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.