Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Taking the pictures was like playing Twister!™


This is my leg up on the bathroom counter. Which would be...ridiculous...if it weren't for the slammin' sock that is gracing my toesies. It fits well, it's comfy and I really love the waves the pattern makes.

In other words, I finished it tonight! While the girls on Idol were bellowing their hearts out, I was grafting the toe closed. And...what do y'all think?

This pattern is going to be called Reversi. You've probably heard the word before - it's the title of a game where you aim to flip your opponents' tiles from white to black or vice versa. There's a reason it's called Reversi, which will be explained when I post the pattern.

And the pattern is coming soon, my lovelies! I am trying to decide if I should post it through here AND Ravelry, and whether I should give it away or try selling it for a small fee. I am just not sure. Hopefully I'll have the other one knit soon! My lovely and talented test-knitter reports that she is just past the heel of her first. It will be a little while before it's ready to post - I have to knit my second sock, the test-knit has to be finished, and I have to format the pattern.

Here's a personality shot of the gusset (up top is the beauty shot):


Happy Thursday! (It's a darn good thing I am a better knitter than bathroom-counter-cleaner. Sorry for the black mark but I couldn't bear for you to see my abysmal cleaning skillz.)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Weather fans, you're not alone!

(Does anybody remember that Weather Channel ad campaign about ten years ago? Where they painted their bodies like high-pressure and low-pressure systems?)

My sock has been in the garage all week getting a little overhaul. I made a mistake about 15 rows down, ripped back, knit the same row over again, knit five more rounds, tinked back stitch-by-stitch, and reknitted. (YES, IT IS ALWAYS WORTH FIXING A MISTAKE. To me.) I am midway through the toe. Hopefully Thursday night I'll have a finished sock! (I never knit on Wednesday nights. Weird, I know.)

Anyway, a slight diversion into philosophical things.

One of the reasons weather interests me so much is that it's really about air - which can't be seen, but can have tremendous physical effects, and which is weightless yet moves in "masses." It holds water - ever look at one of those gargantuan thunderheads and wonder how much it weighs? (Hint: around 7 pounds per gallon.)

I think that we should never, ever lose our sense of wonder. I have a friend who had a life-changing, ground-shaking experience because of a perfectly formed artichoke. Weather - the power of a storm, the pretty of a sunset, a cool breeze on my face - is one of those things that fills me with wonder.

So I like when we get little proofs of the existence of air - leaves rustling, things blowing around in the street. Sideways rain. Tonight I drove home very slowly in sleet and saw someone I used to know whilst at the grocery store and thought about how she was always, always condescending to me, and it made me sad. But then I looked out the back door and saw a perfectly indigo twilight sky with big, beautiful white snowflakes swirling around in it. And then I wondered "what-if" about the snow - would my camera catch it? Would my 2000 ISO mini-Fuji be able to capture anything but blurs?

But...the blurs are *cool.* The blurs are the proof of the air. Huh? Think about it.

Twilight snow

I resized, rotated and sharpened these photos. I didn't do any burning and dodging, and I didn't draw on them. The snow did all the work.

Another way I can define "wonder" is this: God does in a throwaway sunset or snowstorm or cold, clear night of stars more than I could do with a lifetime of brushes and paint. And I have learned that understanding weather doesn't take the mystery out of it.

Twilight snow

Saturday, February 23, 2008

One way you know the food was very, very good

Good Food

This is the check from my very favorite Mexican restaurant in Nashville, La Hacienda. The food is phenomenal, there is always a Futbol game or Mexican soap opera on TV, and you get to sit in these funky banana-leaf motif chairs to eat. What more could you want?

And the chees deep is very very good. :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Joke of the day

Hee hee

For some reason I am always surprised when it snows here in February. While those of you in northern climates control your laughter, let me remind you that I *did* grow up in Michigan, less than three miles from the Lake Itself, and it *did* snow almost every single day there from November to the end of March, so snow doesn't surprise me. Snow *here* does surprise me, in February that is, but I don't know why. I guess I always think that by February we should be getting on towards spring weather. The misery of Pollen Season starts early here, and spring in Tennessee has greatly contributed to my longstanding opinion that Spring is the Most Hated of Seasons, the season of sneezing, mold and overly hot temperatures. However, this season I have a new air cleaner coming to help out, so maybe I will enjoy it (that is so, so doubtful).

Yesterday morning it snowed while I was getting ready for work. I work about twenty minutes away from where I live, and by the time I got about halfway it picked up pretty good, but there were no traces of it once I got to where I park my car during work.

So yeah, I took a picture of snow. First, because I'm a weather geek, and second - because the flakes were huge and round and really spectacular.

So this is what snow looks like in Tennessee. Hehehe. (Even I am laughing at it.) Occasionally the ground does get covered, but it usually melts by noon or so.

Tonight at 9pm central time, you should go outside and look at the moon. It will be a full moon, blood-red lunar eclipse, which you can read about pretty much anywhere online. I read that it will be red because the moon will be reflecting light from earth's sunsets.


Monday, February 18, 2008


I'm sorry for not posting this weekend - I think I have a cold or some other kind of virus brewing. Yesterday I went about the serious business of weighing my couch down on the floor. I also watched several movies including Terminator 2, had Zicam, took my temperature compulsively (no fever, so far) and tried to relax. Wore jammies all day. Etc.

Saturday I went through my yarn stash and found a bunch of stuff to get rid of. I once ascribed to the "never get rid of yarn, ever" school of thought, but now I feel differently. Also I bought enough yarn last fall to clothe a small family. And I have so many odd balls of yarn that just had no mate but were not things I was going to use. They are all in a donate bag, and when I get my act together I'll post the rest of the get-rid-of yarn in my Ravelry stash.

Anyway, hope you feel better than I do today!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

Barack Obama built you a robot.

( They're links. Keep clicking! It's kind of like the Facebook updates, but all for you.)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Dearies, would you like a sock pattern?


If so, I'll need a test knitter in a week or so, preferably somebody who is experienced knitting socks. (I just want you to knit a pair with your own yarn and take pictures for me, and they're your socks in the end.)

I started with Knit Picks' Gloss, but I think this would be lovely in any solid colour. The lace is based heavily on the Eyelet and Flame pattern, but it's not the same. Probably it exists somewhere else, but I haven't seen it. I hinted around a little bit about it earlier; I have a few little tricks to share in this pattern.

New socks! New socks!


LOVE THESE. I know they look kinda clowny and all but I LOVVVVVE them.

Pattern: Jaywalker, by Grumperina, published through MagKnits.
Yarn: The amazingly soft, shiny and lovely Vesper sock yarn, available here. (This colourway is Love Stinks (Yeah Yeah).)
Needles: 1.5mm Inox Express, magic loop
Time to completion: Oh, I don't know - a month?

Modifications: Well, the heel is really all I changed. For one thing, I dislike it when sock patterns ask you to knit 1, slip 1 and purl back. Much easier to sl1, p1 across on the wrong side and then knit back for the same effect - and less purling! So I did that. Also, I reversed the gusset decreases so the first decrease you come to is a skpo and the second is a k2tog. It's sort of sneaky how they work. I'll have to take another picture of the heel. I forgot all about it.

I'm dreaming up a sock pattern at the moment, actually, based on the concept of reversing decreases and the fun and interesting shapes they make. I think it will be called Reversi. Not sure though - I'm only midway through the second repeat of my pattern, and it could totally tank by the time I make the heel!

Happy Tuesday.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Replacement

I have a new Schrodinger sock cube from my favorite Etsy shop. Let me just share with you its fabulous gorgeousness:

New Schrodinger bag

I love it tons and tons. Cathy is a dream to work with and her bags are top-notch. There are also six of them in stock today! Just waiting there for yooooouuuu...

Happy Monday!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Yarn update

Quite a few of you asked what the yarn we used for Bink was. I don't know that it's expressly the fault of the yarn that the blanket fell apart. Betty knit one strip that came unravelled, and I knit the other. The cast-off edge came out and the stitches are all still sitting there patiently. The seaming yarn held the horizontal bars in place, so it's like 44 dropped stitches in a row. Provided I can find the seaming yarn to remove, it will be relatively easy to fix. I'll have more pictures this weekend.

Anyway, the yarn itself is KnitPicks Swish Superwash. The colors are really beautiful and the yarn is a dream to knit up. True to its name, it didn't felt, but I am not sure I'd say I'm impressed with its washability or maybe I should say "durability." I am reserving judgment on that until after it's fixed.

Happy Friday, dearies!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

A Knitter's Tale

Dear Tanya,

Quite some time ago you told Betty and me that you were pregnant with your third child. We were so excited and happy for you and, us all being knitters, we naturally decided to knit you something for your dear little bundle. After a lot of scheming (which mostly consisted of she and I showing up early to our regular lunch meetings and poring over colour cards and discussing our options), we came up with a solution. We'd make you the Circle of Friends blanket from "Last Minute Knitted Gifts." We quizzed you in secret about the nursery colours, and picked seven colours of yarn for the blanket, and set to work. Each of us was to knit strips of 7 colours each; I would do 4, Betty would do 3 and the seaming.

The code name for the project was Operation Binky. And we did so well at keeping it a secret!

Months passed. You were due in October, and we were mostly finished and a late-night knitting marathon from Betty finally saw all the strips finished. I seamed two strips together upside-down while watching TV with Kirsten one night, then fixed them. Betty seamed the rest, as I am clearly not to be trusted with such simple assembly.

That left only the matter of weaving in the ends. I had high hopes for getting it all done at Christmas because I had two weeks off, but days of sitting in my jammies until 4pm watching bad movies kind of ran together and somehow I only finished about a third of it. The author recommended leaving long tails every time yarn was changed, in order to have something with which to seam. I think there were at least 50 ends and probably closer to 100.


And let me tell you, when I finished, it was beautiful. Not a single end could be seen anywhere. But we'd chosen superwash wool for a reason - it must be machine-washable and dryable - and I knew I had to test it out. And I needed to wash it that very night, because we were going to have lunch with you the very next day. But first, I took some pictures.




That night, of course, there were terrible tornadoes all across Tennessee. I rushed to put my survival stuff in the bathroom and get ready to hide if they came near me. But before I did, I put the blanket in the washer, set it to the gentle cycle and dribbed in a bit of Eucalan. Then I got my flashlight and candles and emergency knitting and watched the weather.

Little did I know that while my apartment was safe, sound and secure, all h-e-doublehockeystick was breaking loose in the washing machine. After a while I realized the machine had stopped, and I went with some (but not much) apprehension to get it out. After all, the wool was superwash - I knew it wouldn't felt. It would look a bit stretched out from being wet, but mostly it would be even more gorgeous than when I washed it.


My heart stopped. I may have uttered a few words that wouldn't be appropriate to say around your new baby. I turned the thing over and over in my hands and counted each hole. What had done this? A mouse? The Loch Ness BinkyMonster? Most of all, if the seaming or weaving was so dang bad, why couldn't I find a single end?

At first, I have to admit, I was horrified. I didn't know WHAT to tell Betty. I sent her a frantic email with some pictures and tried not to be so stunned. Then I thought about you, and what I knew of our friendship. I knew you would laugh and laugh at this. But most of all, I knew that it was amazingly fortunate I had decided to do the washing instead of just giving it to you. Because I can't imagine your face when you took this shredded and chewed mess of wool out of the washer, a gift from your friends who had spent so much time on it. I can imagine how it would have made you laugh and cry at the same time.

I am really glad we didn't do that to you. And I'm also glad that when we told you about the minor setback, you DID laugh. You wanted us to give it to you as-is. I think you can see why we can't, but I also think, after a good drying and a little bit of sleep, that it can be fixed. I'll get right on that, but I don't know how I will tell you to wash it.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

A disaster, but not THAT kind of disaster.

(A washing-machine-meets-knitted-item disaster.)

I'm okay despite the crazy weather last night. It was nerve-wracking but it mostly seems to have gone north or west of me.

I don't have a finished-object picture today, sorry. The washer chewed it up. I may be able to fix it.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Once again, they are plotting my destruction

And must be pacified with the sacrifice of "ham."



(Both taken with trusty iPhone. But kind of hard to get a moving target with it.)

PS: Top-secret knitting project will be revealed TOMORROW on this blog and possibly another! (Top secret because it's a gift.)

Monday, February 04, 2008

Silly, but in a good way

In addition to my long-standing habit of collecting crazy hair salon names (like Hairvoyant or Hair Peace), I have another pastime I don't think I've ever shared with you - adapting songs to fit my cats' names. Some of them are obvious; Maria from The Sound of Music becomes "How do you solve a problem like FIONA?" And, you know, continuing in the Sound of Music vein, "stinky old tuna fish wrapped up with string / these are a few of her favorite things!"

Some of them are funnier. Grady has developed a habit of holding his lip so one fang hangs out, and I call him Schmady-Schmady-Fang-Fang when he does it. (I know, dumb! Crazy!)

A couple nights ago I was out listening to songwriters, and one of the gentlemen who was playing had a cut with Charley Pride back in the 70s...and, um...Grady likes to"Have You Got Cheating On Your Mind?" of course became "Have You Got Eating On Your Mind."

Which of course now I can't stop laughing about. I really need to keep track of these, and make up a list.

I am nearly through with my Jaywalker socks, I can't believe how long they have taken me, and they really would get done faster if I'd actually work on them more than a row at a time.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Just Fee

Just a picture of Fee today. I really want to be knitting, but I'm just too busy at the moment. Hopefully tomorrow I can get some knitting in. It was 54 degrees here today, and Fee took in a little air:


:) Hope you are enjoying your weekend!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Some things are just too strange to describe

But in a very cool way.

Longtime blog readers will recognize my fascination with Legos. Just for kicks, here's a little YouTube to watch, as well.

Don't miss this quirky little Star Wars Lego extravaganza.

Back later with more fun stuff!