Monday, December 24, 2007

Drifting Pleats and Newbie

Yes, I am sitting at work. I can't say as I'll get much actual work done in the half day I'll be here, but there is something calming about a practically empty library.

Drifting Pleats update: After much head scratching, gnashing of teeth, and ripping of yarn, I finally have a sense of how the scarf is knit. I love it. This is knitting you have to think about, it's complex without being difficult, and it is so different from anything else I've done. Figuring this out reminds me of when I finally got how to knit stranded knitting with both hands: I had a very hard time getting it, but finally a light bulb went off and my hands suddenly knew what to do. This has that same feeling.

Drifting Pleats

I took these pictures this morning before coming to work, so everything is a bit wonky. Two of the four pleats have "drifted" to the right edge of the scarf.

Drifting Pleats Backside

Here's how it looks from the back.

In other, completely unrelated, news:

New Kitty

Len and I are getting perilously close to Crazy Cat Couple territory. This is "Zoebelle" (a name she will not be keeping for long). We went to the Cascades Humane Society on Saturday, Len had hoped to find a tiny kitten, but we found her instead. She's about a year old, and warmed up to us almost immediately (unlike Judy, who hasn't done so after two years).

Please Pet Me

We have to get the three other buggers their shots, then we will bring her home on Wednesday. Why are we getting a fourth? I don't have a good answer. Probably because Judy isn't really our cat, she is Simon and Gwen's cat. And Simon and Gwen are more my cats (Simon's affections are pretty evenly divided between us, but I came with him). This isn't a rash decision, we've been thinking about it since this summer. So there you are, on Wednesday, we will have a new kitty.

So. I'm off to the land of slow dial-up and aside from cleaning out junk e-mail, will not be checking in for the next week. Everyone have a lovely Whatever-You-Celebrate (even if it just a day off) and a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Knitting Kicks My Rear

Drifting Pleats kicked my rear end up and down the block this weekend (and I live in the country, it is a very long block). The pleats are easy enough, it doesn't take long to see what she is getting at, the drifting was giving me trouble, though. Mostly because I am very dim. It seems that just because it doesn't look like stitches have moved, they have. This is knitting you really have to think about, it isn't so complex, it is just so different. I'll try to get it together to take pictures, you know, when there is something to show.

Glass Reindeer

Instead, here is a pretty little glass reindeer. This is my favorite ornament (until I look at all the others on my tree), it is so elegant. The reindeer (along with a few others on my tree) belonged to my mother's Aunt Alice. To my great regret, I never met her -- my impression is that both of my parents were very fond of her. I did know two of my mom's other aunts -- Bernie (who had a classic green jello salad, which is really quite good) and Margaret (who was a pill). Why yes, I am very sentimental!

Thursday, December 13, 2007


What I was going to say, before I was so rudely interrupted:

He's Mine

This is Gwen. She's not that smart, and she doesn't pretend to be. Several years ago she had some sort of liver disease, I believe one of the medications we gave her messed up her eyesight -- her pupils are over-dilated and it takes a couple of tries for her to find a partially opened door. Sometimes she runs into things, and she can be sort of timid about jumping down from the couch.

Gwen has a very bad habit. She pees on things. Only on soft things left on the floor or bed, like clothes*, towels, or our expensive-to-clean down comforter. We're pretty laid back, so that isn't a capital offense, but she is not allowed into our bedroom without escort (she does not do it when we are around, she is shy. Or something.) The problem is, because most of our heat comes from the wood stove in the living room, with the door closed, our bedroom is not heated, which makes bedtime very uncomfortable.

We decided the perfect solution to this problem was to put up a baby gate. The other two cats would have no problem jumping over it, but they don't have the Bad Habit. We thought there would be no way Gwen would be able to jump the gate, being pretty dim, timid and having little eyesight. So I borrowed one from a co-worker and Len installed it.

It took her two days.


*Personally, I would think this might be good incentive for Len to keep his dirty clothes out of the living room, but no. She doesn't pee on them often enough.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Comment Rant

Stef has pointed out that Blogger doesn't seem to allow those without Blogger accounts to attach their URL to comments they make. I finally did a bit of research and it seems the Blogger people have made a dastardly change to the Comment system. I keep trying to figure out how to explain it in a way that makes any kind of sense, but I cannot because it makes no sense. This is what Blogger says:
Blogger has removed the URL field for unauthenticated comments. Instead, we're rolling out support for OpenID, a technology for "signing" your comments with your own URL. OpenID lets you comment with the URL you want, while preventing others from impersonating you. Blog admins can turn on OpenID now on Blogger in Draft. Learn more.
So, Blogger removed the URL field but didn't replace it with anything else. The Blog Owner (that's me, in case you are wondering), has to figure out there is a problem, find out that she has to turn something on in someplace she has never heard of (what is Blogger in Draft anyway? And why to I have to implement a "draft" of something? In my little corner of the world, that means UNFINISHED!) And then what is turned on? OpenID. I don't even know, I don't know how you sign in using it, I don't know how it works, and I can't test it since I don't have another account to use. Stupid Blogger.

I don't like having to think about my blog this much, it's supposed to be fun, not work. For you and for me.

I had a very funny How-My-Really-Stupid-Half-Blind-Cat-Outsmarted-Two-Grownup-Humans story to tell, but now I am too pissed off.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Knit On, Knit Off

I thought of a very clever title on my way to work this morning, but alas, it is lost in the fog and freezing rain.

I (finally!) finished the baby pants on Thursday night, or more specifically, Friday morning at 12:20 (which made 6:30 Friday morning interesting and rather confusing). I brought them into work with me with the intention of subjecting them to a photo session, but ended up buried in work. Nor did I, I'm sorry to say, have time on Saturday and by that night they were gone, taken to await the arrival of the baby recipient. I did take a quick picture to prove their doneness, so we shall have to make do with that one.


The picture is a bit of a yawner, but I find the pants quite adorable. I also couldn't be more pleased that they are done.

I immediately casted on the Tilted Duster from the Fall 2007 issue of IK, using the green RYC Soft Tweed. Since I doubt I have enough yarn, I'm thinking that I will do the collar in the mauve. No pictures, it is just a blob at this point, but since I'm using big needles, it is an instant gratification blob.

Last night I started playing around with...I don't know how else to describe it but knitting architecture. I got Lynne Barr's Knitting New Scarves a few weeks ago. I cannot express how exciting this book is, but here is a peek at the contents. She is truly thinking in three dimensions.

Knitting Architecture

This is the beginning of Drifting Pleats. This isn't the yarn I'm planning to use, but I thought it would be useful to play around with the pattern a bit before using the real yarn. Isn't that the coolest thing ever?

Simon is Interested

Simon thinks so.

Red Yarn 2

This is the yarn I'm planning to use. Unfortunately I was too addled to remember to bring a tag with me, so I'm not sure what it is, except an alpaca/silk blend. When I went shopping for yarn, I had 3 factors in mind, and a fourth was adopted fairly quickly: color, drape, gauge and yardage was quickly added. I couldn't find anything that fit all of the criteria -- yardage was added because I did find a couple a balls that would have fit the first three, but there weren't enough. I went with this yarn because I love the blood red, and the drape will be perfect; I figured I could deal with the gauge problem. After last night, I know I will be able to add a pleat and all will be well.

Gluten Development

Simon isn't really interested in the knitting, he just wants to knead the yarn.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

On My Nightstand

No, the pants aren't done yet. The knitting is, but there is still a bit of finishing. I don't do Christmas knitting because the deadlines and the need to concentrate on one thing (that I don't even keep to keep!) make me crazy.

I haven't been reading as much as usual, but I did finish Anne Tyler's Amateur Marriage a little while ago. Sharon wasn't kidding when she said it is a bleak book. It struck me that these could have been my parents, had they stayed together -- while my mother was not nearly as nutty as Pauline, she is emotional and vivacious. My dad, on the other hand, was very much like Michael, stoic, not as expressive (I think this has changed some in the last few years). They weren't very well suited to each other and had they stayed together their marriage could well have become just as damaging. Not that divorce is a barrel of laughs.

After that most cheerful book, I started (and am currently reading) Bill Bryson's The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America. I've read many of his very funny books, and I am pleased to see that I have not exhausted his catalog. My favorite, so far, is A Walk in the Woods, his account of hiking the Appalachian Trail.

I am also still reading Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-1963. It is very interesting and well written, but because it is so dense it's been slow going for me. I've just finished the section on the Kennedy-Nixon presidential race which is especially relevant. It's very interesting to see that race from a civil rights perspective: their civil rights planks were very similar and blacks were quite divided on who to support. It is a very complicated story, but because John F. Kennedy telephoned Coretta Scott King while MLK was in prison and Robert Kennedy called the judge in the case, the black vote swung to JFK, and may have been the deciding factor in the race. It was all kept hush-hush, the phone calls were publicized by pamphlets handed out at churches, since the Kennedy campaign didn't want to upset Southern whites. What was so interesting to me about this section of the book was how packaged the candidates were, that just as happens now, everything Kennedy and Nixon said and did or didn't say or do, was calculated to maximize public opinion. So little was genuine. True then, true now, sad to say.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Christmas Tree

First, I have to announce that the baby pants now have two legs, so A can go ahead and have a two-legged baby. I'm sure she will be relieved. They aren't actually finished, but I should be able to get them done tonight. Crummy pictures tomorrow (I hope).

Len and I got our Christmas tree this weekend. The tree is a big deal to me -- setting it up, putting on the lights and ornaments is my favorite part of the season. I can't really explain why, but it's so hopeful. The first two years we lived in Grass Lake we got our trees from some old coot (with a mean dog) down the street. They were exactly the kind I like: big and wild. Last year he was only selling potted trees, so we ended up going to one of the big-business tree farms where the trees are insanely expensive, small and perfect cones. Feh. I told Len that if that is our only choice, I thought we should just buy a fake tree and be done with it.

But, we found a guy. He has a big farm out in the middle of nowhere, the trees are exactly the ones I like, and instead of a mean dog, the guy hands out chocolate and crazy hologram glasses. In between dealing with an old boiler crisis and a jammed up sewer line (not our's), Len helped pick out a tree, lug it home and set it up (he recognizes it's importance to me, but he isn't that excited about it, himself). I put lights on last night.

Christmas Tree

This thing is 8 feet tall (after cutting off the top) and almost as wide. And those glasses he hands out?

Tree with trippy filter

This is what happens when you put them on. So cool!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Sunday Weaving

Once I've finished a few other projects I will have more time to devote to weaving. For now I only managed to get the treadles tied up, a bunch of bobbins wound and one stripe woven.

Color Gamp

Blues and Greens

Gamp Detail

The nice thing about these pictures is that you can't see how crummy my edges are (however, you can see the distortion that is inherent in a point & shoot camera at the bottom of the two closeups, my weaving is not that bad!). Hopefully, I will be able to figure out what is going on with them before I go further with the weaving.

A Bird in a Bush

There were actually three birds, I couldn't get good pictures of the male and female cardinals.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

How I Spent My Thanksgiving Vacation

Knitting baby pants. I am So. Sick. of lime green, purple, lavender and blue. I am almost finished with the first leg. I held it up to Len last night and asked what he thought the chances are of a one legged baby. He thought slim to none and that I had best NOT ask the sure-to-be-insane-with-hormones mother. She has a sense of humor, but some things you just don't joke about. I could just quit, but I'm much too close.

Beading a birthday present for my step-mother (whose birthday was last week). It turns out, beading pinecones with brass wire is not so obvious.

Making Christmas cards. Don't ask.

A little bit of weaving. I got close to the end of threading the heddles and discovered that some idiot had checked to make sure there were enough on the first harness, but didn't check the second harness (these two use about double the number of heddles that 3 and 4 use). I had to make about 20 temporary ones, I hate that. So now, I just need to tie up the harnesses and I'm ready to go.

Color Gamp Warp

And taking a lot of pictures. I was rather amazed to discover I'd taken 179, many of which are the same shot with different settings (I think I took about 6 or 7 of the above picture). Very good practice. Here is one of my favorites:

Still Life with Walnut

Monday, November 26, 2007

Post-Thanksgiving Greetings


From the Land of Dial-up. Life is slower out here...

Monday, November 19, 2007

Simon and the Fireplace

Len was trying to clean our chimney yesterday. Simon had concerns.

Simon & the Fireplace

Something is Happening


The Dale of Norway baby sweater is done!

Dale Baby Sweater

Sorry for the crummy picture, my flash blew it out (the detailed pictures are better). Nothing has fallen apart yet, but I can't help but feel it is only a matter of time.


I'm especially concerned about the shoulders. The machine stitching seemed weakest there, and because the yarn is superwash, it won't felt together. I could point out other little mistakes, but what's the point? I'll be the only one who notices and overall I'm happy with how it came out.

Tiny Cuff and Facing

I love how the colors came together, and I'm very glad I decided to use the lavender for the collar, cuffs and facings. It keeps it from being overwhelmed by any of the other colors, and it's feminine without being nauseating.


When I visited my mom several weeks ago, we went to an antique shop in Saugatuck, where I bought a bag of assorted white buttons. I picked through them to find these three, which match each other reasonably well, and I can't really imagine any other buttons working so nicely.

Pretty Angle

I'm working on the little pants to go with this. I've got about an inch to go before I need to make a decision about the crotch area. I don't like the way it looks in the picture (click on it to make it larger), and I'm thinking it could benefit from some kind of gusset. Another possibility might be to knit everything from the crotch down flat and add snaps for easy removal in a diaper emergency. I may not have any kids of my own, but I have changed enough diapers in my time to know that easy access is one key happy outings. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Some Weaving Family History

I don't have much to say. I've started the finishing process on the baby sweater, which is to say, I've laid into the poor thing with scissors. Totally planned, but still. I am not taking pictures of the process because. Well, I'll just say it: I'm terrified and I don't want pictures to remind me, in case it all falls apart. I've done this before, on a much bigger sweater, but I can't help but feel that was beginner's luck and sticky yarn.*

While I was at my parent's house on Saturday, my dad gave me some slides to scan. I'm not sure if I've said this before, but when my grandparents retired, they moved back to Stevensville, Montana (where grandpa was born) and took up weaving. My grandpa wove Navajo-style (it was an important distinction to him that since he was not Navajo, he did not weave Navajo rugs, but Navajo style rugs). When I was at their house on Saturday, my dad received a box of my grandparents' stuff from one of his sisters, in it was a set of slides mostly of my grandpa's weaving.
The quality of the slides isn't great, they're from 1982 and who knows where they've been stored, but you get the idea. This seems to have been for some kind of show: the orange bit at the top left corner has his name and town on it. The clip board on the bottom left has his pattern notes, which is only a little more visible when the picture is larger.
I love this piece. I'm having trouble deciding which of my grandparents wove this. It looks like something my grandma could have done on her loom, but there is one tiny clue that it may have been done on the tapestry loom. In the upper left corner there is a little bit of thread, which looks like the way my grandpa's rugs were tied off. I don't know.
And here is my grandma, looking none too excited to have her picture taken. I've said this before, but I wish very much I could convey to them how grateful I am for this legacy they have left me. My grandma, especially, didn't believe in an afterlife, so I really don't think she's looking down and watching me. If there is an afterlife, I hope she has better things to do. Pinochle, maybe.

*Update: Since writing the above, I have both sleeves sewn in and the collar started. Nothing has fallen apart. Yet.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Something Strange Blooming

It hasn't been atypically warm this Fall. Lows in the mid-30s, highs in the mid-40s, windy and cloudy, not particularly wet. So why this?


I took this picture on Saturday! In Ann Arbor. Pretty, but very strange.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Favorite Movie

I wasn't planning on posting today, but I wanted to point out that Pajiba (which has great movie reviews) posted a review of one of my favorite movies, Lone Star, directed by the great John Sayles. Read the review. Then rent the movie. Or buy it, because you'll want to see it again. Or a dozen times.

Also, Len and I have had proof that we are indeed middle aged: One of his favorite bands, the Meat Puppets (they're like punk alt-country), played for the first time in ten or more years on Tuesday at the Blind Pig. We didn't go because it was a Tuesday night and there was no way they would be going on before midnight which would put us home at some ungodly hour. On the other hand, we are going to see our favorite NPR/PRI host, Kai Ryssdal (of Marketplace) host a panel discussion on sustainable consumerism. We are both very excited. Because we are nerds. I mean one doesn't really have anything to do with the other, but they struck me as a funny juxtaposition. It isn't weird to want to stalk Kai Ryssdal, is it?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Home #9

I stopped to take some pictures on my way to work today -- one of the less fun things about the time change is that it is now too dark to take pictures on my way home, which means being late. Obviously, I could leave a little earlier, but, let's face it, that isn't going to happen. The yellow tree picture would have benefited from a tripod, at this size it is fine, but it's kind of fuzzy in larger incarnations.

Yellow Tree
Yellow Tree

Sunrise on Norvell
Sunrise on Norvell

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Tagged Again!

So instead of punching me in the eye, my dear friend Stef tagged me with another meme (which, of course, means she does not get to hit me). This one is hard, seven things I haven't previously disclosed on the blog (and which I actually would want to disclose). I'll see what I can come up with:

1. My grandfather (my father's father) was a professional photographer.

He first worked for the Portland Museum of Art, and during WWII he worked at the Portland Shipyard, for Kaiser Motors (which was sold to AMC in 1970). Kaiser transferred him to Michigan after the war and he retired from AMC in 1974 (??) Some, or all, of their family vacations were centered around taking vehicles out to places like the Grand Tetons or Badlands to take advertising pictures. Thus my grandmother, father and his sisters appear in some Kaiser Motor print advertising. I'm very proud of this legacy.

2. My grandfather's reason for working at the Portland shipyard was to gain some extra points and avoid being drafted. My father went to college (at the University Michigan), got married, and had me and thus avoided being drafted for Vietnam. I'm very pleased to have helped. (My mother's father, on the other hand, was a doctor in the armed services during WWII. I'm not sure whether he served overseas, but I think he did. He died of ALS when my mom was 5.)

3. I majored in history at the University of Michigan. My two favorite classes were a class on the Vietnam war and a class called "The Social Experience of 20th Century American Wars". Because it is a tiny little world, one of Len's sisters took a version of the second class at Eastern Michigan University from the same instructor, Tom Collier, and because he was such a great teacher, she loved that class, too. I still have the same fascination about the experience of war -- not the guns or troop movements, but the experience of those fighting, those left behind, and those of us watching from the sidelines.

4. My parents divorced when I was 8. My brother Ken (who is a little older) and I were raised by my dad (my younger brother and sister went with my mother -- no, I won't say why -- who then had my youngest sister Sarah). He raised me on lesbian-feminist music, e.g. Cris Williamson, Meg Christian and Margie Adam, as well as Holly Near and Joan Baez. I didn't lack for the influence of women in my life, but I never learned to wear lipstick.

5. I lived with my mother for a couple of years, while she was attending seminary and acting as part time pastor of the White Pigeon United Methodist Church. It was. Interesting. My mom was the first female pastor, and there were people who quit because of it. I was the church secretary for a time. I could say a great deal about that time, but I'll stick with this: one of the lessons I learned was that even when people are individually very kind, as a group, they may still be very cruel. That church had many kind, loving people but it was not a nice place to be.

6. I have to borrow one of Stef's: After high school, I spent a year in France (kind of a miserable experience, to be honest). I came back fairly fluent in French and considered majoring in the language. Now, while I can understand some written French, I can't speak a lick of it or understand it when it is spoken.

7. And. I worked at Kinko's while in college. This was great training for office work because to this day, I am not afraid of copiers. Jammed? Out of paper? No problem! The store where I worked was across from the law school. My friend Stef notwithstanding, they were some of the dumbest people I've ever met.

There you go. 7 things you may or may not have known about me. I'm not going to tag anyone specifically. I think there are some people who read this blog regularly who I don't know (either through comments or in person) -- if you would like to try this, please tell me, so I can get to know you!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Weaving Happened

If by weaving you mean the entire process, rather than the simple act of throwing a shuttle back and forth, I got a little weaving done. Not a lot, but even a little is progress:


After 1.5 hours

After about one and half hours. Well. It's something.

In other news: I finished 2 hats and 2 scarves for the Euchre tournament, and I failed to take pictures (which is really too bad, the hat that went with the RYC scarf turned out nicely). I have also finished the second sleeve for the baby sweater. I will block tonight and begin the finishing as soon as it is dry. I've started the little pants to go with the sweater -- I'm thinking that, since I'm adding a fourth color, that I'm going to work the legs out so the stripes don't quite match.

Sarah's Book Meme

It seems that the love of books is genetic, 'cos if this isn't proof that Sarah and I are related, I don't know what is:

1. Hardcover or paperback, and why?

I’m definitely a paperback person: 1) they are much lighter; 2) they are much cheaper; 3) when I read in bed my arms don’t get tired (goes along with reason #1, I guess).

2. If I were to own a book shop, I would call it…

Ye Olde Book Shoppe. Just kidding—my favorite bookstore is Kramer’s in Washington D.C., so instead of owning a bookstore, I’d probably just go live in that one.

3. My favorite quote from a book (mention the title) is…

Wow, this is a tough one. I’m very frequently struck by language in books*, but I can never, ever remember the quotes exactly or even where they come from. I guess I’m more of a nuance gal. I’m better at remembering poignant song lyrics, such as "Rollin’ On" by Emmylou Harris and Mark Knopfler:

It’s hard sometimes
but pretty much it’s alright

And of course, Paul Simon’s "Graceland":

And losing love is like a window to your heart;
Everybody sees you’re blown apart, everybody feels the wind blow

*especially in The Country Life by Rachel Cusk (I’m taking this asterisking thing directly from Lee…)

4. The author (alive or deceased) I would love to have lunch with would be…

Charles Baxter is near the top, along with Madeleine St. John, aforementioned Rachel Cusk, Nick Hornby, Mark Haddon…can I have a luncheon party vs. one-on-one?

6. I would love someone to invent a bookish gadget that…

I need something that will make my husband understand the amount of money I spend on books. There is something completely satisfying in the ownership of books vs. getting them out of the library. I’ve just reread a couple of my favorites and I didn’t even have to leave the comfort of my own home to obtain them.

7. The smell of an old book reminds me of…

An old boyfriend of mine had something about rifling through the pages of books and smelling them; when we were together I started doing it too. He’s long gone, but the practice lives on and I still think of him once in a while when I smell books.

8. If I could be the lead character in a book (mention the title), it would be:

Nicola Barker from The Essence of the Thing by Madeleine St.John. I read this book when I was going through a break-up (hmmm, seems like old boyfriends and books are becoming a common theme to this meme…) and I really and honestly took a lot of strength from the character of Nicola.

9. The most overestimated book of all times is…

The Poisonwood Bible. With.Out.A.Doubt.

10. I hate it when a book…

I hate it when a book starts out making you think it’s good, but then devolves into boring mash (Possesion, A.S. Byatt comes to mind.

10a. I love it when a book…

I LOVE it when a book puts me through the emotional paces, whether it be crying or laughing out loud. Not that I love crying, and it doesn’t happen that often, but when it does, it’s great. Also pertinent to movies: like at the end of The Pursuit of Happyness when Will Smith is told he’s got the job, his reaction is what I’m talking about. Laughing out loud is just as great—make sure you read Motherless Brooklyn for this!

I used to belong to a book club several years back and got to trust the leader implicitly in her suggestions, which invariably turned out well (we actually did read The Interpreter of Maladies before it won the Pulitzer). After I moved away, I was at sea, so I started reading award winners. I figured that people much smarter than I have their heads on straight. I really like this method of guiding my reading, especially since I read equally from smaller awards as from larger ones (to be fair, however, I find myself drawn most to Booker Prize finalists/winners). If anyone thinks there’s a book I should be reading, please let me know!

Thanks, Lee, for the forum of discussion!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Yarn Update

My love for RYC Soft Tweed will not have to be from afar. Webs, sweet Webs has some on clearance, at a price I can afford. So I ordered enough of the "Sprig" (which I believe is the same as the green I have) for a sweater, then bought three balls of the mauve (which I think is called "Bark") at Flying Sheep (my LYS), to use as an accent.

In other knitting news, it seems the famous The Princess Shawl has been re-released. Anyone want to place bets on how long I will hold out?

I wouldn't want to leave you without a picture, so how about one of my sweet (yet wackily neurotic) Gwennie:
She doesn't look nuts. But she is.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Using Knitting as an Excuse

I didn't do any weaving this weekend. I know, as soon as I set the goal, I failed at it. But I have a very good reason!

Big Wool Scarf & Hat

Every year some friends organize a Euchre Tournament in honor of a friend who died of ALS a few years ago. Since Len refuses to learn to play Euchre, and I am too much of a weenie to play in public (it's a long story, for both of us), I have contributed some hand knitted scarves and hats for door prizes. Normally, I don't give myself enough time and I don't get as many done as I would like. But this year I found on Wednesday the tournament is going to be this Friday. Gack! The stupid thing is that I know that it is held every year around this time, and I know I need to take responsibility for finding out when it will be, but I don't know. Time got away (seriously. How is it that it's October 30???).

So. No weaving. Really big yarn.

Fat Stitches

I have one hat and scarf set done using Rowan Big Wool and size 15 and 17 needles. It is a whole different world knitting with yarn and needles this size, rather than my usual size 0's! I had to knit the hat flat since I don't have either a short circular needle or double points that big.

Rowan Tweed Scarf

This is RYC Soft Tweed, size 11 needles. I LOVE this yarn. I don't usually fall for a bulky yarn, but my god this stuff is fabulous. Wool, viscose, polymide and silk, it is so soft, the color is so pretty. A basic cardigan would cost about $130. Gack!* At that price, my love may need to remain chaste.


But it's so, so pretty! Anyway, I am more than half done with this scarf (I finished the mauve ball last night) so I'm going to work on a matching hat tonight and use what remains to finish the scarf.

*I might have a fur ball stuck in my throat.

Song About the Moon

How to Write a Song

"If you want to write a song about the moon
Walk along the craters of the afternoon
When the shadows are deep
And the light is alien
And gravity leaps like a knife off the pavement
And you want to write a song about the moon
You want to write a spiritual tune
Then nah nah nah
Song about the moon"
--Paul Simon, "Song About the Moon" (From "Hearts & Bones")

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Why I Bought a Super Zoom Camera

Making Use of the Superzoom!

Judy won't let us get this close!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Weaving Goals

But first, my sister reminds me that our niece, Lauren, is turning 10, not 11 (which is true of Len's niece as well). I decided to get her 3 Ramona books and Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great (I loved all of these when I was her age, and older).

Weaving. I've had a warp sitting on my loom waiting to be threaded for close to a year. I'm kind of surprised the cats haven't taken care of it (by "taken care of", I mean "ruined"). I don't know what the issue is, it isn't that I dislike weaving, I just don't seem to make time for it. Part of the issue is that I'm not that good at it, which is a dumb excuse, because I didn't used to be good at knitting but I kept at it until I got good at it, or at least not afraid to screw up.

So. Now that the garden and canning are pretty much done, I've decided to make the time. Not everyday mind you, just on weekend mornings while listening to the radio, which bores Len to tears. This will serve two completely different purposes (or it should): give me much needed regular practice on the loom and give me some much needed time to myself. I love Len dearly, but we do spend a little too much time together. Plus my job (which I also love) involves being with people most of the day. I need time alone*.

My other weaving goal. You know those Indian bedspreads/wall coverings every hippy-dippy college student since 1967 has? That's my summer bedspread (magenta with elephants), which I've had since I was, you guessed it, a college student. We need something a little more...grown up. I considered knitting one, but I don't even like knitting baby blankets, so a queen size bedspread would probably put me in the loony bin. I also considered crocheting one. But then I remembered something. I have a loom and a boatload of 20/2 unmercerized cotton, just waiting to be dyed and made into something pretty and useful. If I'm smart, I will stick with a simple Summer and Winter, if I am less so, Lee's Surrender (I am kind of an idiot, so I wouldn't put it past me).

*One of the things I find funny, and kind of sweet, is that to Len, being "alone" means being with me. To me, being alone means no other humans. I am, maybe, not so sweet.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Demented Cakes and Other Random Stuff

The cakes for the baby shower came out well, if not exactly traditional. The expecting couple aren't particularly traditional (thus a couple's shower), so they took the cakes in the spirit in which they were intended -- Fun and Good Cheer. I am sorry to report that I wore a brown blouse with white polka dots. Completely unintentional.

Demented Cake Decorating

This is what came in their gift bag:

Baby Sweater

I tried, but I just didn't have enough time. The arm looks really skinny to me, but the measurement is correct (not that that means much), so I blocked it last night and I am much happier with it. It isn't much bigger, but it relaxed a lot.

Wee Little Cuff

Wee little cuff. So cute! It will get folded under and be a little picot edging.

In other news, both my and Len's nieces are turning 11. Len's niece is easy, she wants earrings. I can cope with earrings -- nothing dangley, pretty, but not so dear anyone will be very sad when they go missing. My niece, on the other hand, wants Playmobile (I'm pretty sure she has the world's largest collection). Her mother says books -- she likes fantasy of the Harry Potter variety. While I do like HP, I don't find that category very helpful, since I don't know the genre well, and I don't know what she already has. Do you suppose a kid who likes Harry would also like Ramona Quimby?

While wandering around the store I ran into How To Be The Best At Everything. Two random samples from the Girl's Book were How To Do Your Own Manicure and Friendship Bracelets. Samples from the Boy's Book were Water Bombs and How to Tie Three Kinds of Knots. The boy's book sounds way cooler. How depressing is that? Shouldn't we be moving beyond these sorts of stereotypes? I considered the Boy's book for my niece (since those are the sorts of things I think she enjoys), but I hate the idea that I'd be participating in the message that some things are for boys and some things are for girls. Why can't they put the two books together and call them "How To Be the Best At Everything: Kid's Edition" and let the kid decide if he wants to tie a knot or paint his nails?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Some Pretty Pictures

I got a new camera about a month ago. A Canon PowerShot S3 IS, it has a super zoom (12x) and much more manual capability than my PowerShot A530. I haven't had much time to explore it, and the learning curve is steep. Yesterday, I took it out in the yard so I could see how it would do.

Going to Seed

Queen Anne's Lace

I feel like the color is a little warmer, and I really like the depth of field in the top picture.


This is a small piece of a larger picture. The larger picture didn't work at all, but when I used Photoshop to zoom in (which I generally do to check focus issues), I got this piece which I quite like.


I love pokeberry. I picked the bunches with ripe berries and stuck them in the freezer so I can make dye when I have time and acetic acid*. If anyone has idea about where to find this stuff, please let me know.

*Which I still haven't found. My dad tells me acetic acid is used in photo processing as a stop bath. He has some, but it has pH indicator which would be problematic. He used to take and develop black & white photos and tried to teach me once when I was in high school, but I failed the first step -- winding the film onto a spool in complete darkness.