have a cute-but-dumb Sams*ng K*tana. It's pretty and shiny and thin but without a lot of substance. My little bluetooth headset is teeny-tiny, about .625" x 1.75" and fits in my ear without the dadgum flap thing that goes around your earlobe. It's cool, but not that cool. I want looks and brains in my phone, people! The rest of the world will have to catch up.

I have been acquiring sock yarn stash at about 3x my usual rate. I got a lovely giftie in the mail from Zonda:

Yarn Pirate sock yarn

some more Mama-E Project Spectrum sock yarn:

Mama-E sock yarn

and a skein of Mama-E in Mermaids:


plus I have a skein of Haystack coming from Hello Yarn. It took me nearly 2 hours to buy it but I really want to try her yarn.

So until July 31, no yarn purchases for me. That's enough, and I have so much I want to knit. I think I am going to either swap or knit up quite a bit of this sock yarn before I buy much more. But you know how that goes. I feel the siren call of Koigu landing at yarn shops in this area and before long I'm standing in the store, dazed, with my bank card out wondering what I am doing.

Also, Fee says "FEEZ ON UR PORCH, STALKIN UR BIRDZ." Grady was not available for comment. I can't catch either of them anywhere but the porch lately, they are sun hogs.

Feez On Ur Porch

Oh, and PS - that's right, the Google search found one of Chris' comments about hair salons (I didn't realize it searched the comments, and I knew I hadn't posted that!) Thank you Chris, I was kinda freaked out by that!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Found amongst the Googles

28 Jun, Thu, 09:48:34 Google: the hair-etic Minneapolis

Yes! Yes!

There is a knitalong for le Tour! I'll be joining!

I hope I didn't lose some of my street cred yesterday. Chris is right about Austin (and I think a house in Spain) so my initial assumption was "hotel" and "visiting" - especially since there are some pretty posh ones in that area. I'm pretty convinced, but I promise *not* in a crazy-lady way!

(Which reminds me. For anyone needing translation, "y'all favor" is how people in the south say you look like somebody. I guess it means your looks favor each other. No idea.)

Ennyway. Sign up for le Knitalong!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I am not kidding

I promise I am not kidding, making this up, not having the vapors, and I had a witness with me...I am about 90% certain I saw him running shirtless in a pair of black spandex down Music Row tonight, same face, same hairline and haircut, same intensity, running kind of like a monkey. I said, "Hey Skinny," to the steering wheel and then said "Oh my goodness, that is Lance Armstr0ng," and GB said, "I think it was too," so we doubled back (curse you, one-way streets!) and didn't see him again. GB was slightly more skeptical than I was, but he has not watched as much Tour as I have.

The very makes me think I must have been seeing things.

I do not have any idea why he would be running down Music Row in Nashville in 90+ degree humidity, but there you have it. If he's at his house in Spain or Austin or something, then I would just like to say to whoever this was...y'all favor. Hahaha.

And YES, Twellve, I am a ****fan**** of le Tour. Oui! :o)

Also I got a new phone, and I have to go figure out how to use it. No knitting tonight.

Dancing close to the edge

It's amazing how a new shower fixture will brighten things up. It's very pretty and nice. I was going to take a picture but I thought that would be dancing way too close to the edge of Actual Crazy, so I decided to refrain.

I also got a bag of microwave popcorn, left on the coffeetable with a sticker on it that said "maintenance popped in to fix your troubles." Too bad I didn't get one yesterday that said "maintenance popped in to break your stuff and will pop back tomorrow to fix it." The office said they went to the wrong apartment.

I hate to say it, but my little Pixie is not well. She's in the hospital again, this time with a high fever and a little bit of trouble on the part of the doctors figuring out what is going on. She has a minor kidney defect, and has been taking antibiotics to prevent infection. It's possible the antibiotic is masking an infection instead of preventing it. I'm a little sad for my poor sick penguin today, but I know she's in good hands.

Only a little bit of stealth knitting last night. My Tour de France knitting project this year is going to be mostly garter stitch and completely unexciting. Come on, July 7! Come on, Ivan Basso! (Really, I am making it sound worse because I won't be able to talk about it, so I'll also have another bloggable project going as well.)

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Thank you, and thank you mister bathroom-fixer!

Thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday yesterday! It was mostly happy, I went to lunch at the Pancake Pantry and saw the requisite country music star (yes, he's cute, and was hamming it up with several tables on his way in) and had eggs and pancakes and it was yummy. My friend and I were supposed to go out, but at the last minute they had to go buy a Alabama. So I stayed home and worked on some knitting, and cooked a nice dinner. My phone needed some repair so I spent a little time over at Sprint waiting for it and wishing they would get with the program.

I thought something looked off when I came home, though. I mean, I know I didn't leave the bath mat on the floor. I always hang it over the tub. I thought "the cats have been busy" and went on my merry way - till this morning. Went to turn the shower on. Someone evidently "fixed" it yesterday while I was gone. The handle was reinstalled upside-down, so that hot and cold are flipped, and they stripped the screw so I can't actually use the handle. Taking a shower was a trick. Also the water pressure is shot. I left a rather annoyed message on the answering machine, and if the moron helpful person who fixed broke my shower hasn't already told them he needs to come back and replace it, they sure know it now. Hopefully it happens soon.

So a broken shower wasn't what I expected for the birthday. Hi mister bathroom-"fixer"! You shouldn't have!"

Monday, June 25, 2007

Elephants and Little Bighorn

If 40 is the new 30, then today I am 27. Might as well embrace the madness totally.

My birthday meme:

June 25:

1788: Virginia becomes the 10th state to ratify the United States Constitution.
1876: Battle of the Little Bighorn and the death of Major General George Armstrong Custer.

My additional Happy Birthday goes to Nell - hope it's very very happy! Eat cake!

Elephant Cake

(I told you it was going to be Elephant Day, didn't I? It was TASTY!)

Saturday, June 23, 2007


Or, as I like to call it, LOL SOCK YARN.

I have added a lot of stash photos to Ravelry lately, and y'all, it totally rocks. It is so good to not have to dig and hunt around to find yarn, I know it's there if I've got it at Ravelry.

What a brilliant idea this place is. If you haven't got your invite, be patient! Casey quit his job to work on it full time. It's getting there! If you have, I'm Mean Girl. Friend me! Pretty soon we'll ALLLLLL be friends.

I have a cheat to show you. Because everybody needs a The Cheat. (Does anybody go to see StrongBad anymore? Teen Girl Squad Rox!) I put in my second sleeve last night and immediately noticed a problem. Four stitches between sleeve and cable panel on one side, and on the other...five and a half. Whoopsie! It really showed. So I did this:


Then I ripped out the seam:

Twist gets a fix

Then I sewed the sleeve again, along the gray yarn but not twisting my working yarn around it. Now they match. Tricksy!

My Knittyboard Spring Fling pal sent me a lovely skein of TOFUtsies in pretty strawberry colours:


Fee checked it out and said she could not smell crab on this yarn anywhere. (You know TOFUtsies contains chitin, right?)

Friday, June 22, 2007

The good old days

First, the Cat Pictures:

Say again?

Blue Blue Kitty

(Grady really does look blue some days, some days he's purple and others he's gray or brown. I guess he's "hazel.")

I also have to take some Yarn Pictures, because I got an awesome Spring Fling secret pal gift. (Must remember.)

I made some trouble for myself the other night before I had any finishing instructions on the sweater. I seamed up the body first, but even that was not the problem. The problem was that I wove in my ends. And like any good sock knitter, they were in there to stay. No amount of patience or diligence could coax them out again. To compound everything, once the ends were woven in I decided to take the conventional wisdom on finishing and block the darn thing. Let me tell you, they were not going anywhere. But I have since decided that I not only don't mind seaming in a set-in sleeve while the body is sewn together, I quite like it. There wasn't anything particularly hard about it, and it did make it nice to be able to hold it up every so often and see exactly how far I had left to go. But I long for the good old days when I was knitting away instead of trying to solve seaming problems that are too hard for me.

(If you don't know about Studio Knits, click the link in the sidebar. Great, super great finishing tips and will teach you to seam like a champion. Click the book link - How to Become an Expert Knitter.)

So anyway. I keep finding out little bits of wisdom related to knitting sweaters that I need to find a way to journal or keep track of. Possibly they are just platitudes, but there is definitely truth to them. The complicated part of knitting a cardigan is that not only do the front and back have to match in length and shaping, the two fronts have to match exactly as well. It's rare for me to ever knit a pattern as-written, so it was a Herculean task of discipline and fortitude and maybe a little extra crazy to attempt a cabled-front cardigan as my first sweater project. Even the ribbing on the border gave me fits. But at least I could count cable repeats, which turned out to be very very good for note-taking (just circle the shaping row in the chart). More about that later.

The other thing, of course, is getting two sleeves to come out alike. In a cruel, Jerry-Springer-style twist, though, once you breathe a sigh of relief that your sleeves are a matched set, you have to seam them in just alike as well or the sweater is never going to be right. And shoulder seams hover around eye level for most people, so there is a smaller room for error than side sleeves which are hidden in the body. I sewed one sleeve in last night, but I don't honestly know if I can make the other one match it. By the time midnight rolled around and I was working my way down the sleeve itself (without sewing in the ends! just wanted to see! would be fine with ripping that out if I had to!) I couldn't stop myself from marveling in the mirror over what I had just managed to accomplish with a needle and (yarn) thread. Somehow and through no fault of my own, it is perfect. How did that happen?

(I worked in a sewing factory the summer after high school as a hand seamstress, and I never got very good at it. But I flunked the industrial machine test because I couldn't get the bobbin right, so I spent day after sweaty day in a factory with no air conditioning hand sewing fur borders on wool capes. Somewhere out there a lady has my handwork in her closet, and I feel sorry that she paid $800 for my crappy high-school sewing. I hope nobody's fur fell off in public.)

It really looks good. With a little bit of luck I'll have the whole thing seamed by my birthday, which is Monday. I don't know what all the fuss is about. I've been accumulating birthdays for thirty-six years, and there isn't anything special about them except possibly the dessert. This one makes me want to start lying about my age a little, so we are calling it Elephant Day. (It's nice when you have someone to entertain your own delusions.)

I absolutely love the self-tanner I got in a swap with Tanya - it's Arbonne Made in the Shade. I have probably used it too much in the last few days, so if you see an red-headed Oompa Loompa walking down your street, think of me. I am afraid it's too late to escape it. If I hear someone shouting EYES!! EYES, MAMA! I'll know it's one of y'all letting out my self-tanner secret.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

What a lovely feeling it is to come back to something you love after a long hiatus.

For some reason I've been stalling on my current socks-in-progress, but I finally buckled down and made myself finish the leg (Monkey! Hi Tanya!) and then I got to the heel and whoosh, you know? It just happens, and suddenly your sock is half again as big as it was. I don't knit socks just for the heel turn, though I know people who do. I'm not particularly enamored of any of the techniques involved, and especially not slipping stitches or picking up gussets. But I love the feeling once it's finished of admiring what I just did, and (like somebody said in the comments yesterday) marveling at how my stitch-by-stitch persistance somehow turned into a sock with a real right angle in it that fits somebody's foot.

I remember the crazy addiction I once applied to sock knitting, and though working on my sweater has been fun, knitting overall has been a little dry for me lately because of it. It is good to have the crazy back. For this reason alone I'm not sure I'm going to ever be much of a sweater-knitting gal. There is nothing wrong with keeping one's torso warm, but I passionately, deeply and (probably) embarrassingly love socks.

Knitting Betty has a great series of articles on approaching a design. If you don't already read her blog, you should. Not only is she a really great knitter, she's a really cool person too. Subscribe! Subscribe!

I promise I'll have some cat pictures soon.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Using the washing machine like I mean it

I'm perfectly positive that those who know me have been able to actually see the little black rain cloud that has been following me around for the past few days. But I got some Tagamet, I got some sleep, I spent about $80 at Aveda and you know there is always blue sky behind the clouds. (Also, I got a secret pal gift. A skein of Tofutsies, some super-soft wool and some crazy monkey string lights really did the trick. Thanks, pallie!) Pictures soon, especially of the monkey lights.

I turned the heel on my first blue Monkey, and it's been so long since I successfully knit past a heel (thank you, Pomatomus, you evil creature) that I forgot what a neat trick it is. The best part of knitting for me is just following along stitch after stitch and having your pile of stitches turn into something.

Also I resurrected the Dream in Color scarf. I found some dark dark red 1824 wool in the stash (buy it from SuperCrafty!). I cast on 40 stitches and knit 4 rows of Dream in Color and then 2 rows of 1824 in 1x1 rib and it's subtle and scrunchy and sweet.

I read several articles today about seaming my sweater and how I should block it first even though that makes zero sense to me. I mean, why would I wash everything and then seam it up with new, unwashed, unshrunk yarn? But then I remembered that my sweater is about half microfiber, which means that aside from possibly melting it in the dryer, not much is going to happen to it in the wash.

So of course I am PETRIFIED about throwing a knitted garment in the washing machine and now it's in the dryer and I keep on checking it because I just know it will end up small enough to fit one of my cats if I don't watch it.

And is it just me, or have they been showing that "Sorry Roger, you tiger now!" commercial a whole lot more lately? I admit to being naturally blond, and I saw it about 7,684 times before I finally figured out that it wasn't his FRIEND disowning him for liking the Tigers, it was a tattoo artist telling him he was stuck being a tiger forever. (I am maybe a little crazier than I thought.)

(Actually, buying the Aveda was kind of depressing. But they make the best anti-frizz stuff out there.)

I admit to being a little scared.

So. I've woven in ends and seamed up the front and the back of my sweater. (At the moment it's a rather homely-looking vest.) Next up is putting in the sleeves. I think I may have to ask a knitting guru how to do this, as I am quite daunted by the thought of making all those decreases line up, and what in the world do I do with the top of the sleeve?

Not only that, I have to do it twice. Do I attach the sleeve and then seam it up, or do I seam it up first and then sew it in? Eli! Where are you? I need you!

ETA: Yay! I found a Theresa article!

Monday, June 18, 2007

More progress!

Yesterday I went to an art festival. Apart from being the hottest I can remember ever being in the South (as opposed to the single most obscenely hot day I can ever remember, which was 106 degrees at Hoover Dam in August 2002, and though I've technically been in hotter air temperatures, the sun was so hot it hurt my skin), the festival was a prime opportunity to people-watch, and I was not disappointed. You see all manner of crazy out walking, people who drag their poor fur-coated dogs out in the heat, people with fifteen layers of clothing, people who don't realize the first law of crowds is "don't stink them up." My favorite booth had some unbelievably cool jewelry, but alas, aside from some weavers there wasn't any yarn. It's been an extremely dry summer down here. The grass is brown and dry. I think this is why the deer has been showing up - my apartment complex is still watering the grass, so she has been able to find something to eat.

Tired, hot, drained, and amazed that I had a 20-ounce diet Pepsi and a 24-ounce bottle of water and still felt parched, I turned up the air conditioning until my feet got so cold they hurt, and knitted away on my sleeves. I finished them! I basted one and tried it on, it's the right length!

AND! late last night I sewed the first side seam. Now I see what all the top-down fuss is about. Seaming two pieces that feature a lot of shaping was kind of weird and possibly not for the timid. But at least I had the shaping to let me know if the sides were really lining up. (The seam is straight, but I wish I'd taken more care to increase neatly.) Even with good light and a chibi, this yarn is practically unseamable...the yarn gets too splitty and the color is too dark. I also found no less than THREE knots in the last skein, the one that will become button bands and the collar. (One other skein was full of knots, and piecing in new skeins of cotton is neither easy nor fun for me.) All the sleeve ends and back ends have been woven in, and I only need to seam the rest, weave in the ends on the front, knit the button bands and knit the collar. At the rate I'm going that will probably take me another month.

But at least today it's only supposed to be 92! And I would just like to thank the good Lord for air conditioning and Nexium, amen.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

And the winner is...



Thanks to everyone who entered. I so appreciate the letters and really appreciate y'all adopting this purse, it's a good one.

Happy Monday!

Those pesky left-leaning decreases

Fleegle has a nice post with photos explaining how to do a ssk without slipping stitches. Y'all remember my no-slip cable advice? The basic premise is the same - you don't need to slip stitches if you can manipulate them on the needles instead.

I have been using this to decrease/shape my sleeves, and it IS A BEAUTIFUL THING. Also easy. Like, you-want-to-smack-yourself-in-the-head-for-not-thinking-of-it-yourself easy.


Saturday, June 16, 2007

It Runs in the Family

Caution: baby-doll horror story ahead!

Y'all. My sister called me today with a Story. (You think I'm the only one in the family with crazy stories, but that is Not So. Not So, But Far Otherwise.)

Sister is Pixie's mom, my little niece who is nearly 2. Pixie (not her real name) has had this crazy--ugly dolly forever that is a soft-bodied doll with a "lifelike" head - you know, the creepy baby dollies that every little girl has to carry around with her. It's called Baby. It has sausage-shaped stuffed legs and a "bodysuit" which is really her body. But most of all, thick, creepy, rubbery fake skin on her head and hands.

Baby got newsprint on her fake-creepy skin when daddy laid her on the newspaper one day. Baby had part of the Miami Herald just over her left ear, a tattoo of Today's News. (Good thing it wasn't an obituary.)

Baby got a hole in the back of her head when she got shoved under the couch one day. Just a tear in the skin, but these things have a way of getting worse.

About two weeks ago, Pixie walked in holding Baby by putting her fingers through the hole in her skin. My sister got a little freaked out about her possibly ripping off the skin and swallowing it, so she decided to have a Baby Operation and just take the skin off.

Having absolutely NO IDEA what it would look like, she peeled and peeled. Pixie watched her, and (understandably) freaked out when her precious Baby began to look even crazier and frightening. Unfortunately those fellas at the Acme Toy Company just went ahead and put a horror-monster baby in there under all the fake plastic skin. Baby's plastic skeleton didn't look all that different from our real ones. Pixie yelled "EYES! EYES MAMA! EYES!" and she went into unconsolable hysterics, just as you would if your dear mother pulled the skin off your darling baby doll's head. (Why she did not wait until Pix went for a nap I'll never know, but she swears she thought it would be just fine under there.) And obviously, Pixie has no idea that it's just a doll, to her it's a real live baby, and her mother just did something terrible to it.

My sister put it in a closet under a blanket hoping she'd forget about it, like you do. (Dear sister: Why the heck didn't you toss the doll in the trash?) Pixie occasionally walked over to the bump underneath the blanket in her closet and yelled "EYES! EYESSSSS MAMA!"

She was clearly not forgetting. Fearing for her child's eventual sanity and imagining the bills she might one day face when Pixie got to her twenties and had to go to counseling because of the Great Baby Doll Skinning of 07, my sister got the baby out of the closet (Pixie grabbed her and wouldn't let go, and kept looking at my sister like "How could you DO THIS?"), wrenched her away with a promise that Baby was going to the hospital to get fixed, and drove like hell to the Toys R Us two towns over for a replacement. Armed with a trash bag and a pair of scissors, my sister marched in and bought a new doll. The kind ladies at the store were not overly judgmental of my sister when she showed them what she had done to Baby, got the new doll out of her box, took the clothes off Baby and put them on her replacement. She folded up the new clothes, put Baby into the trash bag, tied it up, grabbed New Baby, and drove like hell back home, hoping that Pixie would accept the almost-identical replacement.

When PIxie woke up from her nap, her eyes lit right up at her new Baby. She listened all wideeyed as her mama told her the Baby got fixed and got a new outfit at the hospital, and wanted to put on Baby's new clothes. (We are clearly horrible people, but you'd probably do it too.) All afternoon she's been playing with her new Baby, occasionally stopping to hold her at arms-length, during which she appears to admire her new skin, then give her a big hug.

Well, you would too, if your mama made your Baby look like this.

I have already laughed until I cried several times today, and believe I have come up with a Life Lesson for my sister: The next time this happens, do not skin the doll. Go directly to Toys R Us, and save yourself the grief. My 11-year old nephew, Pixie's big brother, wanted to keep the doll for himself. (Clearly why my sister thought taking the skin off would be okay in the first place.)

ETA: This really is how Southerners give directions. I can't do the regular kind anymore. Here is the associated story.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

So. Y'all know I went to high school in the 80s, right?

Whether I like it or not, it means that whenever I get obsessed with stuff, this Animotion song starts playing in my head. (For those of you needing assistance, click "Obsession.") It's ridiculous, I know. (Synthesizers!)

Now then. Y'all also know about my complete and utter lack of restraint when it comes to handbag shopping. Absolutely no self-discipline whatever. I have tons of bags, some of them very good bags, others are crap and I don't mind because they're fun and I'll be tired of them in a month and who cares, right? I don't need a new bag, but I'm going to get one anyway. Because. And that means I am **also** going to get rid of one.

My current Obsession: a Matt & Nat bag. I'm trying to decide, here's one: Jorja. Here's the other: Bond Street.

I'll decide, but until then, think about the song. Heh. And if you send me an email at meangirl AT comcast DOT net I'll enter you in my contest. I'm giving away a Hype handbag. Just 'cause. I've carried it twice. It's an olive green Westshire Hobo, nubuck leather, yummy plaid lining, very hip, $220 retail. (I didn't pay anywhere near that for it, thank the Lord for ranch dressing and Marshall's.) I just don't like the color as much as I thought I would. It's not worth selling on eBay - Hype bags don't seem to be selling at the moment. And maybe later this month I'll clear out a Billy Bag. (Maybe.) me. Say hello, tell me you read this blog and you don't mind my crazy. No comment entries will be accepted - I want to be able to contact the person who wins and Blogger stinks for that. I'll put all the entries into a random number generator and let the computer pick the winner. ETA: The contest will be open till 6pm Sunday, and Sunday night I'll pick a winner.

Here's a picture. Give me some love!


Tired! but ok!

"Forgive each other as soon as a quarrel begins." (Colossians 3:12-15, JB)

This was part of my daily devotional this morning (Elisabeth Elliot). I've been reading these things for years and the fact is I still get something new out of them.

Christians are under a law of love. That means we are called to reconciliation with other people. I like that. I'm not quarreling with anyone at the moment, but it's good words to live by. Anytime I can distill something down to the truth of it, no matter what my feelings are, it helps me.

I don't believe in self-help because it puts the focus exactly where I don't want it - on me. I'd rather have it on Christ.

So the last couple days have been great! busy but great, I finished up a major freelance job with a few hours to spare and have been working like crazy on some things for Ravelry and I finished up an overall very-very-late project less than two weeks after the due date. I've been reading my book on the 1927 Mississippi River flood every chance I get - the discussion of politics, with all the usual corruption and intrigue, has kept me in thrall. I've always found the history of the South to be mysterious, baffling and interesting. I'll tell you what, those New Orleans society men were made out of concrete block. (I'll not say 'steel' because that would be a compliment.) I've been reading this book off and on for years, and it finally grabbed me. Now I can't put it down.

I'm up to 15 inches of sleeve, all discernible progress has stalled on both my socks-in-progress, and last night I had popcorn for dinner at 9:30pm. Tonight my goal is to eat dinner sometime before it gets dark.

(Anyone who wants a case like I got from Nell should probably contact her through her Etsy store, which is linked on her blog - which is linked in the post below.)

Monday, June 11, 2007

Another little secret

The time has come! I've outed myself to my spring pal so now I can show you the yummy case I had made for her for HER Options set! Made in England and living happily now halfway on the other side of the world!

Options tips case #2

Isn't it darling? This was made by our very own Nell of...surprise! Amy Butler fabric! I picked this and didn't even realize that it's the verysame fabric Zonda used for my case.

Anyway, you want to see inside it, don't you? Of COURSE you do! Well, you untie the ribbon and unroll it and you see this.

Options Case #2

And THEN, you open the very very exciting flap and you see THIS!

Options Case #2

A WHOLE SET of Options tips in a compact little bundle. The pockets were sewn to fit the tips, and hold cords. (She also made a lovely square case, not pictured, that can hold all the little extras that go with an Options set. (If you click the Gigi link below, it's under this case in the main photo.)

I tell you, it was hard to send this one off. Isn't it the most perfect size to keep in your knitting bag?

I love it so much. Thank you Nell, and Gigi, I hope you enjoy it!

I have my doubts, but at least it isn't pooling

If this actually turns into a sock, it will be a miracle. I don't know how this kooky funny looking mitered thing is going to make it. Tonight (maybe) I am going to knit the toe.

Sidewinder progress

Just kidding. The green is the cast on edge - that's waste yarn. You knit straight for about 7 rows and then start a series of paired decreases that form one side of the heel. Knitting starts at the center back, you knit part 1 of the heel, then the toe, then the foot, then the rest of the toe and the rest of the heel. It gets seamed up in the back.

Fee would like y'all to know she could care less.


More good news: I finally found a pattern I don't mind using Socks That Rock to knit. I used to be totally infatuated with STR, but I am not so infatuated with all the pooling. (I used to make fun of people like me who got mad at it.) I am going to order some of the semi-solids next, and possibly I will love that. But no more variegated STR for me!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Another visitor!

This is Deerie, (I named her). She's huge. This morning she was wandering around the little field behind my apartment:


Later I saw her running closely after a guy and his dog who were going at a good trot and obviously trying to get away from her. I've never seen THAT before.

Two more kitty pictures:



No knitting today. I worked on freelance and managed to somehow mark all 313 posts in my Newsgator queue as read. I'll never catch up, so I'm not going to try. Sigh.

Totally addicted

I am stuck at the keyboard and drooling. It's like crack. I have eyestrain and my shoulders hurt from hunching over the keyboard all day. I added my sock yarn stash to Ravelry today. Hey! Enough to make at least 16 pairs (it's not all in there yet). Then I added a bunch of projects. I've spent hours on Rav today!

IT IS SO FUN TO SEE WHAT OTHER PEOPLE ARE DOING AND QUEUEING. I love it, I love Ravelry, I love knitters and yarn and I love y'all.

All that said, if your name is on the list and you haven't got an invite yet, please be patient with Casey and Jess. They're doing this in their free time, and every time they get a chance they tell the computer to add the next 100 or so names. But almost 5,000 people are queued up to join! There are no favorites (I wouldn't be in if they were only letting in rock-star knitters, you know), just a computer sending out invites to the next bunch on the list. It's still in beta so the doors aren't open yet.

It's so worth it, so just hang in there!

Gratuitous, self-indulgent shots of the latest additions to the stash. The colour is off on these a little - both of them are greener and definitely the same colour family.


(yes, it's Koigu)

Euroflax Avalon

That's Louet Euroflax Merlin Avalon - a merino/linen blend. Betty and I thought it was so curious we each bought some. Mine will become socks - it's machine wash and dry! I was initially going to do the Log Cabin Socks from Handknit Holidays but there's a lack of info/interest about this yarn on the web, it's beautiful and feels great so I am thinking about making up a sock pattern especially for it. It's worsted weight, so they will be boot socks or around-the-house socks. Which I love, and make my feet feel loved.

If you want to see the rest of my sock yarn stash, it's posted over at Flickr. Go see! Post yours! So fun to have it all right there with NO DIGGING!

I worked a lot on my Sidewinders today. I got gauge, cast on and I've knitted about 18 rows. It's slow going, but Nona is brilliant, the pattern is amazing, and it's just been fun and a challenge and I get to watch it unfold. I can't get straight in my head the logic of that double-garter stitch for the cuff, so that is slowing me down. This will not be something I can work on when I'm tired. I did a few rows of sleeves today, but mostly I cleaned, hung out on Ravelry and had fun with the boy. A perfect Saturday.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Reporting for duty, late as usual

Remember the Lucy sock yarn? Remember I had terrible pooling and set them aside in disgust? The kind of disgust only a knitter can muster?

Well, I think Nona has a solution. I'm going to wind my yarn and knit my gauge swatch. I'm running a little behind, but y'all can call me a Sidewinder, too.

I mean, sideways socks? They fit Nona so well, I MUST HAVE A PAIR!

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Product Endorsement Friday

First, do you know about Picnik? It's kind of an online Photoshop-junior. If you don't have Photoshop it's a real good alternative. You need a solid web connection though, because you upload your image to the web to work on it.

Thanks to some of the Knitty Coffeeshop folks who had a glowing recommendation for it, I bought a Furminator. This is a brush for cats or dogs that removes the dead and loose undercoat and keeps the shedding down. Makes the cats look nice and clean. People, this was a $34 cat brush. Who in their right mind would buy a $34 cat brush, right? I drove home feeling absolutely crazy but decided to try it.

Got a gallon sized ziploc bag of fur off the two kitties. Not. Kidding. You just can't believe what comes off. (There is a rather hypnotic video at their website that shows it in action.) I thought Fee was going to be bald. I have never brushed her where this much fur came off. Today she's fluffier, prettier, and cleaner. Grady fought me on it a little - he didn't like the metal blade going over his hips, where he has a little arthritis - but eventually calmed down.

I went to sleep thanking God it was only $34 because if it had been $134 I'd still have bought one. If you have a pet who sheds a lot, it's very impressive. I'll give y'all a report in a week or so if it really reduces shedding.

SnB last night, more new faces! I love that. We had fun. I worked some on my sleeves but I need to have a Godfather night on them. You know, where Michael has the heads of the five families killed and then takes care of Carlo, "tonight I settled all family business"? (I know I say the "Godfather night" thing all the time, it's just in case.) As for the scarf, it sleeps with the fishes. I tried the Eve's Rib that Mel mentioned (Eve! Adam! HAHAHA!) but it really gets lost in the variegated yarn. I don't know what I'm going to do with it, but I strongly suspect this yarn does not want to be a scarf.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

My own found objects

Doodling and scrawling and writing strange things down helps me concentrate and think and settle my head. I didn't knit a stitch yesterday, but I did draw this on the back of a box from Orbit gum (raspberry mint). I have a lot of found objects in my life. I never started this on purpose, but I seem to use receipts for bookmarks a lot. So I'll crack open a book I haven't read in a long time only to find that on October 28, 1999, I got thirteen gallons of gas. It's kind of fun and weird. (I never throw them out when I find them in books.) I have nothing else cool to share. Oh wait, I had lunch with Betty and blogless Tanya yesterday. That was cool - I ate bison! I always like bison. Betty wanted me to get the bison meatloaf. But I had meatloaf foisted on me as a kid, and I don't like meat and ketchup together. (Sorry, Betty.) :) She finished the Lorelei tank from No Sheep for You and was wearing it. It's FABULOUS! Go check it out. What a great color, great combination, so well done. I can't wait till you start writing patterns, girl!

Gum Box

Also, I love my new printer with built-in scanner. It's an Epson something or other, and it is ugly - it looks like a battleship. But it's so handy. Photocopier, scanner, printer. Happy!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

This is TRIPPY.

Keep zooming in. Or zooming out. It's weird.

What I'm thinking about today

Y'all. It's amazing what you can find in your stash with just a little looking. I forgot I had this!


That is possibly going to be a scarf. I've tried eleventy-five stitch patterns and incarnations of stitch patterns and variations and stuff with the Dream In Color, but I haven't found anything that I like. The yarn is a bit thinner than I thought from the skein. I thought it was smooshy and bouncy - it is, but not exactly what I thought. So it didn't work for the stitch pattern I had in mind originally. I want this, whatever it ends up, to be thick and squishy and comfortable. Last night I looked through all my knitting books and found a nice hat and scarf combo in Holiday Knits done in ribbing. Then I dug around till I found this Mission Falls 1824 wool, purchased from Supercrafty. It was so fun to find it because I forgot all about it. I think they go together quite well - the variegated will be the scarf, and the brown will be the trim.

Maybe. If this doesn't work I may knit the Boyfriend Scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. But then I won't be able to use the 1824...

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Regarding close-talkers

Hello, random!

I read the other day that Tennessee has decided to try to ban smoking in most indoor establishments, including bars. While I'm grateful for this (I don't like the smell of smoke while I'm eating, and I hate being made to put up with it because a stranger ten feet away feels like smoking, and what right do I have to be bothered by it), it still reminds me of Eddie Izzard saying something like "California has outlawed smoking in bars. What's next, no drinking and no talking either?" That cracks me up every time I think of it.

"There is a talking ban in place because of all the loud talkers / close talkers / spitting talkers who are abusing the privilege of using air, and THEY MUST BE STOPPED."

I don't mind loud talkers - they are at least funny to listen to. But the close talkers? I guess I have more personal space requirements than most people. Many social customs about being a (willingly!) transplanted midwestern gal in the South have baffled me over the years, but the one I cannot, no matter how hard I try, ever get used to is the reduction in personal space. Every single time someone I don't know stands too close to me I am powerless to do anything but think PERSONAL SPACE INVADER, I'm distracted from what the person is saying, and I can't function until they get out of my little 2-foot-by-2-foot box. Pardon my Yankeeness but I do not want to be able to feel anyone's breath on my face while they are talking. Most of the time down here the men are worse than the women about it, and I'm not talking about single guys who are interested (at least then I'd be flattered). I'm talking about...the service rep at the car dealership I go to for oil changes (but thank you, Nissan, for a lifetime of free oil changes!). The grubby, trés charmant fellow at the car wash with 75% of his teeth who trapped me into a conversation by sitting too close and telling me (several times) he hadn't seen anyone knit since his grandmother. Perfect, total strangers I am not likely to ever get closer to than I am at that very moment. It's such an unnerving little weird thing, like when I wear my shoes in the apartment and all the doorknobs are the wrong height.

I am writing all this because the sleeves are boring even to me, and I can't imagine you'd be interested in my mere ten inches of progress, and I spent yesterday at a fantastic photo shoot and then yesterday night getting a massage, and by the time I stopped to pick up some dinner and take a walk and eat the light was gone and there was no time for pictures. I am happy that it's still light at 8:30 at night, though. (But where I am from, it's still broad daylight at 9:30pm this time of year and every year I miss it.) I didn't see any of the usual suspects while out on my walk, because I got outside later than normal, but it was nice to not have the stifling southern late afternoon heat to keep me company.

I had a bad headache this morning and was more temperate with my Advil intake and I'm starting to feel better. If you're one of the new (or old!) folks on Ravelry, please add me as your friend! I'm Mean Girl. Just for fun!

Happy Tuesday! May your day be filled with people who maintain appropriate physical distance.

Sunday, June 03, 2007


I have noticed lately during my evening walks that I see the same cast of characters over and over. There is the lady with a blond two-year old strapped into a stroller and a fat, shiny black dog whose leash is over one of the handles; she walks fast and always has a mobile phone jammed into her shoulder, and pushes the stroller with both hands. I wonder what she is always talking about. The dog seems to need the walk more than she does - she certainly doesn't seem to enjoy it. She is hurried and busy and seems to walk just to get one more thing off her list. Another lady always walks a short beagle with a big head—he's friendly but she isn't. There is a nice lady with an enthusiastic golden retreiver who is a jumper, and licks my hand when he sees me while she apologizes and keeps him from knocking me down. And the ten or eleven year old girl who walks her fluffy brown dog in a little pink ruffled top with ruching. I don't know why she dresses her dog this way in the heat, but the dog seems to like it. I wonder if the dog is a male and patiently putting up with his owner's tastes in clothing or female and secretly thinking she is the best-dressed dog in the neighborhood.

Since I am usually wearing a too-big pair of shorts and a dirty Manchester United jersey, I can only guess at what they all think of me.

I left our houseguest, who was indeed a Cabbage Looper, on some low bushes at the back of the field with a good supply of lettuce. I still can't believe how much he ate. But I guess if you think about it, lettuce is probably a lot of trouble for not much nutrition. I hope he has a happy home back there, but I am skeptical he'll survive the noisy blackbird who lives higher in the trees.

For Knitting Bandit: You were asking how to work the short-row heel in the "For Posterity" post. I can't find your email, but I'll try to explain it. You simply increase on the bottom of the sock only, which naturally forms a gusset or wedge of fabric. When you have finished the increases, you turn the heel just like you're knitting a top-down flap heel. The extra stitches you made during the increasing accommodate the bigger part of your foot, so you don't have to pick up anything for a gusset at all. Just make it bigger, then turn it (which makes it smaller). Try it! It will work. If you need any more hints, send me an email at meangirl at comcast dot net. I'll be happy to help.

And y'all, that reminds me, I'm going to move the comments over to Haloscan this week, but I haven't quite got to it yet. I think I need to - I want to reply to so many comments, but all I ever get in the emails is "" or something like that. So I can't ever answer! If you want a reply, please include some way to reach you in the body of the comment (but leave out the @ and stuff; I'll replace and I don't want you to get spammed).

More sprucing up to come. On Twist, I'm about halfway up to the armpits of both sleeves. I worked on them all day today. I'm knitting two at once, and I'm afraid to mess up (as Betty will attest, I've been quizzing her about it because the last time I tried this my sleeves came out two different lengths) so I'm just cranking them out as fast as I can go. I don't know why I knit faster when I'm afraid I'll run out of yarn, or scared to mess up. But I am tired of this sweater and I need to finish the sleeves before I decide to throw the whole thing aside for the summer, which would be sad.

Saturday, June 02, 2007


I found him in a bag of lettuce given to me from a friend's garden. I brought the lettuce home on Monday and washed it several times in the sink, but he eluded detection. I felt bad that he was in my fridge for a week and hardly moving, but a couple of hours in the sun and a little lettuce has perked him right up. You can see the big hole he's eaten in one of the leaves (there are three more). Can anyone tell me what he is, and where I should put him when he has fully recuperated? I would like to give him a nice home in a tree, as I don't think apartment living is for him.

House guest

For the time being, his name is Walker. For obvious reasons. :)

Something miraculous has happened

I have managed to knit a sweater back and two fronts that are not only all the right length, they are the right length on me. Because I am the queen of dry-blocking stuff no matter how ugly it makes it:


Seriously, though, I like to do the block-pin-shoot thing because it often shows me mistakes. Like, I could see after I did this that I bound off the left front wrong. I was supposed to bind off the armhole edge first, but I did that wrong. So I ripped and fixed it.

Then I pinned it together and tried it on. Since I am wearing jammies and traces of yesterday's makeup and even the best shots made me look like an old guy wearing his favorite ratty vest to bingo, you do not get to see what that looks like. HOWEVER, I do absolutely assert that it's just the right length for me, armholes and everything.

Critter shots:





Now featuring Snap!

I hooked up Snap link previews last night...they are very easy to set up, and I always love when blogs are kind enough to show you a preview of what you're linking to (NSFW, anyone?). You can do it too - originally I thought it was limited to WordPress, but it works just as well in Blogger. You'll have to go marching around in your template, though, so don't do it when you're tired. For a very simple bit of code that wires you up to the system, go here: Snap Shots. Very easy and fun, though I don't know if it works outside of the main blogger/wordpress/typepad/moveable type/google blogs. But possibly! Y'all try it! :)

Friday, June 01, 2007

Happy Hurricane Season!



Since my mom's house hasn't sold and my sister lives in Sebring, I get to worry twice as much! Who's with me? I need to dig out a copy of Hurricane Party Bingo. Also, let's hope there's no hurricane Humberto.

Also also, officially only 37 days until the you know what! (And 24 days until I turn 29...for the mmpth time!)

I started my scarf, and I'm finishing up the right front of Twist. Pictures tomorrow!