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.