Monday, December 31, 2007

An Uneasy Peace

Well, here we are at the last of 2007 and I have reached a truce with the edging pattern. It has stopped trying to kill me and I have decided not to hate it. I am afraid, however, that that is as good as I have managed to get it.

I have made it past halfway through the first side and I am really hopeful that the second side will be much nicer. I also think that if a designer is going to throw a curve ball, this is the way to do it. By the time I get to the second bit, the pattern every row thing will be old hat and the absence of complex purly moves will be like a gift. A friend of mine suggested that if it got bad enough just to dump it and do a different border, but I couldn't. I love the look so much, and truthfully, despite my lack of skill with this design, it looks really decent. And I have to remind myself, now and then, that one of the reasons I took up knitting was to challenge myself. This certainly fits the bill, so as soon as one half of my brain gets the other half of my brain to accept that, I'll be good to go.

The Horde are great! They are nocturnal, however, and are all about early morning and late evening interaction. One crawled into my hand yesterday. I didn't try to pick it up, just let it sit there. It is really unbelievable that life can come in such small packages. At night they are extremely active. We got them an extra wheel (because although its really funny to watch all 5 try to run in one wheel, it doesn't actually work well) and they are in both wheels all night, almost constantly. They are also busy running around the cage, burrowing, chewing, climbing, eating, tusselling etc. If you need a drink of water in the middle of the night, you can hear them rolling. Last night they laid siege to Samarkand. The cage was full of loot in the morning.

So, 2007. Every year I resolve to have a better year than the last. Every year by February at the latest, I give up on it. 2005 was the topper of the crap year list because of Katrina, and that was nothing I could have prevented, but I always feel that what kind of year I have rests largely in the hands of fate. Not so 2008.

I have decided that 2008 will be a good year, and I will be able to have much more control over that because I realize that all too often I will complain about something but continue to engage in the behaviors that perpetuate the reason for the complaint. No more, my friends. I am going to do something about it this year, not just bide my time 'till I get to wish for a better 2009. Which means that at the very least, my job situation is going to change. By the end of 2008 I might still be in my same job, but only if it falls into line with my goals for my life, none of which are "become a workaholic" or "spend at least 2 hours a day commuting" and the ever popular "forget what your husband looks like".

So if something in my life is not working for me, this year it gets changed to something that does. If we only go round once, I'm not wasting any more time.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


So far, Irtfa'a has not been an exercise in restraint. I would race to it in every spare moment, knitting away until my wrists ached with the strain. I raced through each row, each section, greedy for the next pattern. I found myself at stray moments imagining myself working on it. And I have thoroughly enjoyed every moment of anticipation, looking toward the day I can admire it, off the needles, blocked.

When I realized I was finally ready to begin the final edge section, I was nearly floating on the ceiling. It was 7pm. I had 3 more hours before bedtime. Plenty of time, added to the few hours before and after work, then the weekend, and I would surely be done by New Year. I think I may have even mentioned it in my last post. Well, that just goes to show you what I know.

What I know now is that there is lace and then there is lace. When I first started knitting, the whole decreases and yarnovers thing was way beyond me. The first time I had to sl1k2psso, my head nearly exploded. It was awful. But as will happen, in time I became proficient. Then I started understanding lace to the point where I could read the knitting, and I could even drop back a row and fix a missed yarnover. By the time Irtfa'a came along and I started dropping 6 or 8 rows back over 12 stitches and reknitting sections to make them better, I was getting downright cocky. Double yarnovers? Why not quintuple? What the hell, I am one bad ass honky mofo knitter. I knew I still did not sprechen zie Shetland, but I was still an intermediate level force to be reckoned with.

So when I started row one of the edging, I was cool. Another fun pattern to learn. A few easy rows to memorize and I'll be sailing through the last bits at Knitch on Sunday. Row two, wait a minute, there's yarnovers here too, I missed a row. No, I didn't, did I? Holy crap, what is this?

Not since the earliest days of my knitting adventures have I been so tensed up and, well, edgy about knitting. I can't relax into this, not yet, and I really am trying not to fight it as hard as I seem to be fighting it. There's pressure, too. I've gotten this far and I don't want to ruin the shawl, but I have never done this before and I can't tell what's going on at all. Fortunately, I am able to knit this well enough not to ruin the overall piece, but wow, the going is slow. I just hope that when I finally do catch on to this (undoubtedly in the last 3 repeats) it will not look so different that I will have to rip it all out and reknit it.

Don't get me wrong, the pattern is still brilliant. And it is beautiful. It just turned a little too brilliant for me. They say that which does not kill you will make you strong. I don't know who "they" are, but I'd like to smack "them" around a bit right about now. I'm not even going to tell you how many hours have gone into this little bit of knitting. But I will persevere. I am nothing if not stubborn.

Dear edge pattern, I really do love you, and I want this to work out, really I do. It isn't just the way you look, all feathery and perfect, it's more than that. If you were just another pretty pattern I'm sure we could have fun for a while, but you know as well as I do that relationships have to be built on more solid footing than looks alone. You are complex and challenging as well, and those only add to your charms, but I'm afraid I'm not ready to give what you need from me right now. It's not that I'm scared of commitment, that's not it at all. I just need time before I can jump into something this serious. I need you not to push me right now. I know that one day I will be ready, and when that day comes we will be happier together than either of us can imagine. I just need a little space now and then, and you can be a little intense at times. Look, it really isn't you, it's me, I admit that freely. And I know I may have led you on with my initial enthusiasm. In retrospect, that really wasn't fair of me. So can we step it back just a little bit? No, I'm not knitting anything else now, and I'm not looking to find another pattern. Really. I just need a little space, a little time, ok?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Dear Lyle, Meg and Famous Steve.....

I can't reply to you directly because of the blogger silliness about not giving me real email addresses to respond to. Thanks, however, for your complementary feedback. I really appreciate it. And I hope you all (and I mean everyone out there, not just Lyle, Meg and Famous Steve) are having as wonderful a holiday and I am.

Irtfa'a progress report: I am finished the body of the shawl and I am ready to begin the edging. I might actually have this done by New Years, and I am really excited about that. To address Steve's comment on how I knit lace, I do lock myself in a room and concentrate on nothing but the pattern until I know it well enough to take it outside the room. And if that never happens, I stay in the room.

I am fortunate enough, you see, to have a knitting room. Actually it is a necessity, because I have 9 cats in the house who all are very interested in whatever I am doing, and want more than anything else to "help". Now, from cats, "helping" means that they all help me understand that I am not paying enough attention to the cats. Who, they will also tell you, are underfed, unloved, attention starved angels who never claw furniture, poop outside the box or chew on yarn. Alrightee.

So I have this knitting room, which my husband does not begrudge me, as he has an entire basement for his toys (and I do mean toys), and I spend lots of time in there when I am knitting. I have music, a place to put my diet coke, I can bring the phone in there, and many hours are spent knitting away while my husband builds his models of WWI biplanes. But it gets kind of lonely in there after a while, separated from all the kitties and the husband, and lately I have really felt kind of sequestered and lonely. While I really want to spend every moment working on the shawl, I started to hate the prospect of spending all that time locked away, alone.

Say hello.

Slightly blurry picture complements of lightning fast hamster. These are Roborovski hamsters (or Robo hamsters), there are five of them and they are all males (because I really don't need more hamsters). They are a naturally dwarf breed from Mongolia, and oh my Bob are they cute. It's like having my own personal Cute Overload right there in the knitting room. They only get 5cm long at full maturity. 5CM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't hold them, I can almost pet them, they're not real bitey (although the scary giant finger from above did get nipped, but that was my fault for being scary and giant on day 1) And they live in a habitrail knockoff in my knitting room. I can't tell them apart, and they move so fast I never know who I'm looking at, or else I'm laughing so hard at them I can't see. I have named them collectively "the Horde".

I have the bestest husband in the world. I'll bet no one else got a Mongol Horde for Christmas.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Pay It Forward

The coolest thing has hit bloglandia, and it's called Pay It Forward. I found it through Ada's blog and it goes like this:

I will send a handmade gift to the first three people who leave a comment on this blog requesting to join the Pay It Forward exchange. The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.

Sounds like fun, don't you think?

Now, for a photo free Irtfa'a update. I am currently on row eleventyjillion of the small feather pattern section, and it is going amazingly fast considering I am approaching 400 stitches per row. I really am still excited about working on this, but I have a problem. I only get to knit in a weekend warrior sort of way, and I have gone slightly past my limit. Yes, that is spelled ouch. I have learned that my particular knitting nemesis is the number 4 needle for some odd reason, and as a preemptive measure I have taken to wearing a Thermacare neck patch on each wrist, which helps a lot but does not imbue knitting superpowers. Especially when I start ignoring the obvious signals (like geting shocky feelings in the wrist) just because I want to finish one more repeat. I only have 4 more repeats to go before the next section and the day is young, dammit!

So I am off the shawl for the rest of the day, which is a little crazymaking, but I'll get over it. Later this evening we are going with HappyGoth and her husband to have dinner and see a medieval Christmas play, and I'm going to crawl around up in the bell tower at St. Lukes. It is really going to be hard to not start screaming "Sanctuary!" but I think I'll be able to control myself. My husband, on the other hand, I can't control, and I fully expect him to take advantage of the opportunity to have a Quasimodo moment.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Last Photos From a Dying Camera

I managed to coax a few more pictures out of the old camera. I hope Christmas gets here soon, I need the new camera I am not supposed to know about really bad. Anyway, here's the progress on Irtfa'a:

This is the picture I got with a flash. I am past the shoulder drop section and into the small feather section. I really could not be happier, well, that's not true. If my camera would take a decent picture of it I would be much happier, but I'm happy as a clam with everything else about this project. The yarn, BMFA Laci, is soft and squishy and really altogether wonderful. I am definitely going to knit with it again. The colorway, Corvid, is as purpley-green-y-black as I could wish for, and the variegation is exactly what I would want for this project. The pattern, thankfully, is very well written and it is just complicated enough to be engaging without being so demanding as to require me to have to completely cloister myself to keep up. It's the best kind of lace that makes you feel smart knitting it. All in all, I find myself just as enchanted here in the middle as I was in the beginning, and that, my friends, is saying something.

Fidelity in knitting is definitely not one of those qualities that any self examination would bring to mind. I am beyond fickle. I tend to fall out of infatuation with a project as soon as I hit a stride, and my brain starts searching for something to bring back the rush of giddiness that casting on or sometimes just buying new yarn or patterns can produce. This was a strange thing for me to encounter in myself when I first started knitting, as in most other areas of my life I am, well, predictable and set. When I was much younger I flitted from project to project, but in my adult life I have managed to achieve that certain level of inner, um, deadness? balance? that allowed me to engage in the same activities day after day, year after year without going absolutely postal. But knitting, or maybe it's the yarn, I don't know, lit a fire under my butt, and got me in touch with my inner 4 year old who is running around wearing an indian chief headdress and brandishing a new set of fingerpaints, an easybake oven, a spin art machine and maybe a cake decorator full of extremely blue icing.

Only I'm 46 now, so add a beer to that. Or maybe two.

And there you have it. So in the middle of the attention deficit festival of projects that is my knitting, I have found a project that incites total monogamy in me. Go figure. And now, because my camera is insisting that it's not dead yet, a close up for a fair representation of the color.

Hello lace.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Ikea - Få orden på livet ditt

A little something to entertain you while I'm busy.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

You cannot know the power of the dark side.

Blue Moon Fiber Arts Laci colorway Corvid.
It will be this.
It just goes to show you that the old "never say never" adage is true. I am not a fan of the faroese shawl, never was. It was kind of klunky looking, and the patterns out there were nothing that grabbed me. There was an ok one now and then, but I wouldn't have called any of them beautiful. So I pretty much wrote them off, and stowed the whole thing in that part of my mind reserved for scrapbooking and webkinz and entrelac socks, the brain equivalent of file 13.
Then came Anne Hanson, whose incredible design not only turned me to mush, but had me chiming in with her daily mass of comments and blithering on endlessly about how much I loved, wanted and needed this shawl. And when Miss Vanity here throws that much pride out the window and starts with the hem kissing, it's all over.
The pattern came out yesterday. Faroese shawls have been granted a reprieve. I am no longer remotely concerned with becoming a knitter or a Knitter. I've gone from zero to Jedi and straight over to the Dark Side.
And they really do have cookies over here.

Monday, November 12, 2007

My Friend Failure

So Lotus Knits is having a really neat contest, where each Monday she posts a question and all you have to do is post your answer in her comments to enter. If you win, you really win, because she is a really talented yarn dyer, and the prize is a skein of her beatuiful work. Now, that's my kind of contest, because any contest that actually expects me to know something or *gasp* do anything isn't going to go well for me and, well, I like yarn.

This week, she asked a very intriguing question regarding how we approach our knitting, and asked us to explain a bit about ourselves and our processes. As I wrote my answer, it occured to me that I would really love exploring this idea further, so I decided to expand a bit on my entry.

I am very gonzo in my knitting. Of course, over the years I have seen the Dale patterns and some of the Starmore designs and complex lace as being beyond my abilities, but I have always known it is just a matter of time. From the start, unless I was obviously outclassed, I have always jumped in with both feet. Sometimes that has caused me to frog, but never has it caused me to regret trying.

I realized that the best gauge for how my knitting skills are progressing is to find that project that brings me to a failure point. It usually identifies the areas I have to work on. In the beginning, it was "Branching Out" and "Forbes Forest" that utterly destroyed me, now I fail at much more ambitious projects, like "Cromarty" and "Ingeborg".

Now, I know this sounds like a really negative way of approaching this, but really it is making lemonade from the lemons of knitting. And we all have them. Whether I am learning that I am not quite ready for lace patterning on every row or that a particular yarn substitution really wasn't suitable, or that I lack the Clapotis appreciation gene, I am learning.

Knitting does not come naturally to me. Along with a whole new set of physical skills are an entire panoply of concepts which have to be intellectually assimilated or else, while knitting might be achieved, it will not be understood. I don't want to be forever a slave to patterns as written - in all my work I greatly prefer to be a more active participant, putting a bit if myself into the project. By internalizing the techniques I become more flexible and can develop some refinement of skill and knowledge. But that doesn't mean what I try always works, whether I am slavishly adhering to a pattern for the purpose of learning a new skill or pushing the limits of my knowledge by kitbashing a pattern to get something different out of it.

Now, admittedly, I am still very much in the learning phase of my knitting life. I am more often adhering to the pattern, but I am more likely now to seek a pattern for my next project that will allow me to explore a different aspect of the craft than to repeat known techniques over and over. And glorious failure is often my companion. But what's the worst that can happen? I have to rip? It (generally) doesn't hurt the yarn. It doesn't waste time, because I have identified a problem, an opportunity for growth, even if I haven't yet identified the solution.

Too often I see other people learning to knit and they are fighting it for all they are worth. I have to wonder if they really want to be doing this, they seem so unhappy. Don't get me wrong, I curse my knitting regularly, but I do not approach it either defensively or offensively. I don't feel my knitting is a kill or be killed sort of thing. I look at every new project as a meeting of equals, and even though I am sometimes overly optimistic I am never unhappy, even if the project fails. It only fails for the moment. And, it is a shared experience between myself, the yarn and the pattern, so no one aspect is regularly to blame, which is very freeing.

Then there are those who, whether they mean to or not, infect others with their anxieties and dislikes. I don't need to tell you about steeking, do I? I have read so many accounts of steeking that read like they came from Stephen King's Handbook of Knitting Horrors that it was all I could do to remind myself that without the internet and with basic instructions I would probably succeed at cutting a steek with little to no fuss at all. Tie knots in your yarn when you could use the erudite fad join of the week? The knitting police will surely be busting my door down any minute now. Not that there isn't a time and a place for nearly every technique, even if it is only in the interest of studying the history or anthropology of knitting, but there is never a time or a place for snobbery for the sake of snobbery. Not in my world at least.

So there, that is my several cents worth. No knitting scares me. I don't have to like all of it. I may not be ready for all of it, but I suspect when I know it all, there will be little of knitting I am left to be interested in. As there is so much to learn (remarkably, for a craft that anyone can do) I seriously doubt I will ever get tired of knitting. And failure will be my fast friend for many happy years to come.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Uneasy Knitter

Anyone remember that Charlie Daniels song "Uneasy Rider"? I just did the knitting version of that. I went from Atlanta to Stone Mountain via Canada. Thankfully my trip does not involve the police. All the same, I feel rather foolish.

See, I am all revved up about learning knitting terms in other languages ever since Claudia created Stricken Sie Deutsch. Now I'm not going to pretend that I don't have to refer to the list of translations now and then, but I have anschlag down pat and I now know that I can make der zopf without a hilfsnadel. I am 4 rows from done on the MS3 and ready to cast on her swatch. I also have an estonian lace book and I remembered that there was a translation of the symbols online, so I looked that up and put a tiny button on my sidebar right under Claudias' button. Then I found info on Japanese knitting stuff and put that on the sidebar too.

So I'm tooling around the www, and I come across mention of a book all about knitting terms in different languages. It's title is, of all things, "Knitting Languages". And as usual, as soon as I find something I want or need, nobody carries it, or it is out of stock, out of print or discontinued. It's almost like a guarantee with me. So I poke around, and search around and I'm not finding squat until I come across a Canadian site (what is it about me and Canada?) that has it listed for sale. Well, faster than you can say zwei maschen rechts zusammen stricken, I have it paid for and on its way.

At this point, let me say that if I had simply googled (or blackled) the authors' name I probably would have immediately found her publishers' website, where anyone can buy the book with no problem right from the good old USA (actually less than 20 miles away from my house) without currency conversions and customs craziness. But I didn't.

I got the book today (customs obviously knows what uses books can be put to better than they know about the potential terrorist uses of yarn), and opened it and found out the hard way. I would like to blame it on vacation brain, or too much laughing gas at the dentist office or on my biorhythms or something, but no, I was just dumb. And believe me, I paid the price. Plus the shipping from Canada.

So kids, don't be like me. If you, too, want the convenience of knitting terms in 11 languages at your fingertips, just click the link above.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


I am not now nor will I be committing to the NaBloPoMo bloglines-clogging nonsense. I just happen to have news (i.e. stuff to show off).

I got my wheel! And I already suck at spinning! It's so cool! I haven't been this excited about being bad at something in a long time! This is a Babe's double treadle Production Wheel.

I figure I will practice treadling for another year or so and then give the spinning part another try. The yarn room also got a serious sound system upgrade.

Bose, baby. I don't even care what bodyparts still hurt, I have amazing sound. So I finally (four days into the vacation) felt up to knitting. And ruining roving. It was great! My husband did good.

I actually got my german language Anna out that has the pattern for Lyra and thanks to Claudia's "Stricken Sie Deutsch" project I was able to make pretty good sense of it. I am amazed at how much I learned. Hopefully my life will never depend on my being able to pronounce any of that correctly, though; I may have the German genes mixed in among the Irish and the French, but none of them went to my tongue which is somehow Japanese. Don't ask, I don't know. Of course, the proof will be in the knitting. If I only think I am reading this right, I will make a very unusual Lyra. Before that, though, I have WIPs that must be FO'd. I guess I'd better get back to knitting now.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Coming off Anaesthesia

So the 5 teeth turned into 6 at some point, I have a mouth so full of temporary crowns the dentist just made whole side panels instead of individual teeth and it took an extra half day to do it all.

My toe doesn't hurt at all any more, isn't that strange?

I just keep taking naps punctuated by leaving smartass comments on some of my friends blogs. and eating ibuprofen like I hate my liver or something. So I decided this time I woke up I was coherent enough (at least my internal monologue is, if I talk I still sound like "the Spleen") to post a little. First, here is a picture that rather beautifully sums up my Sunday knitting at Knitch.

Picture courtesy of the Happy Goth who has a camera that actually works. She and I went to Target sunday morning and loaded up on halloween candy for all the knitters. If I had known it was Nells' birthday I would have gotten her a card at least or maybe her own bag of chocolate monster bodyparts. Anyway, we has a great turnout even considering how many folks were off at SAFF having yarn buying crises. Many of the Sunday crew who showed up had day-tripped SAFF and Doug let us drool over his acquisitions as he put the last few finishing touches to his fantastic sweater. I drank beer, ate chocolate and finished the first Bird Foot sock.

So now it is Tuesday, I have lost 2 precious days of my life to my crazed dentist and I am taking internet quizzes, which is the next step in coming off the anaesthetic, right after the tingly discomfort and inappropriate blog commenting phase.

Which'>">Which sci-fi crew would you best fit in with? (pics)
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Did you know that ALL the tests I take that place me in a sci-fi world put me in the Firefly category? Or crew me to Serenity? Or generally categorize me as a browncoat? I suppose its not really any stranger than being a poultry god.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

By the Power of Greyskull!!!!

I just got my October Rockin Sock Club package. That is all.

Monday, October 22, 2007

And For My Next Trick...

I will juggle three charts while decreasing the gussett and balancing a pyramid of 40 filled champagne glasses on my head. At least that's what it feels like. I really must be a crazy, because I'm loving it. I am not loving the semi-crappy camera action, however. It seems you can choose some focus, or some color, but you may not have both at once.

So I didn't get to work on this very much yesterday due to a headache. I can't imagine doing this with a headache. Later I went to watch the Happygoth's husband and his group ring bells at St. Lukes' Episcopal church downtown. They have a huge bell tower with 10 bells, and after the ringers from England showed up they got all 10 bells going. It was absolutely amazing. I really didn't know anything about change ringing before I met them, but I find it fascinating to watch everyone working together to produce these complex patterns of bell music. The local group rang a quarter peal on 5 bells, which is over 1000 changes rung without error, before the Brits arrived. It was quite moving.

The only problem that afternoon occurred when the husband was explaining something fascinating about the bells to my left while to my right Happygoth was talking to one of the British ringers' wives about knitting change ringing methods in cables. My brain felt like a wishbone being pulled apart trying desperately to listen to both conversations at the same time.

On a totally unrelated note, is Kaffe Fassett just going to be everywhere Wednesday or what? I got emails from 3 different shops that he and Brandon Mabley are going to be there, and I'm wondering if I just show up at all three wearing the thankgodihaveaknittingmachine stripe wrap and glaring at them, do you think they'll get creeped out and think I'm stalking them and set security on me?

Hell, it's worth a try.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The chicken oracle speaks. Or maybe boks.

First, I would like to thank everyone who sent in their guesses as to what I broke right before blogger broke. No one guessed, and that was probably due to my lack of information. It really could have been anything! So I took all the names of folks who sent me a guess, assigned them mystical symbols and went out to the chicken. I then spread some feed out and watched the chicken eat until she got bored and scooted off. Then, in the feed appeared a symbol which closely resembled the symbol corresponding to ... Jen! Congratulations, you get a skein of Raven Series STR as soon as it's available!

Sadly, this was not the strangest thing I have done this week. Prior to this I managed to break my toe by using someone elses' steel toe boot. That is the thing that topped off my weekend. And in this picture? The color is actually pretty accurate as of 2 days ago.

Now you see the similarity to the Raven Series colorway. Lots of black blue and purple. My whole foot started getting blue grayish. Fun!!! Now it's much better although I'm still staying off it as much as possible. And while I'm off it, I'm knitting. I finished Jareds' Hemlock Ring Blanket . It was an extremely satisfying knit, and I am in love with the finished throw. Excuse the crappy picture, hey, I'll get more creative when I'm not having to hobble around like a one legged turkey.

And in a total fit of startitis, I cast on these. Yesterday. I can't stop knitting them.

Bird Foot socks by Robyn Gallimore. You can get the pattern of kit from Red Bird Knits. Yes, Canadian, but worth the wait. And, as you see, my foot is much better. Now I have to go and knit some more on the Bird Foot. So I will leave you with one last picture.

Yep, a one legged turkey. (that rear leg is cut off at the knee. She hyperextends the stump and bends her good knee to walk. we call her hobblegobble)

Monday, October 15, 2007


Well, as you can see here, I really did manage to break the blog. In true gonzo blogging style I started to screw with the template only to find that there had been some upgrade or another to the platform and would I kindly download or convert or whatever and copies would be saved and life would become simpler, and I thought, "Shiny!" and proceeded. I was never prompted to do the promised saving, and before I knew it, the old template was gone into the ether. Next time I go all Bruce Campbell with the keyboard, somebody stop me. So now I'm all "Yo, she-bitch! Let's go!" at Blogger, and I'm cutting and pasting from old saved (HA!) files and every freakin time I try to preview, it is giving me errors.

So now we're all plain. And chainsaws aren't helping. Poo.

In other broken news, my camera is spontaneously unbreaking and rebreaking in a completely random and puzzling way, but I am not getting the camera replaced anytime soon due to the impending date with my dentist who going to give me more gold than most rappers display. The reason? As gentle readers of this blog know, my job is a teensy bit stressful from time to time, and apparently I am grinding my teeth a bit. And maybe shattering them. A little. Ah, well, it goes with the whole broken theme, eh? Good thing I handle stress well.

Which leads me to offer kudos to Fleegle, who opened up a can of whoop-ass on her broken shawl and totally owned it. I admire that blend of talent, creativity and courage and I really look up to her and the other experienced knitters out there who lead by such magnificent example when times get tough and patterns get stubborn. Go look at her amazing shawl.

So I got the camera working for another minute and snapped a picture of my last broken thing. Then when I went to upload it, Blogger tells me its.........BROKEN! Ha! This calls for a contest. Guess what the picture was going to be of, and win a skein of the new Raven Series STR! Yes, that's right, you'll have to wait until November for your prize if you win, but I couldn't think of anything more appropriate considering how similar the colors are between the yarn and the broken thing. So, who's up for it? Email your guesses to me at chickengoddessatmindspringdotcom (you know how that works) before midnight EDT on Friday, October 19, 2007 and the cats can pick the winner from the correct guesses. And then we all wait till November. Oh, well, my contest is a little broken, too.

10-16-07 Edited to add:
Template fixed!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Look Into My Eyes; You are Feeling Very Sleepy

Very soon, the only voice you will hear is mine. You will be very relaxed and feel happy. Nothing can hurt you, you are safe. Just follow my voice. Very good.

Now you will be open to everything I have to say about bees. There will be no memories of childhood trauma or confusion with wasps to cloud you from the growing feeling of affection you are already starting to feel for bees. There is no fear. Only the sound of my voice. You are safe, calm and relaxed. Good.

Bees are wonderful, they are industrious, they make honey and beeswax, pollinate flowers, trees and shrubs and provide many other hive products that science is still discovering uses for. They are a very rewarding hobby and can induce a calm state of relaxed focus for those who work with them. And they are equally necessary for the health of the agricultural industry and the health of your backyard.

Now the impact of a hobby beekeeper on the ag industry is nearly nil, but as years have gone by and disease, pest problems, predators and chemical contamination have nearly decimated the wild honeybee population, the home beekeeper makes a positive contribution to the smaller ecosystem and gets lots in return. So lets talk a little about a hive, since you are beginning to feel like you really want one and want to know all about it. That's right. Happy friendly bee house. Yes, you are doing very well.

"Hive" is a word that can stand for 2 things, either the mass of the bees themselves, or the system of boxes they are kept in. Lets talk about the boxes. First, you find that beekeeping can be a woodworking project as assembly is required (unless you pay a much higher price) for almost all the hive parts. But that's ok, because with basic skills and hand tools, you soon are feeling really satisfied with yourself for building beautiful boxes and frames. You are now feeling like an artist, and decide to paint the outside of your hive boxes with pretty light colors (especially if you live in the south) and maybe some designs so your friends, the bees, will have a pretty home. You find a good place to set up your hive where your friends will have a little protection from extremes of weather and where you will be able to have access to all sides of the house when you visit your bee friends. Friendly bees. Good, good.

But where are our friends, you ask? You can get bees from several different sources, and sometimes they will mail you a 2 or 3 pound box of bees. Poor mailman! He will not understand as you do that bees are good, that the sound they are making is a good sound, a happy sound. He doesn't understand, as you do, that the bees like to crawl on the screen sides of the box, so it only looks like the box is crammed full of bees. He will not understand why you want a box of bees, but you should be nice to the mailman, because he doesn't know how to be happy like you do. Calm and happy. Then you put them in their house and they fly and visit flowers and make honey and wax and you are very, very happy with your bees. You are doing very well.

Now that we all love bees and want some, it is time to start building their house and reading bee books and looking for other bee-friendly people who live nearby and to start gathering equipment. Because not only are bees good and friendly, they are smart and can protect themselves quite well on their own. This thought does not scare you, and you are feeling good. Now because you are smart and understand this, you will always wear your protective equipment to be sure there are no unfortunate mistakes on behalf of your friends. Just as you should not run or jump down a set of stairs because you might get hurt, you should not approach your friends without protection. Even if you see other people do this and allow the bees to sting them, you will show your bees more respect and dress for the occasion. Poor bees die when they sting , and you don't want your friends to meet that end! So you will feel confident if you know you are protecting them by learning to visit them safely. You are doing so very well. And you are feeling really good about bees. You have no fear, you want to learn more. When I count to three I want you to wake. You will feel refreshed and calm, and you will want to learn more about bees and beekeeping. You have done very well.

1, 2, 3!

Friday, October 05, 2007

My Own Personal Oktoberfest of Knitting. And Beer.

Hi! My job is trying to kill me!
Thank you.

In other news, my camera is dead, dead, dead, so Janes' contest didn't happen for me and my Ravelry notebook is fast filling up with blank projects, but that's ok because I have no time to knit and blog, because my job is trying to kill me!

It must be time to screw with my template. Yeah, that's it! So I expect that at times you'll see things appearing and disappearing from the sidebar, and possibly crash my whole blog. Because it is October and beer will be involved.

On the photo free knitting front, I have started and gotten about halfway through the dead easy but really pretty Hemlock Ring Blanket from brooklyntweed that I started in the car last weekend, and this weekend is slated for finishing my MS3, which got stuck somewhere around Clue 6 and never regained momentum. I have socks half done at every turn which are going to get finished and have mates before October is through. I have a clapotis to frog, too, the last tiny bit of the Dark Mark scarf to finish and pieces and parts of other projects which are cutting loose and starting to drift around the house. So October is about finishing. Hmm, maybe November will be like a festival of casting on. Who knows.

Meanwhile, I have been on my fall color yarn buying binge which is beginning to lose steam as more and more of my favorite indie dyers update yet fail to wow me in their usual way. I even see people introducing what I would really consider to be spring colorways! Now! October! Isn't there something in Emily Post about no easter colored yarns after Labor Day? There should be a law, man.

I have also been on a German lace pattern procurement binge. I know this is the first time many of you are hearing about this, but it has been going on for a while now, and I have amassed a fair few books full of designs by a guy named Herbert Niebling. It's like crack, or maybe worse. After MS3 confirmed what I had so hoped Kiri proved, that I really can knit lace, I got a little crazy. And all this Oktoberfest of finishing stuff? It is so I can concentrate on my major projects with all my attention. Rosarie, the Starmore design, Rosendal, a Dale, and Lyra, a Niebling that I want to do before I try to tackle Steinrose. One small problem, I could only get the pattern in German, and the only other language I know beside English is Japanese. Claudia to the rescue!

Do you knit German? Every day in the month of October, she is posting a German knitting term and its translation. How cool is that? What better timing could there be? It's like having my own little personal Oktoberfest of knitting!

So if anyone has any camera recommendations, please let me know. One more day of work to get through this week, then beer, yarn, and Sunday at Knitch. What more could I want?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Guys, I did not really send Jen chickens. But it's a nice thought...

So I just get home from a HELLUVA day at work, and I sit down innocently at my computer for a little blog perusal and relaxation, only to find that Jen has received chickens from on high. I thought to myself, now there's something you don't see every day, spontaneous chickens. This can't be a bad thing! So, having a reputation to uphold, I immediately set about taking credit for the happy event, which then got me thinking; wouldn't the world be a better place if I really could have some godlike power to send chickens to my friends?

Don't all run screaming from the room now, you won't all be finding chickens in your backyards, (or, if you do, it will have had nothing to do with me. Really.) There won't be magical boxes from Murray Mc Murray appearing in your mail making soft clucking noises. Not from me, at least.

But let me take this opportunity to tell you how cool chickens are. First, let me clarify, I'm talking about hens. Not roosters, which you can do quite well without, thankyouverymuch. Hens can be very sweet and will lay eggs just fine without ever coming into contact with a rooster. They don't make much noise, will interact with you if you interact with them enough to be familiar to them, and can be kept in a number of ways. If you live in the country and can let them loose, great, although you may have to hunt for eggs if you don't put them up at night and give them somewhere to lay, like a nest box. If you are an urban type, like myself, with a limited amount of land, you can build or buy a small coop and house, or you can go really compact with a chicken tractor. This is a cool little setup which protects your chickens from predators (there are lots of them about, even in the city) and can be moved around your yard to provide your girls with fresh grass. They range from the do it yourself on the cheap to the elaborate. Googleing chicken tractor will provide you with a good idea of the building plans available, or you can visit Omlet and ogle the prefab wonder that is the Eglu. I have an Eglu, and for me it has been well worth the investment. The dang thing is not only foxproof, it is packs-of-wild-dogs-proof as well, to which I can personally attest. There's nothing better than starting the morning with a fresh from the chickens' bum breakfast. Believe me, if you have never owned a hen, you have never known a truly fresh egg.

Here's a pic of my setup.

With Johannes and James of Omlet!! This summer we got a visit from the designers of the Eglu when they visited America. They surveyed first hand the damage the dog pack attacks did to my Eglu, and were amazed at how well it held up. Lest I sound too much like an advertisement for their product (which I really do think the world of) I'll get back to general chicken ownership information.

Chickens fly. So you (or someone you trust) has to clip a few wing feathers to keep them put. If you live in the country and you don't clip their wings, your chickens may roost up in the trees - they can fly that well. Wing clipping can be dangerous to the birds, so make sure you know what you're doing before you try it. Again with the googleing, or with advice from a vet who specialized in birds or even from the helpful folks at your local feed and seed, who probably sell chickens too (I bet you didn't even know you had one that close to you!) and can help outfit you with all the basics.

So, clean water, good food (chickens happily eat clean fruit and veggie scraps, too) clean straw, fresh grass, clean chicken, happy chicken owner. Fresh eggs nearly every day. Sometimes two a day. And chickens are funny. LOL funny, OMG funny, and sometimes WTF funny.

Chicken poop stinks, yes. They tear up the grass, yes. Grass grows back, the poop gives good stuff back to the soil. You get fresh eggs, and if you raise them sweet, you get sweet chicken pets. When they age and laying slacks off, you can retire them to the pet only status, or to the pot. Just depends on how up close and personal you want to get to that whole circle of life thing.

So, while I can't wish all my friends magical lucky chickens like Jen got, maybe I can make you want them. I think they're cool. They are certainly easy to keep, and they give you lots in return.

Next issue: Beekeeping!
(you only think I'm joking)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Breaking News

In no time at all, the lady previously referred to as "sadly blogless" has remedied her pitiable situation. Go check her out and tell her hi!

More coming soon. First, I must knit.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Mouse and Chicken Go To Town

How does one sum up a day like yesterday? I have no idea where to start, so I guess I'll start at the beginning. I met Knotty Mouse at the Yarn Garden, one of the few shops in the area I had never previously pillaged (somehow it had totally escaped my notice) in the early afternoon and whisked her away for a no holds barred, Thelma and Louise style day of knitterly hijinks and that special sort of mass hysteria only the arrival of the Yarn Harlot could perpetrate on Atlanta. After briefly looting a sari shop, we stopped at Taj Mahal for British Cadburys, made a quick hit and run on Needle Nook and wound our way down to the heart of town to meet up with several hundred of our closest friends.

Mouse taught Chicken that fresh bread and Cadburys makes a great sandwich.
A Mouse in the Yarnmobile Later that evening, Chicken would teach Mouse that beer and cameras do not mix.

Zoom really is just what it sounds like.  Funny, that. But I am getting ahead of myself.

After subjecting Mouse briefly to my cats and introducing her to my hen Ophelia, my husband played chauffeur and dropped us off at the corner of St. Charles and N. Highland to begin the evenings' festivities. First on the agenda was a little light queueing...

Which immediately devolved into general revelry and observance of International Talk Like a Pirate Day, wherein otherwise poised and polished women proved what scallywags they can really be.
Ahoy, Mateys! And to our stern were some of the happiest knitters in the world, I think. They sure look it.
Happy Happy Joy Joy Before long, we were inside and I found myself happily ensconced in the Hilan Theater with a beer in one hand and a camera in the other. And there were bloggers everywhere (and the occasional pirate celebratee).

First we have Snarky who looked for a while like she was conducting a sing-a-long.
Now here we have the ever serene Claudia, and the back of Janice's head. This was the first time I have ever seen Janice in person, and I have to say that I would have felt like a total freak for shouting "I'm the Chickengoddess!" at her across about 4 or 5 rows while pointing to myself (and jumping up and down slightly) if it weren't for the beer. Oh, crap, I did that, didn't I? What you really can't see in this picture (except for her beer) is Hockeymom, who is completely psycho, and I mean that in the best way possible. Betwixt us there was much throwing of the horns and promises of stagediving, and had I not been wearing glasses I can't afford to break there would have been some headbanging too. Maybe it's a good thing we didn't try, ultimately, or we might have run into trouble with Jane (and I would have paid for yet another of my Chiropractors' kids' college educations). Speaking of Jane...
It was her birthday! And she volunteered to work! What a great and generous spirit you have!

Meanwhile, Mouse and I were joined by the sadly blogless Laura, who arrived sporting a bag every knitter should have.
She joined myself and Mouse and got me another beer, wherein I proceeded to enter the "I love you, man!" phase of the evening. While evilsciencechick and Nytefalle looked on, Jen helped by putting on her best Rhinegold Maiden pose...

Ready for Oktoberfest And I got all soppy with the camera.
I love you, man!
I love you, man! So it was undoubtedly somewhat to the relief of all the poor people sitting around me that a few minutes later Kim took the stage and then it was all about the Yarn Harlot.

And she brought her sock.

Rockstar Apparently with just 2 beers in me I can no longer knit and I holler like a 20 year old redneck. Sad but true.

While Famous Steve surveyed the scene from the balcony...

we all fell under the Harlot's spell.

Deb, I am so sorry I didn't get a picture of you! I loved meeting you, and I hope we can run into each other again soon!

We met so many new friends, and saw so many amazing and talented knitters. I think it will take me at least a full week to absorb all of it. Thank you Kim, for making this happen. Without you and Knitch, I never would have met so many wonderful people, or Stephanie, who was tired but warm and gracious even through the late hours.

Thanks most of all to you, Mouse, for hanging out with me. I had a great time, and I hope you did too. I love you, man!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Hey, Canada, What's the Problem?

Dear Canada,

Time and again I order from your stores, sending my money into your coffers, supporting your business, taking advantage of what I might also mention is an ever less advantageous currency exchange rate, and all I get in return is the opportunity to turn a little more gray whilst I wait for your mail to get to me. What's the holdup? What do you think we're trying to smuggle across the border disguised as yarn? Cheap viagra? Electronic detonator parts? Mexicans? WHAT?

I would like to point out to you that there are lots of knitters down here south of your border, knitters who through the internet have access to your exotic Canadian yarn shops, and might like to do more international business unless you piss us all off by never sending us our packages. I don't think the problem is on the American side of the border either, as I regularly order and receive (in a very timely manner, I might add) yarn from the British Isles and many of the European Union countries as well as Australia and Japan. Let me give you an example. On 8/27/07 (or 27/8/07, however you like it) I ordered a kit from a remote island off the coast of Scotland. Without any special expediting, I received it yesterday, 9/4/07. Here's the proof.

See, declarations stamp says yarn,

Hmmm, looks to BE yarn, but wait! There's something beneath the yarn! Could it be cheap vicodin knockoffs? Nearly spent nuclear material? Terrorists? Did those crazy Brits just prove their speedy Royal Mail service is really careless and dangerous?

No way!
Now correct me if I'm wrong, but even in the 21st century a tiny island off the coast of Scotland isn't going to have the most modern and finest postal facilities (or maybe they do), but anyway, I am still waiting for yarn I ordered from you over 6 freaking weeks ago. Come on, Canadian postal people, don't be such hosers.

The Chickengoddess

p.s. Yes that's goddess. As is deity. You have chickens in Canada, I know you do. You might want to speed up that post. I'm just sayin is all.

p.p.s and yes Claudia, I will dare (to try) knitting on this at Knitch on Sunday. Cause that's just how I roll.

Monday, August 27, 2007

At Last My Love

Most knitting projects I crush on I can get over before the yarn insinuates itself into my stash. Rarely do I look at a project 6 months later and feel the same I-will-die-if-you-can't-be-mine, daily love note writing in my diary sort of feelings I had the first 3 or 4 weeks after I spotted it across some crowded and smoky magazine rack sitting all alone and being mysterious and beautiful. You know what I'm talking about. If you're not careful you start buying it presents of its yarn in the hopes of wooing it onto your needles and into your wardrobe. And God knows that if you've been drinking, you end up waking the next morning next to some cheap eyelash yarn and chenille scarf that you wouldn't be seen dead out in public with, and find yourself hiding it from your friends, and well, you know what I'm talking about there, too.

But Rosarie was different from the start. She was not merely a project that caught my eye; from the very beginning she completely took my breath away. Over 3 years ago when I was first learning about knitting and first looking at the internet for information and inspiration I found her and the first thing that went through my mind was that I would never be able to knit that. It was just too complex and beautiful, and I would never be worthy. Then, after a few projects were history, I could look at her and say with confidence that one day in the far future I would be able to knit like that. But over the years my love for this pattern has never flagged, never diminished even slightly, and I kept her picture close and often imagined the day I might cast her on.

Really, this is all Evilsciencechick's fault. We were sitting together with Claudia, Jen and Melissa at Knitch yesterday, generally cutting up and having fun and she mentioned she liked my Fair Isle Sampler Hat and wanted to make one, and one thing led to another and next thing we were cutting deals involving 14 colors of leftover shetland jumperweight and possible lendage of drop spindles and stuff and that got me thinking about that project and how much fun that was. That's when I decided to make yet another pilgrimage to the Virtual Yarns site, just for the hell of it. Sure enough, there she was in all her 2ply fair isle splendour (I like the extra u, lends class to the occasion, I feel), and I sat there and thought to myself "that's still freaking gorgeous. Yeah, I could sure knit that."

I paused for a moment to let that sink in.

Then I bought the kit.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Welcome to the Machine

What do you do when that madman Kaffe Fassett finally designs the most beautiful piece of knitting in the world? In 40bagillion colors, with color changes nearly every row and a 186 row color repeat? And, to cap it off, a mile wide, in boring, boringer, boringest stockinette?

It's a freaking scarf for petes sake. I am up to my ears in scarves and I do not need any more. But this is not merely about need. This is about desire. I do not, however, plan on spending the rest of my life knitting a boringest damned stockinette scarf no matter how much I love it. Anyway, as process a knitter as I am, I want this product, dammit, and I want it now!

Enter the Studio 360. My dirty little secret.

A match made in heaven, too I might add. I had no idea how the machine would like the doubled KSH, and half expected it to chew it up and spend the afternoon removing mohair from machine innards, but she works like a charm. And a few hours out of the afternoon got me nearly through one color repeat (not shabby, remember that's 186 rows with all the color changes). Instant gratification.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Today is a good day for a lolcat.

Your Score: Longcat

62% Affectionate, 40% Excitable, 35% Hungry

Protector of truth.

Slayer of darkness.


Longcat may seem like just a regular lengthy cat, but he is, in fact, looong. For proof, observe the longpic.

It is prophesized that Longcat and his archnemesis Tacgnol will battle for supremacy on Caturday. The outcome will change the face of the world, and indeed the very fabric of lolcatdom, forever.

Be grateful that the test has chosen you, and only you, to have this title.

To see all possible results, checka dis.

Link: The Which Lolcat Are You? Test written by GumOtaku on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

My Dad's surgery went without a hitch, I'm knitting on the Dark Mark Scarf and MS36K and we have a one legged wild turkey visiting in the yard. It's a great day, what more can I say? Thanks Janice , Hockeymom , and blogless Leah and Laura for all your good wishes!

Friday, July 27, 2007

The unplanned road trip

Well, turns out we are going to go down to visit the parental units. I really don't look forward to the 71/2 hour drive each way, after work, over 3 days. But, I am really not whining about it. My Dad is having surgery Tuesday and I'd like to see him before. Just because, you know?

Nowadays, if you can manage to get a laser or laparoscopic version of whatever surgery you need, even pretty major procedures are far less trouble and risk than they used to be and recovery is way better. I remember as a kid when my Memere had cataract surgery she would have to live with us for at least 2 weeks to recover and wore huge glasses for the rest of her life. My mom had laser surgery and corneal implant and she healed over days and doesn't have to wear any glasses for it. My husband had laparoscopic gall bladder surgery and it took maybe 2 weeks for him to recover and the only scars he has make him look like he's been shot with arrows (which he thinks is cool - what is it about guys?) So when my Dad got the green light on the laser version of his surgery I was really relieved. But I still worry. It's only natural.

Alright, enough of the family medical history, I get to knit like a maniac on road trips. I will be bringing MS3, my Dark Mark scarf (thankyouverymuch Janice Ireallyneededanotherproject!) and my KPS Top Down Wrap Cardi which I am doing in the Fiber Company's worsted weight Khroma, in Cypress, which is the wonderful deep green of late summer. I will get some pics when I get back (or maybe in the car on the road, who knows).

And since my Dad is the theme for today, I present a FO from June. Fathers Day Socks!

Garter Rib Socks from "Sensational Knitted Socks" by Charlene Schurch
Yarn is Chomp (merino superwash) in Arial (fingering weight) from Meg of Twisted (also available at The Urban Knit which is where I bought this) Knitted on size 0 dpns

My Dad loves Andes mints and I thought these looked just like them. I love Megs' yarns and I have collected many of her colorways. The yarn itself is light and lofty and makes a very nice fabric.

Anyway, everyone have a good weekend and if you could send some good vibes my Dad's way, we would all appreciate it very much.

Friday, July 20, 2007

As God is my witness I shall never go blogless again.

When I first realized that I would have to choose between blogging or knitting, I chose knitting.

When I was on the Knitch bus to Stitch and Pitch and Claudia called for all bloggers to raise their hands and I couldn't in good conscience raise mine, I realized how much I missed being a part of the community of bloggers. I needed to make at least a little time to share what I was doing and take the opportunity to step away from the project long enough to get that photo. The photo that often helps give me a fresh perspective on a project. I also thought about why I wanted to blog in the first place. Sure, it was a bit of vanity, but it was also about cataloging my projects and my progress. It was also about sharing my journey with my family far away -

Oh, crap, did I just say journey?!

Mystery Stole 3 in Jaggerspun Zephyr color Mushroom with copper core smoke glass 8/0 beads.
Knitting with Addi Turbo Lace #4s and a #13 crochet hook
Boy I have missed this.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Otherworldly day

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to attend the New Year ceremonial shoot at Bi Toku Kyudojo where I have begun practicing kyudo. It was like stepping into another world. Here are a few pictures especially for Janice.

It is always hard to believe I am in Atlanta when I am here.

The heater was there in case we needed it, but it was a warm, comfortable day for shooting

After all the shooting was over, it was back to the knitting and petting of cats (and Husband).