Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Live from New York!

I'm blogging this from my phone so it's going to be short and probably misspelled. We're in the city and have been hanging with the 2-year-old and her parents. She is very exuberant. We went to Coney Island and rode the roller coaster and walked the boardwalk. There's been MOMA and the Guggenheim and now my head is full up with art. And my feet hurt from wearing not-a-tourist shoes instead of my usual well-padded hiking boots. Ah well. It's been a good time. Back to reality soon. I feel so provincial here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Shirking responsibility

I'm sorry I've been absent, but it's been one of those weeks where everything I say sounds stupid and inane, and there's not much going on and the most excitement in my life has been playing chicken with some sock yarn. I made it to the end of the toe, luckily, with about 2 yards to spare.

And the other excitement was not really excitement but drunken misadventure and not very fun at all. It was the first time I've gotten ill from drinking and boy howdy are we not going there again. K said: "I feel stupid, we should have done this when we were 19 or something, not when we're old enough to know better." It's funny how many synonyms for vomit you can think of while trying to avoid doing so. Let's just say Sunday was a very restful day.

And I'm not going to be much interesting for this week either, since we're leaving for a week to visit NY niece & her fabulous parents. Part of the time we'll be up in the Catskills, communing with nature and toddlers. The other part we return to NYC and do the tourist thing, with them as guides. I'm so looking forward to it. This will blow all of my vacation/sick time (my company combines the two. I will have a whopping 1.39 hours left after this week) so I'm not allowed to get sick afterwards.

I've been to New York once before, when we flew out for NY niece's parent's wedding 5+ years ago. K was busy doing best-man stuff, and we weren't there for long. This time maybe we'll get a bit more time. I'm angling to visit Habu Textiles and School Products, but we'll see how it goes. One thing I am hoping for is some REAL SUMMER again. I know, everyone else is roasting right now, but it's barely gotten into the 70s for days now. It's rainy and cold and I'd LIKE MY SUMMER BACK PLEASE. I know, it'll probably be muggy, hot, unpleasant, and smelly, but I look at it this way: I will appreciate this colder weather SO MUCH MORE. People, I need my summer. Otherwise the other 9 months of grey raininess here gets a tad unbearable.

I've been scuffling around, trying to find clothes that won't make me look SO much like a tourist in the city, but I've kinda resigned myself to the fact that NOTHING fits and NOTHING looks good and the most I can hope for is OK. I just wish stores bothered to carry medium-length simple black wraparound skirts anymore. I gave up and bought fabric to make my own (I lurve you Fabric Depot). In real life that fabric doesn't look quite so streaky. I started it last night. It's mostly finished (I'm cheating and not finishing the inside seams. I'll do them later.) I don't know if I'll have time to finish it tonight, but hopefully I can steal a 1/2 hour somewhere.

I'll leave you with these. It's cloudier than this right now, but there's a tiny bit of blue sky opening up. Today I'm an optimist.

Monday, August 13, 2007

More yarn pr0n

Blue Sky Alpaca/Silk in a pale, pale pink (the color is 'blush'). It's slated for a lacey scarf. I've been obsessed with one of the BW lace patterns for awhile now.

Gypsy, show us a closeup:

This weekend I finally tried the modified purl, used with the combined knitting method. It works like a charm for tightening up my purl rows. And it's a lot less pain in the neck than wrapping yarn about my hand twice and pulling the purls extra stiff. Hoorah! I just need practice getting the stitches even.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Variegated yarn luv

Hey, Friday. That's good because this week has been TOO DAMN LONG. K's been out of town on business since Monday and he finally came home last night. I sure missed him.

This is the kiddie raglan I'm working on, in a heavy aran-weight cotton. (Wow, I didn't realize that the striping lined up on the arms like that. Oh well. Do I care? I do not). The stitches where I joined the arms from the body are still a little loose. I going to have to fix that by hand.

You think it's too much? It's kind Muahhahaha. That's the beauty of toddlers, they can't protest so much at what you dress them in. Uh, right?

I'm experimenting on this sweater. I'm not casting on any underarm stitches. I have YET to hear a good explanation for why casting on extra stitches is necessary, and I was very disappointed by an enormous poofty lump underneath each of the arms of a different sweater I made a year ago. Yes, an EZ baby sweater, which has you cast on more than 1" of extra stitches under each arm but doesn't bother to say why. I think it's some kind of gusset but WHY? This sweater I'm omitting it and see what happens. Pattern is from Children's Sweaters and Hats, Knitting Seamless Raglan Top Down: Step by Step Patterns and Photos by Mary Rich Goodwin.

I've been working from this book because I wanted to get the feel of how a top-down raglan works. She also has optional short-row shaping to make the back fit better, and I was interested in that. Other learning experiences for this sweater: learning how to knit combination-style. In regular knitting, my purl rows are looser than my knit rows and no matter what I try, I can't seem to get them even without resorting to going down a needle size on the purl rows. Drives me BONKERS.

Since I pulled out the camera last night, I figured I'd fit in some yarn photos too.
Lacey Lamb in RED RED RED. Isn't it pretty? It feels twice as nice as it looks. The inestimable Wen sent it to me as a prize, several months ago, for posting my amazingly ugly, orange-green-purple Lion Brand-Homespun shawl, with crochet edging. AND she included a whole passel of other good stuff - stitch markers, 2! cute bags, bath bomb, and candy, among other things. THANK YOU WEN!!

I'm still trying to find the right pattern for this loveliness. Mmmm, red.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


I really really really want some yarn. I want to plunge my arms to the shoulders into deep soft wool. I want to brush my cheek against cashmere. I want to line up a rainbow of sophisticated colors and knit them into gorgeous stripes and patterns and fireworks explosions of colors. I want to deeply inhale the scent of angora, lanolin, silk. I want to squeeze fat, puffy, squishy dumplings of tweedy merino till the yarn oozes through my fingers.

Take Your Hands Away from the Keyboard and Mouse and Close the Web Browser.

Last weekend I bought yarn. Yes, broke out of Knit-From-My-Stash. There have been 2 other purchases during that time of 8 months of no yarn purchases, but:
#1 was buying yarn as gifts for my mother and grandmother.
#2 was buying a skein of Trekking when I visited the grand opening of Twisted here in Portland. I bought the yarn more as a congratulations-for-your-shop-opening than any I-must-buy-this-yarn, and I'm still thinking about giving it away via a blog contest. I'll officially take it as my exception.

But last weekend I bought yarn because I WANTED TO BUY YARN. Another yarn store in town, Lint, is going out of business. Which makes me sad, because it was a nice store and I always enjoyed going there. It was a comfortable place. When I went in they'd been discounting for 2 weeks by then, and it'd reached 50% off anything. There wasn't much left.

But I got a couple skeins of test yarn that I've been wanting to try, to take home and swatch and abuse, so I could see if I liked it (RYC Silk-Wool and 4-ply Cashcotton). I bought a skein of Lana Grossa Mellenweit sock yarn, and a skein of a silky ribbon from Trendsetter in cool pale blues, purples, and greys that I intend to use as surface embellishment on an art quilt. And 4 balls of Tahki Cotton Classic Color, (the variegated ones), shade 104, because I like Tahki Cotton Classic, I'm a sucker for variegated yarns, and I like blues and purples together. 4 balls isn't enough for a kid's sweater but I can add in one of the Cotton Classic solid colors and make something interestingly striped, I think (and hopefully not fugly. Another idea genesis that will probably look like crap when I try to build it in real life). A circular needle. A Debbie Bliss pattern book, her first one, with all those cute but not cutesy kids designs.

I'm going out to see NY neice in a couple weeks and I've got toddler clothes on the brain. So cute! So fast! So able to use colors and variegated yarns I could not wear myself! I'm not usually a pattern book buyer but I've got a couple (ok, 3 now) and they're cracked open and I'm cooing at the designs and thinking, well there's that Webs sale right now, I could get some superwash wool and and and. You can see the downward spiral. I've already GOT superwash wool. Maybe not in the colors I was thinking of. But it's not NEW. Ugh. What is it that's wrong with me?

In other news... this worsted weight stuff, uh, it sure comes together fast, doesn't it? Compared to all that lace and fingering weight I've been working with lately. I finished the other child jacket sleeve last night. Woosh! Yes, yes, pictures soon. I'm lazy.

Monday, August 06, 2007


Warning: huge babbling of a post.
Condensed version: work is quieter, dinner party angst, blood donation surprise, Knitting Nature, one-year anniversary, UFO resurrection, and connecting inspiration to output.
Signal to noise ratio: medium-low.
Typing mood: loquacious.
Pictures: floral; stream-of-consciousness.

Crocosmia (this particular cultivar is called Lucifer). Hummingbirds love them.

The huge time-sucking project at work is finally done (mostly), and thank goodness. It was a little dicey on Friday but it all pulled through. I got the whole weekend off to vegetate, catchup on everyday stuff, and sleep in. It was GLORIOUS. We even cleaned up the house on Saturday for extra bonus points (although the comforter still needs washing. Dang but I wish I had an extra-capacity front-loader, I hate schlepping that thing to the laundromat). We had some friends over for dinner on Saturday night because I finally got over my deep-seated fear of dinner parties and accepted that I have no innate hostess ability besides being able to shove food at people, but that's ok, as long as the food is tasty and I avoid sticking my foot in my mouth (I tried throwing a party for 50 people several years ago and 4 came. I haven't thrown any parties since then. I just invite myself to other people's parties and bring nice wine and maybe help with the dishes so I can feel useful).

Oh, oh, and I donated blood on Saturday morning and QUEL MIRACLE! I passed the damn hemocrit test! My blood droplet even sunk in the iron sulphate solution which is a FIRST for me. I hadn't even been very assiduous in taking the iron-enabled multivitamin for the couple weeks before. Now I've been trying to remember what all I ate last week and why I'm suddenly super-iron-woman.

Frances the cat contemplates the Russian Sage

I won a blog contest over at Carol's and she sent me Knitting Nature by Norah Gaughan as a prize. Woooo! Thank you Carol! The designs ideas are fascinating, I love the incorporation of the mathematical motifs. There's one lovely jacket in particular I've had my eye on for months now. Yup, another sweater to add to the queue. Maybe it's time to finally stop obsessing about perfection and knit this one.

What else? Sunday was our 1-year wedding anniversary. I can't believe a year's slipped by already. It's been great. We went out for an anniversary brunch at Simpatica, who catered the wedding. Yeah, brunch, aren't we romantic? I don't care, the crepes were fantastic. Otherwise we lolled about and made kissy faces at each other. Well, maybe not the kissy faces, don't want to disgust the cat.

Calendula! If I did any natural dyeing, I'd dye everything with calendula, they're so much fun and easy to grow. Sure, everything would come out yellow, but what's wrong with that?

I resurrected an old children's sweater that I'd thrown in the corner in a fit of pique months and months ago. Stupid heavy cotton. Stupid in-the-round top-down causing the body stitches to stretch out in ugliness when I joined the sleeves in the round and began knitting them. I monkeyed around with needle sizes and found dropping 3 sizes (1.25 mm in total) knit the previous body row stiff enough to mostly take up those stretched sleeve stitches. I'm still not completely happy but we'll call it practice and finish it before she's too old to fit in it. I finished off one of the sleeves, 1 sleeve + rest of the body south of the sleeves to go.

And I also damned the torpedoes and started work on some patchwork that's also been floating around my head for several months. But bleh it did NOT turn out like I had pictured it. It just looks flat and odd. Maybe I'll get a picture so you can mock it alongside me. Why is it so hard to squeeze ideas out from my head and form them in real life? They always seem to turn out ugly, misshapen lumps. It depends on my infatuation with the idea how much I'm willing to work with the real life turd that comes out, usually working it into something nowhere near the idea vs. ripping it apart and consigning it to a dark drawer (yeah, you'd think the more devoted I was to the idea, the more I'd want to try to form it, but it usually works out in the opposite way).

Enough extemporizing, let's look at more flowers. Foxglove!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Rubber Duck knows no frontiers

The Rubber Duck slowly nods its head.

I have unending respect for Rabbitch because after 3 12-days I feel like tired cheese. The extra-smelly kind. I think my head would explode if I had to do this on a regular basis. I'm so out of practice. AND she takes care of a whole family too! K and Frances can keep themselves up pretty well; K even does dishes and cooks.

Today, today, I think I am free with only a 10-hourer. I think there may be libations and knitting (and a stop at the store on the way home - out of milk). There will most certainly be laundry.