Wednesday, August 31, 2005


I'm only 30 rows in.

I haven't been knitting much this week. I have been glued to CNN, instead. I was talking with my husband last night and I said told him that I feel really macabre watching all of this for hours on end. I think it's just that the enormity of the whole situation in New Orleans coupled with the wide swath Katrina cut through Missippi and Alabama is just unreal. I keep watching as if I'm trying to find the hole in the reporting where it's not as bad as they say it is. And it's not as bad as they say it is; IT'S WORSE.

I'm almost finished with the last part of Purple People Eater, but after I finish this sleeve, I'm going to seam it and then wait for the collar until cooler weather. I can't stand the thought of knitting a collar while holding an entire sweater that heavy in my lap.

Beanism of the week: My husband was helping her get dressed and, when they were finished, she turned to him and said, "Thank you, I'm a big fan of your work." She cracks me up.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Please give generously to America's Second Harvest. to help provide for all of those devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
And if not to them, then give to another charity supporting the hurricane relief efforts. The Gulf Coast is going to need it.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Please, pray for all of those in Hurricane Katrina's path.

I'm hoping for some sort of last minute divine intervention and that those poor people stuck in New Orleans make it. This is a nightmare.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Walken on Main Street

The Continental is running for President!*

In other news, I have finished the back, one sleeve and one front of The Purple People Eater (I had to name the thing) . I seamed them all up to see if I was on track. So far, so good although the darkness of the yarn makes an accurate picture impossible. I'm hoping to complete the second front today and have the sweater sans collar and zipper finished by Wednesday at which point I can try in on for the camera. I took a number of pictures and the theme of all of them was - The Dark Blob. The pieces are measuring out to my specs and I've had to do remarkably little frogging. Yay me!

*OK, he's not really running for President. It's a genmay joke. But man, wouldn't it be a hoot?! And the Walken2008 web site has a great poster.

Friday, August 26, 2005

When it's hotter than hell

Knit a really thick wool sweater.

Yes, I've abandoned River and taken up with the Muench Naturwolle I got for a song last winter. Because when it's 103F outside and the heat index (think wind chill for hot climates) is not to be contemplated, you want to knit a sweater that you may get to wear once a year. But, oh, how I love this yarn. Soft and thick and the best kind of squishy.

The yarn colors are sort of murky so it was impossible to get a decent picture without the red bias in my camera turning the whole thing bright purple. The colors all have a muted, dusky quality: purples, deep cranberry, navy and a bit of black.

I'm making the pattern up as I go along (yes, I'm writing it down so the front is similar to the back). It's going to be a zippered cardigan with deep ribbing at the hem and cuffs and a really deep ribbed collar. I intend to use it as a jacket if it every gets below freezing again.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Mad as hell

I'm in Target today and the woman behind me in line sees Bean and casually remarks, "You know, someone left a baby in their car in the parking lot. The car was running but I don't think that's right."

I about had a heart attack. I mustered the security guards and we all went to the lot, but of course the jerks were gone. I also had a few words for the lady who told me all of this, namely that she should have immediately gone to the service desk and reported this and it was illegal to leave your child alone in a car. She was a few tacos short of a combo plate but I think she got the point that perhaps saying something first and going shopping after might be the better priority. I hope the person who left their child in the car, I don't care if it was running, gets theirs. Karma is a bitch, asshole.

In this heat, it is the depths of stupid to leave your milk in the car, much less any living creature in this heat. Leaving the car running is a really good way to get your car (and child) stolen. People do this all the time and iit frequently plays out like this: their cars get stolen, the theives discover a baby in that back seat, the theives abandon the car. Not running. Usually not a pretty ending.

Man, I'm pissed.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Busy Bees

It's been fairly busy around here and today is no exception. I'm about to leave the house to take The Bean to a doctor's appointment after which she will have her first "ballet" lesson. We are very excited about the ballet although last night, she got very worried about "dance class". She told me, "Mama, I have a big, big problem. I don't know how to dance." As a parent, those kinds of statements always make me so sad for her. Of course, I explained that no one else in the class would either and reminded her that she had met her teacher, etc. She was OK after that but I hate the thought of the poor thing worrying about anything this young.

I started River and did put the beads on the cast on. More about that later. I adore the Kidsilk Spray. It's gorgeous. The variegation is quite beautiful. Rowan knows what they are doing.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Crazy from the heat

It's 100F with a heat index of 105F. The worst thing about August in Texas is that you'd love to be able to take your child to the park two blocks away but unless it's 9am, it's too hot to be outside for longer than it takes an egg to fry.

What, you've never fried eggs in the sun before?

Totally a fun thing to do with the kids.

A word of advice though, don't fry them directly on the hood of your car because they'll damage your paint job.

When it's this hot, there is only one thing to do: knit with mohair! Because your hot, sticky, humid little hands will only improve the experience of knitting with Kidsilk Spray.

That's right, the new Kidsilk Spray! I'm going to knit the River Stole. I chose a pretty blue under the name of Medici. I'm hankering to know what the variegation will look like.

The beads I chose match the lighter blue in the yarn.

I'd love some opinions because I've never knit with beads before. And I'm thinking it would be very pretty to have beads on the cast on and cast off edges of the shawl as well as the knot thingie. Any advice? (PLEASE, I'm begging for advice.)

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


It's Restaurant Week this week. Restaurant Week is an annual event sponsored by a local radio station and benefitting a local food pantry. $6 from each meal sold goes to the food pantry. Lest you think that's not a ton of money, keep in mind that some of the posher places book around 500 covers a night. That's over $20,000. From one restaurant. And there are alot of restaurants on the list.

The draw is that you get a three-course meal for $30. Last night we went to a lesser-known Italian place. Not a spaghetti house. This is big time food. The three course were an appetizer and a salad followed by two choices for an entree. Sunday we'll be going to a very hipper-than-thou place where you get an appetizer, entree and dessert.

Last night's menu:

Roast Quail with side of gnocchi in a very light gorgonzola cream sauce. The gnocchi were sublime.
Caesar salad with a great, garlicky dressing that had obviously seen the addition of a few real anchovies.
A choice of halibut or, what I went for, duck breast in a green peppercorn-vodka sauce and two petit grilled lamb chops served with a bit of garlicky pasta and some steamed spinach.

I'm still full.

And I've started the River stole from the new Rowan.

There is quite the hullabaloo about the new Rowan magazine. I can see that there are very few, if any, really fabulously timeless pieces in the new mag. But I've found several patterns that interest me and, while the mag may not be up to Rowan's usual standards, I'll say that I was far more disappointed in the new Vogue Knitting. My opinion is that the utterly lousy photography goes a long way to making the Rowan magazine less than it should be.

Knitters want to see the garment they are supposed to knit. The picture of the River stole shows me a good view of the skirt the model is wearing but pretty much jack about the actual knitted item. Fortunately, I know that Sharon Miller generally writes gorgeous patterns so I'm willing to make a leap of faith. But, for goodness sakes, if I'm going to be knitting a sweater, can I see the model standing up rather than lounging in bed? Apparently, Rowan thinks that we should knit all of their items on faith rather than using something as trite and declasse as a decent photograph to determine if a garment would suit us.

Yes, there are some godawful items available for your knitting heresy. But, I'm not so much disappointed in the knitables as I am in the decision to substitute decent graphical representation of said knitables in favor of an ad for the Society for Creative Anachronism. Nothing against Pennsic, but I don't want to knit it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

I am a horrible person

OK, maybe only slightly.

It's no secret that I have insomnia. I blame it all on The Bean. She spent most of the first 2.85 years of her life refusing to sleep through the night. This combined with Mommy Hearing has resulted in me waking up at the slightest provocation. Last night, I was most unjustly provoked as The Force of Evil decided that NONE SHALL SLEEP.

We had a cracker of a storm including a rather big damn tree getting blown over a block away, possibly by the way too close for comfort flash of lightning followed immediately by the loudest clap of thunder I have ever heard. The dog was climbing on top of us in fear, but Bean slept on.

Of course, once the storm was past, she woke up every two hours having a screaming hysterical tantrum and refusing to be calmed. Around 2am, I came back into the bedroom and saw my sleeping husband. My lovely husband who can fall back asleep at the drop of a hat. And I put in some earplugs and went back to sleep and did not wake up until the 7am screaming fit. My husband, bless him*, got up at the 3.30am screaming fit and I slept on. It was glorious. Poor man had to go to work today but as I'm trapped in the house with a whiny, sleep-deprived 3-year-old, I'm less than sympathetic.

I swear sometimes Ambien for kids sounds like a good idea.**

My ill will towards the child is somewhat mitigated by the fact that she has recently decided that she really likes The Clash. And Led Zepplin.

I'm not sure if this is what Ferrol Sams had in mind when he referred to being "raised right" but I'm going with it.

*Not in the Southern sense of "you imbecile" but, really, bless him. I don't deserve him but I'm not about to question my luck.

**To the oversensitive who sometime send me nasty personal emails about my horrible parenting, I'd like to point out that this is what as known as a joke.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Smoke on the Water
FBS2: Electric Boogaloo
Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool in Deep Purple (heh)
70" wide and 36" from neck to tip

I used 8US needles. It blocked out a bit too open for my tastes. It looks great in the pic but it's very open up close.

I love the shawl and I adore the color, but it will work better as a big scarf than a shawl.

Canteen Bag
Woolpak 8ply Handpainted
Color - Fire

Reynolds Lopi - Black
LOVE this pattern. LOVE IT! Quick and fun.

My camera has a huge red bias so I could not get a decent close-up. The Woolpak felts into a really nifty sort of boucle.

Half a Never Ending Shawl
Cherry Tree Hill Oceania
Color - Fall Foliage

68" wide by 42" deep - unblocked

My arms aren't long enough to hold out the ends in the photo.

I have 190 grams of yarn leftover from the 400 gram/1440 yard hank. That's alot of yarn. I can't imagine how big the shawl would have been had I knit the whole thing.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The second Canteen Bag. Maybe "subdued" wasn't quite the right word, but in comparison to the first Canteen Bag, well, it is subdued.
The red/plum yarn is handpainted Woolpak 8 ply doubled. The black is Lopi. Bean is at Mother's Day Out right now and it's really overcast outside so I'm hoping to finish this one today.

I know I said August was going to be Small Projects Month, but I might have cast on for a new sweater.

Saffy from Rowan's Denim People.

You cast on 377 stitches and then decrease over the next two rows to your regular number of stitches creating a big ruffle at the hem. It's so dark outside I had trouble getting a decent picture, but there is a medallion pattern. I am really enjoying this pattern.

And I ordered a little something for myself. And another something similar in blues.

I blocked the second Flower Basket Shawl but I'm going to have to wait for some sun for a decent picture. I will say that I should have swatched some of the pattern on this one because, even though Silky Wool calls for a 6US needle and I only used an 8US for the shawl, it's a bit too open and you lose some of the pattern. The Cathay version came out a bit better although I felt like it wasn't loose enough. I can't win.

I'm not unhappy with FBS2; it's just not quite perfect. Which means, at some point, I will have to knit FBS3. But not any time soon.

Monday, August 08, 2005

I found someone to teach me to spin!

That thud you heard was my husband.

Until I reminded him that my hobbies don't add up to his girlfriend, the Corvette LT-1.


Saturday, August 06, 2005

The felting bunny strikes again! I'm working on a second Canteen Bag from Interweave Knits. This one is a bit more subdued.

Friday, August 05, 2005

A liberal application of Elmo and Leapfrog have allowed me to get my FSB2 issues sorted out and I'm back on track and now into the 8th repeat. We normally don't watch this much TV, but Bean had a bad night and is cranky as hell today. If a bit more TV than usual is what it takes to sooth my savage little beastie then by God that's the plan.

I talked to a friend earlier today who advised me to make her take a nap. That's what got us into this mess. Yesterday, we spent the morning on the McKinney Avenue Trolley with a group of friends (no air-conditioning and 100F+ heat - whee) and Bean took a nap about 3. At 5.30 I went in to check her vitals and was confronted with my child in Stage 4 sleep. I did everything but bang a pan with a spoon to wake her up. We went out with friends last night and Bean pretty much refused the babysitter's suggestions for going to be and got back up when we got home. What, I ask you, is the point of a babysitter if not to escape having to put your child to bed for a night? Ah well, it was hardly the sitter's fault. We could see our fate before we left but had hope. At any rate, it was close to 11 freaking PM before we could get her near the bed and we could hear various wails and moans from the room at points during the night. She's not napping today so we can get her to sleep early tonight.

As far as FBS goes, I'm not sure if I'm going to do 9 repeats or not. I'm fairly sure I have enough yarn, but I'm getting a bit antsy on finishing the sucker. I may complete the 8thh repeat and then put it up for a while to marinate. I'd hate to have put all this work in and be disappointed with the size.

Friday is for Tinking

I seem to have screwed up FBS2 in the exact same part of the pattern sequence I screwed it up last time around.

I am a bit annoyed at myself because I knew there was a problem about two rows back and blithely ignored it. The problem with lace, unlike sweaters, is that you can't really ignore extra stitches. Ah well, apparently Friday is for Tinking.

In small project news, I finished two ungodly novelty yarn scarves that I was supposed to have given as gifts last year. I tend to want my goofy knitting only in felted bags so I really put off knitting these scarves. Fortunately, the recipients did not know they were coming so I can just give them this year. That leaves me with a small lace scarf and one more novelty scarf to go. The other completions for this month are the Oceania Never-Ending Shawl (Boy howdy did they name that one correctly) and FBS2. I'm on a completion binge and I'm trying to take advantage of it because once it stops, I'll end up with the pile of sweaters on the dining room table again.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Warning: Wear Sunglasses

I warned you these were some bright pictures.

My whole life is bags right now. Yeah, the felted ones, too. But mostly the ones under my eyes. I've had one decent night's sleep out of the last 5. I've been up since 2:30am. As the Bean would say, that is not a good idea.

The bag on the table is my own design - Lamb's Pride Worsted doubled. Most of 4 skeins.

The bag handing off of the chair is the Canteen Bag from the Fall 2005 Interweave Knits. Being constitutionally unable to knit a pattern as written, I messed around and knit it in Cascade 220 doubled on 13US needles.

I added a bit of Crystal Palace Squiggle to the trin on the flap.

I ran out of the green Cascade after the trim on the flap and had just enough to do the first green section on the handle. The green at the top is leftover Lamb's Pride. I originally planned to just knit the whole handle in the Lamb's Pride but although it is really close, it's not an exact match so I decided the way I did it you couldn't really tell the difference between the two. As obnoxious as this bag is, I'll definitely use it because I find it hilarious.

I'll knit the Canteen Bag again. It's a fast and fun pattern. The next one is planned in the handpainted Woolpak 8ply I bought in Fredericksburg in June. I'll double that. The trim will be black Lopi (not doubled). The handpainted yarn should turn out somewhat heathered. Paired with the black, it will make a nice fall bag in a more sophisticated color palate.

Pattern notes on the canteen bag: The pattern tells you to pick up 96 stitches around the flap for the flap trim. This will produce a ruffled effect on your trim. It's only a bit noticeable in the IK picture. Granted, my double yarn probably exacerbated this effect, but I'll probably pick up fewer stitches on the next go 'round. While I like it on this bag, I'm not sure I want it ruffled on a plain bag.

The second note is that it's a good idea to match up the front and the back of the bag and use removable stitch markers or safety pins or something to hold the front and the back even while you knit the side trim around the bag. I ended up getting way ahead of myself on one side of the bag and having to frog part of the side trim because I didn't notice until I was "finished".

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Smite, Smote, Smitten?

How do you conjugate smite bayond smote?

This weekend, Bean was distressed to see ants near her sandbox and commanded the Almighty Daddy to fix this problem immediately, if not sooner.* Daddy said, "I'll find something to kill the ants." Bean replies, "Let's get a shovel!!!" You have to imagine the excitement in her voice. It was a killer. Where she got the shovel thing I have no idea. Of course, my husband runs with it and teaches her to say, "We must smite the ants with a shovel!"

*Unfortunately, Bean has inherited my sense of patience. My problem with immediate gratification is that it takes too damn long.

In knitting news, I was badly bitten by the felting bunny. There are two felted bags drying in my laundry hall. (I don't have a laundry room per se, more like a laundry hallway on the way to the garage,) I'm too lazy to take a picture right now but trust me, they are bright. You'll need glasses.

And now I will wax somewhat philosophical. I have decided that August is going to be Small Projects Month. I have a whole bag full of little scarves and this and thats I have been meaning to knit for a long time. This month, I'm knitting them. I'm also going to finish FBS2:EB and Oceania. That will set me up for September feeling a bit less oppressed by my stash and back in the mood to knit some sweaters!