Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I think a knitter lives here... This post brought to you by the silent letter "e"

Seen at my house, in and around my parking space.

a tuft of wool, dancing in the wind


a clump of yarn, working its way up a tree (hopefully to become a nice warm nest for someone little!)

This Friday is the Second Annual Bloggers Silent Poetry Reading
WHEN: Any time February 2, 2007
WHERE: Your blog
WHY: To celebrate the Feast of Brigid, or Imbolc, which falls in early February (exactly when is up for debate by many)
HOW: Select a poem you like - by a favorite poet or one of your own - to post February 2nd

Sunday, January 28, 2007

In lieu of a dunce cap...

(or: Two New Spinners Herded Into the Flock)

Sarah kept insisting on winding her new yarn onto her spindle every three inches, which didn't give her enough room to actually draft and was seriously impeding the progression of her learning.

Because of this, she was punished, and forced to wear the Dunce Sheep.*

Meanwhile, on the other side of the room, Jody figured out a good draft-to-wind ratio pretty quickly.

She soon moved from the Philly Dorset I brought her to her own self-dyed roving.

Unfortunately, she developed a tendency to underspin, and her yarn wasn't able to hold the weight of her spindle.

So it was the Dunce Sheep* for her, too.

But soon, they had both moved on to silk, and played with my heavy Golding and my midweight and my laceweight spindles, and the Dunce Sheep were given back to Murphy the dog, who really thought they were better suited for fetch anyway.

Both proclaim they've caught spinning fever, Jody is already talking about wheels (the poor girl's birthday is eleven months away, so we'll have to find a reason for her to buy one come the beginning of May, yes?)

So it was a good day, even if I'm unbelievably tired now. Thanks, girls - what fun!

* the Dunce Sheep is a dog toy. It turns out that all three of us have at least one, although mine lives in my car, since Oscar is less than kind to most of his toys, and I just didn't have the heart. Besides, it squeaks, and it seems to me if you're going to put a noisemaker in a toy shaped like a sheep, you could at least make it baaa, right?

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Full Monty

Ever have one of those months?

Where you're just absolutely miserable and nothing seems to go right and it takes every single tiniest smidgeon of energy to remain professional and not dump on people who don't deserve to be dumped on? (and even fail at that - sorry, Laura)

And then, as you're nearing the end of the month, something comes along at just the right time that makes you laugh so hard your muscles hurt and you're feeling high for hours after?

That just happened! (thanks, Coleen!)

Sorry for those not local to me, but for those that are, please hie thee hence to Toby's of Baltimore.

This is absolutely one of the best shows I've seen from Toby's in quite a while, and Toby's is a fairly consistantly good theater.

The thing about it is, because of the whole "everyman" plot thing, they had the opportunity to cast some truly phenomenally talented guys who wouldn't normally get such large featured roles (no pun intended) because they don't have that "leading man" look about them. So the cast was just tremendous.

And the show is SO funny, I laughed so hard (again, no pun...) and I cried (in the right way) and I screamed and cheered. It was totally better than Cats.

Plus, having Toby herself lean over at the end of the show and say "okay, who saw pee-pees?" would have been worth it anyway....

So now I'm in a good mood, and have most of the weekend off, with a small bit of indoctrinating teaching some friends how to spindle on Sunday, and plans to go to Indian food with friends on Monday, so it's all looking up.

I may even clean house tomorrow.

But no promises.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

2nd Annual I-Don't-Have-Cancer-Anymore Baby Hat

Last year, I was so overjoyed to get the news that I am cancer-free, I knit Baby Girl Radiology a hat.

This year, while equally thrilled with the test results, I was too tired and cranky to feel generous enough to knit her a First-Birthday gift (besides, she was obviously too busy partying up, because she had very little to do with my results, and in fact doctors and hospitals gave me so many run-arounds this time, along with other medical issues that have decided to pop up), I figured my baby hat efforts could go to someone who was having an even worse time than I.

I'd promised Jolene a hat and pattern for her hat drive this month. And then hypo-throidism set in, and I was only able to knit very, very, very rarely, because I couldn't handle thinking in anyway. So while I love Jolene (and her amazingly beautiful girls) I just couldn't get it done.

But fortunately, Jolene has decided to continue collecting hats until mid-February, so I can still give her something and only look like a moderate slacker, instead of a truly selfish lump.

And so, I give to you as well - a free pattern for a hat that anyone can knit, anywhere, with any needles.

Seriously. Anywhere - even places where knitting needles are discouraged, if one is desperate. With any needles - because, as Jolene says, cancer comes in all sizes, so you can worry about gauge, or you can not worry about gauge and just knit. No sewing at all. Easy to dress up with stripes or poms or tassels, as you choose. It's the perfect hat for those moments you catch yourself without your project bag, but can put your hands on a ball of yarn (check the bottom of your purse - you wouldn't believe how much yarn I've got hiding down there). It's easy to carry, and quick to memorize, so you won't need to carry a pattern with you. Super-simple and a little bit funky, guaranteed to make any recipient smile, or I'll give you your money back for the (free) pattern.

Without further ado (since no one likes to step in a big ole steaming pile of ado), I give you

Is it flat? Is it round?

2 - 4 oz (depending on hat size) yarn of your choice and appropriate needles to get the fabric you like. In a place where needles are contraband, you may use two pens, pencils, dowels, whatever. Just match the tools with the yarn to get a fabric you like.

1 stitch holder (or pen, or pencil, or dpn, or circ) that is open on both ends.

(Optional Pom-pom maker, buttons, tassels, or other embellishments for each of the two corners)

All Slipped stitches are slipped With Yarn In Front

If you're going for a specific hat size, check sizing standards and CO enough stitches for your gauge to achieve goal size, plus or minus one to arrive at an EVEN number of stitches.

If you're not making the hat for a specific size, any even number will work for cast on, but be realistic - 60 is probably a good number to CO.

*Sl1, PURL 1* (see note below) across for every row until hat is approximately square

You may change colors whenever you like to add stripes, but be sure to work even numbers of rows of each color in order for the stripes to go all the way around the hat (this is not required - be funky and do odd numbers! Have fun with this!)

Rows 1 & 2: Sl1, K1 across
Rows 3 & 4: Sl1, P1 across

Repeat rows 1 - 4 for about one inch, or desired border length, ending after row 3.

Bind off as follows:
*Slip 1 to stitch holder, P1* across one row
BO from needle/pen/pencil.
BO from stitch holder.
Turn hat inside out and attach embellishments at each of the two corners.

Note Below: I know, I know, everyone hates purling (why? because early in their knitting career someone told them it was harder). But you're knitting the hat inside out in order to have a nice sewn-looking top seam. If you Sl1, Knit one for the square portion of the hat, you'll end up with Reverse Stocking Stitch. That's fine with me if it's fine with you.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

This little piggy went to the market...

...and laughed "Cheese Cheese Cheese Cheese Cheese" all the way home!

As some of you recall, I'm on this horrendous diet in preparation for a scan just to make sure no nasty little cancer cells are hiding in there. The diet is insanely tedious and monotonous.

And it also aggravated a condition that I've apparently been suffering from for several months (in the form of excruciating leg cramps with seemingly no other stimulants). Low calcium. Which can happen either genetically, or when one's parathyroids have been irritated by surgery to them, the thyroid, or radiation to that area. You know, like if you'd had treatment for thyroid cancer?

Anyway, despite talking to my endocrinologist for a year about how I can't excercise because I can never tell when these really crippling leg cramps would come on, and having him respond "ah, yes, you need to excercise more" (gee, wish I'd thought of that) when I went on a diet that eliminated my dairy and soy intake, my calcium dropped so fast that my general practicioner made a call to my endocrinologist, who now says yes, low calcium was the cause of the leg troubles all along.

The best part of this news is that he's altered my low-iodine-diet, because the difficulties from low calcium are far more serious than the chances of having too much iodine in my blood during the scan.

This means I didn't even go home, but went directly to the store, from whence I came home with this:

That's Parmesan, Goat cheese, Laughing Cow (light), Extra Sharp Cheddar, Vermont Sharp Cheddar (for scientific purposes, to see which is sharper and therefore better), Neufchatel, creamer for my coffee (in that flavor because of the cute liberal penguin).

I don't plan on eating all of that tonight.

Well. Not all of it.

Oh, and those little grey feet there?

My first attempt at taking the photo looked like this. If I had a better flash you'd probably be able to see right up the nasal cavity into the brain of a little grey Trevor cat. As it is, his pretty green eye is up at the top there, and his sweet little cheek is that blurry blob.

I'm still pooped and moody and paranoid and depressed and cranky (don't agree too quickly, everyone) but it's amazing how a little cheese can perk a gal right up.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

2007th Heaven

I know, I banty the word "hiatus" around and then bam, I'm back the next day. But since I slept in really late, then let the dog out and took a nap from that, I'm not feeling totally horrible today, so I figured I'd blog while the spirit moved me.

Several folks have e-mailed or commented questions about my sweater resolution and whether or not it's an official movement.

Well, no, not really. But I like themes, I have a dreadful need to knit something for myself, and I've got the yarn to do it, so I decided to push myself just a little and go for it.

If you'd like to join in, please feel free - I've included a "blank" version of my little chart here for you to borrow (politely, mind you) if you want to fill in your own goals and keep track of your projects. (inserting your own projects will require photo editing. Since I can only just barely do it on my own computer, please don't e-mail me and ask me to talk you through doing it on yours. I can't help with that, but I can tell you the font I used was "Mistral".) And the way I see it, since this is about putting yourself in seventh heaven, if you don't think you can do seven sweaters, or if you don't want them, pick something else! Any seven projects that are for you that would be challenging you just a little.

My personal rules (yes, there are seven):
1. These are for me, me, me, me, me, me, and me. I may knit for others as I please throughout the year, but this list of seven is all about me (because, frankly, I think the world should revolve around me, but I'll start with the yarn)

2. I may not start a new sweater without finishing the one I'm working on, since I tend to suffer from a fairly acute condition of Knitters ADD.

3. When I do finish one and move onto the next, I can start whichever I'd like. I did put some thought into choosing the order, so that I'm working with cooler yarns and shorter sleeved projects in the summer months, and the ones I have to spin come latest in the year, but this is subject to change.

4. I may make any substitutions to my list of seven, including yarn or pattern choices, or even complete garments.

5. I am allowed to pay Jolene to do finishing work for me, because she claims she enjoys it, and she must be punished for this.

6. Even when the next sweater is singing a siren song, "finishing work" does not include second sleeves.

7. I may not lose sleep, feel guilt, stress, or panic over finishing all seven sweaters, because life happens.

You may make your own rules if you like.

And massive props to Laura, who spent all day realizing just how computer illiterate I am (she thought I was kidding before!) and poked and prodded my template until it looks as lovely and pristine as it does now. And she's even still speaking to me! It's a sign of a true friend when someone finds out how stupid you really are and loves you anyway. Thank you, Laura!


(Wherein you are given a list of woulda-coulda-shouldas.)

Yes, I'm alive.

I intended to sum up how many socks we knit in 2006. (2492 socks, or 1,246 pairs)

I intended to write a love-letter anniversary post to my husband. (um. Love ya. Mean it.)

I intended to talk about resolutions for the new year. (seven sweaters, all for me. lose 8000 pounds. become perfect wife.)

I did none of that.

My computer went down a few weeks before Christmas, and only just got back and running (and I'm not trusting it will be back for good, we'll see this time) so checking e-mail and other computer related time involved a trip a few towns over to my parents' house, which isn't always super convenient. Add to that having to go back onto the miserable diet for maintenence testing and I'm having odd complications due to calcium issues that have made typing (and knitting) painful and awkward.

Things are going better tonight, after a very relaxing night with some friends and some redheaded sluts. I knit longer than I've been able to knit all week, and was even able to sit on a couch and then stand up again, which for most of the week has been pretty challenging. I'm having one more now before I head off to bed, so in essence I'm Blogging Under the Influence.

But I'm on the diet for the next two weeks or so, and will only feel worse and worse, and more and more miserable, so rather than whine too much, I'll probably just take a bloggerly hiatus until things are settled there.

Until then, you can see what I have been working on, the cashmere beginnings of my 2007th Heaven project of knitting seven sweaters for myself. I feel very prim and demure knitting my pink cashmere argyle when wearing flannel pants and my ratty old favorite sweatshirt with holes all over it, while weeping uncontrollably at utter nonsense because of the chemical inbalance in my body right now.

Marriage is love.