Sunday, December 28, 2008

Dementor Weather

So here we are at the close of the year, and I am finding it challenging to look back on 2008 with a friendly eye. But then with the weather we are having right now, it is tough to be upbeat about anything. It is clammy and grey, the roads are slick from an old rain that won't evaporate properly as any respectable rain should have by now. I can't even conjure a decent patronus, which is real trouble in dementor weather.

Fortunately, I can still perform the odd transfiguration,

(no, this is not the cat who chewed holes in my hat. Nor is it the cat who clawed my Coronet hat to pieces or who knocked a small but agonizing hole in Irtfa'a. Because we all know transfiguration should never be used as a punishment. This cat is, in fact, the only cat not under suspicion for the above crimes, as she was always in the bedroom when the atrocities were perpetrated. She also frequently volunteers for transfiguration practice, and particularly enjoys being turned into a pillow or a doorstop.) The old swish and flick is still working, too,

so I suppose all is not lost. I even made a hat in a day when I was in New Orleans for Christmas (the high point of my whole holiday season experience). It was a really enjoyable pattern to knit, and I needed a new hat (ahem) so I present Rose Red by Ysolda Teague, in STR Heavyweight "Pallas Athena".

I love those Raven Clan colors, I really do. But hold on a minute, you say. This is a beret! What's up with that?

You know, I never would have thought myself a beret person, but this is no ordinary beret. This is my power beret. It looks too cool on me, and that's just wrong in my world. And yet, there it is. No denying it, with the right beret, I am awesome. Still, even with a beret awesomeness power-up...
crap for Patronus.

What's a witch to do? I feel the dementors there, closing in. When I set out to make a list of things I'd like to knit in the new year, it ends up being titled "Stuff I will fail to complete yet again in 2009" When I look back, my list is titled "Crap the cats destroyed in 2008" Because that's a longer list than "Items completed in 2008". I would not be surprised to find a summation of my knitting year as an entry on Fail Blog. And I have crap for a Patronus. W00t.

And worse, I have rants in my pants. I really want to go off on designers with whom I have issues and with unknitterly behavior I have seen recently displayed, but it hardly seems worth the rant. And none of my friends are to be allowed to go out of town again, unless I am out of town too, because I miss them. I know they're on their way back, but they need to drive faster. So there. I will rant on a sunnier day, when dark creatures are not sucking away my will to rant, when I can strike while the irony is still hot.

Until then, I will leave you with my 2009 list of stuff I will fail to complete.

February Lady sweater
Isobel of Mar
Come Together
Magic Carpet Ride
Some socks.
Kauni Sweater (pattern TBA)
Some more socks

I think that's a good start. I will undoubtedly get derailed by at least 5 or 6 new projects, and that's being optimistic. I could really shoot myself in the foot and say I'll do Christmas knitting as well, but that would be thoroughly ridiculous and completely unbelievable, so I won't.

Now, I realize I may seem a little down right now, but there are many things I did set out to accomplish over the past year that really worked out well. The job change has done wonders for my life, and the surprising discovery of change ringing added a new dimension of enjoyment to my extracurricular life. So all is not lost by any stretch of the imagination. The only thing that is lost is a pair of estonian mittens. And if I find out those got eaten too, well lets just say don't be surprised if you find me with a few less cats and a bit more in the glassware department and with a revised opinion of the use of transfiguration as a punishment tool. Verre verto, you furry motherfuckers.

I'm just sayin' is all.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I Am Speechless

My Fair Isle Sampler Hat was discovered today to have been destroyed. I don't even begin to know how to deal with this, except to place an order with Schoolhouse press for more yarn to knit a new one. Right now, I can't breathe.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Grand Unified Conspiracy Theory of Everything

Hewlett Packard hates me. I know it. They probably have a dedicated department of developmental technology with specific focus on computers for my house that will self destruct in every possible manner at the worst possible time. Motherboard, we hardly knew ye.

So, after 3 HP purchases all ending in tears, I am posting from a Gateway. Do you have any idea how tired I am of setting up computers and transferring data? By now, I'm good at it, at least. And I have acquired new skillsets, like replacing power sources and putting hard drives in external hard cases. I mean, I know what Serial ATA is now. This should not be happening to me, but my tech friends are probably meeting even now, making yet more plans to widen my knowledge base so I'll have to call them less every time my computer glitches out, which, of course, probably won't happen now that I have finally wised up and not bought another HP.

ANYWAY, on to knitting, right? Uh, no, not really. I mean I have been knitting, it's just that I'm doing something else now as well, something new, and something somewhat related to knitting, at least in about 5 different ways I can think of right now. You see, apparently a few other of my friends decided I didn't have enough hobbies, and introduced me to change ringing. Now any of you who have been following the Tsarina's blog will be familiar with the activity, but for those of you who would like to see some (and undoubtedly mock me) I am sharing the following video of me (and the Happy Goth's husband, who is my primary teacher).

So, you say, didn't I say just a minute ago that I thought this was somehow related to knitting? Why, yes, I did. Because ringing and knitting are both math based, and can have a mathematical relationship to each other. Check out these socks for instance:
which is available from Holiday Yarns here. There is also this scarf (Ravelry link) which I haven't knit, but I will one day, for certain.

One of the other things knitting and change ringing have in common is that you can spend your entire life doing each of them and never learn all there is to know. I love this. I love learning, and the pursuits that have stayed with me all have this quality. I tire easily of anything once there are no more challenges, and although I have learned about lots of subjects that initially appealed to me, there are few I stick with. Don't get me wrong, it isn't that I master them all, but too often I learn enough to know that I have hit the ultimate depth of knowledge of something and mastery is only a matter of repetition from then onwards. Can you say boring?

Speaking of boring, I always thought knitting scarves would be boring, so I always avoided it. If for no other reason than that the universe usually conspires to prove me wrong, I present the scarf I'm currently working on. I can't stop knitting this.

Three guesses as to why...

Two colors of Silk Garden, 244 and 267

One scarf to rule them all.

The color changes keep me obsessed. Three days before Thanksgiving my Dad had successful carotid artery surgery. I thought he might appreciate some warmth for his neck. Scar tissue can hurt like hell in cold weather. So I thought about this scarf, which Jared made famous here. Picking out the colors is the hardest part. I wanted something masculine but not too drab and with colorful bits here and there. I think I've succeeded. I couldn't help buying a few more combinations for future scarves. Check these out:
This will be for me.

And possibly this for me too. Because apparently I had no other projects going on and had no yarn in the house.


Then the mail came. Oh, my God.

Need I say I'm on cloud nine?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Showing Jane My Sock

One of the first things that occurred to me when I started learning to knit was that if I could knit, I could make things that fit me perfectly. How many times do you think that has actually happened?

So far, zilch.

It isn't all that strange that I have taken to knitting shawls and long floppy hats. There is no fitting there. As much as I have tried, my sweaters are lumpy and loose with sleeves to make any greater ape happy, mittens are too tight, socks are too short. So here I was, roughly 3 years into my knitting odyssey when I began to understand just how far short I had fallen from my goal of knitting stuff that fits, and it comes to me - now that I understand construction of a sock, I should start working on fit. Duh!, you say, but this is a revelation for me, believe it or not.

I decided to build my perfect sock. Mostly because I have knit more (single-shhh!) socks than any other garment, and secondly because poor fit is most frustrating to me in a sock. I have had quite a few sock failures (mohair, need I say more?) but most of my stash consists of sock yarns, so I needed a plan. It started like this.

First, I needed to decide what I wanted out of a sock; a plain old everyday kind of sock. Yarn: Opal, because it wears like friggin iron. Also because I own 90 bajillion skeins of it, Rainforests, Hundertwassers, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Apparently I am a complete whore for trick color effects, and have really questionable taste. Pattern: This was tricksy. I first contemplated what I currently wear everyday. It's Hanes cotton crew socks, machine made with a short row heel and toe, and ribbing from the ankle up. There must be a reason I wear them everyday, so I thought about it, and decided that the close fit and the ribbed cuff (which I often but not always turned down) were the items I wanted to keep. Check. Cotton I don't care much for, and the heel and toe are far outclassed and surpassed by some really superior techniques I have learned, so that was all jettisonned.

Next I thought back on all the socks I'd made before and thought about the techniques. Toe up socks were out, I haven't found a toe increase I like. Top down toes decrease smoothly, and now that I can kitchener moderately better than a baboon on acid, they are an ever viable option. Top down it is. Cuff has to be relatively short, but long enough to turn down, and no fancy Monkey or lace stitches. Two by two ribbing is the most elastic and would keep the socks snug. In one pair of socks I made the ribbing was extended over the instep and I really liked the extra cushiness under lacings, so that's in. So, heel and gusset were all that was left to choose.

Now I love a flap heel beyond all reason, but I hate the heel stitch. For some reason all those columns of slipped stitches begin to get rangey and loose, and the overall effect to me is kind of slidey, weak and unsecure. Not wanting to lose the cushion effect of the heel stitch heel, I settled on an Eye of Partridge heel, coupled with a garter edging for ease in picking up the gusset stitches. No more fumbling about the start and end of the gusset, wondering what I was picking up. I have decided to rename this combination the Eye of Keith Partridge heel. Why?

I think I love you.

This may be the only heel I ever use again. No sagging, no slippy feeling, plenty of cushion, my stitches do not grow in ever fattening columns. And best of all?

I actually wrote a diary entry that said oh, David, you will be mineI was able to incorporate the great crush of my preteen years into the most perfect sock imaginable! How much do I rock, exactly?

So now, all that was left was to knit the thing. That's when I found out that this is only going to be my perfect pattern for Opal socks. That yarn is tiny, folks, and I being the loose knitter I am, ended up having to go down to size 00 needles to get the fabric I wanted, making this a 72 stitch sock. While our heads are reeling with the implications of that, lets have another David Cassidy moment.

and oh, how I love you soOh, yeah.

So 72 stitches on 00 dpns. Top down. 2x2 rib for 72 rows down to a heel flap done in eye of Keith Partridge. Continue ribbing on instep as you decrease gussets and throughout foot of sock down to toe, where you gracefully decrease down to 20 stitches and kitchener the toe like a baboon on very weak acid (I'm getting better at this all the time). That, folks, is the sock I'd make.

I love this sockAnd, indeed, I did make, out of Opal Rainforest, Owl colorway. Which actually looks more like it should be called smores to me.

Which makes this pattern all the more perfect to me, because not only have I managed to include the love of my life (c.1970)
I won't share you with anyone elseBut one of my favorite foods from the time period as well. Life is good, my friends, life is good.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Yes, thank you, I should like a bit of cheese with my whine.

I have had quite a few gear shifts in my life as of late. First was actually not mine, but Claudia's. After her husband died, I didn't know what to say or write, and truthfully that's where most of the non blogging came from. What could I possible write that could have any meaning after that? I spend many nights clinging to my poor husband so hard I don't think he slept at all.

But time passed and I relaxed, and got things back into perspective. So it was all good. My husband even decided to finally get the physical I'd been after him about for years to help me feel better. And he proved to be in excellent physical shape until the stress test. Which he failed so badly that doctors came in and stopped the tests and began asking him if he had had heart attacks in the past. What the f*#&? So then came the nuclear stress test, and after a couple of weeks of freaking the hell out (as you can imagine, but this is just me, mind you - he was cool as a cucumber) we find out the first test was wrong. Thank you, and who will be paying the bills on both the botched test and the unnecessary one? Oh, that would be me. But you know I'd pay anything for him to be ok, so I really don't mind.

OK, so that's most of the summer, but it's back to business as usual. And I am still loving my job, so that's good, even though I can't work right now. Oh, but I am getting ahead of myself.

Wow, way ahead of myself, let me go back before this, I am remiss in not mentioning that my Dad's surgery went well and he's fine. Thanks to everyone who sent good wishes and thoughts our way.

So back to the end of summer. Since 2005, not my fave time of year. Many of you know that hurricane Katrina destroyed my parents' house. They have been in the new house about a year now, it's very nice. I do have to say, though, that the evacuation for Gustav was stressful for us all, even though I loved having a visit from my folks. When they finally got power back and were able to return home everything got slowly back to normal. Until last Wednesday.

That's the first day the vertigo started. I didn't know how bad it would get then. By Friday I had to call in to work and call my husband to come home from his work and bring me to the doctor. Since then I have only left the house once when Happy Goth and Jennie were kind enough to pick me up and take me out for the afternoon. But I still do not have a consistent and reliable concept of where the floor and ceiling are at any given time and the only time I feel normal is when I am medicated to the nines and have been seated and unmoving for at least 10 or 15 minutes. Or laying in bed, again with the not moving. Then I feel as normal as anything, like I should just be able to get up and walk across the room like its nothing special at all.

Shows you what the hell I know. I need a sign to wear if I ever leave the house again that explains to everyone whose path I will inevitably stumble across that I am not, indeed, drunk. I also need to stop trying to knit. It only ends badly, and I am coming perilously close to finding out how many times I can frog Trekking before it is completely ruined. I am very amusing to watch, though.

I am also scared that this won't end. I need to return to work. I'm not good at being off. I am also not good at being sick. Grrrrr.

Now I'm going to have some cheese. I think I have earned it. When I feel better and can operate a computer with more than one window open at a time, I'll put links in this post and post some pictures of the knitting I have done over the summer. Trust me, you don't want to see what I've been working on recently; it looks like someone tried to teach a deranged monkey how to knit.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Chapter 11, in which I am discovered buried alive

I have decided that summer is not even time to worry about the blog mojo. I have the knitting mojo, bad, a massive springtime case of startitis. Sometimes I want to just give in, go out, but a zillion sets of cheap needles and cast on everything I have yarn for. Everything. And folks, the yarn in my house? It has it's own room, so that's crazytalk. So after much interruption knitting (we interrupt your lace knitting to bring you this small, delightful colorwork knitting; we interrupt your color knitting to bring you this simple cable projct; we interrupt your cable knitting to bring you this fantastic new lace project; etc) I have decided to limit myself to no more than 27 ufos on the needles at one time.

I'm not at all sure I can handle the restriction.

In other news, the lotus is blooming:

chawan basu I am also finally getting over a sinus infection of truly epic proportions. But while from the schnozz up I was laid low, the hands, they have been knitting. And for some odd reason, all I want to make is mittens, hot water bottle covers and anything in Kidsilk Night. I have no idea what is wrong with me that I wait for 90+ degree weather and OMG humidity to bust up with the mohair. Pics later, I fear, because every time I grab stuff to photograph it, I end up working on it instead. Which really is good, albeit frustrating from a blogger point of view.

So bear with me a few more days and I'll have time to get myself together. Before I go, however, I have been tagged for a meme by Toni (who actually tagged me a while ago, but hey, better late than never!) so here goes!

The Rules:Rules are posted at the beginning. At the end of the post, the player tags 6 people and posts their names. Then the player goes to each of the “named” people’s blogs and leaves a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. If you’ve been tagged, you do the same, letting the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer. Your answer, of course, is the answer to the following questions. Here we go!

1. What was I doing 10 years ago?
Pretty much the same thing, but I had the glass studio functional so I was making beads and teaching stained glass.

2. What are 5 things on my to-do list today?
Work out at the gym, knit, clean out the hamsters, work on my byzantine jewelry project, pester my friend Barbara (that really is a list item)

3. Snacks I enjoy: British Cadburys, greek yogurt with honey, fritos and cream cheese for a dip, gelato, esp. stracciatella

4. Places I’ve lived: Metairie Louisiana, Atlanta, that's all.

5. Things I would do if I were a billionaire: Keep a house in New Orleans, an apartment in London, a place in Tokyo and a cottage in Ireland. Buy a space shuttle trip for my husband. Take care of my family and friends. Own and operate an old fashioned drug store with a soda fountain and run it the way I want to (sort of like a functioning museum). I'd love to say lots of meaningful philanthropic stuff, too, but I don't have specifics. I don't actually think about this very much and I don't buy lottery tickets, so there isn't much chance anyway.

The rules say I have to tag 6 people now. How about HappyGoth, EvilScienceChick, Snarky Katie, Famous Steve, Light Wading, and Olivia? And if you're feeling left out because I didn't tag you, feel free to swipe the meme and post answers on your blog, then let me know in the comments.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

It's Not My Fault 101

Wow, I don't know quite what has come over me. I have like unto my own personal yarn store of stash, and I have been on a buying binge for two freaking days now.

It's all Katey's fault. It was she who dyed the yarn that started the whole thing. She made me kidnap Jane to ride with me up to Only Ewe and Cotton Too in Alpharetta, where she then made me look at all the cool stuff they had there, resulting in my buying not only the yarn I went for, but some Shibui Knits in the bluest blues you have ever seen, and some Suri Alpaca laceweight in silver. And some undyed superwash merino top roving. She made Jane buy stuff too. It was so unfair.

After I dropped off Jane I went to my husbands' work Spring Fling, where they had this cool inflated slide thing with two aisles and bungee cords. What, pray tell, do you do with that, you may ask. Well, the answer is you made a fool of yourself in it, by twos, and you injure yourself slightly. Actually, you put on harnesses that have the bungees, which are attached to the back wall of the thing, then you take velcroed bean bags, then you run down the aisle as far as you can and plant the bean bag on the velcroed strip as far down the thing as you can before the bungee snaps you backwards, hopefully bettering your opponents' distance.

And if your forty something and unathletic, expect to injure yourself. I'm just sayin is all.

However, if you are in fine physical shape, at any age, you can win, which looks something like this:

Please note that this is a picture of my husband, winning. Not a picture of me. Losing. Knitting is much safer. Trust me. Ow.

OK, so maybe part of it is Janes' fault as well. If she hadn't left her GoKnit pouch in my car, I would not have had to return it to her this morning, causing me to drive near Knitch, which reminded me that I really wanted to pick up a copy of the Lucy Neatby sock book. And while I was there, I was shown the Handmaiden yarns that they just got in. The stuff is too beautiful, and I had to get a couple of skeins of the Casbah. Against my will.

So I figured that after that I'd better be virtuous and like, knit, or something. But on the way back home I noticed a big sign in front of the Melkite church advertising that today was a Middle Eastern Food Fair, so I did the only thing my conscience allowed me to do. I called my husband and told him about it. I went home to pick him up, and decided to check a few blogs and noticed Farm Witch updated her etsy store with yarn and roving in colorways that nearly made me cry. Realizing that it just wouldn't do to go to a Food Fest with my husband and be crying all the time, I bought some. I still hold that if you follow my logical path, the pistachio and rosewater ice cream I shouldn't have eaten was also Janes' fault, and therefore Kateys' as well.

Oh, and I joined Lime and Violet's Yarn Raiders on Chore Wars. So when I came home and finished my Neck Down Wrap Cardigan, I levelled up!
My Chore Wars character

Pictures to follow, possibly next winter. OMG, this thing is warm!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Well, that was unintentional.

Wow, I sure didn't set out to ignore the blog for a month and a half, but life is wonderful and strange like that. Hell, I haven't even kept up with my Ravelry page, so don't feel too neglected. Anyway, I have been up to a few things, none of which is finishing any of my projects, but all of which are really positive steps in acheiving my new years resolution of making my life work for me.

First, I changed jobs. Back in whenever the hell that was (probably January), when I was griping about my job, I said I was going to do one of two things. Either I was going to make the job I was in work better for me and my life or I was going to get a better job that would work better for me and for my life. By March I had done about all I could at my old job to better my situation and there was no sign that the changes I had made were going to make a damned bit of difference. When a much better offer came along, I completed my commitments at the old job and took a few weeks off in between jobs for some decompression. My "vacation" I had taken earlier in the year was used to get a bunch of dental work done and I ended up in pain or sick the whole time, so I could hardly count that as a vacation.

For a few weeks I knit, caught up on some podcasts, caught up on some husband time, petted the much neglected cats, played with the hammies and bought a bicycle. I love my bike. Now I just have to move somewhere flat so I can ride it. I really didn't think about that, no, I did not. I took it out for a spin near Zoo Atlanta. It was a beautiful spring day, the cherry trees were in bloom, and I nearly burned out the brakes trying to control the extreme downhill death ride that took me, screaming, to my destination. Then, just as the Yarn Harlot wrote, you realize that you aren't at your destination, you're only halfway there. The uphill ride back to the car took what felt like hours, me pedaling until I was just short of having my legs burst into flame, then resting until I could ride a few more feet. Needless to say, I am now scouting out long stretches of flat road, preferably in out of the way areas without traffic.

Realizing this was yet another reality check regarding my fitness level (because the scale readings weren't enough, I guess) I joined a really great gym and got a Personal Trainer that I really like. Yup, just like Oprah. And everyone in Dunwoody. And although working out cuts into precious knitting time, I think the benefits will outweigh the drawbacks. After all, the lighter 50lb boxes seem to me, the more of them I can fill with yarn and stuff in the car, right? So this is my plan. Lift weights, knit, cook. OMG, I am actually cooking again. I have the time.

Another thing I had to do was break up the hammies. The Khans, it seems are loners. We went through I don't know how many rounds of antibiotics to get them straight, but neither Genghis nor Kublai will ever come into direct contact with another hamster again. The other guys do fine together, so they stay that way. And yes, for those of you who will want to know, they have names, too. Ogadai, Chinua and Hai-Shan who we call Arrowhead. My clone Doug knit them a yurt. No lie. Here it is.

And here are the hammies with it. Sorry Doug, they only see it as a chew toy.

Now if you don't think that's cute, you don't know from cute. Doug, you rock!

So there has been no finishing of projects, but there has been much knitting. And you all know that that means that at some point there was a festival of casting on. I am totally reconciled to it, and feel no guilt whatsoever. In fact, I am casting off a shawl I started recently as we speak, and I may cast on again before I am finished. I am just that crazy. This thing hasn't even been put on Ravelry! Taunting the gods, I am. Ya ha!

I am completely ignoring Mission Possible 2008 in favor of cultivating skills as a dilettante. I have cast on, knitted and am casting off the Lotus Blossom Shawl, which was a pattern I had ignored for years. My own lack of imagination was the culprit, as I was unable to see past the ugly pictures used in the pattern packaging to the beauty possible if the right yarn was used. And I am using the right yarn.

Jojoland Melody Superwash color 20, which is actually slightly less pinky/blue and more red/blue than shown. Still, supremely awesome. I am also using a picot cast off instead of the sucky bobble cast off. Bobbles just shouldn't exist.

Went to see the Yarn Harlot with HappyGoth. And Claudia, Jane, Knitwitch, the Warlock, Hockeymom, and everyone else. But me and HG were hanging out in the first row, not drinking beer, but still having a great time.

She and I are knitting matching socks, because the yarn is cool and because we are giant dorks. Stephanie revelled in our dorkness. Which is immense.

She even took a picture of me in my Irtfa'a shawl to send to Tina of BMFA. I was really flattered. After she took my picture I realized I was wearing it inside out. Immense. Dork.

At some point in the mix I knitted that Felted Clog pattern from Fiber Trends. I must say that at the point just before they were felted I had little confidence in the pattern. Here they are in their Seussian glory, modelled for us by the lovely Nell and her daughter Haley.

And the amazing after shot.

The pattern works in a miraculous sort of way. Well, I guess I did finish a project after all.

And, somewhere in there, I won Claudia's sock naming contest along with Snarky Katie! I won Koigu. Gorgeous, wonderful, Koigu.

The break I took was really good for me, although not intended to be as long as it was. Had I tried to write before now, I'm sure I would have written total crap, so I have saved us all from that. And I'm ready to work a bit of blogging into my new schedule. Thanks for being patient!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Beware the Ides of March

Excuse the lateness of this post, but I got rather caught up in the weather today. Atlanta got it repeatedly, as many of you may have heard on the news. Me and mine are just fine here, but I live less than a mile from the damage path of the tornado, and the whole area is just a mess. There is no hopping in the car to go down the street right now as many of them are barricaded because of fallen trees or debris. I was not totally unprepared for this level of French Toast Emergency, however. Eggs are always plentiful here, and we had milk and bread, so I didn't have to rush to the store. I went to visit HappyGoth, who lives a few blocks from some of the worst damage, and I had to take a roundabout route to get there and back. While I was there we had a lovely midafternoon hail storm.
Thankfully this was noisier than it was dangerous, but it was unnerving all the same.

And although not much knitting got done today, I have been knitting. I am somewhere near row 55 of Lyra (here's the Ravelry pattern link), but I am not feeling the love.

My camera is not capable of reproducing this shade of indigo. Remotely. So we give you electric blue Lyra instead. The biggest problem with this (and I'm afraid with a great many Nieblings) is that I found out I hate knitting that hex mesh background. I'm just not a double yarnover every two seconds kind of girl.

I am, however, a vintage lace gloves kind of girl in a big way (link to Ravelry). I had scads of Laci left over from Irtfa'a, and I came across this free pattern and it all clicked. I had seen this pattern a long time ago and never really gave it a second thought at the time, but thanks to Ravelry I ran across it again, and seeing everyone elses' gloves in all different colors gave me the idea to make a pair to match my shawl. Me all matchy, that's a first - you can ask anyone who knows me. Here is the first one in progress in all its splendiferousness.

Spiffy, no? I will be one bad ass matching mofo.

Last but not least, let me thank everyone who read my last post to the end (bless you all) and left a comment. Although I didn't mention it at the time, the occasion of the contest was that that was my hundredth post. And because I felt like it.

I am very grateful for all your comments. From where I sit here atop the Mount Olympus of Chickendom, it was tough to pick a favorite. But I think the following snippet sums up what I feel is at the heart of the knitblogging experience:

"I think it's the thought that there might just be someone out there who understands about any achievements in knitting, and won't just dismiss them with a kindly-meant (but disheartening!) "very nice dear (now run along & play)" kind of comment ..."

Mary Lou, of Odd Ball Knitting, you are the winner! Email me at chickengoddessATmindspringDOTcom with your address and the book will be winging its way to you first thing.

And to Dave, Rabbitch (I do read you, you know, you have made me truly scared to check my referral stats), ESC, HappyGoth, Amy, Turtlegirl, JP, Turbochic, Deb, kmkat, PurlyKay, Megan, Toni, Lyle and even Artemis (dude, you don't even knit. What would you have done with the book? ;) I thank you, thank you for reading my blog and making my 100th post special. I have a little something for you all, and if you'll email me with your addresses I'd like to send you each a thank you. Even Artemis.

Really, I'm just collecting them so I can stalk you. Or maybe send you chickens. You won't know, will you, until it's too late...;)

Monday, March 03, 2008

Me, I Just Ramble On

As I perused my enormous list of blogs today, I kept thinking about how different people organize and run their blogs, and how they compare to mine.

I know.

But it is interesting to see how many different styles of blogging there are out there. There are those folks who post to-do lists on a regular basis and the remaining posting is just the follow up of their goals. And there are those who catalogue (I like that spelling) each project, one at a time, almost like a journal or in some cases a tutorial. Then there are those who are apologetic versus those that are confident (probably past the point of good taste), and those who are trying to make something out of, well, not a damned thing.

I read bloggers who are obviously prepared before they address the keyboard and those who just as obviously have divine intervention on their side because you know they are sitting there trying to talk into the mouse, but somehow the blog gets published. And I have seen those I consider to be widely read and popular bloggers disappear into thin air at a moments notice. Like they married a cop or something. Have you noticed that? I have. One minute some nice young thing is talking about her knitting and her boyfriend in law enforcement, then the engagement pic goes up, then the requisite post about knitting for the wedding and then *POOF* they utterly disappear from the blogosphere.

Anyway, I love them all, even the less than stellar attempts (which usually resort to lots of lolcat pics and internet quiz results, so you should not look too closely at this blog, okay? Thanks!) but I do wonder sometimes why we do this.

I know I'm not the first to ask this question, but I wasn't paying attention when it came up last time, so I'm going to ask again:

Why do you blog about your knitting?

Leave an answer in the comments before midnight EDT, March 13 and I'll pick my favorite to win a copy of this out of print book:

And remember, since Blogger isn't consistent with sending me email addresses, check back on the Ides of March (the 15th for you non -Roman types) to see if you've won. Good luck!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

This Post Has No Title Just Words and a Tune

Well, I finally have a minute off work to knit and relax, and I choose the kind of knitting that won't let you relax. Yes, my friends, I have cast on another lace project. I know, I know, I haven't yet posted decent pictures of Irtfa'a, but that is how it is. Anyway, I still am pretending to work on my Mission Possible 2008 list, so I cast on.

Now, let's not start out assuming that casting on 8 stitches is an easy or simple thing. Because that was the first thing I did today, and that assumption cost me 3 hours. You read it right, 8 stitches, 3 freaking hours. Of my life. That I cannot get back. Yep. And truthfully, I am still not completely happy with it, not by a long shot, but me and this project have reached an agreement. I will be happy with what I have for now, and it will not look like total shite. That's the deal.

The internet is truly a wonderful thing. But, as many of you know, it can be really dangerous as well. I now have a computer in the knitting room, which is like unto the blasting cap being united with the dynamite insofar as the internet danger thing is concerned. So I began my foray into the wild world of casting on 8 stitches in the round by consulting the internet.

Do you have any idea what a powder keg of an issue a single stinking cast on can be? Maybe you do, and you are all at home smugly shaking your heads at me already, but I have to admit I was shocked at the information I found. No less than three tutorials, with pictures, countless blog posts and list discussions. Entire discussions. 8 freaking stitches. Frikkin frakkin frik!

So I decided to take what at the time really did seem to be the sanest route and tried the most logical looking cast on. Obviously, it works, because someone I know has used it. And I believe them when they say they have. They have no reason to lie to me. At this point, however, I think the best way they can assure me beyond any doubt that they can execute this particular cast on is to come on over and do it for me, because I couldn't manage the frelling thing. So I took a short break and petted hamsters, put some more music on my ipod and went to plan B.

Naturally, for me at least, I choose the most sensible and logical thing to try as my personal plan A. It follows, then (at least in my universe) that plan B jumps to the least logical, most ridiculous thing. I know that this usually sets me up for more frustration and hamster petting, I know. I know the better option would be to try the next level down the list, not jump to the bottom, but that's just how I roll. I think it is a genetic selection thing for beer. Because after the crazy stuff blows up in my face, the hamster petting only keeps working to calm me if it is accompanied by beer.

Anyway, now I am doing this weird knit a square to make it round to use it as a provisional cast on thingie and failing miserably, but I am getting totally stoked about making it work. This is probably when I should have stopped for a beer, but I didn't. Five times I failed to do this right, but me and this cast on got this relationship thing building. You know, like Dr. Frankenstein and his monster, and I knew I would be able to make these 8 stitches happen. And time, she went poof.

To make a 3 hour long story short, I finally did it, the most convoluted and bizarre way, a strange amalgamation of the ridiculously complex instructions and my own brain (which I have put back in the jar now so no one gets hurt). And you know what? It's kinda, well, meh. But it doesn't totally suck, so the deal holds. As long as it continues to not totally suck I have agreed not to do such things to it and the yarn that would render them eternally unuseable and possibly bring the authorities down on me. So there. And on to knitting!

Did I mention this is a German chart? In German symbols? With blank mystery spaces in the chart to fool you into thinking you should knit where (unless you were a German chart knitter type person and know better) physics will not allow? Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

So after a total of 5 (five) hours, I would like to present, at row 18 with 112 stitches, um,

My sea urchin. I love knitting!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Darth Hamster

Thank you for all your lovely comments! I really hate when Blogger doesn't give a real email address so I can respond, but that's an old beef with Blogger. Meanwhile I am going crazy trying to make good on my resolution to make this year work out for me. And I'm doing it, it is just taking my every waking moment. All I am able to knit right now is socks, but the pattern (Jaywalker, a favorite) and the yarn (Trekking 100, an amazing colorway) keep it simple but fascinating, so for now it is the perfect knitting. I have great aspirations for the future, but socks make me happy until I can get some of my plans implemented. Meanwhile there really isn't much fascinating to blog about, so for now I will leave you with one of my favorite pictures.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Welcome 2008 graduates of Sith University and families.

As I ready to don my ceremonial cloak and hood, I look back on the past months with fond memory. All the happy hours of knitting as miles of dark yarn passed through my fingers. The promise of each pucker and ruffle, like the darkness of space itself, the darkness of the force, and always waiting for fate to unfold; waiting to spread my dark wings and fly. Waiting for today. All that is left is to cross the stage, receive my diploma, and (lest I seem ungrateful for all my training) assasinate the emperor as I exit, leaving a vacancy I am ready to fill. Yes, it was tough at the end, but it always is, and you learn that is has to be that way. Now all adversity has been overcome, and I wait, triumphant, for the final strains of pomp and circumstance (still a classic) to die away, and for my future to begin.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

First you must grasp your hamster firmly...

Yes, hamster adventures continue. Knitting does not, at least for now while work is crazy and the Khan requires special treatment.

I'll go back a bit. The other day, while showing off the Horde to a friend, I noticed one of the hamsters' butts looked weird.

OK, I'll go back a bit more. Now, being the responsible new hamster owner, the day after the Horde showed up I went out and bought what seemed to be a pretty good resource on hamster care and started reading up on basic care and what to look out for. So I knew that as long as everyone was chipper and fluffy and were eating, drinking and pooping ok, things would be alright. I also knew that the robo hamsters could be kept together, although they like to pair, and we briefly wondered if a fifth unpaired hamster would be a problem, and, if so, how would we know who was paired and who was not. And I learned that they were pretty darned hardy but could catch colds from humans if exposed. But loose poops can be a problem, and a wet tail can herald a possible fatal infection. Check.

So I've been engaging in a daily health check which is easy to do when I let them run around in their balls, because they're all separate and easy to handle and view without having to try to catch any of them (which I can't - they're just too fast). So I'm checking out the hamster butt a couple of days ago (yeah, that sounds weird) and sure enough, we have one with a dark patch where nice clean fur should be.

Is it wet? Is it time to panic? I mean, I had just seen "I Am Legend" the night before, and I could have a transformed hamster here who will shortly begin killing and possibly eating the cats! I mean, they're nocturnal already, and this one's going hairless, and ... Or maybe we have the first signs of a potentially fatal hamster disease here that I didn't even know existed 2 weeks ago. But it wasn't wet, just hairless and raw. Otherwise the hamster was completely normal. I decided to give it a day. It was late Saturday night, what could I have done anyway?

Sunday, the patch was bigger, and now it was looking rashy, as was the left hind foot. Hamster otherwise still completely normal, perky dining on seeds, no cat carcasses strewn around the cage. The plan: get a vet on Monday.

Did you know hamsters are considered exotic? I sure as hell didn't. Maybe a Hawaiian hamster that does the hula would fit my description of exotic, but hamsters are as American as moms' apple pie, so it was strange to have so much trouble finding someone who would see him. Finally I asked the Banfield people at Petsmart if they would see him. I mean, they sell the little guys (although mine came from elsewhere), so you'd think they would have a special rodent doc there or something, but they don't. However, the vet there did say that although she wasn't an exotics specialist, she'd see him and do what she could. Could we bring him in later in the afternoon and what was his name?


I really had no contingency plan for ever getting to be able to tell them apart to the point that would warrant individual names, so I don't know where it came from, but without missing a beat I answered "Genghis". And proceeded to spell it out for them.

Turns out we have identified the odd hamster out here. He, being unpaired, was getting chewed on a bit, and has a secondary bacterial infection from the bites. He got an antiseptic bath at the vets' (who were awesome) and is currently in his own habitat (for everyones' safety) and is living like, well, a Khan. We have to catch and hold him to give him his cherry flavored drop of medicine, then he returns to his posh digs. Now, the odd hamster out theory is mine, and it could be a crowding issue as well, so when he gets a clean bill of health we are going to get him a friend and eventually join the two habitats via tunnels so there's tons of room for everyone, and everyone has a buddy.

Do you have any idea how cute this has all been? OMG!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Thank Bob That's Done!

Well, I have finished the right half of the edge pattern and started on the left side. Pat will be pleased to know that the left side is far easier than the right. Maybe it's just being so thankful not to have to p2togtbl anymore, I don't know. But I got 5 repeats done in the time it would take me to do 2 of the right side repeats and I actually enjoyed it!

Now I've learned my lesson about saying cocky stuff like giving dates as to when I'll have it done, but I'm hoping to be able to wear it soon. It really shouldn't take much longer. Wow, I should paint that window.

In other news, the Horde are ridiculously adorable. We got them the little clear balls to run around in while I cleaned their cage, and I'm going to have to get some video of that and put it up here for you. It's freakin hysterical. And with my new camera, I can actually get short videos. For now, I'm proud that I can get any pictures out of it. It's way more high tech than my old camera. I sat down with the manuals yesterday and learned how to focus. Sad, that I'm actually all excited about that, isn't it? And it has digital macro. For the hamsters. The tiny fast hamsters.

The cats are getting jealous, but they'll have to wait their turn. I don't know what's funnier, 5 tiny critters rolling around in 5 balls or the view when you leave the room of 9 mesmerized cats staring at the door to the knitting room, just listening to the rolling sounds.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

2008 South of I-20

I can sum up my entire New Years experience with one word.


Yes, it was difficult not to feel that I had been magically transported to Baghdad last night. The husband and I stayed home for a relaxing evening and ended up hunkered down, away from any windows, listening to every fool with a semi automatic waste ammunition. It is a miracle no one was hurt.

Every year we have a few yahoos who think the best way to celebrate is by going out on their back porch and unloading their home protection system into the sky. Like bullets never come down or something. Last night we could only identify two, yes, two incidences of actual fireworks. All the rest were guns.

I am not anti-gun. I think people who own guns and aren't responsible with them should have their guns taken away, however. And below I-20 here, that would be every idiot who was out last night. Massive amounts of gunfire is never a soothing sound, nor is it a particularly celebratory sound. Unless you are in some 9th world country celebrating a coup. And my lack of appreciation for it is one of the many reasons why I don't live in a 9th world country. I live in a major metropolitan area in a 1st world nation. Yes, you have a big gun. Go get some bloody fireworks now. Thanks.

Drunken people shooting guns into the air in the dark aside, progress continues on Irtfa'a. I have just finished the purling hell right side of the edge pattern, and I am taking a breath before starting the knit friendly left side. Pictures to follow soon, if my new camera didn't get hit by a stray bullet.

And to think that part of the reason we stayed home was because we didn't feel like braving the roads on New Years Eve.