Friday, June 30, 2006

Surprise package

from Shannah at Obsidian Kitten!

A belated birthday present that couldn't have come at a better time. Thank you Shannah! There were so many special little things tucked into this package - it was like opening a box of treasure, and all packed in tissue paper and ribbon that is a very familiar shade of purple ;o) coincidence? I couldn't show everything in the picture at once! The dried lavendar was heavenly! There are also maglets, vegan candy (already gotten into by Mr.J), pretty cards, a cute book, wind-up toy and Japanese stationery (I thought it was a print until I took a closer look). She even sent along a half-dollar for Mr.J to add to his collection.

She remembered the girls had a birthday too.
They both loved their presents!

'Super Cat Squid'

'Pippi-Longstocking Jumping Spider'

What work went into these toys! They are so detailed! As always, the girls like stealing each other's toy better than each playing with their own - so kitty fights and ears-back sideways-jumping standoffs occurred several times during the night *helped along by the catnip packed with each toy, I'm sure ;o)*

Thank you Shannah! Very sneaky, and with some of these things I think you must have went through my blog with a notepad!
(How did you know I love Paul Klee art?)

Quiz, as seen on CarrieK's blog :o)
Your Dominant Intelligence is Spatial Intelligence

You've got a good sense of space and how the world around you looks.
You can close your eyes and "see" images. You have innate artistic talent. An eye for color and shapes, you're also a natural designer. Since you think in pictures, visual aids and demonstartions help you learn best.

You would make a good navigator, sculptor, visual artist, inventor, architect, interior designer, or engineer.
funny... I trained to be at least three of those.. and ended up being a computer programmer (and artist). hehe.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Upside Down and Sideways

Nope - these cats didn't eat me - I'm still here!

Sally demonstrates how I feel after two days of nearly straight website coding.
Well, almost full days, they were only twelve hours apiece,
so I guess that isn't too bad!

This was crunch time on getting a new website (not just HTML, but CSS and server programs, validation and content, etc etc) up and running by the first of July. But - we're almost there. We can see the light and the light looks like.. wow, is it actually turned on? Just kidding.. but really, I'm sure you know the feeling.

Tomorrow I'll show you something WONDERFUL that came in the mail today! It really made the stress from these two days melt into a pile of oohs, ahhs and giggles :o)

Willow loves her part of the package!
in the upstairs office building

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A Hard Day's (Work)

Once again, a reminder if you live near Gainesville, Florida, (or are willing to drive there) - this beautiful girl needs a home! I asked her foster mommy if I could post a picture to help her along!

Meanwhile.. at Work
I had a long day coding - and lots of other things that kept me, at times, from coding... *whew!* I also caught these pictures while J worked outside on the porch and I sat on the floor in the office building.

They work hard, don't they?
These cats try to fake it, toolbox and all.

I like this one for some reason.. very nostalgic.
It also shows Willow's Manx back legs pretty well.

Willow gets into my purse.
Anything in here for me?
She's never done this in front of me before - so brazen!

Willow says: 'Ah, I know THIS is mine, right?'

What she was after.
The scrappy beginnings of a critter blanket!

Oh! And my counter might hit 5000 today!!! Yay!
I can't hold a contest until at least August though, so many things going on in July. We'll be travelling to convention for work, moving someone into a new house, and maybe starting to work on clearing our land in Mixie (if that goes through completely -- should soon).

Monday, June 26, 2006

Cats and socks and something in your eye

In memory of Radar and Newt
I found pictures of beautiful Sugar when looking on Flickr. If you live near Gainesville, Florida, this black and white female 'tuxedo cat' is very cute and looking for a new home! Her owners declawed her, then sent her back to the Gainesville Pet Rescue because they didn't want her anymore! Poor kitty!

If you live elsewhere, check out 1-800-save-a-pet for adoptable pets in your zip code. You could also foster a pet, the Lookout Ranch (who put Sugar online) fosters kitties that the shelter can't hold.

And remember Rebekah's Critter Drive is still going until July 15th! So many knitters are making things for the dogs and cats!

Something in your eye <-- use small child instructions on husbands!
It took an hour for me to get a string-like thing out from under his eyelid because he wouldn't open it!

Pictures of our two very lively kitties, Sally and Willow, being silly

How's the Weather Down There?

Willow says: 'Grr! My Toy!'

'Nope,' Sally says, 'Mine!'

So, not quite a pair, huh? j/k ;o)
I wonder when I'll get around to knitting
the other two socks.. Christmas?

book on table: 1951 Helen Traubel - The Metropolitan Opera Murders - hope it's good.. another 25 cent book.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

I'm Unproductive

Such pretty eyes.

The girls are hoarding J's collection of half-dollars* for tuna.
Sally says they are really hard to transport like this.

I am so unproductive. I've been in a sewing slump, and just in general, not been getting as much done as usual. I guess I'm still bummed out from last week.

On the better side, I've finished Black Coffee, and a story from J's science fiction mag that blends Wizard of Oz with Babylon 5 (Kansas, She Says, is the Name of the Star). I'm almost done with Her Majesty's Wizard.

We went to 'Cars' last night - it made me laugh a lot. That helped some. I highly reccommend the movie - there was one scene in there that was just priceless, the whole audience laughed long and loud just at the premise of it.

This whole house is a wreck. I really need to do something about it before tomorrow.

My batteries were almost spent, but I wanted to
catch a picture of this while she was still doing it.

Willow says Mr.J's fire proof safe (which we got off Freecycle and fixed the lock on a few weeks ago) is a perfect fit for cats. Silly girl ;o)

Willow's Toy Story
Mr.J was playing with Willow soon after this picture, with her 'favoritist toy in the whole wide world', which consists of a piece of heavy fabric tied on a long string. We call it her 'grasshopper,' because that is what the game is a lot like.. we make it hop across the floor, she grabs it in midair with both paws.

Well - J got it close to the floor fan and ZOOM it goes into the fan. You should have SEEN Willow's face! It was so sad, yet hysterical.

Mr.J turns off the fan and goes to get a plastic chopstick to retrieve the toy... Willow stares into the fan chirping with a quizzical 'You in there? You still alive?' look. So sad. J did finally get her toy out, unharmed even! Now, Willow is avoiding the fan completely - jumping around it to get by as if it were a dangerous snake.

*J opens rolls of the half-dollars and looks through the dates. Then the girls like to bat them around the table and onto the floor. The half-dollars also confuse the locals when he spends them at the gas station and whatnot. Often the clerk will look down at the money and ask 'Is this real?' or 'What is this?' Mr.J finds strange entertainment in this.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Secret Sewing projects continue (amid the bedlam)

I took a little time off the SSPs, with the Memphis trip, and then... earlier this week I just couldn't do much work :o( Except, that is, the heap of coding work that is on my desk and the deep amount of procrastination I have towards wrapping my head around Python lately.

Geek Alert!: Today I have to get to work on the Python or else.
I have to add a 'compile sections' part to one of my previous programming projects - I tried once before and gave up on having the feature, because I was the only one editing the data and it didn't matter greatly to me. Now, others will be using the program (likely next week) and I have to get that function ready because not everyone else knows the system by heart (like the programmer). :o(
Babble, don't look too close!: My program takes entries from the user at the office and generates CSS and HTML with the current office templates, formatting and etc.. I made it because we were quibbling at one time about 'extra spaces' and which list function who was using etc.. and this standardizes all that, yet can be changed easily when we update the site. We're updating the site. We're adding more users to the program. *sigh* I need to update the program and also make it more 'user friendly.'

Anyway, this is about Secret Sewing Projects, right? The first one arrived safely, at its destination at One of Each. I send my thanks to CarrieK for giving me some advice on the Toothless Alligator prototype! ;o)

If I'm lucky, I will get to complete one project tonight and mail it tomorrow. The other project will get done over the weekend and mailed on Monday. I have been doing knitting, in lieu of the sewing this week -- more meditative and easier to grab a row on the shawl while I drink a cup of coffee and stare at code than to sew eyes onto something ;o)

Hope you have a good day! I'm off to bang my head against my keyboard. Luckily the girls are at home today enjoying the A/C and they won't get to witness it. *heh*

Midnight reading: I've gotten to the 'announcement of whodunit' in the Agatha Christie book 'Black Coffee,' but I forced myself to close the book there and not peek until tonight! Suspense! Yesterday before the gallery hanging I was super early and walked over to the library - picking up 'Her Majesty's Wizard' by Christopher Stasheff in the bookstore (review). Not entirely by coincidence for this post, the other book I have by him is 'A Wizard in Bedlam,' which I enjoyed reading!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Tennessee River Fine Arts League

Stay tuned till the end - for furry cuteness.

I went to the gallery hanging at the fine arts group today.
It was very different than hangings at the Reinecke in Fargo!
They have picture wires on the walls that make it a lot easier than centering and measuring for nails in the wall.

There isn't much about this local group on the Internet yet - so consider this a public service announcement :o)

There are about 30 people in the group, consisting of local artists and artisans. They show their work at the Robert Lee School in Paris, TN and at many other functions they help organize. They also give art lessons there.

June's showing is at 5-8 pm on Friday June 23rd.
Arts round the Square is Saturday afternoon at the Paris Courthouse.
The art gallery will also show on Sunday from 12-5 pm.

This is the Robert Lee School (historic building) in Paris, TN which is a few blocks from the public library. There is a general meeting every month.

The next meeting is July 10th, at 6 pm! Guests are welcome to attend.

I took a few pics of the hall which is used as a gallery.

There will be many paintings, stained glass and collages shown at this event. No drawings though! I'll have to remedy that next month ;o)

This Public Service Announcement brought to you by
Willowpede's Tongue

Ah, did you have to show my tongue?
Isn't fuzzy cuteness enough?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Summer Solstice

On my birthday, I like to get up earlier than usual, partake of some quiet, usually on the porch with the sunrise, or around 7:30 am, time allowing. I drink coffee or green tea and think about everything that has happened in the past year. Today, Mr.J was there with me, which was unusual as he usually sleeps through it.

Kitty cat cuteness from the office here.
I put a blanket from home over the netting to keep it sound.

Look how spoiled we are while she works!
They even climb all over in the rafters and get sawdust all over them,
then they sleep the rest of the day away.

Willow: blanket... wool blanket... *rub*

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Knitting Experiment Pouch (with pattern)

Farm News: No Newt yet - a neighbor's dog also turned up sick and was saved by a vet this weekend - for organic phosphate poisoning... I'm not sure what that means, but is suspicious. The dog fell unconscious with a high fever on Saturday, and was taken to the vet where quick action on his part saved her life. Since there were no marks on Radar and no other sign why he died -- and no sign of Newt for several days... I wonder. Willow was sick last Thursday and Friday for a short period of time - she got sick in our car and then laid in my lap for hours, but she had recovered entirely before we left for Memphis. She isn't an outside cat either - and she has all her vaccinations (which Radar didn't have yet, he was just barely 10 weeks old)

I think Stefanie and CarrieK had it right, I looked at the MDK book while I was in the Davis-Kidd bookstore in Memphis. I'm just not a 'pattern-follower' type of person, not usually at least.

Is the MDK washcloth flat before it is drawn up? This is really poofy there at the bottom, but when it is drawn into a pouch it works perfectly, kind of like the bottom of a 16 oz. bottle of pop - that lobed flower design.

I guess I'll just keep calling this a happy experiment - one that turned out to be something :o)

I tracked down (almost) what I did by trying it a second time.
I don't reccommend Cotton Twist for this though, the extra twisted string kept snagging on my needles and looking like my cats attacked the project.

Beware, as I am not a pattern follower, I am not a pattern writer much either! I call my pattern writing style 'narrative text' - but you might just call it naive knitter :o)

Knitting Pouch or Coffee Cozy.. you choose.
the prototype

This pattern has moved! Sorry!
All of my patterns are now at Knitting Pseudocode.


Update June 21, 2007: This pattern can be found at

Please use this pattern for your 'personal use only.'!
*You can make it for gifts and for yourself, you can mail your non-blogging friend a copy.. just please don't sell it, sell the bags or use the pattern to promote kits and products. Thanks!

If you make one - Let me know! I would like to see what others get for results! :o) Thanks!

I wonder - can you tell I'm a computer programmer? ;oP I think that pattern looks like some of my recent code! *grins*

Monday, June 19, 2006

Memphis (with pictures)

birthday 'Gifts' from Mr.J
I got to pick them out.
review for the black and white yarn.
You'll see why I couldn't put it down after I picked it up!

Knitting Experiment (pouch) shown
Another one on the needles in Cotton Twist

Let me know if you recognize this
I have a 'photographic' memory and maybe
this is out of a book I flipped through this weekend?
Otherwise, I've written the pattern down now from the second try.

Punchinello statue at 'Theatre Memphis'
entire sculpture garden at Theatre Memphis (my pics)


Radar is dead. Our boss found him by a fence this morning, no sign why. Newt (our girls' mother) has also been missing, and probably isn't coming back.

I was already thoroughly pi**ed off about my older sister from a phone conversation from last night... I just want to shake some sense into her. If you know me well, I don't get teed off very often. I was in a very bad mood about that when we got to work today (I had a nightmare as well about the situation which set me on edge) - and then I heard about Radar.

I was a wreck for about an hour after we arrived.

Newt and Radar

He was such a bright, sweet little soul. From the very beginning, (when we still thought he was a girl) he was the diplomat of all of the kittens, telling the others which humans and dogs were good with kittens and to come out of their hiding places. He got along with every other animal on the farm here - even our girls were beginning to accept him as a welcome playmate. He crawled into my lap in the office at every chance and purred himself to sleep with his feet in the air. He never let me go by the porch (where their food dishes were) without a conversation about 'come play with me - I'm cute!' When he ran, it seemed like he pounced continuously instead of really running.

He seemed completely normal on Saturday night (when we got back from Memphis), but then this morning - he's gone.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Home again, with knitting

I took some pictures, but I can't post them until tomorrow :o( I was dumb and left my power cord for that computer at work!

We came home from Memphis late last night, one day early. J and I both called our fathers for Father's Day. My stepfather has come through some major medical issues just last month, so we are very grateful.

I liked Yarniverse!, but kept myself pretty close to my spending limit. (We went a little overboard at the numismatist show...) The lady there also confirmed I am a continental knitter, which I had been mostly sure of, but wasn't positive about.

Dual Purpose Knitting Experiment
  • 1 skein Tahki Cotton Classic (110 yards)
  • 5 dpns size 6
  • curiosity
  • 1 knitter that doesn't know what she is doing.
What did I end up with? A bag that holds my yarn while I knit, like a sock kit! While talking to my mom on the phone (because I want to make her one, if I can remember how I did it) I realized it can hold a mug of hot coffee or tea quite easily too, and since it is cotton, it works like an oven mitt for your hot cup! :o)

I'm sure there is a pattern for one of these on the Internet too -- I just didn't find it this morning when I went to look.

My other booty: 2 skeins of Wildefoot, 1 skein of baby alpaca (so soft!), 1918 and 1934 tiny silver coins (for me.. I gave in!) and 'Black Coffee' by Agatha Christie.

The girls are so happy we're back! They followed us closely all around the office to make sure they were coming home with us for the night :o) Today they've been playing and lounging near me all morning.

Friday, June 16, 2006


Be sure to see my surprise mail call Chris spoiled me with, if you haven't already :o)!!!

We are going off to Memphis at about noon today. The girls (Willow and Sally) are staying with our boss at his house. See you on Sunday night!

Sally: What? You're leaving us here?
Willow: Just chill out, there's A/C!
I even brought their scratching post and toys, so they are babied!

It's like Summer Camp for Kitties!
We already found the mosquito netting to sleep under.. err, on!
That is for a window repair, actually.
This is on a counter in the workshop they like.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Spoiled! (sneakily too!)

The mail just came - and I've been
completely and utterly spoiled by Chris, who is
a very sweet, thoughtful and observant person!

For one thing - where in the world did
you see it was my birthday coming up?
Very Sneaky!

Chris sent me a BIG package - with some great little owl cards, a yarnariffic coaster, a Sally-Mander lookalike card (does it ever!) and Prarie Home Companion!
Do you know me or what? ;o)

And look at ALL the FABRIC!
I am just stunned. Thank you So MUCH!

cute kitties - and so many different patterns!

My word - Amy Butler? *faints*
The girly pink and purple are going to be some fabulous toys!

Ah.. the possibilities!
That green piece on the left is HUGE!
There are two colours I haven't seen around here at all!

Thank You Chris! I'm just flabbergasted!

I do have to post this though too -- does anyone know what this spinning wheel part is?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

International Webloggers' Day

Last year, International Webloggers' Day participants explored what brought them all to be 'in the blogosphere,' and what it meant to them. I did not particpate last year, so this seems a fitting post topic.

The Beginning
This blog is mostly about knitting and sewing - but also about developments in our life (my husband and I).

I began KnitOwl in February 2005 - but did not start to make it a major activity until October. We had moved to Tennessee (from North Dakota, USA), in between those time periods, and life had changed considerably.

The thing that kickstarted me into blogging again, in October, was a badly cut hand from early September had finally healed enough that I could begin to work again. It made me appreciate a lot of things, knitting and typing especially, that I had been unable to do well for several weeks.

I learned to knit from a lady working at a craft store with me in April of 2004 - one year before we moved here. I would knit in the breakroom, before my shifts and on lunches. I began posting on KnitOwl my trials, dilemmas and breakthroughs - from the simple completion of a sock, to two-color knitting, to how hard it is to find 100% wool yarn in this new place.

Occasionally, I have actual finished knitting projects!

The Big Move
First off - we knew no one except our new employers when we came here. And, being solitary geekish people, we have found it extremely hard to make new ties in not only a different community, but in some ways, a different culture.

Nearly our entire family still lives in our little hometown, and it has been very hard on us - and them - that we are no longer a few hours drive away when something important or scary happens.

But, we had our dream of living on a small plot of land, raising kids (soon, we do not have any at present), and perhaps farming a few acres with a half dozen sheep. This is a goal we are still working on - it is getting closer.

The blog also became a great place to post pictures of the two kittens we received from our new boss last June.

Willow and Sally
The girls make regular appearances :o)

Wonderful Friends
Along the way I met some wonderful people who have become a daily part of my life - giving me windows on their lives and help with new ideas, techniques and projects. I've also fallen back to my childhood love of sewing small stuffed creatures - and have had the wonderful knowledge that now other children are playing with my original toys :o)

In the background of these knitting and toy experiments, I manage to pursue some geeky interests, and most days, get my computer programming done :o)

Grape Hyacinths by Marie Winger-Meyer - KnitOwl

I am so thankful for the people I have met while blogging!

What did I do before blogging? :
I was a computer admin on several different systems, worked at an arts and crafts store for five years, and before that, for the university of minnesota experiment station in my hometown. I belonged to FFA and did Academic Decathlon for two years in high school. AcaDeca gave me my love of classical music.

I was Kian, the Lady of the Wilderness on the Darklands MUD (1997-2001, now defunct). That is where I learned to code LPC. I still miss Eriu (of FF) and Shadow (who started that MUD)!

I was Rhel Sphere of 3DNation (also defunct, a 3-d graphics programmer's hangout). That is where I learned and expanded my knowledge of POV-Ray. I still miss Pauline and Cugel! I still would like to thank Eden and Sara for giving me that opportunity.

I am the Rhe Lynn of the semi-famous Science Fiction Cookbook. I guess that was just silly, but we had fun!

These are things I did while I went to college, first for engineering, then for architecture, and finally graduated with an art and anthropology degree (go figure!). I am a shy person when it comes to my art - which is why I haven't gone knocking on gallery doors. I really need to.

I grew up in a little town in Minnesota on the Iron Range, married my high school crush and college sweetheart, who is referred to here as Mr.J or DH J. We will be happily married for 4 years at the end of the month.

Happy Blogging!

**Update, November 2007** -- A lot has happened since I wrote this entry. I was divorced in 2007 - and remarried. My new husband Mark and I have a beautiful new daughter, Esmerelda, born 11/04/2007.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Flea Market Finds

Apology for Math Attack
OK, maybe yesterday's post was a little.. geeky, and hurt a few people's brains. Sorry! Some of you already know I really am a geek :o)

If I took the time to work this out, maybe someone else will need to look it up? Maybe me, some other midnight? ;o)

Linky: Blog Find - Kitty Cafe, take a look at those cute kittens on this post! What a picture!

Anyway, we had another morning at the Huntingdon, TN flea market.

Mr.J (DH) got a Peace Dollar, which he is VERY proud of. He is becoming quite the numismatist (someone who likes coins, money and related paraphernalia, I had to look up how to spell it!). I'd post pictures (he wants me to) but I left the camera at home!

I got an old spinning wheel part with wool yarn on it. I think it might be like the top piece in this lazy kate from Susans Fiber Shop? I'll have to post a picture and see if anybody knows! I also found a 1968 Workbasket pamphlet with a pretty horseshoe lace tank top pattern. I might be able to knit it - one day :o)

Got the materials for the secret sewing project - but I need more time to work on the second and third packages. Since the flea market is early in the morning, I got almost zilch done last night after making twelve ethernet cables here at work until 9 pm.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Midnight Knitting Math for shawl

In between knitting bits onto the Theatre Shawl - I've gotten one of the secret sewing packages finished and sent off this morning. The second secret package is about half done - and I need more materials for the third one tonight. Each package is going to a different person - and that is all the information I'm giving out :o)

The stTS (simple triangular Theatre Shawl) is now 11" from base to tip and about 103 stitches wide. I really have to figure out the math on this better.

I could be completely crazy on this, but here it is.

Shawl specs: I am knitting a simple triangular shawl in garter stitch. At the beginning of each row, I knit two, yarn over, and then knit to the end. It is like a giant half-dishcloth. But then - I just want a warm shawl to pull around my shoulders when they freeze me out with the A/C in the movie theatre here.

I Consider: The triangle's angles will be of the same proportions when I finish it as it is now. So, that means I could use a simple ratio formula to figure this out.

STEP 1: I measure my shawl and count the stitches.

(current) LENGTH / # of Stitches = Approximate GAUGE

STEP 2: I divide the approximate length of the long side (now 19.75" and 103 stitches) by 11" and come out with about 1.795. The length is approximately 1.795 times the height of the shawl.


STEP 3: Then, if the minimum base to tip 'height' I want is 24" - I multiply 1.795 by 24". This should give me the minimum 'length' which would be a tiny bit over 43".


STEP 4: If I am knitting approximately 5.25 stitches to the inch, then I would need 227 stitches in this gauge to get a triangular shawl at least 24" from base to tip.

Approximate GAUGE * DESIRED LENGTH = finished stitches#?

So, am I crazy, did I mess up? I guess I'll know in about a week. Seeing as the shawl reaches almost both ends of the circular (without scrunching), this might be the last time I can measure it without putting it on a piece of yarn or another circular for extension.

This Saturday: Maybe I'll get to go here --> Yarniverse in Memphis, TN., but if we get there too late, I'll have to hit Michaels and Hancock Fabrics instead. We will also be lounging in a bookstore until closing time, I am sure :o)

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Free Buttons (take one)

For Socks for Sheep! charity drive at Yarn Pie.

PNG format is clearer! Use this one if you can!
JPG format is fuzzy.. I'm using Free GIMP software - maybe someone else can make a nicer one?

I hope these are better quality than the first one I made! Both are 150 pixels wide by 50 pixels tall. Please save them to your computer and upload to your blogger as a picture (copy the URL to your template and just don't post the picture!) or to another account like PhotoBucket. Hmm.. think I should have put socks on the sheep? ;o) Feel free to alter the image (or the original) - I give my permission!