Sunday, October 31, 2010

how my halloween feels


Saturday, October 30, 2010

snaps on saturday

At my house we celebrate the return of the persimmons with a very genuine outburst of "woohoo!!" and sometimes a little jig.

(of course in early summer we celebrate the return of the stone fruits, too...but hey.)

Friday, October 29, 2010

fear it !!

If you are a baseball fan, especially a San Francisco Giants fan, then I probably don't need to tell you who this guy is:

If you don't know who that is, well...that would be Mr. Brian Wilson. He's one of our rockin' closing pitchers. He's notorious for his attitude and slightly askew behavior in interviews, but he's become famous for his beard.

Actually, his beard has become it's own entity, really. BrianWilson'sBeard even Tweets and has it's own Facebook page. Fans are now sporting fake beards at the games, and there are always signs and t-shirts sporting the "Fear The Beard!" catchphrase.

Wellp, I finally got to knit up my little Halloween ditty.
Say hello to my handknit Brian Wilson's Beard.

Hahahaha. I know.
Kinda scary.
(oh, and that's the orange wristband MyFavoriteKid asked for at the last minute)

TheMostImportantGuy is totally squicked by my new look. Says it is far too "manly". I think maybe I just should have applied some lipgloss and mascara before shooting that photo, is all. hahahahaha (here's a reminder of what I really look like, Honey)

Still a girl.
Promise ;-)

Or maybe I should take the beard and embroider on a couple of little flowers!! In my head I keep seeing that Bugs Bunny cartoon with the bull fighting, and somehow the bull getting dressed up like a girl with flowers in its horms...remember that?? It was from this episode (I can't find the exact frame):

Remember that one?!

I had to knit this project twice to get it right. On the first pass I adapted an existing pattern I found on Ravelry for a longer beard. Unfortunately it curled up into a hot mess once I bound off, and I couldn't get it to block flat. So I reworked the entire thing, improvising and taking notes as I went.

The Ravelry Project Page for it is HERE.

A couple of people have already asked me to post my instructions, so I will do that and add them to my project page later tonight or tomorrow.

Just in case you want to look manly, too ;-)

Thursday, October 28, 2010


....could you knit me an orange wristwarmer?

Sure. When do you need it?



(this conversation took place at 6-something-PM and I'm on my way to go teach dance class)

So I just used my few minutes of available knitting to do that for him instead of finishing up my halloween costume. Poo. At least a got to practice a new (to me) super stretchy bind off technique on something small. Yay for that.

Off to dance. XO!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

squishy vesty

I finished the vest finally!

So easy-peasy, I'm almost embarrassed to post about it. Basically, you just knit a rectangle that's wide on the ends but narrow in the middle, like this:

The silly thing is that I cast on for this vest back in February. I knit the first wide end and the whole center portion in a few days. Then I got to the part was I was supposed to widen it again, and I put it in my knitting bag, where it has sat for 8 months waiting for the other end. Lame!

Here's how that happened (just so you can see inside the brain of a weirdo): I had to do a row full of increases to widen it, and the increases looked sloppy when performed as instructed, and so I spent a day or two deciding on a different way of doing it (only to end up doing it as directed, which is the irony...and let's not mention the fact the increases can pretty much disappear underneath a big shawl collar. Told ya'. Weirdo. The second thing that shoved it deep into the knitting bag was that I began to notice just how much this this was going to shed once it was going to be finished. Little grey fuzzies EVERYWHERE, and I had basically knit this up so I could wear it around with black yoga pants and a black t-shirt. Once I realized that would never happen, I banished it (completely not allowing for the possibility that I could wear it with white or grey. Weirdo.) And then when I finally was ready to pick it back up and finish it, it was summer and to hot for me to want to knit with bulky alpaca yarn (for the non-knitters, if you even got this far, alpaca is a very warm fiber).

Okay. Anyhow. So you knit a rectangle with flanges, and then you fold it up liek this:

You sew up the seams part way, and then it becomes this:

How do ya' like my fancy over the shoulder in the mirror technique?

So simple it's almost stupid to even talk about it. Told you so.

Here the details: Ravelry project page ~ pattern link here
Needles: US 11's
Yarn: Misti Alpaca Chunky, 5 skeins (used all but a few yards)
Started: Feb 24th
Finished: Oct 27th ...hahahaha (real knitting time less than a week)
Mods: on the narrow portion, I did a slip stitch edge so that the armholes would have a nice finish to them
Funny story: I was over at MissyB's yesterday for about an hour and we were knitting and chatting, and I was working on the last few rows of the vest. I wanted to make sure to do the same number of rows on the last wide end as I had on the first wide end, so I was using a row counter like this one, which of course her toddler found intriguing. He picked it up, and she said, "Uh oh..." and I said, "No worries. I know where I am." (famous last words) He ran off with it to play for awhile. I only had a couple more rows to go, so it was no problem at all. This morning I set to binding off and then seaming it up, and wasn't lining up at all. Hmmm. I was 4 rows over (and with yarn this big, that's about an inch, inch and a half). Yay me. Had to undo the seam I had sewn, undo the bound off edge, take out the last few rounds, and refinish. HA.

So. I should have had the vest done early today and than had time to whip out the quickie thing for halloween, but nooooooooo.....I spent most of my knitting time for the day fixing my mess!

That's okay. I'm working on the new thing now while I watch our San Francisco Giants play game one of the world series!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

still clickin', still clackin'

The knitting wins again. I am just a couple of rows and two short seams away from a wearing a new vest, and its' getting awfully chilly here once the sun goes down. I didn't have much knitting time today because Tuesdays are when I do the convalescent home circuit followed by the trip up-valley so MyFavoriteKid can go to youth symphony rehearsals. Tuesdays are crazypants.

Once I finish the vest I also need to squeak out a super-fast somethin' somethin' that will be part of my Halloween costume. More on that soon.

THEN the blanket.

Gretchen writes in the comments:
You know, you don't need a cable needle to do cables. That would mean you could just start with the blankie...

Yes, so true. But I didn't mean a cable needle (sorry--in my haste I probably wasn't clear!). What I mean is that I am knitting the vest using KnitPicks interchangeable circular needles, and I've been using my only super long 60" cable/cord, so that I can try the thing on easily without throwing it on waste yarn. It's that cable that I need (which maybe I could have called a cord instead) for knitting the blanket, because the blanket is going to be done in one big piece ;-)

So back I go to knitting.

Monday, October 25, 2010


I am having a super-good time letting my fingers play with my knitting needles and yarn tonight, so I'm going to do more of that and less typing.

I am totally jones-ing to start a blanket (just a small one, lap size-ish, for curling up with on the couch), and I have already wound the yarn (remember the big balls question?). I am forcing myself to finish up a languishing project first, though. It has been stuck on the needles forever. It is a big, squishy, and super simple grey vest. I knit the first two-thirds of it early this year, and it's been sitting in my knitting bag ever since. Silly. Now I need the needle cable it is on to do the blanket, and I just know that if I take that needle out of the vest-in-progress, the danged vest will never get done.

So knitting the vest, I am, I am. I hope I am done with it tomorrow. Then...
blanket here I come!
Perfect for the upcoming weather. Rain is in the forecast again.

Sent with love from my iPad

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Champagne last night.
The 23rd annual Napa Valley Wine & Chocolate Fundraiser today.

What I should have is some really gorgeous artsy-fartsy photos of chocolate and whatnot, but all I can offer you is this craptastic photo.

Seems my photo taking skillz left somewhere after that glass of Bad Boy Red.

(Now there's a photo for you. And yes, I took a pour just based on the label. But it was also the best thing I tasted all day. Although that late harvest cab was pretty damn great. As was that rose brut champagne. Oh and then there was that...
just kiddin'.)

The real reason for going was because the Napa Valley Youth Symphony was performing, and MyFavoriteKid just started with the entry level Wind Sinfonia. We went to see the performance and to support the fundraiser.

Not because I'm a lush.
(I actually ate more chocolate than I drank wine probably anyhow)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

go giants!

Two posts in one day, but I just HAVE to.


I can't knit AT ALL during these games, they have been so intense! If I knit lace, I frack it up. If I do simple easy "television knitting" my tension changes and my gauge is off.

My superstitious fan strategy at the house here?? I popped the celebretory champagne when they were down a run....and we won! We are going to the World Series. And I will toast throughout if I have to.

snaps on saturday

One of the two convalescent hospitals I volunteer at (the one with "The Ladies") butts up against a regional park/open space area. This sign was recently posted in the parking lot.


I am feeling much better today.
It's drab and dreary outside, and it feels nice to be just hanging around the house today.
TheMostImportantGuy and I went to the zen center for morning practice, and I am now home doing laundry, knitting, putting up Halloween decorations, and getting ready to watch the SF Giants play game 6 and hopefully clinch their division (*crosses fingers*).

Friday, October 22, 2010


Last night as I was making my way home from dance class, I did quite a bit of scheming about how today was going to go. I had no plans (omg!), except for the regular daily routine and MyFavoriteKid having an evening clarinet lesson. The whole day was for myself! I dreamed of knitting and spinning and watching a dvd. Cozying up inside while it rained outside. Warm cups of tea.

And then this morning I woke up with a migraine (I've actually had a rash of them in the last 2 weeks). This one was worst than most. It was the kind of migraine that makes me feel like I'm going to toss my cookies, and it was also the kind of migraine that was going to require the two big gun medications that I have on hand to knock them out. One medication takes care of the headache by knocking me flat on my ass, the other one keeps me from throwing up (and so I can keep the flat-on-my-ass medication in my system.

So I took them after getting MyFK off to school, and then couldn't keep my eyes open after that for about 6 hours.

Total. Waste. Of. A. Day.

Sent from my iPad

Thursday, October 21, 2010

a sad story

On Monday, MyFavoriteKid came in the front door after school with little tears welled up in his little eyes (sorry, he will always be my little guy on some level), and the first words out of his mouth were, "Today was a very bad day. Want to hear about it?"

Oh my god, I am so happy that he is 13 and even wants to speak to me at all, let alone about something that is upsetting him. Are you kidding me?? "YAH I want to hear about it."

"There are two sisters that go to my school, one in 6th grade, the other in 8th, and they were driving down to Los Angeles over the weekend with their grandmother, and there was a car accident, and the 8th grader is in the hospital, but the 6th grader and the grandmother died."

I expressed the shock and sadness that came automatically. We talked about what the day was like at school (a stupor for everyone, including staff, it sounds like). We talked about how well he knew the girls (he knows the 8th grader, although not that closely; it's more like he has close friends that were friends with her, so it's once removed, basically...but he knows the 6th grader from the monthly peer mentoring group he is part of, where the older kids help the younger kids with their transition into middle school). He talked with me about the how the other kids at school were handling it, and he no problem at all identifying for himself that he was feeling very upset and he thinks it's because it reminded him of when I had my car accident (his eyes welled up even more with that comment, and so we talked about that for awhile, too). I asked if there were counselors on site, and he said there was, but he didn't go talk to one because there were lost of other kids that were very upset and crying and he felt like they needed it more than he did.

I have since learned that this tragedy ripples out beyond the boundaries of the middle school, because the mother of these two girls is the custodian of one of the two local elementary schools, and that there are also two younger brothers in this family, and they attend the other elementary school.

*sigh* It's big.

So I got an email from MyFK's homeroom teacher yesterday. This middle school has a really cool homeroom situation, if I haven't mentioned it before. A homeroom class is made up of 30 kids: ten 6th-graders, ten 7th-graders, ten 8th graders, and you have the same homeroom teacher your entire three years in middle school. The older kids get to know the younger ones. Your homeroom teacher really sees you grow and evolve, and the homeroom teacher also serves as a front-line counselor in a way. I am very lucky that MyFK has a great teacher for his homeroom period (she is also his 8th grade accelerated language arts teacher this year).

Anyhow. So as I was saying. I got an email from MyFK's homeroom teacher. She was thanking me for my donation of a case of tissues (she had requested some in anticipation of cold season), and she said that she was really glad she had them because they went through a whole bunch on Monday after the announcement about the girls and the accident. I replied that she was welcome, and that I had heard about the accident, that MyFK was upset by it, and that he expressed a big interest in a poetry project some of the kids want to put together to give to the family. She replied back to me that she had sat with each student indiviually that day for a few moments (man, I love her), and that MyFK said that he was fine....but that she did notice he did not seem himself at all on Tuesday or Wednesday, and when she asked him if something was up, he said he was tired. I have since checked in with MyFK, and he IS really just tired (growth spurt!), but he did say the air is really thick with sadness at school, and it's not like you can ignore it.

I guess you really dont need the details of these exchanges, but the general gist is that I am soooo glad that MyFK feels like he can bring this stuff home and open up to me about it. I feel so honored to the recipient of that openness. I am so glad that he has grown into an empathetic young man, and he is feeling inspired to do something to help (or to help himself move through it). I don't often pat myself on the back for doing a good job, and I can't take credit for how he has turned out (he is definitey his own person, that's for sure), but I do believe that I had a hand in teaching him this skillset, and I am feeling really really good about it.

It just started to rain here.

MyFK is working on a poem. I am making a card for the family.

Sent from my iPad

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

pimp your winder **

I'm thinking I could really use a jumbo ball-winder.

Sometimes my standard-sized winder doesn't quite cut it!

It's not that I mind winding yarn by hand, but....a jumbo winder would be a nice addition to the arsenal, and so why not add one to the holiday wishlist, right? I've seen a few options out there, and so far the Strauch is my favorite), but I'm wondering if you guys have test-driven any of these or if you any thoughts.

** it was reallllllly hard not to title this post "do you have big balls?" but why invite the spam, eh?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

handspun hat

I finished a slouchy hat last week. I'm really pleased with how it turned out, especially because I spun the yarn myself. I'm still pretty new to knitting with what I have spun, and it is really helping me learn a lot about what works and what doesn't in the finished product.
Photos and posts about the spinning of the yarn were previously made here, and here, and here (and that's what posting every day for a year will do to ya'--too many posts about everything! LOL).

Ravelry Project Page ~ Ravelry pattern link

The pattern is called Buttonhead, and it can be found here. It's particularly suited for handspun, but it can be worked up using commercial yarn, too. More than an actual pattern, it's more of a "recipe" so that you can make this hat using any thickness of yarn. You start the hat from the top/center using needles that seem appropriate for your yarn, and after a couple of inches you measure how many stitches you are getting to the inch. You decide how slouchy of a hat you want (cloche/beanie, beret, or super slouchy), you plug the numbers into her formula, and tadaaaa! A hat.

The brim is a band with a tab that has button holes, and that makes the hatband adjustable (which in turn makes the hat pretty much fool-proof, in my opinion).

I have a whole tin full of really cool vintage buttons, but in the end I went with some really cheap plastic thing. Cracks me up, but was my favorite match.

Monday, October 18, 2010

knitters! unite!

My very dear friend, TheBon over at CatharticInk is working on a special project for her dad who has just been diagnosed with "The C Word". As I understand it, there are a few more tests to be done before his treatment commences, and by then TheBon would like to have him wrapped up in a blanket full of cozy lovin' good-vibe-ing goodness.

Wanna join me in helping out?

She's looking for 8” squares to put together into an afghan for her dad. The squares can be made from any warm superwash yarn (natural fibers or acrylic), any weight heavier than fingering, any color (but think "guy colors"). The goal is for squares to be shipped by Nov 15th at the latest, but if you have them done sooner, you can ship them any time.

For those on Ravelry, there is a thread with all the details that includes some friendly chit-chat, some links to ideas for squares, and also some people seem to be posting photos of what they are making. You don't need to join the thread or to be on Ravelry to participate, though.

For the address to send the squares, you can contact TheBon on Ravelry, or through her blog (both links at the top of this post), or contact me here through my blog and I'll make sure y'all get connected.

I finished that square pictured above. When I was trying to decide what pattern to knit, I found myself wanting to infuse meaning into the square somehow, and I kept coming up with all of these non-masculine tooty-fruity hearts birdies and things. That's when I went into the kitchen and saw one of the many Ball Band Dischloths that TheBon knit for me when I moved here. See the orange and brown one in the photo? She knit that to match my kitchen. I see them every day, and so every day I think of her.
So there is yer meaning.
Infused. LOL
And so in turn ,what I have made for her dad is a simple Ball Band Dischcloth in machine washable acrylic, re-sized to be 8". Feels quite fitting to me!

It cracks me up a bit that it ended up looking like R2-D2. That wasn't the plan, but it's still funny to me.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

fall has arrived

We had our first rain today since I-don't-know-when.

Taken from the front stoop, because I have been a lazy slacker all day and never left the house.

Also taken from the stoop....a reflection of the rapidly fading leaves of the cherry tree, as reflected in the puddles.

It's been getting cooler the last few days. A couple of weeks ago it was tank-tops and mary jane's with no socks. Today it was a hooded long sleeved shirt, my new shawl, velour sweatpants, and knee-socks. It was cuddling under a blanket and taking a nap (this nap thing seems to be happening more and kinda pisses me off! That could be knitting time, dangit!).

The other thing that really brought my attention to the change of the seasons was when I drove up the valley a few days ago and smelled "The Crush." This time each year, the grapes are being harvested and make their way into the wineries for processing. The whole valley smells like the early stages of fermenting grapes. It's a very unique odor. And I love it. For me it has become my neighborhood's version of changing leaves.


Hey, I'd like to thank everyone that have left their thoughts about the stuff with my sister. I know I am not unique in having family drama, but I sometimes forget that. It has truly helped me to be reminded that I am not alone. Thank you.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

snaps on saturday

I can't make up my mind which photo I like more, so you get them both.

This is Flash (MyFavoriteKid's gecko) sitting inside his "sauna" (a fake rock lined with moist moss), which he does right before he sheds. The first shot was taken while the heatlamp was on in his tank, the second with flash on the camera.


And I have more to say about that (yesterday. my sister.):

  • Yesterday it was my sister's birthday. And I also went to see the dentist. I find that funny. What a combo.
  • I often wonder what my sister tells people when they ask her about her parents or if they ask if she has siblings. Does she say she never had siblings? Does she say her parents are alive or dead? Does she use the situation to make up some crazy fantastical stories?? Like her entire family was kidnapped during a home invasion, but she was hiding under the bed and was spared? And the burglars were dressed like clowns! Or maybe she tells people that she was left on the doorstep of an orphanage in a reed basket, and has no idea who her family is. I mean, if it were me, I'd make up all sorts of shit. Kind of like when I tell people that I lost my leg in a shark attack. (fyi: I don't really do that. I just think about doing that.)
  • And lastly (I hope. Because I'm kinda sick of thinking about her), I often fantasize that she is living a happy life. Maybe when she chose to estrange herself from her family it was an icky-doo-doo time in her life, but maybe, just maybe, her leaving her life behind gave her such a huuuuge clean slate, that she actually turned around and made an awesome new life for herself. And maybe getting back in touch with us would jeopardize things, and so that's why she doesn't do it. I'll never know. But I like to think that this is why she doesn't want contact.

In other news, I have finished a hat out of my own handspun (photos and info soon), I have had 3 migraines in 7 days, and I went to the zen center today for a full day of practice. And the Giants just won the first game of the playoffs. Woot!

Friday, October 15, 2010

happy birthday, whoever you are

Somewhere out there, I assume my sister is celebrating her 41st birthday.

Over the years, every time I have tried to write about my sister, it has turned into volumes and volumes of information that I don't really want to end up on the blog. It's not at all that I mind sharing with you guys, it's that I worry that some day she may want to come waltzing back into my life and she may read this (or have read it, or may be reading it for all I know), and that would just be a whooooole 'nother layer of "she said/she said" bullshit that I would not be prepared to deal with.

The general gist is this:

  • I'm 43, she's 41. We're 2-1/2 years apart.
  • She has been in and out (mostly out) of mine (and my parents) life for over 20 years.
  • I haven't seen her in almost 13 years.
  • Although I've been told that she saw me when I was in the ICU after the accident 6-1/2 years ago.
  • She phoned me while I was in the ICU a day or so after being brought out of a 2-1/2 week medically induced coma. She was angry and upset with me because I had a positive attitude (which I did, but it was improved my morphine, I am sure of it), and she spent most of the phone call crying about how depressed she was over her own minor health situations, and why was it that I was always good at everything, and she never was, even when it came down to being sick.
  • Most of the time I completely forget that I have a sister, and I live my life feeling like an only child...until I reflect back to being a kid, and realize how much of my life was influenced by having a sibling.
  • I have always wanted to have a sisterly connection with her, although I don't think we'd ever have enough in common to choose each other as friends.
  • My first episode of dislike for her was when I was about 3 years old. We had a house next to a pond and my sister would stomp all the baby frogs into frog pancakes.
  • I have a huge level of upset for the amount of stress she puts my parents under, especially mother, who is probably crying her eyes out today (or having and extra glass of wine or two).
  • I have no way of contacting my sister if there is an emergency. No phone number, no address (although I have now discovered what city she lives in).
  • My sister has even changed her name.
  • The town I have been told my sister last lived in is small, and because it's on the way every time I drive north to see friends and family in Oregon or Washington, I stop in this little town for gas. I fantasize that I might see her on the street of the little downtown, and my heart races while I wonder if I'd even recognize her.
  • I do this little dance so I can pat myself on the back for at least trying. It's a pretty self-serving attempt at feeling better about things.
  • And now for a secret I have been keeping from you all (sorry). When I was driving back from Seattle this summer, the day I took this photo, I had stopped in this little town, and I went into the local bookstore on the main street to buy an audiobook to listen to on the rest of the drive. While I was being rung out, I asked for the local phonebook. I looked her up and of course, she wasn't in there (I have already done the wider internet searches). The lady asked me who I was looking for.
"A long lost sibling, who prefers to remain a mystery, it seems. Her name is Barbara. Oh, but now I think she goes by Katherine." (I gave the last name, but I 'aint givin' that here kids)
"Oh. Katherine."
"You say that like you know her."
"I do know her."
*she gives my credit card receipt and a pen so I can sign it"
*more silence*
"Like, you know her well enough that if I left you a note, you could get it to her??"
"Yes, I know here well enough to get a note to her."
*more silence*
"Can I have some paper, please?"
So I wrote the stupidest most superficial not-thought-out-at-ALL note, really just saying that we missed her and loved her, and if she ever wanted to get it touch, here was my address and phone number.
But WHILE I was writing the note (get this one), the lady behind the counter picked up the phone, dialed it without looking anything, and said,
"Katherine. This is so-and-so from the bookstore. Something just came in for you. You should come in and pick it up."
Okay. So I finished the note and said thanks and kinda freaked out and left. And I have never heard from my sister. And I have been kicking myself for not including an email address. So this week I sent my sister the first birthday card in over a decade, to her, in care of the bookstore. I am sure it will result in nothing.
  • And that was wayyyyyy too long to be a bullet point (interesting though, isn't it??)
  • One of my biggest fears in life is that the next time I see her is when my parents pass and she comes to see me to ask for what she thinks is coming to her. My parents have promised it is all written down so I wont need to deal with that level of bullshit during a time of grief. Please be the case.
  • Going back to my mid-twenties.....back then I made an attempt to fix things with my sister (it was not the first attempt, and clearly it was not the last). She had already disowned me and/or my family at least twice, maybe three times, but this time I reallllllly made a huge effort to put everything behind us. I thought it went really well. She acted like it did at least. We hugged and apologized to each other for stuff, and she agreed that we could move forward on a better path now that we were older. And then she never called or spoke to me anyhow.
  • So for her birthday that year, I gave her a CD ("The Juliana Hatfield Three: Become What You Are". It's one of my absolute most favorite albums of all time ever, I love every single track on it, I still listen to this album all the time and sing along way too loudly to it when I am alone in the car, and still to this day there are tracks on it that make me happy-but-not-so-happy-cry. I'm pretty sure that my sister knew that Track#2 was being pointed at her directly when I gave her that gift.
That gift might be why she still hates me. But if it that's the case, she wasn't really listening. Anyhow, at that point I had given up trying, and words had escaped me. Which is pretty much where I am back to again now. I'm kinda done. And I have done all that can be done.

The Juliana Hatfield Three
~My Sister~

A little interesting fact-oid footnote for ya': Juliana Hatfield doesn't have a sister.
(unless she really does, and her sister is like mine)

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I took some photos of me wearing the new shawl. Well, too many photos actually (for even more, scroll back to yesterday). Perhaps if I finished things more often I wouldn't feel so driven to have all out photoshoots with them.

Here it is held open, in an awesomely fuzzy photo:

Here it is tied in front under some really amazing yellow lighting:

And here is my favorite way of wearing it, but shot in the shadows:

Figures. I had just as much trouble photographing it as I did knitting it.

Pattern: Daybreak, by WestKnits (Ravelry pattern link)
Yarn: The Sanguine Gryphon's Bugga! in Sooty Dancer and Grey Scalloped Bar Butterfly (hand dyed merino wool, cashmere---yum!---with a bit of nylon in there)

And here's a link to my Rav project page.

Okay. Onto the next thing.
Which should probably be finishing up some unfinished things.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

the wrong way to find time to knit

Last night (when I should have been sleeping) I got sucked into a program on PBS: Anti-Semitism in the 21st Century: The Resurgence. I learned quite a bit about the historical roots of anti-semitism, that was good. But the whole danged program made me want to jump out of my skin, and even had me wondering if I should take the mezuzah off my front door frame, for crying out loud. The program just pushed some buttons, because MyFavoriteKid has actually been harassed at school a few times over the last couple of years (and yes, I have met with the administrators about it).

One of the images from the show that may just stick with me forever is that of a little muslim girl, maybe three years old, being asked if she knows what Jews are ("Yes."), and what she thinks of them ("Disgusting apes and pigs," I think it was. I'm trying hard to block that one out.) Here's a link to the trailer if you are so inclined (I can't even make myself embed the clip here for you), and it's looking like you can also see the whole program on YouTube if you want to, cut into segments.

I knit like a twitchy nervous fiend while the program was airing, and had to continue knitting long after it ended, because I couldn't fall asleep. Had to zone out to David Letterman and binding off the shawl. Great progress on the knitting, but what an unfortunate way to make knitting time for myself, I must say.

But wow!!!! Look at that border!! Only 5 attempts to get it right!
I'm pretty pleased. My tweaks satisfy my very strange need for pleasing-to-me proportions, spacing, odd numbers, and for things to lay flat.

Mr.Darcy was VERY interested in the blocking process.

I swear to you that cat was assuming I was laying out a nice damp cool place for him to hang out for the day. It was in the upper 80's here today.

At least he helped a bit.

Who needs blocking wires or pins when you can just use cats?

I'll try to take some modeled shots of it once it is dry.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


The problems I am having with this silly little border on this silly little shawl are beginning to point to the notion that the knitting itself is no longer the problem. The problem must be me.

This shawl should be a peice of cake, and the border ranks as one of the easiest parts. It is simple stockinette with the occasional garter stitch ridge thrown in. For those who are not knitters, what I am doing in this border are the very first things you learn to do in knitting. The very first.

I knit the border as directed and then started to bind off. For those who are not knitters, that means ending it...finishing it...getting the beauteous finished item off the needles. As I was binding off, I decided that I would like it more if the border was wider. Fair enough. I took apart the bound off edge I had started, and knit a few more rows. I started the bind off again, and then decided that I didn't like the way it looked. I took it apart again, and tried again with a different bind off method. I liked the new method, but not up against a garter stitch ridge (which was the last row I had worked), so I picked part the bind off again, and then chose to tink (un-knit) back a row (of close to 500 stitches) to remove the garter stitch ridge. I executed the new bind off method and loved the way it looked, except that I could see that it was going to created a rather curled edge (even with blocking). I took apart the bind off again, and I am now re-knitting the same row that I had un-knit....and I'm now thinking I might (if I have enough yarn, because I betcha ten bucks I do not) knit a couple more garter ridges that specified and then try a different bind off.

But forget all that, because really the point here is this:
I am making something extremely easy exeedingly difficult.
And I don't understand why I am being such a PickyPants about it.

In the back of my head I keep hearing myself saying that I have so little control over everything else in life (basically control over NOTHING), that I really want to exercise the control over my knitting that I know I am capable of, goshdangit. In other words, if I get nothing else in today right or perfect or be it. But my knitting WILL be right and perfect. Period.

Even if it means driving myself batty, apparently.

Now excuse me while I head back to the border.

Sent from my iPad

Monday, October 11, 2010

knitting 1 knitter 0

Yah, the "knitting wins," alright.
The knitting kicked my arse, actually.

I finished those last couple of rows last night and I was about to bind off, but decided I wasn't satisfied with the width of the border. Seemed too narrow. There was extra yarn, so I decided to put it down for the night, get some sleep, and then today I banged out another repeat.

Then I started to bind off and decided that I don't like how the bind-off lies with the last row of the pattern now I am undoing the bind-off and tinking back an entire row of 500-ish stitches so I can re-do it. Because I am MissPickyPants.

And that's my evening.

That and turning Mt.Laundry into many neatly folded piles and rows of hung dress shirts, and watching my SF Giants kick some butt on the field.

Sent from my iPad

Sunday, October 10, 2010

the knitting wins

I almost have a new shawl, so the knitting wins tonight over the blogging. Only two more rows, plus the bind-off....but that will take some doing as I think I'm nearing 500 stitches per row by now.

In brief: the weekend was good. I had a nice long talk with my grandma today. I started reading Ernest Hemmingway's "A Moveable Feast", which has caused me to become really reflective about my creative process. I practiced some on the guitar. I also did some thinking and writing about my sister today (what?? AmpuTeeHee has a sister?!?!---yah, and she's invizzzzzable), and need to decide if it should be posted here. I took MyFavoriteKid out shopping for a few new pairs of pants because he had a growth spurt and outgrew pretty much everything all at once. I took naps both Saturday and Sunday afternoons....and I never take naps, because in general I think naps are pretty silly (go ahead, argue away). I did some Spring-Oh-Wait-It's-Fall-Cleaning thorugh the house and through my closet, and then made a run to Goodwill. I tried once more to rethink how the den is used (it's an under utilized space). I watched the SF Giants win today, in a very exciting game (woot!). And I didn't do a stich of laundry....and there is now a mountain of it growing out of my hamper....and I don't even care because tomorrow is another day...and so is the next day, now that I think of it...and if tomorrow turns out *not* to be another day, I aint gonna need to wear those clothes anyhow LOL.

So now I go knit ;-)

Sent from my iPad

Saturday, October 09, 2010

snaps on saturday

hamster bo bamster

NO, I did NOT come home from the petfood place today with a new family member.

But it was a challenge.

Friday, October 08, 2010

dont wanna dont wanna dont wanna dont wanna

Maaaaaaan!!! I was all just about ready for bed...tucked in an everythang....and then, "Sheeeeit I have to blogpost!!!"
* sigh *

This 365 days of blogging thing just kills me sometimes.

Well rather than just leave it at that (which quite frankly I'd love to), I will tell you that on Thursday...when I went teach the knitting class I told you about? The one at the senior center? I had a new lady show up.

And she spoke no english.

She already knew how to knit (thank gawd) but she wanted to make a scarf from a pattern that was printed in english on the ball band of her yarn.

So what we had was 90 minutes of me teaching knitting with my high school spanish, plus my kitchen spanish, from when I was a caterer. In other words, I could ask her where the bathroom was, or if she could help slice potatoes. But I didn't know how to say knit or purl.

I do now, though ;-). She taught me.

It was great fun actually. We knitterz really all speak the same language, dont you know? One of the funniest parts of the afternoon was when one of the other ladies Lee, tried to jump in and help translate and started TALKING REAL LOUD so that Eloisa, our new attendee would understand.

In my lack of self control over these matters (people talk loud to amputees too, by the way), I yelled out, "LEE, I THINK SHE KNOWS HOW TO PURL EVEN THOUGH SHE CANT SAY SO," at which point Lee replied, "Oh my god, I cant believe I just said that if it will help," which was followed by Eloisa breaking up into a fit of laughter, because obviously you didn't need to know what was actually being said to decipher the situation. And then we ALL cracked up.

Next class I will I will be armed. I found several translation pages for knitting terms online, and I also found the spanish version of Knitty, I can print a few things for her. If I wasn't so tired and on the iPad I'd add the links, but I am going to hit the hay instead so I can make early morning practice at the zen center. If you guys really want them, I'll add them tomorrow.


Sent from my iPad

Thursday, October 07, 2010

wait. i left out the best part.

Ayeeee!!! I totally left out the best part of the CryingTomatoNeighbor story!!!

After she dried her eyes and leaned in for a hug, she looked down and noticed my spinning wheel (the Matchless sits near the front door).

"You spin?!!"

"Yes, I do."

"Llamaaaaa?!! Do you spin llama??"

"Actually, I don't think I have ever spun llama. Have I spun llama? Hmmm. No. I don't think llama. But have tinkered with yak, camel, and alpaca. Why? Do you spin, too?"

(The next is said with the speed and tone of a crack addict. Very fast. No pauses.):
"No, I don't. I crochet. And I've always wanted to try llama. But alpaca will do! I'll take some of that when you have extra, please. Okay! have to go. My mom is next door at the house helping me throw all the ex's stuff away. Bye!"

Sounds like she could use a little something fuzzy, doesn't it?

Sent from my iPad

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

people are strange, when you're a stranger...

Strange things that happened to me today:

* I got a massage today and it was of the full-body sort. The massage therapist took a good long time with all body parts except they only worked on my LegOfShortness for about 30 seconds, and only while it was draped with fabric (unlike all other body parts). This is not the first time this has happened to me when receiving bodywork, but this is my second massage with this therapist, and this was not even close to how it went last time. I, of course, in true AmpuTeeHee style, left the therapist's office with a wave of low self-esteem, rather than a happy glow. I want a refund.

* The Mrs half of Mr&MrsNextDoorNeighbor knocked on my door for the second time in 3 years (the first time was a couple of months ago; was close to 11pm and she was in her pajamas dragging my dog by the collar, while he dragged his feet with that Mwahaha-I-TOLD-You-I-Am-Houdini look on his mug). Today MrsNeighbor knocked and kindly offered me tomatoes from her garden and then immediately blurted out that MrNeighbor had left her and served divorce papers last week, ON her birthday. Then she started crying. All of this happened before I could even open my mouth to say thanks for the tomatoes or invite her in. She didn't accept my invitation to come in and sit because, "Oh, that would be too awkward. I barely know you."

* One of the ladies from the Senior Center knitting group (which I thought was a group, but it turns out it is not a group, it is a class, and guess what---apparently I am the teacher), called to tell me that she wont be able to make it this Thursday....but I could I teach her how to bind-off. Now? Over the phone? This, by the way, comes on the heels of a call from another one of the ladies calling me after 9pm at night asking me how to perform an SSK (for those who don't knit, that's a left-leaning decrease, and telling you that probably doesn't mean anything to you either now, does it). Yes, it was I that gave out my phone number a couple of weeks ago when I was asked for it. Shut up. The ladies asked me if they could have it so they could let me know if they weren't coming, which I told them the didn't really need to do, because I was going to be there one way or the other. But look where that got me. Teaching knitting by cell phone. (For the record, in both cases it was to the rescue, and if I was actually getting PAID to teach this knitting class I'd send the KnittingHelp lady the proceeds).


In other news, I had my first on person guitar lesson at the music shop today. It went pretty well because I'd already started futzing around on the internet ane had been learning some things.

Right after I got the guitar home, I downloaded a couple of free things onto the iPad. One is an app that shows how to play all the chords (like where to put your fingers, and you can also tap the screen and hear what the chord sounds like so you can make sure you got it right). The other app I downloaded was a few little beginning guitar lessons with streaming video. I liked them so much that I decided to pay for a couple of their more extensive download-able courses (which exactly what they want you to do, I do get that---but damn, they're actually really good lessons and not that much dough). Now every day I have a little guitar lesson with Ravi or Rich. I am having a blast.

The first day I got the guitar I also found (yay internet!) a sheet with the lyrics of one of my favorite Cat Steven's songs. Above the words are notations as to what chords to play. I went and taught myself G, D, E-minor, C, and A....and even though it's slow and clunky, I can actually play a whole song now!

Although my mom said I sounded like Bob Dylan, and she did not at all mean it as a compliment (actually, she was laughing at me, and going, "Like a rooooolin stoooooooon...."

I think she was referring to my singing and not my strumming, but thanks mom. Now I have another complex to work my way through. Don't worry, it's not as big as the complexes you gave me during my teen years.


(You guys. She read the blog. I am ribbing her. I'll catch crap for this tomorrow.)

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Since Tuesdays now suck....oops!...I mean, since Tuesdays are now full of tasks not evenly distributed throughout the rest of the you get a photo.


spotted while flipping through a magazine
found at the local senior center where I volunteer

Why not hire a Knitter??

Monday, October 04, 2010

ipad love

Oh, how I love my iPad. Let me count the ways (well, let me count one way, because it's late and I have the dancer's conference call to contend with still).

One of my favorite apps on the iPad is called iSpy. It's a collection of webcams of all types from all over the world. When you open the app, 30 thumbnails of random cams pop up in front of you simultaneously, and they are all actively updating. It tickles me so. Totally feeds my inner voyeur. When you see one you like, you can tap the screen and watch it full screen.

I have quite a few that I have favorited, and at least once a day I spend a minute or two looking at things like this:

That's a beach in Hawaii, the PandaCam at the San Diego Zoo, some amazing cathedral in the Netherlands, and....well, you'd better know the last one.

Also on my favorites list are an indoor skatepark, a farm in Sweden (with alapca!), a close up of an aquarium, the front door of a doggy day care, a lake in Norway, the Mount Vesuvius cam, a cam in a laboratory at Georgia Tech, and an outdoor shopping center in Estonia. let's not forget the elephant cam, the ape cam, the polar bear cam, and yes...the pig cam.

So what I did here for you was to watch the cams, and when I saw something cool I tapped an icon that sent a snapshot to my photoroll, and then I used another app called Diptic to make the collage, which I was then able to forward to my blogger account via email.

Like I said. iPad love.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

weekend dids and didnts

I DIDN'T go to the 2010 Skein Lane Retreat (the sequel to last year), because it was canceled at the last moment. I am disappointed, but I am also now getting a little jumpy because I have still to receive a refund, and I'm worried about what lengths I might need to go to get it (can you say, "small claims court"?). I do understand that it takes a while to process these things, but the organizer also had been evading every form of contact. I hope this doesn't get ugly.

I DID do something fiber-y on Friday, though (previously blogged here).

I DIDN'T go to Lambtown (*sniff*).

I DID make a firm commitment to go next year, though.

I DIDN'T have MyFavoriteKid with me this weekend (he was with TheEx).

I DID practice at the zen center.

I DID go see a couple of movies: The Town. Dug it. Very suspenseful, had my heart racing several times. And it was great seeing it at the theater we went to. It's an older/historic type theater, and it's been renovated so that the back of the house is traditional movie seats, but the front of the house is made up of couches with coffee tables, or swivel armchairs. The theater serves decent food, plus beer and wine. It's pretty awesome when you can watch a gangster movie while a eating salad and mexican food and chasing it down with a pint of draught beer. We also saw The Social Network. Oh, HOW I LOVED IT SO. And this is coming from someone who can't stand Facebook. I LOVED THIS MOVIE. My favorite things: 1) The speed of the dialogue. It felt like instant messenger or something. Overlapping. Only not. The perfect pace for a screenplay about social technology. 2) Justin Timberlake. I thought his performance was fabulous, and I am not at all a Justin Timberlake fan, let me tell you. 3) The twins. Every time they were on screen I was excited because I just loved their characters and how they interacted with each other and everyone else....and it was not even until today that I learned that they were actually played by the same actor. 4) The rowing scene done in TiltShift. 5) And OhMyGod the sound score. I mean, I knew going into this that it was by Trent Reznor (squee!) but what I found happening while I watched the movie was that I would forget that. And then the music would be there, and it didn't just support the scene, it fed the was almost like another character...and I'd be thinking, "Whoa, this music is so freakin' perfect for this's adding so much" and then I'd be like, "Oh yeah. Duh. Trent Reznor." And then I'd forget again until the next time it would happen.

I DIDN'T get enough sleep. Seems like I never do. This time it is because I was worried about one of my cats because he stayed out all night.

I DID get to do a little clothes shopping. I bought a couple of new tops, one pair of comfy pants, and one gorgeous pair of earrings. I will have to share a photo of them soon, they are just that lovely.

I DID practice guitar, and my formal lessons start next week.

I DID get to watch The Giants clinch their division (finally. sheesh.), and I got to do it from one of the divey-est of sports bars ever. I'd spotted the place a couple of weeks ago, and had been wanting to give it a try. The daytime ambiance for sports watching was perfect. Not sure how I'd fare with the evening crowd though LOL.

I DID manage to get a little tipsy on 3 beers (sipped on over a 3 hours period), and on a full stomach (when did I become such a lightweight?!!).

I DIDN'T take the photos for the blog contest (someone PLEASE light a fire under my arse).

I DID go to the dog park. Twice.

I DID revive/restart my Netflix account. Now I can stream movies to my iPad or through the Wii onto the livingroom tv. Oy, technology.

I DIDN'T spin, but I DID knit....

...and I'm gonna go spin now (while watching PBS/Masterpiece Mystery!), even if only for a few minutes.

What did you guys do this weekend?

Saturday, October 02, 2010

snaps on saturday

interesting alley in Berkeley

Sent from my iPad

Friday, October 01, 2010

when work doesnt feel so work-ish

Photos of Brooke's Sincere Sheep booth that I helped to set up today at Lambtown. It was super fun to be around that much fiber and so many cool fiber-folk.

Today the fairgrounds were only open for the vedors to do their set-up. The event itself is tomorrow, and it's sad---I don't get to go!
Oh, well.
Next year.