Sunday, December 31, 2006

Diet Schmiet!

I was going to start this post by saying "Yarn Diet, my ass!" Then I remembered I wanted to work on the size of that a little this year too, so never mind....

But I don't NEED a yarn diet. I NEED to use some of the yarn I have, because I have a LOT of yarn. So I will knit from stash this year. A lot. I also have to stop smoking, so maybe I shouldn't worry so much about the size of my ass until I get the smoking thing under control. They are raising taxes a dollar a pack, to which I say "PTTTBT!"

To start my new year off right, I went stash diving this afternoon. I am making a top from a 1985 McCall's Knitting for DD, who needs instant wardrobe help. I am a little worried that I don't have enough yarn, but what the heck, I'll know tomorrow, won't I? It's Austermann Rubino that I bought in 2003. I like the yarn. And I really like Marcia's attitude of "Ball Busting". That sounds SOOOOO much better than yarn diet.

The first time I made this top, I STRUGGLED to understand the cable, couldn't, and ended up doing all 10" of cabling this top calls for with a cable needle, every four rows. It took forever. 22 years later, I get it, finally.

So Happy New Year to you all.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Six weird things about me.

Marcia tagged me for a meme. I'm a little doubtful, because I am not terribly OCD, so I don't know exactly how weird I AM, but what the hell. And actually, Marcia, now that I read the rules, I think your happy ass is disqualified. Have a beer, kid.

Here are the stipulations-

“THE RULES:Each player of this game starts with the ‘6 weird things about you.’ People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave a comment that says ‘you are tagged’ in their comments and tell them to read your blog.”

1) My nails curve if I let them grow. Apparently, downward growing nails are an anomaly (according to a doctor who glommed onto them), but mine don't always grow down. I have noticed when I lived in certain places that they were all together normal looking. If it's a particularly stressful period of time, my nails form ripples that remain until they grow out.

2) I sincerely believe Chinese astrology charts. Throw the western ones out the window.

3) My cereal preparation is segregated. I think rice pudding is totally repulsive, but tapioca pudding is my favorite. Rice should be eaten with soy sauce (for that matter, I didn't even know what long grain rice was until I was about 25). Cream of wheat should be eaten with butter and salt. Oatmeal is fine if it's plain, but better with a few golden raisins sprinkled in, no milk or sugar, thanks. Cream of rice??? Never had it.

4) Every time I am in a public restroom, I think about the spray pattern from toilets, and wish I'd experimented with food coloring to know what the spray pattern of a toilet actually is.

5) I am a horrible packrat. I hate to clean, because I get overwhelmed with "do I throw it out or keep it?" If I throw it away, I will want it six weeks from now. And it's going to be dirty again next week anyhow.

6) My left arm gets sick periodically. It will swell, ache, and get a fever. It's done that since childhood. When I was little, I used to feel like crap along with it. No, I don't know why. Been to plenty of doctors about it, tho.

Let's see-I would like to tag Whitney, Joan, Bri, Suzann, Barbara and Marie.

It starts with F, ends with UCK

And is not firetruck. I just finished my project for Elann's scarf contest. It's due tomorrow. It's beautiful. It does what I want it to. The pattern is written. I need to tuck in ends and take photos. I laid it out to block, and after several visits to check drying progress, I saw it.

I screwed up the pattern.


It' s going in anyhow.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

We decked the halls all right....

Whew, Christmas is over. Friday, my best brother came to town for 24 hours. We drove all day Sunday in the pouring rain to my BIL's. The house was PACKED-the overnighters included DH and I, MIL, and an uncle and aunt. By the next day, add two nieces, one spouse, one grandkid, SIL's parents, grandma, two brothers, a spouse and two kids. Nothing broke, no one cried, and no one got likkered up and insulted anyone. And Dallas lost. All Christmas prayers were answered.

My SIL is a Christmas GODDESS. Really. The house looked like a department store. The food was good. And for the first time in 12 years, I got her the right present. I told her that if I didn't get it right this year, I was going straight to SIL hell forever. You should have seen her smile. I know she loved it. It was worth dragging thru the outlet mall and wasting hours stuck in traffic...well, almost worth going 20 mph on the interstate. You know what I mean.

DH did very well this year. Not only did he brag on my felted roast your damned feet off socks to his poor shivering uncle, he bought me materials. He called up Lorill at Elann, who took a wild guess and came up with sweater quantities of all this yarny goodness.

One thing in the box will have to go back. Fifteen balls of cream colored Pamir will crawl into a box this weekend, and wing its way back. Don't get me wrong, it's a beautiful yarn, but a) it was 70 damned degrees an hour ago, and b) it's cream. There are still colors of Sonata Print that I didn't buy (how is THAT possible?) . I made DD Knitty's Soleil in Lilac Sachet, and she LOVED it, but the top was short on me, and is apparently even shorter on her. I'd like to do one in Sea Shell.

I think it's hysterical that Lorill sent me Benne colors. I buy a lot of green yarn, and none of it is for me!!! (too many years in the military!!!)

Friday, December 22, 2006

Easy treats!

It's that time. The to-do list is crazy. This is worth doing.

Peanut Brittle-

Mix 2 c. sugar and 1 c. white corn syrup in a large pan. (try to use a light colored one!) Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and cook until amber. (It will go from butter color to amber. Wait for it.)

Remove the pan from heat, and add 2 rounded t. baking soda. Stir until blended, and add 2 heaping T. margerine, 2 c. peanuts, and 1 t. vanilla. Pour into two greased cookie sheets.

Yield-about 2 lb

Sunday, December 17, 2006

When black and purple make blue-

This is what happens when you knit one strand of sparkle railroad together with one strand of of Elann Super Kydd laceweight.

I used the CPY Curved Vest (from the freebie pattern section) with a slight modification...I cast on about 6 stitches fewer than originally called for, and added 3 on each side right before the increases for the front and back. As I suspected, this improved the pattern fit significantly...and were I to make this vest again (and I might, for MIL) I may go for 8 stitches. That only moves the back armhole in about 1".

I used about 4 1/2 balls of Estelle Dazzle in Mocha, and about 1 1/4 balls of Super Kydd in Blackberry. The Kydd is a rich, dark purple that is somehow half a step away from indigo.

I am not a big sparkle girl, and I am not a huge fuzzy sweater fan...and this project had just a touch of glam in there. I could easily wear it with dress pants or jeans.

I would consider this a good last minute Christmas gift. You have EXACTLY enough time to make one of these for your aunt, your sister, or yourself.

Go. Hurry!!!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Embarrassing Christmas party moments

Share last night's Hong Kong disco party photos where you sport an afro wig and peace sign? Hilarious.
Sister writes back and asks "WTF? You look like me!" Priceless.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Cousin wrecks Christmas!

Mark mentioned that he'd like a Maltese Cross pinkie ring for Christmas. Crap. Gold is at an all time high, exchange rates are at an all time low. This is not a good year for me to add to the Mr. T starter kit that all Mediterranean men like.

I got really excited when I found these. I told Mark I found something I thought he'd like for Christmas, and it's from Malta. I thought that even in my poverty stricken, poor American cousin mode, I might be able to buy at least a gemstone, and THAT would do. I told Mark that I was waiting for one of his cousins to get back to me. He couldn't stand the suspense, and asked me what I was looking at. He heartily approved. And he told me that in all likelihood, the guy really was his cousin. I thought to myself "Yes dear, I can read." The surname was familiar to me already, and I knew it was on the family tree.

Well, it's time to start villifying Cousin Ivan. I emailed last week on Friday, which was the feast of the Immaculate Conception...a national holiday. Twice this week. Finally, I called the shop number, and he was at a different number. I got an alternate email address. And I am waiting for dear Cousin Ivan to step up and tell me he can or cannot ship to the states, that he will or won't accept M/C, Visa, a cheque for British pounds sterling, yen, euros or hog futures. Or if I can even afford it.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

And now, for yor knitting pleasure, a little Christmas music....

Getting into the Christmas spirit? I LOVE this carol!

It makes me laugh EVERY time.

I've been thinking about Christmas carols; I can't help it, that's all that's on the radio. Mind you, I said CHRISTMAS carols, because that's what they are, not holiday songs....blech!!! It struck me that, because of my lousy, unpolitically correct 1960s public school education, there are songs I do not know in English. I can sing "Bring the Torch" in mangled grade school French (as well as Silent Night) but I have no idea what happens to Jeanette Isabella in English. At all.

I personally believe that "I'll be Home for Christmas" should NEVER be played in a public place. EVER. EVER. I remember standing in the Limited in 1980, listening to the chorus, and bursting into tears. It was the first time I was away from home. And playing it on a military base overseas? Bitch slap someone for picking THAT.

There are a lot of holiday messages from overseas service personnel on the TV this time of year. Every so often, I catch one that strikes me. It's usually a woman, and you can hear that little hitch in her voice, that slight warble. She's not going to be home for Christmas. Dammit, don't remind her! Go sing something cheerful.

Like Jewel's Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer. THAT'S a good Christmas song!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Items may vary....or not!

I love goofy socks as much as Sarah Jessica Parker loves Manolos. Since I've only actually met a few yarn buds in the summertime, that might be a little known fact. That being said, it shouldn't surprise anyone that I planned to surprise my good friends with goofy socks.

And there's the rub. Actually, it's a flippin' blister. I ordered socks. I ordered sets of socks. (Items not as pictured)

They came in today. Sigh...... I got four bundles of socks all right. Four identical bundles of identical socks. 20 pairs of identical goofy socks are not fun, they are an annoyance.

If I sent them to my friends as intended, they would laugh, regift some, wear some. And know that I had their best sock sorting interests at heart.

Friday, December 08, 2006

The new phone books are in! The new phone books are in!

Remember? Steve Martin's character ran excitedly down the street, shouting "The new phone books are in." Excited because he was SOMEBODY! I am vascillating between ole Navin, and a glowing four year old.

You know the four year old's look (and DAMN if we don't all lose it) of wonder, pleasure and surprise? No amount of Revlon blush can put that rosy glow on your face, no fancy brushes, no make-up pros, no shimmering highlighters. Rod Stewart had a lyric "shining like a new dime"-that just about sums it up. I am wearing that look in my heart (maybe not on my middle aged face) today.

My pattern "Two Measures of Joy" was posted on Elann today. Me! My pattern! I have tried and tried all year. And it's finally HERE. Better than Christmas, it is!

And I am slightly in awe of how fancy schmancy it looks. Amazed at what good lighting can get you! Can I live THERE? Cuz I might be a hottie in photo land!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Holiday knitting stress-

A line will take us hours maybe;
Yet if it does not seem a moment's thought,
Our stitching and unstitching has been naught.
— William Butler Yeats, "Adam's Curse"
Hold THAT thought next time you get your ass whipped by a chart.

Red, red, whine.....

I thought I might be able to get this done for the corporate Christmas party this weekend....but I was wrong. I wanted to dazzle my ex-colleagues with my knitting prowess. Boredom overtook me yesterday. Ah well. It's 3X Chic, which I found on Knitty, with Jo Sharp Aran Tweed. I added a few cables on the side, just to make it interesting.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Very exciting news!

After trying SIX (count them 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, SIX) times, I finally won! My purse pattern will be posted on Elann on December 8th.

Here it is, while I was still working on it. Thank you again, Billie, for finding music that was both easy to embroider and recognizable. Your help made it so much simpler for me to put out a nice clean bag!

I had to knit this same bag twice, because I totally dorked it up on the first round.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Here she is----Miss Cellaneous...

I like her now a good deal more than I did 48 hours ago. It's lovely Miss Swallowtail Shawl, made from a ball and a half of Crystal Palace Kid Merino . It measures roughly 5 feet across and about 21" deep, and this is after a very light blocking...actually, I just wet it down, and picked at the edges a little. The fuzz obscures my major chart boo-boo. Now that I have her looking pretty, I want to do one where she's actually RIGHT.

K is for-

I finished up the wretched Swallowtail last night. Between the fluff and the multi-colors, it will be fine. I think I will gift it to Georgie, my Dad's neighbor who runs him to Luke AFB now and then.

A nibbling little idea helped motivate me to finish that stupid shawl. My Dean of Honor has a friend, Karl, who reminds me of my mother. I decided that since Karl lives in the City by the Bay, he might like a warm scarf. I dug through Stash Mountain, and came up with two choices-Elann's Pure Camel in camel, or their Baby Silk in Sapphire. Gosh, what to choose? Most of Dean's friends have a pretty good eye for quality, so camel would be great, but the blue would look fantastic. I emailed Dean, but need to knit NOW, and can't wait that I started this- It started out as BW #1 pp 12, Double Broken Rib, but my Knitter's ADD kicked in almost immediately, and I decided to alternate the ribbed sections for a basket weave. This is a "God, I've got a sinus headache" easy-to-knit pattern. It will be genderless and CAMEL (ewwww) but look classy.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I'm the Queen!

I qualified for the crown this week. After I figured out how to make the Swallowtail Shawl nupps behave, it was all smooth sailing. I was on the last row of the fourth lace chart, and looked at my charts. And then I saw it.
In the pattern, as published in IWK Fall 2006, chart one and two are identical on each half of the shawl, as is chart five. Charts three and four mirror each other.
Dammit. Damn. DAMN. This is the second time I've knit this in less than six weeks, and this is the first time I saw that. There's no way my laceweight mohair will tolerate the frogging.
Talk about losing momentum on a project. Only 16 rows from completion, and I discover I am a complete and total __________(you fill in the blank, whatever, it can't be worse than the term floating in my brain). Might as well finish it. And gift it away, don't you think?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Nuppotism is good!

I finished my first Swallowtail shawl a few weeks ago. It was a fairly easy knit-except for the lily buds, or nupps. In the original pattern, the instructions dictate that you K1, YO, K1, YO, K1 all in one stitch. Simple enough. On the return, however, you are instructed to P5 tog when you reach that spot, and THAT is a pain in the butt. I frowned, my tongue poked out, and I looked and felt like I was learning to knit all over again. And it was a slow process.

When I started this second Swallowtail, I set out to find a way to beat the nupps, and I think I have. First, I tried working it like an I-cord, slipping it back onto the left-hand needle and reworking it twice. In theory, it should have worked, and it did, kinda sorta. The resulting element looked like a blob, and I didn't like that. The I-cord blobs are highlighted with pink.
This morning, the heavens finally opened on my feeble brain, and I got the crochet hook out. When I got to my nupp stitch, it was C1, YO, C1, YO, C1, draw yarn thru all the loops. And it works!!! Look at the yellow circle. On the return, I work nothing but purls between the garter bands. It's clean, its easy, and hey, it adds only one stitch at the nupp area. I could slip the nupp if I really cared, but I don't.

I don't plan to tink or frog the offending nupps-it won't be noticeable on a galloping horse, and the mohair is pretty forgiving. YAY! GO Swallowtail Shawl!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Treasured Holiday Memories....

Most American occaisions have a very strong food component. What's Valentine's Day without chocolate? Fourth of July without a barbeque? Back to school without an apple? Thanksgiving without turkey? Americans love their feasts. One year at my house, we had the rarest of days. Thanksgiving. Without. Leftovers.

I spent 20 years in the military. From the FIRST year I was in (when we raided the histo lab to steal a needle to sew up the turkey....ah, never mind about that one), to my very last, it was ALWAYS a cookfest. One year, at 8 a.m. I had no idea who was coming over. By 2, my house was stuffed with 18 guests. Every year, either I was toting food, or folks were coming over.

The last year I made Thanksgiving for my peeps, we'd been working crazy shifts. We had activated our reservists. We all worked like dogs. Thanksgiving was an entire day off, and it was a luxury. I was just plain lucky-the grocery across from the base was opened til midnight, which is the only humane shopping hour after November 15 in any calendar year. I asked my crew over, because that's what you do when you work with 19 year olds away from their moms for the first time. You ask all the people you can tolerate who may not have other plans.

And it was great-turkey, taters, pumpkin cake, yummy ham, sides, and five dinner guests. Nothing burned, everything was done at the right time, and there were no mortifying moments. The china looked great on the table. But it quickly turned into the Thanksgiving from hell, the one that scarred my husband for life.

Chown**, who I worked with in Germany, LOVED the pumpkin cake. I think he was very happy to have real food. Debbie and Susie from Vogelweh were there too, as were Lulu and her sister. As is my custom, I offered to make up a plate of leftovers for later in the evening, when everyone was back at their barracks. So I made snack plates for Chown, Debbie and Susie. Because they lived in the barracks, and had enjoyed it so much, I offered Chown the rest of the cake-it wasn't like my fat butt needed it. Smiles all around.

Lulu and her sister made "let's get going" noises. So I trotted over to the counter, and whipped out the Chinet and foil to make them little plates. I turned around, and was stunned to see Lulu digging in her enormous purse. She straightened up, and slowly turned around, brandishing an object that would make Miss Manners weep, and make any hostess dive for the rolling pin in self defense. She clutched a package of Hefty quart-sized zipper-lock freezer bags. The econo pack. Unopened. Her sister was rolling up her sleeves.


They fell upon the ham and turkey like cannibals on a fat guy. My DH still recalls, with a shudder, their ability to debone a turkey from twenty feet. And when they left, all the food went with them. My DH was distraught. NO turkey sandwich. No gravy and taters! Nada. I think I had enough ham to make a bean soup with. All my new Tupperware sat, pristine, virginal, ignored. Empty.

In my house, if you want to see a grown man cry, take away his leftover turkey. DH sulked, pouted, groused. There was absolutely nothing he could do. It was the Thanksgiving with no leftovers. And that man still holds a grudge.

** all names have been changed to protect the innocent, and shield the guilty.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Would you care for some more dessert?

Happy Thanksgiving to all my yarn buds. I am grateful to know you.

I should be working on my Swallowtail but......

I happened upon these in utero photos of animals. How fascinating!

ok, I'll go back to my knitting now (mumble mumble...)

Monday, November 20, 2006

Guess what?

Looky here!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A mama meme

It's been roughly six years and three weeks since my commander pulled me into his office to tell me my mother died. We had a somewhat contentious relationship for about the last 30 years of her life. Now, as the holidays approach, I stumble upon bits that my mother taught me, like driving over random frost heaves on a highway.

Last week, I went to fancy designer purse outlet store, and bought my sister in law the thing she really wants for Christmas. We've been related for 12 years, and this is the first year I am certain I have a gift she will adore. Today, I remembered that I have to put a penny in it before I wrap it.

That penny used to confuse my children. Well into their teens, they thought I was the ULTIMATE cheapskate for giving a penny in a purse. "Geez, Bets, why bother, put some real money in there!!! You are sooo cheap to give Grandma a penny!" And I could never explain that you can't give an empty wallet or an empty purse, because if you do, the owner will always be poor. In my thinking, who wants THAT? FIND a penny.

And I remember when I learned this. I was eight or nine, and there was a J.C. Penneys outlet store near our home in Elmhurst, and my mother LOVED it, because everything was cheap, yasi, a bargain. She bought me a purse, and made sure to put a penny in it. And it's funny, that one instance made an indelible impression on me.

I'll tag all of you for a mama meme.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Hey, it's a rerun!

Recognize this? I woke up this morning, and needed a project to take into work. I grabbed the yarn at the top of the heap-Crystal Palace Kid Merino. Daryl, T, Bri and I all bought different colors of this yarn when we were at TKGA; I specifically wanted it because I saw the preview of Swallowtail Shawl, and knew that this was the right yarn for the project-and what a deal! Two balls of yarn cost me less than 13.50!!! It's unusual for me to work up a project WITH the yarn I bought for it, and in a relatively short amount of time. After all, I've only owned it for 120 days!

The Swallowtail is a relatively easy knit, except for those stupid nupps/bobbles, so I have to figure out an acceptable substitute for them-probably a simple bobble will do the trick. They were just a pain in the butt, so I WANT to conquer that challenge. I am really glad I worked it in Taj Mahal first. Now that I understand the pattern, it's effortless in this fluffy laceweight. It seems so little in this weight-hard to believe I have almost 100 stitches on the needles already! I love the color-it's the UltraBlues colorway. Unless I have a Christmas 'mergency, this little girl is staying with ME!

Friday, November 17, 2006

I was wrong!

On second thought, unless it does some HORRIBLE stretching when I block it, just knit it as it's written. Note the ubersnazzy pencil I used for a closure. I've got to crochet around the arms, add buttons and block it-less than an hour and it's DONE!

Just follow the damned pattern, ok??

A few weeks ago I was frantically bidding for four balls of Mystical Creations Wool and Silk yarn in a dutch auction on ebay. Ebay being what it is, I ended up with THREE balls of a lovely color called Green Mountain-a mix of hunter, lime and sage. (Who is the bozo that got that fourth ball, and what do they plan to make with that 170 yards, anyhow? What do they know that I don't??)

The yarn is a wonderful mix of colors, texture, and glow-but I had no idea what to do with the 510 yards I won. After some surfing, I found the Merino Stripes Curved Vest pattern at Crystal Palace yarns. I've been working on it steadily since Monday evening. I was flummoxed when I read the directions-I'm a bit challenged without a schematic-but here it is, five rows from the buttonholes.

I am absolutely certain that this is the right type of pattern for this variegated thick and thin yarn. But now that I am ALMOST done, I can see spots where I could improve this pattern a little. The upper back is knit first, and truthfully, I would like to see that with a little shaping. I should quit quibbling about it and just finish the vest-I can do it again, it's not hard, I NEED TO STOP OBSESSING ABOUT IT, right? Just finish the damned thing!

FO photo soon. This type of pattern is absolutely perfect for Mr. Joe Sangria that Elann had a month or so ago, or any stripey yarn. I am working the smallest size, and I think I'll have exactly enough yarn.

Monday, November 13, 2006

A glimpse of my weekend

Mi familia left. A good time was had by all. Everyone had fun. DBIL is a stitch. He's looking for a rich older woman....with a cough. Snarky man. All this smart-aleckedness runs in the family, so I was a moving target. Here they are taking pot-shots at 0630 this morning!
On the way home from dinner last night, my loving family picked on me so much, I decided that I was homely and didn't have good taste. Which is why I picked my DH, OBVIOUSLY..... I had DMIL laughing so hard I was yelling "Pull over, she's gonna wet her pants."

She had a good time helping me put together Christmas trinkets for the store. And laughed her head off when I told her she coulda stopped at three kids and skipped her youngest pride and joy all together, because he's so grouchy!

My DH told me I looked lovely. Guess I should take that last one back!!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

That LAZY daughter-in-law!

Friday, I went out on the search for holiday giftware. Fa-freaking-la. Good thing I didn't wait til the weekend, because I still ended up driving 25 mph on the interstate. Holy moley. It was 90 degrees, and after a whole afternoon, I only found a few things.

While I was out killing brain cells, my BIL and MIL showed up. We expected them, but my house is SUCH a disaster, and it's not like I ever get a day off to clean. I get one day off a week to do EVERYTHING, the rest of my days are 12 hours long, or longer. DH was cool though, so yesterday morning, I took my DMIL down to the zenny beauty institute, where she got a manicure from an indeterminate person named Lorenzo, and I got a haircut.

Since my FIL's death two years ago, Mom has changed. Losing her mate of 50 years left her bobbing in the sea, untethered. I like to take her out to play in every way I can dream up, and DH appreciates it. She had a good time getting her "claws" (her term) done, and a better time giggling about Lorenzo, who had really messy waist-length light brown dreads. After she admired my (really great for 15.oo) haircut we stopped off for hibiscus mint tea, got all zenned up, adjusted our karmas, and went home.

Everyone left me at the shop and went out to lunch. (Sigh.) And I was BUSY. In walked DD#1, who I hadn't seen for over a year. I had her call her fazzah, and they all flocked back to the store to fuss over her. After the obligatory social chatter, she took off, DH and DBIL went off to take naps, and Mom and I assembled cute little gift mug sets to put out. I rechristened her "the Serene Empress" because she wanted a new job title. We commiserated over her lazy DIL, who hasn't sent her a package in MONTHS, and can't knit fast enough to actually finish her vest! Miserable thing!

Mostly tho, I made her laugh. BTW, Swallowtail is going home with her. If she finds the right giftee, that's good. If it stays with her, that's good too.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Veteran's Day in America-

I decided last night that Veterans ought to get gifts on Veteran's Day. Mom gets gifts on Mother's Day, Dad gets gifts on Father's Day, and look at Valentine's Day, Easter, and Halloween. We spend millions. The men and women who sign up to take orders every day deserve a cup of coffee. At the very least.

Since the elections, DH and I discussed the geo-political ramifications of the changing of the guard. While it is important to get out of Iraq soon, it is important that we are percieved "the winners" when we exit. The Middle Eastern culture will use Al Jazeera to leverage its agenda, not to mention bombs loaded into cars, airplanes, and boats. Canada is the only country on the terror "favorites list" that hasn't been hit; England, Spain, us....when can it stop? How can it stop? Because of the Middle East's cultural history, I wonder if leaving the region will exempt us from further terrorism, and I know it my heart it will not. If we leave appearing strong, someone will be tempted to pester "the evil Empire" to get even; if we leave appearing weak, we are a vessel for their agendas.

The loss of life in the war is announced, reported, and tallied by the media every day. And it's funny how biased that reporting really is. We lose more Americans to DUIs than we lose to military actions. Think about that for a sec, okay?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Swallowtail Shots

It's done! Presenting the Swallowtail Shawl from IWK Fall 2006, designed by Evelyn Clark. I used almost 3 balls Le Fibre Nobili Taj Mahal (merino, silk, cashmere, 170 m to 50 grams) on size 4mm needles.

This is HUGE. I could easily use it as a sarong or a full size shawl, because the top edge is well over 6 feet, and the center edge is almost 3 feet. It's not even properly blocked!!!!

The lower picture shows the border, just to give you an idea of the scale of things, and to show those evil nepps. Instead of a P5 tog, I used a nepp-buster. On the previous row, at the increase point of K1, YO, K1, YO, K1, I did an extra wrap at the first YO. This gave me enough slack to pull that P5 off. Sorry-A Nepp is that little bobble.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

My Dean of Honor and other stuff

I heard from my best brother this week. He texted me twice from some Hong Kong bar's disco night, crabbing and complaining. I think it's his version of drunk dialing. I made fun of him, because he once won a company Christmas talent show acting in a Village People skit.

Then he called me Saturday morning. He's doing VERY well, and has saved a TON of money living there, but stuff Stateside worries him, like how the dog gets pissed off when he drops in to visit. He's worried about his stateside housemate's health problems, and a second one who's about to get evicted, because the other housemates won't put up with certain crap.

He's my favorite, clear and simple. We didn't have an easy time growing up. I left as soon as possible. He stayed, and grew into an amazing guy. I need to visit, just because I think we understand each other on such a visceral level. He was my Dean of honor when DH and I married.

I happened to meet my intended Swallowtail recipient last week. I have serious doubts about her EVER wearing a shawl, heck, even appreciating a shawl, so I went out and bought a pretty Tyler candle for her instead. Swallowtail is finished, and waiting to be hard blocked, and then I'll take a picture. I think it might go to Betty, who is an ex-colleague, but I am not certain.

And now, I plan to settle in with some SWS and have a little science project---MIL and BIL show up this week, and I need to have something finished on Sunday.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Ending the month at the same place I started

I pulled into Nazareth, was feelin' about half past dead; I just need some place where I can lay my head. "Hey, mister, can you tell me where a man might find a bed?" He just grinned and shook my hand, and "No!", was all he said.

Maybe The Band was wrong. Maybe life isn't a carnival, maybe it's something closer to a waltz. At the beginning of the month I was working on a prayer shawl for someone. As the month closes, I find myself at the same exact spot on the dance floor.

Today, DH mentioned to me that his coworker's girlfriend had her cancer surgery this morning. His description leads me to believe she had a lumpectomy, with a little exploration on the side. I thought I ought to make something for her. Then I looked at Swallowtail in my lap-I am about 25 rows from the first border. And made up my mind right then that that's who this is for.

Funny. I've known the guy about 4 years, haven't seen him since I quit working 18 months ago. Apparently, he doesn't have a good chick checklist (or maybe he's not on a good checklist-who can tell these days?), because the last time I saw him, he was with his wife. I nuts to give away my pretty Swallowtail? I have aunts that would adore it. Somehow, I have faith in the mystical powers of gifts that tumble out of the sky. If she's an unworthy asshole, she may be nudged into a humane moment for just a second-long enough that it slaps her. If she's a nice person, it will be a hug.

No worries about whether that shawl is "me" or not. Perhaps there's a knit and release program somewhere with my name on it. Now if you'll excuse me, I hear The Band striking up.

Take a load off Annie, take a load for free; Take a load off Annie, and (and) (and) you put the load right on me.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Recipe hunt

I've got an APB out for good recipes that freeze well.

Since the beginning of the year, I have phoned the Phoenix Albertsons to make sure that my Dad has groceries. He doesn't eat, he feels like crap, then he eats less, then he feels worse....I've checked into it, he's six blocks away from the Meals on Wheels boundary. Luby's will deliver to other areas, but not to his.

It is my general plan to go to Dad's and cook my ass off for a few days. And freeze it all. I am tired of worrying about it, tired of wondering. And that's a Christmas gift he'll enjoy for weeks afterwards.

He told me my older brother (finally got a freaking clue and) bought some crockpots and has been boxing up dinners for him. I asked "So Dad, is Fred a good cook?" "Not really," he admitted.

My recipe parameters are-

Suitable or adaptable for diabetics (this means that I am making cabbage potato pancakes, not potato pancakes)
Sans poultry. Working in a processing plant for a few months just does that to a body.
Suitable to freeze in small portions.
I think I plan to make many things, as opposed to huge quantities of a few things.
Variety improves appetite, so I need things that are adaptable-for example-mini meatloaf/meatballs/mix also go with spaghetti, soup, sandwiches. It can also step into Salisbury steak land.
He'll eat a lot of different types of food, as long as it feels hearty and homemade.

I appreciate any recipes and ideas you can pass my way!

Swallowtail Part II

Here's the second try at Swallowtail. I'm about 1/3 of the way done with chart one. I'm using Lane Cervina's Taj Mahal in a (!!) pale (!!) solid (!!) lavendar. Yeah, I know, I am stretching myself creatively, LOL!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Just because it CAN be knit

Does not necessarily mean it's a good idea. Swallowtail was mercilessly frogged, and reknit as Berroco's free pattern Kap, and Norah Gaughan's Target mittens (still drying). I was not impressed with either pattern.

Kap turned out to be just a beanie, a toque, a skullcap-whatever, but the newsboy look eluded me, even after I blocked it on a large plate. Fine, it'll be what it is.

And the Target mittens? I'd never made mittens before, so that was fun, and they went quickly but that semi-circular seam in the middle of the palm is irritating. My yarn was a chunky/aran weight, so I just made the smallest children's size, and added rows before and after the thumb decrease. The "target" is picked up and knit from a circular hole made by the thumb decreases. It reminds me of a teat, and that bugs me to no end.

The yarn is Noro Silver Thaw, one skein, and there were knots in the middle that threw off the patterning, so there was no point trying to get the mittens to match. The shade a hideous train wreck of highlighter hues.

Don't mind me, I am ultra-crabby.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

My favorite stitch-

I have a favorite stitch. NOT a favorite stitch pattern, a favorite stitch. I love the double decrease. Slip 1, K2 tog, PSSO. There's something about it that feels like dancing.
I'm working on the Swallowtail Shawl from the Fall 2006 IWK. I'm working in Noro Silver Thaw. The colorway is hideous.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

I glance at it every time I walk by-

There's a purse contest over at Elann that I'd like to enter. One morning, I got colorway inspiration from an art article in Forbes. While I was driving to work, the design popped into my head. (I have a three minute commute. This design is not hard.) I consulted an expert (Thanks, Sundog!) and last week, I set about whipping up my masterpiece. I knit and knit and knit, then I felted.

It sucked.

After knitting several balls of Highland Wool and a lot of agitation, I had a big felt pillowcase. If I can convince Miss Suggy that this is my favorite pillow, she will want to use it, but if not, this fugly rubbish will land in the trash. Sigh.

Convinced it was a good idea, (and working with my behemouth swatch, which CLEARLY showed proportions after felting) I started over on Wednesday. I felted it Friday night, and worked on details all day yesterday. Yay! Much better. I am a lining and snap away from total completion. I really like it. I would carry it.

Let's see what the judges think.

Friday, October 20, 2006

A Me Me meme

(hell, everyone else does, and I am still working on Secret Knitting)

Four jobs I’ve had:
Telephone eavesdropper Don’t worry, it was legal.
Dance Instructor at Arthur Murray’s Frankly, I loved it, but didn’t earn enough to pay for pantyhose.
Technical Writer NOT a riveting job.
Optical sales THAT boss is famous because he was the defendant in a sexual harassment case that went to the Colorado Supreme court. He was an ass. He lost.

Four movies I can watch over and over:
The Joy Luck Club-the movie that makes every Asian cry
The Memphis Belle
Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion-it’s just funny
The Green Mile

Four places I have lived:
Elmhurst IL
Anchorage AK
Fort Worth TX
10 Eisenschmelz, Winnweiler-Hochstein D67722 (see photo)

Four television shows I love to watch: Project Runway, Mind of Mencia, What not to wear (BBC) , Unwrapped (on Food Network)

Four places I have been on vacation: London, Tokyo, a prairie dog town somewhere in Wyoming, Munroe GA

Four of my favorite dishes: Jello Custard , Fried Mushrooms, Tortilla Soup. Hamburgers right off the grill-d’ya ever notice that there is no restaurant that can dress your burger as well as you do?

Four websites I visit daily: Project RunGay,, Drudge Report, (well, several times a week to see what’s on sale) and ebay

Four places I would rather be right now: The lace market at Idar Oberstein, Harrod’s, talking to my brother (doesn’t matter where), Colorado Springs

Four bloggers I am tagging: Libby, Bri, Joan and Suzann

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Saturday, October 14, 2006

I just had to pass this one on-

I read the story on Reuters about the death-row inmate who is pregnant after spending a year in solitary. I'm pretty sure it's NOT the second coming. Guess her guards are gonna be in BIG trouble-nothing to do but check DNA now.

After all the Project Runway hype-

(I am still knitting something I can't talk about)

The big finale is this week. Thank goodness, because the past two episodes have left me craving an auf'ing. I was wandering around and happened across the photo collections from the Bryant Park show.
Oh I have definite opinions on who should win. And shockingly enough, the collections all look like Uli's!!!! (Except Laura's). And I don't think Laura should win-but mostly because the rest of the world (outside NYC) will only take so much black and neutral. I really don't see a beige turtleneck mini as a spring dress.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

More about appearances-

Since I am working on secret knitting this week, I figured I'd revisit appearances, based on a few of the comments left on "You look Marvelous". A few years ago, I got a frantic late night phone call "Turn your tv on! Chris Baierski is on!" WHATTTT????? So I turned the tv on.

It was Paula. I was shocked, amazed and a little repulsed to see her as a candidate on "Extreme Makeover." I worked with Chris years ago. I remembered his wife Paula-thick glossy curls, and snapping, sparkling eyes. Funny to see that this was how she saw herself.

Sorry, I couldn't load Paula's bio link ....

Thursday, October 05, 2006

You look marvelous, darling!

Found these this morning on Decided it would be a mission of mercy to post them.

You look fine just as you are, and probably better than you think.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I'm a freakin' TRENDSETTER!!!


I crocheted this last January as a stash buster. I mailed it to my dear friend Lisa. Interestingly enough, I found this at Knitscene . Proof that a monkey with a typewriter will eventually produce the works of Shakespeare. (Me, I'm the monkey, don't get all huffy....!)

Monday, October 02, 2006

By popular request-

OrderID A2248988
2/2/2006 US Priority Mail
Product ID
Den-M-Nit Pure Indigo Cotton 50g (1.75 oz) ball 1109, Mid Indigo, L16205 7
I happened to run in to the sales slip for my shawl contest yarn the other day. Just looking at it, I thought "Christ, were you nuts? Your yarn came in three weeks before the deadline!" Eh, well whiskey-tango-foxtrot (WTF) you gotta take a chance once in a while. If I had told myself I wouldn't get it done, I wouldn't have. But I did. The name is a mish-mash of two cultures-an obi is a large Japanese sash used to bind a kimono. A toga....well, let's just say that my best toga party look ever had a belted toga. I looked like Diana, not like a six year old playing a Roman centurion.

Pattern notes-this pattern is short-I am a short woman. If you are taller than 5'4" & size 12, it will fit you as a shawlette, so plan accordingly. I specifically put in eyelets to allow the wearer to belt it. I cast off at 7:30 the evening of the deadline, so I had no opportunity to test this. I feel it should be a little longer on me. Other pattern notes-I wrote a sucky pattern. Sorry, it's the truth. I was too sick of the project to rewrite it. The instructions are very detailed, and that hurt me.
This pattern is copyrighted material and the entire contents of this pattern are copyrighted as a collective work under the copyright laws of Canada and the United States. You may print a copy of this pattern for your own personal use and enjoyment, but editing, publishing, transmitting, e-mailing, posting it to a list service or database, or otherwise commercially exploiting this pattern is strictly forbidden. Copyright E. Mamo, 2006.

Obitoga-This pattern starts with scalloped edging, spreads into garter panels punctuated by eyelet rows, and finishes with an easy lace edging. The large eyelets allow the wearer to weave a ribbon, belt, or I-cord, and fasten the shawl around her waist, so it’s not floppy-sloppy.

KFB-knit in the front and back of each stitch
KYOK-Knit, Yarn over, Knit, all in the same stitch
Materials-7 balls Elann’s DenMknit, 36” circular needle, US size 9, stitch markers
Gauge-approx 4 stitches per inch.
Begin scalloped edging-

Using a provisional cast on, cast on 5 stitches.

R1-K3, increase in the next stitch by knitting in the front and back, k1
R2-K1, increase, K 4
R3 K5, increase, K1
R4 K1, increase, K6
R5 K6, K2tog, K1
R6 K1, K2tog K5
R7 K4 K2tog, K1
R8 K1, K2tog, K3

Add the stitches for the shawl back edging-

Pick up 3 along the bottom edge
Undo provisional cast on, slide these 5 stitches onto your (empty) needle, K 5

Begin working the shawl body and edges-

K1, Inc FB, K3, PM. K3, PM, K3, Kfb, K1
K1, Inc FB, K4, SM. K3, SM, K4, Kfb, K1
Increase row-K1, Inc FB, K 5, SM, M1, KYOK in each of the next 3 stitches, M1 (11st), SM, K5 , Kfb, K1
K1, Inc FB, K6 , SM. P11 , SM, K 6, Kfb, K1
K1, K2tog, K6, SM, K11, K6, K2tog, K1
K1, K2tog, K5, SM, P11, K5, K2tog, K1
Increase and set up for the pattern in the next two rows-
K1, K2tog, K4, SM, K1 FB in the first stitch, K1, KYOK IN THE Next stitch, K2, KYOK, K2, KYOK, K1fb, K1, K4, K2tog, K1
K1, K2tog, K3, SM, P1, K2, P3, K2, P3, K2, P3, K2, P1, SM K3, K2tog, K1

References to 'SM" end-work that occurs 'between the markers" will be enclosed in brackets.

Now, you'll be working scalloped edges, garter panels, and increases in small stockinette sections.

K1, Inc FB, K3, {Knit 19}, K3, Kfb, K1
K1, Inc FB, K4, {P1, *K2, P3* 3 times, K2, P1}, K4, Kfb, K1
Increase row-K1, Inc FB, K 5, {KFB, K3, KYOK, K4, KYOK, K4, KYOK, K2, KFB, K1, 27 st bet markers} K5 , Kfb, K1
K1, KFB, K6 { P1, K4, P3, K4, P3, K4, P3, K4, P1}, K 6, Kfb, K1
K1, K2tog, K6, {K27}, K6, K2tog, K1
K1, K2tog, K5 { P1, K4, P3, K4, P3, K4, P3, K4, P1}, K 5, K2tog, K1
Increase row-K1, K2tog, K4, {K1 FB in the first stitch, K5, KYOK,K6, KYOK, K6, KYOK, K4, KFB, K1, 35 st} K4, K2tog, K1
K1, K2tog, K3, { P1, *K6, P3* three times, K6, P1} K3, K2tog, K1

K1, Inc FB, K3, {Knit 35}, K3, Kfb, K1
K1, Inc FB, K4, {P1, *K6, P3* 3 times, K6, P1}, K4, Kfb, K1
Increase row-K1, Inc FB, K 5, {KFB, K7, KYOK, K8, KYOK, K8, KYOK, K6, KFB, K1, 43 st bet markers} K5 , Kfb, K1
K1, KFB, K6 { P1, K8, P3, K8, P3, K8, P3, K8, P1}, K 6, Kfb, K1
K1, K2tog, K6, {K43}, K6, K2tog, K1
K1, K2tog, K5, { P1, K8, P3, K8, P3, K8, P3, K8, P1}, K 5, K2tog, K1
Increase row-K1, K2tog, K4, {K1 FB in the first stitch, K9, KYOK,K10, KYOK, K10, KYOK, K9, KFB, K1, 51 st} K4, K2tog, K1
K1, K2tog, K3, { P1, *K10, P3* three times, K10, P1} K3, K2tog, K1

K1, Inc FB, K3, {Knit 51}, K3, Kfb, K1
K1, Inc FB, K4, {P1, *K10, P3* 3 times, K10, P1}, K4, Kfb, K1
Increase row-K1, Inc FB, K 5, {KFB, K11, KYOK, K12, KYOK, K12, KYOK, K10, KFB, K1, 59 st bet markers} K5 , Kfb, K1
K1, KFB, K6 { P1, K12, P3, K12, P3, K12, P3, K12, P1}, K 6, Kfb, K1
K1, K2tog, K6, {K59}, K6, K2tog, K1
K1, K2tog, K5, { P1, K12, P3, K12, P3, K12, P3, K12, P1}, K 5, K2tog, K1
Increase row-K1, K2tog, K4, {K1 FB in the first stitch, K13, KYOK, K14, KYOK, K14, KYOK, K12, KFB, K1, 67 st} K4, K2tog, K1
K1, K2tog, K3, { P1, *K14, P3* three times, K14, P1} K3, K2tog, K1

K1, Inc FB, K3, {Knit 67}, K3, Kfb, K1
K1, Inc FB, K4, {P1, *K14, P3* 3 times, K14, P1}, K4, Kfb, K1
Increase row-K1, Inc FB, K 5, {KFB, K15, *KYOK, K16 twice from *, KYOK, K14, KFB, K1, 75 st bet markers} K5 , Kfb, K1
Small eyelet row - K1, KFB, K6 {*K2 tog, YO, repeat from *,end K1}, K 6, Kfb, K1
K1, K2tog, K6, {K75}, K6, K2tog, K1
K1, K2tog, K5, { P1, K16, P3, K16, P3, K16, P3, K16, P1}, K 5, K2tog, K1
Increase row-K1, K2tog, K4, {K FB in the first stitch, K17, KYOK, K18, KYOK, K18, KYOK, K16, KFB, K1, 83 st} K4, K2tog, K1
K1, K2tog, K3, { P1, *K18, P3* three times, K18, P1} K3, K2tog, K1

K1, Inc FB, K3, {Knit 83__}, K3, Kfb, K1
K1, Inc FB, K4, {P1, *K18__, P3* 3 times, K18__, P1}, K4, Kfb, K1
Increase row-K1, Inc FB, K 5, {KFB, K_19_, KYOK, K_20_, KYOK, K20__, KYOK, K19__, KFB, K1, 91__ st bet markers} K5 , Kfb, K1
K1, KFB, K6 { P1, K_20_, P3, K20__, P3, K20__, P3, K20__, P1}, K 6, Kfb, K1
K1, K2tog, K6, {K91__}, K6, K2tog, K1
K1, K2tog, K5, { P1, K20__, P3, K20__, P3, K20__, P3, K20__, P1}, K 5, K2tog, K1
Increase row-K1, K2tog, K4, {KFB in the first stitch, K21__, KYOK, K22__, KYOK, K22__, KYOK, K_20_, KFB, K1, 99__ st} K4, K2tog, K1
K1, K2tog, K3, { P1, *K22__, P3* three times, K22_, P1} K3, K2tog, K1

K1, Inc FB, K3, {Knit 99__}, K3, Kfb, K1
K1, Inc FB, K4, {P1, *K22__, P3* 3 times, K22__, P1}, K4, Kfb, K1
Increase row-K1, Inc FB, K 5, {KFB, K_23_, KYOK, K24__, KYOK, K24__, KYOK, K22__, KFB, K1, 107__ st bet markers} K5 , Kfb, K1
K1, KFB, K6 { P1, K24__, P3, K24__, P3, K_24_, P3, K_24_, P1}, K 6, Kfb, K1
K1, K2tog, K6, {K107__}, K6, K2tog, K1
K1, K2tog, K5, { P1, K24__, P3, K_24_, P3, K24__, P3, K_24_, P1}, K 5, K2tog, K1
Increase row-K1, K2tog, K4, {K FB in the first stitch, K25__, KYOK, K26__, KYOK, K26__, KYOK, K24__, KFB, K1, 115__ st} K4, K2tog, K1
K1, K2tog, K3, { P1, *K26__, P3* three times, K26__, P1} K3, K2tog, K1

K1, Inc FB, K3, {Knit 115__}, K3, Kfb, K1
K1, Inc FB, K4, {P1, *K_26_, P3* 3 times, K_26_, P1}, K4, Kfb, K1
Increase row-K1, Inc FB, K 5, {KFB, K27__, KYOK, K28__, KYOK, K28__, KYOK, K_26_, KFB, K1, _123_ st bet markers} K5 , Kfb, K1
K1, KFB, K6 { P1, K28__, P3, K_28_, P3, K_28_, P3, K28__, P1}, K 6, Kfb, K1
K1, K2tog, K6, {K_123_}, K6, K2tog, K1
K1, K2tog, K5, { P1, K28__, P3, K28__, P3, K28__, P3, K_28_, P1}, K 5, K2tog, K1
Increase row-K1, K2tog, K4, {K1 FB in the first stitch, K29__, KYOK, K30__, KYOK, K_30_, KYOK, K28__, KFB, K1, 131__ st} K4, K2tog, K1
K1, K2tog, K3, { P1, *K_30_, P3* three times, K30__, P1} K3, K2tog, K1

K1, Inc FB, K3, {Knit 131__}, K3, Kfb, K1
K1, Inc FB, K4, {P1, *K_30_, P3* 3 times, K__, P1}, K4, Kfb, K1
Increase row-K1, Inc FB, K 5, {KFB, K31__, KYOK, K_32_, KYOK, K32__, KYOK, K_30_, KFB, K1, 139__ st bet markers} K5 , Kfb, K1
Small eyelet row - K1, KFB, K6 {*K2 tog, YO, repeat from *,end K1}, K 6, Kfb, K1
K1, K2tog, K6, {K139__}, K6, K2tog, K1
K1, K2tog, K5, { P1, K32__, P3, K32__, P3, K32__, P3, K32__, P1}, K 5, K2tog, K1
Increase row-K1, K2tog, K4, {K1 FB in the first stitch, K33__, KYOK, K34__, KYOK, K34__, KYOK, K32__, KFB, K1, 147__ st} K4, K2tog, K1
K1, K2tog, K3, { P1, *K34__, P3* three times, K_34_, P1} K3, K2tog, K1

K1, Inc FB, K3, {Knit 147__}, K3, Kfb, K1
K1, Inc FB, K4, {P1, *K34__, P3* 3 times, K34__, P1}, K4, Kfb, K1
Increase row-K1, Inc FB, K 5, {KFB, K35__, KYOK, K36__, KYOK, K36__, KYOK, K34__, KFB, K1, 155__ st bet markers} K5 , Kfb, K1
K1, KFB, K6 { P1, K36__, P3, K36__, P3, K36__, P3, K36__, P1}, K 6, Kfb, K1
K1, K2tog, K6, {K155__}, K6, K2tog, K1
K1, K2tog, K5, { P1, K36__, P3, K_36_, P3, K36__, P3, K36__, P1}, K 5, K2tog, K1
Increase row-K1, K2tog, K4, {K1 FB in the first stitch, K37__, KYOK, K38__, KYOK, K38__, KYOK, K36__, KFB, K1,163 __ st} K4, K2tog, K1
K1, K2tog, K3, { P1, *K38__, P3* three times, K38__, P1} K3, K2tog, K1

K1, Inc FB, K3, {Knit 163__}, K3, Kfb, K1
K1, Inc FB, K4, {P1, *K38__, P3* 3 times, K38__, P1}, K4, Kfb, K1
Increase row-K1, Inc FB, K 5, {KFB, K39__, KYOK, K40__, KYOK, K40__, KYOK, K_38_, KFB, K1, 171_ st bet markers} K5 , Kfb, K1
K1, KFB, K6 { P1, K40__, P3, K40__, P3, K40__, P3, K40__, P1}, K 6, Kfb, K1
K1, K2tog, K6, {K171__}, K6, K2tog, K1
K1, K2tog, K5, { P1, K40__, P3, K_40_, P3, K40__, P3, K40__, P1}, K 5, K2tog, K1
Increase row-K1, K2tog, K4, {K1 FB in the first stitch, K41__, KYOK, K_42_, KYOK, K42__, KYOK, K40__, KFB, K1, _179_ st} K4, K2tog, K1
K1, K2tog, K3, { P1, *K42__, P3* three times, K_42_, P1} K3, K2tog, K1

K1, Inc FB, K3, {Knit 179__}, K3, Kfb, K1
K1, Inc FB, K4, {P1, *K42__, P3* 3 times, K42__, P1}, K4, Kfb, K1
Increase row-K1, Inc FB, K 5, {KFB, K_43_, KYOK, K44__, KYOK, K44_, KYOK, K42__, KFB, K1, _187_ st bet markers} K5 , Kfb, K1
K1, KFB, K6 { P1, K44__, P3, K44__, P3, K_44_, P3, K44__, P1}, K 6, Kfb, K1
K1, K2tog, K6, {K187__}, K6, K2tog, K1
K1, K2tog, K5, { P1, K__, P3, K__, P3, K__, P3, K__, P1}, K 5, K2tog, K1
Increase row-K1, K2tog, K4, {K1 FB in the first stitch, K_45_, KYOK, K46__, KYOK, K_46_, KYOK, K44__, KFB, K1, _195_ st} K4, K2tog, K1
K1, K2tog, K3, { P1, *K_46_, P3* three times, K46__, P1} K3, K2tog, K1

K1, Inc FB, K3, {Knit 195}, K3, Kfb, K1
K1, Inc FB, K4, {P1, *K46, P3* 3 times, K46, P1}, K4, Kfb, K1
Increase row-K1, Inc FB, K 5, {KFB, K47, *KYOK, K48 twice from *, KYOK, K46, KFB, K1, 203 st bet markers} K5 , Kfb, K1
Cane Stitch row - K1, KFB, K6 {K2*sl 1-k2 tog, PSSO,(YO twice); rep from *, end K2}, K 6, Kfb, K1
K1, K2tog, K6, {K2, (P1, K1) into the double YO, p1, rep from *, end K2}, K6, K2tog, K1
K1, K2tog, K5, { P1, K48, P3, K48, P3, K48, P3, K48, P1}, K 5, K2tog, K1
Increase row-K1, K2tog, K4, {K FB in the first stitch, K49, KYOK, K50, KYOK, K50, KYOK, K48, KFB, K1, 211 st} K4, K2tog, K1

K1, K2tog, K3, { P1, *K50___, P3* three times, K_50__, P1} K3, K2tog, K1

K1, Inc FB, K3, {Knit 211__}, K3, Kfb, K1
K1, Inc FB, K4, {P1, *K50__, P3* 3 times, K_50_, P1}, K4, Kfb, K1
Increase row-K1, Inc FB, K 5, {KFB, K_51_, KYOK, K52__, KYOK, K52__, KYOK, K50__, KFB, K1, _219_ st bet markers} K5 , Kfb, K1
K1, KFB, K6 { P1, K_52_, P3, K_52_, P3, K52__, P3, K52__, P1}, K 6, Kfb, K1
K1, K2tog, K6, {K_219_}, K6, K2tog, K1
K1, K2tog, K5, { P1, K_52_, P3, K52__, P3, K_52_, P3, K52__, P1}, K 5, K2tog, K1
Increase row-K1, K2tog, K4, {K1 FB in the first stitch, K_53_, KYOK, K54__, KYOK, K_54_, KYOK, K_52_, KFB, K1, _227_ st} K4, K2tog, K1
K1, K2tog, K3, { P1, *K54__, P3* three times, K54__, P1} K3, K2tog, K1

K1, Inc FB, K3, {Knit 227__}, K3, Kfb, K1
K1, Inc FB, K4, {P1, *K54__, P3* 3 times, K54__, P1}, K4, Kfb, K1
Increase row-K1, Inc FB, K 5, {KFB, K_55_, KYOK, K56__, KYOK, K_56_, KYOK, K_54_, KFB, K1, 235__ st bet markers} K5 , Kfb, K1
Cane Stitch row - K1, KFB, K6 {K2*sl 1-k2 tog, PSSO,(YO twice); rep from *, end K2}, K 6, Kfb, K1
K1, K2tog, K6, {K2, (P1, K1) into the double YO, p1, rep from *, end K2}, K6, K2tog, K1
K1, K2tog, K5, { P1, K_56_, P3, K_56_, P3, K_56_, P3, K56__, P1}, K 5, K2tog, K1
Increase row-K1, K2tog, K4, {K1 FB in the first stitch, K_57_, KYOK, K_58_, KYOK, K58__, KYOK, K56__, KFB, K1,243 __ st} K4, K2tog, K1
K1, K2tog, K3, { P1, *K58__, P3* three times, K__, P1} K3, K2tog, K1

K1, Inc FB, K3, {Knit 243__}, K3, Kfb, K1
K1, Inc FB, K4, {P1, *K_58_, P3* 3 times, K_58_, P1}, K4, Kfb, K1
Increase row-K1, Inc FB, K 5, {KFB, K_59_, KYOK, K_60_, KYOK, K60__, KYOK, K58_, KFB, K1, 251__ st bet markers} K5 , Kfb, K1
K1, KFB, K6 { P1, K_60_, P3, K_60_, P3, K_60_, P3, K_60_, P1}, K 6, Kfb, K1
K1, K2tog, K6, {K251__}, K6, K2tog, K1
K1, K2tog, K5, { P1, K_60_, P3, K_60_, P3, K60__, P3, K60__, P1}, K 5, K2tog, K1
Increase row-K1, K2tog, K4, {K1 FB in the first stitch, K_61_, KYOK, K_62_, KYOK, K62__, KYOK, K60__, KFB, K1, 259__ st} K4, K2tog, K1
K1, K2tog, K3, { P1, *K_62_, P3* three times, K_62_, P1} K3, K2tog, K1

K1, Inc FB, K3, {Knit 259}, K3, Kfb, K1
K1, Inc FB, K4, {P1, *K62, P3* 3 times, K62, P1}, K4, Kfb, K1
Increase row-K1, Inc FB, K 5, {KFB, K63, *KYOK, K64 twice from *, KYOK, K62, KFB, K1, 267 st bet markers} K5 , Kfb, K1
Small eyelet row - K1, KFB, K6 {*K2 tog, YO, repeat from *,end K1}, K 6, Kfb, K1
K1, K2tog, K6, {k267}, K6, K2tog, K1
K1, K2tog, K5, { P1, Knit 266, P1}, K 5, K2tog, K1
K1, K2tog, K4, {K1,*K2, KYOK, K2* repeat from * to *, end K1} K4, K2tog, K1
K8, K, P, K, K4*, repeat between the *, end PKP, knit 8

Bind off in the following manner-K2, reinsert the tip of the left needle into the two stitches previously knitted, K2 tog. When you reach the K stitch (the center of the K, P, K of the previous row), KYOK in that stitch, K all 3 loops together, and then proceed to knit the two loops on your right handed needle together.


Just something to keep in the back of your mind. I'd like to start or participate in one. I snuck over to blogspot and grabbed a second blog title
to use for next season's Project Runway. I think a PR knit-along would be fun! If you have any ideas or input, LMK.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

It's not EXACTLY a prayer shawl....

I just finished the Comfort Shawl I started a few days back. I'll post a picture in the morning-it's dripping on the back porch right now.

It dawned on me that I've done three shawls this year that I've called prayer shawls. There really is no other term for them.

The first was one I sent to my aunt; unbeknownst to me, my younger cousin was on the brink of a massive stroke when she made her husband take her to the ER. My aunt sat with her day after day (while adjusting to her own very recent widowhood) so the shawl showed up right on time.

The second, I sent to a friend of a friend. She's going on a journey these days, and I hope it will be swift and merciful.

This last one will be for an aquaintance who's had a rude shock after an annual exam.

What is it, why do I do this? This tugging and swirling of string and sticks in the hope that I can make something better for someone...chances are I probably can't. I am not exactly certain. Do I do this for their prayers, or to give physical evidence of mine?

Friday, September 29, 2006

My foodie friends-

I have a customer who runs the liquor department at a big-box store. She knows we are wine-ers and often brings demonstration leftovers for us to try at home. Some of the wines are good; the wines that aren't that wonderful often make it into sauces or soups. Just picture me in my sweats and slippers, drinking wine and adding it to a bubbling pot on the stove! Wait, better add curlers in my hair for a really good mental picture.

Another one of my friends is a foodie-she likes food, she likes to cook food, she likes to read cookbooks. She sent me a recipe this week in an email titled "Damn, this is GOOD!" Note the lovely cooking dribbles on it. Those are indications of a well loved recipe. I have chicken, I have wine. Guess what we are having for dinner tonight?

PS-I received a comment that indicated that this recipe was from "The Bridge" series of Canadian cookbooks, which are not well known in my part of the US. I've linked this post to their website.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

TV night!!!!

Wednesday night is TV night! Oh wait, let me revise that...most nights are TV night. Wednesday is "my show." I adore Project Runway. I think it's because I've had so many clothing failures, both knitting and sewing, that I empathize. I sewed my first failure when I was 12. I sewed a sleeve in upside down, and to this day, I remember the fabric, the design, the "Oh, no!" when I realized what I had done. My mom helped me rip it out. I've done many EXCELLENT sweaters for my DH, who swears I have a 6'5", 250lb boyfriend hidden that I knit for, because the fit is way off. Project Runway is a reality show I can sink my teeth into.

I got really excited, and thanked my husband profusely for not pitching a fit. He graciously flipped the remote to Bravo, and served as my show's Howard Cosell. He rolled his eyes, was wildy creeped out by Tim Gunn, hated Heidi's voice, and thought Peanut shouldn't be allowed to breed. And it got better. I had to fill him in on who is what....and he proclaimed it the stupidest show ever.

He snorted that I was not even watching! HA! I had a lap full of knitting and a dog that wanted my attention. I started on the Feather and Fan Comfort shawl in the merino and mohair blend I "fixed" a few weeks back. (I have a giftee in mind.) Good thing it's an easy pattern, because I had to watch the show, knit, and pet this-

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Katrina Tee done!

Here she is. Four balls of Paton's Katrina, with only yards to spare. It fits EXACTLY. The original plan was to crochet around the neckline, and make the sleeves slightly longer. I tried it on yesterday, looked in the mirror and said "Oh HELLLLL no. There's no need to frighten folks with that neckline." So I "made it work" and added neck and sleeve ribbing.

I got the design ideas for this top from my friend MacChick. I like it because I can wear it almost anywhere, and there's still a lot of warm weather left. It almost matches the sky. Due to popular demand, I've added the bathroom shot. Nice, huh? ;-)

Monday, September 25, 2006


These make me crabby because I don't always type the right thing. And I get to repeat the gobbledygook typing exercise. Sometimes I get it wrong because of glare on the screen. Sometimes it's because of an odd font, a weird color, a really groovy ripple, or a really spotty background texture. Or I fat-finger in the text. Sometimes, it's because I am in the bifocal club, and I think that adds to my annoyance.

But surely it can't be just my eyesight. I pass the eyecharts at the doc's, the Air Force checked to make certain I could tell the difference between fuchsia and avocado, and they let me keep my license down at the driver's bureau. I think that sometimes, they are just tough to read.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Spot reducing-I could use a little help here!

Ah yes-making it fit WELL. I am a firm believer in a little shaping. It's not a matter of fooling the eye, it's helping the eye see less! Because I sewed for years before I started knitting, I grew familiar with darts and shaping. It's very, very easy to add a little shaping in a sweater to help define your waist.

This is my Katrina top that I started a week ago. I've been knitting a tube from the top down. I've added decreases under the arm and bustline to reduce extra fabric around my waist. Now, I am adding stitches after my waistline to accomodate the rest of me.

My gauge is 4 stitches to the inch-so just a few stitches REALLY improve this top's shape. I distributed my increases and decreases evenly on both the front and the back. I decreased 4 stitches under the arm on one round, knit for about 1 1/2 inches, and repeated my decreases. (In my case, my decreases and increases were placed 20 stitches from the side seam marker.) I knit for about 6" and added 4 stitches at the same points, then repeated the increases about 2" after that. Remember, my gauge was 4 stitches to the inch-so reducing 8 stitches trims 2" from my sweater. My waist will look smaller without the exta two inches of fabric.

It's important to use increases and decreases gradually-your aim is to create a gentle slope, not a stairstep. And keep in mind, if I had started from the bottom, I would decrease for the waist, then increase for the bust.

You won't always be knitting in plain stockinette. You can reduce your sweater's waistline easily in Fair Isle or lace, still maintain your pattern, and NOT make yourself crazy with increases and decreases. Just go down a needle size-it should trim your garment's waistline but not be a visible distraction. On a 36" sweater, knitted at 20 stitches to 4", you would normally have 180 stitches. If you use a needle one size smaller, and knit 20.5 stitches per 4", you will automatically shave almost an inch of your garment's waistline.

That's a lot easier than shaving an inch off your waist!

Keywords: Knitting, pattern alterations

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Workday Wednesday

Rosh Hashana starts Friday. I have a customer I'd like to surprise, so I've been practicing.

Workday Wednesday-GWB's low approval rating and why it doesn't matter-

So sorry, blogger is rejecting photos again, so you get Bitchfest Wednesday instead.
-George's approval rating is 44%, up from a record low of 39%.
-Venezulan President Chavez stood in front of the UN calling GWB the devil.
I don't think this is worthy of a single line of newspaper space.
-We have TERM LIMITS, people!
-And the UN needs to pay their rent.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Just a few random thoughts-

-My Mr. Joe Sangria came in. Elann offered it last week-it's a multi-color with LONG color runs. I am useless, I am a yarn tramp. I have a perfectly nice top I am 1.33 balls away from finishing, but this yarn is DISTRACTING. I also got my Elann competition yarn in-and my perfect project is doable-I know EXACTLY what it should look like, how to do it, and what to do when. But the Sangria is SOOOO mezmerizing.....

-I am so gaga over the Joe, I looked in the big Kaffe Fasset pattern book. I love looking at that, but still haven't made anything with his patterns. It's tough to pick. While I was pouring over the book, it dawned on me that the Persian Poppies looked like boobs. A LOT like boobs. Hmmm. Wipe your coffee off your screen.

-You may be wondering why I have an Elann photo in my sidebar. It's not paid advertising. My shawl was a runner-up in their January shawl contest. I thought it looked great on Margaux, who modeled all the shawls. I am really pro Elann because I've met all my good knitting buds thru Elann.

-I really want Michael to win on PR.

-I'm going back to Monday Night Football. Out.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Who you know-

It has come to my attention that I may come from an odd family (ha ha ha!) We've always taken popular songs, and mangled the shit out of them (we have no musical talent) to make them fit the occaision. For example- "Puppy, whoa-whoa-whoaaa pup-uh-uh-py, have you got milkbones on your mind" sung to the tune of "Woman" (Have You Got Cheating on Your Mind), which is 1960s Gary Puckett, always made my dog smile. He knew we were having fun.

Apparently, this is totally whacked, as is singing to your yarn. Whatever. Let me wear my dork badge proudly. It's the only one I've got.

I got a package in from Belgium yesterday! YAY! My friend Doug and his wife sent me some KNITTING mags in exchange for some good coffee. Trends are going to big deep cowls, lots of light gauge ruffles, and hardly any ponchos. I think I got a hell of a deal! My German is really shaky, but thank goodness, they believe in good schematics. I would post a pic, but blogger is choking on photos again. More later....

Ah, much better! Here they are!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Yarn I wanna sing to!

I am SO happy that I can finally post knitting pictures; I have no secrets on the needles now. I'd like to introduce you to my friend Katrina. I LOVE this yarn. Ok, I might not love it as much if I had to pay the Patons MSRP of 9.00, but Elann had it at a special price. I bought four balls of this lucious blue-

I'd been working on a top down for a friend of mine, and I liked it so much, I decided to make something VERY similar to it for myself. I'm not even tempted to cheat on this project (I only have 2.5 balls left to knit) and it makes me want sing (a la Pete Townsend's Athena)-

Katrina, I had no idea how much I'd need her, In peaceful times I hold her close and I feed her, My heart starts palpitating when I think my guess was wrong, But I think I'll get along, She's just a yarn - she's the bomb

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Workday Wednesday 2

Espresso, milk, chocolate syrup. Construction is simple, editing is not.

Corrections are pretty tasty.