Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I shoulda pummeled him when I had the chance....

This must be my older brother's second birthday. I am the cute one in the center of the photo. There aren't very many pictures of him before his big kitchen burn accident, which happened about eight months after this photo. I hope I grabbed his hair and pulled hard after the shutter clicked.

About 40 hours ago, I left the dentist, and went to the local grocery to fill my prescription. I've been having horrible headaches lately, and they leave me scrabbling for leftover pain killers from my last big dental event. They're the kind that make me want to arch my back and flail wildly when I search the OTC med rack at the store and can't find what I want. Right now I am on the Motrin, antibiotic and decongestant regime. (I suspect it might be my sinuses. I've eaten more Motrin this week than I have in the past two years.) If it's not covered by one of those meds, it's something REALLY serious. Send flowers.

After I turned my script in, I stood at the deli counter pondering the mysteries of dinner, and my phone rang. It was my little brother, calling from an airport in Hong Kong. "What's wrong with Dad?" Huh?

As it turns out, my dad had a cardiac event (not his first) and is in ICU. I've been in close contact with my nieces, trying to figure out what's going on, what I need to do, and when I need to do it. I suspect a short stint as elder au pair is in my future. I want to send his happy ass to his local senior center a few days a week because a) they will feed him, b) he's so damned lonely, c) it will give him something to bitch to/about, and d) it would be revenge for sending us kids to every damned Saturday morning class (I was an oddity because I never got to watch The Banana Splits). But I think I have a better shot at getting him out of the house if I set up the transportation, plan for the meals, and maybe even go with him the first time. If I prepay, he won't waste my 2.00.

So what's that got to do with the little boy in the cap? Nothing...because I haven't heard from him. I'd like to accept the nomination for president of the Sibs are Losers club.

My head hurts so much I haven't finished my second sock.

Monday, February 26, 2007

No Afghans for Afghans

because they need SOCKS! Joan reminded us all that Afghans for Afghans is looking for socks! The goal is 250 pair by 7 March. I started mine last night in Tarragon HW. I had a lone ball rattling around (WHY did I order ONE ball? Who knows...) so I started to knit a kid's small. I used the leg of the sock to test an attractive pattern, which is a lot more fun than knitting a swatch. I've never knit a sock with a short row heel, and kind of miss the flap, thanks.
Here's a link to the pattern.
And by the way, go visit Norma for a Red Scarf recap!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Such a dork!

I'm SOOOO excited! Do you remember the rhinestone alphabracelets that were a big deal about three years ago? I was looking at Kirk's Folly sale pages last night, and ORDERED one! Know what it's going to say? PSSO! HAH! (I wish they had numbers, but I was a little leery of just ordering the I to substitute for 1, as in K1P1.) Man, I gotta hurry up with the power shopping, because Betsuary is almost done!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

LADY & EVE...the Wrap-up

Here she is, Lady Eleanor. Gosh, what a beautiful and brainless woman. (Talk about sapping my will to knit!) Nine balls (900 yards) Mr. Joe Sangria (two colors, seven of color A, two of B, mohair with rayon wrap, chunky weight) knit on 10s. Approximate finished size is 24" x 72". I dampened her down and put it on my sweater rack on the back porch, and just let it dry.

At least one person wanted to know what she looked like on the reverse side, so here's my obligatory shot. Nothing to wow you, but nothing to make you retch, either. The colors are truer in this scan than the outdoor shot.

I will undoubtably make another E, but I think I will go for wilder contrasting yarns. I also may knit this end-to-end, instead of crosswise. I think that side to side configuration actually makes her a duller knit! I did not fringe her. The fringe shown on the photo LOOKS cool, but I can picture it as something that will be a pain to maintain six months from now.

I know I said I planned to keep her, but stuff happens. My neighbor came in just as I was starting the top end triangles, and as it turns out, I think Lady Eleanor's name will change to Lady Eve, after her beloved mastiff, and my wrap will move a few doors down my street. I think it's the right place for her.

Enid came in to see me on Friday, and she brought her mom and the new fresh SMALLBOY! Oh MY! He is a little guy because he was a bit early (I just looked on her blog, her maternity ticker is still up, saying she has almost three weeks left!) with really long fingers-will he play piano or be a surgeon? He's so funny, because he looks VERY much like his older brother, and I can see BigGuy in Smallboy's week-old face.

Qwikee Knit

Ah....a speed project! I wound the yarn (by hand) for the KPS Weekend Cardi last week, when I was feeling good and sick of the E-thing. I've got Elann's special buy mohair (Aurora) in purple, and Cherry Tree Hill Baby Loop mohair knit together. (I have a ton of Baby Loop, and I want to help some of it go away!) I'm working on size 15 Balene IIs.
I am testing my dissimilar gauge theory with this project. Two dissimilar gauged yarns knit together should produce
Yarn A gauge (the larger yarn)minus (oh hell, where IS the square root symbol??) square root of yarn B gauge = the gauge of yarns A & B knit together
I am getting the expected gauge. Or maybe I am just knitting a lotta air into my mohAIR. Har dee har. I like the fabric-the Aurora is a chunkish mohair, and the Baby Loop gives it a little backbone and pop. It's fluffy and not flimsy.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


I've learned a lot about Daniel Tammet this week. (The clip is VERY long and requires high speed.)

Finished Lady E this evening. She's drying on the back porch. Photos to follow.....

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Are we done YET????

I just got all fired up. Two and a half balls left, 240 yards. That's nothing. Almost d o n e....

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The C Word, Part Zwei-

One of my friends was having trouble with the C-word. I got the bright idea of sending her a video clip, which apparently caused Outlook to puke. Ah well. Here it is; don't you wish I had a better cameraman?

This will play after YouTube "approves it". Whatever.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The C word-

Looky looky! I've been soooo intrigued by this technique....I wanted to take this course last year, but it was full. Leisure Arts came out with a book! Yahoo! I ordered several....I had several knitting fairy visits recently, and I had to take care of the fairy tariff.

I discovered Melody MacDuffee does this with sewing thread! YIPES! (I'm not sure I can manage THAT without new bifocals, but I am starting to see new and exciting applications with knitting.) I corresponded with her to ask about some Crochet Fantasy articles she published, and I didn't have the heart to tell her I am a crochet drop-out. Last year's Christmas pins, as small as they were, hurt my wrists for days.... She suggested using sport or worsted weight yarn for bigger pieces. (She was also excited that I bought several copies...;-) I think I can push the envelope a little harder than worsted weight!!!

What if I can embellish a TAM (oh, just roll your eyes!) or any knitted center-out or border-in piece with crochet like this???? HMMMM? Then what happens?

I think I just found my next challenge!

The confluence is hysterically funny....

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Lady E update-

When I stand up, she falls from my underarm to the floor. In tier count, I have finished 12.5. Sheesh, I AM CLOSE to the end. I was thinking about yarn has a rayon component, and I think that might end up as a nasty mess. (You can tell I want to be done when I am considering the three and a half balls remaining, and weighing the benefits of fringe. I hate fringe. I think it's a waste of perfectly good yarn.)

I'm at a loss for my next project. I've done a lot of odd things already this year-tams, tams, tams, cropped cardi X2, a bolero....what next? I need something that fires my imagination! Lisa W. sent me the link for this entrelac's not that I hate entrelac, it's the never-ending quality of Lady E that's got me down. (Had I known, I would have made a washrag!)

Friday, February 16, 2007

Watch and see-

The world can expect a roller-coaster ride of conflict and unrest, natural disasters and a plunge in global stock markets once the Year of the Pig begins, Chinese soothsayers say.
As the world farewells the Year of the Dog on Sunday, believers in Chinese superstitions have been busy consulting fortune tellers, feng shui geomancers and a wealth of new books for the year's fortunes.

"It is anticipated that there will be more international conflicts and disharmony, which will even lead to regional warfare, uprising and unrest, or the overthrow of governments in certain countries," he said.

"So it will not be surprising that there will be more gun battles, murder with guns, bombing attacks in the year 2007," Lo added.

Feng shui expert Lee Sing-tong predicts serious conflict in the Middle East this coming year.
"Religious wars will turn intense. There will be large-scale warfare or explosions," said Lee, a third-generation feng shui master. He also expects serious diplomatic conflicts in the East, for instance between China and Japan, and says the problem will be most acute until May 5.
Fortune teller Alion Yeo, who predicted nuclear testing in North Korea last year, said there is a chance that the power of Pyongyang's leader, Kim Jong-il, will weaken.
"This will most likely happen between June and July. I can see their leader is in bad luck during the period. This means something will be changed: someone might replace him or he might fall ill," Yeo said.
"There might be a chance that he would leave his position or hand over his duty to someone else," he added.

The Year of the Pig will largely be a smooth one for the United States, although Yeo predicts an interest rate hike in the third quarter and a big accident between June and July.
"It could be a big fire or an explosion. It would be something that draws the world's attention and causes the stock market to fall," he said, adding however that the market would quickly recover.
Yeo also predicts a strong earthquake, at least 7.0 on the Richter scale, in a Japanese city between March and April. But the number of wounded would be limited by the earthquake resistance of the country's architecture.

The rest of the article is here

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

At the halfway point-

I am officially at the halfway point with Lady E. I brought her to work yesterday, and managed to finish my designated two tiers. Lady E actually goes better with a TV set than anything else. Being halfway stirs a lot more enthusiasm. I'll try for my requisite tier today. All bets are off...I am NOT giving her away until I find a REALLY good giftee. I am sure it will be a while before I EVER make her again. Being in a KAL really helps with the motivation.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A glimpse of life in East Cupcake

East Cupcake is largely agricultural, and has been since the fake perfume factory closed down a few years ago. (You know-the "smells-like" body sprays...they hired ex-Revlon managers at the plant. If you didn't know, Revlon stock tanked after someone discovered some untidy accounting practices.) The kids get off school for stock show. The kids earn a lot of $$ at the stock show! Two interesting businesses are the glitzy women's western wear store (she gets a lot of overseas business) and the cowboy rope company. An employee for the rope company goes EVERYWHERE you wouldn't imagine, and the company sponsors PRCA riders.

I had an unexpected conversation with Mr. Rope-man this morning.

Him "I'm going to London this weekend."

Me "Cool! It's Fashion Week, and you'll be able to buy a cool present for your wife."

Him "Oh, yeah, it is!"

We laughed-the things you WOULDN'T expect to hear in East Cupcake! Ok, back to Lady E....

Monday, February 12, 2007

Nada meme

Ok, I'm officially declaring this blog a meme free zone until 1 July. I think we are all getting meme'd out. Instead, I'll take a poll, because I am interested in what you have to say.

It's Friday night, and you are 17, 19, 22....what song did you play to get fired up to go out and break hearts? In an odd surfing moment, I happened upon mine "Crush on You" from Bruce Springsteen's "The River". Actually, the odd surfing moment came when I was looking up the words to the old song "Pony Boy" and found a version by Bruuuuuccccce. Who'da thought my dad and Bruce would sing the same song? I never imagined that could happen!

I am cheating on Lady E like the heartless tramp that I am. If I do a 1/2 tier a night, it will still get done, right? I don't think I am giving her away, because I can't stand to do this one twice.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Rocks in the head

I live in Cowboy Land. I'm not sure how I ended up HERE; I don't like country music, I don't own boots, livestock, a Catahoula, or a rhinestone belt.
And I don't wear big jewelry. Or bling. Ever.
The local fashion now is big chunky chokers, with assorted rough tumbled gems the size of five pieces of Dubble Bubble chewed into a wad, and stuffed under the corner table of the local Dairy Queen.
I am hiding from Lady E, the sleep inducer. I haven't made jewelry in at least 18 months. Tonight, I pulled out my carton of beading crap tonight, and made a "western" necklace. It's not big enough for local standards, but it works for me. Yee-frickin-haw.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Five Secrets Meme

Marie tagged me for the five secrets meme. If I do one of these every two months, there's gonna be nothing left to tell! I'm supposed to share five new things that I haven't told on my blog, and then tag five others.

1) My husband rented Jackass 2 last night. I watched for a while, but had to avert my face, because I got grossed out. So did he. I eventually left the room.

2) I'm surprisingly good at making jelly and jam. And I like to do it. My daughter (11 at the time) won 3rd place in the Texas State Fair adult division with jelly I helped her make.

3) I like to read about the science of food-NOT the molecular gastronomy, and NOT at the cellular level, but the whys of baking powder. Cook's Illustrated is my favorite magazine, because it explains things like that.

4) I don't care for flavored lattes. I sell them like crazy, but I only want 25% of the syrup in our normal portion!

5) My kids were born on their great-grandparents, and great-great-grandparents wedding days (respectively). Not in the same year, of course. ;-)

I'll tag Joan, Lib, Karin, Suzann, and...and...heck, a lurker!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Six feet o' boredom!

Entrelac. Ok, I GOT it already. I know how it WORKS now, and I ain't a'skeered of it anymore. (But do you have to flip around on a return if you work it in the round? THAT's worth investigating.....) I almost gave up yesterday. I understood the pattern, but was really wavering about doing SIX freakin' feet of stole. I was also a little worried about the colors...perhaps that magenta stack up is a little fug?
I was really waffling, then I decided who the giftee would be. She HAS an old afghan in her desk drawer that she drags out because the office is so cold. This is perrrrrfect. Now I don't care about the color, either, except that I am sure I should only do one row stripes in there to avoid the color puddles. And it doesn't HAVE to be six feet, either. When I'm done, I'll be DONE.
I feel so much better.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Caution, passengers. Observe what happens...

When I get a little punchy with color and throw another variegated shade into Lady E. Scary that it's almost imperceptible, isn't it? But it's soooo much more me.

Please keeps your arms and legs inside the are entering the color bitch's world.

Knitting and six degrees of separation....

I finally broke down and bought the latest VK this weekend. This morning, I sat down and browsed some articles. I was particularly interested in the article on Phoenix Bess. I think she's spot on for her age group, and I hope she does well. The part of the article that I found interesting was her work with Elann. She designed a cotton candy pink shrug in Cuzco alpaca. I loved seeing Ann's site mentioned prominently.

I've always been fascinated by the theory of six degrees of separation. I participated in Columbia University's project to test the theory. For us in the craft world, it's often fewer than six degrees. In 1990, I attended a quilters event in Odense Denmark, and wandered into a gift shop. Guess who I met? Bonnie Lehman, the grand dame of quilting, and Betty Boyink, who founded the Hoffman Challege two years prior. Be still my heart-I tried so hard to not gush.

And so it is with knitting. I was surprised to discover that Marisol Ravicz, daughter of my LYS owner, wrote for IWK in the late 90s. I was delighted when I ran into Yvette Holmes (a San Antonio crochet goddess) last year in Philly, because she told me she was recently published in a Rita Weiss book. And my little brother proudly announced that one of his co-workers at McKinsey was cashing out to start a yarn store. It looks like she's doing very well!

My biggest networking arena is also the place I check in almost every day. It's Elann, naturally. And it surprises me now and then that the Elann forum helped me grow into a much stronger knitter. I can't post photos of crap to all my knitting peers, so it's made me strive to knit better, quicker, more challenging patterns. It freed me from waiting to see what I can make out of the next VK. And I can see how it's challenged my friends. They are growing, leap-frogging onto the next area, challenge, construction method. I gotta work those needles to keep up!

Six degrees of separation? Honey, we knitters are in a shallow pool. I love the fact that our "royalty" is so accesible. Kathleen Power Johnson designed my current project, the Lady Eleanor stole. I met her in Houston, where she led a class in design. Kafe Fassett? Met him when he was promoting a knitting book. Phoenix Bess might be the new darling of the knitting world, but I know the woman who ordered the Cuzco. I never dreamed that VK would feature something I could relate to so personally.

The next knitter you meet could be a design dynamo! (I am personally betting on SK and LG to crank out some truly memorable knitwear.)

Sometimes you miss people-

And you can tell they miss you too.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Bruises and scabs part 2

I'd be a whole lot happier if this yarn had another color in there. I picked this because I was having a "what the heck do I make NOW" moment yesterday. I chose to work with Super Kydd and some railroad ribbon stranded together, and in all honesty, it wouldn't have worked for the intended victim. I was at work, and this was the only other yarn I had on hand. (Sometimes the nice mailman delivers my white boxes at work, because it's earlier on his route-lucky me!) I've been making a mistake on Lady E (working two stitches together at the beginning of the rectangle) but since I am not familiar enough with entrelac to notice the ill effects of that, I don't plan to rework them.

Yarns (clockwise) teal mohair, green Carloway, wine mohair and purple mohair

Interestingly enough, I buy these colors all the time. Actually, that's not interesting, that's just me. Here are the bag mohair and Carloway Shetland Aran I got from Elann last week. There is nothing dainty and refined about either of these yarns; I like them because they are simple, sturdy, and straightforward, like steel cut oatmeal. Several people have asked what I plan to make with the has to be a cardigan, because it is NOT next to the skin soft. I would buy more if there was any more left. I like its simplicity. The mohair really surprised me, because it is exceedingly sturdy, and the colors were MUCH darker and more intense than I expected. That is never a bad thing for me, but I am a little disappointed that I passed up the blue because I thought it was too royal. It was probably perfect. Look at the teal-it's gorgeous. The purple I saw on my monitor when I ordered was very crayony, and I had my doubts, which vanished when I opened the box. The wine is closer to cordovan (I have an aversion to brown), but still very useful.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Bruised Lady E

I started my Lady Eleanor today, and I am not nuts about this color; I think it looks like a pallette of bruises. It's Mr. Joe Sangria in Ice Wine. In the scan, up against a nice crisp white, the purple and maroons pop a little more than they do in my natural light, where they look like bruises and scabs. Nice.
I don't like the effect of the e-cast-on, as it's left me with prominent loops that will require some crochet, because I really don't like fringe at all. It's a waste of good yarn, in my mind. I will press on and finish it, tho. I hope I get more better at entrelac. ;-)

Friday, February 02, 2007

It's in the water?

Our govenor has signed a bill mandating that all 6th grade girls must have the HPV vaccine. Not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand, if it spared a dozen girls a future of cervical cancer, it would be worth it. On the other hand, it's a VERY new vaccination, and I wonder if there is an uncorrelated downside to this vaccine. Some parents here are really upset that they have to take their young girls in for an STD vaccine; they feel it should be a matter of choice. (Ok, who chooses to get an STD, and who chooses a vaccine?) We have an extraordinary rate of teenage pregnancy around here. I think choice is not a valid argument, but something in my soul cries for it. Within the past 10 years, a bishop had to convince the local populace to vote for water fluorination. The HPV bill is a radical measure in an area that likes to pretend that there are many immaculate conceptions every year. (All ya gotta do is drink the water, right?)

On the knitting front-
--I knit a ball of Beatrice up for DGD, then promptly frogged it today.
----I got my sale bag mohair in (this is hefty stuff!) as well as the HT Carloway tweed(whoooaaa!!!! WOW!)...suddenly, I've found my British side in knitting yarns. Gotta get a walking stick and a terrier.
--I saw an article in Threads explaining how to utilize family crests (it's a Japanese thing-mine's the wisteria branches, which is the crest of poor commoners), and wonder if that is the root of my circular knitting obsession.
--I signed on to do a Lady E KAL, and am trying to put a few things to bed before I start.
--Enid brought her mom in, and I explained and demonstrated the Old Shale pattern to her. In pidgin Spanish. My last Spanish class was 34 years ago. But she got it, and despite my poor skills, we were able to talk string. Good thing Enid was there to translate.

I want to knit something I love....wonder what it will be??? - Knitting Yarn and Scarves at Irresistible Prices - Knitting Yarn at Irresistible Prices

Another banner day in Yarnland! My scarf was selected in Elann's scarf challenge! Mine is the black and metallic scarf (I realled LIKED working in Pamir)! I knew that SK and Grace were also finalists, and I just KNEW I would know at least ONE design winner. It's extra good that all of us won.

I think it's so funny that our projects reflect our loves. SK has beautiful, ethereal lace, Grace has something reminiscent of her QOS projects, and both of them are expertly knitted. I play with colors (again!)
BTW, my scarf is convertible. The instructions will be on Elann on March 2nd!
Note: I wasn't sure that Karin, who did the Nefertiti scarf was OUR Karin, but it WAS! GOOOOOO Team Elann!

Thursday, February 01, 2007


I was telling a customer how John the Baptist converted the Maltese people to Christianity. He handled a poisonous snake, but did not die. The Maltese were amazed, and decided it was a miracle. Everyone converted.

She observed that something similar happened in Ireland, with Saint Patrick and the snakes.

It was immediately obvious to us that women didn't influence religion. Can you imagine Mama (or Mrs.) Baptist? "John, put that nasty thing down, it's dirty." Or "Patrick go wash your hands, it's time for supper."