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Sunday, May 28, 2006

We Now Pause for Some Non-Knitting-Related Content
My best friend (of thirty. two. years. OhgawdIamold) helped me to remedy my deplorable lack of spring business casualwear yesterday by frogmarching me into a national chain of womenswear stores and refusing to let me try on anything brown. We had great success (so much success that she actually let me buy a pair of embroidered jeans as a reward for being girly enough to purchase not one, but two SKIRTS. I have never before felt so much like a woman on "What Not to Wear." The only things missing were British accents and someone else's charge card).

As if that wasn't girly enough, we went straight from shopping to... Pottery Painting. My friend Yvonne (she of the delight in the swift and ball-winder), who I am finding is a force to be reckoned with in the organization department, got a bunch of women together and reserved a table at a local paint-your-own joint. Being the right kind of terribly-organized woman, there was also beer, wine, cosmos in thermos flasks, and one enterprising gal who painted a giant martini glass:

Pottery painting, that's how girly

Maria did a beautifully precise, stylized ladybug on a platter.

Maria tells me she was

No, you can't see the design in this photo. But you can see the look of intense concentration.

I did a little square box, using a stencil that had a vaguely Wm. Morris-style design (shut up. I know I'm predictable). If it doesn't look like boiled ass when I pick it up, maybe I'll photograph it as well.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Finished-Object Knitblogging!
Voila. My new favorite socks:

My new favorite socks

Yarn: 1 skein each (163 yards) "Salsa" from Dalis Davidson's Dancing Leaf Farm.

Pattern: Sockbug's River Rapids, needles: #1 Addi Turbo circs. The little squiggles of yarn to either side are all that was left over from each skein. Heading down the toe on the first one gave me some minor agita, knowing how little I had left. This is knitting on the edge, people!

The one possible fly in my warm, colorful, beautiful sock ointment is the mohair content. I, my friends, am allergic to mohair. I discovered this as a teen, having spent an afternoon napping under a friend's mohair throw. Where the light, airy, treacherously innocent-looking mohair had draped across my chin, I had a rash that felt like wasp and mosquito had been genetically combined in some sort of unholy wasquito hybrid of hell and sent to give me a beard of punishment.

Having fallen deeply, madly, heedlessly in love with the color in this yarn, I decided to take the plunge, figuring my feet were far less sensitive than my face. There has been a bit of telltale itching at the ankles, though, and I am slightly worried. But that was prior to washing and blocking. So. Hope springs eternal that there was just pre-washing slight prickliness and my own worry causing a worry overload cascade in my brain that made me think the itching was allergy-related.

Shut up. Leave me to my fantasies.

And look at this color:

Mmmm... color...

Wouldn't you run a little mad for this if you were me?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Voici, Marietta.
Hey. I have to introduce my LYS friend Marietta in one of the FEW languages she doesn't speak (I think).

Welcome to Blogistan, Marietta! (Seriously - the woman is a costumer for Imagination Stage, she knits like a demon, and speaks... how many languages do you speak, Marietta? - she's a natural for the bloggish world).

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

As Usual....
I'm in awe of my friend Rana. Where I often skim a subject or let my thinking skip ahead of my writing (do you KNOW how long it took me to figure out how to not skip a step when doing proofs in Geometry??), she takes the time and effort to truly walk her way through an issue, and I applaud her for that.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

I'm Ready for my Close-Up... Oh, wait
Ready for my close-up (oh, wait...)

Hello, all you podcast-listening types. I may be a slack blogger of late (don't ask me about the 36-hour marathon starting in Las Vegas at 4:30 in the morning and ending with going to bed at home the next day, punctuated by the homeward bound redeye flight next to Happy! Climbing! Baby! Just don't). However, I have done some writing. It's just not for reading. It's for listening. It's up on Episode 25 over at Cast-On, at about minute 30 (though I recommend the whole show - and if you aren't a knitter and don't want to listen to the whole show, you really should listen to the song that's the lead-in to my piece. It feels remarkably appropriate just about now).

Monday, May 15, 2006

Reading. And then there is Finishing.
I had thought I could remember nearly all the books I haven't finished. Maybe I can. I doubt it, though. In reverse chronological order (Marie, I know you're going to disagree with me at least once here), the ones I felt strongly enough about to remember:

- Bonfire of the Vanities - Hated it. Hated the book, that is. The characters? Couldn't tell you. One of the reasons I hated the book was that the characters left so little mark on me. You might say that Wolfe crafted his novel in just such a way so that you didn't love the characters enough to root for them, or hate them enough to want them to see their comeuppance. To that, I say, "eh." I just remember feeling profoundly bored by a bunch of seriously tedious quasi-people. I didn't care if they lived, died, or got hangnails. Book ended up flung against a wall in frustration.

- Gone With the Wind - Okay, this was slightly different. All of the characters except Scarlett? See above re: Bonfire. Scarlett herself? I saw a self-justifying little egotist I would rather ensure was five states away than ever encounter firsthand. Others have clearly seen a plucky survivor. We can agree to disagree. All I know is I gave myself permission to put this book down (hard) about 50 pages from the conclusion, not caring how it ended.

- YA Book - Can't remember the title. Googling hasn't helped. All I remember was a young girl, rural poverty, me being a kid, and reading a scene about a bunch of yahoos stoning a blackbird (possibly the protagonist girl's pet) to death. There may have been collusion in the stoning on the part of the protagonist. I remember being horrified, feeling that I had to finish, and then thinking, "Why?" It was, I think, the first instance I ever had of giving myself permission not to finish a book. It was a watershed, of sorts.

Finishing a book, by the way, is different from not being able to get into a book. If there is still a slim wedge of pages between the front cover and my left thumb and forefinger when I put it down, I wasn't able to get into it. If I mean to try again (pace, A Winter's Tale), I wasn't able to get into it. These are all personal definitions. It's hard, for me, to make a proactive decision to not finish a book.


Friday, May 12, 2006

When Socks Attack
I am beginning to think I have created a monster. John desired tall, warm socks for wearing inside his waders. I happily obliged. It all started with this yarn. Good sturdy, German sock yarn, and plenty of it:

Yet more effing sock yarn

It all commenced in such a sweet way. I had finished the ribbing and was working on the sock itself. As I traveled through the midwest, several flight attendants took note of the sock and admired it. I did have a false start with the pattern (unphotographed), ripped back, and went with something slightly simpler and thereby slightly less likely to give me a nasty facial tic. The inches started to mount up:

John's sock - take two

As the sock grew to dimensions unheard of in hosiery-knitting circles, I knew something had to be up. It trailed in my lap on airplanes. Flight attendants started eyeing its length uneasily rather than admiring its sweet, tiny stitches. When it was just a wee sock, and people inquired what it was, my answer would cause them to nod and smile, "Oh. Cute. A sock." Now the response was a bit more guarded. "Wow. That's really long for a sock, isn't it?" Declaring the leg done and heading off down the heel flap was a major milestone. There may have been champagne. I can't recall. All I know, is when the gusset was finished, the sock started to exhibit some strange behavior.

How to know it's time to go to bed

I don't know if the sock was macking on my sock or threatening my sock for daring to lure my attention from his own manly blue stitches. (What can I say? I swing both ways when it comes to socks). All I know is it made me nervous. My sock looks nervous, too, come to think of it.

I did start to devote more time to the wader sock as the completion of the foot drew ever nearer. You can't take your attention off a sock at this point - they're so sweet and attentive. They even admire your pedicure at this stage.

Incomplete sock

Finally, last night, John noted that it looked like I was getting close to finishing (the man has lived with me long enough that he recognizes the significance of the tapestry needle). And voila.

Sock front view

A second one? Oh, no - I really think the camo pants and single wader sock look is going to be HUGE on the runways this year.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Dance, Dance, Revolution
From bOINGbOING this morning, a link to a standup (danceup?) comic's six-minute history of dance. I'm amazed at how the tiniest moves can telegraph an entire era. I'm also pretty impressed by this guy's ability. At any rate, I initially found it just interesting, but increasingly found it laugh-out-loud funny.

Shout-out to my Yogalila peeps - there's a tiny nod to the Chicken Dance. Don't blink.

Friday, May 05, 2006

For Friday
A flower.


Happy weekend.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Lace Knitting and other things
By popular demand,* photos of the output of my lace knitting class:

Pinwheel of knitting

No, the hat's not lace. But it is all part of a baby gift for my Yoga teacher and friend Sharon, who is expecting her third, a girl who is apparently practicing some major asana already. Another view of cute hat (from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, and yes, I'm still working on the i-cord to lace through the eyelet holes):

Mushroom hat

The lace bits are samples knit for the class and also shall serve as little cotton facecloths for the infant yogini. Little facecloths shall be rolled up and deposited in little cotton (August baby in DC) hat, along with some lavender (or chamomile or some such) baby soap. Voila. Baby gift.

Also, I don't have to go to the shower. Sharon sussed (correctly) that I don't enjoy, but endure, this particular feminine ritual and pre-emptively told me, "I think you probably hate these things, and if you get an invite, I would love to have you there, but totally understand if you don't want to come. I think it's going to be pretty 'tee hee.'" Ahh.

Also "Ahh." I have a new camera. The cats have never looked better.

Simon, looking like album art

Dash - he blends

* Hey, what can I say? Marie's popular with me.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Overheard the other day in the Yarn store (and otherwhere)
Karina drapes all 16" of John's wader sock up her calf, and strokes the tiny stitches.  "This," she states, "Is a labor of love."
Yes, yes it is.


“Jill’s being a bad influence!”
“What, is she selling yarn again?”
“Yeah, Jacqui – I think you need to give her a job.”
Hah.  It’s not selling, people.  It’s enabling.
After my lace knitting class, I am sitting at the sushi counter, knitting John’s sock that won’t end and waiting to get our takeout lunch.  Next to me, the young (20-ish) woman sitting at the sushi bar with her dad answers her cell phone.  Her dad immediately launches into voluble disapproval. 
“Oh, no – we’re not going to have Mike or Ike or Bill or Joe.  This is our time.  Young lady,” (he means me) “what would you suggest for someone just trying sushi?”
I run down a list of the standard favorites: tuna, salmon, yellowtail, eel, shrimp.  The phone rings again.  It’s apparently the girl’s mom.
“Oh, no – tell Mommy it’s Daddy’s day.”  Then to me, “Are you timing yourself?”  I then have to explain the importance of a kacha row counter in the proper construction of a sock’s heel flap.  I get the enjoyment of watching the daughter, the putative inductee to the joys of sushi, try to teach her dad to hold chopsticks properly.  This is less than successful, and the sushi waitress brings a “training wheels” pair, with the top end bound with an elastic band, the wrapper rolled just beneath the band to create a fulcrum.  Ingenious.