Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My Gmail account.

Oh my god, I suck.

When I joined Facebook and Twitter (you can find my contacts there through my Ravelry profile), they automatically started sending all updates to my Gmail account. Which meant a hugely bloated Gmail in box. I've just spent forty-five minutes sorting things out, but if you've e-mailed me in the last ten days or so and I haven't answered by noon today, please re-send it.

I've fixed the issue with FB and Twitter and hopefully this will not happen again.

Apologies to anyone waiting on answers. Oy vey. Really sorry.


Once, in College Part One, I was mistaken for a tour guide at the Museum of Natural History in Cleveland. I was there with my boyfriend, and we'd gotten to 'the body room' as I called it as a kid. We were standing in front of the re-articulated skeleton of a Woolly Mammoth and I was telling him how they used to hunt those fuckers back in the stone age. You can read the methods in a book, but until you stand under the tusks of one of those suckers, 'run up and hamstring it with a stone axe' really doesn't mean much. After, wow. Our ancestors were either really hungry, or really crazy. (Probably really hungry. The run-up-and-hamstring method was only used if there were no cliffs to chase them off, or blind canyons to block them into, but it was done.)

I'd noticed an unusual number of people standing around but it was a Saturday and didn't think much of it. After I got done, my boyfriend and I were kind of standing there chatting, and some lady asked which exhibit I was doing next. It took me a minute, and then I finally said "Oh. Um. I'm not a guide, I just took an anthropology class last semester." I think someone muttered it had been too good to be true, and the crowd dispersed and the boyfriend and I stood there, rather bemused.


As for the Acrobatic Dancer's boobs... well, I'm not sure the artist was painting from an actual model. I think he was doing it from memory. (And as we know, in mens' memories, boobs always defy gravity.) Take another look.

Now, when I was a teenager and could do that, my boobs would not have drooped (I know, send hate mail to the Gmail account). However, due to the extreme arch, I would have looked like I had no boobs at all. I was pretty thin. And so is that dancer. I think we have Idealized Boobies.

The other reason I suspect he was painting from memory? Look at her earring. Ancient Egypt didn't run to anodized aluminum. And even if it did, the weight of the hoop would not allow it to stand UP from her ear while her head was upside down - it would droop back over her ear in a normal, gravitational sort of way. The earring was most likely gold, so even if cast by lost-wax and hollow, it'd still have been way too heavy to stand up like that.

Probably painted from memory. (I am such a geek.)

After yesterday's blog post, I came up with another reason to paint this, by the way. It's possible it's a portrait. See, the worker's village (known to modern archaeologists as Deir el-Madinah - we don't know the ancient name) was on the west bank of Luxor/Thebes, near the Valley of the Kings. Also on the West bank are all the mortuary temples belonging to all those kings buried in the Valley. (You had to keep worshipping them in the afterlife.) The West bank is so full of funerary temples, mortuaries, and other stuff that back in the day, the place must have been just teeming with priests, priestesses, and other temple workers. The temples employed dancers and musicians for festivals, so it's not totally out of orbit to think perhaps someone in the Workers' Village had a wife, sister, daughter, or other female relative, working as a dancer in one of the temples. And so he painted a picture of her, dancing and honoring the gods, because he was proud of her. (It's possible. Dancing, as an employee of the temples, was very likely a respectable living. We're not sure what their attitude was, but it's safe to say - given their brother/sister marriage custom - that their ideas of sexuality and social rules were not the same as ours.)

So anyway. Another thought. I think too much. But I've got nothing else to blog about. The Russian Prime continues. I spin when I'm utterly bored by the Russian Prime, which is most of the time now - second sleeves are brutal, particularly once you've hit the elbow and are headed to the home stretch. I've SO done this before.

I think I'm knitting sweaters sleeves-first, from now on. They can act as gauge swatches, plus, duh, the sleeves will be done that way.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Art appreciation, at my house.

I continue to read my newest art history book, "30,000 years of art", aquired at the Morse Museum while I was in Florida. It weighs 15 pounds/6.8 kg, and is three inches/7.5 cm thick. I'm up to about 1,000 BCE. It's slow going, and pretty dense. (Ha.)

There is one work of art, with commentary, per page, which makes it ideal for reading while caring for the Goob. I can manage an article or two before she turns up, demanding crackers or something. Plus she likes to look at the pictures with me and talk about them, so I'm squeezing in a few history lessons as we go. Never know if it'll stick, but we both enjoy it.

So, yesterday, I'd gotten to 1200 BCE and the "Acrobatic Dancer". She's pretty famous in both art history and Egyptology, and I'd seen her before.

The book is so huge that I read it at the dining room table (where it has taken up semi-permanent residence). I sat there, reading about how her origin is unknown (she showed up on the antiquities market decades ago, possibly as long as a century, back when things were regularly looted and sold and the authorities didn't do much). She's thought to have come from the workers' village near the Valley of the Kings, where the painters, sculptors, and other artists and craftsmen who built the royal tombs lived.

The husbeast, not being big on art history and having gleaned most of his Egyptology from a couple quick visits with the Navy, and living with me, had never seen her before. He wandered by the table where I was reading, stopped, and said, "Oh, nice."

I assume it was appreciation for both the artistic skill - which is impressive - and the subject matter.

So I read to him from the book, on the theories as to how and why the lady got painted. Theories are: it was drawn by a master to explain a theory to an apprentice, a working sketch in preparation of tomb decoration, a copy of work from a tomb for later refrence. "Sheer pleasure of creation" is added, at the end, almost as an afterthought.

The husbeast summed it up best with a snort. "Maybe he just liked painting naked chicks. Looks like he was good at it."

I added that considering the unholy amount of formal rules governing 'real' Egyptian painting at the time, perhaps an artist wanted to make something however he liked. And he liked naked chicks.

The husbeast and I agreed, and he went off to the garage to work on the engine he's rebuilding, and I went on to read about a Syrian box lid of carved ivory.

I'm telling you, the museums NEED US.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A few last bits on the writing.

Everyone's been very kind in the comments. Thank you. I'll try to cover questions asked, but first, I have to mention that I've got a merry band of writers I hang out with on-line, some published some not. We call ourselves the Hive Mind ('cause we all think alike) and call each other names when something good happens. The group first started getting together about eight, nine years ago, and we're still going strong. They're a fun bunch. I know some of 'em read over here, too. (Bitch!)

-Yes, I appear to be like this in person, though a little less organized due to a lack of proper editing in real life. People always find me (and the husbeast) utterly hilarious, both in writing and in person. I've never quite understood why, half the time, but whatever. Better than being considered mean or something.

-It took until I was in my thirties to realize I wanted to go into agriculture/botany, which I may not ever manage, having put it off forever, for one reason or other, but at least I KNOW. When I was in high school, deciding what I wanted to do with my life, I didn't even know the type of research I'd love to do EXISTED. So, for that among a million other reasons, I dislike society's habit of making seventeen year old kids decide the rest of their lives. Especially sheltered kids in rural areas. (Though the kids in towns and cities likely have no advantage; I just know what the rural experience was like.)

-One way or another my kid's going to be the same way I was in school, only with a rabid mother who makes the school administration appreciate her good points. OR. ELSE. hahaha. Won't that be fun for you guys to read about? First time they attack the critical thinking skills, all hell will break loose.

-Yes, it was also the idea of me teaching English that contributed to quitting college. Alwen, I'm betting we were horrified for different reasons; for me it was the idea of having to deal with school administrators EVERY DAY that made me scream in horror. (See above comments about the Goob and laugh in anticipation of the blog posts in a couple years.)

-My novels are what I call 'sarcastic suspense'. Romantic suspense, but with more attitude. And cussing. I like the relationship stuff - not just the obvious male/female romantic stuff, but all the rest. Parent/child, friendship of all forms, siblings, you name it. Which means a cast of thousands, so everyone can interact, and then we need some action to give them something to DO, and, well, you get the idea. The newest novel may involve gods and demigods (and the occasional mortal, I suppose) and the end of the world. You know, a minor little morality tale. At the moment I'm composing lists of demigods. (Which for me is fun. I'm such a geek.)

Thanks again for all the kind words about the writing. I shall endeavor to keep all of you entertained for some time to come. (Vogue Knitting review, next weekend! Eeee!)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Just when you're ready to lose your mind...

...they do something cute.

Two days ago, in an effort to get the Goober to lay quietly and be still during nap time (sleeping is not required, though 90% of the time if she manages quiet and still, she falls asleep), I started playing hardball.

I took away stuffed animals.

She sleeps with four of them, but only one (Scabbers the stuffed rat) has been with her since childhood. The stuffie I took away, Dolly the dolphin, had only been with her since last month in Florida. I told her I'd keep taking away stuffies until she was quiet and laid down for a while. After the loss of Dolly, boy howdy, she quieted right down. I don't know what I'd have done if I'd gotten down to Scabbers as her last stuffie... probably wussed out and given her chocolate.

Why does 90% of parenting seem to suck oozing rat ass and leave you feeling guilty as all hell, for one reason or other?

Anyway. Tonight, after another really long, difficult day (though she napped without losing any stuffies), we were getting her ready for bed. She rubbed the husbeast's beard stubble and said "oooh, Daddy, I like your pointy face."

Pointy face for beard stubble. Heeheeheehee. Pointy face.

Okay, okay, the writing.

Bells kicked it off, I think. Then Amy Lane started up with the fan fiction (today's 'Coda' entry is quite cool, and educational), and now Louiz is writing about her writing. So, as Louiz said, either jumping on the bandwagon or some kind of cosmic zeitgeist (or possibly a form of commiseration), here you go.

I started writing when I was, literally, a kid. I remember writing a joke in yellow marker on a piece of cardboard, sometime before I started kindergarten. (Typically, my audience didn't get it. Story of my life.) I learned to read at four, and in my usual fashion, figured if other people could make stuff up, by golly, I could too. (This was reflected much later when I learned to knit - others design, by golly, I can too.)

I remember in grade school writing some story, getting a C on it, and having the teacher tell me it wasn't 'what she wanted'. Looking back, I'm still mildly enraged at the idiot teacher, who should have been thrilled a kid turned in ANYTHING, let alone something three times longer than the assignment was for, just because the kid enjoyed writing it.

Later, in high school, I had several nice teachers who gently encouraged the writing, usually by reading my work and making gentle suggestions. I'm sure as English teachers, they were pleased by any kid who ENJOYED writing and would cut their tongues out before discouraging that. I wasn't any good, but by churning out huge volumes of stuff, I developed a solid foundation in grammar and narrative voice.

Plus, I had an op/ed column in the school paper. I kicked off the end of my senior year with an editorial reminding all the teachers that they existed to teach us (not give lazy students A's, I was careful to point out, but to TEACH), and suggested that perhaps some of them needed to remember that. Nearly got suspended for it. Interestingly, the good teachers told me they liked it, and the lazy teachers who needed to hear it screamed for my blood.

And so I learned the power of the written word. Also the valuable lesson that very often, the people who most need to hear something, are the most resistant and hostile when it is said.

When I went to college, directly from high school, I didn't know what I wanted to do (going straight to college was an insanely stupid move, but that's a post for another day), so I went as an English major. A friend of mine recently told me that being an English major is like being a Marine. Once you've signed on, you're in it for life. Damn if it isn't true. What's the English major version of Semper Fi? Carpe diem? In college I realized there's more to writing a story than just good grammar. So I began studying literature and fiction more actively, seeing how other people did it. I read Joseph Campbell. I wrote a lot of papers of all sorts, for all kinds of classes. And eventually I realized that being a good novelist is not something you learn in college, so I quit school. Well, that and I still didn't know what I wanted to do, so staying seemed like a waste of money.

Over the next ten, fifteen years or so, I worked as an accounting clerk, got married, moved around, and wrote novels. No one wanted to publish them, but that seemed about par for the course; all writers had piles of rejection letters. I just kept on writing. At that point I think I had the wit to understand that for most writers, it's about the act of writing, of creation, not making money. As long as I enjoyed the writing, I was going to do it. And I did. I still do.

The novel writing gradually morphed into short stories, fan fic (yes, Amy, fan fic), smut, article writing, and then to KNITTING article writing. At about the same time, I went back to school and began writing papers there. And I began blogging, which was another lovely, enjoyable outlet for the writing. It turned out I was some kind of idiot savant for tech writing, and impressed my professors, my readers, and others. (If I have some amazing ability for explaining things, it's because I assume my audience is smart, but knows nothing about the topic. I don't talk down, but I explain EVERYTHING.)

This brings us to now. Most of my writing these days is limited to short things; articles or blog posts, or fan fic (which I consider a brain twinkie). I blame it on the Goober, but really, I think part of it also comes from all the medication I'm on for the hand problem. I have trouble concentrating for long amounts of time. That seems to be changing, though, and I'm thinking of going back to the novels. I never quit studying fiction, and how other people write things. It's time, I think.

Maybe when the Goober's older, I'll look into doing more tech writing, for more of a living. But, honestly, tech writing for other people kind of sucks. They micro-manage it down until they might as well write it themselves; they'd hire me for the humor that I put into my tech stuff, and then edit the humor out later. So, I don't know. Maybe I'll stick to articles on what I want, when I want.

But either way, for pay or for personal enjoyment, writing has always been something I do, and something I enjoy. I've got no plan to quit; in fact, it's my fallback plan to remain sane. If and when my hand finally craps out and I can't knit any more, it will be writing I will turn to for comfort.

Kind of boring, but there you go. Probably only Bells, Amy, and Louiz have stuck with me this far. Haha.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Ceramic knives.

There were quite a few questions about them, after the last post. So I'll share what I know.

EXACTLY how they're made is a mystery, because it's proprietary information. The one documentary I managed to watch on the subject of industrial ceramics, when they got to the cutting implements, they toured a factory and weren't allowed in half the rooms. However, from cruising the site over at Kyocera (I notice they're also selling ceramic-based ballpoint pens... hmmm), I see they say absolutely NOTHING about how the ceramics are made. But from the properties they have, I assume they're really either ceramic/glass or ceramic/metal composite. It looks and acts more like ceramic/glass should behave (breakage), but when it comes to composite I wouldn't count entirely on that to tell you what it is. But I'm guessing some kind of high-temp ceramic/glass composite.

Anyway, the material is really hard. Harder than metal. Which is, as with most things, both a benefit and a liability. Because it's SO incredibly hard, it's incredibly brittle, and doesn't flex at all. However, the lack of flexibility makes it possible for the ceramic to hold a sharper edge than metal. These are so hard and weird that you have to send the knives back to the factory for sharpening.

See, when you sharpen a metal knife, you get to a stage where the edge is so thin it can't support itself and either folds over or rolls up on itself. So metal knives are kind of intentionally dull; after sharpening, they knock off that folded over edge (the burr). While I'm sure ceramic (and any other material) will do the same thing, the 'point of collapse' where the edge is too thin and breaks off, is far thinner than with metal. (Am I making sense? I'm more an organic, non-metallic chemistry kind of girl.) Long story short, on a molecular level, ceramic is harder and so can hold a thinner - and therefore sharper - edge.

What's this all mean in real life? They feel funny when you use them. You may not think so, but after a lifetime of using metal knives, we're all used to our knives flexing. Cheapass knives flex a LOT, but even good knives have a little bit of flex in them. It's just how metal WORKS. So you use a ceramic knife, and you notice almost immediately that it isn't flexing a damn bit. I don't know about other people, but for me it makes me handle them a bit more cautiously. The only thing I used to use my ceramic knife for (I've had one for about ten years; just not a whole block of them) was slicing. Cutting thin slices of meat, cutting thin-skinned fruits like tomatos, that kinda thing. Dicing and mincing and like that is good, too, though I find for mincing I like the rocker-shaped blade of my metal chef's knife better. Anything that leads to a knife wedged into a big chunk of food (pot roasts, watermelons, bodies) is asking for breakage. I'm told chefs use these a lot for mincing up herbs, where you need lots of 'sharp' and not any 'crush'.

They're also super-sharp, to a disturbing level. I once cut entirely through a chicken leg (including the bone) by ACCIDENT, without realizing it. I'm only half kidding about how I'll eventually lop off a finger with one of these. More than capable of handling a banana or ten.

I confess, we also have a ceramic vegetable peeler. (The Perfect Peeler at the top of the page.) The husbeast does the bulk of the potato peeling at our house, and I bought it for him last Christmas as a gag gift more than anything else, but he loved it. I've used it since then, and it is AWESOME. Smooth as a baby's butt, and the peels come right off. And it's reasonably priced and everything.

So, food for thought. Basically, like everything else, ceramic knives are great, except for when they're not. I won't be giving up my (metal) boning knife any time soon.

Damn it. Now I want the pink santoku. And if I breathe a word to the husbeast, the crazy fucker will go buy it when we've got knives coming out our ears. (Just for the record, price-wise, these are about equal to high-quality home kitchen metal knives like Henkel's. But I still don't need a pink ceramic knife.)

Ooo! Look! Henkel's has a section on knife skills!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I married a lunatic, part, uh, next.

Yes, yes. I know the greatest proof that the husbeast is insane is that he married me. That's kind of the humor of it, I hope.

So. The husbeast is a knife geek. He carries them, he collects them. And he buys them for me and the kitchen. Previous posts include the story of the Girl Knife (still carrying it daily), and my 40th birthday gifts of a backup girl knife and a boning knife. I could take apart a T-Rex with that boning knife.

A few years back, with the Goober on the loose, I asked the husbeast for some junk knives. You see, all the knives in the kitchen were super-good high carbon steel and needed proper care (instant cleaning, drying, and replacement in the knife block). I wanted something that was crap, that cost a couple bucks, that I could leave laying around with food stuck to it, or fling in the sink to clean later and not care. I wanted these, because with the Goob, I was CONSTANTLY cutting stuff up for her to eat.

He went out and got me some junk knives. (They weren't really that junky.) And I used and abused them, cutting up bananas and peanut butter sandwiches. The other knives were for things like mincing garlic and dismembering chickens and cutting up pot roasts. Then there were the junk knives for slicing hot-dogs. It was all going smoothly, I thought.

Silly me.

I noticed the husbeast was sharpening them more than usual, and muttering that they wouldn't keep an edge. I pointed out you could probably slice a banana with a crowbar, but he didn't care. The junk knives were driving him insane.

So he replaced them.

See those? THEY ARE CERAMIC. CERAMIC KNIVES!!!! Okay, the one on the left is a really nice santoku, but the rest are ceramic. These are the exact OPPOSITE of the concept of 'junk knife'. CERAMIC!!! MY JUNK KNIVES HAVE BEEN REPLACED WITH HIGH-TECH INDUSTRIAL CERAMICS!!!!

Some morning, I'm going to accidentally lop off a finger, slicing a banana with a ceramic knife while half awake. Or drop one and break it into a thousand really sharp little bits. While I'm barefoot.

Ceramic knives. Oy.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Current projects.

For those just tuning in, I like to do this once in a while, to sort of keep myself on track. (And entertain those who know I always set unrealistic, bordering on insane goals. Okay, okay, some of them are REALLY insane.)

First up, the major project, the Russian Prime.

It is going smoothly enough now that I've figured out that 'in pattern' bit. I've got about three inches of sleeve, maybe four. If I were to knuckle down and get serious, I could finish it in four or five days. Well, with another day for finishing like sewing down the damned hem and binding off all the ribbing. (I do a sewn bind-off and skip it when I'm on fire to keep knitting... like, uh, always.)


On the horizon is the Second Sock, from Sock Roulette.

It's lovely, and I really want the pair. Preferably by the end of April, when I want to do the photo montage of all the pairs of socks knit up with the Sock Roulette swap (you guys hearing that?) Ideally I'd like to finish the Russian Prime and then knit the Second Sock, but if I hit mid-April and the Russian Prime isn't done, screw it, I'm on to the Second Sock.

There were questions about the pattern. It is "Spring Forward", from Knitty.


The Setesdal pullovers are on tap next, after that. I'm doing the incidental, planning stuff now, like knitting some gauge swatches and doing some charts, mostly as breaks when I'm tired of actually knitting. It's getting there, just slowly.


Next project, the spinning.

I'm really happy with the first 180 yards, which I washed up today.

Now that it's washed, I'm sure it's thin enough for socks, and will probably wind up knitting it up as a sort of break, while working on the Setesdal pullovers that are looming on the horizon.

For now, the spinning is the project that really appeals to me. I'm not sure why, except that I usually find spinning very calming and soothing, and right now everyone is driving me stark, raving mad. Well. Maybe that's a good reason, after all. (I just called my child "baby" and she said "That's GOOBER, you poo head." Time to spin some more singles.)


And that brings me neatly to my OTHER project.

Lately, getting her to nap has been like climbing Everest. You can do it, but damnation is it a huge amount of effort. I managed it today (hence the photo), but I won't say about tomorrow. You just never know. (I wouldn't push the nap so hard, but she turns into the kid from hell without one.)

Although she did discover the great joy of zoning out to a lava lite today.

Maybe we'll try THAT for nap time tomorrow. Can't hurt, and nothing else has worked.

Book review.

Setesdal Sweaters, The History of the Norwegian Lice Pattern, by Annemor Sundbø

This book is only available in the US from Schoolhouse Press, that I know of. It's an English translation of a Norwegian book, printed in Norway. (The translation is a bit shaky; there are some basic grammar errors. If that bothers you, don't buy it, but I think they did a good enough job and it's a knitting book so everyone should just get the hell over the occasional grammar mistake. But it's a review so I'm saying they're there.)

I bought this book because I'm planning to knit these Setesdal sweaters and I wanted to know a few things about them first. What did the originals look like, what gauge were they knit at, how much white, how much black, how many lice per inch. The usual nitpicking (ha) stuff I obsess over when starting a project. Plus I was hoping to get a look at some closeup photos of the embroidery on the front neckline of the sweater. I figured if I got some history to go with it, well, it wouldn't kill me and it's not like I don't like history, anyway.

This book delivered on all counts, AND had the most impressive history section of any knitting book I've ever seen. At one point I was reading about how the author went out and tracked down and interviewed the first woman to wear a lusekofe in the Setesdal Valley, and thought "I wish we could get her to write a history of knitting in general". She's that good. When she got done interviewing everyone she could, and digging through all the museums in Norway, well then, she headed to Minnesota in the US to see where all those Norwegian knitters went in modern times (huge waves of immigration in the 1930s). There wasn't much for her to find in Minnesota, but the fact that she WENT AND LOOKED impresses the hell out of me. This is a woman who leaves no stone unturned. Really. We need to put her on the track of knitting in general. She'll have it sorted out in a year or two.

The book is laid out in a fairly obvious way (which I like 'cause it makes sense then): history section in the front, then discussion of traditional sweaters in the second half. In her 'discussion' of the historic sweaters, she goes to amazing lengths to demonstrate just what she's dug up historically. There are twenty-nine (!!) sweaters taken from old photos and rag piles, which she has charted, so anyone can knit a copy. The oldest sweater is from a photo dating to about 1860. (Yes, charts for a sweater from 1860, in case you want to go super-traditional.) In the case of fifteen of the oldest sweaters, the author has KNIT COPIES HERSELF so you can see what they really look like in modern yarns and in a modern photo, not just charted from a 150 year old photo. (Have I mentioned it's a royal bitch to chart from really old photos? Think about it.) This of course is an amazing attention to detail that I've never seen in another knitting book.

Bottom line? Best knitting book I've seen in ages. Definitely the best of its kind, namely a book on a narrow little bit of knitting history. Never seen anything like it. (Even the husbeast was impressed, not because he knows anything about knitting history books, but because I was so obviously impressed; he knew it was really something.) It reminds me a lot of doctoral theses I have read in the past, but more approachable. It's that detailed and scholarly.

Buy it? Well, it's a book on the history of a single folk sweater, knit in a single rural valley in Norway. Nothing but lusekofta, start to finish. Granted, they might be the most popular folk sweater in the world, but even so, the information is pretty darn limited, even if it is detailed. So I guess this one's up to you. But if you want history of knitting in Norway, by golly, this is the place to find it.

If Ms. Sundbø won't tackle the history of knitting at large, maybe we could get her to do books on each of the world's great folk sweaters. Or maybe send her to the Black Sea to sort out that whole 'back door migration' theory. Yeah. That'd be good.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Oh, and crocheted steeks!

I had a question about how to crochet a steek. Eunny already covered it, and did a better job than I ever will, so I'll just send you over to her.

Crocheted steek directions, HERE.

Enjoy, and may you cut with great precision.

I has sleeve.

But not a whole lot else.

Finally got the whole 'knit in pattern' idea through my head, and coordinated existing knitting and what the chart said, and got things going. With luck, this poor, one-armed sweater will be done by the end of this week, but I'd settle for next week. Anything leading to a finished one-armed sweater is fine with me.

In other knitting news, I'm sad to report that the gauge swatch for the Setesdal sweaters (with Aussie five-ply on size three/3.25 mm needles) is nearly perfect and it is looking like I'm stuck knitting two (maybe three) sweaters on size three needles this year. I whined so much, the husbeast asked if maybe we should buy a whole other shipment of yarn in eight-ply. Leaving me to reply that if we did, what in HELL would I do with the massive pile of five-ply we already had? So I'm digging in.

I also got a book - from Norway - on how exactly to make a Setesdal sweater. Turns out I'm knitting these at nearly the correct gauge, in terms of what they were traditionally knit at. (Seven stitches to the inch for me, rather than eight stitches to the inch.) And - yay - how to do the embroidery around the neck. While I was planning to KNIT the color around the neck, but with the directions for the embroidery... well, I've got a good way to go before I make that decision.


Otherwise, it's been a crappy couple days around here. The Goober has begun channeling her Inner Three Year Old. Usually she's so good at listening and following directions and being reasoned with, that we kind of forget she's a little kid with tantrum tendencies. Well, no forgetting that today. Newp. (In fact, the blogging just took a bit of a break while I went to tag-team the Goober with the husbeast. One of those days when it takes two parents.) So, anyway... today has sucked. And I'll likely spend the rest of the night cataloging books (over on Facebook, with weRead), and knitting.

Sekhmet? She's using the Sunbeam Coping Method.

I'd try it myself if everyone would leave me the hell alone. I can't bite like she does, and stay out of jail.

But I'm tempted.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Drugged steeking. Again.

It seems like every time I need to cut a steek, I'm on painkillers. And every time I do it, I swear I never will again. Yet the next time steeking rolls around, there I am with my hand hurting, kinda dizzy, cutting a hole in my knitting, going "I really shouldn't be doing this."

Lately my hand has been bothering me more than usual.

I don't really know why.

So, you know, I'm trying to ignore it and keep on keeping on. Perhaps with the judicious use of a few painkillers prescribed for the purpose. You know. Nothing extreme.

This afternoon, I remained calm, and breathing slowly and deeply, crocheted my steek.

Then, using very small, very sharp scissors, with my hand behind the arm hole, I cut.

(Incidentally, the one time I cut a huge, gaping hole in my knitting by accident, I wasn't drugged. Just cocky. I'm not so cocky any more.)

After that, it was a simple matter of picking up stitches. Sort of. This is the pattern where I pick up stitches in pattern, using both colors.

Then I knit off down the arm, staying in pattern, so that there's no noticeable arm hole seam. (This is the arm hole seam of the first sleeve, which is actually done.)

Very clever, but trickier than I thought.

I got the stitches picked up all right, then chose the wrong spot in the bloody chart to begin 'in pattern', fucked it all up, and had to tear back three or four hours' knitting down to the pick-up row. (On the other hand, this gives me a chance to fix the wrong-colored stitch in the underarm pattern. Whoopee.)

Then I chucked it back in the basket and went to do the Setesdal gauge swatch. (Got the book on Setesdal jerseys. Book review to follow, once I'm done reading it, but it's good.)


I also got the first half of the orange sock yarn plied. (This could be the other source of my hand issue. Other than the cat.) It may be thin enough for socks after all.

Either way, I like the color. (It is merino of my own dyeing, chain-plied.) I'm just not sure when in hell I'll get to it, to knit it up. I keep reminding myself I spin for relaxation, meditation, and hand therapy, and it doesn't matter when I knit it up. But geez. The Pit is overflowing.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Plying hath begun.

Too thick for soocks, though. Might make some nice slippers. You know, sometime in the next decade when I'm done with the current projects.

Maybe I'll try selling it in the Etsy Shop. (Still running the deal where regular blog readers get a free ribbon flower in the color of their choice, as barette, pin, or clip. Just say something when you order.)

Spring. Bah, humbug.

It's spring in the South. How can I tell? Many ways. The azaleas are blooming:

The trees are having sex again (around here the going statement is 'the fucking trees are fucking again'), and we're covered in the previously-blogged-about pollen in drifts.

But mostly? I know because I've had a seasonal migraine for a damned week.

Bah. I'd rather have eternal winter than this shifting around and migraines. Bah.


While I was out snapping photos of the damned azaleas, the Goober insisted I take a photo of her, so here you are.

I think she's been studying those models in Vogue Knitting.

Her quote of the day, "Mumma, I want you to make me a super hero." I'm quite flattered that she thinks I've got the mojo to do that, but we've gotta work on that whole 'manners' thing. Some more. Again.

Remember when I was in Florida, and thought I'd lost my phone? And spotted the one I wanted to replace it? Well, we got it anyway.

It's a Katana LX from Sanyo. And yes, it's pink. The Goob figured out there was a camera in it (I swear I didn't know that until after I'd had it a couple hours), and has been insufferable ever since. Every time she sees it in my hand, it's "take a picture of ME, Mumma!"


Anyway, between the migraine pain and the massive amounts of snot in my head (I'll spare the details), I'm fairly incoherent. The goals for me at the moment are to finish the Russian Prime and Roulette Sock while doing gauge swatches for the Setesdal jerseys. Then, of course, start the jerseys.

Well, I guess breathing sometime in the next week is a goal, too.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Quote of the day.

GOOB: You keep saying no.

ME: Yep. That's my job. I'm your mother.


In other news, I am sad to report that knitting the five-ply on size 3/3.25mm needles appears to be working. The swatch seems just right in terms of drape and stitch definition. Damn. I'll finish the swatch and wash it before I make a final decision, but it's looking like two (maybe three) sweaters on size threes for the year.

Good times.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

No such thing as a new idea.

So, that book I bought at the Morse Museum, what, a month ago? Yes. I've been reading it. (There should be a rule about me reading art history books, but there isn't, hahahaha.) It is "30,000 Years of Art" and is three inches/7.5 cm thick and weighs 15 pounds/almost 9kg. It is full color printed and mostly full of the standard 'great bits of art' (Nefertiti bust, Gundestrup Cauldron), but occasionally has new and surprising stuff. And the new bits? Well, they leave me convinced that no one's had an original idea in at least seven thousand years. Probably longer. The only thing that has changed is the technology. Don't believe me? Let's have a look. (These are all photos of pages in the book... bear with me.)

This whole 'modern art' thing is a bunch of crap... want individualized, unusual interpretations of everyday things? Yeah. The human race has been doing that for a while.

This is a bull sculpture, from Iran, dating to about 1200 BCE. You could plop that baby on a white laminate pedestal in the Museum of Modern Art and no one would look twice. Not what most people think of when they hear the term 'ancient Middle-Eastern art'.

Ditto for portraits. Want stylized features with personality? Humanity's been doing that for a while, too.

This guy's from Nigeria, and dates to 450 BCE. Isn't it great? I love the amount of feeling the artist managed, with such stylized features. Almost reminds me of a cartoon. (Not an insult. I think cartoons are art, too.)

But there's more! Mythical figures go way back, and so do statues of them.

This statue is from China, 300 BCE. Their metallurgy skills were so advanced, I doubt anyone could improve on it, even today. Again, drop it into the Museum of Modern Art, and no one would say "Oh, but that's from ancient China". They'd say "Who is the artist? I want to commission some work."

Doesn't this look like modern cosmetics packaging?

Put some pressed powder in there, and a powder puff and no one would look at you twice if you pulled it out of your fancy purse at a formal affair and dusted your nose. Except it's solid gold, from ancient Egypt, and dates to 2603 BCE. The Egyptians apparently didn't just know cosmetics, they knew packaging, too.

And this. THIS looks like some plastic dinnerware my mother had, for us kids to eat off of in the early seventies. Almost identical. I swear.

But this one is Roman. And glass. And two thousand years old.

I've given up having new ideas. I'll settle for interesting versions of old ideas. Or any idea at all.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Spinny winny inny ninny.

Why yes, I'm on migraine medication. Why do you ask?

Okay. Question for the spinners (spinerettes? spinistes?) out there. Is there a name for this?

Other than 'effective', I mean. I'm self taught, so... is this an official draw method, long draw maybe? Or is it more of my usual weirdness?

I'm spinning singles as thin as possible, with the idea of chain-plying them into sock yarn. And then of course, knitting socks out of them. Because I've lost my mind.

And while I'm at it? Anyone got an idea what to do with 730 yards of DK-weight yarn? This handspun has been lurking in The Pit for the best part of a year.

Me either. I'm hitting Ravelry next.

Yeah, yeah, Russian Prime. I'm working on it. Let me dream of other stuff.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A revolting level of cute.

Early this evening, I was in my office, spinning (SOCK YARN), and things were relatively quiet. Which made me rather suspicious, since the husbeast and Goober were in the house somewhere.

Then I heard the husbeast say "There you go, get it on there, that's the way." followed by the familiar clicking noise of a socket wrench or ratcheting wrench.

It turned out to be a ratcheting wrench, and he and the Goober were out in the garage.

They were out there quite a while, turning bolts and hammering things. When it was time for dinner, the Goober was hauled inside, protesting all the way. She wanted to stay in the garage and "build". The husbeast was quite delighted by this obvious evidence of his DNA. (Though I'm not too bad at mechanics myself... I just don't think it's fun.)

He celebrated by coming inside and doing 'failure analysis' on my spinning wheel. (Engineering terms are so cheerful.) Basically, I wanted to know why it was making a clicking noise. He watched a while and told me to feed the yarn strand direction into the orifice, because the stress caused by feeding it in at an angle was causing the head to bounce up and down. I tried it, and it worked.

That's so annoying.


I was hoping to have photos of all the pairs of socks at the end of March in one great wrap-up post. But it seems the Post Office is moving more slowly than expected (I didn't think it was possible to underestimate them more than I already do). Which makes me think the end of April would be a more sensible time to do the Great Wrap-Up.


Though if you can't manage it, we won't take away your knitting needles or anything. Maybe just post 'neener neener' in your blog comments. Nothing insurmountable.


Otherwise, the in-laws are here, just an overnigher between Florida and Myrtle Beach. I had a migraine from hell yesterday and got to say "Hi." between popping pills and trying to not have my eyes roll back in my head.

More later as events warrant.

Friday, March 13, 2009


Got my Roulette sock in the mail today, from Susan. (Susan, if you've got a blog, I don't know it... let me know if you want advertised.) It's a lovely sock, and quite luxurious when I put it on. I fear this will lead to Sock Addiction (I, the woman who often wears her store-bought socks inside out so the toe seam doesn't rub).

Isn't it PRETTY? It is toe-up, which I have never done before in my life. But I've done something similar to the Turkish cast-on, when doing the Cat Bordhi style mobius knits. Otherwise, I feel reasonably confident, because Susan documented every darn stitch, down to telling me how she mirrors her increases and what cast-off she used. (Thanks for that.) All should go reasonably well.

There was some concern from Susan over whether or not the sock would fit. I assure you, it does. Beautifully. Which impresses the heck out of me, because I've got weird feet. They used to be super-narrow, until I moved to Hawaii and literally went barefoot for ten years. Now I've got what the kids out there jokingly refer to as 'foot spread', meaning the width of my foot increases over an inch when I put weight on it. Yet my heel, with no tarsals or toes to spread, remains super-narrow. Unlike all commercial socks, this one fits.

I scent an addiction to sock knitting, on the wind.

Oh, and the box also had Tim-Tams in it.

We've had about half a box; I'm saving the rest for when the in-laws get here tomorrow. (I hope.)


In other news, I'm on the cuff of the first sleeve of the Russian Prime.

With luck, it'll be done in a week or so and I can knit myself ANOTHER SOCK!



There were some questions in the comments of my knitting needle post...

-I haven't seen square knitting needles, but they sound like a bad idea. Those corners will push into your fingers, and I can't see how they would not pinch off nerves and blood vessels, and inflame muscles and tendons and the like. Just the idea makes my fingers hurt. Better to get a set of Brittany Birches and rough them up with a nail file, if you have trouble with the needles slipping out of the stitches.

-I used to be a pretty tight knitter, but after busting my hand, I loosened up to what I think of as normal. So I've still got no idea what in hell is up with needing to knit five-ply on size three/3.25 mm needles. The Bendigo web site says size five/3.75 mm needles. All my experience said size five/3.75 mm needles. I've triple-checked the labels on the yarn. All I can say at this point is, maybe I'm wrong, I'll knit the swatch, it'll be stiff as a board, and I can go up two needle sizes. That would be nice.

-The jumper for my father-in-law was done with eight-ply, but yes, it was knit more loosely than usual because it was an all-over cable pattern. I didn't want it so stiff he couldn't move, and I didn't want him to die of heat stroke when he wore it inside. So, yes, the size eight needles were a little on the loose side, but it was on purpose.


The Goober got a toy car today. (The husbeast got it; he loves getting her toys.) So what did she do with it?

Put one of her Little People toys on it and took it for a ride. (She also just took it to the husbeast for an oil change. How quickly they do learn.)

Shhhhh. Listen. Do you hear it? It's the Russian Prime, calling me.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


My mother-in-law called today, to let me know there was a change of plan and they would be STAYING OVER SATURDAY NIGHT. Not just swinging through for a visit. THIS MEANS I HAVE TO FIND THE FLOOR OF THE OFFICE. [Heavy breathing here.] I knew this was a possibility, but I HAVE TO FIND THE FLOOR OF THE OFFICE.

And another thing.

I remember why I dislike knitted-on sleeves. (The ones where you pick up and knit down to the wrist.) But I'm finishing something!

So, size three needles.

Last night, I was telling the husbeast about the new double points from Signature Needle Arts. He inspects chunks of metal all day, and appreciates good engineering, so I knew he'd like the sound of the new DPNs from Signature. Two different kinds of points - blunt and pointy, one on each end, to knit with as you choose. The center of the needle is slightly rough, to hang on to the stitches, but the points are smooth for ease of working. Honestly, I think a machinist who knits came up with the idea, or a couple like me and the husbeast, one who works in metal and one who knits a lot. Either way, they're some seriously awesome precision engineering and probably the only improvement on knitting needles to come by in, what, five, six hundred years? (No, wait. Steel needles for everyone, improved wire-making technology, two hundred years ago. Ish. Last improvement.) It's a subtle improvement, but it's there.

The husbeast, as is usual (because he spends more on car parts and tools than I EVER will on yarn unless I go to knitting cashmere exclusively and is probably afraid I'll start totaling up expenditures for the last two months), said "Buy yourself a couple sets."

Um, yeah. There's the rub. They're $45 USD per set. Even the husbeast agreed that was kind of steep, but gamely said maybe I could get one set, in a size I used a lot. (He's spent a lot on car parts lately.) I told him as soon as I almost entirely limit myself to one size of needle (like if I were to knit socks exclusively), I'd buy some. In the mean time, I just couldn't justify the expense, particularly since I've been knitting twenty years and I'm so used to baby-butt smooth aluminum that the sudden popularity of bamboo and wood five years back seems like a huge luxury I'm still enjoying. If I get into sock knitting in a big way (it's possible, but unlikely), I'd consider getting some ones and zeros.

This morning, bless his heart, the husbeast called to tell me that we'd been paid and I could "Get those knitting needles." Well. He didn't specify which ones, now did he? Just... knitting needles. And I DO need some good size threes for this unholy Setesdal project. I figured so long as I spent less than $45, he may roll his eyes and call me a cheapskate, but he wouldn't really care.

That's how I found myself over at Yarn Supply, buying three cheapass Boye circulars and an ergonomic crochet hook in the same size (I'll use bamboo double-points). Boye needles are the anodized aluminum monstrosities they sell at Wal-Mart. They're what I learned on, what I'm used to, and may the gods help me, what I still prefer for many - nearly all - projects. The circulars are pretty well-engineered: aluminum points go down to a thinner bit BEFORE the nylon cord joins on. The join between cord and point is pretty sturdy, because I've never had one break, not in twenty years of knitting with these beasts. (Unlike the Denise needles. I broke one of those last month, and I almost never use them.) The points on the Boye needles are - for me at least - the perfect combination of pointy and blunt, and of course, as I've said before, they're what I learned on and what I've knit with for twenty years.

Plus there's the cost. Did I mention the cost? Less than four dollars each. SCORE! Three knitting needles and a fancy ergo crochet hook, for sixteen dollars. And free shipping.

Ideally, I'd have the gauge swatch done when the needles get here, but I have this overwhelming urge to finish the Russian Prime, which has been languishing for TWO YEARS (holy fuck, I only thought it was one, where does the time go??) with only one arm. Knitting a single arm won't take long. And it'll put off the moment when I have to cast on 420 stitches and join without twisting. Plus, it's the Year To Finish. I should finish something before starting a new project, right? I've been finishing stuff right and left, but I should finish MORE, right? Avoidance. Gotta love it.


By the way, thank you, Donna Lee, for the "pure and simple hell (with pink ribbon)" comment. Snarfing tea out my nose helped my sinuses, and I really needed the laugh. May I remind you, YOU have to watch me bitch about this for the next six months. At least. Hahahaha.


And lastly, a photo of the Goober. Who had a growth spurt in Florida and is looking positively little-kid sized. Speaking of 'where does the time go?'

As well as carpet beetles, warm weather brings out squirrels.

Sekhmet's quite interested.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The early spring of my discontent.

Warmer weather has hit here. Meaning a new herd of carpet beetles. The husbeast is also on alert (he thinks 'closet full of wool' and sees dollar signs being nibbled up), and we've agreed - we think they're coming in through the doors and windows, not living in here. (Which is what we figure for most of the other bugs we get, so okay. Valid theory. Or else we're in denial. Either way.) Friday is payday and I'm investing heavily in lavender, lavender oil, and all-natural (with lavender oil) soap. I think soap rubbed around a door frame will be effective, especially if repeated every once in a while. Lavender sachets and oil diffusers will help, too.

And arson. I WANT TO TORCH THE LITTLE BASTARDS! Whoops, did I type that out loud?


I know I'm really home again. Sekhmet bit me this morning. I'd had the audacity to interrupt her nap (she was sleeping on my lap and I moved). Fucker.


Okay, someone Australian clue me in on the whole yarn weight thing. Because y'all aren't tracking my logic, or I'm not tracking yours. (I assume this is entirely my American problem, but I'm whining anyway.)

So. Bells and I swapped for yarn ages ago, and last year I knit it up into a sweater for my father-in-law. It was Bendigo Woolen Mills, eight ply. EIGHT. All right. I knit it up with size eight/5 mm needles. I get this. I'm with you.

For the new, Setesdalish jumpers, I wanted something lighter, and figured the step down to five-ply was the way to go. This would, I THOUGHT, take me down to a size five/3.75 mm needle, which would work nicely. I wasn't basing this on ply=needle size, but wraps per inch, and sport weight = five ply comments over on Ravelry, and all that rot. Yuh. About that. I got out the five-ply last night for some swatches, and KEPT GOING DOWN NEEDLE SIZES. And down. And down. And cursing. And, finally, settled on size three/3.25 mm needles to knit this stuff up. SIZE THREE. There is no way in hell I can NOT knit this yarn up into Christmas presents. The husbeast will murder me in my bed if I say "oh, whoops", toss it into The Pit and order more. I am COMMITTED TO THIS YARN. (And need committed, yes, thank you.)

Good thing I'm starting now, because apparently I will be KNITTING TWO EXTRA-LARGE SWEATERS ON SIZE THREE NEEDLES!!!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAH!

(On the other hand, super-small needles almost guarantees I'll have enough yarn left over for another Setesdal jersey for me. If I can stand to knit three of them.)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Both with the current Damn Doily, and the Long Lacy Summer knit-along, which I joined late and kind of by default (I'd been knitting lace non-stop for months and thought joining an Australian summer knit-along would make me feel warm).

Since last October, I've finished this stuff, in the way of lace:

Remember the Shawl of Doom? That one ran from October, straight through to December, knitting like a fiend the whole time. Then when it was done I turned around and threw it into a dye pot. The knitting must have gotten to me - 1728 stitches per round, that last inch or so (yes, I still remember without looking it up) - because looking back, I can't believe I had the nerve to do that. But I did, and it turned out nicely, if I do say so myself.

Then there was a brief break to finish my father-in-law's Christmas sweater (a cableknit that should have been done last July), and then dug right into the "Russian Starf" (stole + scarf = starf), based on the "Faux Russian Stole" pattern in "A Gathering of Lace".

That also turned out nicely, even though the yarn kind of sucked - though I'm told that after washing it's just fine to wear. I sent it to a friend of mine as my VERY belated half of a crafting swap. She says it was worth the wait (thankfully) and has worn it every day but one since she got it (approximately two weeks, as of this writing).

Then there's the current doily:

It's going off to a favorite uncle and his new wife, as a wedding gift. Doilies are my thing (I've knit about thirty of them at last count, but my record-keeping is sketchy so it's probably more), and I have nine MILES of crochet cotton in my stash, so it was kind of an obvious go-to gift, knowing we'd be broke after the trip to Florida the last two weeks.

This thing is a shining example of the paradox that is lace knitting: The more openwork a pattern is, the fewer stitches it takes to 'cover' an area. Which SHOULD make the pattern faster to work. But it's not, because the more openwork a pattern is, the funkier the stitches are in it, and the longer they take to work because of how much more attention you have to pay, counting stitches, working odd decreases, and the like.

So, while I chose this thing as a quick knit, I didn't do my homework and REALLY look at the pattern; I just saw the hex mesh (the openwork, sort-of-hexagonal mesh) and the stockinette, and cast on.

In a way, I was right, and those stockinette rounds (the solid white shade in the photo) really were fast and easy to knit. That's the part where I read books. I've done a lot of EXACTLY this kind of knitting - #10 crochet cotton, size two needles, lace - and so I can do stockinette by touch, or close to it. But I failed to really plan ahead.

See those honking big eyelets/holes in the outer edge? Those are worked by doing a knit-purl-knit-indefinitely into a multiple yarnover on the row below. In this case, ten knit-purl-etc into each gigantic eyelet. That's a pain in the ass. You really have to pay attention, and you have to count carefully or you're screwed. THEN when you try to knit the plain round after, you have to untwist the stitches, and if you're using a circular needle with a cable thinner than the points (as is usual), the stitches in multiple-stitch eyelets can slip out of order, jumping over each other while on the small cable, and you have to shift them back around as you work them. That can take quite a while. THEN, there were the five-into-one decreases (pentiple?) I had to work... that round took about an hour and a half, and made my fingers numb.

So. Not my smartest choice ever, as a quick knit, and now you know what to look out for when choosing your own patterns.

But it's done, it will go in the mail soon, and I can FORGET ALL ABOUT IT!! Woohoo!


In other news. My Facebook home page is HERE, for those who found four Julie Theakers on Facebook while looking for me (I only ever knew about the other one in the UK). If that link doesn't help, and it may not because I've little to no clue what I'm doing, I'm also using a Setesdal jersey (from the blog post a couple days ago) as an avatar, so find the Julie with the Dale of Norway photo and you're golden.

One of the recipients of the Baby Surprise Jackets I knit has had her baby, and I will be posting a photo of the baby wearing the BSJ on my Ravelry page soon. I'd put it here, but I promised the mum I wouldn't blast the photo out to the internet at large. If you're not on Ravelry, imagine a really little baby wearing a really big BSJ in pink and red and cream.

I'm trying to be virtuous these days, and work on gauge swatches - for the 2/3 round shawl I'm designing (still at that), and also the Christmas sweaters (I'd really like them done before we move in July). But I really want to bust out the tatting cotton and the quad-zero needles and knit another doily. For MEMEMEMEME. As was the ORIGINAL plan for what-to-knit while on vacation. Before I got that wedding announcement. Sigh.

Monday, March 09, 2009

It's been a shit kind of day.

I spent most of yesterday knitting until my fingertips went numb, and bound the damn doily off tonight. Blocking to commence tomorrow.

I am dealing with Daylight Savings Time AND starting my period on the same day, for which there should be a law. I'll be passing out soon, thank you.

THEN, I had a request from several blog readers to join, uh, some social networking page or something. I thought it was Twitter. Um. No, apparently it was FACEBOOK. So now I'm half-assedly on Facebook, too. This time as Julie Theaker (I'm on Twitter as SamuraiKnitter. Apparently Facebook doesn't give me the choice). So. I'm all hooked in and social and shit.

I'm going to go thunk my head on my desk, some, now.

And now, I see Blogger has changed how spell check looks. I hate changes.


I'm now twitted.

Or a twit. Or, uh, something.

I'm on Twitter, as SamuraiKnitter. Or click HERE.

Still working out the details, but there I am.

Saturday, March 07, 2009


When I got home yesterday, I had mail waiting. First, there was a little package from Cheryl over at A Simple Yarn. No idea what I did to rate such bounty, but it was a lovely surprise to find, after dragging into the house from six hours on the road with a three year old.

Isn't the yarn pretty? And the trivet is REALLY cool, and I'm sure will get lots of use here. Clever idea. I may need to make some.

Thanks, Cheryl!

Then, of course, there was the Bendigo order. I'm planning to knit adaptations of Setesdal jerseys, like this:

(Image from Dale of Norway.) Except I want to knit on the colored bits, not use ribbon. So I bought a whole lot of black and natural cream, and some accent colors. (Really. There is a method to the madness.) More floral for my mother-in-law, less for my father-in-law (though I'm gonna work some pink yarn and silver ribbon into the neck. I swear). With that in mind, my order looked like this:

For those of you who've never ordered from or seen Bendigo's wool balls, they're this size:

Each ball contains about 635 yards/580 meters of yarn. So, um, I think I have enough. Probably. You know. Unless I knit them some pup tents.

If I can stand the sizing process I'll make the patterns available, for sale. I'm going to price them fairly low, because I'll be writing them in the same style Dale of Norway uses for these types of sweaters, which is to say, I assume you know what you're doing and just provide the needed details - charts, cast-on figures, etc.

And now I think I might go read and knit some lace. With my extra cerebral lobe. Bwahahahahaha. (Thanks for that one, Roxie. Still laughing.)