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Saturday, December 30, 2006

What Classic Movie Am I?

Well, Jane and Knitnana had me wondering about this quiz, so I had to try. The results certainly made me grin. I've used this movie to assist students in feeling SOME sympathy for Cathy and Heathcliff when teaching Wuthering Heights.

A new post and pictures are on the way. Here's the title, and the reason I've been out of touch for much of the last week.

Christmas in Kansas!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A meme I’m going to actually complete!

“THE RULES: Each player of this game starts with the ‘6 weird things about you.’ People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names.” Thank you Birdsong!

Okay, I don’t know why this one struck me as fun, but maybe the fact that it did should be added to the list of weird things about me.

Alright. Let’s see.

1. I like to pour chocolate chips into the jar of Jiff peanut butter (ONLY Jiff!) and then dig them out with a spoon. Quick candy fix!

2. . Every man I’ve dated for any length of time has asked me to marry him. Usually AFTER he’d broken up with me. Go figure? Since most were seriously flawed examples of the human game of genetic roulette and Social contributions to development, since most were, to my surprise, much to involved in creative chemistry experiments on themselves, and since most were lacking in basic principles like, um, honesty, honor, etc. this is not a good thing. However, the one good man I have dated for a significant length of time (current) has NOT asked me to marry him. He’s too smart to crowd me when we both have things that must be done before we can consider such a commitment. Go figure. Happiness and security come in packages we never expect!

3. I only adore Sean Connery in his older manifestations. The original Bond movies do nothing for me, but the one in which he makes a “comeback” and has to go to a health spa is one of my favorites! I’ve been hung up on him since I was about – oh—10, another weird thing. What 10 yo falls for a man who could be her grandfather – even in fan worship?

4. I tend to like and trust dogs as a race more easily than I do humans, despite the communication difficulties involved in having dogs as friends. This seems to manifest itself in strange ways. When meeting a new neighbor or aquatance, I will invariably remember the dogs/puppy’s name and forget the human’s name within 10 seconds. Stunning, and frequently embarrassing!

5. I frequently wander around my house with a blindfold on to protect myself from the light, and then leave the lights themselves turned on and blazing into the night! I’m sure this can be readily explained by some serious examination of fears and foibles, but why bother? It works for me!

6. I own more than 30 pairs of shoes or boots and usually go barefoot despite living in the Midwest with four distinct seasons. I’m usually outside barefoot in all four of those seasons. As a child my mother despaired of getting me to cooperate totally, but set the firm rule that I was not to do more than scoot the ten yards or so up to my grandmother’s in bare feet if there was snow or frost on the ground. My father required me to put on boots if I was going into the woods, and common sense required that I wear shoes for escapades that required climbing more than two fences. I could do one or two with no shoes, but more was just masochism. Learning to climb a wire (not sturdy chain link, but a more fledxible squared wire) fence in bare feet while avoiding sticker-burrs and the “hot” string of wire strung parallel to the fence was a rather arduous process which resulted in many whopping headaches!

Other oddities that didn’t make the list include the fact that I once spent three or four hours crawling around under my grandmother’s trailer trying to capture three wild kittens for my grandmother to pet. Additional quirks include I’m a fairly good artist, but rarely show anyone my drawings or paintings.

This is a drawing of my brother made from the picture which I also took. Got lucky with that one!

Also, I love practical jokes, both giving and receiving. Dan cannot understand WHY I think it’s funny if he pours a pitcher of cold water over me in the shower, but experimented with it several times after I’d done the same to him (only to discover that he is NOT at all amiable to such antics!) {snicker}. I’ll find something that will make him laugh at his own indignity yet! These are blog entries in themselves, so I’ll save the details!

This is a painted version (much abused) of the character I created for my nephew on the day he was born: Devlin's Dragon.

This is a drawing I made while riding in the car with my family. My nephew is about 10 mo. old, but it doesn't really look like him. The features are correct, but the combination and proportions wrong.

Now, whom should I tag? Ah – Pandamonium’s House Wench is first on the list, I’ll have to do some surfing to find other victims -- ah, friends — who haven’t been tagged already.

Back to the knitting!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

What Kind of Coffee?

What kind of COFFEE am I? Well, this too is appropriate. All coffee all the time? Yep.

You Are an Espresso

At your best, you are: straight shooting, ambitious, and energetic

At your worst, you are: anxious and high strung

You drink coffee when: anytime you're not sleeping

Your caffeine addiction level: high

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

What Kind of Reader am I?

Okay, I found this quiz on the Knit the Classics blog. Gotta love it! Another one written just for me this morning!

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm

You're probably in the final stages of a Ph.D. or otherwise finding a way to make your living out of reading. You are one of the literati. Other people's grammatical mistakes make you insane.

Dedicated Reader
Literate Good Citizen
Book Snob
Fad Reader

What Kind of Reader Are You?

The light is good for taking pictures today, so I'll get caught up on that and get back with you!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Peppermint Coffee and Chat

It is a fact universally acknowledged, that I have a tendency to consume caffeinated beverages in large quantities. This is not good for my body, but Peppermint Coffee is certainly good for my soul! And the holiday season must have its indulgences!

I’m trying to get back into regularly scheduled programming, so this post may be a bit all over the place. However, since life tends to be all over the place . . . I’ll fit in. Fifteen inches of snow in Missouri must have a prominent place in any post I make. FUN!

Sally and Kala have been having great fun in the snow, and Lance has had his moments. [grin] In this one, he's looking for a snowball!

The washing machine is filling, the dryer is rumbling, and the bathroom sink is filling the air with the stink of wet alpaca, ah, such bliss. [grin] I love things made of alpaca, but it is almost as bad as wet dog when it’s being washed and blocked! Not that I’ve actually blocked the dogs, mind you. Nothing new, I’m afraid. Just the leaf lace shawl from previous posts. And the Ostrich Plumes Stole will be next. I’ve GOT to invest in blocking wires sometime soon.

Contentment and crisp snow-scented air swirl through my house, and I’m wrapped in the chenille shawl my mom gave me for Christmas several years ago. I wish I could say my toes were toasty, but store-bought cotton can’t compare to hand-made wool, and my tootsies are chilled! I’m about to start the heel on my lavender socks – having frogged them as started on larger needles. Mid-calf, simple rib. I’m trying to get these done FAST! I refuse to buy socks when I have this much scrumptious sock yarn to hand! [sigh] (note: failed that one and bought two new pair of socks as multiple pairs gave all in one week!)

My dog contingent has had its troubles recently, but getting Kala the Husky spayed should help with some of the problems. She and Sally the Shepherd have been arguing over Kala’s coming of age. Typical sibling sniping over toys escalated into a bar room brawl twice in six weeks. I was astonished at the amount of spit involved! NOT dainty dogs by a long shot. Silly jocks. How did a wimp like me end up with so many jocks for dogs? Not a single computer geek in the bunch! But the surgery went well, and the snow last week as completed the re-bonding process between the Husky and the Shepherd. Who can resist playing tag in the snow?

What else is new? Well, I’ve been working on a baby surprise jacket in shades of blue for my niece, and Friday I found the perfect buttons for it! Dark blue with light blue flecks. I think I’ll get pictures taken this afternoon, so I’m assuming that there is a picture here for you to ogle. This is the jacket in Elizabeth Zimmerman’s “Opinionated Knitter” and I’m having a blast knitting it up. I’ve doubled the yarn and gone up a few needle sizes to get something big enough for my two y o niece. Her deep blue eyes should be set off well by this yarn, and it’s acrylic, so she’ll actually be able to wear it with ease! Or should I say, her mother and father will be able to wash it with ease!

Now, a wicked head cold and then a sinus infection delayed this post by several weeks. So I’m still wrapped in chenille, but have a box of tissues surgically grafted to my elbow, and am getting increasingly grumpy about said graft. I think they took skin from my nose to complete the surgery. Cats purr, and I grumble. Dogs prance, and I grumble. If I had something dire, I would not be so grumpy. I’m only this grumpy when inconvenience is the chief factor of the malady!

I’m working on a shawl from Folk Shawls in charcoal grey Galway Highland Heather 100% wool. This will match my dark grey winter fedora, and give me a second winter-thick shawl to wear. Unfortunately for the shawl, I am stacked up with knitting projects to finish for Christmas – some of which are VERY satisfying and I cannot be tempted back to the grey wool when I’ve having so much fun making “Candy Cane Hats” in various flavors and fibers! These hats are from Melanie Falick’s Handknit Holidays and constitute my first attempt at real colorwork – the kind that involves switching back and forth in the same row! Fare Isle here I come!

Christmas music and some meditation have soothed my spirit a bit. And watching the dogs play with their “early” Christmas presents has had me cracking up! I couldn’t resist the “Bad Cuz” toys. You can see them here. They’ve a great reputation for lasting a long time, even with determined eviscerators like my three!

Well, time to take some pictures to supplement this post. I’ll put in the shots of the dogs in the snow to keep you occupied until the shots of the knitting are done!

A Smile

We'll I must say, after a difficult week in many flavors, visiting friends' blogs and finding pleasant quizzes with positive endings can be a great relief!

While Reading Plain Jane Knits, I saw this quiz, which she got from Knitnana. What a happy surprise:

You are the World

Completion, Good Reward.

The World is the final card of the Major Arcana, and as such represents saturnian energies, time, and completion.

The World card pictures a dancer in a Yoni (sometimes made of laurel leaves). The Yoni symbolizes the great Mother, the cervix through which everything is born, and also the doorway to the next life after death. It is indicative of a complete circle. Everything is finally coming together, successfully and at last. You will get that Ph.D. you've been working for years to complete, graduate at long last, marry after a long engagement, or finish that huge project. This card is not for little ends, but for big ones, important ones, ones that come with well earned cheers and acknowledgements. Your hard work, knowledge, wisdom, patience, etc, will absolutely pay-off; you've done everything right.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Something written just for me, I'm sure, by some entity that really knows and understands my life! No? Okay. I am content with fortuitous good luck and a happy smile. I really needed to be reminded that I'm plugging along in the right direction!

More soon, with an actual focus on knitting. Gasp!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Which Jane Austen Character Am I?

Meezer and Nanasadierose need to stop finding these great quizzes! I've got FOUR saved up to post about! But I just had to put this one up, even without much of a real post. I've spend too many years reading, analyzing, reading, daydreaming, and reading Austen's books to delay this one!

You scored as Elizabeth Bennet. As one of Austen's most beloved characters, Elizabeth Bennet represents what most women would like to become: strong, independent, and loyal. Of course, she has her faults including a stubborn will of iron and a clinging to first impressions. Overall, Lizzie is bright and lovable...something to admire and aspire to.

Elizabeth Bennet


Marianne Dashwood


Elinor Dashwood


Emma Woodhouse


Jane Bennet


Lady Catherine


Charlotte Lucas


Which Jane Austen Character are You? (For Females) Long Quiz!!!
created with

Now I must admit that my similarity to the Dashwoods distresses me a bit. But I can't call the results inaccurate. [grin] I'd prefer to have Emma a bit higher instead, but the similarity to Elizabeth is flattering, and I suppose I'm not quite honest enough to admit just how bossy I am -- even in a quiz!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Reflections and Lace

It’s odd for me to sit down with a wish to write for this blog and find I have little to say. Revision – little EXCITING to say. While I have a wish to be entertaining, I can think of nothing suitable to offer up for snickers, giggles, or guffaws. Nothing is wrong. I am not melancholy or morose. While I still struggle to keep my days and nights straight, I am enjoying my recent endeavors to meet new people and have been getting out regularly. My work progresses, and I’ve even conquered typical household problems like a clogged toilet and an argument between my computer and my scanner.

Confidence has reduced the roller coaster to a slightly hilly path, and sleep increases my ability to handle such bumps as bumps, not catastrophic occurrences. I have re-arranged furniture, purchased some lovely hanging plants, and made wonderful progress on my reading and my summer lace shawl. When traveling, I’m knitting the I-cord strips for the baby kimono from Mason-Dixon Knitting, the lost linen hand towel has been returned, and summer progresses at a reasonable rate.

All in all, it seems that functioning smoothly has become such an anomaly that I’m not sure what to do with it!

Wonder of wonders, I actually helped a friend with her resume, and in the process, managed to make inroads on updating my own without having to resort to hypnotic therapy or large doses of alcohol. It should be ready for fall without the pressure that circumstance usually adds to the task. While I continue to struggle with my own reluctance to ask for rides and assistance, I’m getting better at it. I have wondered if part of my reluctance is a fear that I will not contribute enough to be valuable to the person of whom I’m asking a favor – but I’ve evidence to disprove the concern. People seem quite willing to assist, especially since I tend to rotate my requests, rather than concentrating them on one person.

I have noticed the tentative beginnings of a feeling of interconnectedness – tentative, but not filled with concern or guilt. Odd, that.
Blindness and depression can BOTH lead to such isolation, and while I have often spent large chunks of time in contemplative mode, walking the hills near my family’s home in southern Indiana, prowling the state forestry, or drifting on our own acreage in the dark, I am in inherently social creature when functioning normally. Despite the concerns that inhibit my encounters with the world, people fascinate me. They are so very interesting, even if I don’t like them!

Despite my conviction that the human race is far less civilized than we would like to think ourselves, I admire and wonder at what we can be each day. Watching a mind work, tracing interactions and responses, examining ideas of self and society and the webs of connection between those perceptions, hearing stories, watching faces as I tell my own, sharing reactions and events, contributing enthusiasm and quiet observation, all the variations both entertain and mystify me.

How to predict the equivalent of a k2together or a yarn over? How to repair a dropped stitch? If the lace metaphor holds, where do I position myself in the pattern? Am I part of a circular shawl, a triangle? A square? If I refuse the position at the center, instinctively knowing that this is not my place at this time, then how to orient my contributions? What part of the design suits my strengths, my predecessors and my antecedents? A quiet anchor stitch, one of many that make up the strength and beauty of the whole? Part of the edging, that intricate extra that must have the means to survive the risks of its tenuous position? How does my position, role, structure, composition change when those around me are altered by chance or choice, circumstance or fate?

The lace has been forming, the pattern starting to develop; I can finally begin to see the order of it. And I think it’s alpaca rather than acrylic!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Missing the Bus

Friends and family will tell you, if they are being polite, that I often have a bit of a problem getting places on time. If in their cups, telling family stories, or recently frustrated by my long term habits, they’ll tell you I haven’t been early for anything since being born prematurely forty years ago! [sigh] I have made improvements. Since giving up driving, I’m usually on time, or only five minutes this way or that due to the vagaries of the bus system in a small town. I’ve also required myself to give up the fantasy of “just one more thing before I go,” a wicked and dangerous thought process for procrastinators and other unorganized types. Now, if I can just learn not to keep tossing “one more thing” into my knitting bag, I might be able to travel with some degree of calm serenity. As it is, my genetically inherited tendency to over-pack has me resembling a frazzled pack mule or over-burdened burro on most trips out into the world!

I’ve learned to keep my keys in my purse, my purse in one or two places in the house, and my hat and blind cane within reach of the front door – though in truth, I also keep extras of those two items.

And yet, there are still days when I miss the bus. [sigh] Some would consider this a euphemism for many things in my life, but having an intense focus on my own world is not always being oblivious, nor is it the same as having blinkers on. It’s not!

Oversleeping is often the culprit when I miss the bus. Don’t try talking to me on the phone unless I’ve had a significant amount of time and large quantities of coffee or hot tea to clear the fog! I have friends who call ten to fifteen minutes BEFORE they really want to talk to me if they know I’m likely to be napping. They wake me up, listen to me ramble until I find a source of hot liquid or caffeine, and then call back after a bit to actually hold a coherent (semi – coherent) conversation. Yet within this cloud of fuzziness and interiority, I find I can read Sartre, Derrida, Jonathan Culler, and other theorists without a problem. They make even better sense then than they do once I’ve had time to wake up and be distracted by the day. Makes me wonder just exactly what synapses are doing what in there!

But today, I find I must blame a watch whose pop-open lid and accessible hands are fascinating to the three-year-old imagination for part of the problem this morning. But honestly, the joy on a child’s face when she pops open my pendant watch so closely mirrors my own pleasure at owning the Braille watch that I wouldn’t refuse her access to it if I thought it would help. There’s something magical and mysterious about a watch on a chain that pops open on a touch. Like a jack-in-the-box or other items of happy expectation from childhood, this watch has changed some of my relationships with time. I’ve just got to remember to reset the hands to match the kitchen clock, one that’s a tad faster than the buses!

As for other matters of timeliness? Ahemm. I still have Christmas Presents in my house waiting to be sent. I’m just finishing the gifts for my mom’s birthday and mothers day – I love the colors and really enjoyed picking the patterns for these linen hand towels.

I have a drawer for collecting cards that didn’t get sent, and another of cards for “all occasions” which allow me to appear at gatherings with the appearance of timely preparedness –but it’s a scam. Well, today, my problems with time will not defeat me. After missing the bus this morning, I came home to some work and a nap, and now I venture out to restart the day in fine style as the busses go back to their fast-running schedules. Returned to my regular programming, I expect to get quite a bit done this afternoon, and I’ll have time to enjoy myself as well.

Oh yes, the mystery. A friend posted the following picture on
her blog as a brave reminder of a lost friend. It is a lovely sentiment. But recognizing the event portrayed in the poster, I also had to smile.

KnitNana and I both have some trouble with our eyes, so her use of a poster depicting one of the final tests for Seeing Eye dogs did make me chuckle. That kitten may THINK she’s dashing through the valley of death, but those highly trained, fearsome looking Shepherds won’t budge. If they move to follow her, they fail their test. So she is safe. Amazingly safe, actually. So safe that with appropriate training myself, I would let these same creatures lead me into an urban jungle, a parking lot maze, or Wal-mart on a Saturday afternoon!

Part Two

I did get my errands done, and I must say, I’m having a lovely time making my way through the projects in Mason-Dixon Knitting. I’m well on my way through a version of the baby kimono, and it is such a lark! Quick to knit, very satisfying, and with just enough shaping and design elements to keep a mind satisfied.

While out and about, I picked up enough dishcloth cotton for another one for my niece – I’ll have to make some guesses as to sizing, but I think I can manage it. And I picked up more colors for more washcloths for the house. All this for under $20. Who could have thought?

After watching K. wearing one of her lovely shawls in the mall the other week, I am determined to have a summer-weight lace shawl for myself. Now. Let’s be honest. I have the makings for at least FIVE such shawls in the house, but continue to glance at the patterns, fondle the yarn, and then set the projects aside. Not sure what’s going on with that, but my lace cravings are resurfacing. And in my LYS last week, I spotted these lovely skeins of alpaca.

And with a bit of digging, I managed to find this lovely pattern from a back issue of --- well, I’m not sure which mag it was. But if anyone is interested, let me know and I’ll go digging for it again. Alpaca is one of my favorite fibers to work with, so I don’t this project will be collecting much dog-fur before being completed!

I’ve slept; I’ve had coffee (lovely substance!). I’ve chatted with friends online. It’s time to take pictures for this entry and get it posted. I read on a friend’s blog that blogger is working again, so hopefully, I won’t miss the bus on this posting!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A Good Day

Defining what constitutes a good day isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Sometimes, just getting up in time to keep the dogs from peeing in the basement constitutes a good day. Other times, no matter how much gets done, no matter how many nice smiles or surprises the day holds, it just doesn’t qualify. The tenor is wrong, the melody keeps going flat, or the deep notes just overwhelm the balance. Not so today.

Today was a good day. Solid. Reasonable without being brilliant. Satisfying without being worrisome and without “raising the bar” for other days in the near future.

The Contents. I woke up at the first sound of the alarm, let the dogs out, and then went back to bed for a lovely doze in the cool fresh-morning air. Twittering birds and deep breathes of pollen filled air brought peace rather than hacking coughs. Gotta love the wonders of modern chemistry. [snicker].

I chatted with friends. I ran errands and managed to make all my bus connections. I knit and inch or so on the back of the camisole and sorted my yarn bag, and picked up the mail. I got to the post office and compared prices on phones and on microphone-headsets for the computer. I’ll now be able to talk to friends on skype – a free way to chat via the internet.

I ran into several people I know from having worked at a local department store last year, and I bought a new hat. While I longed for the pistachio colored number that evoked Audrey Hepburn and photo shoots in Paris and Rome, I couldn’t see dropping forty-three bucks on a hat that might get swept away in the breeze as a bus pulls up to let me on; I don’t look anything like Hepburn anyway. So I was content with my straw planter’s hat with the darker cream band, and had a friend spray it with lisle while we chatted so I could wear it the rest of the day!

I ate well, enjoyed a green-tea frappuccino while reading about the English Civil Wars, and helped some ladies find the quilting books in the craft section of the bookstore. I chatted with a former nurse on the bus, and with a gentleman from New York at the last bus stop of the day – and as I tapped my way down the sidewalk after getting off at my stop, I saw him waving to me through the window. He’d enjoyed passing the time with someone who’d visited NY and found the people friendly.

On the way home, I picked up my packages and found a taped copy of “O” magazine to read and my new copies of Inspired Cable Knits and Mason-Dixon Knitting waiting for me. My phone is set up, my dogs are fed, and I’ve enough energy to enjoy my cup of decaf-coffee and wind down for the night.

As I come to the close of this entry, and look forward to the imminent enjoyment of coffee, knitting, and an audio book, a faintly remembered feeling rolls through me. Soft. Quiet. Like the glow from an oil lamp.

It is peace. All I am required to do is smile.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Dig Dig Dig -- yummy!
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Hey look! I made dirt!
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Monday, April 10, 2006

A Tale of Perception: Dumb Dogs and Happy People

It’s a conversation I’ve had with a local friend several times. I always laugh. Always. Dumb dogs are actually a joy to have around. They just are. My husky is charming – but dumb. I’m not being snarky; she’s just not the brightest bulb in the box. But charm? Oh yes. Very charming!

Another friend found her on the street two summers ago. After a couple of weeks of ads which didn’t produce a viable lead as to her owner, well, He decided to keep her. They were living in my basement with his other dog – a Malamute. When his job change required him to move and give up the second dog, I decided to keep her.

THIS is what you wanted, isn't it?!?

She’s lovely – brown and white with pale blue eyes. She’s capable of learning: I’ve taught her to shake, and we’re working on sitting before being let out.

She’s great with kids and likes to catch one of my cats and escort him across the living room by walking alongside him while holding his head in her mouth. He tolerates this with benign resignation, and even goes looking for her some days. I think the slobber in his fur gets on his nerves, but he bears it well.

My eleven-year-old Dalmatian is finally starting to play with her when she bats him in the head repeatedly with her front paws and then turns belly up under his chin. My VERY smart shepherd/border collie mix has always loved her and tries to mother her – and now the husky has taken up some herding behaviors -- targeting the shepherd! A VERY funny reversal to watch, and the shepherd grins and obeys!

Teaching Kala takes time. What the shepherd gets in six or seven repetitions, and the Dalmatian gets in 10 - 15 repetitions, the husky gets in 35 – 45repetitions. But her utter DELIGHT in figuring out what it is you are asking for makes it all worth it! And today she walked under my afghan-covered legs and netted herself. Tossing her head like a horse, a frequent affectation, she tugged, and turned, and tugged , and tossed, and stompled her feet, and got excited, and finally got her nose out, and then appeared and hopped up to join me on the couch, grinning at her fun and pleased that she’d finally gotten out. [ chuckle].


Sooooo pleased with herself! One afternoon, while spending time with a three-year-old friend, Kala and said friend kept each other busy for more than an hour. G. blew bubbles and Kala ate them – over, and over, and over. As long as the child was willing to blow bubbles, the dog was willing to eat them. The Dalmatian ignored the bubbles, and the Shepherd ate one or two and quit – they tasted bad! But Kala liked the giggles she got from me and the girl, so she ate every bubble that came her way,grinning and content. Her ego is not involved; She is enjoyment wrapped up in fur.

I aspire to be a “dumb-dog” knitter. I really do. I’m working on it. My recently finished purple alpaca – ahemmm. BLOOMED. I don’t know what else to call it. Now I’d forgotten to shorten the sleeves, and I knew it was a bit large – I hadn’t calculated the proper amount of negative ease. But it was soft, and cuddly, and . . . then I washed it.

[Sigh] I swear I made and washed swatches. They didn’t “bloom” at all to this extent. The sweater – um – grew – from a women’s large to a men’s XXL.
I set it aside. The fabric was lovely. The pattern was perfect for it. Easy to memorize. I’m frogging. I will swatch again and start over with the already washed yarn. Maybe it was spring growth pheremones in the air or water? That old “spring is in the air”? Surely it cannot bloom to that extent again! We’ll see. But here is the “blooming sweater” now, as I frog, and frog, and find to my surprise that it doesn’t bother me anymore. I’d much rather frog the whole thing and start over than try to adjust it and live with the inappropriate proportions. I love working with this yarn and was actually sad about being finished. I hope to get it right as I slowly re-work the sweater this summer, but I’m more surprised at how little ego is gnawing at me. Shouldn’t I be more upset? Shouldn’t I be stomping around and pissy because this happened? Cursing myself and the yarn, fate or my lack of experience?

Nope. No inclination at all. The pleasure of having the yarn run through my hands is just as real while frogging it as while working it. The color is still lovely, and I’ll get to do this again without the anxiety of wondering how to interpret instructions. I’ve already figured it all out. Now I can make the sweater without the stress of all the instructions being “new.” It will be both familiar, and much more enjoyable. I like the challenge of new patterns and new skills – but I‘m happy with knowing what I’m doing as well!

With that idea in mind, I’m using the pattern for the top I made last summer to make another of the leaf-edged camisoles -- this time in KnitPicks cotton Shine – in River. It's a pattern called "Soleil" and is comfy to wear and pleasant to knit.
You can find the original and the pattern at:
Spring 05 Knitty "Soleil"

While I've chosen a color far from the original, I think the Dark Blue will show to advantage with summer shorts and cropped pants. I love working this lace pattern, and the shine is wonderfully soft to work with! I’m planning several more tops in this yarn for later this summer -- colors and patterns to be determined!

I also must admit that on a recent visit to my LYS, I gave in to temptation, and I purchased some CottonFleece to make the cover sweater from IK – without the bobbles. I’m just not in need of bobbles on my torso. I have plenty of curves and bumps of my own, thank you very much!. But I love the cables and the neckline in this sweater, and hope to have it done within the month.

As you can see, the first swatch is done and washed. I need to check the guage and then take the next steps – swatch the rib again to get the correct guage, or try a cable pattern swatch. Isn’t the wisteria color gorgeous?!

Other happenings? My purple socks are going well, and I really like the Woldefoote yarn. I’ve picked up a couple of skeins of this wonderful read for my next pair.

The re-worked blue Opal socks are getting much wear, and I’m quite happy with the turnout. I still haven’t achieved the perfect size –But I continue to adjust and dabble. I’ll find my perfect fit in socks eventually.

My meditation / Yoga class is over, and I’m a confirmed meditator now. It’s helping with so many aspects of my life – concentration, stress, personal interactions, etc. I spend so much of my life in my head, thinking about my life rather than living it. Meditation and “dumb-dog” knitting seem to be adding new dimensions to my life and my knitting-life.

‘Tis a gorgeous day, and it’s time to put in some time listening to Moll Flanders while knitting. Oooh. And Knit the Classics will be reading two of my favorites in May and June – Pride and Prejudice and Wuthering Heights. I can’t wait!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Henry's Wife?

Well, according to the questionaire . . .

Which of Henry VIII's wives are you?
this quiz was made by
Lori Fury

But how is it that I end up being his LAST wife -- I wanted to be one of the wives BEFORE the syphillis! Hrrumph! Well, interesting at least. I tried taking it a second time, changing only one answer, and ended up this:

Which of Henry VIII's wives are you?
this quiz was made by
Lori Fury

But after much experimentation, I can't remember which! But it was fun to notice which answers did NOT change either result, particularly when it came to "favorite clothing"!

On to knitting. Having joined two KAL's, I'm feeling like a knitter with purpose today! I also managed to finish the hat last night, and can start on the matching scarf today. Pictures tomorrow I think!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Picture Update!

I've finally gotten a few pictures updated and thought I'd add them while I was thinking about it! Here, in all it's glory, is the purple sweater:

The brown background doesn't do the rich color justice, so I took a few more shots. This one is closer to reality -- at least on my screen! I love this alpaca from Elann. It's so wonderfully soft to knit with. Can't wait to wear it!

Now, Mom's hat set. Well, again, the color was dimmed by the background, so first, a blurry but accurate color shot and then the shot with the details.

As you can see, I'm still struggling with this new camera. Since it doesn't have an LCD screen, I'm also getting many shots off center. How's that happening? Must be moving!

Well, those are the details at the moment. I'll save you the sad sight of my blue socks frogged and re-rolled into separate yarn balls. Such a sad loss. Such a short life. Ah for the resurrection of the yarn!

More Ideas than I Know how to Handle!

Well, after an uninspiring weekend, I’m finally getting some good news. I did get into the MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) program, and it takes place at 3:30 in the afternoon, so I’ve plenty of time to catch the bus home after each session! Today is the first meeting, and I’m looking forward to getting started. I also need to get going on my regular work schedule for the semester, so getting this meditation routine set as a touchstone for my daily activities will be a great motivator. Yesterday and today I spent much of my time sleeping off a cold – how is it that I got a beginning of the semester cold without going to campus? Anyway, I’m still sniffling, but not feeling too bad at all, so a little meditation and focused work on my research project should be right in order.

Now for the uninspiring news from last week and the weekend. I frogged the blue socks. Yes ladies of the KAW group, make room on the lily pad! “I’m comin’ on over!” I’ve never totally frogged a whole set of socks before. I’ve re-worked toes which were both long or short, but never just frogged whole completed socks! Ah well, they were just too loose all over. I’ve another pair that will get the same treatment when I feel like searching for the end of the yarn in all its woven-in invisibility. My problem? I thought / assumed I knew my gauge even though I switched sock yarns. It seems I knit a bit more loosely with Opal than I do with KnitPicks Essential. [sigh] So, back to the bare needles!

Frustrated with socks, and FINALLY finished with my last Ribbon Scarf, I went back to work on the red hat and scarf set I’m making for my mother. This is the triangle scarf and hat from Handknit Holidays. And much to my chagrin, I blurted out that I was back to work on the hat while talking to mom today – so much for surprising her! I really feel like a goof! Ah well, hopefully the style and the lovely Boheme yarn in multiple shades of red will surprise her enough for the time being. I am pleased with how this is knitting up. I am working on the scarf last so I can adjust the length to match the amount of yarn I have left after the hat. I also have picked up the needles for my purple sweater once again. I feel like a real knitter when working on the sweater – real clothing that everyone recognizes as such! A useful garment! I love knitting lace and socks, but most of my non-knitting friends seem to think both a tad impractical or eccentric. However, I like eccentric, and I love lace. I need to get back to my traveling vines shawl in Frog Tree silk-cotton if I want it ready to wear by spring. I’m going to trim it with the little dangling leaves from “Knitting on the Edge”! I can’t wait! I’ve got several shades of yarn to make the leaves, so it should look like a fall leaf-fall! This shawl / stole will be completely mine in so many ways – I owe the basic patterns to Epstin and Walker of course, but When finished, I’ll have combined them into something of my own. I’ve been charmed by this leaf-fringe since “Knitting on the Edge” came out, so finding a base pattern I liked for the shawl, and the colors that got my imagination going was a real thrill!

I’ve also got the “I wants” for some KnitPicks wool to make that computer case I was talking about. I finally found the pattern – an excerpt in the “Interweave Knits” with the red, slightly asian looking sweater on the front. Not sure which issue that one is, not the current one, but the one before. Anyway, I’m resisting the urge. I need to use some burnt orange “Naturgarn No. 1” I got from Elann several years ago – my first on-line yarn purchase actually. It is much scratchier than I expected, so I’ve yet to figure out what to do with it! However, now that I’ve had it out, I wonder if it would do for the swing jacket from Knitty? The one with the twisted-stitch detailing?

I love this pattern, and wanted to make it in a charcoal gray Galloway Highland Heather, but the color was too dark, and the detailing was lost. Hmmmmm. More ideas than I know what to do with!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Snow in the Dark

Magical stuff, isn’t it? I woke at the unnatural hour of 4:30 a.m. after having slept much of the last 24. Light headache and tensions having made the last few nights more than a little restless. Waking could have been due to that rare and wonderful sensation of having finally slept myself out. A rare treasure, that. Or it could have been the fear of drowning that is the natural result of having my Husky lick my nose -- she’s VERY thorough and VERY enthusiastic! Perhaps waking was the result of both. Anyway, I got to look out and see it snowing in the dark. It didn’t stick – Missouri is far too warm at the moment. But what a lovely sight!

I’ve just about finished my sock in a blue Opal. I used K2P2 ribbing down the whole body of the sock. After this pair, I should be up to trying a lace pattern! Can’t wait.

I have some lovely KnitPicks “Essential” yarn in a rich brown that I’m looking forward to using. I find that I like their solid yarns much more than their multi’s. For some reason, their color combinations just don’t appeal to me, and I don’t like something about the frequency and harshness of the color repeats. No soft blendings at all, just highly contrasting stripes.

Anyone have suggestions for other sock yarns with less dramatic color changes? Something the blends gradually from one to the next would be my preference, with sublte stripes, if any.

I’ve realized I’ve been having a bad week. Messed up trying to get my SSI appeal turned in. Nothing that some additional paperwork won’t fix, but it bummed me out. That and I don’t like to have to “go to war” for such things. Continually having to explain the difference between acuity and functional vision to people who have the power of pursestrings is wearing. Friends, interested strangers, even casual acquaintances don’t take as much energy as struggling with these people. Ah well. As M. reminds me, such explanations will be a continual part of the rest of my life. Best find a way to cope.

The house is shaping up, and I’ll be moving furniture and setting up the scanner for transferring books into electronic format later today. I can’t wait! Taking an exacto knife to my books will be a surreal activity for a while, but the double-sided scanner is a marvel! In addition to books for school, I’ll be able to scan and then read books like “KnitLit 3, and other books of essays K.’s been telling me about! The woman is great at describing things to me so I can decide if it’s worth the effort involved to get something in an alternate format!

Lance is modeling the ribbon scarf from Handknit Holidays -- I did three of these! I love the frothy mesh, and the royal blue Karabella lace mohair is wonderfully soft! Unless you really need the sheen of silk, it's a great substitution for Kid Silk Haze. I’ve also started organizing my stash and storing it in all the great cardboard boxes that my Braille magazines get shipped in. Got more Braille labeling tape for them, and this weekend I get to go through the whole huge mass of the stuff to sort and play with it! Yummy!

I’ve decided that the next project I cast on (other than socks!) will have to be a felted laptop case. Lady the brat-cat has discovered the laptop as a new source of warmth. Since they took the lid off the thing to eliminate the screen and the power drain of the screen, it doesn’t have anything covering the keys when I walk away from it. Several times in the last few days, the screenreader has started screeching because the cat decided to hunker down on the keyboard to warm her paws! Not a good situation!

I’m trying to remember what book or magazine has the pattern I want. I thought it was in Melanie Falick’s Weekend Knitting, but neither that book or Last inute knitted Gifts had one. I can see the picture, an orange-yellow felted rectangle with short little rounded handles – more like cut-outs for your hand to go through than real handles. Anyone know what issue of what knitting mag this must have been in? Frustrating. I’m getting as forgetful as one of the dogs!

Well, the sun is well up at this point. Time to try getting a few pictures of some of these projects to get put into this message and the last one. Maybe I can get in some time on my purple sweater today?

Hmmmm. I’ve been up for six hours already and I feel like a nap! No. No. must be productive like a regular person today! Much to do and much that I want to do. Happy Knitting!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Tinking in the Dark

Twelve blocks in just under four-four time despite a medium nasty migraine. Not a bad start to my plans to get off my keaster. Glad to be back inside without streetlamps and headlights though. Sally and Kala did well with the blind cane, but Lance ran into it a few times. Not bad for an old dog. All three are as pleased with me as I am with myself. Great feedback for such a small effort on my part.

The catalyst for all this productivity? The wonderful women at the yahoo Knitters at Work group got me to pick up my copy of :”Full Catastrophe Living” by Jon Kabat-Zinn. I want to start back on the regular use of my meditation program – maybe even sign up for the classes again. I need to get out of the house more and have more structure. Yup. Gotta get that started. I can get through the full body scan and the sitting meditation exercises without falling asleep on a regular basis. Most of the time I don’t fall asleep until AFTER I put down my knitting now. So my concentration and awareness are improving. It’s time for formal instruction and committed effort.

I finally got together with K. for our gift exchange. Having food poisoning for Christmas was not fun! I missed out on Christmas Dinner and all sorts of goodies, but I’m finally feeling better. Honestly, today is the first day I haven’t had twinges in my spleen, liver and kidneys. I never knew food poisoning would be so debilitating after the initial – umm – reactions. Guess I’ve just been lucky! Anyway, last night was a wonderful time! I managed to pick a knitting book for K. that she didn’t have yet, G was mystified by the kaleidoscope, but happy and polite about the gift. And her interest in the toy increased as the three of us took turns looking into the tube. At three she has a bit of trouble trying to close just one eye, but she’s getting the hang of it! K. and G. picked out some lovely Jaeger spun Zephyr wool/silk laceweight yarn for me. G. insisted that I would like the red, and K. picked out a beautiful green for me. Very Christmasy!! The package also included a gorgeous set of Lantern Moon ebony needles -- how did K. know I’d been coveting hers for the last few weeks? Yummy knitting toys to play with!

Took a break from writing there and spent the last few hours fondling yarn and looking through lace books. I’m dying to make something from “A Gathering of Lace,” but I’ve also got the flower basket shawl to make, and a shrug to make from the heather grey lace weight Merino Oro that I picked up last spring. So much Lace, so little time! [snicker]

Having repacked my knitting bag last night to go to K.’s, I’m also eager to get back to work on my “Wear-Everywear pullover” in the pure alpaca from Elann. Buttery gorgeous stuff. And in a lovely purple. Not sure what they called the color two years ago. Not violet. Not amethyst. Anyway, this fancy-rib pattern has had me tinking quite a bit, and I’m also knitting this project in the dark or with my blindfold on as often as not. It’s a good project for learning to solve problems with my fingers rather than with my eyes! It will be a while before I’m ready to tackle lace completely in the dark!

Hmmm. Thinking and typing are getting more difficult as I now have a thirteen year old cat with a very loud motor sitting on my shoulder! When Lady decides to come out of hiding, she’s absolutely convinced that I must be as eager for her company as she is for mine. Spoiled brat-cat! My vet tells me I didn’t cuff her about the ears enough as a kitten. I believe him. But when you get one so small you’re feeding it from a preemie bottle and having to help it relieve itself . . . well, I’m sure you understand the dilemma. But it was funny that as soon as I described her personality, he knew she’d been bottle-fed.

My mom’s Christmas is partially done. As she’s not likely to visit this site anytime soon, I’ll include a picture of the hat and scarf from Handknit Holidays. I bought the actual boheme yarn for this, not realizing that it came in different size skeins. I got one skein as the book calls for, and then realized that this was a smaller skein, and the project call for a larger. So. I was lucky enough to have ordered a variety of skeins of “wool of the Andes” from knit picks for making ornaments –-nope, that didn’t happen either -- and I was able to find a skein of iron ore that really matched the shades of the boheme very well. So I used the pure wool for the top of the hat, and did the decorative, triangles in the boheme. The scarf will be all in the boheme. I’m pleased with how the hat is coming along. Mom will like the softer and warmer wool for the top of the hat anyway! She actually lives someplace that has SNOW in the winter. Can you tell I’m already tired of mud? The set are to go with Mom’s new red leather jacket. She can also wear the set with her “snow-coat” which is cream with red and white embroidery. The variegated reds in the boheme make it a great choice for this project!

Well, time to bring this ramble to an end. I want to get a note off the girls at KAW as well. And sleeping might be a good idea since I’m feeling better!

Ah, Sally the shepherd just settled in next to me. Maybe I’ll stay put for a couple of rounds of knitting after all. I’m a sucker for a dog that settles onto my feet and sighs as she lays her head! Now all I need is a fireplace, and my picture-perfect scene would be complete. The oil lamp is good. But a fireplace . . . . nothing better!