Saturday, December 30, 2006

Today's accomplishments.

Maybe if I do this at some late hour, blogger will let me post photos.

Today, I figured out how to dip-dye yarn:

That's it hanging from my office door. I know, I know, don't put weight on the fibers and yadda yadda. YOU find a place where The Baby and the cat can't get to it, and let me know. (April, I am NOT hanging it in your living room, thank you anyway.)


I finished the hem on the steeked jacket (I'm quite a bit further, actually, but this is where I was at photo-taking time):



And The Baby figured out how to climb onto the coffee table:


She was congratulated on her grand achievement, then told to get the hell off and never do it again. (Yeah, like that'll happen.) I'd rather not have the kid treat my furniture like a jungle gym, all things being equal.


I may be incommunicado for a couple days, because I've got three articles due in the next week or so. I know, you're thinking "Yeah, right. She can't shut up!" but I'm seriously considering disconnecting the internet in my office so I can get this done. I'll be back when the other writing's done. We'll see how long that takes.

So... happy new year.

The year in review.

I'm of two minds about this post... I'm kind of afraid my Beloved Readers will come after me with torches and pitch forks. But after reviewing my blog posts for the past year, I've got to admit, you guys may have a point about me knitting fast. (Though I still think a lot of it has to do with not having a life, otherwise.)

The yearly tally of knitting projects (without photos because blogger hates me):

Eight sweaters. Four full size, two kid jackets, and two sleeveless tanks. This includes a Dale of Norway (though most of the knitting was done in 2005), and a Bohus.

Seven scarves. Never. Again. Ever.

Three doilies. I'm actually kind of shocked this number isn't higher, considering that's all I used to knit, back in the day.

Two felted bags (one pitched after felting), two afghan blocks out of a total of eight needed to put together a jacket, and a pair of knucks.

This doesn't include projects started and given up on in disgust, which would include two half-knit baby sweaters.

Huh. Not bad. Maybe I did accomplish something this year.

Oh, and I registered to sell on Esty last night. I haven't opened an actual shop yet, so April, quit shrieking, but I'm getting there. I plan to have it stocked by the end of January. Uh, anyone have an opinion on lace, sock, or worsted-weight handpaint yarn?

Kill me. Kill me now.

Wonder pets, wonder pets, we're all okay,
to help the [fill in blank] and save the day.
We're not too big and we're not too tough,
but if we work together we've got the right stuff.
Goooooo, wonder pets!


Wonder Pets is on. Bad animation, a duck with a lisp, and bad lyrics to opera music. Click the link. You'll hear for yourself.

Shoot me. Shoot me now.

Why can't The Baby like history documentaries?

Friday, December 29, 2006

More eeeee!

Heck, what's another article photo between friends? Check this out:

I'm REALLY considering opening an Esty shop and trying to sell handpaint yarn. To the point I've already found a place to buy the undyed yarn and started looking at profit/cost ratios. (Once a bookkeeper, always a bookkeeper.) I figure if I start small, the worst that can happen is, I get stuck with some yarn. Wow. That would be traumatic.

The Baby got ANOTHER present in the mail today. It was an ABC book from her auntie.


I've gotta say, damn she's cute.

Loose ends.

A post of many unrelated things I've been meaning to mention for some reason or other.


First up, the bag my sister-in-law sewed for me:

She remembered me saying (YEARS ago - I can't remember what someone said to me this morning) that I love brocade fabrics, but since I almost never get Very Dressed Up, I almost never get to wear them. So she found one and made me a bag with it. Isn't it nice? It's the perfect size for take-along knitting and doesn't say "mother of a toddler covered in graham cracker crumbs". It had chocolate in it, too, which didn't hurt.


Secondly, a travel photo. I snapped this from the truck as we drove through; it's the farmland I grew up in. Not specifically the farms I grew up near, but it gives you the idea of rolling hills and fields and you can understand now why living in a flat swamp is not my cup of tea:

Hopefully someone finds this interesting; I always wish people would take more photos of what they consider everyday things, because it's likely not everyday to anyone not living in your town. (I learned this well in Hawaii. I would talk about growing up in cornfields and cow pastures and people would just stare like it was the most exotic thing they'd ever heard.)


And last of all, it's Friday, traditionally the day of Me Knitting. Only now every damn day is Knitting! For! Me! So instead I'm going to try working on projects that have been lurking for months (or longer). Today's goal, make a big dent in the blue-and-black sleeve and maybe do some finishing on the body of the sweater.


Now if you'll excuse me I have to go wind yarn and maybe dye something or other.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Eeee!

We'll call this a teaser for my next article.

Sorry the photo's blurry, I was kind of dancing around with joy when I took it.

I've been playing mad scientist all day long in the kitchen, mixing up dye colors and slinging them onto yarn, and so far it's all turning out PRETTY. (Imagine that! Maybe all this color theory stuff has started to make sense... just watch, my next effort will come out looking like yak vomit.) By trying to standardize this whole process for article readers, I'm actually getting a better grip on it, myself.

I'm having so much fun, I'm considering an Esty shop and handpaint sock yarns. I've lost my mind.

Tomorrow, hot pour dye methods. Here's hoping the cat doesn't turn pink. (My fingers are blue.)

Loot!

A while back, I learned that I'd won a drawing/contest run by Netter over at her blog. According to her, the prize was 'some alpaca yarn', and I was totally excited because I never win ANYTHING, and here I was getting yarn in the mail.

Dude. I didn't win some alpaca. I won A SHITLOAD OF ALPACA!!

The color looks pretty accurate on my monitor. It's SO soft and fuzzy and light and warm. I'd been expecting a couple-three balls of yarn and had been planning a scarf (yes, another scarf, have me committed) with it, but this...! This is enough for an entire sweater! I've been meaning to knit myself some kind of bed jacket sort of thingie for a while now, and this stuff is perfect for that. The idea is now cooking in the back of my head. We'll see what I come up with. I suspect this will lead to a free pattern. Free yarn, free pattern, you see how this works.

In addition to the yarn, there was a box of truffles (mmmmm, truffles), and a small gift for The Baby. I had her open it, and she held it and giggled and said 'cool'. (She's been saying 'cool' for a while now - we finally figured out what she meant.)

She's been clutching it ever since, carrying it around and chewing on the teething bits at the ends of the arms and legs (she's teething like mad right now, so this was a perfect gift).

Thanks, Netter, this was a wonderful care package.


What am I working on?

More length for the Husbeast Gansey. Argh. I'm really tired of dark green yarn. (I'm planning to graft this to the bottom of the sweater - no worries, there will be photos and a how-to posted.)

I'm also skeining and cooking wool for a Knitty article ("Handpainting yarn for beginners" is the boring working title). The oven was on this morning, the husbeast said "What are you baking?" and I said "Wool." and he stared at me for a long time (up to now I've only used the crock-pot to dye with) and finally he said "You scare me." It's fun, I'm trying new techniques I've never done before. And taking photos. It's gonna be a loooong article.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Baby photo.

Actual fiber content!

Natural fiber, of course. Haha.

Here is some of the Christmas knitting on it's recipients:

That's my father-in-law wearing the steeked jacket. It still doesn't have any buttons; he's going to be visiting here in a couple weeks and we're going to go button shopping together. (He mentioned getting bone buttons for it. I never would have thought of that. I'm glad I'm waiting.) In the meantime, he's happy to wear it without buttons. I showed him the steek-along information on my blog, and the list of people planning to knit copies, and he was amazed. He's quite happy with it, as you see. (I knew he would be, because he's got another, similar sweater I knit of lighter lopi for him, years ago, and he wears it all the time.)

And of course, the Blue Shimmer on it's new owner:

Everyone was impressed as all get-out with this one. They kept complimenting me on the color choices and I kept telling them all I did was copy the original as faithfully as possible, and I had little to do with the briliance of it. My father-in-law leafed through "Poems of Color" and boggled over all the sweaters, and was found reading up on the history, very impressed.

No photos of scarves. I forgot. My brother-in-law got a brown alpaca ribbed scarf I knit back in May, and I was pleased to find out that he in fact regularly wears a scarf, and had been looking for a new one because his old wool one was too scratchy. So that went to a good home. My sister-in-law got the dark green falling leaves scarf and put it on immediately. She kept petting it, so that one also went off to a good home.

The other four scarves are getting delivered to their new homes today. (We had to come home early so the Navy didn't come looking for the husbeast; we're missing a family gathering.) I half expect a phone call from the gang later this afternoon, telling me how happy they are with their scarves. My mother-in-law intended to wear the Blue Shimmer so she could gloat to her sisters that she had a daughter-in-law who liked her enough to knit that sweater. I asked my father-in-law to get photos and permission to put them on the internet, so with luck, we'll have a shot of four happy women wearing mohair scarves soon.



While I was in Ohio, I ducked across the street at my in-laws', to visit their neighbor. She is, let me get this right in small-town relationships, the wife of a co-worker of my mother's best friend's husband (you just can't make this kind of thing up). Anyway. She spins, knits, hand dyes, and weaves. Among other things, she's got four spinning wheels (two antique), two looms, a fiber ROOM (puts my closet to shame), and A DYE STUDIO IN THE BASEMENT.

When I die, I want to go to her house for eternity.

I have been reading up on spinning, but have not ever seen anyone live and in person spin before. At least, not in the last twenty years. Certainly not since I've thought about learning to spin and actually would have paid attention. So she spun and I sat next to her and watched, and she and my mother-in-law and I chatted mostly about fiber stuff. (She was spinning a REALLY nice charcoal alpaca, and I fear, making it all look way easier than it really is.) I got some great advice about teaching myself to spin (her priority skill - learn to treadle evenly - I never would have thought of).

Walking back home after, with my mother-in-law, she told me the spinning wheel in her basement belonged to her GREAT GRANDMOTHER, and wondered how much it would cost to get fixed up, because she'd love to give it to me to spin with. When I went and investigated, it looked like the wheel was in good shape for it's age, except it needs the 'mother of all' equipment, which I understand isn't unusual in antique spinning wheels. The neighbor from across the street will be checking it out and offering advice on carpenters to do the work.

If I wind up with a spinning wheel that's been in the family for five (!!!!) generations, it will go in my office and The Baby will be banned until she's old enough to learn to spin herself (making it six generations, !!!!!)

I'm trying to upload baby photos and Blogger won't let me. I'll try again later.


And I hate to do this to my Beloved Readers, but the lace article may get moved back to the summer issue of Knitty. I'm running out of time and motivation to knit the swatches. Instead, I'm considering an article on dyeing wool with food coloring. Or possibly an article about acheiving what everyone always means to do - knitting all the Christmas presents.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Photos!

Yes, I really rode a dirt bike. I got my first one for my eleventh birthday, so I've been riding a while. Mine was almost the same size as the one my nephew got, but it was much, much older and much, much more beat up. (Sort of like me, now that I think of it.) I just took it for a spin up the block and back; my brother wouldn't let us into the yard because it had been raining all day and was muddy. (I swear, ever since he grew up, he hasn't been any fun at all any more. All that responsibility crap.)




The babies had a lovely time playing together. You may notice a slight resemblance between The Baby and The Cousin. (I find the whole thing eerie. I'm adopted, so the idea of RESEMBLING other people is new to me - and The Baby did inherit stuff from me, like crooked fingers and missing teeth.)




I now intend to go fix the husbeast's Christmas sweater (it needs some more length, which I was expecting; I'm going to knit more and graft it onto the bottom of what's already there). Photos of Chirstmas sweaters tomorrow. I'm too pooped to write any more. (We're home, after a looong drive, some of it spent stuck in holiday traffic.)

So I'll give you another photo.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Ahhhh.

My nephew got a new dirt bike today. He let me take it around the block. (He's such a great kid.) I feel much better now. If only my brother would have let us ride it through the mud in the yard...

Merry Christmas n' shit.

You know how when you were a kid, there was always one house in the neighborhood where all the kids went and hung out, and there was always kool-aid in the fridge and it was a constant party and everyone was there?

That's my brother's house.

We're going over in an hour.

Tomorrow we drive home, and with luck, there may be Christmas photos tomorrow evening. (Depending on how awful the drive was and how homicidal I am when we get home.)

I hope all of you are having a lovely day, wherever you may be, whether you're celebrating the holiday or not.

'Cause in two hours I'm gonna be whacked out from a horde of people, dealing with a baby on sugar and toy overload.

We'll be sure to get photos.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Blog post from the edge.

I spent another 24 hours in the company of ten million people. Okay, maybe a couple dozen. I haven't had a shower since I got here because every time I can get in the shower, someone else is in there, the baby is asleep in the room next door, or it's time to eat.

We're at that stage of Christmas where we spend the days running back and forth between my brother's house and the husbeast's parents'. It's only seven blocks, but with a baby in tow, it gets old, fast.

Ah, well. Knitting knews:

I've done a couple lace swatches for the article, and may - if I do some on the way home - be close to finished with that part of the article before I land in South Carolina. Which is good, 'cause from there, I've got two weeks to finish the thing, and it'll take that long to do the other graphics and charts. Let alone the text. I'm also in danger of running out of yarn. It makes my blood run cold.

THE BLUE SHIMMER IS LONG ENOUGH. REPEAT, THE BLUE SHIMMER IS LONG ENOUGH. I gave it to my mother-in-law last night and she was thrilled with it. Totally thrilled. The yoke is quite long, coming down past her shoulders significantly (dunno how that happened, with the way I'd planned it, but... whatever) and the length was just where she wanted it. Mind you, she's very petite.

My sister-in-law sewed me a very pretty brocade bag that will be nice for tucking small knitting projects into.... I'm really damn glad I knit her that scarf (she loved it). And we gave each other chocolate (Godiva and Lindt). Very funny.

Photos of everything will be forthcoming at some point when I get home and am near my own computer, and camera, and my eyes are not wheeling in my head like a rabid iguana's.

Peace on earth. Good will to men (and women). Happy solstice.

Pass the wine and cookies.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

I've hit the wall.

To hell with the presents, to hell with the food, let me go home. Home, where it's quiet and there's a closet full of yarn, and a happy cat to pet (okay, okay, the cat's a bitch, but she's MY cat), and my own kitchen, and it's quiet, and where it's quiet.

I've had quite enough of people. Lovely visits with all of them, yes, but now I've seen them and it's time to go. All this company and good fellowship is making me eat cookies and fantasize about my house, you know, the one where it's quiet.

The Baby had a ranting, conniption fit today after trying to eat some Play-doh and having Dadad take it back out of her mouth. More than once.

My brother and his wife had a snarling match over the date cookies last night, but I made each of them their own bag, so they went off to opposite corners to eat them. While they were arguing over who got the red date cookies and who got the green, their son slipped in the room and made off with the entire bag of buckeyes. When I went over today, there were no buckeyes or date cookies left in the house.

I knew I should have made a double batch.

Now, I'm going to hide in the basement, reading a book and pretending to work on my Knitty article. Shhhh. Don't tell.

Friday, December 22, 2006

I love my readers.

I was expecting to get at least one sheep-hugging comment after my PETA rant (possibly flamed), but no, you guys came through with rationality and understanding. It's awesome. I'm very lucky to have such a group of readers that Get It.

Thank you for all your feedback, and I am going to start doing research into environmental impact of fiber production. Hopefully that will be successful enough that I'll be able to offer something unbiased about all fibers, instead of a pointed rant about PETA. (Not the best knitting article in the world, even if they ARE extremist wankers.)



In other news, The Baby has tried to climb everything possible (including the Christmas tree) and has fallen a couple times. Of course she landed on her face. She looks like she's been in a bar fight. My brother will be so proud.

It's looking like I have to wait until SUNDAY for people to open their presents. This is such a ripoff. Damn it, I want to see if the sweaters fit NOW.

And you all have probably noticed the 'year of me' button at the bottom of my sidebar. It links back to my 'what I want to knit this year' post. I'm not thinking of it as a knit-along, but if anyone wants to swipe the button and link it to their own to-knit list or yearly goal list, feel free.

Now I gotta go eat some cookies. (Oh. We have a new phrase around here. "Just for that, I'm going to eat a cookie." It's funnier than it seems, if said by someone who has grazed on cookies for three days, standing next to a table full of them.)

Hope everyone's having a good pre-holiday Friday. On to the weekend!!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

And another thing!

Sorry, I was so consumed with annoyance at PETA I forgot to include other stuff.

-The Baby is now jumping on every piece of furniture she can find, thanks to her experience at the House of Bounce. Worry not; I am taking photos. Bed, couch, and footstool jumping.

-No one has opened their presents yet and I'm getting antsy because I want to SEE THESE PEOPLE IN THEIR SWEATERS.

-I finally fixed the bloody damn torn scarf, and it is wrapped and under the tree.

-We all had cookies for lunch today.

Let's have some controversy with our tea, hmmm?

Have spent the day knitting lace swatches. The excitement is overwhelming. (In fact, it's a nice vacation, with other people to keep The Baby from trashing the house or eating glass tree ornaments.) I may yet pull off getting everything done in time to meet the deadline on this article.

HOWEVER.

I'm already considering a topic for ANOTHER article. I need opinions. That means youse guys.

It turns out that PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals - they are an extremist group who throw blood on people wearing fur coats and other lovely 'protests' masquerading as assaults) is boycotting the Australian wool industry over cruelty to sheep. Having grown up in farm country myself, you can imagine my opinion of all this. (I dislike a great deal of animal testing and feel that true animal abusers should be jailed. But getting mad at people who shave animals THAT ARE KEPT ALIVE TO BE SHAVED is totally stupid. Let's go harass the people who kill race horses for insurance money, hmm?)

I have heard a great deal of 'vegan knitting' talk on the internet over the years. You know; don't knit with silk because it's mean to worms (??), don't knit with wool because it's mean to sheep, that kind of thing. For some reason they seem totally ignorant of where plant products come from in their quest to knit 'kindly'.

So what do they knit with? Synthetics made out of petroleum products that will not rot for the next ten thousand years, or cotton, which is one of the worst crops IN THE WORLD in terms of soil depletion and pesticide use. Screw the planet's environment; just save the small furry animals (where do they think the small furry animals will live once the environment crashes? Mars?) Of course, power is used when processing any fiber, which is derived from petroleum, one way or another, unless you're using hand-spun organic plant material.

I'm thinking of an article about what cotton does to soil, or where acrylic comes from. I know I'll infuriate every 'vegan knitter' out there. The question is, do I want flamed, and will Knitty even accept it? (I think yes, if I stick to facts and don't get rude about it.) Should I? Do I dare?


Please keep in mind, this is not about people who refuse to knit with wool because they're allergic, or don't like it, or can't afford it, or live in a warm climate... whatever. Those are valid reasons. (Personally, I plan to never touch mohair again, simply because I HATE IT.) I'm talking about the people arguing from ignorance, who want to go hug a sheep while knitting with a fiber (cotton) that causes major economic hardship, destroys soil, and consumes more pesticides per acre than any other commercially grown crop.

It's sure tempting.

In Ohio.

Safely. I guess.

I spent yesterday in the truck with the husbeast and baby, sniping over radio stations, trying to knit (didn't work), eating Smartfood, and trying to read a murder mystery. (Because nothing says holidays like dead bodies.)

I'm using my father-in-law's computer and the damn thing isn't set up for me, so it's like a lame turtle.

Oh, and it's just possible I've had too much sugar.

More later when the baby's down for a nap and I've had enough caffeine to float a battleship.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

No posts for a day or so!

The cookies have overflowed the freezer, (oh yeah, and the coffee cake)

the presents are wrapped,

and the knitting bag is packed.


I wish you all peace, joy, and really nice yarn this holiday season.

You guys rock!

I just had my twenty thousandth post. I have awesome readers.

Rounding up details.

Today's the day I do all the last-minute stuff; finish wrapping (two huge boxes of Duplos, and the goddamn torn scarf left), pack our clothes and my knitting stuff, and finish off the baking. I'm doing a few unplanned batches of cookies to use up ingredients (easy stuff - shortbread cookies and macaroons). While I work, I ponder a few things.

You know how they say blocking changes lace? No kidding. I went from this:


To this:
I liked the unblocked version better, damn it. Oh well. It's wrapped and I never have to think of it again.

As soon as the scarf was bound off yesterday, I did what anyone would do under those circumstances.

Cast on for the Steeked Jacket. Of course, while in Ohio I'm going to be knitting lace swatches, but that's okay 'cause I screwed up the first jacket cast-on, and by the time I re-did it my hands were killing me, so a break might be in order.

Oh, and The Baby? She's practicing what she learned at the House of Bounce, by jumping on everything she can find.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Alert the media.

The last scarf is done. It's not blocked yet (that's up next, as soon as I log off the damn internet, distraction that it is). But it's DONE. I've also got the majority of the present wrapping done and am waiting for The Baby to go to bed before I wrap the baby gifts. And I THINK I just did the last batch of cookies. Just the Date Things and Buckeyes to go.

Which is fortunate, because we leave for Ohio Wednesday at about four AM. When I'm there I plan to sit on my ass and do nothing, as often as possible.

Ah, there's nothing quite like the knowlege that you'll never have to touch mohair again, so long as you live.

Not quite chocolate on the face.

I had several requests for photos of the baby in a cookie-induced daze. So far, this is the best we've been able to manage:

This is an entire macaroon stuffed in her mouth. I gave her one torn in pieces, and she immediately crammed them all in. When she realized we were laughing at her, she gave us the "Yeah, well I have a macaroon in my mouth and you don't." face.

Unfortunately for her, that resulted in more lauging, so she finally stuffed the rest of the cookie into her mouth properly.

It took a while. Here's a shot of her, showing just how full her mouth really is; she looks like a squirrel. Or Marlon Brando. Not sure which.

So there you have it. One baby, whacked out on sugar. Yes, she's clapping. Nothing like a sugar rush to make a kid happy.

Must be the holidays.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Starting to look like Christmas.



That's my freezer, almost full of cookies. Time to slow way down on the baking. (Just the buckeyes and date cookies to go - the cutout cookies got ditched as too much trouble, and replaced with some almond thingies the husbeast requested.)

The advantage to doing this, which I forget every year, is that by the time Christmas actually gets here, I'm so sick of sweets, I'm not at all tempted by them, and load up on protein instead. (And while fattening, turkey and steak just aren't on the same level of fat as butter cookies and chocolate.)

Now I need to finish this scarf. Whee, knitting! I've missed knitting, with all this baking going on.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Slightly less pissed.

Or slightly more drugged. Either way.

The nice thing about being married to an engineering type is, he GETS the technical parts of knitting (as well as watching me knit thigs, so he understands the time involved). I taught him to knit years ago, and though he doesn't do it himself, between the lessons and just listening to me talk, he's actually very coherent and can carry on conversations about knitting with me and other people. (When I was teaching his mother to knit, he would answer her questions. It was very funny. My mother-in-law said she was thrilled by the evidence that not only do we talk to each other, but we LISTEN, too.)

Anyway, so, he's properly horrified by the hole in the scarf, and is sympathetic about it. Quite nice to have around when you're practically foaming at the mouth over something.

It looks like I'll be able to fix it. Ironically, that specific scarf is the one I quit knitting on with a bunch of yarn left, even though I normally knit to the end of the skein. So it's the only scarf of the five mohair scarves that I have the materials to do repair WITH. (Does this mean the gods were smiling on me, or does this mean by having that leftover yarn, I guranteed my own destruction? Hm.)

Fixing hasn't occurred yet. I'm waiting until I'm undrugged to do the repairs.

Instead, I blocked the OTHER scarf that was done and waiting for it:

(Sorry for the bad picture; it's pinned out on my office carpet.) It's for my mother-in-law. Normally I only knit her one gift a year, a sweater. (And I give her a knitting gift from me personally - last year was a knitting bag, this year it's silk yarn.) But this year I'm giving her two sisters AND her sister-in-law these mohair scarves, and she's REALLY close to her sisters, so it seems mean to leave her out. Hence the scarf. It's nothing more than bias columns of eyelets, and I swear I'm naming it 'Lazyass Lace Scarf' when I post the pattern. Very easy, and very pretty.

One more to finish and block. I will weep tears of blood when this disaster is over.


The Baby learned her lesson at the House of Bounce well - she was just found jumping up and down in her crib for all she was worth. I once broke a bed, jumping on it, as a child. I hope she does not follow in my footsteps (jump steps?)

Fuck.

I was blocking the Falling Leaves scarf (for my sister-in-law) and while I was pinning it out, right before my eyes, I watched a stitch pop loose and start to run.



See that big, honkin' hole circled in orange? IT'S NOT SUPPOSED TO BE THERE. I'm not sure if it's a dropped stitch that somehow got past me (if so, how, in a lace pattern where every stitch matters?) or if the yarn tore (oh, wouldn't that be lovely?). I was pulling the scarf out pretty hard, it's possible the thread popped. Fucking mohair.

Either way, I'm going to have to repair this goddamn thing before it's ever been worn. That really pisses me off.

For now it's got a pin stuck in the stitch to keep it from running further, while it dries.

You know those annoying knitting blogs where everything goes perfectly and they never have anything strange happen? No danger of that around here.

The rest of the scarf looks good, though.


I need a drink. Or drugs. Or chocolate. Or something.

One tired baby.

Last night was the military christmas party for the kids in the husbeast's shop. They rented the House of Bounce for the night, and it was overrun with probably seventy-five kids up to age fifteen, and their parents. Unlike most parties of this type that I've attended in the past, this one was FUN. Instead of trying to dress up the kids and entertain them, everyone put their kids in jeans and tee shirts and turned them loose. The parents stood around and chatted while the kids ran wild, and everyone was happy.

The baby?

Oh, the baby really loved the padded floors.

She explored the entire place doing her little knee-walk. It's a rennovated WAREHOUSE, so it was pretty damn big.

Oh, and the bouncy things? The adults were allowed in them too, so we found a small one in a corner and crawled in with her, to show her how it was done.


I was not prepared for actual shrieks of joy, but we got them. Shrieks. Everyone stood around going "aw, she's so cute".

After about two hours of this, The Baby was reduced to glassy-eyed stares from the husbeast's arms, so we went home. She slept twelve hours and is ready for a nap soon.

Then I'm gonna make buckeyes (fuckeyes to my writing group) and cut-out cookies and try to get the rest of the baking organized so my kitchen and dining room quit looking like an explosion at Willy Wonka's. I kind of enjoy the festive look of it, but having to push bags of flour and sugar out of the way so I can eat dinner is getting kind of old.

Oh, uh, knitting? Yeah, I did some of that, too. And I need to block these scarves so I can wrap them and forget about them forever. Then I need to start knitting lace swatches so I can write my blog-reader-inspired Knitty article that's due by the 5th of January.

But first, I think I'm going to have a cup of tea, some chocolate, hug my kid, and read a book.

Friday, December 15, 2006

I'm over THAT for another year.

What on earth made me think shopping would be fun today? The roads are full of assholes talking on cell phones and swerving into each other, and the stores...! Argh. Plus, I went by the Air Force Base to pick up some perscriptions and it took twenty minutes because some dumbass had filed the perscription under the husbeast's name instead of mine. Hello? Am I the husbeast? NO.

Well, anyway, I'm home again without killing anyone, or driving over their car with my Jeep. And being greeted at the door by a baby saying "Hi Mumum!" is a pretty good way to de-stress.


I WILL POST THE LACE SCARF PATTERN WHEN IT IS FINISHED. Mostly so there's a decent photo to show. Plus there are two other lace scarf patterns to post. So don't worry. You'll have a chance at it. Just not right this second. (The one I'm knitting now is "Cell Stitch" in the second treasury of stitch patterns by Barbara Walker if you MUST do it, this instant. With Doucer et Soie in color #8845.)

And I have decided, no cooking today. Bugger it. I'm tired.

Actual knitting content!

I really, really like the scarf I'm knitting right now. Well, I still hate the yarn, but I love the lace pattern enough that I'm plotting when to knit one for myself.

It's only 35 stitches wide, and there are only two pattern rows in it. I can do it while reading if I'm in good light and The Baby isn't trying to play handball with the yarn. (She has discovered the joy of nice, soft yarn. Ugh.) And this morning, while cruising web sites for lace weight yarn for another project, I found alpaca-silk in variegated colors. I'm thinking pink or blue to go with my steeked jacket.

I've found the sweater I'm knitting my mother-in-law for next year's Christmas present. (I know it's not Christmas THIS year yet. So? You can never have too many pending projects to knit.) Carpathian Black Roses from "Norsk Strikkedesign".

Except, in peach and slate blue instead of black and red. (Am I the only one who thinks bordellos when I see black and red?) And I'd do something, anything, different with the collar and cuffs. It's fitted, but still steeked and circularly knit, so it would go fast. And I think I could knit it with Highland Wool, so it'd be reasonable, price-wise. AND, I could do the short-row fitted sleeve and half-graft it in, and take photos and show you guys. To give you all something else to put on your 'knitting techniques only crazy perfectionists do' list.

Otherwise, I want to go shopping today. WANT. There must be something in the air. A Friday right before Christmas? I normally hate shopping, at any time, let alone when it's a madhouse. And I find myself looking forward to it. Must be losing my mind.

The cat is starting to worry me.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

More books that warped me.

The know-too much edition. (The first version, here, contains mostly knitting books that influenced me.) This contains more general books that made me go 'whoa' or taught me a lot. This was inspired by the protein-in-flour discussion in the comments (I can practically hear people thinking 'how in HELL does she know that?') and also, by drugs.

I'm babbling AGAIN! Aaaah!
"Professional Baking" from Cordon Bleu and Wayne Gisslen. I've got the third edition (this is the fourth). I bought this, oh, five, six years ago now. Everyone thought I was insane for doing it, but it taught me EVERYTHING. Not just bread flour vs. cake flour, but professional baking short-cuts that really save wear and tear on my hands. Do not swoon at the price... I got mine on sale, and you can still pick up the third edition in some on-line outlets for less.





"Cod", by Mike Kurlansky. Any subject can be interesting if it's written about by the right person. Including the history of cod fish. I'd learned that lesson before this book came out, but this book is a fine example of it. Don't believe me? Get a copy yourself. I even read the part about Iceland's 'cod wars' out loud to the husbeast and he laughed. The author also did a book on salt, and I see he's got one out on oysters that's new. Must get.

This book also really sparked my fondness for what I call 'pop history' books.




"The Universal History of Numbers" by George Ifram. It's a translation, so it's a little more dry than it might be, in the original French. This is the book that made me, if not like numbers, then quit hating them. I originally got it to read the explanation on why Babylonians used base twelve. (The book's explanation is not adequate, as far as I'm concerned, and I don't think anyone's explained it properly, yet.) Of course once I laid hands on the book I read all of it. It's fascinating, and you know what? Numbers are just a tool, like a hammer or a knitting needle. Use them for what you need and otherwise, don't sweat it. They aren't some great monument to logic, and they aren't the worst thing in the world either.

Blogger has quit uploading photos... fuckers...

"A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson. It gives a great overview of science. ALL of science. Not just the history of it, but how it works. What's the diff between evidence and proof? Stuff like that. It also demonstrates just how affected by the personalities of scientists the whole thing really is. (Unbiased, my ass.) And since it's Bill Bryson, it's hilarious.

"The Modern Mind" by Peter Watson is similar. It's a history of ideas in the twentieth century. Very thought-provoking, but Watson is no Bryson; the book is pretty damn dry. But worth slogging through for an understanding of IQ testing, statistics, and a host of other things.



I'm sure by now everyone's noticed these books are mostly about history. Yup. It's a major interest of mine... if you study the history of a subject, you know the subject. I'd say for the general reader, though, stick to the Bryson book, and the Cod book. The others are kind of esoteric unless you're sincerely interested in the subject involved.

I may be a moron.

I swore I wasn't going to mention the cookies again. (Except to keep the daily running total - and that's more for my own records than for youse guys.) It's a knitting blog, and frankly, I'm getting sick of the subject MYSELF, so we weren't going to have any more cookie talk.

Then I had my Great Revelation this morning. Followed by the Great Head Thunking On The Wall.

I figured out what's PARTLY wrong with the cookies from yesterday. (The oven is still a piece of shit, mind you.) That twenty-five pound bag of flour we bought? It's bread flour. No wonder I got it for cheap - who in hell buys twenty-five pounds of bread flour?? It's not that big a deal, I can tweak the recipes to make it work with this flour - in fact, if I do it right, the cookies might be better - but geez oh pete. Talk about unobservant.

I'm a moron.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Today's score.

-Six inches of lace scarf. The knitting's very relaxing. Even if it is fucking mohair.
-Three and a half dozen screwed up chocolate chip cookies (damn it, they would have been cute, too, the chips were red and green) that I'm unloading on the Navy tomorrow. The oven temp was screwy and they cooked weirdly. The husbeast works at a Navy school full of kids away from home for the first time. They'll scarf up anything.
-Five dozen goddamn mac-nut lace cookies. I will NOT be making them again.
-Three dozen lemon cookies. Those turned out perfectly. Somehow.

And a baby with peanut butter in her ears and up her nose. I swear, you turn your back for one second, and chaos reigns.

She's not stoned. Really. Well, all right, maybe. (Personally, I think the photo's hilarious.) Unfortunately the peanut butter is almost the same color as her skin, so you can't tell it's smeared all over her face. And in her hair.