Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Tamnesty International

Gosh, am I done with the tam-puns yet? No way! Gotta keep Joan and Marie amused!

Here's the rest of my Woolbearer's Ringspun and Elann Pamir. I worked to integrate BOTH colors on the side of the tam. I've found that in off-the-cuff two color work, I am pretty darned speedy when all I have to do is alternate two colors, which accounts for the stripe patterns on the sides. I was getting a little worried that I would run out of my main color, and wanted to spread it out a little. Good thing, because my ball of leftovers was the size of a hackysack.

I found that it was a little harder to make an interesting, pointy design when each segment contains an even number of stitches; an even number of stitches makes rounded designs imperative. It's still attractive, and I am happier with the overall integration of the two colors, BUT I think I'm keeping the first one. This one's off to Colorful Colorado.

Global Cool-

I saw the promo for Global Cool. I gotta say, it's about time.

I grew up in the 1970s-and took a cross-country trip during the gas shortages. It was unsettling to be in the middle of Nebraska and watch the gas gauge slip below half a tank. You just didn't know what the supply situation would be. And that trip marked me forever.

It's funny to see the "Global Cool" ads...they are pushing the same inititatives our parents did. "Close the damned door, do you think I'm paying to heat the outdoors?" (I know I am not the only person who heard that.) My kids grew up with no comprehension of saving money by turning off the lights.

Get a few celebrities to tell them to reduce their carbon footprint? They're on it. (Course, putting on a sweater and socks makes a lot of sense if THEY pay the utility bill.)

Monday, January 29, 2007

A chance of flurries at midnight....

Not really, but that's what this reminds me of. It's Woolbearer's Ringspun, color Midnight Iris (the colors are so right, it could have been made to order for me) and Cream Elann Pamir. This one is built on the order of Le Slouch, and was, incredibly, too big for me. Into the dryer it went. Much better.

I have enough to do one more hat in these two yarns (I started with a skein of each), and plan to work on pattern distribution a little. This hat's designs are predominately on the back, and I need to even that up a little to make it look more balanced. So I'll cast on in the morning (in a smaller size), and add a few stripes and widgets, so the pattern is not a wonking huge surprise on the back.
For Joan's benefit-I christen this one Je Tam.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Brain Tam done-

Ok, that was just FUN! Maybe not chuckles and side-splitting, but fun. I think I need to get a better needle set-up, because the tiny DPNs just suck. I think I'll have to get a set of eensy Addi circs (Knitpicks has no 12" needles) in a 1, and corresponding straights.

The cool part about these is that the overall tam pattern is enhanced by the repetition of a small wedge design. I started out going for butterflies, then thought, no, this looks like flowers, so that's what I went for. I like the way the slots in the rose at the outer edge are echoed by the slots at the center.

The text in Knitted Tams points out that mixing fibers may be a problem when blocking the hat, which makes sense, but I had a pretty good idea of the fiber composition of my yarns. I thought it was interesting that even tho all my yarns were the same WEIGHT, the body and behavior varied a lot. I think I would like to work on acheiving subtler effects with the color ranges, but other than that, I am pretty happy with this. 'Course I would also like to come up with some really eye poppers too...

This one is for DGD, which is pretty liberating. A hat for a 4 year old can be ANYTHING, so it's a good experimental vehicle. I know Les was freaked out when I scanned the hat with that acid yellow, but hey, I think it did what I wanted it to by popping the purple a little. I can't help it, I like things with high contrast. They say babies are stimulated by black and white contrast. Perhaps I have infantile tastes? I love the taste of custard....
On the down side, I spent 3 days on it, and only knit 100 yards, but it was a 100 yard mosey, not a race.
Note: I used the pattern in IWK Summer 2002. The same chart is also in Ann Budd's book of patterns. The tam book provides more insight, and dissects this shape in more detail.

Saturday, January 27, 2007


Whoa! Suzann sent me her copy of Knitted Tams. It came in the mail today. Ohhhhhh! Ahhhh! I've been playing with the general shape and such this week, and this is where I am. I'm going to finish this one, then read the directions. (Is that the story of my life, or what?) I started this one on 1s (a circ), moved down and did an inch on 0 dpns, then switched back, because that just sucked. I've been knitting two handed, and combining that with the itty bitty dpns was just too much. I don't like the join on this circ, and am really putting my hands into cramp city, so I may have to go buy some needles.
I've got Elann's Baby Silk, Baby Cashmere, some Cherry Sock yarn, and some Koigu scraps I am using, as well as some mystery yarn. I tore into the book as soon as I got it, and read "Do not mix your yarns." Oh, hell no, not me. I may be in trouble, I'll let you know.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Enough already, tammit!

Thought that this was pretty interesting. She showed up in my Victoria's Secret catalog today. I've had enough of the cropped cardi; I am frew wid dat. It's in permanent time out, and that's probably a good idea.

I googled tams ENDLESSLY today. I found a big tam article/recipe in a 2002 IWK, so I am kicking off my tam quest. I couldn't STAND it anymore, and cast one on in Elann's Baby Silk. I have plenty of odds and ends to play with, so let's see what I can come up with BEFORE the Tambible shows up. Yeeee-haw.
I'm fixin' to get tambunctious!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The leopards like being spotted....

I mailed DD her cropped cardi over the weekend. She wrote me today thanking me for the pants in her box. I think this means she plans to wear the cardigan somewhere in the realm of whenever. (Damn, that was expensive merino, too.)
As luck would have it, I have a new project crush. I got the Knitpicks catalog in, and saw the page advertising "Knitted Tams". I never really considered them before, but I think I could knit-snack on these like other people knit socks. They're small, useful, brilliantly patterned and colored....I'm starting to drool again...and I have the yarn on hand. Suzann offered up her book, so I think I'm set to start my Tamtrum!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

In which I get my butt kicked...by neatness!

I rarely use a solid colored yarn. It's been a long time since I followed a pattern so EXACTLY. I never do both in the same project. I modified it only slightly, by skipping a few short rows on the neckline ribbing. The high back neckline is cute, but not practical for this climate, so I only did a few short rows. DD doesn't like high necks, and I thought that a high neck worn in the high 90s would be a BAD THING. To further justify the alteration, it's rapidly becoming an albatross, and I wanted it DONE. But I did not escape the wrath of the yarn gods. I equate the Fiery Bolero with the fires of hell.

I was very careful to slip the first stitch of every row, so that the Fiery Bolero (IWK SS 05) had neat and tidy edges. Boy, that was a mistake. I picked up the all interneckline stitches twice before I realized why my stitch count was off, off, off. I had less spots to p/u because I had slipped all my leading stitches. Tidy? Absolutely. Helpful? Not at all. So I plodded thru p/u and knit a third time-all 246 stitches. Again. Holy shit. This was not a fun knit at all-I found it dull and finicky. No lively colors. No fun stitches. No cool details. A lot of counting. Yuck, yuck, yuck.

On the plus side, it's 568 yards of Austermann Rubino oddballs that I voted off Yarn Mountain. I like the yarn, I just wish I'd made something for DGD out of it when she was small enough to wear 568 yards. Punishment for slacking, don't you think? Here it is, damply awaiting seams, which I'll do at work this week.

Why spankings should not be outlawed-

"Eat your dinner. There are children starving in China."
"Can we mail it to them?"

"Eat your dinner. There are children starving in China."
"Dad, why do you care? They are Communists."

"UFFF. I'm so full. I really didn't need to eat that last piece, but I heard there were starving children in China, and I didn't want them to get it."

Cropped cardi again!!!

Will it bore you to tears to see the same garment? Quit snivelin', sunshine! Here's the second Cropped Cardi of the month....well, actually, it's the third one, but number two was mercilessly auf'd for fug. I like this pattern-it's easy, doesn't take too much yarn, and DD needs stuff from the wardrobe fairy. I like patterns that take less than 500 yards-working on them is like eating 'tater chips. It's hard to get bored doing a jiffy project. If anyone in blogland has any quick garment suggestions, I'd like to hear from you! (no scarves or hats-we don't generally need them!) DD probably doesn't want THREE of the same garment.
This is Skacel Favola that's resided at Betsy's Yarn Mountain Home for Wayward Yarn for at least two years. I have another sweater's worth of it in this colorway, which is gorgeous, but not for me. It has a thin rayon filament that changes from peach to celery to tan to raisin. I tried to ditch it at a yarn swap last spring, because I thought I'd never use it-but now I am glad I followed my "cheapskate with good taste" yarn-buying heart. I've got more in a different colorway that I am hogging for myself. I got this stuff at Herrschner's at least three years ago, so it's time for it to grow up and be something, right? It's perfectly nice stuff, a little stiff, but not scratchy.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Demystifying, delurking, de-icing.

It's been a long week, and I can't believe it's only Thursday. Monday was a holiday for the rest of the country; I worked. Tuesday and Wednesday, we had sleet and ice. Schools closed, businesses shut down, "non-essential personnel" were sent home from the bases. The already substantial accident rate doubles when we get rain, forget ice and sleet. The cops said screw it, we're shutting down the roads.

You folks who live where there are REAL winters will laugh your heads off, because to you, it would be an blip on annoyance screen, but down here, the TV had up-to-the minute reports on "ARCTIC BLAST 07". We're screwed if we have another one next month, because the graphics guy will have to find another moniker. I slung a TON of coffee. Mark and I worked our butts off-all the houses in our neighborhood had no power for 6+ hours, and folks need their coffee.

It's International Delurking week. I found this out lurking on other people's blogs. Give me a holla, ok? ;-)

And damn this Fiery Bolero. Damn Damn Damn! I keep working, frogging, and slinging. I need to pick up the front facings for a THIRD time. On both my previous attempts, I managed to pick up about 160 stitches-I need 246. Holy crap. How am I gonna do that?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Go baby, GO!!!!!




They'll give you a cuddle if you stick a dollar in their ballbands.

Monday, January 15, 2007

So what SHOULD I make with this yarn??

Buoyed by the success of the Cropped Cardigan, I started making it in a nubbly thick thin wool/silk blend. I have 300 yards in this particular colorway, and thought it might work well. I was wrong. I think it looks like hell. Too, mmmmmm, stringy? I think so-and plan to frog it unless I get a "No, don't, that's freakin' awesome!!!" out of someone. I'm a little pissy because I've knitted over 150 yards, and I am REALLY not impressed with the look of it. Trouble is, I have a lot of this yarn in smaller quantities-maybe 6oo yards in a few colors. Any good ideas? If I stopped, and just made a little teeny bolero, would it be better? Would ANYTHING make it better? Besides matches, I mean.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Cropped cardi is an easy knit-

Blue Sky Alpaca's cropped cardigan in Classic Elite Beatrice. Six balls needed for the smallest size. Had a confused moment...the pattern said to begin the ribbing XX" after the cast on....and I wasn't sure if they meant cast-on edge, or the three stitches cast-on at the underarm. The cardigan is probably longer than it should be, but so what?
Oh, yeah....if I send away stash yarn, I think it should count on my ball-busting total. 410 yards GONE to.......GRACE!!!
Added-Yardage total-378, plus Grace's 410=788!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Right on time-when my knitting friends know what I need-

I have a long straight thing that needs a SEVERE blocking. I wet it down, and left it on the porch last night, so it would be damp. I woke up this morning to RAIN, which meant that the sodden mess I set out to dry last night was still a sodden mess. Yuck.
Later, Chris came toolin' into the shop today with------BLOCKING wires! Just in the nick of time!!! Actually, they aren't Blocking Wires, they're 36" brass rods from the welder's supply place. Six dollars per pound. Chris reminded me that Benne laid this idea out on the table a few months ago on the Elann board.
Actually, her husband came up with the idea. I think this guy is pretty knitter friendly-we need to put him in charge of knitterly acouterments. He was the one who realized that yarn yardage counters are just Shakespear fishing line gauges mounted on a stable base. He figured the blocking wires couln't be much different than these skinny metal rods. He polished a set up for Benne, and that's how we found out about them. (If I wasn't working in black yarn, I might polish these, but I think these will be ok as is.) By the way, they ARE perfectly straight-I must have moved one on the scanner.

The Sibs are Losers Club...

I talked to Dad last night....he got his groceries Thursday night, and spent Friday morning running errands with my brother.

slams head against desktop

Friday, January 12, 2007

Take off your shoes and socks...we're counting!

I hate to run out of yarn. It stops me dead in my tracks, of course, and it kills my motivation. I might as well frog it if I run short. I hate it MORE when I don't think it's entirely my fault.

Take, for example, the Blue Sky Alpaca Cropped Cardigan. The smallest size calls for SIX 100 yard balls of sportweight, knit doubled. Silly me, I thought 300 yards of Classic Elite Beatrice (63 yards per ball) would do. I had four balls, and knew I'd need to get more. I thought one additional ball would do it, but thought I'd knit a bit before I reordered. I'm glad I waited.

Behold-my cardi at 3 balls. No WAY can I get an additional 10 inches of body, plus 3" of sleeves (twice) out of the 300 yards I THOUGHT I needed. I didn't order one additional ball, I ordered THREE. That's almost 450 yards, not the 300 I believed would do it.

I gotta take my shoes and socks off to count past 10, and I am the QUEEN of knitting much larger than gauge, but somehow, I think someone in Blue Sky Land is knitting a VERY fluffy gauge.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

New Markets

I just finished reading Why We Buy and The Call of the Mall, by Paco Underhill. Very interesting, and they should be mandatory reading for all twenty year olds. The books confirm that husbands HATE shopping, because that's how they're wired. (It's a relief to know it's not just my DH.) Unless it's some techy wonder, they just aren't going to have any fun.

Underhill also pointed out that men like technology for its "gee whiz" effect; women like technology applications. (This goes a long way to explain why men buy all those damned kitchen gadgets, and I, for one, silently roll my eyes at more clutter on the counter.) I think it should be interesting to see how well companies develop websites for e-commerce. Men writing programs for women shoppers. (Not to say all techies are men, or all shoppers are women, but you know....)

I had a chance to test a shopping website last night. During a phone call with my dad, who no longer drives, he mentioned he hoped Georgie would offer to take him to the store. (Georgie got my pretty blue messed-up Swallowtail for Christmas.) Which really means the man has no damned food in the house. I thought about that a little. My brother got home from a ski trip the night before, and carted my dad (his petsitter) all the way across greater Phoenix in the middle of the night and didn't check to see if he needed any freakin' bread. What an ass.

I'd used Albertson's grocery website before, but they discontinued the service. Off to Safeway's website I went....after a short consult with Dad, I found he needed bread, six oranges, soup, milk, waffles...so I ordered

1 Lucerne Supreme Fatfree Skim Milk - Half Gallon $1.69
2 Safeway Lucerne Light Mixed Berry Yogurt - 8 Oz $1.20
1 Tyson Beef Pot Roast - 17 Oz $6.99
1 Gortons Fish Portions Valu Pack - 24.5 Oz $3.99
2 Gortons Fillet Lemon Butter - 7.6 Oz $5.00
2 Miltons Healthy Whole Grain With Honey Bread - 24 Oz $5.00
1 Smucker Simply Fruit Strawberry Seedless - 10 Oz $2.50
1 Smuckers Simply Fruit Apricot - 10 Oz $2.50
1 Angel Soft White 2 Ply Bath Tissue - 4 Roll $1.49
4 Bananas - Bulk $1.00
1 California Clementine Prepacked - 5 Lb $3.99
2 Sweet Potatoes - Bulk $3.38
1 Fresh Express Spinach And Carrots Prepacked - 9 Oz $1.00
1 Nabisco Premium Multigrain Crackers - 16.5 Oz $2.00
4 Progresso Ready To Serve Split Pea Soup - 19 Oz $6.00
4 Progresso Reduced Sodium Garden Vegetable Soup - 18.5 Oz $6.00
4 Progresso Rich And Hearty Beef Pot Roast With Country Vegetables Soup - 18.5 Oz $6.00
2 General Mills Cheerios Cereal - 15 Oz $4.00
1 Kelloggs Eggo Blueberry Waffles - 12.3 Oz $2.00
1 Kelloggs Eggo Nutri-Grain Whole Wheat Waffles - 12.3 Oz $2.89

Notice the absence of junk-blueberry waffles and yogurt don't really count as junk food to me, but they serve as a treat for Dad, because he's diabetic. I added the sweet potatoes because they are good for any meal, and help satisfy a sweet tooth. The way I see it, it's about a week's worth of groceries for a senior, with leftovers. A little heavy on salt, a little low on fruits and veggies, but he really feels like shit when he doesn't eat regularly. And then he doesn't eat because he feels like shit. It's a scary spiral.

Dad also needed a prescription refilled. That was a bit of a pain in the ass-the site doesn't actually offer Rx delivery until after the order is finalized. Which sucks for first time users, but I have it down now. He'll get his order tomorrow evening, with his 'script. I don't actually LIKE grocery shopping on-line, but when faced with a choice of on-line groceries or a malnourished parent, I'll take the shopping.

I'm anxious to see how they'll improve this process.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Everything's just freakin' ducky, thanks-

Behold my new PJS. I think they're gorgeous, and so what if people my age SHOULD be buying some nightmare polyester crap with leopard print instead! (I got leopard print for Christmas ANYHOW, thanks ever so much for asking.) Hmmmm? I don't generally buy clothing with pictures on it, so indulge me here.
Getting a little crabby about my knitting. Firey Bolero is almost done, but I ran out of yarn for the neck edging. I found someone to give me a little more Austermann Rubino, which I bought in 2003. I'm close to done on my Blue Sky Alpaca Cropped Cardigan that I've got going in Classic Elite's Beatrice, but crap, I am one ball short on that too. @$#%!!^& I could have pictures of something BESIDES my damned pjs, and that would be nice. Talk about ball busting....

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Life with a dish bitch....

I knew I had a dish obsession when I was 30. I had four sets of dishes, and I was single. Currently, I have a set of Spode earthenware, a set of Kaiser China, and a set of Noritake stoneware. It works for me. My children have full sets, purchased before they had driver's licenses.
I had to grin last night. We were watching Top Chef, and DH turned to me and said "God, they use the cheap crystal, don't they?"

I knew the answer, but asked him to explain. He said "They have that Crystal d'Arques stuff. I bought that stuff when I got my raise to Senior Airman." He was right. He correctly identified Crystal d'Arques Longchamp pattern, which is common in every military exchange in Europe. Six for 10.00. Every household has some.

He's learning, but I still fear for the Meissen Blue Orchid. If there's a garage sale after I'm gone, go.

Red Scarf mailing time!

YAHOO! Boys and girls, get your envelopes out. It's time to move those red scarves out the door, and into someone else's life.

Here's the addy:

Orphan Foundation of America Red Scarf Project
21351 Gentry Drive, Unit 130
Sterling, VA 20166
You can mail throughout January.

And here's the link for any questions.

Gotta blame it on something...

Blame it on Hussein, yeah, yeah. I went looking for the lyrics of that song (a Milli Vanilli parody...oh, wait, Milli Vanilli WAS a parody), and found the only known airplay was in September of 1990, on the Doctor Demento show. But I know it was played more often than that, because I heard it on AFN Europe in 1990.

It took 15 years for us to find him and hand him over. We would have spared thousands if we found him in 1991; perhaps many would still be citizens, not victims. I am not at all sorry he's dead, not sorry his wicked sons are dead, and we need to keep an eye on the daughter. I think evil people should spare us all the trouble, and do themselves in, so we can skip the formalities and move on. That was one evil man.

And it bothers me that he's my father's age.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Not. Enough. Yarn.

Ah, it happens. Better that I frog it now, and start something else. I finished the 4" of cable ribbing, did about 2" of stockinette, and looked at what I had left. Not enough. I checked my purchase record, and found that no, I did not buy more. So I think this yarn will have to be the Fiery Bolero from IWK Summer 05.