Wednesday, September 30, 2009

It's official.

We're four minutes into October first, and the husbeast is officially retired.

I'm hoping this means there will be less bureaucratic bullshit in my life.


Yup. I'm doing it. I need something to kick me into gear on the blogging thing. Normally I can't shut up, but since this move I've been crabby and bitchy and wanting to spare my Beloved Readers the bitchfest. So, I came up with a plan. If it's a day that there's nothing to report, or I'm too cranky to want to talk about real life, you're going to be stuck with plants. And ancient history. And possibly art. We'll see. (For those not in the know, Blogtoberfest is a festival sort of thing where people vow to blog every day. Normally this would be a breeze for me, but lately? I need a kick in the pants. I'm listed as JulieT, if you're curious.)

For now, I thought a roundup of what I'm doing would be in order.

Lustkofe En is about seven inches in. I should take a picture, but by tomorrow I'll have started the lice and I'll take a picture then.

I made ribbon barrettes for little girls today. A royal pain in the fingers, but it's good physical therapy and makes them happy. Perhaps a photo of those tomorrow, too.

But the Auntie Starf? I'm all over that. Yesterday I went out and bought some beads for the edges of said scarf. I had this great plan, a bunch of SMALL faceted stones, until I walked into the V Rock Shop and spotted something else.

These are teardrop shaped, faceted beads made from rainbow moonstone (also known as spectralite, also known as white labradorite). Rainbow moonstone is one of my favorites, and I knew they'd look fabulous against the dark yarn, and, well, I bought them. You know you're in deep shit when you're buying things by carat weight. (They came out to about a buck apiece. With luck there'll be two or four left over for earrings for moi.) Since they're too delicate to string onto the yarn, I bought some black silk thread. I'll string the beads on THAT, then use it as a knit-along-with dealie as I knit up the yarn.

Oh, the yarn? Yeah, finished it, too.

252-odd yards of alpaca/silk blend. The only word I can think of for it is 'luxurious'. You know you've got a great gift on your hands when you want to keep it for yourself.

So now all I've got to do is come up with a pattern. I think I need to do something original. This is an original kind of woman I'm making it for. But the pattern? Maybe I'll give it out free. The last scarf I knit for Auntie has become my most popular design. (Almost seventy projects, all over the world! EEE!) We'll see. Right now I'm thinking of sideways-knit ends, with a center of a basic lace stitch, like the scarves in Victorian Lace Today.

For now, I'm gonna go read pulp fiction and knit on Lustkofe En.

Tomorrow (unless someone fucks my routine again), the Barbara Walker treasuries. Of course I packed them in a box and brought them with me on this move. Wouldn't you??

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

It's banned book week!

That's right, here in the US, those of us who like civil liberties (the ones the Patriot Act left us with) are celebrating the right to read whatever the hell we want. None of you know it, but my laptop, the one I'm blogging on right now, has a sticker that reads "Everything I need to know about life, I've learned by reading banned books."

My last laptop had a sticker with the First Amendment on it. This one would too, if I could find one. Maybe for the next laptop.

So with this in mind, lets have a little meme-thingie. Go to the list of banned books from the American Library Association (it isn't extensive, but it hits the high points), pick your favorite, and discuss in whatever detail you like.

Here I go.

Well, heck, there are a couple in here I really like.

The Great Gatsby is a great book. A run-of-the-mill story line elevated to art by Fitzgerald's lyric writing. Of course it was Charleston that didn't like it. Those people are so uptight they squeak.

The Catcher in the Rye is probably the best stream-of-consciousness book I've ever read (Ulysses is okay but more confusing). There's real skill involved in how the writer gradually reveals WHY the protagonist is having a meltdown, and manages to make him sympathetic even as he's breaking laws and going nuts. Censored all over the place for profanity and all that bullshit. Bet this blog's more profane than that book ever was.

I've got no idea why the Nazis would be burning Call of the Wild, but then the Nazis were nutballs anyway. Loved Call of the Wild. At the time it was insanely original, and it's still pretty darn cool.

Anyone saying Lord of the Rings is Satanic should really read it first. Ditto for Harry Potter, who isn't on the list but has been burned all over the place.

In closing, I include a link to a news article about my new favorite Senator, Al Franken. (Franken was the comedian who ran for the Senate and narrowly won after months of recounts and hearings and bitching.) Last week the senate was having hearings over whether to extend the Patriot Act. Franken got up and read the Fourth Amendment to the guy from the Justice Department who was testifying. (The Fourth Amendment deals with protecting citizens from unlawful arrest and other government harassment, like, say, roving wiretaps.) Basically, Franken told the Justice Department that the Patriot Act is unconstitutional. (Which it is.) Everything stalled for a bit, then they rolled right over Franken and the hearing continued, but the point was made: the Patriot Act is unconstitional, and Franken had the guts to call them on it. Bravo.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sekhmet, you... cat.

These days Sekhmet spends a lot of time living in the basement, to keep her separated from Chico, my mother-in-law's cat. This sounds a lot more onerous than it is, because the basement is where I and the Goober are sleeping, the main TV, all my knitting, and most of the Goober's toys. So Sekhmet still gets us twelve to eighteen hours a day, which is better than a cat whose humans work, when you think about it.

Somehow, even though I've explained the above to Sekhmet more than once, she still gets separation anxiety.

I am kitty velcro. I'm the prickly half. She's the fuzzy half. Szt. Stuck together. As I type this, she is sitting on the arm of the chair I'm sitting in, doing her trademark Lap Ooze manouver. At the moment, it is butt on arm of chair, front paws on my leg. I can tell from the shifting of her paws that in another minute or two, one of her front paws will come up over my arm to the center of my lap. It'll rest there for a bit, just like an accident. Then the next front paw will somehow - purely by accident, you know - wind up over my arm and into my lap. Then, her butt will ooze off the arm of the chair and onto my arm. Without appearing to move, she will somehow slide over until she is curled up in a ball between my arms while I try to type, leaving about two inches of each knee to support my laptop.

She just dripped nose condensation on my hand.

And her butt just plopped onto my arm, while her purring rattles my computer.

Fucker. (Yes, I'll give her a pat from all of you.)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Seven Layer Salad

After this move (and a batch of crumb cake that was a total dud), I've decided I'm posting all the recipes I can think of to this here blog. That way I can find the damn things, later. Today we're gearing up for the hub's birthday party tonight, and I got voluntold to do the salad and some cupcakes for the kids. I'm using the cupcake recipe under "chocolate" in the sidebar. And after asking the husbeast what salad he wanted, I made Seven Layer Salad last night.

Seven Layer Salad is a great thing for a party because you make it the night before and let it sit, then toss it at the last minute, and it actually tastes better for all the sitting. Rare in a true salad. (Also - in Hawaii, folks eating this thought it was TERRIBLY exotic. Which is funny, 'cause everyone makes it here. Pretty sure it's an Amish Country Special.)


-large head of lettuce, torn up
-salt and pepper
-six to eight hard-boiled eggs, sliced
-two cups frozen peas
-one pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
-two cups shredded mild cheddar cheese
-two cups mayonnaise
-four tablespoons sugar
-chopped green onions.

Get a honkin' big bowl and start layering the ingredients, in the order they're written. Dump in the lettuce, salt and pepper it, lay on eggs, then put in the rest - peas, bacon, and cheese. Then mix the mayo (real mayo, not that Miracle Whip crap) and sugar, and spread it over top. At the last minute, throw in the green onions and toss the salad.

It's supposed to serve ten to twelve, but I've watched friends plow through a quarter of this, all by themselves, going "wow, this is really good, what did you say the dressing was again?"

We leave out the onions, because half the family horks on them. And the mayo/sugar combination makes a really wild dressing that makes people unfamiliar with the stuff say "What's this dressing? It's awesome!" then they boggle when you tell them what it is.

I seriously doubt this is actually healthy. Probably why the husbeast loves it so. Enjoy.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sorta-knit-along in the future!

For about a year now, my mother-in-law has been wanting to figure out "color knitting". By this she means stranded color, intarsia, steeked, loopy, crazy stuff. We've been kicking around ideas and not really feeling motivated, until KnitPicks offered this bag kit:

Not only does the bag do steeks, intarsia, AND stranded color, it's a BAG. Which means size is no object. One less thing to worry about. So we were discussing how the bag would make a good learning project, and, well, next thing I knew, Birthday Claus was providing one of the kits for me to knit up along with my mother-in-law.

We'll be starting in January, after the Christmas insanity is over. I don't intend to do a formal knit-along (because Sock Roulette will be coming up in February), but I'm going to do a series of how-to blog posts with the bag as a centerpiece. Anyone wanting to get a kit and knit along, feel free. I'll be happy to field questions while we're at it.

I'm mentioning this now, because I don't know how long KnitPicks offers kits for. And I don't know about YOU guys, but WE are always broke in January, so this'll give everyone a chance to plan ahead.

Something to think about, anyway.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Now with fiber!

Here's an interesting idea. Why don't I TALK ABOUT ACTUAL KNITTING on this knitting blog? (Okay, with some spinning, I've been spinning more than knitting, shoot me.)

First, the lustkofen. One of two (or three, dare I suggest it). To jog your memories, they're meant to look something like this (it's some Dale of Norway pattern or other):

I have about this much of one done:

As you can see, I'm finishing up a round of X's and diamonds (actually thirteen rounds to make up the pattern), and then it's either some little triangles for style and THEN lice (the white flecks on black), or straight on to the lice. Haven't decided yet.

Traditionally, they have an insert of black felt at the chest and collar that is then embroidered with flowers or swirly patterns. Still haven't decided if I'm going overboard and putting in the felt and embroidery, but I need to make up my mind in about eight inches.

Obviously, this is being done on the fly. We'll see if I live to regret it later, but I give it a big "probably" in terms of odds.

For those of you thinking "that knitting needle looks awfully small", it is. It's a size three. Probably the same one I knit last Christmas' Shawl of Doom on. At least this year I won't have 1728 stitches crammed on the needle at once. That counts for something, doesn't it?


Sekhmet just leapt out of nowhere onto one of the Goob's finger puppets (the moose, I do believe) and murdered it horribly. She's now carting the carcass around in her mouth.



I've been spinning. I find it soothing, and it keeps my hands busy so I don't kill people. Mostly I've been working on a black (because my eyes NEED more black) silk/alpaca blend:

(Like the manicure? I'd claim I'm gearing up for Halloween, but really, I just like orange.) This is destined for a lace scarf/stole/starf sort of thing. With beads. It's for the husbeast's aunt, who specializes in helping laid-off people get jobs, and who called in markers and got the husbeast a job before the husbeast was even officially retired. (Okay. The husbeast really got the job, because he's qualified, more experienced than his future boss, passed all the tests, and can be a charming SOB when he wants to be. But his aunt collaborated on the resume and got him the interview.) Clearly, this is a woman who deserves a handspun, handknit scarf. Plus she wears and takes care of the last one I knit her. So there we go. Plan in action.

This was the practice round for the silk/alpaca:

For this, it's not the 'what' that's interesting, it's the 'how'. (Non-spinners, look away now.) It's Romney, which I'd never spun before (nice, if odd). It's a two-ply that I did from both ends of a center-pull ball. I managed it successfully, which is impressive. Last time I tried this, I had to cut myself loose. (Spinning and tatting... get me scissors or call the rescue squad.) I intend to spin the silk/alpaca the same way, so it's nice to get in some practice so I know I won't destroy it.

This stuff is likely going to be made into a mini Calorimetry for the Goob. If not Calorimetry, than for sure, something similar. She looks good in this color, and needs something to cover her ears this winter.

So, that's it. Knitting, spinning. The husbeast and I are both pretty stressed right now (and therefore wound pretty tight). I think my plan for the next week is to lock myself in somewhere and knit.

If someone could get the bloody network printer to work, I could also post (and hopefully sell) some hand-dyed wool and yarn. Wouldn't that be nice?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Well... poop.

That color theory book I was talking about? Well.

Color and Culture, but John Gauge. Published in 1999 and currently retailing at Amazon for about $40 USD. Every flippin' color theory book and article I've read, I swear, reference this book. It's like the Bible, or the Holy Grail, or, hell, I don't know, an original copy of the Icelandic Sagas. It's made to sound like THE book on color and culture. And, hello, the title, so go figure.

Turns out it's another piece of western-centric crap like every other art history book I have. Starts with the Greeks and Romans, blah blah, look how clever the post-impressionists are. Whoopee. I've heard that song before.

I'll be skimming the chapters (there's one chapter on color and concepts of Western classical magic that might be good) and will pass on anything worth mentioning. There's gotta be something interesting in there, there are 268 pages to the main text. But I fear a lot of the cool stuff I've already seen in some other art history book.

Anyone know of a book out there that's REALLY about the meanings of color in world cultures? I suspect I need to get the hell out of the art history section and go dig around the anthropology section instead.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Home again, home again.

We were in fact at the lake with the husbeast's family - his mother and her siblings, and some of their kids and grandkids. Yesterday afternoon there were thirteen kids under the age of 11 running around (counting the Goob). I'm pretty sure they outnumbered the adults, but my head was spinning and I'm not going to think about it.

It was a lot like the Mongol Horde, only shorter.


Turns out the guild that That Neighbor belongs to is doing a workshop on spinning novelty yarns. They need to let guild members sign up first, but if my luck holds, they'll have room for me, too. Mid-October. Whee!


Knit in the car the whole way to and from the lake, and also at the lake (in an attempt to cling to sanity). Got about two inches done, and for the first time I'm thinking it may be within the realm of reality to finish at least one of these Lustkofen before Christmas.

I'm thinking every time I finish one of these huge balls of wool from Bendigo Woolen Mills, I will celebrate. Probably with chocolate.


Have located (at the local library) a copy of a book on color theory. It's one of those that's either impossible to find, or costs eleventeen hundred dollars. I'm looking forward to a good read, and intend to subject my readers to the details.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Gone fishing.

Well. Not really. But I AM going to a lake house to hang out with a bunch of family members. I'll be back tomorrow night, but if I don't blog, that's what's going on.

Like you'd worry at this stage, with all the blogging I haven't done.

Still. That's where I am.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Punic Wars

(I got nothin'. No peace and quiet, so no spinning or knitting getting done. I may lose my mind soon, but in the mean time, enjoy.)

The Punic Wars have been described as the World Wars of the ancient world, and I've gotta say, it's a pretty apt comparison. The wars - really a long era of hostility with brief moments of peace - were economically motivated for the most part, between Rome and Carthage (known as Punicus or Punicii by the Romans) for control of the Mediterranean. This meant territory for the Romans and trade for the Carthaginians.

This has relevance to textile geeks. I swear. If you don't believe me, scroll down to the bottom.

The wars went on from 264 to 146 BCE; almost a hundred years worth of death and destruction and fighting. And all of you know more about this than you realize, because the wars spawned to really famous historical figures. Most of them during the Second Punic War, in the middle of the conflict.

Remember Hannibal crossing the Alps? (Historians debate that, by the way. And most agree only one elephant made it all the way to Italy.) We all get some vague idea of a crazy man taking elephants over the Alps, but most of us are foggy on the details. (At least I was; I had crappy ancient history teachers.) Here's a map:

What Hannibal was doing, was stickin' it to Rome. He left New Carthage (in modern Spain) in 218 BCE, headed for Rome. Obviously he took the short-but-brutal route, kicking ass all along the way. (You can see the dates of the battles on the map.) He caught the Romans with their togas down, laid waste to big portions of Italy for years, and drove the Roman consuls insane. He wiped out at least one entire Roman army (Battle of Cannae, 216 BCE), and actually triggered the reorganization of the Roman government. Eventually he had to leave his army and fall back to Carthage because while he could make an unholy mess of the Italian peninsula, he didn't have the manpower to actually hold a position. So back he went to Carthage in 203 BCE. (For those not counting, that's FIFTEEN YEARS of ravaging the Roman countryside.)

After that, the Romans were pretty pissed, went to Carthage (Battle of Zama), and wiped out the Carthaginian army. Then they made a treaty that was up there with the Germans at the end of WW1 for brutality, and called it the end of the Second Punic War. (More about Hannibal at Badass of the Week.)

Also during the Second Punic War (which one doesn't really matter, I see it as one big clusterfuck, myself), there was another guy you might have heard of, stickin' it to the Romans.


All those crazy weapons you hear about him making? The boat hook? The mirrors of doom? He was doing all that to defend against the Romans.

See the little red dot? That's Syracuse. It's on the island of Sicily, and was originally a Carthaginian colony/trading post. Once the Punic Wars hit, well, the Romans weren't gonna put up with a colony of the enemy that close to their shores, and repeatedly attacked Syracuse. During the First Punic War, Syracuse became the property of the Romans. They weren't too happy about that, and declared themselves an independent Kingdom soon after. Rome was too busy fighting with Carthage, at first, to do much about it. Syracuse was sympathetic to Carthage (at least some of the people were), and Rome was still paranoid about having an uncontrolled state right on their doorstep, so in 214 BCE, they laid siege to Syracuse. Again. (Which is kind of interesting, where they found the manpower, because at the time they were also fighting Hannibal and his elephants.) It was a stalemate and a huge clusterfuck, until in 212 BCE, the Roman general, Marcus Claudius Marcellus, found out there was gonna be a citywide party to honor Artemis. He timed an invasion for that night, and Syracuse fell to the Romans.

Marcellus was so impressed with Syracuse's defenses, he'd put the word out that the inventor was to be spared at all cost. A Roman soldier killed him anyway. From what I know of Archimedes, I'll bet he tried to knife the Romans.

So, the Punic Wars. Huge fight for dominance of the Med that never gets mentioned much in history class any more. We hear about the legendary figures, but we never know quite how they fit into the big picture unless we look it up.

How is this relevant to textile geeks? Well. Carthage was the 'modern' name of an older network of trading outposts and colonies. They were originally called the Phoenicians. All this warfare with Rome? It was paid for with murex dye.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Butterfly Factory.

Last week we took the Goob to a nature preserve where they had a butterfly garden. There were chrysalis everywhere you looked, so the Goob started calling it the butterfly factory. 'Cause that's where butterflies are made. Makes a lot of sense in a four-year-old kind of way.

We saw lots of butterflies, of course.

And the biggest honkin' caterpillar I've ever seen in my entire freakin' life.


For those of you wanting to know where I am, here's a hint:

(Seriously, if you want to know, e-mail me. I just don't want to blast it around the internet.)


Lately, the Goober's been doing this:

That's her new books for her Tag Reader System. Her favorite is Kung Fu Panda, and I like it because it's got lots of sound-out-words games.


And here's the yarn I finished last week.

If everyone would give me five seconds to myself these days, I'd have more to show for it. It was easier when I was under the weather; I got to stay home and actually accomplished stuff. Now I feel better and it's off to the library or YMCA or grocery store every time I turn around.

PS: looks like we got the internet fixed. Knock on wood. If I can find any in this information age. Knock on silicon?

Monday, September 14, 2009


So, staying here at the in-laws', I'm reading a lot of stuff I normally wouldn't (they get awesome magazines), and therefore am seeing a lot of information I normally wouldn't. This morning, I was flipping through the September 14 issue of New Yorker, and there's a one-page interview with Anna Wintour.

For those of you not in the know, Anna Wintour is the editor of Vogue (the real one), arbiter of fashion, decider-upon of all things cool, and - rumor has it - the inspiration for The Devil Wears Prada. With all this in mind, I sat down to see what Ms. Wintour had to say about modern fashion and what I'm supposed to do about it. And there it was.

"I get a few key pieces each season and wear them a lot." Emphasis mine, because she's saying the same damn thing the rest of us have been saying. (Those italics are also mine.) Remember, this is a woman whose entire reputation rides on looking good, and stylish, every stinkin' day. Then, further along in the interview, " many handbags? How many shoes? How much of a thing does everyone really need?"

Thank you, Ms. Wintour. I and my fellow hand-knitters can be found, gloating over drinks, in the kitchen.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

How I know I'm back in town.

Signs that I'm where I grew up, and not anywhere else.

-Took my kid to the doctor yesterday. When the pediatrician figured out who I was, he got up and hugged me, because he used to be MY pediatrician.

-Knowing the names of all the neighbors.

-Pumpernickel at the grocery store.

-I don't dare drive aggressively or shoot the bird at anyone, because sure as shit it'll be a friend of my mother's. Doesn't matter that I'm forty years old and my mother's dead. I'll hear about it, and maybe get grounded.

-A county fair as big or bigger than the state fairs in other places. (There were fleeces entered in competition; the grand champion winner sold for $300USD. Crazy.)

-Talking pot roast with the Mennonite lady in line at the grocery store.

-Hot pretzels.

-The town population going up by about 10% when the college students return from summer break.

-Driving half an hour to forty minutes to see a movie, shop for clothes, or find a good book store.

-Farm equipment driven on the roads.

-Visiting from front porch to front porch, admiring grandbabies and having a glass of wine.

-Blaming any kind of petty crime - especially vandalism - on the fraternity boys.

-Flags lining all the major streets on Veteran's Day, Memorial Day, and Fourth of July.

-The lovely aroma of cow shit.

-Fresh milk, eggs, and cheese. White cheddar, yum.

-No flying cockroaches. In fact, no cockroaches at all. I'm sure they're out there, but I haven't seen one in six weeks. No anopheles mosquitoes, either.

-Best regional library, ever. Even if they did move the books around at some point in the last twenty years, and computerized.

-Everything closing at nine PM on week nights, and five PM on Sunday.

-More than one yarn store in an hour's drive.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Oh, yeah.

Passed my driving test. For an examiner I got the stupid twit who told me a DoD identification wasn't good enough, two weeks ago. She marked me down for everything she could without flunking me. I assume to assert her authority. (Much like Chico the cat, now that I think on it, with about the same effectiveness.)

As my brother put it, "Who gives a fuck? You passed."

It figures.

Living here in the House of Gadget (my father-in-law has been known as Gadget Man for many years; the husbeast is Son of Gadget) it was inevitable that the husbeast and his dad would decide to upgrade, well, everything. You would not believe. Anyway, they got around to upgrading the internet service last week, and in the midst of all the messing around (the house is old; cable guy spent two days here running cable), they got hold of a dud router. The new one is on the way, but in the mean time, internet access is sketchy at best. I'll blog when I can.

Just imagine me huddled down playing Civ IV and thinking "I should really be knitting".


Finished spinning the orange stuff and navajo/chain plied it into a triple-ply sport weight. It is soft and warm and squooshy and perfect for my Nefarious Plan. (I'd include a photo, but, well, I don't have one, and don't know if I've got the internet to upload one. I don't want to hog what little bandwidth we have, when the hub is using it to do a job search and my FIL is doing his job with it.) I've got two more 50g bags of the stuff, and I'm planning to spin them up between other projects. Spinning such a small amount of pencil roving goes really fast, and with this really nice fiber it's like having lemon sorbet between courses of a heavier, more serious meal.


The Goob's been quite a hoot lately. We took her to the library last evening, and I made a run on the craft section while the Goob went to the children's section with her grandma. At one point, she ran away from her grandmother, thinking she'd come find me. She got as far as the entry, a marble-lined echo chamber of a space (the only space in the whole damn building that isn't lined with books and therefore nearly soundproof), lost track of her grandmother AND me, and screeched at the top of her voice, "MUUUUM!!!" Every person in the building had to have heard it. I stepped into her line of sight and hissed "What happened to quiet in the library??!!??" and she ran to me and it was okay. But DAMN.

And lastly, the Goober Quote of the Week:

I was spinning and listening to music. The Goober came over to chatter at me and dance. She apparently liked the music.

GOOB: I wike dis. What music is it?

ME: Lenny Kravitz.

GOOB: Wenny Kwabits?

ME: Yes. That's the guy.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


Yes, I've been doing things other than throw birthday parties and catch germs. (Hot and cold running snot, here; I get stressed, I get sick. Very exciting.)

I've been spinning:

This has been a hoot. A week ago Monday, my mother-in-law, her best friend, and I all went on a yarn crawl in the nearest large town. They both bought... yarn. I found a 'teach yourself art felting' kit that contained merino pencil roving and snapped it up for spinning purposes. It was three rolls of roving, 50g each. This is the first one. I got about 109 yards out of it. It is called "Zitron" and is from some German company or other. I assume it means Citron or Citrus.

I have A Plan cooking for a way to cobble together a lot of these little spinning projects into something useful. If I do it. It's going to take some planning and time. We'll see.

I've also been knitting:

These are my initials on the hem of my father-in-law's Christmas sweater. The pink on either side is from flowers also knit into the hem. (My father-in-law told me rather sarcastically last February that he wanted pink flowers and silver ribbon on his new sweater. I knit to please.) This is going slowly because it's on size threes. I keep telling myself this is easy compared to the size ones, a few years back.

Then of course there is my other project:

It's taking some time, but it's coming along.

There've been some questions about Sekhmet. She's doing fine, and made the move with minimal fuss (by the Sekhmet definition of fuss; no one bled). She sleeps all night curled up under the covers with me, so she's reasonably content. (As content as a cat gets, I'd say.) There have been a few challenges between Chico, my mother-in-law's cat, and Sekhmet. I feel kind of sorry for Chico. He's trying to be an alpha cat, and assert his authority, and, well, Sekhmet doesn't give a shit. Makes it kind of hard for Chico to be in charge. I'll try to get photos.

Tomorrow is my driving test. Won't that be fun. Maybe I should glue my birth certificate to my forehead.

Sunday, September 06, 2009


Today was the Goob's birthday.

Yes, she turned four. She looked very grown up in her bananina dwess. It was a roaring good time, with cake, and ice cream, and lots of presents. The big hits were a helicopter and a tea set. That's my kid. (And that's my nephew, in the background up there.)

The last time we had a birthday party here, on this very same porch, she looked like this:

I can't figure out where the time goes.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

What I did today.

Okay, okay, what WE did today.

860 yards.

That's how much Crumb Cake I've wound up with (786m). Out of eight ounces (.23kg) of wool, which means, what, 1720 yards (1573m) per pound (.45kg). Which isn't totally extreme lace spinning (a Shetland lace spinner could probably get that yardage per pound out of one ounce of good wool), but it's as extreme as I ever hope to get.

I'm going back to sock-weight three ply. With some orange pencil roving I bought at the yarn store on Monday.

Though it would be kind of cool to ply one single of orange variegated with one single of carbon fiber. It'd look like burning charcoal. Maybe. Hm.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Right, then. Christmas.

Christmas knitting commenced at approximately ten AM, Eastern Standard time, this morning. I finished the gauge swatch for the Lustkofen and gave it a swish through some soapy water. There was measurement done before and after (thank you, Bells), and there's good news and bad news. The bad news is, I'm knitting two pullovers at six stitches per inch. The good news is, I'm not knitting them at seven stitches per inch, because the yarn relaxed once it hit water. (This is a difference of sixty or more stitches per round, so yeah, that one stitch does matter quite a lot.)

After telling Bells, what's it been, two years ago now? that she didn't need to measure a gauge swatch before washing it, well, some attitude revision has gone on. You see, if you measure BEFORE washing, then you can also measure while the sweater is in progress, before IT is washed, and have some idea what in hell's going on. Yes, yes, I know that's really nitpicking, but the sweaters I knit usually fit their intended victims.

This afternoon at about six-thirty PM, Eastern Standard time, I sort of finished the Crumb Cake yarn. I say 'sort of' because about four hundred yards of it is still on the bobbin, waiting to be wound off, skeined, washed, dried, and labeled. Then it gets posted to Etsy. More good news/bad news: I've wound up with about seven hundred yards of the stuff, but it took two freaking months to spin (never doing lace weight again... someone remind me of that later), and unfortunately I'm going to have to charge like it took two months to spin. Plus the materials weren't cheap, either.

For those of you wondering about Cameo, it's been ditched indefinitely. I'm nearly out of yarn and am DEFINITELY out of time. I'll probably poke around Ravelry and see if I can beg a couple balls of the yarn off someone. Assuming someone HAS any of it.


That Neighbor came over today to visit, and we talked spinning and knitting and weaving and beading and scoring fresh fleeces at the county fair on Saturday morning this week. Not sure I'll go wild and bid on one, but it's REALLY nice to have someone to talk story with. I know I've got a lot of on-line friends (Hi!) and I adore them, but That Neighbor is really cool to talk to. (She's going to let me watch, the next time she warps her loom. Or make me help; that's okay too.)


Sorry for yet another long drag between blog posts. Without belaboring the point, there were a few nights in the last week I was considering just sleeping in the bathroom. Yay. Love nights like that.


The how-to-dress discussion is still warming up. I've been working on the silhouettes (and deciding some of them suck and finding alternative images). At first I intended to do one big blog post, but I think I'm going to do it by decade instead. One, it'll keep Google from crashing when I try to do a hundred-thousand-word blog post with fifty photos. Two, it will keep any of you from killing me when I do a hundred-thousand-word blog post. Third, it'll give me something to talk about on these days when all I've done is knit little white lice into a black background while drooling and babbling.

I'm also brooding over the idea of a blog post on the Punic Wars. You've been warned.


Photos, photos... hmmm. Oh. The Goob spilled sand on her feet and the husbeast thought it was really cute:

And I think this one should be titled "Chico, you fucker." (Chico being my mother-in-law's cat):