Monday, March 31, 2008
Well, it's been a delightful eight years, but it looks as though it might be coming to an end. Karen's been carrying the charges herself...though in the last couple of years she's instituted dues, paid on an honor system. And she just can't do it anymore. So Readerville, my home away from home, my place to pop into when work gets too boring for words, will become merely comments on whatever article is up at the Readerville Journal for the day.
Frankly, I don't think it's going to work. (But then I'm a pessimist, I'll admit.) But comments on a blog? I just don't seem the same sense of community continuing. And, to be honest, I rarely feel that I have anything to say about the article on the Journal's front page. In a way, I wish it was just a clean "Readerville isn't going to exist anymore. Sorry."
Karen is very-closed mouth about actual facts and figures...and that's her right. I just wish she would let the community in on some of them. It's hard to offer up suggestions when one doesn't know things like: How many posters are there? How many lurkers? What percentage of the posters pay their dues? What are the monthly server costs? It makes it seem less like "Oh, no, something I'm involved in is threatened" and more like "Oh, this nice little business I like is closing." I feel much less invested in helping out in the second case.
Of course, there's lots I don't know...I think several of the problems (not being able to enforce dues-paying, not being able to take ads) come from the people on whose server Readerville is lodged. While changing to a different company might have been difficult...might have meant starting from scratch...maybe this should have been pursued years ago. But again, I don't know for sure. I could be talking through my hat.
Which brings me to Ravelry. Maybe Karen needs to talk to Jess and Casey. I worry about (well, that's a little strong...I'm not that invested in it) the ability of Ravelry to keep going. There are a lot more members and thus a lot more posting. A lot of it inconsequential chatter (how often do threads turn into heated discussions about breastfeeding?). A lot of threads asking specific questions about specific lines in specific patterns. A host of duplicative threads. Unless Jess and Casey have some Crays in their living room, I can't imagine that the server costs aren't going to become overwhelming. Of course, they do accept ads.
So, I dunno. I will be very sorry to see Readerville come to an end. I've made some good friends there. But I have to say, I'm feeling rather numb about it.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
So here are some more questions -
1) Qivuit - Sure it's supposed to be nice. But would you pay $80 for enough to make a hat!? $83 for 200+ yards? I was in a shop last summer and they had a 400 yard skein of qiviut/merino for $75...it was tan. It was soft. But I didn't feel any need to pull out my wallet.
2) Quiet - Why do people assume that everyone wants to hear their cell phone conversations? I understand that there is a reason that people speak louder...that they don't get the customary feedback into their own ears as to their voice levels...but man, I've heard discussions carried on in the middle of the grocery store that make my ears turn red.
3) Quits - Can this really be the end of Readerville? More about this tomorrow, as I am still getting my head wrapped around it (oh, and it'll fit nicely with R), but it looks as though the lovely eight years we've had (thanks to Karen Templer) may be coming to an end. I feel as though I've lost the roof over my head.
1) Quiescently frozen - I always loved reading this phrase on my popsicles when I was little. It conjured up visions of little popsicles lying quietly, perhaps with little covers pulled up to their chins, freezing slowly.
2) Querulous - Why am I so cranky? Well, I'm still sick. I am wondering if Mr. Pointy Sticks and I haven't been suffering from a mild case of the flu. Bad aches. I mean, I feel as though every muscle in my body has been not-so-gently massaged with a spiked baseball bat. But no real fever...actually, Mr. Pointy Sticks said that I felt pretty hot last night but I was too lazy to get out of bed to get the thermometer. It sucks, though, and explains my crankiness a little.
I finished my second (his third) Stuart MacBride mystery this morning. Called Bloodshot. Pretty good. Just got my third one (his second) out of the library this afternoon. I also got out of the library Scott Smith's The Ruins and I've started that.
And yesterday I bought Mary Roach's latest, entitled Bonk (love the cover), and I've started that one, too.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
-he-means funny. Sometimes grimly-funny. Pratchett has created this incredibly imagined world that's a lot like our world, with a lot of the same problems and all the same sorts of people, where sometimes problems can be solved with magic but more often by common sense, grit and determination. The books have gotten deeper as they go along. The latest books about the Watchmen are not so much funny as deeply touching and thoughtful...well, okay, they're funny, too.
In lighter news....pretty! Stephanie is cuter in the hat than I.
* The bookstore, alas, is gone now. A local couple opened the first one to great acclaim...articles in the paper, etc. The bookstore was very successful. And then, a few years later, they rapidly opened four or five other stores. (I worried that they were over-extending themselves.) The original store (the one near us) and one of the others were doing well. The others, not so well. And then the couple absconded with something like $12 million and the stores were closed. Either the husband or wife of this couple was the child of a man who had done essentially the same thing with a string of drug stores in Baltimore years ago. Guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. The whole thing still makes me really angry.
Friday, March 28, 2008
A while ago Rachel asked me if I would be willing to knit a Jayne Cobb hat for a friend of hers -- all red, and orange and yellow. Seems another friend wanted to make this friend such a hat and bought the yarn but found the knitting was not so much her thing. So Rachel offered me up. And it was really fun. And now it's all done.
And here is the proof that I have no shame.
Me in the cunning hat.
The back of the cunning hat, showing off the pom-pon. (Please to admire the (nearly) jogless striping! Thank you.)
I sort of had to model it. Mr. Pointy Sticks refused and Gizmo....
Well, that just didn't work....
I'll tell you this is a hat that could probably stop bullets. It's made from two strands of Lion Brand Felting Wool (I had to use two strands to come close to gauge). It is thick and very warm.
And ooooooh, how I miss Firefly. And oooog, I think I've caught Mr. Pointy Stick's cold.
(Sort of a lame-o entry for the letter O. Go look at some Opal sock yarn. Pretty stuff...particularly the Hundertwasser colors in that last link.)
Thursday, March 27, 2008
I was almost stumped coming up with a post for N...for some reason I kept focusing on Noro, but I just did Kureyon and that's really my favorite Noro. This challenge requires more thought than I expected...But some helpful friends saved me from having nothing.
First of all, does anyone out there have any idea what needles these are?
Here's a closeup of the ends.
They are my favorite needles. And I have no idea what the brand is. They are the only ones I have like this... They have the perfect ratio of smoothness to grip. There are some yarns too slick to grab on but for most yarns they are perfect. They have a good weight. I asked this earlier in the blog, I think, but I may not have actually had anyone reading it but me at that point.
If I can't use these for some reason (like I need to use something other than a size 6) I'd have to say that my needles of choice tend to be wood or bamboo.
But here are some nice looking needles. I bet they feel good, too.
Now, here's a question...or rather, another question. Why is it that, with bags of yarn strewn around the house, I cannot keep away from Webs and elann and Loopy Ewe? I keep cruisin' the sale stuff, drooling over the new stuff. Sigh. I don't need any more yarn...and yet somehow it still keeps finding a way into the house.
Finally...you know what? This empty-nest business...not really so bad. In a way. I mean, the first time we dropped Rachel off at college I cried all the way home. Couldn't settle down for weeks. This year, partly because I knew she was happier, it was all much easier. And it's nice just having me and Mr. Pointy Sticks in the house...well, along with the cats.
On the other hand, Rachel found her way home on Easter weekend and it was really nice* (if a little expensive...Hi, Rachel! Love your new wardrobe!) having her home...the last afternoon the three of us were all sitting in the living room, each of us reading our own book....it was very companionable...and very nice to look up and see her sitting there.
* Well, except for the fact that she has this bizarre desire to cook all the time...where did she get that from?! (I am so not a cook.)
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
And ooooh, I forgot to mention that I am now about half-way through Red Seas Under Red Skies and I am loving it. Every bit as much fun as the first book, at least so far. Such a great ride.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
And two of my favorites happen to start with just the right letter for today's challenge. One is The Loopy Ewe. Run by Sheri and her helpers, this shop is fast, friendly and full of yummy yarns. Most of the yarn, I would say, is for socks, but there is plenty of other yummy stuff. One of my favorites is the yarn from Perchance to Knit. As I type this, they only have lace-weight yarn in stock, but I've bought her sock yarn. It's lovely yarn and the colors are to die for. But my favorite part...each skein comes with a matching stitch-marker. (You can click on one of the lace choices and get a close-up of the marker.) Hey, yarn and jewelry, what's not to like!? To go with today's theme, let me just say that she also carries Lane Borgosesia, Lime & Violet, Lone Star Arts (roving for the spinners), Lorna's Laces, and Louet.
I understand that after six orders from Loopy Ewe, one becomes a Loopy Groupie and gets a nice grab-bag of goodies. I'm not there....yet.
The other yarn store that I visit often (mostly, I'll admit, to drool) is Little Knits. Again, fast friendly service...and look at all the stuff on sale! I visit more often than I buy, but only because my stash could eat the house.
So fear not! Quality yarn is within your grasp.
And look....there is little more languid than a lazing cat...
Monday, March 24, 2008
But oh, those colors. Look at them! Here in Lizard Ridge...or look at this one....or this one...or the one that won a blue ribbon at the Minnesota State fair here.... I really want to make this blanket and I've already started stock-piling skeins of Kureyon for it.
And then there's the Kureyon I just bought to make a Lady Eleanor. Like this one....or this one.... I really want to do this, too.
And then there are things I've already done...my friend's Monsieur L'Entrelac scarf. The striped Noro scarf, which a lot of people make out of Silk Garden. I made mine from Kureyon. (I say mine...it actually went off to a Readerville friend.)
So, no, I'm not wild about picking the vegetable matter out of the yarn, though it doesn't bother me unduly. And I sort of like the scratchy wooliness of it. (And it softens a lot after washing, particularly if you let it soak in a little hair conditioner.) I love being able to spit splice it. But really...it's all about the colors. So, Kureyon...you're one of my faves.
I have been remiss. I have forgotten to mention what I was reading for a couple of days. I grabbed Diana Wynne-Jones' The Merlin Conspiracy at the end of last week and read that in a couple of days. It was good. Diana Wynne-Jones was one of Rachel's favorite authors (and may still be) but for some reason she's never really clicked with me. But I enjoyed this one a lot.
Then yesterday I picked up Stuart MacBride's first mystery, Cold Granite. And stayed up far too late finishing it last night. It's what the reviewers called Tartan noir. Set in Aberdeen, where apparently it never stops raining...unless it's sleeting or snowing...it's a grim mystery shot with bits of humor. I can't wait to read his next two.
And today, in my bag, the next book up...Red Seas Under Red Skies! Yes, I am finally going to read the sequel to The Lies of Locke Lamora. I hope I'm not disappointed by it.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
The total death toll for the disaster was 2,209 dead. 99 entire families had died, including 396 children. 124 women and 198 men were left without their spouses, 98 children lost both parents. 777 victims (1 of every 3 bodies found) were never identified and rest in the Plot of the Unknown in Grandview Cemetery.
One of those dead was a relative of mine.
Grace Garman was a young telegraph operator in Johnstown, and family tradition says that she sent one of the last, if not the very last, messages from the town, before perishing. I read in one book that the telegraph operators refused to leave their posts, one assumes from a sense of duty.
After the flood waters subsided, my great-great-grandfather, who was Grace's father, took his son and traveled to Johnstown to try to recover Grace's body. Walking through the mud-filled streets, my great-grandfather kicked up a lump of something hard, rinsed it off and brought it home. It was this little girl and her cat.
You can't see in the shot above shot but she is teaching her cat the ABCs.
She's a little match safe...the little chimney she sits beside is designed to hold matches. She has no markings, I don't know where or when she was made. But the glow of her cheeks and the gold of her necklace and the trim on her dress is as bright as the day she was made. No chips, no cracks.
This little figurine lived in my Great-Aunt May's house. I loved it as a child and loved to hear Aunt May tell me the story of Grace and her bravery. And now she lives in my house.
I was so nervous taking her outside to get a good picture of her. I was terrified that she would slip out of my hands and end up in pieces on the front porch. I'm glad to say she is safely back in the china cabinet.
Rest in peace, Grace.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
But what is I, basically? It's me, right. So...
1) I am very squeamish about having anything close to my eyes. I was born cross-eyed and had surgery when I was about four and more surgery when I was about 18, so that might have something to do with it. But if you want to get me mad, just get your fingers too close to my eyes.
2) I an terrified of....moths. I know, lots of people have phobias. Usually about things like snakes, spiders, dogs. You know, animals that can actually hurt you. Me, a moth in the room freaks me out. My mother always said I must have been a sheep in a previous life.
3) I went on a date with a guy and couldn't remember his name. We had introduced ourselves at the beginning of the school year (this was at graduate school and we waited for the bus to campus together) but by the time he asked me out, a month or so later, I had completely forgotten his name. Awkward! I had also met Mr. Pointy Sticks by then and really was more interested in getting back to the dorm to see him then I was in spending the evening with Mr. No-Name. We went to see Marathon Man....I remember that.
4) Mr. No-Name was the only date I ever had except for ones with Mr. Pointy Sticks.
5) I knew right away that Mr. Pointy Sticks was the man I was going to marry. When I told my mom this years later she said that my grandmother (who she always said I was like) had been the same way. She had met my grandfather and told her friends "That's the man I'm going to marry."
6) I am so incredibly boring that I can't even think of a sixth mildly interesting thing about me.
So much for I!
Thursday, March 20, 2008
I mean, don't they look all orangey-red in two skeins and all blue-y-purple in the others? Put 'em together though and they blend, bleahnd, bleah.
But I still love the yarn. I'll just have to come up with a different idea for these. 137 yards per skein so there are 548 yards for me to play with.
And while I'm at it....
I need to come up with an idea for these, too.
My aunt, bless her, got me a wonderful Christmas present...five more skeins of Hacho, these in gorgeous shades of blue, purple and fuchsia. 685 yards of these.
What to do with these?! Maybe it's time to do a little research on Ravelry. Any suggestions?
We played hide-and-seek with the most beautiful setting moon this morning on the way to work. It slipped in and out of sight behind tree, hills and the Beltway walls. A huge perfect peach hung against a slate blue sky. Gorgeous.
My cousin (Hi, ML!) suggested Hellebores for this post #8. (I really need suggestions for I, though.)
When my mom and brother and I moved into the house she'd live in for the next 40 years, the back yard was just a scrubby, treed area, surrounded by chain link fence. And it stayed that way until she married my step-father. And then they got to work. The yard was transformed into a lovely wooded spot, filled with rhododendrons, azaleas, primroses, a camellia bush, day lilies. My step-father created little paths and low stone walls. The chain link fences were overgrown with ivy. And it became a lovely spot, filled with birds and dappled shade. And in one of the shady spots, my mom planted some hellebores. I have to admit, I thought they were...well, pretty ugly flowers. They were either pale green or a fleshy, greenish grayed pink. Not really attractive. Occasionally they or (after my step-father died) my mom would urge me to take some...theirs were spreading rampantly. But my yard isn't very shady, except in one spot, and there was the whole "These are pretty ugly" thing going on. Then I found this place - Sunshine Farms - and look at the hellebores they have! Now, these are some gorgeous flowers. I always wanted to get some for Mom but it seemed as though there would be time...and then there wasn't.
ML, though, dug up a hellebore from Mom's garden before we sold the house, and she reports that it's doing well. And that makes me happy.
(She also told me she's been to that nursery and that the owner's a real character.)
Happy Friday to you all.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
But last night, as I was rummaging in the stash, trying to find the Fearless Fibers I showed y'all yesterday, I realized that I do have some greens. Though admittedly, most of them are greens combined with another color. Here are just a few of them.
From left to right, they are: Cherry Tree Hill in Holly, Dream in Color Smoochy in Go Go Grassy, Perchance to Knit in Fresh Herbs, some gorgeous sock yarn from the Sharing shop on Etsy in Envy, some Tahki Kerry in a grey-ish green, and Black Bunny Fibers Bamboo Sock in Lagoon (which is so-o-o-o soft and nice). And there's my still-in-progress Son of Serpentina scarf in a poison green Filatura di Crosa Portofino.
And the barely tolerant cat in the middle of all that green....that's my ole pal, Gizmo. He joined us 14 years ago, on Rachel's 6th birthday. But he bonded with me...he's definitely my cat. Follows me from room to room. Sleeps with me (when I boost him up on the bed...he's not jumping as well these days). My sweetie.
And look...more greens! Spring must be here. Do you suppose they'll still be in bloom when I get to Y?
And another of my favorite things? The feather and fan stitch (sometimes called Old Shale). I know, it's a very old fashioned stitch. But something about the slow waves of the increases and decreases is very soothing. It's not a difficult stitch...one or two repeats of the pattern and it's memorized. It's a pattern you can ring changes on, too. Vary the number of increases and decreases. Vary the number of rows of stockinette. Vary the knitting and purling. Vary the width...it'll make a nice scarf, a comforting shawl, a cozy baby blanket. Use it for a hat. Use it as edging. See...versatile!
One of my favorite scarves (in fact, the one I am using today) is a straightforward Feather and Fan scarf. (I'll throw in a picture this evening...if I remember. Well, a day late, but here it is.)
So, how does this tie into fads? There are fads that sweep through the on-line knitting community...Clapotis...Monkey socks...Rogue...the Ribby Cardie. I think a lot of the fun of knitting comes from getting caught up in some of these fads (yes, I have a Clapotis...and I'd love to make another some day). You feel a part of something. And it's fun to exchange notes and to see how what you have on the needles might look like in a completely different yarn or color.
One of the recent fads that swept through the knitting world was the Chevron Scarf from Joelle Hoverson's book, Last Minute Gifts. Did I make one? Sure! I almost made two. The first one was out of some Mirasol Hacho (more about this in a couple of days, perhaps). But the two colors were too close to one another. I didn't get the nice striping effect as strongly as I wanted.
So that start got ripped out and I went with some other yarn. Classic Elite Countess that I had gotten from Webs. Nice and soft and a much wider scarf.
Finished and sent off to a friend.
And how does this tie back to feather and fan? That's what this scarf is basically -- a feather and fan stitch with no purl row.And an edit to add that Knitnana is having a contest. If you feel like working up an opinion on a closure for a needle case, click on over!
I finished Clockers yesterday. Wow. Great book. I am looking forward to reading Lush Life, but I think I want to take a breather between these two books. I don't want to run the risk of having Lush Life spoiled because it's too similar to Clockers....
So I picked up an old-fashioned British mystery, Sheila Radley's Death in the Morning, a reissue by the Felony and Mayhem group. It's the first Inspector Quantrill mystery. Nothing earth-shattering or strenuous, just a pleasant read.
Monday, March 17, 2008
I really fall into the Godless Heathen category when it comes to religion and don't have much use for it at all. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I think organized religion has a lot to do with the mess this world is in. But I loved this little guy's face...and his toes, which you can't see here but which are adorable.
And there was a moon sampler:
Here you can see that I was getting away from just cross-stitches and into different kinds of embroidery stitches. Also some embellishment going on here, with pearls and little turquoise stars. I thought, at one point, of designing a companion sampler (I didn't design this one) that would be a sun sampler. With some sort of quote like "Fear not the heat of the sun..." I may still do that someday. (Altered to take my name out...no reason to be completely stupid on the internet.)
But the fanciest piece of counted embroidery I did was this bell pull style sampler.
One of my cousins and I tool a class together to do this sampler. Every week we did a new section. Here's a close-up.
You can see I couldn't resist embellishing this one with beads, too. This sampler had all sorts of interesting stitches and cut-work and Hardanger. It's backed with lavender linen, which shows through the cut-work sections. Looking at this stuff again, I almost want to pick up the embroidery needles again. But then, as my mother always said, "How many samplers does one person need?"
Another enthusiasm....Etsy! This consortium of (for the most part) very talented craftspeople is a wonder to browse through. I've gotten some lovely hand-dyed yarn off Etsy. From Black Bunny Fibers...and Kindred Spirits...and some gloriously bright and wonderful yarn from Karen's Heavenly Creations. And another shop there, which I will talk about tomorrow. (Guess what letter the shop name starts with!)
Oh, and I noticed the other day that we have some daffodils coming up in the yard and I even spied some buds. I love daffodils and, in the yard of the first house we lived in, I planted lots of fancy ones from a grower out in Oregon. I mean, bulbs that cost $9 a piece or so. Some were pink, back when you couldn't get pink daffodils from just anyone. There were miniature ones and ones with very reflexive petals. Gorgeous.
So we moved out to the house in the suburbs and the first two or three years I planted more fancy daffodils...and I swear the yard ate them! Well, something got to them. Some of them would come up for the first year in a rather sickly fashion and then never show up again. Others would never show up. So we don't have as many daffodils as I would like...fortunately day-lilies seem to thrive. So there will be lots of those later in the year.
I've brought in the baby sweater to work on. It was a toss-up between that and the purple cardigan but I'm in the middle of a row of the baby sweater (interrupted by dinner), ripping back because I seem to have screwed up somewhere. So I thought that ought to be the one to come to work with me.
Mr. Pointy Sticks and I watched Dan In Real Life last night. Charming movie. But then I really, really like Steve Carrell. He does quiet desperation so well.
More later, perhaps, when my brain is working.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
My Kimono Style cardigan is coming right along. This has, as you can maybe see in the picture, cables along the bottom edges of back, fronts and sleeves, as well as wider cables all up the front. (Nicely reverse twisted, too.) I am doing the cabling without a cable needle...just letting the stitches drop and then picking them up in the right order to make them twist. There are video instructions for this out on the Web. This yarn has both good and bad qualities for doing this. It's a slightly hairy wool, so the stitches cling to one another nicely, meaning they won't run away as soon as they are dropped. But the yarn is a single ply, rather loosely spun, so picking up the dropped stitches and making sure that they are all back on the needles in their entirety...that is sometimes a little tricky. It wasn't too bad with the four-stitch cables, but I may have to break down and use a cable needle for the six-stitch cables running up the fronts.
The color seems to be showing up pretty well here...a rich deep purple.
(Rachel says she hates the bolding. Sorry, toots, 23 more days of it.)
Other than the knitting, not much going on here today. Grocery shopping will have to take place. I really should clean our bathroom.
Yawn. There might even be a nap.
Appropriately for today's post, I happen to be reading Richard Price's Clockers. It's about a New Jersey town, near NYC, and the police and drug dealers there. Chapters alternate between the cops and one (street-level-but-maybe-moving-up) dealer in particular, Strike. It's horrifically fascinating. I'm sure the slang is out of date, but I wonder how much the day-to-day life of these sorts of people - dealers, cops, users - has changed.
I got interested in this book because I heard an interview with Price on Fresh Air, and then read another interview with him on line. He was actually talking more about his work on The Wire and about his latest book, Lush Life. Sounded good so I thought I would start with his first.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Alphabet Challenge #2 - Binding Off Brown Scarf, Beginning Baby Sweater, Bopping Into Black Sheep and Blogging About It!
I started a blue baby sweater. This will be for a co-worker's bouncing baby boy, due in June. I'm doing it in a 6 month to 1 year size, so I hope it'll fit him at some point. It's out of Sirdar Tiny Tots. Can you see the texture? It's made by a row where you alternate purl stitches with stitches knit into the row below. Hard to see unless it catches the light right, but it makes a nice squooshy fabric.
I had a lovely time sitting at the Black Sheep for about 2 hours, weaving in ends, knitting and chatting. Had a nice talk with Holly, who raises llamas and alpacas and had some yummy laceweight yarn she had spun.
I do love the Black Sheep.
While I was there, I bought some sock yarn. I couldn't resist these colors. And hey, it was a lot cheaper than the two skeins of Lorna Lace's yarns I was fondling.
The colors aren't quite right here. It's a pretty orange and the bits that look green here are actually turquoise blue. Yum. (Must knit socks!)
And now I've blogged all about my day. So far.
Friday, March 14, 2008
A. B. Graham, shown here at age 6 with his little sister, was (I felt at the time) my small claim to fame (of a sort) when I was a kid. When this little boy grew up, he married my maternal grandmother's aunt Maud...he was a teacher, a principal, a superintendent of schools. And he started the 4-H Club of America.
Here's my...what?....great-great aunt Maud at about 20.
The thing I remember most about A. B. Graham though (and I only knew him through stories my mother told me) was that when he was eleven there was a terrible fire. His father was killed and his mother's hands were badly burned. She was a seamstress, and now the mother of two father-less children, so this was particularly unfortunate. A.B. would work her hands, opening them and bending them, breaking the skin, so that eventually she was able to use them again. And he taught himself (undoubtedly with her guidance) to sew. He took up some of the burden of keeping the family fed. But you know, he must have enjoyed it a little, too, because he kept sewing all his life and sewed clothes for his children and grandchildren.
(Hey, with the initials A.B., how could I not choose him?!)
And, just to tie this in with knitting, look at his sister's little jacket. Does you suppose that's a knit? I'd love to get a closer look at it. It almost looks like something that Debbie Bliss would design today.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
I got a nice little package from The Loopy Ewe. From left to right, we have Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in Holly, the same again in a colorway called Cottonwood and Gypsyknits BFL in a color called Storybook.
And that wasn't all in the package. In addition to my order there were samples of two Schaefer yarns (Lola and Anne) and this cutie.
It's a bit of yarn and the pattern for a tiny little sock. Once complete, you can use it as a Christmas tree decoration, a gift card holder, among other things.
So that was all nice to come home to.
I finished Heart Shaped Box. It's a bloody ole book and there are a couple of deaths that really got to me. (Note: If you get upset when animals die in books, then this one isn't for you.) But it is really well written...quite chilling... I look forward to see what else comes out of Joe Hill's pen. (Hmmmm...looking back, I guess I hadn't mentioned I was reading this one.)
I have no idea what'll be next.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
And I started thinking about lifetimes. I loved Laura Ingalls Wilder's books when I was a kid. She was born in 1867 and died in 1957. She crossed the country in a covered wagon and lived almost long enough to see Sputnik. It just seems as though my life, our present-day lives, won't encompass such startling change. But then I thought of my dad and I had to laugh. I called him that evening and said, "What do you imagine you would have thought if, when you were a little boy growing up in Berlin, Pennsylvania, in the 1920's, someone had come to you to say 'When you're grown up, you will be having casual conversations by phone with people in India about ordering ink for your computer printer.'?"
So what are some of the really big changes in my lifetime? Well, you're reading one of them on another one of them. To be able to write something that anyone in the world could read, on a personal computer sitting in my house (or, in this case, my office)...well, that's pretty different. Cell phones, certainly. (Though the ability to be reached anytime, anywhere...I'm not sure that's one I love.) There have certainly been advances in medicine and space travel...
But really, it doesn't seem the same as covered wagon to space race, does it?
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
As if knowing that I might need some cheering up, I came home to this:
Ah, Noro! Did I mention this buy? A few weeks ago I got one of those "Check out our yarn sale" emails from Herrschners. Usually what they are offering is...well, not to my taste. Lots of acrylic, lots of novelty yarns, lots of baby yarn. But I was bored and I opened it. It said "Check out the goodies we found during inventory!" So I did. And there, amidst the fun fur and tassels and acrylic were these 11 skeins of Kureyon. For $4.97 a piece. They were described as "brown, green and purple" so I thought I might be getting more of the colorway I did Monsieur L'Entrelac in. Which I liked, so that was no problem. But man, look at these colors!
Not a brown to be seen. I think this might be Lady Eleanor sitting here.
Mr. Pointy Sticks is going to be picking up Japanese food for dinner tonight. Might as well milk this tooth trauma for all it's worth.
Only two repeats to go on the #@)& Oak Leaf scarf. And then the acorn border and the picot cast off. I am really sort of sick of the thing by now. Anyone out there a big fan of brown?
Monday, March 10, 2008
I was just visiting Ravelry. I have very mixed feelings about Ravelry. I like the notebook feature and being able to see what others have done out of particular yarns or how a pattern differs in looks when made with different yarns.
But oy! The forums are a god-awful mess. And make me a little nuts. There is seemingly little control over them. Anyone can start a thread on any subject, with any subject title. And apparently no one can ever delete a thread. So there are threads that started out asking for help for a particular row of a particular pattern...and the help is given within a comment or two and there the thread sits...forever. Sinking towards the bottom of the bottomless pit of threads. But never going away. And, I dunno, Casey and Jess may have a Cray supercomputer in their living room, but eventually I would think that sucker is going to clog up. I started a thread in the Black Sheep group and after a month there had been no replies. Rather than clutter up space, I tried to delete it...but couldn't. And apparently the moderator of the group couldn't either.
And the random duplication of threads makes me a little crazy. I think the moderators do try to smoosh threads together but man, how many pointless discussions of whether or not acrylic is the fiber of the devil or not do we really need? For a while, there were two threads on the subject in the list of top ten threads in the Yarn discussion area. Really? Do we need two threads to discuss something so ultimately non-worthy of discussion? We now have multiple threads going about what shoes are best to wear to show off hand-knitted socks.
And don't get me started on the way people title the threads they start...some actual titles currently are: "Rant" (Really? About what? Should I care?) "j,.-" (Apparently another thread inadvertently started by a small child or pet...up to 101 meaningless posts. There was another like this started a week or two ago. I say "was"....it's still there somewhere, sinking to the bottom. Talk about a thread that is crying out for deletion.) "How to make stuffed animals look different?" (Hmmm....three eyes? Run 'em over with a truck?) "does anyone know" (I know lots of things...I don't know if I know what you need to know because you haven't given me a frickin' clue as to what it is!) And those examples are only taken from the first page of threads in the Pattern discussion area.
In the Yarn area we have threads like: "which is which?" (The one on the left.) "Gauge?" (Yes.) "Branded???????" (Do you think this person has a question?) "That'll teach me" (But apparently won't teach you how to title a thread.)
Perhaps it's because the only other on-line forum I frequent, the one associated with the Readerville Journal, is so beautifully organized and easy to use. Karen, the proprietor, keeps fairly tight control over what threads can be started. Threads are more general and conversations come and go on all sorts of themes that fit under the thread (e.g., the Gardening thread may have a discussion of some books, question from a poster about his or her actual garden, and links to some neat garden-related website all going on at once). Now, granted, Karen went through a huge reorganization not too long ago, and the population of Readerville (certainly the regularly posting population) is much smaller. But still...the contrast between the two sites is awfully jarring to me.
And as grumpy as I feel today, I think I'll be sticking to Readerville. I don't need to be further unraveled.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
But....I went and measured a comfortable cardigan and the depth of the armholes on that one is (drumroll please) 9.5". So I'm thinking perhaps there's a mistake? Or I have fat armholes?
There is always a little adjustment period, I guess, both when she's gone and when she comes back. I am already looking forward to having her back here (though I'm not so much looking forward to packing up her room, bringing it all home and then turning around two weeks later and taking it all back again for summer school and then heading down a month later to fetch her again.)
We stopped at my aunt and uncle's on the way home. They've sold their house to move to a retirement community with assisted living and it's a necessary move but man, it makes me sad. Everything's passing, you know? Going, going, gone.
And crappy ole work tomorrow.
Oh, and I mentioned my sweater phobia? My dread that the sweater will be all wrong? Well, I was trying to get the back finished before we headed south so that I could maybe work on a sleeve or front or something. And the armholes are supposed to be 7.5" deep. Mine are at 9.5" deep. But if I take them back to 7.5", that'll be back before I did the shaping for the neck....feh. I just feel like throwing up my hands and ripping the whole thing out.
Saturday, March 8, 2008
We went to Wegman's yesterday and bought lots of food, including scallops to make my variation of a recipe my brother gave me. In the original recipe, you throw scallops, chipotle peppers, white wine and some other stuff in a pan and roast them while you boil capellini. Then throw the scallop mixture over the pasta and voila, dinner! Well, I have played with the recipe and I hold the spicy peppers but throw in onion, mild red, yellow, green peppers, mushrooms...perhaps I'll take some pictures tonight because it is pretty.
I've just about finished the back of the cardigan. I realize that this is taking me a lot longer than it should and I also realized, last night, why. I have sweater-anxiety. I am worried, despite measuring obsessively and despite comparing to other knits I own, that I am going to end up with a perfectly lovely cardigan that I will not be able to wear. And it's a lot of work for something you can't wear. Unlike a scarf, that has no fit issues and doesn't take all that long to make. Sigh.
Finished Friend of the Devil last night...good solid police procedural, though reading it in somewhat choppy bits, as I did, made one of the plots a little confusing. If you've never read Peter Robinson before, I wouldn't necessarily start with this one. Gallow's View is the first one of the Inspector Banks series, and would be a good place to start. In A Dry Season is one of my favorites.
I've picked up Jonathan Barnes' The Somnambulist for my next read. I'm only about 25 pages in but so far it's captivated me.
Edited to add: No pictures of dinner. It was too good and disappeared too fast.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
I know, I should have been getting used to this when she was 16 or so. I love it now, but it is strange.
I've give up on both Dakota and whatever the title was of the other book I mentioned. Dull. In the case of the Grimes, dull and sort of preachy. And unbelievable. In the case of the other book, just not anyone I cared about reading any more about.
So I've picked up the new Peter Robinson, Friend of the Devil. Now this is satisfying. Just a good, well-written, appealing English police procedural. I rank him up there with Reginald Hill.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
What's going on in the kitchen?
Roast chicken for dinner. Have I mentioned lately that my daughter's a pretty nice person to have around?
It'll be a late dinner, but it'll be good.
(Rachel tells me I should resize these pictures so that people can't click on them and see how filthy the kitchen is. So....don't click. But hey, it's a working kitchen.) (Edited to add: Hmmm...she's right. Sometimes details are not a good thing. And the lumps on the chicken? It's not tumorous...we shove garlic and butter under the skin. Yum.)
And dinner was fantastic. Roast chicken, orzo, caramelized carrots and zucchini. Yum.
But...nice deal, right? Tell me I'm right. I'm feeling a little guilty, here.
Margot is visiting with us for a few days, saving Rachel from terminal boredom during her spring break. It's interesting...Margot drives, and loves driving. So they are running out to the store while we're gone. Yesterday they ran down to the mall for some shopping. At 9 o'clock last night they went out, with a "I have my key. We'll be back!" and went to the diner down on York Road. It's just so...young adult. I love it. (Though it would have been nice to tell your parents where it was you were going when you went out last night. Hem hem.)
Knitting...the back of the cardigan is close to the neck division...therefore close to done. (Heh. I spread the back out on the couch last night to measure the length and Gizmo arose from his nap, walked over, sniffed the sweater for a second and then curled up on top of it and started purring. And shedding, of course. Thanks, bud.) The scarves (Oak Leaf and Son of Serpentina) are moving along slowly. (Perhaps because....I'm not really working on them! Do ya think?!) The baby sweater is calling me but I really want to finish one of these scarves before I start another project. But there isn't much exciting to take pictures of.
Well, after a string of really good reads, I seem to have hit a slump. I finished the Denise Mina. It seemed a lot less lean then the earlier books. Less edited maybe. And I really disliked something that Paddy Meehan does at the end of the book. It left a bad taste in my mouth and I think I might be reluctant to pick up the next Mina.
Then I read a slight YA novel called Just In Case, by Meg Rosoff. A cover blurb compares it to Catcher in the Rye. It's not that good. Or my appreciation of self-obsessed, morose, clueless teenagers is missing. Though the cover of the book is really nice. Some of the leave are satiny-metallic. Too bad the contents aren't as appealing.
Next, I've started Martha Grimes' latest, Dakota. So far I have to say....eh. (It's a sequel to Biting the Moon, which, come to think of it, I don't think I liked that much either.) I put it down with about a third read and picked up Making It Up As I Go Along, a book I got at Daedalus a couple of weeks ago. It's also fairly eh. Female reporter with brand new baby leaves Sierra Leone and her lover (who doesn't know about the baby) to come home to LA, where she has been left a $5-10 million property by the woman who raised her and whose natural son is trying to get the property. Scenes of brutality in Sierra Leone alternate with lunches in Beverly Hills...and not in a good way.
Perhaps I need to start Red Seas Under Red Skies.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
So I handed her this questionnaire:
Someone gives you a baby outfit that requires hand washing. You:
a) Think "Hand washing?! You mean, with my hands?!"
b) Put it away until Junior stops throwing up...say, when he's thirty.
c) Think "Oooh! I love hand washing beautiful things! And laying them flat to dry is a joy!"
d) Let the baby wear it once and then stuff it in a basket to hand wash "someday."
You have a little boy. You and your husband:
a) Want that kid in blue...all the time...only blue. Or perhaps grey with pinstripes.
b) Like bright kid-like colors.
c) Have no preferences at all.
d) Can't stand the following colors: ______________
Someone give you a stack of bibs and burping clothes. You think:
a) "Burping clothes? Do they know my husband that well?"
b) "How thoughtful!"
c) "What are these again?"
d) "Yeah, fine. Not exciting though."
You think cute but silly hats are:
a) Perfect for babies. Who else could you force to wear them?
b) Cute...but silly. No kid of yours is going to be caught wearing them.
c) Perfect. May I have one in my size?
The colors and/or theme of your baby's nursery is:
c) Oh, lordie, what room are we putting the baby in?
d) Fill in the blank ________________
I plan to diaper my child:
b) With disposables...if they were good enough for me, they're good enough for my kid.
c) With cloth...if they were good enough for my parents, they're good enough for me.
In this case, we know the baby is going to be a boy. (Which is a pity, because I really wanted to make the Miss Dashwood bonnet from Knitty. Maybe for the next baby.)
And in case anyone is interested, the mom's answers were: d, a (with the addition of green and tan), b, c, d (airplanes), and b and c.
This sweater is cute, the yarn is very soft and machine washable. And it's blue. I think it'll do. I may, if I feel energetic, also do a bib or some burping clothes.
Saturday, March 1, 2008
Just a quick post before I toddle off to bed to show off the yarn I bought in Fredericksburg. The colors are all going to look a little washed out, I think, because the sun was so bright this morning when I took the pictures.
First off, some Noro Matsuri - 87 % cotton, 13 % wool. Very very soft. I'm thinking scarf. Maybe more entrelac. Maybe for me. Who knows?
Then, a pattern and yarn for making a baby sweater for an expectant mom in the office. She's due in June, so I have a little time.
Sirdar's Tiny Tots in denim.
And lastly, some Mission Falls Cotton...they have a sample sweater there in this. A really lovely cardigan with random stripes of about eight different colors....it's one that shows up in their ads all the time. Anyway, I picked up some random colors to play with for a scarf or something. A pure impulse buy.
I went into the shop (It's called the Knitter's Cottage and is on William Street in Fredericksburg) telling myself that I wouldn't buy anything that I could find at The Black Sheep. But there was very little overlap. One thing I would say...they didn't seem to have any "local" yarns or hand-dyes...all big operation yarns. Noro, Debbie Bliss, Colinette, Mission Falls, Cascade. It's a nice shop. I could see stopping there again sometime.